author-pic-black-and-whiteAuthor Lexi Miles sparkles with an infectious laugh and unbinding enthusiasm that’s equally matched by her growing list of titles. Blogger, interviewer, noveller and hashtag host, her presence is everywhere. It’s an honor to have her here today. Welcome, Lexi!




It is commonly held that being happy is hard work, yet your upbeat personality and hilarious *giggles* shine through every tweet. How do you maintain your positivity?


Thanks so much for the warm compliment.  I guess the simple answer is by focusing on the positive and being thankful for all the precious moments and gifts of life.  No small thing is wasted on me.  (giggles)



Your communications training undoubtedly assists you in getting your message out. What advice can you give novices in negotiating the labyrinth that is social media?


Sometimes social media—all the choices—can be overwhelming, so my best advice is to start with the one you do most often and then add more as you go.  If you are trying to get the word out about your books then search your genre and get involved.  What is nice is that it is okay to ask questions, to look at what grabs your attention to make sure that you are hitting the mark, do research, and above all else have FUN as you do it.  The fun is so very important because that’s what attracts people to who and what you alone and uniquely can offer.  The key here is to have a presence somewhere, that is your voice, so that people know what you have going on, have an idea of what reading your books will be like, and, one of the best parts, they have a way to get to know you personally. 



Twitter #hashtag games. That’s how we met! Care to comment on the trend and what it could mean for writers, those starting out in particular.


Yes, you are right A.B. that is how we met!  And it has been a fun friendship ever since!  (giggles) 

Having said that, I would love to chat about the #hastag games.  These events are so much fun to be a part of and personally, they are one of the highlights of my week.  So much so that I even co-host one every Tuesday with author Chloe Quinn called #FOODPARTY (please feel free to pop over to twitter for more details and to hang out with us and have fun). 

Before I go further, you might be asking what are #hashtag games?  To those who are unfamiliar, it is a writer event where authors are invited to share their work in accordance to the theme selected by the various hosts. 

One that I would definitely suggest for new writers to take part in is #Thurds on Thursdays simply because it awesome, A.B. hosts it, and it is unlike any other event.  Why?  If the book is published it can also be a part of the game (unlike most that include WIP, works in progress, only) and that is great exposure.  Ultimately what I am getting at here is it is like an international book convention on a weekly basis.


Ed-Thanks, Lexi. I love hosting #Thurds, and like you, #hashtag games are an integral part of my day. Promotions + friendship + fun. It’s a win, win!


In my opinion, for writers (especially newbies), all of the events are incredible to be a part of because they are one of the nicest ways to get to know people in the writer community, to find new readers, to find new reviewers, and for readers (which I also am) to find a new book to add to your collection on a weekly basis.  Another thing that I love is that you get instant feedback on your work and that is all-around fun!



In your biography you credited your LIFE experiences for helping you develop as an author.  Tell us specifically what that means to you.


What I mean by that is that living life in general has taught me so many things as a person and therefore professionally as an author.  And each of those experiences means so much to me because ultimately they have made me who I am “exactly” today.  The good, the bad, and the I know better and will not do that again. Ha!


Ed.- Ha! I can relate!



Name someone who inspires you.


I am inspired not by one person alone, but by anyone that goes after what they want with all that they have.  I am inspired by those who love whole-heartedly and are kind to others.  I am inspired by those who don’t see something as limiting but limitless.  Those are the people that inspire me!



Your new romance, TOO MUCH TROUBLE, is coming out soon. Care to share the deets and maybe tease us with an excerpt?


Sure, just this once.  (giggles)  Just kidding, I’d love to do that!


I wrote this one because I was (and am still) a huge fan of the TV show “The Mentalist.”  The idea came to me because I just thought, how fun would it be to write about a heroine whose brother was a smooth talking scoundrel like that and she was the one to always bail him out.  Here’s the blurb.  


aweb-toomuchtrouble-copySela’s scam artist brother has gotten himself in trouble again.  As usual she is left to clean up his mess.  After a mediation, the only thing that she can do is to work off his debt by agreeing to be legal counsel on call for the family he scammed.  Very reluctantly, since the guy she will be working directly for is as infuriating as he is sexy, she agrees to do it to make the whole thing go away.  But this time has her brother’s serial nature of mistakes finally paid off for her in all the right ways?






As a California native, is it even possible to live in a cooler climate? (I’m dusting off my winter boots right now.)


(Giggling) In my opinion, no, I love my home.  California is a fun place to be.  The weather is amazing and the options here of things to do is vast.  In any given direction it’s amusement parks, trips to museums, a chance to escape to the Sierra mountains (beautiful during wintery snow season or when warm and green), ranches, Japanese or Rose gardens, musicals, or lovely beaches.  I am in heaven.  But as awesome as it is here, I do love the snow (rarely have gotten up to the Sierra’s recently).  So, please promise, when the time comes, to build me a snowman, make a snow angel, and toss around a few snowballs. (giggles)


Ed.- You got a deal. I’ll send pics!



What is one thing that you are looking forward to?


In the upcoming months I am going to be sharing a few new titles, making a few appearances, and the thing that has me doing cartwheels are the new book trailers that are on the way soon!


Ed. – Be sure and send those trailers our way.



How can someone contact you, buy your books, and do you have a newsletter?


You can contact me via my twitter, or through my contact page on my website

You can get my books via my Amazon author page

And yes, I have a newsletter for my VIP readers/friends and you can follow it and my other info and book clubs here:



Have I forgotten anything?


I think what you asked covered it.  Such a nice, fresh, and wide scope.  Thank you A.B. again for taking time out to do this!  I really appreciate it.




Any time, doll. Let’s check out Lexi’s vast list of titles…



lexi banner.png


Coming Soon


cover-dangerous-listing-copyDangerous Listings: A realtor named Piper rents out a listing and stumbles into a dangerous situation.  She soon finds herself hold up with the ever sexy and mysterious Marko, and she’s not complaining.  Is danger just the thing they need to kick off their sexy romance? (Vol 0.5 in the Sensual Protection series, proceeds Private Lessons)







aweb-privatelessons-copyPrivate Lessons: Dorian “Ryan” DeVain, a travel agent, gets tricked into taking much needed self-defense classes by her best friend Piper.  She is apprehensive, even given the looming threat of her past, until she meets the ultra-sexy brown haired instructor Jimmy Jalin.  Will there be sexy benefits included with his training? (Vol 1 of the Sensual Protection series)







aweb-convinceme-copyConvince Me: Josephine Summers, a feisty red headed chef has just been blacklisted for declining her boss’ romantic advances.  Determined for a fresh start Jo has a chance meeting with the dreamy lawyer with the penetrating blue eyes, Roger, who convinces her to become his live in chef.  After that things really heat up.  Is Jo going find it difficult to keep things strictly professional? (Vol 1 of Seductive Recipes Series)







aweb-mixmatched-copyMix Matched: Maxi is a bartender at a bar that the mega-hot Wolf Crane owns.  Wolf, off the clock, is known for giving romantic help to others so they find their romantic match.  She gets the idea to have Wolf use his skills to help her until she can get him to realize that she is his perfect match.  Can she sway him to see her daydream for them? (Vol 1 of the Happy Hour Series) (NANOWRIMO Nov 2015)







cover-click-for-more-copyClick For More: Ariel Bowie, is in her late twenties and is a successful career focused clothing boutique chain owner.  Ariel has been receiving a lot of pressure from the hens, ladies in her family, to wed—and to do it fast—because wedding is expected for the ladies in the Bowie family.  With Ariel’s baby sister’s nuptials approaching, during a late night of rom-com watching, Ariel decides it is time to take action and list herself with the wed quick website Click for More.  She comes across the oh-so-gorgeous dark haired businessman Cort Abbot, who too has his own reasons to wed, and soon she finds herself married to this sexy stranger and loving every minute of it.  But some people aren’t as happy as she is about her new marriage.  Will they cause problems in paradise, or will the couple find that some things are meant to last?


Out September 2016



cover-foodparty-copy#FoodParty: Cookbook that features recipes from the various romance novels.  (Co-author Lexi Miles and Chloe Quinn)








Out Now


custom-fit-print-displayCustom Fit: Sunni is one of the most sought after style consultants and is totally put off when her boss Zelina calls her into her office, as if Sunni is a newbie cub, and gives her an emergency assignment.  Sunni’s protest comes to a halt when she realizes that she just got the assignment of a lifetime: dressing the ultra-sexy singer/actor Striker Clint for the entire holiday season.  The only rule, to avoid termination, no romantic involvement with the client.  But Striker is not just any client, Sunni has had it bad for him since she laid eyes on him in one of his earlier films.  Are some rules made to be broken?




cover-focused-on-love-pic-copyFocused On Love: A collection of emotionally stirring poems that are all about love: falling in love, passion, losing love, forever love.










smiling-lexiWhat People will take away from anything I write: Love is worth it.  All of the stories, that are coming soon or that are out, show challenges that couples face and how they evolve as individuals and couples because of them.  I think that love makes us the best versions of ourselves.  You know, the most courageous people that we can be because we know that we are loved and accepted deeply.  In my opinion, romantic love, centers us and makes everything about life more vibrant and beautiful.  Love, in many ways, is like that spice of a secret recipe in cooking that makes life taste better!


Journey to Publishing

When I was younger, the writing bug bit me when I did a writing project in elementary school where we got the assignment to create our own fresh stories in the vein of the different genres that we were studying: fairytales, tall tales, magic, and the others.  I had always been creative—really creative—imagination running wild as I played with my Barbies, stuffed bears, and My Little Ponies.  So, when it hit me that I not only got a chance to create and act out those ideas, but to also write them down to share the fun, over and over, anytime they were read, with others I was hooked!  And to this day, I have continued to share them—and have not looked back.


Over the past several years I have actively been working on a number of romance books that are all just about at fruition and ready to be shared with avid romance readers or what I like to call rommies.  Although they are all romance there is a broad scope from suspense romance to everyday life contemporary romance.  My stories deal with intense subjects that cause the characters to peel back and share layers of themselves: the fire-hot passion of a couple, overcoming a challenge, learning some strength from examination, and always end with a HEA (happily ever after).  Those are my favorite kind of books; naturally I write those tender, cute, and wild rides.
aseries-flavors-of-lexiI write in a variety of flavors and call them the 4 flavors of Lexi.  The scope is Sweet (mild romance with some heat), Fire (very sensual and sexy), Alarm (erotic), and Magic (romance with a bit of supernatural flare).







About the Author


Lexi Miles was born in northern California and has lived in various places in California and Nevada (Las Vegas and Reno).  Tropical warm spots and out of the way ranches are Lexi’s favorite escapes. She has one sister, Cat. Presently she resides in California and is a proud pup mom of two mischievous Yorkies.  They are handfuls and most definitely light up her life!


Cultivation of Lexi’s writing is attributed to a lot of reading, variety of writing contests, her college studies in communication, and her association and mentoring from professors, published authors, and editors.  In addition, she credits the tool of LIFE in general as one of the key factors in the development of her writing. Lexi personally edited and consulted for various published novels as well.


Lexi embraces who she is and is a huge fan of positivity; accordingly, she loves to giggle and make others smile as often as she can.  Lexi, has a deep interest in personal growth and is always open to learning new things that challenge her.  On her off-time, she adores the chance to binge watch/read a good romance, mystery, suspense, or life stories in general.  Whenever possible, Lexi tries to help others achieve their goals in life.  Lexi strongly believes that life is an incredible gift and is to be enjoyed!


Lexi fell in LOVE with writing—head over heels in love—from the time that she could first hold a pen and she just never stopped falling.  Lexi loves writing romance; she believes there is something extraordinary about the magic of love shared by a couple.  Lexi is thrilled to pen that beauty of love on paper!


Fun Activities: Netflix binges, bubble baths, listen to music, (I am a singer), love Renaissance Fairs, adore the superhero genre, love taking my dogs for walks, working out, and adore cooking.  One of my most favorite activities to do is bowling.  I like to go bowling by myself and brainstorm book ideas as well as clear my head.  I love pretty fragrances from Bath and Body Works and Vicki’s Secret!


Recent Random Activities: made chocolate chip brownies, grocery shopped, and revisited an old vision board of mine


Fun Facts: prefer lemonade or iced tea to any soda and I love to write at night


Most Excited About: My books are now offered in both ebook and print


Main Objective for Interview: to have people get to know me better, to have a bump up in readers, bump in newsletter follows so that I can connect more with readers, bump in reviews, for people to be acquainted with my author central page, and people talking about the books.






Novel Info:

Follow Newsletter:

Lexi’s Rom Readers

Corporate thriller “CONNECTIONS” by Steve Bederman FREE Today thru Oct. 5th

connectionsConnections by Steve Bederman FREE October 1st – 5th…/…/ref=sr_1_5…

Even when he’s hidden away, trouble inevitably finds Mitch Jacobs. In his life he has known incredible highs and demoralizing lows; those from his personal failings so evident in his life and while building his company. In spite of this, starting with a simple idea, he has grown Symbiotic Technologies to a position as a world leader.

He believes that what he has gained versus what, and who, has been lost has been a poor trade.

Mitch has become reclusive, living deep in the Colorado mountain backwoods with his wife who was the former President of Colombia. Since he handed over the company to his employees there has finally been relative peace and safety.

In this, CONNECTIONS, the fourth book of the series, the reader travels from Colorado, to Quebec, Colombia, and to Washington DC; The White House. His beautiful wife, Pilar Reyes Cruz, finally goes home to the land where she once was elected as the first female president of this machismo country. She is still recognized throughout the world for the salvation of her troubled people and, as many believe, the future of all of Latin America.

There is no running from lust, and love, and business, and negotiation. Terrorism can show its ugly face at any moment and in many forms. Seemingly disparate events are all connected. Whether Pilar regains her purpose and Mitch refocuses on running one of the most passionate and inventive technology corporations in the world, are but two of the many questions left to answer. The US President, the King of England, the President of Colombia, and the world’s back alley power brokers all converge into Mitch Jacob’s continuum of CONNECTIONS.

compare/contrast: An unbiased review of the works of A.B. Funkhauser by Angela D’Onofrio


headshotIt’s been a privilege getting to know the incredibly talented author Angela D’Onofrio this past year. Ang and I met, like so many authors do, through the #Twitterverse, striking up a fast and growing friendship. As the creator of #2bitTues, a hashtag of influence, Ang inspired me to create my own #Thurds Words. Both tags appeal to writers, bloggers and poets with that one thing in common: a desire to express and share.

Ang’s first novel FROM THE DESK OF BUSTER HEYWOODbusterheywoodfinalcover is a fascinating fish out of water tale with a twist: the unsavory thing in the trunk is the ticket to belonging. Winner 2nd Prize “Thriller” 2016 Summer Indie Book Awards (Metamorph Publishing), she is full of energy, releasing earlier this month, her sophomore effort IN THE CARDS. Aviario, Connecticut will never be the same! Congrats, Ang.

in-the-cardsThis past summer, Ang did an amazing thing, posting on her blog, an awesome compare/contrast piece of my two books. In it, SCOOTER NATION and HEUER LOST AND FOUND are examined closely, and I was blown away by her observations.

With Ang’s permission, I am reproducing her piece here with the hope that I can do a similar piece for her very soon!

Thanks, again, friend, for your tips, your generosity and your commitment to this thing we do called writing.

I’m in your debt.










Words linger…In the darkness of shadows, in the distant screams.

They whisper past the drip, drip of blood.

The strange beauty of words hide, waiting for you.

Embrace the horror.


Venture past safe reality, into the world of terror told in verse.

Horror Haiku and Other Poems brings forth surreal dread and spins it in artistic countenance. From small chilling bites of poetry, to murky morsels of fright, come find where the words haunt you, where they live and die.

Welcome A. F. Stewart.



By your own admission, you are drawn to geeky things and the immense beauty behind the terrible. Tell us how you reconcile camp with high gothic, or do you keep them separate?


I think geek and gothic are two intrinsic sides of speculative fiction, i.e. the horror, fantasy, and sci-fi genres, but tend to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. When adding a lighter touch or levity I generally shy away from writing camp, (although I have been known for using a few bad puns), and lean more towards satire and gallows humour. I’m more comfortable with the gothic end as I often use historical settings, but tend to be more macabre and less theatrical. I like to take the normal and twist it into the abnormal.



As an east coaster, you have the sea for a neighbor. What is that like, and how do you tame this force when it grows inhospitable?


I love the sea. There’s a certain majesty and wildness to it, some of that terrible beauty that you mentioned. It’s vast and picturesque, and ferocious as well. You don’t ever tame the sea. You batten down the hatches and ride out any storm. It’s funny though, until my current WIP, Ghosts of the Sea Moon, I’ve never written a seafaring story, just a few sea themed poems.



Tell us about what went into your upcoming book of poetry HORROR HAIKU AND OTHER POEMS. Did it come together over many years, or did it spark with a single inciting incident?


Much of my poetry is based in the same genres as my prose:  horror, fantasy and science fiction. I’m not one for sweet romantic verse. This particular book was inspired by #HorrorHaikuesday ( a weekly Twitter hashtag event run by @horror_made), where you write a horror based poem in the haiku style. I loved the idea (I’m a big fan of haiku) and after a few months I had quite the collection. So I compiled all my efforts into this book, added a few of my longer poems and some photos, and voila, a poetry book is born.



Compare and contrast your painting with your writing. Can you share some photos of your painted work and explain what each means?


orchid-poemI strive to be a professional in my writing, but I’m strictly an amateur painter, (although my skills as a graphic designer are improving), and I’m not sure your readers want to be subjected to my poor attempts at landscapes. I have included two of my computer generator paintings that I used as backgrounds for my poems. The first is an artful-poemorchid done in watercolor style in an homage to Asian calligraphy art, and the second is an abstract piece set to a poem inspired by the TV show Hannibal.



In addition to your poetry, you have several novels available on Amazon. Can you share some of the common themes running through each? For you, are these themes more pet peeve or sacred cow?


My favourite theme is “consequences” and I think that is a natural by-product of the genres I write in more than a pet peeve or a sacred cow. I enjoy sticking my characters in sticky situations of their own design (or on occasion, other people’s design) and letting bad things happen to them. Very bad things.



Have I forgotten anything?


Only to be sure to check out HORROR HAIKU AND OTHER POEMS when it releases on October 11th. It’s debut will be part of my participation in the October Frights Blog Hop that runs from October 10th until the 15th. The hop is a delightfully dark gathering of horror and paranormal authors celebrating all things strange and morbid, and I’ll be running spooky posts on my blog all that week.




About the Author

A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being dark fantasy and horror—but she has ventured into the light on occasion. She is fond of good books, action movies, sword collecting, geeky things, comic books, and oil painting as a hobby.


Website: https://afallonblog.







Thank you A. F. Stewart for sharing your work and thoughts.


This concludes our month of authors. A heart-felt thanks to those who participated. Look for more titles and interviews in November.


UP NEXT: The A.B. goes under in preparation for a new book tour and giveaway beginning October 17th with Roxanne Rhoades and Bewitching Book Tours.


See you soon! ABF




He began his writing career on a lark, penning a humorous tale of cowpokes with a taste for larceny. Little did he know that that work would be published years later with more to follow. Multi-genre author Jack B. Strandburg can celebrate: the muse is strong with more to come.



Welcome to the blog, Jack. Tell me, how did you go from a pool sharking Western comedy a la Mel Brooks to a serial killer thriller?


I wrote the Western comedy in the mid 1980’s just for fun, with no thought or dream of ever publishing the work. Even when I wanted to become an author, I never dreamed this work was good enough to make the grade. It just happened to kick off my publishing career (if you can call it a career). I’ve always loved the mystery, suspense, and thriller genre, however, so once I decided to pursue my dream, I knew that genre would be the one of choice.



Your current WIPs focus on investigations: one from the POV of an armed forces veteran; the other from someone inside the police force. How does this style of detective work compare? Does the veteran have more freedom than the cop, as in the case of a P.I.?


I don’t really focus too much on the “definition” of a P.I. vs. a cop vs. another protagonist, but you’re right in assuming the veteran will have more freedom. I’m more concerned with my protagonist making sure the antagonist gets the justice he or she deserves, even if the cop, P.I., or other have to bend the law a little.



THE MONOGRAM KILLER has ‘history in the mystery.’ Can you give us a teaser?


Catherine chewed her lip before answering. “I didn’t recognize the name either, so I did some research. Herman Mudgett is the real name of Dr. Henry Holmes, allegedly the first documented serial killer in America. In the 1880s, he operated a hotel in Chicago. They called it The Murder Castle. It was a torture chamber. He confessed to twenty-seven murders but evidence suggested there were actually two-hundred or more. Some believed he was Jack the Ripper but that was never proven.”



And of course, I’d love a look at HUSTLE HENRY. I keep thinking of A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST.


Twelve days later, Henry sat in a saloon in Flintrock, Texas sipping whiskey from a shot glass riddled with fingerprints. The barkeep claimed his towels were too soiled from wiping up beer and tobacco spit from the floor and counter to keep the glasses clean. Whatever. The saloon had seen better days. The legs on most of the chairs and tables were either cracked or broken, the walls bare, the piano hideously out of tune, and the stairs so rickety, the survival rate for getting to the upper floor was less than twenty percent. The odor of urine and vomit mixed with liquor hung in the air like a horse’s fart in high humidity. Flintrock, located two-hundred miles south of the Oklahoma-Texas border, would never rank high as an Old West tourist attraction.



The Sahara sands paid you a recent visit. What is that like and have you dug out?


A few years ago I was diagnosed with allergies to dust mites and mold. Allergy shots have helped, but the dust dropped by the sandstorm flared my allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, I don’t get a runny nose, itchy eyes, or scratchy throat, my symptoms are lethargy followed by fatigue. At first I didn’t know the reason why my allergies flared up until I read about the sandstorm. People all over Southeastern Texas (apparently the storm’s destination) are flocking to doctors, many asking why they are getting symptoms they never experienced before. Those suffering with asthma and respiratory ailments are warned to stay indoors as much as possible. I guess I should consider myself somewhat fortunate I’m not more sick. The situation is improving, and I don’t have the symptoms as often, but still must fight through occasional suffering.


Ed. – You have my sympathies, sir. I’m currently surrounded by Ragweed!



Any last words?


Anyone with creative talent and who wants to be a writer / author, keep on the lookout for sources of inspiration. They could come from anywhere. The idea for The Monogram Killer came when I was on the treadmill listening to “Hollywood Nights” by Bob Seger. The first two lines go, “She stood there bright as the sun on that California coast, He was a Midwestern boy on his own.” I had two characters, one wanting to meet the other, somehow it became a serial killer story with a paranormal twist. Go figure.


Ed. – I couldn’t agree more.



Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid

Published by Solstice Publishing:

hustle_henry_and_the_cue-ball_kid_coverClarence Flannery was luckier than most men his age to discover his life’s ambition, particularly in the unpredictable years just following the Civil War. Born with an unmatched skill to play pool, he left his home in Kansas when he turned twenty-six and traveled throughout the Southwestern United States to make his mark as a legendary pool hustler, with every intention of amassing a fortune in the process.
Clarence needed help for both support and protection, and recruited James Skinner as his partner, along with nine other highly-skilled pool players to assist him in his quest.
Wanting to be included in the same sentence as Attila the Hun and Alexander the Great, Clarence changed his name to Hustle Henry, Skinner became the Cue-Ball Kid, and the eleven men would go down in history as The Hole-in-the-Table-Bunch, known far and wide for hustling wannabe pool sharks out of their life savings.
All goes to plan and life has a rosy and profitable outlook, but Henry and his men want more than what pool halls and saloons offer, so they decide to challenge the more affluent clientele on a riverboat.
Initially, the venture proves profitable, but the millionaire tycoon and owner of the fleet of riverboats, takes exception, and intends to bring down the Bunch and thrust Henry and The Kid into a life of destitution.
Taking along the Kid’s girlfriend, Penelope Henderson, the Kid and Henry flee to South America – where there will be a final showdown…
Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid is a fiction work of Western humor with an interesting and amusing cast of characters.





“I have to give accolades to the author for being unique — I never would have thought of writing a historical western about a pool hustler, of all things! In my opinion the book is one that you can’t take too seriously — it’s meant to be fun and light hearted and the writer accomplishes just that. I think guys would get a kick out of this one.”

“Loved the character and the format! Very happy with the writing, an easy and very fun read! Hoping this author will work on another!”

“Very Easy reading. The story line kept me wanting to know what was next in the story. I highly recommend reading this book.”



The Monogram Killer

Published by Solstice Publishing

the_monogram_killer_coverWhen Julia Ballard meets Kelly Nichols, she believed he was the man of her dreams. Julia’s best friend has doubts, and her investigation into Nichols’s life encourages her suspicions. Despite Jessica’s warnings, Julia is convinced he is sincere and cares for her. Nichols is hiding secrets from a legacy he cannot escape, and Julia is the key to a sinister plan. When two homicide detectives combine forces to search for a serial killer, it becomes a race to see who accomplishes their goal first.









“Excellent story, well told. Jack leads you on an emotional roller coaster ride by the heroine and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Quick read and before you knew it, the mystery was solved. Great character development, wonderful and professionally descriptive prose and several twists and turns kept me tuned in. Need more like this!!”

“Surprise ending. Like the history behind the mystery.”

“A romance – a mystery – a surprise. Before I knew it I was at the end. A good read for all.”



Works in Progress


A Matter of Honor (short story) – Luke Coleman returns from the armed forces and learns the truth about the deaths of his father and brother, both police officers.


A Head in the Game (novel) – Chicago Homicide Inspector Aaron Randall faces his toughest case while dealing with doubts about his career and the potential of a romantic relationship. Jared Prescott, a Heisman Trophy winner and Vice President of a large and respected pharmaceutical company, is found murdered at a seedy motel. The investigation uncovers more suspects than normal, with motives ranging from jealousy to revenge to extortion. When the body of his close friend and number one informant is found stabbed to death in a deserted alley, and a woman claiming to be present at the time of Prescott’s murder is gunned down in front of him, and a woman who worked for the same company is found murdered in her home, Randall knows he is dealing with a conspiracy. Randall is hamstrung during the investigation by pressure from the commissioner down the chain of command because the president of the pharmaceutical company, anxious for resolution to Jared Prescott’s murder, is a close friend with a Senator whose sights are set on the Oval Office.



About the Author


jack_website_picJack Strandburg was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio.  He is a degreed professional with a background in Accounting and Information Technology and recently retired after more than 33 years working for a Fortune 500 company.  He has been writing since his teenage years.

He self-published an inspirational titled An Appointment With God: One Ordinary Man’s an_appointment_with_god_coverJourney to Faith Through Prayer, by Trafford Publishing.

His first published novel by Solstice Publishing is Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid, a parody of the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

His third work, a novella titled The Monogram Killer, published by Solstice Publishing, was released in May, 2016.

He is currently working on a short story titled A Matter of Honor, revising his first mystery novel, A Head in the Game, writing journals for an upcoming inspirational non-fiction book; and completed 70% of a first draft for a second mystery novel titled War Zone.

He is an editor and proofreader for Solstice Publishing.

Jack currently lives with his wife and two grown children, in Sugar Land, Texas. He has three grandchildren.





An Appointment With God


Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid


The Monogram Killer



Thank you for joining us, Jack. We look forward to your WIP’s. Write on!


TOMORROW: Author and poet A.F. Stewart shares HORROR HAIKU and the art of a line.



He’s a globe trotter and journalist with a taste for steampunk, creating worlds we cannot see but fervently seek. Please welcome  to the blog author Henry Anderson.



Congratulations on releasing your first novel, THE MOUTH. How does it feel?


Thanks for having me on A.B. It feels fantastic – I can now look people in the eye and say I’m an author. My words have somehow escaped out into the wild!



Can you give us an excerpt?


mouth-solstice-cover-461x660When sixteen-year-old Jack’s home town is burned down and his family killed, his only chance of survival is to travel through a dangerous device called “The Mouth” that opens doors into other worlds.

He must do the impossible – find the world that gave his enemies their extraordinary power and travel to a mythical place known simply as “The Maximum.

The Mouth is a gritty science-fantasy adventure story about hope, resolve and finding the courage to carry on fighting even when all seems lost.




From Chapter One:


The forest was a dark line ahead of them.

Badger disappeared into the woods.

A bullet smacked into a window frame by Jack’s feet. He climbed up a heap of rubble and jumped into the treeline.

Birch saplings broke his fall.

Soon he was sprinting amongst the old, broad- leaved trees of the Weald.

The noise behind him died away.
His boots crunched on frozen leaf mould.

Two notes from a horn sounded in the air.

Badger stepped out from behind the bulbous trunk of an old beech tree.

“What was that?” said Jack.


Sweat steamed from Badger’s hair. He said, “They won’t want to do us straight off. Those fellers like to take their time.”

“What can we do?”

“When I was a kid, my old man used to lay something on the ground to put them off the scent, like wild garlic. Or a blood trail. The dogs like blood, you see.”

Jack pulled a string necklace out of his jumper. A key hung from it.

“I know a place near here where we can hide,” he said.




I’m intrigued by steampunk. Can you define it for us and tell us what draws you to this genre?


I’m currently writing some short stories that are a bit steampunk. I grew up reading the science fiction of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells – their adventure stories had steam-powered machines and unfeasibly large dirigibles. Steampunk seems to look back to nineteenth-century science fiction – and fashion. It also allows some of the prejudices of that time to be scrutinized and possibly opposed. Sometimes there are top hats – and corsets.



As an army kid, you grew up with your bags packed. How did this experience impact your fiction?


As a writer and reader I think a sense of place in fiction is important. Not just landscape and geography but people’s character as well. It doesn’t even have to be a “real” place. In “The Mouth” I’ve tried to create fully-realised worlds that feel as authentic as the real world (which is also in the novel). Back to the question – growing up we moved around a lot – including foreign countries so I don’t really have deep roots. Maybe I’m now over-compensating.



You also worked the news a reporter in the UK. Is the axiom true? Is reality stranger than fiction?


I’m not sure about stranger – I think real life is often a bit more random than fiction. Fiction is quite structured.

I think reporting can be good training though.  Daniel Defoe wrote “Robinson Crusoe” after a long career in journalism. The book was initially presented as a true story. It reads like classic reportage. An older journalist told me early on in my career that when reporting you should always be on the lookout for the “telling detail”.  Defoe had no experience of being shipwrecked or marooned but the book is full of thousands of telling details – all invented. It feels authentic.

Also, journalism is similar to fiction in that it’s about capturing people’s attention and then keeping them interested enough to get to the end of your story.



The battle to triumph over extreme challenges is a primary theme in your work. What other subtexts are at play? Do these run through all of your written work?


I think it’s good to defy the fates sometimes! Maybe some of the triumph-over-adversity tropes are wishful thinking on my part. I have had a few challenging life events which I have struggled to triumph over. Sometimes we are at the mercy of forces we can’t control. I think it’s good to be defiant. Sometimes when the shit hits the fan it’s the only thing you have left.

On a larger scale I think it’s also incumbent on people to try and make society better and fairer. I also think politically we should confront bad behaviour and hold it to account. Maybe fiction can help with that.



THE MOUTH, in some ways, reminds me of Python Terry Gilliam’s TIME BANDITS. What are some of your key influences?


I love that film! Travelling between worlds is such an exciting idea. The guys in that film have a map to help find openings between worlds which the character in my book doesn’t. “Time Bandits” probably is an influence subconsciously. The idea of escaping into different fictional worlds has always appealed to me. I liked the episode of Star Trek where Kirk and his away team are transported to a parallel dimension where the federation is an evil empire and the crew’s counterparts are barbarians. I was quite taken with Michael Moorcock’s “Warlord of the Air” where the hero wakes up in a parallel world still ruled by empires – allowing the author to explore themes of colonialism and imperialism.



Superhero movies: High art, or strictly for kids?


There was a time when comics were for kids. Graphic novels like “Watchmen”, “Maus” and “The Dark Night Rises” changed that in the 80s. I generally find it difficult to differentiate between “high” and “low” art. I contend it takes just as much skill to write a successful comic strip as it does to write a “literary” novel.



And the WIP?

I’m currently writing an urban fantasy about a police officer who encounters some strange events during a robbery investigation. I’m also trying to write some steampunkish short stories.









Facebook author page:






Author Page:

The Mouth :


Thank you for joining us, Henry, and best of luck with the short stories.


MONDAY: Versatile author Jack B. Strandburg talks serial killers and playing for laughs out west.



DSC00255.JPGMy current work is Snowfall’s Secret.  It’s about a girl from another world who must live like any other tween on Earth (and she suffers from amnesia).  Of course, she learns to enjoy shopping at the mall with her very own debit card and has a few secrets. At its core is the message that everyone has value and has something special to share.

The story was inspired by a dream I had when I was twelve.  I saw five monks standing in a semi-circle.  They were all wearing a triangle-shaped pendant with a red stone in the center.  One of the monks looked at me and said, “You’re not ready,” and I woke.  I had subsequent dreams of a girl with a pendant to the one the monks wore and I wrote them all down.

My favorite character to write about (funny how that turned out) was a secondary one to the story:  Mrs. Margot Greenfield. I based her on a favorite childhood teacher.

By the way, my favorite genre to write is science fiction.  Surprise!  Just kidding.

My focus right now is science fiction for girls; but I’m still playing around with a short snowfalls-secret-1story that’s alternative history to give myself a mental stretch.  I have this irrational fear that the last thing I finish writing will be my last.  I wonder if I’m not alone.

I’m pretty ‘old school’ when it comes to my writing habits.  The first thing I do is buy a brand new hand-sized spiral notebook and use it to write the basic story that’s mostly action punctuated here and there by dialogue.   The little notebook helps me believe that I’m accomplishing so much.  I then use my trusty laptop to write the second draft that looks as if I threw words down to see what sticks.  The technical term I like to use is word hurl.  Each subsequent draft looks a little more refined than the previous one.  I then use the little spiral notebook to make notes and jot down ideas for the story.

I began writing when I was ten and back then we didn’t have home computers.

I’ve been asked advice by aspiring writers.  I’m very, very flattered.  But let me tell you, I’m still an aspiring writer. My advice is simple:  don’t ever, ever (and I mean ever) give up.

Please reach out to me on:

Facebook  Natalie Silk, Author

Twitter @natalieasilk

My website



TOMORROW: Henry Anderson drops by with a science-fantasy adventure centering on hope, resolve and finding courage.




author-photoHe’s been here before, chatting up The Game and the man who helped make it in his novel “512.” One year later, author Ralph Peluso returns with a fresh interview  and a WIP very different from his debut.  Congratulations, Ralph, on your ground breaking new work.




You’re writing an anthology…

512, as you may recall is a historical fiction, re-imaging the outcome of the immortal Babe Ruth’s career.  My second work is pure fiction, a compendium of short stories. The characters have some sort of competitive prowess in their back ground, for example the high school star athlete, but the outcome of their lives follows a twisted path.  Taking a page from Stephen King.



I love departures. Keeps the creative process fresh. Have you gained any new insights in the process?


Yes. I tip my hat to all fiction writers. It is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  Unlike biographies, or even historical fiction, you need to keep the story, rolling with only that which you can create, or the experiences you can draw on.



You’re writing directly from experience this time out?

One of the things I have discovered is that there is a setting for a story in every situation. You just need clear your mind, turn off your transmit button and go into ‘receive’ mode. It does not matter what you’re doing; walking, at dinner or even watching TV commercials.  Although I said fiction is hard to write because it is completely made up, I think that it is completely creative is more to the point.  Reaching into the recesses of our experience leads to the creation.



Did you rely wholly on your experiences in the current work? That’s pretty bold, my friend!


Ha, more than I care or ever will admit.  I’d say the stories are based on what people around me experienced, not necessarily what I did directly.



Have you decided on a title for the anthology?

After three tries, I have finally settled on “Inglurious Days”. And, yes, I intentionally followed the misspelling Tarantino used in his movie.



Ha! As a fan of the maestro, I just knew it! What’s the connection?

Well, I finally decided on the name sitting on the upper deck at our home on the Outer Banks.  I had the Oldies station playing Springsteen’s ‘Glory Days’.  It is about looking back at where you grew up, and about those you grew up with never letting go of the past.  That would have been all too simple for these characters.  In my novel the characters get over the past and propel forward, just not necessarily in a good way.



You were kind enough to share a fan fave: requests to be ‘written in’ to the next work. Can you tell us how you respond to such requests?


Interesting. When they learn you’ve had a book published, you are always asked if there is another book in the works. Everyone sees themselves as a potential character in the book and asks if I can write them in.  Absolutely. Always. The trick is tacking a sliver of a personality  or a physical characteristic someone can easily relate to in, and they are in the story.



When does INGLURIOUS release?



Next spring is the new target, April 2017. My daytime job still gets in the way.



You write after work?


Between 4:45 AM and 7:00AM. The house is quiet. The day has not yet begun. All my dreams still so vivid!



You mentioned King earlier. He generally has a centerpiece in his short story compilations. Do you?


Of course. Common thinking has everyone with a great love in their life.  The main character is an academic genius, destined for greatness.  Except he has a flaw: a combination of Casanova and Don Quixote, but mostly suffering from a Sir Lancelot complex, he suffers through seven great loves.



Winding up with the truest?


I cannot give away the ending.  But the outcome is inevitable



What is the one thing you’d like readers to take away from Inglurious Days?


Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it!



512-coverGeorge Herman “Babe” Ruth is widely regarded as the most recognized American sports icon. In 1902 at age 7 disheartened parents abruptly delivered him to an “orphanage”. Called incorrigible” his father coldly turned and walked away. Emotionally scarred Ruth forever craved acceptance. Painfully he mistook the exploitation of his talents for emotional bonding. Decades later his emotional void finally filled by the love of a strong and determined woman.

At the turn of the 20th century, popular American sports had fallen prey to the evil influence of gamblers, baseball was not immune. In a game controlled by mean spirited and cheap owners, players were the real victim: chattel tossed aside when no longer having purpose. Impoverished players easily lured into the web of deceit. In 1903 with the advent of the World Series, the stakes increased. Players had big paydays altering the outcomes. Baseball’s little secret hidden until 1919 when news shocking the nation broke. The World Series was fixed!

Enter a self-serving and biased federal judge handed absolute power to save the crumbling sport. He looked for help in the one player unapproachable by gamblers. In Ruth, Landis found a perfect and unsuspecting accomplice for control over every aspect of baseball. Ruth, with popularity soaring, was not controllable. A second scandal erupts in 1926 threatening to end the Landis grip on baseball. Never more fragile, the game was on the precipice to status as another corrupt sport. Landis looked to Ruth once again. This time Ruth wanted assurances about his future.

This is the remarkable journey of Ruth’s assault on the baseball record book including his attempt to surpass the unreachable record of 511 wins as pitcher. He meets an assortment of unique characters and experiences colorful events; leading to a dramatic showdown with his chief adversary, Commissioner Landis.

Buy Link



About the Author

rp pixRalph was born and raised in New York City. At a very young age his father introduced him to baseball. He has been a sports enthusiast since. Active in youth sports for over thirty years, he has coached high school and middle school teams to many successful seasons. He has served on the board of several regional youth team organizations. He is an advocate of player and parent sportsmanship. In 2006 he became a member of the Society of American Baseball Researchers and currently serves on the Overlooked Legends committee.

He has an MBA in Finance from Bernard Baruch College (Zicklin School of Business) of the City University of New York. Ralph has had a successful and award winning business career, serving in senior executive positions for several major corporations including MCI, WinStar and Cisco. Today he is a partner in a boutique consulting practice that helps emerging companies fulfill their promise.

Ralph has published a series of short stories including ‘Outer Banks Chronicles’ and ‘Jersey Shore Fever and Other Seaside Maladies.’

Ralph and his wife Renee currently reside in Virginia.


Published Short stories: Jersey Shore Fever and Other Seaside Maladies (2012); Jersey Shore Fever and Other Seaside Maladies, Part 2 (2012); OBX Chronicles (2013)


Thanks for joining us, Ralph. Let us know your release date when available! Cheers. ABF


TOMORROW: SciFi YA author Natalie Silk on dreams and science for girls.



For frequent flyers on the Twitter hashtag game circuit, Don Lorah is a familiar face. #MuseMon, #2bitTues, #1lineWed, #Thurds, #FictFri, & #SlapDashSat know him for his regular contributions. Gritty, honest, funny and thought-provoking, his words find a home 140 characters at a time.

With three books already available on, Don looks forward to completing his current WIP with a mind to querying. Agents, be aware!


Welcome, Don.




Like me, you’ve had a lot of jobs, changing careers with apparent ease. Pop commentators on job trends say that this is the way in North America. Did you find career changes easier with each transition?


I don’t know if it’s easier. I’ve never really thought of it that way. I became a teacher because everyone said I’d be good at it. I wish people had told me I’d be great at making money. I might still be doing that.

But I am a seeker. My philosophy is if I haven’t used something or done something within a two-year time frame, I get rid of it. This philosophy is in contrast to my wife’s. Disagreement’s ensue.

People get upset about that. They think I’m rejecting them. I’m not. I love the people I meet at different stations in my life. But I’m not ready to settle. I’m not someone who will be doing something for 40 years and accept a plaque at the end of my life. Some people — that’s what they want and I think that’s excellent for them — but it’s not for me. I am a creature of habit, but I’m also someone who can have a conversation with anybody. I’ve never met a stranger, just someone I haven’t talked to yet.

Right now, I am patiently/not patiently waiting for my kids to graduate so I can pick up stakes and move again. If I could get paid to travel that would be awesome. That’s one of the things I like about writing. I can type away on my computer anywhere!



Wouldn’t it be cool if we could change our perceptions in the same way? You seem to have through your fiction. Good characters, bad characters, all with equal amounts of flawed and redemptive qualities. Are you a ‘character’ author?


Yes. Yes. And more Yes.

People fascinate me. I tend to read mostly biographies. I want to know people’s stories. I want to know what they’re thinking. When something happens, what’s their reaction? Why? Why do people do the things they do?

Plus it’s so cool creating someone you would want to hang out with. It’s like creating your own friend.

Dean Koontz wrote two books Fear Nothing and Seize the Night. The characters he created in those books made me go and read the rest of his collection. There was a part in the second book where Bobby and Christopher were sitting in Bobby’s jeep drinking beer and I kept thinking I want to be there with them knowing full well murderous monkeys were hot on their tail!

When you break most stories down to their basic elements it’s the same thing; good guy vs. bad guy, bad guy vs. really bad guy, guy meets girl, etc… But it’s the characters that make you care about the story.

I can speed read a mass market paperback in an hour and tell you the butler did it. The books I care about enough to slow down and savior the words are the ones with lasting characters.

I hope to one day create such a character.



You long for the beach. What draws you to water?


Two reasons really. One, I love the ocean. I love the waves crashing over and over. I love the feel of the ocean breeze. I love how I feel floating in the water. The beach is a happy place for me.

The other reason is because of nature. Me and the outside do not get along. I break out from everything. I hate touching plants because I know a rash will form. I cut the grass and look like I’ve got walking pneumonia. (Maybe that’s an exaggeration.)

But every spring, every fall, when the weather changes, I break out. Right now I have these spots on my arm, I get them every year, that make me look like I’m a heroin junkie. Poison Ivy will send me to the emergency room. I’m a pro at taking my steroid shot.

The ocean helps wash all that away. It’s a cleansing every time I go in the water. Hiking in the mountains is a completely different experience.

With the ocean, I’m refreshed. We’re drawn to each other. That being said, I cannot surf. Tried. I’m not coordinated enough. I also hate open water. I don’t do well on boats. I have heard every shark story ever. No thank you.


Ed-I hear ya! I never go in past my knees. JAWS really ruined it for me. Lol.



The list of writing credits you’ve supplied is lengthy and varied. Will you give us an excerpt from one of them?


The following was something I submitted for a short story contest. You had to use the line “You don’t have enough points, sir.” as your opening line. I didn’t get nominated. The contest encouraged creativity but the five finalists were all dystopian society pieces. If the contest rules had said they were looking for dystopian pieces I would have written something along those lines. Either way, I had fun. It was a short 700-word contest. Title of the piece is Devil’s Grin.

“You don’t have enough points, sir,” the young attendant scolded Big Jim.

“Points? Who said anything about points?” Big Jim scowled. “I want that doll.” He spread his hands on the counter with a thud demonstrating his strength and willingness to do anything to get the doll.

“Sir, in order to get a prize, you need to collect points through those machines.” She pointed. “You don’t have enough points.” The young girl was matching his intensity.

Big Jim squinted trying to stare her down. She matched his gaze. He knew what was up. He stood up and grabbed his wallet. “Alright, how much?” Big Jim threw two twenties on the counter.

The prize attendant blew out an agitated breath, “Sir, I can’t sell the doll to you. You obtain the doll through points.” She pointed towards the video game machines with their beeps and flashing lights.

Kids wired on sugar stared blankly into the screens accumulating that which Big Jim did not have.

He threw two more twenties on the counter, “My little girl wants that doll and I ain’t staying here all afternoon chasing electronic pellets.”

The attendant folded her arms in refusal.

Big Jim tossed another twenty on the pile. A young punk eyeballed the cash. Big Jim shot him a look telling him to move on.

Big Jim scooted the five twenties towards the attendant. “Look, I don’t care if you keep the money or not. I just want the doll.”

The girl looked at Big Jim, then at his young daughter. She was covered in melted sugar. Sticky. No woman accompanied Big Jim.

“Must be hard raising a daughter without a wife.” The young attendant motioned towards Big Jim’s little girl.

Big Jim followed her motion seeing his princess sucking on a lollipop. He smiled, sure he’d won, “Sure is.”

The attendant smiled back and pushed the money back towards Big Jim. She leaned in close drawing Big Jim down to her level. With a wicked grin she whispered, “Still gonna need more points to get the doll, sir.”

If Big Jim thought he could have gotten away with it, he would have slapped her. He slapped the counter instead. The attendant, those nearby, and Big Jim’s little girl all jumped from his sudden outburst.

He poked a finger in her face, “Look here, missy!”

The young attendant stepped back, folded her arms across her chest and smiled.

Big Jim’s face was redder then the polo shirt his adversary was wearing.

Big Jim was not used to people treating him this way. Usually, he demanded something and he got his way. This insolent little girl was due for a spanking. That’s what he told her.

She feigned fright, “Why are you threatening to beat little ol’ me? Do I need to be punished? Was I a bad girl?” She swayed from side to side with her finger to her lips teasing Big Jim for his outburst.

Big Jim finally read her name tag, “Nancy.”

She raised her eyebrows at the sound of her name.

Big Jim pulled out his wallet and threw a hundred-dollar bill on the stack of twenties, “May I please have the doll?” He asked as calmly as he could.

Before Nancy could answer, her manager walked up, “Nancy, is there a problem here?”

“No.” Nancy looked at Big Jim.

The manager looked Big Jim over, “Well, then let’s get a move on, you’re starting to get a line.”

The manager walked away.

Nancy pushed the money back towards Jim, “You’ll need to get more points, sir.” She smiled the same smile the devil wears when meeting someone in the desert.

Jim grabbed the money off the counter and walked towards the machines with their beeps and flashing lights. He sat his daughter up on a stool facing the electronic screens like so many other children. They chased pellets, points and dignity one token at a time.

Fifteen minutes later, Nancy finished her shift. She stole the doll off the shelf, clocked out and never went back wearing the same devilish grin she’d worn every day of her life.



The promo tag I saw recently on Twitter for SHARE GIRL carries a warning: Not for the faint of heart. Exercise caution when reading. Was it your intention to shock and awe, or did the characters hijack you?


The characters totally hijacked me. I never really know what’s going to happen. In Share Girl, she’s attacked. But it couldn’t be a simple attack. It had to be something horrific to change her from Amber to Share Girl. Otherwise it’s unbelievable. We watch her as she is slowly sucked into a world she is not prepared for. It leaves her broken both physically and spiritually. What is she going to do? How does she change into Share Girl? What type of person is Share Girl?

I want to write a nice story about a guy and girl who love each other. But the guy isn’t cooperating.

The Love Tree was like that. I sat down to write a witty, romantic short story but a couple sentences in, I knew the guy was lying. He bummed me out, but it gave me a great story.

The characters hijacked what I wanted to do, but they helped me create this world, a dark world, a world I wouldn’t have been able to create on my own.

That totally sounds weird.

My characters always do that. In the book I wrote, Something Wild, the same thing happened. My main character got into his car and was joined by someone else. I wrote the scene not revealing the other person. My wife is reading the draft asking, “Who is it? Who is it?” I’m like “I don’t know? I’ll find out tomorrow.”

It adds some excitement to the day!


Ed – I do that too, create characters with nic names not really knowing their true identities until they reveal themselves. It’s always shocking for me!



We met through Twitter #hashtag games. Care to comment on this trend? What do you get from playing them?


I love playing the #hashtag games. I love the sense of community the games provide. We’re all in this together. We met through Twitter, we may never have met otherwise. Like I’ve said earlier, I love meeting new people. Some of my biggest fans are people who I’ve connected with on Twitter. I find that amazing.

Plus, there is such an abundance of talent on Twitter. How some people can take 140 characters and evoke such strong feelings is amazing.

I love the instant feedback a line can give. It’s awesome to think of a great line and share it with the world. I’m always amazed at what people like and don’t like. Something I think is great may only get a couple of likes, but something I think is a throwaway could be my most popular tweet that day.



I love writing series, but I need breaks from time to time, usually through short stories and novelettes. Do you write more than one manuscript at a time? If so, how do you keep it all sorted?


For a while I was. I’d have a couple of things going at the same time. That’s changed with the last book and the one I’m working on now.

I was writing short stories for different contests and magazines, but I found the process difficult.

The last book I published on Amazon completed a trilogy, and this book now is tying a lot of my recent short stories together.

I haven’t been blessed with a new idea yet. Most of my ideas come from dreams. Maybe I need to sleep in a little bit more and the good stuff will flow once again.



Have I forgotten anything?


I don’t think so.

I’ll end with advice. Write because you can. Write because you love to do it. If you become famous or successful, awesome, but don’t do it because of that.

Yes, you have talent. Yes, you have incredible ideas. Yes, no one may ever read them. But you did. You took the time to create something that is from you. You have value, therefore, your work is valuable, even if no one has ever put a price tag on it.

You never know what may last in this world and what will fade away. None of us knows the future. In a time we may not be a part of, your words could be what changes a generation.

If your words, your story, your creation changed the world, changed the course of human history for the better, would it matter if you never made a dime?

Maybe your words will do nothing more than prove to your kids anything is possible. Dreams are worth chasing. There is more to this life than social media and video games.

We all have something to say. Some of us simply have the courage to write it down.


In his own words

donI grew up at the beach in Delaware. After a couple of twists and turns down the road of life, I got stranded in Northern Virginia. But I’ve got my wife and kids with me, so life isn’t so bad. Trust me, as soon as the youngest graduates, I’m out of here. Life is short, I need to spend it at the beach.

I’ve had an abundance of day jobs. My family owned a well-drilling company, so I dug a lot of holes every summer. I finally got out of that and worked at a bookstore, selling books and learning how to make foam for a cappuccino.

People always told me I’d make a great teacher. I didn’t like school, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a teacher. News flash, if you didn’t like school as a student, it isn’t any better as a teacher. At least, for me, it wasn’t. I taught 7th and 8th grade math and social studies.

I hated every day!

I’m not exaggerating. Every day.

Still I won several awards: Outstanding Student Teacher, First-year teacher of the year, Math teacher of the year, Social Studies Teacher of the Year, and yes, Teacher of the Year.

Imagine if I had liked teaching!

I left teaching to become a youth minister. Here’s another tidbit to tuck away for future reference: Do not work for small minded people who have no want for growth, personal or otherwise. Too many people get comfortable and don’t want to explore new things. I want to change my whole life about every two years.

In the end, we both believed in God but the similarities ended there. Again, good with the kids, terrible with everyone else.

I gave up ministry life, and worked at a gym for two years. I’m not big on fitness, just really good at picking things up and putting them down. Simply put, I love sugar, carbs and all the other bad things I’m not supposed to like.

I workout regularly but I’m not interested in being Mr. Universe or extending my life cycle.

Now I write. I’ve got a website: It contains short stories I’ve written. Some I’ve submitted to magazines and contests, some I haven’t. I also have a three books on Amazon.

something-wildThe three books in the series are told from the point of view of three different people. In the first book, Something Wildthe story is told by Bodhi, a children’s writer whose wife, Rachel, has gone missing. After accepting the fact she may never be found, clues start popping up that may help him find her.

In A Bona Fide Good Guywe find Gene, a demolition specialist good-guyfor the mob trying to make a better life for himself. He’s paved with good intentions, but that doesn’t always make things right. He learns about Rachel and tries to rescue her.

the-winter-roseWith The Winter Rose, we learn there is more to Rachel then a simple missing wife. There is something evil attempting to change our world forever. Our new hero, Kendall, wants to find inner peace after a lifetime of pro ball and wealthy living. He becomes the final piece of the puzzle, helping Bodhi, Rachel, Gene and the others stand against a force more evil than Satan himself.


My current WIP


I had two different ideas. I even had people vote on them. The first story was about a two siblings with special powers in search of their mother. The other was a full length novel based off of some short stories I had written. The stories revolved around characters found in the Blue Tree Forest. Simon and company, if you’ve read the stories, are not good people. Some unlucky travelers ended up in the forest and are in a fight for their lives to escape.

The story about the siblings won. It made sense — happier ending, people like kids. I’ve been working on the story in my head longer, etc. But when I sat down to write, the second story came out.

I have very little idea where the story will end, and how my travelers will fare. I do know the story will combine, Simon, the fairies, the Blue Tree Forest, The Love Tree, Share Girl and Limbo.

The whole concept of the story came about from one of those crazy late night pillow talks you have with your wife, when you’re half tired, half loopy.

I don’t remember the details, but we got talking about mischievous things and fairies came up. I said I should write a story about fairies. I had this idea of a man taking a leak in the forest and fairies biting his butt. My wife asked if the fairies could have blue hair. I said sure, their hair will be blue as an homage to the Blue Tree Forest they live in.


The Love Tree was supposed to be a sweet love story. Something sappy. But I realized early on that my male character was a liar. His lying introduced me to Simon. Simon is in charge of the Blue Tree Forest, a forest that contains the Love Tree.


Once I had those two stories, I realized I had a world to explore.

The idea for Share Girl came about from a miscommunication. One day the hashtag #Sharegirlstalkboys was trending on twitter. It was to promote the single, Girls Talk Boys, from 5 Seconds of Summer. The song was featured on the Ghostbusters Movie Soundtrack.

I didn’t know all of this when I saw it. Not a big 5 Seconds of Summer fan. Not really their demographic.

Anyway, I inquired, “was the hashtag Share Girls Talk Boys or Share Girl Stalks Boys?” I liked the character called Share Girl. It’s a hard read. It was hard to write. Our main character Amber is Share Girl. She is used, goes through a metamorphoses with Simon’s help and comes out as Share girl.


Limbo was a five part mini-story based off of a series of dreams I had. The first night I dreamt of losing my youngest son. So I wrote a story with this character in mind. Each night I would dream different details I would add to the story. Limbo ended up in the Blue Tree Forest as a challenger to Simon.


So now, I’m attempting to unite all these characters into one story. Crossing my fingers, it can come out like I want. I won’t self-publish this book like I have done with the others. This will be the one I send to agents in the hope of landing a book deal.

Thanks for joining us Don, and best of luck with the querying. *sending good vibes* — ABF


TOMORROW:  Historical fiction author Ralph Peluso tries his hand at short stories and wins with a new anthology coming SOON.




The blog resumes this week with authors doing what they do best: coming up with NEW STUFF. This week, we will look at anthologies, novelettes, full novel releases and emerging artists on the cusp of signing.

Today, we visit with multi-published paranormal romance author Rachael Tamayo. Always romantic, always ‘this side’ of the whimsical, she highlights her series FRIEND ZONE and provides a ‘look see’ at what’s coming next.



Welcome to the blog Rachael! Without reading your biography, I can tell that you have strong links to the Lone Star state. Are you a resident?


Yes! I’ve lived in Texas my whole life.  I was born in Tyler, which is in east Texas. I’ve lived in south east Texas (Gulf Coast) as long as I can remember.  I live 20 minutes from Houston and about 45 minutes from Galveston.



Your short stories and novels are relationship focused with generous doses of whimsy (GRETYL THE WITCH) and regret (FRIEND-ZONE 1 & 2). Why do we mere mortals allow third parties to constantly come between us and our happiness?


I think it’s because we tend to base our happiness on outside circumstances and events going on around us.  Not to mention the people we care about influence us.



Is that why magic and paranormal elements figure so prominently in your work?


I tried The Stones as an experiment to see if I could branch outside of my comfort zone and write Paranormal. It went so well, I decided to do Gretyl and The Witch, a twist on Hansel and Gretyl that was inspired by a scene in the movie, The Visit. (My imagination went crazy! Lol)



The attraction between friends and what to do with it is a tantalizing and recurrent theme. How does it compare to ‘love’ with a complete stranger?


I’ve always loved the friends to lovers thing. I am working on a couple of stories, one couple starts out as strangers and the other are acquaintance.  I think either way we have to develop a level of friendship with the other person. The ones that are already friends just have a head start. ; )



Define ‘love’.


What a question! Love is so many things, and I think it’s different to different people.  Its that unseen force that turns your world upside down and inside out. It can tie you in knots and change who you think you are. It can make you do things that you never dreamed possible. It can make you believe in yourself when you never did before. It can tear you up or build you into something greater. It’s a force, an entity, a being that takes root inside you and never quite goes away. You have no control over it, it controls you.



Does that make you a romantic?


Believe it or not, I’m not overly romantic in my personal relationship with my husband. I never have been. He’s not either. I can write romance, but I tend not to be romantic too often.



Your next release, a follow up to Friend-Zone 1, features a motorcycle riding bad boy. Do you ride?


No, but my husband used to ride. He also has Tattoos, just not quite as many as Shane does, the male lead in the story.   Although he’d love to ride again, we have a family now and safety outranks him, ha! Working in law enforcement, I’ve seen my share of motorcycle accidents and I’m paranoid about it!



What’s next for you?


Friend Zone book 3, about Chloe and Micah. After that, a stand alone suspense called Crazy Love. I’m particularly proud of Crazy Love! There is definitely a romantic relationship in it, but its also about the female Emily being stalked by a wealthy man who thinks they are in love and will do anything to make her his.



Chase Me (Friend-Zone Book 1)


chase-me-0011Adrienne Lawrence loves her friends. It seems, however, that she doesn’t get along with her family as well. One hot Texas summer, Adrienne manages to fall headfirst over her own big mouth when she lies to her Mom about a long term boyfriend in efforts to squelch her Mom’s nasty comments about having a date for a family wedding.

Clint Montgomery, one of her best friends, kindly steps in agreeing to play the part of the devoted boyfriend during a week-long venue wedding across the country.

After a week of pretend kisses and smoldering looks, the lines between what is fake and what is real seem to become fuzzy. The only problem is, Adrienne doesn’t want to become one of the women that Clint leaves in his wake, but fighting what she’s feeling is becoming almost impossible.


Excerpt and book trailer:


Gretyl and The Witch


31682615It’s always been a bit of a joke, since Gretyl started dating him. When your names are Ansel and Gretyl, you have to have a bit of a sense of humor about it. What isn’t funny, is the fact that her father doesn’t approve of twenty year old Ansel for his seventeen year old daughter.  After much thought and discussion, the young love struck duo decide to strike out on their own, and Gretyl runs away from home with Ansel to his granny’s house deep in the woods.  It doesn’t take long for Gretyl to see that something is wrong. When Ansel tells her the whole truth about his granny and himself, it turns out to be a tough cookie to swallow.

Gretyl and the Witch is a modern day retelling of the classic fairytale, Hansel and Gretyl.  Darker paranormal elements and a more adult theme make this a great read for any age.


Other current works, The Stones (Paranormal Short) and all titles available at


And the WIP?

My work in progress (One of many, actually) is Friend-Zone Book 2, Reach for Me. I hope to have this one submitted to my publisher, Solstice Publishing, by the end of August.

Blurb: When Ashley’s high society life crumbles around her in the space of one afternoon, she’s forced to swallow her pride and move back home to Dallas.  Having lost both her husband and her career, she takes up a job at her father’s restaurant under her little sister Adrienne’s management.  After months living with her parents, she decides to move in with her coworker and friend, Shane.  Ashley vows to never let a man cause her life to come crashing down around her ever again.  Never will feelings cause her to make “stupid decisions.”

Of course, that’s before she knew Shane.   Can she resist his charms? Not to mention, blue eyes, tattoos, and a ride on his motorcycle.


In her own words

web-size-2I’m a police dispatcher/ 911 operator, and a romance writer. I like to say that writing is my full time hobby, but it’s in my blood just as answering 911 is.
I’m a wife and mother. I live in the Houston, Texas area with my husband of twelve years and our three year old son. We all live happily with our yellow Lab, Daisy and our African Grey parrot, Sassy,

When I’m not writing or working, you can usually find me at home enjoying quality time with my husband and son, or maybe a large family get together with my fantastic extended family.






Amazon author page is listed above

Goodreads Tamayo


TOMORROW: Maverick Don Lorah hits the road on fiction and on life.