Friday, September 22, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Niel Bushnell

Niel Bushnell

Tell me about yourself, Niel.

When I was ten years old I made a long list of things I hoped to achieve later in life. One of my main ambitions, lodged in between becoming an astronaut and drawing comics for a living, was to write a novel.

The plan was to do this before I turned thirteen, but it’s taken me a little bit longer than that. My early love of comic books eventually took me in a slightly different direction: a career in animation. I’ve worked as an animator on several feature films including Space Jam and Lost in Space, computer games like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Driver, and lots of TV shows.

But I continued to write until my first novel, Sorrowline, was completed . . . some decades after my thirteenth birthday. Since then I've written six more books and I'm about to launch a new sci-fi series in October with the publication of Arkship Obsidian.

I live in my native north-east England, and I still plan on becoming an astronaut one day, but it might take me a few more decades to tick that one off my list.

Tell me about your current Book:

When the arkship Obsidian is attacked, Wynn must recover his memories and find out who is behind the attack, or he'll be hunted down and killed.

"Dune meets Battlestar Galactica, with a pinch of Asimov thrown in for good measure."

Earth has been destroyed, the entire solar system turned to dust by a cataclysmic event known as the Fracture. Now, the last survivors of humanity live on vast arkships drifting through the Cluster, doing what they can to survive in a hostile ever-changing environment.

When the arkship Obsidian is attacked, Wynn awakes in an escape pod fleeing from a huge space battle, unable to remember who he is. Hunted by a killer robot, the forces of a rival arkship, and the Church of the Infinite, Wynn must survive long enough to unlock his lost memories, discover who is behind the attack and take his revenge.

What are you working on now?

I'm starting book two in the Arkship Saga. It's called Arkship Vengeance and should be out in December.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I mostly write in my tiny office at home, but I love a long train journey where I can stare out the window and lose myself in the story.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Self-belief is so important, but can be elusive and fragile. It's taken me years to build up my confidence and know that I can write and finish a good story.

What is your favorite Website?

Right now I'm spending a lot of time on YouTube watching pages like Fully Charged (, Tested ( and Trekyards (



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.
—Anne Lamott

The ability of writers to...familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.
—Toni Morrison

Create your own visual style... let it be unique to yourself and identifiable to others.
—Orson Welles

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
—Virginia Woolf

As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come.
—Ernest Hemingway

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can write anything good.
—William Faulkner

Just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.
—John Steinbeck

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Stand Up

I have been on a strict fitness program. I have actually already lost over 100 pounds and still dropping.

The more fit I become the clearer I think and the better, easier, faster my writing is.

I got to weigh 296lbs mostly because of my sedentary life working on the computer all day at work and then all evening at home.

Everyone at work stared getting stand up desks and I jumped on that bandwagon with a stand-up portable desk at home!

It allows me to work standing while watching TV, outside, in my office, anywhere really.

I got it on Amazon and it was only $46 delivered!

--My legs are already sore!

Sign up maybe win a Million$!

I am have an Email Notification list that I will use to keep you informed of new releases, book signings or other events. I promise not to spam the hell out of you!

Plus you will have a chance to will $1,000,000 twice a week! Seriously!

*indicates required

--Fun stuff!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Reading: Departure

This week I read: Departure by A.G. Riddle.

Here is the description from Amazon:

En route to London from New York, Flight 305 suddenly loses power and crash-lands in the English countryside, plunging a group of strangers into a mysterious adventure that will have repercussions for all of humankind.

Struggling to stay alive, the survivors soon realize that the world they’ve crashed in is very different from the one they left. But where are they? Why are they here? And how will they get back home?

Five passengers seem to hold clues about what’s really going on: writer Harper Lane, venture capitalist Nick Stone, German genetic researcher Sabrina Schröder, computer scientist Yul Tan, and Grayson Shaw, the son of a billionaire philanthropist.

As more facts about the crash emerge, it becomes clear that some in this group know more than they’re letting on—answers that will lead Harper and Nick to uncover a far-reaching conspiracy involving their own lives. As they begin to piece together the truth, they discover they have the power to change the future and the past—to save our world . . . or end it.

--Good stuff. Fast easy read that kind of reminded me of LOST!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Spanish Edition

The Spanish language edition of Virtues of the Vicious is now available on Amazon!

Virtudes de los Feroces

Elizabeth Cruze llegó a la Tierra con un sólo propósito: comprar armas. Nunca pensó que terminaría en prisión. Pero no teman, no planea quedarse allí por mucho tiempo.

El Investigador Especial Neal Locke ha forjado su carrera capturando a los criminales más evasivos y peligrosos. Nunca ha fallado en “capturar al hombre”.

Cuando Cruze se escapa de la prisión, Locke se encarga de encontrarla. Debería ser fácil hallarla… sólo necesita seguir el rastro de cuerpos.

Pero Locke ha sido investigador por mucho tiempo. Y en poco tiempo notará que está sucediendo más de lo que le han dicho...

Video: Advice from Stephen King

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Bryan Nowak (a.k.a. Bryan the Writer)

Bryan Nowak

Tell me about yourself, Bryan.

Born at a young age, I was destined for greatness when I learned how to be a shrewd business-baby. Pretty soon I had my own crib-based empire.

Mostly kidding or course. I was born in the south Chicago suburb of Steger, IL. A poor urban suburb, my mom worked as a nurse in a local hospital. I moved to Minnesota at the ripe old age of fourteen with my parents. It was in Minnesota where I met my wife, finished my bachelor’s degree in Geography, and my first child was born.

I also joined the US Army Reserves (34th Infantry Division, Go Red Bulls!) in Minnesota, and over a seventeen year career I spent almost four years on active duty doing a variety of interesting things.

My wife, kids and I spent three years living in Berlin, Germany where we traveled to over fourteen different countries in Europe. My personal favorite city is Venice. I could spend weeks in Venice doing nothing and it would never be enough time. A close second is the city of Prague. With its amazing food and beautiful architecture, Prague is a must see.

I have been writing seriously for the last three years and loving every minute of it. I started during a meeting where I got bored and started jotting down story ideas and just never stopped.

Tell me about your current Book: 

My latest novel is called, Riapoke. Riapoke is an Algonquin word meaning either the devil, or evil, depending on the translation and regional dialect you use for that translation. The book is set on fictitious Lake Oleander which has on its west side, an upscale resort and on its east side, the town of Riapoke which is known for being less than friendly to strangers.

A lucky series of events leave an opening at the resort for a single mother and her son who want to spend time together before he heads off to college. A series of unfortunate problems lead to their having to swim for their lives. Making the shore of the lake, they come up the boat ramp to find themselves in a mess of trouble in a town which really doesn’t like strangers.

When a mother and her son become stranded in a town that has institutionalized serial killing, Meghan must find a way to stop an ancient prophecy, or become the latest victims.

Meghan and Kyle head off to spend some quality mother-son time at a resort along the idyllic Lake Oleander. The picturesque and secluded escape promises a nearly perfect summer vacation. The seemingly placid lake also holds a dark secret; the bodies of those sacrificed to the local deity.
Their arrival sets the gears of an ancient prophecy in motion. They find themselves suddenly set against unimaginable forces, ancient and evil, hoping to either forestall or accelerate the prophecy’s fruition.

Deep beneath the bedrock of the town of Riapoke, an evil lay festering for hundreds of years. It waits patiently for the inevitable day it will taste freedom and claim its rightful heritage.

What are you working on now?

For about two years, I have had a manuscript I have been working on which was never quite right. It needed a complete reworking and I am approaching the point where I am happy with it. I am thrilled to introduce Crimson Tassels to my readers sometime this year. I’d like to get it out before Christmas, but I won’t rush to get it out. I’d rather have it right than on time.

I also have several story lines I am working on I am constantly getting questions about when I am going to write the second book in The Dramatic Dead series. The book is mostly outlined and I am planning to start it soon.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Home! Honestly, I hate being away from home if I don’t have to be. I like having my stuff around me, access to my tea, my extensive Xbox game collection, and the places I know and love. I take vacations when I have to, but mostly avoid it if I can.

As far as location in the house, I have a corner I took over as my writing nook. When one of my kids finally flies the nest, I intend to outfit a bedroom as a writing alcove. I have dreams of soundproof walls with every wall covered in bookshelves!

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Get involved! You cannot possibly be a writer in these modern times if you don’t participate with other authors. You have to get out there and beta read, give lectures on what you know, read to audiences, offer advice, take advice, and generally get to know the authors around you. You may not think you have anything to offer, or know enough, but here is the big secret. No one truly does. And the old saying is absolutely true, a rising tide raises all boats. Collectively we can make life a better place for all of us, but we have to work together. Get in there and get involved.

What is your favorite Website?

Oh gosh, that would have to be Honestly, I want to write full time and doing it from the deck of my own 30’ long cruiser sounds wonderful. And yes, I know the old joke about the best days of a boat owners life, so spare me. I’ve loved the water since I was a kid and I’m working toward having my own little piece of solitude. Who knows, maybe I will name the boat “Riapoke”.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quotes of the Week

After the game, the King and the Pawn go in the same box.
--Italian Proverb

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can write anything good.
—William Faulkner

Just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.
—John Steinbeck

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
—Ernest Hemingway

I want to be read. I want to be valued. That is perhaps the only shot at immortality a human being can have.
—Anne Rice

Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone's disbelief.
—August Wilson

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday Tips: The First draft

The first draft of everything is shit. 
-Ernest Hemingway

This tip will be harder to execute than you will believe. It sounds simple.

Give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft. I say it all the time. Hammer through without looking back. Focus. Don't revise.

Read these quotes now and then to remind you:

Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.
– Joshua Wolf Shenk

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
— George Orwell

Monday, September 11, 2017

Reading: AL:ICE

This week I ready AL:ICE by Charles Lamb.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Captain Jacob Thomas, USMC, is a divorced combat veteran just trying to get his life back on track. Returning to the marine corps after a failed attempt at reconciliation with his estranged wife, Jake volunteers for a DARPA experiment that catapults him into a future where humanity has been stripped of 200 years of technological advancements and more than half its population. With the help of a faceless benefactor named Alice, he escapes the confines of an abandoned lab facility and starts a journey to put Earth back on a path to recovery. Jake's path begins in the rich farmlands of central California and eventually places him in orbit and face to face with the very evil that started it all.

--This is book one of a series!

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Melonie Purcell.

Melonie Purcell

Tell me about yourself?

I recently crossed what I call the Cheaters, Bleaters and Seaters barriers. In other words, I now require reading glasses, I snore like a congested goat and I opt for sitting over standing when given the option. That said, I love to hike and backpack. I recently did an in and out hike along the Highline Trail in Glacier NP, USA. I won’t lie. I did consider the tactical challenge of getting a S&R helicopter up there while I was crawling up the Garden Wall leg to the Continental Divide, but I made it. Not sure what it says about me that the highlight of the hike was being chased by a mountain goat, though.

I live in world famous Las Vegas, NV. I will tell you now, what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. It goes on Youtube and will haunt you ‘till your death. So, if you are coming here, we don’t judge you, but clothing optional on the Strip really isn’t a thing.

I have three dogs, one of whom I’m certain was spawned by Satan, and a cat who is an asshole and only answers to ‘Your Majesty’. I love them all, though.

Tell me about your current Book:

When Krea discovers she is a shapeshifter, she must survive evil faeries, hostile elves and a magical forest as she stuggles to reach the capital, or else she will lose her human form forever and the Empire will lose their freedom.

Steal the bag. Don’t get caught. Repeat. Not the most glorious existence, but Krea likes it just fine.

When Sorin, a cranky old soldier, barges in and decides to take over her life, Krea is less than enthused. Sure, he saved her from a brutal death at the hands of the guards, and he did stop decrepit faerie monsters from eating her. But declaring she isn’t human and dragging her through a cursed forest to the Royal City is going too far.

Now, she is eyeball deep in magic wielding nobles, shapeshifting dragons, assassins and an ancient elf war that could destroy the Empire. Her cloak is too small. Her horse thinks she wants to eat it and her companion resents her very existence.

And then there’s Dane.

What are you working on now?

Don’t tell, but I’m halfway finished with Dagger of Drani, book two in my World of Drani series. I know I’m supposed to be writing Feather and Bone, book two in the World of Kyrni series, but Nevvis and Taymar won’t shut up and leave me alone, so I have to finish their story first. They are the eldest after all.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write? 

My office. Boring, I know. But I just can’t write as well anywhere else. I have two monitors and pictures of my maps and characters all around me, so it works.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Write it. Look it over once, only once, and then leave it alone until you are finished with the whole book.

Also, keep a bible and add to it continuously. If your character farts on some dude named Rectarius while using the loo, add that name and page number to your bible, because I promise you, Rectarius will later have possession of the spell that unlocks the gates of Toridor and you will spend four days trying to figure out how he spells his name and what color shoes he was wearing.

What is your favorite Website?

I’m not sure if it’s my favorite, but I am fascinated by It somehow houses a time vortex and it always ends in cats. You can go to Youtube looking for a video on how to fix your dishwasher and six hour and forty-six videos later, you are trying to figure out how that cat managed run up that wall. I’m mostly sure somethin’ shady is happenin’ there.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Quotes of the Week

I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the waste-basket.
—Ernest Hemingway

Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.
—William Faulkner

I have known writers who paid no damned attention whatever to the rules of grammar…and somehow made the language behave for them
—Red Smith

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form into the proper pattern at the right moment
—Hart Crane

I was kind of excited about going to jail for the first time and I learnt some great dialogue.
—Quentin Tarantino

Monday, September 4, 2017

Reading: Stoneheart

This week I read Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher.

Here is the description from Amazon:

A city has many lives and layers. London has more than most. Not all the layers are underground, and not all the lives belong to the living. A 12-year-old boy named George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. On a school trip he's punished for something he didn't do. In a tiny act of rebellion, he lashes out at a small carving on the wall - unexpectedly breaking it off. And then something horrible does happen: a stone pterodactyl unpeels form the wall and starts chasing him. George is already running before his mind starts trying to tell him that this is impossible!

This is a young adult novel that I got from Audible specifically because is was narrated by Jim Dale! He narrated the Harry Potter series!

--Great stuff. Recommended.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Torin Crow Ingham/Tracy Ingham

Tell me about yourselfs?

Torin: 20 year old college graduate with a degree in mechanical sciences. Torin lives in a small town in central Iowa. He has a second degree black belt in Taekwondo and multiple belts in other martial arts disciplines. He works nights and spends his days writing and playing the occasional game online. He's working toward returning to school to be a CNC/Welding/Technical instructor. He is the driving force behind bringing Placer into the light of day.

Tracy: Has been an artist of one kind or another his whole life. He put the paint brushes down in 2010 when the canvas became too small to tell the stories he wanted to tell. He has loved writing since he was young and decided that's where he will devote his creative energies.

If we were to sit down and tell the stories of our lives. Placer's world would seem far more believable. Torin survived a skull crushing high school football injury that doctors repeatedly said he shouldn't have lived through. It left him almost deaf in one ear and erased much of his memory of his early years, leaving his parents to fill in the gaps of his childhood. There are haunted houses and ghost stories, surviving cancer, being a martial arts champion and a 13 year old getting his nose broke while training with a seven time Russian Sambo champion.

At 11, Torin and his father also built their own home, from the ground up. With a small amount of help from a few family members (adding that so we don't get nasty e-mails). Boring is a word that has rarely been used to describe either Torin or his father.

Tell me about your current Book: 

Placer is the leader of a mercenary band that is looking for the woman he loves. He takes his crew and the ships that follow him across the known universe on his search for Rain. Placer is not most peoples idea of a hero. He's always truthful but never honest. His reputation is for brutality but his compassion is never far from the surface. He's a narcissist who appreciates his alcohol. He acts without remorse or apology if the ends justify the means.

Having said all that. Placer is wonderful to create stories about. He has a very strong social and moral belief. He's moral obligations only extend as far as his interests. He struggles with the same things people struggle with every day. He just deals with his problems the way we would all love to deal with things. Blow it up or kill it. There's not a lot of negotiating in Placer's world.

When Placer discovers a possible treatment for Rain, the Osterium Republic's Commandant Tige must surrender a closely guarded secret or face the wrath of Placer and the ship he commands, the Dragon; a vessel most civilizations hope never enters their solar systems.

We've had good buzz with the book. We've been told by some of our beta readers that it has an "epic saga" feel to it. One person said he put down Tom Clancy to finish Placer and was glad he did. Right now there are four books planned for the series. If all goes well, there will be other characters from the Placer universe who get their stories told too.

Why should someone buy it? Because the books are always better than the movies.

What are you working on now?

We're finishing up book #2, Placer - Third Insight. The Osterium Republic has brought the war to Placer's doorstep, his home planet.
With acts of terrorism they try to jeopardize Placer's leadership and turn the people against him. The one thing the Osterium didn't count on is how loyal the population is. There is no corruption. No crime. No poverty. Everyone is healthy, employed and educated. There's no reason to change utopia but that doesn't stop the Osterium from trying. The only question is, what kind of response will Placer have and how brutal will the outcome be? While he's dealing with all of that, he has personal matters to deal with.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

We both like the quiet, doesn't matter where.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Sitting behind a computer screen is hard but opening the first copy of what you wrote is harder. It never reads the same, no matter how many edits you've done and rewrites you've survived. Those white pages and black letters are a different world all together. Meanings to things change and useless words jump off the pages like they're alive. We sit back and keep thinking, "that sentence should have been written like this, not that".

Twenty years from now my son and I may not be half bad at this.

What is your favorite Website?

Torin: Anything dealing with military history.
Tracy: Netflix, when I'm not online doing research for the science side of the stories.