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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Short Story Revival: True or False?

“… There’s something unsaid, a dread in the air. … And so there it was said, floating up and around in the atmosphere with all the delicious aromas, the superficial chatter and the sounds of cars making their way back into the city for the long work week.” Lori M. Myers Cooking in a Room with Strangers

Fact or fantasy, true or false, is the revival of the short story due in part to the easy access to e-books for reading on a tablet or smartphone? Or is this just a myth? According to Laura Miller, the short story boom is bogus. In response to the New York Times article, Good Fit for Today’s Little Screens: Short Stories, Laura says, “Still, the idea that such programs have led to renewed general interest in reading short stories is, like much of the Times article, speculative and fueled by wishful thinking.” She expands on this here: Sorry the Short Story Boom Is Bogus

The “wishful thinking” comment led me to do some research – it’s what I do, and I didn’t even need to Google; I went straight to Amazon’s bestsellers’ list. I compared Short Stories with the Romance, Fantasy and Science Fiction genres. I also looked at the list of Fiction Classics. You can draw your own conclusions from the results.

Compared to the most popular genre, Romance, short stories are way behind (the #100 bestseller in the Romance genre is ranked higher overall than the #1 bestseller in short stories), but compared with Fantasy and Sci-Fi and, especially, Fiction Classics, short stories do much better as shown in the table below:

Genre

Bestseller List

Overall ranking (Paid in Kindle Store)

Short Stories

#1

#261

Romance

#100

#231

Fantasy

#14

#260

Science Fiction

#12

#259

Fiction Classics

#4, #5

#196,  #531

The #1 bestseller in the Romance genre was overall #1 bestseller on Kindle, and even the #100 bestseller in Romance (#231 overall ranking) ranked higher than the #1 bestseller in the Short Stories category (#261 overall ranking). Romance lived up to its reputation and came out well on top.

However, in the Fantasy bestsellers list, only fourteen books (fourteenth book ranked #260 overall) ranked higher than the top ranked book in Short Stories. Similarly, only twelve books (twelfth book ranked #259 overall) performed better in the Science Fiction genre.

Compared with Fiction Classics, short stories performed well – only four books (fourth book ranked #196 overall, fifth book ranked #531 overall) in the Fiction Classics list ranked higher than the top ranked book in Short Stories.

The evidence suggests that, apart from Romance, short stories in e-book format are now on a par with other popular genres. Readers seem to enjoy the variety that short stories offer interspersed among their favorite authors and books. One reason for this might be that a short story can be read in the space of a bus ride or train journey, especially with all the new forms of electronic reading devices and the increasing number of online e-book retailers.

This revival of the short story in electronic format has created an opportunity for writers that might not have presented itself otherwise. Many new and exciting writers are keen to reach out to readers by providing them with stories that entertain and enthrall. The demand from readers is there and authors are matching it.

FrontThe opening quote above is from the talented writer, Lori Myers. Lori is one of three Pushcart nominees (Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, Murray Dunlap and Lori M. Myers) who contributed short stories to Forever Families, the third in the Forever series of anthologies – Forever Friends (2008), Forever Travels (2010) and Forever Families (2012).

Lori’s touching story about a sister and brother, who have grown apart, is just one of twenty-seven stories that vary in length from concise to extensive. Every story, whether short or long, offers a unique look at family life. While some are poignant, others raise a smile.

The seven sections that make up the book take the reader through the joys of a happy childhood to the sadness of a death in the family, with fond family memories, faithful family pets, risky family business ventures, eventful family weddings and the ups and downs of family life in between. So, find a comfortable chair, download the book to your e-reader, then sit back and enjoy the diversity of reading experiences in Forever Families.

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Larry Constantine

Larry Constantine is  a professional member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the author of a number of science fiction short stories. He writes thrillers under the pen name, Lior Samson.

Please tell everyone a bit about yourself.

Larry ConstantineLarry: The older you get, the harder it is to be brief, to condense the lifetime journey into a paragraph or two in a biographical sketch. In your twenties, you pad the resume; by your forties, the thing stands on its own; by the time you are looking back at your sixties, radical compression and redaction are in order. What’s important, what irrelevant? What’s of interest? What is a boring distraction? I tell my students at the university where I teach that I am not a real professor but that I am a real industrial designer. Both parts are true — in part. What they reveal is a complexity hidden behind brevity. I have been a pioneer in software engineering, in family therapy, and in interaction design. I divide my time between Europe and the US. I am deeply entrenched in academia and in industry and fully belong in neither. I am a novelist. I write under a pen name, but my official identity is no secret. I do most of my writing evenings and weekends in my apartment near the University of Madeira. My loving wife and kids put up with my long absences. I love to cook. I am a composer and would write more music if I were not so busy writing novels.

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

Larry: I have been writing professionally all my adult life, but nearly all of that was technical non-fiction. I was good at it — even won awards — but I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. I really started writing with passion and pleasure when I began work on my first novel, Bashert. I have never been one to color within the lines, so, although my novels are nominally in the thriller genre, they frequently break out of the boundaries of genre conventions. My forays into fiction actually began decades earlier with science fiction short stories and a couple of novellas. Those earlier works have been republished in Requisite Variety, which takes its title from my last published SF short. My recent novel, The Rosen Singularity, might nominally be called near-future science fiction, but it violates the terms of engagement that SF readers expect and is probably more literary thriller than SF.

Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Larry: If I had wanted to be a preacher or rabbi, a long-form journalist or a self-help guru with a message, I would have taken a different path. So, no, I don’t have a message for readers. But I do have a mission. I want to challenge my readers, to get them thinking, to leave behind semantic seeds that grow into fresh inspiration and insight. Thoughtful thrillers, provocative page-turners, intelligent intrigue—these are among the phrases that have been used to describe my novels. I want to raise questions more than offer answers. What is the nature of extremism and its connection with terrorism? Who are the good guys and who the bad in a world of shadow and deception? What are the unintended consequences of medical advances? And I want readers to have a great time and a grand ride on the road to the last page.

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

ChipsetLarry: My most recent novel is Chipset, which is both part of The Homeland Connection series and can be read on its own. Readers who missed the first three novels — Bashert, The Dome, and Web Game — will not be lost, but those who go back and catch up will be doubly rewarded.

Like its predecessors, the story turns on a real threat, in this case malicious computer code actually embedded in the very hardware on which the entire world now depends. Like the other novels, it centers on ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, not superheroes or larger-than-life figures, but people you could know dealing with outsized challenges. Let’s just say that Karl Lustig, an American technology journalist, and his British-Israeli wife, Shira Markham, a jewelry designer and all around smart lady, are in for an adventurous holiday when Karl uncovers a secret within the computer chipsets he is delivering to colleagues at the University of Madeira.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Larry: I really like all my characters, even the bad guys and walk-on players are lovingly crafted. In Chipset, I have to admit to having developed a special affection for Karl’s mother, whose story-within-a-story in a packet of letters takes Karl back to World War II Poland, Germany, Portugal, and England. She was an amazingly resourceful lady, as Karl finds out.

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

Larry: Perhaps it is the influence of my career as a designer, but I write much as a portrait artist paints, moving from one place in the canvas to another, filling in details here, sketching broadly there, painting over something that doesn’t look right one place, adding an element for balance someplace else. I make lots of notes but do not work from a strict outline. Instead, just as the painter steps back from the canvas, I keep going back and approaching the work as a whole, as a reader, taking on the perspective of the reader’s experience. Does it hang together? Is the pace and rhythm satisfying and engaging? Are there holes or is too much given away or at the wrong time? Then I go back and rewrite. And revise. And rewrite.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Larry: Every writer, even those who mimic others, has a writing style. In my case, I confess to writing in a fashion that echoes not some particular writer or writers but broadly fits the sort of writing I like to read. I enjoy reading rich description, insightful exposition, and colorful, clever narrative. I like hearing the voice of the writer as well as of the characters. I enjoy the poetry of language, the music of well-crafted sentences, and the rhythm of flowing paragraphs. These are the things I aspire to. Others will judge how well I reach those aspirations. In any case, I strive for something more classical than contemporary, despite the thematic currency of my thrillers.

And while we are on the subject of style, if I read one more self-appointed expert blogger cajoling modern writers to “show not tell,” I am likely to reach violently through the screen with malicious intent. It’s called storytelling for a reason. The language has adjectives and adverbs for good reason. The passive voice is useful. I see it as the writer’s job to master and use it all.

I have always favored third-person POV because of its flexibility, but I have no religious orthodoxy about acceptable incursions into the inner thoughts of characters. I am more interested in spinning a good story than purity of viewpoint. I try not to throw readers for a loop as I take them around curves and through twists, but I am not writing to please some professor of creative writing. I am telling stories.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Larry: My environment and upbringing are as different as land and sea, but I suppose both have colored my writing. From my growing up, I would have to credit my mother, a newspaper columnist and editor, for instilling in me a love of words and a healthy respect for the craft of writing, in which it has taken me a lifetime to develop some craftsmanship. But my environment, which spans the globe and washes me with life’s complexities, is far the more direct influence. I often use familiar places to anchor my fiction. The Rosen Singularity is centered in the North Shore communities of Massachusetts near my home, but also in London and outside Moscow, where I have worked and visited numerous times. Chipset is largely set in Madeira, my second home. But I also go far afield, as far as the wholly invented African country of Busanyu, where the long lived dictator Edgar Jabari Mbutsu rules with brutal efficiency and plays a pivotal role in The Rosen Singularity.

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

Larry: 

“Few thriller writers can match Samson’s ability to deliver a gripping story. In previous reviews, I have compared him to John le Carré and Tom Clancy. As an Indie writer, he probably doesn’t have the same name recognition or sales, but he is equal to or better than both those authors. His work deserves to be on the New York Times Seller list.” That from mystery writer James A. Anderson.  More than I deserve, I am sure, but to soar in such celebrated company, even for a paragraph, is delicious.

What are your current projects?

Larry: I like that you end this question with a plural, because I have two novels in progress. I imagine that writers are not supposed to do that, but there it is, the confessed truth. I am just not ready to commit fully to one or the other. Both are quite daring, in a sense, and each represents an entirely new literary direction for me. The one that has the tightest grip on me at the moment is my first murder mystery, although, as with my other works, it jumps the genre gaps and might be thought of as a love story except … Well, it’s still in progress, so exactly what it is remains an open question. Literary fiction? The other novel, which is also well under way but temporarily simmering on a back burner, is a work of quiet terror. So maybe it’s horror, except… These novels are quite experimental, stories that defy expectations and take the reader in new directions. I am excited. And scared.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Larry: My author page at Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk is the best jumping off point. And it makes it easy to purchase the books with One-Click!

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Forever Families Anthology

This is the third book in the Forever series. In 2008, Forever Friends, an anthology of short stories and poems written by writers from all regions of the world, proved to be very successful and so led to the second book in the series, Forever Travels, in 2010.

Four years on, the revival of the short story continues, especially with all the new forms of electronic reading devices and the increasing number of online e-book retailers. There has never been a better time for readers and writers of short stories. As with the previous two anthologies, the attraction of this collection of work lies in its diversity and variety of genres: from non-fiction to creative non-fiction and fiction. With such a wide choice, there is something to entertain every reader. The length of the stories varies from concise to extensive. Every story, whether short or long, offers a unique look at family life. While some are poignant, others raise a smile.

The seven sections that make up the book take the reader through the joys of a happy childhood to the sadness of a death in the family, with fond family memories, faithful family pets, risky family business ventures, eventful family weddings and the ups and downs of family life in between. So, find a comfortable chair, sit back and enjoy the diversity of reading experiences in Forever Families.

Now available on Amazon

I have set up a Facebook page for Forever Families.  Please join the page, follow the comments and add your own. Click on Like below to join this page:

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William E. Marden

W.E. Marden  (Daniel Quentin Steele) is a Jacksonville author and native Floridian. A former educator, he has been a journalist and public relations professional. He has covered and reported on crime and cops, courts and trials in several Florida cities. He has worked as a speech writer and political and media consultant. He has had one novel published in the U.S. and Great Britain as well as short stories published in the U.S., Canada, Australia and England.

Hi William, Please tell everyone a bit about yourself.

William: I’ve worked in newspapers, P.R. and education, but I’ve always been a writer whatever paid my bills. In the last two years, I’ve experienced a creative and personal rebirth. I’d spent years getting ready to glide into an uneventful and quiet countdown to death when something funny happened. There’s nothing like thinking you’re going to lose it all, and probably die, to wake you up to the beauty of living every day. I have married, loved, lost, changed jobs, lost people I loved, been unemployed, been defeated again and again, but I’m still here. However, none of those things are why I’m really here. What I write, what I put down on paper or in electronic form, those are why I’m here. I’m a writer. That’s the bottom line.

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

William: In the fifth grade. I wrote a short story about some friends of mine and myself in an adventure in a mine. I read it in class. My teacher and the other kids in my class loved it.  I was hooked.  The genre was adventure. The first genres I wrote seriously in as an adult were science fiction, fantasy and horror.

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

William:  I wanted to write short stories and later novels that would sell/be published. I’ve always been an avid reader and simply wanted to be published in the magazines I’d read and have other people read and enjoy my work the way I’d read other authors. I’ve never had a ‘message’ per se.

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

William:  My latest work is a complete departure from anything else I’ve ever written. It’s one novel, broken into four volumes for purposes of length.  Each volume until the final  breaks on a nail-biter, a cliffhanger. The series or overall novel title is When We Were Married. Volume One is subtitled The Long Fall, and Volume Two is subtitled Second Acts. It is written under the Daniel Quentin Steele pseudonym. This book (s) is mainstream with no fantasy elements. It’s set in Jacksonville Florida in 2005 and 2006 and tells the story of the end of the marriage between an obsessed prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office and his beautiful University of North Florida professor/wife. The novel explores how Assistant State Attorney Bill Maitland and Debbie Maitland-Bascomb react to the end of their marriage, how Maitland prosecutes a variety of murderers and drug dealers while Debbie loses her husband, lover, children and finally her career in education and must make a new life for herself. The novel is a realistic behind the scenes look at the courtroom, cops and crime and features explicit sexual scenes during the end of the marriage and afterwards.

What’s the hook for the book? 

William: Four words: “When we were married.” The novel shows how four words said at the wrong time and place can destroy a twenty-year relationship, devastate a family,  shake a courthouse and send out ripples that will impact lives on three continents.

How do you develop characters? Setting? 

William: In the case of When We Were Married, I started with the physical descriptions of the two main characters which  fueled the action of the first long intro chapter and once the actions that launched the novel were taken, worked backwards through flashbacks and sessions with an empathetic psychiatrist to flesh out the history of the two characters and how they became the people they are at the start of the novel. Once you realize that Bill Maitland is a dedicated lawyer but a short, fat, balding middle aged man married to a taller, busty,  beautiful woman who has fought to maintain her figure and is catnip to men, you don’t have to be a genius to see the train wreck that’s coming. The first chapter focuses on Bill and Debbie’s personal life, but enough of the day to day workings of the State Attorney’s Office is shown to make Maitland’s work life and his role as day to day top prosecutor for a three-county circuit believable. It takes longer to get a better look at Debbie’s professional life as an Associate Professor, but the depiction has drawn reader praise for its authenticity.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

William: That would have to be Bill Maitland, although readers have indicated that Debbie Maitland  fills that role for some and there are others who could claim that ace defense attorney, Lew Walters AKA “The Shark”  is the most fascinating character. One of the things that many readers have praised the most highly are the number of strong characters. Many readers see Maitland as a hot tempered, unreasonable jerk at the beginning. Even as he’s revealed as a compassionate, honest and honorable man, he still has a LOT of character flaws that are revealed as the novel progresses. Most of his problems, including the loss of his wife and alienation from his children, he’s brought on himself. Debbie Maitland is a gorgeous woman who has had men after her since she was 13, enjoys the effect she has on men, and has few female friends because she likes the fact that most of the women who could be her friends don’t want to be because of her effect on their men. She’s conceited, with reason. But she loved Bill Maitland for nearly two decades, fought to hold onto a sexually unfulfilling marriage until she couldn’t any longer and in the end her children mean more to her than the best sex she’s known in twenty years. Lew Walters is a take-no-prisoners legal mercenary who’ll cut almost anyone’s throat, except his best friend, Bill Maitland. And even though  he’s conceited, he’s just that good in a courtroom.

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

William: Much of the novel is foreshadowed so that the plot as it progresses, moves from one climactic moment to the next which readers have already been expecting for some time. Two key elements in the novel are introduced early and then later in the first volume and come to fruition in the second volume. In the second volume two major plot threads are introduced and begun. One will be the spine of the third volume and the other plot will occupy much of the fourth volume. And over and above these specific plot points, the main thread of the entire four-volume series is – what will happen to Bill and Debbie. The real theme of the entire four-volume set could be summed up by the title of the second volume – Second Acts. In other words, when lives are ruined and marriages end, can two people even if they love one another, ever put things back together again? Or should they move on?

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV? 

William: My preferred POV is first person. I’ve written one novel and a few short stories in third, but first is preferred. When We Were Married is somewhat unusual in that it’s a combination. It is primarily first person POV, that of Bill Maitland, but large portions of the novels are written in third person as well, usually that of Debbie Maitland. I’m not really sure why that works, but in my mind it does and readers don’t seem to have any problem following the POV changes.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

William: I was born and raised and have lived in the North Florida area that is the setting for “When We Were Married.”  I’ve used Jacksonville as the setting for other novels. I worked as a reporter covering cops and courts for more than a decade and has the chance to see the public and private sides of prosecutors, defense lawyers, cops, criminals, trials and most of the other aspects of life explored in WWWM.

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

njreaderBD

Posted January 5, 2012

An excellent, compelling read

I read this book continuously over a couple of days, staying up late to finish it, and found it a compelling book. The main characters are complex people and like any good narrative story how you view the characters changes. Unlike many such tales of a couple splitting apart, the author goes into enough depth that you actually start understanding the human feelings at the center of this. This is not the evil spouse leaves the good spouse, the good spouse is devastated then gets their life back together. It is a lot more complex than that. There are nuances, wheels within wheels, that keep you guessing and at least in my case made me change my opinions about the people. I think maybe because I have been married for 23 years and have had my ups and downs and elements of the story remind me of my own life, in many ways it haunted me, made me think about my own feelings and emotions and as a result dug me in deeper.

Mr. Steele’s writing is excellent. It isn’t overly wordy and the dialog is both jarring at times and realistic, the anger and love and confusion expressed in the words paints a vivid picture of people in turmoil. Defining this book simply based on its category would be like defining a Raymond Chandler story as just another mystery and dismissing it as such without reading it would be a major mistake.

What are your current projects?

William: I’m currently in the process of writing the third volume of When We Were MarriedThe Wind Is Rising and hopefully in the next several weeks will be posting  a third novel, a previously written urban fantasy titled Lady White Eyes.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

William: My e-books are sold on Barnes and Noble and on Smashwords for most readers and in most formats. They’re currently not available in hard copy, although I hope to arrange that shortly.  I have a website and a Facebook page for Daniel Quentin Steele and I welcome any contacts via my Daniel Quentin Steele email address.Both Volume 1 and 2 are selling for $9.95 a download.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-we-were-married-volume-1-the-long-fall-daniel-steele/1106754384?ean=2940013654587

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-we-were-married-2-second-acts-daniel-steele/1108241609?ean=2940013760448

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/115234

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124503

http://www.dqsteele.com/about.html      (website)

http://www.facebook.com/danielquentin.steele  (facebook)

https://twitter.com/#!/QSteele1   (twitter account – would love to be followed)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-xRNKxC7ak   (youtube – The Unknown Writer interview)

Thanks for joining us today, William.

William: Thank you for this opportunity to get some information out about my books.

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Warren Bull

Warren Bull has won a number of awards including Best Short Story of 2006 from the Missouri Writers’ Guild, Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave short story contest, The Mysterious Photo Contest in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Best short story in Strange Mysteries Anthology. He was a finalist for the Young Adult Discovery Award and a Derringer Award.  He has more than forty short stories published, novels Abraham Lincoln for the Defense, Heartland and Murder in the Moonlight, and a short story collection, Murder Manhattan Style.

Please tell everyone a bit about yourself, Warren.

Warren: I spent my childhood in Rock Island, Illinois, which is along the Mississippi river. I attended Knox College, where one of the Lincoln – Douglas debates took place, and the University of Illinois. My graduate training was at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and what is now Alliant University in Fresno, California.

I was first licensed as a psychologist in 1983, and have worked for agencies and in private practice with people of all ages as a therapist and as an administrator. I worked as a clinical psychologist for more than twenty-five years but still claim to come from a functional family.

I blog at Writers Who Kill. I’m a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and an active member of Mystery Writers of America. 

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genres?

Warren: I had a very good writing teacher in the fourth grade and I’ve been writing ever since.  My mother used to read letters I sent her from college to the neighbors, which I discovered to my deep embarrassment during my first visit home from the holidays.  As a psychologist, I shared an office with Casey Dorman who wrote e-novels long before they became popular. Casey’s an excellent writer and a good guy, but I thought if he could do it so could I.  I write mostly mysteries because I enjoy mysteries and I’ve written essays, memoirs, general or “literary” fiction, historical fiction and fantasy.

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

Warren: Good question. My initial goal was to get published. Once I got published, my goals evolved and they continue to evolve over time.  I’m not very interested in “solve the puzzle” mysteries. I like to read and write about characters in a variety of setting facing life challenges.  I’d like readers to identify with my characters and share their experiences. I’ve written about Abraham Lincoln as a great man who is flawed and fully human.

Tell us about your latest book.

Warren: Heartland available at Avignon Press is a Young Adult novel recently chosen as the Book of the Day by Killer Nashville.  The paperback edition is available at the link above. Please support the publisher who supported me.

Sixteen-year-old Tom Allen life is imploding. His father has all but vanished from his life; Tom’s stepfather is entirely too involved. Tom’s beloved grandmother suffers a stroke, which leaves his mother emotionally distant. Meanwhile his sister is too sophisticated to worry about his concern.  When Tom reads an old family memoir from his grandmother’s cedar chest, he becomes intrigued by his ancestors’ struggle to form one united family from two shattered families. They face man-made and natural dangers while they battle to survive the smoldering conflicts in “Bleeding Kansas” that will soon erupt into the bloodiest war in American history — the Civil War. With the help of friends and family, past and present Tom eventually comes to terms with the pain and possibilities of his own family.

What’s the hook for the book?

Warren: When the two riders appeared out of nowhere, I knew they came to kill my pa.

(The opening sentence.)

How do you develop characters? Settings?

Warren: With historical stories and novels research is essential.  There are readers who know all about things like shooting a black power rifle or men’s trousers in the 1840s so if I refer to “cordite” before it was invented or write about a man putting something into his non-existent rear pants pocket, I am going to make readers angry They are going to throw my book against the wall and never buy anything else from me again.  I like to have three independent sources for everything. 

Who is the most unusual character?

Warren: I have a number of characters who keep popping up in my work because they keep popping up in my head. One of them has been in half a dozen short stories in various venues but he never gives his name.  I know it but he wants to keep a low profile.  I don’t know that anyone except me knows how often I write about him.  He is a veteran of World War II who fought in the battle of the bulge, like my father.  He has a post-traumatic stress disorder and a deep – set distrust of authority.

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

Warren: I use a timeline and a list of characters.  I also make a few notes of events that I want to use.  Every time I try to use an outline I get bored with the story before I get the novel written. I wish I could use an outline but I can’t.

What colors your writing?

Warren: I worked as a psychologist for more than twenty-five years, which gave me the opportunity to know and work with a wide variety of people I would probably never have met otherwise. I worked with people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, religions and social classes.  My clients had many unusual life experiences.

Also, although I am a male Caucasian, I have lived and worked in settings where my ethnicity and gender made me a minority. 

 Share the best review that you’ve ever had.

Warren: I’m grateful that Murder Manhattan Style has garnered some great reviews. The stories have been compared to the works of Damon Runyon and Raymond Chandler. New York Times Bestselling author Nancy Pickard wrote, “Warren Bull is a short story master, and this collection shows him at his best with quick stories told in crisp, clear prose. There’s variety, drama, history, humor, pathos, compassion and even Shakespeare here, along with surprising and satisfying endings to every story.”

What are your current projects?

 Warren: I am working on two very different projects at the moment. I am waiting for copyediting on a short story collection of very dark stories tentatively titled, No Happy Endings, and I am about 1/3 of the way into a middle grade novel about the adventures and misadventures of three sisters whose mom has run off with a rock bank.  I am busily researching television schedules, mimeographs and dial telephones in the early 1960s.

 Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Warren: I have a website http://www.warrenbull.com/

An author dashboard on Goodreads Goodreads Author Page

And an author page on Amazon.com  Warren Bull’s Author Page

 Thank you for joining us today, Warren.

Warren: Thanks for the opportunity.

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Paul Juser

Paul Juser lives on the road. His life-long dream is to be the first Nobel Prize winner to pen a “Friday the 13th” film.

Hi Paul, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Paul: Born in Binghamton, New York, a city proud to serve as inspiration for Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.” I grew up in the country outside, playing epic Transformers adventures, or the next installment of “Friday the 13th.”

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

Paul: I chose to pursue writing in the 4th grade, and have never lost sight of the goal, except for a few errant aspirations to be a marine biologist. My only dream prior was to be a paleontologist. Unfortunately the job isn’t nearly as exciting as either of the first two Jurassic Parks.

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

Paul: I was always turned on by the way Bret Easton Ellis would bring the same characters back in each novel. Pat Bateman was popping in long before he was a vicious murderer, and who would think drug-addled Victor Ward could become a terrorist? Jack Kerouac did the same thing, but changed all the names between books. I recycle my characters the same way. Each story is one long timeline with a general continuity, but each is a stand-alone story. I’m hoping to finish my next novel, The Alarm Clock at the End of the World to release in 2013, as long as the Mayans were wrong.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Paul: I usually have the idea mulling in my head for a while. Eventually a scene will be formed enough for a jumping-off point to start writing. That scene usually becomes the start, or near the beginning, even if I envisioned it near the end. Characters start as sketches and become fleshed out as I revise. I give them speech patterns and mannerisms, and build a backstory that makes them active devices in the plot. Settings need to be just as much of a character as anyone moving around and speaking lines. If a writer is drawing a reader’s attention to a detail, that detail should be important.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Paul: Dr. Filth is a superhero with the power to convince himself anything. He’s been an insurance salesman, a card-carrying crime-fighter, and a cryptozoologist. In The Alarm Clock at the End of the World, he uncovers a global conspiracy to hijack religion. Dr. Filth is about fifty pounds overweight and has filthy, stinking dreadlocks.

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

Paul: I usually write out the main body of the story from beginning to end, and then comb backward to make sure everything lines up. The initial writing process could take a couple days with a short story, or a month for a script. Then I revise. That’s the dirtiest word in a writer’s vocabulary, and I don’t find many have the stomach for it these days. Alarm Clock first went to paper seven years ago, and some parts are older. Salvation Shark was at least eleven before it started on Laugh at Yourself First.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Paul: I hear the words in my head, and I try to emulate what they sound like. Sometimes it’s serious, but most often it sounds like Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t like 1st person POV, but Dollars Per, Salvation Shark, and Alarm Clock are all First Person Shooters. It made sense in Salvation Shark, but in the others it was just lazy writing. I once thought about rewriting Alarm Clock from a 3rd person narrative, but eventually decided it was too big an undertaking. When readers get the story in hand, it will be the inferior 1st Person form, so you know Dr. Filth’s every disgusting thought.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Paul: If you watch the old Twilight Zone episodes, again and again you see scenes from the city where I live. Even in the Fifties, Rod Serling could see the strange energy in this place. I grew up reading Lovecraft, listening to Slayer, and watching endless horror movies. My grandfather was a chemist, and I was encouraged to learn science like other kids memorized Bible verse. I’m awful with Math, so I never enjoyed chemistry, but animal life and geological history remained important for life. Even when I’m writing on more serious subjects, I can see these same sensibilities bleeding through.

What are your current projects?

Paul: I’m putting together my first photography show. It’s a short story from Laugh at Yourself First, “The Disappearance of Cotton Mayweather,” about a man that finds an abandoned city off the highway. While he sees no people, there are signs all around of recent occupation. Part 1 is showing in April at the ART Mission Theater, and Part 2 in May. The short story appeared on Laugh at Yourself First in 2009.

Paul: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

www.printisbetter.com has Laugh at Yourself First, and links to all my printed books. Periodically I give away books and other promotional material, and details can be found there as well.

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