Timothy Louis Baker, Author of “Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street”

What is your book about?

Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street by Timothy Louis Baker is about a crime syndicate headquartered on a fictitious city street in futuristic New York City. The leader of the crime ring is the most powerful criminal on earth and his crime syndicate extends into every country. He plots an assassination attempt upon the President of the United States so that the Vice President would take office that could be bought and would enable him in his plans for a world takeover. To take over control of every country on the earth by waging war with each nation until every government is conquered so that the world would be in anarchy ruled by him. Finally when that WW III is over even and the world has a chance to recuperate he would launch an assault of all people who were not of the white race to be slaughtered so there would be an totally white racist world and he would rule it until he died.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

This story was unique in that the idea came to me immediately before I began writing it and I just sat down to write it. It went through many twists and turns, me moving from one location that circumstances didn’t permit me to continue writing it, then moving again to another area that permitted me to pursue writing again. I only had a quarter of it written and that needed editing but I managed to add to it here and there until it was finished, except for the publisher’s editor who helped me put the fine-tuned edges on it and it was completed and then published.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I have lived much of my life involved in criminal activity and using drugs so when it came time to actually create fiction books on that subject, I had a good wellspring of savvy of my own to draw upon. I had never been to New York City but I had lived on the roads and in the streets, at least partially in some larger cities. So I wasn’t writing about something I had totally no knowledge about.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Actually it took years for me to write the entire work of Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street. However I wrote some of it then wrote some of other books and then returned to this one and back and forth. All the while I kept forming the ideas for this work and adding to it, taking parts out, moving bits and pieces around, polishing up on it until it was acceptable with a publisher. I had the book edited and then it was ready for publication and immediately for the press.

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

When I began to write this title I only had a bare necessity for the idea that the book eventually turned into writing. However those ideas by trial and error among other methods eventually became shaped and molded by me as the author until I had the entire idea constructed and from there merely had to add the words until it was a work in full. That process of writing and experimentation before the final decision on how I wanted the book to turn out took many months of a few years because I was distracted by the complicity of the topic and as a result of other work I need to do also. Sporting seven books trying to write or rewrite them all in a period of a few years made this task monumental.

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

I know my story is completed when all is said and all is done in the book that I as the writer would have no further requirement in putting down as the reader would have reached the end of a complete idea. Just like a sentence, a paragraph and a chapter are supposed to be. When it’s time to begin writing another idea then it’s time for me as a writer to go on and continue on the next best thing to be done.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Yes there is a message to my writing but because I have been so many places and seen so much there and because I have written so much there is always the knowledge inside me as an author that no two points of view may be exactly identical. What one reader will interpret my written work another will invariably see something at least a little bit differently because there is that little difference between everybody. However my main message in the mystery novelette world so far has been that of crime and drugs, how the characters are involved and around that what both the characters and the story is constructed on. Crime and drugs can be looked upon as a place setting but what the characters actions within this realm is where the meat of the story is contained. In the case with Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street I was trying to impress not only on how bad the world of this kind of life is, not only how it can be and in fact always is and always will be but additionally what developments took place can be utilized to derive how things would really be if it were a true story.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

The most difficult part of the story as I wrote it was to keep the entire plot together as one central idea. It became so complicated and complex that I continually needed to weed out parts here and there to get it right like I thought it should be. I don’t think it was a lack of concentration on my part but instead the multitudinous amount of ideas always going through my head that I had to keep going through the story and deleting parts out with typing new ideas to take their place until I had it exactly right as I wanted it so it would all fit together and read as a book should.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

As far as my life’s environments have been concerned and to a lesser degree my later upbringing being my teenage years affected the tone of my fiction writing by the additional amount of crime and drugs that I never knew before that period of my life. At the age of 16 years old I was introduced to crime and drugs heavily. That meant also hatred, jealousy, envy, violence and all of the other vices associated with the life I led that I had minimum contact with before that. So when I finally got into writing, the genres I choose to write of were much adorned with these facets because it was what I knew about and not what I had to make up totally from the research of others because I choose not to write anything that way. I have lived this way principally ever since my mid-teenage years and that affected everything I write or have ever written as an author.

Have you written any other books?

I have written and published seven books in all. There are my autobiographical full-length version Where North Meets South and East Meets West and the condensed edition of that work An Experience Heaven Sent plus My Life’s History in Poetry. Then there are the two mystery novelettes Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street and Fantastic Florida Fun. Finally I have had published two titles concerning mountain men, pioneers and Indians.

Where can people learn more about your books?

All of my published books may be researched or purchased @ http://timbaker.bookblogworld.com Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street plus Fantastic Florida Fun and my full-length autobiography Where North Meets South and East Meets West may additionally be researched or purchased @ http://sbpra.com/authortimothybaker or http://tinyurl.com/457nas7 or http://www.authorsden.com/timothylbaker

Crime and Drugs on Trip City Street is available in hardcover and Fantastic Florida Fun is available in paperback but both are available through most any e-book outlet. Where North Meets South and East Meets West is out in not only paperback but also as a Nook Book @ Barnes & Noble.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your books?

My books are all action packed and full of adventure. I highly recommend them to adventuresome people that like to read quality work by an author with firsthand experience at the genres of work accomplished.

Elaine Garverick, Author of “The Darque Princess Chronicles”

Welcome, Elaine. What is your book about?

The epic novel, “The Darque Princess Chronicles”, is about all the things I love to read about–history, time-travel, adventure, and self-examination.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

That day, or the next. I was overly excited and anxious to get the bones down on paper.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was working on a book, largely autobiographical, and I was having a difficult time maintaining distance from the main character. I decided to make others carry the burden of my confessions. The princesses just sprang to life. I felt more like a channeler than a writer.

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

All of me, but I can’t tell you which princess(es) are bearing most of the load. It’s a secret.

What are you working on right now?

The infamous, aforementioned autobiography.

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

The demanding characters. I created them, but most insist on talking, giving advice, interrupting my thought processes…it’s like raising children!

What writer influenced you the most?

Because I really didn’t want to answer this question, I guess I will. Nobody spoke to me in my youth the way JD Salinger did…and still does. I never wrote to him to tell him how monumental his work was for me…thousands of adolescents were already doing that, and I guessed my adoration might too much for him to stand.

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

I love Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series. And Ian Pears’ “The Dream of Scipio” is a close second. Also. “The Source” by James Michener…this could go on forever.

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

It was in one of those “So You Wanna Be a Writer” books years ago. It’s a cliche, but worth mentioning. “Write about something you know. Write about something you love.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Elves are at work on a website. Domain name is “DarquePrincess.com” Elves are complaining re busy holiday season. Elves are hostile. I am also considering Amazon/Kindle if I can ever figure out their format qualificaions.

Meg Mims, Author of “Double Crossing”

Welcome, Meg. What is your book about?

Double Crossing is a historical western romantic suspense — yup, a blend with murder and intrigue, sort of a mix of True Grit and Murder on the Orient Express.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I first saw True Grit (John Wayne version) when I was a teen. Loved the premise, and had a glimmer of an idea that percolated slowly over the years. I wrote and revised, and finally had a final version when the Coen brothers release came out (I love both versions) so I would say around 30 years. Wow. Guess it really hung with me!

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

Lily Granville is a sheltered almost 20 year old young woman who expected to become a wife/mother like most women her age in Evanston, north of Chicago. Everything changes when her father is murdered, and she stubbornly focuses on avenging her father’s death. She never expected to meet a man like Ace Diamond, a Texan ex-Confederate soldier and wanderer with a past, who is her complete opposite — but together they agree to track down the killer.

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

I use a variety of resources for extensive research before I begin, and keep trawling for details during the writing process. I use everything I can get my hungry little paws on, because I love love love research. The Central Pacific Railroad website was my primary source on the web — they had fabulous photos.

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

I use Michael Hauge’s plot arc — which you can find on my website here.

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

That’s a tough question, because I can’t just hammer it out. I prefer letting it “heat up” like in glassblowing, fine-tuning, rolling, even breaking it up and starting over. And the “KEY” element must be there or else it will remain unfinished for me. So while Double Crossing finaled in many RWA contests, it took over a year for me to find that “key” that let all the elements fall into place and then I knew it was submission-ready.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Double Crossing has many “themes” — of self-reliance and never giving up, of being careful where to place your trust, of relying on faith.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Writing characters’ emotions doesn’t come easy for me — vivid imagery and plotting are my strengths — so I used First Person Point of View, which really allows the reader to identify right away with Lily and also helped me learn the importance of exploring the depth of her emotions.

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

I love writing in the morning. Such an early bird — after my Harney & Sons’ Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, of course.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently writing the sequel to Double Crossing, called Double or Nothing, set in California.

What do you like to read?

Historical before contemporary, mystery, suspense, romantic suspense, steampunk, YA and a few zombie novels thrown in the mix.

What writer influenced you the most?

Although I don’t write Sci/Fi or Fantasy, I believe Ursula LeGuin influenced me along with Tolkien. Both infuse their prose with lovely details and the social and economic aspects of their “worlds” plus a rich history. I just prefer bringing American history to life again.

Where can people learn more about your books?

First Chapter Sample
BUY LINK: Astraea Press
BUY Links: Amazon.com ebook version and print version
BUY Link: Barnes & Noble

Stephen Michael Marek, Author of “Almost”

Hi Pat, My name is Stephen Michael Marek and I am the author of “Almost” an Editor’s Choice Award winning mystery thriller.

Hi, Stephen, What is your book about?

“Almost” is the story is of a highflying business executive, Tag Grayson, and his quest to close one of the biggest transactions of his life. When Grayson discovers his potential client has a murderous past, he has him right where he wants him – desperate.

With a criminal background, client Nate Dillianquest is anxious to sell his mother’s healthcare business after his family’s fortune is lost in a pyramid scheme. As Grayson and Dillianquest finally meet, Grayson has no idea that Dillianquest will do anything to keep what is rightfully his. Suddenly, Grayson is propelled into a web of greed, secrets and blackmail woven by a conniving southern patriarch and a pair of strikingly beautiful women. Just as Grayson realizes he is dealing with a master manipulator who wants revenge in the worst way, his life is turned upside down.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

As a traveling business executive, the “what if” game has always intrigued me. When I wrote “Almost” I let me imagination run away with “what if” and once started there was not stopping!

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

“Almost” is set in South and takes place in a nursing home setting, which is where I have spent thirty years of my professional human resource career. My parents recently passed and my immediate family’s dysfunction plays a large part in developing the storyline within Almost. I relied a great deal on my professional experiences and family dysfunction to bring the characters and circumstances to life on the pages. Needless to say, Almost has a lot of me in the main character.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I had spent many years thinking about this story, but when I actually began to put finger on keyboard, it was fun to watch the development of each character, as well as the storyline take place. It was as much fun for me to discover what was going to happen each day when I sat down to write as it has been for the readers to read about the twists and turns the story and characters take on their journey through the pages. I let my imagination run while keeping it the reality of their situation something that is very relatable to readers.
The reviews I have received from readers have compared Almost to the stories of Grisham and Patterson. Pretty good company!

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

I wanted to write an intriguing story about what could happen when money, sexual obsession and master manipulators are thrust upon an unsuspecting traveling business executive. My intent is to create a fun book for the reader and for that reader to have a smile on their face when they read the last words and wonder what is going to happen in the next book.

What are your current writing goals and how do you juggle the promotional aspects with the actual writing?

I am hoping to attract an agent or publisher that will allow me to write the sequel to Almost. I also am preparing to write a memoir about my own families dysfunction as a result of losing both parents. What I have gone through along with my professional background will make for a good book for others to read and learn. With the aging of America, there are literally millions of families who are taking care of their parents and in the process, are going through significant difficulties brought on by sibling guilt, and often times, family greed. I think I could be of help with many who are or will experience these types of family difficulties.

Have you written any other books?

I am in the process of writing a 4-bbok management series of cultural sustainability. My professional work has been geared towards creating an employee-centered workplace culture. My intention is to provide workplace managers the tools and mechanisms necessary to sustain a culture that is employee-centered through a Legacy Management System.

Where can people learn more about your books?

“Almost” is featured at http://www.Almost.AuthorsXpress.com along with my blog. The HR text books can be found at Stephenmarek.com.

Thanks, Pat, for your time.

Thank you, Stephen, for answering my questions.

Mobashar Qureshi, Author of “Race”

Welcome, Mobashar. What is your book about?

It’s a mystery set in Toronto.

RACE (Radical Association of Criminal Ethnicities) is a group on the verge of creating a dangerous black market drug. Parking Officer Jon Rupret is thrown into Operation Anti-RACE, a unit setup to stop RACE. Rupret quickly realizes he may be in way over his head.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The name of the main character. His name is Jon Rupret—not Rupert—but Rupret. My last name is spelled Qureshi but people often misspell it as Quershi, with the E before the R. I thought what if the character’s name was actually misspelled and he was constantly correcting the misspelling.

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

I would hate to admit it but Jon Rupret very close to who I am. At first I denied this even when my friends told me so but now I’m okay with it. Hopefully, I’m not as naïve as he is. When I wrote the book I had just graduated from university so I was still learning my way in the world and so does Rupret. He thinks he knows what he’s doing but in fact he has no idea. He is sort of like a modern day Inspector Clouseau.

How long did it take you to write your book?

15 months. 6 months of research and 9 months of writing.

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

Not very much. Once I had the character I started creating a story around him. I kept asking: what would he do in this situation? Who can he go up against? How would he react to this problem? Instead of having him fit into the plot, I let the plot grow organically around him. I think it made the story more humorous.

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

The story was set in Toronto so I visited various locations in order to get the layout and feel of the place. I read a lot of articles on the Toronto Police Services and I even spoke to someone in the Parking Division. The internet and the library were extremely instrumental in the research for the drug. I just didn’t want to say ‘so-and-so drug is going to revolutionize the drug market’, I wanted to actually show how. This way the reader doesn’t just take my word for it but becomes part of the evolution of the drug.

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

I usually setup certain markers along the story. For instance, A character must meet B character by the middle of the book, or C character must fight D character by the end of the book. By placing these markers I can stay on track and not deviate away from the story. Often times, as is with writing, A character may not ‘want’ to meet B character but instead has a fight with D character. This is fine as long as the story is still moving along. As writers we can tell whether a book is working or not.

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

When I have said everything I needed to say.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Trying to keep the story suspenseful but at the same time humorous because that was my goal: to write a page-turner that made the reader laugh.

What was the first story you remember writing?

It was a ghost story in grade 11. I remember the English teacher gave me a C- and I don’t think he was too impressed with my creative writing skills.

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

Getting the story started by laying out the ground work for the characters to interact and deal with the conflicts placed before them.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Once the story is chugging along then everything begins to come together.

What do you like to read?

Mysteries and suspense novels.

What writer influenced you the most?

Michael Crichton. I enjoyed that he wasn’t afraid to tackle different genres and topics. I think that’s why I haven’t been able to write books with the same character, even though I have been constantly asked to write another Jon Rupret novel.

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

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, only because it got me interested in reading.

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

In university I had written a detective novel, which had taken me two years to write. By the time I was sending it to publishers and agents I found out that another popular author had written a book that was similar to mine. I wrote the author an e-mail. I laid out all the similarities the two books had. I think there were like 15. I asked him what I should do next. I received a response with only two words: Keep writing. Best advice I ever received.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Keep writing.

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LibraryThing and Goodreads. Creating a website and a blog. Joining forums such as Kindleboards & Amazon.

Have you written any other books

The October Five and the Paperboys Club.

Where can people learn more about your books?

On my website at http://www.mobasharqureshi.com, and RACE is available on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/RACE-ebook/dp/B004HO5XL6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322954570&sr=1-1

Dan Makaon, Author of “Goodbye Milky Way” An Earth in Jeopardy Adventure

What is your book about?

It’s an epic tale of global danger. The survival of the human race depends on the secret plans of an eclectic team of scientists, an extraterrestrial, and a sentient computer, Aieda, who’s adopted a female persona. Tom is a freelance project manager with a reputation for getting results for corporations and governments. But he’s never been up against a challenge like this. He leads a harrowing expedition to Antarctica and discovers an ancient secret that can help save mankind.

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

My favorite character is the Guardian, a diminutive gray alien from a highly technologically advanced race of space-faring beings.

I found it challenging to develop an alien personality. Should he be distant or cordial? Formal or informal? Braver than humans? Condescending toward us, or paternal? The choices are endless. In the end, he’s a serious character, but not at all what one might expect from a being so much more advanced than humans.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Aieda, the sentient computer, is the most unusual character because she feels like she’s female and tries to mimic the behavior of women.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Not counting at least a year daydreaming about how I should structure the plot, it took a solid three years to write it in its final form.

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

I did an extensive amount of research on the Internet and in the library in order to make the people, places and science as real as possible because the plot is intended to be an alternate version of modern history, extrapolated into the future.

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

First, I write to entertain, so I hope readers enjoy the novel. Second, I write to make people think about possibilities, about ways to go about solving problems. Finally, I hope some of the characters stay in the reader’s mind long after finishing the book.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

I love to incorporate a number of subtle messages in my stories. It’s fun to wonder if readers pick up on them.

How has your background influenced your writing?

There’s no doubt my career in industry and my education have helped me write science fiction. I write about what I know best, and that’s whatever relates to science and management, with a bit of military experience mixed in.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been pondering the plot of my next sci-fi novel for the past six months and I’m ready to put pen to paper.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

I feel my target audience would include adult fans of action-adventure, science fiction, thrillers, mysteries, or military fiction. I would say my writing is similar to Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.

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

In my opinion, the most important aspect of a good story is expressed by a motto on one of my business cards: “A good novel compels our attention to the end.”

Where can people learn more about your books?

I would welcome visitors to my website, http://www.danmakaon.com where they can link to a book trailer on YouTube. There they can find out more about me and “Goodbye Milky Way.” The website also has my blog called, “Science and Society.”

Title: Goodbye Milky Way – An Earth in Jeopardy Adventure
Author: Dan Makaon
Website: http://www.danmakaon.com
Publisher: eFfusion Publishing Group LLC
Hardcover and eBook available on Amazon, B&N and other bookstores
Hardcover is discounted on above author’s website

Chuck Barrett, Author of “The Toymaker”

I met Chuck Barrett at a writer’s conference in St. Simons, GA. I got to do a fun talk about characters, and he had the drier topic of POV. I still have his wonderful notes, this photo of a group of us authors, and memories of a wonderful visit with him and his delightful wife Debi.

Chuck Barrett, a Florida native, grew up in Panama City. A graduate of Auburn University, Barrett is a retired air traffic controller of over 26 years experience and veteran commercial pilot and flight instructor spanning over three decades of flight experience. In his flying career, he flew mostly air ambulance with the occasional charter and business flights thrown in the mix.

Barrett’s first writing experience was drafting labor agreements. He started writing fiction in 1998 in his spare time. His first novel, The Savannah Project, was released in March 2010. This thriller interweaves his aviation expertise, a long-held passion for writing and a keen sense of suspense. In 2011, The Savannah Project became an award-winning novel, winning awards in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, International Book Awards, and Reader View’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

He resides in Northeast Florida with his wife, Debi.

Today, I am thrilled to be able to talk to Chuck Barrett once more.

Welcome, Chuck. You have a new book out. What is it about?  The Toymaker is, simply put, a thriller about a man who makes toys for spies. The release date for the trade paperback is February 14, 2012—Valentines Day! Hopefully, the ebook will available before Christmas 2011.

What inspired you to write this particular story?  In 2009, while on vacation in Utah, my wife and I met another couple, an older couple. After we got to know each other, I surmised from the evasive response to some of my questions that he was somehow involved in the undercover world of espionage. His answers started with how he was in the radio frequency and microwave technology business. The truth is, this interesting man makes specialized equipment that is used in the espionage business and has for over 50 years. Therefore, The Toymaker was born.

How long did it take you to write your book?  Unlike The Savannah Project, which took many years to write, The Toymaker was researched, started and finished within a matter of about 8 months.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing?  The Savannah Project was outlined in detail from the beginning to the end before I started writing. Conversely, The Toymaker began with an idea…I knew the beginning, the ending, and the major twist…I just started writing and was as surprised as the reader will be as the story progressed.

How do you do research for your books?  I do most of the research up front, settings, character backgrounds, etc. as much as I can before I start writing. Then I research as I write if I realize I need more information. Some setting I visit, most settings I use the spendthrift approach called Google Earth…as fabulous tool for any writer…especially the street views.

What is the goal for your book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish?  First and foremost the goal is to entertain the reader. My books are thrillers, I want the reader to be exhausted by the time they finish. A twist and turn at every corner. I want the reader to say, “Holy crap, I didn’t see that coming?”

What is your writing schedule like?  Hectic and piecemeal, at best. I write when I can. My day usually starts with answering emails, marketing, and social networking. Editing always gets priority over writing. If I’m editing another project, I’ll do that first then get back to writing my work in progress. If there is no editing to be done, then I go straight to writing. I have no set amount of words each day, just a deadline date. Some days I’ll write several thousand words, some days none at all.

What is your work in progress?  I’m currently working on my third thriller. Unlike The Toymaker, which wasn’t set in any one locale, my current work takes place in the U.S., mostly Nashville, Tennessee. The prologue kicks off at the end of World War II in Germany, then we jump to present day as I immerse the reader in a secret tale that eventually ties back in to war-torn Germany.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader? Absolutely. I like to write what I like to read—thrillers, with a touch of mystery thrown in just to keep the reader off balance…but enthralled. I like when a writer throws me a curve ball, so in like fashion, I throw a few myself.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?   Steve Berry once told me, “the only rule is that there aren’t any rules.” He was specifically addressing thrillers and I took the advice to heart. You can get away with being a little unconventional with thriller readers provided you leave them with a good quality read and they don’t feel cheated.

Where can people learn more about your books?  That’s easy, my website will have all the up to date information as it becomes available. http://chuckbarrettbooks.com I include a short synopsis of each book—more like a teaser and links to buy the book, and a way to preorder The Toymaker. My Kill Zone blog as well as a way to sign up for my Kill Zone newsletter that is only sent out to announce something major—like a new book—is also on my website.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

John Klawitter, Author of “Foul”

Welcome, John. What is your book about?

FOUL is a murder mystery that centers around an old professional football scandal. It is a literary quest into the automatic negativity of much of society to victims of brain disorders. The protagonist, Brando Mahr, had a major mental meltdown as the result of a violent impact that left him aphasiac and epileptic.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

About thirty years. I’d begun reading about brain disorders because I myself had lost use of the muscles in half of my face, a form of polio I suffered as a child. I learned to control the right side of my facial muscles from the left side.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I myself had been in military intelligence in Vietnam, and was interested in the plight of soldiers who return from war changed for life, different forever, and yet unbroken in spirit.

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

Well, I was violently impacted, and since the incident have felt not the same as before. Doctors have confirmed this with a brain scan, a dangerous tangle of veins and cells in my frontal lobe. They would like to operate, but that’s not going to happen.

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

The idea for the story line came from research I was doing when I wrote HEADSLAP: The Life & Times of Deacon Jones. I uncovered one very important play-off game that certainly looked like it could have been fixed. The outcome smelled so badly that sports writers of the time were outraged and made accusations that were largely passed off as partisan ranting at the time. But to me, looking back with somewhat calmer reflection, it still looked like one team had actually thrown the game. Enormous amounts of money are bet on professional sports. I started to think about how and why that outcome could have happened, and to wonder if anyone would commit murder to cover it up.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

It certainly wasn’t hard with my protagonist. He speaks in 17th century London street slang and falls over with spasms when he should be moving into action.

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

I outline extensively. As a Hollywood writer, I tend to see my stories as three act screenplays…in fact, I generally adapt them to screenplays and pitch them around town. I’ve sold a few options around town, but so far no brass ring.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

I’m generally an entertainer, not an educator or enlightener. But with FOUL, I had (for me) a rare sense of empathy with my character. It was almost as if he was me in a parallel universe. It’s not that I feel sorry for him (me). I’m proud of what he (I) have accomplished, even though I’ve never hit it big in Tinseltown.

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

I think I am more hesitant to take on a project than once I was. Ideas are everywhere and they only take a minute to think up…but for a serious person, it’s six months to a year to develop that first draft.

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

I like four in the morning, like now.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

Milk with a little coffee and an Oatmeal-To-Go bar.

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing a weekly radio show called Dark Landing. It’s a one hour weekly show, featuring sci-fi, horror and fantasy short stories that tend to the dark side. I thread the show with a running narrative and commentary and we have commercials, other authors pay me to promo their work. It’s on internet radio, has run here and there in the usual places, and you can find it for real after the 1st of the year. Just google Dark Landing.

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

I have ideas everywhere in bits and scraps of paper, in old notebooks, on the backs of napkins and even toilet paper.

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

Too, too many.

What do you like to read?

Dick Francis. Flannery O’Conner. John Grisham. Tom Perry.

What writer influenced you the most?


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your books?

FOUL and my more recent books are mostly published by Double Dragon as trade paperbacks and e-books. They are all available from the usual suspects…Amazon, B&N, Kindle and the like. Except for THE FREIGHT TRAIN OF LOVE. That one is a bit more serious, a sort of murder-mystery, romance, war story, thriller. I didn’t think it was right for Double Dragon so went through the CreateSpace trauma. A lot of extra work, but still, all’s well that ends well. You can find out more about me at my website: http://johnklawitter.com/

Timothy Louis Baker, Author of “Fantastic Florida Fun”

Welcome, Timothy, What is your book about?

Fantastic Florida Fun consists of a teenage boy meeting a young girl while traveling in Florida and their involvement with each other surrounding the girl’s father who is a kingpin in the crime and drug world. Who evidently is or has been having an incestuous relationship with his daughter. The young man attempts to have the girl remember so she can explain to him but she apparently can not since the method used to induce and reduce her to the incestuous rape by her father is hypnosis and she can’t over come it.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

My idea for my book appeared in my semi conscious thoughts even a few years before I began writing it but I had other works at hand. Trying to finish the other projects I kept this one on hold until I had time to write it. That only took a few months once I had set aside everything else I could and focused solely on Fantastic Florida Fun and so was soon completed.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I had spent time in Florida during the 70′s era when this book is about and I had been involved in the crime and drug world there. I knew the suject matter of one of the main topics and was quite capable of building the rest of the story around that circumstantial place setting.

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

All of the characters in my book are somewhat similar to some people that I have met sometime somewhere but the one most like me is Mark, the young man that is traveling through Florida simply because he was exiled from his home in the midwest after a confrontation with his parents. I had similar circumstances in my teenage years but I had not necessarily be kicked out of the house every time, instead took off for Florida many times as a teenager simply to see what there was to see. Once at 29 years of age I was exiled from my parents home and did spend a little time in Florida then too.

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

The ideal of the story as a whole showed up a couple of years prior to writing it, the entire mental outline of the book took place forming in my mind the night before I actually started writing.

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

The researching I did for Fantastic Florida Fun was quite coincidentally right out of my past. Since I had traveled in Florida many times while hitchhiking and also by my own car and cars of others, it was very easy to use my creative writing abilities and write Fantastic Florida Fun.

What was the first story you remember writing?

The first story I started to put down on paper was an autobiographical look at my own life’s story and now I do have three autobiographical books out. Search my name Timothy Louis Baker

Does writing come easy for you?

After publishing seven books and a multitudinous amount of journaling writing does come easy to me now. I think, I work my fingers over the keyboard, words appear into sentences, paragraphs, chapters and I’ve got my story down.

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

I always have a mental list of what I want to include in my stories but they elude me while I’m writing at present and I don’t think of them until the gift of instinct says they are needed, then I take those creative ideas and expound on them in writing and soon the full thought is recorded and I proceed to the next one on the list.

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

The ideas that make up the best stories in my opinion are those that are so real to the reader that they could actually be so and not out of a book. Keeps the reader interested in the topics if the book reads this way. Readers I think like to see what the read as though it were actually happening in front of me.

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

The best advice I ever received from anybody was when a Mark Twain impersonator told me when I asked him the question of what to write about he said, “Write what you know.” I have since researched Mark Twain, the real one, and he reportedly often gave that advise to authors when they asked him the same question in real life back when he lived.

Where can we learn more about your book?

Fantastic Florida Fun is available in either paperback and/or e-book forms from many online bookstores including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books*A*Million, BookWhirl and Google. The book is also available from Baker’s Official Author Website @ http://sbpra.com/authortimothybaker Book Blog World @ http://timbaker.bookblogworld.com @ AuthorsDen @ http://www.authorsden.com/timothylbaker Facebook Fan Page @ http://tinyurl.com/457nas7


Robert Bidinotto, Author of “Hunter: A Thriller”

Welcome, Robert. What is your book about?

Pat, thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about my debut thriller with your readers.

Set in Washington, D.C. during a wave of vigilante killings, HUNTER: A Thriller is the tale of two strong, idealistic loners. Dylan Hunter is a crusading journalist with a mysterious past, working to expose outrageous leniency in the criminal justice system. Annie Woods is a beautiful security officer at the CIA, sworn to track down the unknown assassin of an Agency traitor. They meet after a brutal criminal act of violence against mutual friends.

While the parallel investigations by the CIA and the police begin to intersect in surprising ways, Dylan and Annie fall passionately in love. But they don’t realize that the secrets they’re hiding from each other are propelling them headlong toward shattering personal conflicts—or that a terrifying predator is targeting them both.

HUNTER was described by one reviewer as “a parable of justice.” That theme is conveyed in a genre-bending story—part spy mystery, part crime thriller, and part steamy romance. So, other reviewers find in it echoes of such films as “Batman Begins,” “Death Wish,” “Dirty Harry,” “The Bourne Identity,” and “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

How has your background influenced your writing this particular story?

I’ve always written nonfiction, Pat, but since my youth I’ve had an unquenchable desire to write fiction, as well. However, fear and the distractions of life always got in the way. As I passed my 60th birthday, I still had “write a novel” at the top of my Bucket List. So I vowed to finish my first novel before my 62nd birthday, on June 5 of this year. I achieved that goal with just one hour to spare! I guess that just shows it’s never too late to pursue your dream.

HUNTER draws upon my past experiences as an investigative journalist writing true-crime books and articles. The biggest influence on this novel was meeting so many crime victims while researching articles for Reader’s Digest over twenty years ago. In other words, this story has been gestating for over two decades.

What do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Well, of course I want them to be highly entertained. But the book has a serious purpose, too. I dedicated HUNTER to crime victims. I want the novel to make vividly real the horrific impact of predatory crimes on innocent people, and also to expose the toothless response of our criminal justice system to these horrors. Millions of innocent people been hurt terribly by criminals; but many of them also have been served poorly by a legal system that is supposed to be their route to securing justice. So, in fiction, HUNTER raises a voice on their behalf—and it also gives them a colorful, heroic champion.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

I just mentioned the two faced by all writers: fear and distractions. With a first novel, you face doubts about being able to write a truly good story. Meanwhile, life has a habit of filling your days with constant interruptions and diversions—if you allow that to happen.

You defeat both of those adversaries, fear and distractions, with the same method. First, you break down the intimidating project of writing a book into a series of small, non-threatening tasks: Do this bit of research; write this one scene; etc. Then, you discipline yourself to push aside all distractions for some defined period each day when you tackle one of those small tasks. As days pass, more and more of the tasks get done; finished pages begin to pile up; and one day you wake up and find yourself staring at an Everest of paper as you add the last page to the top. And you feel as if you have indeed conquered a mountain.

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

Well, it’s hardly hidden, Pat! The story’s hero, Dylan Hunter, is a freelance journalist, just as I have been. He’s also an idealist, a crusader with strong convictions, just as I have been. So, Dylan’s mind and soul are my own.

However, he is also my fantasy projection. In terms of his activities, Dylan Hunter is who I would be if I could get away with it. He’s also better-looking than I am, and he has remarkable abilities, skills, and resources that I don’t—alas.

Tell us a little about your main characters.

The most important, beside Dylan, is Annie Woods, a beautiful security officer who works for the CIA. She’s not just Dylan’s girlfriend; she’s his soul mate. I’ve found that in most thrillers written by men, it’s rare for them to portray the hero’s girlfriend and their relationship with as much depth and passion as I’ve tried to do. But their love story is the emotional glue that binds the plot elements of HUNTER, and their conflict-riddled relationship will remain central to the sequels, as well.

Other characters who will be “regulars” in the series are Grant Garrett, the flinty, veteran CIA spymaster; Danika Cheyenne Brown, the flirty receptionist at Dylan’s D.C. office; straight-arrow police detective Ed Cronin; and Luna, Dylan’s quirky pet cat.

However, the most unusual character is Dylan’s hired researcher: an obese genius with the excruciating name of Freddie Diffendorfer and the endearing nickname of “Wonk.” Wonk seemed to write himself onto my pages, and I loved him the moment he showed up. So have readers, if my mail is any gauge.

Did you do any research for the book?

Lots of research, about subjects I knew little about. I read many books and online material, and consulted experts, about the CIA and spycraft, guns and ammunition, surveillance and lock-picking devices, and similarly exotic topics. I used to work in downtown Washington, D.C., and I know the surrounding area pretty well; but I used Google Maps and its “street view” to “virtually visit” many sites for descriptive detail. I also drew upon my past experiences in journalism and investigations of the criminal justice system to provide realistic background about legal and prison matters.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process, and what’s the easiest?

I have a methodical mind, Pat, so I figured that plotting would be my strong suit. And, in truth, I think the plot of HUNTER is really good. But it proved to be the hardest element to work out, because it’s so devious and complex. I spent a long time fleshing out its substantial cast of characters, their back stories and tangled relationships, and creating the dramatic story arc and timeline. I actually filled several notebooks with all that information, then transferred it into a terrific creative-writing software program, “WriteItNow,” which helped me organize and manage everything.

The easiest part—also to my surprise—was dialogue. I had worried ahead of time if I could craft realistic dialogue. Another worry was whether I could credibly render the love scenes. Thankfully, readers tell me they love the verbal banter in the book and also the romance.

The key to doing both of those things well is to really get inside the heads of your characters in each scene. If you are truly standing in their shoes, you’ll automatically sense what they’ll do and say, and it will ring true.

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

Lee Child. When I interviewed Lee a few years ago, he said the best advice he could give any writer is: “Ignore all advice.”

Every author is unique, he pointed out. Each must write a novel that’s a 100 percent pure reflection of its author, if it is to have any integrity, cohesiveness, and credibility. So, you can’t blindly follow anybody else’s formulas or systems or work habits: A good novel can’t be a committee product; it’s the product of a single unique vision. You must find the specific techniques that allow you to best express your values, priorities, and worldview.

Lee was right, Pat. I’ve read many books and articles about the craft of writing, and I learned important things from each of them—especially about plotting and dramatic structure. But ultimately, when I sat down to begin actually writing, I had to just forget all “the rules” and just trust my subconscious to direct me through the scenes. I listened to my inner “ear” for pacing, dialogue, and word choices, and I paid attention when my “gut” told me that something was off. I think my ear and my gut served me far better than any list of “rules.”

You’re so right. We each have to write the story only we can write. What are you working on right now?

Plotting the sequel. I had worked extensively on another Dylan Hunter thriller before I decided instead to write and publish HUNTER first. However, a few months ago, a famous thriller author published a story containing many of the same elements that I had planned to use. There’s no way I could publish the story I’d begun without it seeming to be plagiarism. So, I had to come up with something fresh. Fortunately, I think I have.

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

First and foremost, “quality control”—making sure that the book itself was the best work I could do, that it was well-edited and proofread, with a striking cover and great promotional copy on its sales sites. After that, contacting my many past friends, family, and associates with news about the book. Next, establishing an online presence with my own blog and Facebook page. And defining and going after my book’s target readership, by means of reviews and interviews on sites and publications that those readers patronize.

One key thing I did was try to get lots of positive “reader reviews” posted on Amazon. I did not want to leave to blind chance what browsing customers would read when they went to my product page. So, I ask readers who like the book to leave reader reviews on Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble. Let me emphasize: This is not “sock puppetry,” using phony names or soliciting family members. These are honest, sincere reviews by serious, independent readers, which I solicit only after they’ve read the book and comment to me about it. Their praise and high ratings have given HUNTER a huge marketing boost. And I’m happy to say that, to date, it has gotten only three negative reviews, while attracting 82 “5-star” raves plus two more “4-star” reviews.

Where can people learn more about you and your book?

First, they can go to my blog, “The Vigilante Author,” at: http://www.bidinotto.com. They also should visit the Amazon product page, where HUNTER is available both as an ebook and as a trade paperback: http://amzn.to/nocDiX.

Other ebook editions are also available on Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/krZ27R and at Smashwords: http://bit.ly/mPpIJa