Saturday, April 6, 2013

Featured Author: James Moushon

Author James Moushon has been kind enough to host me on his blog, HBS Author’s Spotlight, several times, and I'm so happy to be able to return the favor. James writes mysteries and thrillers--good old spy stories with tales of intrigue. His newest book, Black Mountain Secrets, is the second in the Jonathon Stone mystery series.

About the book:

CIA Agent Jonathon Stone goes undercover to help in an FBI investigation after a fellow agent is murdered on the Colorado River.

Stone continues the agent’s investigation of suspects who are stealing top-secret documents from a secret Army base in the middle of the Mohave Desert. The trail leads him from the rugged Black Mountains of Nevada to Laughlin, a gambling oasis on the Colorado.

As things heat up in this desert paradise, Stone dodges bullets and attempts on his life until he reaches the ultimate showdown. Jonathon Stone truly needs lady luck on his side to catch the spies and get through this ordeal alive.

Mystery Writer James Moushon brings to life Jonathon Stone, an undercover CIA agent assigned to the off the books CIA division – DOT.

He throws Stone right into the middle of action. As the mystery unfolds, Stone uses his wealth of knowledge and keen analytical mind to complete his dangerous assignments, while at the same time battling his love for gambling and drinking and the ladies.

Interview with James:

Welcome, James. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I have been writing technical articles in the computer field for over 20 years. I started to write fiction five years ago and blogging my life away. I really enjoy both.

How did you come up with the title of your book, Black Mountain Secrets?

The story takes place on the Colorado River in Laughlin, NV. That area is surrounded by the Black Mountains range and a perfect setting for murder, espionage and intrigue.

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write?

Having a computer background, I outline, plan, and keep track of my characters and plots with a database and reports. It is just the way I roll. Also, my blogs are controlled by a database and software I’ve written.

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

I read mostly non-fiction books. I choose a topic and start reading everything I can get my hands on. When I read fiction, I like to read a book that has been made into a film, then watch the film and then go back and read the book again.

Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for.

Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women 25 Personal Stories The book is written by 25 women authors.

“Their hope is that these stories will inspire YOUR independent spirit and allow you to live the life you were meant to live. All proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to a charitable organization like fighting breast cancer.”

I have blogged about most of the 25 authors on the HBS Author’s Spotlight blog.

What do you do to market your book?

I use Social Media and my website plus my three blogs. I have tried the Amazon giveaway with pretty good success. Black Mountain Secrets jumped to number ten, but I didn’t see much carryover in sales after the event.

Sophie’s choice: Do you have a favorite of your characters?

Of course, Jonathon Stone, my pragmatist. I liked writing about the lonely fisherman called Catfish and the suspect, Dena Noles, who gets involved with Stone.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

I like the ending a lot; a twist and a turn and the unexpected. That’s all I’m going to say. You just have to read it to find out why it is my favorite.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I bought a sound track for the book trailer that is close to the theme from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It fits the setting: danger and murder, deep in the desert.

Who are your favorite authors?

Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ludlum

What are your favorite books:

a) as a child?    ???
b) as a teenager? The Snows of Kilimanjaro
c) as an adult?   Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai,' the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.” Hemingway

I feel only Hemingway could write something like that at the start of a story that tells it all.

What are you working on now?

Game Of Fire is in its final edit, I hope. Jonathon Stone becomes involved in an arson case as an explosive expert. It leads him on a trail of murder and suspense during the Chinese New Year festivals. (The Year of the Fire Pig.)

It sounds great. You'll be back when it's released, right? In the meantime, we'll be reading Black Mountain Secrets.

Book excerpt:

Chapter One

Set in the rugged mountains of Nevada and the surrounding desolate sagebrush covered desert, lies an oasis. This is a place of intense heat in the summer and mild, clear days in the winter. In this area, the Colorado River runs through a gorge of man-made hills with a small fishing village on one side and a gambling playground on the other.

During the day, the river is a recreational haven. At night, it is a dark, eerie mass of water moving south. It is sprinkled with shuttle boats with their headlights guiding the way, ferrying people from one side of the river to the other.

This winter night started as a typical one for the tourists and gamblers alike. A shuttle boat had just left one of the casino’s docks and was headed to the Arizona side, flowing with the rapid current.

Suddenly there was a loud crash and a deadening scream and all was silent. Only the sounds of the water rushing down the river and the glow of lights from the casinos were left. It seemed that the moon and the stars were the only witnesses as the tragedy of the night tumbled like a rolling stone down the river, along with the information that could threaten a nation.

. . . . . . . .

I browsed through the email I’d received from my boss, Russ Evans.

From: Eagle
To: Jonathon Stone
Date: Mon, Dec 4, 2006 at 9:18 AM




See Attachment

Russ always wrote his emails in an abbreviated style. I guess it was a carryover from the old days when all our notes were handwritten.

I opened the attachment. It was more revealing than his email. It was an article from the Bullhead City, Arizona newspaper:

Laughlin, NV
Date: 11/25/2006

An Oasis Casino shuttle boat overturned last night on the Colorado near a Bullhead City dock with no apparent survivors. The Bullhead Search and Rescue Squad were on the scene this morning. Up to press time, only one body had been recovered from the river. An unidentified man in his mid-forties washed ashore near Riviera. The search will continue through today according to the BSRS leader, Jack Finn.

Agent Al Houston must have been the unidentified man in the boating accident. I had briefly worked with him several years ago in Europe. Now I am working stateside doing special assignments.

I have been with the CIA’s special unit DOT for several years now. Originally we had been set up as an undercover operation in Long Beach but that had been compromised two years ago and all the staff had scattered to other assignments. I had been lucky enough to be able to stay at my same home in Belmont Shore, California, in the Long Beach area.

About the author:

James Moushon was born in Illinois and is a graduate of Bradley University. For years he wrote articles for industry publications in the electronic document field.

James published his first Mystery Novel, Call Off The Dogs in 2010. He is continuing to create Jonathon Stone Mystery novels with the publication of the Black Mountain Secrets last November.

Starting over 15 years ago, he was involved in the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars. 

In 2003, he changed his focus to ebooks and their development. He is currently wearing Three Hats. He's a mystery writer, book industry blogger, and a computer consultant. He's spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.

Connect with James:
Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter / Amazon
Blogs:  The eBook Author’s Corner    
        HBS Author’s Spotlight blog
        HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle