Friday, September 28, 2012



Please enjoy this excerpt from The Book of Paul, a nail-biting supernatural thriller by Richard Long. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.  

Monsters: An Excerpt from The Book of Paul

by Richard Long

You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies. Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below. Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hopscotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-hopscotch, maybe. “Hhmph! What do you think about that?” Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-gingham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shithole street. The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm. Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like a rich, fragrant wine. “One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…” He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash. At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hopscotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all. Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure thing to a dark, dirty place and… And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do. Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public? “Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!” He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hardened by degrees as he pictured the yanking daddy and the formerly happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do. He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?” “Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of lightless hallways as if being led by a seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall. His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained. He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tasted like fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place. The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again. “Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her father. And make her watch.   As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.



Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.   1. Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul. The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter called Exercises: “He practiced smiling.” I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love. 2. What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share? There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology--particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications. I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion. 3. Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about? The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul. 4. There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul, and how does it surface throughout the course of the story? I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy. 5. At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication? I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it. 6. The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life? I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place--addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.” 7. Paul is... scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact? I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?” That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin--well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too. Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come. 8. Irish mythology is woven into The Book of Paul, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story? When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about? I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel. 9. The Book of Paul is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who is your target audience for this novel? Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers. The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody. 10. Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul, and how has the journey been so far? Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience. How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people--other authors and readers--and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!   As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.


Book of Paul Tour Badge

POST # 1

Please enjoy this guest post by Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.  

The Tarot

A guest post by Richard Long

  Laura gave me my first tarot deck. It was a Crowley. A lot of people get creeped out by Crowley decks, much as they would have been creeped out by Crowley, I imagine. He called himself ‘The Great Beast.’ To me, he seemed more like a big joke. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!” Stop it, you’re killing me.
You just read the opening lines of The Bone King, a prequel to The Book of Paul. They happen to be true. Laura gave me my first deck. I still have it and use it. In fact, I’ll be using it shortly to provide Skype tarot readings for two lucky winners of my Whirlwind Blog Tour. I’m looking forward to the readings. The winners? I suppose that depends on which cards come up. Actually, I don’t give scary tarot readings, I just write about scary tarot readings. People have enough fear and stress in their lives without me throwing more gas on the flames. Besides, the three scariest trump cards--The Hanged Man, Death and The Tower--can all be interpreted in very unscary ways. Most of the time. William, the narrator of The Book of Paul, lives in the East Village/Alphabet City of New York in the years before gentrification made it a much less fun and frightening place. He makes a living doing tarot and numerology readings, same as the author did at the time. Like me, he is also a collector, but that’s where the similarities end. He collects ancient occult codices, some covered in human skin. He collects other things that are even more…disturbing. The mythology of The Book of Paul is based largely on my very unique (so unique you’ll never see it anywhere else) interpretation of the twenty-two trump cards of the tarot. As William endeavors to unravel Paul’s nefarious intentions, he discovers an arrangement of the trumps that reveals the true story being told. In the following excerpt from one of William’s journal entries, Paul congratulates William on his discovery (which is not revealed, so no spoiler alert!) and rewards his efforts with a very special gift to add to his collection, and the promise of an even greater prize. A fabulous tarot reading from Richard Long? A Kindle Fire? No, William isn’t as lucky as three of you wonderful readers. He’s about to have his very first look at The Book of Paul, a gift that comes with a very hefty price tag.
“You’ve done exceptionally well here,” Paul said, “but you’re never gonna get to the bottom of this no matter how many of those old books you poke your nose into.”
“And that’s because…”
“For starters, those writings were deliberately intended to disguise the truth in countless metaphors and scrambled codes to keep the idiots at bay. They’ve been translated, and re-translated back into the original demotic, Coptic or Greek countless times, every scribe adding his own pontifical touch in his glorious interpretation. Of the more accurate writings, there’s more missing from the tracts than what remains, as you’ve seen in the Drivel of Mary. You’ve about as much luck hitting pay dirt in those dustbins as those literalist born-agains have of seeing the Rapture. However, I have a gift for you that should prove far more enlightening, if you apply yourself with half the dedication of these research efforts.”
He reached deeply into his pocket and told me to close my eyes. “Don’t go using yer second sight and spoil the surprise.” I nodded and felt him place a large rectangular object in my left hand. “Okay, open ’em.”
It was a tarot deck. Older than any I’d seen. The paintings were incredibly detailed and absolutely exquisite. I turned them over one by one, The Hero, The Herald, The Oracle—all the trumps labeled with Paul’s titles. “These are amazing!” I said, awed and yes, flattered by his incredible gift. I had a hard time spitting it out, but I managed to say, “Thank you.”
“You’ve earned it,” he grunted, taking the cards back before I had a chance to look at the rest of them, setting the cards down gently on the table. “But don’t stay up too late gazing at them. This deck can be quite…entrancing.”
“Is there something else I should know about it?” I asked apprehensively.
“Indeed, there is. Get a good night’s sleep and meet me in the chapel tomorrow. I’m bumping you up to the advanced class, so make sure your eyes are bright and your head is clear. You’ve earned a little taste of the Gospel according to Paul.”
  As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



Join me today in welcoming AJ Scudiere to my blog for her blog tour stop for her book Phoenix. She has graciously written a guest post. Grab a seat and a virtual beverage as you read her post.

Phoenix Cover - Ruke


Jason Mondy’s world is unraveling.
His seemingly secure job as a fire fighter is suddenly thrown into chaos.
The bright spot in his week is that he rescued two children from a house fire,
but he returns home that night to find all his furniture is missing.
His girlfriend has left him without warning and his nightmares keep him from sleeping.
Even just a simple trip home to find some rest leads his adoptive mother to sit him down
and tell him that maybe his troubles aren’t quite as innocuous as they seem.
Then she divulges a secret she’s kept for over twenty-six years . . .
Jason has a brother he doesn’t remember existed.
He doesn’t remember his life before he was adopted at age seven.
He only knows that he was rescued from the fire that took his birth mother’s life.
But the story is deeper than that, and the foundation on which he built his world is now cracking.
The brother he doesn’t remember it out there somewhere, left behind.
Armed with only this stunning new piece of information,
Jason embarks on a quest to find the truths buried deep in his past.
As he searches, one by one the pieces of his life fall like dominoes.
And the more he uncovers, the more everything he thought he knew
about himself and his past
begins to turn to ash.
His truth isn’t true at all . . .


Guest Post for Earth’s Book Nook

Dreamgirls. And Guys. Mostly guys.

The AudioMovie is the next evolution of audiobook. Fed up with single readers trying to be both male and female? The answer: a full cast. Now you get distinct voices for distinct characters. The next step? A soundtrack. AudioMovies include sound effects and a score written just for the book. (No more readers trying to bark like a dog or sound like a storm.) The final piece is that all AudioMovies are unabridged. You’ll get the whole thing, no missing pieces, no sketchy plotting, everything the author intended.

Creating an AudioMovie means selecting a cast. While some of the voices will be audiobook readers, some will come from the Hollywood acting pool. So if I could assemble my dream cast for my fourth book Phoenix, who would I choose?

Thinking of only the actor’s voice can be problematic. We all love George Clooney—after all, he sells us beer and cars and espionage—but I don’t think you’d be able to listen to him and hear Jason, the main character of Phoenix, you’d hear George Clooney. So I’m not going there.

Thinking about Jason for a moment can help. He’s frustrated with his job. Though, he loves being a firefighter, a dramatic rescue has made him into the town hero, a role he definitely does not want to play. When nightmares of fire plague him, his mother reminds him of his own dramatic rescue as a child and she tells him of a brother he lost in that fire—a brother lost to memory and trauma. Who do I hear for Jason? James Marsters! You may know his British accent from Buffy, but he’s American. And he has just enough grit to his voice to sound like he would run into a burning building and that maybe he’s done it a few times before.

Clark is next. Clark is a reporter, disenfranchised from the newspaper scene; he’s moving his work online with the same steel spine he’s used to survive his life. He needs the next big story to stay afloat and Jason is it. Not only is Jason the current town golden boy, his missing brother could provide enough for a whole book. Ambition and secrets of his own are driving Clark to turn over every rock. Clark’s voice is smooth and trustworthy, like Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant has lots of movies to his credit, and more recently the FX series Justified. He’s equal parts solid and mysterious.

Southfield Fire Station #2. Yes, the fire station has a voice. An observer who hears and sees all within its walls, the station house would be read by John Lithgow. Able to carry sitcoms (Third Rock from the Sun) and serial killers (Trinity on Showtime’s Dexter), Lithgow has a voice that can be everything and anything.

Missy Wanstall is the only female firefighter in the house. She’s a woman in a man’s world—tough, determined and very competent. Missy struggles with being one of the guys, making her perfect with Emma Stone’s voice. It’s definitely feminine, but also gritty and a little off from the norm.

Phoenix will be the next AudioMovie made from an AJ book. Resonance, Vengeance and God’s Eye are already available on Audible and iTunes and feature stellar casts and amazing guest actors. Resonance will have you struggling to find the key to save humanity. Vengeance will make you want to help Sin and Lee escape their own crime scenes, and you’ll shiver when something steps up behind you in God’s Eye.

Biography of best-selling thriller

author A.J. Scudiere

It’s A.J.’s world. A strange place where patterns jump out and catch the eye, very
little is missed, and most of it can be recalled with a deep breath, it’s different from the
world the rest of us inhabit. But the rest of us can see it – when we read. In this world,
the smell of Florida takes three weeks to fully leave the senses and the air in Dallas is so
thick that the planes “sink” to the runways rather than actually landing.
For A.J., texture reigns supreme. Whether it’s air or blood or virus, it can be felt
and smelled. School is a privilege and two science degrees (a BA and MS) are mere pats
on the back compared to the prize of knowledge. Teaching is something done for fun
(and the illusion of a regular paycheck) and is rewarding at all levels, grade school
through college. No stranger to awards and national recognition for outstanding work as
a teacher, trainer and curriculum writer, like most true teachers, the real joy for A.J. is in
the “oh!” - the moment when the student sees the connection and it all makes sense.
A.J. has lived in Florida and Los Angeles among a handful of other places.
Recent whims have brought the dark writer to Tennessee, where home is a deceptively
normal looking neighborhood just outside Nashville.
Follow A.J. on Twitter: @ajscudiere
or at

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Today I’m welcoming Janine Spendlove to my blog with an insightful interview~~~Grab one of her books today!!!






Did you always want to be a writer?

No, it’s been a more recent desire over the last 5 years or so. A new “hobby” if you will.

If so, what medium did you start with? Fanfic! Yup, I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Fanfic is a great place for aspiring authors to practice/learn the ropes of writing. My first published work was a couple of non-fiction short stories in the anthology “Supersonic Saints: 2” (under my married name).

What was the inspiration for your book series, War of the Seasons?

I have a full post about why I wrote War of the Seasons here:

But in summary, I lost someone very close to me and writing War of the Seasons: The Human helped me deal with my feelings and heal.

Who is your favorite author??

Oh man, that’s hard. I have a couple I really REALLY like. Jane Austen, Orson Scott Card, & Aaron Allston are all up there for sure though.

What is your favorite genre to read and why?

I used to easily be able to say “fantasy!” but so much has changed, especially now that I write fantasy. I love Sci-fi, of course, but also really enjoy non-fiction (history, military history, biographies), military fiction, and of course, the classics.

Do you prefer to be indie published, self-published, or traditional published?? Why?

ALL! I’ve been published all three ways, and they all have their positives and negatives. So it really depends on the project & how much control I want over it.

Did you ever experience a major life changing event that impacted your writing?

Oh yes, as I answered above in why I wrote War of the Seasons.

If you could be any book genre, which one would you choose and why?

You mean me as a person? We’ll I suppose I’d like to be “fantasy,” because then I could fly without an airplane.

Name a song(s) that define(s) you as a writer.

Yet another difficult question & something I also recently posted about on my blog here:

But if I have to be pinpointed down on one, I’ll pick an album, Abbey Road, by The Beatles. It’s got it all - action, adventure, silly shenanigans, and even some romance.

If the world was on the edge of extinction, how would you survive?? I wouldn’t worry about myself. I’d make sure my children were taken care of and do what I could to help everyone else after that. Zombie apocalypse, now that’s a different situation...

What advice would you give to other aspiring writers like myself?? Start writing and don’t stop, even if you think it sucks. Keep writing. “Just keep writing, just keep writing...”

What other projects do you have on the horizon??

I’ve got several sci-fi and fantasy anthologies I’ve been asked to contribute stories to that I’m in the process of writing. I’m very excited for them - one is a superhero story, another is a literal “fairy tale”, and the last is short story about one of the characters in my War of the Seasons series.

I’ve also got a novella tentatively titled “A Truth Universally Acknowledged” that should be out this fall. It’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set 400 years in the future, in space, between a couple of military pilots. So I suppose it’s a military science fiction romance story.

Lastly (for now), I am also working on the third book in the War of the Seasons series, The Hunter. It should be out at the end of 2013.

Tell us about 5 books that changed your life in some way??

1-The Bible & The Book of Mormon - is it cheating to count these both as one? Well if it is then I’m a cheater. That said, these books are integral to my faith and my life, so yes, definitely life changers.

2-The Chronicles of Narnia - again, I know it’s 7 books, but I view the series as one. These books were the first that truly stirred my imagination, made me daydream, and made me long for a Narnia of my own. To this day whenever I stay in a new room I always peak inside the wardrobe...

3-Huckleberry Finn - A book I’ve read several times over my life (starting when I was 12), and each and every time I learn something new. And it’s also just a great story.

4-Star Wars: The Truce at Bakura - definitely not my favorite Star Wars book. Not even close, but this was my “gateway” book. My uncle Leo gave it to me & I literally stayed up all night reading it. I couldn’t put it down. I was 14 and I could not get enough of Star Wars after this book. I’d always liked Star Wars before reading this, but after reading it I LOVED Star Wars and I was well on my way to a lifelong obsession. The fandom has been so much a part of my life since then, and I can’t imagine my life without it. As far as my favorite Star Wars books? The X-Wing Series, HANDS DOWN no competition!

5-A Message to Garcia - if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s a relatively short essay about young Lieutenant charged with delivering a message to, you guessed it, Garcia. The key point of the story that I took out of it is that in the face of many obstacles he accomplished the mission. He never gave up, he kept going, and though he wasn’t given instructions on how he was to go about it, he accomplished the mission.

If you could time travel, what time period would you go to and why??

Eh, could be I a Caucasian male while I time traveled? Because otherwise I don’t think I care to visit anywhere in the past (except maybe to the early 1960s so I could see the Beatles perform before they got too big. Then of course we’d become BFFs, because that’s how time travel works, right?). All joking aside, as someone with a huge love for history, I’d be very hard for me to pick a single time period, and I’d be too tempted to change/fix things. The Doctor would have his hands full with me as a companion...

And a fun one, what would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse?

It depends on where I am. If I’m near a military base I’m going to throw on my uniform, pick up a rifle, and defend our position/help lead the Marines in our defense against the zombies.

If I’m not anywhere near a military base, well, I’m a pretty fast runner & I can run for miles and miles without rest... All I have to do is stay ahead of the zombie bait behind me.

Feel free to add any social media links you have and anything else you felt I should have added to this interview.

I can be found online here:








My bio: Janine K. Spendlove is a KC-130 pilot in the United States Marine Corps. Her bestselling first novel, War of the Seasons, Book One: The Human, was published in June 2011 and her next novel, War of the Seasons, Book Two: The Half-blood, was released in June 2012. She’s also had several short stories published in various anthologies. A graduate from Brigham Young University in 1999 with a BA in History Teaching, she is an avid runner, enjoys knitting, playing Beatles tunes on her guitar, and spending time with her family. She resides with her husband and daughter in Washington, DC. She is currently at work on her next novel. Find out more at

Thanks for joining me and being a part of my blog!

Thank you so much for the invite & the opportunity. Hope this is what you wanted/needed.

Monday, September 24, 2012


My stop on the Sulan Blog Tour is a guest post of Camille Picott writing as Billy Long, character from Sulan. THANK YOU  VIRTUAL AUTHOR BOOK TOURS FOR INVITING ME ONTO THIS BLOG TOUR

Grab a bean bag chair and something to drink from the bar.
Sulan Tour Banner

Sulan cover lores
Managing Uncle Zed Author Camille Picott writing as Billy Long, a character from Sulan A Guest Post for Heather & Earth’s Book Nook September 24, 2012 Most days, it’s just me and Uncle Zed. Mom only comes home once a month from her job, so it’s up to me to take care of my uncle. He’s a retired mercenary. Before I was born, he was captured by a North Korean corporation and tortured pretty bad. Almost twenty years later, he’s still got PTSD. He has some pretty rough days, but I’ve figured some good ways to keep him calm. 1. Keep track of the land mines Uncle Zed is obsessed with landmines. Luckily, we live on 200 acres in Humboldt County. Zed can go nuts and bury his landmines anywhere he wants on our property. His current favorites are the 76Qs from Anderson Arms. They spray a neural gas that paralyzes its victims for up to thirty minutes. He’s got some of the old fashioned kind that blow up, but after he killed a few deer Zed stopped using them. I made one rule about landmines: Zed is not allowed to bury them unless I’m with him to plot the locations on my tablet. He’s pretty calm most days, so long as he can go out and bury half a dozen of them. 2. Help him stock up on ammunitions Zed has an extreme fear of running out of firearms and being attacked. Once, when Mom was away on a job for two months, I helped Zed install a hidden fallout bunker on our property. (Zed and I have funds that Mom doesn’t know about. I make black technology and he sells it.) Anyway, we cleaned out our account to install the bunker. It was totally worth it. Now we have a place to put all the weapons that Zed buys and Mom never has to know about them. Zed is calm because he has lots of guns and explosives and feels safe, and Mom is happy because Zed is calm. Life is good with the fallout bunker. 3. Trick him into taking his medication Zed always makes excuses for not taking his medication. Usually I just threaten to rat him out to Mom. That usually gets him to take it, but sometimes he’ll spit them out when he thinks I’m not looking. Then I remind him he’s a better shot when he’s had his meds. That always gets the pill down his throat. I know most people wouldn’t approve of the way I manage Uncle Zed. I say, why fix a system that isn’t broken? Zed is pretty happy and calm most days. Sure, every once in a while he’ll have a bad freak-out session. Those are the days he sneaks into the forest in full mercenary gear and spends hours shooting at imaginary attackers. But those days are few and far between. Most days, Zed is happy to hang out in his bunker and polish his guns. On really good days, I hear him singing to himself.






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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Steven Manchester Guest Post

Today, I’m welcoming Stephen Manchester to my blog for a guest post on his writing process and excerpt of his book, Twelve Months. Grab a bean bag chair and a drink from the bar while you enjoy reading a little bit into Steven Machester.



Steven Manchester is the author of Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing.

To learn more about Steven, visit his website at:

My Writing Process

by Steven Manchester

I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me.

I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”

Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I’d found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience. My new novel, Twelve Months, is evidence of that.

Twelve Months synopsis:

Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.
A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, Twelve Months is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.

Early Reviews include:

"Move over, Nicholas Sparks! Steven Manchester's Twelve Months is a book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page. It will make you want to live better and love more. Steven Manchester is my new favorite author!" – Susan Farr-Fahncke, Author & Editor,

“Steven Manchester doesn’t just write books; he authors life lesson plans. Twelve Months is a powerful work of fiction." – Heather Froeschl, Reviewer,

Twelve Months is a story that acts as a medicine for the desperate mind and is definitely worth the read.” – Liana Metal, Book Reviewer, /

Now that I have nearly two decades of writing and getting published under my belt, I enjoy trying to help new writers break in. My advice is always the same:

  • Be true to yourself, always.
  • Write constantly.
  • Keep the faith!!!
  • And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
  • Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness.

Twelve Months excerpt

Though there were empty tables up front, Vic escorted Bella and me to a darkened back room where no one else was seated. The table sat in the center of the room and was very nicely decorated. I could tell by Bella's face that it seemed peculiar to her. As we took our seats, Vic lit a candle. “I’ll be right back,” he said.

Bella started to question it, but I shrugged it off. “There must have been reservations for the other tables up front?” I suggested.

She nodded, and then noticed a man seated on a stool a few tables over. He was holding a guitar and squinting at some sheet music.

He looked over and smiled. “I hope you guys don’t mind, but I’m trying out tonight for a weekend gig at this place.”

“Oh, that’s great,” Bella said, with no idea Gary had already landed the job.

“Not a problem,” I added, acting as though I’d never spoken to the man. And through an acoustic set of love ballads, Gary was just as convincing.

Bella had no idea but the order had already been carefully spelled out – drinks first, Pinot Grigio for her; beer for me, and the itinerary would begin. Vic approached with both drinks on a small round tray. “Appetizers tonight?” he asked.

I smiled. “Why don’t we start with an order of little necks in garlic and oil?”

Vic nodded once and headed for the kitchen, while Gary swooned, “You say it best when you say nothing at all…”

Bella leaned into my ear and whispered, “How did he know I wanted white wine?”

I was into my second shrug when Vic returned to the table with a gorgeous arrangement of long stem red roses. Without a word, he placed them in front of Bella and rotated the vase until the card faced her. “Your appetizer should be out in a few minutes,” he said and strutted away again.

Gary was already on his second number when Bella plucked the card from the arrangement. It read: “Bella, I love you, forever – Don.” She looked up to find the entire restaurant staring at us.

“And always will,” I whispered when she leaned over and kissed me.

After the steaming appetizer and another round of drinks, Vic placed a silver platter before my glowing wife. It held a scrolled sheet of parchment secured by red ribbon. She looked up at him, but he never let on. She glanced over at me. “What…”

“Open it,” I said, while Gary strummed away in the background.

She did. It was the one thing she'd always wanted from me, but had never gotten – until now.

Moments of Destiny
From the moment I met you,
I knew there was a fire between us
that even hard, driving rain could never put out.
From the moment we spoke,0
I knew I’d spent my entire life
in search of your deep and passionate love.
From the moment we kissed,
I knew my heart was no longer mine
and I’d finally found my future.
From the moment we laughed,
I knew there would never be enough time
to share all the things I needed to share with you.
From the moment we danced,
I knew, at last, what the phrase ‘better half’ meant
and surrendered to your gentle touch.
From the moment we walked hand-in-hand,
I knew I’d discovered my partner
and that my dreams were suddenly within reach.
From the moment we lay together,
I knew I’d made it to heaven
and thanked God for blessing me with you.
From the moment you agreed to be my wife,
I knew my journey was now worth taking,
through days of sunshine –
or nights of hard, driving rain.

As her watering eyes read the final verse, the musician stopped playing, the restaurant went silent and I went down to one knee. I opened the ring box. “Isabella,” I said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you be my wife…again?”

She never hesitated and dove into my arms. For a while, we just hugged.

“I love you so much,” she cried into my shoulder.

“I know,” I said. “But…”

She pushed away from me and looked into my eyes. “But what?”

“But I need your answer?” I said, grinning.

“Yes…the answer is YES!” she gasped and jumped back into my arms.

The crowd shared a collective sigh, and everyone was clapping when Bella and I returned to reality. It took a few moments before each table returned to its own conversation and half-eaten meals.

Chuckling, I introduced my beautiful wife to Gary, the musician. As they shook hands, Gary admitted, “I was so nervous.”

I bought the man a beer when Vic delivered two previously ordered dinners to our table. Though Bella couldn’t touch hers, I ate and listened to Gary fill the room with a soothing melody. By the time the chocolate covered strawberries arrived for dessert, Bella was emotionally spent. She grabbed me once more for a kiss. “This has been the perfect night,” she whispered.

“And for all these years…you’ve been the perfect wife, my dear.”

As we left the restaurant, another round of applause carried us to the front door. I opened it for my new fiancĂ© – only to discover a white stretch limousine idling at the curb. She quickly turned to me. “It’s not over?”

I shook my head. “It’ll never be over for us.” As we made our way to the limo, waves of nausea threatened to drown me. This is Bella’s perfect night, I told myself, our perfect night. Whatever you do…do not throw up now!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Melissa Hudson Author Interview

Today,  I’m welcoming Melissa Hudson for an author interview.

She is the author of Lessons in the Dark and Bloodless.

bloodlesslessons in the dark


What/who inspired you to become a writer??

I began writing when I was on maternity leave - I had always wanted to write but until Hannah was born I’d always worked full-time and never seemed to find the opportunity. When several magazines accepted the stories I had written I gained the confidence to begin work on a book.

Do you have a favorite genre of book that you like to read/write? If so, why??

I love to read all sorts of books but my favourite genre is crime fiction as I love intrigue and a fast pace.

What helping aids do you use to focus when you write? Music?? Nature???

When I’m stuck for words I usually go for a walk in the local woods - I find this an enormous help and usually so many ideas come to me that I can’t wait to get back and note them all down before I forget them all.

What character(s) of your book(s) do you relate to the most??

I think I relate to Narelle the most. She is a foster carer and after the initial panic when a new placement arrives, she begins to relax and her love for the children takes over everything else.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring writers like myself? Never take no for an answer!

How do you visualize your stories?? In pictures?? Conversations? Dreams?

Some of the stories I have written have arisen from dreams though mostly I visualise them, particularly in the bath!

What are your writing goals for the next 5 years??

I’d like to write a sequel to both Lessons in the Dark and Bloodless. I have the story arcs plotted for both. Now all I have to do is find the time!

How long did it take you to write ?? What/who inspired these books??

It took 1 year to write Lessons in the Dark. I was inspired to write it following the end of a long-term placement. I looked after two siblings for two years. They were tiny when they arrived and I grew to love them dearly. When they left me I was heartbroken. I wanted to find a positive way of dealing with all the emotion and also wanted to create something to show them, when they’re older, how special they were (and are) to me.

Lessons in the Dark is based on the time I spent with them and the relationship I built with their birth mother.

If you could have dinner with someone dead or alive, famous or not famous, who would it be and why??

There are so many! It would be so difficult to choose. Jesus - I’d have so many questions to ask him. Madeleine McCann - I have just finished reading the book by her mother and it left me feeling extremely sad for all of them. Guy Fawkes - to find out what really happened.

What made you decide to jump on the E-book trade?? And how do you feel about it??

I have had several non-fiction books published traditionally but after lots of interest and encouragement from several agents, couldn’t make that final hurdle of gaining a deal with a traditional publisher for my novels.

I’m pleased I went for the E-books, although it’s all new to me and I’m still learning how to market myself.

If you found yourself on a deserted island, what 10 things would you take and why?

As long as I had my children and my toothbrush I wouldn’t worry about anything else. I love their company and they keep me buoyed up so that’s all I would need.

How do you write your books?? Are you by the seat of your pants writer or do you plot out your books in advance??

I plot everything in advance, a condensed version. I then split into chapter and jot down basic notes for each with locations etc. I prefer to work with a notepad and pen for the early stages, I find thoughts come to me easier this way.

And last by not least, if you could time travel what period of the history of future would you go to??

I think I would go back to the fifties or sixties, to a time when you could leave your front door open and children played in the street.

Feel free to any other interesting tidbits about yourself :) Please include your social media links.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I’m a little behind on this post because I had a funeral to attend this week.  We had a blogger interview swap for Book Blogger Appreciation Week!



Here is my interview swap buddy:

Sharonda at Salacious Reads (

Sharonda at Salacious Reads (

Hello Sharonda and nice to meet you!!! Here are your interview questions. Glad to connect in the blogosphere. ~~~Heather

Name your TOP TEN favorite authors

JR Ward

Natasha Blackthorne

Kresley Cole

Patricia Briggs

Gena Showalter

Phillipa Gregory

Mitch Albom

Steven King

Jim Butcher

Sherrilyn Kenyon

If you could be any book genre, which one would you choose and why?

I would be erotica…why because I like to feel sexy and I like to read sexy stories.

What are your pet peeves as a blogger?

My pet peeves…hmmm. I have to say my biggest one is when people can’t understand that bloggers have a life outside of blogging. So when I can’t get to something in the time frame giving…it’s not because I didn’t choose not to, something just came up. Or in general life intervened.

What is your favorite blog post??

My favorite post…my Review of Natasha Blackthorne’s Midsummers Sin.

She loved it…said that my review left her speechless. That was so wonderful to read. I’m always happy when a author comments on my review.

What genres won’t you read??

I’ll pretty much read anything. I’m not a fan of non-fiction though.


Name a song(s) that define(s) you as a blogger.

Janet Jackson’s Feedback.

If the world was on the edge of extinction, how would you survive??

Food, books & red wine…lol!

Tell us about 5 books that changed your life in some way??

I can only really think of one & that was The Alchemist. It was just a moving story..made me think that even when you don’t have much, life perseveres & you have to just deal with it and move on.

If you could time travel, what time period would you go to and why??

Probably the regency period..loved the dresses and the romance. Yeah I’m a hopeless romantic.

And a fun one, what would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse?

Run! Run! Run…although I would probably die. don’t get me wrong, I’m a survivor. But Zombies?

Feel free to add any social media links you have and anything else you felt I should have added to this interview.

Blog Link

Twitter - @SexxyBlogger -

Goodreads -


Thanks for joining me in the interview swap and being a part of my blog!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Today I’m welcoming Bryan Young to my blog with an insightful interview. Please pull up a chair and grab something from the bar.


Bryan headshot

om cover


Book Blurb:

Operation: Montauk is a time-traveling science fiction novel patterned after the pulp-adventure stories of the 1920s and 1930s.

Lost in time after a failed attempt to kill Hitler before his rise to power, World War II soldier Cpl. Jack Mallory finds himself stranded, his whole team killed, nearly 100 Million years off course. Together with a group of other wayward time travelers, Mallory has to fight to survive in a hostile environment swarming with dinosaurs. Desperate to find a way home, the community of lost travelers searches for any solution that might send them all home and unlock the secret that shipwrecked them on the shores of time...

But the jungle holds a secret from Mallory's future-past...

...and it's out to kill them all!

What inspired you to become a writer??

My inspiration to become a writer started very early. I was winning writing contests in elementary school, but that first great spark came with a creative writing class in 8th grade, followed by a few years of journalism in the following years. I sold my first short story between my junior and senior year in high school and things have been escalating from there. It’s been simply a need for as long as I can remember.

What character(s) of your book(s) do you most relate to??

You know, in Operation: Montauk, I think the character I might relate most to is Richmond. He’s in a potentially lethal situations and he approaches them all with such child-like wonder. He’s inquisitive and curious and he just has a great voice. In a lot of bad situations I’ve been in, I’ve always tried to find the silver linings, perhaps not with as much wonder as Richmond, but it’s something I aspire to.

How do you visualize your stories? By dreams? Inner monologue with your characters, dreams, etc.?

I visualize my stories like they’re movies. I love movies and I love books that mimic the structure of movies. In fact, the first time I decided I could write a book, it was after binging on Graham Greene novels. That guy knows how to pack a movie into a couple of hundred pages. That’s why my books will rarely go past that 50-70,000 word mark. I just think in movies. Sometimes things come to me in dreams, often they just come out of me asking questions. What would this be if things were like that? What would that over there look like with this attached to it? etc...

What is your writing ritual? Music?? Silence? Meditation?

I find I do my best writing in the mornings. I used to be one of those guys that would write all night, but I work to hard with my brain during the day, so I need to get up even earlier and give my best work to myself instead of clients or employers or anyone else. I usually get to my local coffee shop at about 6 when they open and spend 2 or 3 hours there. I’m usually not bombarded with emails at that point of the day, either, so it’s easier to remain free of distractions.

And the coffee helps.

What inspired you to write Operation: Montauk?

Montauk came out of a lot of things. The first was that I had an idea for how time travel could work that I found to be very original. I kept pitching it to writer friends and I’d get the same reaction. It was something along the lines of, “Huh. That’s really cool, actually. I’ve never thought about thinking about it like that.”

So, I had that spine to it, but I didn’t have any meat to put on those bones for a while.

One night, as I was reading a bedtime story to my son I realized that I should be writing a story I could be reading to him that he’d like. Since we were quite enjoying the John Carter of Mars books, I tried to figure out why. Mainly, it was that the action was breathless and every chapter ended on a cliffhanger that made us want to keep going. Then, it was easy to look around and fit together the pieces of things my son and I loved seeing in books and movies. Dinosaurs, World War II soldiers, Nazis, scientists, monkeys, etc.

Then I went off like a shot. The first draft came out very quickly and the revisions came almost just as easy.

If you could be a book genre? Which one would you choose and why??

If I could choose a book genre to be by myself? I think I’d be the sort of historical romance fiction that guys like Hemingway and Graham Greene used to write. Even Fitzgerald to an extent. I love the feeling of pursuing the perfect woman, only to find she’s flawed and the hero’s flawed and things go awry, and sometimes a war gets in the way... Things like that. What genre do they call that? That’s what I’d like to be. Romantic, action packed, and well-written.

What knowledge do you want to share with aspiring authors like myself??

Keep writing. I know that seems simple, but if you’re writing every day, then you’re a writer.

And there’s no such thing as writer’s block. If you’re struggling with a story, move on to a different one until you figure out how to get past your road block. It will loosen up if you let it, just don’t be afraid to distract yourself with another writing project, a screenplay, another book, a short story, something...

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you bring and why??

I’ll assume that food, water, and shelter are taken care of, otherwise this would be a very boring list. There are a few things I just can’t get along without.

First: My family. If I have to suffer on a desert island, they need to be there, too. Maybe it’s because I’m answering these questions at a time where I haven’t really seen my kids this month because we’ve all been travelling in different directions, but I would have a hard time going without them. Does that count? I think so.

Second: Notebooks. I do so much writing in my notebook that I’d go insane if I didn’t. It’s how I work out stories, it’s how I talk to myself without getting committed, it’s where I write first drafts.

Third: Pens. How could I write in the notebook without pens?

Fourth: Books. I need to read. I need to read a lot. If I had to pick some books, it would be an entire shelf of books from my house (one of far too many), but it would be the one with all of my Vonnegut, Hemingway, Greene, and...well... My Destroyers. Warren Murphy’s Destroyer series is a hell of a guilty pleasure of mine. Always has been.

Five: Star Wars. Those six movies are so good, I couldn’t live without them.

What other books do you have to write or be written in the horizon??

I’ve got two manuscripts finished right now, actually, and I’m about 15k words into a third. One is at an agency right now (fingers crossed), the other hasn’t been seen by another set of eyes on this Earth. The one I’m writing is something like... A steampunk Farewell to Arms...?

It’s a lot of fun.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead? Who would it be and why??

That is a tough question. But I’ll give you an answer: I’ll take either of the Roosevelts. Franklin or Teddy. Those two were larger than life and you could feel their concern for people in every speech they gave and in every word they spoke. They were brilliant, caring, and inspiring personalities.

Either that or George Lucas. Though Mark Twain would be good. Or Kurt Vonnegut...

This question has too many possibilities and is hurting my brain.

If you could time travel, what time period would you go to and why??

World War II. I have, since I was a little child, obsessed with the era of the greatest generation. For the world, the stakes had never been higher.

How do you write your books?? By the seat of your pants? Or is it plotted out in advance??

Some of both. I’ll come up with the idea, beginning, middle, and end. Then I’ll plot a few of the major points and scenes I really want to write. Then, once the beginning is crystallized, I’ll start working. I try to plot meticulously at least a major event or two ahead of where I’m writing. It keeps it spontaneous and “seat of my pants” but also maintains structure.

Here is a twist... a sentence 5 words or less, what comes to your mind first??

...Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

Feel free to add any information that you feel I left out here. Please include your social media links.

My social media links

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Please enjoy this guest post by Sheryl Steines, author of the action-packed urban fantasy, She Wulf. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of She Wulf, and 5 copies of its companion, The Day of First Sun.

Time Travel? Yes, I think so!

A guest by Sheryl Steines

  If you could go anywhere, meet any person, in any period of time, where would you go, what would you do, who would you meet? I know this is all hypothetical, but hey, I write in the pretend--in the fantasy. So suspend your disbelief, and come play with me for a moment. Not such an easy question to answer, is it? One option would be to go and meet someone long dead--perhaps Elvis circa 1959 makes your heart swoon. Would you take the opportunity to meet a favorite entertainer, or maybe you want your trip to count for something meaningful? But what if you made a change, saved a life, corrected a wrong, how would your alterations affect the future? An interesting notion, don’t you think? As I wrote She Wulf, my time travel adventure, I developed the idea of changing the past and how that might lead to the future you are trying to change. Maybe our interference might just be a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s when The Terminator movie struck me as so relevant and important in how I shaped my ideas of time travel. For those who don’t know, The Terminator is a science fiction adventure where machines take over the world. The machines are human like cyborgs, ruled by an artificial intelligence program called Skynet, whose sole mission is to annihilate humanity. In opposition, the resistance was created by John Connor and they are winning the war. In an effort to prevent the resistance from being founded, the cyborgs send back one of their own, to murder John’s mother Sarah, before he’s born. To protect her and ensure he is even conceived, he sends back one of his soldiers (his father), to protect her. Got all that. So finally to my point, and I realize this all imaginary and takes place on celluloid but really, had the cyborgs never sent back the terminator, John Connor never would have sent back his father and he wouldn’t have been born. But what can you expect from a bunch of cyborgs anyway? For me, in She Wulf, you couldn’t just decide one day to go to the past unless you found yourself there when the past was actually the present. Huh? Picture it this way. It’s 2012 and you want to go to the past, let’s say to the year 1900. You can’t go unless during the year 1900, you actually showed up. I know, it’s all theory, but that’s how it happened when Annie Pearce finds herself falling through a time portal, back to eleventh century England. She understands the concept of time travel, of altering the past and how it can affect the future which makes her reluctant to get involved. But she realizes that she had already been there, in the year 1075, had already altered time and whatever she touched or changed or created, was meant to be touched, changed or created. So still think time travel is cool? I know sometimes we’d like a do-over, the ability to change a decision, to not have to live through pain and despair. But sometimes, these things make us who we are. Each experience shapes us, each tear, each laugh, adds to our self. We gain something. All those things that I’ve experienced, including the loss of a child, made me who I am. Without that, could I have written She Wulf? So time travel--can you see it? What if it was real and I could look at it from a purely joyful perspective, without those darned consequences hanging over my head. Maybe an afternoon with Elvis would be fun.   As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the She Wulf eBook edition is just 99 cents this week--and so is the price of its companion, The Day of First Sun. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of She Wulf for just 99 cents
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About She Wulf: Annie is sent through an ancient time portal with only a prophecy to guide her; she struggles with a new destiny as she tries to figure out a way to destroy an un-killable demon and return home. Get it on Amazon. About The Day of First Sun: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

  About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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