Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interview: William F. Brown, author of Amongst My Enemies and The Undertaker

Author Bio: "Bill Brown is the author of six mystery and suspense novels. The Undertaker, is a domestic thriller published last February. It’s garnered 18 Five-Star and 17 Four-Star reviews of 37 posted on Amazon. Amongst My Enemies, his newest, is a Cold War thriller dealing with espionage, revenge, and missing gold. Both are available on all the usual e-book sites. An earlier novel, Thursday at Noon, a Joan Kahn Book from St. Martin’s in hardback and various paperback and foreign editions, will be out in e-book this spring. He has also written four award-winning screenplays. A native of Chicago, he attended the University of Illinois. He and his wife live in Ohio,where he writes, paints, and plays bad golf."

What inspires your stories?

I was always a reader, and I read one too many bad books – bad plot, unrealistic action, and cardboard characters. I turned to my wife and said, “I can do something this awful.” (It happened to be an unusually bad Clive Cussler) So I went to the library, got some books on writing, did my research, and gave it a shot. That was 6 books, 4 screenplays, and a lot of years ago.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

Suspense thrillers, both domestic and international, because that’s what I always read and enjoyed. As they say, we should write what we like and what we know.

What are your work habits like?

Not as regular as I would like. We travel a lot, and I play golf and paint from time to time. I use a computer, do my best work in the evening and at night, hate being disturbed, and like an orderly desk and work area around me; provided I can keep my wife from putting STUFF on my desk!

What do you consider your best work?

What? Pick one of my babies? Is this ‘Sophie’s Choice?’

Actually, and to be fair, my newer work is better than my very early work. As in everything, we learn. I wrote 4 novels, and then tried screenplays for a number of years. I won and placed in a number of contests, and actually had one briefly optioned, but Hollywood is largely an insider game. I think the only people who win are the ones who host the contests. But, screenplays are an interesting discipline. They teach tighter writing, dramatic pacing, dialogue, and character arcing. I then went back to novels, re-writing two and writing two new ones and they were much better. I think The Undertaker, a snarky, funny, contemporary thriller which came out in e-book last year, and Amongst My Enemies, a more dramatic period piece set in the late 1940’s and 1950’s which just came out, are my best to date.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I am a tight constructionist. If you don’t know where you are going, you can’t build the road to get you there. It’s the characters who drive the story, and to properly weave and arc them together, you need to know where you want them to be in the end.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I call my novels ‘beach’ or ‘pool’ books, with no apologies. No matter how pretentious we try to be, writers are in the entertainment business. If not, why would Sony, Time Warner, and the other media companies own all the publishing companies? My novels are fun, exciting reads, but ones which I hope are well crafted.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

Some of my novels are in current settings, but some are set in the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. I had a double-major in history in college, so most of my plots flow out of real events and involve historic figures. The fictional characters, however, are carefully structured to fit the dramatic needs of the story; but I’m sure I have used observation to flesh them out. My wife and I have traveled quite a bit, and I think I have been to most of the locales I use. That helps, but so can an issue of National Geographic.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

As far as the actual writing goes, it is finding enough long blocks of ‘leave me the Hell alone’ time to completely focus on the text. But . . . in recent years we are in a brave new ‘upside down’ world where the publishers, agents, and bookstores (the former Gatekeepers and Key Masters) who chose the winners and then did all the packaging and promoting, haven’t got a clue and aren’t buying. Now, anyone with an internet connection can by-pass all that, and about 800,000 have. That’s great, except of the minor problem of getting noticed. So, we now spend all our time Face Booking and blogging and tweeting instead of writing, which is what every other ‘writer’ is doing, wondering why nothing is selling and very little is getting written.

What are you currently working on?

I spent last year putting two ‘new’ books I had written out as e-books with all that entails -- working up the learning curve of e-book marketing. I am now updating and converting two of my very successful previously published hardbacks to e-books. Thursday at Noon will be up in March or so. I then hope to get back into a new-new suspense novel I had about one-third written before I decided to see what this e-book thing was all about.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

There’s an old saying in business management, “Don’t mistake activity for progress.” I’m afraid much if not all of the Face Booking, Tweeting, and blogging we do is simply writers posting to other writers (the rest of that 800,000), none of whom have the slightest interest in buying one of our books. So, don’t forget to keep writing and improving your writing, as you try harder and harder to be a ‘writer.’ And, eventually, the vampires, zombies, fairies, girls with almost-bare chests and guys with no shirts and oiled lats will fade into fad history . . . I hope.

Amongst My Enemies is available in the Amazon Kindle Store.

William F. Brown's website is HERE.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview: Larissa Hinton, author of Everblossom and Iwishacana/Acanawishi

Today we welcome Larissa Hinton, author of Everblossom and Iwishacana/Acanawishi! Here she is.

Hello, my name is Larissa Hinton. I'm a grad student at Hampton University and hopefully by next year, I'll be a full time secondary English teacher. In the morning, I'll be a teacher but at night I'll become an author. Reference isn't working for you?

Lol, anyway, most of the fiction I write really comes from a life of reading of what I love to read. Some of it, comes from a dark place which I never knew existed until college. Ah, gotta love college. Always discovering new sides of yourself.

If you want to know more about me and my sarcasm, you can just check out my blog and click on FAQ's. Thanks for reading my super short bio! :)

Q. When did you first start writing?

I started writing at the ripe age of 12. At first, I wrote poems because of my lovely English teacher decided that we should write poems and from then on, I fell in love with poetry. The writing bug really bit me a year later when the movie of Nickelodeon movie, Clock Stoppers came out. I thought the movie was going to be horrible, so I decided that I would write a novel that would be better than the movie. Needless to say, my book wasn't as good as the move but I didn't care. I love writing and nothing else mattered. Thus my obsession with writing begun.

Q. What music do you listen to when you write?

Actually, I don't listen to music when I write. The reason I don't listen to music is because it distracts me from writing. My favorite genre is electronic dance. So every time I listen to it (especially Cascada or Rhianna's Please Don't Stop the Music) I want to dance instead of write. So it's more of a hindrance instead of a help.

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?

Apparently, I have the talent of weaving my hair. Everywhere I go people compliment me on my hair and they are so shocked to know that I did it myself. You should see their faces, "You did THAT yourself?" Yeah, of course. You know how expensive it is to get kinky twists done? Over a hundred dollars easy, especially with all of the hair weave I did and how long it is. I'll give you a hint: The hair is longer than you think! I constantly sit on my hair, lol since I didn't originally intend for my hair to be this long when I started out . . . But that's a whole different story.

Q. What was your inspiration to put together this anthology?

Funny enough, there wasn't any inspiration at all! I know, such a bad answer for a writer, but I am telling the truth. You see, I was taking a Creative Writing class and for the first time ever, I had to write short stories. Before this point in my life, I never wrote a short story but I found something funny about it: I loved it. I was able to delve into the characters I loved, create new stories that would inspire bigger ideas, and it was a way to play with the inner thoughts that floated my mind. Even at one point, my professor told me that all of my novel ideas were really short stories. Granted, at that time, I did not appreciate him saying that, but some of my ideas were short stories. I just never knew it.

The poems in the anthology however, were inspired by mostly my personal life. And other times, by the urge to write it down. I don't think I could fully explain it properly, but when an idea hits me, it's like lightening and I'm alert and aware that a poem is in me that needs to be written. I've literally tried to go asleep with that feeling, but I couldn't. I had to write it down into poetic form. It doesn't happen so often (like once or twice a month) but when it happens, I have to write that poem down or I can't think straight.

Oh, and one of the poems, In Death You Speak, it was inspired by boredom in class. I was sitting in one of the English Literature classes listening to them drone on and on about something, so I wrote a poem instead of listening. I know. I'm horrible. A-soon-to-be English teacher not paying attention in an English classroom? Shocker.

Q. What books of yours should we be looking out for release next?

The next book I'm currently editing that you should look for is the sequel for Iwishacana/Acanawishi.


Where rules are meant to be broken
Anissa is constantly on the run from the police and can't seem to stay out of trouble.
Secrets are meant to be kept
Until Anissa hides Florence in her bedroom and her mother finds out. There's only one thing left to do: Send her to Juvenile Cop Camp to erase all of her crimes on her record.

And everything is not what it seems
There's only one problem: Anissa is innocent.
Welcome to Iwishacana.

You can buy this book at these sites:

Amazon US

Createspace eStore


An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary.

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but dig a little deeper and the world not only shifts . . . It changes.

The author who brought you Iwishacana/Acanawishi, now brings you a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to romance. So prepare yourself to delve into the three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed; you'll go through them all with a whole new perspective on what it all truly means.

This book is available for purchase here:
Barnes and Noble
Createspace eStore

Q. What book are you reading now?

I'm reading Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves. It's a gorgeously dark fantasy book from an author I love. Sadly, I'm almost finished with it but I will give it a grand review hopefully sometime next week. I'm so excited to share this book with my followers!

Q. What is the most difficult thing about being a writer? What is the easiest thing?

The easiest thing about writing is coming up with the ideas. I come up with new ideas practically every day I take a step outside. Now the hardest part about writing is putting your idea on paper and making it come across right. Especially for a novel. It's a long journey from the first page until the last and to make sure it's projecting the idea from cover to cover from word to word is the most difficult part. As a writer, you have to be consistent, persistent, and have excellent time management to be able to complete a novel with style, grace and be sane. Seriously. Ask some writers if they haven't pulled their hair out over a story that just wouldn't translate from their brain onto the paper right. Ah, the makings of a novel.

Q. Quick: Vampire or Shapeshifter?

Shapeshifters all the way. Vampires get way too much hype right now and they have become mainstream and valued for their apparent sex appeal. Shapeshifters on the other hand, will always win in a battle, they are scary, and they are sexy. Win win.

Q. What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

I know for me, the most rewarding thing about being a writer is getting back reviews from people who have bought and loved your book. And understood your ideas! I was really wondering about the poems I wrote called WSV (Words Speak Volumes). For the longest time I debated about publishing them in the first place since all they were was words written down a page telling a story in an odd way. I thought that maybe people just wouldn't get it.

It warmed my heart that not only did people understand my poems, they loved them! I couldn't be more thrilled since my poems have never been out to see daylight (yes, I get the Emily Dickinson irony there)! Therefore, I'm always glad to receive somewhat of fan mail on how my writing has made people think in a whole new way once they read Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology.

Q. Any advice for writers?

I have plenty of advice for writer! They can check out these links on my blog here:

But overall, I'd say keep writing and keep reading. Do your research. Do not limit yourself with traditional publishing or self publishing. It is possible to do both.

Q. Anything you want to say to your readers?

To my readers, I have to say you are the driving force behind my writing. You are the people I am so grateful for and I hope that you will find time to read my books and love them just as much as I do. And if you do love them to pieces, then please express and share your love in reviewing my books online! That is all the thanks I need at the end of the day.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Before Movie or Movie Before Book?

My mom gave me a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a couple of months ago. I haven't read it yet.

I plan to see the movie, probably on DVD and I've been debating whether to read the book before or after I watch it.

If I read the book first, I’ll already know what happens in the movie, more or less. I think also, reading the book first gives a person feelings about whatever may have been left out of the movie or added in.

However, being knowledgeable about the story also has advantages. I would probably know more about character motivation and such.

I recently read the first Harry Potter book and I found that there were details that weren't included in the movie or I just didn't catch them.

So, I guess what I do will depend on how I want to experience the movie. Do I want to be knowledgeable while sacrificing suspense or should I wait and see what extra tidbits I pick up during a post-movie reading?

- LR

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday

Welcome back! I have returned from holiday hiatus. Book Trailer Tuesday is always a good place to start.

First, while choosing the book trailers this evening, I went through a couple in which the acting was...less than stellar. They won't show up here. I think if a publisher goes to the trouble and expense of producing a book trailer that contains actors, they should probably try and find some that can act at a somewhat believable level. Terrible acting is distracting. Hey! That rhymes!

Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare.

Gabriel's Redemption, by Steve Umstead.

I feel like there isn't enough science fiction on Journey Reader. I need to fix that, yes?

I currently have NO interviews, spotlights or guest posts on the schedule, so if you are an author of fiction and would like to be featured, shoot me an email. The virtual door is wide open. JourneyReader at

Until I can schedule some appearances, we'll just have to see what I can come up with. Adventure!