David J. Castello has been INTERVIEWED!!!

david-j-castello1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook
David J Castello
www.DavidJCastello.com

www.facebook.com/DavidJCastelloAuthor

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I love to play my drums. It’s a wonderfully physical departure from writing. I also love to travel. All of my grandparents are from Italy and I’ve been there and throughout Europe many times. I believe that travel nurtures the soul.

 3. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I wrote my first newspaper story when I was eleven about a Civil War slave cemetery in the South (yes, I was a strange child) and I began excavating Indian mounds when I was thirteen and wrote extensively about that, too. Today, my brother and I manage an internet network with names like Whisky.com, Bullion.com, Kennel.com, Nashville.com, etc. I’ve written numerous articles for all of those sites covering a wide variety of topics.

 4. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

There are two writers who made an early, profound impact on me: Walter Lord (A Night To Remember – 1955) and William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – 1960). I loved both of those books so much that they made me want to write. Travel has also influenced my writing. I’ve toured the US and the UK playing drums in rock groups and I’ve spoken at internet conferences about internet marketing in the US, Canada and South America. Every person, place and culture I’ve encountered has influenced my writing in some way.

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

When I began answering these questions I was in the midst of writing an update about a strange email I received from a World War Two veteran over fifteen years ago.  I finished the story and The Daily Beast published it:
www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/07/the-man-who-tried-to-stop-pearl-harbor.html

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do thediaryofanimmortal-frontcoveryou focus on just one at a time?

An idea will pop in my head that motivates me to write and I’ll hit the ground running. That’s how I began writing my debut novel, The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959). I had this freakish dream, woke up and thought, “What was that all about?”  Once I have that spark, I’ll completely immerse myself as long as it’s moving in a direction I feel passionate about. There has to be passion. Lots of it. That’s the fuel that feeds my creative fire.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I believe my strength is that I can easily slip into this twilight zone state-of-mind where I’m actually there in the moment with the characters in my book. I’m with those people. I’m in that year. I’m in that place. My weakness is that I tend to get emotionally attached to them. I guess you can also say that’s a strength, but sometimes it can be very taxing.

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

My experience with internet marketing has been helpful. There are a lot of charlatans out there and I know what is effective and what is a waste of time. I have many writer friends and I try to steer them in the most productive marketing direction possible. I believe we are all in this together. I also believe your book is your baby. Be proud of your work. It can be quite contagious. You never know who is eavesdropping on your conversation.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Never try to write a book. Simply tell a story that you feel is so compelling that it will make the reader care.

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The Girl On Legare Street

BOOK 1: The House on Tradd Street  by  Karen White

The Girl On Legare Street  description:

Melanie has grown accustomed to renovating old houses, but she never imagined she’d have to renovate her own life to include her estranged mother. Ginnette Prioleau Middleton left Charleston thirty-five years ago. She’s returned wanting to protect the daughter she’s never really known after receiving an ominous premonition.

Melanie never wanted to see her mother again, but with some prodding from her partner, Jack Trenholm, she agrees-and begins to rebuild their relationship. Together Melanie and Ginnette buy back their old home. With their combined psychic abilities they expect to unearth some ghosts. But what they find is a vengeful dark spirit whose strength has been growing for decades. It will take unearthing long buried secrets to beat this demon and save what’s left of Melanie’s family…

legareBOOK 2: The Girl On Legare Street  3 STARS

While the first book was such a surprising delight, this felt like she basically just repeated everything that happened in the first book to the point of being obnoxious. The plot itself was a good idea for a sequel. Going back to the house Melanie grew up in, and should’ve inherited, helped to learn more about her past, and a good reason to bring in her mom. But while this ghost is supposed to be the scariest ghost her mom ever came in contact with, and supposedly why she might have left, it didn’t manage to inflict much of anything in comparison with the previous evil ghost on Tradd Street. The big reveal was so glaringly obvious through the majority of the book that it was rather sad the characters didn’t figure it out, though White made their search into the truth so convoluted that I wasn’t even sure what it was they were trying to figure out half the time. For instance there was 7 words they had to put in the right order to figure out a sentence, and for anyone who reads it would take 2 seconds to know what it was meant to say, and yet they had to write out every variation of the order they could go in. Why? And Melanie’s childish behavior towards her mom, even after her dad told her the truth, was frustrating enough. But her still acting like Jack is a bad guy just playing her made me want to punch her in the face. It was such a rehashing of the same issues in the last book, it’s like it might as well not even have happen. Altogether, while it wasn’t the worst, it was a let down.

Strange History

Strange History  by  Bathroom Readers Institute  description:

From the 20th century to the Old West, from the Age of Enlightenment to the Dark Ages, from ancient cultures all the way back to the dawn of time, Strange History is overflowing with mysterious artifacts, macabre legends, kooky inventions, reality-challenged rulers, boneheaded blunders, and mind-blowing facts. Read about…

*The curse of Macbeth
*Stupid history: Hollywood style
*The secret LSD experiments of the 1960s
*In search of the lost “Cloud People” of Peru
*The Swedish queen who declared war on fleas
*Unearthing the past with the Outhouse Detectives
*The Apollo astronaut who swears he saw a UFO
*How to brew a batch of 5,000-year-old beer
*The brutal bloodbaths at Rome’s Coliseum
*Ghostly soup from ancient China
*The bathroom of the 1970s

And much, much more!

strange-historyStrange History   5 STARS

I had to write a review of this book, because it really helped save my vacation. I ended up in a place with no internet, cell service, or TV. Which was cool, and yet we had to find a way to pass the time after being out having fun and wanting to just relax. I had this book with me and it was hilarious to read out to my family. And it wasn’t of course just me reading, it would spark conversations and talking about the ridiculousness of the facts. As you can see from the description, there’s a good variety in what sort of history it’s sharing. From the spooky unexplained, to the strange ways things got invented, and even the stupid things people say when they don’t quite know their history. It’s a fun book to read, and even better to share.

There Will Be Dragons

There Will Be Dragons  by  John Ringo  description:

In the future there is no want, no war, no disease nor ill-timed death. The world is a paradise-and then, in a moment, it ends. The council that controls the Net falls out and goes to war. Everywhere people who have never known a moment of want or pain are left wondering how to survive. But scattered across the face of the earth are communities which have returned to the natural life of soil and small farm. In the village of Raven’s Mill, Edmund Talbot, master smith and unassuming historian, finds that all the problems of the world are falling in his lap. Refugees are flooding in, bandits are roaming the woods, and his former lover and his only daughter struggle through the Fallen landscape. Enemies, new and old, gather like jackals around a wounded lion. But what the jackals do not know is that while old he may be, this lion is far from death. And hidden in the past is a mystery that has waited until this time to be revealed. You cross Edmund Talbot at your peril, for a smith is not “all” he once was. . . 

dragonsBOOK 1: There Will Be Dragons   5 STARS

For the first time, 5 STARS does not feel like enough, this was a perfect 10. It was an unparalleled blending of science fiction, fantasy, and a history text book all rolled into one. And yes, a lot of real history is used as the basis for this book on which these people are trying to rebuild their world. Ringo also proves that all magic is science we have yet to explain, but even as it is explained how elves, dragons, and talking rabbits can exist it’s no less magical or intriguing. However, it’s more than just some futuristic adventure, the complex building of this world, and the bringing of each character to life and showing their growth and change after their entire world is thrown into upheaval is truly the best writing I’ve ever come across. I’ve read similar sort of stories, but they usually get bogged down in too much going on, and the characters never quite feel real. Ringo flows through all of this so well that each character has enough time to truly show who they are and you feel for them, and they’re so realistic in their choices and actions that it feels like this could really happen to ourselves. Plus, the fact that he could include so much history and details into why they choose the path they did, and how this may be better than that, and still make it interesting and have you turning page after page wanting to know what happens next just proves how well written it all was. This book could really be considered an incredible look at how humans react in various situations, and how it leads so often to history repeating itself. I don’t care what kind of books you like, everyone should read this.

Allen Woods has been INTERVIEWED!!!

BWface300dpi1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Allen Woods, author of The Sword and Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston. I’m not extremely active on social media but here are my current contacts:

www.theswordandscabbard.com

Facebook

Goodreads

LinkedIn

 

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

After playing lots of other sports in high school, I found at about age 30 that I loved to play basketball more than anything else. I still play full court with the young guys and still love it. I tell people that if anyone asks at any point, “Want to play some ball?” I always answer “Let’s go.”

  1. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I found my calling as a writer in my late 20s and have been at it, almost steadily, for over 30 years. I worked in nonfiction initially, preparing a book proposal of couple of chapters, outline, etc. focusing on my home town in Iowa and the changes there during the early 1980s. I also researched a book and wrote sample chapters on a string of murders in a small New England town. More recently, I completed a full-length mystery before writing and publishing historical fiction in The Sword and Scabbard. One thing that attracted me to historical fiction was the idea that if the publishing process took several years, which it often does, that there was no need to update references to current events like there is in a novel set in the present.

  1. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

I love writing historical fiction because it’s a way to share information about real life during a period compared to the simplistic views we often have. The Sword and Scabbard and the planned series to follow also allows me to shine a spotlight on what I call “average people” that get no coverage in historical accounts, but are central to all the important events in American history.

I read a lot of historical fiction and nonfiction, but probably more crime novels. My book is actually a crime novel set in colonial Boston, with the characters drawn into the political events there.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…sword and scabbard

I’ve been writing some blog entries and op-ed articles to help publicize my book, along with my regular work as a freelance textbook writer and editor to put bread on the table. Predominantly, I have been thinking about the next book for the characters from The Sword and Scabbard as they make their way through the Revolutionary period in Boston. My characters are going to be a part of a lot of fascinating events that will be seen from a unique perspective.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I do a lot of thinking first, identifying important events and how my characters will be affected by them or how they will have an effect on the events. Once the possibilities are there in my head, I can sketch out the action and relationships. Then I dive in and write out the story as it reveals itself to me. It is true, as some other writers have said, that characters sometimes take actions that surprise me, but in the end, fit perfectly within the story and the character.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Dialogue has often come easily to me, especially for The Sword and Scabbard which is told in the first person. Dialogue is one of those rare moments when I can hear voices in my head and put them to good use.

Because of the intricate relationship between the characters in The Sword and actual historical events that are described factually, plotting and time frames need to be very exact. This can take a lot of time and research to make sure everything lines up.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Like most writers I know, marketing is not a strength of mine. I guess that every little bit helps, every blog, every review, every signing, but it’s hard to gauge what is the most effective use of time and money. It may be painful for some writers to hear, but I am definitely focused on book sales as income, and it’s hard to make any direct connections between one type of activity and sales. I am actually looking for marketing tips from others, if they have them. The problem seems to be that one strategy may be very successful for one book and one writer, but it’s very hard to generalize about strategies. Essentially, book publishing is in a state of chaos at the moment, so it’s hard to identify a general strategy that is effective.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Write! There’s a lot to learn from a wide variety of assignments and projects, and 99% of us don’t have the luxury of having writers’ block. You need to love the process and the product of your own writing, because there’s no guarantee of any other types of rewards; in fact the statistics show just the opposite.

Danny Adams has been INTERVIEWED!!!

A Boy and His Telescope1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Danny Adams. Author of the just-released LEST CAMELOT FALL early medieval historical novel, through Musa Publishing.
As for where you can find me… Oh, I bounce back and forth all over the place. Ironically I don’t have a specific author page (yet, though I’m increasingly conviced of the need for one), but I can be found most any time elsewhere.
Facebook.com/madwriter
Blog: madwriter.livejournal.com
Twitter: Madwriter1970 or twitter.com/madwriter1970

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I’m interested in almost everything, but a handful of activities get the lion’s share of my non-writing time. Reading (of course… can’t be any kind of writer without that), hiking and other calls to the outdoors, anything history-related, and as I put it on my bio pages, “Getting into things”. I’ve found that getting into things is critically important if you want to be a writer.

3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I got seriously interested in writing when I was 12 (which is to say, 1983), after a visit to my uncle, who is better known to writing world as the science fiction author Philip Jose Farmer. My first published book was a dream come true in the form of a collaboration with him on a short SF adventure novel called The City Beyond Play. (As it happened, that was also the last of his books that came out while he was still alive.)
TCBP and Lest Camelot Fall are the two published ones. As for the rest… geez, I’ve definitely done my million words of crap. But as for last ten years or so, that would be eleven finished books. Some really aren’t ready for prime (or any other) time. Others I’m frenetically shopping.

4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

My novel writing lately has been all straight-up historical, plus one historical fantasy about the ancient Sack of Rome. Nearly all of my shorter stuff, the short stories and poetry is science fiction and fantasy, and has wriggled its way in places like Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. These do tend to be the genres I prefer reading. And in a sidelong way, I read the same subjects in non-fiction (though I don’t write non-fiction books): Most of that pile is history and science.
And why? I read history to see where we’ve been, science fiction to see what could be, and fantasy to see the things that likely won’t be but really, really wish could happen. And because for my money that’s where some of the most vivid settings are being written nowadays. Half my reading pleasure is feeling like I’m immersed in wherever the book carries me.

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…lestcamelotfall-200

I’m writing a series of straight-up historicals about Arizona, a place I have family connections to and have loved most of my life. The first book starts at the end of the Ice Age and that last book ends in the present day. They follow the same three families through generations. I always wanted to be another James A. Michener and this started out as one giant epic, but I gritted my teeth recently and broke it into a series, since I’m not entirely certain people buy many giant epics nowadays. On the up side, breaking it into a series meant I suddenly had two more finished novels, and the third one is nearly done now. (See above comment about frenetically attempting to sell.) One more to go.

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I start by asking questions. This tends to work the same way no matter the genre: I take a place I love (real or imaginary) and want to dive into head-first, then start wondering what happened there, how it influenced what happened elsewhere, and what kind of people lived there. Answering the first two questions tell me the events of the story; the latter gives me my characters. I don’t so much outline as come up with story notes you could lump under the tite “Here’s what happens in the book”. I go through a frenzy of pre-writing that fills a bunch of pages, along with a few months of research if necessary, then settle down (a bit) and get more orgainized.
Lest Camelot Fall came about because I wanted to know what happened to the Knights of the Round Table after Arthur died, and I was inspired to get to work answering that question after reading Jack Whyte’s fantastic Chronicles of Camulod series.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Overall I’m a pretty rotten and subjective judge of my own work, so I’ll answer with what I’ve heard from other people. I’m told my strengths tend to be characterization and setting, making the reader feel like their peeking in on flesh-and-blood people in a real place, along with good dialogue (which I consider as much part of the setting as the characters).
For weaknesses… well, it varies from book to book. But the repeating theme is that I have more of a struggle with action and military scenes. Those tend to be too long and drawn out, at least in my drafts, since I guess I tend to be more introspective and enjoying laying things out in great detail.

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I’m still trying to figure that out. My personal favorite thing when it comes to discovering new books, though, is reading book review blogs, especially the ones featuring indie and self-published works. So naturally they were the first place I turned to when it came to marketing Lest Camelot Fall. Just as I write what I like to read, I prefer marketing via the sites I read as well. Which makes sense; their audience is my target audience too. As for tips, I’m all ears myself!

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

It’s a long hard slog that’s full of never-ending hard work and heartbreak. It’s also the best job in the world and you’re bloody lucky to want to do it.

 

The Gravettian Goddess

Gravettian Goddess  by   B. Alexander Howerton    description:

What if the Holy Grail were real? What if people could truly live forever? Gravettian Goddess will appeal to fans of both The Da Vinci Code and Clan of the Cave Bear. It is the story of Greg Janeszco, a self-made internet multi-millionaire with a penchant for archaeology, who discovers a mystery that reaches back into the dim mist of prehistory, when humans first migrated into Europe at least 40,000 years ago during the ice age and created the wondrous cave paintings found there. Can he solve the ancient riddle before the pursuing members of a shadowy international organization, who want to exploit the find for their own dark purposes?

 

GG cover amazonGravettian Goddess   3 STARS

While I found this book fascinating in some aspects… as learning about ancient cultures and beliefs… even scientific theories on how it all worked and grew… I found that getting what was basically a history lesson one chapter after the next began to really bog down the story… even how every character that popped up suddenly dumped their whole life history on you… there must just be something about Greg because most people I meet don’t think it necessary to tell you everything they’ve ever done or thought about doing the moment they see you… which just added more obstacles to drag the story down… for the most part it really only seemed like Greg’s background was all that important… and that the rest could’ve been just a gradual learning in conversations… and that was another thing… instead of showing conversations it seemed more often than not Greg would just think back on what had happened and give you a summary… then there would be just a little action in the current happenings of Greg and Eleni trying to find the abducted Doctor and discover the research that the evil people are after… but you would get just the barest glimpse of the real story and then you would get another history lesson… it got to the point that I felt like I needed to start taking notes to even remember what all was being thrown at me… and once more though it was interesting and even mostly useful for the book… just constantly having people go on long speeches about history for several pages isn’t as exciting as one might think it would be…