Interview With Joleene Naylor, Author of “Masque of the Vampire”

What is your book about?

Masque of the Vampire is the eighth in the Amaranthine series. Though is it a series, I try to write them so that anyone can pick up any book and understand what’s going on. This time Katelina and Jorick, who is one of the vampire “police”, are assigned to provide security for a party. A mysterious stalker, a serial killer, and a crashing chandelier later, they’re embroiled in a net of intrigue that has a surprising conclusion. You can purchase it from all major retailers. (

What genre are your books?

Paranormal. Paranormal WHAT is up for debate. Is it Urban Fantasy? Maybe, though they spend more time in the country than an urban setting. Paranormal Fantasy? Maybe. The Heart of the Raven arch does have the pacing of a fantasy trilogy, including the evil “sorcerer” and the army of misfits. Paranormal Romance? Eh, not really. There is romance, but there’s no hero’s POV where his knees are weak and his blood is burning for her touch. Paranormal YA? Definitely not. Horror? I think so, but the female protagonist and the above mentioned romance make that an iffy label. In the end, my books kind of fall between the cracks of genres.

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

I’ve done a lot of things over the years. A blog. A website. Blog hops. Guest blogs. Paid listings. Free listings. Sales. Lots and lots of freebies. Blog tours. A facebook party. A facebook page where I post daily comics with my charaters. A newsletter. And I’ve recently started a Facebook Street Team group.

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

There are probably little pieces of myself scattered all over, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to channel them. I’m not sure which one I have the most in common with, though, as even I and Katelina aren’t completely alike. Her reactions sometimes make me go, “What? Why?”

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

I think Verchiel is probably everyone’s favorite. He’s a redheaded mischief maker who pops into Katelina and Jorick’s lives seemingly by chance, and then just keeps popping up. He and Katelina have a love/hate relationship while Jorick just despises him from the start.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

Yes. The aforementioned Verchiel is one of those. I designed him to pop into one scene and get killed. That was it. “Hello. I’m bad. Goodbye. Splat. Dead.” But he was so interesting I let him live. He’s one of the really organic characters that completely write themselves.

Another was Torina, the sister of Jorick’s fledgling. In the original draft of book 4, Ashes of Deceit, she was killed in the attack on the citadel. But it created too many complications, so I gave her a reprieve.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

For the most part they develop and differentiate themselves. It’s kind of like they drop from heaven fully formed and as I go I have to dig backwards to find out how and why they are the way they are.

Where do you get the names for your characters?

A lot of them I made up (like Jorick, Katelina, Oren, Torina) but sometimes I use the internet to find names that would be authentic to the culture or time period someone is from. Eileifr – one of the vampire’s High Council is an example of that. I have no idea how to pronounce his name, but it’s supposedly authentic Norse. Samael, Lilith, Ishkur, Inanna, and Utu, of course, come from mythology as they’re supposed to be the figure the mythology is based on.

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

Yes! Starting in the fifth book, my characters go overseas so I had to look up everything, from temperatures, to sunset times, to what kind of animals they might be able to feed on, not to mention ways to get them across country boarders – what’s required to fly in? Can they take a boat? How long will that take? And then weaving in the legend of Samael and Lilith was a nightmare of research. I’ve worked to try to tie together ancient Chinese mythology, Mesopotamian mythology, and even the book of Enoch together into one cohesive storyline. It took several word documents.

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

A great world. This includes good characters with interesting backgrounds that interconnect well. I’m currently reading the second in EG Manetti’s Apprentice series and she does that so well. Every aspect of the universe has been addressed so that even if I have an issue with an aspect of the story the world is so compelling, so complete, so REAL that I’m still thinking about it days later.

How do you deal with exposition give readers the background information they need?

With a long series this is something I struggle with from book to book. I start by skipping information that isn’t necessary to the story being told in that particular book, and then I try to alternate between four methods; having Katelina think about it (for instance when she sees someone she might think “Oh, that’s the guy who owned the vampire cat.”), by having the characters have a quick conversation about it, by inserting a short flashback accompanied by Katelina’s thoughts, or in some instances by the more direct but less exciting just telling. I know that telling is frowned on, but there comes a time when the run around alternatives just feel like run-arounds.

What has been your greatest internal struggle to overcome in relation to your writing career?

Anxiety. I just *know* that everyone is going to hate my books. I think the most terrifying words in the English language are “I got your book”.

Does your understanding of the story you are writing change during the course of the book?

Yes. Always. If it doesn’t then it means I haven’t developed it enough and I need to go back over it and figure out what the angle is.

What is a talent you have that nobody knows?

I can blow bubbles with my spit. Like pretty large bubbles. I learned to do it as a kid in the 80s who wasn’t allowed to have bubbles gum. I realize most people think this is gross, but it’s the only thing I could think if that I haven’t shared before.


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Celeste Paulette Boudreau, Character From “Rubicon Ranch: Secrets”

RRBookThreemidsizeRubicon Ranch is a collaborative and innovative crime serialization set in the fictional desert community of Rubicon Ranch and is being written online by authors of Second Wind Publishing. Celeste Boudreau is the creation of Dellani Oakes.

Who are you?

Celeste Paulette Boudreau, though I wasn’t born with that name.

Where do you live? 

I just moved to Rubicon Ranch.

What is your problem in the story?

I’ve got a secret I’m desperately trying to hide.

What is your secret?

If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would it?

What do you think of yourself?

I’m more dangerous than I seem. People see the outrageous wigs and the colorful skirts and don’t see past them to who I really am. Deep down, I’m not the colorful, flighty psychic. I’m much more than that.

What are your achievements?

I’m a psychic – a real one. Not one of these smoke and mirrors types. I see things in dreams, I know things about people that they would rather I not know. I have secrets of my own that would put theirs to shame. These imitation soothsayers make me sick. They wander around pretending to have spirit guides and hear the secrets of the universe. If they spent an hour in my mind, they’d see what real spirit guides are like. You think they’re warm and fuzzy? They aren’t. They don’t care if they jerk me out of whatever I’m doing to tell me something they think I should know. I’ve nearly been in three car accidents because of them.

What I wouldn’t give to be normal, just for one day. There are people who call this thing I do a gift. It’s not a gift, it’s a damn curse. And try to make money at it! People think you’re crazy or a fake and they won’t listen, no matter what you say. Idiots.

Do you talk about your achievements or do you keep them to yourself? 

My achievements make people laugh. They don’t believe them. When I say that I’ve been instrumental in solving three homicides, they ask why I didn’t help on the ones in Rubicon Ranch. Well, cause no one asked me. I’ve gone to that idiot of a sheriff more than once with my visions. He threatened to have me arrested for contaminating a crime scene and obstructing justice. Is it my fault that the ghost of the dead woman possessed me and made me walk around like a lunatic while she spouted some nonsense about who killed her? She didn’t even see the man! That case is still unsolved – but that’s not my fault. I tried to help and they won’t believe me that it was her scumbag neighbor. Pervert, that’s what he is. One day, he’ll get killed and just see if I’ll help out on that one.

Do you have any special strengths? 

Yes, I’m a psychic. I’m a damn good one too. And no, I can’t tell you the winning lotto numbers or how your mother likes the afterlife. It doesn’t work like that. I can’t just summon it for answers. If people tell you they can, they’re lying. This is unpredictable as the weather.

I’m also a damn good liar.

Do you have any skills? 

You mean besides divining the future and being ignored? Yeah, I’m really good at telling stupid people what they want to hear. I’ve been a psychic advisor on TV and radio. I even was on the Psychic Phone Network when I first got my powers. I thought I could really help people, but you know what? Those morons don’t want the truth. They want platitudes. When you tell them the truth, then you get sued.

What makes you happy? 

The bottom of a gin bottle after I’ve drunk my way to the bottom.

What are you afraid of? 

You want a list? So many things, I can’t possibly tell you all of them. Let’s start with that creepy “guide” who showed up when I was talking to Ward Preminger and won’t go away. I think I’m being  haunted by the ghost of Morris Sinclair. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What makes you sad? 

I don’t have time to be sad. Being sad doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t matter what you do, where you go or who you say you are, you can’t escape some things. Sadness doesn’t help with that.

What was your childhood like? 

I was born with the ability to see things about people. I could sense auras before I knew what they were. I could get an accurate read on a person just by touching them. No one in my family understood. They thought I was crazy, some called me a witch. We moved a lot because after awhile, someone would find out about me. Someone tried to abduct me once because of my powers. Because I could sense that, I got away before they could catch me. My life got even more interesting when my other abilities surfaced at fourteen.

What is your favorite music?

I love Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Pink Floyd.. Don’t give me any of that wonky, new age crap. I only listen to that when there are clients around. Classic rock all the way.

What is your favorite item of clothing? Why?

I love my wigs. They express who I am trying to be.

If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

I’d like to be by myself. Maybe then I’d get a little peace.

How do you envision your future? 

Pick one – I can envision yours, mine, the dog next door…..


Click here to read: Rubicon Ranch: Secrets ~ Chapter 4: Celeste Boudreau — by Dellani Oakes

Hayley Lawson-Smith, Author of The Julius Romeros Extravaganza, Part 1, The Bearded Girl

424005_116392965201730_2083669360_nWhat is your book about?

More than one answer to that question! Love, acceptance and individuality, are certainly some of the main themes, but at the heart of the story is adventure. Abigail is very young when she embarks on her adventure in Part 1 of this trilogy. As a baby born with a beard, she’s been shunned, pushed aside, even hidden from society by those too small-minded to understand true beauty, and eventually she’s sent away altogether to live with a circus. But it’s in this circus, The Julius Romeros Extravaganza, that Abigail finds acceptance and family.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

I think it’s certainly a matter of opinion when it comes to deciding who is the most ‘unusual’ character. Since the majority of them are sideshow performers, in fact they happily call themselves ‘freaks’, they’re all fairly unusual. But I’d have to say the character who stands out most in the story, for me anyway, is Julius Romeros, who has been born with lobster claws for hands. Personally I think the most likeable character is Old Barty. He’s gruff and tough in a Popeye meets Captain Haddock kind of way, but at the same time he can be so gentle and caring; he’s concerned for Abigail in very much a grandfatherly fashion and I enjoyed writing his dialogue so much I think he became more of a central character than he was going to be.

Who designed your cover?

A brilliant artist by the name of Diogo Lando, who’s based in Portugal. I adore his work as it springs from the page, but at the same time is so subtle. An amazing mix of realism and fantasy which moulded so well with my writing.

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

Chocolate! Chocolate and coffee and sometimes macaroni and cheese. But not all at once. If I’m feeling good I’ll chop up some fruit and munch on that, but it’s mostly junk food, I’m afraid. I describe a lot of food in my writing and I think that makes me hungry for all the wrong things.

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

Inadvertently and absolutely. I think I was about halfway into Part 1 when I realised I was writing a story with a strong moral, which I hadn’t intended to do because I never like to shove things in people’s faces and say, ‘this is the way you should live your life!’ But it’s an honest message that society can never seem to grasp; acceptance. Not just tolerance, but taking the idea that someone can be completely different to you and respecting them for that.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Nope. I look at stories this way: so many people have said Harry Potter was a ‘kids book’, and yet millions of adults read and cherish the series. Similarly I’ve met little kids who will happily sit down with a big fat novel and read for hours. I guess time will tell who the biggest audience for such a tale is.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

Agh, yes! Twice now, but in a twisted kind of way I’ve enjoyed the death scenes. There’s a lovely big build-up, the penultimate moment and then the final breath; I have to admit that they’re fun to write. Although afterwards that character is gone for good; I’ve loved writing them into life and making them real, and now there’s a big empty space and I might not get to hang out with them anymore. But with the magic of writing it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get to see them again. Depending on the age of the character, there might have been years’ worth of adventures they’ve had you could write about … just create a prequel!

Where do you get the names for your characters?

Sometimes I’ve heard a name in the past and thought it had a nice ring to it, or when I createa character I pick a good name which goes with their personality or character traits. For example, Abigail means ‘father rejoice’ or ‘father’s joy’, which I thought was gorgeous because, after all, my Abigail has whiskers just like her father’s. Baby books are an excellent resource, and sometimes just randomly flicking through the phone book can lead to happy accidents.

Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?

Often. So many of them like to rant and give little speeches, it can be a lot of fun. Mervin the clown, for example was one of those fantastic characters who pretty much wrote himself. Walking home from work can be entertaining because it’s quite easy to have long meaningful conversations with the different men and women in my story. Once you’ve created a meaty character, their words just flow naturally.

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

I would love to see Abigail, as a full-grown lady, played by Lily Allen; she has a beautiful, natural quirkiness all her own which would really bring life to the character. Minerva the Twisted Woman would be amazing played by Nicole Kidman; she can pull off icy and sexy at the same time. Bob Hoskins would be perfect for Julius Romeros, as he’s that perfect mix of ham and genuineness, plus I reckon he could really pull-off the lobster claws and top-hat.

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

This is only Part 1 of a particularly long story. In the setting of a circus and sideshow there is so much scope for characters and adventure. Part 1, while being a novel of many adventures, almost acts as an introduction to the characters and setting; Parts 2 and 3 tell a story of their own, almost the moment Abigail’s life has been building up to.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The initial idea came from a weird dream I had while struggling through a fever! There was a woman in my dream with a beard, with a ribbon tied through it, and she was travelling across the countryside with identical septuplets. It was bizarre and stuck in my head, so I gave some life to it, bulked it out and created new people for the woman to have adventures with.

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

Actually, I wish I was more like some of the characters. Reynalda, for example, is so tough and forthright and doesn’t suffer fools. I wish I had half her guts! If there was one character my friends and family would say I’m like it would be Bertha, the nanny. But that’s only because I’m a nanny myself. I don’t know if I have half her patience, though I’d hope I have the same capacity to love. Maybe I’m a bit like Julius Romeros, because I do like taking centre stage in the theatre …

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

My favourite, at least in Part 1, is Lolly, the albino elephant. She’s such a fun, mischievous character, who doesn’t say much, being a pachyderm, but is so loyal to Abigail. I loved watching both her and Abigail grow up together, Abigail from a little girl to a mature woman and Lolly from a naughty albino calf to a saucy adult elephant.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Amazon, Lulu, Smashwords and ASJ Publishing are the websites to go to if anyone’s thinking about purchasing the book. There is also a Facebook page, with character introductions and story-line titbits.

Lily Rae Foster, Hero of “Lily of the Springs” by Carole Foley Bellacera

The 50’s…Drive-in Movies, Doo-wop Music…and Love in the Back Seat of a ’51 Plymouth

In 1952 Kentucky, 18-year-old Lily Foster, the daughter of strict Southern Baptist parents, becomes pregnant by the town “bad boy”—and just like that, she finds herself married to a man who doesn’t want to be a husband. Jake has no intention of letting the inconvenience of marriage stop him from what he believes is his due. In actuality, Lily is the one who is trapped. She loves Jake—always has, since they were children playing in the woods on adjoining properties–and she’s convinced she can eventually make him love her. All it will take is desire and patience. Once the baby arrives, they will be the perfect little family.

From Lily’s home on Opal Springs Ridge to a four-year stint at an army base in New Boston, Texas, and finally, to life on their own in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Lily struggles to maintain a rocky marriage with a moody, immature husband while raising two daughters. Set during the “American Dream” period of the ‘50s and into the turbulent ‘60’s, LILY OF THE SPRINGS is a story of a woman’s indomitable spirit and her fight for independence and identity in an “Ozzie & Harriet” society.

What is your story?

My name is Lily Rae Foster, and when my story, LILY OF THE SPRINGS, opens, I’m living in a holler near Russell Springs, Kentucky in 1952. It’s the day before my high school graduation, and something is going to happen tomorrow night that will change my life forever.

What is your problem in the story?

Well, in the large scheme of things, it might not sound all that horrible to you, but I’m 19 years old, and I end up getting pregnant by the town hood. In 1952, this is not a good thing. You ever heard of a shotgun wedding?

How do you see yourself?

I see myself as a slightly rebellious girl who is head over heels in love with Jake Tatlow. I thought he loved me, too. Sadly, I was wrong about that.

How do your friends see you?

I reckon they see me as a popular, happy-go-lucky girl who loves life.

What do you want to be?

I dream of being a big-time romance writer. But Jake tells me that’s impossible. That things like that don’t happen for little country girls like me. When he found my first manuscript, he laughed so hard, I thought he was going to choke. Made me feel so bad that I ended up burning it in the stove.

What do you believe?

I believe I’m a doggone good writer. Maybe I’m a little ignorant about grammar and such, but I know how to weave a good story.

What makes you happy?

I’m happy when Jake is in a good mood, and acts lovin’ to me.

What are you afraid of?

Like any momma, I’m afraid of something bad happenin’ to my two girls. I just love them to pieces, my Debbie Ann and Kathy Kay.

What makes you angry?

Mean people. I just about died that time Jake interrupted my Tupperware party and said something really nasty to my guest, Barbara. She was the first Negro woman I ever invited into my house, and I knew Jake wouldn’t like it, but I didn’t think he’d say something to her face like that. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. Barbara never spoke to me again, even though I apologized to her the next day. Can’t say I blame her, though. She probably thinks I’m just like Jake.

What do you regret?

I often regret that Chad and I broke up before I got together with Jake. (Well…our break up was the reason I got together with Jake.) I know Chad would’ve been a good husband. He was a good man. Why did I have to go for the ornery one?

Has anyone ever failed you?

Don’t make me laugh! Jake Tatlow failed me. Yes, he did. Every day for 20 years, he failed me. And I just took it because I was afraid to leave. Afraid of being a divorced woman and having to make it on my own with two children. But it wasn’t only the fear that kept me with him. I loved the man. How can you explain love? I loved him from the time we played in the woods as children. How could I know he’d never love me in the same way?

What was your childhood like?

Pretty ordinary, I reckon. We lived out in the country, and there was always hard work to be done. My mama and daddy were real religious—Southern Baptists. We went to church every Sunday and every Wednesday evening. And in the summers, we had revivals. I had an older brother, a younger brother and a younger sister. In the summers, we played out in the woods all the time when our chores were done. I loved summers. That’s when me and Jake first got together, when we were just younguns. That is, until Daddy found out, and peppered my behind. He said Jake Tatlow was trash, and I needed to stay away from him. Funny…twelve years later, he and my brothers, with shotgun in hand, went and collected Jake, and before I knew it, we was married.

How do you envision your future?

A new beginning where I’m my own person, and I’m no longer a slave to love. I want to be independent and sure of myself, a good mother to my girls. And I want a man who loves and respects me and wants to grow old with me. That’s not askin’ too much, is it?

Where can we learn more about you?

Buy the book here:

Book Trailer:

Captain Danny Maine, Hero of Now and Forever 2, the Book of Danny” by Jean C. Joachim

Who are you?

I’m Captain Danny Maine…well, I’m not a Captain anymore. I retired from the Army. I’m now Professor Danny Maine. I teach freshman English at Kensington State University. I’m in love with the dean, but don’t tell anyone. No, no, not Mac Caldwell, Eliza Baines!

Where do you live?

I live in Willow Falls, the sweetest little town of 5,000 people in upstate New York.

Are you the hero of your own story?

Hell yes! My name’s in the title. Now and Forever 2, the Book of Danny by Jean C. Joachim. Mac Caldwell is jealous because he was the hero of the other book but didn’t get his name in the title. I asked him if he was sleeping with the author, Jean, but he wouldn’t say. *snickers*, I’m not saying either. You can put the pieces together.

What is your problem in the story?

I have a few obstacles in my way. Okay, I admit it maybe more than a few. I suffer from PTSD. I have nightmares, I get jumpy, but I can lick it. I know I can. I didn’t know my old man would get sprung from jail and ask me for a hand-out. Didn’t know he’d picked up some scumwad friend in prison, either. Wish they would leave me the hell alone so I could focus on Eliza and teaching. Geez, facing a classroom full of freshmen scares the crap out of me more than facing a sniper in Iraq!

Do you run from conflict?

I’ve never run from anything in my life and I’m not going to start now. No one pushes me around. Hell, my life can’t get any worse than it’s been.

How do your friends see you?

My friends know they can count on me. I protect those I love. Callie and Mac know that I will do everything I can to keep them safe from that piece of crap, Fred, and my lowlife father.

How do your enemies see you?

My enemies had better be afraid, very afraid. Because I can outthink anyone and out-maneuver them, too. And I will. I will arm myself, I will do whatever is necessary to prevail.

How does the author see you?

Don’t say anything, but I think she’s secretly in love with me. Heh heh. Not that I mind *wicked grin* Hey! Don’t tell Eliza I said that! Yeah, she listened to my story and we kind of…well…you know how close you can get when you’re working on a story. I swear that was before I started dating Eliza! *holds up hand*. Jean is a good listener and she took down everything I said. When she got off course, I shoved the story right back on. Even had her in tears a couple of times *shy smile*. Love the way my story came out and that she found a publisher, too, is awesome.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Hell, yes! I was right there in the room with her. Had to sweet talk her sometimes, make a few changes from time to time but it is truly my story.

Do you have a hero?

My brother Kyle was my hero. He was killed in Iraq.

Do you keep your achievements to yourself?

Yes. I feel lucky to have what I have. Where I came from, my life could have ended up so differently. I’m grateful for what has come my way. None of this would have happened if my brother didn’t watch over me, make sure I took the right path. I have him to thank for who I am today. It’s too bad he isn’t here to see what a great job he did.

What do you need?

Eliza and Dr. Weiss say I need therapy. So I’m going. Actually, I like Dr. Weiss. She’s kind and nice to me and doesn’t make me feel weird, you know? She’s the one who told me I was damaged on the inside. Since I’ve going to see her and writing in my journal I have fewer nightmares, so she must know what she’s doing.

What do you want to be?

Married to Eliza, a father and at peace.

What, if anything, haunts you?

Life with my abusive father haunts me. My buddies’ instant deaths in Iraq haunt me. But I’m working to overcome those fears, those memories…by facing them and building a new life. I’m part of the community in Willow Falls. I love my Kiwanis guys and coaching soccer. All I want is a quiet, normal life and the hottest lady in town in my bed.

Are you lucky?

You’re damn right I’m lucky! Hell, I came back with a back full of shrapnel scars but that’s all. Well, maybe a mind full of nightmares, too. Okay, okay I’m a bit injured on the inside. But I came back with all my limbs and a chance to find something better.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

A shit-load of scars on my back. Hey, can I say that in here? And a few that only Eliza knows about *turns red*, oops, TMI.

What was your childhood like?

It was a worse nightmare than my days in Iraq. I don’t want to talk about it. I spend enough energy trying to forget.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

The love and devotion of my brother.

Who is your true love?

Eliza Baines is my true love. She’s the hottest, classiest, smartest lady I’ve ever known and I hope to win her, make her mine forever *blushes*, hey, don’t quote me on that. It’s private, ya know? I fell for her the first time I met her. Never known a woman like her.



Michael Haskins, Author of “Stairway to the Bottom”

Welcome, Michael. What is your book about?

My book, Stairway to the Bottom, is about greed. In this story, there are two cases of greed. One case, federal agents believe a man who vanished from Key West on a Jet Ski knows where Boston gangster White Bulger’s hidden fortune is, now that Whitey is in custody. They want it and feel after all these years they deserve it. The other case involves retired and not so retired Cold War agents who think the Jet Ski escapee is the agent that walked off with more than $20 million in diamonds as the Berlin Wall came down. They want the diamonds. Sometimes it’s comical. Other times, as the ending approaches it becomes deadly serious.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

I think the most unusual character in the series is Padre Thomas Collins, as Jesuit who talks and sees angels. He lives with survivor’s guilt because the angels told him to leave his Guatemalan rectory days before government soldiers came and massacred the residents. He’s an off-the-wall character that some of the regular characters don’t like or trust, but his angels have kept Mick Murphy, my main protagonist, alive.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I spend time in the bars of Key West observing tourist and locals. There are some strange mannerisms people have in bars and on vacation. I try to put some of these to use in my characters. These traits separate my characters.

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

I know the beginning, middle and end of a story before I begin. How I get to the middle and end is the fun part. As I write the things I knew or wanted in the story sometimes change, including the end. In Stairway to the Bottom, I didn’t like the ending and added one more chapter. I hadn’t totally thought of that way on ending the story, but as I re-read it, I knew it need a little more than I planned on. I think the ending found me.

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

I thought I was writing stories about good times in Key West, until a local friend and critic asked me about why my character was such a stickler for justice. I thought about the books in my Mick Murphy series, the ones from California/Mexico and the Key West ones and realized justice was the driving factor. Justice doesn’t always come from the people who have that responsibility. Bad guys don’t have rules and good guys do. The law has rules to follow and sometimes those rules keep the bad guys on the streets. At least in my series, Murphy’s rule is to be true to friends and see that justice is reached, no matter what.

How has your background influenced your writing?

My background is in journalism, old journalism, before computers. Murphy’s background is journalism. Murphy covered Central America, I worked in Boston, so the similarities stop. We also enjoy Jameson and Cuban cigars. I kept him close and that allows me to be more flexible with the other characters.

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

I try to write every morning. To finish Stairway to the Bottom, I found myself writing through the afternoon and sometimes into the evening. It was an interesting experiment and I found I could do it. Usually, I would have brain freeze before noon. I also have days when I re-read and self-edit and re-write what has come before. I find this slows my writing process down, but when I’ve completed a book I am usually more happy with it than friends of mine who bitch about Major re-writing.

Does writing come easy for you?

When I am not writing, I love writing. Most time I’m having a good time, but there are those times the story takes off on its own and I have to keep up. I think writing is like anything, if it comes too easily you won’t take it seriously. It has to offer the writer challenges and that’s one more thing to love about writing.

What do you like to read?

I read mysteries. I read because I like the author and want to see what he/she is doing. Sometimes I discover something new in their writing style and think I can use it. We all steal from each other, it’s a great community.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Anyone that wants to write has to read, read and then read some more. A writer has to know what has been done, what is being done and figure on a way to make it better or more interesting. After all, love & greed are the two driving forces behind a good mystery and finding a more interesting way to tell your story maybe hidden in the pages of someone else’s book.

Where can people learn more about your books?

I have written seven books in the Mick Murphy series. Car Wash Blues will be released in Aug. 2012. Free Range Institution came out in Feb. 2011 and are both hardback books. Stairway to the Bottom is a trade paperback on Amazon and on Kindle and Nook, as are some of my other books. To find out the whole story, check my website: More there than you ever want to know.

Gloria Lopes, Hero of “Go Down Hard” by Craig Faustus Buck

Who are you?

My name is Gloria Lopes. That rhymes with hopes. My grandfather was Argentine but for some reason the Spanish pronunciation didn’t stick. Don’t ask me why. Even my Dad doesn’t know, and he still speaks with a Spanish accent. I was with the LAPD for 18 years, rose to Lieutenant, homicide, before the shit hit the fan. Don’t ask. I guess you could call me a private security consultant now. I’m single though my boyfriend, the baptist dentist, keeps asking me to marry him. Drives me nuts. Not that I don’t love the guy, but I’m philosophically allergic to monogamy. Moral constraints give me the heebie-jeebies. I can’t imagine depriving myself of variety in sexual partners, just as I would never give up variety in foods, books, or music. I can be faithful emotionally, but that’s as far as I go.

Where do you live?

I live in a Spanish Colonial fourplex, built sometime in the 1930s in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. My apartment has hand-crafted archways, thick stucco walls, a Mexican-tiled fireplace, built-in cupboards and shelf-nooks whose edges have been softened over the years by layers upon layers of paint. Not fancy but blooming with character. After all these years I still love coming home. I’ve furnished the place with treasures from the Goodwill. A few downtrodden antiques, a little modern, some rustic, some shabby chic. No two chairs match or even hail from the same decade, but I think it feels homey.

Do you embrace conflict?

I wouldn’t say I embrace it, I just seem to attract it. Maybe it’s because I tend to speak my mind and pack a mean left hook. I also pack a Glock.

How do your friends see you?

I don’t have too many friends since I left the force. Most of my cop friends see me as a professional liability. I guess my best friend is Nob Brown, the guy who wrote that book about Lana Strain, the rock star who got murdered in the early ’90s. He’s an ex-cop, too. And we sleep together when he’s not in a relationship, which is usually. When he has a girlfriend, I leave him alone. I’m into free love, but I’m no homewrecker. I’ve never slept with a married man unless his wife was participating.

How do your enemies see you?

I don’t know. I try not to speak to my enemies if I can help it, and when I don’t have a choice, we’re usually talking about something more pressing than their feelings about me.

How does your author see you?

What author?

Do you have a hero?

No. Every hero I’ve ever had disappointed me sooner or later to I’ve stopped trying. I’m not big on organized religion, though I sometimes go to a Black Baptist church for the music, but I think they’re onto something with that false idol thing.

Do you have a goal?

World peace. Zero crime. An end to poverty. And multiple orgasms.

Do you talk about your achievements?

No. And I have little patience for people who do.

Do you have any skills?

I read people well. I’ve been called an astute judge of character. I guess it’s from my years as a homicide dick. It’s a professional requirement. As I may have mentioned, I throw a mean left hook. I think my sexual skills are pretty polished, judging from the state I generally leave ‘em in. I’m pretty deft with a cocktail though I can’t cook to save my life–I could probably drop an elephant with my coffee. I’m a great shot with a side arm. And I’m a cheap drunk, which many men consider an attractive skill.

Do you have money troubles?

I didn’t until I lost my job. My needs are minimal and my lifestyle is cheap. But if don’t find some work pretty soon, I’m headed for skid row. I don’t exactly have a safety net seeing as how I’m about as close to my parents as Earth is to Pluto. And like that distant rock, I was demoted from their solar system one Thanksgiving when my sister decided to regale the family with highlights from my broad spectrum of sexual activities. I’d never even heard my father say “hell” before, much less “you dirty slut.” Said sister lives on the East Coast, which is still too close for comfort. That leaves my brother who, last time I checked, had a job in a rehab Ashram in the Punjab strapping cold-turkey patients to their beds. Welcome to my family. In a pinch, I could borrow some money from Nob, but only for a month or so.

What do you regret?

I regret getting sucker-punched out of a career. I gave a bad performance review to a dirty cop so he trumped up a sexual harassment claim against me. It was total bullshit, but certain rumors, which were more or less true, about my private life seemed to substantiate the charges. The thing is, I would never ever shit where I eat. LAPD personnel were absolutely off limits for any kind of sexual activity, including inuendo. My squad was my responsibility and I made sure the work environment was nonhostile. But I should have anticipated some sort of cheap shot from that cop. Instead, I painted a bullseye on my back to give him an easy target.

What, if anything, haunts you?

I gave a child up for adoption the year I graduated from the academy. He must be seventeen now. It’s not so much that I gave him up that haunts me, but that I never told his father about the pregnancy. It was a weird accident. A fellow cadet and I were having pretty amazing sex at a motel one afternoon when we heard a scream from the room next door. Not a scream of passion but the kind you might hear from a woman being waved around by a giant ape on the Empire State Building. The kind that grabs your attention like a bullet in the gut. Talk about coitus interruptus. By the second scream I was sliding off him and into my pants. The upshot was that I nailed a serial killer, but in the process neither the other cadet nor I realized his condom had come off inside me. That’s how I got pregnant. It seemed prudent not to tell the father at the time, but now he’s my best friend and that secret eats at my insides like a starving rat. I don’t even want to think about what might happen if Nob were to find out.

Do you keep your promises?

Without fail.

Are you healthy?

For a woman with a bullet wound between her breasts, I’m doing pretty well.

Was there ever a defining moment of your life?

I guess having a bullet go through me and into Nob was pretty defining. Especially since if I hadn’t been there to slow it down, he probably would have died. The bullet was headed straight for his heart. It missed mine by a half an inch. That sort of thing doesn’t exactly define as much as illuminate. It creates the sort of bond very few people have.

Do you have any hobbies?

Reading crime novels. Scuba diving. Collecting antique sexual devices. And using them.

What is your favorite beverage? Why?

I’m a gin drinker. Straight, on the rocks. Specifically Bombay, but I’m happy with Gordon’s or Hendricks or even Gilbeys. I love the juniper berry flavor. That’s why I can’t stomach Tanqueray. You just can’t taste the juniper.

What are the last three books you read?

Heart Sick — Chelsea Cain
Die a Little — Megan Abbot
Go Down Hard — Craig Faustus Buck (in manuscript, he’s still shopping it)

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

I’d go for a hermaphrodite. The best of both worlds.

How do you envision your future?

I don’t. I live for today. Tomorrow’s too iffy.

Click here for more information about: Craig Faustus Buck

Grace Harmon Singer, Hero of “On the Choptank Shores” by Smoky Trudeau Zeidel

Welcome, Grace. What is your story?

I was born on April 12, 1909, in Pennsylvania. I had a sister, Emily, who was only ten months older than me. We were very close. But then, Emily died, and my grief-stricken father moved us to a small farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

I was content to be an only child, although I missed Emily terribly. I spent my days helping Mama in the garden, doing the mending, singing in the church choir.

But then, God gave us quite a surprise gift: Mama gave birth to twins, Matthew and Miriam. But that gift was not for us to share for very long. Matthew died of typhoid fever, and Mama, too broken by the loss of yet another child, died a year later. That left me to care for little Miriam and our father.

But Papa was changed. The loving man who had been our father became angry, bitter. He became abusive, especially toward Miriam, and he spouted Biblical verse to justify his behavior.

Lucky for me, I fell in love with a wonderful man, Otto Singer. When we married, I moved to his home on Windy Hill, and took Miriam with me. I thought things would at last be stable for my sister, and that I could raise her to have a normal life. But Papa would not let that happen. The rest of the story is beautifully told by my author, Smoky Trudeau Zeidel, in the book On the Choptank Shores.

What is your problem in the story?

My father, and his descent into madness. Understand, my father was a kind and loving man when I was a child. But the deaths of Emily, Matthew, and my mother were too much for him to handle. He went increasingly insane, and as he did so, he tried harder and harder to control me and to take Miriam away from me. I could not let that happen: he abused Miriam terribly, and spouted verses from the Bible to justify his abuse. Of course, he was taking them terribly out of context, but he would not listen to me, or to my husband Otto, or anyone else who tried to help him.

Unfortunately, Otto was struggling with demons of his own, demons I was not aware of when we wed. He believed he was responsible for the death of a young woman named Lily more than two decades earlier, in a tragic accident that left his brother, Henry, brain damaged. I don’t know why he felt he couldn’t tell me about what happened. Maybe his guilt was too strong; maybe it was his pride. But his story came to a head just as my father became totally deranged, and there I was, stuck in the middle, wanting to help my husband, help my father, and protect my sister, all at once.

So, did you embrace this conflict, or did you run from it?

Neither, really. No one likes conflict; we all want our lives to run smoothly, and we want to be happy, content. But neither could I run from the conflict in my life. It involved the people I hold most dear to my heart. I had to do what I could to save them, or I could not live with myself. As it is, there is a deep ache in my heart about how the conflict resolved itself in the end. I’m not ready to talk about that now, though. I think Smoky, my author, was able to sum up my feelings pretty well in the book, though.

How does your author, Smoky Trudeau Zeidel, see you? Do you think she portrayed you accurately?

I’m very pleased Smoky recognized me as a woman of quiet strength. Yes, I am young. I had my twentieth birthday only recently. But I mothered my sister for several years before marrying Otto, and of course, I continue to mother her now. I cared for my father as well as he would allow for as long as I could; I would have continued to care for him after my marriage if he had allowed it. Otto would gladly have built a room on our house for Papa, just as he did for Miriam. But it was not to be …

Yes, I believe Smoky portrayed me accurately. I put my family first in all things, but I also have the good sense to know I must keep my own strength up and take time to care for myself, Grace, in order to be able to be the wife and mother I need to be. She captured that in the book. I’m very proud of her for doing that.

You said your father spouts Biblical verse to justify his abuses. What do you believe, Grace?

I don’t believe in the violent, vengeful God my father espouses, the one found in so much of the Old Testament. I also don’t believe God meant for man to dominate woman, or for parent to abuse child. I believe in a kinder, gently God, a God with a feminine face. I believe in the God of Naamah, Noah’s wife, a story that is not in the Bible but which has been handed down from generation to generation through the women in my family, and other families as well. My mother told me the story of Naamah often as a child. Smoky relates it in On the Choptank Shores. It is a beautiful tale of a woman’s strength and the important role she plays here on earth.

What makes you happy?

My husband makes me happy. Seeing Miriam growing and thriving, despite all she has been through, makes me happy. Working in my garden, getting dirt and sand beneath my fingernails, watching my plants grow, knowing they will nourish my family, makes me happy. Reading a good book while sitting on the riverbank makes me happy. And the two gifts I receive at the end of Smoky’s book make me happy, although I’m not at liberty to say exactly what those gifts were.

Life makes me happy. I am a content person by nature, despite all that has transpired.

What is your greatest disappointment?

I believe there are two that are equally disappointing to me. One is that my siblings, Emily and Matthew, did not survive, and are not here with me today. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss Emily; she was my best friend as well as my sister. And Matthew was such a sweet little boy. When he died, he took a part of Miriam with him. They were twins, after all.

My second disappointment was that things could not have ended differently in On the Choptank Shores. Yes, in the end, Otto, Miriam, and I were all safe and happy. But things ended differently for other people we loved. And while I know it could not have ended any other way, I still have regrets.

Do you consider yourself lucky?

I consider myself blessed; I don’t know if luck has anything to do with it. I am blessed to have found this wonderful man, Otto, to love, and to be loved by him. I am blessed that Miriam is thriving. I am blessed to live here, in this special place on the shores of the Choptank River, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There is much that is good in my life, and for which I am thankful.

What are you afraid of?

Goodness, I never really thought of it! Afraid of, afraid of … I’m not really afraid of anything that I can think of, although I detest earwigs! Earwigs in the garden give me the shivers, but when they get in the house, well, yes, I am afraid of them! Isn’t that the silliest fear on earth? To be afraid of a little bug like an earwig? Oh, and I’m not to crazy about centipedes, either. That’s very odd, being afraid of those two things. Usually, I really like insects. They play such a valuable role in nature, pollinating plants, doing what they do. But earwigs and centipedes? What was God thinking?

What is your most prized possession?

I don’t really have a lot of possessions. We live a pretty simple life. But I guess if I had to name one thing, it would be this pearl, here, in my wedding ring. We found it in an oyster we bought at the Oyster Shack when we stopped there to eat, the day we were married. It’s a beautiful pearl, isn’t it? We married so quickly, Otto hadn’t had time to buy me a ring, so he had it set in one for me. I never take it off, I treasure it so.

What are the last three books you read?

I love to read! Often, I can read a book a day; I guess if I was born with one God-given talent, it was my ability to read very quickly. The last three books I read were A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; which was a very sad book with a wonderful, heroic ending; Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, which is a perennial favorite of mine; and Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley, a delightful tale if there ever was one!

Can you name five items that are in your purse?

Good heavens, what a question! Let me think! Hmmm, I have my handkerchief, my wallet, my change purse, my house key … the thing weighs ten pounds; there must be more in there than that! Oh! I know why it’s so heavy—I put a book in there, in case I had to wait a while to meet with you. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. No wonder it’s so heavy! That’s five!

Thank you for your patience, Grace. I just have one final question: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

We are all connected. What affects one, affects all, although we may not see it at the time. But if I did have the power to change one thing in the world, I would eliminate hate. Hatred is the root cause of evil; hatred causes war. If hatred were eliminated, if love was the predominant emotion on earth, the world would be a better place for all of us to live.



Smoky Trudeau Zeidel is the author of two novels, On the Choptank Shores and The Cabin. She is also author of Observations of an Earth Mage, a photo/essay collection; and two books about writing. Smoky lives her life honoring Mother Earth through her writing, visual art, and spiritual practice. She lives in California with her husband Scott (a college music professor and classical guitarist), her daughter (a college student and actress), and a menagerie of animals, both domestic and wild, in a ramshackle cottage in the woods overlooking the San Gabriel Valley and Mountains beyond. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time hiking in the mountains and deserts, splashing in tidepools, and resisting the urge to speak in haiku.

You can find Smoky and her three blogs at

Click here to read an excerpt from: On the Choptank Shores

Click here for an interview with: Smoky Trudeau Zeidel

Manuel Enriques, Hero of Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes

Bertram: What is your story?

Manuel: My story is still being written, but a portion of it is chronicled in Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes.

Bertram: Who are you?

Manuel:  My name is Manuel Enriques and I am confidential aid to Governor Ferdinand Deza.

Bertram: Where and when do you live?

Manuel:  I live in the beautiful town of St. Augustine in the Florida territory.  The year is 1739.

Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?

Manuel:  What is a hero? A man who does what he must to protect that which he holds dear. I am such a man. If that makes me a hero, then I accept this role gladly.

Bertram: What is your problem in the story?

Manuel:  The problem is that there is a pesky British spy wandering around causing trouble. The beast is wily and sly, but I’ll catch him, have no doubt.

Bertram: Do you embrace conflict?

Manuel: Conflict is in many forms. If it is in the form of a beautiful woman, I embrace and make love to it. If it is in the form of this annoying little fly speck of a spy, then I spit on it and grind it to dust beneath my heel.

Bertram: How do your friends see you?

Manuel: I haven’t many friends, but those are very close. They see me as strong, intelligent, passionate with women, stubborn and capable. How do you see me, cariña?

Bertram: How do your enemies see you?

Manuel: My enemies never see me. They are dead long before that. If by chance they do catch a glimpse, it is as of the face of death.

Bertram: How does the author see you?

Manuel: Ah, my beautiful Dellani. If it were not for Gabriella, such stories we would write together! She sees me as romantic, passionate, handsome, slightly dangerous, and very well appointed.

Bertram: Well appointed?

Manuel: You will have to read my tale to find out what I mean by that.

Bertram: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Manuel: As accurately as any woman may know a man’s heart, yes.

Bertram: What are your achievements?

Manuel: That is perhaps not a question I should answer here, eh, cariña?

Bertram: What makes you happy?

Manuel: Would you like to me say something poetic like a beautiful sunset or the seagulls above the water? I am not poetic man. What makes me happy is very simple, my love for Gabriella. It drives me, moves me to be the best I may be.

Bertram: What are you afraid of?

Manuel: I am afraid that what I am capable of will one day consume me. And I am terrified that I will lose Gabriella.

Bertram: What, if anything, haunts you?

Manuel: In a soldier’s life, are there not many things to haunt him? What haunts me, cariña, is better left forgotten.

Bertram: Do you keep your promises?

Manuel: Always. It is a point of honor.

Bertram: Are you honorable?

Manuel: As much as I am able to be given circumstances.

Bertram: That sounds like a very cagey answer.

Manuel: And it is the only one you shall get.

Bertram: Do you have any distinguishing marks?

Manuel: Oh, yes. I am very well appointed.

Bertram: You would love for me to ask again what that means, wouldn’t you?

Manuel: No, I would like you to read the book and find out.

Bertram: What is your most prized possession?

Manuel: My most prized possession? Must I have just one? Perhaps my pistol. Or my best pair of boots? No, not really, although I am rather fond of these pants.

Bertram: Oh? Why is that?

(All PB gets is a sly grin and a slow, wicked wink.)

Bertram:  Where can I find to book so I can read more of your story?

Manuel: You can find it at Second Wind Publishing, LLC and at Amazon.

Archie Lees, hero of Uncorrected Proof by Louisiana Alba

Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?

Archie: Heroes? Do they really exist? Between rash fools and idle cowards, falls the almost accidental shadow of me. Violence is not my natural way, but I wasn’t going to be pushed around by Tony Gamenmann or any of them! Well so I thought. That said, I’m the only one who cared enough about Ellen’s disappearance to risk actually doing anything. I stood up to Hec, the ex-intelligence heavy, the fix-it man who tried to fit me up in that Manhattan doss-house – that was some corridor shaker – okay he’s piling on the years and pounds, but I hung him out to dry. 

Bertram: Do you run from conflict? 

Archie: No. But neither do I run towards it. 

Bertram: How do your enemies see you? 

Archie: That I’m easy. Hah! 

Bertram: How does your author, Louisiana Alba, see you?

Archie: I think he thinks if he gives me enough rope I’ll hang myself and save him a few pages of work. The truth is I know him better than he knows me and had his number throughout. He got me me in the end with that plot twister (deus ex macchina, if you ask me). Okay I didn’t see it coming and it was, I guess, in the story, but it left my fate ambiguous as a consequence and I’m not too happy about that. Though staying off death row, whatever my current circumstances, is a trade off I can live with. Tomorrow’s there to solve all that. 

Bertram: Do you think Alba portrayed you accurately? 

Archie: Lou tried hard but you know I think I’m a better writer and could have done a better job and will next time.

Bertram: What do you think of yourself? 

Archie: I am one hell of a writer.

Bertram: Do you have a hero? 

Archie: After Achilles you mean? Bukowski. Joyce, followed close by the list of literary heavies as long as 20th century literature is wide. 

Bertram: Why do you see yourself in Achilles? 

Archie: He was a man who knew how and when to procrastinate. Lou just wanted to be ‘literary’. Some authors are like that. Lou laughs when I say that. Can you hear him now? He reckons I’m a big head with a bad case of genre-itus. What does he know. It’s Homer, Shakespeare and me against Lou Alba. Who would you put your money on?

Bertram:. Do you have a goal? 

Archie: (Like Don Quixote) I want to be myself. 

Bertram: What are your achievements? 

Archie: Surviving my story not enough for you? 

Bertram: Do you keep your achievements to yourself? 

Archie: Apparently I do, or else I wouldn’t have ended up in the soup at the end. 

Bertram: What do you want? 

Archie: Justice. 

Bertram: What makes you happy? 

Archie: Giving that Hispanic kid fifty bucks in the games parlour after the kid beat me at coin soccer, that made me feel good. He didn’t believe my motives were honest, but he got the money (and he won it fair and square) so that’s what counts. 

Bertram: What are you afraid of? 

Archie: That there’s no end to injustice.

Bertram: What makes you angry? 

Archie: Injustice. 

Bertram: What makes you sad? 

Archie: Injustice. 

Bertram: What do you regret? 

Archie: That I wasn’t smart enough to do enough about the injustices I saw. 

Bertram: What, if anything, haunts you? 

Archie: My own words. That and getting that editorial job instead of telling Ellen the truth right out about my novel… that haunts as much as it hurts. 

Bertram: Are you lucky? 

Archie: Do I sound like it? It’s not all my fault though. With Lou as advocate a character need eyes in the back of his head. 

Bertram: Have you ever failed at anything? 

Archie: I should have killed that scribbler myself – I got blamed for it anyway. 

Bertram: Have you ever betrayed anyone? 

Archie: Apart from myself, no, well not in the author’s version of me anyway. Did I betray Hec?  I took his money and knocked him into a sad heap in that hotel, but as it wasn’t his money anyway and he was nothing to me, why should I think twice about him? He should thank me; I surprised him into a character recognition of his own. You know what they say, when the going gets tough the tough get going. I got going. Achilles could have said that. As for Ellen, a self-interested sort like her can look out for herself. Alessandro? You can’t betray someone that immoral. Ditto for Tony G  and Menny Lowes. Cal? That’s where it gets to the most complicated. When I heard he was dead I thought: I have really done it now. But he wasn’t dead. I should have realised he was too smart for all of them. And who’s on the cover my book?  Cal.

Bertram: Are you honorable? 

Archie: I thought I was too powerless to be anything else. I am and was surprisingly honest, and will be in the future, just you wait and see.

Bertram: Are you healthy? 

Archie: Rudely. 

Bertram: Do you have any handicaps? 

Archie: Apart from my way of thinking? Maybe I trust others I have regard for a little too much. I’m a bit naive like that. But you know we characters are often thrust into these situations without help. Lou kept so much of the backstory locked up. What’s a protagonist supposed to do in the court of literary adventure without knowledge of crucial backstory facts? 

Bertram: Is there anything about your background you’d like to discuss? 

Archie: I’ll claim the fifth on that.

Bertram: Was there a major turning point in your life? 

Archie: Finding out there were scribblers out there mean enough to steal another scribbler’s words. There were two in my case. 

Bertram: What are the last three books you read? 

Archie: The Year of the Death of Riccardo Reis. Ham on Rye. The Fall. In the Midst of Death. Not necessarily in that order though, if I recall correctly…

Bertram: Where can someone find out more about you?

Archie: At Elephantears Press or from Louisiana Alba

See also: Uncorrected Proof by Louisiana Alba