Friday, August 4, 2017


Welcome to the 42nd installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… 

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

Q: Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Anywhere and everywhere. From real life to ripped from the headlines to I have no idea where that idea came from. I sure do get this question a lot.

Q: Scrivener - yea or nay?

I've never used it.

Q: Are you an early morning writer, or a late night writer? When are you most productive?

It varies. When I had a day job, I was a night writer. When I first started writing full time, I wrote all night and went to bed early in the morning. These days, I start writing around 11 or 12 and write until 6 or 7. I take a break and then most nights pop back into the office to get in a few more hours, especially if I'm on a deadline.

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Q: What are three of your favorite comic book or superhero movies?

Captain America Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wonder Woman

Q: What are three of your favorite comic book or superhero TV shows?

Supergirl, Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Q: What are three of your favorite comic books?

Fantastic Four, Thor, Criminal

Q: What are three of your favorite comic book characters or superheroes (including villains)?

Thor, She-Hulk, Supergirl

Q: How are you doing so far on your writing goals for 2017?

A little behind, but getting there.

Q: Which writing hero do you want to be more like? Lester Dent, who wrote a massive total word count with many, many books that are generally well-liked by the majority? Or Harper Lee, who wrote only two, and is considered a master of the artform by critics?

Well, I've already had more words and stories published than Harper Lee so I guess I have to go with the Lester Dent option.

Q: What would you say the differences between science fiction and fantasy are?

Science Fiction should have some kind of science to it, even if that science isn't fully explained. Science fiction uses science to solve problems and make us readers believe it's real. Fantasy doesn't have to explain the science behind it. The magic spell works because we're told it does. Vampires are real because the story shows them. That sort of thing.

Q: What if you suck @writing?

You have two options-- keep on writing and hope you improve or quit. Which sounds best to you?

Q: What sounds could you hear during your last writing session?

I'm writing outside today so I can hear the birds chirping, the squirrels running through the leaves, and the garbage truck rumbling up the street.

Q: What's your physical reaction when you know you have a good idea?

It starts with creative excitement then morphs into being bummed when I can't start on it because of my current project's deadlines.

Q: Who is the funniest character in your story? Did you plan it that way?

Archer Snow is the funniest character in my Snowbooks. He was not originally conceived of as an big character, just the main character's cantankerous grandfather, but as I got to know Archer, he became so much more. He's smart, funny, quick with the wit, but not afraid to get into the thick of things when the need arises. He's become my favorite character in the books and judging by the mail I receive, he's a fan favorite as well.

Q: If you could travel anywhere to research your current story, where would you go?

My current story, Snow Drive, takes place primarily at a race track so maybe a tour of some speedways would be nice.

Q: Do you remember where you were when you first got the idea for your work-in-progress?

I don't recall 100%, but I believe I was driving when the idea for the Snow series hit me. The story for book 3 came later. Not sure where I was then though.

Q: What's the first hint you'll give readers about a central secret in your story?

I may drop hints while in process on social media, but definitely when promoting the novel.

Q: How has your work-in-progress evolved from your original concept of the story?

The bad guy changed. Or, rather, the plot evolved so that the villain had to evolve with it.

Q: As a writer, do you love fooling your readers with red herrings and maguffins?

Yes I do. I like to have an engaged reader. One of the best compliments I received was from someone who was upset with me because she thought the killer in Evil Ways was someone other than who it was revealed to be because of the tangle of red herrings I worked into the novel. She told me she stayed up all night going back over the clues looking for anything that proved me wrong, but couldn't find any. I like to play fair with my readers and put all the clues in the story. I hate when a character pulls a clue out of thin air (or from a body part to be named later) that was never in the story, but provided the protagonist with the vital clue that revealed the villain. I don't like reading that so I don't do that to my readers.

Q: Who is the most important supporting character in your work-in-progress?

In Snow Drive, Big John Salmon fills that role. Big John is Abraham Snow's childhood friend. He's also been established as a mechanic and one hell of a driver (see Book 2: Snow Storm for more evidence). Since Snow Drive involves a racing team, it was a no-brainer to have him front and center on the action.

Q: Which came first for your current story--plot or character?

Snow Drive is book 3 in the series so the characters were already there. The plot can second.

Q: What happens in your story's first scene?

I'm currently working on a fantasy novel for a publisher with an established character. The opening scene deals with a crisis at the intersection of realities. Something bad is about to happen that will have a big impact on the novel's main character, a sorceress named Nightveil.

Q: What is your antagonist's job title?

I have an upcoming novel called Blood Shot (although I've since come up with a better title so that will no doubt change). In it, the antagonist is called The Controller, for reasons that will be clear in the story. Calling the character ‘The Controller’ also helps me keep the identity secret so the reader can try to figure it out along with the protagonists.

Q: What is a measurement of success for a writer?

Success means different things to different writers. Some writers consider themselves successful if they finish a novel. Others when they get published. Still others don't feel success until they can make a living as a writer or make the New York Times Bestseller list. Success is different for everyone. You have to determine what success means to you.

Q: Guys guys, pen or pencil, or keyboard?

Keyboard. I don't have time to write it twice.

Q: Can you write a Doctor Who story in 5 words?

Trouble. Then The Doctor arrived.

Q: What will it take for us to move toward a place where reasoned and informed debate between people of opposing views is possible? Ranting and name-calling is certainly not a solution. Demonizing each other only supports polarization. So, suggestions...what might work?

I really wish I had a good answer.

Q: Do you ACTUALLY believe that there's individuals with superpowers .... or beings from other dimensions or outer space .... that exist in this world? This is a serious question.  Please let me know.

No. That said, I have seen some amazing things in this world that have given me pause. I'm perfectly happy to Change my tune if I witnessed superpowers first hand.

Q: If you discovered that you had superpowers, would you tell anybody .... or would you keep it a secret?

Secret. That way it's more effective when I need to use it.

Q: HOW MANY? WIPS to have going at the same time is normal?

As many as you can handle. I always have at least two going that are on deadline, but there are those that I work on between deadlines as well.

Q: If you were writing your autobiography, or memoirs, and had to characterize yourself in one word what would it be?

Busy. Always busy. Others have used the word prolific too. Tired. Tired is a good one too.

Q: I'm just curious, what softwares you using to write your novels? And what shortcomings have your noticed with those programs?

I use Microsoft WORD. It works fine for my needs.

Q: Is there any specific writer who has inspired you?

This will sound like a cop out answer, but it's not. I am inspired by all writers I meet and/or read, good and bad. I learn something from each and am inspired to follow their example or not, as the case may be.

Q: Are you the kind of writer who keeps a journal? Uses a great fountain pen? Or simply loves to write long hand before approaching the keyboard?

Nah. Not me. I just go straight into typing. If I wrote it long hand, I would lose interest while typing it because I would feel like I already wrote that story.

Does size matter? How long are your finished stories? Shorts - 10,000 words? Novella - 30,000 to 40,000 words? Novel - 70,000 to 85,000 words? Or EPIC - 90,000 to 120,000 words? Where do your flowing words usually stop?

It usually depends on the requirements of the publisher that has hired me to do the story. The projects come with a word count limit. For my own project, there's a little more wiggle room, but I tend to stay close to the same size so if I shop it to a publisher, it is the size they publish. If I'm self publishing, I don't have that restriction, but I do have to keep it within a finished price range that makes the book affordable so I pay attention to word count in that regard. I want my self-pubbed work to be affordable to the reader.

Q: If you could get one legendary artist to draw a book for you, who would you want?

George Perez.

Q: Any advice for the new selfpublisher? has a free ebook on how to format for ebook. It's chock full of helpful production information. I found it quite useful.

Q: What are your favorite movies that were TV shows first?

The Fugitive, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible are the first three that came to mind.

Q: Do you find it hard to get into the writing zone, even though you have ideas swirling in your head but as soon as you sit down to write you can't seem to get started?

It happens sometimes. There's no simple way around it. Some writers can simply make themselves write through it. Others have to do something else. I find that just writing anything, even if it's not what I should be working on, helps knock loose the cobwebs and gets me going.

Q: Why do you write in multiple genres when so many writers stick to one genre?

I write whatever the publisher needs. That allows me freedom to play in different genres and experiment. It's fun and allows me to occasionally scratch certain creative itches.

Q: Sam or Dean?

I know you probably mean the characters from Supernatural, but I don't watch that show so I don't really have a preference. I will say, however, that I loved seeing Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin together. They are absolutely hysterical in The Cannonball Run movies.

Q: You know, it just seems like yesterday that I was in high school.  The dreams that we dreamed, the plans that we planned.  Just curious, did you see your life being what it is today?

Well, partly. I did manage to become a writer. Now I'm working on becoming a successful one. Heh.

Q: What movie traumatized you as a child?

JAWS. Scared the hell out if me

Q: When do you find it easy to write and be creative When  your sober or high?

Sober. I don't drink or smoke. My vice is caffeine, usually in the form of Mt. Dew.

Q: Who's the first to read your completed manuscript? Friends and family? Beta readers? Editors?

With my schedule being what it is these days, it's usually editors.

Q: What is something you've written about that you'd like to experience in real life?

Nothing specific, but I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if my life was as exciting as my character's lives.

Q: What is one of your favorites out of all the phrases you've ever written?

I love this sequence from Evil Ways:
“How long you planning on staying?”  He motioned for his brother to take a chair.  Harold complied.

“I don’t know,” Harold said.  “I’ve got two weeks of vacation.  So, I figured I’d stay for at least a week.”  He eyed his brother for any hint of a negative reaction.  None was forthcoming.  “Or,” Harold continued.  “Until I get on your nerves and you give me the boot.”

“Well, it’s been good seeing you again.  Bye.”

And then there's this line from Snow Storm:
Snow, himself, had even joked that Big John could drive a brick if someone slapped some wheels on it. 

Q: Question about commas. Is it a matter of taste or is there according to English grammar/spelling rules a "right from wrong" for when and how you use commas?

Using proper grammar is important. Editors and proofreaders are there to help catch the ones you miss, but if you miss a lot, it could mean your manuscript is rejected because it's too much extra work to fix it. Commas are a biggie. Some writer use them too often. Some writers do not use them enough. This is a good question to ask an editor as well. That way you know what the publisher's requirements are, although proper grammatical usage seems to be the norm in my experience.

Q: What writing craft magazines do you like best? Writers Digest, Poets and Writers or Writer Magazine etc?

I don't really have a preference. I used to read Writer's Digest, but I haven't picked up any magazines in a few years.

Q: How do any of you pick your ending? I have a few different endings for one project and I can't decide which one to use.

I generally have an idea of the ending, but I'm also open to the idea that my characters will lead me there in different ways. I try to be flexible in case a better ending comes out of the story as I'm writing it.

Q: Is anyone writing anything other than fantasy, SciFi, vampire or dystopian whatever's? If so what?

I write crime fiction, action, adventure, super hero, pulp, sci fi, whatever the publisher is asking for at the time.

Q: How do you spend your post-con Monday?

I play catch up on emails, update my website, run errands for my parents, things like that. No writing yet today, but sometimes that happens too. What I would like to do, however, is sleep all day.

Q: How many words do you usually write for a chapter?

I don't have a hard set number of words per chapter. Whatever it needs. That said, my chapters, when I'm typing them, are generally 4 - 6 pages typed.

Q: I am curious about all of you who use patreon, what you think of it and how best to use it?

It's okay. I don't have a lot if patrons, but it's a good group. I give them a free ebook each month, sometimes 2 if a new release hits in the middle of the month. I also do a monthly giveaway and give my patrons sneak peeks of works in progress. You can see how I set mine up at Note: I used John Hartness' Patreon as a template to get me started and adapted it from there.

Q: What is your most regrettable fashion choice from your youth?

I wore parachute pants once. Only once. No. There are no photos.

Q: I'm curious what software package you write in. Microsoft Word? Or are there better apps that cater to authors?

I use Word. Other authors might give you a different answer.

Q: How old are you and how do you feel about being your age?

I'm 45. Will be 46 in August. There are days I wish I was younger.

Q: I'm writing two books right now. One is in Calibri font. Do expert editors accept or shun that font?

Use Times New Roman 12 pt. Or Courier in a pinch. You don't want to have your manuscript rejected because of the font.

Q: Writing Series ... If you write series books, what's your trick for jumping in on the next in the series? A little back story? Just pick up where you left off with the previous book? Have some fun with the reader and start the next book somewhere completely unexpected?

For my Snow series, I have started each one of them off at the beginning of that book's A Plot or seeing Snow and Co. concluding another adventure. I start wherever it feels best and pepper in information new readers need to know as we go along instead of in a big info dump. I solve whatever the A Plot is for each book, but I weave in details of the over arching story that will be played out over the first 6 books. Book #3 comes out next week. After the A Plot is resolved, I do an epilogue chapter that helps partly set up the next book or moves the over-arching plot along. Hopefully, the readers will want to come back and see how it all shakes out. SNOW FALLS and SNOW STORM are available now. SNOW DRIVE premieres next week. SNOW TRAPPED is set for fall 2017. SNOW BUSINESS (or SNOW BIZ) is set for winter 2017.

Q: What's a favorite novel that makes you cry every time?

I must be a cruel, heartless bastard because I can't think of a single one. I'm not, by nature, much of a crying person to begin with, but I do feel some passages tug at the ol' heartstrings. I just can't think of one at this moment.

Q: How long does it take to write a short story with 1-5 chapters?

It takes as long as it takes. Not everyone writes at the same speed so it's hard to say. It would also depend on the size of the story. A short story can mean 1,000 words or 6,000 words.

Q: How to finish writing a novel?

The same way you start one. You sit down and write. It sounds simpler than it is, I know, but at the end of the day, the only way to write a novel is to write a novel.

Q: Do you use symbolism in your stories? Do you think it is an important literary device? Why or why not?

Sure. Symbolism is just another tool in the writer's arsenal. Symbolism can be very important. I don't use it all the time, but when I do, it's to help drive home a particular point in the story. Not every story needs it, however.

Q: How many words a day do you feel comfortable writing before you stop? I think i need a little more structure in my routine. And so maybe making a daily word count goal would be a good idea maybe!

Word counts help me stay on track for meeting my deadlines. My goal is 3,000 words a day. Most days, I get there, but some days I don't. I used to strive for 1,000 - 2,000 words a day, but as I got busier and had more deadlines, I had to up that number. That is what works for me so I can meet my publishers' needs and stay on deadline. Your needs could be different. If writing is a hobby for you or not something you're ready to start publishing, setting daily word counts might not matter. You have to decide what your goal is and what you need to do to meet it.

Want to write a 100,000 word novel in 6 months? That's roughly 550 words per day, writing every day for 6 months. Want to take weekends off? That goes up to 600 or so a day.

Q: How do you, as an author mange to write multiple stories? Or stay on topic with one then focuses on another topic for another story?

If you ask 10 different authors, you'll probably get 10 different answers. For me, I'm fortunate that I can keep most of it straight in my head. That said, I also make good notes that help me keep it all straight on those occasions when I forget something. I am always working on multiple projects. If I reach a stopping point on one story, I can jump to another and keep working as opposed to stopping for the day. Some can juggle multiple stories. Some can't. If you can, great. If not, then it's okay to work on one thing at a time.

Q: What is your protagonist's overall story goal?

In SNOW DRIVE (Books #3 of the Snow series), Abraham Snow is adjusting to his new lot in life and diving into his new job, but he's trying to prove to himself that he can handle it while also proving to his father and grandfather than he can do it as well. It's a lot to juggle, especially while continuing to work on the Ortega/Cordoza case that ended his career. Then Snow gets a call from Daniella Cordoza on his sister's phone. She's found him and she has his sister.

Q: Who was the first person who ever read one of your stories?

Probably a teacher. It is a distant memory, but I recall a few teachers liking my work enough to encourage me to continue writing outside of classes.

Q: How do you feel on days when you don't write?

Usually a little guilty for not writing.

Q: What is something you've written about that you'd like to experience in real life?

Good question. I generally put my characters through hell so I have to think on that one pretty hard. I often write about characters having to overcome some obstacle that leads to their redemption, happiness, reward, whatever. I feel like I'm still trying to get over that obstacle. I look forward to getting over that hurdle and finding my reward, whatever it may be.

Q: Where do you write? Office? Home? Coffee shop? Gas station?

At home, mostly. I have an office space set up inside, but when the weather is nice, I like to take the laptop out onto my screened in back porch and write. I don't really do coffee shops except a couple of times at bookstores and coffee was sold, but i have written in a restaurant or two before as well as the library. Haven't tried a gas station, but if I felt I could be productive there, I would.

Q: If few readers bought your books, would you still have that something inside of you to still continue to write?

Sure. Book sales don't really impact my desire to write or my creativity. Book sales allow me to keep doing what I do in terms of paying bills so I can write more. Some of my books sell pretty well. Some of my books have sold horribly. I don't always think of sales when writing. Before and after I write, yes, but not during.

Q: What kind of work surface do you prefer to us, and what type of computer or other writing device?

I write on a laptop on a desk (no keyboard tray. I hate ‘em). When I had a desktop, if it had a keyboard tray, I didn't use it. I like my keyboard higher than the tray allows. The desk style/type isn't all that important. Inside, my desk has a faux wood grain top. On the deck, I use a plastic table and an old Amazon packing box to give the laptop a little more height so I don't have to slouch.

Q: What is haunting your protagonist from his or her backstory?

In Snow Drive (as well as Snow Falls and Snow Storm), Abraham Snow is being haunted by the bad guy that got away after shooting Snow and leaving him for dead. 

Q:  If a film studio was making a movie out of one of your story projects, which actors would you like to see in it?

I don't know. I sometimes think an actor might be a good fit, but I haven't synced up and actors as a character. Don't want to get an a to in mind then be expecting that actor.

Q: What are you writing today?

I am currently working on a media tie-in digest novel for Pro Se Productions featuring AC Comics' character Nightveil. Oh, yeah. And my newsletter.

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...

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 AmazonBarnes and NobleGoodreadsSmashwordsBooks-A-Million, BEN BooksPatreon, and more.

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

Happy reading!


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