Sunday, April 17, 2011


Thanks for the offer to interview me.

What is your earliest memory of writing?
I remember making little books for my mother when I was really young. I would draw pictures and then write a story about them. I was always making up some kind of story back then.

How does it feel being published?
It feels amazing. I love the fact that people are out there losing themselves in a world that I’ve created.

When did you decide to be a writer?
I don’t know if I ever really decided to be a writer, it just sort of happened. I was always writing. I always had a notebook and pen with me everywhere I went. Writing was not only something I felt I had to do, but something I loved doing. I figured I might as well try to make a career out of it.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it?
I do tend to get writer’s block from time to time. I usually always have several projects going at one time. If I get stuck, I switch and start working on something else. Sometime’s changing my scenery or even changing the pen I’m writing with can help, too. If that doesn’t work and I still feel like I can’t write, I tend to relax with a good book. The words start flowing again after time spent lost in another world.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer?
I write anywhere I can. Seriously, I always have my notebooks with me. I write everything in longhand, so it’s easier to find a few moments here and there to work. I just pull out my notebook and go.

Tell us about your Latest Book.
I’m working on several novels right now. I’m really excited about my upcoming horror novel called Flamingos. It’s about a guy who finds out the hard way that they boogey man is very real. I’m also working on the sequel to Weaver of Darkness. It’s called Angel of Darkness.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give is just to write and keep on writing. Too many people sit around and say they’re going to write a book, yet they never do. You just need to write, no matter what, everyday.

My website:

my blog:


my fan page:!/pages/Melissa-L-Webb/193813600663672

I’m an author who enjoys all things paranormal. I currently live between the ocean and the redwoods in Northern California, with my dog, Buffy.

The idea for Weaver Of Darkness has been with me since I was very young. Day after day, it haunted my mind until I realized I had to write it down and share it with the world or I would literally go insane from ignoring it. Once I put pen to paper, the story just weaved itself, as if I was only unearthing it for the first time in years. Weaver Of Darkness has always had a mind of its own.

Excerpt from Weaver of Darkness:

The cloaked figure emerged out of the trees and stared into the silver goblet in his hands. The liquid inside sparkled like quicksilver in the moon light. He’d seen all he needed to tonight. The time of transformation was at hand. Soon What Was and What Is would once again merge and usher in the time of conflict.

Murmuring over the cup, he poured the liquid upon the ground. The silver stream arched and weaved as it made its way back into the earth, back into the knowledge it was brought forth from. Everything was about to change. The knowledge showed that. This was the eve of the new world. Soon it would arise like the phoenix out of the flames, and what was started, would soon be finished. He pulled the hood from the cloak up and tucked the cup in the overlapping material flowing at his waist. Slipping back into the woods, he pondered his next move. The events were already set in motion. Soon it would be time. Now, She just had to remember.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Slade's Destiny

What is your earliest memory of writing? A ‘novel’ I wrote when I was about 10 that was like a cross between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys – it was called Key Investigators and the Mystery of the Aztec Dagger – for a 10 year old, it wasn’t bad. Smiley

How does it feel being published? Being published is a dream come true, I’ve always wanted to be a writer so now I’m, literally, living the dream.

When did you decide to be a writer? I can’t remember ever NOT wanting to write. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it? Sometimes I get, not writer’s block exactly but stuck in a scene or passage – I usually go back and check what I’ve written before and see if I’ve missed something and that usually shakes me out of it.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer? I have a great study, set up perfectly for a writer, I use a computer but I’ve also got tons of reference books both for my fiction work and non-fiction work.

Tell us about your Latest Book. Slade’s Destiny is the final of The Witchcraft Wars series and I truly think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written – fast paced, action paced, quite a few surprises and a few cliff hanger chapter endings.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write and just keep writing, it may take a very long time before you’ve written something worth publishing but if you don’t at least try then you’ll never know if you could.

My Links:
For purchase

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some Rivers End on the Day of the Dead

My earliest memory of writing something besides my name and worksheets for phonics comes from second grade. I had a kind-hearted, older teacher named Mrs. MacDonald. She was so old she had taught my mother, my uncles, and my brother. She expected great things from me.

Once she noticed that I loved to write stories, she encouraged me to writer longer and longer stories. I wrote about the camping trips my family took, the pigeons we kept in a backyard coop, and our other pets. Mrs. MacDonald read every word. She helped me to understand how to develop different feelings and different kinds of narratives.

Being published is a dream come true. When the first proofed copy of my first book arrived, I kissed the cover and looked to the heavens. Though I should have also included Mrs. MacDonald, I said to the clouds, “Thank you, Mama.” I wished I could have shared the book with her.

In third grade, my teacher read to us every day, books such as The Big Wave by Pearl Buck. I became passionate about reading and wondered if I could actually develop into a writer. I wrote letters constantly as a child. But it wasn’t until I had finished my teaching career (34 years in a public high school) that I said to myself, “If not now, when?” I enrolled in UCLA’s Writers’ Program, and off I went.

I definitely get writer’s block. I have the sequel to my first novel sitting in stasis right now because I have written myself into a corner with one of the main characters. Every day I work on a different direction for her. But even while that book simmers, I am writing flash fiction and revising a prior novel. For flash fiction, I find that music scrambles on my MP-3 player or coloring in a coloring book help me to find ideas that have been lying latent in my brain. I am also someone who walks a lot (I have two dogs), and when I walk, I think. One of my favorite things is to look for images in the clouds.

Although my creative writing teachers felt that a long-hand journal frees the soul to write, I write best at my computer in my den. I try to ignore the phone, the Internet, and other distractions for at least two hours of each morning.

I have three latest books. The first is a flash fiction anthology called “Flash Warden and Other Stories.” I have included in the anthology my favorite flash fiction pieces, hint fiction (25 words or fewer) and six categories of six-word memoirs. I am hoping the book will be used by aspiring writers and also by teachers or subs who need to fill some time in classrooms with creative stories and follow-up prompts.

The second book is a rewrite of my first-written (but not published) novel, Stairs of Sand. I have worked on this book for five years. It definitely has benefited from the latest rewrite and should be out later this summer. The story follows two women, a mother and a daughter, each with borderline personality disorder, each with her heart closed against the other. It is a journey told in two voices of the way childhood’s hurts can be overcome. The story carries some autobiographical elements such as the setting, but I guarantee that it is pure fiction and does not represent my family. I wrote it as an exploration of the ability to change and improve family ties at any age or time of life.

Finally, I am working on the sequel to Some Rivers End on the Day of the Dead. The next book is called So You, Solimar. It features some of the characters from Some Rivers End, but takes place sixteen years later. This means the setting is 2018. That’s part of my problem with writer’s block. Yes, the world will change by 2018, but in what ways? I don’t want to write a dystopian novel. This book, like Some Rivers End, focuses on family and school and coming-of-age because I think kids need to see others struggle, sometimes in far more dire circumstances, as they grow into their own values.

Any aspiring writer needs to remember that many people say, “Oh, I should write a book,” but few actually do it. If you want to write, then BIC—butt in chair. Sit down and write at the same time every day. Do not make allowances for yourself to skip your writing time or to place it last on your agenda. You will always be too tired and too busy to write if you don’t put your writing into your daily routine. Secondly, be careful about your writing group. Pick people who are not your best friends. You want their honest criticism, kindly and openly offered. You should not be in a writing group that tells you everything you write is wonderful. At the same time, if someone in your writing group has a particular vendetta against you, you don’t need that either. And above all, send your writing out! Why not? You will receive many rejections, but the feeling when someone says “yes” to publishing one of your works is the feeling you have worked for through hours of practicing, polishing, and pain.

Eileen Granfors lives in Santa Clarita, California. A former army brat who was born in New Orleans and lived in Germany, she and her family settled in Imperial Beach, California, where her mother’s love of body surfing turned her into an avid surfer girl. Eileen is a proud UCLA alumna. She has published her first novel, Some Rivers End on the Day of the Dead, a coming-of-age multicultural look at the Hispanic tradition of the Day of the Dead. She is working on its sequel, So You, Solimar.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Catier's Ring

What is your earliest memory of writing?

I was writing as soon as I could read. In Kindergarten, I wrote a story about dragons. It was all of eight lines long, but it was my first story.

How does it feel being published?

The aspect of being published I most enjoy is finding connections with readers. When a story is complete and published, it is in its final, mature form. I am continually surprised at the dramatic variation in reader response to a finished work. I learn so much from the emails and messages I receive, and especially from interviews and podcasts. It is not at all uncommon for me to get the impression that readers have a bigger stake in the work than I do, and that is quite a humbling realization.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I knew I would be writing even before I finished high school. It was not until late in my career that I decided to attempt fiction. I began outlining my first novel in 2000 and completed it in 2005. "Cartier's Ring" is actually my third novel, though it became the first one published earlier this year.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it?

There is always something to write. If I can't punch my way through a scene, I'll go to work on television analysis or a current events essay. If I just can't seem to get my fingers to work the keyboard I'll spend a couple hours reading, or do physical exercises. It's usually not too long before an idea pops up and then I can finish the scene or continue the analysis.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer?

I often outline longhand, but I write scenes and put together television analysis using my computer.

Tell us about your Latest Book.

"Cartier's Ring" is action-adventure historical fiction set in 16th century Canada. Though the novel is the result of painstaking research over twelve years, the novel is really carried on the strength of the protagonist, Myeerah of Hawk Clan. She is the most headstrong character in any of my novels, and she really brought life to the story. Readers have told me they've cried in the middle of the book. That's the type of praise writers love to receive, of course, but the credit really goes to Myeerah.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read as much as you can and be sure you understand the rules of spelling, grammar, and composition. Most wannabe writers these days believe that Spell Check can repair any deficiencies in basic knowledge of the language. For good or for bad, though, the software has not yet been created that can transform leaden words into golden prose. When you no longer use Spell Check, you are ready to attempt writing, but you are still years away from publishing. You will spend the next few years learning, and this means a lot of work with several critique partners over long months and years. When an honest reviewer gives you a thumbs up, you're ready to publish.

Read more about "Cartier's Ring":

Excerpt from "Cartier's Ring":
The women will laugh at me. Only men have dreams such as this, not girls. Not the daughter of a slave.
I paddle the canoe upwind toward the berry patch, tacking as Tsiko taught me. He says our birch bark canoes are lighter than the elmwood craft of the Hodenosaunee, but with the wind howling in my face and the waves pushing me back, I feel I’m paddling a heavy log upstream. The water splashes onto my skirt and my belly—cold but delicious. I look down to see a drop hit my chest, and I laugh.
I grab the bow and quiver and jump out into the shallow salt water at the shore. Water penetrates my moccasins and leggings, a pleasant shock. Grasping the bow in my right hand, I pull the canoe onto shore, toss the quiver over my shoulder, and run into the meadow.
Panting, I sprint over to the great sugar maple and touch the two horizontal lines I carved yesterday in the bark, three hand spans apart. Today I will stay here until I hit it. The women won’t understand. I don’t understand. But dreams are always true.
I take five long strides toward the meadow, another five, five more, and I turn around, my long black hair batting my face in the wind. The tree is three counts of five paces away, and the two lines on the trunk seem impossibly close together. But today I will hit it.
The arrow is light in my hand as I level the nock and draw back, feeling the string taut in my fingers. I concentrate on the broad trunk of the maple, thinking of what Tsiko said: ‘Aim high and you’ll hit the deer.’ I raise the bow three finger widths toward the sky and—
Lightning fear courses through my arms, the arrow shoots out of the bow and past the tree.
I pivot and see him: Domagaya, standing not four paces away.
I know he will laugh. The women’s laughter is as nothing. But Domagaya’s laughter will slice deeper than seashell.
“You missed.” Domagaya’s voice is deep but playful.
I look up and see the mirth in his eyes. But he's not laughing, only smiling.
“Only because you scared me.” I stare at him, my eyes taking in his broad chest and thick arms, the deep scars of proof on his forearms and thighs and chest. He is the Grand Sachem’s second son. He is our best hunter, and the warrior who saved us last summer. But most of all, he is tall and beautiful, and I adore him.
He pulls his eyes away from me and squints at the maple tree. “Why is a girl of not yet twelve winters using my little brother’s bow? You’ll hurt your arms, and you won’t harvest corn when we return to our kanata.”
“It’s—” I stare into his beautiful eyes, but the feeling is too strong, and I look down.
"You used to run out into the forest in Stadacona—out to the big maple tree near the river. You were shooting arrows there, too? In Stadacona?"
I nod, keeping my head down.
I raise my eyes. “It's my dream.”
"A dream of black snakes," he says, smiling. "An Iroku dream—from the girl of Hodenosaunee blood."
"I'm not Hodenosaunee." He makes me angry with his words. "I'm Myeerah, child of Aataensic. Mine is the dream of a Wendat girl."
He smiles no more, but his eyes are hypnotic. “Dreams are always true—truer than life. But dreams of bow and arrow don’t come to little girls, only to men.”
“I'm not a little girl.” I stare into his face, and his eyes wander over my body. I feel a sudden and strange thrill radiate through me.
“No, you’re not.” He gazes into my eyes, smiling. But it is not the smile of his face—it is the smile of his heart. A cool wind penetrates my leggings, but I feel warm all over.
“Tell me your dream.”
The smile has left his face, but his eyes are intense, as if the wind and the tree and my arrow no longer have significance to him. He needs to hear my dream. I shudder for a moment, then begin.
“A red snake comes to the kanata as the sun sets and wraps around a woman’s leg. As she struggles, the snake's scales fall off, and underneath it's black. Her husband runs to her, bow in hand, but a white wolf comes from behind, sinks his jaws into the man's leg, and pulls him toward the forest. The man throws his bow to the woman, and she shoots an arrow, wounding the white wolf.”
“And the wolf releases the man?”
Domagaya picks up the bow and strides toward the maple; I follow. He knows exactly where to find the arrow, and draws it from the brush. He walks behind me, placing his warm hand on my naked back as he pulls the quiver over my shoulder. I wish for him to continue touching me, but he takes his hand away. I cannot have him, anyway; I am not yet a woman. We walk back out to the meadow.
“You didn’t draw properly.”
I frown. “That’s not why I missed. You startled me.”
“No.” Domagaya nocks the arrow and draws out the sinew. “You need to pull out straight. Watch.” He draws the string back almost to his cheek, his eyes dead on the target, and releases. The arrow flies like lightning and hits the tree with the sound of an axe splitting wood. The point is embedded deep in the tree, right between the horizontal lines.
I run to the maple. With great effort, I pull out the arrow and turn toward Domagaya. Far behind him, past the meadow, on the shores of the Great Salt Water, five canoes approach from the north, farther than the arrow flies, but closing fast. They are not birch bark, but a dark wood of some kind, except for the last canoe—it is pure white. Their paddles are strange.
Domagaya says, “You didn’t tell me what happened to the woman in your dream.”
I see the men in the boat, their markings. My heart skips a beat, and I cannot get my mouth to work. I know who they are, and what they will do. I fall into a crouch.
Domagaya turns to the shore, sees the canoes, and ducks into the grass. “Iroku! Black snakes. Get down!”
I dive into the grass. My heart beats wildly in my ears, louder than the wind, louder than the waves on shore. I hear them now, though I dare not rise up to look. As fast as I can manage, I crawl over to Domagaya.
“They’ve come to take me back,” I whisper. The blood is pounding in my ears, my hands shaking.
“No, you were born here,” Domagaya whispers. “You’re one of us now. You’re Myeerah, daughter of Aataentsic.”
I feel heat on my cheeks and warmth in my heart. He cares about me. He will protect me. He will protect all of us. I huddle close to him, rubbing his arm in affection.
“Through the berry patch.” Domagaya points to the bushes behind the sugar maple. “Take the path to camp. Hurry!”
On my knees, I scurry over to the tree. I look back, and stop breathing. Domagaya, bow in hand, rises to his feet, opens his lips and squints, looking out toward the shore.

Thank you for offering to do this!

All the best,

Pearson Moore

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Today we have J.D. Rhoades.

What is your earliest memory of writing?

As a kid I read all the time. One of the books I really liked was Louise Fitzhugh’s HARRIET THE SPY. I immediately got a notebook and started writing observations down. Later, as a teenager, I was big on keeping journals. I wrote a few short stories, but nothing that I dared show anyone.

How does it feel being published?

Well, I’ve been published, and I’ve been out of print. Published is better.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I’d taken several courses in the creative writing curriculum in college (UNC Chapel Hill). I had some great teachers like Doris Betts and Lee Smith, but I got a real inferiority complex out of the experience--I was interested in science fiction and mysteries, and there wasn’t a whole lot of understanding or tolerance for “genre fiction.” So I didn’t write much of anything for the next thirteen years. Around 1996, I wrote a couple of short, satirical letters to the local newspaper, which led to them asking me to write a weekly column. The editor at the time said one day “Hey, you’re pretty good, why don’t you write a novel?” So I did. It went nowhere, but by then I had the bug.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I have, however, occasionally suffered a total failure of motivation, where everything I wrote was so god-awful to my eyes that it physically hurt to look at or even think about. When that happens, I just can’t bring myself to sit down at the computer.
So I try to shake things up. I’ll write a chapter in longhand, for example, just for the change of pace. Or change the font. Or read something I wouldn't normally read. Anything for a little mental jolt.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer?

I write on a couple of different computers at home and at my day job. I used to have to save to a flash drive and carry the MS from place to place. Thanks to “cloud computing”, though, I can now save my WIP to something like Dropbox and pick it up later to work on on another machine.

Tell us about your Latest Book.

LAWYERS GUNS AND MONEY is the story of Andy Cole, a successful small town criminal lawyer who’s gotten where he is by keeping the towns’ secrets and generally going along to get along. When he’s asked to defend the younger brother of the local crime boss on a murder charge, he starts finding out that there are secrets even he doesn’t know. The pressure ramps up on him to go along with selling out his client and keeping the secrets buried. Andy has to face the loss of everything, including his life, if he does the right thing. Along the way, he starts developing real feelings for the woman with whom he’s been having an on-again, off-again affair, and she ends up at risk as well.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

AIC,FOK. Ass In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. Everything else is arguable.

J.D. Rhoades lives in North Carolina, where he was born and raised and where he sets his books. He's worked as a radio news reporter, club DJ, television cameraman, ad salesman, waiter, practicing attorney, and award winning newspaper columnist. He's appeared on public television and radio and on the BBC World Service.

Why I wrote this book: Since my day job is as a practicing attorney, people have been asking for years when I was going to write a "legal" thriller. Most of those, however, have a very distorted view of how law practice actually works--you don't have just one client or case, your clients aren't always innocent (even though they may not be guilty of what they're charged with), you worry about getting paid, etc. I've also wanted to write a classic hardboiled P.I. novel, the one where the world weary and cynical sleuth finds he has a heart and a soft spot for the underdog. So this one, I hope combines the two.


For Nook:

For other formats:


He was tipped back in one of my client chairs, head thrown back, his leather cowboy hat pulled down over his eyes. His long gray ponytail hung straight down, almost reaching the floor. A battered leather satchel sat next to the chair. He had his Tony Lama boots propped up on the desk and his hands folded on his chest. He looked like he was asleep.
“Voit,” I said, raising my voice slightly, “I ever come in your place and put my feet up on your bar?”
Slowly, he raised the hat and looked at me for a long moment. “Don’t recall that, no,” he said.
“Then why don’t you do me the same d*mn courtesy?” I knocked his feet off my desk with my free hand. He wobbled for a moment in the chair before it tipped forward and brought him upright with a thump. He sat straight up and glared at me.
A lot of people would have called me crazy for laying a hand on Voit Fairgreen. He’d shot men for less, or so the legend held. He’d never been charged with anything above a class G felony, and thanks to me, he’d mostly avoided jail time for those. Mostly. But people who’d made him angry or crossed him in his diversified businesses—drugs, gambling, non-tax-paid cigarettes and alcohol--had a habit of dropping suddenly out of sight and not coming back. All that said, with some clients you have to take a stand damned quickly, or they’ll make your life miserable. Voit Fairgreen definitely fell into that category. Plus, he obviously needed me, or he wouldn’t be here this early, so I figured I was fairly safe.
I sat down in my chair. “So what can I do for you?” I asked pleasantly.
His eyes were still narrowed, but his voice was calm as he said, “I come to talk about Danny.”
“Ah,” I said. “And how is the white sheep of the Fairgreen clan?” Of the five brothers and three sisters that Amos and Paulette Fairgreen had inflicted on an unsuspecting world, Danny, the baby of the family, was good-looking, a gifted athlete, and the only one who showed any promise of being worth a d*mn.
“You ain’t heard, then?”
I shook my head.
“He’s in the jailhouse.”
“Huh. What’s he charged with? DWI? Possession?”
Fairgreen’s shoulders sagged. “They say he kilt somebody.”
I put my coffee cup down. “Hold on just a second.” I picked up the phone and hit a button. “Chuck,” I said, “I’m going to need you to cover the calendar call for me this morning. Max has the files. Continue what you can, handle what you can’t.” I hung up the phone, cutting off Chuck’s questions. He’d figure out what to do. He’d passed the Bar only three weeks ago, but being tossed into the deep end without water wings is the lot of the young associate.
“Now,” I said. “Who’s he charged with killing?”
Voit rubbed his eyes. The lines in his weathered face looked like canyons. I felt bad for being so rough with him earlier. I let the feeling pass through me.
“Girl named Chloe. Worked at the Rancho. Waitress.”
“What makes them think he did it?”
“They found him passed out in her house. With her.”
I nodded, keeping the poker face in place. Your client being found in the presence of a dead body is widely regarded as a bad thing among the defense bar. Still, you have to show confidence, even if you’re not feeling it. “Okay. He had his 96 hour hearing yet?” A person arrested had to be brought before a judge within 96 hours of being locked up to be formally advised of his charges and his right to a lawyer.
Voit shook his head. He picked up the satchel and reached inside. He came out with a bulging manila envelope, which he threw on the desk. It made a satisfying thump. “Tell me if that’s not enough.”
I picked up the envelope and opened it. It was stuffed with bills, most of them hundreds. “Do I want to know where this came from, Voit?”
“It comes from me,” he said. “That’s all you need to know.”
I let it go. “I’ll be at the hearing at 9:30,” I said. “Tell Danny you hired me. And tell him to keep his mouth shut. He talks to no one about this but me. No one. Got that?”
Voit sounded a little insulted. “He knows all that,” he said. “He’s a Fairgreen.”
Which doesn’t make my job any easier, I thought, but I didn’t say it. I walked Voit out into the waiting room. Two more of Voit’s younger brothers were seated there, taking up most of my waiting-room couch. It’s a rare gift to be able to look as if you’re looming while you’re sitting down, but the twins, Liberty and Justice, were big and ugly enough to pull it off. Both twins were once and future clients as well. A lawyer with less expensive tastes and fewer ex-wives could probably have made a comfortable living off the Fairgreens alone. I nodded to them as they got up. They nodded back.
As I walked back into my office, I caught a glimpse of Maxine, my office manager, in the hallway, talking to Becky-or-Becca. I couldn’t see her face, but from what I could see on the receptionist’s, there was a thorough ass-chewing going on. I went in, sat down, and checked my calendar. Looked like a medium-heavy day in District Court. Nothing Chuck couldn’t handle. I hoped.
Max came into the office. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days. There were dark circles under her eyes, her normally crisp pantsuit hadn’t been ironed, and her shoulders looked like she’d been carrying concrete-filled sacks. She fell into one of the client chairs and ran a hand absently through her short, iron-gray hair.
“Sorry, Boss,” she said, her voice rusty and hoarse. “I should have been here. He’d never have gotten past me.”
“No worries,” I said.
“Say the word and she’s gone.”
“Nah,” I said. “You’ve put the fear in her. We’ll see if it takes.” I held up the manila envelope full of cash. “Looks like we’ve been retained.”
Her tired eyes got wider as I dumped it out onto the desk. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” she said, then crossed herself. “What’d Voit do now?”
“Not Voit,” I said. “Danny. He’s charged with murder.”
“Danny? No way.”
“I hope the jury has the same reaction. Count this up and put it in the trust account till I figure out what’s going on.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Expert Assistance

Today we have Robert L. Collins, author of Expert Assistance.

What is your earliest memory of writing?
Don't really have one. I made up stories when I was young, but I didn't start thinking about "writing" until junior high school.

How does it feel being published?
Well, my first short story sale was in 1990. It felt great! Still feels good to sell a piece or get a book out.

When did you decide to be a writer?
I start writing in 8th Grade. I had seen Star Wars and got into Star Trek. I was always creative, and then I read Asimov on Science Fiction. This was the first time I became aware of writing. I thought it sounded like a good way to channel my creativity. I've been at it ever since.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it?
Not much, though I can be stopped when something gets strained. I've found the best way to keep from being blocked is to have more than one project to work on at one time. It's one of the reasons why I write nonfiction (mainly history) as well as science fiction & fantasy.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer?
In my "office" at home, on my iMac. I really couldn't type until I started using a computer. Until recently I wrote some things in longhand when I was on the road. Now that I have an iPad, I'm going to use that if I have to write while traveling.

Tell us about your Latest Book.
The book I'm plugging right now is the new edition of my first published novel, Expert Assistance.

Blurb: To get out of debt, spacer Jake Bonner takes on two odd jobs. The first, chauffeur pop star Evvie Martini on her tour; the second, helping Daniel and Clarissa Rosen overthrow their planet’s tyrannical ruler. Unfortunately for Jake, Evvie finds out about his second assignment and, hoping to advance her career, invites herself to the revolution. From there the absurdity grows for Jake and his band of “freedom fighters.” Expert Assistance pokes fun at revolutions, pop culture, and some of the cliches of sci-fi.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
First off, learn the basics: plot, character, description, dialogue. Write as much as you can, every day if you can manage it, and try to write at least a couple of pages at that time. Finish what you start. Begin with short stories or articles to learn and to earn some publishing experience. Above all, keep at it!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Black Diamond Death

Today we have Cheryl Bradshaw, author of Black Diamond Death.

What is your earliest memory of writing?

I would say junior high school. I started off writing poems and I used to make up a lot of stories in my head, but I never actually put pen to paper until high school. It was then that one of my teachers suggested writing to me as a career. I remember in high school typing a short story on my dad’s old typewriter and it didn’t type out all the keys and when my teacher read it he said, “A good story marred by too many careless errors.” And since I knew why it had the errors, all I could think about was the fact that he called it “a good story”.

How does it feel being published?

It feels like I just climbed Mount Everest, and now I’m standing at the top realizing that I really can do anything. In two months I’ve sold almost 1,200 copies and that feels amazing. The fact that my story is out there being enjoyed by readers everywhere is more than I could have hoped for. It has exceeded every expectation I have ever had for myself.

When did you decide to be a writer?

At 17 I became fully cognizant of how passionate I was about writing, but it took two decades for me to actually decide to start and finish a book and then publish it.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it?

Not really. I have days where I read what I have written and I know it’s not my best, but I don’t worry too much about it because I know that once I edit it, it will be much better. When I write a first draft I look at it like it’s the skeleton and I know I can return later and flesh it out.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer?

I write on my laptop, and even though I have a perfectly lovely desk, I am usually sitting on my bed typing away.

Tell us about your Latest Book.

My first novel, Black Diamond Death (the first in a series), was published in March 2011. It follows Sloane Monroe, a private investigator living in Park City, Utah. The story opens with a skier found dead on the slopes and then quickly escalates as the presumed accident turns to a possible murder.

Here’s an overview:


Enter the world of Sloane Monroe in Black Diamond Death...


On the slopes of Park City, Utah’s newest ski resort a woman is found dead. At first glance, it has all the makings of an accident. The victim, Charlotte Halliwell, collided with a tree as she schussed her way to the bottom of the hill. But what if her death wasn’t an accident at all––what if she was murdered?


In Black Diamond Death, Audrey Halliwell faces a problem: finding someone who believes her story.

Enter Private Investigator Sloane Monroe.

When Audrey marches into Sloane’s office with claims her sister’s death was no accident Sloane is skeptical at first, but agrees to take the case. With little to go on, she questions the people in Charlotte’s life and discovers Parker Stanton, a jilted ex-fiancĂ© with plenty to hide, and as the son of a prominent businessman, he will go to any lengths to protect his secrets.


Just as Sloane feels she's close to solving the case she stumbles on another dead body and is forced to re-examine the clues from the beginning, but she must tread lightly. With the killer aware that Sloane will stop at nothing to find him, her life is in danger and her every move is being tracked. Will Sloane uncover the truth before he strikes again?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

  • 1. Live your dream and don’t allow yourself to be dissuaded from doing what you love.
  • 2. Never give up, and don’t let anyone convince you that you are any less than you are.
  • 3. Read daily.
  • 4. Write daily.
  • 5. Don’t ever stop learning and growing. Writing is a process, a craft and there’s always room for improvement.
  • 6.Learn from others. Want to know how other writers did it? Read their blogs, visit their websites, read their guest posts, and hang out where other writers hang out. You will learn a lifetime of tips and tricks by connecting with other writers, and you’ll also make some lifetime friends along the way. It’s a win-win.
  • 7.Promote yourself. It’s something I wish I didn’t have to do, but no one else is going to do it for you – so buck up little soldier and get yourself out there!

And last but not least, I have a set of quotes by my desk that I read often including this one which is one of my favorites:

"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls." -Joseph Campbell

Where to find Cheryl Bradshaw



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Black Diamond Death Excerpt

The air was calm, but I was restless. I had a decision to make so I did what I always do when push comes to shove––I shoved back, but not in the way one might think. Skiing had always been my release. There was something about being surrounded by fresh powder in the clean, open air that reminded me what it felt like to be alive. I could stand on a mountaintop with a world of trouble on my mind, and it didn’t matter. Every care I had dissolved just like the snow soon would and the mountain would be reduced to tiny patches of white, mere remnants of a ski slope that once provided the town’s entertainment for the season.

In a few minutes I’d get together with Audrey for lunch and do something that didn’t come easy––tell her the truth. It wasn’t that I lied to her; I was a master in the fine art of keeping things to myself. I always thought it was better that way. But I was wrong to allow her limited access to my life, and I wanted to change that. So I’d explain it all to her, and once I finished I would reveal my plan and hope she’d understand. She just had to.

I rounded the last narrow pass on the slope and traveled downhill through the trees. My tongue had gone numb over the past couple hours and every time my teeth hit against it I felt nothing, like it wasn’t even there, and my throat felt like a strand of lit matches were pressed hard against it. I wondered if I was getting sick. That would explain the unrest in my stomach. The flu had made its way around town so it made sense that it would make it to me, but if it was the flu, why had I lost all the feeling in my face?

I ran my gloved hand across my goggles, but it didn’t help––even when I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again the trail in front of me was a blur. With what little force I had left, I jammed my poles into the snow and tried to stop, but the slope was too steep and I couldn’t bend my hands or even move them for that matter. My fingers felt like long shards of ice and in one simultaneous motion they launched a mass of frozen liquid throughout my body.

What was happening to me?

In a panic I gasped for air, but there wasn’t any. I tried to cry out, but I was alone, and in my hysteria it hit me. I had felt a similar feeling before––like my body was giving out on me, and I knew what it meant.

I was dying.