Friday, June 18, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: JEFFERY YOUNG

 



ABOUT THE BOOK


Beth Davis and Marjorie Williams were best friends who could not be any more alike. They were both athletic, vibrant and very charismatic. However, as so often is the case, their friendship became strained when life began to move them on divergent paths. While Marjorie succumbed to the temptations of young adulthood, Beth found solace in the teachings of Christianity, and despite Beth’s efforts to save Margorie from her own misjudgments, the two found their friendship crumbling into resentment and heartache.

It’s only when tragedy struck that Margorie began to learn that the superficial nature of popularity and beautiful are illusionary and ultimately finite.  As a family and a community mourns the loss of a young soul, Margorie is faced with how to move on without her friend and contemplates whether Jesus can help her find her way.


Book Details

Title: Beth

Author: Jeffery A. Young  

Genre: coming of age

Publisher: Fulton Books (November 30, 2020)

Print length: 384 pages




LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH JEFFERY YOUNG


A few of your favorite things: science fiction, documentaries and history programs.
Things you need to throw out: clutter, old magazines.

Things you need in order to write: inspiration, good music, and good equipment.
Things that hamper your writing: TV, distracting people, health.

Things you love about writing: being able to say what is deep in my heart.
Things you hate about writing: writer's block.

Easiest thing about being a writer: there is nothing easy about being a writer.
Hardest thing about being a writer: meeting public demands on me.

Things you love about where you live: I have a lot of memories here of my family.
Things that make you want to move: I miss Florida and the beach.

Things you never want to run out of: medication, toiletries, and basic supplies.
Things you wish you’d never bought: nothing now.

Words that describe you: always striving to be better.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: egotistic, selfish, deceptive.

Favorite foods: Mexican cuisine, Chinese food.
Things that make you want to throw up: extremist people.

Favorite music or songs: old time classic rock, dance music, Latin music; "Aquarius," "Eye of the Tiger."
Music that make your ears bleed:
heavy metal.

Favorite beverage: diet cola.
Something that gives you a pickle face: pickles.

Favorite smell: orange blossoms.
Something that makes you hold your nose: raw sewage.

Something you’re really good at: writing.
Something you’re really bad at: math.

Something you wish you could do: math.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: architecture.

Something you like to do: Watch Chinese films, historical documentaries.
Something you wish you’d never done: hurt a lot of feelings and frequently said the wrong things.

Things you’d walk a mile for: a beautiful girl.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: extremist people.

Things you always put in your books: love, music, people with character and bravery.
Things you never put in your books: magic, explicit sex, politics.

Things to say to an author: You now have a voice, use it to do good and make the world a better place.
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: make my death have meaning.

Favorite things to do: work on my computer.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: sitting through an objectionable political meeting.

Things that make you happy: love, God, church, beautiful music, peaceful moments.
Things that drive you crazy: ignorant people who think they’re smart.

Proudest moment: when I gave my first sermon.
Most embarrassing moment: going to a costume party and being the only one actually dressed in a costume.

Best thing you’ve ever done: I wrote a book to honor an old friend.
Biggest mistake: I moved out to Tennessee.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: I stood down a gunman to save a child's life.
Something you chickened out from doing: I’ve never chickened out from anything.

The last thing you did for the first time: drove in 12 inches of snow.
Something you’ll never do again: I’m retired, I’ll never punch a time clock again.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeffery Young is an award-winning writer and Army veteran whose multi-faceted career has included work in the culinary field and in the newspaper industry. Jeffery holds degrees in communication and criminal justice, and his work with AmVets California garnered interest from President Ronald Regan. He is also the author of the book, Tales Out of Church, which is a collection of short stories told by an over-imaginative Catholic priest.   

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: C.L. TOLBERT


 

ABOUT THE BOOK


Emma Thornton is back in The Redemption, C.L. Tolbert’s second novel in the Thornton Mystery Series.

When two men are murdered one muggy September night in a New Orleans housing project, an eye witness identified only one suspect ˗ Louis Bishop ˗ a homeless sixteen year-year-old. Louis is arrested the next day and thrown into Orleans Parish Prison. Emma Thornton, a professor and director of the Homeless Law Clinic at St. Stanislaus Law School, agrees to represent him.

When they take on the case, Emma and her students discover a tangle of corruption, intrigue, and more violence than they would have thought possible, even in New Orleans. They uncover secrets about the night of the murders, and illegal dealings in the city, and within Louis’s family. As the case progresses, Emma and her family are thrown into a series of life-threatening situations. But in the end, Emma gains Louis’s trust, which allows him to reveal his last, and most vital secret.

Book Details:
Title: The Redemption, book 2
Author’s name: C. L. Tolbert
Genre: mystery
Series: Thornton Mystery Series
Publisher: Level Best Books (February 9, 2021)
Print length: 296 pages



 

TWENTY QUESTIONS/ONE WORD ANSWERS INTERVIEW WITH C.L. TOLBERT


1.     Where is your cell phone? Close.
2.     Your hair? Attached.
3.     Your workplace? Home.
4.     Your other half? Home.
5.     What makes you happy? Family.
6.     What makes you crazy? Family.
7.     Your favorite food? Cookies. 
8.     Your favorite beverage? Chai.
9.     Fear? Loss.
10.  Favorite shoes? Flats .
11.  Favorite way to relax? Writing.
12.  Your mood? Content.
13.  Your home away from home? Coffeehouse.
14.  Where were you last night? Restaurant.
15.  Something that you aren't? Pretentious.
16.  Something from your bucket list? Orient-Express.
17.  Wish list item? Vacation.
18.  Where did you grow up? Biloxi.
19.  Last thing you did? Cleaned.
20.  What are wearing now? Sweats.


EXCERPT FROM THE REDEMPTION

CHAPTER ONE

September 9, 1994


8:05 p.m.

Just before dark on the night of his death, Brother Reginald Antoine stepped out of the cottage where he lived. He slammed the door shut to prevent the soggy heat of the late summer evening from invading the front room. Except for occasional river breezes, the New Orleans climate was swamp-like until late October. His exits had become swift and cat-like to avoid escalating power bills and a strain on the house’s only window-unit air conditioner.

He stood on the front porch for a moment, staring at the entrance to the Redemption housing project. All was quiet. No one was in sight.

He was looking forward to the evening. He’d promised to help Alicia Bishop complete forms for a scholarship to Our Lady of Fatima, the top girls’ school in the city. He found himself singing under his breath as he locked the front door.

Most of the kids Brother Antoine worked with never finished school, and he was painfully aware that he’d failed far more than he’d helped. But Alicia’s story would be different. Her graduation would be her family’s first. Clear-headed and determined, much like her Aunt Juanita, the woman who had raised her, she was destined to earn far more than a high school diploma. He believed she was destined for great things.

Brother Antoine surveyed the street familiar to him from childhood. Alicia and her Aunt Juanita lived in an apartment was only a few blocks over, but well within the Redemption housing project. Driving such a short distance would be silly, plus he felt like a little exercise. It was a good evening for a walk, even though no one felt completely safe walking around any neighborhood in the city at night. At least one person had been killed in New Orleans every day that year, so far. Sometimes more. Too many drugs were on the streets. But he didn’t worry about any of that. 

He tucked the bundle of papers he’d pulled for the meeting under his arm and headed out. When he was a kid he’d found the Redemption overwhelming - so vast it couldn’t be taken in, visually, from his porch or from any single location. A crowded jumble of russet brick, broken down porches, and peeling army-drab paint, it stretched across the lower garden district from Magazine Street to the Mississippi River. When he was about six he tried to count the buildings, but gave up when he got lost. Everything looked the same to him back then. When he returned to live at the mission house he realized he’d been wrong. Each place was unique. Every apartment, every stoop, every front door was distinct, because everything inside was different. Every place had its own family, its own problems, its own joys. Every place had its own family, its own problems, and joys. He didn’t realize how much he’d missed it until his return.

He passed the community garden planted around the corner from the mission house with its patches of brave sprouts pushing out of the ground. He was proud of that little spot, and equally excited for the people who were involved, especially those few who returned week after week to dig, and prod, and encourage the seedlings to grow. Some of the plants even promised to bear fruit, which was reason enough to celebrate. 

As he walked he could smell urine from the street gutters where drunken men or stoned boys had relieved themselves. A recent rain only added a steamy intensity to the mix, creating a cauldron of odors which would vanish only when the next day’s sunlight parched the streets.

The Redemption was teeming with human spirit, poverty, and crime. It was home to many, but with rare exception, no one chose to live there. And everyone who did, even the very young, understood how fragile life could be.

He walked up the steps to Juanita Bishop’s apartment and rapped on the front door.

***

9:00 p.m.

Sam Maureau pulled his car into the Redemption and parked at a curb at the end of Felicity Street. He was alone. Jackson, his partner, couldn’t come. But Sam wasn’t worried. He checked his watch. He was right on time. Things were under control.

He turned off his lights and, except for the murky glow of the half-obscured moon, was surrounded by a blanket of darkness. It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust, but even after he waited, he still strained to see. Most of the streetlights on that block had been shot out, and several apartment windows had been boarded over. He peered in between the last two buildings on the corner for any sign of movement.

Sam kicked aside a beer can as he stepped out of his car. He didn’t expect any trouble that night. Marcus, a dealer who ran the Gangsta B’s, the largest gang in the city, had asked for a meeting to discuss ‘some business’, but they’d never had problems before. Their businesses had always co-existed, side-by-side. Sam had begun selling crack in small quantities ten years earlier, when he was twenty-five, and had remained one of the smaller distributers in the city. He figured that Marcus, who was younger by at least ten years, either wanted to bring him and his territory into the Gangsta B’s, or he wanted to buy him out. He didn’t see the need to change anything right now, unless the price was right. He was making pretty good money. His clients were happy with him. But he didn’t mind talking with Marcus.

Sam patted his jacket pocket. The gun was still there. It never hurt to be careful. He locked his car, checking to make certain nothing was in the back seat. Marcus had asked him to meet around the corner.

Sam made his way across the grassy common area, dodging the few mud puddles he could see reflected in the wan moonlight, to an old iron bench across from Marcus’s grandmother’s apartment where they had met once before. He sat down to wait. The bench hadn’t quite cooled from the daytime heat. The faint breeze from the river ruffled what scant remnants remained of his once luxurious surfer-boy hair and sent greasy paper bags, discarded whiskey bottles, and random debris scurrying across the sidewalk. He absent-mindedly patted his bald spot to make certain it was covered.

He couldn’t see them, but their chatter floated over to his bench. Even though the words were indecipherable, Sam heard three distinct voices. Then he heard Marcus speak.

“Go get Louis.”

Out of habit, Sam felt his jacket pocket again, reassuring himself that his piece was still there. Marcus and one other young man came into view. Sam nodded as they approached.

Marcus was a commanding presence. Tall, and athletic, intricate tattoos of black ink woe across his dark skin, tracing his biceps, and emphasizing his ropy, muscular arms and powerful shoulders. His long hair, pulled back into a pony-tail, flowed down his back. No one questioned his authority.

“We’re gonna wait a minute for Louis,” Marcus pulled out a cigarette from his back pocket and lit it, blowing billowy clouds into the night air.

“Yeah, sure. But what’s this all about?” Marcus ignored Sam’s question and pulled hungrily on his cigarette, blowing smoke rings, refusing to make eye contact with Sam.

Several minutes later a tall young man and a boy who couldn’t have been over sixteen joined them.

“You and your people gotta go. You’re right in the middle of my territory. I’m claiming it, and I’m taking it – now. Ain’t nothing you can do about it.” Marcus threw down his cigarette and stomped it into the grass.

Sam stood up to face Marcus. “Fuck you, Marcus. You don’t need my three blocks. I’ve had it for years, and its outside your territory anyway. You can’t just take it.” Sam clenched the fist of his left hand and shoved his right hand in his jacket pocket where the gun was hidden.

“That’s where you’re wrong, mother fucker.” Marcus grabbed another cigarette and rammed it three times against the pack. “I got business coming to me from uptown all the time now. It’s time for you to give it up.” Marcus nodded to the three boys, who formed a circle around Sam and Marcus.

“No way, bro’!” Sam’s hand instinctively tightened around the gun.

Surrounded by the group of young men, Sam saw an opening, turned, and simultaneously pulled the gun from his jacket. As he stepped toward his escape, he saw something moving along the sidewalk next to the street. It appeared to be a man dressed in dark clothes, but it was impossible to be certain. Sam heard one shot, and felt it whizz by him. The distant figure dropped. Sam twisted around, and aimed his weapon toward the sound of the gun fire. Then he heard another shot.

Feeling something hot in his chest, he crumbled to the ground. The last thing he saw was the young kid, the one they called Louis, running toward the river.

***

Brother Antoine said good night to Alicia on the front porch of her aunt’s apartment and started his walk back home. He was feeling good, lighthearted. He and Alicia had completed her application and she had nearly finished her essay. He was certain she was a shoo-in for the scholarship. He’d only traveled a few feet down the sidewalk when he saw a group of men and a few boys gathered together in the grassy area next to one of the buildings. The cloud-covered moon offered enough reflection to allow him to make out the scant silhouette of the tallest member of the group. There was no doubt. His swagger and perpetual cigarette were unmistakable. Marcus Bishop. They had to be up to no good.

Brother Antoine followed the curve of the sidewalk, which brought him a little closer to the group. He noticed there was movement, perhaps a scuffle. He heard a shot, then felt a searing pain in his chest. He placed his hand on his shirt where he felt dampness, and, struggling to breathe, fell to the ground. He grabbed the scapular around his neck, praying, as he lay there, someone would come administer the last rites.

***

Excerpt from The Redemption by Cynthia Tolbert.  Copyright 2021 by Cynthia Tolbert. Reproduced with permission from Cynthia Tolbert. All rights reserved.



 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In 2010, Cynthia Tolbert won the Georgia Bar Journal’s fiction contest for the short story version of Out From Silence.  Cynthia developed that story into the first full-length novel of the Thornton Mystery Series by the same name, which was published by Level Best Books in December of 2019. Her second book in this same series, entitled The Redemption, which is set in New Orleans, was released in February of 2021. 

Cynthia has a Master’s in Special Education and taught children with learning disabilities before moving on to law school. She spent most of her legal career working as defense counsel to large corporations and traveled throughout the country as regional and national counsel. She also had the unique opportunity of teaching third-year law students in a clinical program at a law school in New Orleans where she ran the Homeless Law Clinic and learned, first hand, about poverty in that city. She retired from the practice of law several years ago. The experiences and impressions she has collected from the past forty years contribute to the stories she writes today.

Cynthia has four children, and three grandchildren, and lives in Atlanta with her husband and schnauzer.

Connect with Cynthia:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads
 
Buy the book:
Amazon    



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Saturday, June 12, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: LOIS SCHMITT



ABOUT THE BOOK

When attorney Samuel (Sam) Wong goes missing, wildlife magazine reporter Kristy Farrell believes the disappearance is tied to her latest story concerning twenty acres of prime beachfront that the Calm Shell Cove Aquarium hopes to purchase. Sam works for multi-millionaire land developer Lucien Moray who wants to buy the property for an upscale condominium. The waterfront community is divided on this issue like the Hatfields and McCoys with environmentalists siding with the aquarium and local business owners lining up behind Moray.

Meanwhile, a body is found in a nearby inlet. Kristy, aided by her veterinarian daughter, investigates and discovers deep secrets among the aquarium staff—secrets that points to one of them as the killer. Soon the aquarium is plagued with accidents, Kristy has a near death encounter with a nine foot bull shark, and a second murder occurs.
But ferreting out the murderer and discovering the story behind Sam’s disappearance aren’t Kristy’s only challenges. When her widowed, septuagenarian mother announces her engagement, Kristy suspects her mom’s soon to be husband is not all he appears to be. As Kristy tries to find the truth before her mother ties the knot, she also races the clock to find the aquarium killer before this killer strikes again.  
 

 Book Details:
Title: Something Fishy
Author: Lois Schmitt
Genre: cozy mystery
Series: A Kristy Farrell Animal Lovers Mystery, book 1
Publisher: Encircle Publications (July 2019)
Print length: 237 pages




 

TWENTY QUESTIONS/ONE WORD ANSWERS INTERVIEW WITH LOIS SCHMITT


1.     Where is your cell phone? Pocket.
2.     Your hair? Auburn.
3.     Your workplace? Den.
4.     Your other half?  None.
5.     What makes you happy? Animals.
6.     What makes you crazy? Lateness.
7.     Your favorite food? Pizza.
8.     Your favorite beverage? Coffee.
9.     Fear? Spiders.
10.  Favorite shoes? Slippers.
11.  Favorite way to relax? Puzzles.
12.  Your mood? Determined.
13.  Your home away from home? Montauk.
14.  Where were you last night? Home.
15.  Something that you aren't? Singer.
16.  Something from your bucket list? Africa.
17.  Wish list item? Safari.
18.  Where did you grow up? Brooklyn.
19.  Last thing you did? Ate.
20.  What are wearing now? Pajamas.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew, Lois Schmitt combined her love of mysteries with her love of animals in her series featuring wildlife reporter Kristy Farrell. She is a member of several wildlife conservation and humane organizations, as well as Mystery Writers of America.  Lois received a second runner-up for the Killer Nashville Award for her second book in the Kristy Farrell series, Something Fishy

Lois worked for many years as a freelance writer and is the author of Smart Spending, a consumer education book for young adults. She previously served as media spokesperson for a local consumer affairs agency and currently teaches at Nassau Community College on Long Island.

Lois lives in Massapequa, New York with her family which includes a 120 pound Bernese Mountain Dog. This dog bears a striking resemblance to Archie, a huge dog of many breeds, featured in her Kristy Farrell mystery series.
       
Connect with Lois:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads
 
Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: MARK LEICHLITER


 

ABOUT THE BOOK



How do you start an investigation when you have no evidence that a crime has been committed?

When a seventeen-year-old girl abruptly disappears, the ensuing investigation probes dead-ends seemingly as deep as Montana’s Flathead Lake—the geographic and investigative center of The Other Side. The search to find her unearths crimes but none that can explain her disappearance, and when Detectives Steven Wendell and Stacey Knudson grow suspicious that Britany Rodgers has been murdered, they have scant evidence and no body. Their investigation takes readers into starkly contrasting environments—inside spectacular lakefront mansions and within gritty trailer parks—and into the lives of those who exhibit motivations as murky as the fog-choked Montana woods and mist-shrouded Flathead Lake bays.



Book Details

Title: The Other Side

Author: Mark Leichliter

Genre: crime fiction/police procedural

Publisher: Level Best Books (June 8, 2021)

Print length: 292 pages





LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH MARK LEICHLITER


A few of your favorite things: books (of course, too many, not enough time; the stack on the nightstand is getting tall); dark chocolate (bribes always accepted); kind, genuine people who want to hold conversations about any manner of topics.
Things you need to throw out: an alarming number of well-used running shoes; fear that can get in the way of difficult writing; probably 90% of what I might find under the kitchen sink. (I mean that literally, but it’s probably a good metaphor for equivalent mental storage clutter as well!)

Things you love about writing: ultimately as a writer you have no one to answer to but yourself. I care greatly about readers. I need to satisfy editors. But each day when I sit down at my writing desk, I really can write anything I desire.
Things you hate about writing: ultimately as a writer you have no one to answer to but yourself. Sound familiar? If you want to write, you had better learn to live with your decisions.

Things you love about where you live: I live with the expansive quiet and heavenly scents of forests that I can literally step into within a few minutes’ walk from my front door and where I can venture to the coffeehouse or the grocery store by bike. It is a place where animals visit as frequently as people. I can look in any direction and see mountains, and the view from my writing desk is of a lake so vast that it looks nearly like an ocean.
Things that make you want to move: homogeneity breeds closed minds. I live among overwhelmingly good, kind people, but it is a place that, because of a lack of diverse experience for some, can refuse to consider that the world seldom provides singular answers.

Words that describe you: resilient: you can’t survive as a writer if you can’t respond to nearly constant rejection by rolling up your sleeves and getting back to work; optimistic: this might seem an unexpected word for a crime writer, where you spend a lot of time considering the worst parts of human nature, yet my core self is optimistic, not only about a future better than the present but a belief that there is more likely good in people than there is bad.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: naïve, a really bad trait in a crime writer, but in real life I tend to accept what people tell me and am terrible about spotting those with hidden agenda; it’s simply foreign to my way of thinking. Proud, too often I let pride get in the way of vulnerability; as a result, sometimes I fail to open doors to opportunities.

Favorite smell: sagebrush after rain.

Something that makes you hold your nose: okay, so it’s either kind of a cop-out or punch line for a crime fiction writer, but here it is: the smell of death. Let me contextualize that. I live in a place where things like the decaying carcasses of deer and other animals are common, so it’s actually a smell, particularly because I am a trail runner, that I encounter often. But also this: a searing memory from adolescence for me is being in the Big Thompson Canyon in Colorado days after a tragic, devastating flood that killed 143 people. The smell of death is something that never leaves you.

Something you wish you could do: sing or play a musical instrument; I piddle on guitar but you wouldn’t want to be in hearing distance.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: procrastinate.

Things you’d walk a mile for: apropos to several answers in this interview, I’d gladly walk a mile for the perfect chocolate croissant.  
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: mean people. I mean, really, there’s just no place. Oh, and those Lincoln commercials with Matthew McConaughey. I like several of his film roles and loved him in the first season of True Detective, but really, that glib look in those commercials. Come on, Matt, like you need the money!

Things to say to an author: (or at least the thing I hope to hear) “You know, something similar happened to me once and the way you described it is exactly right;” or “I am/used to be a ________ (cop, nurse, carpenter, etc.), and I appreciate that you got _______ right.”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “You know, if I was writing this, I would have . . .”

Favorite places you’ve been: we have a daughter who lives in Germany where she is a researcher, and the Rhine River Valley is a truly spectacular place we are anxious to get back to. There’s a particular little Bed and Breakfast I visited when I was nineteen or twenty in Salzburg, Austria that was truly magical. Practically any Paris café sidewalk table; give me that blanket, a warm drink, a croissant, some sunshine, and I’ll happily stay there forever. And I’d return to the night market in Chang Mai, Thailand in a heartbeat.

Places you never want to go to again: I’m from Wyoming originally and spent lots of years there. I have a fondness for many parts of the state. But as someone who has slept in a car alongside the pavement when Interstate 80 is closed during a blizzard and has survived lots of white-knuckled trips in white-out conditions on that corridor and elsewhere in the state, there are a number of places and experiences I’d rather not revisit.

Proudest moment: I’m the father of three amazing, accomplished young women. Pick the moment of birth for any of the three, but don’t ask me to pick between them.
Most embarrassing moment: okay, well, I have too many to choose from, some from adolescent years that are SO embarrassing I still can’t face them publicly. But since I need to choose one moment, I’ll leap forward to adulthood. My middle daughter was a DI basketball prospect making one of her official recruiting visits and it was our first time to meet the coaching staff. We were leaving the Student Center to meet them, and as we were exiting the building below us beyond a long, wide flight of stairs, the whole coaching staff was approaching on the sidewalk. My daughter and I both waved in recognition and descended the stairs. Somehow, I managed to miss a step, tripped, and essentially sprinted the whole length of the stairs in an arm-whirling fast jig. I managed to keep my feet and jumped to the sidewalk, breathless, hand extended to the head coach. I felt stupid enough, but was more embarrassed for my daughter, in a moment when essentially the only logical thought was: “Please don’t judge a daughter’s athleticism from the absence of her father’s.” 


Most daring thing you’ve ever done: more accurately described as “stupid” rather than daring . . . in our college dorm, we used to open the outside elevator doors, wait until the elevator arrived at the floor below us, then climb out on top of the elevator car. There were three elevators in the building, all in parallel shafts, so we’d ride atop the elevators and cross from one to the next when they stopped at the same floor or get off and balance on the ironwork between them. Like I said, not so bright in retrospect, but we sure thought it was fun at the time.

Something you chickened out from doing: (and a strong regret) my wife gave me the chance to take flying lessons and I couldn’t make myself do it.


OTHER BOOKS BY MARK LEICHLITER

The Other Side

Lost & Found: Stories

In the Chameleon’s Shadow




ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


The Other Side is the crime fiction debut from Mark Leichliter. Writing as Mark Hummel, he is the author of the contemporary literary novel In the Chameleon’s Shadow and the short story collection Lost & Found. His fiction, poetry, and essays have regularly appeared in a variety of literary journals including such publications as The Bloomsbury Review, Dogwood, Fugue, Talking River Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, and Zone 3.

A former college professor and writing program director, he has also taught in an independent high school, directed a writers’ conference, and worked as a librarian. He is the managing editor of the nonfiction magazine bioStories, is on the resident faculty of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, teaches workshops and courses in fiction and memoir, and helps other writers as a writing coach and editor. He writes from his home in Montana’s Flathead Valley.



Connect with Mark:
Website  |  Twitter Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon Barnes & Noble

Thursday, June 3, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: MARK JOHNSON



ABOUT THE BOOK


Life As Play chronicles author Mark Johnson's 50-year spiritual odyssey with some of the most fascinating spiritual teachers of the last half-century. His travels take him from the mountains of Pennsylvania to exotic temples in China and Tibet and eventually to the wild and dangerous hills of Malibu, California.
 
Mark chronicles his ten years training in an Advaita Vedanta center in Florida, then a year of visiting Suzuki Roshi in California. Then the Play began, with an intense 28-year apprenticeship to the powerful Daoist wizard he meets in Taiwan and convinces to come to the US.
 
Mark learned many valuable self-healing techniques in their Malibu clinic: how to heal oneself with high-frequency energies available to everyone; how to utilize deep breathing techniques for clearing and integrating our subconscious; the power of love, compassion, spontaneity, intuition, and inner stillness; how to recognize an Avatar if you are lucky enough to meet one; and how to activate your acupuncture meridians and auric energies. There are chapters on Feng Shui, Daoist sexual practices, the nine secrets to a life of Play, and much more.
 
The central message is that if an ordinary boy from central Pennsylvania can learn to live in an abiding state of Play, then surely you can too.

Book Details

Title: Life As Play: Live compassionately, intuitively, spontaneously, and miracles will happen!
Author: Mark Johnson

Genre: self-help; spirituality

Published: Dao Publishing (December 2020)
Print length: 236 pages




STUPID QUESTIONS WITH MARK JOHNSON


A few of your favorite things: when I am not on call, I sit quietly and let my intuition and spontaneity flow through me.
Things you need to throw out: I give things away or I try to integrate them with the rest of the stuff I have.


Things you need in order to write: quiet time.
Things that hamper your writing: noise, unexpected interruptions.

Things you love about writing: the fact I let it flow through me effortlessly.
Things you hate about writing:  I don’t hate anything about writing.


Things you love about where you live: I love the 50-mile view from my lofty penthouse.
Things that make you want to move: nothing.

Words that describe you: funny, compassionate, spontaneous etc. ad nauseam!
Words that describe you, but you wish they didn’t: impatient when asked to answer stupid questions.

Favorite foods: anything I can create in 3 to 5 minutes at most.
Things that make you want to throw up:  answering stupid questions.

Favorite song: “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.
Music that makes your ears bleed: almost everything I hear these days.

Something you like to do: whatever the divine wants me to do.
Something you wish you’d never done: I learn through experiences so I try to learn from everything I do.

Things you’d walk a mile for: getting the exercise that my body needs at the moment.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: when the room is on fire.

Things you always put in your books: guidance for everyone to realize their innate divinity.

Things you never put in your books: trivia—unless it is humorous.

Favorite places you’ve been: I have been damn near everywhere on this planet.
Places you never want to go to again: They all were interesting in their own way.

Favorite things to do: help people realize their innate divinity.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: answering stupid questions.

Most embarrassing moment: I can’t remember people’s names after a nasty plane crash 10 years ago.
Proudest moment: when I remember their names.

Best thing you’ve ever done: at age 16 I made a clay dinosaur movie that involved  30,000 still shots that involved a fight between 2 T Rexes then a fly in Pterodactyl. Then a T Rex sinks into a tar pit and dies.
Biggest mistake: I misplaced the dinosaur DVD and have never found it. 

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: I flew with a new flying buddy who turned out to be an idiot and smashed us into a warehouse at 120 mph and smashed my frontal lobe off -hence no people’s names.
Something you chickened out from doing: getting married again.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mark Johnson is a semi-retired Tai Ji and Chi Gung instructor and healer. He continues to judge Tai Ji tournaments regularly, serves on the Advisory Council to the National Qigong Association, and leads Daoist retreats to China and Tibet yearly. He sells his Tai Chi for Seniors video and other instructional DVDs through his online company. Mark has studied and practiced Eastern Philosophy for over forty-five years and has apprenticed with some of the most prominent Vedanta, Zen and Daoist teachers in the world. He has been a member and research subject at the Institute of Noetic Sciences for nearly fifteen years.

Connect with Mark:
Website Facebook 

Buy the book:

Amazon



Tuesday, June 1, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: LEO FLYNN


ABOUT THE BOOK


Mara Keres. A trained warrior and formerly highly respected peacekeeper. Note "formerly."

Once, she had her life under control. Once, she had the trust of the galaxy. Now she rots in the same prison she used to sentence people to. Solitary confinement for six years. Would've brought anyone else to their knees. Not her.

Then an offer resurfaces, almost too good to be true. Ghosts of her past and demons come back to haunt her; will she ever make it out alive? Sometimes, facing your worst memories is worth the risk.


Book Details

Title: Mara’s Awakening
Author: Leo Flynn

Genre: science fiction, space opera

Series: The Mara Files, book 1

Published: March 31, 2021

Print length: 44 pages





LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH LEO FLYNN


Things you need in order to write: Scrivener, music and no interruptions.
Things that hamper your writing: the internet, distractions, and my annoying brain!


Things you love about writing:
creating worlds, characters, and knowing a person was affected by the words you wrote, even if only for an hour or two.
Things you hate about writing: how draining it can be, how it fills you with doubt, and how your brain wants to question every word you write!

Easiest thing about being a writer: it’s perfectly socially acceptable to be weird.

Hardest thing about being a writer: how much work it is! Especially being self-published. 


Words that describe you: creative, disciplined, and hardworking
Words that describe you, but you wish they didn’t: doubtful, stubborn, and rushing headlong into things.

Favorite foods: sushi, tacos, and bread.
Things that make you want to throw up: chocolate, cream, and butter.

Favorite music: I love electronic instrumental music for writing. Outside of that, I listen to a variety of genres.
Music that make your ears bleed: metal, aggressive electronic, and country.

Favorite beverage: water, juice, or milk.

Something that gives you a pickle face: tea or coffee.

Favorite smell: cinnamon, spices, freshly cut grass, and curry.

Something that makes you hold your nose: the carob tree.

Something you’re really good at: coming up with ideas for stories and poetry.

Something you’re really bad at: transforming them into a coherent piece.

Something you like to do: reading.

Something you wish you’d never done: tried dance lessons.


Things you’d walk a mile for: good food, quality time with friends, and exciting experiences.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: uninteresting small talk.

Things you always put in your books: poetry, action, adventure, diverse characters, women protagonists, fun banter, heartfelt moments, and some serious character development.

Things you never put in your books: real-world locations, explicit content, or excessive violence.

Things to say to an author: What’s your book about? Do you have any book recommendations? How can I support your work?

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Writing? That’s not a real job!

Favorite places you’ve been: the Southern Carpathians, Tokyo, South Spain.

Places you never want to go to again: shopping malls and airports.

Favorite things to do: write stories and poetry, read and watch science fiction.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: being forced to write anything other than science fiction.

Things that make you happy: rainy days, good music/TV shows/movies, my favorite foods, spending time with friends and family, going on walks through nature.

Things that drive you crazy: people who don't educate themselves, disrespectful people, littering, and people who don't listen and constantly interrupt.

Best thing you’ve ever done: finally self-publishing my book.

Biggest mistake: letting the world tell me I have to wait for someone’s permission to follow my dreams.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done:
climbed a small rock face near a beach with my bare hands.

Something you chickened out from doing: going paragliding.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leo Flynn writes poetry & gripping, action-packed SciFi like The Mara Files, his debut, an exciting science fiction short story series.

Other galaxies, reading, talking too much about writing and music consume his waking hours.

Connect with Leo:
Website Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads Amazon

Buy the book:
Amazon

Monday, May 24, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: HEYWOOD GOULD


ABOUT THE BOOK

 
It's 1966, and young Heywood Gould, a Brooklyn boy with literary ambitions, has his dream job. He is a reporter at the ultra liberal (that's right liberal) New York Post, alongside young writers like Nora Ephron, Pete Hamill, and Anthony Scaduto. New York is a newspaper town, six dailies trying to beat each other to the big story. He revels in the action and competition.  In this comic memoir of his early life, screenwriter, director and novelist Gould cuts back and forth between vivid scenes of childhood as early as age 2, and coming of age in New York City in the '60's. Fighting anti-Semitic bullies in the neighborhood. Collecting corpses for a Brooklyn funeral home. Dropping acid in Greenwich Village and dropping out of college for a year of sleazy encounters and one bittersweeet love affair in the down and out world of left bank Paris. Possessed of uncanny recall for details, an unparalleled ear for dialogue, and disarming candor about his foibles, young Heywood is great company. Reader will be treated to a ride to another era, not so terribly long ago.

Book Details

Title: Drafted: A Memoir of the '60s

Author: Heywood Gould

Genre: memoir

Publisher: Tolmitch Press ( June 21, 2021)

Print length: 376 pages







LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH HEYWOOD GOULD

 
A few of your favorite things: George Simenon novels. Spaghetti with anything. Any Michael Curtiz movie. Blueberries. My new favorite writer, Yenta Mash.
Things you need to throw out: nothing. I keep everything.
 
Things you need in order to write: a good idea that I feel I can execute
Things that hamper your writing: social obligations. Family obligations. Medical appointments. Anything that keeps me away from the desk.

Things you love about writing: nothing. It's torture.
Things you hate about writing: seeing something you should gave changed when the book is already published.
 
Easiest thing about being a writer: not having to punch a clock.

Hardest thing about being a writer: rejection. It's not the tragedy it once was, but it still stings.

Things you love about where you live: the insanity of the city.
Things that make you want to move: nothing. I've tried other places, but always come back to New York.


Things you never want to run out of: peanut butter. Ideas. USB sticks.
Things you wish you’d never bought: I try not to buy anything.
 
Favorite foods: I eat everything.
Things that make you want to throw up: nothing. I worked in a funeral parlor for three years so I have a pretty strong stomach.
 
Favorite music: Jazz.
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap.
 
Favorite beverage: coffee.

Something that gives you a pickle face: wheatgrass.
 
Favorite smell: my grandson and granddaughter.

Something that makes you hold your nose: male cologne.
 
Something you’re really good at: bartending.

Something you’re really bad at: flipping omelets.
 
Something you wish you could do: dunk a basketball.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: write a Hollywood ending.
 
Something you like to do: hike.

Something you wish you’d never done: that's classified.



Last best thing you ate: s
ausage and peppers last night.

Last thing you regret eating: bad mushrooms. I was sick for days.
 
Things you’d walk a mile for: exercise.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: cable anchor people.

Things you always put in your books: new twists I hope
.
Things you never put in your books: anything I wrote before.
 
Things to say to an author: a page turner. Couldn't put it down. You're a genius.
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I just felt he/she wouldn't have done that.
 
Favorite places you’ve been: Paris. Anyplace on Hawaii.

Places you never want to go to again: Boca Raton.
 
Favorite things to do: hang with my grandchildren.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: have a notes meeting with a producer.
 
Things that make you happy: too many to list.

Things that drive you crazy: politicians.
 
Proudest moment: watching my kids excel.
Most embarrassing moment: being caught in a bad mistake.


Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I never took drugs. (Said to my kids.)

A lie you wish you’d told: none. Lies have never worked out well for me.
 
Best thing you’ve ever done: I'll leave that for others to decide.

Biggest mistake: not kissing up to producers.
 
Most daring thing you’ve ever done: hitching buses on Coney Island Avenue.

Something you chickened out from doing: ice climbing.
 
The last thing you did for the first time: had my ninth and tenth ribs removed for a biopsy.

Something you’ll never do again: have my ninth and tenth ribs removed for a biopsy.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in the Bronx and raised in Brooklyn, Heywood Gould got his start as a reporter for the New York Post when it was still known as a "pinko rag." Later he financed years of rejection with the usual colorful jobs-cabdriver, mortician's assistant, industrial floor waxer, bartender, and screenwriter. He has written fourteen books and nine screenplays, among them Boys From Brazil, Fort Apache, the Bronx, Cocktail and Rolling Thunder.  In addition, he directed four features, One Good Cop starring Michael Keaton, Trial by Jury with William Hurt, Mistrial with Bill Pullman and Double Bang with William Baldwin.


His novel, Leading Lady, was a finalist for the 2008 Dashiell Hammett Award and Foreword Magazine Award for literary excellence in crime writing and was a Bronze Medal winner for the Independent Book Publisher's Award.  His novel Greenlight for Murder was praised as the “blackest of screwball comedies," and it was also nominated for a Hammett Prize. Heywood Gould lives in New York City.


Buy the book:
Amazon