The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Phyllis Staton Campbell

header - phyllis campbellI’d like to welcome Phyllis Staton Campbell to my blog as today’s featured author. Phyllis was given 20 questions from which to pick 10 of them to respond. I’m enjoying this format as we get a different insight into each author and it’s interesting to see which questions are selected.

Please enjoy meeting Phyllis and consider checking out he work.

author picture phyllis

  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

I feel that the elements of a good story, short, or novel, are: Interest point, a conflict, question not answered, action toward the solution, presented by interesting characters and action, and the solution, that leaves the reader thinking.

Waitress with dish of champagne glasses

  • You’re invited to a dinner party are you:
    • The center of attention
    • Off in a corner talking to one or two people
    • Standing by the door waiting for a chance to leave
    • At home reading or writing your latest work Off in a corner, talking to one or two people.
    • Why did you pick the response that you chose?

I like people, but if I find those who interest me, I prefer their company to a crowd of people who don’t interest me.

  • What is the first book that made you cry?

1851400Little Colonel’s Hero by Annie Fellows Johnson. Hero was a dog, and I was around eight-years-old.

  • Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two?

Why Definitely a combination, depending on the person, and their attitude. Some insecure writers seem to resent others, and to me, this not only interferes with their relationship with others but affects their writing. Other side of the coin, writers, who reach out to others are allies with whom I can share resources and the joy of a sale, and the disappointment of a failure.

  • What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?

Actually, it depends. Sometimes a character intrudes into my thinking, demanding a plot and a setting. At other times, a setting presents itself, and I simply must weave a plot around it, and people it with characters.

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  • Describe your writing space.

My house is old, the oldest part dating back to shortly after the Civil War. My writing space is in what was the dining room, with French doors, opening into the living room, either side of the chimney, and a door into the kitchen. I have a natural gas fire that fills the space with warmth and cheer on cold, wet days.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

  • What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

I use a computer with NVDA as a screen reader. I use the Braille Note Touch when proofreading my work, with the file on the computer as well. When I find an error when I’m reading the braille, I find the place on the computer, and make the correction.

  • Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

Here again it varies. If I’m working on a novel, I usually figure out the beginning and the end, filling in the moving toward the end, sometimes as I go. With a short story, I often just sit and let my mind wander. Sometimes I go to the organ and play, hoping my fingers and my creativity find each other, with at least the beginning of a plot. Sometimes the story is inspired by a news item, or an event.

  • Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

My books have ranged from a nonfiction book requested by the publisher to a supernatural title, they have included, inspiration, autobiography (the requested book) YA adult inspirational and mystery. Most of my work is teared toward giving the public a glimpse into the world of the blind, and perhaps offering a bit of hope to those, who may have lost, or who are losing, their sight.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When not writing, I enjoy reading, listening to music, playing the organ and knitting.

About Phyllis:

Phyllis says that she writes about the things she sees. That she sees with only four senses does not detract from her description of people and settings. Readers who haven’t looked at the “about the author” say that they would have never guessed that she has been blind since birth.

In her writing, she calls on her experience as teacher of the blind, peer counselor and youth transition specialist, as she weaves her characters ranging from a sixteen-year-old girl, striving to come to terms with her blindness, to a detective struggling with fear and feelings of guilt. “Where Sheep May Safely Graze” is her seventh book, including a true-crime title, written under contract to the victim’s family, and not available to the public.

She lives in Staunton, Virginia where she serves as organist at historic Faith Lutheran Church, not far from the home she shared with Chuck, her husband, who waits beyond that door called death.

Find Phyllis’s Books:

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Connect with Phyllis:

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Although I have a Facebook page I prefer questions addressed to


The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Judy Penz Sheluk

judy penz sheluk - headerWelcome to my 2019 Author Interview Series. This is the third year that I have featured authors on my blog. Each year, I’ve tried to provide them with unique questions that will tell you, fellow authors, bloggers and readers, a bit more about them.

This year will be interesting. I’m providing each author with a set of 20 questions and they will choose ten of them to respond to. This should provide some flexibility for them and some variety for those that read each interview.

I’m pleased to kick of the series with author Judy Penz Sheluk. I hope you enjoy hearing her story.


  • What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I listen to talk radio when I write, either Newstalk 1010 or Talk 640 – both are Toronto-based stations. Maybe it comes from years of working in a corporate world where there was always background noise, but I can tune out (and tune in) talk radio easier than I can music, with the added bonus of being well informed on local issues, politics, and breaking news. As a writer, I also get a lot of ideas listening to talk radio. It’s fascinating how many differing points of view callers will express on a single topic.

  • What is the first book that made you cry?

in cold bloodBelieve it or not, it was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I was young, maybe grade four, and living in a pre-24/7 news cycle. I remember reading Capote’s description of seeing the corpses lying in the funeral home, “their heads encased in sparkling white cotton, and swollen to twice the size of blown-up balloons” and crying. That’s powerful writing, and it’s the first time I realized that words could paint a picture. I’ve never forgotten that book, and reread it as an adult.

Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

I like to think we are allies. I’m a firm believer in authors helping authors, and have a New Release Mondays spot on my blog to showcase the works of other authors. I’m also on the Board of Directors for Crime Writers of Canada, representing Toronto/Southern Ontario. It’s a nominated, but volunteer position, and it can be a lot of work, but it’s proven to me that most authors are supportive of one another, at least in the mystery world. I’ve also volunteered to be the Left Coast Crime CWC Member liaison for LCC Vancouver, and I’m really looking forward to building more relationships when there. Together we are stronger.

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  • What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)

I always quote Agatha Christie when I’m asked this question: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” I think of that whenever I’m having one of those “don’t want to, don’t like it” kind of days.

Blank paper with pen

  • Describe your writing space.

When I’m at home, a bedroom converted into an office, with Benjamin Moore Phillipsburg Blue walls and my book covers as wall art. There’s also painting by an old friend, Vladymyr Ruzylo. The technique is called assemblage and it’s and abstract of water lilies. It’s very beautiful. My desk is covered in notebooks, three types of glasses (reading, computer, computer-reading if wearing contacts), and there’s a dish of dog cookies for Gibbs, who likes to sleep under my desk when I’m writing. And I always have a cup of herbal tea on the go (Tetley Warmth, cinnamon rooibos).

When I’m at our camp in Northern Ontario on Lake Superior (the U.S. side is the Upper Peninsula), at the kitchen table watching the water.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

  • What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

At home, on my iMac, but I have a paper notebook (always with a pretty cover) for each work in progress. I’m always scribbling down ideas. I even have a notebook on my bedside table, along with an LED pen so I can write ideas down in the middle of the night without turning on the bedroom lamp.

At the camp, on my iPad, which requires a lot of editing once I’m back home, but is quite freeing since internet there isn’t terrific so I’m not always checking some random fact in the guise of research. The notebooks are always with me.

  • Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

I’m a complete pantser, though I’ve tried to outline, it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I start with a premise and then build from there. For example, in The Hanged Man’s Noose, the premise starts with a greedy developer who comes to a small town with plans to build a mega-box store on the town’s historic Main Street, thereby threatening the livelihoods of all the local indie shops and businesses. We’ve all seen that happen, and I thought, what if someone was willing to murder to stop it?

Image result for John Sandford

  • If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him/her?

I’m a huge fan of John Sandford’s Prey and Virgil Flowers series and have read every single one of the books in those two series. His pacing and humor is second to none, and he allows his characters to age and mature. If I actually had the opportunity to sit down with him, I’m not sure if I’d be able to speak, let alone ask three questions. But I’d like to know how long it takes him to write a first draft, whether he loves fishing in the way Virgil does or clothes in the same way Lucas Davenport does, and of course, I’d have to ask what his writing process is in the hopes that some of that magic could wear off on me.

  • What book(s) are you currently reading?

I tend to read multiple books at the same time, depending on where I’m doing the reading. Currently reading Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan on Kindle, The Collectors by David Baldacci in hardcover, and Still Water by Amy Stuart in paperback.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

In the summer, I belong to two ladies golf leagues (9 holes) and typically play 2 to 3 rounds of 9 each week. I’m not particularly good, but I’m also not particularly bad, which means that low handicappers will still play with me and not get too frustrated and high handicappers will play with me and not feel intimidated.

I have a 3 ½ year old golden retriever, Gibbs, named after Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. We don’t have a fenced yard, so Gibbs gets three good walks a day, sometimes in the local forest. I also run (or should I say plod) three or four days a week, three miles or so. I used to train for and run marathons and half marathons, and sometimes I think, “I’d like to run another marathon.” Then sanity sets back in.

About Judy:

Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries (The Hanged Man’s Noose; A Hole in One) and the Marketville Mysteries (Skeletons in the Attic; Past & Present). Her short stories appear in several collections.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the South Simcoe Arts Council, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.

Find Judy’s Books:

In print and eBook at all the usual suspects, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters.Indigo, Google Play and iBooks. In audiobook on Audible, iBooks and Amazon.

Labels with social media icons. Concept.Connect with Judy:









The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring D.E. Haggerty


Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I write the stories I want to write. I don’t like the idea of writing in a particular genre or for a particular audience because those genres are popular or a certain audience reads more. Sure, I like to earn money from my writing (and would LOVE to earn way more than I do now), but writing is about more than money. It’s a craft, and it has to come from the heart.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

If you want to succeed, you have to be behind yourself 100%. I think most writers doubt themselves and their writing. Of course, we do! We’re a sensitive lot – us writers. But you need to go for it if you want to succeed and not hold back because you’re insecure.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

6433752This is a difficult question. What to choose? I totally cheated and went to Goodreads to see which novels I’ve given five stars but have low overall ratings. I was shocked to see how many people didn’t enjoy The Lacuna from Barbara Kingsolver. I shouldn’t be surprised. My book club – which I forced to read the book – didn’t like it either. I loved it. The vibrancy of Mexico, intermixed with history, and an interesting story – all written by an excellent author. What’s not to love?

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Oh gosh, I can’t believe there are authors who don’t read the reviews of their books. How do they stand it? I’m way too curious. Good ones are cause for celebration. Bad reviews? If it’s a critical review, I try to learn from it. The one thing I don’t do is respond to the reviewer. That path leads to destruction (and tequila shots, but that’s another story).

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Not really. There are little clues here and there, but I want readers to find them. I want them to be mislead or confused about whodunit.

Do you Google yourself?

I’m starting to understand why curiosity killed the cat. I’m too curious not to google myself.

What is your favorite childhood book?

48811I don’t really know if this counts as a childhood book, but I was absolutely addicted to Nancy Drew Mysteries as a child. I loved the idea of this punky teenager running off solving mysteries with no fear (but always wearing gloves!). Man, I wish I could be her.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I probably should have paid more attention in English class. I had to play catch up with English grammar in college. I could have read more English literature as well. I don’t think my obsession with dead Russian authors has helped much with my writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

My murder/mysteries and romantic comedies usually take about four months to write. My historical novels take a few months longer. Although both of those estimations change based on how busy the rest of my life is. How dare life get in the way of writing? It dares. Trust me. It does.

About D.E. Haggerty:

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Finders, Not Keepers is my thirteenth novel.

Connect with D.E. Haggerty:







Amazon author page:

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Bookbub author page:


D.E. Haggerty’s Book:


What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?

While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

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“How are we going to solve the murder if we don’t even know where it happened?”

“We are not solving the murder! How many times do I have to explain myself? I’m only trying to honor Jessica’s last wishes by finding somewhere to donate the necklace in her memory.”

“We are totally solving this murder.”

“Did you not read the part where she was shot to death! And the police have no fricking idea what happened?”

Melanie shrugged as if she knew people who were shot to death all the time. “We’ll be fine.”

“We? We are not doing anything. I’m the one who is doing this. We are not doing anything.”

“Fine. Fine. So, Ms. Patterson, what are you going to do next, hmm?” She raised an eyebrow, crossed her arms over her chest, and leaned back in her chair.

“I’m not sure.” Terri tapped her fingers on the table. There was a long pause before she suddenly sat up straight. “Where did the obit say donations were to be sent?”

Melissa pulled the obit up on her tablet. “Westside Soup Kitchen.”

“That’s it!” She snapped her fingers. “I’ve volunteered at that soup kitchen several times. I’ll just go check it out. See if they are a good candidate for receiving the necklace.”

“You volunteered at the same soup kitchen as Jessica? Maybe you met her and don’t remember?”

“No.” Terri shook her head. “I saw a picture of her at the Collins’ house. There’s no way I would have forgotten meeting her.”

“Maybe some of the other volunteers or even the homeless people will remember Jessica. You could ask them about her.”

“Stop trying to solve the murder!”

Melanie readily agreed she wouldn’t get involved in investigating the murder, but Terri knew better than to believe her.


The 2018 Interview Series with Author Tristan Drue Rogers

This week Author and Blogger Tristan Drue Rogers is featured in my 2018 Author interview series.

Please check out the interview where you can learn about Tristan’s book and what motivates his writing.

Please enjoy meeting and learning about Tristan Drue Rogers.


Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Originality has always been an out of reach mistress for me. I’ve always chased it, especially in my much younger years, and if those tales ever get released, you’ll know what I mean. Although, I will confess that as I’ve aged, I have learned to write stories that entertain myself. One can get easily bored if their single goal is originality. To what end will you take it? Will it still resonate? Will your story simply be described as quirky? How in the hell does it all work? These are things that will never stop bouncing around and battling each other in your mind. Shall I be a unique snowflake or do I want to make money? Will I ever make money as a writer? The answer to my latter questions are a resounding no.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell him to keep reading, put down everything, ignore your friends, don’t go out so much, never listen to anyone, but pay attention, fall in love more, back down a bit more, stand up for yourself, write for the sake of writing, continuously explore new music and go to as many shows as possible, listen to people when they speak, even listen to their silence, dance more, lose yourself, and never forget that the world may be hard, unwavering, and terrible to so many different types of people, that even as you witness it, never be an observer. If you see something wrong, act. Actions, weather this is cliché or not, do speak louder than words. Be creative with interpreting that, too.

What’s your favorite underappreciated novel?

That is not an easy question to answer. Shoot. Black Wings Has My Angel, maybe. That is a significantly tough question. Is Threats by Amelia Gray underappreciated? We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Another good one is The Love Song of Johnny Valentine by Teddy Wayne.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

As I have yet to receive a review of any of my stories, let alone my novel, Brothers of Blood, I’m not sure how I’ll react to both good or bad. I can say that I will read any at this point and that good or bad I will likely receive them poorly.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Shh. No, I do, but hopefully not in a way that is too distracting. Brothers of Blood has a few names, characters, locations, and situations from my childhood that only a small, unfortunate few will ever discover if they read the book. I have failed as a writer, in my opinion, if the average reader sees those tidbits and becomes stuck. They’re just fun things that if I took them out of the book, they wouldn’t change anything. I think.

Do you Google yourself?

Many times. I’m shameless about it.

What is your favorite childhood book?

kidbookChildren’s books have a special place in my heart, even today while I reach 30 years old. I love Dr. Seuss immensely. The Hobbit is great. I love the Jungle Books. My favorite anything ever has to be Calvin and Hobbes. But the one kiddie book that sticks with me is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, which I reference in Brothers of Blood.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I’d certainly convince my mother to move to Texas sooner, perhaps I would have met my wife earlier, and my muse would have presented me with far more beautiful writing and even had helped me escape my mushy, horrible poetry phase quicker as I would have surely spent an insurmountable amount of time letting her know that her eyes are like the exploding sun, swallowing a far away Galaxy, deep within the eyes of a crying angel, yet unknown to man, but written upon a sheet of basic notebook paper by the one boy inquisitive enough to describe it. Her eye roles would have certainly saved me a to least a few years of that rubbish.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

So I’ve written one book to completion. I currently have three in the works with no sign of finishing any time soon.

With Brothers of Blood, it took about one year to write my first draft. About a year and a half to finish the second draft with edits. I took a year off for tomfoolery. Later, a few more weeks of edits. And then the next couple of years to have a publisher finally accept it, leading to publication. I know the next book will lead into a completely different journey as will the one after that. Expect the unexpected. Sit down and write. If you don’t or won’t, then you damn well mustn’t ever call yourself a writer again. Save yourself the misery.

About Tristan:

Tristan Drue Rogers continues to spell his middle name wrong in spite of it appearing that way on his birth certificate. He is a husband and an author. A self-described “ever-student,” Tristan prefers to learn as opposed to master, disbelieving in absolutes. His stories, especially his characters, represent this ideology well, with a keen commentary on the lives of people today, he attempts to bridge the old with the new, the fantasy with reality, the anxiety with heroism, and the horror with beauty. Deepening wounds and reevaluating their power is the name of the game, so if you see him in public, be prepared for a smile surrounded by a bashful face. He’ll appreciate you all the same.  His recently released novel Brothers of Blood is available anywhere books are sold.

About Tristan’s Book:

Screenshot_20180329-220720~2Brothers of Blood follows Belle Whynecrow in her final year of highschool. Her best friends Josue, Xavier, and Jesus the hobo welcome the new kid, Chris, with welcome arms. The only catch? To quell their boredom, Belle asks all to create a kill list that they’ll trade, marking off the names as they complete their goal before senior year ends. While struggling to pass their classes with flying colors, this band of merry murderers seems to be on a delightfully bloody roll until Belle’s long imprisoned older brother, Beau, arrives at her doorstep. Now a devout man of God, the brotherhood schemes for his return to his original, and highly exaggerated, bloodlust. That is, if Chris’s jelousy doesn’t destroy Belle’s ranking in the gang first. Not everyone will survive, but those who do will certainly have a year to remember because those that kill together live forever.

Find Tristan’s Book:

Brothers of Blood is now available on Amazon Kindle as well as paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere books are sold.

Amazon links here

To purchase directly from the publisher Black Rose Writing


Connect with Tristan:





My personal blog


The 2018 Interview Series Featuring Susan Rovens

This week, I’m happy to interview author and blogger Susan Rovens.

author picDo you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

It’s too difficult to “know” what readers want since every person is different. People’s circumstances and preferences are always changing, so what they like one year may be completely the opposite the next year. So, with that being the case, I write what I deem original and hope that it finds an audience.

 What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

boBurnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I don’t have that many reviews to read! LOL! (I need more reviews, folks!) No, I welcome any honest review – good OR bad. I know my work is not for everyone, so there will always be those that don’t care for what I’ve written. However, if someone does not like one of my books, it would be helpful to know why (and not just say ‘this sucks’…)

Of course, if someone likes my work, I certainly enjoy knowing that and reading what they say in a review. Who doesn’t?

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I don’t know if you’d call it secrets, but I do give many of my characters some traits of people I know. Once in a while, I’ll put in a name or place that means something, but it’s not really a secret or an Easter egg.

Do you Google yourself?

I do. BUT…

As an indie, non-famous author, I also have to be a PR person, a marketer, and a social media ‘coordinator’. So, sometimes I do have to poke around the internet to see where my stuff is showing up (and where it’s not), what folks are saying (or not saying), and see where I’m making any kind of splash (or in my case, a drip).

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Read more.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

On average? I’d say about two years. I work full-time, do all the household stuff everyone else does, run, lift weights, blog… So, yeah, it takes some time.

Sue’s Books:

Boook Cover

Connect with Sue:

My blog/website:

My email:


About Sue:

Sue Rovens is a suspense/psychological-horror indie author who is an active member of the Chicago Writers Association. She has produced two novels, Badfish and Track 9, and two short story collections, In a Corner, Darkly: Volumes 1 and 2 (think Twilight Zone kicked up a notch), all of which are available on Amazon.

A third novel, Buried, is being Beta-read now and the hope is to have it available to the public sometime in 2019.

Sue also runs a blog: A portion of the site is dedicated to interviews with authors from a variety of genres and professional levels in a Meet & Greet Section. The site is quite active and new content is being added weekly.

When not writing, Sue watches movies, reads, lifts weights, plays with Noodle and Monkey (2 adorable kitties) and enjoys the occasional piece of cheese. She also runs, slowly…geese have been known to out-lap her.

More information about Sue, her books, events, and lots of other information can be found at


The 2018 Interview Series featuring Staci Troilo

This week, I am very pleased to feature an interview with author and blogger Staci Troilo.

Staci is a very supportive blogger and an excellent author. I hope you enjoy learning more about her in this week’s interview.

If you are an author, and would like to be featured in my interview series, I have spots open beginning in mid-October. Please email me at and you can join the >200 authors that have been featured this far in my author directory.

Now, please enjoy this week’s interview with Staci Troilo:

Troilo Color Photo RT smallerDo you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I know there are a lot of people who write to market. I’m not good at that. LitRPG is huge right now, and I don’t know enough about it to do the genre justice. Nor do I have the time to try. I believe the adage that every story has been told before, but it’s up to the writer to find a fresh take. So, in that sense, I think all writers try to be original. But basically, I write the stories that interest me from the ideas that grab me by the throat and won’t let go. Hopefully those things are original enough and interesting enough that readers want to read them as much as I want to write them.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Embrace marketing. Gone are the days where writers wrote and nothing else. We can’t be reclusive anymore. We need social media and speaking platforms. Sometimes I regret taking time for these things because they take time away from writing. But if we aren’t making an effort to interact with our readers, we won’t have any.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Depositphotos_134263598_xl-2015Anything with the word “favorite” in it makes me nervous. How to pick one of anything when there are so many choices out there? My list is long and varied, mostly with indie authors and authors with smaller presses, and you can find my reviews of many of them on my blog. (I don’t want to state any by name because I’m sure I’ll forget some and I don’t want to hurt people because I excluded them.)

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do read them, though not as often as I used to. The good ones always warm my heart and reaffirm my decision to be a writer. The bad ones I carefully consider. Are the comments opinion or fact? If fact (for example, typos), I act the publisher to make changes. If opinion, I consider them. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t. The ones I agree with I take seriously and make an effort to improve in future works (if possible, I’ll ask the publisher to revise those, too). The ones I don’t agree with I try to forget.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I do. Mostly names (first or last, but never both together) of people I love to give them a little bit of immortality. The other things people would easily recognize, like places I’ve been or recipes I’ve made, so they’re not really “secrets” so much as me showing my appreciation of those things.

Do you Google yourself?

Occasionally I search for my name online. I want to be sure nothing negative comes up that would affect my brand. (Not that I do anything scandalous that would.) I usually find only my work and my social media posts there, but occasionally I find pirated copies of my stories. I used to be vigilant about requesting their removal from those sites, but I never had much success with that and I have neither the time nor the resources to sue all of those people. It’s a shame artists are being taken advantage of like that, though.

What is your favorite childhood book?

There’s that F-word again. I had a lot of favorites, and they changed with my age. Some, and I stress some, included The Poky Little Puppy, The Little Red Hen, Fox in Socks, The Velveteen Rabbit, nursery rhyme books, fairytales, Caddie Woodlawn, and the Trixie Belden books. (I read a lot.)

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I wouldn’t major in writing in college. Sounds counter-productive, I know. But writing was always a strength of mine. I think with a little extra effort (and joining a critique group sooner), I would have learned the finer points of fiction writing without college classes. If I’d majored in one of my other interests instead (archaeology, architecture, medicine, law), I’d have much less research to do when I write my stories. I’m blessed that I have family members in many of my fields of interest, though, so what might require hours of legwork can be handled with a quick phone call or email.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

In the last year or so, I’ve really amped up my writing speed. Now I average five thousand words a day. I’ve written over ten thousand when necessary to meet deadlines or when I really hit my groove. So I’m at the point now where, if I’m not editing for clients or working on marketing, I can complete a first draft in under a month (writing five days a week).

Staci’s Latest Book – Tortured Soul

TS cover

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.

Roberto Cozza–Coz–faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war–if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.

Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play–and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.

As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.

Universal Purchase Link

Staci’s Bio and Links:

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links


The 2018 Interview Series Featuring Thom Reese

This week’s author interview features author Thom Reese.

On a side note, though the initial response was gratifying, I find myself running out of interview subjects by  the end of September. If you haven’t been interviewed, or even if you have and you have a new release coming out, please feel free to contact me to be interviewed at I will send you the information and get you scheduled.

You can check out the 210 author interviews I’ve conducted thus far on my Author Directory page HERE.

Now, let’s meet Thom Reese.

Thom Headshot

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Wow. Interesting question. I try to write what I would enjoy reading with the assumption – hope – that others will enjoy the same type of stories. I do try to be original in my concepts while still brining an element of familiarity to my work. I’m currently working on the final book in a Dracula series and obviously that concept is not original to me, though I do try to bring some of my own ideas and interpretations to the project. My novel The Empty is the one with a concept that I feel is most original to me.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I wish I had become serious about my writing a couple of decades earlier. It was a different publishing environment then and I think it would have been a better fit for me.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Wow. So many to pick from! It’s hard to call any Stephen King novel under-appreciated, but 11-22-63 has flown pretty much under the radar and that’s an amazing novel, one of his best really. But let’s go with a lesser known author. Already Dead by Charlie Huston is a fun quirky vampire novel that no one seems to know about.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read them. Most are good, so that’s a plus. But the occasional negative review is part of the deal. Whenever an author releases work to the public, there’s the risk – or even expectation – that it won’t be well received by everyone. It’s never fun. It stings, but I try to set it aside and look forward.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Not as a rule. I might have thrown in a phrase or two that are a bit of an inside joke, but I really don’t look to do that much. My goal is more to get into the reality that I’ve created and not to give cause for the reader to break with that reality.

Do you Google yourself?

Not often. But yes.

What is your favorite childhood book?

From my own childhood, probably Charlotte’s Web. Or, weirdly enough, Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man. As far as more recent children’s books, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a true gem.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Get focused. I had my hands in far too many things. And maybe that was part of the process in determining that I wanted to write. But I wish I had just gone after it much sooner.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

In most cases it’s about a six month process, but it does vary considerably.

About Thom:

Thom Reese is the author of the novels, THE INFUSION OF ARCHIE LAMBERT, A SAVAGE DISTANCE, THE DRACULA JOURNALS: DARK DECADE, THE DRACULA JOURNALS: RAVAGED SOULS, THE DEMON BAQASH, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY, along with the short story collection, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER & MADNESS. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Several of Thom’s audio dramas have been published on CD and MP3 formats. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home with his wife in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Buy Thom’s Books:

Link to my author page with my publisher with links to purchase my books: Authors – Thom Reese – Page 1 – Speaking Volumes

Connect with Thom:

Link to Facebook: Thom Reese (Author)