Category Archives: Fiction Books

Literary Fiction Spotlight: Tyson & Joey: Two Worlds Collide by Tom Watts


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Self-Help / Literary Fiction


tyson and joey 1

This is the story of two very different young men, from two very different worlds. Tyson is from the rough streets of Trentan, Joey from the affluent northern suburbs. The worlds of these two young men collide through a chance encounter, and as a result, they begin to question their life situations. This connection sparks a shared journey of self-development; one which brings about necessary changes for both men.

The story has a self-help thread throughout, which is inspired by the author’s personal experience of living with anxiety and depression. The text conveys the truths that enabled him to rise out of suffering, and to live a life of peace and fulfilment. The teachings are centred on the concept of “present moment awareness”, and how this can be applied to everyday life.

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Excerpt:

Clearing his throat, the man began to read.

“I wake to the sound of a screaming baby and kids running up and down the hallway. I live on the ninth floor of a social housing building, sharing the space with my mother and younger sister. My father left when I was twelve, so I’m the man of the house. It’s a role I take seriously. Certainly more than he ever did.

I rise out of bed and stare out of the window at the streets below. They’re beginning to show life. Rubbish trucks pass, people begin the commute to work, and shopkeepers lift the cages on their stores. The homeless who have found a night’s rest in the shop front are moved on without a second thought, or any risk of compassion.

Another day in paradise.

I’m born and raised in Trentan, an inner-city district known for its high crime rate and not much else. The community has been neglected. Everything here, from the roads to the services, is in a state of disrepair. Life is hard.

After working all night, I’ve only managed a few hours of sleep. I make my money selling drugs. It’s dangerous work, but I’m good at it. In Trentan, that’s reason enough to carry on.

I’m a product of my environment. Not by choice, but as a result of been raised in a broken home in a low-income area. My life of crime was set in motion long before I could make a conscious decision.

From a young age, I was exposed to things that no kid should see. There were good times for sure, but things could turn violent at any point. One minute you’re playing with your friends on the street. The next you’re witnessing a murder over drugs. And sometimes, what went on in the house was even worse.

These memories stick with you, and in many ways they harden you. Constantly seeing people die or taken away by the police makes you see life as temporary and unforgiving. Subconsciously, this makes you live for the moment. You never know when your time might be up.

With that mentality, you don’t think long term. You look for quick success. You can’t afford to take your time and establish a career; money is needed now. Selling drugs is the natural progression. Drugs are everywhere in Trentan, and there’s always a market for them.

I’m stuck in a cycle perpetuated by poverty and fear. I know if I stop selling, my family will end up homeless. I can’t let that happen. If I don’t support them, nobody will. Not my Dad. Not the government. Nobody. This keeps me doing what I’m doing. I don’t see any other option.


About the Author:

tom watts

Tom Watts was born and raised in New Zealand and has spent some time living in Australia. After growing restless down under, he moved to London, where he currently resides and works as an urban designer, a career that he has been pursuing since graduating university. Tyson & Joey has been a background project for Tom, developing organically over several years as a response to his mental health challenges. For more information on the author and his works, visit tomjwatts.com.


Inspirational Fiction Spotlight: The Soul’s Hope by Beverly Knauer @authorbevknauer


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Contemporary Fiction – Inspirational Fiction


the souls hope

A Love Story Of A Different Kind. . .

Aria and Jonathan Cohen live the good life. They have great jobs in the film industry, a lovely home in Beverly Hills, California, and an angelic five-year-old named Sammi. But something odd is definitely happening in the Cohen household. Sammi is experiencing the strangest nightmares, but she refuses to talk about them. Together, they embark on a mission to solve this mystery.

Olivia Buffet, age 32, owner of a yoga studio, has a harrowing secret she’s hesitant to share with anyone except her best friend, Jax. She thought she’d escaped from the life-and-death situation that hung over her like a black cloud, but now, strange incidents are happening. She wonders—is she still in danger?

Margo Phillips, turning 70 on her next birthday, is falling in love. She has lived alone since losing her family in a horrifying tragedy that changed the course of her life. Margo needs closure before she can commit to her new relationship, but she’s shocked at how the resolution manifests.

An otherworldly connection draws these individuals together for a very specific reason in a most unexpected way. They have no idea how their lives intersect until circumstances pull them all together for the most shocking and surprising revelation of their lives.

The Soul’s Hope is a magical story that explores the mystery and beauty behind the secrets of the universe. It’s fiction that feeds the soul.

Free on Kindle Unlimited:

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Excerpt:

Being normal is overrated. Aria Cohen repeated the phrase in her mind several times as she glanced out the kitchen window into the backyard of her Los Angeles home, watching her daughter, Sammi, at play. She only wished she believed it.
A singular bead of sweat traveled from her forehead, crossed her tear duct—causing a stinging sensation—and flowed down the side of her nose, finally resting on her upper lip. She wiped it with the back of her hand. It was an autumn day and, in spite of soaring Southern California temperatures in the high eighties, she’d decided to spend her first day off of work in three weeks baking and enjoying the company of her daughter. She stood, hands on hips, in their newly renovated kitchen, admiring the bamboo parquet kitchen counters, new copper-infused stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator (with HDTV built right into the door), and dark walnut hardwood floors. They’d even decided to splurge on a special feature—a built-in baking station—that she was trying out for the first time.
Aria inhaled a deep breath. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d smelled something as delicious and comforting as the sour cherry pies baking in the oven. The fragrance wafted through the air, filling her nostrils, enticing her to breathe in the marriage of nutmeg, butter, and sugar combined into a sensual scent. She’d discovered long ago that baking pies was her antianxiety therapy; almost magically, it instantly transported her back in time to pleasant memories of her own childhood, cooking with her mother and her nonna in Italy.
Drifting in the menagerie of past memories, she was jolted back to reality when she noticed how, just now, the television—playing softly in the background—seemed to turn itself off, followed by her cell phone turning itself on, playing a heavy metal tune. She grabbed her phone to silence it. This is the fourth time this has happened. What’s going on? She had no explanation for the strange occurrence. But every time something peculiar like that took place, she felt nervous. Interesting. It seems to happen whenever Sammi plays on the swing set. It made her feel queasy, and her stomach quivered like gelatin. Mysterious events seemed to be happening more and more frequently.


About the Author:

beverly knauer

I grew up with my mom, dad, brother, and two sisters, in Needham, Massachusetts, then Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Other than spending hours playing in the wooded forest behind our house, what I remember the most from my early years is my desire to write; I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old, when my mother bought me the book Sal Fisher at Girl Scout Camp. I promptly began my own novel, with lined paper and fountain pen in hand, and called it Beverly Knauer at Girl Scout Camp. Okay … not very original. My next book, written at age twelve, was called My Life with the Indians.

After I received my bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I moved to sunny San Diego, California, where I served in the role of Chief of Rehabilitation Services for the County of San Diego, working with other occupational and physical therapists who provide therapy to children with special needs. I received my master’s degree from San Diego State University.

When not writing, I enjoy wine tasting in the quaint city of Temecula, going barefoot whenever I can, spending too many hours on Pinterest, and indulging in chips, guacamole, and margaritas (frozen, with salt on the rim) while catching up with friends. I like long walks with my pal, Jack—a black Lab—along the seashore, where the crashing waves of the pummeling surf absorb the sounds of the city, providing a means of restoration and introspection, while we scavenge among the seaweed for shells for my collection. My newest passion is crocheting dog sweaters for lonely, abandoned dogs at the animal shelter.

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Author Interview and Fiction Feature: Full Circle by Ronnie L Richards @ronnielrichards


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Fiction, Romance, Historical, Fictional Biography


full circleMae Miller, suffering an aneurysm-induced coma, lies in a hospital bed. Clarence, her husband of fifty-four years, is at her side.  For Mae, this is only one of many times she has had to battle death, beginning with the loss of her mother and infant brother to a tornado that tore their small tenant farmhouse apart. The tornado ripped seven-year-old Mae’s infant brother from her arms and ripped a hole in her heart. Years later, drought devastates the family farm and drives a wedge between a teenage Mae and her dad. Mae moves west to live with her grown sister.

Clarence, a sharecropper’s son, is driven to not be a hard, cruel man like his dad. Again and again, life throws obstacles his way that test his resolve. Clarence, faced with the choice of moving back to the hated family farm and his cruel father or finding work elsewhere, migrates west to work under the desert sun.

Mae and Clarence meet in the cotton fields of Arizona in 1938 and marry soon after. Together they raise a family while tackling life’s obstacles head-on.

Full Circle has all the pathos and sorrow of a John Steinbeck novel surrounded by the full fury of an Oklahoma tornado. Out of the conflagration, the Miller family finds their way through more than fifty years of dust and dirt and an uncertain future.

 


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Excerpt:

“Kingfisher, Oklahoma, May 1944

Mae paced the living room floor. She had had a feeling of dread all morning and she could not shake it. She walked out onto the front porch and looked up at the sky. Far off to the west near the horizon, thunder heads were beginning to build.

Must be a storm coming up, she thought, that’s why I am so jumpy.
She had feared storms all her life. Having narrowly escaped the storm that led to the death of her little brother and indirectly her mother, Mae just knew that someday a bad storm would once again try to do what it had failed to do so many years ago. And she lived through each storm season day by day, fearing that day had come.

Mae took one last look at the far off clouds, decided that the storm would not be a real threat anytime soon, and went back into the house. She tried to sit on the couch and relax, but the feeling of impending doom would not ease up. After a few stressful minutes, she got up and decided to feed her goldfish. As she was bending over to get the fish food from the shelf below the fish bowl, a knock at the door scared Mae and she shrieked.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Miller,” the mailman said, looking through the screen door. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I have a letter here you need to sign for please.”

Mae set the fish food down next to the fish bowl and signed the mailman’s clipboard before taking the letter from him. She walked back into the living room and looked at the registered letter. There was no return address only an official looking government seal in the upper left hand corner of the envelope. She shook the contents down to one end then tore off the other end of the envelope. She pulled out the single page that was inside and began to read. Mae’s face froze, her jaw started to tremble, the letter dropped to the floor. Tears formed as she walked over to her goldfish. They both swam to the front of the fishbowl when they saw her approach. Her hand shook involuntarily as she sprinkled food on top of the water in the fishbowl, causing the eager fish to receive much more than she normally fed them….”


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Interview with Ronnie L. Richards:

When did you start to have a love for books?

When I was young (about 8 or 9), I started going with dad to work every Saturday morning. I’d help him with his electrical and plumbing work until noon. While he and his coworkers hung out for a while after work, I would walk down the alley to the library on the same block. I would check out as many books as they would allow then read them during the week, repeating the process every Saturday for several years.

What was that turning point that changed you from a reader to a writer?

My Senior year in college, I took a Creative Writing class and fell in love with writing.

Inspiration can often be found in the oddest people, places, and even situations. In the past, what has inspired you?

My grandmother’s death in 1993, the same time I was taking the Creative Writing class in college, got me to thinking about all of the stories I grew up with, as told my her and my grandpa. The memories fostered the idea of a book based on events in their lives. Other inspirations have come from everywhere – a newspaper article about a “John Doe” who was tragically ran over by a train when he laid down on the tracks in front of the oncoming train inspired a short story, my current book project was inspired by witnessing a childhood friend trying to survive an alcoholic, physically abusive dad. Life is full of writing triggers.

What about your favorite character or characters? Which characters from your books do you think readers will really feel a connection to?

The Miller brothers in my book Full Circle: A Life Story are two of my favorite characters and the most fun to write about. My readers seem to love them as well. I am planning another novel featuring them.

So far, what has been your greatest moment in your writing career?

Getting to tell my grandpa, two weeks before he passed away, I had completed the novel about him and granny. His pleasure in knowing it was done was so important to me.

What can readers expect from you next?

A very emotional book about a young man trying to survive his alcoholic and physically abusive dad during possibly the toughest summer of his young life. Readers will laugh, cry, and cringe.

I am also working on a murder mystery set in the late seventies in my small hometown. And, a follow novel about the Miller brothers from my first novel Full Circle: A Life Story.

Nobody knows your books better than you! In your opinion, readers of what genres will enjoy your books the most?

Fiction, Historical, Literary, Biographical, Romance

How would you describe your life in ten words or under?

Blessed to have had such a diverse past.

What is your favorite place to visit?
The mountains of Colorado. A place where peace, solitude, and rejuvenation can be found.

What words do you live by?

If it is worth doing; it is worth doing right.


Erotic Romance Feature: Broken Pieces by Kelly Moore @kellymoorebp


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Erotic Romance, Fiction, Romance


broken piecesHis touch is scorching hot and rough, just how I like it. It’s just sex. I don’t believe in love, but he makes me feel things I have never felt. I want to try. I want to trust him with my secrets, but there is a good chance he will leave. He will see how broken I am. He is what I need to fix the broken pieces of my heart.

At a very young age, violence and secrets forced Brogan to escape the only life she knew. Now a young woman with a good career, she hopes to finally forget her past. She is tormented by demons in her dreams, and it has threatened every sexual relationship she has ever had.
Brogan meets Kyren Nolan, a sexy ex-military man. He is a yacht builder who has made his own wealth. He knows what he wants the minute he meets Brogan. He wants her, and his first meeting with her lands him on the ground. He doesn’t take no for an answer. They start a passionate affair that turns into more. He teaches her that a gentle touch can create as much heat between them. They both struggle for control. But Kyren has his own scars and secrets. When their pasts collide, will they be able to overcome the broken pieces of both their lives together?

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About the Author:

kelly moore

Kelly Moore was raised in Mt. Dora, Florida. She attended a local college and graduated with her nursing degree in 2004. She became a travel nurse in 2015 and also published her first book in 2015. She is an avid reader and has always loved to write. Her first book series is an erotic romance book. She intends to write other books that are romance with adventure entwined in the stories.

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Note from the Author:

If you loved “Fifty Shades of Grey,”  you will love the characters and the romance of Broken Pieces.  Both characters are broken in their own way, when they come together things get heated.  But will they be able to overcome their pasts to stay together?

Dystopian Book Feature and Interview: Lesedi by Roland Hughes


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Fiction, Dystopian, Science Fiction


lesedi

Release Date: 2/14/17

Lesedi – in his country his name means ‘the light’ though he has never chosen to walk in it. A man who has been driven by duty to himself now finds he must carry out one final duty for a country which isn’t even his. He has finally learned the meaning of a phrase he had uttered much of his life “sucks to be you.”

This book is both stand alone and the middle work of the “Earth That Was” trilogy. “Infinite Exposure” and “John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” are the beginning and end. It was written in response to fans wanting a bit more of “the story in between.”

The first wave of nuclear attacks from both terrorists and governments has happened though the general public has yet to figure it out, most are too busy trying to survive to bother figuring it out. The predicted extinction of all life did not happen possibly because many of the first attack detonations occurred at our own nuclear power plants.

Follow his journey and those of the survivors he meets along the way to see if the Universe allows them a brief bit of happiness or chooses to squash them like a bug.

Buy this book now at:

Smashwords


Excerpt:

“The morality of rational self-interest?” questioned Katie.

“Good,” said Lesedi.

“Good what?” questioned one of the boys from the back.

“She recognizes the two things are diametrically opposed,” answered Lesedi. “Rational self-interest is never moral. Many call it ‘Me and My Syndrome’ because your only interest is in yourself and your family, but, mostly yourself. It is exactly what you see right now. Looting, raping, and murder. Living for the moment and your own benefit without fear of consequences or consideration of any other living being. Are any of you aware of what the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says?”

“Something about your tired and poor,” said one of the boys.

“Huddled masses,” said the other.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” quoted Lesedi. He drove in silence for a while until Katie finally spoke up, “You memorized that?”

“When I arrived in this country I went to that island and sat staring in wonder at that statue every Sunday, weather and schedule permitting for the first year,” answered Lesedi. “Part of my job was to figure out how a country that had spent nearly two centuries not only living up to that quote but showing the world how to do things right could turn into such a piece of shit in a short span of time. Don’t get me wrong, my government had no intention of fixing the problem. They simply wanted to avoid it happening to our home. We have recently come out of Apartheid and could not risk a downward spiral into the septic tank America has become.”

“Could we stay on just one topic,” asked the boy sitting behind Katie.

“It is all one topic,” responded Lesedi after taking a drink of water. After another drink he said, “It just took me a long time to figure out. I’m not surprised you are confused. I had to spend a lot of Sunday afternoons sitting on an island staring at the Statue of Liberty to put it all together. The people who follow ‘rational self-interest’ shit on that statue with every breath they take. I’m sorry, but there is no polite way to put it. America became a septic tank because it is no longer run by Americans.”

“So you are saying foreign governments have taken over,” asked Katie.

“No,” answered Lesedi. “I’m saying America is no longer run by Americans. They were born here, but they are not Americans. For nearly two centuries America not only lived up to that quote, nearly every American believed it. Today, most people born here don’t even know the quote exists so they do not know ‘rational self-interest’ is diametrically opposed to being an American. I am told the followers of this belief think you should never give a meal to a starving man or child. You should never throw a coin in a beggar’s cup, and, most offensively, the government has no responsibility to ensure the welfare of its people.”


About the Author:

roland hughes

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the “Zinc It!” book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc.

A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome “The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer” which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there “The Minimum You Need to Know” book series was born.

Three years later he wrote his first novel “Infinite Exposure” which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of “The Earth That Was” trilogy:

When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.

The Minimum You Need to Know l Infinite Exposure l John Smith Book l Logikal Blog l Interesting Authors Blog l Lesedi


Interview:

*Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey?

I had a grandmother and a great aunt who encouraged me to write letters as a young child. We didn’t have personal computers back then. You had to use pen on paper then put a stamp on an envelop. That lead to writing a few stories in school. At some point early in my IT consulting career the bug bit me again and I wrote 2 geek books for a publisher, not an experience I would recommend to anyone.

Once I had been working in IT for roughly 20 years the writing bug bit me again and I wrote the first of “The Minimum You Need to Know” book series. Quite a few books into that I wrote my first novel, “Infinite Exposure” which is the first book in what has now become a trilogy.

*How many books do you currently have published?

Counting the 2 written for that publisher which are now no longer in print, a dozen.

*What has been your favorite book to write so far?

The one I’m writing now.

*Why?

If that ever stops being the case it is time to stop writing for a while.

*Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?

Yes, I’m writing “The Phallus of Agile and Other Ruminations.” It is an offshoot of my “The Minimum You Need to Know” book series based mostly on the Ruminations chapters found at the end of those books. I plan on it being my next release but currently only have 120 pages completed so it will be a while. I guessed it would weigh in around 400 pages when completed but too early to tell. I thought my OpenVMS application developer book would weigh in around 800 pages but it tipped the scales around 800 when it was complete.

*What do you enjoy most about writing?

The satisfaction heard in the voices, at least with the fictional work. Every writer compelled to write fiction is just a wee bit insane. Characters appear in your thoughts and the ones which get written about are the ones which simply refuse to leave you alone until their story is told.

When it comes to my geek books the satisfaction comes from different places. For some, like the OpenVMS application developer book, it was the journey down memory lane. Reliving what, at that point, was a 20 year career on the platform and putting the important stuff in one place so even old age couldn’t take it from me. When I’m writing for a completely new area it is the journey of exploration. Those books are a natural result of the notes taken during the journey being organized into a coherent form.

*Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

I have periods when I do not feel like writing, but not writers block as most think of it. There are times when the thoughts are there but they fail in translation. By that I mean I have trouble keying them into a word processor. For that I have a simple solution. A stack of old and very different keyboards. They range from an original IBM PS/2 to Compaq to a rash of generics. The size of the return key, backspace, etc. are all a bit different as is the typing experience going from mechanical to membrane to whatever. The simple process of re-learning how to type on them gets the mental muscle working correctly again. Most of those keyboards I didn’t pay over $6 for. Many were free discards from client sites as they were tossing out old equipment.

*Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?

Always. I write the story as the characters tell it to me. I’m not an outliner writing to some preordained formula.

*Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?

I don’t really have a least favorite. I have bit characters who only had a tiny portion of the story to tell me, but I don’t have any I disliked writing about.

Of all the characters whose stories I have transcribed I think I liked John Smith the most, but not because he is a likable character. The Universe screwed him before he was born and he carried the burden. People who only lightly skim John Smith see a cranky old man who is an egotistical know it all, kind of like Gregory House of the House television series, but, without the endearing qualities. People who read the story closely realize by all rights, he should have been insane.

Perhaps it is simply because those characters are the most persistent voices, but I tend to write about characters who aren’t good people. They simply recognize a duty which is theirs and theirs alone to fulfill. To understand this you must have seen “Schindler’s List.” By any measurement Schindler was _not_ a good man. He just happened to be _not_ a good man at a time when the world was filled with truly evil men and now he is honored. Had he been a good man he could not have done what he did to save all of those people.

*So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?

The scene where Lesedi is lecturing the kids with him about the Statue of Liberty and what it is to be an American. Here is a survivor of Apartheid who watched our world from the outside lecturing people who were born here on what it means to be an American and the philosophy of bad people known as “rational self-interest.” There was such passion in his voice. I can only hope I captured that passion as well on the written page.

*What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?

The standard advice you hear is to read read read then write write write. While this is true as far as it goes, it is really a short step on a long road. You can also watch watch watch then write write write, but if you choose to either read or watch only the popular stuff, it won’t make you a better writer.

You can find truly great writing in some of the least known places. Watch the first 4 seasons of “Babylon 5” and really pay attention to the dialog and story line, not the characters themselves. “The West Wing” is an exception to the rule. This is one time where really great writing existed on a popular show. Again, you have to pay attention to the dialog and story lines instead of the characters to grow as a writer from it.

Most of today’s and yesterday’s popular television shows have really bad writing. I would put long lived shows like “Monk” in that category. Really popular shows tend to have one or two extremely popular characters. The writing team starts to serve the character’s popularity instead of the quality of the script or story.

When it comes to great social commentary one surprising show is “Barney Miller” from the 1970s. It was a comedy yet it had very deep social commentary which is just as relevant today as it was back then, sadly. I will never forget the story line about the man from the slums they arrested counterfeiting $1 bills. He would only counterfeit something like $146/month, the same amount he would have gotten on welfare, because he wanted to work for a living. Exploring the human condition in such a manner is a timeless and powerful thing.

*If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why?

While each of my novels can be read stand alone, if you want to follow the story from beginning to end:

Infinite Exposure

Lesedi – The Greatest Lie Ever Told

John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars

*Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release,  a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?

No. The beauty of being an Indie writer is you get to tell the entire story and release it when it is done. The things you ask for are part of the large cut pile which happens when working with a publisher.

*Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?

I used to be an avid reader, but now not so much. During my youth I read “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” (first 3), “The Wheel of Time” and “A Song of Ice and Fire” but now I read sparingly, preferring to re-watch some of the greatest writing ever put to DVD. Having said that, I recently read both “Marsh Island” and “Blind Marsh” by Oliver F. Chase and they were fantastic. If you liked the Mickey Spillane stories or television shows about Mike Hammer then these 2 books are for you. I also read “Relic” and “Relic II” from Jonathan Brookes. Given the current news stories about cloning traits of woolly mammoths’ traits into elephants I found these books both well written and extremely timely. “A Dangerous Element” by Gregory Lamb was a great story about the Stuxnet virus. It has made me want to watch the “Zero Days” movie.

*What about television shows? Movies?

“The West Wing,” “Babylon 5” and “Battlestar Galactica” (the new one) for examples of incredible story writing.

“Downton Abbey” for examples of great character writing in a period. Normally I’m not a huge fan of writing which serves character, but, because this was a period piece and we all knew large portions of the history being covered it had to focus on character and the story of “common” people.

*Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?

We are the sum of our history. When our history is gone we are basically nothing. This was the underlying theme of “John Smith.” Survivors who could have continued as they were, but had a driving need to find out what they really were.

There is only one story I could point to which made me want to be a writer. Stephen King’s “Word Processor of the Gods.” It is a short, magazine length piece which set me on my path.

*Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions?

No. I am not drawn to those things.

* If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?

I listened to the characters and wrote down their stories.