Saturday, June 14, 2014


Welcome to the Super-sized 21st installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

This one is a little later and larger than originally planned. My apologies for the delay.

Let's dive right in, okay?

You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.

Q: What is your most challenging distraction from writing?


Seriously. Things happen at the most inopportune times.

Q: Are you a night writer? Do you love the silence layered with the quiet song of chirping crickets? Do you enjoy writing while the moonlight drifts through your window? Or are you more productive in the daylight with all the distractions of the waking world around you?

I work during both the day and night hours, but I am far more productive late into the night. The house is quiet, there are fewer interruptions, and fewer commercials on the radio. I find I can lose myself in the writing process better at night than during the day. My being awake at 4 a.m. is not unheard of around here.

Q: Is there a bit of fantasy in your science fiction, some horror in your romance? How do elements of multiple genres enhance your work?

But of course. I love weaving bits and pieces of differing genres together to create a complete picture. Just as fully formed characters are not one note, neither are fully fleshed out stories. A little romance in your horror story, for example, can ramp up the tension and heighten the story’s stakes.

Q: How many characters from your next project have already begun to stalk you?

Too many. They keep following me wherever I go and they just won’t shut up.

Q: What activities to you engage in to polish your craft?

Reading certainly helps, but I find that what makes me a better writer is writing. I try new things, experiment when I can, see what works, and hopefully tell a good story in the process.

Q: Do your characters' names come easily? Or is naming them a painful, thoughtful, and frustrating process?

I’ve found that if the names come to me too quickly I probably shouldn’t use it. Names, especially for the main characters, are important. I try to be more diligent these days.

Q: What does your character want in your current scene - that he isn't getting?

The villain in his grasp.

Q: If your writing style was a food, what would it be? Sweet? Spicy? Gooey? Hearty like a stew? Creamy? Soup? Crunchy? Hot? Cold?

Hearty and succulent.

Q: Have any of your characters ever had a serious illness? How about a common cold?

I have worked in a sniffle or two. I suffer from sinus problems so I've shared that misery with a character or two.

Q: What book has had more influence on your writing than any other?

Oddly enough, it was a Buffy The Vampire Slayer media tie-in novel. I was a teenager and we were out of town for a family funeral and I needed something to read. We were in a tiny town and in the local store there was this Buffy book that adapted the pilot episode. I picked it up, read it, and decided that it was time to try my hand at writing a novel. I was already working in comics, but my attempts at writing prose had been unsuccessful. This novel reawakened my desire to try again.

Q: Do you write works of different lengths? Has a short story ever become a novel for you?

I do. I write novels, short stories, and publishers do ask for different lengths for different projects. I’ve never had a short story become a novel, but some ideas do grow into larger ideas.

Q: We all have a preference for what we like to write - novels, novellas, poems, short stories, screenplays, songs, etc. - but what is the strangest thing you ever wrote outside of your chosen format?

Adapting an existing screenplay written by someone else into a comic book was a weird experience. Not strange, but different enough.

Q: What events from your life have made their way into your writing? Are any strong enough that they are recurring?

Personal experiences pepper almost every story I’ve ever written. In some cases it’s little  things like a type of work someone does or hobby he or she enjoys that I also enjoy. Other times it’s deeper, like exploring relationships between characters that mirror some of my own. For example, my grandfather and I were not close. Despite my best efforts, we just never connected. I’ve explored that in stories. Writing from experience helps these things feel real. Some recur. Others don’t.

Q: Have you ever written in first person? What were the challenges.

I wrote Fight Card: Barefoot Bones in first person. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I normally write prose in third person. With Fight Card, most of the others were written first person so I felt I should as well. The biggest challenge was not revealing things too soon with phrases like “little did I know that the next time we met I would…” and things like that. Thankfully, my editor was good about catching things like that.

Learn more about Fight Card: Barefoot Bones here.

Q: How do you choose a title for your book?

There’s no hard and fast method I use. I play it by ear and change it as needed until the right title presents itself.

Q: What would be your best advice to someone who was thinking of becoming a writer?

Write what interests you. Don’t try to write what is popular or what you think you should write. Write what you have a passion for and you’ll be far happier.

Q: What Was The First Science Fiction Or Fantasy Book You Ever Read?

Han Solo’s Revenge by Brian Daley. My Mom bought it for me when I was a kid, not long after seeing Star Wars. I still have it around here somewhere.

Q: How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Everything I write has my unique voice to it. I also try to put a spin on plots that might, on the basest of levels, seem familiar. That’s where knowing the characters comes into play. If the character and I are meshing well, then the character will lead the charge.

Q: Why do you write what you do?

Because I love it. I get a thrill out of crafting stories and characters. There is a thrill that’s hard to describe that comes over me when I hold a book I worked on in my hands. Even after having a hundred or so stories printed, that thrill has not diminished. I love it.

Plus, writing has allowed me to meet some of the coolest people. Just take a look at the photo to the left. Without writing I wouldn't have met any of those kooky folks and that would be a damn shame.

Q: How does your writing process work?

I tend to work out plots and scenes in my head throughout the day, night, hell, I often dream about this stuff. Then, it’s just a matter of sitting in front of the computer and start writing. I don’t do detailed outlines, but I generally know plot elements in the story-- I call then signposts on the road that is my story. I write from one signpost to the next until I reach my destination. Sometimes there are detours along the way, but part of the fun is seeing where those detours take me and the characters.

Q: What’s your favorite Eva Green movie?

Casino Royale. I am excited to see her in the new Sin City though.

Q: To market or not to market? Are you any good at marketing and promoting your books? Do you follow what other authors do, or blaze your own trail?

I enjoy marketing and promotion. I like to think I’m good at it. I do whatever works. If other authors have ideas that work,  I’m all for trying them. Or, if I have an off the wall idea, I’ll try that too.

Q: Will there still be bookstores ten years from now? Or libraries as we know them?

I hope so, but at the moment things aren’t looking too good, are they? Books won’t go away. I think the biggest change is going to be how we get our books.

Q: Name a song that makes you drive fast.

Black Betty.

Rapid Fire Writing
Q: So, when you plan a story... how do you do it?

First off, there's no right or wrong answer. Find what method works best for you and use it.

I generally work out ideas in my head, play out scenes, conversations, etc. I get a general idea of the story, or at least the basic plot that way. Then I sit down and start writing, making notes as I go to set the beats I know I need to hit. I call them signposts. I write from one signpost to the next toward the end.

Q: What is the predominant emotion you're experiencing as you're writing your current scene?

Anticipation. I’m ready to get to the next part.

Q: Your Favorite Kirsten Dunst Movie?

I've not seen all of her movies and I'm sure everyone expects me to say Spider-man, but I have a real soft spot for Bring It On. It's one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies.

Q: I'm a beginning writer who is miles from being ready to publish. Whom do you get to read your stuff? That is, short of getting an editor, who do you trust where feedback is concerned?

Find someone who will give you an honest opinion. It’s easy to find people that will tell you how good you are. Finding a beta reader who will tell you when the story isn’t working is very important. Perhaps you can find another writer in the same boat you are and you can be beta readers for one another.

Q: Have you ever written (or tried to write) a film screenplay based on your book? What format program do you use?

Sign here.
I have written screenplays, but I’ve not attempted to write a screenplay based on one of my books. Might be an interesting challenge.

Q: Your Favorite Indiana Jones Movie?

Raiders of The Lost Ark followed by Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

Q: Signing at a con, cool or not cool for retailers to put people in line to REALLY get stuff signed for their store?

Good question. I’m happy to sign anything and I know they’re trying to make a living, but some stores overdo it. A few items is fine. It’s impossible to control though.

Q: Who is your favorite Marvel hero and villain?

It was Spider-man that got me started reading comic books so that character holds a special place in my heart. However, as I got more into the comics, the Fantastic Four, Thor, and Captain America took their turns as my favorite hero. Looking back overall, I love She-Hulk so today she gets the top nod.

Favorite villain… Doctor Doom. He’s a badass.

Q: Who is your favorite DC hero and villain?

I love Supergirl. If DC asked me right now what character I would like to write, she’d be at the top of the list. I also like Nightwing.

Favorite DC villain is a tough one. I love the Joker, but mostly the Batman The Animated series version. Harley Quinn is a fun character.

Q: Do you have a set schedule to your writing day or week? Are there warm-up or administrative activities that you work in at certain times?

Not really. I write daily so I try to balance the day. When I’m on a tight deadline, however, that goes out the window and I sit there all day if I have to.

Q: Your favorite version of Stargate?

I love them all, but Stargate Atlantis is the one I rewatch most often. Stargate is one of those titles I would love to write. I figure I've got at least one good SG-1 or Atlantis novel in me. Sadly, the pitches I've made to this point haven't generated interest with the publisher. Maybe one day...

Q: How do you fuel your body while you write: snacks, caffeine, exercise?

I’d like to say exercise, but the truth is caffeine (in the form of Mt. Dew) and water.

Q: Do you avoid ... or gravitate to ... subjects like politics and religion in your writing?

I try to avoid as much as possible simply because I don’t like getting into those discussions, but if the story goes there then I follow.

Q: Do you have a genuine interest in the paranormal?

Mine is more of a passing interest. I certainly play around with it in fiction, but haven’t really given it much thought in real life. I don't follow paranormal studies that closely, but thanks to my work on Ghost Gal and talking with Alexandra Holzer I have a little more interest now.

Plus, my friends Daniel Emery Taylor, Ami Taylor, Jim O’Rear, and Scott Tepperman (I also worked with them on Fat Chance) are all involved with paranormal investigations so I see and hear more than I used to. They all have wonderful stories to tell, which really helps when it’s time to do research for the next Ghost Gal.

Q: Favorite sports movies?

The Replacements. I know it's silly, but if it comes on, I'll watch it. Any Given Sunday, Days of Thunder, any of the Rocky movies (especially 1, 2, 4, and 6), The Wrestler, Angels in the Outfield, Million Dollar Baby, and I love the baseball episode of Deep Space Nine.

What's strange is I'm not really a sports fan.

Q: Do you find a new book helps the sales of your existing books?

Yes. If it’s the same kind of book, same genre, or if it’s a sequel. Snow Storm should help push sales of Snow Falls, for example. At least that’s the hope.

Q: Do All Authors Hate Amazon?

No. Like any company, Amazon does things that I like and things that I don’t, but I do not hate them. Amazon is a tool I use as a writer to get my work in front of potential readers. It is not the only tool I use and I do not depend on Amazon to do my work for me. Amazon gives me a platform to showcase my books. It is still up to me to get readers to the books. Please visit my Amazon Author Page here.

Q: We all fall in love with our characters a little, or sometimes a lot. Which of your characters are you the most in love with?

This is one of those questions that will get a different answer each time it’s asked, depending on the day, but right now I am loving the character of Abraham Snow from SNOW FALLS. I’m enjoying getting back into the characters head as I’m working on SNOW STORM.

Q: Have you ever had a hard time letting go of a character or setting?

Sure. The characters are alive for me. They live, they breathe, they're real. Sometimes I get ideas for characters I've not worked on for years. They just like to remind me that they're still there.

Q: (related to the last one) Have you ever tried to draw a story or series out (or thought about doing so) just to keep your darlings around?

Nope. Not really. If they have to go, I'd rather they go out on top.

The Sommersville Saga Begins here...
Q: What is the Sommersville Saga?

The Sommersville Saga is a creative piece of promotion I put together to help promote some of my novels.

My novels, Evil Ways, Deadly Games!, and the upcoming (as soon as I finish it) Evil Intent all take place partly in the fictional town of Sommersville, GA. Sommersville, Sheriff Tom Myers, and his deputies are the tie between each novel and there are plans in place to have stand-alone Sheriff Myers stories. I already have the first one loosely plotted. Just need to find space in my schedule to write the darn thing.

Sometimes I sleep.
Q: Do you have a special treat for meeting goals or milestones?

Not really. I used to take time off after finishing a story, but that isn’t quite so feasible now that I do this full time. I really should get better about setting rewards for myself. There definitely needs to be a beach vacation in my future.

Q: How did you manage to get a writing gig for what I can only guess if fan based Star Trek flicks?

This question came in regards to the release of the trailer for Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence” which is a Star Trek fan film I wrote.

I sat across from the Farragut crew at a convention a few years back. They had the episodes they had done to that point on continual loop. By the end of the weekend I knew the characters pretty well after hearing them talk for 3 days. I had a story idea, told them I'd love to write it, they said okay, and a few years later, here we are.

At the time I wrote this, I wanted to experiment writing a screenplay. I'm the type who can't just write something for no reason so this gave me a goal and a deadline. I've since done a couple other things, one of which is out although I didn't get the writing credit I was expecting, which is why I don’t promote it since I can’t claim credit. No sour grapes. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Writing “Conspiracy of Innocence” was a great experience and helped me work on my screenplay writing skills. As it is a fan film, there will be no money made on it so I did it for the experience and the love of Star Trek. Yeah, I'm a fan.

Learn more about Starship Farragut here.

And here’s the Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence” trailer.

Q: What are all your stories you're writing at the moment about?

I always have multiple projects going. As of today--

SNOW STORM is an action/adventure story about a former operative now retired. In this follow up to SNOW FALLS, his former partner shows up in town with trouble nipping at his heels. He needs Snows help to get out of this jam.

EVIL INTENT is a thriller with FBI Agent Harold Palmer returning to work after the events of EVIL WAYS and going head to head with a homegrown domestic terrorist bent on revenge against the task force sent to capture him.

And I think that is a good place to finish this round of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? Post them here as a comment or send them along to and I’ll answer them in a future installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

Also, please sign up for my mailing list. Drop me an email at and I'll happily add you to the list.

If you’d like to check out my work, you can find my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, and more.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.
Let’s do this again soon.

Happy Reading.


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