Monday, September 15, 2014


And we’re back for a 27th installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… I know I’ve said it before, but thank you for the continued questions. I love answering them. Please, keep ‘em coming.

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

Not Actual Cover
Coming in 2015
Q: When an unexpected or uninvited character pops into your head or plot, how do you explore and solidify them? How frequently do they end up in your final draft?

This happens to me from time to time. I was working on a novel I have in production now and had this character pop into my head. I wasn’t really sure how he fit, but I started a chapter focusing on him and played it out. If it turned out not to fit, then I could always take it out, but I chose to follow the muse. A few chapters later, I realized how this character fit and more than that, he became rather important to the story.

Another instance was Sheriff Myers from Evil Ways. When I decided to have part of Deadly Games! happen in Sommersville, GA, the fictional town I created for Evil Ways, I had no intention of bringing over any characters, but as the story progressed it just wouldn’t
work without the Sheriff’s Department getting involved. Sheriff Myers wouldn’t stay out of the action. That character continues to pester me for stories of his own. They’ll happen one of these days.

Q: What movie did you see as a child that scared you so bad you couldn't sleep?


Q: When was the last time something in your personal life entered a manuscript?

Bits and pieces from my personal life or personal experiences make it into my work regularly. Sometimes it’s little things, other times it’s bigger stuff. In the Evil Intent novel I’m working on now, the young daughter of my protagonist, FBI Agent Harold Palmer suffers from night terrors. As a child, I also had them fairly regularly, at least according to my parents as I have no memory of any of it save that I had bad dreams. As a kid, my Dad gave me a small pocket-sized Bible to put under my pillow at night and told me it would help keep the nightmares away. And it did. I used that situation in Evil Intent. It’s not the main plot, but it does play into the characters and I think it works really well.

Q: Where did you go the first time you flew?

Chicago. Flew out for a convention.

Q: What kind of lifestyle would optimize your creativity?

I really miss living alone. I currently have roommates so it’s noisy and there are many distractions and interruptions. Being able to write without worrying about interruptions and money would be awesome. Sadly, it’ll not happen anytime soon, but it’s good to dream.

Q: Do you prefer long chapters or short chapters? Inquiring minds want to know.

As both a reader and writer, I prefer my chapters short.

Q: Do you still write fan fiction too? If so, is it for just for fun? Or just to get some story demons out before you move on to other paying work? Or if not, why not?

As a general rule, I don’t write fan fiction. That said, there are those that consider the media tie-in fiction that I do for publishers as a kind of fan fiction so your
mileage may vary. Personally, I don’t see writing tie-in work as fan fic because there is an editor, publisher, and license owner to go through so the writer can’t just write whatever he or she pleases, which is usually what happens in fan fic. Plus, my schedule is pretty tight so I don’t have a lot of time to write “just for fun” or as an exercise. When I’m writing, there’s usually a deadline attached to it.

Q: Does food play a part in your books?

Sometimes specific meals play specific parts, but there are times where the act of characters eating together opens up good character moments that are more important than what they are eating.

Q: How do you structure your writing goals? Do you write a consistent amount each day, week, or month, some other measurement?

I write daily. How much I accomplish varies from day to day, but I schedule my writing time around deadlines so I can make sure I successfully meet them.

Q: Which is more difficult for you? Writing the beginning of the book? Or writing the ending of the book?

The middle. I generally know the beginning and end when i start.

Q: What’s your Favorite Patrick Stewart Movie?

Star Trek First Contact is probably at the top of the list, but I also have a soft spot for Safe House too.

Q: If you could choose from anyone, who would you want to narrate the audio version of your book?

I'd love to hear Patrick Stewart read the audio version of Evil Ways or Deadly Games! Sarah Shahi would be good for Ghost Gal. Joe Flanigan for Snow Falls as I kind of picture him as Abraham Snow. Yes, I think about this sort of thing way more than I should.

Q: Ever have a hard time writing something for ages. Then come back to it, and it's like "What problem?"


Q: How do you know you are finished? What tells you that the book is complete and there's nothing more you can write for it?

When I’ve reached my deadline. HA! HA! It’s tough to know when to walk away at times. You just have to know when to say “done!”

Q: Do you have a system or technique for choosing the best book titles? Does the title come before, during, or after the writing is completed?

Not really a system, but I try out several different titles and see which fits Evil Ways novel came from the song, which I have a character sing, along with a couple others, in the novel. I jotted Evil Ways down as a placeholder title until I came up with something better and the name stuck.
the story best. Sometimes the title comes first, sometimes the story. It varies from project to project. The title for my

Q: Your Favorite Rene Russo Movie?

The Thomas Crown Affair (hubba, hubba). I also enjoyed her in In The Line of Fire, Lethal Weapon 3, Major League, Tin Cup, and of course in Thor (both of 'em).

Q: Your Favorite Samuel L. Jackson Movie?

Gee, ask a tough one. I love Sam as Nick Fury in The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I think he truly shines when paired with Quentin Tarantino. I’d give top billing to Jules in Pulp Fiction followed closely by Ordell in Jackie Brown and Carl Lee Hailey in A Time To Kill.

Q: Can you tell me about the book you're working on in 10 words or less?

Someone wants Katie Masters kidnapped. Can Abraham Snow save her?

This is for Snow Storm, coming soon.

Q: Do you think about who your audience is before you start to write a book or do you define the audience as the plot unfolds?

Good question. I generally write what I would want to read and hope that the story finds its audience. That said, I also take things like language, explicit scenes, and things like that into consideration so the books can be aimed to as large an audience as possible.

Q: What are the 15 movies that will always stay with you?

In no particular order and subject to change at a moment’s notice…

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Wars
To Kill A Mockingbird
In The Line of Fire
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
John Carpenter’s The Thing
Batman Begins

Q: What horror film (past or present) scared you the most?


Q: Who is your all time favorite Thor Artist? King Kirby? Simonson?
Coipel? Alan Davis? Tell us why?

Kirby and Simonson are my definitive Thor artists. Each has a style that just seems suited to the mystical and also alien nature of Asgard.

Q: Your Favorite Sandra Bullock Movie?


Q: How does your protagonist feel about the setting in which he currently finds himself?

In Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt, young Alexandra finds herself loving being in the thick of things and working her own cases and fighting her own battles. It’s exciting. When a villain targets her family, she finds herself rethinking that position and fears she will not be able to get to them in time to help.

Q: Are you now where you pictured yourself ten years ago? Are you better now than th
at or not?

In some areas (writing), yes. In others (real life), not so much.

Q: If you write in multiple genres, do you have a different platform for each?

Some, yes. Some, no. It’s hard to give each a single platform and keep up with it, but I also have them all together on my site. I have been tempted to sort books on my site by type, but that’s a lengthy process I haven’t had time to dig into yet. Maybe one day…

Q: What books influenced your thinking *before age 10?*

The Encyclopedia Brown mysteries. I loved those books.

Q: Finish this sentence : "My favorite movie sequel of all time is _____________".

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
If I’m allowed to pick two… Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
If I'm allowed to pick three... Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Q: Author survey... Tell me if you are self published ... represented by a literary agent ... published by a small, medium, or large publisher ... not published yet.

I've been published by small, medium, and large publishers and have self published a book or three. No literary agent, but maybe some day I'll find one interested in repping me. Trying to find an agent has been one of the more difficult things I’ve tries to do. It’s been easier finding publishers willing to publish my work than an agent willing to represent me. Go figure. I assume that means I haven’t stumbled across the right one yet.

Q: Writers: please do us the favor of talking about your writing process. How do you begin? Do you outline? Set production goals? and so on. We're all interested in how creativity happens...lift the curtain, share a little magic.

I generally start by working out parts of the story in my head. I find outlining prohibitive and it doesn’t work for me so I don’t do it. I usually know most of the important beats/plot points (I call them signposts) and I write from one to the next, allowing a bit of freedom for the characters to led the story. I try to write every day, which is harder recently since I started a new day job, but I do whatever I have to in order to meet my deadlines. The hardest part for me is getting started. Once I get my butt in the chair and start writing I’m generally good to go.

My ride's here! Gotta go!
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...

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

Happy Reading.


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