♡ If you like sweet romance, come and check out Small Town Girl by @denisedevine5 #sweetromance #Contemporary #Womens #Mystery #Thriller & #Suspense #Fiction

Check out this sweet romance by Denise Devine. Continue reading

OMG! If you like tense #police #thrillers, this is a #book you need to read this season! – Fatal Infraction by @KevinGChapman #crime #suspense #booklover #reading #thrillerbooks #bookworm

. If you’re a fan of football or well-written crime drama, check it out. The Kindle edition is on sale as a pre-order for $2.99, available July 15th. The book, and all the books in the series, are also available in paperback, hardcover, and as audiobooks. Continue reading

Enjoy a #pirate adventure? Check out Vann Gellis: The Birth of a Pirate #thriller

Vann Gellis: The Birth of a Pirate (Vann Gellis – Pirate of the Gods Book 1) by Larry B. Litton Jr The first installment of Larry B. Litton Jr.’s long awaited series, The Pirate of the Gods – chronicles the … Continue reading

Looking for a thrilling adventure? Check out Migration: Beginnings by @walterwrites #thriller #gay

Migration: Beginnings After unknown forces throw the world into turmoil by detonating weapons throughout Europe, the Earth will never be the same.   Migration: Beginnings is the story of Dr. Rhys Tambor and his husband, Jason Frost-Tambor, and how an … Continue reading

Eli Edelmann never intended on making a living through mercy killing @greg_levin

continuing with July’s ’emotional scenes’ with
The Exit Man
Greg Levin
Sgt. Rush looked around the room,
then at the exit hood, then back at me.
“I’m ready,” he said.
“Is there any music you want to
hear, or something you want me to read aloud while you are, you know, going
“No. Let’s just keep things
“You’re the boss.”
“Thank you again, Eli. You have
no idea how much this means to me. You just have to promise me you won’t let
your conscience torture you on this. You are a good man, doing a noble thing.”
“I appreciate that, but don’t
worry about me. I’m honored to assist.”
I wanted to say more. I wanted to
tell Sgt. Rush how I admired him for having lived a purposeful and honest life.
For having raised a happy daughter. For having endured his wife’s illness and
death with courage and poise. And for having been such a good friend to my
father for so many years. I realized, however, that expressing such sentiments
would have been more for my benefit than for his. Sgt. Rush didn’t need me to
deliver a living tribute or eulogy. He didn’t need to be reassured that he had
been liked and loved and respected by the people he encountered on this planet.
He felt no existential despair. He needed no soft words to send him home. He
simply wanted to leave.
I checked to see that the long
plastic tubing was securely hooked up to the release valve of the tank, and
picked up the plastic bag.
“Remember, there won’t be any
helium in the bag when I first slip it over your head. You will be able to
breathe freely. Once I insert the tube into the hole and turn the valve, just
continue to breathe slowly and deeply. It will be just like you are breathing
oxygen, and you’ll drift off before you know it. Is that clear?”
“Good. Are you ready to begin?”
Sgt. Rush scooted back in his bed
and propped himself up on a couple of pillows. I carried the connected tank and
the bag to the side of the bed, close enough for the tubing to reach Sgt.
Rush’s soon-to-be hooded head.
Here’s where I had earlier
thought one of us might crumble. This is the point at which I had half-expected
to suddenly come to my senses, or for Sgt. Rush to suddenly come to his. But it
turned out to be the easiest part of the whole plan. A dream sequence. Distance
and detachment, yet each of us locked into our respective role – doubtless that
what we were doing was right. Beyond right. Bordering on obligatory.
Me: Focused and methodical as I
slipped the bag over his head and attached the straps, tube and tape.
Him: Unwavering in his response
to my final “Ready?”
No tension at the turning of the
valve. No coughing as oxygen was ousted. No struggle as helium stole the show.
No panic as the number of living
people in the room was cut in half.
Sgt. Rush, or, more precisely,
the body he had borrowed for 62 years, lay slumped awkwardly on the bed, his
head tilted to the left at a sharp angle, his torso leaning heavy in the same
direction yet still supported partially by the pillows. After I removed the
plastic bag and packed all the hood pieces into my duffel bag, I carefully
un-stacked the pillows and guided the body into a position more in line with
that of a man who had been napping rather than one who had been sitting up in
bed to watch a program on a non-existent TV set. 
On my way out of the room I snatched
the envelope Sgt. Rush had left on the dresser and slid it into my duffel bag.
Just like that, I had been transformed from a rank amateur to a highly paid
professional – nearly doubling what I had earned the entire year before in a
matter of minutes. 
I turned to look once more at the
body. I would miss the man who had exited it, yet I felt no remorse. On the
contrary – I was overwhelmed by a strong sense of achievement. An impenetrable
sense of… there was that simple word again…
Sgt. Rush had just been released.
He wasn’t the only one.




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;

Suicide should come with a warning label: “Do not try this alone.”
If you truly need out and want the job done right, you should consider using an outside expert.

Add The Exit Man to your Goodreads

Edelmann never intended on making a living through mercy killing. After
reluctantly taking over his family’s party supply store following his father’s
death, he is approached by a terminally ill family friend who’s had enough. The
friend, a retired policeman, has an intricate plan involving something Eli has
ready access to – helium. Eli is initially shocked and repulsed by the
proposal, but soon begins to soften his stance and, after much deliberation,
eventually agrees to lend a hand. 

It was
supposed to be a one-time thing. How could Eli have known euthanasia was his
true calling? And how long can he keep his daring underground “exit”
operation going before the police or his volatile new girlfriend get wise?
About The Author
Having spent much of his life weaving intricate tales to
get out of things like gym class and jury duty, Greg Levin is no stranger to
fiction. Greg’s début novel, 
Notes on an Orange Burial was published in November 2011 by Elixirist (now 48fourteen) and
has sold over 11 copies to his immediate family. Greg’s second book, 
Exit Man
 (available Spring 2014), is already being
hailed as one of the top two novels he has ever written.
Greg has been getting paid to put words together since
1994, working as a professional business journalist, freelance writer and
ghostwriter. He has written hundreds of feature articles, case studies and
satire pieces, as well as a critically acclaimed business ebook.
When not busy writing, Greg enjoys thinking about writing,
and spending time with his wife and daughter. He also enjoys cooking, traveling
and exercising, as well as freestyle rapping for his friends even when they
don’t do anything to deserve such mistreatment.
Greg was born in Huntington, New York in 1969, and then
moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his family when he was six. He attended
the University of New Hampshire and graduated summa cum laude in 1991 with a BA
in Communication and a special concentration in Creative Writing.
Greg currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he is one of
just 17 people who don’t play a musical instrument or write songs. He is
currently wanted by Austin authorities for refusing to eat pork ribs or dance
the two-step.
Follow the rest of The Exit Man
* This tour is brought to you
by Worldwind Virtual Book

A powerful fantasy thriller from Stephen Holak

How far would you go to save your wife and child?

To another world?

When Jordan Parish’s wife Melanie disappears shortly after the couple announce their pregnancy, everyone assumes the motive is ransom.

But six months pass with no demand, and when the FBI discovers the only clue to her disappearance, a missing family heirloom worn by Melanie the day she vanished–with Jordan’s blood on it–the investigation turns to the temperamental and volatile Jordan.

Desperate to find his wife and clear his name, Jordan mounts an investigation of his own. What he discovers about his adopted wife’s hidden past plunges him plunges him into the world of mystery and magic surrounding their families. And when Jordan and Melanie’s brother Chase pursue strange assailants into a mysterious storm, Jordan is cast into a realm where he finds his child at the center of a struggle for power surrounding the culmination of a centuries-old prophecy.

The Winds of Heaven and Earth launches a new fantasy trilogy, blending epic and contemporary genres in the tradition of Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber.

Read the 4/5 review at http://bit.ly/1e709Ll

Adding comedy to your manuscript whatever the genre

R.J. Crayton

Whatever genre people
write in, there has to be a touch of comedy somewhere in the manuscript. Why?
Because in real life, people try to make things funny. They do it because
that’s their personality, or to break the tension, or to entice a lover, or
because that’s what the situation calls for. Every person you have ever met has
told a joke and had someone laugh at it. The computer nerd whose jargon
everyone else ignores has friends who will laugh hysterically at some
jargon-filled joke very few would find funny.

 So, if you want to
infuse humor into your books in appropriate places but don’t feel you’re
particularly humorous, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to try to
see the humorous side of things.

1. Try to look at things in a different light. The best comedy
often comes from looking at things from a fresh perspective. My six-year-old
daughter, for some reason, was looking at the milk carton, and turns to me with
a look of utter horror on her face. “Mom, why is it only one percent milk? What
is the rest of it?”  Yikes. She’d be
right if the one percent referred to the milk content, not the milk fat
content. (Sadly, in a bad mommy moment, I laughed hysterically at her question,
causing her to look at me like I’d been conspiring to feed her 99 percent bat
sweat for many years.) Regardless, a fresh look at something can often provide
a wealth of comedy.

2. Say something utterly ridiculous. Dave Barry has made a career
of this. The title of his new book (out in March): You can date boys when you’re 40 is a great example of this. The
fact that it is a completely unreasonable statement is what makes it
funny.  Unfortunately, I can pull lessons
of ridiculous statements from my own family history. My grandfather was a
traditionalist when it came to names, and gave his children names like Jerry,
Allen, Gloria, Tracy, etc. (my grandfather had 10 kids. I won’t name all of
them for you; I actually don’t remember all their names–kidding). So, when my
father named me Rasheeda, my grandfather says to his son. “That girl ain’t
never gonna learn how to spell that name.” 
To which my father replies. “Nope, dad, your granddaughter won’t be able
to figure out how to string together eight letters.”  Yes, say the absurd. You can say it and leave
it for the reader. Or you can have another character point out the absurdity of
it. In either case, the ridiculous often leads to laughter.

3. Point out the 800-pound gorilla. 
Fiction writers know that sometimes to facilitate twists and turns in
novels, we have to twerk stuff a bit (though not as much as Miley Cyrus at the
VMAs). Now I realize I meant to say “tweak stuff a bit.” However
twerking your stories is probably pretty interesting, too. So, should there be
twerking or something else absurd in your novel, you can use that to generate
comedy. It’s best to just acknowledge the 800 pound gorilla that is sending
your story down a bizarre path. There’s this cute line in Twilight (yeah, go on, hate on Twilight;
I know you want to) where Edward says to Bella, “So I tell you I can read
minds, and you think there’s something wrong with you?” That is a perfect line
of humor because it acknowledges the nuttiness of a mind-reading vampire. It
works because it pokes fun at the novel. It’s endearing, because it says, I
know this is absurd, but that’s OK, go with it.

4. The final rule of adding comedy to a
novel is that
not every joke has to be
We’re not running a comedy club. We’re writing a novel. Our fiction
can be fantastic in many ways, but it also has to be human. The truth about
humans is that most jokes we tell to our friends aren’t bust-a-gut funny. They
simply make our friends smile, and further endear us to them. In my novel,
Life First, a character whose head was
forcibly shaved  gets asked how she is.
“I’m peachy,” the character replies, rubbing the peach fuzz blossoming on her
scalp. The friend laughs and admits that’s a terrible joke. But that’s the
point. Some jokes are poor excuses for jokes, but we laugh because our friend
tried. We find it kind, endearing and ultimately human when another person
tries to make us laugh — whether they succeed or not. So, when trying to add
comedy to your writing, just remember to have fun and make the effort. If you
are having fun with your characters, there’s a pretty good chance the reader
will, too.
Barnes and Noble

“This novel was a poignant, riveting, thought provoking read that had
me entranced from page one until the very end. In simple speak, I
literally could not put it down.” – 5 Star Review, Griffin’s Honey Blog

Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney
and give it to someone else.

this future forged by survivors of pandemics that wiped out 80 percent of the
world’s population, life is valued above all else. The mentally ill are
sterilized, abortions are illegal and those who refuse to donate an organ when
told are sentenced to death.

Determined not to give up her kidney or die, Kelsey enlists the help of
her boyfriend Luke and a dodgy doctor to escape. The trio must disable the
tracking chip in her arm for her to flee undetected. If they fail, Kelsey will
be stripped of everything.
RJ Crayton grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (what is a ninja mom, you ask? It’s the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job of mom). 

Before having children, Crayton was a journalist. She’s worked at big publications like the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News.  

Crayton’s dystopian thriller, Life First, was published in June. The sequel, Second Life, comes out Dec. 4. You can find out more about her at http://rjcrayton.com. She loves connecting with readers. If you talk to her, she’ll talk back, so please check out her.

(function() {var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0],rdb
= document.createElement(“script”); rdb.type =
“text/javascript”; rdb.async = true; rdb.src =
document.location.protocol + “//www.readability.com/embed.js”;
s.parentNode.insertBefore(rdb, s); })();

(function() {var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0],rdb
= document.createElement(“script”); rdb.type =
“text/javascript”; rdb.async = true; rdb.src =
document.location.protocol + “//www.readability.com/embed.js”;
s.parentNode.insertBefore(rdb, s); })();

Meet thriller writer Jennifer Chase with:

One Cop, One Serial Killer, One Witness
Who Will Survive?

Northern California’s elite Police K9 Units arrive at an abandoned warehouse after a high-speed chase and apprehend two killers after they have fled a grisly murder scene.  This barely scratches the surface of a bloody trail from a prolific serial killer that leads to unlocking the insidious secrets of one family’s history, while tearing a police department apart.

Jack Davis, a top K9 cop with an unprecedented integrity, finds himself falling for a beautiful murder suspect and struggling with departmental codes. 

Megan O’Connell, suffering from agoraphobia, is the prime murder suspect in her sister’s brutal murder. Darrell Brooks, a psychopath who loves to kill, is on a quest to drive Megan insane for profit. 

Everyone is a suspect.  Everyone has a secret.  Someone else must die to keep the truth buried forever.  Silent Partner is a suspense ride along that will keep you guessing until the bitter end.

Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author and Criminologist
Jennifer Chase holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology.  In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is also a member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.  She has authored three thriller novels with her newest thriller release, Silent Partner.  In addition, she currently assists clients in publishing, ghostwriting, book reviews, blogs, articles, screenwriting, copywriting, editing, and research.  For more information:  http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Interview with Jennifer Chase:

Your first books, Compulsion and Dead Game where Emily Stone takes it on herself to track down paedophiles and killers, has received fantastic reviews. Will there be any more from Emily Stone?
Thank you.  I’m thrilled that so many people have enjoyed these books because I love writing them.  Yes, I’m currently working on the third book in the Emily Stone series, Dark Mind.  It’s scheduled to be released in the fall of this year. 

Is she carrying out your secret fantasy (something you’d like to do)?
In some ways yes, I began developing this character after I had a personal experience with a person who stalked and harassed me (death threats) for more than two years.  To make matters worse, he lived next door until I was forced to move.  Everything worked out in the end, but I began to put together a profile for a character I wanted to write.  I wanted a heroine who would track killers and pedophiles anonymously and help the cops behind the scene.  It’s true what they say, good things can come out of a bad situation. 

Do you work with the police/forensics when researching your novels?
I’m lucky to know some great people in many different areas of law enforcement.  It helps me to iron out details or to just run by part of a storyline.  I’ve learned a lot from these extremely interesting people who are the “real” CSI and homicide detectives. 

Compulsion (Emily Stone Series #1)Was Compulsion your first fiction book, or have you many unpublished novels tucked away somewhere?
Compulsion was the first book that I took seriously.  It was originally going to be a screenplay, but as I began developing the storyline it turned out to be a novel.  It literally took on a life of its own.  I’ve written ten screenplays and I have a dozen storylines tucked away for possible future novels.  The more stories you write, the more ideas flood your imagination.  These ideas sometimes turn into parts of other stories or into a feature length story.

Is there anything you’ve done differently since writing Compulsion?
Since Compulsion was originally outlined to be a screenplay, I wrote the novel in present tense.  I know that it makes some people cringe at the thought of a novel written in present tense.  It’s one of those “writer no nos”, but I took a chance.  I personally felt that it kept the reader in the loop with the action and heightened the suspense.  I wanted readers to be right there in the action.  However, all my other novels are written in the “traditional” third person narrative.  After weighing all the options, I decided to conform.     

Dead Game: An Emily Stone NovelDo Compulsion and Dead Games stand alone as individual stories?
Absolutely.  That was an important aspect I wanted to make sure was executed in the series – each novel is a stand-alone book.  If anyone picked up any of the novels in the series, they weren’t lost or felt that something was missing if they didn’t read the books in order. 

Your curiosity about crime and the links between that and the offender’s mind drove you to return to school and gain a Master’s. Congratulations on that, but what was it like to return to the classroom as a “mature” student?
I enjoy learning new things.  It was difficult at first to become a student again and to train yourself to think in those terms.  I was so engrossed in the subject matter and writing research papers, I settled into the student mode quickly. 

What came first your interest of criminology or writing?
Reading and writing has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  Writing has always been incorporated into my life in some form or another.  Criminology has turned into part of my writing journey that helps to compliment my novels.  I feel that writing and criminology are partners in crime, so to speak.   

I like your epithet for Silent partner: One Cop, One Serial Killer, One Witness Who Will Survive? Why “Silent” Partner? Will it give the ending away if you tell us what made you come up with that title?
The main character Deputy Jack Davis is a K9 cop and he refers to his four-legged partner as “silent”.  Even though, dogs do bark and are clearly visible to everyone.  I liked the idea that dogs know so much more than we think, but they just can’t tell us.  We just have to figure things out for ourselves.  This is especially true for working K9 teams.   

How To Write A ScreenplayYou also write screenplays, and have a non-fiction book out called, very aptly, How To Write A Screenplay. Have you written a screenplay and seen it played out on stage?
Yes, I’ve written and completed ten screenplays and have taught beginning screenwriting online for more than two years.  I also give workshops for aspiring screenwriters.  My last screenplay was close to being optioned and sat in idle for a while between two production companies.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure to see any of my screenplays made into a movie.

Has your publisher JEC Press published all of your books?
Compulsion and Dead Game were published through Outskirts Press, Inc.  Silent Partner was published through my own company JEC Press: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com.  I decided to publish myself for a variety of reasons.  I have control over my work, accounting, pricing, and sales.  One main reason is that I can keep paperback pricing down for the consumer and I have access to recycled paper.  All of my novels are available in ebook formats (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc.), which has been the most popular type of format in recent months.   

Why not a traditional press?
I chose to go the independent route with my work, but that could change down the road.  I’m always open to new or different ways of publishing.  I found that many publishers didn’t even bother to send a form letter of rejection.  It’s the frustration of waiting months, even years to hear anything.  I decided that I had a story to tell and I wanted it to be available.  I’m not saying that mainstream publishing is not a way to go, it just didn’t work for me.  I’ve met many authors who have published through mainstream publishers and then have decided to self-publish to become an indie author.  I think you have to figure out what works best for you, what type of book you want to publish, what are your realistic book goals, and look at all the publishing possibilities.  We live in a technological age and the proven high sales of ebooks seem to be the way of the future.  The publishing industry is changing fast and allowing more people to publish ebooks.

You makes you want to write?
I love to tell stories that incorporate mystery or suspense to keep the reader guessing.  Once I began writing, I found that everything inspires me from people, places, and interesting things.  You don’t have to look far to find something inspiring to write about.  I create some of my best story ideas from being out with people doing my errands.

Was there a character you struggled with?
The process of creating characters for my storylines has been the most fun.  However, I find that I do struggle with the “bad guys” because I want to make them believable and not one-dimensional.  It’s especially difficult to get into the mind of a serial killer and it can be quite tiring at times.  I work out all my characters, even the small ones, with an in-depth profile.  That’s where my academic background assists me in my fiction writing.  I begin to see a person appear on paper and soon after I know everything that makes them tick.  

How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I find that I have a tendency to procrastinate, so I’ve found I treat my writing schedule like an appointment.  It’s difficult to juggle daily life and blocks of writing time.  That’s what makes life interesting!  I make sure that I write every day during the week and leave weekends (Saturday only) to finish up goals from the week. 

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part of being a writer is being able to do what you absolutely love.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  The writing possibilities are endless to creating stories and characters.  Each new book you write is a new challenge from the last one.  To me, that is exciting.  The worst part is there are too many stories and not enough time to write all of them.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I used to be a night owl and write in the middle of the night because it’s quiet and it helps to inspire some of my thrilling scenes.  I found that I wasn’t getting enough sleep during the day, so I changed my writing schedule to a regular workday.  I find that the mornings are more productive because my mind is charged and ready to go as fast as I can type.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I outline my books.  I begin with notes I jot down in a notebook, which is a brief overview.  Then I switch to the computer to organize my ideas and work out the extensive outline that becomes my choppy first draft.  When I have some minor ideas to incorporate, I use large sticky notes.  I end up with quite a few and then I can put in order and insert where applicable.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration is drawn from everything around me, books, news, experiences, people I meet, research, and creative ideas that seem to come to me on a regular basis.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
This has been the most difficult for me, but I’ve been able to fine tune my goals and productivity.  I give myself a daily writing goal of ten (double spaced pages).  Sometimes I don’t reach that goal (sometimes I write more), but I’ve learned not to not fixate on what I didn’t accomplish and concentrate on the pages I did write.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m currently in the middle of writing the third Emily Stone Novel: Dark Mind.  I take Emily Stone to Kauai where she’s pushed into a serial killer case.  It’s a fun and challenging project because of the remote areas of the island.  You never know what Emily Stone is going to get herself into or who she’ll meet.

Is she eternally youthful or will she grow older?
Emily Stone ages, slowly of course.  Although, it would be nice for her to stay the same age, I feel aging should be a part of a character’s life.  I like for characters to seem real, learn from their experiences (or not), and have something new to offer the storylines.  I think it helps readers to become more involved with a series and relate to characters as they age, deal with everyday problems, and prepare for the next set of obstacles in the next story.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
When I was submitting to publishing houses, I tried not to get discouraged, but no one likes to be rejected.  I developed an attitude that I was going to get rejected before I sent the letter and that seemed to help.  Also, there have been many famous authors who were rejected, so you have to keep everything in perspective.  It’s a healthier way to approach the writing and publishing field.  I also reminded myself that there’s many ways to accomplish a goal.

Do you have a critique partner?
I don’t have one critique partner, but I do have readers and others who give me feedback.  It’s very important to have your work critiqued before publishing, I realize that now more than ever.  I love what readers come up with when they read a new book.  They can see things that I never thought about.  It’s a very productive endeavour for a writer.  

You won an award for Dead Game, you must have been thrilled! Can you tell us a little more about that?
Yes, I’m very excited about receiving an award.  My novel Dead Game won the bronze award in the fiction/thriller category at Readers Favorite in 2010.
Can you sum yourself and your novels up in a few short sentences?
My Emily Stone Series (Compulsion, Dead Game) revolves around a vigilante detective who hunts down serial killers and pedophiles using forensic and CSI techniques anonymously, and then emails the local police departments with the results.  Silent Partner throws a K9 cop and his four-legged partner into a police conspiracy, dicey love entanglement, and on the hunt for a serial killer.   

Anything else you’d like to known in this interview?
First, I want to thank you for taking the time for this interview.  It’s been fun!  Also, I want to thank everyone who has supported me and read my books.  It makes it that much more exciting for me to continue writing.  I look forward to hearing comments and questions about any of my books.  Please feel free to visit me: www.authorjenniferchase.com/


David Fingerman writes SPYDER:
a street-wise antihero of inner city society.
Experience his strange wisdom, and his twisted sense of humor.
Thirty-year-old Spyder doesn’t waste time thinking how much lower he can sink. When he finds his girlfriend dead as the result of drugs he supplied, Spyder contemplates his life and decides it’s time to do what he’s avoided most of his days—join mainstream society. All he needs to do is kick the drug habit, find a job, a place to live, and earn some money. Easy. He’s done it hundreds of times, but never all at once. As always, Fate steps in and knees him in the groin. All the dregs he’s ever known want their say. George won’t stop his pestering, Sal needs a huge favor, Coon is hunting for a certain arachnid, and Spyder’s dealer doesn’t want to lose one of his best customers. As things spiral out of control, Spyder tangles himself in a web so tight that even he might never be able to escape.

Meet the author David Fingerman at:

Buy SPYDER at the following outlets:

SPYDER is published by L and L Dreamspell, a small independent and POD publisher. Fingerman appeared on my blog introducing his collection of chilling shorts called Edging Past Reality, and a novel that was on the verge of being released called Silent Kill.

David Fingerman very kindly wrote a guest post about self-publishing. Something I’ve been blogging about recently. Check out the post: Here.

Let’s speak to David Fingerman!
Hi Louise ~ thank you so much for letting me appear on your blog.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1935097075&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrYou’re very welcome. Tell us how are Edging Past Reality and Silent Kill doing?
Edging Past Reality is still doing pretty good, especially in downloads. Downloads are way outselling hard copy which tells me that’s where the future is. With Silent Kill I’m really not sure – I’ll know more when I get my next quarterly statement from the publisher. Going strictly by Amazon rankings, I’m a little disappointed that it’s not doing better. I’ll keep marketing that at the same time as Sypyder.
So, who or what inspired you to write Spyder?

Oh, this is embarrassing. There used to be this persnickety old woman who attended the same writers’ group I did. She drove me nuts. When it came http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1603182306&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrtime to critique she would interrupt and go on and on about how it wasn’t anything compared to her life. No matter what the person wrote, she could somehow twist it into how her life was so much better, worse, etc. It got to the point where we’d run out of time before everyone got a chance to read even though the moderator would explain we were here to critique the writing. It didn’t matter ~ to her it was a social gathering.

My goal was to write something so insulting that she’d be speechless and Spyder was born. It was a short story (now chapter one in the book) and it worked. For the first time since I’d started going to the group, she had nothing to say. I thought that was the end of Spyder, but no. One day I was researching guidelines and found a small press in England that was looking for raunchy inner-city stories. I sent it in and the editor loved it. He asked that if I had any more Spyder stories, I should send them. With that encouragement I wrote another and sent it in. I got a letter back saying that he liked that one even better than the first, but unfortunately the magazine was going under. By that point I was having way too much fun writing Spyder stories.

What is it about?
Spyder is a streetwise punk with a very warped sense of humor. As he gets older and the streets become more dangerous, he comes to the conclusion it’s time to clean up his act and try mainstream society. But because of his self-destructive behavior . . . well, I don’t want to give too much away. It’s marketed as mainstream but I like to think of it as an urban adventure.

Was there a character you struggled with in Spyder?
This was the only novel where I can honestly say that I had no trouble with the characters. I had a blast writing each and every one.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Yikes. I don’t dare look under the bed to see what’s lurking (I’m guessing killer dust bunnies). However, I do have a couple of unfinished novels hiding in the deep recesses of my computer. I started them years ago and one day I might pull them out again. If I still like the story line I’ll rewrite and complete them.

You’re still with L and L Dreamspell how did you find them, and are you still happy with them? Would you still recommend them?
Whenever I see a new book that looks interesting, and also looks like the type of thing I write, I always see who the publisher is. I can’t recall what the book was that I checked, but the publisher was L & L Dreamspell. I checked out their website and decided to give them a try. Wonderful for me, they liked my work. They’re a small, independent, POD publisher and I couldn’t be happier. They treat their authors almost like family. I highly recommend them ~ but read their guidelines before submitting!

In your original interview with me you said that you had a plan to self-publishing primarily to get your name out to the masses, and then I would try the traditional route . Have you not tried with Spyder?

I did self-publish Edging Past reality in hopes of getting a wider name recognition. Whether it had anything to do with my signing on to L&L Dreamspell I highly doubt. L&L Dreamspell is a small independent POD publisher, and I definitely found a wonderful home with them. L&L published bother Silent Kill and Spyder, but I’m pretty sure they hadn’t heart of me prior to sending my writing to them. Still, I think it was a smart business plan and I learned a lot about the publishing world by going the self-publishing route first.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part is I’m doing what I love to do. I’m in the enviable position where I can write full time. The worst part is marketing. Although it’s getting a little easier, I’m still way out of my comfort zone. Being an introvert, I much prefer sitting alone in my office and typing away.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I try to treat my writing like a job and write during the day (otherwise my wife will make me go out and find a ‘real’ job). I normally start at around 9 a.m. and go until about 4 (taking an occasional break). On those rare occasions when all the stars are in alignment and the creativity is flowing, I’ll keep going well into the night. I’ve also been known to wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning and feel creative. (Like I’ve mentioned earlier ~ I love what I do.)

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer
The only time I use pen and paper is when I don’t have access to my computer.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Anything and everything. I just put a “What if . . .” in front of the thought and set my imagination free.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I’ve found that it’s self-defeating setting goals for myself. I know that it works for a lot of writers but not me. I do try to spend at least 6 hours per day writing, but that includes research and editing (and when my new books come out ~ marketing). As long as I’m productive, I’m happy.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
At present I’m working on a horror novel. I shall say no more. : )

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I actually led a seminar at a writers’ conference on dealing with rejection letters. Doing research I found a number rejects some great writers had received ~ I’m in good company. I also learned of how many rejects some classic novels received. I always wonder what happened to the people who rejected J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (over a dozen rejections) or Stephen King’s “Carrie.” (30 rejections)

For the most part rejects don’t bother me unless it’s one where I really thought I had a perfect fit – those sting a little bit. Fortunately for me, I’ve had enough acceptances that I’m secure (some call it egotistical) enough to feel that it’s them and not my talent.

Do you have a critique partner?
I belong to two writers’ groups – each one has an average attendance of about 12-15 people. People will read pieces of their work and get critiqued. So, I don’t have a specific critique partner, but I do have a couple dozen.

And to whet readers’ appetite for Spyder, here is a snippet:

When Sal opened his eyes he looked shocked, as if the coffee appeared by magic. I poured us each a cup and waited for him to start.

“I wanted to visit my ma, let her know I was okay. She had this big bruise on her face, and her arms were all black and blue. I could tell that she was happy to see me, but she kinda whispered that maybe it would be best for me to leave. Then the ass-hole came to the door. He was drunk as hell and the first thing he does is start dissing me. I politely told him not to call me those names.”
I could imagine how he made those “polite” comments.

“It was self defense. He took a swing at me and I guess I went kinda crazy.”

“But you didn’t kill him.”

“No. He didn’t die ‘til later.”

I choked on my mouthful of coffee. “So how did he die?”

“After I showed him who was boss, he ran out of the house. I chased after him and told him never to hit my ma again. I caught up to him and he just collapsed. I didn’t touch him.”

I didn’t think now might not be the time to tell him that the courts would most definitely disagree on his theory of murder and self defense.

“So what do you want from me?” I asked.

He stammered a bit. “Well, a lot of the neighbors came out to see what all the noise was. I was wondering if you could, ya know, kinda set ‘em straight on what really went down. Tell ‘em it was self defense.”

“You want me to go door-to-door, and tell all your neighbors that they really didn’t see what they thought they saw?”

“And I was wondering,” he continued. “Well, I know you’ve got a roof now. I was wondering if you’d let me crash there for a while ‘til the cops quit looking for me.”

It was like he reverted to a giant mound of stupid. I silently pulled out my knife and hugged it next to my leg. I knew he wasn’t going to like my next words and wanted to be ready.

The Target – Bill Bowen’s New Thriller.

Bill Bowen

The Target turns the tables on the nuclear terrorism genre as a group of average Americans become the perpetrators.

The novel’s lead character is Mike Curran – the son of a South Side Chicago cop, a Notre Dame graduate, an Iraq War veteran, and a LaSalle Street stock broker. When he is the victim of a dirty bomb attack at Union Station, he gives up on the government and embarks on a journey from despair to a striking demonstration of deterrence. In contrast to Osama bin Laden hiding in Pakistan, Mike and a group of like-minded associates enjoy tremendous resources and freedom of action. His greatest problem is with his conscience.

Mike’s deliberations are contrasted with two other perspectives. One is that of a moderate descendent of Arabian royalty and the sister of one of the Union Station bombers. The other is that of a liberal blogger who provides an intellectual construct of the ethical and political questions faced by the plotters.

The gripping story makes clear that it is in everyone’s interest – Muslim as well as Western – to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
About The Target:
Mike Curran is an ordinary American – the son of a South Side Chicago cop, a Notre Dame graduate, an Iraq War veteran, and a LaSalle Street stock broker. When he is a victim of a dirty bomb attack at Union Station, he gives up on the government and embarks on a journey from despair and revenge to a striking demonstration of deterrence. In contrast to Osama bin Laden hiding in Afghanistan, Mike and a group of like-minded associates enjoy tremendous resources and freedom of action. His greatest problem is with his conscience.
Aisha al-Rashid, a moderate descendant of Arabian royalty and the sister of one of the Union Station bombers, serves as a thoughtful counterpoint, as her path exposes her to the Americans’ plot.

Barbara from Berkeley, an intellectual liberal blogger, provides a third perspective on the unfolding story.

The Target reflects Bowen’s concern about the combination of terrorism and nuclear weapons and the missing element of deterrence in that equation. It is his hope that the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and other countries will understand the danger of uncontrolled proliferation.

Bowen, Bill Bill Bowen holds degrees in foreign affairs from the United States Air Force Academy and Georgetown University. He has served in military intelligence and in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs … at the intersection of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the President’s National Security Advisor.

Bowen lives in San Francisco with his wife, Sue, where he enjoys the political theatre of local and state government and shares his thoughts at: http://www.rightinsanfrancisco.com/
Click below for the interview:

What inspired you to write?
A. During the Cold War we and the Russians understood that either side could destroy the other so neither attacked. The current situation is one sided and we seem to be waiting for a nuclear weapon in a container in New York or Long Beach. I wanted to get the thought into the global conversation that the combination of loosely controlled nuclear weapons and terrorists represents a threat to those things that are important to the Muslim world as well as to the West. Such a realization might influence the leaders of Pakistan and Iran as well as religious leaders.
Tell us a little about your main character? Is he/she someone you’d like to meet?
A. Mike Curran is an average American, the son of a South Side Chicago cop, a Notre Dame graduate, an Iraq War veteran, and a laSalle Street stock broker. When he is the victim of a dirty bomb at Union Station he gives up on the government and embarks on a plot with an Army companion and a group of friends to demonstrate that important Muslim sites are also at risk if nuclear weapons are not controlled. The Target develops the how and why of Mike’s plot as well as that of the jihadists.
Mike has several foils: Aisha al-Rashid, a moderate Muslim woman who is the sister of one of the Union station bombers; Lon Proulx, a former CIA operative who vies for control of the plot; and Barbara from Berkeley, a liberal blogger who offers snide intellectual assessments of the story’s major actions.
There is a brief explanation on page 158 as to why Mike was willing to take a friend’s lead in doing something out of character:

A week passed. Mike thought about action and inaction, times when he had seen the need to do something, but had waited too long. Generally, in his experience, prudence and deferral had paid off, and a thousand little acts had accumulated into a good life. But that hadn’t saved Maggie… or Dennis Murphy. Mike had carried the burden of Dennis Murphy from St. Rita’s, to Notre Dame, and to Iraq, where he had hoped it was buried. But it was not.
Murphy had been a half-year older, one of the neighborhood kids that got an OK from Mike’s mother when he wanted to go out to play after dinner. As Mike gravitated toward college prep and football, their time together had diminished. Mike hadn’t noticed it, but Murphy had no real friends, and, as he settled into shop and business classes, had stopped talking about his older brother who went to Northwestern, as if he were embarrassed to not share his capabilities. At sixteen, Murphy had access to his family’s car, and was briefly invited to join the right table in the cafeteria… until several others got their licenses. When Murphy found Nietzsche’s nihilism and wanted to talk about whether anything mattered, Mike turned him away. When Murphy tried to become a Goth with black clothing and pierced ears, Mike shunned him. When Murphy ran his father’s car off the Skyway between the Dan Ryan and the Indiana Tollway at 100 miles per hour, Mike vowed to never again turn away from a friend.

Karl was a friend.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
None. The target is the first.
How did you find the publisher/agent? What was the journey like? Ever feel like giving up?
I did all of the regular things: directories of agents; speed dating events at Thrillerfest; blind letters. I did have an agent for a year and thought that I had a small publisher in the Chicago area, but that did not work out and I eventually decided to use Outskirts Press to just get it done. While I am happy with the responsiveness, print quality, and marketing ideas of Outskirts, I am disappointed that the economics do not allow good distribution with book stores and libraries.
 How do your juggle a writing schedule with real-life work, or are you a full time writer?
My other work is as a personal financial manager which gives me great time flexibility. Fortunately, I can afford to build my brand as a writer without it being my primary means of support.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The research is actually the most fun. People love to talk to you if you promise that you will treat them fairly in the story. I could sit in a plaza for hours watching people, reading, and creating the story in my head. Research gave me the excuse to wander around the United Nations neighborhood in New York, ride back and forth on the Metra trains in Chicago, and hang out in a bar in Ripon.
The worst thing is copy editing. Actually, developmental editing was fun. I had a great editor, Ed Robertson, who led me through a 30 % rewrite but I chose to do my own copy editing since I had the software. Never again.
What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
A. I do best when I wake up at about 6 AM, think for ten to fifteen minutes about how the story should develop, and write for two to three hours with juice and coffee. I need to be mentally refreshed to let my mind wander with my characters and let them solve my plot problems.
Before I really start writing I create an outline and biographies for the key characters. The ideas have been germinating for quite awhile but the act of capturing them is relatively mechanical and I can do that for many hours at a time.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I keep a notebook for ideas that come at random times, but virtually all of my writing is done at the computer. It is hard to imagine writing with a pen or a typewriter.
What do you draw inspiration from?
People. I have been fortunate to be around many interesting people who are reflected in my characters: the liberal blogger who teaches economics at Berkeley; Mike’s ROTC leader at Notre Dame; his childhood friend who commits suicide; the CIA agent who goes native in Ethiopia; the Catholic priest who counsels Mike after the bombing at Union Station; and many others. I have also been a bit playful in using my friends’ names as characters, although I may charge for naming rights in the next book.
Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
I generally write short chapters which contain a central thought or action. If I am fresh such a chapter takes two to three hours to write. I come back later to do grammatical cleanup.
Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
My publisher is Outskirts Press, a Print On Demand publisher who does a wonderful job in terms of responsiveness and print quality. They offer an option of a third party cover designer who was able to translate my ideas into an attention catching cover. This was particularly important because I wanted to educate the reader about the geography of the Red Sea area and did not want to bury the map inside the book.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?
The premise is that a group of Texans decide to exercise the option to seceed which the Lone Star State was given when it joined the Union. The story will present a range of perspectives about the state of politics and an undercurrent of conspiracy for and against. I plan to publish early in 2012.
How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
It is very helpful to understand that even the best authors have generally had many, many rejections before being discovered. I am a fan of Kaizen, the Japanese concept of continuous improvement, and view rejections and thoughtful bad reviews as free input on how I can get better. But it does help to have positive feedback from strangers every once in awhile and one of the good things about the industry is that there are a lot of nice professionals willing to offer encouragement as well as constructive criticism.
Reviews are similar. I have about 30 four or five star reviews on Amazon; the one two star review is thoughtful and will help me be a better writer in my next book.
What’s your advice about getting an agent?
I do not have the answer. I have learned that it is a mistake to sign with an agent who is not adequately connected to the publishing houses and I would probably try to work through a network of friends to get directly to a publishing house if I could not attract an effective agent. I expect that my marketing efforts and reasonable success with The Target will be influential for my second book, but time will tell.
Do you have a critique partner?
I followed the advice and example of Stephen King in “On Writing”. When I am writing I want to be free to write whatever I feel without worrying about what somebody else will think. Once I have a satisfactory draft I share it with my wife who is an avid reader and has a masters degree in creative writing.

Contacts: http://outskirtspress.com/thetarget

Said the Spider – a story of crime and suspense.

Earle Van Gilder
Sophisticated crime syndicate parasites invade the normally solid foundation of Midwestern banking and generations of established manufacturing. Executives and management usually in control suddenly find they are masterfully manipulated into a web of irreconcilable personal and financial seduction.

From the traumatic discovery at the river’s edge to the eventual confrontational conclusion Said The Spider seduces greedy, gullible and unsuspecting prey into a deadly and graphic whirlwind of corporate disaster leading to murder, suicide and revenge.

The early exploits of the juvenile crime spree by a youthful mastermind who cleverly manipulates his prey leads the reader to the ruthless genius manipulating the city. This drama of cause and effect with no escape from the temptations of lust, greed, and ignorance has been cleverly baited.

The corporate investigative agency and police sources enter almost too late to stop this whirlpool of turbulence as the bank Vice President’s realize their own failure and the investors and corporation officers panic and retreat from the coming Armageddon.

As murder, suicide and monumental financial losses are exposed, the crime syndicate learns of an investigation which might interrupt their lucrative operation. Crime bosses will stop at nothing to successfully complete their artistic looting of a major bank and manufacturing complex.

Time is running out. Investigators are pulling pieces of the puzzle together. Corrupt and greedy bank executives are running for their lives. The syndicate is charging ahead in their goal of complete domination and eventual departure culminating in a surprise and conclusive end to fraud and murder.

They say you should write what you know, and Earle Van Gilder does just that with his thriller, Said the Spider. With more than 40 years Earle (Doc) Van Gilder was involved in the investigation of white-collar crime. The last 20 years he ran his own Investigative Corporation partnering with major firms, local and state government agencies and law enforcement to solve a wide range of criminal activities from internal theft and white collar crime to insurance fraud, criminal investigations and undercover operations.

Earle is also a certified Kyokushinkai Karate Branch Chief and martial arts instructor and well versed in the handling of weaponry. These experiences combined with his Marine Corp and equestrian experiences have resulted in a number of short stories which in turn led to his first novel, Said The Spider. He recently completed a second novel, Gumshoe Diary, The Month of May.
Click below for the interview:

Tell us more about Said the Spider.
 The main character is myself, and the book can be reviewed on Amazon.com. It’s fiction but based on actual experience concerning industrial espionage, white collar crime, and the characters on both sides of that equation.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
I’ve completed two more in this series that continue on from Said The Spider, Gumshoe Diary-The Month of May, and Point of Connection. I’ve also written numerous short stories and children’s stories.

How did you find the publisher/agent? What was the journey like? Ever feel like giving up?
I chose Outskirts Press through research and frustration with locating an agent or other source. It has been an interesting experience, frustrating at times also, but one that I’m happy to have taken.

How do your juggle a writing schedule with real-life work, or are you a full time writer?
I retired in 1998 from my work as President of the company I founded, Corporate Information LTD, an investigative agency that specialized in white collar and undercover investigations. My freedom to write is much improved and my writing continues as the pace of my life allows it.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The writing is the easy part. The worst part is my anticipation and frustration with this part of the process. I am impatient!

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer? -It all starts in my mind and then translates totally to the keyboard.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration is my wife.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
None, I set no goal and frequently have no idea where the story is going. Sometimes I even surprise myself. I do tend to totally lose track of time.

Are you a published or a self-published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
Said the Spider is published through Outskirts Press and the cover art was a cooperative effort by both myself and Outskirts Press.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I have completed (both unpublished) Gumshoe Diary-The Month of May, and Point of Connection. They are related to the original book (Said The Spider) with many of the same characters, but new adventures.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
They can’t be taken personally. Most agents or publishers I’ve corresponded with reject without bothering to read (if at all) anything more than a few lines. I know this because they have not been furnished more than that limited request. At this time in my life I have no need for a resume and write for my own pleasure.

What’s your advice about getting an agent?
Not having agent, my advice would be useless. I can only say that if that’s your goal then proceed with it and be persistent.

Do you have a critique partner?
My wife reads and re-reads my work as do 2 or 3 close friends who are kind enough to assist in grammar, punctuation and story content. I’ve chosen those critique sources I trust who will be honest, candid and precise in their evaluation of my work.


Joyce Yarrow – author of the Jo Epstein mystery series

Joyce Yarrow
Mystery/suspense writer of the Jo Epstein series
Private investigator and performance poet, Jo Epstein, untangles a web of money-laundering, kidnapping and murder that extends from New York City to a hurricane-torn island in the Caribbean. Ann Romeo of MurerInk describes this first book in the Jo Epstein series as follows: “Chock full of terrific NY details, wonderful characters and clever turns of phrase, Joyce Yarrow’s ASK THE DEAD is a masterful debut and a must for fans of Sue Grafton and the Big Apple.”

The Last Matryoshka is a thrilling mystery that explores the age-old relationship between justice and revenge while delving into the complexities of family relationships forged in vastly different cultures.
Joyce Yarrow brings back Jo Epstein, New York City private investigator and performance poet, in the sequel to Ask the Dead. Roped into helping her socially inept, émigré stepfather Nikolai escape the clutches of a blackmailer, Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a nineteenth-century code of honor, threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai—who claims to have been framed—to evade the police, Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims.

From Vladimir Central Prison to the brooding Russian forest, from Moscow Criminal Police headquarters to the monasteries of Suzdal, Jo Epstein investigates the world of the vory—a criminal subculture as brutal as it is romanticized—while racing against the clock to solve crimes committed on two continents.
The Last Matryoshka is a thrilling mystery that explores the age-old relationship between justice and revenge while delving into the complexities of family relationships forged in vastly different cultures.

Joyce Yarrow was born in the SE Bronx, escaped to Manhattan as a teenager and now lives in Seattle with her husband and son. Along the way to becoming a full-time author, Joyce has worked as a screenwriter, singer-songwriter, multimedia performance artist and most recently, a member of the world music vocal ensemble, Abráce.
Joyce is a Pushcart nominee, whose stories and poems have been widely published. Her first book, Ask the Dead (Martin Brown 2005) was selected by The Poisoned Penas as a Recommended First Novel and hailed as “Bronx noir”. Her latest book, The Last Matryoshka, takes place in Brooklyn and Moscow and will be published by Five Star Mysteries in Nov 2010.

Ms. Yarrow considers the setting of her books to be characters in their own right and teaches workshops on “The Place of Place in Mystery Writing.”
Click below for the interview:

What age group is you book geared towards?

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1594148872&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrInto which genre would you say your book falls?

Tell us a little about your book?
THE LAST MATRYOSHKA is the second book in the Jo Epstein series, following ASK THE DEAD. Jo is a performance poet who works as a private investigator out of Scandal’s lounge in New York City.

Roped into helping her socially inept, émigré stepfather Nikolai escape the clutches of a blackmailer, Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a nineteenth-century code of honor, threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai—who claims to have been framed—to evade the police, Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims.

From Vladimir Central Prison to the brooding Russian forest, from Moscow Criminal Police headquarters to the monasteries of Suzdal, Jo Epstein investigates the world of the vory—a criminal subculture as brutal as it is romanticized—while racing against the clock to solve crimes committed on two continents.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
Some of my favorite scenes from THE LAST MATRYOSHKA are told from the antagonist’s point of view. Here is a sample:

New York City, The Present

Feydor surveyed his work. The body was positioned en situ, exactly as it had fallen. He pressed the button for the sixth floor, and the aging elevator jolted, then climbed slowly upward, passing four floors before coming to a stop. Holding the door open with one hand, he reached back with the other to push the button for the second floor and then stepped out. He checked his shoes for blood before climbing the wide stairs leading to the roof. Behind him he could hear the cables creak, as the elevator descended with its unholy burden. Outside, the air smelled of smog mixed with rain. He leaned back on the heavy metal door that had swung shut behind him. Taking his first deep breath since his work began, he peeled off the rubber gloves, freeing his hands to unbutton the blood-spattered shirt and exchange it for the one he‘d brought from home. Then, fearful that some insomniac might spot his profile against the skyline, he ran in a low crouch toward the edge of the roof.

At last his design was in motion and it was a thing of beauty, not at all like what they had done. He had been merciful and quick. He was far above their level. There was no getting around the fact that he‘d sacrificed a life, but he had chosen carefully, not at random like Raskolnikov or out of sadism like Stalin. Some might even say the victim had chosen him.

He found the ladder and climbed over the parapet wall, stepping as lightly and silently as he could on the metal rungs as he descended backward, his heart rate increasing as he passed each window overlooking the fire escape, his eyes averted from any light shining within.

Excerpt from THE LAST MATRYOSHKA, © 2010 Joyce Yarrow

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0976540916&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrHave your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
The core idea for THE LAST MATRYOSHKA came to me while visiting my mother in Brooklyn. I listened to her neighbors chattering in Russian in the elevator and admired the Russian fashionistas shopping in high heels on Kings Highway. The mystery writer in me got to wondering: what if a Russian émigré’s past in Russia caught up with him and created havoc in his new life. I started with that premise and never looked back.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
In this fast-paced, suspenseful novel, performance poet and private investigator Jo Epstein uses her New York street smarts to outmaneuver a master Russian criminal on his own turf.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I would have to say Jo Epstein. Her character combines the insight and sensitivity of the poet with the tough smarts of a tenacious private investigator at the top of her form.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
For me it is always the character who comes first, because it is from knowing each character’s core needs and reactions to conflict that the plot evolves.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
ASK THE DEAD is published by Martin Brown and Ampichellis Ebooks and is available on Amazon as both a trade paperback and an ebook at http://amzn.to/dfYQbE It is also available for the Nook on Barnes & Noble at http://draft.blogger.com/goog_532781583

THE LAST MATRYOSHKA is published by Five Star/Cengage and is available in hardcover at http://amzn.to/945LF6

Twitter: @joyceyarrow

Meet Allan Mayer and his book Tasting the Wind

Andrew saw what happened. Eddie saw what happened. But their severe learning disabilities prevent them from communicating what they have seen.
Ten years later, the hospital is destined for closure and Andrew and Eddie move to a bungalow in the community.
Enter Martin Peach, who has come into care work for all the wrong reasons. As if the challenge of helping six severely disabled people settle into a sometimes hostile community is not enough, his new manager, ex-nurse Della Belk, has a deadly secret which links her to the new residents…

Can Martin and his colleagues put together the fragmented clues about Andrew and Eddie’s pasts before one of them becomes the next victim?
Trailer Allan Mayer- Tasting the Wind Chapter 1

This is an amazing offer by Allan. He is prepared to giveaway an ebook of Tasting the Wind for FREE. Tell us Allan, why would you want to do that?

The novel took me ten years to write and I want to give it to you, free of charge…

Attached is a FREE e-book, Tasting the Wind.The paperback would cost you £8.99 on Amazon. Click HERE to see it and to read some excellent reviews.

So why am I giving it away?
There are 3 reasons:

1) We are living in difficult economic times. I want to give you a free read. If you want to check out what it’s about and if it’s any good, click on the link above.

2) Because we live in difficult economic times the powers that be will be looking to cut essential services. ‘Tasting the Wind’ is partly set in a 1980s institution for people with learning disabilities. I want to raise awareness of what life could be like for people with learning disabilities if funding cuts force them to return to institutional styles of living.

3) The profits from the paperback go to Derian House children’s Hospice. If you keep your copy of the e-book I would ask you to give a donation (as much or as little as you like, if you give £1/ $1 and pass this on it could make a million!) to Derian House. You are under no obligation, but if you wish to do so go to: http://www.derianhouse.co.uk/donate.html

Please forward this on to your friends and contacts.
Other links for ‘Tasting the Wind’ :
My blog- http://allanmayer.wordpress.com/
Tasting the Wind Facebook page- http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=56190762166
Do you use Kindle or another electronic reader? Download your free copy of ‘Tasting the Wind’ here:
And finally: although I do not wish to make money from this book, I do have an ego. Please add reviews on Amazon, and join my Facebook page.
Let me know what you think, and how far round the world this has travelled.

Tasting the Wind is a tale of the lives of a group of mental patients who move out of their institution into “care in the community”. You class it as a thriller, can you tell us a little more about its genre?
With ‘Tasting the Wind’ I have perhaps committed the cardinal sin for a new author of writing in mixed genre. It certainly is a thriller, because the whole premise is what happens when two people who can’t communicate what they have seen witness a ‘murder’ and the person responsible is the manager of their care facility?

But it does cross genres. Originally I wrote a novel which aimed to show the reality of the lives of people with learning disabilities and give a realistic account of moving from a long stay hospital into the community.

I soon realised that it had been done before, for instance in the novel ‘Walter’ which was dramatised on the opening night of channel 4.

I decided that I wanted to entertain as well as inform people about a fascinating period of history. I wanted humour in there as the lives of people with learning disabilities, like the lives of everyone else, are a mixture of tragedy and comedy.

Originally the death came half way through and the nurse’s culpability was never discovered. What would happen, I thought, if I moved the death to the prologue?

Life is mixed genre. I believe that fiction should represent that and feel that publishers’ preference for single genre, although it is understandable because that is what the customer wants, is inhibiting.

What gave you the incentive to write this book?
Two reasons. Firstly, I felt that in working in long stay Mental Handicap hospitals in the 1980s I had had a unique experience. I had witnessed things that the majority of the population would never see. If you want to know what I’m talking about have a look at a documentary called ‘The Silent Minority’ which can be seen on ‘YouTube.’

Secondly, ‘Tasting the Wind’ came to me when I had been diagnosed with depression- a diagnosis which later changed to Seasonal Affective Disorder- I needed a longterm project, something to get me through the dark days.

It’s commendable that 50% of your royalties are going to Derian House Children’s Hospice. What is your connection to the hospice?
I’ve never been asked that, but when I think about it there are several. The first is that It’s local, and it gives dying children quality of life. How important is that? But there is more to my connection.

I first heard about Derian in the early 1990s, when it was being set up, at the same time that I was setting up a day service for adults with profound learning disabilities. My service was visited by some very well spoken ladies from the local council who, in a conversation with our Director of Finance, spoke disparagingly of how Derian house had been set up without government funding and would never survive.

I was brought up a socialist, and although professionallity prevented me from speaking, I seethed at their superior and glib attitude. This was about dying children, and why didn’t the government that they so obviously supported (you can fill in the gaps) fund such an essential service?

So since that day I have given to Derian House. I used to do amateur dramatics, and when I had to have my beard shaved off to play an ugly sister I had it sponsored for Derian House.

And guess what? Twenty years on Derian House is still providing an excellent service. Another connection is that Derian doesn’t only provide services for children in their last days. Sometimes children with profound disabilities stay there for respite, and some of those children now use the service I manage as adults.

You can find out more about Derian House at http://www.derianhouse.co.uk/

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
The whole of ‘Tasting the Wind’ is inspired by the work I did in the mid eighties in what we used to a ‘Mental Handicap Hospital.’ Most of my characters are a combination of up to four people I have known, but are unique in that the old adage is true- they take on life of their own. Once a character had formed I would put them in a situation and their reactions wrote themselves.

One character who is not a combination is Jamie, who is based on David Heffer, a superb care worker who worked with people with learning disabilities and had so much to offer to the future development of services. The IRA decided that he wouldn’t get to make this contribution when they planted a bomb in a Covent Garden pub.

One of the best outcomes of publishing ‘Tasting the Wind’ was that it led to David’s family contacting me. We spent a lovely weekend together, which I have recorded in my blog.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
That’s a difficult one. Because of the mixture of genres one passage may give the impression that it is a miserable tragedy, another would say ‘slapstick comedy.’ So I’ve chosen the scene where the ‘patients’ finally leave the hospital which has been their home for decades.

By way of explanation: Eddie has coped with his years of institutionalisation by inventing imaginary characters and pets, such as Pansy the dog. Don Maguire is the Hospital Bully. Frankie is a patient that Eddie witnessed being murdered by a nurse ten years previously. Got that? God- here we go:

Eddie’s leave-taking was that of a celebrity: kissing the reception staff, waving to all and sundry and swinging his carrier bag as he passed through a corridor of patients, all chanting ‘nee-naw nee naw.’ Behind him came Jamie, uncharacteristically red-faced, carrying a large blue suitcase with a red balloon tied to the handle.

‘Come on, Pansy, come on boy, we’re escaping.’
‘Eddie,’ Jamie called as he approached the bus, ‘I thought you’d agreed to leave Pansy behind?’

Eddie looked down, his eyes glazing. Then with a beam and a flicker of white tipped tooth he said ‘Yes, Pansy, stay here boy, off you go,’ as he pretended to throw an invisible stick and watch the dog race back into the hospital.

‘Bye Pansy. Be a good dog.’
Eddie squeezed into his seat he held his carrier bag to his chest and, staring at the hospital, muttered, ‘mustn’t forget Frankie. Must take Frankie with us.’

‘But there isn’t a Frankie,’ said Ruth, ‘or are you thinking about Billy?’

Eddie shook his head, as if she was misunderstanding what he was saying and there was no way that he could ever explain.

As Rita and Oscar started to cheer, signifying that the bus was setting off, Eddie stepped for a moment out of his private world and joined in, waving his bag as if it were a flag. With the other hand he was patting the air and talking out of the corner of his mouth: ‘Hush boy,’ he whispered, ‘need you where I’m going, but bark like that and the screws will hear you.’

At the main gate, Don Maguire was leaning against the post. For once he was not wearing his green jacket. Instead he wore jeans and a T-shirt, and was pretending that he was too much of a man to feel the chill of the early spring breeze. Rita turned from him, rubbing her eye.

‘‘E no ma boyfren no more,’ said Rita.
Colin stopped as a tractor went past, giving Oscar a chance to slide open a small window and give the Don his parting message:

‘Bye Don. Will you miss me?’

‘Fuck off.’
‘Hey Don, when I was in the office I saw your records. They say you’ve got the biggest brain in the mental hospital…’

Don’s chest puffed out as he shrugged as if to say ‘isn’t that obvious?’
‘…And the smallest cock they’ve ever seen.’

As the bus started to pull out of the grounds, Oscar reached into the black bin bag at his feet and held up a green jacket, which he waved like a victor’s banner. A study in rage, Don Maguire shouted obscenities and waved his fists; but there may as well have been an invisible field across the entrance, because he never once stepped out of the grounds. As Don’s rage receded into silence, Colin looked in his mirror, watching the hospital grow smaller and smaller, until it disappeared.
They had left.

This is an amazing offer by Allen:

The novel attached to this e-mail took me ten years to write and I want to give it to you, free of charge…

Please forward this to everyone you know.
You should have received this e-mail from me or someone you know. If not, please delete it.
Attached is a FREE e-book, Tasting the wind.
The paperback would cost you £8.99 on Amazon. Click HERE to see it and to read some excellent reviews.
So why am I giving it away?
There are 3 reasons:

1) We are living in difficult economic times. I want to give you a free read. If you want to check out what it’s about and if it’s any good, click on the link above.

2) Because we live in difficult economic times the powers that be will be looking to cut essential services. ‘Tasting the Wind’ is partly set in a 1980s institution for people with learning disabilities. I want to raise awareness of what life could be like for people with learning disabilities if funding cuts force them to return to institutional styles of living.

3) The profits from the paperback go to Derian House children’s Hospice. If you keep your copy of the e-book I would ask you to give a donation (as much or as little as you like, if you give £1/ $1 and pass this on it could make a million!) to Derian House. You are under no obligation, but if you wish to do so go to: http://www.derianhouse.co.uk/donate.html

Please forward this on to your friends and contacts.
Other links for ‘Tasting the Wind’ :
My blog- http://allanmayer.wordpress.com/
Tasting the Wind Facebook page- http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=56190762166
Do you use Kindle or another electronic reader? Download your free copy of ‘Tasting the Wind’ here:
And finally: although I do not wish to make money from this book, I do have an ego. Please add reviews on Amazon, and join my Facebook page.

Let me know what you think, and how far round the world this has travelled,
Allan Mayer

Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?

I went alone- sort of. I spent ages getting rejection letters, as you do. I wrote to my hero, Dean Koontz, and got a reply which recommended that the new writer should write in a single genre. He acknowledged that he got away from the single genre thing because of who he was, but that the new writer should do that to get a mainstream publisher.

Now I had a problem. I was a new writer, but didn’t believe that Tasting the Wind could be properly presented in a single genre. So I decided to do it myself. I talked to friends who had self-published, but that seemed to be too expensive and too involved. Then someone informed me that YouWriteOn were offering a cheap Print on Demand service.

Did you send Koontz a copy of Tasting the Wind?
No, but it did cross my mind. It was just that his letter said how his brief had advised him never to comment on stuff that was sent to him- you can imagine it can’t you- ‘Why aren’t you publishing my book- Koontz said it was good.’ It is well worth writing to him- you get a really thick package back. I got his standard letter, which says that he is busy writing, but the signature is genuine (well worth having I thought.)

Then… there was a messager in ink at the bottom of the page which said: see other letter….
and there was another letter which advised me as a new writer to go for a high concept novel. Thing was, it didn’t answer any of my specific questions, so I guess his team have a stock of letters, some for fans and others for writers asking for advice. Nevertheless, I am pleased to have a couple of signatures and feel very happy with the response. He’s also got an excellent website, don’t know if you’ve seen it:

Tasting the Wind is published with a POD company YouWriteOn. Were you happy with their service?
There was a lot of criticism of YWO in the early days of their POD service. They had claimed that they could publish 5000 novels in the three months before Christmas 2008. That was never going to happen. Critics from the publishing world claimed that the quality of their publications could not be assured and compared it to vanity press.

For my part, I could accept the shortcomings of the service, but have never had reason to call it a scam. The books are of good quality- admittedly they lack the benefit of professional proof reading- but they don’t fall apart like some of the earlier POD books apparently did. These days, anyone who asks me about the wisdom of using a POD publisher I would direct to my reviews on Amazon UK. The critics say that POD books are only bought by friends and relations. Only two of my reviews come from friends, and most of them are five star. These days we have the internet, and if you learn a few marketing skills you should be able to sell your book beyond your immediate circle.

My only criticism of YWO as a service is that books ordered direct took ages to come- I now order books exclusively from Amazon.uk and use their free delivery option.

Would you do it again?
It would depend. Tasting the Wind was a one off which wouldn’t fit into a category. If I wrote another book I would still go through the traditional route of submitting to agents and publishers. If that failed then yes I would use a POD publisher again. I would rather get my work out to an audience- however small- than leave it sitting on my hard drive.

What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
What marketing haven’t I done? Well not TV and radio yet- although I did wake up one morning to find that an American internet radio station had featured me. I’ve done local papers and magazines, and saturated the internet. (just Google Allan Mayer Tasting the Wind and you’ll see what I mean.)

I spent most of 2009 exploring every avenue of marketing. Take a look at my blog to see the whole list. Some worked, some didn’t.

The most important lesson that I could pass on about marketing of a self-published or POD book is to find your niche audience. I finally found it this year when I did some readings at the Open University. There is a group there which studies the Social History of Learning Disabilities. I so enjoyed doing the readings and afterwards people queued for me to sign copies- a small taste of fame which I will never forget.

(The reading was recorded and will soon be added to the OU website at: http://www.open.ac.uk/hsc/ldsite/conferences_v2.html )

Through the conference I also made some useful contacts in the academic world. Tasting the Wind will be being reviewed in the Briutish Journal of Learning Disabilities in December (one of the biggest journals in the field) and is on reading lists at Manchester University and at Lancashire Adult Learning.

Having said that, I would hope that Tasting the Wind is of interest not only to people in the field of Learning Disability. What I set out to do was open a window into a world that few have seen firsthand.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Tasting the Wind took ten years. Part of that was the need to get it right. It was a labour of love, and a very difficult balancing act . I wanted to present realistic characters with learning disabilities without being patronising or stereotypical. I wanted to get over a ‘message’ without preaching. I also wanted to include humour and was very conscious that handled wrongly it could have looked like I was poking fun or laughing at rather than laughing with the characters.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
I can’t think of a simple answer to this one. The original kernel of inspiration was my own experience, therefore at that stage characters and happenings were intertwined. Then I would combine characters and add my own original tweaks until they took on a life of their own. The plot then developed in ways I had not anticipated once these new creations started to interact. So I suppose that the characters do have some sort of primacy, although the relationship between character and plot is probably best described as symbiotic.

The best example of the book ‘writing itself’ is to do with the demise of the villain of the piece. She is based on a real person (who for obvious legal reasons cannot be named.) The real ‘Della’ abused people with learning disabilities, and when this was found out was not punished but ‘promoted out’ of the situation. This was my original ending, but when my wife complained that it was not sufficient (although sadly realistic) I looked at an alternative ending. One leaped out, based on what had gone before, and I can promise you that it is dramatic, appropriate and satisfying.

How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?
Yes. As a child I would write stories and poems. In my teens I had poetry published in local anthologies and used to contribute to readings. A bit scary when you’re fifteen, but it was good experience. I always wanted to write a novel but it was a long time until I felt that I had the right subject. My favourite reading genre was Science Fiction, and I was waiting for a Sci- Fi story to come along. It never did.

Are you working on another book? Possible to have a preview snippet or blurb of that?
I have completed the first draft of a thriller. I have degrees in theology, so have decided to put them to good use in writing a Dan Brown style thriller packed with biblical clues and cultish conspiracy.

For one reason or another I haven’t had time to do much to it recently. I’m hoping to return to it eventually, and the gap will hopefully help me to view it more critically so that I can be merciless in my editing.

I have never been able to show anything to anyone while I’m still working on it. I had been writing Tasting the Wind for many years before my wife even got a glimpse of it. It’s a personal thing.

What I can say is that it involves a theology lecturer (Jack Ellison) who gets involved in a local fundamentalist church where a young girl claims to be demon possessed. Soon he finds himself in life-threatening situations, as do others who are close to him, and each time a biblical clue is left. Are the clues related to the ‘demoniac’ or are they linked to Jack’s former life where he rescued youngsters from cults? It’s a million miles away from ‘Tasting the Wind’ but in my new novel (working title ‘Legion’s Daughter’ I am still writing about ‘what I know.’

What mistakes do you see new writers make?
To me one of the most serious mistakes is not paying enough attention to editing. Once a first draft is complete you may have to slash it by half, completely cutting scenes which you may really like but which do not take the story forward. This takes a lot of honesty, discipline, and understanding of form.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Go in with your eyes open and know why you are writing. Be your own greatest critic- why give someone else the pleasure?

As well as mastering the craft of writing, learn about the world of publishing and book marketing. Get hold of a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and visit web resources such as the excellent ‘How Publishing Really Works’ and ‘Absolute Write.’

Another piece of advice which I got from a confidence coach, was to identify your model of excellence. Choose a writer you admire, study their style, find out their beliefs about writing, write to them- meet them if you can (without becoming a nuisance or a stalker!) They did it- so can you.

Above all, enjoy your writing and enjoy the world of writing. Few of us will make a living from it, but all of us can enjoy many of its rewards.


Gary Ponzo and his Touch Of Deceit.

FBI agent Nick Bracco can’t stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can’t stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this assassin. Tommy, however, is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003O85YEM&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThe author of Touch Of Deceit,Gary Ponzo, lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Jennifer and two children, Jessica and Kyle. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Amazing Journeys Magazine and Potpourri. Two of his short stories have been nominated for the very prestigious Pushcart Prize. His novel, “A Touch of Deceit” won the S.W. Writers Contest, Thriller category.

Gary is currently working on the sequel to, “A Touch of Deceit,” as well as continuing to place his short fiction in magazines. When he’s not busy trying to find a solution to the problems in the Middle East, he enjoys running, golf and spending time with his family.

Tell us about A Touch of Deceit in a few sentences.
The novel is about a Sicilian FBI agent, Nick Bracco, who heads the counterterrorism division of the Baltimore Field Office. When his family becomes the target of a Kurdish terrorist, he recruits his mafia cousin Tommy to help track down the terrorist. Yes, it gets messy rather fast.

How did you come to write this particular book?
Believe it or not I started this book back in 1999. I was almost halfway through the novel when September 11th happened. I’m from New York originally, so it definitely affected me. Since one of the plot-points of my novel involved a terrorist attempting to blow up the White House I didn’t write a single word for close to a year. I just didn’t have the stomach for it.

Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?
The novel is set in Baltimore for the first part, then finishes up in Payson, Arizona. I’d say the novel is pretty much present day, but with technology changing as fast as it does, I was careful not to use too many trendy references.

I believe I chose Baltimore because I had just finished reading David Simon’s book, “Homicide,” which was based in Baltimore. A terrific read. It gave me the flavor I was looking for. Plus New York seemed like such a cliché to me. Everything’s based in New York, so why not Baltimore.

How long did it take to write your book?
Well as I said I began in 1999, but all together it took a good seven years from start to finish.

How much revision of your MS did you do before you sent it off?
Tons. And then tons more. I’d published many short stories and was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize for two of them, but this was my first novel. I worked with a critique group who line-edited every sentence, then I’d revise again and again. When I was done I gave the finished product to five different people to read. They were all avid readers who knew nothing about this book. They all came back to me and said they loved it once the story got going, but the first couple of chapters were a little slow.

Well, of course, as a first time novelist you have to grab the reader from the first sentence. So I blew up the first seventy-five pages and started all over again. That process took another year. I’d say this novel is really my third novel, because that’s how much I’d changed it.

You’ve awards for A Touch of Deceit. Tell readers about them.
Yes, “A Touch of Deceit,” won the 2009 Southwest Writers Award, Thriller category. It was a thrill. It came with a $250 first prize and a nice plaque. The Pushcart Prize nominations were great, but winning that award really gave me confidence.

How did you find your literary agent?
The judge for the Southwest Writers Award was Robert Brown from Wylie Merrick Literary Agency. Once I was chosen the winner, I contacted Robert and asked if he’d represent me and he not only agreed, he became my number one cheerleader. I can’t say enough about him, he’s a great person.

What qualities make a successful writer?
At first I think you need to be an avid reader, but after that probably perseverance.

Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
With the really good writers I’d say seventy-five percent is innate ability. The other twenty-five percent is probably hard work and some luck. Having said that, there are exceptions to every rule. Never count out the ability of human spirit to achieve.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?
It’s important for sure, but those sorts of things are repairable. That’s where a good critique group can be so helpful.

What single piece of advice would you give to writers still hoping to be published?
It’s a great time to be a writer. Don’t give up. Keep learning from your past work and keep reading other peoples’ work. Believe it or not reading poor fiction can actually be helpful. Sometimes you can recognize your own tendencies in other works of fiction. I know I have. And if you see yourself heading down a familiar path, don’t. Make sure whatever scene you’re writing is fresh and absent of anything we may have read or seen on TV before.

Are you involved in other projects?
Right now I’m furiously working on the sequel to “A Touch of Deceit.” I’ve also written a psychological thriller based on one of my short stories, but have put that on hold to finish up the sequel. The working title is, “The Agenda.”

Where can “A Touch of Deceit” be purchased?
I was offered a book deal a few months back from a small hardcover publisher who was going to sell my novel for $27.95. In the digital age I just couldn’t get myself to sign that deal. How many books was I going to sell at that price? Not many. It’s risky, but I opted to publish it as an E-book for just $1.99 instead. I really wanted readers over anything else. Readers become fans and fans buy more of your work. Since “A Touch of Deceit” is the first in a series I’m looking for the future. And since the future is certainly digital, I’ve recently agreed to make the Nick Bracco series an Amazon E-book Exclusive.

Do you have a website or a blog readers can visit?
My website is www.garyponzo.com and my blog is www.strongscenes.com. As you know I run a monthly writing contest on my blog where I hope to give some lesser-known writers a chance to have their work seen by agents, editors and publishers. I never charge a fee to enter the contest and the winner receives a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. I’d love nothing better than to help other writers gain some exposure.

Gary can also be followed on Twitter @AuthorPonzo
Gary will be appearing on Authors On Show (AOS) early next year when the sequel The Agenda is released: http://authorsonshow.com/