Debra R. Borys

Debra R. Borys has over ten years freelancing experience ranging from fiction to articles, feature stories, press releases and radio spots. I interviewed Debra last year on Literature & Fiction. She has joined us today to talk about her latest novel, Bend Me, Shape Me.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Debra.

Debra BorysDebra: I recently returned to small town Illinois to be closer to family, but I spent over fifteen years living in Chicago and then Seattle where I volunteered with organizations that offer services to homeless youth and adults.  Getting to know people who live on the streets struggling to survive changed the way I think of them and  sparked an interest in creating my Street Stories suspense series.

I have been a serious writer all of my adult life and have had several short stories published in addition to the first novel in the Stories series, Painted Black.  I operate an on-again/off-again freelance writing and editing business that helps fill in my time and pay a few bills.  I have two grown sons and an adorable mixed breed small dog named Sophie who enjoys keeping me company by the computer.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Debra: With the Street Stories series I wanted to create an awareness of the people who are homeless.  Too often we walk by without looking at the person standing on the street corner or if we do notice we jump to negative conclusions about who that person is.  There are a wide variety of people living on the streets and they all have different stories to tell.  While the stories in my novels are fiction, they are based on reality.  If you find my characters interesting, I guarantee you will find the real people you can meet on the street or at the shelters even more enjoyable and surprising.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.

bend-me-beta-finalDebra: In Bend Me, Shape Me, Snow Ramirez is convinced psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide and is targeting her brother as his next victim. But no one will listen to a seventeen-year-old street kid, especially one diagnosed as bi-polar.  When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts.

Once again, reporter Jo Sullivan finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth.  Helping out kids less fortunate than herself keeps her mind off her conflicted feelings toward her father and his battle with lung cancer.  To save Snow, however, she risks her own life in an unexpected twist of events.

What’s the hook for the book?

Debra: My plots are inspired by real life news stories.  For Bend Me, Shape Me an article about a family suing their son’s psychiatrist planted the germ of an idea.  Their autistic son had been exhibiting violent and dangerous behavior after beginning treatment and because the family insisted on further investigation, the police discovered the doctor was actually a paranoid schizophrenic who planned to brainwash his patients into becoming his own private security force.  I simply asked myself “What if?”  What if the patient had no family, no one who cared what happened to him?  What might the end result have been?  For me, the end result was this book.

How do you develop characters?

Debra: The street characters in the series are inspired by the people I met on the streets of Chicago. In some cases, they are loosely based on specific encounters I had, or may be composites of people My protagonist Jo Sullivan is much more negative and dark than I am, but she shares the same concern for helping the homeless and has a thing for tequila, like me.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Debra: People will be able to identify with Jo the easiest, simply because she is the more “normal” character in the way she thinks.  What’s more, she cares and her caring draws the reader into that same emotion. But it is Snow who seems to grab the most attention from readers.  As one reviewer put it: “Snow is strong, brave, troubled and incredibly fierce.  Watching her open up and trust was profound.”  “Snow is a powerful character who has been a part of too much darkness for a girl of eighteen. She is street wise and has spent her youth protecting her brother Alley and drowning her sorrow in pills.”

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Debra: For this book I started using Microsoft’s OneNote to keep track of plot, characters and research.  I created a notebook for the series and then created tabs that will relate to all books in the series, such as Characters, Locations, Research, etc.  Each tab can have many pages; for instance, each character has his or her own page where I can keep track of their traits and background stories.  The tabs can also be grouped into sections, so I create a section for each novel with one page for each chapter where I summarize what is to happen and also record notes and checkpoints I want to remember to go back and look at later.  You can create multiple notebooks for projects and I have begun one for a new cozy mystery series I am working on currently.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Debra: I’ve been very pleased with the reviews of Bend Me, Shape Me so far.  The review excerpts posted below are typical of what’s been said across the board

“Borys offers fascinating characters, a look at inner city homeless children and combines it with a suspenseful mystery that kept me flipping the pages….The pace slowly built towards the climatic conclusion keeping me engaged. Borys did an excellent job of bringing all of the threads together.” — via Caffeinated Book Reviewer

“True to Borys style you get a very surreal feeling of what life on the streets is really like. It’s gritty, dirty, frightening, and cold. She portrays this life effortlessly, and before long you’re pulled into this harsh life these kids live. The plot moves along at a good pace throughout the story, slowing and spiking at just the right points, and the characters are fleshed out so well that you immediately feel a connection to them – even if you’ve never lived the same kind of life.” — via Darian Wilk.

“The author uses vivid imagery that will stay with the reader, and may even haunt you a little when you’re done reading. These books have definitely caught my attention and I can’t wait to see what comes next.” — via Jenn’s Review Blog

What are your current projects?

Debra: Because I recently moved back to small town Illinois where I was raised, and also to do something a little lighter in tone, I am writing a cozy mystery which I hope will turn into a series.  The title is A Bull By The Horns and in it a country wife who is the caretaker of an art colony established on a working farm tries to solve the murder of a famous literary writer.  Or is he?  Suspects include a painter, composer, poet and mystery author, as well as an irascible old neighbor upset at the establishment of such an “artsy, fartsy” community a mere five miles from his doorstep.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Debra: Details and news are always available at my websites: http://www.Debra-R-Borys.com and http://www.StreetStoriesSuspenseNovels.com.

I also have sites set up for each book where you can read the reviews and any news about events: www.BendMeShapeMe.net  and www.PaintedBlackNovel.com .

You can walk into your local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy of either book. If you prefer online shopping, both print and ebooks are available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, and ebooks can be also purchased at Kobo.com

Thanks for joining us today, Debra.

Debra Thank you for this chance to share my work with your readers again.

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Frank Fiore

Frank Fiore is a bestselling author with more than 50,000 copies of his non-fiction books in print. He has now turned his talents to writing fiction. His first novel is the five star rated cyber-thriller titled Cyberkill. This was followed up with the five star rated three book series titled the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash. His latest work is a book of speculative and Sci-Fi short stories titled The Oracle.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Frank.

FrankFrank: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I wrote “To Christopher” under the guise of a book to my young son that leads the reader through social commentary, personal experience and entertaining stories, which take the reader on a thoughtful journey through the challenges and opportunities facing the next generation. My writing experience also includes guest columns on social commentary and future trends published in the Arizona Republic and the Tribune papers in the metro Phoenix area. Through my writings, I’ve shown an ability to explain, in a simplified manner, complex issues and trends.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Frank: In high school. I started a novel but never finished it. Then one summer while in college I did finish a complete Sci-Fi novel. I still have it. It was derivative and not very good.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Frank: Number one – I want to be a noted author with a following. Not get rich, necessarily – which would be nice – but to know that what I have written has entertained my readers and perhaps informed them at the same time.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

The OracleFrank: It’s called The Oracle and consists of a series of short stories tied together by means of a background story – a story within a story (similar to Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man). And like the Jeffrey Archer and Twilight Zone stories, the Oracle short stories are written with surprise endings.

The background story begins with a young musician on his way to Phoenix from Los Angles for a concert. He is given a car by his manager and shortly after entering Arizona it breaks down. Out in the middle of nowhere he decides to hitch a ride to the nearest town for help. While waiting for a ride, the weather turns inclement and he seeks refuge at a ranch house inhabited by an old and lonely couple. They invite him in and persuade him to stay for dinner.

After eating, they retire to the living room. After a while, the old woman offers to show their guest some of their three dimensional slides on their old-time stereoscope.

Being polite, the young man decides to endure the request. His hosts carefully remove a set of slides from a shiny metallic box from under the coffee table and place the first one in the stereoscope’s viewer. They instruct the young man to hold the stereoscope up to the living room lamp and focus it towards the viewer.When the viewer is focused and the light hits the slide, something amazing happens.

The still 3D image begins to move!

The first image he sees tells a tale that happens to be one of the short stories in the series. At the end of the first story, the young man turns to question his hosts on this wonderfully strange device. The couple just smile and offer him another slide. He asks again what the device is and where did it come from. The couple respond that the device is an ordinary stereoscope of the early 1900s that they purchased from a Sears catalog many years ago.

But the slides – ah yes, the slides. That’s another matter indeed.

What’s the hook for the book?

Frank: The main overall story and the all the short stories end in a twist – like the old Twilight Zone episodes. Some stories are meant to shock while others are whimsical. Either way, the endings are not predictable.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

Frank: Many years ago, I started collecting ideas for my novels. I created file folders for each proposed story I would write. As I found any and all material that fit the story line, I would drop it into the assigned folder. This would include websites, books, news items, magazine articles, videos, etc. etc.  This process has worked well for me in helping develop my stories.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

Frank: I’ve completed five novels and currently doing research on a sixth novel. I have at least three more in the hopper.

Which is more important to your story, character or plot?

Frank: Plot. Plot. Plot. Without plot characters have nothing to do. Plot first then develop characters to drive the plot. And in the process, SHOW don’t TELL.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

Frank: A fellow popular author colleague of mine. Write, write and write. Create a back list of books. If one takes off, readers will flock to your other books. The more books you have in the marketplace the better return on your writing time when your first book becomes popular. Then Tom Clancy – yeah, that Tom Clancy – told me to don’t suffer over a book. Complete and go on to the next one.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Frank: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. A Brooklyn boy gets right to the point and in a way that communicates quickly and efficiently.  You would know this if you ever spend time around New Yorkers. So that’s how I write. Conversationally without long boring narratives. If you want a quick entertaining read, then the The Oracle fits that bill.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Frank: This is for the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash.

 “I read Frank’s Jeremy Nash trilogy on the beach in Mexico over Christmas vacation. It was perfect. The characters were believable, the plot kept you guessing, the twists were surprising, and the action kept you turning the pages. All the books were a terrific read, written in a style that just keeps your eye moving and your imagination seeing what’s going on. Now I’m waiting for Nash’s next adventure.”

What are your current projects?

Frank: I’ve just finished my fifth novel. It’s called Murran. I expect this to be my breakthrough novel because it is steeped in politically incorrect controversy. It is getting very good reviews from my beta readers.

Murran is the story of a young African-American boy named Trey coming of age in the 1980s, and his rite of passage to adulthood. Trey is a member of a ‘crew’ in Brooklyn and is enticed into helping a violent drug gang. He is eventually framed for murder and flees with his high school teacher to his Maasai village in Kenya. There, Trey learns what a true Black African and African culture is, goes through the Maasai warrior’s rite of passage, becomes a young shaman, and returns to America to confront the gang leader that framed him.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Frank: Check out my author website at www.frankfiore.com and my blog at http://frankfiore.wordpress.com/

Thank you for joining us today, Frank.

Frank: Thanks for the opportunity.

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Press Release: The Pool Boy’s Beatitude

D. J. Swykert, the author of novels including Alpha WolvesChildren of the Enemy, and the award winning novel, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, was interviewed on Literature and Fiction earlier this year.

He’s here today to talk about the release of his latest  book, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude.

poolboysD. J.: Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he meets Sarah his universe further expands. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool boy quest toward bliss.

This is a brief excerpt from the book:

            I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased direct at:

http://rebelepublishers.com/

http://www.amazon.com/

www.magicmasterminds.com

David SiguertDJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.

 

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Press Release: Bend Me, Shape Me

New Libri Press announces publication of the second Street Stories suspense novel, Bend Me, Shape Me, by author Debra R. Borys, available in ebook with trade paperback to follow. Contact Stasa Fritz (above) with review or interview requests.

www.BendMeShapeMe.net

Painted BlackBend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Stories suspense series and tells the story of Snow Ramirez, a bi-polar street kid about to turn 18. She’s convinced that psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim. Once again, reporter Jo Sullivan finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth.

Snow Ramirez hasn’t trusted anyone in a very long time, not even herself. Memories of her childhood on Washington’s Yakama Reservation haunt her even on the streets of Chicago.

When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts. Blitz may have been diagnosed bi-polar, like Snow herself, but no way would he have offed himself like that if the shrink he’d been seeing hadn’t bent his mind completely out of shape.

Normally she wouldn’t care. Who wasn’t crazy in one way or another in this messed up world? After all, she’d gotten out from under the doctor’s thumb weeks ago and it was too late for Blitz now, wasn’t it? Snow’s little brother Alley, though, there might still be time to save him. If only she can get reporter Jo Sullivan to believe her story before Snow loses her own mind.

EXCERPT:

Squatting with her arms tight around her legs and forehead pressed to her knees, Snow rocked on the balls of her feet. To the south, the hum of traffic along the Eisenhower Expressway. Nearer, beneath the dumpster, the scurry of rats looking for supper. That feeling in her center, the one she couldn’t describe except to say when she was a kid she thought it meant she was going to die, tightened her chest, filled her mouth, made it hard to breathe. “You must learn to trust,” the shrink had told her. “You must learn who to trust. Your brother is learning that, even if you can’t.”

AUTHOR BIO

Debra BorysDebra R. Borys is the author of the STREET STORIES suspense novels.The first book in the series, Painted Black, was published by New Libri Press in 2012. A freelance writer and editor, she spent four years volunteering with Emmaus Ministries and the Night Ministry in Chicago, and eight years doing similar work at Teen Feed, New Horizons and Street Links in Seattle. The STREET STORIES series reflects the reality of throw away youth striving to survive. Her publication credits include short fiction in Red Herring Mystery Magazine, Downstate Story and City Slab.

deb@debra-r-borys.com
www.debra-r-borys.com/

Praise for PAINTED BLACK

“Painted Black is about the young faces we see on the streets, covered in dirt, wearing worn out clothes, shrouded in looks of hate, pride, and fear…. There isn’t a part of this book you don’t feel, it reaches into your core…. There are many enjoyable books out there, but there aren’t many that make you feel, make you think, make you sit back and contemplate the uglier side of life we try so hard to ignore its existence. This was a very well written book on all accounts.”
—Darian Wilk, author of Love Unfinished and Reinventing Claire

“Painted Black has a Silence of the Lamb’s feeling about it…..there’s something dark and ominous going on here.…. Fiction can be a great vehicle for exposing the darker side of the human experience in ways that are both important and meaningful and I think that Painted Black fits into this category.”
—Quinn Barrett, Wise Bear Books All Things Digital Media interviewer

“Borys gives us a glimpse into the vagaries of street life for teens without wallowing in sentimentality or false compassion. The mystery here is not who did it, but how finding the truth will change the life of a street kid we’ve come to care about.”
—Latham Shinder, author of The Graffiti Sculptor and professional memoir ghostwriter

New Libri Press | http://www.NewLibri.com

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Anna Dagmara Cameron

Anna Cameron has always had a passion for writing.  She wrote her first novel, The Crest,  in 2008 and publishes her books under the pen name, A. Dagmara.

Hi Anna, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Anna: I am thirty-five years old, married with children.  I have over fifteen years experience within the business community as a jack-of-all-trades.  Originally born in Poland, my family fled to Austria when I was four years old. The climate in Poland at the time, sadly, was volatile during the Union strikes. My family, consisting of my mother, father, and younger sister, lived in Austria for about six months until we were granted asylum in the United States. We immediately settled in the State of Maryland, where I currently reside with my Husband and children.  My family have moved back to Poland in recent years.

My life thus far has been an amazing journey. I consider myself more than just a survivor, a firm believer in truly living life. I was a young single mother who eventually married her high school sweetheart, followed by the birth of a second child, who unfortunately passed away at a young age. My eldest daughter and I bonded further than just a mother and child from that moment on. We grieved, mourned, and got through it together.  Now, at sixteen, she and I find courage and inspiration through each other.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Anna: The writing bug never really bit me, as I had been writing short stories and tales of woe since I was about ten.  By fate, and after reading a few books leaving me disappointed and frustrated with some of the story lines, possibly by their pace, I found inspiration to write what I would have preferred to read. During a stint of being ill with pneumonia, inspiration hit. Three weeks of fevers, lethargy, and bed rest, I wrote The Crest.  The intention to publish never occurred to me.  It was when I moved three years later, and my current husband picked up the dusty manuscript without my knowledge.  He read the manuscript and loved it immediately, suggesting I set a goal to one day publish.  I entertained him, stating that I would one day, simply to stop pushing the subject, never truly intending to publish.  Both embarrassment and lack of confidence hit me hard when I reminded myself what I had written in the first manuscript.  See, the genre in which The Crest falls under is an Adult Paranormal Romance, Erotica. Needless to say, I was a bit modest to the writing, or more like some of the scenes in the book.  Being my husband, I was insecure about how he would perceive me for writing about such an intimate subject.  Over a year ago, he decided that I needed to do this.  Revisiting the manuscript, I spent another four months re-reading it and altering it.  Since that time, I was so entrenched in the story I wrote two more books to follow it up.  I guess you could say I fell in love with my own characters.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish?  Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Anna: When I decided that I wanted to share my stories, the first thing I hoped for was that there were more readers, such as myself, that are annoyed with the pace of the average romance novel.  In real life, we don’t wait until we know we love the person to dive into all that leads us there.  Relationships are not a cookie cutter from each person, so why are most of romance novels?  Yes, their plots all vary, but the pace and structure of the romance between characters are not.  Personally, I’ve read over four hundred book alone in the past year and a half, and only a handful were against the grain. I wanted to have a “reality” approach. Perhaps I’m going against the grain and many do enjoy the long, and drawn out pace.  I also felt that I didn’t want to be predictable when it came to the development and story of my characters.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Anna: My most recent book is Holt’s Holding, due to be published in January 2013. This novel was intended to be a stand alone, until many of my trusted “beta readers” insisted on a sequel to the story. More than happy to oblige, I planned for a second book. Holt’s Holding, is very closely related to many of my experiences living in Maryland, though very fictionalized.  The Plot of this story is varied with a huge twist three fourths of the way into the book.  The main Character, Lillian Holt, is in her mid twenties.  Lillian, the only survivor to a house fire that took her family, finds herself amidst a corporate takeover of her father’s company, which has been safeguarded until her twenty fifth birthday.  Having known this day would come, she had spent seven years preparing and plotting her revenge.  Perfectly positioned, she falls in love, only to have her heart broken.  Her story is of survival and perseverance, as she learns that life is about living not plotting.  A preview of Chapter one is available on the website: www.adagmara.com

What’s the hook for the book?

Anna: The biggest hook to the story is Lillian Holt herself. Not all is as it appears to be. She is what most woman want to be, strong independent and driven.  However, like most of us, she’s flawed and has a lot of unwanted baggage. The development of her character leads into a world of underlying secrets and twists, sure to keep the attention of a reader.  Her strength is one of inspiration and her inner turmoil is emotional heart gripping.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Anna: Most of my characters are inspired by actual people, events, and conversations – mostly conversations. However, my settings along with plot are inspired from dreams. The Crest, my first novel, was completely inspired by a dream. My daughter’s tenacity, humor, and strength inspired the main character. Though the character differs from her, it was my daughter’s nature that I modeled the main character after. I wanted to highlight those qualities within my characters and strive to do so.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Anna: In The Crest, my most likable character is Kurt.  He is a sudo, brother, and the main character’s best friend. He has known her since birth and kept watch over her. Being level headed and caring, he truly would do anything for her. As his character evolves through the story, it is easy to see how and why most of my readers fall in love with him. He is the good guy next door!

The most unusual character is Skylar, dark mysterious, not to mention the bad guy. In the second book in the series readers learns so much more about him and his motives, they won’t know whether or not they want to torture him or hug him.  He’s my loveable monster, so to speak.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Anna: When writing, I typically find myself writing an outline; however, almost always straying away from it. I also keep a separate file on each character – their description down to how I want them to develop through the story.  Initially, when I first wrote The Crest, I went by nothing and just wrote it as it came. Not the best way to write, but amazingly, it worked. My writing and techniques, with time and practice, are ever evolving.  I’m not shy about calling myself a young writer, and even revel in it.

What are your current projects?

Anna: My Current project is the last book in the Guardians of the Realm series, The Gates. This story gives the reader an insight into the “Tri–Fecta”, by giving her a voice. Through the first two books, she has no voice, and the opinion of her is less than favorable. The Gates brings us to the conclusion of the search and epic journey, safeguarding the Realms.

I am also finishing up the second book in the Holt’s series, Holt’s Vaihn.  The second book answers many of the questions left unanswered and is set in New York City.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Anna: To learn more about my latest projects and upcoming events, readers can stop by my website: www.adagmara.com or find my author page on Facebook.

On my website, I offer previews of my books and latest projects, as well as encourage those to follow or participate in my blogs. In my blogs, I share with my viewers my current reads and thoughts. I’m a huge fan of books and emerging authors. Some of the best stories I’ve read were written by authors who could not get published traditionally.  They are my courage and should be respected for the time and work it takes to get our stories out there.  Happy Reading!

Thanks for joining us today, Anna.

Anna: Thank you for the opportunity.

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Patricia Crandall

Patricia Crandall has published numerous articles and short stories in various magazines and newspapers. In July, 2012, she was named an Honorable Mention Honoree in the annual short story competition for her story “The Crazy Jug.”

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Patricia.

Patricia: I have published a vast number of poetry/haiku, numerous articles and short stories in small press magazines, a variety of newspapers and web sites. I have won poetry awards and have four books in print, Melrose, Then and Now, a historical volume, I Passed This Way, a poetry collection, The Dog Men, a thriller which draws the reader into a tempest of animal abuse, lawlessness, and kidnapping within the confines of small-town happenings, and Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner, – seeking adventure in abandoned dump sites and the challenges of entering flea markets.

I live with my husband, Art, at Babcock Lake in the Grafton Mountains near Petersburgh, New York. My children and grandchildren live nearby. I devote time to my family, writing and community work. I enjoy reading, skiing, golfing, knitting, walking/hiking, swimming, exercising and traveling.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Patricia: In the nineteen fifties, my interest was captured by the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene. Each holiday, I would request the latest Nancy Drew title and upon receiving it, I would curl-up in an over-sized chair and begin reading the fast-paced adventure.

I dabbled at creating my own mystery stories at an early age. My first effort detailed a long, frightening chase by a sinister man. A dark tunnel appeared, leading to (of course) a haunted mansion. The not-so-brilliant ending had me saved by the man of my life at the time – my Dad.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.  Is it part of a series or stand alone?

Patricia: My latest book is The Dog Men.

The Dog Men is a stand-alone Adult/YA book, although readers have requested I write a series. They bonded with the characters, particularly Lester Cranshaw, and want his adventures to continue. I am writing a new thriller, The Red Gondola, to include Lester Cranshaw.

The Dog Men: Ten-year-old Wyatt and eleven-year-old Hannah uncover the dark world of illegal dog fights when they trespass at a Vermont farm and peep through a barn window. And when crotchety old Lester Cranshaw’s dog, Paddy, turns up missing, there is no holding him back from investigating the situation and the kids join in. In the dead of night, after the trio are captured and held hostage at the Inglis farm, Wyatt will need all of his wits and courage to escape in order to save the lives of his friends. The Dog Men draws the reader into a tempest of animal abuse, lawlessness, and kidnapping within the confines of small-town happenings. A chilling plot and a peerless relationship between kids, adults and pets.

What’s the hook for the book?

Patricia: I have delved into the horrific world of illegal dog fighting. One editor considered my book then titled Missing Children.  He requested a change in subject matter, stating, “I just can’t add to the deluge of fiction about children, kidnapping and sex. Whereby, I researched the sordid sport of dog fighting and the characters that inhabit it. It became The Dog Men.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Patricia: My characters develop themselves. I create them using a combination of real and imagined people. I’ll admire one person’s hair color, another’s features, still another’s body language and put them together. Any attempt I make at molding a character does not work. If I force a character to act against his/her will, the story is all wrong. I will sit back and think it through, letting the character direct me. I have read other author’s essays confirming this dilemma. It is a fact. A character will lead and the writing flows until the next hurdle due to plot, scene description, etc.

Who is the most unusual/most likeable character?

Patricia: My unusual/most likeable characters are (1) Lester Cranshaw of The Dog Men. See description above. (2) Gert Carver and Nina Westakott are two favorite characters from my bottle mining stories. Gert and Nina, friends for many years, now share a common passion – bottle mining. Nina was a homemaker and a widow. She and her husband raised four daughters and had been active in the community until his death. Gert, a spinster, had spent productive years as a beloved schoolteacher who started her career in a one-room schoolhouse and ended with her retirement at a district high school. These days, the two women have time to nurture their newest hobby, searching for antique bottles in the local dumps.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Patricia: My writing styles are varied. I write mainstream, mysteries, non-fiction, historical, flash fiction, young/adult and poetry. I work on several stories at once. This pace keeps my thoughts fresh. I continually submit my work for publication and enter contests. My ultimate goal is to write well.

I consistently learn from the unique style of other writers. I pay attention to the voice they use. When a writer captivates me, I do not wish to imitate his/her writing. I want to achieve what they have accomplished by leaving a reader satisfied and anxious to read more of their books.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Patricia: My parents and teachers would often tell me, “Patty, you are a dreamer. You have a vivid imagination. Put it to good use.” It was at that point, in lieu of playing with friends or watching the new small-box-wonder – TV, I sat at an old desk in the kitchen and wrote mystery stories. I also drew stick figures to illustrate the action in the stories. The discovery of boys replaced pen and paper. The telephone became my favorite instrument and I lost interest in reading and writing until a formidable nun taught me English in High School. With a revival of interest, I picked up where I left off, writing salable poetry and a variety of articles, essays, and short stories. Presently, I am taking a writing course and penning novels.

Share the best review that you’ve ever had.

Patricia: Comments for “The Garden of Love,” a flash-fiction story published in Flash-Fiction World, include:

“Awesome piece! The ending adds another whole dimension entirely.”
“Good story”
“I want more!”
“Amazing!”
“Loved it.”
“Clever!”
“Great end.”
“Fantastic.”

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Patricia: Visit my blog at: www.authorpcrandall.blogspot.com. Visit me on facebook and twitter. Visit my Editor and Virtual Assistant Manager’s blog: www.lindabarnett-johnson.blogspot.com. Go to Amazon and for my books, The Dog Men and Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner.

Lastly, my pattern for a writer’s success is Winston Churchill’s famous quote: “Never, never, never give up!”

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Barbara Ebel

Barbara Ebel is an author and a physician.  She has lived up and down the US East Coast and now resides in a wildlife corridor in Tennessee. “Perfect for writing,” she says.  Her first novel is a romantic suspense:  Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know …who’s in the OR.

Please introduce your self, Barbara.

Barbara: I am a physician-turned-author who sprinkles interesting, credible medicine into the background of my storylines.  However, that doesn’t take center stage to my plots or vivid characters.

Another thread you will find in my writing is dogs.  There will be at least one four-legger as a main character, especially since I own a few and have made one a star in a children’s book series called Chester the Chesapeake.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Barbara: I am a physician-turned-author, so my “M.O.” is to sprinkle credible medicine into the background of my plots. However, my characters and plots take center stage!  Also, since my specialty is anesthesiology, my operating room scenes shine. I love for readers to get realistic views into what goes on and there are messages they pick up by my showing and not telling them.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?

Barbara: Since I have written several genres, I’ll focus on my fiction which best suits your site: Operation Neusosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR.  This novel was written as a stand-alone.  However, I am consistently asked about a sequel because of the characters and their development, so writing a sequel is in my future!

Here’s a short description:

Who says a rising neurosurgeon can’t fall from his pinnacle?  From the skullduggery taking place deep in the Tennessee woods to the silent tension in the OR, Doctor Danny Tilson’s life takes an abrupt turn after performing surgery alongside a scrub nurse with aqua eyes and a velvet voice.

Can Danny’s situation get any worse after the alluring lady disappears, he inherits her roguish retriever, and his Albert Einstein historical book turns up missing? A pack of Tennessee attorneys pursue Danny while he develops a scheme with his paramedic best friend to payback the mysterious woman who left in a hurry.

What’s the hook for the book?

Barbara: Will an esteemed neurosurgeon fall prey to a calculating seductress during an astonishing surgery?

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Barbara: Ha!  My characters happen to emulate some character’s I’ve bumped into over the years and the setting for Operation Neurosurgeon is straight out of Tennessee.  The geography and description spans from Memphis to Knoxville, and from Nashville to the Caney Fork River to a character deep in the woods. You will enjoy the flavor!

Who’s the most unusual/likeable character?

Barbara: Even though Danny, the neurosurgeon, is the protagonist and takes center stage, he’s pretty stupid for being so smart. My favorite character is the dog and the paramedic who you may fall in love with. He stands by his friend no matter what. The most despicable and unusual character is Rachel. How diabolically cunning she is, but I’ll post no spoilers!

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Barbara: The beautiful state of Tennessee was perfect for the plot’s progression. The contrast between the big cities and backwoods, along with the contrast between urban and rural characters, makes for great spin and variety.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Barbara: Red Adept Reviews, the critical in-depth eBook reviewer, gave Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR an overall 4 ½ stars and a perfect 5 stars for characters. And here’s a tight review or the “verdict” from Indie Book of the Day which was awarded to it on 6/26/12:

Author Barbara Ebel creatively uses medical facts by deeply embedding them into the storyline and at the same time keeping the readers hooked. Operation Neurosurgeon stars a character whose single mistake can cost him a career but everything is not over yet, or is it? Barbara Ebel has managed to keep the suspense & mystery alive, till the very end. An enjoyable read & recommended for those who prefer detailed descriptions with logical plot progression.                                                                                                    – IBD Verdict.

What are your current projects?

Barbara: I am simultaneously working on the text and photographs for the two final Chester the Chesapeake children’s books in the series. I don’t rush ‘producing’ them, but let the storylines come to me. Since I illustrate with real pictures of my dogs, it will take me at least two years to finish them.  I also hope to start the sequel to Operation Neurosurgeon by the end of the year.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Barbara: Please visit my website where you’ll find my eBooks & paperbacks; book videos & a few reviews; as well as links for purchase:

http://barbaraebel.weebly.com

Please visit my children’s book website all about Chester the Chesapeake!  Who doesn’t love dogs?

http://dogbooksforchildren.weebly.com

Twitter:  @barbaraebel

Thanks for joining us today, Barbara.

Barbara: Shelagh, thanks for having me!

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