cropped-typewriter.jpgI’m excited to welcome James Moushon to Author Wednesday today. James has been a tireless supporter and promoter of Indie Authors, so it gives me great pleasure to return the favor. He stops by today to talk about his latest release, Operation Alpha Dog, a collection of short stories, featuring the character Jonathon Stone.moushon1-alphadog300

Welcome, James! I’m so happy to have you here today. Let’s start with some information about you as a writer. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

Actually, I have been both. In 1994, I became a published writer in national business magazines. At that time, I was writing about the coming digital conversion of books and business forms and what it would do to companies and their products.

In 2011, I became a published author with the release of my first novel, Call Off the Dogs. This title is being rewritten with the working title: Cajun Ghost (release date in the Spring 2016).

Do all your books have a common theme or thread? 

All my books are centered around my main character, Jonathon Stone. Jonathon is a CIA agent, working domestically for a secret CIA division called DOT. Because the CIA isn’t allowed to operate in the U.S. by law, this division is off the books. Jonathon attempts to catch terrorists and assassins while he struggles with drinking, gambling, and the ladies.

Sounds like a bad boy American James Bond. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

It comes from a review for Operation Alpha Dog:

These stories… don’t waste any time and jump straight into the action. Some excellent plot ideas that work well in the short space given to them, quite different in locations and style but all very compelling and rewarding reading. So good, I devoured it in one sitting.

What’s your one sentence pitch the new collection of short stories?

A six-pack of complete Jonathon Stone Mystery short stories filled with murder, mystery, and espionage.

Sounds intriguing! How long do you estimate it took you to write, and then publish, this collection?

There are six unique stories. I would estimate two months of writing and editing, but the elapsed time was much longer.

Is the book traditionally or self-published? 

This is a self-published collection. I started from the technical part of creating eBooks in 1994. That transferred to learning the whole publishing process. Choosing self-publishing was next.

You were really in at the beginning. I didn’t start until 2012 with the Indie Author movement, although I’d been published traditionally since 2000. What is the best thing someone could say about Operation Alpha Dog?

It is a quick, interesting read with twists and turns for the reader to enjoy.

That’s always good for readers living in such a fast-paced world. Explain how this book was conceived in your imagination.

The collection is an extension of Jonathon Stone Mystery series and the various assignment the CIA has had Stone conduct.

What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

This is part of the fun I have writing. I very seldom write about a location I haven’t lived or visited. I study terrorism, the CIA inner workings, current events and specifics of the locations Stone must visit to carry out the op.

I love doing the research for my books as well. Not everyone does, so that’s a good start. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

Jonathon Stone catches an assassin in “Operation Red Dragon.”

Jonathon Stone’s plans for a quiet gambling experience is interrupted by the sighting of a known gun for hire from Mexico. A casual weekend in the desert for Jonathon changes into an apparent assassination plot. With the FBI and the Secret Service involved, Jonathon tries to apprehend the elusive hit man before he can do damage.

Thank you so much for stopping by Author Wednesday, James. I wish you great success with this new collection of short stories. And I hope you’ll stop by again–maybe for a guest post on the wisdom you’ve gained through your experience and research on being an Indie Author.

moushon1About James:  James Moushon is a Mystery author and a published writer in the electronic document field. He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published two books: Black Mountain Secrets and Game of Fire, and Operation Alpha Dog, a collection of short stories featuring Jonathon Stone. He is currently wearing two hats. He is a mystery author and a book publishing blogger.

Social media sites

Website: James Moushon – Mystery Writer

Author’s Blog: eBook Author’s Corner

Blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight

Blog: HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Twitter: @jimhbs


Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads

Google+: Check Out Google+

Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Spotlight post with Profile + Interview: HBS Author’s Spotlight

Amazon Author Profile

Links to books

Black Mountain Secrets

Game of Fire

Operation Alpha Dog



Author Wednesday – Louis Kirby

typewriterWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today it is a privilege to introduce Louis Kirby, MD, the author of Shadow of Eden, a medical-political thriller. Dr. Kirby describes the novel as “Crichton meets Baldacci.” The book is chilling in its authenticity of miracle weight loss drugs at any cost, corrupt politicians, and greedy moguls ready to make a buck at the cost of human lives. At the center is a lone doctor determined to learn the truth before more people die, including the President of the United States. It’s fiction, but its lure is in its haunting plausibility.

Welcome to Author Wednesday, Dr. Kirby. I’ve just finished reading Shadow of Eden so I’m curious about how you find your topics. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Is that true of your writing?

My career as a neurologist and principal investigator on countless pharmaceutical studies gave me front line experience in the whole process of drug development: the good, the bad and the ugly. This process is not well understood by many, and I wanted to tell the story about a small drug company’s manipulation of the system. In addition, the specific side effect featured in the book is very real and deadly so I combined them both into a story that is highly disturbing in its implications. So, yes, the subject grabbed me like a rabid dog and wouldn’t let go.

I can understand why you had to write it. Who has most influenced your writing?

The most influential book was Syd Field’s Screenplay. Shadow of Eden was originally a screenplay (I’m ready, Hollywood) but Syd’s lessons on the structure of a story resulted in Shadow’s structural bones; yet the story feels organic and natural. The second thing Syd taught is to get into a scene late and exit early. No unnecessary chitchat, no wasted descriptions or fluff.

As I read the book, I kept envisioning it on the screen. What knowledge have you acquired recently that might assist other writers?

Once I published Shadow of Eden, I started directly contacting authors in my genre, both to learn from them and to offer my thoughts. I found them all to be very receptive. This is a gratifyingly open community. I have enjoyed making new author friends.

I agree. I’ve heard horror stories about competing authors in the same genre, but fortunately I haven’t run across any of them. It’s been a very gratifying experience for me as well to share and receive. That’s why I started Author Wednesday so I could probe others’ minds. So back to Shadow of Eden. Do you have a favorite character from the book?

To some extent all of them are my favorites even though not all are likable. They all have different personalities, agendas, skills, and roles. If I had to pick one, I’d say it was Valenti, the damaged goods private investigator that the main character recruits to help him. Valenti is funny, profane, sarcastic, and unpredictable, yet smart and capable. He was very fun to write, as he has no filter on what he says. He makes a good foil for our hero, and ultimately, they form a tight relationship.

That’s true. Valenti helped break up the tension when it almost became too much. Good job on his characterization. Are you planning to continue medical thrillers?

I love science, medicine, and exploring their frontiers, in particular how they shape our culture, religion, and philosophy. Think how “the pill” shaped our cultural psyche and led to the sexual revolution. In Shadow of Eden, Eden, the blockbuster weight loss drug, exploits the obsession America has with attainable physical perfection, and the extent to which we will go to achieve those ends. My next project also explores science and interface with the social fabric.  I feature a scientific expedition to discover the Garden of Eden, specifically looking for the tree of life and the fountain of youth its discovery would unlock.

I look forward to reading it. I’m always asked how long it took for me to write my novels, and I’m never quite sure. So I’ll ask you , too. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

The whole process took about five years. I took two years to research the story, from talking my way into the cockpit of a 747 while in flight; speaking at length to a top gun pilot and the former deputy director of the CIA; to personally exploring the physical layout of the National Cathedral and Smithsonian institutions. The book writing took another two years and edit. The last year I spent closely re-(and re- and re-) reading with my editor and proofing the final manuscript.

I wondered how you were able to be so precise in that opening scene in cockpit. Who or what is the antagonist in your book? Did you enjoy creating this character?

I have two, really. The first is Viktor Morloch, the charismatic, patrician CEO of the Trident Pharmaceuticals. He’s smart, ruthless, calculating, and absolutely unflappable. Think Roy Scheider in pinstripes. The other is an ex-FBI assassin, Kirk Mallis who is cool, poised, relentless, and cunning. Yet they are written as real people. We get inside each of their heads, we see their successes and their frustrations, and I want the reader to care about what happens to them. Great villains make great heroes. Walter White of Breaking Bad is a complex and fascinating character that roped us in with his feelings and his conflicts, yet he does bad things. And we watched in droves.

So true. I believe both the antagonists and the protagonists must be balanced to be believable. I imagine you have a fairly full schedule, but when you do have down time what do you like to do? 

I get physical. Twice a year I climb the Grand Canyon, top to bottom and back out in one day. Consequently, I have an incentive to stay in shape because once down, there’s nobody else who’s going to haul out your sorry carcass. My wife, daughter, and I also travel a lot, and I take my camera, which is my second hobby, and take pictures. I posted a sample of our trip to Lago di Como on my website.

That’s a major physical accomplishment. Sounds like you’ve found a way to enjoy your time away from work.

Thank you for your very interesting questions and an opportunity to participate in your blog. I wish you all the best success in your own writing.

Thank you. I hope you’ll come back to Author Wednesday when your new book comes out. And most of all, I look forward to reading another thriller from you.

LK in UK crop _1Bio: Louis Kirby, MD has specialized in research and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, chiefly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, during his professional career as a neurologist. Louis served as principal investigator on nearly 400 human clinical trials at Pivotal Research, a company he founded. He has given presentations at national and international conferences on drug development and consulted for the government and the pharmaceutical industry. Throughout his life he has always been drawn to writing. While in medical school he published several stories, one landing him in hot water with the Dean of Medicine.

Contact Louis Kirby

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