Friday, October 30, 2015

Interview about sci-fi Yours Truly, 2095 by Brian Paone

Today’s feature is an interview with Brian Paone about his sci-fi novel, Yours Truly, 2095.

During his virtual book tour, Brian will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.

A little bit about the author:
Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. An award winning author, his love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost 20 years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a rock-star drug addict entitled, “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts,” was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, “Welcome to Parkview,” was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, “Yours Truly, 2095,” was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up one morning, trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy. Brian is married and has 3 children. Brian’s wife is an Officer in the US Navy. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange.

Welcome Brian. Please tell us about your current release.
The book is billed as a time-travel romance mystery, because on the surface, that’s what it is. But what you don’t know, until you start reading, is that the main character isn’t who you thought it was during the first 150 pages. Its only in the last 200 pages that you realize that the main character is someone else, and the book is less about time-travel and more about artificial intelligence being able to develop a soul and free will. We all love the M. Knight Shyamalan plot-twist as much as the next guy, but my plot twist happens so slowly, that you don’t realize that I’ve pulled a classic plot twist on you until you reach the end of the book. That was the hardest part of writing the book… trying to get that just right for the reader, so the shift in focus felt natural and the reader didn’t realize that they were actually empathizing with the wrong character right from the beginning.

What inspired you to write this book?
One of my favorite albums of all time, is Electric Light Orchestra’s 1981 concept album, Time. Somewhere in my late teens / early twenties, I thought that the storyline of the Time album should be flushed out either as a novel or a movie. I knew, at the time, that I was nowhere NEAR talented enough yet to take on such a task as writing the adaptation of the album. After publishing two novels, one in 2007 and the other in 2010, I believed that I was ready to tackle turning the plotline and story-arc of ELO’s Time album into a full length novel. 

I began working on the outline in February 2012, and the first step was to take the lyrics of all 16 songs, and dissect their meaning (both literally and figuratively) and put together a cohesive linear storyline. I wanted to do what The Who’s Tommy, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall movies did for those albums… but just in novel format. The Time album has a very concrete characters and storyline (as does The Wall and Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway) but there is enough unsung moments in the progression of the story, that I knew I had to fill in the gaps of the lyrics with my own literary license. In the lyrics we are told, flat-out, that the main character (Jeff) is from the 1980’s and wakes up in 2095, with no idea or explanation how he got there, that there is a woman who is a perfect robotic replica of his wife (Julie) from the 80’s, he wants nothing more to return to his wife but there is some issued that need to be resolved in their marriage, that he takes a one way trip to the Moon to find his way back, and there are multiple new organizations controlling the world’s power. 

These are very specific lyrics that move the album forward. After pulling out the lyrics that could not be disputed, I then went through line by line and interpreted the lyrics that could be left up to the imagination of the listener of what the lyrics meant, and how I was going to make it a concrete part of my book. For instance, there is a lyric in the album that says: “Someone has broken out of Satellite Two, look very carefully it might be you!” That was pretty ambiguous inside the song, so I had to make a decision to what exactly Satellite Two even WAS, who the “someone” was, why it might be a clone of someone else… and then I had to try to make it work inside the storyline around it. The album is 16 tracks, and just shy of 50 minutes in length. The book took me almost 40 months to write because I wanted to stay as true to every single word on the album that I could. Also, and this is the most important part, you do NOT need to have ever heard a single song by Electric Light Orchestra to enjoy the book or follow along with the plotline. In fact, I have sold the book to more non-ELO fans than I have fans of the band. So I don’t want that the book is based on a concept that you may have never heard, to scare you away. It is a stand-alone story about time travel, robot AI, and redeeming a love through the years.

Excerpt from Yours Truly, 2095:
 “Are you okay?” Julie asked through the window.

I was surprised I could hear her.

“Yes! Can you let me out?”

I was expecting her to answer with something snide and sarcastic, but she didn’t say anything at all. She just disappeared from my view. I leaned forward in the chamber so I could see where she went. Julie was standing in front of one of the computers typing on the keyboard very quickly. After a few moments I heard a hiss, and the cover swung open. I felt like a rising vampire as I stood up and stepped out of the pod.

I almost fell backward into the chamber when she turned around. Julie was missing half of her face. Where the left side of her face should’ve been was only wires and metal.

“This isn’t a dream, is it?” I asked cautiously.

“No. I’m sorry, Jeff, and it only gets worse.”


“Who else?” J0 asked. She turned back to the computer and typed in some more commands. The hydraulics of another seclusion chamber hissed as its cover opened.

“Oh, no,” I said quietly and covered my mouth with my hand.

Bruce’s mouth and eyes were unnaturally stuck open.

I knew he was dead before I even asked. “Is he—?”

“I’m pretty sure. I already called the police. We’re going to meet them out front to let them in. They should be here in a few minutes.”

I took a step toward him.

“Don’t touch him!” she yelled.

I stopped in my tracks.

“Whoever did this was trying to kill both of you.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I will begin outlining my 4th book in a few months. Tentatively untitled, it’s going to be a comedic-military novel, almost in the style of the film Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton. This will be about the true adventures I had when my wife, who is an Officer in the Navy, left me alone with our two toddlers when she got deployed for 8 months, and the learning curve and craziness that ensued during those months. I’m hoping to have a 2017 release schedule for that. I also have a short story coming out in October in an anthology of authors from all over the world called, A Matter of Words.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the 7th grade. I wrote my first fictional short story called, “The Night is Long.” It wasn’t part of some homework assignment, or in-class exercise. I wrote the story over the weekend, purely because I loved to read and wanted to write something that was my own. After that, I never stopped writing. However I only wrote short stories from 1988 to 2005. It was then that I began work on my first novel. My career as a novelist would never have happened, or at least to the success that I have had, if one of my best friends hadn’t died in 2005. 

My friend David, who was the lead singer of the industrial-rock band God Lives Underwater who enjoyed some commercial success in the 90s, had been struggling with drug addiction, depression, and the throes of the music business since I met him in 1995. We became fast friends, and I was one of the few people who stuck with him through all his highs and lows. When he passed away in 2005, I didn’t know where the put my grief. I just couldn’t find a healthy outlet for how I was feeling about losing him. It was suggested to me to write a memoir about our friendship, but in novel format so it read more like a story than a journal. My wife was the biggest advocate of me using my grief to write my first novel, and recant all the good and bad times that come with being close to someone who struggles with addiction, and someone who was on major tours, on MTV, and all over the radio. He was a multi-dimensional person, and our friendship was trying and rewarding all at the same time. I started writing what would eventually become my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, in January 2006 and it was published in October, 2007—on the second anniversary of his death. The book sold above and beyond anyone’s expectations, and that’s how I stopped writing short stories and focused on writing novels.

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’ve published 3 novels, and my typical day during the writing of each book was totally different from each other. When I was writing my first book, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, I was in the middle of moving from MA to GA, changing police departments, and recording an album with my band, Transpose. So a typical day would be: get everything done first for the move, switching jobs, the recording studio, and whatever time was left at night: work on the book. We also didn’t have any kids yet.

With my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, my wife had been deployed to Djibouti and I was working full time at the police department in GA, and we had 2 kids now. So I was alone without my wife, with 2 toddlers, and working full time. The My day would be: get the kids to day-care, go work fighting crime for 8 hours, pick the kids up and do whatever household chores I had to do (laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping etc.), feed the kids dinner and put them to bed around 6:30, then I would work out for an hour, and then I would work on Welcome to Parkview after I showered until whenever I passed out at my laptop.

With Yours Truly. 2095, the Navy had sent us to Japan for the next 4 years. I had to take a leave of absence at the police department, and we moved the family there. I did not get a job right away, as my wife wanted me to be the stay at home parent during our time in Japan (I did eventually become a Criminal Justice professor for the college on base, but that’s irrelevant to the book.) We moved in November, 2011 and by January, 2012 I was itching to write. For the first time, I had the TIME to write, and not having to worry about a new job, moving, or wiping poopy diapers. So, in February, 2012, I started my outline, and writing the book was my full-time job for a while. We sent out 2 kids to Japanese Kindergarten (called a Yochien in Japan) and they were gone Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:00. I would bring them to the bus stop, wave goodbye, go back up into our apartment, and write until the bus brought them back. It was the first time I could write without distractions, and the first time I was writing not being dead-tired at night after putting in a full day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have to listen to music when I write. But I’m very specific. I have to pick a single band on my iPod, click Shuffle All of all their songs, and have that playing. I can’t have a playlist of random bands. It has to be one specific band during that writing session. And most of the time, the band’s music will help mold the tone and atmosphere of the scene I am writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Keifer Sutherland in Flatliners….

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yours Truly, 2095 might be inspired and based on a concept album from the 80s, but it is every bit my own creation as it is developed from those lyrics. Even though it is a time-travel story on the surface, I believe that it is a romance novel about a couple’s redemption at its core. The book may take place in the distance future, but all the conflicts are struggles that we deal with in our relationships in our everyday lives in the here and now. I believe that this book can be enjoyed just as equally by fans of straight up science-fiction time-travel stories, as well as fans of romance mysteries. The science-fiction jargon is not crammed in your face, nor is the romance angle shoved down your throat either. It’s a nice blend of both, allowing the story to ebb and flow on its own, as Jeff slowly figures out what is truth and what is a lie.


Thanks for being here today, Brian!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Special excerpt for sci-fi suspense novel Turing Evolved by David Kitson

Today’s feature is a special excerpt from David Kitson’s science fiction thriller novel Turing Evolved.

During his virtual book tour, David will be awarding THREE (3) e-copies of Turing Evolved to THREE lucky randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about Turing Evolved:
When Ex-DEMON pilot Jon Carlson meets beautiful humanitarian Rachel, it's a match made in HEAVEN. Literally, because Rachel's an ANGEL. She's also an AI controlled android of immense power and capability. As Jon finds himself drawn into the world of these enigmatic creations of mankind, he unknowingly becomes involved in a program to create autonomous superweapons intended to fight the next war.

Excerpt from Turing Evolved:
Now was time for me to try out my well-rehearsed chivalry. They say it’s dead, but the attitude works.

‘No, you were trying to help me. I really should have been sedated back there, and I know it. I’d probably be all right by now and not have to deal with the muscular problems later if I’d just taken a little nap.’

She looked up at me, her expression searching for something in my words.

‘And I, well, I just wanted to say thanks.’

Janet smiled at that, the same smile that had made me feel better earlier when I was nervous. ‘Yeah, all right, you’re forgiven. I take it your partner pulled you out unexpectedly?’

‘What was your clue?’ I asked.

‘The part when Jeremy said, “Fuck it all, I can’t even see him now. Janet, dope him up because he’s coming out unexpectedly.”’ Janet made a funny-sounding deep voice as she said it, which I took to be an impersonation of Jeremy.

‘But you don’t know how close you came to receiving your own bruises,’ she warned, and her face hardened.

Still, I was on a roll now and knew it.

‘Yeah, thanks for that, or rather, not doing that. Why didn’t you try to jab me again?’ I asked.

‘I couldn’t find the syringe quickly enough,’ Janet said, nodding.

‘Can I make it up to you?’ I asked.

She raised an eyebrow. ‘Like how?’

I thought about it. I probably looked kind of stupid, standing here, chatting up a para while both my arms hung from my shoulders like dead flesh, except for the occasional spasmodic movement.

‘I don’t know, send a pizza, take you out for lunch, something to apologise?’ I suggested.

‘I don’t know, this is a pretty big bruise,’ she said, looking at the side of her arm. ‘I think maybe a full dinner apology is in order.’

That wasn’t what I expected, but it sounded better than what I had in mind.

‘Sure, but ah, not tonight, okay? I need to, ah, recover,’ I said. I felt like an idiot now.

Two other paras looked at me, gave each other a look, and then wheeled the cart around behind the ambulance and started loading it into the rear door.

‘Here’s my card. Call me,’ said Janet, and she held it out to me.

I looked at it and back at her. Didn’t she realise I couldn’t take it? The edge of her smile slowly lifted, and I realised she was getting back at me as best she could right then. After letting it sink in, she flipped the card vertically and dropped it into my shirt pocket.

‘Don’t plan on pizza. I expect a decent apology,’ she gently warned.

‘I’m kind of new to town,’ I said.

‘Then I’ll pick the restaurant and you can pay,’ she said, smiling, as the back of the ambulance started to close. ‘I think your partner is waiting for you.’

I turned to look at the half-closed door of the ambulance then, and saw what she was referring to. I could just make out Jeremy, with an annoyed look on his face.

‘Yeah, all right. Well, I’ll call you once I’m recovered,’ I offered.

‘Do that,’ Janet said.

‘Yeah, I’ll see you then.’

It’s difficult to walk off nonchalantly when your arms are effectively spastic and paralysed. It’s even more difficult to get into the cab, and it’s impossible to close the door. I was just angling to attempt to look even more stupid and pull it in with my foot, when one of the paras came around and closed it for me.

‘Thanks,’ I called out of the window, not game to stick my head too far out without my arms working.

‘Don’t wait too long,’ I heard Janet’s voice, as Jeremy pushed the accelerator and the ambulance started forward, causing me to bump my head on the door frame.

‘Did you just pick that lady up?’ Jeremy asked, as I pulled my head back into the cab. He didn’t sound impressed.

‘Janet?’ I asked.

‘No, the ghost you saw in your fucking dreams,’ Jeremy sarcastically responded. ‘Of course Janet.’

‘Ahh, yeah, I think she picked me up actually,’ I said. ‘I owe her a dinner it seems.’

‘Dinner? You’re shitting me. You’ve been here what, two weeks? All that in training, and now you come out here first day on the job and you pick up the para chick, just like that?’

‘It kind of seems that way,’ I said.

I almost fell over into Jeremy’s lap as he turned a little harder than expected into the next street.

‘Damn, you’ve got balls, is all I can say. Let’s see how long you last.’ Jeremy started to whistle as he made his way onto an on-ramp.

Author bio:
David Kitson has worked in corporate and government environments as a security analyst and technical network architect, as well as a print and TV journalist focusing on video games and technology news. His love of science stems back to a childhood spent climbing trees and building rocket launchers. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and four children.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Interview with novelist K.L. Brady

Today I have an interview with K.L. Brady about her new novel. It's a romantic comedy titled 12 Honeymoons.

During her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, K.L. will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a randomly drawn winner, and a Kindle Fire HD (International Giveaway) to another randomly drawn winner. To enter to win one of the prizes, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

K. L. Brady is a D.C. native but spent a number of her formative years in the Ohio Valley. Her writing career started in the pages of diaries when she was 7 or 8 years old. But it wasn’t until her 40th birthday and an Oprah “Live Your Best Life” moment that she finally answered her calling and wrote her first novel–The Bum Magnet. The originally self-published novel was picked up by Simon & Schuster in a two-book deal, and K.L. hasn’t looked back since, penning the follow-up, Got a Right to Be Wrong and self-publishing the first books in two young adult series and a spy thriller series based on her 20+-year career in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

She has a B.A. in Economics, an MBA, and is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. She is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.

Welcome, K.L. Please tell us about your current release.
I have this theory about how people find their purposes and destinies.

Some people know what they are meant to do, almost from birth. They go through every day of their lives knowing what their gift or talent is and spend most of their time trying to figure out how to bring it into the world.

For others, they have zero clues about who they are meant to be. These people seem flighty and switch from job to job or "thing" to "thing" because they are desperately searching for their purpose and won't stop searching until they find it.

For yet others, they discover their purposes at a very early age, but they talk themselves out of believing they can't do it. Some fear failure, others fear success. They don't have faith that if God has given them a purpose, he has also equipped them to fulfill it. So they bounce around aimlessly from "thing" to "thing" trying to discover what they've already known for most of their lives.

This book is about Miki Vincent, a woman who fits squarely into the latter category. She's known her purpose from a very early age but fears failure and perhaps success. She's addicted to beginnings because she's afraid of endings—in life and love. So, instead she's accomplished nothing, committed to no one and gets into a lot of trouble because of it. This book chronicles the part of her journey where paying for her mistakes and some rude awakenings help her to embrace what's she's already known her entire life.

What inspired you to write this book?
A look back on my own journey into writing. If there’s a message, I guess it’s that it’s okay if you take a more circuitous route to achieving your dreams or even finding love.

I’ve often thought that if I had figured out that I wanted to be an author sooner that I might be far more successful at this stage of my life. But writing this story made me realize that my theory is probably horse puckey. It is the sum of my experiences that have provided me with so much rich material about which to write. Without my experiences, the good and the bad, I’m not sure the stories would be half as good or “real” or funny. So, I’ve come to realize that everything happens in its due time. Whatever path you take, if you’re open to finding and following your true calling, it will eventually lead you there—even if you take a few back roads and scenic routes.

Excerpt from 12 Honeymoons:
I spent my time trolling Facebook and shopping Tiffany & Co. for engagement rings, looking back on those dizzying, emotional highs between day 1 and day 89 after you meet someone new, wondering why I couldn’t put them on Groundhog Day repeat. I wanted to relive each first touch, first hug, first kiss, and first roll in the proverbial hay during The Honeymoon Phase—those heavenly moments at the beginning of a relationship during which sublime happiness could not be contained, when you agreed to everything and fought about nothing. And the butterflies. Oh, the butterflies. How they flapped around in your stomach as you lie giddy with anticipation waiting for the phone or the doorbell to ring. The mere thought of you compelled him to acknowledge your presence on earth and in his life. And don’t even start on the lovemaking. It was so delicious and frequent you could produce enough serotonin and dopamine between the two of you to fuel a medium-sized Chinese village in the Shanghai Province. I convinced myself that this vision of perfection, excitement and passion was how we all should experience love, not just in the first ninety days, but always.

What exciting story are you working on next?
31 Days, a planned novella, is the follow-up to 12 Honeymoons and will come out next year. It will focus on Pamela’s story and provide some much-needed relief to the readers of 12 Honeymoons. Those who have read it understand.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been a writer all of my life. I’ve been journaling since I was 7 or 8 years old. But I never thought of myself as a writer until I sat down to write my first novel in late 2008. To me, authors were like gods on Mt. Olympus that worked a special brand of magic unavailable to mere mortals to write my favorite books. They didn't sit down and grind every day and type. Oh, what a rude, but happy, awakening it was when I realized how wrong I'd been. Writing is something that everyone can do, but you have to work hard and learn your craft to do it well, and consistently well, through every book. I wrote my first book, The Bum Magnet, in four months, self-published it a year later. It got picked up by Simon & Schuster four months later and the rest, as they say, is history. That was six years ago, and I'm nine books in now. Pretty incredible journey

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?
No, I’m not fortunate enough to be able to do the creative writing full time. I work full time, usually writing early in the morning (I’m up by 3 am or 4 am) and then again after work, usually late into the evening.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s funny. I’ve never really been a persnickety writer. I can pretty much write anywhere under most conditions, especially if I have a deadline. BUT—I will say, when I write longhand, I’ve become partial to Moleskine notebooks and gel pens, something about the smoothness of the stroke, I don’t know. But the words come faster when I have those two in hand.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer, but I talked myself out of it for decades. I kept thinking I needed a degree in English or an MFA and that it was too late for me. I’m proof positive that it’s never too late, and the only thing that will hold you back from achieving your dreams is your own negative thinking.

It’s funny as I think about it. I used to practice my autograph when I was young. It’s funny that I pretty much use that same signature. I was an author before I knew it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you so much for joining me today. Please check out my books and feel free to reach out to me on any of my social networks. I’m very responsive to readers and writers, and I’m happy to answer questions or provide advice. 


The book will be on sale for $0.99 during the tour.

Thanks for being here today, K.L.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Special excerpt for The Challenge by Kim Iverson Headlee

Today is a special excerpt from the historical fantasy romance The Challenge by Kim Iverson Headlee.

During her virtual book tour, Kim will be awarding an autographed print copy of Dawnflight to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

This book will be offered FREE on Kindle Oct 27-28.

A little bit about The Challenge:
The gauntlet is thrown. One must die. Refusal is not an option.

Arthur the High King of Breatein has fallen captive of a longtime enemy, the Saxon warrior-princess Camilla, who lusts to avenge the death of her betrothed at Gyan’s hands and will stop at nothing, even the black arts, to achieve her goal. Because Gyan and Arthur have grown estranged, she fears that Arthur may side with Camilla and make her his new queen.

To meet Camilla’s challenge, Gyan must face all her demons—public as well as private.

Excerpt from The Challenge:
The guard drew a long breath. “Your Majesty, it is time.”

Time to face all my demons, private as well as public.

At her nod, he returned to his post outside—a mite reluctantly, she observed.

“Any last advice?” she asked Merlin at the tent’s entrance. She barked a mirthless laugh. “How does one fight a demon?”

“You must not forget your shield.”

She felt her eyebrows rise. “You know I am no novice warrior.”

“I am not talking of wood and metal, Your Majesty.”

A bit about the author:
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Babushka escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels clamoring for attention. She has been a published novelist since 1999, beginning with the original editions of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and Liberty (writing as Kimberly Iverson, HQN Books, Harlequin).

This book will be offered FREE on Kindle Oct 27-28.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview with mystery author D.H. Montgomery

Mystery author D.H. Montgomery has the hot seat today to talk about the first novel in his new Private PSI Detective Mystery series, Karma Dead Ahead.
Welcome, D.H. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I came to fiction writing in a very unusual manner. The story is stranger than many incidents found in fiction books. D.H. Montgomery is a pen name, based on my more famous second cousin, who wrote Anne of the Green Gables. My background was initially in math and science and I was previously a professor in an engineering college. I had written a number of non-fiction books, but no fiction whatsoever, not even a short story, prior to Karma Dead Ahead. In the spring of 2014, a number of real-life paranormal events were taking place around me, including poltergeist activity in my home. One day, the entire plot of what would become a 250-page book popped into his mind in minutes. Not every little detail of course, but I imagined the overall plot and the characters involved in the book. It took five weeks to write everything down, which was as fast as I could type. After “Karma Dead Ahead” was finished, late one night a ghost appeared next to my computer. He had not appeared previously and has not appeared since. 

Please tell us about your current release.
Karma Dead Ahead is a nicely paced detective mystery story with appealing well-drawn characters and a plot that always keeps you guessing as it alternates between humor and suspense.

Two graduate students in a university paranormal research lab become accidental detectives as they go searching for a woman who fails to return from her Caribbean vacation. They get help from a group of psychics known as the “Gang of Four” and a hi-tech witchcraft practitioner. The psychics reveal that a karmic debt from two hundred years ago has put the woman on a path to danger. After some brilliant deductions and twists and turns, the two detectives come face to face with a deranged killer and his intended latest victim. Just as karma set off the chain of events in the beginning, it also determines the dramatic outcome.

Karma Dead Ahead is not just another Detective Mystery/Suspense novel. There are a number of incidents that take place that humorously satirize the corruption and dysfunction of modern institutions — the media, celebrity worship, the scientific establishment, business and elite protection from law enforcement — giving the novel depth and comic relief from the more suspenseful main plot.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had no plans to write Karma Dead Ahead or any other fiction work, until the entire story occurred to me one day in June 2014. I figured I had the entire plot with many of the details of the story, I should write it down.

Excerpt from Karma Dead Ahead:
Chapter Four: The two detectives, Sagacity Jeunesse and Chance Mankowski, are meeting with a group of psychics known as the “Gang of Four” to try to find out why a missing woman, Amanda Posner, hasn’t returned from her Caribbean vacation. The psychics don’t always get along with each other.

Sagacity began the meeting by thanking them all for coming and saying she had a number of objects in plastic bags for their readings, some pictures, and a map. She filled in the sparse details of what she knew about Amanda’s disappearance trying to stay on that fine line between providing the information they needed to know, but not telling them too much. This would allow her to potentially check on their accuracy.

Sagacity simply said, “A woman, Amanda Posner, took a trip to the Caribbean island of Capo Barbuda and has failed to return. She appears to have been in contact with a man named Rodrigo Barnett prior to going to the island. I have pictures of both of them for you, a map of Capo Barbuda, and some of Amanda’s personal items, both metal and cloth. We are trying to find out why she hasn’t returned and where she might be.”

Sagacity then passed around the pictures of Amanda and Rodrigo and copies of the map of the island, suggesting they get some initial impressions before selecting the objects they felt were best for them. She waited a few minutes, and then she asked if everyone was ready. After they all said yes, she picked up the baggies with the objects that Amanda had left and described the contents. She then told the psychics to choose the ones they wanted. Then, looking at Sativa, she said, “I have the special item that you requested,” and she handed him the bag with the panties in them. This immediately got Glastonbury’s attention and a sharp look of disapproval.

“I see Mr. Sativa is indulging his usual twisted tastes for his psychic analysis,” she said in her loud crisp voice dripping with censure.

“I don’t recall anyone asking the opinion of the fat English cow about this matter. She only wishes she could be as productive as I am,” he shot back, glaring at her.

“Productive! ... Productive! ... I’m the one that does the work of two psychics.”  Glastonbury retorted.

“You should be. After all, you’re the size of two psychics.” Sativa replied sarcastically.

“I’ll have you know, that I don’t have to come here to be insulted by YOU,” Glastonbury stated indignantly.

“I don’t doubt that, I’m sure you have many opportunities elsewhere,” Sativa retorted.

Just then, Del Rio was heard to say in her chirpy voice, “I thought Indians worshipped the cow.”

Kuliganaya immediately replied, “Perhaps that’s only if they are domestic darlink. Foreign cows may not count.” To emphasize her point, she flicked an imaginary cigarette in the long cigarette holder she always carried around, even though she had given up smoking years ago.

After that, general mayhem and shouting completely took over the room. Chance was watching in amazement, thinking to himself, “I wonder if I should be taking notes on any of this.”

Sagacity decided to take back control and shouted, “STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!” in the loudest voice she could. The room quieted immediately.

She continued, “OK, now let’s just put personal matters aside and concentrate on the problem at hand. There could be serious issues that require immediate attention and we need to determine that tonight, so please try to cooperate. Now, will everyone please take the objects they want and let’s get on with it.” Sagacity then passed the items around the circle and announced, “We will start with Sanjiva and then go to Lena, Elsa and finally to Chi Chi. Sanjiva, please begin as soon as you are ready.”

Sanjiva used only the pictures and Amanda’s panties for his analysis. He held the panties in his hands and seemed to go into a trance for a few minutes. Then he began to speak, slowly at first with seemingly random tidbits that referred to previous existences, but soon he began to focus on one specific past lifetime that he deemed to be the relevant one….

What exciting story are you working on next?
In addition to two non-fiction books, I am two-thirds of the way through the second novel in the Private PSI Detective Mystery Series. In the first novel, the two detectives, Sagacity Jeunesse and Chance Mankowski went to a Caribbean Island to track down a missing woman and a maniacal killer. In the second one, they go to Paris and have a completely different set of adventures. There is even a touch of spy thriller in the new book.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure I consider myself a writer. Writing is one of many things I do.

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 write books episodically. I used to be a blogger. I am a speaker and own a small business. Writing isn’t something you find time to do, it’s something you make time to do.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always have a period when I write every spare moment for several days when working on a book. For Karma Dead Ahead, that is how the entire book was written. For non-fiction, this happens for only part of the book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember in kindergarten they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and I said a teacher. Many years later, I was a professor for several years.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Check out the reviews for Karma Dead Ahead. They have been better than anything in my wildest imagination. Some of the reviews are a page long, indicating people really got involved with the book, they didn’t just merely read it.


Thanks for being here today, D.H. Happy writing!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Interview with contemporary YA author Tom Early

To wrap up this week, I have Tom Early chatting with me about his new contemporary young adult fantasy novel, Aspect of Winter.

As part of his virtual book tour, Tom will be awarding a signed copy of Aspect of Winter to a lucky person. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops (listed at the bottom of the post) and enter there, too!

Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day. 

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now.

Welcome, Tom. Please tell us about your current release.
Aspect of Winter is a YA contemporary fantasy novel featuring a gay protagonist and a pansexual best friend as well as a bisexual love interest. Fay Hanson is a boy with powers who’s had enough of pretending to be normal at his high school, and he wants to go somewhere that he can finally belong. Sam is his best friend, and she’s not exactly normal either, as it turns out. When a representative from the mysterious Janus University approaches them and invites them to fight for a place at a college for those people with magic, they aren’t about to refuse. Along the way comes Tyler, a completely normal boy who gets dragged into the mess by a summoning attempt gone wrong, and together the three of them must fight to earn a place at Janus University, and Fay can finally be somewhere he feels like he belongs.

What inspired you to write this book?
I want to help with representation in YA lit, where LGBT characters are currently decidedly lacking. There aren’t enough books featuring LGBT protagonists out there right now, and I aim to change that. As for the story itself, I started writing it when I was going through the college application process myself. I wanted to see what it would be like if I turned the already competitive process into something that featured actual fighting for a place at a college, and Aspect of Winter was born. 

Excerpt from Aspect of Winter:
AS IT turned out, being wedged into the small space below the math wing staircase was exactly as uncomfortable as I’d imagined. Now, I was in there of my own choice, sort of. I held still and listened, letting out a sigh of relief when I heard the boys’ voices fading. I decided it was safe and did my best to wriggle out. Groaning, I brushed myself off and realized that I’d somehow managed to cover the majority of my backpack in a thick layer of dust. Rumor had it that years ago the staircase used to be green. Now it was gray. I looked at my backpack in disgust and let out a breath, concentrating. The dust glittered as a layer of frost covered it. When I hoisted my bag onto my back once more, the dust slid right off, the frost preventing it from clinging.

Clean backpack in hand, I trudged up the stairs, across the hall, and walked into the classroom. I took my customary seat in the back next to the poster detailing the derivative rules of calculus, feeling a flash of pity for Ms. King as I watched her try to get anyone to listen, and grabbed my book of the day as the front row began its usual antics. Today they asked Ms. King about her love life, which, while incredibly rude, was extremely successful in throwing her off-balance.

I would never understand high school, even after nearly four years of it. It seemed barely tolerable for everyone involved, including the people who fit in. I didn’t fit in, and so every day was a new chapter in the purgatory of hiding what I could do.
I sent a grateful prayer to the high school gods as class was interrupted by an announcement saying we needed to go to the nurse’s office for a new immunization or something. Ms. King pulled us out of the truly thrilling world of integrals and sent us down one at a time. I was one of the last to go.
Stepping back into the hallway, I prayed that I wasn’t going to run into any of Logan’s crowd again on my way down. The number of times I’d heard “fag” muttered under someone’s breath was already too high.
The school had two hallways running between the faculty area and the math wing, and most people took the lower one. I chose the glass hallway because it was usually empty (this surprised me as well, but apparently using stairs was just too much for many of my classmates), and it was pretty cool to be able to see the entire campus from what was effectively its highest point. I trailed a finger across the glass as I walked, leaving behind a fractal line of frost in the warm September air.
I smirked. For as long as I’d been at Owl’s Head High School, there had been, in the eloquent phrasing of high schoolers, “spooky shit” in the fall and spring where kids would come across ice or cold areas in warm weather. I knew I needed to keep my head down, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a little fun.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently busy working on the sequel, as well as another standalone high fantasy novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I sold my first book, back when Aspect of Winter was self-published. Once a complete stranger was willing to spend money on something I’d written, it felt like I’d done something I could be proud of.

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. I’m currently a student at Tufts University, and most of my days are taken up with schoolwork. I usually manage to find a couple hours I can spend at the library to work on my novels, however.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I plan absolutely nothing out ahead of time. This makes my first drafts quite the stream of consciousness, but it also lets me finish the story a lot faster. Aspect’s first draft only took a little over a month to write. The editing process took much, much longer.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid I was determined to be a wizard and had absolutely no interest in doing any sort of job ever. It sounded too much like work. Now I’m thinking of becoming a librarian. Why not base my entire life around books?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

Everyone has a story in them, in one form or another. See if you can’t find yours and give it a shot! It’s always a lot of fun to see what’s inside your head on paper.
Buy links:

Virtual book tour stops:
October 19:

October 20:

October 21:

October 22:

October 23: