Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with mystery author Judith Copek

Mystery author Judith Copek is here today. Her novels are inspired by places she visits. Today she's talking to us about her newest book, World of Mirrors.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Judith. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am likely the only person you will ever meet who was born in Montana. I grew up on the High Plains of Colorado and moved to Houston to pick up a B.A. in English from Rice University. After a stint in Chicago, I moved to New England where I spent twenty-plus years as an Information Systems nerd, a natural choice for an English major. English Lit. and Computer Science go together like tomatoes and basil because analytic skills are transferable to any occupation. They helped me survive Dilbert-like re-engineering projects and the Millennium Bug. In my writing, I like to put a literary spin on technology, and to show technology’s humor and quirkiness along with its scary aspects.

When I’m not writing, cooking, or digging in the garden, I’m in Southern California or at Burning Man in the Nevada desert researching my next novel. Some of the groups I belong to are Toastmasters, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and New England Pen. I’m also a founding member of the New England Crime Bake Mystery Conference.

Please tell us about your current release.
World of Mirrors is set on an island off the Baltic coast in the former DDR, and the year is 1990, the “time of the turn.” The Berlin wall has crumbled, but Germany is not yet reunified. 

Against the seductive decadence of an old resort with its classic sailboats, nude beaches, and crumbling casinos, Zara Gray, a consultant to high tech firms, and T.K. Drummond, a man who finds people and fixes situations, must track down an American software thief before he can fence a stolen copy of his company’s bleeding-edge new software.

Zara narrates the story as she fights the fear that their mission is jinxed from the beginning. Bad decisions and chilling discoveries threaten to sabotage the project. The situation further unravels during a sailing weekend, and turns deadly at a Midsummer Festival. Trapped in a matrix of betrayal, Zara and T.K. must rely on two unlikely people to help them escape the island and in a final, desperate gambit to save the software, Zara must perform her own dangerous treachery

What inspired you to write this book?
In 1995, my husband and I visited the Baltic island that became the setting of the book. It was like a step back in time, because the island was untouched—beautiful scenery and falling-apart old buildings. This part of Germany had been in the DDR (East Germany) and nothing had been modernized—or spoiled. After we returned home, the island stayed in my mind until I realized there was a story there. Sure enough, with scads of research and a return visit, I did find my story. There were many rewrites between the inspiration and the finished book.

What exciting story are you working on next? 
I just completed a “woman in jeopardy” novel that I haven’t tried to sell yet, and I’m currently working on a mainstream novel set near Los Angeles in 1928. An historical story is certainly proving a challenge, but it’s also fun (and educational) to get one’s head into a completely different era.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
After I completed my first (unpublished) novel and got rejections to “Dear Author.”

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?
Alas, I do not write full time, although when I retired from my “day job” I assumed I would. Lately, I’m grinding out about a page a day, due to 6 weeks of company this summer. Some part of every day is either devoted to writing, plotting, editing, PR, blogging, or various writing activities. It takes me a couple years to write a book. If I had a contract with a deadline, I’m sure I would buckle down and write faster. 

Cooking and gardening are two big hobbies, and I’m a Toastmaster, so sometimes I’m working on a speech, often about some aspect of writing. I have absolutely no schedule, being of the 'consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds' bent. That being said, mid-morning is my most productive time at the computer.  

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
I seldom take a vacation or a trip that doesn’t somehow end up in a book, hence World of Mirrors.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
At various times I wanted to be an actress, a civil engineer and a nuclear physicist. Instead I majored in English. Go figure.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers? 
The early readers of World of Mirrors have been enthusiastic about the novel, and this has been heartening. Nothing beats bringing a ragtag group of characters to an unusual setting and turning them loose to make mischief. 

I love to hear from readers and can be reached through my website, or my Facebook page.

Thanks, Judith! Thanks for the Dilbert and cube life flashbacks. And thanks for bringing the New England Crime Bake mystery writer's conference into existence. It's my favorite writers conference.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview with romance author Emma Carlyle

Today's guest has a split identity and we're focused on the romance novelist side, which is Emma Carlyle. She's talking about her newest book, Someone To Watch Over Me.

Once upon a time there was an author who began writing romance. She won awards for her unpublished manuscripts and eventually sold two romances, both of which also won awards. Life was all hearts and flowers and hunky heroes until one day she was attacked by a glue gun wielding amateur sleuth who forced the romance author to write her story. 

Thus, author Lois Winston turned her attentions from romance to mystery, writing the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. However, Lois found she had more romance stories to tell. So she decided to split her personality, remaining Lois Winston for mystery, becoming Emma Carlyle for romance, and diving into the digital publishing revolution. Read more about Emma and Lois at their websites: and

Welcome Lois (as Emma), please tell us about your current release.
My latest release is Someone To Watch Over Me, a romantic suspense. Here's a blurb:

Dori Johnson’s life is built on lies and deceit. Six years ago she committed a series of felonies in order to flee Philadelphia and save herself and her siblings from a ruthless Russian crime boss. They’ve lived under the radar ever since. But now Dori’s been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that her siblings insist she take. Within days her carefully constructed world begins toppling around her, and when her life is threatened, the one man who can help her is the one man she doesn’t dare trust.

What inspired you to write this book?
Most people are probably familiar with the Mafia's long history in Philadelphia, especially in South Philly. There have certainly been enough books and movies on the subject. However, what most people don't realize is that there was a large influx of Russian immigrants into Philadelphia the last two decades of the twentieth century, first from defections and later after the Iron Curtain fell. Many settled in the northeast section of Philadelphia. And along with these immigrants came the Russian Mafia. I lived in Philadelphia during this period and met some of these people. Others, I read about in the newspaper. All became fodder for Someone To Watch Over Me.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Since I'm both indie and traditionally published, next up for me is finishing the fourth book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series which has an early 2013 deadline. I took a break from writing it recently to launch Emma's indie career, but now I have to turn my attention back to Anastasia. She doesn't take rejection well after what her dead louse of a spouse put her through.

Thanks for that teaser!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my first book. Of course, it was totally unpublishable, which I learned pretty quickly, but I wasn't daunted by the rejections. I'd written a 50,000 word story! That was a huge sense of accomplishment, and it made me realize I wanted to keep writing. So I set about learning how to write right, and ten years (almost to the day) that I began writing that first story, I sold my first book.

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'm actually juggling three full time careers. Along with writing, I'm a designer in the consumer crafts industry (I'm the person who creates the needlework kits you see in craft stores and the projects in crafts and women's magazines.) I'm also an associate of the literary agency that reps me.

I'm able to do all this because my kids are grown, and all three of my careers are done from my home. I know women writers who work 40 hours a week outside the home AND have young kids. I don't know how they do it. I have huge admiration for those women. I couldn't do what they do.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I'm writing, I employ what I refer to as "method" writing, similar to method acting where the actor becomes the role she's playing. I sit back, close my eyes, and envision the scene as a movie with me as the point of view character. I "become" my character so that I experience her feelings and understand her reasons for acting the way she does in a given situation. I find this method also works well for those times when writer's block threatens. If I'm experiencing what my heroine is experiencing, I don't have time for writer's block.

I also like to observe people. Anyone can wind up in one of my books. I have a T-shirt that says, "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel," and I mean it. You really need to watch what you say and do around me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was ten years old, I decided I wanted to be an astronaut, the first female astronaut. Unfortunately, I learned that NASA isn't interested in astronauts who suffer from motion sickness. Scratch that career path. I gave up the heavens and turned to my other love, Broadway theater. Again, I was confronted with a major problem. Actually two major problems. I have a tin ear and two left feet. Broadway isn't interested in singers who can't sing and dancers who can't dance. Good thing my third choice was something I could actually do. I wound up going to art school where I majored in graphic design and illustration. For several years after college I worked as a layout artist for John Wanamaker.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One of my summer goals was to launch my Emma Carlyle pen name and release five ebook titles under that name. To celebrate having accomplished this before the end of July, and inspired by the incredible generosity of fellow author and good friend CJ Lyons, I decided to contribute part of the sales of my Emma Carlyle books to charity. 

From August through October, I'm making a donation of $500 to breast cancer research for every 1,000 Emma Carlyle books sold. Along with Someone To Watch Over Me, there's another romantic suspense, Lost in Manhattan. Hooking Mr. Right is a romantic comedy. Finding Hope is a romance, and Four Uncles and a Wedding is chick lit. Blurbs, excerpts, and buy links can be found at Just think, for less than the price of a latte, you can help save the tatas!

That's great! Thanks, Lois/Emma.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book blurb blitz tour stop for Linda Mercury

Today, I'm part of a book blurb blitz (I have so much fun saying that 3 times fast) for Linda Mercury and her novel Dracula's Secret.

Linda Mercury left behind her varied careers as a librarian, art model, and professional clown to pursue writing. She’s interested in writing, romance, the Middle East, reading, organizing, cooking, hand-made silk Turkish rugs, and the Nike of Samothrace.

You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Linda will be awarding a hand-painted fan to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So if you'd like to be entered to win, please leave an e-mail address with your comment. (Feel free to comment without leaving an e-mail address, too!) And if you enter yourself to win, you can increase your chances by leaving comments at other tour stops.


She calls herself Valerie Tate. One of the few vampires left on earth, as beautiful as she is powerful, Valerie has resisted her craving for human blood for years, just as she once hid her true gender. But the night she lays eyes on the most enticing man she’s ever seen, it’s game over. He radiates goodness and light—and searing sexual energy.  Valerie must have him. Taste him. Consume him. For he is temptation—and he is her destiny…

Lance Soleil is a rugged war veteran who runs a homeless shelter in Portland. At first gaze, he knows what Valerie is—and wants her even more. But when he welcomes a pack of werewolves into his shelter, he attracts the attention of Valerie’s oldest rival—her bloodthirsty brother, Radu, who hopes to become the first vampire President of the United States. Valerie knows Radu has a hidden agenda, and with Lance’s help she is determined to stop his unholy rise to power. But first, she must risk their growing love by fully revealing herself—as the one and only Dracula…


His sun pierced her night.

Valerie Tate stopped dead at the sudden stabbing pain and clapped her leather gloved hands over her sensitive eyes. She’d been running full speed from rooftop to rooftop in an effort to bypass the clogged holiday traffic between her and her destination. Portland’s nighttime rain had merely cloaked her progress instead of slowing her down.

The flare of light, brighter than a magnesium bomb exploding in her face, now left her stunned, blind, and helpless. Any one looking out over the skyline could see her. Not something she wanted. 

She crouched, one foot poised over the lip of a building’s crown. One wrong step and she’d fall off. It wouldn’t be a fatal drop, but it would certainly slow her down. Better to risk being seen up here, prancing about like some crazed musical number, than sprawled out on the pavement in the middle of the Halloween crowd.

Valerie probed the skin on her face. Unlike magnesium and direct sunlight, she hadn’t blistered or burned in response. Good. That would have ruined her evening’s plans. Much depended on her appearance not gathering too much attention.

Blood seeped from under her eyelids in response to the too-bright shine. Under the cover of her palms, she blinked away the achingly intense spots floating before her vision.

How could this happen? Once, a magnesium bomb had detonated next to her. Even as her skin peeled back, she had kept going. Nothing broke her concentration during a mission. Six hundred years of killing had taught her well. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Interview with author David LeRoy

Today's guest, David LeRoy, did extensive research on the German occupation of France for his debut novel The Siren of Paris. This historical novel follows the journey of one American from medical student, to artist, to political prisoner at Buchenwald Concentration Camp during World War Two.  

David LeRoy is an accidental author. On his way to becoming an artist, he suddenly came down with an incurable condition and began to write instead of paint, to the horror of his instructors. He holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy and religion, which are recurring themes through out his first novel. Aside from writing, he continues to paint and draw on a regular schedule, while holding down an unspeakable day job in telecommunications.

Welcome, David. Please tell us about your current release, The Siren of Paris.
The story is a unique experience of World War II, told from the perspective of a French-born American art student who becomes trapped by the war. This transforms the protagonist from an innocent and rather naïve young college student into a physically, emotionally, and spiritually wounded member of the French underground resistance. Ultimately, he is faced with the task of overcoming his own sense of survivor’s guilt as he re-enters the world after his release from Buchenwald concentration camp. This is when faces the loss of his comrades and struggles with facing his betrayer.

What inspired you to write this book?
A single statue inspired me to research this book. It is located in a small plaza in Antibes, France and captured the sense of crushing oppression that members of the resistance faced. I wondered if Americans living in Europe had become trapped by the war and if any had joined the Resistance. My initial research confirmed that both were the case. Forty-six books later, along with countless other documents, I had the details that contribute to the story The Siren of Paris.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The Flower of Chamula, which explores the effect of complex trauma upon a young child who becomes an orphan twice before she is 12 years old. The book is about that curious condition of being young, yet old and mature at the same time, which is common in children who lose their childhood innocence due to tragedy.

Writing life:
In my fantasies, I only write a book once, and it is brilliant. In reality, after I have written the book once, I am condemned to a purgatory of re-writing and editing for at least another 10 drafts. But my friends all seem to think I just sat down and wrote it on a weekend, and I sometimes foster that fantasy if I think there is a chance they actually will take the bait.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my very first really shitty first draft, when I was staring at a huge collection of 50 to 60 thousand words full of spelling errors and punctuation problems, I knew then I had become a writer. Not because anyone could actually read the beast, but because I took it out 30 days later and worked towards the next shitty draft that was slightly better than the previous one. Some call this persistence and others an addiction, and I will let you decide.

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?
My day job does deal with writing, but it is legal contracts. When I am working on a draft, I set aside time every day to work towards at least 3,000 words. I am a goal driven “type A” personality in recovery, so I keep track of everything on an excel worksheet so that I know exactly where I am in the process and how much more I need to complete. Each draft of The Siren of Paris took me, on average, 22 working days to complete. Then I take a 30-day break from it all, making sure not to read the text at all until the time is up. During this time, I terrorize the world finding something else to obsess over.

Fun: When not writing, I am painting or drawing. It is another form of the same creative process, but it quiets my mind.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I incorporate some of the same design principles I use in composing a painting into my writing. Underneath my stories, I often use numerical principles to construct scenes. But that is not the only crazy thing I do. I choose music that captures the mood of the story, and I listen to the music over and over again until it is in my consciousness. Then I imagine the scenes of the book that go with this music. It sounds crazy, but I am using the music to match my own emotions to the mood I am trying to create in the story.

Since I am confessing my crazies, I have been known to use a candle. I will take a candle and place it into the bottom of a large bronze Tibetan singing bowl, (you will only get this show here folks), and then I will rhythmically tap the bowl, focusing on the flame, and imagine the life of my characters. I would just use pot, but it is boring compared to a flame in a Tibetan singing bowl at midnight.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was obsessed with the dream of joining the merchant marines and working on some ship. How I ended up studying philosophy and religion is a mystery to me, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that my college was on the ocean.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Dream. Use your imagination and dream before you write, and when someone shakes their finger and says, “You can’t do that,” then jump on it until you have done it like no one else. 

Thanks, David. Readers, you can purchase The Siren of Paris in Kindle e-book format from Amazon -- and learn more about this author and novel at

For more information about this virtual book tour, please visit --

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Live critique chat at Writer's Chatroom 8/26/12

Sunday, August 26, The Writer's Chatroom will have a critique chat. Would you like a crit from the entire chatroom? Then follow the guidelines EXACTLY.

E-mail 200-300 words from your work. Paste your submission into the e-mail.
Copy this list and put it at the beginning of the email, with your answers:

Format (short story, novel, etc):
Section: (beginning, middle, or end of piece):
Name you intend to publish under:
Name you use in the chatroom:

Submissions that follow the guidelines will be used in the order they are received. I don't know how many we will get through, but the queue starts when the first correct submission is received.

Submit polished work! Most of our chatters are aiming for publication. To get there, you have to be able to handle honest critiques. I will not allow personal attacks, but problems in the writing will be openly discussed.

If you are not in attendence, your submission will be skipped. It's a waste of everyone's time to critique something if the author isn't there to hear it.

Fiction, nonfic, essay...doesn't matter. I recommend trying to get an entire scene into 300 words. Full scenes get better crits.

Why only 300 words? More than that will scroll off the screen too quickly. People need to be able to read it, to give a good crit.

Please be on time for this chat. Crosstalk, including greetings, will be kept to a bare minimum. 

Make sure you have floated and enlarged your screen in chat, so you can keep up. Here we go...let's see how many of you have learned to write well and follow submission guidelines. First submission up for crits is...  


Sunday, August 26, 2012
Eastern USA Time.....7 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats. 

Don't forget the topic chats on Wednesday nights, 8-10 pm EST!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New interview with mystery author Susan Santangelo

Mystery author Susan Santangelo is back to tell us about her newest novel, Marriage Can Be Murder: Every Wife Has a Story. You can read about last year's novel, first, if you like.

Welcome back, Susan. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
An early member of the Baby Boomer generation, Susan Santangelo has been a feature writer, drama critic and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in the New York metropolitan area, including a stint at Cosmopolitan magazine. A seasoned public relations and marketing professional, she has designed and managed not-for-profit events and programs for over 25 years, and was principal of her own public relations firm, Events Unlimited, in Princeton NJ for ten years. She also served as Director of Special Events and Volunteers for Carnegie Hall during the Hall's 1990-1991 Centennial season.   

Susan divides her time between Cape Cod MA and the Connecticut shoreline. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Cape Cod Writers Center, and also reviews mysteries for Suspense magazine. She shares her life with her husband Joe and two English cocker spaniels: Tucker and Boomer.

A portion of the sales from the Baby Boomer Mysteries is donated to the Breast Cancer Survival Center, a non-profit organization based in Connecticut which Susan founded in 1999 after being diagnosed with cancer herself.

Please tell us about your current release, Marriage Can Be Murder.
Nantucket Stars in Baby Boomer Whodunnit

West Dennis, MA, July 15, 2012 – It’s no mystery why popular Cape Cod author Susan Santangelo, who pens the best-selling Baby Boomer mysteries, chose Nantucket as the setting for the third book in her series, Marriage Can Be Murder. “I’ve always loved Nantucket,” she says, “and I have many friends who either live here full-time or summer here. When I was plotting out this book, I wanted to feature a destination wedding. Nantucket was the only place I considered. If I were a bride, it would be my number one choice!”
            The humorous Baby Boomer mysteries capture common issues facing the 78.2 million Baby Boomers, now in their 50s and 60s, how relationships change and communication breaks down with each other and with their grown children. The series follows typical boomers Carol and Jim Andrews as they navigate their way along life’s rocky path toward their twilight years.
            The first two Baby Boomer mysteries -- Retirement Can Be Murder and Moving Can Be Murder – have received five-star reviews and been suggested for a television series by national critics.
            Book Three of the series, Marriage Can Be Murder, brings the Andrews family to Nantucket. Carol is thrilled when daughter Jenny announces her engagement. She’s dreamed of planning her daughter’s wedding since the day Jenny was born. But with only two months to pull together a destination wedding on Nantucket, Jenny insists on hiring Cinderella Weddings to organize the event. Father-of-the-bride Jim objects to the cost, and Carol objects to having her opinion ignored. When Carol finds the wedding planner dead at the bottom of a spiral staircase at a Nantucket inn, and the husband of Carol’s BFF Nancy is accused of her death, Carol has more to worry about than getting to the church on time!

What inspired you to write this book?
The Baby Boomer mystery series is my way of depicting the issues facing the 78.2 million Baby Boomers in the United States. The first was retirement, the second was down-sizing and moving. Then I decided to tackle the wedding of an adult child – something most of us go through at one time or another. Just for fun, I made it a destination wedding. And, of course, I had to throw in one dead body!

What’s the next writing project?
The next book in the series will be about a high school reunion. I’m toying with the title of Memories Can Be Murder, but I’d like to come up with something a little more schmaltzy than that. I like to start with a title, and a blurb. Both go through many changes as the story develops, however.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I always start with the dead body. When you read any of my books, a reader is introduced to the victim within the first ten paragraphs. In Book 1, the victim was identified immediately. But in the second and third books, I had a body and no idea who it was. I kept writing and writing and finally figured out who it had to be. That’s a challenge for me, but I enjoy writing that way. It’s fun.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I don’t do a lot of research. After all, I’m living the life of a Boomer, as are all my friends. The topics we talk about are the topics that usually end up in the books. But when the first draft is complete, I always have to go back and fill in gaps. I like the mystery to be completely logical. (Unlike me!)

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I’ve discovered that it’s very important for me to write in front of a window with lots of light and a view of the water, rather than at a regular desk. Fortunately, living on Cape Cod and also spending time on the Connecticut shoreline, I don’t have any trouble finding space that fits that criteria. And I also like to write with one of my dogs, usually Boomer, near me. Since he’s the cover model for the books, I value his opinion.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I love Donna Andrews, Rosemary Harris, Roberta Isleib, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Carolyn Hart, Joan Hess, Lois Winston – I could go on and on. There are so many talented writers today, and I wish I had more time to read.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Just a big thank you to you for hosting me on your blog, and to all the readers who’ve supported my books. Oh, and Boomer, who’s nudging me, says “Woof” from him, too. 

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews, Susan. Let us know when your next novel is out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with non-fiction writer Chet Shupe

Today's guest is writer Chet Shupe as he tours his book, Eden, Regaining Our Spiritual Freedom.

Chet Shupe’s professional background is in Electronics Engineering. As a young engineer never did he imagine he would someday be developing a thesis that addresses a broad spectrum of sociological issues. At some point at mid career however, he was inspired to apply his background in control theory to the human condition by looking at the brain as the controller of the life of the species. This has led to an engineering based, rather than a religious, sociological, psychological, or philosophically based assessment of the human condition. Out of this has come a unique perspective addressing the perplexing issues that increasingly face us, including, among others, our lack of intimacy and habitat destruction. Why is our world essentially without relational intimacy, when what we want more than anything is to love and be loved? And why are we destroying the habitat that we need to survive?

To Shupe, these issues are closely related, plus myriads of other ills from which our culture suffers. Shupe offers his answer regarding the source of these concerns, and also suggests a path by which to recover our natural state of intimacy in our relationships and of harmony with the natural world.

Welcome, Chet. Please tell us about your current release.
Eden, Regaining Our Spiritual Freedom is about regaining our natural state of Eden, where our species was ruled by the human spirit—that is, our emotional/behavioral nature—instead of by monetary and legal systems.

What inspired you to write this book?
As an electronic engineer, I began looking at the life of our species from the perspective of control theory. I viewed the species as a complex system, with the brain as it’s controller. It didn’t take much analysis to realize that trying to control the future by force of instituted law cannot work. Trying to control the future by authorizing social and material contracts is like trying to back a long train of two wheeled trailers. And because those contracts have no termination date, the trains our governments are trying to back are infinitely long. There are too many interdependent variables, causing the train to fold up on itself. This demonstrates, from the perspective of control theory, why all civilizations eventually collapse.

Having realized why all attempts at civil rule eventually fail, I then focused on why humans made the mistake of trying to unnaturally control the future in the first place, and what we can do to counter the error. That led, after many years of work, to my book, Eden—Regaining our Spiritual Freedom.

What exciting story are you working on next?
When finished with Eden I thought I was through writing for a while. Most authors agree that writing is as much a learning process as a communication process. After the years of working on Eden, the learning apparently didn’t stop with the writing. An idea would pop into my head. I would sit down at the computer and start developing it, and soon would have an essay that looked at spiritual from an entirely new and refreshing perspective. So, I don’t have another book in mind but, based on my experience, I will probably continue to write essays. It has been suggested that the essays be put into a book. We will wait and see.

The essays are available at my website,

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have never considered myself an author. After years of working on Eden, I have learned a lot about writing. But I write because I feel I have discovered something, and want to share it, not because I see myself as an author.

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 wrote full time while writing Eden. But I have since written when I feel like it, which means when I have an idea I want to explore. That usually averages two or three hours a day. I am retired so finding the time is no issue.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have none, at least not that I know of. That is a question you should probably ask my friends.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up on a farm ranch and I didn’t really think about it much. I chose Electrical Engineering when going to college because it seemed to fit my interests.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
There are two thoughts, actually. As a result of reading Eden, I would like people to realize there is no cause to blame, no matter what has happened or what the future brings. Since the moment we expelled ourselves from Eden—began trusting our lives to money and law, instead of one another—we have been laying blame on one another in order to whitewash our institutions. This attitude so permeates the post-Eden reality that the major world religions proclaim that humans are born in sin. But the people who lived in Eden did not see themselves as sinful, and if we should regain our spiritual freedom by trusting our lives to the human spirit, instead of to money and law, we won’t see ourselves as being possessed by sin either—indeed, quite the opposite. We will celebrate the emotional and material beings that Nature created in us.

One other thought: No matter how remote or impractical spiritual freedom may seem to us now, there is another way of life available to us that is sustainable and through which we know one another’s real selves, instead of the personae we have taken on to survive a world ruled by money and law. Indeed, it is the way of life that allowed our species to flourish for the upwards of two-hundred thousand years before we were taken over by money and law, only a few thousand years ago. To embrace that way of life, however, requires that we return to our spiritual homes; homes that serve both our material and our spiritual needs.
Thanks for this interview. I wish the best to you and your readers.

You're quite welcome, Chet. Happy touring!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Interview with author Olga Vannucci

Olga Vannucci is here today to chat with us about her book, Travels With George: A Memoir Through the Italy of My Childhood which combines travel, Italy, and family.

Olga Vannucci was born in Italy, lived in Brazil, and came to the United States to attend Brown University. She lives in rural New Jersey with her beloved son, George.

Welcome, Olga. Please tell us about your book.
I was born in Italy and came to the U.S. for college, and I’ve lived here ever since. When my son was seven years old, I realized that I hadn’t been back to Italy in ten years, and I went, and took him along. Then I went four more times, and I wrote a book about those trips, a mix of travelogue, personal history, and little anecdotes.

What inspired you to write this book?
What possessed me? I am a very shy and private person, and I have no idea what possessed me! I think I felt that what I had to say was a little bit different in that I’m both an Italian native and a tourist. What I find interesting is that my friends who have read the book say it sounds just like me. It’s written in the present tense, so it feels like you are along and I’m talking to you.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on two new projects. I’m working on a book of travels with my son in the U.S. America is so varied, there’s so much to see and do. The other project is around cooking with my mother. She is a fantastic cook, and I can’t boil an egg. I am building a book around her recipes, and around her and me. I think it will be really cool.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m still getting used to considering myself a writer because this is my first book! What brings it home for me is hearing from others about the things that spoke to them in the book, and they range from the more profound to the totally mundane. 

Women will focus on the mothering aspects of the book, dealing with my son. Men enjoy my description of how Italians give directions: they start from a place you’ve never heard of, proceed vaguely, and stop well before your destination. Apparently that’s happened to others… They can relate, and I love when people tell me they can relate to something I wrote about, and I feel like a writer.

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 have a full-time job that involves numbers rather than words. I’m divorced and I write on Sunday afternoons when my son is with his father. I have carved out that time. Having said that, I go through phases: sometimes I write manically and sometimes I set the writing aside for a while until I’m excited go back to it. It seems to work as a method, at least for me.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I use commas when I should be using periods! I know, it’s shocking… I do that sometimes when I’m stringing short sentences together one after the other. It seems to me to mimic the way someone talks when telling about something that happened, as in, “We went there, we did this, that happened, it was great.”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A hairdresser. Though I know now I could never handle the small talk that’s required.

Anything else you'd like to share with the readers?
The book is available on Amazon, both printed and Kindle versions, at

Thanks, Olga. I'm happy to meet you and glad to have you join the blog.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book excerpt tour stop for paranormal suspense novelist Donna Galanti

Today I'm part of a virtual excerpt tour for paranormal suspense author Donna Galanti for her novel A Human Element.

During her virtual excerpt tour, Donna will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. If you want to be entered in the contest, leave your e-mail address with your comment. And if you want to increase your chances of winning, stop by other tour stops and do the same thing!

Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly, no ghosts. Visit her at:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Doctor Britton spat out a brittle laugh that turned into a hacking cough. He took another drink. "And this." He shook his glass at them. "This is how I live with myself. But delivering Laura here was my saving grace. I would have killed myself long ago." His face sagged and he put his drink down on the edge of the end table. The glass teetered and fell on the floor, splashing whiskey up his leg. Tears rolled down his wrinkled face.

"You should have killed yourself, old man," Ben said. "You don't deserve to live."

Doctor Britton cried harder, soaking his whiskey-stained shirt.

"I am not your saving grace," Laura said to the doctor, bent over in the recliner. She felt no pity for him, only anger. "Where is my brother?"

"I don't know. We delivered him to the man waiting outside."

"What man?"

"I don't know his name." Doctor Britton closed his eyes. "I just called him the man in black."

Ben shook the doctor's shoulders. "Old man, wake up! What did he look like?" Ben shook him again and then let go. He slumped back in the chair. "We'll have to come back. He's passed out."

"Could it really be our man in black?" Laura looked at Ben.

"I don't know but let's get out of here."

They couldn't leave the dank house quick enough and hurried to the car outside. Ben started to drive away when a hand clamped down on his shoulder. He jumped, braking hard. Laura screamed. They both turned around fast, Ben with his fist ready to hit.

The man in black stared back at them from the back seat with his bright green eyes.

Connect with Donna:
TwitterFacebook | Blog 

Purchase A Human Element:

Readers, don't forget about the $50 gift card giveaway! If you want to be entered to win, leave your e-mail address with your comment.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Live chat/interview with dark fiction author John Everson

The Writer's Chatroom presents dark fiction author John Everson.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Sign In. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Interview with romantic suspense author Elaine Cantrell

Romantic suspense author Elaine Cantrell is here today as part of a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish for her novel Never Trust a Pretty Wolf.

As part of the tour, Elaine will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commentor during the tour. If you'd like to be entered to win, leave an e-mail address with your comment below. And if you want more chances to win, follow the tour and comment at other stops.

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She holds a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC authors. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Books. 

At present, she teaches high school social studies. In her spare time she enjoys reading, collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, and playing with her grandchildren. Visit Elaine at and at . She’s on Facebook at and Twitter at and would love to be friends. 

Welcome, Elaine. Please tell us about your current release.
Never Trust a Pretty Wolf, is one of three that I’ve had so far this year, and in case you’re wondering, I’m overwhelmed with trying to promote three books at one time.

Never Trust a Pretty Wolf touches on several themes. The first and probably the most important is forgiveness. Both my hero and heroine have serious issues in their pasts that make them feel they need forgiveness. These issues are so serious that when my heroine learns about what my hero did, she isn’t sure she can forgive him. So, the story is partly about their search for forgiveness and redemption.

The book is also a story about starting over. Both Liesel and Andy remind me of a phoenix who rises from his own ashes to begin a new life. Ultimately, this is what both Liesel and Andy want-a new life.

And of course there is a bad guy. I don’t mean a kind of bad guy. I mean a guy one local sheriff called a criminal ‘heavy hitter’. Even my hero believes that he’d rather not meet William Wolf without backup. But you know he does.

What inspired you to write this book?
That’s a good question, and in this case very easy to answer. I wrote the book because I Iove romantic suspense. I never really thought about it until I sat down one day to do an inventory of the books I had on hand. They were all romances of course, but most of them had elements of suspense in them, and one book was totally romantic suspense. Once I understood how much I liked the genre it was a simple matter to sit down and plan the book.

Andy’s hand shot out. “Give me that gun,” he commanded.
He took it from her with ease. “I don’t know why you have this,” he whispered, “but if we get out of here alive you have some explaining to do. Now, keep moving but stay in control. Remember, no headlong plunges into the woods.”
Forty‑five minutes later, they exited the woods near the bridge that crossed the little creek. Liesel fearfully scanned the inviting, family‑centered area. “I don’t see anyone.”
“Two o’clock. Men in khaki.” Andy came to a halt and jerked her against him. “Kiss me like you mean it.”
Liesel didn’t mind if she did. Hopefully the khaki men would never imagine that two lovers out for a stroll had only moments before been running for their very lives. She prayed the men didn’t get too good a look at them. Throwing her arms around him, she pressed her body against his.
 She wouldn’t have admitted to it for anything, but in spite of the danger, she felt a thrill from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. Nobody could kiss like Andy Bryce!
 Andy took her hand, and they strolled casually across the bridge as if they’d been on a leisurely little walk. He kissed her again before they got into the Mustang. The minute they got in, he put the car in gear and slowly made his way out of the park. “Now, Liesel,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me why those men are trying to kill you?”

What exciting story are you working on next?
The book I’m working on now doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s a romantic comedy. Sometimes when authors write books they’re aiming for a particular market, but right now I’m just writing what makes me feel happy. Guess what? Even though the book is a romantic comedy, you could also bill it as romantic suspense. One of my main characters fakes his own death because he has to enter the witness protection program. He testified against a drug kingpin whose family is out to get him.

This book is inspired by my grandson, David. David’s seven and in love with WWE wrestling. He begged me to write a wrestling story, so my hero is a former wrestler.

I think just writing something because you want to is a good idea. When I read some of my rough draft to my husband, he laughed.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I got my first book published, but I should have considered myself a writer from the first day I sat down at my keyboard to write. Any person who takes the time to write fiction is a writer. They may not be a published writer, but they are a writer.

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’m still working full time. I teach social studies at our local high school. At school we have four ninety minute classes each day with forty minutes for lunch. Each teacher has students for three of the four periods with the other period being free. It isn’t easy to find enough time to write. Sometimes I write during lunch, and after I get home from school I sit down at my keyboard for a few hours.

Now in the summer time things are different. I get up and check my email first, then spend several hours writing. I break for lunch and the early part of the afternoon, and then I’ll do a little more before and after dinner.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have to have a tapping straw on hand when I write. Oh, I know, it sounds ridiculous. I’ve found that when I’m thinking or proofreading, I can think so much better if I have a straw to twirl around in my fingers. It has to be one of the bendy ones, not straight, and the bend has to be at exactly the right angle. My family thinks I’m crazy, but I’ve noticed that they can’t keep their hands off my straw. They refuse to get one of their own, though. I bought a huge bag of straws so I can have a fresh one when they mess up the angle on mine.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not a clue. If anybody ever asked me I’d have said either a ballerina or a secretary because those were acceptable occupations for a girl way back when. LOL. The idea of me being a ballerina is hilarious. I can’t walk two steps without falling over my own feet. I’m also built like my mother-short and stout. Ballerinas are not short and stout.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d just like to say that I really do appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my work. I’ve gotten some nice compliments and reviews, and then again I’ve gotten some that aren’t so nice, but either way, I feel truly humble that a person would choose to share their time with me and my book.

I’d love to hear from you too. I got an email just the other day from a lady who read The Sentence. She told me it touched her heart and was exactly what she needed to read. I think I was smiling for the remainder of the day. You can reach me at 

Lisa, thank you so much for letting me come to your blog. I’ve enjoyed your questions.

Happy to host a stop along your tour, Elaine. Thanks for talking with us. Readers, don't forget about the gift card giveaway! If you want to be entered to win, just leave an e-mail address with your comment.