Archive for the ‘ Author Interviews ’ Category

My name is Gerald Costlow, and I am a writer of fantasy and science fiction. Over the past five years or so, I have had short stories published in magazines such as Shimmer and Flytrap, various webzines and anthologies still available at Amazon.com, and this year Pill Hill Press published my first novel, The Weaving

Author Interview with Gerald Costlow
It’s rare to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?
Gerald Costlow: Nothing particularly notable. I am a field engineer for a cable company. I did join the Air Force right out of High School and spent a good part of my early life kicking around the world, so I got to experience other cultures and left a lot of friends behind. That might come through in my writing.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Gerald Costlow: As a lifelong reader and lover of science fiction and fantasy, I’d set one of my goals in life to writing my own stories and being published. I took some creative writing courses, joined some online critique groups, started with short stories, kept trying to improve my writing and eventually began to see a few short stories published. Once I thought I’d learned the craft well enough, I began tackling the novel format. My writing career is still a work in progress, of course.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Gerald Costlow: I’ve always wanted to entertain people. I was in the acting clubs in school and in the choir and loved being on stage. However, since as a young man I was never encouraged to make either acting or singing a career, it never occurred to me to even try. I found my mundane life got in the way of being on stage. I eventually focused on writing as an outlet for my urge to entertain.

What compels you to write or to be a writer?

Gerald Costlow: I never grew out of playing ‘make believe.’ I love making up stories, and I love telling them. Writing is just one form of this. All children seem to have a natural desire to play ‘make believe’ and that’s all a writer does when we create a story, invite the reader to play this game with us and perhaps enjoy a brief escape from your mundane life.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What are their titles; which is your favorite if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about.

Gerald Costlow: Pill Hill Press has just published my first novel, titled The Weaving. The Weaving is a love story, a quest, and a battle between good and evil, set in a land of witches and wizards, gods and demons, shapeshifters and immortals. Yet, it is a tale about all too human characters caught up in extraordinary events. I tried to create a world that, for all the magic and wonder going on, the reader would find as familiar as their own.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Gerald Costlow: I have been experimenting with flash fiction lately (writing a story in a tight 1000 words or less), while thinking about the direction I want my next novel to take and polishing the final drafts of a couple of novellas. I have one flash fiction piece being published in “Thieves and Scoundrels” anthology by Absolute Xpress, due out end of March, and another accepted by Wicked East Press, titled “Cup of Joe” and release date yet to be announced. There are other projects out there in various stages of publication.

Do you belong to any writing forums or organizations that have helped spur your career as a writer? If so, tell us about them and how they’ve helped you.

Gerald Costlow: I’ve been a member of several online writer’s critique groups, such as Critters and Holly Lisle writer’s forums. Critiquing other people’s efforts and reading comments about your own is the best way to learn the craft, if you approach it in the right way. Also, there are some wonderful websites out there with some good advice for beginning writers. If you understand that a great story and a well written story are not the same thing, then you’ll approach writing as a craft and not take the critiques on a personal level.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Gerald Costlow: Fortunately only my wife had to watch my happy dance. People all need their dreams, but turning a dream into a goal doesn’t guarantee you’ll achieve it, in spite of what motivational speakers try to sell you. Sure, it takes hard work, but you also have to be in the right place at the right time. On the other hand, you lose the dream only if you give up. Until then, it’s just a goal you haven’t met yet.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Gerald Costlow: I can imagine being any of them, because if I couldn’t, then they wouldn’t come to life in my stories. Even the villains in my stories have motivations I can understand, even if I don’t agree with their actions. Without that ability to embrace all of your characters equally, the villains are cardboard stock characters and the heroes are too perfect.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Gerald Costlow: I am absolutely terrible at picking names for my characters. I end up going through lists of baby names on the internet. One author clued me in on the fact that the reader doesn’t really care what the character is named. Just make sure the character’s names are sufficiently different from each other to avoid confusion and let it go.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Gerald Costlow: I call it good writing and go with it. Define a world, create the characters, give them a problem, and turn them loose. If the character begins arguing with you, then you’ve done your job. It’s amazing how inventive they can be in solving their problems, if you let them.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Gerald Costlow: If there is any lesson in my stories, it’s that actions have consequences, and miracles can happen when intelligent people work together.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Gerald Costlow: It’s all in how you approach it and probably depends on the editor. Certainly, there are times when a writer faced with a page of deletions and comments thinks, “If my writing is so flawed, why did they accept it in the first place?” But, I actually enjoyed the editing stage with Jessy Marie Roberts of Pill Hill. I believe a good editor is necessary to tighten up the writing and point out where the sentences are a bit unclear or wordy. Jessy took my manuscript one chapter at a time, and helped me turn a great story into a well written novel.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Gerald Costlow: My goal never went beyond seeing the book published, and suddenly I find a whole world of marketing awaits. That can be disconcerting to a writer used to banging away at the keyboard alone, and I really love the writing part. It’s been a learning experience. For instance, I never considered needing to have an author’s website, imagine that!

Anything you want your readers to know?

The best way to check out my book and other published writing is to go to the Pill Hill Press website. Not only will you find links to my blogs and author’s websites, but the publisher has made available the entire first chapter of their novels online, so you can check out the writing and perhaps be motivated to click on the link to buy the book so you can read the rest of the story. In the end, I simply wish the reader to have as much fun reading my book as I had writing it.

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My name is Matthew Moses and I currently reside in Louisville, KY. I am a graduate of Indiana University and currently attend clinicals at Jewish Hospital. I am well traveled having lived throughout the United States as well as abroad in such countries as South Africa, Ireland, and the UK. I am an unabashed sci-fi fanatic and technophile (my geek credentials are extensive), though I am also partial to classical history and mythology. I am also the author of two novels, Anti-Christ: A Satirical End of Days and Proxies of Fate.

Most people tend to label me an outsider. I prefer to sit back and simply observe the world around me. Human interaction and motivation greatly interest me (enough so that I minored in psychology) and one of the best thrills is writing and seeing a character develop throughout the story. Seeing how intricate a web human civilization and the importance of interaction and the ripples that flow from those moments…that is what largely drives my writing. To me, a story is a journey; for the characters on the page, for the readers poring over it, and for me writing it. If a story fails to make you stop and think, then what was the point?

Author Interview with Matthew Moses:
It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?
Author Matthew Moses: I currently work in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, KY. As for my list of prior jobs, it can be extensive. I was an assistant librarian, a public relations officer, a cinematographer for various low budget productions, and an actor (good luck finding any of my work).

What compelled you to write your first book?

Author Matthew Moses: I wrote my first novel, Anti-Christ: A Satirical End of Days, simply to prove to myself that I could do it. There were a lot of bumps along the way, but writing that first novel helped me to find my style. It was also fun as hell. I gave my imagination full reign. Dangerous thing to do.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Author Matthew Moses: I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. I was a true cinemophile and it didn’t take long before I began writing my own screenplays, the first when I was six years old. When I was introduced to the local public library and discovered the vast number of books within, I fell in love with the written word and wanted to produce something of my own to contribute to that literary bounty.

What compels you to be a writer?

Author Matthew Moses: The little boy inside me screaming, ‘I want to be heard.’ He can be quite persistent.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What are their titles; which is your favorite if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about. Pay particular attention to your most recent book and/or your first book:

Author Matthew Moses: I have two novels, Anti-Christ: A Satirical End of Days and Proxies of Fate. My first novel was a critique on philosophy and organized religion. To my surprise it became a minor young adult sensation in Tyler, TX. I still don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

My second and most recent novel, Proxies of Fate, is best described as modern myth. Set during the Great Depression, it focuses on two men chosen by alien forces to decide the fate of humanity. The two protagonists are Chris Donner, veteran of WWI suffering in the Dust Bowl, and Li Chen, an idealistic Chinese teenager living in Japanese occupied Manchuria. The story follows these two men as they are granted great power and set out to change the world altering history. It’s a fascinating study in culture and psychology and an homage to the pulp of the Thirties as well as to graphic novels.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Author Matthew Moses: I am currently revising another novel that I have been clutching far too tightly to my proverbial chest. The title of the novel is Twilight of Souls and it is a dark, mythological tale in the Lovecraftian mold. There are ancient, inhuman beings, the world on the verge of collapse, and intense character studies dealing with the breakdown of human sanity and an investigation into what evil is.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Author Matthew Moses: I’m a dreamer, sometimes at the expense of other important matters. The thought of sharing these dreams with others and seeing my audience get as much of a thrill out of my ethereal worlds as I do…that is the very reason I write.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Author Matthew Moses: Finally graduating college. I was one semester away from graduation and suffered through a complete loss of motivation. I dropped out, traveled the world, got married, got divorced, but I could never get over the fact that I had quit one semester shy of my BA. I suppose I was running away from maturity. Eventually I grew up, though the prices were severe. But going back and finishing what I started, I realized that nothing was impossible.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Author Matthew Moses: My characters are either parts of me or people I know. I fully endorse the maxim ‘write what you know.’ Sit there, ask yourself how you would react in these situations, and let the familiar figures guide your story. Too many writers create these two dimensional characters that they cram into a pre-developed story. Motivations make little sense, the plot is clunky, and the climax fails to pay off. As an author, you want people to care about these characters, become invested in the story so that the final pay off is rich and rewarding. An audience hates to have their time wasted.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Author Matthew Moses: Growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with Greek mythology. I would either buy or borrow any book on the subject. My fascination with Greek myth is probably what drew me to classical history as well and the study of numerous cultures.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Author Matthew Moses: Not to be narcissistic, but I hope I they call me a successful author. Sure, Robert Howard and H.P. Lovecraft are beloved today, but they both died penniless and largely unnoticed by the world. I’d love to receive at least a glimpse of my work’s effect on people.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Author Matthew Moses: My family moved around a lot. Tennessee, Indiana, Louisiana, Texas, Connecticut. I moved roughly ten or fifteen times before I was eighteen. I lived in big cities (Houston, Muncie, Ft. Wayne, Nashville) and small towns (Middlefield, Henryville, Yankeetown). That is probably part of the reason I hate to stay in any one place for too long. If I had to settle down, it would have to be on the frontier. Alaska simply calls to me with its wandering caribou and wide open spaces.

Do you watch movies? If so, what are your favorite movies? Does cinema influence of inspire your writing?

Author Matthew Moses: I absolutely love cinema. Sitting in a dark, crowded theater, feeling the pulse of the crowd as you share a moment in time; that is the epitome of entertainment.

As for my tastes, I love epic storytelling and search it out religiously. I am also drawn to horror and comedy. Some of my faves include Fight Club, Let the Right One In, Superman, and Night of the Creeps.

I would have to confess that some of my fave flicks have influenced my writing. I love wackiness and the absurd, and my characters and the situations they find themselves in are a literal testament to that. As long as you can get the audience to suspend disbelief, then anything is possible.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Author Matthew Moses: This novel took me roughly a year to write. I’d written various drafts for years before. I even put together a screenplay that I attempted to sell to various publishers. When that proved fruitless, I went back, edited that screenplay, and gradually expanded it into the novel I published. This is the longest it has ever taken me to write a novel, but I believe that is partly due to my investment in the project. I’ve been fixated on this character and his story for nearly twenty years, so finally being able to tell his story was exciting.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Author Matthew Moses: The two Geoffs, Oldham and Schroeder. They were important teachers who guided my writing and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Author Matthew Moses: Start earlier. I didn’t attempt to publish any of my material until my late twenties and even then my initial attempts were half-hearted. I could have been a millionaire by now!

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by or with your writing?

Author Matthew Moses: I want my material to make it to the big screen. I’d love to see how others would interpret my stories and whether what I wrote on paper would actually work onscreen.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Author Matthew Moses: In everything I write, I have a beginning and an end with vague ideas of what comes between. I try not to hash out a complete outline because the characters tend to develop in ways even I am never completely sure of. I plop these fictional figures into literary land and then my subconscious takes over. It’s kind of like fracturing one’s psyche and watching the personalities that develop.

In this novel, the teenage character, Li Chen, was a last minute decision and I was never completely sure how I was going to frame his part of the story. Of course I wanted him to be young and idealistic and for that idealism to eventually evolve into cynicism, but how I was going to accomplish was difficult at first. Eventually it became apparent that I needed a love interest, a symbol of his hope and his anchor, and to use that as the starting point for his tale. Watching that character develop from a boy into a man, being forced to make hard decisions and to see that the world outside his village was not as heavenly as he had originally dreamed, that was fun to follow.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Author Matthew Moses: My story comes down to whether one should give in to fear. The world is in a dark place and one can either surrender to those shadowy impulses and give up or one can rekindle hope and be a beacon for their fellow man. I hope I inspire people, especially in these modern times, to keep hope alive.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Author Matthew Moses: My novels are my babies and an extension of me. Having to let a stranger come in, judge it, and then start making changes…that is difficult. You put yourself into it, and then you are told ‘this paragraph is redundant’ or ‘you should delete this scene,’ that is difficult. Luckily my editor on this novel was easy to work with. I was stubborn in certain parts, but she was also very understanding and tolerant (thank goodness).

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Author Matthew Moses: It’s been odd having friends, family, and strangers coming up and asking me about my novel. The attention can be a bit…overwhelming at times. Should my novel become a movie, ask me again. I’ll probably be egotistical beyond belief by then.

Anything you want your readers to know?

There very little left to say about me unless we want to get into the odd stuff, but I don’t want to disturb readers. That’s what my stories are for, veiled confessions of an odd man.

You can find my novels at most online retailers and catch the occasional blog from my author page on Amazon.com.Now go out there and buy a book! I need support for my odd writing habit.

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I’ve been crazy about being outside since I was old enough to proclaim my wishes to the world, and to propel myself on two legs. Although I have other interests, I always seem to gravitate back to the out-of-doors– exploring, learning, drawing, writing, explaining my passion for all things natural to others.
Hiking has always been my first love, probably followed by botany. Both of these were put on temporary hiatus while raising a family of boys, without a camper or plant lover in the crew.

However, boys grow up! I quickly re-trained the husband to expect my disappearance for long stretches in the woods, and a childhood friend and I began hiking the 4000-mile North Country National Scenic Trail. Soon I was writing about that experience as well, and have now written the first book by a hiker of that trail, North Country Cache. If all goes as planned, I will also be the first woman to hike the entire trail, officially finishing my quest in August of this year, 2010.

The husband is getting used to receiving calls from the police saying that my car has been abandoned in the woods, the boys just think I’m crazy, and I’m having the time of my life. Now, if I could just support this addiction…

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Joan H. Young: “Never do anything twice,” seems to be my life mantra. I have a collection of self-published and self-printed items. In 1986 I wrote and self-printed a collection of short biographies of historical Christians, called Would You Dare?. It continues to sell a few copies here and there. I have also self-printed a booklet, Devotions for Hikers, weighing under 2 ounces— perfect for backpackers. I’m also a word puzzle aficionado, and have created two booklets of puzzles for outdoor lovers. My biggest project is North Country Cache, a collection of essays recalling 2300 miles of hiking on the North Country National Scenic Trail. Each hike develops a unique feeling, and the reader can experience the joys, the pain, the relationships, the blisters, the jokes, and the never-to-be-forgotten moments of life on the trail. I am continually amazed that I actually finished a project of that size, and readers assure me that it was a worthwhile endeavor.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Joan H. Young: I am currently writing and illustrating a children’s book called Moose in Boots. Morgan, a teenage moose, is sent by his Mama into the northwoods to learn how to be a grownup moose. But Morgan has to learn some lessons before he is comfortable with himself. My hope is that this will be ready to go to a publisher this year, but completing the hiking is my highest priority.

The sequel to North Country Cache: Adventures on a National Scenic Trail

, which will chronicle the remainder of my journey on the North Country Trail, is in progress. It can’t be completed before I finish the hiking! Don’t expect to see it for at least a year. It is titled North Country Quest.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Joan H. Young: I won a few writing contests as a child, but the one that means a lot to me is that North Country Cache won an Honorable Mention from the Independent Publishers Association in 2005, for Regional Great Lakes entries.

Do you belong to any writing forums or organizations that have helped spur your career as a writer? If so, tell us about them and how they’ve helped you.

Joan H. Young: I joined Accentuate Writers Forum soon after it was launched, but didn’t really become active there until the fall of 2009. I was doing a lot of ghostwriting and writing for web sites, and was feeling really stifled. With the encouragement of forum founder, Michy Devon, I’ve started writing a bit of fiction again and have entered a few of the short story contests they sponsor. This has helped me feel that perhaps I do have a drop or two of creative energy left.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Joan H. Young: Although I had some articles previously published in anthologies, poems in school magazines, trip reports in trail magazines, and had even home-printed Would You Dare?, that has actually sold almost 1000 copies, these were nothing like opening the first case of North Country Cache. To see a book with a glossy cover and my name on it, my publisher imprint… with all the good stuff inside, all the mistakes, all the chapter essays that weren’t as good as I wished, all the chapter essays that I knew were really good… but all mine… the aroma of the ink and paper alone was enough to send me head-over-heels in ecstasy. (That lasted until we had moved all those cases a couple of times!)

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Joan H. Young: It would be impossible to pick a favorite book or author, as a child or even now. My favorite genre is the one I am reading at the moment. When I wasn’t outside (and sometimes when I was outside!) I always had my nose in a book. As I look back, I blame part of my case of terminal wanderlust on John Steinbeck, and Travels with Charley. I read this atypical Steinbeck when I was 12, and ever since have been drawn to books by travelers who have a knack of sharing their encounters with readers. Favorites include Peter Jenkins, William Least Heat Moon, and Brad Herzog.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by or with your writing?

The answer to this is wrapped into the next one…

How has having a book or being published in a book changed your life?

Joan H. Young: Having a book to show people has given me a lot of credibility. I’ve now sold over 1000 copies of North Country Cache, which isn’t bad for a self-published book being promoted by a sloppy marketer (me). People tend to think of this as a niche book, only of interest to hikers. In truth, it avoids hiker lingo, is not a trail journal, and is really a book about life. There are sections for nature-lovers, history buffs, and a fair amount of humor. Since it is presented in short eclectic essays, if you don’t like one chapter there is always hope for the next one! I sense that people treat me differently with a book in my hand. Lots of people say, “I’m writing a book.” Heck, I used to be one of them. But now, I have accomplished that. It makes a difference. I am finding that as I come closer and closer to being one of the first 10 people to hike the entire NCT, and the first woman to do so, that I am getting even more respect.

I want people to learn about the North Country Trail, and to discover what a treasure it is. Everyone has heard of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide. But few people know about the NCT, and even fewer believe that it would be possible to have an interesting trail run through the Northeast/ Midwest United States.

A part of me enjoys the small pond celebrity status, I have to admit. But that is more about the satisfaction it brings me to know that I can make people feel things, care about causes, learn new facts, and stretch their own limits, rather than wanting to be adored.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Joan H. Young: I chose to self-publish because I knew that this was going to be perceived as a niche book, and the style— essays of assorted styles— was not a common format. As it turned out, I really enjoyed the publishing process.

I found two people, one who does some professional editing, and the other a former English teacher, to edit my manuscript. Both were loving but brutal. My ego survived and the weak essays are better and the strong ones are really good, thanks to their guidance.

I liked working out the formatting, chasing down permissions for lengthy quotes, selecting a printer, creating the locator maps, and all of the parts of the production that go beyond the writing. The whole project got very rushed at the end because I was trying to have the book available for the 25th Anniversary of the Trail conference. The deadline was met, but I think I’ll take the sequel at a slightly slower pace!

Anything you want your readers to know?

Everyone wants to know what I am going to do after I finish hiking the trail. I’ll never run out of trails to hike! There are several connector trails to the NCT, sections which have been moved off road since I hiked there, and thousands of other interesting places to visit… and write about!

I’m hoping to be able to support this wanderlust habit by means of continued writing. For more information about programs that I give, book promotions, signings, and sales, go to http://booksleavingfootprints.com, then click Meet the Author. You can also read a sample chapter of North Country Cache.

My name is Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne), I have been writing professionally for twelve years. I am a novelist with Simon and Schuster. I began writing professionally at nineteen years old. I write mainstream fiction. I write books with characters of all different backgrounds. Most of my work is multicultural for very diverse audiences.

I used to be a part-time model. I am a landscape photographer by hobby and a certified editor. I am single and I have no kids. I was born, raised and reside in Houston, Texas. My interests include traveling, music, movies, reading and tons of other things. I am a solitary person, which means I like to be alone a lot. I am a homebody and I have fun just staying at home most times.

My favorite types of books to read are thrillers and I love the old classics. I’m a very kind, sweet and down to earth person. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Right now I got a lot of things in the works. I am in the process of possibly having my books turned into movies and my latest; Melody is in talks to become a possible play. I’m very excited by what life’s presented to me and appreciate where I am now in terms of my career and life.

Author Interview with Stacy-Deanne:

What compelled you to write your first book?


Stacy-Deanne: The excitement I got from writing is what compelled me to write my first book and to make a career out of the craft.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Stacy-Deanne: No, it just came to me suddenly really. I’d always had a great imagination and had written some short stories in school that people enjoyed but didn’t get the calling until I was nineteen this was when I got my first computer. A story awoke inside of me and I just had to write it down on paper. From that point on I loved writing so much I wanted to pursue it.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Stacy-Deanne: My first published book is “Divas of the New Millennium it’s a compilation music book published in 2005. My second is “Everlasting” a modern day Latino love story focusing on two teens published in 2007. My recent is Melody published June of this year. Out of my published and unpublished books, Melody has always been my favorite because it’s the first thriller and mystery I’ve written and it was very exciting to write. Melody is about a young woman who is convinced that her sister’s new boyfriend is hiding something. She decides to find out more about him but realizes that he is very dangerous.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Stacy-Deanne: Yes I’ve won various awards. The most recent are two 2007 YGA Literary Awards for “Most Anticipated Latin Romance Novelist” and “Most Anticipated Author of the Year.” I am also proud that I was profiled and featured in Heather Covington’s “Literary Divas”, a 2006 book featuring the top most admired African-American Women writers.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Stacy-Deanne: I was very happy. I was happier the first time I saw one of my books in stores. That’s when it became a reality for me that I’d become published. It was an amazing feeling and funny how even though you think you’re prepared to see your work truly out there, it throws you for a loop.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Stacy-Deanne: I’m a music lover and love all types of music but I do not listen to music when I’m writing. Most times when I write I like it to be totally quiet around me. I may have the television on low sometimes but most times I go without anything. It’s better for me to concentrate that way.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Stacy-Deanne: Writing itself inspires me because of the joy I get from it. I actually live to write and it’s a part of me. It’s what I was put on earth to do. Life wouldn’t be worth living because to me, writing is basically all I have.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Stacy-Deanne: Being a published author of course!

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Stacy-Deanne: I am single and I do not have children. I lost my mother in the end of 2006 to Leukemia. My dad is still living though. They’ve always supported my career and helped me out with pursuing it. My entire family is proud of my career and I am grateful for that.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Stacy-Deanne: Actually when I create my characters they have nothing to do with people or me I know. They come alive on their own. It’s hard to explain but writers understand what I mean by this. You can’t really create the character in my opinion. You began writing, you think of their name and how they may look, but if you are writing compellingly, they come alive on their own and they become more and more familiar to the author. The author begins to get to know the characters and that’s how the story grows. My characters always end up surprising me and that’s the fun part of fiction to me. Sure, I write what they do, but their personalities come alive on their own.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Stacy-Deanne: I always loved the classics. I never had a favorite book because I love to read so much that it wasn’t possible for me to love just one. My favorites include, The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. I love all of these authors and others including Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Stacy-Deanne: Kay Hooper is my favorite author. My favorite genre is mystery, thriller and suspense. I can’t stand romance, sorry. LOL! I like a good love story within a story but I do not like the romance genre. I would prefer to read something challenging like a mystery. Now, a mystery with some romance is okay but I never liked the typical romance novels.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Stacy-Deanne: First of all I hope this doesn’t happen any time soon, LOL. I hope that when it does happen, people will say how much my writing touched them. I hope that my death touched fans or readers of my work so much that they come to the funeral to show their respects. Just to have someone say how much he or she loved my writing would be great even if I didn’t know about it. I hope people say they admired me for following my dreams and encouraging others. I also hope that I die becoming a legend in the literary world. That is another part of my dream. I don’t want to just be a “writer”. I want to be a voice that lives on.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Stacy-Deanne: I don’t have any pets. I used to always have fish but they would stink up the house so I gave up on them. Also, no matter what I did, my fish would always die. I wouldn’t over feed them or anything. I think it has something to do with the structure of our home. Our home collects a lot of dust in some areas. It’s a big problem in Houston because of all the construction in the city. I think that the dust is what killed the fish. I’m no murderess! LOL.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like?

Stacy-Deanne: My computer is in the living room. It sits in a huge computer desk along with my printer, scanner and other attachments, LOL. I usually like to keep the blinds closed because I like dim lighting. I have a small lamp on the shelf above my computer and I use it while I write. I do not listen to music when I write but the television is on sometimes and sometimes it’s not. It’s a very peaceful environment and I make sure I’m comfortable so I can write.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Stacy-Deanne: I love to watch movies and some things on cable. I don’t watch network television to be honest and I do not like reality shows. I basically watch DVD’s or On Demand. I haven’t watched network television in a while because I am not into most of those types of shows. I love Boomerang, the cartoon channel on digital cable, LOL. Anything I enjoy inspires my writing.

What about movies? Same as above.

Stacy-Deanne: Love them! I don’t go to the movies but DVD’s are my thing. I also like movies on cable if I come across a good one.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Stacy-Deanne: I write mainstream fiction. My recent book, Melody is a mystery, suspense and thriller. It’s also classified as many other things. The story is along the lines of something thriller novelist Kay Hooper would write. She is also my favorite novelist.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Stacy-Deanne: Well, I originally wrote the first draft of Melody eleven years ago. In terms of length, I don’t think about that until I write the book. Once I edit it and cut things then that’s when I worry about the length. These days there is desired word count that authors should stick to so you basically already know the size the book should be by industry standards. I can’t remember how long it took me to first write Melody but probably three months or more. That’s how long it usually takes me to write a book.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Stacy-Deanne: My mother who died Christmas Day 2006. She was meant everything to me and I wouldn’t have had the courage to follow my dreams if it weren’t for her and my dad. Rest in Peace mom.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Stacy-Deanne: Honestly, I’d say no only because I appreciate even the negative experiences. They were what made it necessary for me to grow as a writer. I made mistakes like others do and though at the time, those mistakes hurt me I realized I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t learned from them. Also I am a person who believes in fate so I believe that whatever happens to us is supposed to so I never thought of changing anything. It’s just life, LOL.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Stacy-Deanne: I’d like to inspire people to follow their dreams. I also want to be known as more than a writer but a legend years from now. When I die I want my work to live on like the great writers of past generations.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Stacy-Deanne: I’m more confident in my work because I know that I was good enough for someone to believe in me and publish my work. My life has changed because being published makes me an idol for aspiring writers (didn’t know they saw published authors that way until I was one!) and I connect with them all the time. I don’t think I would meet so many lovely people if I weren’t in this industry or published. The biggest thing is that I have fans now, LOL.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Stacy-Deanne: For me it’s no big deal. I just choose a name and from there the character grows. I don’t think names are important in characters just personalities.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Stacy-Deanne: LOL, this is what happens all the time and I believe is supposed to happen with fiction if you’re writing well and have a strong story.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Stacy-Deanne: Well in Melody it deals with rape among other things so I would say that if anyone’s been a victim they should realize it’s never their fault and seek help.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending?

Stacy-Deanne: I plan to do a virtual book tour soon.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Stacy-Deanne: I am an editor so I make sure my work is edited as much as possible before turning it in. I don’t find the editing process with the publisher grueling at all. All they do is make small suggestions about certain things and usually nothing major. It’s for the writer’s benefit because they’re pointing out things you may have missed.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Stacy-Deanne: It’s funny that I can’t remember imagining how it would feel before it happened. I am just appreciative to be published. I’d researched the business for years and knew a lot before I got published so I didn’t have the expectations that some authors have. Some believe their whole world changes when they get published. That’s not true. It changes some but basically you’re the same person, you just got a book in stores, LOL.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

If anyone wants to read more about me I am all over the net, LOL! All you have to do is type in my name and tons of things will come up. I am on many social networks including My Space, Shelfari, Goodreads and Facebook. I also write articles for Articles Base.com. My articles are geared toward giving new and aspiring writers advice as well as tips for promotion. My books are available in stores all over the nation as well as online. It is very easy to track me down, LOL! I’m everywhere. Start out with the links below.

http://www.stacy-deanne.net
http://www.myspace.com/stacydeanne
http://www.articlesbase.com/authors/stacy-deanne/79527.htm (My articles)
You can reach me by email at: stacydeanne1@aol.com

Thanks for the interview! I enjoyed it!


Morgan Leshay, a Georgia native, resides in the North Georgia mountains – with her husband, six kids, and a chihuahua named “Pocket”. When not otherwise engaged in generating new and exciting romance novel concepts she spends her time catching up mountains of housework neglected while writing!

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Okay, that just sounds stuffy, don’t it? Who am I really?

Most days, I’m just a mom, housewife, teacher, and a dreamer…maybe some of you can relate to that. 🙂 I’m a normal person just like anyone else, except my “bad hair days” are usually “atrocious hair days” and my schedule is a little backward to the rest of humanity. While the rest of the world around me sleeps, I work. When they are working, I sleep…about one level above dead, LOL.

Author Interview with Morgan Leshay

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Morgan Leshay: Nope, nothing but writing. A mom of six couldn’t possibly have time for anything else, right? Kidding. I do have time cause my kids are great, but I don’t have a job outside the home.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Morgan Leshay: I saw a vision. Seriously. I was sitting in the parking lot outside my local Walmart, and I saw this…woman…or angel…. It was a warm, early fall evening, and the wind was blowing leaves across the pavement, making that eerie whispering sound you hear and this … vision… pops into my mind. And I hear a name, just the echo of a whisper, really, in my mind. One word. Tian.

I went home and started writing. Three days later (about 72 hours), the story (first draft, yeah) was done.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Morgan Leshay: No. Well, if you count life after teen-agerdom as “always”, then the answer would be yes, but before then, I didn’t really think about it. Sure I wrote. Won awards for essays and such in school, but I didn’t consider myself a “writer” or think I was going to be a writer someday.

Then when I was 16-17 (and heavily hooked on reading romances) I decided, “Yeah. I’m gonna be a romance writer. I could write one of these in my sleep…and a lot better than some of them I’ve read lately, too!”

Scheah, right.

I then set about “learning the craft”.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Morgan Leshay: My latest release is The Legacy Of Sleepy Hollow, and it tells the story of what happened in Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow 25 years after the Headless Horseman’s famous midnight ride. A new romantic twist on an old horror legend, The Legacy Of Sleepy Hollow is a tale of intrigue and suspense, yet at the same time, a journey to happily-ever-after for the lead characters Katherine Van Brunt and Icharus Crane.

Here’s the back blurb, so you know what the story’s about:

“…25 years after the Headless Horseman’s famous midnight ride…”

Katherine Van Brunt, daughter and only heir to the infamous Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt and Katrina Van Tassel, brings back the dead and loses her heart to the son of her father’s nemesis in her quest to save the legacy of Baltus Van Tassel in…THE LEGACY OF SLEEPY HOLLOW.

To me, The Legacy Of Sleepy Hollow is a story of renewal, of growth and rebirth. I enjoyed writing it so much I cried when it was time to type “the end”.

My debut romance novel was called Redemption, and between the pages of that story, you’ll learn what happens when an angel meets the devil and is tempted to sin. I am proud of this story, as an author tends to be of “first books”, but I’m not so attached I don’t realize it could have been better. A lot better.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Morgan Leshay: I am in the planning phase of a new story, yes. But all I can say about it is that you should look for it around the holidays in 2009, and that I’ll be posting an announcement about it on my blog at http://www.morganleshay.com/musings in December 2008.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Morgan Leshay: Usually I listen to an eclectic mix of music, but while writing The Legacy of Sleepy Hollow, there was only one song I listened to and I listened to it repeatedly…so much so, I now call it the “theme song” for The Legacy of Sleepy Hollow, lol.

Which song inspired me so during the writing of The Legacy Of Sleepy Hollow? “Say My Name” by the gothic rock band Within Temptation (www.within-temptation.com). I must have played it a million bajillion times while writing The Legacy. I even included a special thanks to the band in my book!

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Morgan Leshay: I wrote my first book (the first draft, lest anyone become overwhelmed) in 72 hours. I wrote my second book in about 120 hours (this was the final draft).

When I started writing the first book, I thought it would take longer…a lot longer. With the second, I was a bit lazy…not writing every day, so naturally it took longer. And of course there were a lot more words in the second book than there were in the first, so…

But this isn’t something everyone can necessarily do or even believe can be done. I frequently offer prayers of thanks that I can write so quickly.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything else you want your readers to know?

I want to hear from you! Seriously, waiting for reader response to The Legacy Of Sleepy Hollow has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my writing career to date. Stop by my blog at http://www.morganleshay.com/musings and let me know what you think of the story.

Oh, where can you get it? Right now, one of two places:

Amazon.com

Or…

LBF Books

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Michy’s note: I contracted with the publisher to work with Morgan Leshay on her first romance novel, REDEMPTION. I was honored to get to contract with her new publisher to work with her again on The Legacy of Sleepy Hollow. We had a blast editing this novel together. I always enjoy Ms. Leshay’s work. I highly recommend picking this one up, but will admit to being a tad biased, because I enjoyed working on it so much. I will have my official review of this book up soon.

If you’d like to see what a few others are saying about The Legacy of Sleepy Hollow, by Morgan Leshay, on my writers forum, you can visit this thread.

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“Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen”

by Dr. J. R. Paine, D.Sc. & Dr. S. N. Gupta, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen holds every dieter’s hand and walks them through their inner body, introduces them to their stomach, cells, tissue, heart and other vital organs. The E-School provides 24/7 personal trainer 24/7 pinups. All dieters and non-dieters can avail themselves of instant help when they get the urge to splurge.

The vast community of dieters should seek the advice and consent of their own personal physician for their special and specific health needs before they decide to diet or not to diet.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Prior to retirement, one of the authors’ “real” job was Distinguished Professor of Physics in Michigan and the other a free-lance journalist and political leader.

What compelled you to write your first book?

The out-of-control Obesity Pandemic that we see as a far greater imminent threat to our safety and survival as a people than global warming,

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

We have always believed that the pen is mightier than the sword. Yes, writing is one of the joys of our lives.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

One of our books is titled “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen”. It looks like a book but works like a 4-year college course so artfully condensed and simplified that everyone between the ages of 16 to 106 can not only understand each and every word but become an expert in how the internal mechanics of the human machine and brain.

We knew from our extensive research that the human brain forms a million new connections for every second of our lives. It is in these changing connections that memories are stored, habits learned and personalities shaped. By reinforcing certain patterns of brain activity like desire for survival, health, vigor and vitality, and losing the craving for nutrient-poor, killer calorie-rich, high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt fatty FAST DELIVERY, FAST FOODS and fluids with FAST DELIVERY, FAST FACT knowledge nutrition for the brain, the obesity nightmare could be ended. The hands of the death clock that took the life of one American every 2 minutes could be slowed and finally stopped.

The billion dollar question for usto answer was “How did we get into such a severe health and obesity crisis and how do we get out of it?” The answer is: (a) For 5 decades, we have had 100% easy access to FAST FOODS and (b) ZERO, ZIP access to FAST KNOWLEDGE! To remedy this situation, we Innovated a 21st Century Zero Obesity System in our book “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen”.

Our 2nd book, soon to be available on www.amazon.com is titled “Health Super Spa In a Book”. It in, we zoom our Zero Obesity System to the highest point in self-serve universal health care, indeed into the stratosphere!

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Yes, indeed. We are creating an AUTO-SLIM HOME HEALTH HUB such that Families all over America and all around the world can avail themselves of 24/7/365 Virtual Health and Zero Obesity Info-Therapists, Nutritional Bodygurads, Tutors, Personal Trainers and much more.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Yes, the co-authors are married to each other! They work as a husband/wife team. We have a son and a daughter. Our Son, Paul R. Gupta, Esq., a Harvard Law School graduate, as a senior partner in a New York Law Firm. Our Daughter, Dr. R. K. Brylinski, a Ph.D. from M.I.T. is the CEO of her own company, Brylinski Science.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now.

We grew up in India, Ireland and Great Britain. We currently live in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb in Oakland County. If we could live anywhere, we would like to live for a few years on the planet Venus!

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

If we could, we would want everyone to understand that when we lose our health, we lose the universe. We try hard to coax and entice everyone into making good health and zero obesity a habit, a hobby and definitely not a hassle.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

We are scientists, educators, researchers, health scientists and world travelers. More personal information about us is available in:

  • Who’s Who In America
  • Who’s Who in the World
  • Who’s Who in Science and Industry
Please visit our blog at www.deargoddiet.wordpress.com

“Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen” is available at www.amazon.com.

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Amir Makin

A Worthy Muslim
www.unworthymuslim.com

Amir Makin found Al Islam on an unexpected yet fruitful journey to Africa. Having always been intrigued with issues of the oppressed masses, he quickly learned how this way of life directed all to defend and protect the indigent from tyranny while preserving the dignity of the dispossessed. Since that time, he has instilled in himself and advanced the type of analysis that leads to positive change throughout society. He has since immersed himself in the study of developing solutions to communities most disaffected. He regularly gives lectures and seminars on manhood training and development, and different areas in need of social justice. In the seminars, he explains how to use the tools he has developed to achieve positive results related to these issues. He routinely authors documents about facts on Sunni Muslims and internalized oppression.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Amir Makin: First let me thank you for the opportunity to share this information with your readers.

I initially got the idea when I began to notice a lack of concern among some but not all within the Muslim community to be committed to work for socioeconomic and political improvement let alone independence with the same intensity as they would use to look for a job. I began to realize that they had problems seeing a connection between Middle East or Iraq or Africa, terrorism and how it relates to our condition here at home. Partly as a result of this, I noticed that several people were getting the impression that Muslims were not supposed to get involved in social, political and economic development. Some Muslims are so ritualistic meaning that they may perform certain acts mandated by Al Islam out of habit without attempting to understand the larger reason for doing such. With this in mind, I asked can all of this be addressed and motivate people toward wanting to understand the accurate facts on Sunni Muslims also? Hopefully once the book is read, we will be one step closer to that goal.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Amir Makin: I plan to release 3 additional titles in 2009 to address family issues, leadership/manhood training and development for leadership of one’s community and reducing the recidivism rate of former convicts, so I’m extremely busy. Additionally, I write about some of the internal issues among Muslims that need to be addressed while also covering areas concerning colonialism and oppression throughout the world. I plan to post the links to all interviews, book tour sites and seminars on my blog as they happen.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Amir Makin: I thought finally my labor of love has paid off. All of these exhaustive months of research editing, proofreading and re-editing had come to a culmination. Lying awake at night worrying about how best to phrase this or that sentence so it can’t be misconstrued were finally over. After this passed, then I got concerned because it needed to be reviewed at that time. This gave me additional worries. However, good things come to those who wait in patience. True enough the early Amazon reviews were all positive. Understandably, I had a roller coaster of emotions.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Amir Makin: What motivates me the most is when I see certain acts of injustice ignored out of some false sense of perverted loyalty to the same. Whether it is innocent people falsely imprisoned, impoverished children being abused or worse, or an entire nation being cheated out of its God given right to maintain and assert its independence, these are the issues that really get my attention, mostly because they are usually left out of mainstream media coverage. I feel it is my duty to do as much as I can to either help correct these wrongs or bring as much attention to them as possible.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Amir Makin: This will shock some people, but my favorite author when I was very young was Kenneth Robeson. He wrote the Doc Savage book series and his sense of character development and scene description was some of the most memorable I’ve read.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Amir Makin: As I began to get away from fiction, I started taking an interest in nonfiction books related to the struggles of the dispossessed. The Autobiography of Malcolm X is one of my favorite books in this genre. I also like the books by Nelson Mandela, Randall Robinson along with Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Amir Makin: What would make me the happiest is to see people take my literature, expound on it, grow from it and be able to transform as many negative scenarios they can into positive situations that have exchanged injustice for justice.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?

Amir Makin: Yes I do. On September 15, I’ll be writing guest commentaries on The Book Connection, Scribe Vibe on September 16, interviews for Blogcritics on September 18, Paperback Writer on September 19, Zensanity on September 23 and another guest commentary for Book Marketing Buzz on September 22. I’ll be posting all of these on my blog if readers miss the actual dates themselves.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

First because it is Ramadan (month of fasting) I’m currently having a book giveaway contest which will conclude at the end of the month. I’ve also started an open poll concerning different perspectives of Al Islam that I’m encouraging all readers to participate in before the poll closes at the end of the year. All of this information can be found on my blog which is http://aworthymuslimovercomes.blogspot.com

Additionally, A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice can be purchased either from my publisher’s site which is http://www.aicpublications.com/featuredbook.html or Amazon

Thank you for the time shared.

In tenth grade I took a book out of the library entitled How To Develop a Million-Dollar Personality, and that was the beginning of what would become a 30-year obsession to try and fix whatever I thought was wrong with me. I embarked on a lifelong quest for answers, looking for God in all the wrong places and some of the right ones, in an attempt to simply feel better about my existence here on this rather crazy and scary planet. I served as a human guinea pig for every New Age, human potential and spiritual program that came along, and met virtually every major guru and teacher alive today, including those claiming to be the “Avatar” or Messiah of our age. I often went to great extremes in my search, far off the beaten track, from spending 40 days alone in a mountaintop hut with no water or electricity, to taking exotic shamanic potions in the jungles of Brazil during all-night ceremonies; from submitting myself to a Moonie indoctrination camp in the woods of Northern California to doing a ten-day Zen retreat on the grounds of Auschwitz. At Esalen Institute, an obese female therapist sat on my head for a half hour so I could re-experience being smothered by my mother. My life was so unusual that friends were constantly suggesting I write a book about it, so with The 99th Monkey, I finally did.

Eliezer Sobel’s Author Interview:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Eliezer Sobel: I was fired from my first job in 10th grade as a pizza-delivery guy because I kept getting lost and taking 2 hours to deliver each order. I fared better as a busboy in the Catskills, but let’s not talk about the flying noodle kugel incident, or the matzah ball soup in the guy’s lap. In college I only lasted one day selling Time Life Books over the phone, because I kept trying to talk people out of it. I guess I’ve never really been cut out for the real world, though I have managed to fake it well enough over the years to have been a hospital chaplain, high school music teacher, typesetter, magazine editor, workshop and retreat leader, and a ropes course facilitator.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Eliezer Sobel: A flat fee of $1000, which sounded like a lot of money at the time. The publisher sold How-To books through ads in the National Enquirer, books he self-published in his basement in the days before computers and printers. He had received hundreds of orders for a self-help book that didn’t exist yet, called the Manual of Good Luck. I wrote it for him, and he sold over 40,000 copies at $17.95 a pop.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Eliezer Sobel: No, I originally wanted to be a baseball player. Later it was a detective, then rock star. I still want to be a rock star.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Eliezer Sobel: After the Manual of Good Luck, I got lucky, and my agent at the time managed to get three major publishers into a bidding war over my next book, Wild Heart Dancing, which was a self-guided creativity retreat. Simon & Schuster won, gave me quite a substantial advance, and then both my editor and her assistant left Simon & Schuster and suddenly nobody in that huge company even knew me, and everything that had been promised me in terms of PR went out the window.

My first novel was called Minyan: Ten Jewish Men in a World That is Heartbroken, which also had a difficult birthing process. First, a big-time Hollywood agent got me all excited when she called personally to say she loved the first chapter and was taking the manuscript with her on vacation in Greece to finish it. She emphasized on the phone that she does “big, big projects” in the film industry. A few weeks later I received a generic, white postal card from Crete, no picture of the Parthenon, nothing, just a note saying “I can’t work with this material, I am discarding the manuscript here.” I pictured my characters drifting in the Aegean Sea, helplessly flailing about.

Fortunately, I was thrilled to find a new agent who was quite well respected in the serious literary world, and he all but promised he would find a publisher for Minyan. And then he died. On and on it went—it was over 15 years between inception and publication. My present book, The 99th Monkey, also accumulated a fair amount of rejections from agents and publishers, including my own agent, who felt that memoirs are too difficult to sell, so chose not to represent it. One publisher led me on for a year, saying he really liked the book but was still on the fence. When I finally pushed him for an answer, he turned it down, saying, “The central character’s story just doesn’t hang together.” “Central character?” I thought to myself. “This is a memoir. I AM the central character!

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Eliezer Sobel: Minyan won the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel, out of 400 entries. That’s actually how it finally got published. A short story, excerpted from Minyan but standing alone as Mordecai’s Book, won the New Millennium Writings Award for Fiction.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Eliezer Sobel: I can’t remember. It was in 1979. My girlfriend was with me, in Brooklyn. I think we walked to the boardwalk in Brighton Beach and had a knish.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Eliezer Sobel: Having something to say, the need to communicate. When I don’t have something to say, I don’t write. That’s why I created what I call a “Mostly Silent Blog” – http://the99thmonkey.wordpress.com –I don’t want to contribute to the word glut unless I think it might be useful, or at least entertaining. I’m not someone who spends a certain amount of time with the blank page everyday no matter what. I’ve always liked the Zen idea that “I am a writer when I am writing.” Other times, I am something else. When I am shopping in the grocery store, I am a shopper.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Eliezer Sobel: I’m usually proud if I can make it out of bed in the morning and face another day, but that’s not something you can really boast about: “Hey, I got up today!”

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Eliezer Sobel: I live with my wife, Shari Cordon, and three cats: Plum, her daughter Peanut, and the irascible Squarcialupi, who works part-time as a stand-up comic. My parents are both 84, still living in my childhood home in New Jersey. My father wrote a rave review of The 99th Monkey on Amazon, and has been my benefactor, so yes, he’s very supportive. My mother has Alzheimer’s, so her only comment about my book so far is that “I don’t like all the monkeys.”

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Eliezer Sobel: In my early days I emulated Kerouac’s stream of consciousness, but that mostly resulted in stacks and stacks of journals that I eventually burned. I do sometimes use his approach of thinly disguising his own life story and just changing the names. I was also into Stanley Elkin early on, and lots of other Jewish male writers. And Vonnegut, of course, and I not only love Tom Robbins’ books, but I actually find almost all of his individual sentences just amazing. For non-fiction I am a big Colin Wilson fan. As for mentors, after 30 years away from the classroom, I took a writing course at UVA last semester with National Book Award winner John Casey, who also happened to be the judge that selected Minyan as the winner of the Peter Taylor contest, so he is my most recent mentor, if not savior.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Eliezer Sobel: The Happy Hollisters, The Hardy Boys, The Bronc Burnett baseball stories, the Black Stallion series. My first book ever was A Home for Sandy, about a cocker spaniel. I also loved several Golden Books that I still have: Scruffy the Tugboat and Judy & Jeremy’s Hanukah. And the Papa Small books.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Eliezer Sobel: I’m all over the map, with usually half a dozen books going at once, of which I will finish two or three. I always think of Father William McNamara’s advice: “Never read good books. There’s not enough time. Only read great ones.” The other day that phrase came into my head in the middle of page 126 of a novel I was reading, and I found myself tossing it across the room, realizing life was too short for that one. I’m currently enjoying Michael Chabon’s recent book, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, and all the works of Steve Stern, who I just discovered. I’m reading Henry Miller’s Sexus for the first time, and I read all of Richard Power’s books—his The Echo Maker won the National Book Award last year, but lots of people have never even heard of him!

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Eliezer Sobel: I’ll have the first tombstone without a last name. It will just say:

“Eliezer who?” And my soul will drift off into much the same obscurity as I enjoy now, among the living. Either that, or it will say, “Just another dead guy.” What I’m not counting on is, “The Tolstoy of his generation,” which, by the way, is something The New York Times Sunday Book Review did say about my friend Richard Powers, so maybe my epitaph can be, “He knew the Tolstoy of his generation.”

How has having a book published changed your life?

Eliezer Sobel: I read an article somewhere that issued a warning to writers that said: “Don’t expect your book to change your life.” To do so is to put a huge burden on your book. You’re way ahead of the game if it changes someone else’s life, hopefully for the better. As for my own life, unless Oprah calls and I become wealthy and famous overnight, which might require a lifestyle adjustment, basically I still seem to have to take myself with me wherever I go, or as my friend Eddie Greenberg said about me, I’m “still the same old schmuck.” I think we all get into trouble when we make the quality of our daily lives somehow dependent on external events. That’s a set-up for a lot of suffering.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?

Eliezer Sobel: I’m doing a tour this fall—you can find details at www.the99thmonkey.com

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you are. Anything you want your readers to know?
I just turned 56 and I still feel like I’m 4; I find it very soothing to play Satie on classical guitar and piano; I believe in a raw foods diet but I eat brisket; even though I generally hate to move my body, I am actually about to complete a year-long training to teach Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms work, which works with dance and movement as a healing path; I co-lead silent Jewish meditation retreats several times a year at the Isabella Freedman Center in Falls Village, Conecticut; and I used to teach intensive creativity workshops at Esalen Institute. I’m a lefty.

In addition to the two websites I’ve already mentioned, there is also my home base site at www.eliezersobel.com. People can read the Prologue to The 99th Monkey online to see if it grabs them. Thanks!

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s just-released historical novel Copper Fire, is the sequel to the three-time award-winning Copper Star, a World War II love story inspired by true events. Fisher was a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her work has appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Worldwide Challenge, ParentLife, and Marriage Partnership. She has contributed to ten non-fiction books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs. A wife and mother, Fisher lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The best thing about being a writer, she feels, is that all of life becomes material for writing. It’s all grit for the oyster.

Author Interview: Suzanne Woods Fisher:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I am fortunate to be in a situation where my income is supplemental, not the one my family counts on to pay grocery and orthodontist bills. (That’s good. I only make about a dime an hour.) But I’ve always kept my focus on writing…worked as a free lancer for all kinds of magazines for many years.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I came across this phrase: “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write (published in 1938), Graywolf Press

It stayed with me, and I felt as if the only one stopping me from trying to write a novel was…me.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: Throughout high school, reading and writing clearly became my only interests, despite dismal career options. (Besides, I was hopeless at everything else. True story: I took Algebra and got a “D,” which I blame largely on the thick accent of my Persian teacher. I couldn’t understand him. Sadly, I had to re-take the class in summer school and was greatly disappointed, on the first day, to discover the same Persian teacher standing at the front of the class. (When he saw me, he looked equally disappointed.)

I got another “D.”

Fast forward to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, a small Christian college. I was on the staff of the college newspaper and met a young student named Ginny. We became fast friends. Sharing a love of writing, we kept our relationship going through letters. A few years later, after we had both married and had started families, Ginny called me to ask if I could take over some freelancing jobs. I jumped at the chance. I started writing for Christian Retailing, then Christian Parenting Today, and eventually became a contributing editor for that magazine. And those relationships have opened other doors.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Suzanne Woods Fisher: Copper Fire is the sequel to Copper Star, picking right up at the very end of World War II. On a summer day in 1945, my main character, Louisa, receives a telegram from the International Red Cross Tracing Service. She discovers that her cousin, Elisabeth, has just been released from Dachau. Louisa is determined to go to Germany to get Elisabeth…and that’s where the story begins.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: In late August, Grit from the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers, will be released from Vintage Spirit. I wrote Grit with three other very talented authors. For the Love of Dogs is a fun novel, set in 1969, due out in February (Vintage).

And more exciting news! I am working on three novels for Revell/Baker, as well as a non-fiction book called Amish Peace in an English Life (also with Revell/Baker).

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: Copper Star, my first novel, received three awards from Reader Views:
Best in Historical Fiction, Best in Spirituality, Best Drama of 2008.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: An unforgettable moment! The UPS guy rang the doorbell to deliver the pre-released copies. The front door was just a few feet away from the laundry room where I had typed that manuscript! But that a journey that book had taken.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: My kids. They are growing into the most remarkable young adults. I’m so very proud of them.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I have a big family, and a big extended family, too. They’ve all been very supportive, though my dad is losing a battle with Alzheimer’s. I’m so sorry that he doesn’t understand that his daughter wrote a book or two. I dedicated Copper Fire to him. When I handed him the book, showing him that page, he waved the book aside as if shooing the butler. So sad! And so unlike him.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I wish I were more like my main character in Copper Star, Louisa, the young resistance worker smuggled out of Germany by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She’s funny, determined, smart… and flawed. And she knows it! She has an ability not to take herself too seriously.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: My favorite books (authors, too) point the way to God’s high path. Philip Yancey is my all-time favorite. I’ll read anything he writes. Lately, I’ve been reading some books by W. Dale Cramer. He’s an excellent writer. I like Lynn Austin, too.

Do you have any pets?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We’re now on our sixth puppy! We didn’t plan on raising more than one, but our first raising experience was wonderful. Raising Guide Dog puppies is like eating a potato chip…you can’t eat just one.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: Every story has an underlying theme of God’s grace, played out in daily life. I try not to ever whack readers on the head, but I hope they finish my books a little more curious about this great God of ours.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I see myself now as a full-time writer, instead of trying to squeeze writing around everything else.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I try to write about interesting people who have been overlooked. For example: Louise Tracy, wife of Spencer Tracy. In 1942, Louise Tracy started a foundation (The John Tracy Clinic) to teach oral communication (lip reading and speaking) to pre-school age children. She and Spencer had a deaf son, John. Louise ignored the conventional wisdom of the day (sending John to an institution to learn sign language) and had remarkable success teaching him to communicate. There’s a deaf child in Copper Star and its sequel, Copper Fire. I contacted the JTC while writing Copper Star and was able to write it into the storyline, with their blessing. Louise Tracy was a remarkable woman. Way ahead of her times! I loved being able to bring attention to such a woman through this novel.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I really believe in the editing process. Even editors need editors! It’s almost always a better book in the end.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Suzanne Woods Fisher: I can’t deny that I have felt a sense of accomplishment—not because of quantity of books sold, but because I completed something I set out to do that I am proud of. But…life is not really any different! I still have dishes and laundry and bills to pay.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?
Thank you for hosting me today! Stop by and visit me at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com My books can be found at: Amazon, BN.com, can be ordered from your favorite bookstore, and are also available at my website: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Lee Silver Author Mini-bio:

Thank you for inviting me, Michy!

I’m a southern gal now but grew up in the rolling farmland outside of historic Valley Forge, PA. We’re going on 16 wonderful years of happily ever after. We live in an old Victorian we restored on the Chesapeake Bay and spend the summers relaxing on the beach in Ocean City, MD. Our son is grown and living an apron’s string away from mama right here in Norfolk, VA.

I live a double life, techno geek by day and witchy romantic when the moon is full 🙂 My day jobs have always required a fair amount of professional writing. After a reference manual and a few tongue-in-cheek editorials, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at fiction.

Setting a romance in the framework of high tech intrigue, my technical background turned out to be my best friend. It is so exciting to be standing in the shadow of giants as one of BookStrand’s flagship authors. As Siren Publishing’s new sister imprint, they carry broad line of books including mainstream & erotic romance, and general fiction. My romantic suspense, The Twist was a great fit for the new imprint!

Interview with Author Lee Silver:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Lee Silver: I do have a day job to pay the bills, but my writing is just as important a part of my life. My first career was in advertising. I delivered flyers on my bicycle for our neighbor’s electrical shop. Hint: A penny a flyer is a dumb way to make money in a rural neighborhood 🙂

I’ve always been the quiet, geeky type so it was pretty natural that I got into engineering. After a couple years of writing specification manuals for the Navy, I went back to school full-time to earn my graduate degree from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. Not counting my early days in advertising, my entire career has been as a professional engineer.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Lee Silver: You hear some strange things standing in the ladies’ room line on the Ocean City boardwalk. A cute little thing in a halter top and a pair of Daisy Dukes behind me was arguing with her purple-haired boy friend about her smoking. He was going on about what a filthy habit it was and how he might as well be kissing an ashtray. Fumbling in her purse for a Virginia Slim, all she could come up with in her defense was “You have no idea how hard it is for a girl to quit smoking!” I’ve always been fascinated by transformation stories, but they never seem to have a happy ending. Hum, it sounded like there was a story there to me.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Lee Silver: I’ve always loved writing, but never considered myself to be a writer. It seemed to be sort of an unachievable goal. Something other people did that I could never be capable of doing. It wasn’t until I noticed that more and more of my friends were asking me to review things they had written that I actually started to consider it to be a possibility. As an engineer, I’m trained to come up with a way to make things work. The transformation in The Twist is pure sci-fi, but what if it were possible? My technical background gives me the tools to imagine and describe the things a scientist would need to actually make it happen.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Lee Silver: My new romantic suspense, The Twist is a BookStrand #1 bestseller! I wanted a heroine who would stand toe to toe with the leading man and a plot that would keep a reader on the edge of his seat. The Twist is only the beginning. A story of mind-bending control and unnerving metamorphosis, The Twist unravels the tale of a hotshot consultant as he struggles to foil a plot to steal $12 million and to rescue the feisty, female scientist who has stolen his heart.

The hero actually turns into a carbon copy of the leading lady. I really had to get into Zane’s head to write The Twist. Women are so different…our emotions, what’s important to us, how we relate to each other. And then there’s the things we take for granted. Hair, nails, putting on your face, the whole bit. It would all have to be pretty strange for a guy.

Trying to stuff all of that into a guy’s head was a challenge. Male characters just don’t have the range of emotion for you to work with. I guess that’s part of what makes them guys. As Zane begins his transformation, everything he is grappling with bubbles to the top as a confused mix of humor and rage. After the change it’s like he’s got the hormones of a squad of teenage cheerleaders.

Yup, we finally get our revenge on the guys in The Twist 🙂

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Lee Silver: When I wrote the Twist, I had considered it to be a one book story. Working on my edits, I realized there might be enough open ends for another book. I just started working on a sequel to The Twist so we can see what everybody’s favorite feisty female scientist is up to next 🙂

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Lee Silver: Michy, I think you put a little of your soul into everything you write. Seeing The Twist was like looking in a mirror for the first time for me. A bit frightening, but you gradually accept each wrinkle and line of the smiling reflection until you can say, here I am world, with all my flaws and talents, being the best I can be.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Lee Silver: You all are going to think I’m crazy, and I’m probably showing my age, but I’m a huge Jimi Hendrix fan. I actually have over 100 albums counting the bootlegs and international releases!

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Lee Silver: There are tons of people who are better than me at everything I’ve ever done or tried. What I am proud of, is having accomplished so many different things in my life.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

My first marriage was a three month fairy tale, shattered to pieces by a drunk driver who hit our car on the way home from the movies. Death is a big part of life. I’ve never been the same after that accident. I was an only child, so Mom is my number one fan. My hubby and son have been wonderful, picking up the slack around the house and putting up with me while I was a bundle of nerves getting through my edits.

It’s ok, [though]. That was a long time ago. I’m a very lucky girl. I’ve been blessed with two wonderful loves in my life. Some people never find one.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Lee Silver: My characters are born from the faces of my personality. I’m like each and every one but not like any of them. There is a tiny seed of me in my characters that unfolds like a flower. They surprise me with the things they say and do, taking my writing to places I never could have gone by myself. Zane met his match with Kathy in The Twist. He’s full of himself in a typical guy sort of way. But Kathy, with all her feminine charm, let Zane know from the minute they met at the elevator, she’d stand toe to toe with for the full nine rounds. Its mutual respect like this that turns to love that will last a life time.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Lee Silver: Like nearly everything I have tried in my life, I didn’t have a mentor when I began my first novel. I just sat down at the keyboard and began to type. I guess I’m too stupid to know I can’t do something 🙂 Dee Knight and Michele Hart played a huge part in my growth as a writer. Teaching me the ropes and coaching me through my edits, my surrogate writing mommies were always there to pick me up when I stumbled or to lovingly slap my knuckles when I reached for too many seconds of M&M’s.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Lee Silver: If my stories can pull my reader’s away from the hustle and bustle of their lives long enough to put a smile on their faces when they head back to the real world, I couldn’t ask for more. My biggest fear is that I will hurt someone without knowing it and never having the chance to tell them I am sorry. I hope people remember me for admitting when I was wrong and for doing my best to make things right.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now.

Lee Silver: My parents used to have a travel trailer on the Delaware shore. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, so it was only about 3 hours away. We spent weekends there all summer long for years. I loved to go crabbing and fishing with my dad. LOL, I used to be such a tomboy! On rainy days, we’d all pile into my girlfriend’s mom’s old Buick station wagon. She’d haul us giggling and laughing into Ocean City, MD for pizza and let us go wild on the boardwalk.

I’ve been a car girl for as long as I can remember. I actually had a Suzuki 50 Trail Rider I used all through high school. I went everywhere on that darn thing! Somewhere along the line I realized that motorcycles and skirts don’t mix and got a blue MG Midget. My hubby is a car guy and we have a Model A hotrod. I’m not into all the grease and engine stuff but can hold a pretty mean flashlight. I love the people and the cruising. It gives me an excuse to get all dolled up and wear a pair of tight pants or a poodle skirt.

Anyway, my husband’s family also vacationed in Ocean City, and we went there with our son when he was growing up. We have our own place there now. It’s only a couple hours from Norfolk, VA, so we try to go whenever we can. I cherish our time in Ocean City. We both run so hard, it’s the only time we have for each other. I’m lucky to have a special place with so many memories from all the times of my life. I wish we could live there all the time.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Lee Silver: Yes, an African gray parrot. His name is Lerch. You know, like from the Adam’s family? Actually he’s a she, but I’ve called her a he for so long that’s how I think of her. We’ve been roomies for over 20 years! Our relationship is pretty much like the one I have with my husband. I feed him and he tolerates me 🙂

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Lee Silver: We live in an old Victorian we renovated on Norfolk’s waterfront on the Chesapeake Bay. It’s full of bits and pieces we’ve refinished over the years. My bow front mahogany china cabinet is the only thing we actually paid real money for. It’s to die for! I write in our son’s old room. We converted it into sort of an office for me and a gym. It’s full of memories and still has a few pieces from his childhood like the basketball hoop over the trash can 🙂 I have one of those $50 particle board computer stands for a desk. It’s so out of character with the rest of the house! I mostly write at home but get my best ideas in traffic jams. I keep one of those five dollar voice recorder thingies in my car, so I actually look forward to 5:00 rush hour.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Lee Silver: I’ve been a Charmed fan since day one! I even have a cool signed picture of Holly, Rose and Alyssa that I won on ebay. I was really bummed when they ended the show but still watch the reruns whenever I can. The last few years, I’ve been hooked on Nip Tuck. I’m usually asleep by ten, but every Friday night I set the alarm and drag myself downstairs to watch Dr. Shawn and Dr. Christian 🙂 The two shows are very different, but they both have incredible drama that makes the wheels run wild in my head.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Lee Silver: I think a new writer needs to be careful not to be so anxious to be published that he settles for just anyone who offers to print his book. I have heard some simply awful stories about small publishers going defunct and tying up an author’s work. I was looking in a lot of wrong places when I was searching for a publisher for The Twist. I was very fortunate to have received an offer from Siren-BookStrand. They put a lot of faith in me as a new author, and I am proud to be represented by a top name publisher.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Lee Silver: Well, for one, I’m not sure I have time to answer that!

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Lee Silver: It took a bit of personal growth to think of myself as author, Lee Silver. Now it’s effortless, just one more of the different rolls I have in my life. We have hats we put on as coworkers, girlfriends, Sunday school teachers, parents wives, moms and authors. A little artistic license may be needed for one or the other, but I think the key is to let our true self shine through as we relate to the people and situations in our lives regardless of the hat we are wearing. In that regard, as writers we have it easier than most. The hardest part for me has been to find the time. I’ve made so many new friends and love hearing what everyone has going on with their writing and in their lives. I’m going to hate having to slink back into my cave to get to work on the sequel to The Twist.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

Lee Silver
Romance with a Twist
www.LeeSilver.org

THE TWIST
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Theme: High Tech Metamorphosis
Length: 79,000 words
BookStrand Publishing: http://www.bookstrand.com/authors/leesilver/tt.asp
ISBN: 1-60601-174-X
E-book: $5.99

~~“A clever and witty sci-fi romp through big corporations, marriage and the gender wars.” Dee S. Knight , author of Heat Wave

Zane Tollison’s wife is running through their cash faster than he can make it. A “Hail Mary” contract with Clearwater Tobacco arrives in the nick of time to keep his fledgling consulting firm afloat, and to unchain him once and for all from his narcissistic wife.

Beautiful, brilliant, and estranged Kathy Davis is desperate for a new beginning. The feisty post doc bio-geneticist jumps at an offer from Clearwater, pouring her soul into a development that will revolutionize the tobacco industry.

The two are unwittingly reeled into a convoluted plan to steal $12 million. Zane is changing into a carbon copy of Kathy, a pawn in a bizarre genetic metamorphosis, entangling Kathy in a sinewy web of seduction and deceit. Forging a bond that will set the course of their destiny, they fight to overpower the diabolic hold that has taken over their lives.

Excerpt
Zane heard the tap, tap, tap of a woman’s heels on the tile floor as he stared at his watch anxiously waiting for the elevator.

She was a tiny thing, not more than five foot three, probably in her early thirties. She stepped up beside him. Their eyes met and she smiled.

One of the big guns’ secretaries, I’ll bet. Zane couldn’t keep his eyes off her.

Wearing a stylishly short, gray tweed business suit, her long auburn hair was pulled in a French
twist. Designer gold-rim glasses framed her petite face and green eyes. She looked like she had just stepped out of the latest issue of Vogue.

Zane’s eyes followed her every move as she stepped into the elevator. A leather notebook clenched to her chest, she was one hundred percent professional and drop dead gorgeous.
She turned to him, a ghost of a smile on her lips. Looking Zane squarely in the eyes, she matter-of-factly quipped, “All right, you’ve seen my ass. I guess you can come in now.”

He turned beet red as he walked into the elevator. The doors closed like a vault. “I, I am so sorry, but—”

“No buts about it. I wouldn’t have said that if I didn’t think you were cute.” She stepped out onto the second floor “See ya!”

He stood, frozen like a pillar of salt, as he watched her walk in slow motion down the hall.
“Seventh floor.”
“What did you say?”

She peered over her shoulder and grinned. “Chorde’s office. It’s on the seventh floor.”

Eyes glued to the seam along the back of her skirt, he opened his mouth to speak, but the words refused to come.

She rounded the corner out of his sight. His eyes still peering into the hall, Zane’s finger pressed the button for the seventh floor. As the doors began to close, he blurted out to the brushed steel walls of the elevator, “Thanks.”

* * * *

Chorde glanced at the clock as he reached for his hand. “So good to see that you are prompt. Nine o’clock on the button.”

Clenching his hand with a confident grip, Zane put on a well-practiced smile. “Well, I try, Jonathon.” The truth was he was late for everything. Pat often teased him that he’d be late for his own funeral.

Jonathon Chorde was a stately gentleman in his early sixties. His British accent and tailored, double-breasted suit gave him an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. He was medium height, perhaps five foot ten, balding, and a bit over weight.

Chorde motioned towards two stuffed leather chairs at the far corner of his office. He poured two cups of tea from a silver carafe and offered a small serving tray. “Pastry, Mr. Tollison?”

Never one to pass on a free breakfast, Zane reached for a cherry Danish. He flashed a grin as he took an over-sized bite. “Mr. Tollison was my father. You can call me Zane.”

“As you please. Down to business then, shall we?”

He set his cup on the marble tabletop and leaned forward. “We are both businessmen. I shan’t beat around the bush. Simply put, Clearwater wants to buy your name.”

A piece of Danish caught in Zane’s throat and he coughed into his napkin.

Chorde ignored the outburst and continued. “As I indicated when I spoke to you yesterday, we are in the process of pulling together a study to refute the accusations of the anti-smoking coalitions. Although we certainly value your insights, there is really very little we expect you to do. We already know what we want to find, and except for going through the motions of the actual ten-day investigation, our people have basically completed the final report.”

He reached for his tea and leaned back in his chair. Chorde continued, “We did feel that it was important for you to actually be here while we conduct the study to lend a touch of credence to the work. In any case, it will certainly benefit us both for you to learn as much as you can about the project. So you’ll be better prepared to field any questions that might come up about the research in the future.

“We shan’t detain you once we’ve gathered our data, but please, feel free to stay at Clearwater to dot and cross whatever I’s and T’s you feel are necessary to put the finishing touches to the report. After all, the findings are going to be released by Tollison Consulting.” Chorde’s smile could have belonged to the Grinch who stole Christmas. “We had hoped we could attract your services and took the liberty of having our legal people draft a preliminary agreement.”

He pushed a pen and a stack of papers towards Zane, and reached for a French cruller as he continued, “A good faith advance in the amount of 1.15 million dollars shall be deposited to your account upon signing the contract, with the balance being paid in ten equal installments of 1.15 million dollars each day for the duration of the study. The total for your services will be 12.65 million dollars.

“The future of the entire tobacco industry depends on the timely release of these findings. We shan’t tolerate any mishaps. The agreement provides a rather stiff penalty of 2.3 million dollars per day should you fail to see the job through.” Chorde’s face grew cold as he glared over the top of his glasses. “I prefer not to elaborate, but please understand, this would be the least of your concerns if the details of your actual role in the investigation should ever chance to leave this room.”

Zane stared at the contract, contemplating the contrast between the white paper and the brown marble tabletop. Ever since he could remember, he had been a tinkerer. From high tech military jets to antique cars, from tube-type radios to house renovation, at one time or another, Zane had seen or worked on just about every mechanical device imaginable. Starting as a model builder as a child and learning the building trades while working his way through college, there was very little he could not or would not do. Combined with a graduate degree in engineering, he was able to view most situations from both sides of the fence.

A few well-timed hat tricks had earned him quite a name for himself. After ten years in the aerospace industry, Zane had managed to save a small nest egg and opened his own consulting firm. Most of his clients were companies he had worked with at one time or another while he was still in aerospace. The work was sporadic, but at least he wasn’t a wage slave for one of the airframe giants anymore. He smiled. Living like a starving animal is a small price to pay for your independence.

There were big contacts, with even bigger expenses, but Elise’s addict-like preoccupation with her beauty had brought him to his knees. There were spas and salons, waxes and peels, life coaches and Feng Shui instructors, and a whole host of female must-dos she assured he need not and could not possibly understand. Added to her weekly jaunts to Europe to shop at some swanky new boutique with one of her upscale girlfriends, their bills were a four million dollar snowball rolling down hill.

Zane twirled the ballpoint pen between his fingers. A whole career boiled down to two simple choices: his morals and financial ruin, or the answer to a prayer for selling his professional reputation down the river.

Twelve million dollars. Half for the Governor’s share, and a third to keep him out of debtor’s prison, there would be a million apiece left so he and Elise could go their separate ways.

Zane took a reflective bite from his Danish and…

Read the Full Excerpt at http://www.bookstrand.com/authors/leesilver/tt.asp

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