Interview with Erik Therme, author of “Mortom”

mortom-coverHow much of yourself is hidden in the characters in Mortom?

As many writers will admit, characters are often only ‘thinly disguised versions of themselves.’ This has never been truer than with Andy Crowl in my debut mystery, Mortom. Many times I would ask myself: What would I think or do in this situation? I’d love to say Andy’s an altruistic hero who saves the day . . . but the truth is that he’s stubborn, selfish, and often crass—all my worst attributes rolled into one. It’s always a risk to have a severely flawed protagonist (as you’re never sure if readers will connect with them), but I think it works for the story.

What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I believe Mortom will appeal to people who enjoy ‘non-traditional’ mysteries. There are no serial killers, no burnt-out cops, and/or retired FBI agents—only a normal, everyday guy, thrown into extraordinary circumstances. And who wouldn’t love to play a ‘real life’ game of follow-the-clues?

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

I tend to be most prolific during late evenings and weekends. If I’m especially inspired, I might try to sneak in some pages during lunch. I absolutely need music when I write, and—depending on the project—it varies from metal to movie soundtracks. I personally don’t shoot for a word count; I only try and write something every day, whether it’s for five hours or five minutes.

What are you working on right now?

I have two teenage daughters, and I wanted to write something they’d enjoy. Resthaven (Spring 2016) is about a group of kids who decide to have a scavenger hunt inside an abandoned retirement home . . . only to discover they’re not the only ones inside, and sometimes there are things far worse to fear than ghosts or monsters.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

I struggle with writing action. One of the golden rules for a writer is show—don’t tell, but every time I put action on the page it feels like forced description. It’s not uncommon for me to spend hours on a single paragraph, trying to get the words just right. At some point you simply have to say ‘enough is enough’ and move on. Otherwise it can drive you insane.

What writer influenced you the most?

I’ve always been drawn to Stephen King. He’s a brilliant storyteller and an incredible curator of characters. Whenever I feel stuck or uninspired, I grab some King from the bookshelf, leaf through a few pages, and I’m off and running again.

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

I don’t remember exactly where I heard it, but the best writing advice I’ve received is: “Raise the stakes and continue to build them.” If you don’t put your characters in peril, why should your readers care what happens to them?

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Never give up, and do whatever it takes to get your writing into the world. I would love to say that good writing is the majority of the battle, but it’s not. Timing, circumstance, and luck all play a huge factor. All you can do is believe in yourself and try to make as much luck as you can.

What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

Amazon publishing. With a few clicks you can sell your book with no upfront costs, and—like traditional publishing—you receive royalties. It’s incredibly empowering. The flip side is that the market is saturated with thousands of people doing the same thing, so the competition is huge. The most important thing is to write the best book possible. If you do that, rerik-therme-4-low-reseaders will find it.

Where can people learn more about your books?

I’m active on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and information on upcoming projects can be found at Mortom is available at and wherever books are sold.

Peter Coleborn, Publisher at The Alchemy Press

Peter ColebornWelcome, Peter. What made you go into publishing?

This is something I often ask myself … pause here for contemplation and a cup of coffee. I used to do a lot of work for The British Fantasy Society when I edited and produced, among other things, Winter Chills, Dark Horizons and the FantasyCon Programme Books. Then it occurred to me to do something I wanted rather than for the society (nothing against the BFS – I still work for them). And at that time the UK’s National Lottery was keen to give away money – so I obtained a grant and THE PALADIN MANDATES, a collection of stories about a ghost hunter, by Mike Chinn became our first book in 1998. Since then I’ve published a select few books (select because of time and financial constraints) – culminating in three anthologies launched at the World Fantasy Convention last month, and a book by Rod Rees: INVENT-10N due this month.

How do you decide to publish one book and not another? If some of the classics were subbed to you, would you have pubbed them or snubbed them?

Basically, I have to like the idea / book. I am a great fan of short stories and so the Press concentrates in that area – anthologies and collections. I also want to provide a place for up-and-coming writers to find a place to be published, as long as they are good enough. It’s nice that people are coming to me with ideas, but those constraints I mentioned above get in the way. As for the “classics”? Of course I’d’ve published most of them. It would be great if the current Alchemy titles become classics…

How has the eBook revolution affected your business?

Personally, I dislike eBooks. But I recognise that they are becoming more and more popular and so The Alchemy Press will produce both print and electronic versions. And if it brings in money to fund further projects then all power to the Kindle or Kobo or whatever. I have, in fact, published two novellas for the Kindle – no hard copies as yet.

Some people think that with more titles available today than at any other time in history, the novel as an art form is dying. Do you agree? Disagree?

If more titles are published then the novel isn’t a dying art. But what is occurring is that more books that are being published are not edited, or poorly edited, and that does lower the tone for all of us. Just because one can self-publish (or get shoddy work published elsewhere) it doesn’t mean that they should. Once the manuscript is written and self-edited, it should be edited by a person with good English and a sense for story before publication. That shouldn’t be a guideline – it should be the law (said with a smile on my face).

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Write, put it away for a few weeks, read it again with a dispassionate eye, edit/rewrite … get a second opinion/editor (not your best friend). Join a writers’ group. And read lots. I’m amazed at the number of want-to-be writers I meet who don’t read books.

Who are the authors you have published so far?

Back at the start of The Alchemy Press I published a collection of linked stories by Kim Newman, WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED, plus a collection of poems by Jo Fletcher, SHADOWS OF LIGHT AND DARK. Then in 2011 I published RUMOURS OF THE MARVELLOUS by Peter Atkins. All were signed limited editions – including Neil Gaiman for his introduction in the Fletcher collection.

Otherwise it’s mostly affordable anthologies: THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF ANCIENT WONDERS and THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES in 2012; THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF URBAN MYTHIC, THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES 2 (spot the theme) and ASTROLOGICA: STORIES OF THE ZODIAC this year. Also in 2013: DOORS TO ELSEWHERE, a fascinating collection of essays about fantasy and horror writers of the early 20th century, by Mike Barrett. And as mentioned earlier: INVENT-10N, a dystopian novella by Rod Rees.

For 2014 I have lined up two collections, three anthologies (including THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES 3 and KNEELING IN THE SILVER LIGHT, stories commemorating the Great War) and another book of essays. Fingers crossed.

As you can see, these books are in the fantastic arena. I have published one non-fantasy novel; SEX, LIES AND FAMILY TIES by Sarah J Graham, a fascinating and moving account of a young woman coming of age in 1970 Britain.

What do you do to sell the books you publish, for example, where do you advertise? Can we find your books in stores or are they just online?

That is an excellent question and one that is difficult to answer – simply because I haven’t found a place yet that produces cost-effective results (cost of advertising versus increased income). Mostly I use forums, etc. I also send out many review copies but even a 5 star review doesn’t always cause a spike in sales. If anyone has the answer please share it. Alchemy Press books are available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, etc, and if bricks-and-mortar shops wish to sell them they are available via the usual sources – or via me.

Has the availability of POD and E-books made it easier for you to publish more client’s work since you no longer have to invest in large runs, shipping, etc?

Yes, definitely (and especially as far as POD is concerned). I have had boxes of unsold books in my garage for far too long (now given away since I grew sick of seeing all those lovely books just wasting away). Now I only need a small stock and the quality of the POD service I use is very high (not the cheapest, though).

How do you acquire your talent? Open Submissions? Recommendations? Reading Periods? Placing Ads?

I have never liked closed markets. It feels wrong. So the Press’s anthologies are open to all even though we might ask writers who we know if they wish to submit something. As for collections – if someone has an idea… (But the schedule for 2014 is full.)

Do you charge your authors for any services?

Most definitely not. In fact, I pay the writers but I only pay a nominal amount plus a copy of the book. If The Alchemy Press becomes mega-successful I will increase the payments accordingly. I am amazed and appalled by publishers that do not even supply a copy of the book to their writers. Although the small presses are not professionals it pays us to be as professional as possible.

Where can we learn more about you, your authors, and the books you publish?

The Alchemy Press website is here: (the website is still in development). Use the drop down menus to access our catalogue, submission details, contact details, etc. And you’ll also see that we try to do mini-interviews with our writers – all part of the community.

Donna Small, Author of “A Ripple in the Water”

A Ripple in the WaterWhat is your book about?

A Ripple in the Water tells the story of Katharine Penner, a widow and single mom, who finds a second chance at love with Riley Morgan, a man thirteen years her junior and the son of one of her best friends. What makes this story more than just your typical “cougar” love story is that while Kate is the older woman, it is the young man who pursues the “older” woman. Throw into the mix an overprotective mother who can’t bear to see her son date, let alone date a woman she considers a friend and you’ve got yourself a bit of conflict.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The inspiration was a bit of gossip actually. I was swimming with a few friends at our local pool and one of them made a comment about the two swim coaches and whether or not they were dating. Another remarked that the mother of the young man “wouldn’t like that at all.” I found it interesting since the young woman in question was an intelligent, and well-behaved young lady. I wondered why this young man’s mother might find this particular woman not good enough for her son. Then I realized that for some women, no woman is good enough for their son. Thus, the beginnings of a story began to work their way into my mind.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

That’s easy. Riley. But not because he’s unusual; because he’s so hot! In the first chapter, Kate spends all morning staring at his physique without realizing who he is. I have to admit, I really enjoyed creating this character and putting myself into Kate’s mind while she was utterly distracted when looking at him. In addition to his good looks, Riley is smart and knows what he wants out of life. He also knows that he wants Kate and pursues with a vengeance I think any woman would find very flattering.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It generally takes me about a year to write a novel. I have an idea for a story and start to think about the characters…get to know them in my mind, if you will. I tend to write sort of splotchy – a scene here, a conversation there – and then spend a lot of time editing in order to get the story to move smoothly until its conclusion.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

When writing this book, I really wanted to get a feel for what a mother might feel like if her son were to date someone she didn’t approve of, particularly someone she considered a close friend. I presented this scenario to women I was close to and who had sons who were about ten or so years younger than me. I would ask these women their thoughts on someone like myself dating their son. Though they tried to hide their horror at the question, it was clear to me that I was asking a very uncomfortable question. They couldn’t explain why they felt as such, only that it made them shudder. Once I saw that reaction, I knew I had to write about it.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I would love for readers to fall in love with Riley and Kate’s story. They have to overcome so many obstacles in order to be together that hopefully, the reader begins to really pull for them. There is a sequel in the works for this novel and I hope my readers will stay with me until I can finish it and get it out there for them to devour!

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Schedule? What’s a schedule? Seriously, though, I don’t really have a schedule. I work full-time and have two daughters to raise. I write whenever I get five minutes to myself. I try to piece together these little snippets of time and hope that at the end of the day, I’ve got a paragraph completed.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Each day, I begin my writing session by editing what I’ve written the day before. Not only does this give me a chance to make some corrections, but it also puts me in the right frame of mind and the right place in my story to begin. Of course, before I can do this, I check email, facebook, twitter and then see if there is anything of interest on Ebay. Only then can I begin to write.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

There isn’t any particular time of day that words better for me. It’s more about what is going on at the time I choose to write. I’m one of those writers that needs quiet in order to complete a sentence so I can’t be watching TV while I’m trying to write a scene. Because I have children who simply cannot be quiet, I will sometimes jot down ideas for a chapter and then go back to it later once I have some quiet time.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a story about a woman who, after the death of her husband, discovers that not only had he been having an affair, but he fathered a child with his mistress. The child has special needs and my protagonist must determine exactly what sort of relationship she can have with this woman and her child.

What do you like to read? What is your favorite genre?

I’ll read pretty much anything. I do tend to stick to women’s literature and will only stray if referred to it by a recommendation. I’m also a bit of a book hoarder in that I have a very vast collection of “to be read” books in a spare bedroom of my house. It’s gotten too large, in fact, that it takes me several minutes to determine the next book I’m going to read! I’ll whip out several books and read the first few sentences and the book that pulls me in the most becomes the winner!

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

Oooh, I love this question. James Cameron should feel free to contact me at any time so that we can begin working on the screenplay. I would love to see Sandra Bullock play Kate Penner. Not only would she be great in the role but I truly feel that if we were to meet, we’d be the best of friends! For Riley, the actor I’d choose would be Alex Pettyfer, if only to see him wearing the tiny swim suit Riley spends much of his time in throughout the book.

Where can we learn more about your books?

From my author page at Second Wind Publishing:

Donna Small, Author of “Just Between Friends”

What is your book about?

Just Between Friends is the story of Emma Stewart, a young woman who is helplessly in love with her best friend’s husband. She finds herself torn between her best friend and the man she loves when her best friend, Layne, tells her she has married the wrong man and begins to have an affair. Emma, like most woman, will do anything for their best friend, but just where will (where do any of us) draw the line?

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

I’m smiling as I type this because I’m never finished. “Finished” is such a subjective word when it comes to writing. I can read the same paragraph every day and change something in it. Each day, after editing, I will think it’s as good as it’s going to get . . . until I look at it the next day.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

When reading Just Between Friends, I want people to put themselves in Emma’s place. I want them to think about how they’d respond to what happens to her and if their opinions would change as they read the book.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

The most difficult part about writing the book was finding the time! I work full time and have two children so finding a quiet hour or so to get something down on paper can be tricky. I’ve stopped searching for those large blocks of time and find that if I can write a sentence or two down, I feel as though I’ve accomplished something.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I am working on my next novel entitled, Cinnamon Rainbows. It’s the story of a woman whose husband passes away unexpectedly. She finds out that not only was her husband having an affair, but he had a child with his mistress – a child with Down Syndrome. I’m hoping to have the first draft completed by the beginning of summer.

Does writing come easy for you?

Writing does come easy to me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s anything worth reading! There are days that I’ll write pages of work, only to return to it later and wonder why I even bother to save it! I think the writing is the easier part – it’s the editing your own work that can be challenging.

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

Too many to count! I like to say that the voices in my head won’t shut up! I keep a notebook with me at all times and jot down anything that might have some possibility. Sometimes, I’ll just write down a word that sounds beautiful to me, knowing that I want to use it somewhere.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Never, ever give up. When writing my novel and seeking publication, I would visit the website of every author I’d ever heard of, read, or wanted to read. They all pretty much said the same thing: Their first (or fourth, or fifth . . .) novel was rejected dozens of times but finally, their work still found a home. It was so encouraging for me to hear that everyone in this business has been in the same rejection-filled spot. Knowing that they’d experienced rejection as well made it easier for me to keep plugging along.

Have you written any other books?

The first book I ever wrote is called Unintentional Acts of Malice and is stored on my computer. I think the story is a great one – it’s the story of a woman struggling with her sister in law, who is an alcoholic. The mores she drinks, the more she puts the family in danger – but I’m not so sure my writing is as good as it can be. I would like to get back to it at some point and see if I can make it better.

The other book I’ve written is called A Ripple in the Water. It’s the story of a thirty-two year old widow and single mother who falls in love with her daughter’s nineteen year old swim coach. I’m hoping to have this one published as well. Stay tuned to find out!

Where do you get the names for your characters?

Names for characters are tough for me. I will write chapters using ‘ajdfjkd’ instead of names. I just have a hard time finding the right one for the character since I’m a huge believer in your name being having an impact on who you become. Both of my daughters play sports so I keep the rosters from their events and refer to them for different and unique names that will fit my characters. I also Google a lot!

What one word describes how you feel when you write?

That depends on whether it’s a good day or a bad day! If the writing is flowing, I feel invincible, wonderful, smart, and witty. If I’ve been stuck on the same sentence for hours, I feel irritated and ready to give up. That’s when I need to remember that all writers have those days.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Readers can read more about me and my book(s) at Just Between Friends is available on

It is also available at

Smith Hagaman, Author of “Off the Chart”

How long did it take you to write your book?

It only took six months because I didn’t know any better.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I could only see a damaged seaplane and wonder how to utilize it.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I think the writer, E.L. Doctorow, had it right for me.“It’s like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” I follow where my mind takes me and \ then I research where I’ve gotten to.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

My father was an educator, administrator and a teacher. He had a love for words. My mother had a wonderful imagination and sense of humor.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I’d like them to enjoy it and at the same time have to think a little bit.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

When you say to yourself, “Well, I could add this and this, but then, that is another story.”

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I don’t feel that about me and yet I believe there must be some autobiography in all  fiction.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Philippians 4:8 because I do agree that the mind is a garden and what you plant is what you get. Think about the good stuff and you’ll get good stuff.

Where do you get the names for your characters?

You’ve heard the old story. Adam was naming the animals. God said, “What will you call that one?” Adam said, “Hippopotamus.” God said, “Well, you can call it anything you want to, but why Hippopotamus?” Adam looked at him puzzled, “Because it looks like a hippopotamus!” That’s how I get my names.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

George Clooney would play the rabbi because that is exactly the rabbi’s problem. He doesn’t look, sound or act the way a rabbi should and yet he is totally devout.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Decide what kind of writing fits you. I believe there are two kinds of writers, tellers and constructors. Constructors build it word by word and chapter by chapter.

Where can we learn more about your book?

From Second Wind Publishing.

Click here to read an Excerpt From “Off the Chart” by Smith Hagaman

Jim Magwood, Author of “The Lesser Evil”

What is your book about?

THE LESSER EVIL is the story of the world staggering under uncontrollable crime and an evil that pervades every part of our society.

In 2008, I published my first novel, SANCTION, about a secretive group of men trying to take over complete control of the world. Another group of civilians and government agents gradually learns of the conspiracy and works to stop it. This novel, THE LESSER EVIL, isn’t a sequel to SANCTION, but it’s the same type of story looking at the question of what is going on in our world today? What is happening, and why?

A group of “vigilantes” campaigns to stop the spread of the evil and the question becomes, “Is the group right in what they are doing or are they just another evil influence themselves?”

Computers and bank accounts are raided and criminals are left destitute. Cayman Island banks are raided by computer and lose billions in secretive client funds. A missile attack wipes out a rogue country’s nuclear facilities and stops a threat to destroy Israel.

Is the fight an essentially good, though illegal one, that will drive the evildoers out and which should be continued, or is it essentially evil itself—and who makes that choice?

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’m an avid reader of just about everything that comes out, especially dealing with world events today. The more I see of the world, the more I look at the question, Why is this happening? What I want to do is put our daily news reports into a good, suspenseful novel that will get people thinking about that same question. The same world conditions Rand described in her novels are in effect today and are driving us into the chaos we observe daily, and my mind continually comes up with story ideas that incorporate the world events.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I’ve “been there, done that,” as they say, but the stories aren’t about me. They aren’t history, so to speak, and they aren’t science fiction. They are “today.”

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?

My main characters are taken from around the world, people who get together more by chance than plan. Jacob Asch is an ex-Mossad agent from Israel who still has his contacts in the underground network. He meets a Canadian computer expert who works with him to try to follow these vigilantes. They work with some CIA and FBI agents and several government leaders as they all try to unravel what is happening.

As in our world now, there are people from all walks of life who are either on the right or wrong side of things, and I want to highlight them all, not just concentrate on one hero or villain.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I started writing THE LESSER EVIL almost within minutes after SANCTION was published. My mind started whirling again, and another story just started coming out.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

As I said earlier, I watch events around the world constantly and so many of them inspire new ideas for novels. I have another one finished and in my own heavy editing phase and another half a dozen already started in my computer. I don’t have a full story, just a concept. As I work on it, I flesh out the ideas.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I’ve been very acquainted with some events in my stories, but I do a lot of research as I begin. So much is available on the Internet today, whether it’s medical techniques or weapons or names of heads of state. I want things in my stories to be real. I want people to say, “I just read about that,” and maybe look things up to see if I know what I’m talking about. I do love the research, whether it’s talking to people or digging into the ‘net.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

So far, I have had a basic theme I want to deal with, maybe a beginning and several possible scenes, and a rough idea of how I want to end. From there I just start writing and see where it all goes. I’ll write most of the book, then start chopping and re-writing until I finally see the story as I somewhat envisioned it. Once basically finished, I’ll pass it around to a few “reader” friends and get their ideas and criticism. After that, it’s read and re-read with the nasty red pencil. Move chapters, re-write events or characters or scenes, change dialogue and so forth until it comes out the way I want.

I’ve written a 40+ page mini-book entitled “So You’ve Written a Book. Now What?” in which I try to advise writers how to put their book together and then market it. The ideas all come from my own experiences working in this crazy writing world and it touches the ideas I’ve just mentioned. It’s available free to anyone, by the way, from my website, (

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I want my writing to reflect what is actually happening in today’s world. Data theft; political intrigue; espionage and conspiracy; the people acting like sheep. I would hope that some would really see the truth of events taking place through what I’ve written and maybe even decide to do something about it.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

The main one is time. Time to write in and around household chores, community events and so on. I would say generally that if you are going to seriously write you have to make the time. It won’t just give itself to you.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I’ve lived a few of the things I write about, but more than that I’m naturally inquisitive and love researching. I naturally “think” stories and often “talk” scenes to myself. (I do try to be careful about who might be listening as I’m talking, though.)

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

No, I don’t try to write a number of words. I write as the scenes play out in front of me. I don’t have a schedule as to when I must finish the novel. When it gets there, it gets there. I do try to write a lot every day, though. Ultimately, the only way to get a story written is to write, so that’s what I do. Early morning, late night. Just keep on writing.

What are you working on right now?

My next novel, finished now and in my own editing phase, is entitled COP. It’s the story of a Washington, D.C. detective who is dedicated to living The Job, as they say, but who is also trying to live a normal life. Any law enforcement agent will tell you that this is likely the hardest part of their job and where they most often lose their way.

The story is about a series of terrorist events taking place all over the city and how he is thrown into them. It also tells how the events and the fear he so carefully tries to hide begin to affect him and how he struggles through life.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Generally, people who want a really good suspense novel but who want it “real.” While my novels are fiction, I want everything possible in them to be real people, places and things that we see in our news every day.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

So far, I’ve had a theme in my mind for the stories and a possible way I want to end. (I don’t give a traditional ending. As I say in my little book on writing, consider killing off your hero at the very end and leave the readers screaming. Haven’t done exactly that yet, but…) Trying to fill in the scenes to get to the ending, while also trying to keep the book “real,” is usually the hardest thing for me.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

Without a doubt, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

For me, the story needs to be “real,” and get people to think that way. Even if it’s science fiction, the characters should act and emote like real people would. Events and actions need to have people “living it” rather than just reading it. My first editor gave me some advice that I’ll never forget. He said, “Don’t tell people about the action. Give them the story line and let them live it themselves. Don’t tell about the story; tell the story. Make it real.”

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

From my little mini-book on writing:

“Inside many of us is a story that is crying to be delivered. There are many people who will give you many reasons why you should NOT consider this venture. However, there ARE many people out there who are waiting for your story—looking forward to it. Whether you make money on it, or thrill your family and friends with your story, or just feel the satisfaction within yourself when you finally say, “I did it,” you need to write that story. There will be naysayers—turn your back on them. There will be scoffers—smile and keep typing. There will be rejection letters—read them, file them, and send out more proposals.

Never give up. Keep on writing.”

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

“Let me count the ways.” You name it and I’ve probably tried it. I don’t have money to throw at this, so almost everything I’ve done has been basically no charge stuff. I have my own website, ( I put together a site to showcase authors for almost no charge called The Author’s Inn ( and, of course, I’m in it. I write articles and blogs that I’ve had published and syndicated. Any place that will have me as a writer or speaker (thank you, Pat), I’ll be there. There is no easy and sure-fire way to market your work, but you have to try everything and anything. And keep on trying.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Some goals are so worthy that even to fail is glorious.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My books are both in Amazon and Kindle, but you can best learn about them and me, and even purchase the books direct, at my website, (