Interview with Tamara Carrington of “Alawahea: The Azellian Affairs, Book One” by Sara L Daigle

25842569Who are you?

I am Tamara Carrington, college student, young woman, daughter, girlfriend

Where do you live?

Denver, Colorado, Earth

Are you the hero of your own story?

Others may see it differently, but I don’t see myself as a hero, just someone who is doing the best she can

What is your problem in the story?

I meet these aliens and am getting to know them. It’s turning my life upside down, especially when I fall in love…and learn a bunch of stuff about my family and myself that I probably should have guessed, but never realized.

Do you embrace conflict?

I don’t like conflict and tend to avoid it, but if I have to, I will face it.

How do you see yourself?

A little shy, avoiding the lime-light, but deep down I do know I am strong enough to face anything that comes into my life.

How does the author see you?

The author sees me as much more than I see myself. I have navigated some very intense, life changing experiences and come out stronger in the end. I forget that sometimes.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

She did a wonderful job of portraying me. I was surprised at some of the strengths she showed.

Do you have a hero?

Mother Teresa

Did you get along with your parents?

I did get along with my parents; I love them both dearly. I sometimes wondered what they were hiding, because it was obvious there was more going on than I knew, but I didn’t let it bother me. Mostly.

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

The hidden stuff that I didn’t discover until the Azellians came into my life.

What in your past would you like to forget?

A certain incident that happened in my late teens. I didn’t get past that incident until I met Greg, a wonderful Azellian healer.

What in your past would you like others to forget?

That same incident. I had to leave the high school I was at because what had happened was so disturbing.

Who was your first love?

My dog, Brindle. I fell in love with her when I was six and she was my constant companion until I was eighteen, when we had to put her down. I still miss her.

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?

Meeting the Azellians (the aliens). My whole life changed the day that they walked into the Registrar’s office. They introduced so much into my life: love, joy, fear, change, the airing of family secrets that had been poisoning our family. While it also ushered in adulthood (I’m not sure I was ready for that), I could greet what came with a clearer sense of myself and my abilities.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

The day I agreed to start spending time with the Azellians. They tell me that what ended up happening would have happened anyway, but sometimes I wonder if they were telling me the truth. Then I remember all the wonderful friends I have made and the intense connections and realize that I really am grateful that they came into my life.

What is your favorite scent? Why?

Lilacs. They remind me of spring.

What is your favorite color? Why?

Blue. It relaxes me, makes me realize there is more to the world than just what is happening in my life.

“Alawahea: The Azellian Affairs, Book One”
Author: Sara L Daigle (
Amazon: :


Interview with the Characters In FROM THE SKY by J.E. Nicassio

From the SkyLucien, Did you get along with your parents?

I never met my parents. Had they lived things would have been a lot different. I would have hoped we would have gotten along.

Lucien, Do you have any hobbies?

I taught myself to play the guitar. And I enjoy calculating the distance between nebula’s within this galaxy and others. A hobby of mine that I find humorous is going down the cereal aisle at Walmart and with my mind I throw the boxes off the shelve at shoppers… something my uncle frowns upon.

Lucien, Was there a major turning point in your life?

When my uncle told my siblings and myself we were not human.

Lucien, What is your most prized possession? Why?

My prized possession is my crystal I wear around my neck. It belonged to my parents.

Samantha, How do you envision your future?

How do I envision my future? I’m not sure what the futures hold but I hope somewhere in it is Lucien.

Samantha, Will you tell us five items in your purse?

Oh geez…What’s in my purse? It would have to be a pop tart, a rubber band, lip gloss, a half-eaten protein bar, and a pack of gum.

Samantha, What in your past would you like to forget?

The accident…I wish I would have never answered Emma’s text. Things would have been a lot different. But then again I might have never met Lucien. I don’t know.

Cassiel, Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?

I wouldn’t actually call it born. “News Worthy?” Conspiracy theorists would agree it was the Roswell Crash…Ha ha.

Eden, What is your most prized possession? Why?

Ask any girl at school and she would agree it’s my hair. It’s perfect!

Michael, What are you afraid of?

Don’t tell this to my brother Lucien or Samantha, but I am afraid that someday soon our secret will be discovered and there’ll be nothing Lucien, I or my uncle or Division Six will be able to do…It will be out of our hands. I’m afraid Samantha could be in danger or worse killed.

Gabriel, Do you have any skills?

Hell yeah! I’m a shape Shifter and I’m not talking werewolf! I soar like an eagle.

Daniel, Have you ever failed at anything?

When Lucien was taken by the government. I should have seen it coming. That’s my biggest failure. I let him down.

Where can people learn more about you?

Readers can learn more about us from Second Wind Publishing and!product/prd15/3378588341/from-the-sky by visiting J.E. Nicassio’s websites and blog.

Interview with J.E.Nicassio, Author of FROM THE SKY

From the SkyWhat is your book about?

From The Sky is about the relationship between Lucien Foster a being from another world and a young woman named Samantha Hunter who is dealing with a tragedy that changed her life forever. Lucien and Samantha come together by accident. From The Sky is a story about redemption, forgiveness and a friendship that grows into a love.

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

I wanted to write this story for years. I day dreamed and brainstormed on how I would start the story of Lucien and Sam. I always felt there was something more than the stars in the sky.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

My sons inspired me to write From The Sky I always believed in life on other planets. It wasn’t until one day while having a bon-fire with my sons that I came up with the idea. My son had an unusual experience when he was child that woke him from a deep sleep that forever changed him. He saw a light in his room that came in from the window. What-ever it was it was not normal. That is where I got the idea of Lucien his name which mean ‘From The light’.

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

A lot of myself is hidden in the characters in the book. I would have to say there is a little of me in Sam and Lucien. I suffered a lot of personal tragedy in my life. I struggled with depression just like Sam. However, I overcame it, but I had no Lucien to help me through it. Some of my goofy habits found their way into Sam’s life like her hair twirling. I am a bit of Tom Boy like Sam. I would have to say Lucien is my idea of the perfect boyfriend. I wish I would have had a boyfriend like him as a young woman. I had a lot of sibling rivalry growing up even full fledge fights a lot like Lucien and Cassiel.

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

The Protagonist is a rebellious 17-year-old teenager that likes to have a good time without thinking of the consequences of her actions until it’s too late. She goes through a lot of changes, which made her so appealing to readers. She does not trust easy, especially when Lucien is involved. She is very cautious but once you win her trust she will do anything for her loved ones. Lucien is every super hero woven into one. He is strong, smart, and will grow on you. At first, he is odd looking not appealing at all and the more Sam begins to like him the more inviting he becomes.

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

I did a lot of research on UFO’S and Mufon. I even took my Field Investigator exam, so I could be better prepared to begin the writing process. I watch hours of Ancient Aliens, The History Channel and UFO’s Hunter. I spoke with the park ranger from Cibola National Park in New Mexico in length about the terrain of the Sandia Mountains. John Ventre Pennsylvania State Director of MUFON gave me valuable resources about major sightings in Pennsylvania and Colorado he even help me with a major plot dilemma my characters were involved without giving any spoilers it had to do with radar and Groom Lake within Area 51. I spend hours reading on the different types of ET’s and UFO phenomena before I began to write From The Sky.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

Writing From The Sky has definitely changed my life. I became a MUFON Field Investigator. I am activity involved in managing the local Allegheny and Westmoreland County MUFON Facebook page. I have a more open mind when it comes to things in life we don’t necessarily understand or see.

What was the first story you remember writing?

It was a short story I had to write in nine grade English class. I wrote a horror story. I enjoyed writing it so much. It was my first A! I actually thanked my teacher Mrs. Vanyo in a newspaper interview.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

I hope my readers will relate to my characters, especially Samantha. We all lose people we love at certain times in our life and sometimes more than we think we can handle. The week before I started writing From The Sky, I lost my sister. Four years prior my brother and two years ago my little sister and then my father died last May. We all have tragedy in our life, and often we use substances, some legal and some not to cope. And I hope my readers have someone in their lives they can count on to help him. If not I hope, my story will help.

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

My biggest struggle to overcome in my writing career is the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome. It attacked me when my writing was just beginning. Luckily, I finished my first novel before it did most of its damage. The disease causes severe dry eyes that impair vision, and cause severe fatigue and joint pain that limit my writing. I write when my eyes will let me do so. I am going to try Dragon software text to type program hopefully it will help if not I will write when I can. I started a blog called Sjogren’s and Me to bring awareness and educate people on this faceless disease.

Where do you get the names for your characters?

Originally, Samantha was Sara in the first draft which I got from the Bible, but I liked the idea of calling Samantha Sam for short. Lucien means light, and his siblings are angel names. I named Lucien’s sister after the Garden of Eden because of her beauty. I always wondered if angels were beings from other worlds instead of celestial beings from heaven.

J. E. NicassioWhere can people learn more about your books?

Readers can learn more about my books from Second Wind Publishing and!product/prd15/3378588341/from-the-sky by visiting my websites and blog.

Marc Douglas, author of “The Slingshot Series”

What is your book about?

“The Slingshot Series” is an adventure set in the future. Issues today (environment damage, shrinking resources, inept politicians, bizarre dictators, religious fanatics and economic chaos) are projected into an era when Earth will no longer support our bludgeoning population. A sister planet is found, a method to travel is discovered (the Slngshot Principle) and two of our first long range missions crash and are marooned on an alien planet. Not quite the start they envisioned but a clean slate and new beginning regardless. A story of courage, passion, faith and fortitude.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

2001 was a character building year for our country and a personally challenging time for me as well. September 11th in particular left a permanent footprint on our collective consciousness.

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

“Slingshot” and its sequel, “The Road to Damari”, took over ten years to complete. “Right of Way” is complete but is still being massaged. I would expect it to be published late winter or early spring next year. While initially thinking in terms of a trilogy, an intriquing story line has come to mind that should make an interesting fourth book so by the end of 2013 or early 2014 it should be ready to see the light of day.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why? Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Leader and Shawna are characters I’ve grown attached to. One feature on our sister planet that differs from Earth is the new world has a purple sun. Its light promotes healing and growth. On an earlier flight then the story of our survivors, another mission has made it only to crash as well. This time the only survivors are black Labrador retrievers. The purple sun enlarges their arteries which in turn carries more blood to their brains. This increased blood flow allows them to use a significant larger portion of their brains which makes them more intelligent and able to converse through telepathy. If you love dogs, this will be your cup of tea.

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

“Slingshot” can be read on many levels. I admire Dean Koontz’s tenacity for good to trump evil every time. These folks marooned on an alien planet with no technology (lost when their ship crashed) just don’t survive, they flourish. Yet, life can not be predicted or controlled. There are difficult challenges in their new world, some natural, some man made. The story was written to be enjoyed. Some roller coasters will offer more than just a ride, but that is always up to the rider.

Have you written any other books?

“Soon” and “Blindsight” are thrillers inspired by Dean Koontz. I have a new novel coming based on “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

Do you keep a pen and notepad on your bedside table?

No but I find sleep great for creating and polishing plots.

Does writing come easy for you?

Writing is a craft that improves with time. Imagination and creativity come easily to me. Writing is a pleasure when coupled with the word processor. A computer allows words to stew, thicken and be seasoned at leisure. Generally I iron wrinkles out of my work by going over the manuscript twenty times or so. The years spent writing has given me a great respect for authors. I have found libraries and book stores to be magical. They are spiritual almost mystical places where people long gone reach across barriers of time and converse with me through black lines on a white back ground.

What one word describes how you feel when you write?


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

My books write themselves. Of course I’ve an initial path set in mind but I find the characters will demand the ultimate destination.

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

I always have three or four stories to work on simultaneously. Going from one story to another allows me to go back into a subject with fresher eyes.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Lucinda Moebius, Author of “Raven’s Song”

Thank you for inviting me to post on your blog. Pat. I am excited to start off my book tour by telling your reader’s a little bit about myself and my craft. I hope I can do justice to your blog today and answer some of the questions you have for me. There is so much I can say about me as an author, the beautiful craft of being a wordsmith and the novels I write.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The concept for this novel is we are all living our lives in days of turmoil. So much happens every day and we need to live in those times. Our lives are defined by the world around us and we can only learn to live by how we react to those events. The Haven Novels follow the Taylor family through five generations and tells the story of how this family learns to live in times of turmoil and war. The first two novels in the series are available for purchase.

What is your book about?

I actually have two novels available through Amazon. They are the beginning of a series about a family living in the dystopia of the not too distant future.

Echoes of Savanna

The first novel is about Savanna Taylor, a medical doctor in 2036, the same year terrorists release a series of plagues and viruses into the world. She is a nineteen year old Brain Trust whose task it is to find a cure for the diseases and develop vaccines to prevent their further spread. The world is thrown in turmoil and Savanna needs to find a way to survive with her sanity and family intact. She needs to find a safe Haven for herself and for those she loves. Her role in life is to build a safe Haven and a foundation for her family. She is the Parent Generation.

Raven’s Song

The second book is about Raven, Savanna’s impulsive, impetuous daughter.

Raven was born in a time of turmoil and war. She decides her calling in life is to be a soldier. Sacrificing the shelter and security of Haven, Raven puts herself at risk to save others. She finds herself in perilous situations and thrust into the role of leadership despite her own misgivings. The Siren’s Song of Haven is continuously singing to her. She could be safe, protected, sheltered and warm if she returned to Haven and its stone walls. But, is it her destiny to live in the walls of Haven, or is there another destiny in store for this child of Haven?

How long did it take you to write your book?

These novels started in a High School Creative writing class. I was teaching my students how to write short stories and we were all writing together. I happened to find an article on the Internet about the use of Animal DNA and stem cells to repair human genes. This concept fascinated me and I started to develop a character based on this idea. The story started to build from there and I spent the next three years researching ideas. In the end, one character developed into a five novel series I call “The Generation Novels”. Each novel covers twenty years of one person’s life. In other words: one generation.

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

I started developing the story and researching information. The novel is Science Fiction and has a strong medical thread. I felt I wouldn’t be able to do it justice if I didn’t spend some quality time researching the information. I love learning and so I absorbed everything I could about the subject I was writing about. It took about three years of researching and writing before the first draft of Echoes of Savanna was completed and ready to be submitted for publication. It only took about a year and a half to write Raven’s Song, although I needed to research for her story as well. My research came from multiple sources. I have been a teacher and a student most of my adult life and I have learned to use research tools effectively over the years.

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

More than anything I want my readers to enjoy my stories. These novels are about living in hard times and finding a place in this world. Life is hard and it is painful. I want my readers to realize living in hard times just polishes us and makes us shine with more beauty and strength than we could if we lived a soft, easy life.

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

My best writing happens between one and four in the morning. This is quite a challenge for me since I have a real job. I teach during the day and sometimes find it difficult to find time to write. Fortunately I manage to find the time to write on the weekends and during my breaks away from school. I find I am a better teacher when I write. My students know I am putting the skills and lessons I teach them into practice when they see the words come alive on the page. I have inspired many young people to pursue their dreams because they see me doing it every day. I set a goal to write a little everyday and read a little every day. It is impossible to set a limit to word count, but as long as I can spend a little quality time with my characters I am happy.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

The series is designed for a variety of readers. When I first started writing I thought I was writing mainly for teenage girls and young women. I actually am discovering my readers cover the spectrum of readers from actually am discovering my readers cover the spectrum of readers from teenagers boys and girls to men and women of any age.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

My last word of advice is the same advice I received when I was a young student of the art. If the first thing you think of when you wake up is you want to write and the last thing you think when you go to bed is you want to write then you are a writer.

Where can people learn more about your books?

I have a website,, where readers can go to find more information about me, my books and blog about what it is to be a reader and a writer. They can also find me on facebook: Lucinda Hawks Moebius


Buy on Amazon:  Echoes of Savanna:

Raven’s Song:

About the author:

Lucinda Moebius grew up in the mountains of Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Her mother taught her to read when she was four years old and since that time books have been her constant companions. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Teaching, a Master’s in Educational Leadership and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education. Lucinda supports her writing habit by teaching High School and College. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, stepson and their dog and cat.



Dellani Oakes, Author of Lone Wolf

What is your book about?

Lone Wolf is set in the year 3032 when humans have conquered long range space flight and have settled into many parts of this and other galaxies. Hovering in space far from civilization, members of the Mining Guild, Marc Slatterly & Matilda Dulac, wait for their miners to return from the planet they’ve been working. Unbeknownst to them, one of their miners has harvested Trimagnite, a toxic and volatile liquid ore. Exposure to Trimagnite causes madness and death. Their ship isn’t prepared to handle this load.

Enter Wilhelm VanLipsig, the Lone Wolf. He is assigned by the Mining Guild Commandant, John Riley, to pick up the ore and carry it back to the Mining Guild home planet. He and Marc have a history, apparently one ending in violence. Despite this, the two men agree to work together with Matilda in order to track down the villainous Commandant Riley before he can wreak havoc on the galaxy.

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

The characters were in my mind many years ago. The idea for the three main characters of Marc, Wil and Matilda came from a role playing game my husband and I played. I had originally set out with  the idea of recording their adventures in game, but that changed almost immediately. The characters took on a life of their own and insisted on telling a different story. What they came up with is far better than what I had initially had in mind.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

As I mentioned above, the idea came from a “Traveler” game we played back in 1982. However, the characters apparently thought that scenario rather lame and came at me with other ideas. I like theirs better.

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

Matilda is a lot like me in some respects. Her fierce devotion and the way she takes up for those she loves is totally me. Oddly enough, some of the aspects of Wil’s personality come from me as well. Mostly, he and Marc mirror aspects of my husband’s personality.

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

Of the three main characters in “Lone Wolf”, I love Wil the most. I’m very fond of Marc and Matilda, but Wil stole my heart the minute he walked through the airlock. He’s smart, sexy, handsome, wicked and not scared of anything. He always has a contingency plan and he’s easily the most paranoid character I’ve ever created. His paranoia keeps him alive and one step ahead of his enemies. As long  as he’s lived, that’s quite a feat.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

I think that Caprilla Mayeese, the enormous Fellician warrior is the most unusual and likeable. Fellicians are giant cat people who speak and walk upright. They are almost all mercenaries and fight like no others in the galaxy. Caprilla is the leader of a small group of mercenaries, all Fellicians. He’s about eight feet tall, with sleek black fur and penetrating blue eyes. He’s got a quick wit and a wonderful sense of humor. He’s also loyal to the death and will gladly kill anyone who gets in his way or threatens his friends.

How long did it take you to write your book?

“Lone Wolf” took a few months to write, but far longer to edit and perfect. It was one of my earliest novels and it took me awhile to get my style down. I didn’t really figure out what I was doing until   about the fourth book in the series, so each of them requires a lot of perfecting. Now, I can sit down and write a book that’s close to finished with the first draft.

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

I had quite a lot in mind when I started to write, but the characters took me in a totally different direction. I can honestly say that absolutely nothing in “Lone Wolf” was in my mind except for the three main characters. What’s on the page came from Wil, Matilda, Marc and the others telling their story in their own way.

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

It’s hard to research something set so far in the future. Since I created my own worlds and locations, I didn’t have to study maps or anything like that. However, in order to get the Mining Guild and Galactic Marine ranks correct, I had to do some research into military rank. Most of my research is done on-line as it’s the most easily available. Thank got for the Internet!

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

The characters delineate themselves. I come up with a body for the slot, give it a name and it develops its own personality and characteristics. Even minor characters speak loudly wanting a name and an occupation. Some of these seemingly unimportant people later become major players in the series. One character in particular that comes to mind is introduced in book two, “Shakazhan”. I thought Dr. Stanley Savolopis was unimportant, merely a cog in the corporate wheel. By book three, “The Maker”, he’s a main mover and shaker.

Does writing come easy for you?

Writing comes very easily for me. The ideas come faster than I can get them down, which is why I have so many unfinished stories. I’ve learned to work on one until the ‘muse’ grows silent, and move on. I come back and work on each story a little at a time until it’s done.

Other stories come to me all at once and I write until I’m finished. One in particular I think of—I’d finished my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project early and got the idea for an entirely different book. I started it Thanksgiving afternoon and finished four days later.

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?

I greatly dislike killing a character and avoid it if I can. However, there are times when a character must die to advance the plot. The one who upset me the most was a guy named Murdock Pickford. He’s in a prequel to my sci-fi series. Murdock is a nice guy. He’s kind, capable, loving and forgiving. He’s engaged to a woman who’s pregnant with another man’s baby & he agrees to raise her as his own. He’s thrilled about the baby, excited about getting married—and he has to die, horribly, brutally, for the book to move forward. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried when I had to kill him off.

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’ve got a list in the back of one of my notebooks with story ideas that one day I might get to. Let me finish the 54 novels and short stories I’ve got pending before I take them on. (Gosh, didn’t realize it was so many. Kinda sorry I counted them up.)

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

Apparently 54, cause that’s how many are unfinished.

Have you written any other books?

I have one other published novel, “Indian Summer”, also available from Second Wind. “The Lone Wolf” is the first in my sci-fi series.  I’ve written six books in the series so far & am working on a 7th. Finished books not in the series—27 and probably 20 short stories.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My novels are available through my publisher, Second Wind Publishing at  “Indian Summer” and “Lone Wolf” are also available at where it can be purchased in paperback or Kindle format. The books are on Smashwords and a variety of other websites.

To find out more about me and my books…

Check out my blogs:

Or look for me on Facebook:


Click here to read an excerpt from: Lone Wolf

Click here to read the first chapter of: Lone Wolf

Click here for an interview with: Wil VanLipsig from Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes

J. Conrad Guest, Author of One Hot January

What is your book about?

One Hot January is about an alternate history in which the United States fails to enter World War II in time to help the Allies defeat the Tripartite before Germany becomes too strong to defeat.

Imagine a future in which Germany has perfected genetic engineering and is systematically eradicating whole nations in an effort to secure the empire Hitler vowed would last a thousand years; a future in which Hitler lies in a cryogenic chamber, awaiting treatment for a cancer for which a cure has been discovered; a future in which a faction of genetically engineered people opposed to Hitler’s tyranny travel back in time to amend future history by influencing Churchill to withhold from U.S. Intelligence the vital decrypt specifying the date and time of the raid on Pearl Harbor. Imagine a fast-talking private investigator from Brooklyn, New York named Joe January who uncovers the seemingly impossible plot by grudgingly agreeing to help a pretty young woman locate her missing father—a Professor of Archeology from Columbia College who must prevent the secret of Hitler’s location from falling into the wrong hands …

Imagine all of the above and you have the ingredients for One Hot January and its sequel, January’s Thaw (forthcoming later this year). Populated with characters both fictional as well as factual, the plot is based on the premise that Winston Churchill did indeed withhold such a decrypt from U.S. Intelligence—a decrypt that lies locked away in a box, to remain unopened for seventy-five years. In One Hot January, Churchill advises Roosevelt of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. With the foreknowledge, the Japanese fleet aborts its attack, thereby delaying U.S. involvement in the war until it was too late to defeat Nazi Germany. Hitler’s detractors from the future believe that by allowing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to take place, President Roosevelt would have no choice but to declare war, without the support of Congress, or else incur the outrage of the American public. So they travel back through time to launch a conspiracy that results in our living this alternate reality.

One Hot January takes into account the theory of what many historians have long suspected: a plot to draw the U.S. into World War II. By the end of One Hot January, January is transported one hundred years into the future where, in January’s Thaw, he must survive by his century-old sagacity in our modern world.

Filled with mystery and intrigue, action and romance, the January series is speculative science fiction on a large scale.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

In my youth I had a voracious appetite for science fiction—the late Alfred Bester and Samuel R. Delany were my favorites and I later discovered Gene Wolfe and Stephen R. Donaldson. January’s Paradigm (the first book in the trilogy) is about a science fiction novelist who wrote the best selling One Hot January and is endeavoring to complete its sequel, January’s Thaw, when he discovers, firsthand, his wife’s infidelity. Unable to cope with her duplicity, he drinks himself into an elaborate fantasy in which he assumes the persona of the fictional Joe January in his books. So One Hot January and January’s Thaw are the books within the book (January’s Paradigm).

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

It’s been said that writers write what they know. However, I read recently that authors should stretch their comfort zones or, to turn the phrase, know what they write, which is not the same thing and could suggest that if one wants to write about a serial killer one must become a serial killer.

I’m for stretching myself even if my themes of love, infidelity and loss recur; but I doubt very much I’ll ever write from the female perspective (never say never!). Transgender writing is tricky. I’ve read a few who managed to pull it off; but that’s not to say I found them totally convincing.

I recently work-shopped an excerpt from a novel written by a woman in my old writers group and suggested her male character’s description of a building in (if I recall correctly) seventeenth century Venice had a distinct female voice. Her male protagonist described (I’m paraphrasing) “beautiful stone work,” and “finely hand-crafted iron trim.” If I’m writing that description, I’d describe the stone work as “handsome,” the ironwork as “wrought by the hands of a skilled artisan.” Subtle differences, with which others in the group disagreed, pointing out the third person narrative made my point moot. So it’s largely subjective.

Joe January and I have a lot in common. We’re both quick-witted smart asses, outspoken, observant and, to a degree, arrogant. But in January I created the bad boy I never was. That’s not to say I haven’t broken a heart or two along the way; but unlike January, I never made a habit of patting myself on the back for the pain I caused others. January has a good heart and does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, except, the result of a childhood trauma I won’t reveal here, where women are concerned. When he loses the one woman who meant the most to him and he’s robbed of the chance to tell her of his true feelings, he recognizes the value of what he lost and redeems himself by paying it forward.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It took me ten years to write the January trilogy. Sadly, during the time I was writing One Hot January both my parents died. As a result, I lost my focus and rhythm for a while, so it alone took me nearly six years to complete.

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

One Hot January takes place in New York City, circa 1947 and 2047. I’ve been to New York several times; but some of January’s haunts—the nightclubs he visits back in the 1940s—I researched, mostly on the Internet. I bought a tour guidebook that helped with locations and streets.

I hit a wall about two-thirds of the way through, a real writer’s block. When a woman I was seeing at that time took a business trip to NYC I went along and we visited many of the places January frequents in OHJ. It was my intent to catch up with him. When we returned to Michigan I wrote a short story, A Case of Writer’s Block, which details January’s encounter with his author in Central Park. The block is chronicled from the perspective of the character; in this case, January had been relegated to Central Park, where his life had quite literally come to a complete standstill. However, after his encounter with his author, he is assured that his life outside the park would continue. I got back on track to finish OHJ and finished January’s Thaw less than two years later. As a side note, A Case of Writer’s Block won a contest recently.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

Many of the characters about whom I write are based on people I’ve known or observed over the years—my mother and father make appearances in some form or another, childhood pals, old girlfriends. The names are changed of course, a few nuances given or tweaked to ensure any resemblance to actual persons living or deceased is entirely coincidental.

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

The January books are composed of a number of messages. In January’s Paradigm the reader learns that there are people in the world—men and women alike—who are not very nice; that men don’t have a corner on the mean market. Men, too, can be hurt through infidelity. One Hot January shows that no government is benign and that we must care about a world we will not see. While January’s Thaw is largely about redemption, that it’s never too late to close the door on the past and to live in the moment, for tomorrow.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

At the risk of sounding elitist, I write to please myself first and foremost and hope that my audience finds me.

I love reading novels that are of a literary nature, those that don’t follow a formula. Sadly, they’re not often found on the best seller list. I’m not a mercenary—I don’t write simply to turn a profit. If it happens, great, but then I can say, I did it my way.

The reader I wish to reach seeks something a little different—something that combines or mixes genres. A reader who enjoys the turn of a phrase, who believes how a story is told is as important as the story itself. I hope my readers remember the stories I tell long after they’ve closed the cover for the last time.

Have you written any other books?

Yes, I’ve already mentioned January’s Paradigm and January’s Thaw. Last year Second Wind published Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings. Last year I finished The Cobb Legacy, a murder mystery romance based on the shooting death of baseball legend Ty Cobb’s father by his mother, which I hope will find its way into print. I just finished writing my sixth novel a couple weeks ago—A Retrospect in Death.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Readers can learn more about me and my literary world at my website. I’m also on Facebook.

See also
Interview with Joe January, hero of One Hot January by J. Conrad Guest
Excerpt from One Hot January by J. Conrad Guest
Chapter One – One Hot January by J. Conrad Guest

Click here to buy: One Hot January

R. Anthony Mahan, author of But Whether Men Do

What is your book about?

“But Whether Men Do” is essentially a story about the inhumanity of man. It opens with a reclusive scientist by the name of Dr. Richard Danson unveiling his invention: the SHEM (Synthetic Humanoid Emulation Machine), a robot capable of near-perfectly mimicking a human being. Society is instantly distrustful of these robots, and as the book progresses we examine how their presence impacts the world around them. People are afraid of the SHEM, and perfectly willing to be cruel to them. The SHEMs effectively reveal people’s true nature. All the while, the stress of being at the center of such controversy is gradually taking its toll on Danson’s psyche.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I began work on “But Whether Men Do” on July 1, 2008. The book first became available for sale on July 25, 2010, so all in all it took a little over two years.

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

For this book, none at all, strangely enough. When I first started the book I had no idea what it was going to be about. I just started typing and decided to see where it went from there. Once I had a clearer idea, though, I began to formulate ideas and plan ahead. (For example, “Danson Robotics is a business, right? What would they need to do to make a profit?”) While this semi-improvisational style can work well, it’s difficult to pull off properly, and I think from now on my future writing will be more properly planned.

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

At its core, I suppose my goal with “But Whether Men Do” was to return the science fiction genre to its roots of exploring the potential effects science and technology can have on the world. However, while the science fiction writings of the Golden Age were of generally optimistic fare, promising a shimmering technological utopia, I chose to weave a tale of a grimmer future. This occurs not because the technology is evil or flawed, but simply because no amount of technology could take those traits away from human nature. I want this book to make people think about that. As Franz Kafka once said, “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?”

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

I try to write a decent amount every day, at the least a paragraph. However, I have no established daily quota for myself. In the end, the amount of words written each day isn’t as important as the routine itself. I’ve abandoned many a book before by telling myself “This is good enough for now, I’ll do more some other day”, only for that other day to never come. If I make absolutely sure to write a little bit every day, then with enough patience I’ll be able to finish it.

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

I try to write in the mornings, when it’s possible. I have a habit of waking up very early, around 7 AM. Recently I’ve even begun waking at 6! As I mentioned in my previous answer, I don’t like to put my writing off for fear that I’ll get stuck in an endless bout of procrastination and abandon the book entirely. If I get my daily writing session out of the way as quickly as possible, I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

What are you working on right now?

My second novel is currently in the planning stages. I hope to actually start writing it this summer. I would do it now, but at the moment I’m not confident I would be able to successfully juggle school and a book. At the moment I’m not comfortable with divulging any specific information about my next book, but I already have a clear idea of what will happen, meaning I’ll be better prepared for when the time to write finally arrives.

Does writing come easy for you?

Yes and no. I certainly like writing, and when I have a good idea I’m anxious to get it out as quickly as possible. While I don’t have a problem with the actual writing, at least for the most part, it’s often difficult for me to keep my attention. Writing is enjoyable, but it’s still hard work, and it’s not uncommon for me to tire myself out and feel the need to get out of my chair and walk around for a little while. Taking frequent breaks is important for any aspiring writer.

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 rarely make physical notes about future stories, and the ones I do make have been fairly brief. However, I have a very good memory in regards to details for potential stories. I’ve already spent a good while conceptualizing not one, but two future novels. Even before I’ve started writing my second book, I already have a fair amount of ideas for my third. Hopefully once I’ve brought these ideas on paper everyone else will enjoy them as much as I do.

Wil VanLipsig from “Lone Wolf” by Dellani Oakes

The year is 3032 and mankind has expanded far beyond Earth’s galaxy. Matilda Dulac is a member of the Galactic Mining Guild. With her lover, Marc Slatterly, she works in a small mining ship in deep space. Their well ordered life if suddenly thrown into chaos when one miner arrives with a load of Trimagnite, a highly toxic liquid ore. Enter the Lone Wolf. Wil VanLipsig, known as the Lone Wolf, arrives to take the Trigmagnite off their hands. Is it a coincidence for him to show up on Marc’s ship years after Marc thought he’d killed Wil? Or is this the beginning of something far more insidious? Lone Wolf is the first book in a new science fiction series by Dellani Oakes.

Bertram: What is your story?

VanLipsig: What makes you think there is one?

Bertram: Who are you?

VanLipsig: Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, Galactic Marines, retired.

Bertram: Where do you live?

VanLipsig: On my ship, the Loup Garou.

Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?

VanLipsig: I’m the hero of every story.

Bertram: What is your problem in the story?

VanLipsig: Some psycho son-of-a-bitch wants me dead and then he wants to take over the universe. The usual.

Bertram: Do you have a problem the wasn’t mentioned in the story?

VanLipsig: Yeah, I’m 86 years old, look like I’m 26 and I’ve been changed so much by the Marine doctors, I don’t think I’m even quite human anymore.

Bertram: Do you embrace or run from conflict?

VanLipsig: I embrace and make love to conflict. It is the pattern of my life to live in and tame chaos. I never run from conflict. I look it in the eye and roar until it backs the hell down.

Bertram: How do you see yourself?

VanLipsig: I am death, pure and simple. If you see me coming, then you’ve got about 10 seconds to say your prayers.

Bertram: How do your friends see you?

VanLipsig: I don’t really have any friends.

Bertram: How do your enemies see you?

VanLipsig: My enemies don’t see me. I kill them before they know I’m there.

Bertram: How does your author, Dellani Oakes, see you?

VanLipsig: The author thinks I’m dead sexy, smoking hot, seriously jacked and dangerously seductive. And she’s right.

Bertram: What do you think of yourself?

VanLipsig: I’m the coldest hearted bastard this side of the galaxy.

Bertram: Do you have a goal?

VanLipsig: Get the other bastards before they get me.

Bertram: Do you keep your achievements to yourself?

VanLipsig: I don’t talk about them, most are classified. The only ones who know what I’ve done are the others who were there with me — that’s if they lived through it. Most of them are dead.

Bertram: Do you have any special strengths?

VanLipsig: My battle plans have made the textbooks and are required reading at the officer’s academy.  One general said, “VanLipsig’s battle plans are a symphony of destruction with each movement bathed in the blood of the enemy.” I have to admit, I’m proud of that.

Bertram: Do you have any special weaknesses?

VanLipsig: I can’t carry a tune.

Bertram: What do you want to be?

VanLipsig: You mean when I grow up? Honey, I’m so old now, no one knows what to do with me. I’m making this up as I go along.

Bertram: What do you believe?

VanLipsig: I believe in honor and I adhere to it. Not everyone agrees with my code of ethics though.

Bertram: What makes you happy?

VanLipsig: Matilda makes me happy.

Bertram: What are you afraid of?

VanLipsig: Losing Matilda. She’s the only thing that’s important to me.

Bertram: Who is Matilda?

VanLipsig: Matilda Dulac. My true love.

Bertram: What makes you angry?

VanLipsig: John Riley makes me angry. The rat-faced bastard is making me look bad.

Bertram: What do you regret?

VanLipsig: I regret that I wasn’t there for the people who needed me.

Bertram: What, if anything, haunts you?

VanLipsig: The faces of everyone I’ve ever had to kill.

Bertram: Are you lucky?

VanLipsig: For now. Eventually that luck will play out.

Bertram: Has anyone ever betrayed you?

VanLipsig: Yeah. And I killed her for it.

Bertram: Have you ever betrayed anyone?

VanLipsig: Never. That would be dishonorable.

Bertram: Have you ever failed anyone?

VanLipsig: Pretty much every day, I imagine.

Bertram: Do you keep your promises?

VanLipsig: I don’t make promises. I’ve found they are impossible to keep.

Bertram: Do you have any distinguishing marks?

VanLipsig: My left eye is a cyber eye and I have a deep scar on my left cheek. I also wear an eyepatch.

Bertram: What was your childhood like?

VanLipsig: My father was a sadistic bastard who beat me for every possible infringement of his authority. Eventually, I opposed him in everything, because I refused to believe he could ever be right.

Bertram: Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?

VanLipsig: According to my old man, hell opened its doors and spit me forth.

Bertram: Did you get along with your parents?

VanLipsig: I cared about my mother, she was a great lady. I hope I see my old man in hell.

Bertram: Who was your first love?

VanLipsig: A girl I knew back home, Cherise Layfette.

Bertram: What is the most important thing that ever happened to you?

VanLipsig: That’s a tough one. Probably the most important thing was when the Marine doctors did their enhancements. I haven’t been the same ever since.

Bertram: Was there ever a defining moment of your life?

VanLipsig: Meeting Matilda.  She has made me become the man I wanted to be and couldn’t seem to find on my own.

Bertram: What is your most closely guarded secret?

VanLipsig: If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret now, would it?

Bertram: Do you have any hobbies?

VanLipsig: Who has time for hobbies? Well, wait a minute, does sex count?

Bertram: What is your favorite music?

VanLipsig: “The 1812 Overture”, it reminds me of a simpler time.

Bertram: What is your favorite item of clothing?

VanLipsig: I don’t really care what I wear as long as it doesn’t bind in the crotch or itch. But I always have my gun belt, even if I’m otherwise naked.

Bertram: Name five items in your pockets.

VanLipsig: Pocket humidor full of cheroots, lighter and my gun. I don’t carry anything else. Too much stuff slows you down and can identify you when you’re dead.

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

VanLipsig: What the hell good would another man on an island be? A woman, preferably a brunette with lots of stamina and a killer figure. It would be nice if she was intelligent too, but that’s not a requirement.