From tennis stardom to sexual slavery

Nick Kalvin 9.2014

 

I have accumulated a lot of writer friends since I started writing commercial fiction in 2010, but today I have one of my dearest of friends. Besides being a wonderful writer and an experienced eye surgeon, he is a great friend. Nick is  one of those guys you can always go to when you need something done, or someone to listen. H e won’t make excuses why he can’t be there, or ever say he doesn’t have time for you (i.e. me).  And in spite of his age, he can run circles around most of the other people I know.  So, without further, ado, I present to you, Dr. Nick Kalvin.

Nick,  Sexual Jihad is a large book in most people’s thoughts. You and I have compared it to Moby Dick or Gone with the Wind. How long did it take to write and publish Sexual Jihad?

It took about six months to write it, and three or four months to edit, review two printed proofs, then, even with help, upload and make design decisions. It was humbling and amazing to correct a couple hundred typos, punctuation and word-order glitches, to get the proof back to find things I missed. Then to restart the process, of course uploading to Create Space, each version. There is a good argument for professional proof readers.

And of all that, what was the hardest part?

One would think that the hardest part was writing it out on paper and, then retyping into the computer. The major stumbling block, which made things tough for me, turned out to be that much of Sexual Jihadwas in an older program, Microsoft Works. This did not have the bells and whistles of newer Word programs to catch mistakes as one typed. So, I could not even see all the mistakes. The latter portion of the book went easier, no doubt. Once, about 2/3 through, I did something on the keyboard that deleted the entire manuscript. Lucky for me, I got it back on a Go-flex recovery I had installed. After that, I made about a dozen DVDRW external copies and also saved copies into Docs.You got me into external devices, neater and smaller. But, the smaller the easier to misplace they become as some in MIW found out.

As we all learn, staying up to date on technology really helps.  I’ve known you through our local writers group. What has belonging to MIW (Marco Island Writers) done for you?

I was inspired by the published authors, listened carefully to invited speakers. I heard the dissatisfactions of experienced authors, with traditional publishing houses, and the POD companies that charge outrageous fees.  Plus, they want the lion’s share of any profit and any offerings which might follow. I speak of rights for TV, film, art work, overseas sales, merchandise, and so on. Most importantly, MIW led me to you. Without your generosity, enthusiasm and self-acquired skills, I would never have succeeded on Create Space and Kindle. Your flying fingers dazzled me. I did learn to do some of the tasks, but will still need help again, for the sequel, CHAOS vs. THE CALIPHATE. Much of the computer and trade terminology was like a foreign language. Now I understand some of it.

You are too kind. That’s what we do. “Writers Helping Writers” as our logo says. Now that your book is out in print, how does it feel?

Yes, it’s intoxicating to see one’s name in print. That’s why most folks write letters to the editor. For me, my first time was at Lakewood High, in Lakewood Ohio. I was one of the sports editors of the High Times. I was so proud, when the advisor used an editorial cartoon I had drawn. Unlike other kids, I actually enjoyed doing required reports and theme papers. Mom told me when I was about three, I used to take paper and pencil, then used a low magazine rack, with a flat side as my desk, scribbling and sketching. She said it was hard to get me away from it, and that when she called, I complained “I busy!”

After she died, one of my sisters found a poem Mom wrote about me after I was born in 1933. She and Dad loved to sing. My maternal grandmother authored little Slavic musical plays for the church with my Dad.He was a cantor, wrote some of his own church music. Mom was in his choir. Most lyrics are poetry. So, perhaps there may be a poetry gene in us, in others, not.

Sexual Jihad

What inspired you to write Sexual Jihad, a book you can be sure will be controversial, regardless of which side of the world you are in?

For years, I have been bothered by Islamic Extremism and what it has been doing. I learned that it’s hardly news, been going on since 630 AD. At first, I wrote poetry based on news articles.

Some examples of those poems are: “Border-zone Date,” about an Israeli male teen lured to a death by torture by a cute Muslim girl he meets at a coffee house; “Saving Honor by A Nose,” a true story about Bibi, who had her ears and nose cut off by an Islamic misogynist, a physical abuser, her husband; “Lovely Malala,” is the school girl in Pakistan who had a blog about education for females. She was shot in the head, but survived amazingly well. Two pieces concern young girls who volunteer to work with immunization programs, and end up assassinated by Fundamentalists, under the joint title, “Angels in Muslim Hell.”

Some of my poems are on my site,http://www.poetrypoliticallyincorrect.com. I wanted people to notice the real world. A fool could see what was ultimately going to happen. To get people to read about it, I had to use an adventure novel, one with some sex, suspense, intrigue, interesting people, exotic places and geography, a sport…all stirred up in religious and cultural facts, aping genuine events, so the message, the explanation, was not just a dissertation about danger to our way of life, and most of all, our personal God-given freedoms.

I love tennis. As Judy and I watched the Australian Open and tennis events leading up to it, I chose to make my heroines, the WTA number One and Two. They would be kidnapped in an act of Jihad, which would make them sex slaves. My book has facts and quotes, which back this up. As I wrote, current events chased after me, like the abduction of a couple hundred school girls, who were sold as sex slaves and child brides.

The antagonists, is a cultured man, with many contradictory sides. Sheik Prince needs sons while his wives produce only girls. A devout Muslim, he will not make sons by adultery, with willing women outside his three wives. But he sees a way to do it with the women he so admires, since his college years, attractive female athletes, by using sexual jihad. He easily finds modern support, as I did, from Islamic sites on line. Additionally, his wives have all had FGM as girls. But, he likes his women natural. So, he is conflicted. Soon, he must decide if he will submit his young daughters to this mutilation and, forever, deprive them of sexual pleasures. He likes the way, Allah, the Supreme, the Almighty, created women. FGM affects perhaps a billion women, mainly in Muslim nations and Africa. So FGM becomes part of the book. Decades ago, a young female, from a prominent tribe, fled Saudi Arabia to avoid FGM. She wrote about it in some magazine I read in college, back in the early 50’s. A pre-med, I had no idea such existed.

Sheik Prince wants an heir or two to continue his 1000 year lineage. He wants his sons to become leaders in the Caliphate, he knows will one day come. So, he wants courageous, athletic, intelligent and natural women. He wants women able to respond to his pleasuring. These qualities abound in Ingrid and Marie, my protagonists. They make things tough for him. I mean, what did he expect? He is used to subservient Muslim girls and women.

That’s an intriguing story, full of action and taboo subjects. So let’s talk about marketing. What have you done to promote your book? As an Indie publisher, we know that marketing can be the hardest part of all.

I asked my family members to put out the word on my book, attaching a summary and jacket cover. I asked each to contact everyone on email and social network and ask those folks to spread the news. I am doing the same with four different Alumni groups and medical societies. You helped me with a poster, rack cards and business cards. I plan to give copies to book reviewers, and would like to send one to my three favorites on talk radio, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. Each of them knows the score when it comes to Fundamental Islamic fanaticism. The book might be seen by them as one way more to educate people who are still free, before it is too late.  We are bound to enter the era of Islam armed with nuclear bombs and biologic warfare. They have progressed from swords and axes, to guns and suicide bombers. Now they reach for the ultimate weapon.

Where can readers get a copy of Sexual Jihad or read it on their electronic devices?

You can buy the print copy through my publisher, Create Space at this link.

https://www.createspace.com/4875374

You can buy the print edition online at Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sexual-jihad-nick-kalvin-md/1120026603?ean=9781500326579

Sexual Jihad is also available on Amazon in e-book and print edition.

http://www.amazon.com/Sexual-Jihad-Nick-Kalvin-M-D/dp/1500326577/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412118082&sr=1-1

 

Advertisements

Author, James Usavage presents “Footsteps in the Attic”

Usavage author pic

James Usavage has led a life as interesting as the characters he writes about in his books. On his way to a career in medicine, James came to the realization that the life of a doctor was not the one for him, and that understanding set him out on a journey of exploration that spanned the entire United States.

Accompanied by his equally adventurous wife Judy, James spent a number of years criss-crossing the country working odd jobs (everything from car salesman to musician to construction worker to teacher) and experiencing people and situations that would all ultimately lend to the characters, places, and adventures that make up his books.

Influenced by many of the masters of classic modern literature (Wells, Conan Doyle, Dumas, London, Steinbeck, Hemingway, et al), James even writes longhand as many of them did, and although that may have resulted more from an injury involving a broken glass rod severing a nerve in James’s hand in a chemistry class accident, the fact that the feeling has finally come back to his fingers yet James still continues to write instead of type may shed some light on a love for the classic way of creating worlds with nothing more than pen, paper, and imagination.

“Footsteps in the Attic” is James Usavage’s third published novel and his wife Judy’s favorite of the three. More than just a spouse with a loving recommendation, Judy is also the official transcriber of James’s books from print to type. Together, they have brought the worlds that James Usavage has created to life.

James lives with his wife Judy, an artist, in Southwest Florida, and they are the proud parents of two grown sons.

From the author:

– I do a lot of research for each book. I don’t believe in cardboard characters and I make an effort to personalize them. When people that have read my other novels comment about seeing a little piece of themselves in the characters, I greatly appreciate it and know that I’ve done my job as a writer. No matter what, though, I have to say there is no sense of accomplishment and pleasure like having a family.     James P. Usavage

Footsteps in the Attic by Usavage

Joanne:  It is a pleasure having you on Author Interview Friday. How did you get started in writing and why?

James:  I actually started writing when I was in third grade which was also when I read my first novel ( Jack London ), I did some short stories for school and experimented with prose, poetry, rhyme, meter and so on. I enjoyed it. But I went on in school, eventually majoring in science and pre-med ( My Dad wanted me to become a doctor which didn’t happen ) I read many of the classics ( e.g. Steinbeck, Sartre, Camus, Hemingway ). I liked Tennyson, Jules Verne and so on. I have been asked why I started writing seriously so late in life.   I had other things to do, some of which I wouldn’t trade for anything.  One could say ” Life gets in the way “.  I like  the challenge of writing novels. There is the outlining, plotting, characterization and, in my case, much research. I never wanted to write a boring book so I chose novels and, in particular, thrillers. I enjoy writing my books. So, at least one person likes them. But seriously, I would not put them out there if  I thought they were not good enough ( I have waste-basketed a few manuscripts ).

Joanne:  Have you had any formal education or training in writing?

James:  I have never taken any special writing courses. I studied works by some of the best novelists and derived some of my own methods. As far as editing . When I got the galleys back from those who edited my first two books,  my wife and I found that there was very little change done to them.. That said, we decided to do the next novel  ‘ Footsteps in the Attic ‘ on our own. We hired a printing company and did the rest. ,       The results are bearing out that we did a pretty good job.

Joanne: Do you always write in the the genre?

James:  I believe that a well written novel transcends genre. You could say that my first two novels are of a different genre than my third and upcoming fourth novel.  However, the elements of suspense, mystery, adventure, human interaction and mainstream interest are in all of them to some degree. Anybody can read them. There is something for everybody. It’s a lot of work, but readers deserve something good for investing their time. If I didn’t enjoy writing it, why should I expect somebody to enjoy reading it.

Joanne:  Do you write in a particular POV, say first or third person and why?

James:  I like writing in third person. I think it works best with thrillers.

Joanne: A lot of us read to study the structure of books. I know that since I started writing, I see structure that I never paid any attention to as a casual reader. What do you do to improve your craft?

James:. I have studied other novels for structure. Depending on the novel, I’ve probably done all of these things. The thing that might have been trickiest-in my first novel A.C.E. Vanguard, was having 4 fugitives being pursued-with each experiencing diverse circumstances- weaving this into the story without missing a beat where each is concerned-and then interfacing this to meld into the last part of the book.

Joanne:  Do you follow a plan when you write, i.e., always commit to a word count or finishing a scene  or do you write as the “muse” strikes you?

James:  For me there are days when I might do one sentence or 10 pages. I look at novel writing conceptually. One day it might be a particular sentence or action or chronology I’m dealing with which is the foundation for the next chapter or character or a particular twist in the storyline. If I resolve a problem whether it be with one word or one chapter or a dozen, I’ve done a days work and I’m satisfied with that.

Joanne: Can you tell us the premise to the book we are featuring today, Footsteps in the Attic.

James: Briefly, Footsteps in the Attic ” is about the search for a fortune-teller who suddenly vanished. The story follows a young girl who possesses this talent. We follow her as she grows up, goes to college, gets a job, and meets a man whom she starts dating. He invites her to attend the wedding of his niece. They go up to the north woods with a group of friends from work. The marriage and celebration take place and then Rita vanishes. John, the boyfriend along with his brother ( with whom there has to be some healing  ) take off to find her. They pursue her from Arizona to Louisiana to Central Park N.Y. The story is full of twists and turns and —I’ll stop there. I will say one more thing. When I’m asked about the first chapter-it is similar to the neighborhood where I grew up. Here is the first chapter.

Chapter One of Footsteps in the Attic

I. Rita

When she was a girl growing up, Ouija Boards were considered a fun thing, a party thing. At first, Rita and others played with it, but as she became more intrigued by it, Rita moved it from under her bed to the attic to use for her own amusement. The attic was dark. There was a very narrow, curving, tunnel-like staircase which took her there; since there was no light over it, Rita brought a candle with her.  She had lighted candles in her room continually because she liked the atmosphere and the aroma they created. So it wasn’t unusual for her to take one with her when she went to the attic.

There was an old rocking chair in the attic that was covered with a once white sheet which, itself, was covered with dust. It was said that the previous owner of the house had died in the chair and that immediately afterwards, it was covered and put in the attic. When the neighborhood kids came over, they would listen for the chair to rock, especially on a stormy day when it seemed the whole house shook. Some thought they heard it, others pooh-poohed the notion, dismissing the noise as being that of tree branches brushing against the roof. But Rita heard it at night, the creaking noise  made by the rocker’s rails on the wooden floor of the attic. She heard it at night, as she lay in her bed waiting to fall asleep.

After climbing the stairs to the attic, she would lift the trap door, leaving it open, putting the candle on a nearby box and grabbing the drawn handle of a heavy old wooden dresser to brace herself as she took the final step to the top. Then Rita would walk over to the rocking chair and remove the sheet covering it. This she did carefully to prevent too much dust from flying in her face. She would then push a large wooden trunk, which was her table, in front of it. Next, she placed the candle on the trunk and walked toward the mounds of sheet -covered antique treasures.  She lifted one sheet and removed her Ouija Board from under an ornamental serving tray.

Sitting in the rocker, Ouija Board spread flat in front of her, Rita asked it to speak to her. “What do you want to show me, today?”

“E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G   Y-O-U   D-E-S-I-R-E,” it spelled, as she believed the pointer moved her hand to these letters. Some of the kids laughed and said Rita was the one who controlled the pointer. Rita told them it wasn’t so. With the other kids it was a game, but Rita took it seriously. Still, they were fascinated every time they played with it.

One stormy day–it seemed like there were a lot of them in the Midwest where they lived–Rita asked the Ouija Board what she should call it, and it gave her a name.  N-O-M-M.

“Nomm,” she said, repeating it a few times to hear how it sounded. From then in she called it that–Nomm. It became familiar to her, and she considered Nomm her friend and guide. One day, Nomm told her to go stand at one particular spot in the attic where she felt a chill.

“I don’t like this, Nomm,” she said, and Nomm never asked her to stand in that particular place again. Instead, Rita brought a few of the kids up to the attic the next day. Wanting to see what they would do, or if they would be scared, she told them to go to the spot. They stood on the spot and felt a chill, just as she told them they would, and they ran off frightened. After that, she didn’t bring anybody else up to her attic hideout. They wouldn’t have come, anyway. In fact, as word spread that the house was haunted, most of the kids stopped playing with her, let alone coming to the house.

There was a woman in the neighborhood  who was a known fortune teller–one who gazed into crystal balls, read tarot cards and palms. Rita knew that her mother went to this woman’s house, as did Molly, the next door neighbor lady. Mother never mentioned where she was going when she went to the fortune teller’s house, saying only “I’ll be right back.” In fact, she never mentioned ever having gone there; and when Rita asked, she would skirt around the issue. The other women in the neighborhood acted the same way. They all went to the fortune teller’s house, yet they wouldn’t admit it, even to each other. When they got together and talked, it would always be “somebody else” who went over there. “Oh, Irma goes to the fortune teller. Didn’t you know that?” would be a typical comment or gossip. This piqued Rita’s curiosity. One day when she eleven years old, she decided to see for herself what everyone else was doing, so she took a walk down the block, and when she thought no one was looking, she stopped by the old, dark brick house, went to the back stairs and cautiously proceeded to climb them. It was a wooden stairway which needed paint, and Rita held firmly onto the railings as she moved slowly toward the screen door. The stairs creaked with each step she took. The back porch was a screened area. It looked dark inside. Rita peered through the screen and was about to knock when she saw that the door inside the porch was slightly open. She knew somebody was watching her through the crack. The door opened a little more and soon a gaunt figure, dressed in dark clothes, came slowly toward her.

Rita met the woman’s intense gaze with a shy one of her own. Rita looked into the woman’s eyes. They were dark, distant, yet irresistible. The woman was wearing a long, black skirt and a black, long-sleeved blouse, with the sleeves being shear.

“You’re Norma’s daughter,” she said, facing Rita from behind the screen door.

“Yes–yes,” Rita replied, nervously.

The woman unlocked the screen door. “Come in. Would you like some cookies and tea?”

Rita didn’t reply.

“What can I do for you?”

Rita still didn’t reply.

“Oh, I know, Come inside.” Rita slowly followed her into the living room. The drapery was dark, as was the hue of all the old Victorian-style furniture, yet Rita felt drawn toward it and plopped down on a burgundy-colored sofa.

The woman brought in a tray adorned with cookies and a floral-patterned teapot, setting it on the table in front of the sofa. She poured some tea into a cup for Rita. Before she sat down, she took Rita’s hand and gazed at her palm.

“I can see, now, why you are here,” she said, soberly.

“You can?” Rita’s eyes were wide with surprise.

“Oh, yes,” she replied in a slow drawl. “You couldn’t resist coming, could you?”

“Umm,” Rita didn’t answer, but knew what the woman was talking about.

“I was born under a veil. Do you know what that is?”

Rita just shook her head. She had never heard of such a thing.

“You were also born under a veil. Your mother told me.”

Rita looked at her, perplexed.

“It-uh-means you are a very special girl, and you, too, have the gift.” A disturbed look came across the woman’s face, and then, as quickly as it came, it disappeared. “Does your mother know you are here?”

Rita shook her head , as she ate her cookie.

“Maybe you had better get back home before she misses you.”

Rita finished her cookie and got up from the sofa. ”I don’t have any money,” Rita had heard that the neighborhood women would pay five dollars for their readings.

“Oh,” the woman waved her hand and smiled. “You don’t have to pay me. Don’t worry about it.”

As Rita walked through the house, she glanced back to see a strange look coming across the woman’s face like the expression she had when she was talking about the veil, or whatever it was. The woman stood there in her living room, wringing her hands, as Rita took one last look back and scurried down the back stairs.

Rita ran home, thinking how strange the woman was. She had expected a real fortune-telling session with a crystal ball, yet the woman didn’t seem to do much except to look at Rita strangely. Maybe she could ask Nomm about it, later.

When Rita arrived home, her mother was waiting, wondering why Rita’s room had not been cleaned, as it was summertime and Friday–room cleaning day. So Rita quickly began cleaning her room and afterwards, helped her mother grocery shop for the week.

Rita was not unattractive, but she was shy, and as she went through high school and had at least a boyfriend each year, she forgot about her Ouija Board and the other things that had previously occupied her time. She felt, somehow, she was “different” and sometime into her second year of college, she began to evaluate herself in terms of what boyfriends and others had said to her. More than one had called her “odd” or “different”. Rita’s introversion and shyness was often misinterpreted.

So, on a Thanksgiving break from college, Rita returned home and went up the tunnel-like stairway into the attic, carrying a candle, as she used to do. Everything looked the same, and she felt something come over her-a familiarity she experienced as a girl a long time ago. The rocking chair was still in its place. She pulled out the trunk as she performed what seemed a distant, yet comfortable, ritual, and placed the candle upon it. Then she went to the covered pile of old things, reached under the sheet and under the tray and pulled it out. It was still there, the Ouija Board. She opened it on top of the trunk and inquired of it, as she lad many times before. It spelled out “Nomm- y-o-u-r   f-r -i-e-n-d.”

Rita felt like she was home.

Thanks James. Your books sound intriguing. Readers, here are other  books by James Usavage. they include  Miocene II and A.C. E. Vanguard.  You can order his books though his website at

http://authorjames.bigcartel.com/

Miocene II ‘ http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Miocene+II&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AMiocene+II and ‘ A.C.E. Vanguard ‘  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=A.CE.+Vanguard 

other book cover by Usavage        A[1].C.E. Vanguard cover by Savage

Sci-fi catches up with today’s world to become a modern day thriller in The Janus Code

It is my pleasure to have my friend, Judy Loose with us today on Author Interview Friday. I love the tag line to her book – which always gets eyebrows raised at book events.  “What if the ultimate computer firewall protection turned out to be the ultimate computer snooper?”

Tell us when you first knew that you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

JudyLoose72 (2)

I started making up stories practically when I started talking. I started writing them down when I learned to write.

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

I had a teacher in high school who made me write a 2000 word essay every time I acted up in class. He was meticulous in his grading and editing of what I wrote.

I took an adult-education writing course at the age of fifty, which got me back on track with writing after not writing anything except business and technical for many years. Most of the members of that class ended up on a writers critique group that stayed together many years. Critique groups and writers groups have been very helpful in keeping me writing and hopefully doing it well.

How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

My first published novel, The Janus Code (self-published on Create Space in August 2013), was written in 1995 as science fiction or speculative fiction. Technology has caught up; much of what I predicted in the novel is happening today. So I dug out the manuscript, rewrote it for today, and published it.

Shortly after taking the adult-ed. writing course, I started publishing poetry and short stories. I wrote five complete novels before trying to publishing one.

Do you always write in the same genre?

No, I write across various genres and I use two different author names. The Janus Code is an international tech thriller published under my maiden name, J.C. Ferguson. The next novel I plan to publish, Mangrove Madness, is a humorous female PI adventure that I have sent to publishers as Judy Loose. One of my unpublished novels is a romance, one is women’s fiction.

Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

I believe it would be on the mystery or thriller shelf.

Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

I have another novel, Mangrove Madness, which has been with an agent and a couple of publishers for a long, long time with no answer as to whether or not it will ever be published. I found my agent by sending out many (close to 100) query letters. My agent contacted the publishers.

Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route this time in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

One of the reasons I decided to self-publish is because of the length of time it takes to get a response from traditional publishers. I decided to use Create Space after researching the options and listening to the stories other authors tell of their experiences in self-publishing. To me, Create Space is the easiest, most flexible, and least expensive way to self-publish. I would recommend using them to any author.

Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?

I wrote The Janus Code in third person past. I do switch POV for different stories. I like to write in first person present (Mangrove Madness for example). I have not yet written a novel with multiple points of view. Maybe I’ll try it with my next one.

What does  finding your “voice” mean to you and how did you find yours?

I think “voice” has to do with a writer’s personality and view of the world. I’m not sure I could say how I found mine. I just start writing and the characters in my stories take over.

Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s?

I write from beginning to end and then go back and fix what doesn’t work, editing many times. Structure? What’s that? The books seem to be coherent when I finish. The closest thing to structure that I use is  –  try to make every chapter end so that the reader wants to continue with the next chapter.

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Building the story is the fun part. All those other things that come after (for me at least) trying to write a synopsis, query, outline, summary for the back of the book, a tag line, etc., are difficult for me. I still have problems with a 30-second elevator speech for The Janus Code, and I know the book inside and out.

It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

I’m a lousy marketer, so I’m not the one to ask. I need to hire someone to market my book. I have a friend who is a great salesperson and she does some marketing for me. I build websites, so I have a few that I created to promote my book.

www.judyloose.com

www.jcferguson.net

www.januscode.com

www.amazon.com/author/jcferguson

Are you a pantser or a planner?

I fly by the seat of my pants when I write. I may not have the slightest idea where I’m going when I start writing. I guess that makes me a “pantser.”

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Just sit down, write, and keep writing. Don’t look back. You can always go back and edit or fix after you’ve finished.

Was there a mistake you made in your writing process you could share with us?

My biggest mistake was not bothering to publish what I wrote for a long time. I think it was because I hated the thought of marketing. Don’t wait. It’s such a thrill to see your book in print.

What in your background gave you insight for writing your current book?

The Janus Code plot is based on technology. I worked in the high-tech industry, designing, installing, and managing computer systems and IT departments for 30-plus years. Even though I dropped out of the industry to work for myself a number of years ago, I still work with computers every day. I stay current with technology out of necessity. I try to write so that anyone, even those with NO computer savvy, can follow the story and don’t feel overwhelmed by techy talk.

Another aspect of the book is its international flavor. I have visited or lived in all the locations in the book. I love to travel.

I based the protagonist in the book on a friend who was bi-polar (although the character took on his own completely different personality as I wrote).

Please share a few paragraphs from your book to wet out appetite?

Janus-frontcover72 (2)

The Janus Code

By J.C. Ferguson

Traffic was light but steady through the Schwarzwald at two a.m. Headlights cut the black ribbon of the Autobahn at a steady speed of two hundred and forty kilometers; flashing each time they approached other vehicles that moved quickly out of the path.

Maurice Vivant drove the Lamborghini Gallardo on instinct, his body an extension of the controls, his conscious mind barely aware of the wheel in his hands or the pedals beneath his feet, leaving him free to review and strategize.

–  –  –

A dark Mercedes blocked Maurice’s path in the high-speed lane, drawing his attention back to the road. He swerved into the slower lane, pulling ahead and around. The other car picked up speed, moved to his right, matching pace. Maurice peered at the Mercedes but couldn’t see the driver through the tinted windows. He imagined the driver as his opponent, taunting him. Maurice stepped hard on the gas and the Lamborghini leaped ahead. When the lights faded in the rear view mirror, he dropped back to the original two-forty.

–  –  –

Lights approached from behind, snapping him out of his reverie. He had crossed the border into Switzerland, slowing to accommodate the curves through the Alps. He increased speed to stay ahead of the oncoming lights, but they continued to gain. Allowing the other car to overtake him, he played with the driver on the mountain bends to see what he was made of, forcing him to stay in the oncoming traffic lane as they moved into a series of sharp turns. The view of approaching cars would be obstructed for several miles. He glanced at the vehicle to his left, recognizing the Mercedes that had raced him on the Autobahn.

Adrenaline pumping, he concentrated on the road and watched for the flicker of approaching lights. A glow appeared on the roadway, warning of a car around the bend. The Mercedes swerved into his lane, bumping the side of the Lamborghini. In the oncoming lights, Maurice caught a glimpse of the other driver, grinning at him, as the heavy Mercedes pushed the lighter car sideways. In the shock of recognition, he lost control. His car jumped to the right, front tire exploding as it dropped off the edge of the pavement.

He pulled hard on the wheel, but the gravel held the blown-out tire. Still speeding forward, the Lamborghini crashed through the guardrail and flew over the embankment, spewing gravel and vegetation as it launched into air. Time suspended for Maurice. The thrill of flying down the mountain into the black night consumed him, and he laughed out loud at this last challenge.

Rich Goldhaber talks about writing a series.

It is my great pleasure to have my first author of a series on my blog. Rich Goldhaber spent forty years in Research & Development in the medical product industry. He has leveraged his knowledge of science and Technology into a second career as a Mystery/Thriller writer. His five books, The Lawson Series feature his main characters; Dr. Sally Graff and Detective Dan Lawson.  Her skills as an emergency room physician, and his as an energetic detective, make them a modern-day Dr. Watson and Sherlock Homes. Trouble always seems to find this pair as they travel the world in pursuit of bad guys.

Rich Goldharbor

Rich Goldharber

Joanne:  From my limited understanding of a series, there are several formats it can work.

Spinoffs: A series of novels that take an existing minor character, setting, or concept from the first stand-alone story and create a new plot/situation for additional stand-alone stories. Spinoffs are very common in the Romance genre

Serials: A series of novels that follow one particular character throughout many different, mostly unconnected episodes. Each novel is self-contained and could be read as a stand-alone title, though each successive title reveals more about the continuing character(s). Serials are seen most often in Mystery/Suspense and Action/Adventure

Sequels: A series of novels that contain one continuing story in a finite number of volumes. While each volume has a beginning, middle, climax, and denouement, the main plot/conflict of the series continues throughout the series and finally comes to a climax and resolution in the final volume. This main plot/conflict must be introduced early in the beginning of the first book. Sequel series are most common in Science Fiction, Fantasy (just do a search for “trilogy” in the books section of amazon.com!), and Historical Fiction/Romance.

What style of series did you choose and why?

Rich: My five novels clearly fit into the serial classification.

the 26th   Stolen_Treasure_Cover_for_Kindle  vector cropped  succession plan_edited-1  risky behavior coveredited-1

Joanne:  Did you plan out all of your books ahead of time before you started to write your first book?  What was the process?

Rich: Halfway through the writing of my first book in the series “The 26th of June”, I realized that the characters deserved more than just one story to fully tell their stories.

Joanne:  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Rich: I am an avid reader. About six years ago I was reading a New York Times bestseller. I thought it was terrible. I said to myself, even I could write better than this. That was a challenge I couldn’t refuse.

Joanne:  How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript? Also, did books two through five come faster?

Rich: Once I settled on going the self-publishing route, I began exploring various self-publishing companies. Create Space, an Amazon company seemed the best, and once that decision was made it took me only three months to see my first book in print. Now I’m an expert using Create Space, and once I finish formatting my text in Word, and creating a PDF for my cover using Photoshop, it only takes a week to get a proof of my new book.

Joanne:  Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Rich: I tried going the classical route by trying to find a mainstream agent. It became clear to me after six months of trying that my query letters were for the most part not even being fully read. Feedback from my author friends indicated the general unhappiness of using second and third tier agents.

Joanne:  Do you think you have a distinctive “Voice” to your stories?  Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

Rich: My technical background has allowed me to always have a credible technical aspect to my stories. Whether it’s about terrorists making a neutron bomb or a biological weapon, I like the reader to learn something new about a technical subject that they never explored. The trick is to do so without it appearing too much like schoolwork.

Joanne:  What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Rich: Being a technical person during my business career, I was skilled in writing technical papers. Technical writing, however, is heavy on nouns, verbs, and numbers. Adjectives, adverbs, and emotion are out of the question. As a writer of novels, I had to learn to write with emotion. Easier said than done for a technocrat.

Joanne: What advice would you give to new writers that think they want to write a series. What factors are important for them to know before  they start?

Rich: Write the first story and then decide whether the main characters are worth additional exploration.

Joanne: One of my favorite series writers, Randy Wayne White always brings us exciting new stories but as a fan, I have my favorite characters that I would be so disappointed if they were not included. Do you have a favorite character that is in all your books?

Rich: Of course the main characters are my favorite, but one minor character, Benny Cannon is always exciting to write about. He’s the super-geek working at the FBI. He’s like the character “M” in James Bond movies. He always has a technical gadget to help Dan and Sally solve a problem. Also, I position him as a weird dresser (e.g. one green sock and one red sock).

Joanne: Do you have anything new in the works? If so, is it another book in the series or are ever planning on writing a new, totally different series?

Rich: After five books with the same people, my next novel moves to a new set of characters. It’s called “The Cure” and involves a young engineer who begins working for a start-up company that has found the cure to cancer. Is it really a cure or are there others factors at play? If it’s too good to be true is it always too good to be true?

Joanne:  Where should readers go to purchase your books?

Rich: My books are available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Book stores are also able to get this book through their normal distribution channels.

Joanne:  Can you share a few paragraphs from one of your book to wet out appetite?

Rich: The beginning of my second book “Succession Plan” follows:

I had been living with the guilt for almost a year. Disgrace began on the last day of my father’s life. I sat silently at the side of his bed in the nursing home waiting for what I knew was inevitable. As always, a potent cocktail of urine and Mr. Clean filled the air.

The special care facility where he had lived for the last six months was one of the finest in the city, but all of the Andrew Wyeth prints and brightly colored rooms could not alter one overriding fact. This place specialized in managing death. His cancer had slowly eaten away his self-esteem, and the frail man who now resided in what was once a fit athletic body, clung tenaciously to life.

He suddenly awoke, and his dark sunken eyes reached out to my inner soul. He searched for my hand, squeezed it tightly, and reminded me of my promise to take care of the ring. He then closed his eyes forever and left on his ultimate journey.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I bent over, kissed his forehead, held onto his now lifeless hand, and openly cried; not over his death, his passing had been a blessing. During the last six months, his life had been filled with miserable pain and suffering, dulled only by the increasing dose of prescribed narcotics. Instead, my tears were shed over his last words.

You see, the ring was the problem. He had given me the present on my eighth birthday.  The gift was bestowed along with one of his famous long rambling speeches, and as he held the cheap looking plastic gold colored object reverently in his hand, he explained it was an authentic Captain Video Secret Decoder Ring.  He wanted me to understand its true value lay far beyond its intrinsic worth. Rather, it was a symbol of the wonderful memories of his own childhood. Captain Video was a TV program from the early 50’s, and when my father was a young boy, he had used the ring to decode special messages from the Captain. Handing me the ring in front of the extended assembly of family and friends, he made me promise to save his most cherished possession and pass it on to my children when the time was right.

I didn’t know what to make of the gift or the ceremony, but I did hide the ring in the safest most secret spot I knew, a small shelf hidden from view behind a built-in bar in our basement.  To reach the special place, a person needed to crawl behind the bar and reach up inside a cabinet; a difficult set of physical maneuvers unless you were less than four feet tall and weighed under fifty pounds.

Deadly News moves from real life to fiction.

Today I have the pleasure of having Don Farmer and Chris Curle with me. They are excited about their new thriller, DEADLY NEWS. It is advertised as being “by Don Farmer with Chris Curle.” What does the “with” mean?

D&C & Banner

 

Don: I wrote the book, but Chris’s contributions were a major part of the project. She did much of the research, helped with character development and the proofreading, the “Are you sure you want him to say that?” sort of help. She calls herself my “Backup Singer.”

When I was a high school sophomore, a civics class required essays on what we wanted to do in life. I had no real idea so I wrote that I’d like to be an electrical engineer. The teacher responded, “You obviously know nothing about electrical engineering, but your writing is pretty good. Try that for a living, maybe.” So I did.

Joanne: Let me direct this question to Chris. What ‘s the hardest part of writing a book for you?

Chris: It’s the promotion and marketing of the book. We’re journalists, not sales people. We wish we had sales skills, because it’s hard to say, ‘Look at me, look what I’ve done.'”

Joanne: What’s the genre of DEADLY NEWS?

Don: It’s best described as a “murder thriller,” set against the backdrop of the TV News industry. It contains a lot of fictional but very true to life portrayals of some of the nutty and nice people in that business. We drew on our almost six decades of working in major league news media: CNN, ABC News and more.

Joanne: This is not your first book.  You wrote a non-fiction book earlier, right?

Don: Yes, in the mid 90s, I co-wrote ROOMIES, TALES FROM THE WORLDS OF TV NEWS AND SPORTS, with my college roommate and lifelong friend, Skip Caray, the late, legendary voice of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks. His dad was Harry Caray, of Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals broadcasting fame.

The publisher was Longstreet Press, a small, traditional publishing house, no longer in business.

Having that “writing credit” opened a few doors when we did this book, DEADLY NEWS. More importantly, a friend introduced us to her publisher, an award-winning independent publisher, HEADLINE BOOKS, INC. (2013 Independent Publisher Of The Year, 2011 International Independent Publisher of the Year). Our experience with them has been excellent.

Joanne: Do you always write in the same POV?

Don: My first book, ROOMIES, Skip and I each wrote our segments in our own first person. DEADLY NEWS is written in narrative style with no first person. One feature some people say they appreciate is the “true-to-life, realistic dialogue” peppered in large measure through the story.

Another common device we use is listening to what a character is thinking/saying to one’s self. It is helpful if not overdone, especially in revealing the character of the characters, such as, “Wow, I’m sick of seeing that guy on TV”(thinking this) rather than the narration, “He realized he was sick of seeing on TV.”

Joanne: What’s the hardest part in the writing process for you?

Don: Continuity, in the timelines, in the characters’ vocabularies, manner of speaking, etc., and in conveying the technology and other factual aspects of the setting, process of the plot, etc.

Joanne:  There is a big difference between being a journalist and being an author? What’s the best part of writing a novel versus writing and delivering news in print, on TV , etc.?

Don: Writing a novel is liberating. A good journalist sticks to the facts and should not make up stuff (even though some do, often to enhance their view of things). Fiction writers, by definition, make stuff up, yet can draw on true-life experiences to give the story a ring of truth.Sometimes readers question an unusual feature of the plot’s action, saying such things as, “You couldn’t have made that up, right?”  We smile.

Joanne: Where can readers go to buy your book?

Don:  www.deadlynewsthriller.com   See the below flyer.

DonChrisInfoFlyer

Here is a brief excerpt from the first chapter of DEADLY NEWS.

Campbell checked his watch, but couldn’t see the dial in the dark corner of the balcony (of the 46th floor condo).

He turned and looked out on the city, the lights of Peachtree Road winding south toward the lighted skyscrapers downtown.

Lia opened a door from the kitchen and slipped onto the balcony without Campbell knowing she had returned. She glided up to him as he stood looking out, put her arms around his waist and kissed his right ear. “Some view,” she said.

“The city looks great too,” Campbell said with a grin, turning to face her, leaning against the concrete railing of the balcony, his back to the city lights.

“And you, my dear, are sensational.”

Lia smiled and let the tips of her fingernails brush against his stomach, just above the belt buckle.

Campbell sighed and reached for her. The marijuana joint in his hand touched her dress where it closed at her lower back. It hissed, leaving a small burned spot on the cloth.

“Oh Jeez, I’m sorry,” he said, fumbling to wipe off the burn.

“It’s nothing, no problem,” she whispered.

He dropped the joint and stepped on it, then reached for her face with both hands.

Lia looked up, smiled, and purred, “Lean back.”

She touched his belt, then the buckle, then the tab on his zipper. She pulled it about half an inch. He closed his eyes.

“Lean back, honey, come on now,” she whispered.

As Campbell arched his back against the railing, thrusting his pelvis forward, Lia leaned down and grabbed him under each knee.

With a burst of upper body strength that would have surprised anybody who saw it, Lia jerked Campbell’s legs up and shoved them backwards.

He teetered for a moment, grabbing at the air.

She pushed harder on both legs and Campbell tumbled over the railing.