Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Interview with mystery author Bentley Wells

Mystery author Bentley Wells joins me today to chat about his new novel, The Paradise Coven.

Bentley Wells is a pseudonym. Under the author’s legal name he has written short stories and poems for literary magazines, articles for academic journals, chapters for nonfiction books, entries for encyclopedias, and several nonfiction books.

Please tell us about your current release.
Homicide detectives Michael McConnell and Aaron Simmons of the Columbus (Ohio) Police Department investigate the brutal murders of two women. There are no witnesses and few clues, except for unfamiliar words the killer has printed in lipstick on each victim. The detectives learn the words have demonic connotations, making the detectives wonder if they are dealing with a serial killer or a demon from Hell. As McConnell and Simmons dig for the truth, they discover a decades-old third murder with the same MO. This victim had ties to “The Paradise Coven,” a mysterious club that may be responsible for all three murders. Unfortunately, the terrible secret the detectives unravel may have far-reaching consequences.

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for this novel actually came from a short story that I had written years ago. I had completed the first draft of the short story, but I had not polished it. One day I found it and started reading. I realized that I liked following two detectives as they investigated crimes. Of course, the plot in the short story is not the same as the plot in The Paradise Coven. In fact, the detectives are different. For instance, in the short story the detectives are older and have different names. They are completely different from the detectives in the novel. On the other hand, the leading suspect in the short story is similar to the leading suspect in The Paradise Coven. Of course, readers learn more about this suspect in the novel.

Excerpt from The Paradise Coven:
            McConnell and Simmons walked toward their respective offices. They saw Captain Black through his office window. He was motioning to them. McConnell opened the door and followed Simmons inside.
            Captain Black stood. “Sit down,” he ordered.
            McConnell and Simmons glanced at each other, shrugged, and sat down.
            “What’s up, Captain?” McConnell asked.
            Captain Black crossed his arms and shook his head. “Guess who called about an hour ago?”
            “Who?” McConnell asked.
            “The DA.”
            “What about?” Simmons asked.
            Captain Black uncrossed his arms, moved to the front of his desk, and sat down on top of it. “It seems Thomas Marks’s attorney informed him that Marks saw you two this morning,” he replied. “She said that he saw you two when he left his apartment and again when he arrived at work.”
            “That’s true,” McConnell admitted. “We followed him.”
            “McConnell, leave him alone.”
            “McConnell, if you don’t leave him alone, his attorney will file a lawsuit against the department.”
            “How do you know?” Simmons asked.
            Captain Black sighed. “She told the DA.”
            “She’s bluffing, Captain,” McConnell said.
            Captain Black glared at McConnell. “We can’t take that chance, McConnell. Now, leave Thomas Marks alone. Do you understand?”
            McConnell lowered his head. “I understand.”
            Black stared at McConnell for a minute. “Get back to work.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have completed the first draft of a second mystery, but this novel doesn’t feature Michael McConnell and Aaron Simmons. Instead of Ohio, this mystery is set in Oklahoma. It concerns a man in his late twenties investigating the murder of his father, a prominent businessman and pillar of the community. In this mystery, I focus primarily on the characters first and the plot second.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote something that was published. This was a short story that was published in a literary magazine. I was in college at the time.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time. If I’m writing fiction, I try to write two or three pages a week. If I’m writing nonfiction, I have to research the subject. I do this to make sure what I’m working on is current. Then I write. Sometimes, I’ll research a subject, then write, and then do more research, until the article or book is written. I also read a lot. Although I read mostly books of nonfiction, I will read a mystery from time to time. For instance, I just finished a novel by Linwood Barclay and another by Raymond Chandler.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do a lot of research even when I write fiction. Whether this is a “quirk,” well, I don’t know. I just enjoy it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This is a good question. However, my interest in writing grew when I was in my teens. I enjoyed reading fiction at an early age. My interest in writing nonfiction grew when I was in college, especially when I was in graduate school.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope readers will enjoy The Paradise Coven, which is filled with twists and turns.

The book can be found through: Black Opal Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Smashwords, KOBO, iTunes, and Scribd.

Thanks for being here today, Bentley!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Interview with sci-fi/fantasy author Marie Kammerer-Franke

Sci-fi/fantasy author Marie Kammerer-Franke joins me today to talk about her new novel, A Charming Nightmare.

Marie Kammerer Franke is originally from St. Paul, MN spent her childhood moving from city to city in the US; from St. Paul MN, to Chicago ILL., St. Louis MO, W. Palm Beach FL, and finally settling in Upstate NY. Traveling always gave Marie a sense of adventure, daydreaming about all the places she hadn’t gotten to see yet. It showed in her writing, at a very young age Marie would write stories about these make-believe cities and towns. What the people were like, what the scenery looked like, what the air smelt like. Eventually, the US or Earth weren’t big enough in possibilities to explore, so Marie took the only natural step in creating galaxies and entire species to dream about.

Please tell us about your current release.
A Charming Nightmare is book 1 in the ACN series. It follows our heroine Aylin as she is kidnapped, dragged through time and space in an attempt to save her distant descendants:

40,000 years after Earth’s demise we are still trying to settle. That’s what the survivors are called now, settlers. Survivor, by the way, is derogatory word. So are words like gadget, computer, and machine. Those are people. We evolve into them, and something in the mechanics that make up a human is killing. That’s where I come in, not intentionally mind you, but forcibly by our distant descendants. They could be a little more hospitable, and offer a tissue when telling you that your family, job, hairdresser, and newspaper boy are all dust. But they don’t. So you compromise; you translate children’s books for scientists who cannot read or write its written language in hopes of curing their diseased parts, and in return they back you up when you start a war to end all wars on their front lawn. Sounds fair, right?

What inspired you to write this book?
A Charming Nightmare is based off the antics of my young sons. One night while mom began their bedtime story with "Once upon a time..." to where they replied "The world blew up!!" And ACN was born. Each night her children would wait for the survivor's of the 'world blew up' to come to life again. Years after, when these two boys grew into young men I wrote down the memories of when the boys blew up the world; aging the characters, maturing the conflict, and language until it turned into a series. Something my children could open again now as adults.

Excerpt from A Charming Nightmare:
“There is a ledge, which is another word for edge, lip, cliff, sill, or in this case cathedral roof top.

Remember this; there is always a ledge, even if you can’t see it. Keep in mind that we are forever teetering on it, one step away from falling. Be willing to step forward and fall, forever and ever fall, amen. Take a chance, chase a thought, and follow a breath over the edge and see where it goes after it has touched back on the ground. My grandfather has been quoted calling these ledges quixotic endeavors. He has equally noted that I am what Charles Dodgson envisioned when dreaming of his white rabbit. As proof, I am standing at the beginning of such an endeavor, my toes dipping over the roof’s gable into morning’s breath. All I can think of is that ‘one giant leap for mankind’ spiel Neil Armstrong said years ago and how right he was, one small step. That thought will be all the coaxing needed to take it.”

What exciting story are you working on next?Currently, I am in the editing stages of book 2 in the ACN series; Sister’s Lament. It’s darker and more adult than A Charming Nightmare, taking my writing to places that can be uncomfortable for an author to allow to go public, knowing fully well that my family will be reading it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written, the first ‘published’ story I wrote I was 7, writing a story about a red balloon that traveled the world looking for a purpose, only to end up back in the hands of the little boy who had let go. That story was published in my elementary school's newsletter. I’ve been asking for pen and paper every day since then..

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
While writing full time is the ultimate goal, there is still a mortgage to pay; I currently am mother to two young adult boys (and as any parent of boys knows when you have one you have a houseful of ‘adopted’ children as I tell people I have 6 boys). I’ve also been disgustingly happily married for over 15 years, work with handicapped people during the day, volunteer as head costume designer for a local school, and judge robotics....when do I find time? Late at night when my brain won’t shut off. I sit down in total quiet and darkness, plug in a set of earbuds, turn up my ACN playlist until it’s all I hear, and mindlessly write until my brain gets tired.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t outline, or have a direction to go (it’s a perk writing science fiction). The closest you’ll find to a step-by-step direction in my writing are little post-its or notes written on receipts littering every single space in my office. Some of them ACN related; most of them just one word thoughts on future projects or two sentences that I had to get out of my head that instant. I have been known to ask a complete stranger for a pen and write a thought down on my hand if need be, just so it’s not trapped inside my brain.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think it depends on what day of the week you’re asking. I have always wanted to be a writer; but I have also at one time or another dabbled in singing, photography, mythology, and astronomy.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I adore a handful of things; My family & friends, coffee or tea, tacos, hiking, a good nap, and not taking life or this world too serious. I am a true believer that no one is truly alone, we have an entire planet of faces to talk with!! You can join me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and


Thanks for being here today, Marie!