Nathan Burrows talks Blind Justice

Nathan Burrows blog tourWhat inspired you to write this book?

In one word, insomnia!

I was working over in the Middle East for a 6 month fixed period, and I was living in a very small accommodation. Basically, it was a tiny shipping container with a door, not unlike a prison cell. I couldn’t sleep, and was lying there one night comparing it in my head to being in prison.

Now I’ve never been in prison, but one of the things that I thought about while I was trying to get to sleep was what would it be like to actually be in prison? Then, from there, what would it be like to be in prison for a crime you didn’t commit! And from there, Blind Justice was born.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m currently writing a dark comedy called ‘Meat’. It’s a very different book to Blind Justice, but it’s such a good story that I just have to get it out there! It’s set in a post-Brexit United Kingdom, and involves pig farming. I’m not going to say any more than that, other than the tag line for the book is

‘That Wasn’t Pork’…

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

It was more a case of they came to me. Once I had the overall concept, some of the characters were obvious. I introduced one a bit later on – Laura Flynn – to avoid having an all male ‘cast’, and she quickly became one of my favourite characters. We’ll definitely be seeing more of her in the future!

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

I use a fantastic writing tool called Scrivener to write with. One of the features it has is a character name generator. I used it to come up with names that I liked, and that I thought fit the characters. Continue reading

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Because I Had To by David Bulitt

Because I had to Because I Had To by David Bulitt
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis

Jess Porter spent her childhood bouncing from therapist to therapist and prescription to prescription. An outcast at school and a misfit at home, the only solace she ever found was in her relationship with her dad, Tom. Now he’s dead. Feeling rejected by her adopted mom and her biological twin sister, Jess runs off to South Florida. But she can’t outrun her old life.

Watching the blood drip down her arm after her latest round of self-inflicted cutting, she decides her only choice is to find and face what frightens her most.

Because I Had To takes the reader inside the worlds of adoption, teen therapy, family law, and the search for a biological family. With a cast of finely drawn, complicated characters, it asks us to consider: can the present ever heal the past? Continue reading

About Best Case Scenario with Dirk B Sayers

Dirk Sayers interviewAuthor Dirk B. Sayers shares the behind the scenes action from his latest novel Best Cast Scenario.

Q: What’s Best Case Scenario about

A: It’s a contemporary New Adult/Coming of Age story following six months in the life of Nyra Westensee, a college graduate in Los Angeles’ South Bay. A year beyond graduation, Nyra is embroiled in the multi-faceted questions of personal and professional identity. On a professional level, she’s trying to sort out a career path, which stubbornly refuses to get started. On a personal level, much like her mother, Nyra’s had awful luck in love, despite being intelligent, witty and attractive. This continuing frustration has her second-guessing herself, even wondering if her mother’s loneliness is a predictor of her own. It is a theme that is one of the motifs woven into the story.

Q: Okay, let’s dive into the obvious. You’re a guy, writing about a young woman. How did you go about putting yourself inside Nyra’s head to write a convincing tale from a woman’s point of view?

A: Very, carefully! (Lopsided smile.) Seriously, I think writing a convincing story about anyone, regardless of gender, demands that the author care enough to want to understand. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been raised a woman who was a feminist, long before the term was in vogue. I’m also the beneficiary of some incredibly preceptive women in my author’s group, who keep me honest. Last but certainly not least, my editor is a millennial woman with a sharp eye for detail. It has been really gratifying to have my critique group, beta readers and editors all tell me they find Nyra believable and that they’re looking forward to more of Nyra’s journey.

Q: Where did the idea for Best Case Scenario come from?

A: It’s been brewing for quite some time. Best Case Scenario seeks to weave the contextual realities of our time—particularly the impact of sweeping and often bewildering change—with the challenges confronting emerging adults in the 21st century. Nyra’s journey is mirrors the complications of our age and the factors that help make the world today a more uncertain place than perhaps at any time in our history. Best Case Scenario, is first and foremost about one woman’s journey, but it’s hard to miss the inherent conflicts between the entrenched interests of the old ways and the evolving new. Each generation faces this, and I’ve tried to personalize those issues in Nyra’s struggles, both professionally and personally.

Q: It sounds like you’re signaling that readers should expect social themes to show up in Nyra’s story?

A: Yes. And right from the beginning. Nyra story is fundamentally about Nyra and the people in her life, but there’s no missing the social and economic implications implicit in her struggle. Anyone young or old can relate to those conflicts, but young women in particular are likely to relate to Nyra’s self-conscious search for her true identity. And I’m using self-conscious in its most positive, deliberate sense. One of the things I really admire about the millennials I’ve gotten to know personally is their consciousness of and sensitivity to the issues of our time. While Best Case Scenario doesn’t advance an agenda, there’s no missing the social thread running through the story. Continue reading

David Wind Answers The Question

David Wind Answers The Question

David Wind authorFirst of all, know that I am a writer, not a regular blogger. Just like any other person in any profession, writers come in different sizes, shapes, and genres.

There are bloggers, journalists, biographers, how-to-writers, Indie writers, Traditional writers, non-fiction authors, and novelists, and even within the writer categories, there are untold sub-categories.

Novelists write in hundreds of genres; non-fiction writers also have hundreds of genres to choose from… I could go on and on, but let’s stop here for now.

There is one thing that I believe crosses every category, every genre, and every writer: ‘The Question’.

What is ‘the question’? Well, obviously, it must be the most burning issue ever, if it affects all writers, right? Well, maybe. Here are two versions of the question: Where do you get your ideas from? Where did you get your idea for this book from?

While there is usually a generic answer most of us use—unless there was an earth-shattering and mind-blowing epiphany—that goes something like…

”I watch people and as I observe them going about their lives, questions [a]rise in my mind and soon I find myself creating a story around that particular situation.”

I believe what I’ve just told you is absolutely true, for the most part. But it’s just outside of the most part’, where the real answers lay. Just the mention of my new novel brings the question out immediately. “Why write a novel based on a song, and, really, who does that?”

So, before you have a chance to ask me that question, let me answer it. I first heard Harry Chapin in the early seventies—’72/’73— on the radio, and I  became a fan.

I never missed a Harry Chapin performance at Alice Tully Hall, and listening and watching him perform, was like having a friend playing guitar and singing in my living room.

I think if you ask any fan, you’ll get a similar response. “Harry wasn’t just a singer, he was a friend. Somehow, Harry Chapin crossed an invisible barrier and achieved what few do. And for me, the aspiring writer, he spoke to me as a storyteller even more than a singer.

Let’s fast forward to one of his concerts, where he performed ‘A Better Place To Be’. The first time I heard that song was my epiphany, so to speak. The song created a question in my mind: Who was the man he was singing about? What had happened to him, to create the situation the song detailed? Oh, yeah, I’ve been carrying the germ of an idea around in my head for far too many years.

In the time between then and now, I’ve had three children and written and published thirty-nine novels. A Better Place To Be, released December 1, of this year, will be my fortieth—it is also the first novel of this type I’ve written.

What pushed you to finally write A Better Place To Be, comes the question again.

I have no choice but to answer in the arena of brutal honesty. The death of my son, Zach, this past January, pushed me to write the book. There is nothing like the loss of a child to make one examine one’s own life. And this was no exception. Continue reading

Introducing Brian James, author of Mjolnir

Brian James10Qs with author Brian James

Q: What is something unique/quirky about you?

A: I’m a political libertarian who doesn’t smoke or do drugs. I will only drink alcohol if it comes with a little umbrella in the glass. Also, I am looking forward to the day when I am old enough to scream at kids to get off my lawn with the sort of curmudgeon credibility that only comes with an AARP card.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: My next project is Romans Vs. Zombies. Most people don’t know that the ancient Romans once invaded Denmark. This was back in the days before the Roman Senate used Ginsu products to express their displeasure with Caesar.

My next book builds on the factual events of the Roman incursion into Scandinavia and introduces the ancient world’s finest military force to draugrs, mythology’s first zombies.

Q: If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

A: Screwing around with models. Not the kind with silicone in their chests, but the type that require[s] glue and meticulous airbrushing. Of course, that could be the other kind as well, but not in this case. I have a backlog of models I haven’t had time to build yet. If I knew I was going to die, I would have to finish one or two, if for no other reason to satisfy my OCD leanings.

Q: Who is your hero and why?

A: I’m not sure I have a hero. Whoever performs Hafthor Bjornsson’s prostate exam would probably have to make the list. This is based on nothing more than his heroic lack of self-preservation instincts. But I can’t think of one person who stands out as a hero.

There is more of a particular trait in some people that I find extremely heroic. I hate to quote a cartoon, but in Megamind there is the line

“The Megamind I know would never run from a fight even if he knew he had no chance of winning! It was your best quality.”

It’s a rather silly example (especially considering that Megamind is voiced by Will Ferrell) but the Spartans of Thermopylae, the British at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, Stephen in front of the Sanhedrin, and The Scottish under Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn. They all exhibited this quality. I find it to be admirable.

Q: What book do you think everyone should read? Continue reading

Ken La Salle Presents, Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

Work of Art coverTitle: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers by Ken La Salle
Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity. Continue reading

Southeastern Virginia Vs West Virginia

Robert Downs The Convenient EscapeAuthor Robert Downs shares his experience of moving from West Virginia to Southeastern Virginia; two towns we don’t hear too much about. Thanks to Robert we know a little more about them. Enjoy!

Southeastern Virginia was the first time I had ever lived on my own for more than just a summer or the college experience. It was my first introduction to the real world, and it’s such a beautiful place that I knew I would write about it someday. It’s often referred to as the Hampton Roads or Tidewater area, and it has a rather large military presence with Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force all located there. It’s filled with diverse cities and communities lined up next to each other like dominoes, and in many cases you’re never far from Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.

Bridge-Tunnels that dive beneath the water as well as rise above it fascinated me, as I had never seen anything like that before, and this was my first time living in a rather large metropolitan area.

The warm weather and rich history appealed to me, and living near the ocean was an entirely new experience. It’s also the longest I’ve lived in one area, since I migrated away from West Virginia. Independence has always been important to me, and that’s when I first truly began to write my own story. It also feels a bit isolated, because you’re over an hour from Richmond and I-95, and you’re also about three and a half hours from Washington, DC. It really feels like it’s own self-contained universe, and I have great memories of my time in that area, so it was easy for me to want to revisit it.

Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, I enjoyed the mountains painted in green, the open space, and interstates that had been carved from between the rocks. The Hampton Roads area had none of this. It was flat and filled with people, and the sand ran right up to the water’s edge. This was such an interesting world for me, and I haven’t read many novels set in Southeastern Virginia, so for a variety of reasons you could say the area appealed to me. Before I even realized it, the location became almost as important as the characters, and I couldn’t have set The Convenient Escape, or my previous three novels anywhere else. Continue reading

War Town by Mitch Goth

War Town Mitch GothTitle: War Town by Mitch Goth
Genre: New Adult Thriller

Synopsis

For Olly Rourke, War Town’s opening day is a joyous occasion. He is one of a thousand people selected to be the first players in the world’s largest paintball arena. But as he soon finds out, the game he enters into is far more sinister. Two equal teams, locked in the massive arena together, and presented with an armory of real ammunition and a time bomb powerful enough to kill them all. The only way out is to eliminate the other team, by any means necessary. Continue reading

Writing with Ken O’Neill

Every author has different writing techniques and processes that work for them, to help get their butt in the chair and do some writing.

Author Ken O’Neill shares his process.

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Ed O'Neill blog tourGillian asked me to explain my writing process, which led me to take a break of two full days while I fretted and procrastinated.

When it comes to writing, I’m a dawdler.

If any authors are reading this post seeking advice, here goes: Do the opposite of my process, which is slow and agonizing. Unfortunately, I have had long periods of writer’s block. Of course, the only way to deal with that affliction is to write something. Anything!

The thing that helps me get over it—and actually, this is good advice—is to commit to writing for a period of time that feels completely manageable.  For some conscientious scribes that might be a thousand words a day.  For me, it’s two minutes. Yes, a day.

I imagine you are thinking that at that pace I’d never finish a book. But, for me, it’s a trick to get me to open the Word document. Knowing I only have to write for two minutes gets me to the computer because it’s two minutes. I can do that! Fortunately, many times the two minutes turns into two hours. Sometimes I even hit a thousand words.

So that’s how I get myself to do the work. But I need other things to keep me going. Continue reading

Kenneth Eade’s Beyond All Recognition – Excerpt

Book cover Kenneth EadeTitle:  Beyond All Recognition (Brent Marks Legal Thrillers) by Kenneth Eade
Published:  July 15, 2016
Publisher:   Times Square Publishing
Genre:  Legal Thriller/courtroom drama
Recommended Age:  18+

Synopsis:

Experience the suspense and mystery of the latest in the best selling legal thriller series from the author critics hail as: “One of the strongest thriller writers on the scene.”

This fast-paced and action packed legal and military thriller introduces us to 26-year-old Captain Ryan Bennington, in command of a company during the Iraq War and fighting a faceless enemy in the global war on terror where a split-second decision could mean the difference between killing an innocent civilian or losing an entire platoon to a suicide bomber. Ryan survives the war and comes home to conquer PTSD and chronic unemployment, only to be arrested for following the orders of his Commander to kill suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in a small Iraqi village, who turn out, after the raid, to be civilians.

Lawyer Brent Marks takes on Ryan’s defense in his court-martial trial, which will reveal the deepest, darkest secrets of the military industrial complex. In their search for a scapegoat, have the powers-that-be gone too far this time? Continue reading