Saturday, February 25, 2012

Building Blocks - Sample

This is a snippet from Building Blocks, my free Christian novel. Enjoy!

God bless,
Kevin

Building Blocks - Kevin Domenic
Available for download at e-Retailers Everywhere

"So," Doc continued, "which memory have we come to see today?"

"I don't know," I admitted. "I mean, I remember the day, but only in brief images. I don't know if anything special happened on this particular date or not."

"What made you choose this day?"

I thought about it for a moment. "I wanted an average day. I mean, every day here was special. So that's what I wanted. A typical day."

I couldn't see him, but I could tell from his tone of voice that he had that warm smile on his face. "You lead the way. I'll stay close by at all times; don't worry about me. Just explore as you wish."

My eyes were fixed on the cabin. "Can we go inside?"

"If that's what you'd like to do."

Bravery has never been one of my strongest points. "I don't know. Do you think we'll be discovered? Maybe we'd better not."

"It's alright, Herbert." I felt his hand on my shoulder. "I won't put you in any situation I don't have complete control over."

That didn't exactly calm my nerves. But at the same time, what kind of fool would I be to turn down an opportunity like this? How many people get the chance to see loved ones that have died long ago? "Okay, let's go. We can get in through the back door."

As usual, Grandpa had forgotten to lock up. That saved me from having to remember the passcode. A flood of aromas filled my nose when I inched the door open. Everyone's house has a smell of some kind. Most people just overload on whatever air freshener they like the best. Some smell like fabric softener. Then there are some that smell like whatever food they cook most often. Grandpa's cabin fell into that category. The smell?

Bacon and coffee.

And maybe butter.

It was a combination of flavors that brought back memories of summer mornings when Grandpa would be making breakfast while I played with my toys in the living room. I could almost hear Grandpa telling me stories about the big fish he had caught on his latest adventure on the lake.

No, I really was hearing it.

Doc and I stepped through the door to the rear den. I could hear voices from the other room along with the sizzling of breakfast on the griddle. The den was just as I remembered it. All of Grandpa's biggest fish were mounted on the walls. His favorite old couch was there. Even his fishing gear was piled in the corner, presumably where he left it after a recent trip. The fireplace and wicker chair where he used to read, the wooden coffee table he carved—it was all just as I had remembered it.

"Breakfast is served!" a voice boomed from the other room. There was no mistaking it. That was Grandpa!

Even knowing what I was about to face, the sight that greeted me when I stepped into the living room stopped me dead in my tracks. There he was, Grandpa Joe, standing at the little table near the far wall with a plate full of bacon and pancakes in one hand and a pitcher of orange juice in the other. At this point in my life, he had to have been around seventy years old, but he didn't look the part whatsoever. He took good care of his body—the temple, he called it—with routine exercise and plenty of vitamins. And though his temple was routinely bombarded by bacon, that was likely his one and only vice.

"Come and get it, Herbert!" he said.

There's no real way to accurately describe what it is like to look upon your childhood reflection. A part of me wanted to cry. I was staring at the innocent little boy whose outlook upon the world had yet to be corrupted. Yet another part of me wanted to go and punch that child in the face for being so naïve to the nature of the society around him.

 Building Blocks
Kevin Domenic

Friday, February 24, 2012

J. A. Beard's Unnecessary Musings: Key to the Stars

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you know about an interview I recently did for J.A. Beard's website. It was posted earlier today, so go on over and check it out! I rambled about Key to the Stars, The Fourth Dimension, my reasons for writing, and whatever else tumbled out of my mouth. Check it out!

J. A. Beard's Unnecessary Musings

Thanks so much to J.A. Beard!

God bless,
Kevin

Author Interview - Jolea M. Harrison

I'm happy to welcome Jolea M. Harrison today.  Author of the Guardians of the Word, Jolea sat down with me to discuss Chosen, the first book in this series.
 
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: Thanks for having me on your blog! First, I’m a mother of two, manager of my 200-year-old farmhouse second, and writer overall. All three are what’s most important to me. I have one kid in college and another learning to drive, so there are challenges, but it’s all good. I’m a glass half full sort of person. I believe the key to success is persistence.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Since I was about 12, creatively, not just for school, but writing stories for myself. Have always loved it.

Q: What is Chosen about?

A: Chosen is the story of a young man, Dynan Telaerin, coming to terms with who he is along the path to adulthood.  It’s a story of what happens when we don’t pay attention to the lessons of history and it’s a story of love’s ability to conquer all. The setting is extreme, in purgatory, and tests the characters abilities to endure against very bad odds.

Q: How did you come up with the plot?

A: The series evolved over time. I don’t outline. I like to let things happen and see where they go. Usually, I’ll have the basics – beginning, middle and end worked out, but almost everything in between is up for grabs. I was writing what used to be the first book in the series, (called the Guardians of the Word), and something happened that changed the whole thing. It was maybe a paragraph and I thought, hold it, I’m writing too much back story. I should write about all of this instead. That’s how Myth came about (now book 2). Then again, as I neared the end of the series, I had another idea that required more explanation than a paragraph would allow, and that’s how Chosen came into being. So basically I started in the middle and worked outward in both directions until I found the beginning and end. I don’t recommend this method to anyone, since you have to finish the entire series before you publish. Eight books later, I’m glad I did, but it’s not for everyone to write that way.

Q: Tell us about Dynan Telaerin.

A: He doesn’t have a typical life. He has huge responsibilities and a lot of people he doesn’t want to let down. His father is King. Dynan is Heir to the Throne and not too crazy about the idea. He’s sixteen and would rather chase girls than battle demons and hellhounds. He’s a telepath and it turns out there’s more to that than being able to talk silently to his twin brother.

Q: What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?

A: I feel like I’ve been able to bring the elements of several genres and meld them together in a believable fashion. There are strong elements of science fiction in the stories. The society is technologically advanced. There are space ships and super computers and laser rifles, but because this society is caught in a kind of time warp, they can only advance so much before they end up destroyed again. The fantasy element comes through the use of telepathy and all the places the mind can reach. At the beginning of Chosen, the side of good is barely able to keep up with containing the extreme evil, embodied by a demon, that seeks to escape and then subjugate the world to its will. One of my telepaths, through the power of his mind, is able to shape shift into a dragon. The possibilities there are endless and fun to play with. Lastly, there’s a touch of the paranormal since the story takes place in the afterlife, or in between life and death. There are ghosts, good and bad.

Q: Did you have any specific goals when writing Chosen? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?
 
A: I really just wanted to tell a good story, no lofty goals or morality to impart, though there are high ideals throughout. Good vs. evil. Innocence against corruption. Who succeeds and who succumbs? Do the bad guys start out bad from the start? Is there redemption? Stuff like that kind of just happened.

Q: How long did it take you to write Chosen? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor?

A: Chosen was the most difficult of them all to write. It’s the foundation for all the rest that follow so I guess that’s fitting. I’ve had a huge amount of help and assistance over the years in the editorial department, lots of eyes going over the pages to find the problems and help me correct them. I think I finally have an almost completely clean copy of Chosen available. I do my own cover artwork. I’ve been fooling around with photography manipulation for years. Now it’s a bit more serious. Over the last six months I’ve learned a lot about making good covers and I’ve been happy with the results.

Q: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing aspirations? How do they support you?

A: My family. My sister was one of the first people to read Chosen and then give me some great encouragement. My kids put up with me being kind of ‘out there’ on occasion if I’m thinking about the storyline, and they’re trying to talk to me. They get it. Friends too. Lots of people. Folks who’ve read the book and then have gone on to actively promote it because they like it so much. That’s a real thrill and means more to me than I can express.

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like Facebook and twitter. Do you have any social network links you'd like to share?

A: And I’m on all of them! A few years ago, I was completely anti-internet. Wouldn’t let people post my picture, or really mention my name. Now, I’m google-able. That is completely freaky to me. Anyway here are the links:



Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A: I think these are amazing times to be a writer and a reader. There are many more avenues open for writers to take toward publication. The Big 6 aren’t the gatekeepers anymore. Better yet, agents aren’t the gatekeepers either. At the same time, it’s up to writers to make sure their work is in the best possible shape it can be before they hit the publish button.

For readers, there are vast, new and intriguing stories out there now that weren’t being published before. I think readers are going to enjoy the new world order of digital publication quite a lot. They’re already learning to be discerning shoppers, sampling the wares prior to purchase which is the same thing you do standing in a bookstore, perusing the pages of a book you picked out. Now it’s done digitally. As a reader, I always download the sample, and I take a gander at the reviews.

Q:  Where can readers find your work?

A: You can peruse my books at the following fine online bookstores:

Amazon:
Smashwords:
Barnes and Noble:
Chosen is for the moment free at all online outlets.

Q: And just for fun, favorite movie or television series?

A: My favorite movie is Lord of the Rings, followed by Star Wars as a close second. Go figure!

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me!  Hope to hear more from you in the future!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slight Setback

Hey all,

I know a lot of people are waiting on new content from The Fourth Dimension, but I came down with a horrible flu over the past weekend that I'm still trying to recover from.  As a result, I'm a bit behind schedule on getting new content out.  So I figured I'd at least take a minute to give you an update regarding what I've planned.

The next story to be released will be a short story about Arus' journey through the ranks as a soldier of the Aeden Alliance.  I'm not a big fan of writing prequels; I think a story should begin at the beginning and be told in chronological order (just my preference, of course).  So when I came up with an idea for a story about how Arus transitions from a rookie in the Alliance to the experienced soldier he will be when Volume IV rolls around, I felt I had to put it out there.

However, unlike my other books, I'm planning to write this story in episode format, and it will be free.  So, as often as I can, I'll post "Episodes" focused mainly on Arus and his fellow soldiers.  They will be posted to The Official Fourth Dimension Website, so bookmark that site and keep your eyes open.  Episode I is nearing completion, and it is entitled, "A Dramatic Turn of Events."

Yes, that is a reference to Dream Theater, a progressive rock band.  They're my favorite band, and those familiar with their work might stumble across one or two references peppered through my books.  Can you find them all?  ;)

Anyway, this flu has been a slight setback as it has delayed my work, but I'll be back at it soon - guaranteed.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone that Building Blocks, my Christian fiction novel, is free at ALL e-retailers, not just Smashwords.  I know I have the banner up on the right that points to Smashwords, but you can get it from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, the iBookstore, Feedbooks, and several others.  Feel free to grab a copy today!

God bless,
Kevin

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Covers for The Fourth Dimension Series

Afternoon, everyone.

I'm a bit under the weather today, but I just wanted to take a moment to show off some updates I made to the covers of Volumes I - III of The Fourth Dimension.  I changed the font of the titles on the pictures to make them brighter and easier to read in a thumbnail format.  I also found a font that I really like that is unique but easy to read.

So without further ado, here they are!


So, what do you think?  I'd love to hear your opinions!

God bless,
Kevin

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New 5-star Review!

Key to the Stars received a new 5-star review over at Barnesandnoble.com!  That's thirteen five-star reviews and counting!

Check it out here:  Key to the Stars at Barnesandnoble.com

God bless,
Kevin

Wrestling the Voices

Been having trouble writing lately.

I'm working on a project that I hope will turn into a web-based series of free short stories from The Fourth Dimension universe.  Much has happened to Arus since we last saw him, and when Volume IV rolls around, a number of years will have passed.  So I wanted to give readers a chance to learn a bit about what he's thus far encountered during his time as a soldier for the Aeden Alliance.

The problem I'm facing is that I am getting far too picky with my sentences.  I'm just agonizing over every single word.  With each sentence I write, I stare and reread it over and over, picking out useless words, tangled phrases, and repetitive language.  As a result, I'll sit at the computer for an hour and type three sentences.

I'm no expert on the English language.  For example, I don't know if "English" in that last sentence is supposed to be capitalized or not.  If you asked me to identify a dangling participle or to conjugate a verb, I'd have no clue what you're talking about.  I didn't major in English or Journalism in college, and I wasn't a straight-A student in grade school.  So I don't have any formal training to tell me what is right and what is wrong when writing a book.  I just write what feels right.

These days, twenty minutes at my computer goes something like this: Write a sentence, delete it, write half of a new one, delete that, write another one, reword it, reword it again, reword one more time, delete it, check facebook, delete the whole paragraph, get a soda, and start again. 

There was a time when I just sat down, wrote the story, and then went over it again later to edit in/out words, sentences, grammar, or punctuation as necessary.  I need to get back to that, because lately I've been wrestling with OCD and the nagging voice in the back of my head that's whispering, "You know you're going to change that sentence.  Why move on to the next scene when you know you're going to change this one?  Better to fix it now so you won't have to come back."  I spend too much time rewriting and rewriting what I rewrote (and, admittedly, checking websites because my brain has the attention span of ... well, something with a really short attention span).

I guess the point I'm trying make is:  New content is on the way, but I ask for your patience and understanding while I wrestle the voices in my head.

God bless,
Kevin


Friday, February 17, 2012

Author Interview - Angela Muse

This week's author interview is a little different.  I'm joined by Angela Muse, author of the children's book Lil Glimmer.  A wonderful story with a great message, Lil Glimmer teaches children about consideration for others.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I am a Client Services Manager for a local investment firm, but I have never stopped writing in some form.  I started writing a lot of poetry in high school and a few short stories.  I always found that expressing myself through pen and paper came much more naturally than any other form of expression.  I focused on writing song lyrics for quite a while, but then turned to writing children's books after becoming a Mom.  My husband and I reside in the Atlanta metro area with our two children.

Q: How long have you been writing children's books?

A: I have been a story teller to my children since 2007, but it wasn't until 2009 that I started writing down these stories and that is when I got my first book illustrated.
    
Q: Tell us a bit about Lil Glimmer.  What is it about?

A: Lil Glimmer is an impatient little star who must realize that you have to wait your turn and share.  He tries to pout when he doesn't get his way, but in the end he listens to his mother and learns about sharing.
    
Q: What is the target audience for Lil Glimmer?

A: This book is intended for toddlers aged birth-3 years old.
    
Q: Why should parents buy this book for their children?  What sort of message does the story convey? 

A: I think children will relate to Glimmer's frustrations and impatience and hopefully be able to take away the message that taking turns and sharing are important rules to follow.
    
Q: Where can parents find your books? 

A: You can find the paperback and kindle verson on Amazon, but you can get a reduced copy paperback here:  https://www.createspace.com/3405159.
    
Q: Were there any other authors in particular that inspired you to pen your own novel?

A: J. K. Rowling & Stephanie Meyer inspired me.  Both of these women had great stories, faced lots of rejection and are now household names.  Two great examples of writers who came out of nowhere and reaped much success.
    
Q: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing aspirations?  How do they support you?

A: I have two wonderful children and a supportive husband and they all love to read.  My husband helps me edit the text and my kids give me great story ideas.
    
Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose? 

A: Unfortunately with the addition of so many self-published authors in the ebook world it can be hard for readers to find good quality.  However, it also allows authors who may have a lot of talent to enter the arena and have some success.  I would suggest that readers read reviews, also review the book sample online and once you find a quality author that you like keep reading more of what they write.
    
Q: And just for fun, name one random fact about yourself. 

A: I am a big Denver Broncos fan.  I lived in Denver when I started watching football around 6-7 years old and I have followed the team ever since.  I live in Atlanta now so I also cheer on the Falcons except when the Falcons play the Broncos.  When that happens I have to go with the orange and blue.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

A: I can't wait to get more feedback from readers on this book and you can look for my next book, The Nutt Family, aimed at children aged 4-8 years old coming soon!
  
Thanks so much for spending time with us today.  Good luck with your books, and we hope to have you back again soon!

As a special bonus, Angela has graciously offered to give away a free paperback copy to one of you!  Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered into a drawing to win!  Any ol' comment will do!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Author Interview - David A. Cleinman

Today, it is a pleasure to sit down with David Cleinman.  A family man and former teacher, David took some time to tell us about Principle Destiny, a story about a princess forced to compete against her brother to secure her claim to the throne.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I’m a pretty ordinary guy with a love of literature and words. I write stories, novels, and non-fiction, but really consider myself a novelist first. My stories tend to have a strong personal connection to my readers and characters that almost anyone can relate to, either good or bad. I live in Florida with my wife, Katrina who teaches elementary school, and son Jordan who is a junior in high school and the sole proprietor of the Big Bad Auto Blog.

Q: How long have you been writing?


A: Just about since I learned to read. I got serious about it in 2009 when my teaching job was cut due to budget constraints. If there is a single regret I have it’s that I didn’t follow my dreams of being a full-time writer sooner. And yet, I have learned a great deal over the years and I think my writing is better for it.

Q: What is Principle Destiny about?

A: Principle Destiny is the story of Princess Alyssa, daughter of the tyrant King Jessett, and her fight to take back her rights of succession that her father has stripped from her. To do this, she must defeat her younger brother in a thousand mile race through three kingdoms. Her main antagonist is the captain of her father’s guard who has threatened the princess with death if she races. Alyssa defies this warning and races anyway, watched, chased, and under constant surveillance at all times. Even though she never sees the watchers, she knows they are there.

The love once shared between brother and sister has been shattered by this conflict, and Princess Alyssa’s attempts so make her father see reason and end this dangerous challenge system fall on deaf ears. At 27, and in prime condition, Alyssa races and struggles with multiple attacks, constant fear, and potential dangers lurking around every curve.

The novel covers the build-up to the race, but primarily focuses on the race itself and Alyssa’s numerous close calls and trials. The tension between formerly close brother and sister is tangible, as well as the omnipresent dangers Princess Alyssa faces from those individuals who wish to usurp the crown rather than see her win it.

I largely consider this novel action-adventure/modern fantasy, with a literary twist. It is also a tale that anyone can enjoy, kids and adults alike.

Q: How did you come up with the plot?

A: The plot developed around the main character. First came the disenfranchised princess, then the family conflict, then the showdown, which became the race. Part of the concept of the race came from old mythologies and social structures where prince might challenge prince for a crown. I simply expanded the concept to include rival kingdoms on top of rival siblings. As with most of my stories, the plot runs on the character interactions and emotions.

Q: Are there any characters in Principle Destiny that you directly relate to?

A: In some ways I see every character as an extension of myself, good and bad. I relate directly to Alyssa because we are so similar. Strong opinions, a strong sense of ethics, a true love of people and a desire to see them at peace and a strong part of their society’s progress. King Jessett, in fact, looks very much like me. Large, dark hair and beard, a commanding presence, and brown eyes. But where he is fairly arrogant and controlling I think I am a better listener and far less selfish. Tobias would be me in those moments where I am unsure of the path I should take and use my gut to make a decision and then hope it was the right one.

Q: What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?

A: Three things. First, a heroine that is as tough and strong-willed as any man, but still has a feminine soft and loving demeanor. The uniqueness of the setting: an early 20th century level of mechanical and electrical development, but a monarchy as the main political structure. And last, the race itself, which is as much analogy as it is reality. Filled with thrills and twists and turns, the race truly tests the characters’ mettle.

Q: Did you have any specific goals when writing the book? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?


A: Just that unity and honesty are more powerful than divisiveness and corruption, and that a character who embraces the light, as opposed to the dark, is really a better choice of leader. And, as a side note, a female character can be just as engaging and tough a hero as a male.

Q: How long did it take you to write Principle Destiny? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor?

A: It took quite a while, because I was writing it while working multiple jobs. I did have a cover artist and an editor. The cover has been changed from the original to set it apart from the first published version.

Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A: I think readers will only benefit. True they may pull a terrible book off an Indie bookshelf, but it won’t cost them a fortune and refunds are available. But chances are they will find quite a few poor books in a bookstore that cost a lot more and are no more entertaining. I think so many Indie works entering the market allow for a greater variety of story and concept and I am all for that. While I think Indies must stick to some traditional publishing standards, such as proper grammar and word use, proofreading and editing, the new industry changes allow author imaginations to soar and be shared with a much wider array of readers.

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. Do you have any social network links you'd like to share?


A: Yessir. I can be found on Facebook at Author David A. Cleinman, and on Twitter as David_Cleinman.

Q: What do you feel are the most important aspects of a great book?

A: That’s a pretty wide open question given the variety of books out there, non-fiction and fiction alike, but there are some things I look for in fiction, especially.
  1. Flow: I want to just read and not have to stumble over complex sentence structure (run-ons, multiple commas, four sentences in one, etc.). I want the story to be consistent and not jump around too much. I want it proofread and edited for spelling and grammar.

  2. Dialogue should  be realistic, based on how the people in the scene really would speak in real life. Descriptions of a character’s feelings should come before dialogue to set mood.

  3. Characters should be vibrant, alive, and we should have the opportunity to get to know them slowly instead of in one front-loaded description. Be as nasty or as gentle as you like with your characters, but always have a reason for why things are happening to them.

  4. A good story should be emotionally gripping, mentally impactful, and easy to visualize in our minds. I like stories the best when emotions, characters, and events match flawlessly.
Q: Have you ever sat down to write a scene only to have the story take you in a completely different direction than you had planned?

A: All the time. My characters sometimes control where we go, probably more often than not. Once in a while a scene develops based on sentence by sentence twists and turns. Dialogue also can turn things in a different direction. Being open-minded often results in unexpected and enjoyable changes. And then, sometimes, we just get it right from the beginning and the scene goes just as planned.

Q: And just for fun, favorite movie or television series?

A: Movies: Classic: It’s a Wonderful Life.  Film Noir: The City of Lost Children “La Cite Des Enfants Perdus”

TV show: Northern Exposure. I don’t watch much current TV.

As a special offer, David A. Cleinman would like to offer readers an chance to receive a free copy of his books!

I would like to invite your readers to like my Facebook author page Author David A. Cleinman. If they will leave a comment and introduce themselves and say they found me through this interview, I will give the first five a Smashwords coupon for a free copy of Principle Destiny and enter all commenters into a drawing for a SW coupon for a free copy of Toys In The Attic.

Thanks for stopping by to chat, David.  I hope things go great for you with Principle Destiny!

Thank you for hosting me Kevin. Can’t wait to see you on my blog!

Principle Destiny is available at:

Toys in the Attic is available at:


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

David Cleinman was nice enough to feature me on his blog today! Check out my interview with him over at his blog: David Cleinman's Writings

Also, don't forget to drop by this Friday for my interview with David!

Have a great day, everyone.


God bless,
Kevin

Friday, February 3, 2012

Author Interview - Jeff Carlson

Today, we sit down with Jeff Carlson. Author of Shrike, a crime-fighting novel about rising above life's challenges, Jeff Carlson is an east coast hockey fan with a lifelong passion for storytelling.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I’m 52 years old (but don’t act it) and live in North Carolina's Triad. When I'm not thinking about writing, I like ice hockey and traveling. I've tried stand-up comedy too. A cat owns me; in fact, she has helped me pen three picture books featuring her and her friends and the compilation thereof has just been published.

Q: How long have you been writing?

I’ve been creating different worlds via words since my grade-school days. 

Q: What is Shrike about?

Set in present-day Raleigh, North Carolina, Shrike is the story of one young woman's overcoming tremendous physical, emotional and logistical adversity to defeat evil incarnate. When Taryn Spire and her best friend learn that some banking executives plan a cyber-crime to embezzle funds from the North Carolina State Fair, the adventure begins. A botched attempt by the perpetrators to silence them permanently leads to a dramatic transformation for Taryn - watching a television program featuring a video clip of a shrike with its prey destines her to become a crime fighter. With the help and the love of an unlikely ally (a motorcycle salesman), Taryn, as her alter ego, dispenses a unique type of justice.

Q: How did you come up with the plot?

For over three decades, I had in me the idea for a story about someone who is one person by day and another by night.  With the encouragement of the young lady to whom I dedicated the book, I came up with Shrike. 

Q: Tell us about Taryn Spire. 

Taryn is a twenty-something career-minded woman who has lived in the shadows of her parents and what is expected of her all her life.  To an extent, she lives in the shadow of her best friend Miranda, although she is less resentful of that.  Only when she is presented with life-changing challenges does she reach her full potential. 

Q:  Did you have any specific goals when writing Shrike?  Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?

I HAD to tell the story.  It had burned in me too long; I had to share the vision with the world.  If there is a theme of Shrike, it would be that we can all rise above. 

Q: What do you feel are the most important aspects of a great book?

To me (and I know I may sound arrogant here), a great book should not reassure me that I can write better than the way in which it was written.  In addition (and I know that many Masters of Fine Arts will disagree), it has to be free of nagging spelling, usage and grammatical errors.  If you have been chosen to be published, you should be a shining example of how English should be written so that the language does not degrade anymore than it has. 

Q: Describe your ideal protagonist.  What traits do he or she embody?  

You should want to be them.  You should want to be the “good guy,” the hero/heroine, the champion of the day (or eternity).  It helps if she/he is an “regular” person, someone you might know or be.

Q: Can you tell me about the first thing you ever wrote?  Was it a short story?  Book?  Magazine article?

The first thing was a children’s story in the same vein as the Uncle Wiggly stories of ages past.  Reading those as a child compelled me to come up with an adventure just like those of that wise old rabbit.  Sadly, I have no idea where that first book is. 

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like facebook and twitter.  Do you have any social network links you'd like to share?

Find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jarthurcarlson.  Follow me on Twitter at @SwedeSeason

Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

I think the advent of e-books and e-publishing is a godsend.  Readers can get to books that otherwise may be buried by literary agents so desperately wanting to find the next teen vampire saga.  Meeeeeowwwwww.

Q: Were there any other authors in particular that inspired you to pen your own novel?


Howard Garis, the author of the Uncle Wiggly stories, started me on my path. 

Q: And just for fun, favorite movie or television series?

In Movies – anything with The Marx Brothers.  I’ll watch the CSI’s and Law & Order:  SVU.  Of course, NHL hockey when it’s on.

Thanks so much for stopping by to share your work!  It's been a pleasure.