COMING OFF HIATUS

With just two chapters — that’s right — TWO chapters — left on the WIP, I though it was time to come out of #amwriting hiding to fire up the blog.

teaser-2So much has happened since the start of the year, beginning with the home stretch gallop for SHELL GAME, my third in the Unapologetic Lives Series. What began as a reaction to an aggressive letter from city hall has turned into a novel journey that examines relationships through the eyes of a feral tabby cat.

Equal parts dark and humorous, SHELL GAME  didn’t reveal it’s true self until the tag lines started teasing their way off of the pages.

It’s to all those amazing Twitter hashtag games geared to writers that I owe a debt for knocking the subtext loose:

#amwriting Psycho-social #cat #dramady with death and laughs #Thurds Words #ShareWrit

#SHELLGAME This time, the cat wins #2bitTues

A pastoral community tweaks when it crosses the black #cat #humor #wip #wipjoy #GuessWrite

This proves again what I have always known about art: ready or not, it finds you. And in this vein, I’m pleased to share two things, beginning with this chestnut:

Writing is one part of the author journey. Getting up and performing is another.

There’s no way to sugar coat performance: it’s tough. Even the most accomplished veterans, the late Sir Laurence Olivier most famously, suffered from mighty stage fright. Canada’s own Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip, I recently learned, is another. But reading the work is critical to getting the word out that writers are alive and well and writing. Believe me, the reading out loud gets easier with practice, and I proved it again just the other night.

compositeBack in 2013, a group of crime-loving authors came together and launched NOIR AT THE BAR, an event that has spread across the country and south of the border too. The February 16 event in Toronto provided a golden opportunity to get up and read from the WIP. Was I nervous? You bet! Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! Writers Rob Brunet, Jennifer Soosar, Tanis Mallow, Hope Thompson, Ian Hamilton, and Howard Shrier shared their dark work with aplomb, along with Noir img_2340Founding Father Peter Rozovsky, who came all the way up from Philly to do so.

That I found myself in such august company was in large part due to hard work (the writing) but also finding the wherewithall to bravely get out to as many events as I could so that I could talk up what I was getting up to (the writing). The invitation to read at Noir followed.

Which leads to the second chestnut:

Talking about your work is well and good as long as you pass on the good karma by talking about the work of others.

paintnet-guess-writeThe incredible power of february-9the Twitter hashtag game cannot be stressed enough. For while the Twitterverse is huge, it lends itself to lasting relationships forged through shares, one line at a time.

Case in point: A group of us recently got together and pooled our hashtag games under the umbrella of #GuessWrite. Each month, game hosts like yours truly, offer up a different theme that acts as a clue to a single, larger #GuessWrite theme. The lucky tanyachrisparticipant(s) that guess the theme share in a prize pack offered up by the hosts. It is through this that I am able to share this space with February 2017 #GuessWrite winner Tanya Chris. Tanya and I have crossed paths many times through #2bitTues #1lineWed #ThruLineThurs, #Thurds Words and many, many more. Yet it is through the shared resources of participating writer gamers that I have the honor to feature her work here.

I can feel the good Karma, already. Can you?

And so it is, without further ado, that I sign off here and get to work on Tanya’s feature post, which will go live later today.

Such joy to be back here in the Blogosphere!

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am
FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

#amwriting #amblogging #amreading #amsharing #writerslife

February 17, 2017

GILMORE GIRLS: A DISSENTING OPINION

Is it me or did the Sherman-Palladino’s get passive aggressive with a weird reboot ending?

Like every series fan, I got more than a little keyed up when I heard about the return of Gilmore Girls, an old fave that formed part of a near mythical line up on the old WB network. Would it fly?

Nine years is a long time, and scoring back the entire cast (the late Edward Herrmann excepted) for a mini Season 8 was a coup too good to miss out on. I had enjoyed a seven year love her-hate her relationship with Lorelai Gilmore, probably because I saw some of myself in her. Yacky, quirky, vulnerable and funny, she was also wise in the face of tragedy, if not hyper malleable when caught in a tough spot. Her on again, off again relationships, her inability to take a position and stick with it, and her fierce loyalty to her community always kept me rationalizing, wanting to make sense of her in the hopes that she’d come around to what I, the fan, wanted for her. In this, the Sherman-Palladino writing team succeeded in 2016.

The reboot showed us a Lorelai who hasn’t changed much since the show’s first run, and for those of us who caught on to the pathology behind her inertia, it was not only expected, but immensely satisfying on delivery. Still fast talking and coffee swilling, she is plagued by doubts about what the future holds and how she’ll deal with it when inevitable change comes. Aging is not touched upon nor should it be. Lorelai is timeless, blundering through life with steely determination and a calculating glint in her eyes. Both fox and hare, she will go on no matter what the show runners do to her and we love her for that. But when the narrative turns to Rory, something strange happens. Like her mother, she is still where we left her: questioning, seeking, battling to retain her optimism. All good things to highlight, given the current zeitgeist. But for the character, I wanted more.

After a Yale education and years on the international journo circuit culminating in a triumphant feature piece in a major magazine, thirty-two-year-old Rory Gilmore returns to Stars Hollow and her mother. Dislocated, without home and purpose, the gal is down. Will she pick herself up and triumph as her plucky mother did thirty-two years before, when she settled in the mythical burg at sixteen years young with a baby in tow?

I’m not sure.

HUGE SPOILER (BOLDED)

After four ninety minute episodes, writers “came full circle” to quote one of the series stars, ending with four (or three, depending on how you look at contractions) simple words from Rory: “Mom, I’m pregnant.”

Given the propensity for supermarket tabloids to push themes like “Baby and wedding on the way,” “Pregnant and dumped,” and “Christmas divorce,” I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I was. One of the many charms radiating off this series was the sparkling message that a Gilmore Girl could not be kept down. Her errors, missteps and heroic stubbornness would always give way to a solution more positive than the last go ’round.

Rory’s rejection of her Gilmore past with a thorough dumping of privileged boyfriend Logan at the end of Season 7 marked her escape from her mother’s past, which she had little choice but to live as a minor. Nine years later, she is back, older and presumably wiser, but still tripping the edges of the past we thought she rejected. Instead of feeling good about it, I was reminded, yet again, of how dastardly nostalgia comes into play when its disciples spend too much time caught in its tentacles.

Is replicating the main protagonist’s life the penultimate or final plot point in 2016, or has Gilmore Girls been a spec fiction piece in a divergent universe all along? Far from happy ending, it seems to hint at something darker in the Stars Hollow universe: a loop doomed to repeat. Run, Rory, run, and don’t look back!

The reboot has been embraced and celebrated widely, with many fans calling for more. I had so wanted to be part of that club, but find I can’t: At least, not now; not until I figure out what I just saw and what it really means.

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am,

FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

Gilmore Girls Fan

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BEFORE RULES: LEE RENE AND PRE-CODE HOLLYWOOD

frannieLee Rene is a Los Angeles-based, jazz-loving writer who grew up in the City of the Angels as the child of two fervent movie addicts. Lee has studied and researched classic Hollywood for a number of years and spent much of her writing career as an entertainment journalist and movie reviewer in print, on-line, and on the radio. She co-authored a biography of Sarah Bernhardt, The Diva and Doctor God, which Poverty Row Entertainment has recently optioned for a feature film. Lee has also co-written an article for the prestigious British publication, History Today, and had two articles published in The Lancet. Lee collaborated on The Soul of Los Angeles, the history of African Americans in Los Angeles, published by the Los Angeles Convention Bureau. Lee is member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Lee is a contributor to the Simply Sxy on-line magazine. Loose Id published her erotic romance, The New Orleans Hothouse, in 2015 and Solstice Publishing is releasing her Depression-era romance, Mitzi of the Ritz, later this year.

 

 

Mitzi of the Ritz

 

beautiful-mitziPops is dead, the Stock Market has crashed, and the wolf is at the door. When Mitzi Schector crosses the threshold of the Broadway Ritz for a lowly usherette job, little does she know that she has just stepped into her future. Mitzi’s life is about to change into a world of movie moguls, platinum-blonde bombshells, and romance.

 

Welcome to Mitzi of the Ritz, a raunchy and often humorous romantic mystery set in Depression-era Hollywood. The manuscript was a semi-finalist in the 2011 ABNA and a top-twenty favorite with Swoon Reads. Publishers Weekly wrote, “The dialogue is so telling of the era and the mind-set of a young girl. This writing is filled with the specifics of the era, the feelings, the bits and pieces of a girl caught up in a situation that is moving and engrossing, sad and fearsome at the same time.” 

 

In the fall of 1930, the plucky eighteen-year-old protagonist meets a handsome young theater owner named David Stein. Their attraction is immediate, but David is married, a fact that derails their romance before it begins. The feisty teen soon finds herself the unwilling object of the affection of a local mobster. His unwanted advances push Mitzi and her older sister to flee New York for Los Angeles, the scene of a Schector family tragedy. In the early 1920s, Mitzi’s uncle, a handsome film extra, lost his life in a studio fire. While crossing the country aboard the famed Santa Fe Chief, Mitzi meets a cast of the characters who will change her life. Her arrival in Los Angeles coincides with the film industry’s transition from silent dramas to talkies. During this period, known as the Pre-Code, racy films flourished in spite of the constant threat of censorship.  Mitzi soon reconnects with David. Their path to love is a long and rocky one, but David finally discovers his humanity, Mitzi transforms from teen to woman, and solves a decade-old Hollywood mystery.

 

 

Q & A1.

Welcome Lee. I recently introduced my husband to the films of Claudette Colbert and he was taken by their racy nature. Shall we begin with a definition of the Pre-Code era?

 

First I must say that Claudette Colbert’s Pre-Code films are a terrific introduction to a very provocative era in Hollywood history. The term Pre-Code is a bit of a misnomer because from the earliest days of cinema, filmmakers pushed the envelope, and local film censorship boards to keep them in line. Silent films often had provocative subject matterpre-code_hollywood and even nudity, but since there was no dialogue, local censors could snip out objectionable scenes with no problem. The issue became serious when a series of Hollywood scandals in the 1920s threatened the existence of the movie industry. Hollywood producers took matters in their own hands and created their own censorship board with a man named Will Hays. They also had a list of dos and don’ts which filmmakers pretty much ignored. The issue became problematic with the arrival of sound. Moving pictures were no longer silent, the language became rawer, and local board couldn’t just cut out provocative dialogue or a titillating scene without destroying the continuity of a talking picture. Also, producers were looking to Broadway for plays with explosive subject matter. A Catholic priest and a layman created the production code in 1929, but producers were able to maneuver around it or just ignore it until Joseph Breen, or “Mean Joe Breen” as he was known around Hollywood finally implemented it late in 1934.

 

 

2.

The Jazz Age promised social freedom through abandon, joy and booze. Then the shoe dropped with the Depression. What draws you to this age?

 

decoI’ve always loved so much about the Jazz Age, flappers, the birth of the automotive industry, Prohibition (I had a bootlegger great-uncle who made a fortune as a very young man), and the birth of the film industry. I grew up in Los Angeles near some of the larger studios. I loved the classic film tours of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and seeing the mansions where major stars lived. When I became a journalist, I actually visited those same studios. In addition to Pre-Code films, I also loved listening to the Depression stories my neighbors and relatives shared and watching the fabulous films. I also love the silent cinema which I watch on TCM or film society screenings. Thank goodness for Turner Classic movies and the amazing stars of the 1930s.

 

 

3.

Tell us about Mitzi Schector and the qualities that help her navigate that tantalizing landscape in MITZI OF THE RITZ.

 

Mitzi is a plucky eighteen-year-old New Yorker whom I based on several women I met new-york-1930through the years. The story begins in New York in 1930 after the Crash has wiped out the fortunes of so many. Her father’s death leaves Mitzi and her older sister, Leah, destitute. Leah takes a job as a taxi dancer, something that was well-paid, but not respectable at the time. The times force Mitzi to drop out of college and look for work. When she answers a newspaper ad for a theater usherette, the drama begins the minute she crosses the threshold of a huge New York movie palace, the Broadway Ritz.

 

She meets a handsome young theatre owner named David Stein, a young man much like the actual boy genius, Irving Thalberg, who has been running his late father’s theater company since he was barely out of his teens. David’s attraction to Mitzi is fiery and immediate, but she doesn’t return his feelings. In addition to being controlling and cynical, David is a married man, a reality that derails any hope for romance. Mitzi also finds herself the unwilling object of affection of a local mobster who will stop at nothing to make Mitzi his. Mitzi and Leah flee New York and board the Santa Fe Chief heading for Los Angeles. The two girls meet people who will change their lives and begin their adventure.

 

I loved writing Mitzi and her two older sisters, Leah and Zisel. I wanted to create a plucky heroine who speaks in the parlance of the time. I also loved adding Yiddish slang to the mix, writing a Jewish romance, and exploring the racial politics of a different time and place.

 

 

4.

I see you coauthored a biography of Sarah Bernhardt that has been optioned. Do you find collaborations more satisfying than working in solitude? Do you go off on your own when you write?

 

I wrote the Sarah Bernhardt project with a doctor who lives in Australia. We worked together online. I’m used to writing solo, but I enjoyed getting another perspective on Sarah’s life and times. My collaborator is French fluent and visited Paris frequently. While I made a number of great connections online, she was able to get the book published in French and make a lifetime connection with people who helped us on our journey.

 

 

5.

Mitzi of the Ritz is the latest in a career begun in print, on-line and radio journalism. When does it come out and does it mark the beginning of a career in novels?

 

I’ve already had another novel published, an erotic romance. I worked with a small publishing house and went through an extensive editing and proofing process with experienced editors. They sent me a style guide that I continue to use. The problem with erotica is that it’s difficult to find reviewers, and some people feel uneasy with it. There has also been a glut of erotic novels since Fifty Shades of Grey became a success and it’s next to impossible to break out of the pack. While I like writing erotic romances, I wanted to try another direction with a more conventional romance although my newest bends genre, crime drama and romance. Mitzi is New Adult with a moderate level of heat. I also write Young Adult novels under a different pen name.

 

 

6.

I watched a “thriller” over the weekend that featured some very talented actors sitting around a table watching flat screens as other actors effected change through push buttons while also watching flat screens. Do you think our gadget infused culture robs characters of useful things to do? Is that why we’re seeing more recent past stories being published and then made into film?

 

Look at the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, shows with vibrant action and intriguing characters yet nary a computer in sight. Look at Outlander, a time-travel romance based on a popular series of books.

 

Once upon a time, I’d go to moves two or three times a week and when I was a reviewer, I was out five nights a week during movie season. Now, I pretty much skip them and get screeners. Marvel Comics, remakes, and films for the teen market pretty much dictate what’s out in theaters. I don’t have an issue with them, they aren’t my type of film, but if I want provocative fare, I won’t find it at the movies. I go online with Netflix or Amazon, watch premium cable or God forbid, read.

 

Ed. – Lol. I hear ya!

 

 

7.

Is the Code alive and well? Are we better when we go around it?

 

The Code ended in 1968, but now studios are playing it safe with remakes and comic book adaptations. The most interesting projects are usually I think the premium cable and online studios like Amazon and Netflix are creating the most provocative works, but certainly not film or network television. I understand the issues with censorship, but I think we’re better off without it.

 

 

8.

Any WIPs in the works, or are you taking a well-deserved break?

 

I’m always working on something. I have four unpublished manuscripts that I’m presently querying and I’m writing a YA story set in New Orleans in the 1950s. I also started outlining a wild, contemporary saga set in the meth amphetamine capital of California. I hope to write more novels set in the same fictional movie studio in West Hollywood that I used in Mitzi. I’d like to write a generational saga that looks at the movie industry from the silent era to the 1950s. I plan to create different characters, but the setting will be the same studio.

 

 

REVIEWS FOR MITZI OF THE RITZ

“The dialogue is so telling of the era and the mind-set of a young girl. This writing is filled with the specifics of the era, the feelings, the bits and pieces of a girl caught up in a situation that is moving and engrossing, sad and fearsome at the same time.”  Publishers Weekly

 

“I enjoyed the story and loved the how the early 30’s were brought to life. I liked the heroine but it did take me a little while to warm up to the hero (although he was worth the wait). I thought the story was well paced and the imagery vivid. For me, the end was a little abrupt. I guess I would have liked one more scene with David and Mitzi – then again that could just be me being greedy. That being said, I really enjoyed Mitzi of the Ritz and would recommend it.” 🙂 – Nicole – Swoon Reads

 

“I’m a few chapters in. The quirky dialogue and descriptions feel authentic to the era. Great cover too.” 😉 – Kristy Brown – Swoon Reads

 

“Okay, that’s it. I’m officially in love with this book. It’s awesome! The style is so well done, historically accurate, a very distinct voice, I’m impressed. As for the story and the romance, they kept me at the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next. I would totally buy this book and reread it, I love it 🙂 Also, it reminds me a bit of Anna Godbersen’s Bright Young Things which has the same tone and glamour. Thank you for writing this, it’s perfect!” – M.C. Frank – Swoon Reads

 

“Wow!! I felt like I was in the olden days! The writing was easily to follow along and smooth and the characters were lovable. I wish I had some criticism, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t really think of any to give! Great job!” ABNA

 

“I felt like I was transported back in time to a strange place that somehow felt eerily familiar. I remember my grandma telling me stories of life in depression-era LA. Lee Rene captures the feeling perfectly. I loved her characters and the way the story unfolded. Her characters seemed real and not stereotypes. I couldn’t put this down.
I wish it were longer.” – Peter Taubkin – ABNA

 

“I’m a fan of romance, a dedicated Twihard. I love to be transported to different places and times. Mitzi of the Ritz delivered. I learned about Hollywood during the Depression, a dark time in American history. It brought a much-needed smile to my face and is worth Five Stars!” Amazon

 

“I don’t normally read romance novels and was a bit leery of starting this one. Luckily, it’s not a traditional historical romance, no bodices are ripped, no hyper-sexuality. Instead, it’s a funny look at a dark era in American history, the Great Depression. I felt very much a part of the action, loved the characters, the banter, the 30s slang. A real winner.”Swoon Reads

 

 

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Buy Link

 

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https://www.pinterest.com/gothicimp/mitzi-of-the-ritz/

 

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Thanks for joining us today, Lee. Count on a lot of us checking out MITZI AT THE RITZ! 

Cheers,

ABF

 

 

 

LOOKING INTO THE UNEXPLAINED WITH DAVID MANNES

Hello from beautiful Bonville, Ontario! Like so many writers this time of year, I’m neck deep in a brand new work for NaNoWriMo 2016. For those not in the know, NaNo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Believe it or not, a 50K manuscript can be hashed out in a month if a writer dedicates about 1,600 new words to the page every day. But I digress…

The blog needs to be fed, and so it is my great pleasure to welcome multi-talented author David Mannes. Spiritual and curious, David plumbs a fascination with the paranormal while exploring relationships at their most personal. With TWO releases out this year, his energy and creativity is an inspiration to us all.

Welcome to the blog, David.

 

 

1.

As a Cantor-Educator you are a spiritual man who is also interested in the paranormal and the unexplained. How do you reconcile dogma with secular interests?

 

Judaism’s belief about what happens after you die is a gray spectrum with an evolution of beliefs over the millennium looking at biblical and Talmudic views. We do believe that the soul is eternal. But I certainly don’t believe in demons, possessed souls, or Satan- at least in terms of the Christian view, which has its origins with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman theology. In Judaism Satan-pronounced Sah-tahn in Hebrew- or the Accuser, is sort of like a prosecuting attorney.  (Satan is mentioned briefly by a couple of the prophets and predominantly in the book of Job (an allegory piece of literature about faith).  However,  I did live briefly in a haunted house for awhile in my teens. (See May, 1976 issue of Fate Magazine-‘The Spite House’) and I have friends who are psychic. I tend to keep an open mind as to what happens to our spirit after death and in terms of Jewish belief.

 

Re: the unexplained or extraterrestrial: In Jewish tradition God created and destroyed many worlds before creating this one, and then God continues to create.  God is a creative force. It’s what God does. Also, it’s pretty egotistical of us to think we’re the only intelligent life form in the universe, and really, looking at our world and the history of humankind, there’s got to be something out there smarter than us.  The universe is billions or trillions of years old.Humankind is still in it’s relative infancy.  We may have become more sophisticated, but we haven’t matured much.  We don’t know everything.  The world and the universe will continue to surprise us.

 

2.

Is that how you became involved in the arts? Or did the arts come first?

 

I was always interested in fine art (especially cartooning) and writing. I majored in Art initially in High school and my first year of college, then switched it to a minor and majored in English. I’ve been writing since upper elementary school and got a lot of encouragement from teachers and in creative writing classes. I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I knew I wanted to be a writer since fifth grade.

 

3.

Your character Jeff Reimer in THE CANTOR’S SON reminisces about the year of his Bar Mitzvah, which took place in the 1960s. I’ve been listening to a lot of Beatles lately and find it very reassuring. What is it about the 60’s that keeps us coming back?

 

We are the baby boomer generation. We had great music, great causes and its generational influence is still present. While The Cantor’s Son has a Jewish slant, it also speaks to baby boomers and any kid whose father was clergy.  I think it was a great era to grow up in, despite all the war and social problems.

 

4.

Jeff “comes home” after forty-six years. What is his take on ‘home’ in the year 2016 CE?

The book is about Jeff’s journey not only as a young adult but as an adult. Getting older gives us a different perspective on life and what’s important. There’s a lot of people (adults) that are still figuring it out.  Overall change happens. Growth happens. Life is a continual journey and Jeff is entering a new stage but experience has given him a new outlook too, one that I think the character is happy with.

 

5.

You have also authored THE REPTILIAN ENCOUNTER and SCARLET JUSTICE. Do these works support common themes, or are other agendas at work?

 

scarlet vengeance-001.jpgWell Scarlet Justice started out as a screenplay that I was going to produce with a couple of buddies, but there was a recession on in the early 90’s and we couldn’t find interest or financing so I did a novelization of it. I grew up watching old B westerns and the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies. While doing research for the Writing-on-Stone documentary I read a lot about the early years of the Mounted Police and it  gave me a lot of story ideas that I’ve incorporated in this series. The second book, Scarlet Vengeance will be out this fall, and I’m working on a third book in the series.

           

The Reptilian Encounter is actually the third part of a trilogy (I published the first two volumes independently on Amazon kindle) but it’s also a spin-off for a continuing series. I’ve been interested in UFOs since I was a kid. I use to read Frank Edward’s column in the newspaper and have been doing reading and research on UFO’s for probably about 50 years.  As well, having grown up in the 60’s, The Man from U.N.C.L.E was one of my favorite shows, as was X-Files in the ’90’s. Both influenced tunguska-cover-2the creation of my character Damien Wynter.  According to some of my research, after the Roswell crash of 1947 President Truman set up Majestic 12, a group of military, industrial, and private organizations and individuals who investigate and obtain alien technology, and understand extraterrestrials, but at the same time keeping it secret to prevent public panic. My novels are based on actual or alleged incidents but with fictional license and conclusions.  The series is sort of a Man from U.N.C.L.E meets the X-Files. The second book, The Tunguska Encounter is coming out this fall.   I’m hoping this series takes off and I think it’d be great to see The Reptillian Encounter made into a movie.

 

6.

And you have also worked in film as a producer/director and scriptwriter. How do these experiences compare to writing in solitude, if you, indeed, write in solitude?

 

Definitely there are parts of media production that are creatively collaborative; but both involve storytelling. I think visually no matter what the media. I always have. The difference for me is in the pacing. Working in media is a very intense and frantic pace a lot of the time, given budgets, deadlines, etc. Writing is more relaxed. The only deadline we have (other than from our illustrious publisher during the editing phase) is one that we set.  There are times I enjoy being in my ‘Batcave’ with music in the background and letting the story take me in new places.  Solitude is essential when writing. I find myself quite comfortable when I’m in ‘the zone’.

 

7.

What is the glue that holds society together currently?

 

Relationships and common goals. To have a society means that there has to be rules that everyone agrees to and abides by. That’s the main purpose of the Ten Commandments (though in Judaism according to the rabbis, there’s 613).  It’s the minimal rules to have a safe and just society.

 

 

8.

Many of us imagine life before the digital age. Others of us have lived it. Which category do you fall into? Can you share a pre Instagram anecdote with the readers? (Mine involves chasing my younger brother with a manual egg beater *lol*)

 

I definitely lived life before the digital age and was very thankful when computers came out. Made writing a lot easier..lol.  I remember as a kid we’d play army.  Our next door neighbors were an older couple.  They had a retaining wall on one side of their property.  We kids used to go around through another yard and take a running leap off the retaining wall and do a tuck and roll to pretend we were parachuting.  The problem was the cement walk that separated the wall and the grass. You had to jump far enough so you didn’t splat on the walk.  We didn’t understand liability issues, but the old guy was always chasing us away when he caught us doing that.

 

9.

What words of wisdom would you impart to our first extraterrestrials when they arrive?

 

Don’t judge us by the stupidity you see. We are worthy and capable of better. We are also tenacious and unpredictable. Don’t piss us off.

 

10.

Any last words?

 

Follow your dreams. You only live once. Appreciate the people in your life because that’s the most important.

 

Thanks, David. Now let’s check out the novels…

 

THE CANTOR’S SON

the-cantors-son-cover-conceptRabbi-Cantor Jeff Reimer returns to River City, Iowa after forty-six years, as spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom. As Jeff connects with the congregation on a variety of issues, he also connects with his past.  It leads him to reminisce about the year of his Bar Mitzvah, and the pivotal events and personal relationships that have led him back to River City again, and that makes Jeff the man he has become. This is a humorous coming-of-age story set in the turbulent 1960’s where Jeff fights off the stigma of being a clergyman’s son, contends with Junior High shop classes, stumbles through B’nai Mitzvah party dances and a semi-reluctant romance with April Blackman.

 

 

SCARLET VENGEANCE 

Released October 14, 2016

 

scarlet-vengeance-001Ride with Northwest Mounted Police Constable Alfred Kingsley and  ex-gunfighter turned scout Charlie Buck in two new adventures: Scarlet Vengeance–  Hatred is a powerful motivator. When rancher Amos Pike spots ex- runaway slave and black rancher, Elijah Samuels, a man he blames for his family’s downfall, Pike plots a merciless revenge to take away everything Samuel’s holds dear. But he doesn’t count on NWMP Constable Alfred Kingsley and Charlie Buck, who head out on the trail to track the kidnappers and murderers down.   In the second novella, Scarlet Gold, Kingsley and Buck, while on their way escorting a prisoner to Fort Benton, aid the U.S. cavalry and Marshal Ben Tucker track down a ruthless band of gold thieves in Montana.

 

THE TUNGUSKA ENCOUNTER

Released September 30, 2016

 

tunguska-cover-2The cold war is back on but with a twist…a remnant, a computer chip, exists from a  UFO that exploded over Russia in 1908. Now Damien Wynter, special agent for the clandestine Majic-12, is on a race to get it before  SETKA, his Russian counterparts.  From the canals of Venice to old city of Dubrovnik, to the pyramids of Bosnia, Wynter and  Michelle Martin run a gauntlet of anarchy, destruction and death in an all out battle to obtain technology that could be the greatest boon to humankind or launch its destruction in THE TUNGUSKA ENCOUNTER!

The Majic-12 series explores the clandestine side of UFOs and the covert organizations that investigate them.  This is an espionage-action-adventure sci-fi series that takes place in present day.

 

About the Author

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David M. Mannes is a Cantor-Educator and a member of the American Conference of Cantors. He has served congregations in the United States and Canada.  He is also a former educational film producer/director and scriptwriter. He was nominated in 1990 for best non-dramatic script in the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association (A.M.P.I.A.) awards  for “Writing-on-Stone” that he wrote and produced for Alberta Parks. David is the author of  The Cantor’s Son, The Reptilian Encounter (Damien  Wynter –Majic-12 series), Scarlet Justice (Constable Alfred Kingsley and Charlie Buck series), among others. He has had a long time interest in history, as well as UFOs, paranormal and unexplained phenomena. David is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta and the International Thrillers Writers.  David Mannes is married and lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

Links

 

Email: david_mannes@hotmail.com

Webpage: http://davidmannes.wix.com/david-mannes

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/David-M.-Mannes/e/B004RQNWNA

FORCE OF NATURE: LEXI MILES

 

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!

 

 

1.

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)

 

2.

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. 

 

3.

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!

 

4.

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!

 

5.

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!

 

6.

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?

 

 

 

 

7.

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!

 

8.

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.

 

9.

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

 

You can contact me via my twitter www.twitter.com/leximilesbooks, or through my contact page on my website www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/contact.

You can get my books via my Amazon author page www.amazon.com/author/leximiles.

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

 

10.

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.

Hugs,

Lexi

 

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

 

 

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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.

 

Links

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/leximiles

Website: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com

Email: LexiMiles.Author@gmail.com

Novel Info: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/novels

Follow Newsletter: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/follow-lexi

Lexi’s Rom Readers https://www.facebook.com/groups/1746560782284851/

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

connectionsConnections by Steve Bederman FREE October 1st – 5th
https://www.amazon.com/Connections-Mitch-Jaco…/…/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.

ABF

 

 

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between-the-lines

 

A. F. STEWART AND THE ART OF HORROR POETRY

horror-haiku

 

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.

 

1.

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.

 

2.

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.

 

3.

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.

 

4.

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.

 

5.

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.

 

6.

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. wordpress.com/

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Stewart/e/B00653FUOW/

Blog: http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scribe77

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/afstewartauthor/

 

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

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FROM COMEDY TO MURDER, VERSATILE AUTHOR JACK B. STRANDBURG KEEPS ‘EM ROLLING

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.

 

1.

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.

 

2.

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.

 

3.

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.”

 

4.

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.

 

5.

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!

 

6.

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.

 

TITLES BY JACK B. STRANDBURG

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.

 

 

Reviews

 

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

“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.

 

 

Links

 

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.