Friday, June 30, 2017

Interview with author Craig B. Bass

Today’s special guest is author Craig B. Bass. We’re chatting about his new coming-of-age story, Skipper.

Craig B. Bass lives in Idaho and Southern California with his wife and dog. In his earlier years, he wrote and published professional articles. He wrote and published fictional stories as a hobby only. He now writes full time when not sailing. His interest in writing has been life long since reading Hemingway, London, Steinbeck and Faulkner, at an early age. He now prefers writing about subject matters that deal primarily with complex problems of the human condition and spirit. His future interests in writing will primarily be concerned with creative fiction and experimental prose styles.

Welcome, Craig. Please tell us a little bit about your current release, Skipper.
This is a coming of age story about a boy growing up in central Florida in the 1950’s. The boy seeks to know the truth about God and religion, sexual awakenings, love, friendship, hate and betrayal.

His boring and uninteresting life is transported into a magical life of excitement and adventure through explorations of rural ranch life, fishing in remote lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico. A Scout Master provides the opportunity of a life time for these wonderful new experiences, but is there too big of a price to pay? Only the boy can answer this question as he seeks the truth.

What inspired you to write this book?
I grew up in Florida. I was in the scouts as a young boy. I am very familiar with the geography, flora and fauna of the region. There was a period of time when Scout Masters through out the USA were being accused of abusing the boys, very much as the catholic priests were accused. I created a fictional character who was probably a benevolent pedophile. His ways of teaching the boys and providing a place for them to live and learn, was an ideal platform for educating prospective parents on a different concept of how to raise their own children. The boys all become better participants in their own households. Their grades all improve. Obviously, the concept is probably too utopian for the present, as the ending suggests, but it is fiction.

Excerpt from Skipper:
“The perfectly beautiful day could not possibly have been more deceptive in the mind of the boy. Deceptive, because for the unimaginable changes that would soon be occurring to him and his perfect life: a large, dark tornado on the horizon, skipping rapidly and inexorably toward him would have been more appropriate.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
A young man makes the decision to become a medical doctor. He has one little problem. He comes from a very poor family with no resources. His trials and tribulations of achieving his lofty goals provide the story line. He first has to learn how to study. He has to find a way to pay for the expensive endeavor. He has to find a job to pay for all the expenses. He has to make the grades to qualify to get into medical school. How he achieves his goals is the story.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That is still under consideration for determination of said quest. I know that I wanted to be a writer in 1970’s.

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 now write full time. I am retired. I sail and travel when not writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted to become a Frogman, the earliest version of the modern day Navy Seals.

Thanks for being here today, Craig.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Interview with fantasy author J.M. Robison

Fantasy author J.M. Robison is in the house today. We’re chatting about her new novel, The War Queen.

During her virtual book tour, J.M. will be awarding a War Queen t-shirt 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!

Welcome, J.M. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Altarn is the first female to secure the position of State Head of Blindvar. Females being a new concept in political positions, Altarn’s competency is treated with bias and mistrust. Worse, she has reason to believe that Kaelin, State Head of Blindvar, wants to take advantage of her perceived “feminine weakness” and stage a coup to take Blindvar for himself. Altarn’s army is too small to fight him alone so she travels to her sister state, Luthsinia to ask the king there for help in the coming war.

While she’s gone, an army launches an attack. However, it’s not Kaelin’s like she originally thought. Kaelin is actually in Luthsinia, and taking advantage of the startling situation, he kidnaps Altarn, taking her back to Ruidenthall. He plans to hold her there while her people flood his boarders to escape the foreign army staking claim to Blindvar. This way, when he helps win back Blindvar, Altarn’s people will love him for it and give Blindvar to him.

This plan is slightly bungled when Kaelin doesn’t want to care for Altarn in her imprisonment the rest of her life, so he lets her go, though tells her that if she has any chance of fighting this foreign enemy, she’ll need his help, though the price for his help will be Blindvar. Altarn is forced to accept.

When Kaelin is fatally wounded in battle, Altarn sees her chance to let him die so he won’t cash in on Blindvar as payment. But can her conscience allow her to let this man die, whom so many other people seem to love? But if she saves his life, will he still take Blindvar for himself?

What inspired you to write this book?
I went for a walk one day. Well, actually it was at night. 1 am to be exact. I love the allure of darkness. I lived in Pocatello, ID at the time, about a stones-throw from the campus grounds. Above the ISU’s campus is a hill, and on this hill are 4 Greek-looking pillars. If you google “pillars in Pocatello, ID” you’re bound to see a picture of them. The journey of my walk ended at these pillars, and as I was sitting beneath them, looking across the landscape, I formed a story in my head, because I’m a geek and had no life (I still don’t). I imagined that a god fell from heaven onto these pillars which is why they are “broken”. (They appear broken to me, anyway, because only 3 of the 4 pillars are connected at the top.) I thought, “That would make a great story!” So what did I do? I went back to my apartment. And went to bed.

Excerpt from The War Queen:
“Knowing you the short time I have,” he somehow made that statement sound like that time started this morning, “it appears you wield your emotions like a weapon and people have to back away or be stabbed. I don’t think it’s so much a fear of having a female in charge, it’s…having you in charge, and so people make that one and the same.”
The daggered truth stabbed her. She sucked in a sharp breath, which left little room for words to defend herself. His apologetic eyes made it worse, like he was being truthful though she wished he’d said it just to be ugly. She didn’t know how to defend against the truth.
“I fail to see why you care,” she snarled. Her exposed weakness left her more nervous about leading an army, and the bucket of white paint became so obvious now and Japheron’s comment about it laid her entire self open, naked and ready for Kaelin to dress her as he pleased.
“I care,” he said, lifting a finger as if he could shove the understanding into her skull, “because you showed up to a war council in a dress.”
She laughed at the ridiculousness of his concern, but his eyes didn’t change. “You’ve never had a dress in a war council, so I can see how it would appear odd to you.”
He pressed his lips together, and Altarn wished the real concern she saw in his expression wasn’t so earnest.
“You’ve never been to a war council, have you?”
“I don’t see how the proceedings are any different than a regular court session where other problems with equal importance are discussed. I have been doing that for a year.”
He exhaled and leaned back, crossing a boot over one knee. “It’s different for Ruids. We discuss war plans every week because of our pirate problem. The mood is different, the light in our eyes is different. It’s life and death we speak of, and that holds a special kind of ceremony we honor in our speech, in our manners, and our dress.”
“Why would my dress not honor this ceremony?”
“It might…except you look like a damn princess. I don’t know about Blindvar, but we killed our princesses long ago. Your people don’t want a princess. They want a war queen. A princess can’t handle the emotional responsibility of sending people off to their deaths, but a war queen can. “You’d be surprised how willing your soldiers would be to die for you, so long as you did it without crying as they march away. They need to be reassured you’ll hold your ground when they cannot.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
A YA historical fantasy romance based on Victorian Era England. A wizard from the Middle Ages is imprisoned for 324 years, where he is freed by a Victorian Era English girl. She helps him reclaim his amulet, taken when he was first imprisoned. The wizard is running out of places to hide from those who want his amulet back, and from the church who's on the hunt again to purge the world from the last of the magic.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote the third book to my 5 part fantasy series. I was 17.

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?
Some day I’ll write full time. But since I still have bills to pay, I own the title of Deputy Sheriff. I work in my local county jail, currently on 12 hour nights shifts. I might be busy, say, 4 hours out of the night, so the rest of the night is all just waiting for work to come to us. It’s either join my co-workers who spend that time watching movies, or write. I also have time on my days off to write, so it’s not bad.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write every 1st draft by hand. I’ve done this for 8 books so far, each book 70,000+ words. I then type them up for the 2nd draft, and proceed with editing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Somewhere between the age of 5-19, I wanted to be a police officer, FBI agent, CIA, a soldier, or a career writer. Currently I’m a soldier in the U.S. Army reserves and a full time Deputy Sheriff, working on becoming a career writer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m a fantasy historian who chronicles the events which force heroes to reveal their mistakes, lead rebellions to dethrone tyranny, and unearth ancient secrets to free the oppressed.

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Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you so much for having me.

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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!