Friday, January 20, 2012

Dishing it up with Alan Nayes

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with Alan Nayes. Alan was born in Houston and grew up on the Texas gulf coast. He lives in Southern California. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed biomedical thrillers, GARGOYLES and THE UNNATURAL. His most recent releases are BARBARY POINT, SMILODON, GIRL BLUE and PLAGUE.

An avid outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast, he is one of only a few individuals to ever swim across Wisconsin’s chilly Lake Winnebago. When not working on his next project, he enjoys relaxing and fishing at the family vacation home in Wisconsin.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book, Plague?

Alan: I’d love to, J.E. First, thank you for hosting me. PLAGUE is the second book in my Resurrection Trilogy series starring my most favorite character, Amoreena Daniels. The first book GARGOYLES finds Amoreena immersed in a diabolical biomed experiment. She survives, with the help of some close friends, but just barely. PLAGUE picks up the story four years later. When Amoreena’s nemesis from GARGOYLES unwittingly unleashes a highly virulent gene-altering viron, the resulting world-wide infection is catastrophic. Amoreena is reunited with her companions from GARGOYLES and together they must flee for their lives. Only in PLAGUE there is no place to run. The civilized world as Amoreena knows it has come to an abrupt end! PLAGUE is her story of trying to survive the initial onslaught of this wide spread epidemic.

JET: What drew you to horror and thrillers?

Alan: I’ve always been attracted to stories that possess a supernatural element. They are fun to read. Two of my all time favorite horror novels are Stephen King’s THE STAND and James Cronin’s THE PASSAGE. Since I was a child I’ve enjoyed watching horror movies—from the original Draculas and Frankensteins to more recent Hollywood endeavors. I thought THE RING was a pretty decent film. After watching and reading so much horror, I decided I needed to try and write one. THE UNNATURAL was my first horror publication. GIRL BLUE and PLAGUE will be my most recent releases in the horror/thriller genre.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Alan: Getting one of the big six publishers to look at my material was incredibly challenging. For me, just getting a reputable literary agent was really difficult. There is so much competition out there, so many talented writers. I’m in two camps now—Samhain Publishers is releasing GIRL BLUE and I’m continuing as an indie, releasing PLAGUE this January. What follows after these releases only time will tell.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Alan: J.E. that’s an easy question. Receiving my first advance check in the mail. Wouldn’t mind receiving some more of those…

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Alan: That’s not an easy one to answer as I really can’t claim to have a favorite author. There are plenty of good authors out there who create really good stories. I think my answer is going to be: it is more the stories that influence me than the authors. I’m inspired when I read a very entertaining novel and this is what influences me to try to write better myself—if that makes any sense.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Alan: After I moved to southern California in the 80’s I decided to take a creative writing class at a local community college. I’d written some music in college but when I realized I couldn’t sing real well—not at all actually—I switched to stories. After several failed attempts at breaking into the screenwriting business I decided I would have a better chance at novels. Not much better, but I am making progress. My mantra—every day write something. Even if it is only some responses to an interview. Lol.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Alan: For my horror thriller THE UNNATURAL, I met with the man in charge of maintaining the complex Los Angeles sewer system. You would not believe how massive a system it requires to haul away all our “by-products”. Interesting fact—in researching SMILODON, the huge explosion over Siberia in 1908 was from a huge meteor and was 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Alan: I would have to say GARGOYLES. I really like the main character, Amoreena Daniels and it was my first published story.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Alan: Three words—persistence, persistence, and…persistence. Also, as long as you believe in your project you should never give up.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten…starting with…Paper or Plastic?

Alan: Paper—it’s more biodegradable. Plus plastic would not be comfortable when suffering from a runny nose or when you are in the bathroom—never mind.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Alan: Steak, even though tofu is a heck of a lot better on my cholesterol.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Alan: Mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Alan: Have to say country, though many of my favorite songs are also rock.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Alan: Unknown back shelf find—more mysterious.

JET: Zombies or Demons?

Alan: Zombies.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Alan: Paper. (not plastic)

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Alan: Did someone say Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween?

JET: Sword wielding ninja or Gun toting momma?

Alan: Give me the gun-totin’ momma. She can kill you from twenty feet away! (not you but the ninja)

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Alan: Tea. Never drank much coffee, though I love coffee flavored ice cream.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What next?

Alan: Just completed PLAGUE, the second book in the Resurrection Trilogy series (GARGOYLES being the first). My next project that I am finishing up is titled HEMLOCK POND. HEMLOCK POND is about a woman and her young son who move into an old farmhouse with a haunted pond on the property. Also, I’m completing the final edits on my Samhain Publishing release GIRL BLUE.

And thank you for hosting me, J. E.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Alan Nayes and his work at the following places:


You can purchase his books at the following places:
BARBARY POINT :   Amazon        Barnes & Noble   Smashwords 

GARGOYLES (Book One of the Resurrection Trilogy):  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Smashwords  

THE UNNATURAL:  Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Smashwords

SMILODON:  Amazon       Amazon UK     Barnes & Noble     Smashwords

Thank you for swinging in!

Until Next time,



Friday, January 13, 2012

Dishing it up with John Payne

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with John C. Payne. John was born in Chicago but moved to Wisconsin as a youth. He is a retired US Army officer Army and successfully operated three small businesses after his retirement.

He loves to write and teach. John was an adjunct professor in business at several universities and spent many post-military years in the field of health care administration. Like his book trilogy main theme, he loved to move and change jobs every three years engaging in new, unrelated and exciting challenges.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?

John: I am doing a trilogy on my main character. All of the titles are… Three and Out with subtitles for each book. I have already published the first one (The Saga of a San Francisco Apartment Manager) and more recently, the second one (Running a Mental Health hospital in San Antonio). I’m still working to complete the third one (The Chicago Terminus). The second book finds my character taking over a mental health facility located near the famous River Walk in San Antonio while a CIA investigation is taking place. Prior to his appointment, an embedded CIA agent is found on the ward with a scissors in her chest. The CIA suspects an al-Qaeda cell forming in the area. Strange things happen during the investigation to include some interesting love interest between some of the main characters.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

John: The editing process. It’s difficult to locate a good one who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

John: Tying up some loose ends in the book to insure continuity and consistency.

JET: Which authors ha the most influence over you growing up?

John: Probably Huck Finn. I really didn’t read that much growing up.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

John: When my wife and I left San Francisco after managing a downtown apartment complex I told her I need to write a book about this someday because nobody would believe my stories.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

John: Lying awake most nights trying to recall life events which I can then fictionalize. I have too many life experiences that tend to muddy the waters.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written-which one is your favorite? Why?

John: I am a new writer. I’ve only published two books. The second Three and Out about the mental health hospital. Why?...because it’s crazy!

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

John: I am a novice but I would tell any new writer that each book is always a new measuring stick because a writer learns so much more with each project that should make the next book that much more exciting.

JET: All right-now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten…starting with…Paper or Plastic?

John: Paper…easier to make changes, easier to dispose of.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

John: Steak…I’m a red-blooded American Midwesterner.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

John: Beach…I like the sun and the sand…and the bikinis.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll

John: Neither…New Age for this old guy.

JET: Top 10 Best Seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

John: Back Shelf Find…too many Patterson’s, Baldacci’s and the rest of the heavily promoted and subsidized authors.

JET: Zombies or Demons?

John: Demons…don’t believe in Zombies but encountered many demons (not my own of course).

JET: Paper or Digital?

John: Digit…I’ve finally graduated.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Chess B Rated Horror?

John: Neither…read my earlier comments.

JET: Sword wielding ninja or gun toting momma?

John: I like the gun toting mommas.

JET: Coffee or tea?

John: Coffee…and lots of it.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you’re working on now? What’s next?

John: I am 90% done with the third book in the trilogy. When the trilogy is finished I’m going to make the main character’s grandson a super sleuth.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog.

Folks, you can find out more about John Payne and his work at the following places:
His books are available in both hard copy and eBook format.

Until Next time...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Manic Monday with Laura Vosika

Welcome to 2012 Manic Monday series and I’m pleased to start the year with Laura Vosika. Laura, the author of the Blue Bells Chronicles, is working on several other novels and a non-fiction book on raising a large family. Past publishing credits include an essay in Glamour magazine.

Laura grew up in the military, visiting castles in England, pig fests in Germany, and the historic sites of America's east coast. She earned a bachelor's degree in music, and master's degree in education, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, private music instructor, and school band director.

She currently lives in Minnesota with her nine children, and assorted menagerie.

Writers’ Resolutions by Laura Vosika

So 2012 is here! Every new year is a time to reassess, take stock, and see where we can brush up and improve. The world of writing is no different. So what are good resolutions for those who love to write? Anything that’s going to take you closer to where you want to be.

Write. Maybe for some, the first resolution is to decide where you want to be this time next year. Do you want to have written a novel? Then follow the National Novel Writing Month model and sit down and do it. Don’t have time? Make time. Are there TV programs, internet forums, or computer games that could be given up? Even if it’s ten minutes a day, sit down and write. Even if it’s journaling, sit down and write. If it’s a four-line poem whose first line ends with Nantucket, sit down and write. Write a description of what you see out the window. Write a story about what the neighbor kids are doing as they walk home from school. Write a letter from your dog to your cat. Have fun. But sit down and write.

Read. And read good writing. Try the classics, try books with lots of five-star reviews. Re-read things you’ve loved in the past and think about why you loved the story, why you loved the character.

Read about Writing. There’s a feeling out there, I think, that great art just happens, like magic; that artists either have talent or don’t. As a writer and musician, I say the real magic is in making so much work look so easy. Doctors study for ten years from the time they start college to learn their profession. And not to take anything from doctors (I’m very grateful for them!), but many musicians have been studying their profession for ten years before they even start college. Writers, likewise, have often been writing from a young age. However, I think we as writers can also learn from other professionals, who routinely take classes and are continually learning. Pick up a book on the craft of writing, and see what new ideas you get. Find a website with advice for writers. There are thousands of them out there. Take a class. Have fun!

Meet other Writers. This can be a dangerous thing. Writers, well, we write. Including on forums, including on blogs. It can be very easy to spend all our writing time communicating with other authors instead of writing our novels. Still, writing has traditionally been a fairly solitary craft. Now, technology has given us the ability to network with others as never before. I have learned a lot from the other authors out there, about writing, about business, about life. I have made some great connections that have helped me, and have hopefully helped others along the way, too. And I’ve made some really great friends all over the country, who I never would have met otherwise.

Get out and enjoy life! You know what they say—write what you know. The artist in the ivory tower is an enduring figure, but I believe our writing will be deeper the more we meet other people, see other places, explore new ideas, and try new things. Does one of your characters love skiing when you’ve never tried it? Go try it. Visit a place you’ve never been before. Take a class on something new. Then write about it, or work it into your next novel.

Take a risk. If you’ve always wanted to write, sit down and do it. If you have a drawer full of novels and always wanted to get them published, start contacting agents. What’s the worst that can happen? Usually, the worst is not really all that bad. If the first novel doesn’t work out, re-write it—ten or fifteen times. If it still doesn’t work, start a new one. If one agent says no, contact another.

Have a wonderful writing year!

Blue Bells Trilogy Blurb:
Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants--until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.

He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall's tempting, but knife-wielding fiancée. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life-- pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts--seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness.

Folks, you can find out more about Laura at the following places:
Author site:
Author blog:

Laura's books are available at the following places:
Amazon     Barnes & Noble   Smashwords   itunes     

Thanks for swinging in!
Until Next time,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

2012.  Wow.  Time sure does fly. 

Usually I have a list of resolutions when the new year rolls around, but this year, I resolve not to have a list of items that in a month or so will just wither away to nothing.

Goals are a completely different thing all together and I do have set goals for 2012.

They're simple. In 2012, I want to finish and publish three novels this year and have at least that many authors signed and their books released through Novel Concept Publishing. 

I'd like to see my sales continue to bring in steady income like they have for the past two months. 

Personally, my goal this year is to spend more time with my family and not every free second on the computer doing marketing and promotion and other writing related things - okay, that falls into more of a resolution category, but it is a goal. 

Balance is key and this year my goal is to find it.

So now that I've shared my goals, let's hear what your goals and resolutions are.  Come on, don't be shy...