Thursday, May 31, 2012

One, Two Kill a Few by John Achor: Guest Character Post & Excerpt

Struggling to recover from a disastrous marriage and contentious divorce, Casey Fremont would prefer to make ends meet with her paycheck from a temp job; but now her goal of personal and mental renewal, becomes one of staying alive as she solves a riddle of murder and mayhem.

Casey Fremont is on her way to interview for a temp job when a falling body nearly lands on her. Three days later, a second man, this one from her own office, dies in a similar manner and Casey is drawn into the intrigue. She confirms her suspicions. With her friend in the hands of kidnappers, Casey barely escapes being the third body to go over the railing as she solves the mystery.

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Chapter 1

My name’s Casey Fremont. Lots of folks shorten my nickname even further, to KC. I used to go by those initials, but got tired of answering the question, “Does KC stand for somethin’?” Well of course it stands for something, Dimbulb. I even tried “Ms. Fremont,” but that made me sound too old. My mother wasn’t frightened by the Initial Imps, though something must have scared her. I’ve never been able to get her to tell me where she came up with Acacia, which is the long version of Casey.
                                                *          *          *
This morning started out so well, I thought I was on a roll. I hoped the rest of the day would be as great. It wasn’t, but how could I know it would be raining bodies before noon.
I put on one of my best business suits. It’s a dark, dark gray pin stripe. The jacket is double-breasted and the slit skirt doesn’t quite make it down to mid-thigh. I’ve never been turned down during an interview, but it never hurts to flash a bit of leg at a male interviewer. It’s fun to watch where their eyes wander during the discussion. A lot of men have trouble looking a woman in the eye. More often they are gazing at the assets a good bit south of the face.
I was heading for Little Rock’s Midtown Atrium Towers Building, a new expanse of glass and steel in the downtown area. In keeping with the new architecture, an atrium reaches to the top between two buildings. I would be talking to a Wayne Harmon at Cyber-Technology, a computer and internet consulting firm.
At quarter past nine, fifteen minutes before my appointment, I walked through the huge glass doors, which opened for me with an automatic whoosh. The main floor entrance was through a curved glass wall going up all twelve floors. A similar wall of glass faced me from the rear of the lobby and the sign over the far doorway read: Parking Garage. I glanced around the lobby at the large planter areas replete with foliage and flowers. There were even a couple of imported palm trees; far from native to Arkansas. Buildings stretched upward to my left and to my right. The structure smelled like a new building. The faint but pungent aroma left from new carpet glued to the floor drifted past me. I checked the directory and learned Cyber-Technology was in Tower B, the one on the right.
The elevators were glass and brass clinging to the walls of the atrium. It would be an interesting ride — I’m not afraid of heights, but I don’t like looking straight down at nothing between me and a sudden stop at the bottom. I was almost across the lobby when I heard the shout from behind me.
“Damn! Look out!”
The last word was shouted in my ear as something slammed into my back. I hit the polished marble floor with a thud knocking most of the air out of my lungs. Then a crushing weight on my back forced the rest of the air to be expelled. I was gasping for breath. I heard a sickening thud, and a couple of seconds later there was another sound. More of a plop than a thud.
“Are you okay, lady?” said the man lying on my back.
“I will be as soon as you get the hell off me.”
“I’m sorry.” He rolled away, struggled to his feet and offered his hand.
With effort, I managed a sitting position, slapped his hand aside and tugged at my skirt. “What the hell was that all about?” I used my most annoyed voice and scowl.
“The guy took a header off an atrium balcony. He damn near fell on top of you.”
I looked over my shoulder and saw it. It … was a body, sprawled in a grotesque position, about six feet from me. The eyes were open, but they saw nothing. One leg and one arm lay at angles normal limbs are unable to assume. Blood oozed from a flat spot on his head, from his mouth and from the ear turned toward me. The blood spread out on the light-colored marble and seeped into the expansion joints.
That’ll be a bitch to clean up, I thought. I shook my head in disbelief at myself; strange the thoughts that run through a mind under stress.
“I’ve got to get upstairs,” I said. “I’ve got an interview.”
“Better stay here. I think the cops will want to talk to you,” my Good Samaritan said.
“Why me? I didn’t see anything.”
“You are still a witness.” He extended his hand again. This time I took it and let him pull me to my feet. Building security was already milling around the lobby, and I could hear sirens approaching outside.

 End of Chapter One

Character Interview with Casey Fremont

             Hi, my name’s Casey Fremont. I was born in Arizona because John’s brain was living there at the time. He moved me from my birth place, Indiana, to Arkansas where I currently reside. I was working on my own degree when my husband, Jarvis Parnell Sheffield Da Third, needed financial help getting through law school.

             I put my ambitions on hold and paid his way until he got his law degree. After that, and for the eight years we were married, he’s now my ex, he said, “No wife of mine will ever work.” Rather than watching TV and eating bon-bons, I spent my time taking classes, seminars and training in dozens of areas. At the end of eight years, my ex, now known as Jarvis the Rat, dumped me for his young secretary named Bambi. Can you imagine what was going through the heads of her parents?

I got our condo on the west side of Little Rock in the divorce settlement along with healthy alimony. Jarvis the Rat is always late with the support in the hopes I’ll default on the condo payments, so he can pick it up on the cheap. To make ends meet, I work temp jobs to get to the end of the month. Needless to say, all those classes I took give me a wide range of jobs I can qualify for.

I have two roommates, Effie Tremayne and Aaron Kincaid ― he’s another whole story ― who help me with the condo payments. The only downside of the temp jobs seems to be that I am forever finding myself knee deep in manure and mayhem. We’ve become a trio of intrepid sleuths along the way. But, enough about me, I’ll let John get back to writing.

Oops, before I do that, John says he needs assistance naming the third of my adventures. Help him come up with the title, and you’ll become a character in the book. Details are located on his blog site.

Who is your favorite author?

          I’m going to give you two. I enjoy reading Lee Child because he tells a great tale and his protagonist, Jack Reacher, is such a commanding personality. The fact that he is 6’ 5” and weighs around 250 pounds has a lot to do with that. My other favorite is Jeffrey Deaver and his series character Lincoln Rhyme. In the beginning I thought I would have a problem relating to Rhyme, a forensic expert who is a quadriplegic ― turned out not to be true. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both these men and found them congenial and gracious. My biggest surprise was Deaver. In all his photos, he appears dour and brooding. As an after dinner speaker, he is one of the most entertaining and amusing people I’ve ever listened to.

Where do you research for your book?

          If money was no object, I would love to travel to locations. Since it is a problem for most of us, I set my current series in Little Rock, Arkansas which is only an hour’s drive for me. I also think the internet has been a boon for writers. When I’m researching a subject, I locate information, copy and paste into a Word file. As a header for the entry, I paste in the URL for the site I’m using. Don’t depend on just one site for your research; especially if you use something for Wikipedia, which is an open source web site where anyone in the world can post new and changed data. Don’t forget experts you know; example: for my latest book I needed information about an animal dying. My vet spent a good deal of time on the phone going over the information so I don’t look like a dunce.

 Does your significant other read your stuff?

She is a voracious reader and actually reads for a small press in Arizona. With that, one would think she should be an excellent sounding board. I once read, “don’t ever show a work in progress to anyone you sleep with or call honey.” She will read a finished product and I appreciate her input.

What do you think makes a good story?

          A good story begins with a great plot that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Many of us fall off the wagon somewhere in the middle and don’t spend enough time developing the ending the story. Beyond the story line, the characters must be compelling enough to hold the reader’s attention and carry the storyline.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

           It was half past midnight on January 13, 1969 and the scariest part came afterward when the adrenaline stopped pumping. I was flying a four-engine jet aircraft and when I landed on a small island in the Aleutian Island chain the airplane slid off the end of the end of the runway and over a forty-five foot cliff. If you would like more detail, log onto my web site ( and look for the link at the bottom of the home page.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

          Tough – Lonely – Rewarding

 Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

          I patterned my female amateur sleuth, Casey Fremont, somewhere between the characters created by Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton. I believe I have blended the sassy side of Stephanie Plum with Kinsey Millhone’s professionalism.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

          Many talk about the the journey being more important than the destination. While I agree with that mantra much of the time while writing; the most satisfying part of writing to me and getting to the last page and typing “The End.”

John Achor's writing assignments have appeared in a variety of local, national and international publications such as Good Old Days, Computer Pilot, The Storyteller and Writers’ Journal. He enjoys writing about, “The subjects I know best: the military, flying and people I've known.” After that, John says he lets a vivid imagination take over.

The first of his three careers spanned twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot. After the military, he entered the real estate industry. John joined a national real estate franchise as a management consultant working at the regional and national levels. Those positions led him to Phoenix, Arizona, and an affiliation with a major Savings & Loan institution.

In John's words, “When the Savings and Loan industry melted away like a lump of sugar in hot coffee, I knew it was time to develop a third career.” He became a freelance computer instructor, user-developer, consultant, writer and Community College instructor.

In mid 1999, John moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where he resides in the piney woods with his wife Pat and their two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. Since moving to Arkansas, John has written dozens of articles and short stories as well as several novels. He is working on the third mystery in the Casey Fremont series; “One, Two – Kill a Few” and “Three, Four – Kill Some More” are both available as eBooks for the Kindle and Nook.
Contact Information
Email  |   Twitter  |   Facebook  |   LinkedIn 
John’s Website  *  |   Blog *  
* These sites contain direct links to the Amazon and Barnes and Noble sale pages where you can find my books.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones: Interview & Excerpt

Spy Thriller

Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya.

When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field.  His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defence.

The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own.  Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location.  Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country.



Ghadames, Libya

Six months ago

October 10, 3:00 a.m.

The sand dunes sank into darkness as a curtain of clouds dimmed the glow of the crescent moon. Justin limped closer to the small barred window of his prison cell. His bruised chest pressed against the rough surface of the bloodstained wall. He squinted and tried to stand on his toes for a better look. The rusty shackles clawed against the scarred skin of his ankles, and the heavy chain rattled on the cement floor.
“Quiet. Be quiet, you bastard infidel,” a guard growled in Arabic from down the shadowy prison hallway.
Justin stood still and drew in a deep breath, the cold night air of the Sahara desert filling his heaving lungs. Everything went silent again. No rapid steps rushing to his cell. No swearing bellowed by other inmates. He lifted his head, wrapped his free hands around the iron bars, and clenched his teeth, ignoring the jolts of pain from his fingers. With his eyes about an inch over the windowsill, Justin scoped the landscape, searching for the long-awaited rescue team.
Abdul, his connection within Libya’s Internal Security Agency who lay in the cell next door, had confirmed their escape was to take place early that morning. Their previous attempt the night before had failed, despite the inside help of one of the terrorists. Justin hoped this time their plan would be executed with no glitches.
At first, he noticed nothing except the rugged outlines of the steep dunes and the whitewashed walls of the sleepy town. Straining his eyes, he peered again. A small shadow slithered toward the prison wall. Justin blinked to clear his vision and stared at the approaching figure.
Bent at the waist, the shadow advanced at a rapid pace. It quickly disappeared from his sight, and he wondered whether the man had encountered a guard.
Justin’s heart pounded. He placed his ear to the wall and sensed a low grating noise. Someone, the shadow he hoped, was scaling the wall.
The window was at least twelve feet above the ground. He wondered how long it would take the shadow to reach it. A long minute dragged by and Justin was still alone. He breathed faster and faster and urged the man on the freedom side of the wall to make good time.
Finally, a hushed voice whispered in Arabic, “Abdul, Abdul, it’s me, Bashir. You there?”
“I’m Justin,” he replied softly.
“You’re the Canadian agent. Where’s Abdul?”
“In the other cell, around the corner, but that one has no window.”
“When did they move him?”
“A few hours ago, after they gave him a good beating.”
“Can he walk?”
“I think so.”
Bashir went silent for a moment. Justin looked up, but could not see the man’s face through the window. He asked slowly, “Bashir?”
A few seconds later, he heard a scraping sound. Bashir was offering him a large metal key through the window bars. “That’s for the shackles,” Bashir said under his breath, “and this is for the guard.” He produced a black dagger.
Justin grabbed the handle and weighed the weapon in his weak hand. A ray of moonlight glinted off the ten-inch blade.
“Can you do this?” Bashir whispered.
“You have only one chance. I’ll wait for you and Abdul in two black Nissans by the main gate. Then we’ll drive across the border to Tunisia.”
Justin frowned. “What about the hostages? The two Canadian doctors?”
“The Algerians moved them from their safe house to another location, out of the prison but still in town. My men are on their way there.”
“And Carrie?”
“Yes, your partner is with them.”
Justin breathed a sigh of relief. “OK. I’ll make sure Abdul and I meet you by the gate.”
“You’ll have to be quiet. About twenty men are guarding the prison, and we can’t defeat them all.”
“Abdul knows the way, but if you can’t free him, walk down the stairs and go left. The hall will take you to a small courtyard on the ground floor. There will be a guard or two by the gate. You need to cross into the house next door.”
“Downstairs, then left, then to the house,” Justin said, finding it a bit difficult to concentrate on Bashir’s words.
“Yes. Get to the roof of the house and drop down along the side facing the mosque. Follow the road leading to the main gate. Is it clear?”
“Yes, it is.”
Bashir’s clothes rubbed against the wall, and then silence returned to Justin’s cell. He stared at the key and the dagger in his right hand. Stepping back from the window, he was careful not to jerk the chain and alert the guard beyond the solid metal door. The key fit into the shackles’ padlock. He coughed loudly as he turned the key to cover the dull clunk of the lock snapping open. Now almost free, he removed the metal loops from around his ankles.
First imprisoned in Tripoli after their hostage rescue operation went wrong, Justin and Abdul were subjected to torture by the Algerian hostage takers for two days. After Justin and Abdul attempted an escape and killed a guard in the process, the Algerians––with the help of the Libyan secret police––moved them to Ghadames, an isolated and less risky place in their minds.
Justin wasted no time. He took a deep breath, gripped the dagger tightly, and called out to the guard, “Hey, open the door.”
“Shut up,” the guard roared back.
“I need to talk to you.”
“No. Just shut up.”
Justin banged twice on the heavy door.
The guard’s voice grew louder as he drew nearer to the door. “What’s the matter with you? You want me to break your leg?”
Justin slammed his fist against the door.
“That’s it. You asked for it,” the guard shouted.
Keys clattered as the guard struggled to find the right one to unlock the door. Justin stepped to the side and lifted his dagger high, waiting for the right moment. His hand shook. The weapon felt heavy, straining his muscles.
“I’m going to beat some sense into you now,” the guard barked.
As the guard shoved open the door, Justin thrust his hand toward the man’s throat. The blade slashed deep under the man’s thick chin, severing his windpipe. The guard dropped dead into his stretched arms, blood sputtering from the man’s mangled neck.
Justin used the guard’s black robe and turban to wipe the blood stains from his face and his arms. He stripped the man of his keys, his side arm—an old Beretta 92 pistol—his AK-47 assault rifle and two magazines. Justin dragged the body to a corner of his cell and locked the door behind him.
He tiptoed to Abdul’s cell. On the second try, he found the right key. As he opened the door, the powerful stench of sweat and urine almost twisted his stomach inside out. Abdul was lying against a wall, asleep.
“Abdul, Abdul, wake up.” Justin rustled him.
“Huh? What?” Abdul mumbled with a big yawn.
“Time to go, man.”
“Justin, how did you…” Abdul sat up slowly and stared into Justin’s eyes.
“Bashir gave me a key and a knife.”
“Bashir? When did he come?”
“Tell you later. Let’s go. Can you walk?”
“Yes, yes, I can.”
Justin unchained Abdul’s bruised legs and helped him to his feet. Abdul leaned against the wall before taking a few unsteady steps.
“I’m good. I can do this,” Abdul said.
“OK, follow me.”
“First, give me that.” Abdul pointed at the assault rifle.
“Bashir said we need to break out in silence. Too many fighters for us to kill them all.”
Abdul held the AK-47 in his hands with difficulty and fumbled with the safety switch. Finally, he switched it to full automatic. “Just in case,” he mumbled.
“Let’s go.”
Justin threw a glance down the hall and signaled for Abdul to follow him. They moved quickly to the end of the narrow hallway, their bare feet tapping lightly on the concrete floor, grains of sand gritting their toes.
“We go to the first floor, then left,” Justin said as they came to a spiral staircase.
“Then what?”

Tell us about your current release.

Along with Arctic Wargame, I’m releasing two short stories. Carved in Memory is a prequel to Arctic Wargame and explains an important aspect of Justin’s background. The Last Confession is about justice coming to a dying NY mobster making his last confession to his priest.

Arctic Wargame is the first book in Justin Hall series. Justin has been demoted because of a botched rescue operation in Libya, which was not his fault. Now, he’s a desk jockey. Eager to return to field work, he volunteers for a reconnaissance mission, when two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters. His team discovers a weapons stash, along with a plan that threatens Canada’s security. At the same time, the team falls under attack by one of their own and is stranded helpless in the Arctic. It is now a race against time for Justin and his team to save themselves and their country.

Tell us about your next release.

Tripoli’s Target is the second book in Justin Hall series. Justin and his partner, Carrie O’Connor, are sent to meet with the Sheikh of the largest terrorist network in Northern Africa, to receive some high-value intelligence. They learn about an assassination plot against the US president, which is to happen during a G-20 summit in Tripoli, Libya. Justin and Carrie inform the US Secret Service about this plot. Then, new intelligence comes in, and they realize something is very, very wrong in their plan. Against all odds, they must stop the assassination before the summit forty-eight hours away.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

I try to write wherever and whenever I can. At times, I wake up in the morning and put in a few hours before heading to work. Other times, I write well after midnight. Depending on the day, it could be thirty minutes or eight hours. I try to get about 1000 words per day, but that is not always possible.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I find the middle quite difficult. After the fast beginning, the introduction of the characters and of the plot, the middle seems to be quite laborious. I don’t want it to be boring or slow, as readers may lose interest. So, I need to work extra hard to make sure the quality of the middle parts is as good, if not better, than the beginning, and, of course, the rest of the story.
I also dislike rewriting and editing. Once the book is finished, I let out a sigh of relief and celebrate. Then I realize that my work is not done. I have to rewrite and edit, make changes, cut entire paragraphs and add new sentences and phrases here and there. These are required steps in order to have a great novel that readers will love.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have three great beta readers, all published authors. They are great and their critique has improved my writing so much. I consider beta readers an extremely important tool in crafting a story. They can point out flaws in your storyline and plot, character development and dialogue at the early stages, when it is easier to make corrections and changes.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

My spy thrillers are in a sense inspired by current events. Not a dramatized version of true stories, but an imaginary development of a ‘what-if’ scenario. What if an Arctic power decided to take some unilateral military action in that sensitive area of the world? What if an assassination plot happens while the US President visits one of the rogue states of the world?

I wrote Arctic Wargame and Tripoli’s Target without an outline. I had the beginning and the end quite clear in my mind, but the journey from point A to point B was not very clear. I stumbled through some points and during the rewrite trimmed down almost 10,000 words, unnecessary subplots or descriptions, sections that just bogged down the main track of the novels.

Now I make charts, with the characters’ names and their traits, in order to have a clear picture of who’s who and how they relate to one another and the story. I want characters that sound human, even when they are villains. They need to be real, people that at some point you may meet in your life. They must have logical motivations and act accordingly, not just to push the plot forward or the reach the word count for a novel.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

I learned as I wrote, and I am still learning. My advice is to begin writing and learn as you go.

Read a lot of books, so you can see what works and what doesn’t. Learn from other authors, how they create their storylines, their plots, their chapters.

Be patient and keep writing.  Eventually, you’ll have something good.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Arctic Wargame is an action-packed spy thriller, featuring Canadian secret agents, an international conspiracy, and a fight for survival. Readers will love this tale of courage, fear and betrayal.


Ethan Jones is a lawyer by trade and the author of Arctic Wargame, a spy thriller available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback.  He has also published two short stories: Carved in Memory, a prequel to Arctic Wargame, and The Last Confession, both available on Amazon as e-books.  His second spy thriller, Tripoli’s Target, will be released in fall 2012.  Ethan lives in Canada with his wife and his son.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wings by Pete Abela: Interview & Excerpt

Historical Fiction

"Wings" tells the story of Walt and his grandson Scott, who both have a fierce longing to fly albeit in vastly different circumstances. Walt - who grew up in the depression - found out first hand that becoming a pilot takes sacrifice and tenacity. When World War II broke out he pestered the RAF for eighteen months before they finally accepted him. Scott spent his childhood listening to tales of his Grandfather's aerial exploits and developed an intense craving to be a pilot. However, the number of people wanting to be a pilot vastly outweighs the limited opportunities on offer.
“Wings" weaves together two tales: one set in war-torn northern England, and the other set in the modern-day Illawarra region of New South Wales. As Scott progresses, his grandfather declines – Walt loses his wife, his sight and his hearing – but throughout these difficulties is still there to offer support and encouragement. With insights into the modern aviation scene and life in the Royal Air Force of World War II, this is a must for anyone who has an interest in history, aviation or simply an old fashioned love story.
You can purchase “Wings” directly from the publisher ( or from Amazon (

The nose of the Cessna swung around, straightening as it lined up with the runway. Scott leaned forward, attempting to judge the distance to the airport. He was concentrating fiercely; after all, this was the first time he’d attempted a landing without someone by his side giving him directions.
He eased back the throttle and adjusted the flaps. A gust of wind caught the plane and the right wing rose as the left side dropped. He looked down at the instruments and adjusted the rudder, restoring the aircraft to level flight.
When he looked up again, he was shocked to see how rapidly the runway had come closer in the few seconds required to level the plane. “Too high,” he muttered to himself, as he pushed the throttle forward, dropping the nose toward the ground. The airspeed indicator increased as the altimeter – which showed his height – dropped. He looked up again, and realised his mistake. “Too low,” he groaned as he pulled the control stick back, raising the nose. “And too fast,” he realised as the ground rushed toward him.
He was conscious that he had made a crazy, lurching descent and was still travelling too fast. He’d also dropped too far and was now lower than the ideal flight path, skimming just above the ground, well short of the runway. He thought about his options: Pull up and go around? Or try to land it anyway?
He decided to fly another circuit and make a new approach when his mother’s authoritative voice interrupted his thoughts. “We’re going to Grandma and Grandad’s place, so get off the computer, Scott. Now.”
Exasperated, Scott pushed the throttle forward and dropped towards the ground. He realised it was approaching too quickly, but he hung onto the controls grimly. A splintering, tearing sound came from the speakers and a jagged line crossed the screen.
He slammed the joystick down. Without the interruption he was sure he could have made his first successful Flight Simulator landing. He got up from his chair and trudged towards the garage, his mind replaying the sequence of events, trying to work out what he’d do differently next time.
Scott squeezed into the car with his older brother and sister. Fourteen years old, he was short and slim, with an olive, babyish face yet to be shaped by puberty. He had close cropped, dark hair, cut in the style of the character, Maverick, from his favourite movie, Top Gun.
The drive to his grandparent’s house took five minutes, leaving Scott little time to decide how to approach his next landing.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
Given Wings is my first book, everyone is watching with great interest. No-one quite knows what to expect. Everyone is pleased that I have achieved my goal of being published and they offer me plenty of support – whether practical or simply giving me the space to do my thing.
My eldest son is now seventeen and he is quite intrigued to see the production side of the process – the editing, marketing and publicity. My youngest son is six months old. He regularly vomits whenever the subject of writing is raised, but given he vomits at many other times during the day, I’m trying not to take it too personally.
Does your significant other read your stuff?
My beautiful wife is a wonderful proof reader, particularly from the perspective of finding grammatical errors and logical inconsistencies.  She reads my work on the kindle and records an (almost embarrassing) number of questions and issues in her iPhone before sending them to me. I find her reviews to be of great assistance because I’m often too buried amongst the trees to see the forest.
Who are your books published with?
My publisher is Really Blue Books ( They’re a brand new Australian publisher specialising in ebooks. They have a bit of attitude - which I like – and see themselves as part of the future of publishing. It’s an exciting place to be.
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m actually a mixture. I’m now working on my 2nd and 3rd novels and each of the three has proceeded in the same way. They start with a burst of unconstrained energy where I just sit down and write. This continues until I get stuck (usually at around the 10,000 word mark). At this point I need to plan out the rest of the novel, scene by scene. Once the plan has been completed, I resume my writing and finish it off. Some part of the first 10,000 words is usually throwaway, and often it gets transformed in some way. However, I don’t regret it, because it is during those first 10,000 words - when I am flying by the seat of my pants – that I work out what the novel will be about.
Do you play any sports?
I certainly do. Exercise is an important part of my life and I try very hard to squeeze it in. With a wife, four children, a day job and my writing, life feels very full at times. However, I have a weekly tennis match with a good friend (who also doubles as a beta-reader) which takes place in the evenings after the little kids have gone to bed. During winter I play soccer and over summer I try to play a few games of golf. I also try to go for one or two runs a week, usually early in the morning. If one of the toddlers is awake, I strap them into the pram and take them along for the ride.
New York or LA? Why
Given I’m an Aussie, can I reframe that question to be “Sydney or Melbourne?” Overall, I’d plump for Sydney. Melbourne is a wonderful place with a vibrant food culture and an amazing passion for sport. These positive attributes are somewhat offset by the variable nature of the weather. It’s often said that Melbourne experiences four seasons in a day.
Sydney is not perfect. The traffic is snarling and regularly gridlocked. However, the natural beauty of Sydney’s Harbour and Blue Mountains are enough to tip my vote the way of Australia’s largest city.
However, better than both Sydney and Melbourne, is the wonderful city of Wollongong. It’s located fifty miles south of Sydney and is squeezed onto a narrow strip of coastal land between picturesque mountains and white, sandy beaches. It’s big enough to have almost every amenity one would want, yet not as crowded as our capital cities. It is also close enough to Sydney that we can easily get to Sydney whenever we need to.

Pete is a left-brained computer scientist whose love of reading propelled him to take up writing. Having surprised himself and those around him by getting Wings published, he is now revelling in the fun of dreaming up marketing and publicity stunts – tasks he never could have envisaged doing ten years ago. He continues to stretch the boundaries of his right hemisphere with his writing and is now working to complete a second novel.
His left brain hasn’t been totally neglected through this process. Pete still works as an IT Manager in order to help keep his wife and four kids fed and clothed. When he’s not working, reading, writing or enjoying the company of his family, Pete likes to sneak away for a bit of exercise – either tennis, soccer or a laborious run. Pete lives on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
You can find more about Pete at his website and blog ( The blog contains a number of really bad jokes. You have been warned.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Above the Bridge by Deborah Garner: Author Interview

Romantic Mystery

When Paige MacKenzie arrives in Jackson Hole, her only goal is to complete a simple newspaper assignment about the old west. However, it's not long before her instincts tell her there's more than a basic story to be found in the popular, northwestern Wyoming mountain area. A chance encounter with attractive cowboy Jake Norris soon has Paige chasing a legend of buried treasure, passed down through generations.

From the torn edge of a water-damaged map to the mysterious glow of an antler arch, Paige will follow clues high into the mountainous terrain and deep into Jackson's history. Side-stepping a few shady characters who are also searching for the same hidden reward, she will have to decide who is trustworthy and who is not.

Paperback  |  Kindle  |  BN Paperback  |    Nook  |   Goodreads

Today I am welcoming Deborah Garner to my blog. 

It's exciting to have the opportunity to chat a bit and find out more about you.  Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Never. It's not that I dislike music, it's more a matter of music being so rich that it distracts me. It sways the images that my characters are trying to create in their environment. In order to focus on the writing itself, I need to have silence. Strange, maybe, but true.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

 Sit down. Write. Keep writing.

What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?

I love photography and travel, so I'll jump at any occasion to grab my camera equipment and hit the road. I also do seasonal work in a resort area, so that keeps me busy. Very, very busy.

New York or LA? Why?

Neither! I know, I'm such a rebel! I find cities to be vibrant, intriguing and full of life. I love visiting them, for about...two days. Then claustrophobia sets in and I'm yearning for trees, open spaces and clean, fresh air.

What does your family think of your writing career?

My family has been wonderfully supportive. They all jumped in to help with a recent book launch for Above the Bridge, rounding up friends and spreading the word. Every immediate family member attended the event. And I don't think it was just for the champagne, strawberries and chocolate that was served, though, hmmm, now that I think about it...

Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?

I do have one this year and I find my attitude to be very different than I would have predicted. I haven't embraced milestone birthdays in the past, but somehow I'm starting to come to grips with the concept of aging. I've been blessed with a life full of amazing experiences and opportunities - teaching, dancing, traveling, writing, etc. Instead of dwelling in the panic that has often plagued me in the past - wondering how I would fit everything in that I still want to do - I'm looking back and realizing how fortunate my path has been. It's about acceptance and gratitude.

Where are your fans most likely to find you hanging out?

Ah, good question. The truth is, they're not likely to find me at all. I'm very reclusive when I don't absolutely have to be out and about. I love  being home, curled up in a comfortable chair, a good book in my lap and my sweet corgi-shepherd mix by my side.

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

There's another Paige MacKenzie Mystery percolating in my brain. I have a hunch I know where she's going for her next adventure, but the details have yet to reveal themselves. On a completely different note, I have a non-fiction project finished and in the rough editing stages, a compilation of ten years of U.S. backroads travel experiences, with an emphasis on small towns and unique lodging.

Thanks so much for taking time to be here, Deborah.  I wish you the very best with all your projects.

Thank you, Laurie.  It's been fun!

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer and photographer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. She splits her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Twitter: @PaigeandJake