Wednesday, January 28, 2015


And we’re back for a 29th 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. My apologies for the delay. It's been a few months since my last one of these. I'm hoping to get back on a better schedule with releasing them.

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

Q: What is your favorite moment as an author from 2014?

WOW. That’s a tough one. The first thing that comes to mind is sitting in a standing room only room with a few hundred people as we all watched “Conspiracy of Innocence”, the Starship Farragut episode I wrote. I got a little emotional when the credits flashed up on the screen with my name just as the Farragut was flying by on screen. It was a magical moment.

Watching "Conspiracy of
Innocence" with a crowd.
Q: What's are your favorite cancelled TVs shows that got canned way too early?

Leverage, Avengers EMH, seaQuest DSV, Dark Angel, Veronica Mars, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Firefly, Farscape, Almost Human, Wonder Woman, Titus, Young Justice, Longmire (although, we've gotten a reprieve), The Newsroom, and even though we still have one season to go, Justified.

Q: Barring national, natural, or physical disaster, how many hours do you usually write in a given day? I'm talking about sitting at the keyboard writing, not writing while doing other things. If writing is your job, do you give it a full eight hours/day?

Until my recent return to corporate life with a day job, I spent a good 10 hours or more a day working. Now, it’s an hour here and there during the week and longer stretches on the weekend.

Q: Don't think too hard and don't take longer than fifteen minutes on this or its cheating. List the first fifteen movies that will stick with you.

Off the top of my head and subject to change:
Star Wars saga
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Iron Man
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Die Hard
John Carpenter's The Thing
For Your Eyes Only
The Replacements
In The Line of Fire
Batman: Return of The Joker

And since I mentioned both Star Wars and Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker, I figured this was a good time to trot out this, which, you may recall, is one of my favorite things ever.

He was... prolific.
Q: Far in the future when you're dead and gone, what would you like people to say about you as an author?

I’d like people to remember having fun reading my work. That’s really what I want to be remembered for as a writer. What I hope I’m not thought of after I shuffle off this mortal coil is prolific. Prolific isn’t a bad word and not the worst thing to be, but I hear it all the time now. “You’re the most prolific writer I know” is a phrase I hear often. I know it’s meant as a compliment, but prolific just means I write a lot. It doesn’t say much about the quality of the work.

Q: To write well, we must read well. As a writer, how many books do you READ in an average year?

I read less than I used to, but I read several novels a year, definitely in the double digits.

Q: Is your writing influenced by the events of the day? Does the news find it's way into your manuscript? Do things like that shift your plot?

It depends on what I’m writing, but sometimes, yeah, the real world starts to creep in there.

Q: Are you the kind of writer who creates a soundtrack of the perfect music to help you write a specific book? What's on your soundtrack for your current work in progress?

Nah. I’ve not done that in years. Sometimes songs connect with events, but it’s usually a more organic thing.

Q: What have you forgotten to do while in the passion of feverishly writing?

Eat. Sleep. Take a break. That sort of thing can happen when you get in the zone.

Q: What is the most fun and enlightening thing you've ever done for book research?

I spent an afternoon with the FBI. That was a fun day. It all happened because I spent three days playing an FBI Agent in the pilot episode of The Following. On set, I met a real FBI agent and introduced myself.

Q: Of all the scenes you've ever written, tell me about your all time favorite scene!

This answer will vary from time to time, I’m sure, but I recently read the story I have in the recently released Hollis P.I. anthology from Pro Se Productions (plug!) and I really enjoyed a scene with two characters sitting in a car waiting for a suspect to show up at a bar and the conversation between them flows so well that I found myself drawn into the story as opposed to editing like I was supposed to be doing. I love it when that happens.

Q: When you move your writing space, do you find it hard to adjust or get back into the swing of writing right away?

I find it helpful because it feels new when things are moved around. I try to switch my office layout up a couple times a year.

Q: Do you research before you start the book? As it comes up while writing the book? Or after the first draft of the book is completed?

A little of each. Having Google and Bing at my fingertips as I write helps.

Q: What's your writing output like? On average, how many days a week do you write and how many words per day?

This. Yeah. This geeked me out.
I used to write every day for hours and hours at a time. Then I started a new day job a couple months back and that has become mostly weekends, the occasional lunch hour, and maybe an hour here or there at night.

Q: How excited are you about SW Episode VII now that there is a new trailer out?

Oh, I’m very excited. The teaser trailer did exactly what it was meant
to do, it made me want to see more. I geeked out big time when the Millenium Falcon hit the screen. I’m looking forward to this movie.

Q: Your top five Bond films?

For Your Eyes Only
Casino Royale
Tomorrow Never Dies
Diamonds Are Forever

Love me a good 007 film.

For Your Eyes Only features one of my favorite chase scenes ever.

I love the trailer for Tomorrow Never Dies.

Q: Do you have more than one publisher?

Yes. I work for several publishers. I currently have books available from, or coming soon from, 20 different publishers. Plus, I occasionally self publish.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the first book you ever wrote?

I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

Q: How concerned do you get about getting the details right when writing a period piece?

I try to get as much right as I can. Period pieces definitely require some research. Of course, when playing in the pulp arena, where there are super-smart scientific geniuses building rocket ships, giant robots, and assorted things like that, it gets a bit easier to play fast and loose when need be. Otherwise, I try to keep it as close as possible.

Q: Do you give a discount to libraries buying direct from you? If so, what % do you give?

Yes. I also offer books to any local bookstores that would like them at a discount. We discuss the discount when we’re talking. I don’t generally like to share numbers publicly though.

Q: Who was your very first character?

When I was a kid I created Spider-Boy and Lady Moran. They were a super-powered team of explorers who discovered hidden lands and fought monsters. A fun, if unimaginable creation. I later re-worked them and used them as a comic strip for a kid’s magazine. The strip was called ONYX and you can read them for free at under the Free Stuff tab.

Q: How do you deal with interruptions to your writing time?

Usually with a heavy sigh.

Sadly, interruptions are a fact of life. As much as I let everyone know when I’m working, it doesn’t help. The best I can hope for is to be able to get back into the zone after the interruption. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.

Q: What is your main writing goal for 2015?

I have several projects that have to be finished. A couple of them, like the sequels to Evil Ways and Deadly Games! have been pushed back for other gigs. A main goal is finishing them this year.

Q: What's your favorite writing snack?

I don’t really have a favorite so it varies from time to time. Right now, there is a can of Toffee Peanuts on my desk. A couple weeks ago it was Captain Crunch cereal.

Q: Are you the kind of writer who uses visuals to get you through
the story? Mind mapping? Charts? Collages of pictures that lead the way from beginning to end?

Sometimes. With Evil ways and Deadly Games!, as they take place in the same fictional town, I mapped out the town and county, including the fictional Fort Greene State Park that sits just outside of town where a good deal of Evil Ways takes place.

Q: What bit of inspiration do you keep with you as you write? A lucky charm? A photo? A bit of memorabilia?

Nah. Nothing like that. Just me and the computer.

Q: Where does your writing fear come into play? When starting a book? In the middle? When the plot or characters run astray? At the end of the book? What scares you enough to stop you in your tracks?

Usually, my insecurities begin after I send it to the editor and again when the book is released. It’s at that point I fear people will discover that I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s irrational, I know, but it happens almost every time.

Q: What unplanned character pushed their way into your recent book, AND did they survive the final edit?

In the recently released Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt novel, the character of Jacob Black took on a larger role than I had originally planned.

In Evil Ways, the Sheriff Tom Myers character was supposed to be a bit player, but his role kept growing. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Sheriff Myers pushed his way into Deadly Games! and the forthcoming Evil Intent. And now... oh, well, now he wants to have his own stories. I just have to find time to write them.

Q: What do you listen to while you write? Silence? The television? Specially chosen music? Music in general? What's the background sound to your typing?

I’m more of a music in general kind of guy. I’ll either turn on the radio, hit shuffle on music I’ve downloaded onto my laptop, or pick something off iHeartRadio to listen to from my phone.

Q: What is last book you read, outside your own?

I just started reading The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. I love the Harry Bosch series. Great reads. Before that, I read Stranded by Alex Kava, part of the Maggie O’Dell series. Also a great read.

Q: Did you always know you would become an author, even as a
child? Or did it just sneak up on you one day?

My original plan was to become a comic book artist. Sadly, a lack of drawing proficiency sidelined that dream, but I started writing stories to have something to draw. From there, I eventually started writing scripts for other artists to draw. That led to short stories and then one day I said, “I’d like to write a novel.” I was pretty hooked from there.

Q: Do you like being an author? Tell us what you love and what you hate about it.

I absolutely love being an author. Being able to tell creative stories is fantastic. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but I’ve picked up tips and tricks along the way to help with marketing, production, and whatever else I need to do to get the word out about my books while also squeezing in time to write. There are parts of the job I don’t always enjoy, but show many any job out there that doesn’t have those moments. I feel very blessed to do what I do. Now, if only we could make it pay better.

Q: Who are you writing for? Men? Women? Over or under 50? Young Adults? Children? Who are your target readers?

Depends on what I’m writing. The pulp books are generally aimed at men, but I have noticed that I sell a lot of the pulp books to women at conventions and events so I’ve started top rethink that a bit.

Q: What kind of a year did your characters have in 2014?

Miserable, of course. You don’t think I can let them be happy, do you? Happy characters make for boring stories. Ha! Ha! I love torturing my characters, but I think they come out the other end all the stronger for it.

Q: Looking back on 2014, did you accomplish what you wanted to as a writer?

Not really. Of course, that’s the answer I will always have because I never think I’ve accomplished enough. Looking back on 2014, objectively, I am very happy with how my writing and publishing efforts turned out in 2014. Onward and upward in 20125!

And I think that is a good place to stop for 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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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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