Monday, August 12, 2013


One of the best parts of being a writer is the interesting people you get to meet at conventions, store signings, through the Earth Station One podcast, and on social media. Sometimes I get asked questions so I thought it would be interesting to share some of them along with the answers. Some of these are questions asked to me directly, some come from social media, and others are asked to a group of writers. Regardless of where they come from, here are a few of the latest questions that have come across my desk.

Check out Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and part 5 here.

Q: What are three words that a mystery writer never wants to hear?

Saw that coming.

Q: What is the most important thing that happens in your protagonist's backstory?

In Deadly Games!, police detective John Bartlett’s wife left him and he hasn’t seen her in a few years. This sends him into a depressed state that plays into the novel’s backstory in a big way. You can learn more about Deadly Games! here.

Q: Do you, as a writer, do any type of research before writing your book. If so, then what are some of the resources do you use.

Oh yes. Research is valuable and I sometimes do research before starting and sometimes during the writing process. Internet is helpful, but I have also contacted law enforcement agencies, talked with reporters, or people in whatever type of profession my character has to understand the parameters of the job. Talking to people is always good. If I’m writing about a real place that I can visit, I try to do that when I’m able so I can understand how it feels to be there. That one isn’t always possible though and I have to fake it a bit.

Q: Do you set limits for how long a chapter should be?

Not really. I make the chapters as long or short as they need to be. That’s the simple answer. The long answer is that it depends on the publisher. Some publishers have a set format while others do not. If the publisher I’m working for has a set count then I make sure to write to that. If not, I write it to whatever the story needs. My personal preference is smaller chapters.

Q: How often do you suffer from writer's block?

Not sure if I ever have. I do sometimes have “I don't feel like writing today” days even though I know what I need to be working on.

Q: How much would you price your ebook if the paperback is over 200 pages?

I have my novels (Evil Ways, Deadly Games!, Earthstrike Agenda) priced at $3.99 and my paperback is just shy of 300 pages. That’s personal preference. I won’t pay roughly the same cost for an ebook as the paperback. I think ebooks should be a little less expensive than a printed book.

Q: If there was one bit of advice you'd give a new author... what would that be?

Have fun. Writing is a lot of work, sure, but make sure you enjoy the experience.

Q: Would you like to write for television?

In a heartbeat. I think I would enjoy working in a writer’s room and getting to flesh out characters for a series. It’s one of my goals.

Currently, I'm working on a novella (the first in a series if the publisher likes the first one) that I originally envisioned as a TV series set in Atlanta, which is, not coincidentally, where I live. Who knows, maybe one day it'll happen. I originally planned to write this one next year, but a publisher came knocking and asked if I had anything to pitch so it got moved up in my
schedule. Not much I can say at this time, but it’s called “Snow” after the last name of the title character. Snow is a fun story that I'd say is a little bit Burn Notice, a little bit Magnum p.i. with a hint of MacGyver thrown in. Expect some action, car chases, and random gunfire.  :)

Unless my plans change, there will be a gunfight in the lobby of a hotel that will be very familiar to Dragon Con attendees.

Q: What is the most awesome thing about your protagonist?

Using Harold Palmer from Evil ways and the forthcoming (I’m working on it, I promise) Evil Intent novel, I think the most awesome thing about the character is that he’s just a normal man, a father, a husband, a brother, who finds himself in dangerous situations. The way he handles situations are based on the life he lives. Plus, he has my sense of humor (such as it is) so that’s cool too. You can learn more about Evil Ways here.

Q: What program do you use when writing?

I just use my old copy of Microsoft Word. Nothing fancy. It gets the job done.

Q: What are you reading?

I am currently rereading Walt Simonson's Thor run. Great stuff and the basis for the upcoming movie.

Q: When you're stuck where do you find inspiration?

I find that getting away for a bit and doing anything but writing will allow me to work out story issues without focusing too hard on it. Sometimes we writers focus too hard on plot problems and can't see solutions. Not staring at it helps, at least for me.

Q: What are you working on today?

I'm working on an audio project for a publisher. Can't say much more than that though as they haven't officially announced it yet. I'm bouncing between that and a novella called "Snow" for another publisher.

Q: Do you write more than one thing at a time?

I always have multiple stories going at any given time. Sometimes it's by choice. Sometimes I get gigs with overlapping deadlines.

And I think that will just about do it for this round, I think. 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.

Before I go, my Fight Card Books release “Barefoot Bones” should be out very soon. Keep watching this space. You can read my behind the scenes essay here.


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