Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cliff Ball Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write? 

I would have to say that my most productive time of day to write is between 10 am and 3 pm. I don’t know why that is, but, it seems like that is when I’m at my most disciplined and focused.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer? 

I usually start out with pen and paper, because I find it easier to sit with a spiral notebook on my couch just writing out by hand whatever idea I have. When I feel the story is established enough, I go on the computer to finish the project.  This goes for novels, essays, research papers, pretty much anything I write.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

  I’m pretty much inspired by the fact that as an Indie author, I can write what I want, when I want, and I have no deadlines.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

 I don’t really set a goal of word count when I sit down to write. Most of the time, I write for as long as I have that idea fresh in my mind for that day, and then I quit. Sometimes, that’s an hour, and other times, its three or four hours.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

 Self published author. With my first two novels, I took whatever cover iUniverse and gave me, they gave me 4 templates to pick from. With The Usurper, I created my own cover with a combination of Gimp and, since I was publishing that through Createspace. I took a picture of a fire from when I went camping earlier this year, then downloaded a US flag and a pair of eyes, and that’s that cover. I recently re-did Out of Time and downloaded a public domain picture from NASA, then just added the title and author name. Eventually, I plan on buying something like Book Cover Pro to come up with better covers.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

 It’s kind of something that I’ve always wanted to be involved in since I was in elementary school, but,  as of right now, I’d say it was more of a hobby than a career.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

 Not currently, but, I’d really like to have a Kindle.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

 Some of my favorite authors are Harry Turtledove, Eric Flint, S.M. Stirling, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, for example. I’m currently trying to read Color Me Grey by JC Phelps and Draculas by Konrath and his co-horts, when I don’t have to read college textbooks, since I’m pursuing a 2nd BA.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

 I have two book trailers. One was done for me to advertise Out of Time and Don’t Mess With Earth, while I created my own with The Usurper. I think there are some pretty cool book trailers out there, like the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, for instance. But, I don’t think they improve sales all that much, at least not for me, and it’s probably just another gimmick someone came up with, and then convinced everyone it was a good idea.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

 The Usurper is about the USSR wanting to take down the US from within no matter what, so, their inside man “usurps” the Constitution, Congress, and the States when he finally gets into power. So, the title “The Usurper” seemed to make sense to me, even though it was probably the third idea I had for the title, but, once I settled on it, it seemed to be a good title.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

 I’m working on another two science fiction novels. One is an almost total re-write of Don’t Mess With Earth, after a lot of feedback I had that it had too much exposition, and some complained about my version of history at the beginning. So, I re-wrote the beginning, added a lot more dialogue, and the sequel I had planned for it, is now part of the novel, which is making it a full length 80K novel now, instead of around 50K. It’ll be re-titled, since it’s practically a different novel now. The other novel is an alternate history novel that begins with the 1976 Presidential Election, where the new President declares the US will have a moon base by 1979 and a Mars Base by 1989. The Russians decide to one-up the Americans, so they build an interstellar starship. What happens beyond that, well, I’m still working on it.

Deadly Dares: Truth Or Dare IV Teaser

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Betty Collier Interview

Living Inside The Testimony by Betty Collier

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

 Because writing is a passion and not my occupation, I have to write after-hours. If I had waited until I actually had time to write, it never would have happened. So I made time each day and squeezed in time whenever I could. I am probably one of the most sleep-deprived people you will ever meet, but when you are consumed and obsessed to write and share your story, you cannot sleep anyway. After I finished my “day job” as an RN, and my evening job as wife and mother (and ALL that entails) I would find myself in front of my laptop until 2:00AM every morning until the book was finished. It only took one month to write it, but that is because I was totally convinced that my new-found passion to share my journey of faith had to be put on paper immediately. Thoughts, words, paragraphs, and even whole chapters would come to me, and I had to get them down on paper before I lost them. My day would begin at 6:00AM being all the other things that I am, and end 20 hours later at 2:00AM being the one new thing that I discovered I had become.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

 I started this book sitting in front of a blank computer screen, and simply typed the words “Chapter 1” and then I began.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

I never considered myself a writer, and if you had asked me prior to January, 2009 if I would ever write a book, my answer would have immediately and adamantly been “absolutely not!” I never had a desire to write a book, and perhaps my honesty will make you wonder if the book is even worth reading. I can assure you…I AM A WRITER.  I became one overnight, and in fact, I remember the exact night it happened. It was after midnight when January 9th turned into January 10th, the night I dreamed about this book. I am confident that if you allow me to share my journey with you, you will agree that I am indeed a writer. I wrote the book based on faith, well aware that not everyone would share my faith, but I wrote it to share my faith with those who choose to believe. I wrote the book to share my testimony of faith, hope, humor, romance and love. Testimonies are meant to encourage and inspire others, and I have been just as encouraged by my readers. As one reader told me, “It’s like being on a roller coaster. I didn’t know what to expect next. I was laughing on one page and crying on the next… This book is a masterpiece!”

4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?

 No, I actually didn’t set any goals at all with this book. I simply wanted to get all the thoughts and ideas that were in my head typed in book format as quickly as possible. I had so many thoughts that I was afraid I would lose if I didn’t get the book done quickly.

5: Being a self published author how do you come up with your cover art?

 I actually dreamed about the front cover of the book before I ever started writing. I devoted an entire chapter of the book to the cover page design because it was monumental in the overall writing process. It’s a remarkable story to read how the cover art actually came into existence. You can read all about it on my website at under the “Cover Design Wonderment” tab.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer? 

I wrote the book to share my testimony with others. We all live inside testimonies every day, without even realizing it, and our testimonies can help inspire and encourage others. When I wrote the book, not even my husband William realized we had been living inside a testimony all along, and we had been married 23 years when I wrote it. I guess when you live inside the testimony, it's hard for you to see it as a testimony, and you really don't appreciate it for what it is. That truly is the purpose for writing this book - to share my testimony because we are overcomers by the words of our testimonies.

7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?

 I don’t have an ebook devise because I still prefer the old-fashioned way of reading. I like bound books that I can hold and turn the pages myself.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?

 I really don’t have a favorite author, but I do enjoy inspirational books the most. Some of my favorites are Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, and Stormie Omartian.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

 Book trailers are wonderful visual aids to help promote and market your books. People like watching videos and going to movie theatres. The movie trailers really grab your attention, and much like the movie trailers, book trailers are a fantastic way to grab a reader’s attention. I have a book trailer posted on YouTube for this book, at

10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

 My main goal now is to continue sharing the journey inside my testimony by promoting this book both on a virtual book tour, and hopefully a full-blown physical tour in select cities across the country. Additionally, I will debut my new internet radio talk show on November 15. The talk show is based on the book, and it’s entitled “Living Inside The Testimony with Betty Collier.

Here is sneak peak at the show’s description: Get ready to remember this name: LIVING INSIDE THE TESTIMONY. Your life is never going to be the same.  Host Betty Collier and her guests live each and every day inside the testimony.  They will help you discover the inspiration that lies within all of us and prepare you to share it with others.  Hear incredible stories of faith, hope, humor, romance and love, offering a source of inspiration and encouragement. Join Betty on this truly incredible journey of faith as if you, too, have been touched by an angel.
Tune in beginning November 15 to listen or play on demand and download the shows at

For additional information about me or the book, please visit the following sites:

Also, I would like to offer a complimentary copy of the book to one of your readers. I will send a free book and tote bag to the first person who leaves a comment to say that they read this interview on your blog. Please click <like> on my facebook page, and leave a comment. The first person to do so will receive a free book and tote bag.

Thank you very much for this interview and thank you to all the readers who took time to read it.

Markus Kane Interview

Interview With Markus Kane, Author of Ameriqeada

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I write professionally as well as creatively. My most productive time for my work is in the morning. I typically get up at around 7 or 8 and start writing after I eat breakfast. I try to get all my work done before two or three in the afternoon.
Creatively, I’m best at night. It isn’t even close. I typically write starting at about 7 or 8 and don’t stop until about 10 or 12, sometimes later. When I’m creating a new work, I write every night until it’s finished. And I don’t miss. I aim for at least 10 pages a night. Sometimes I meet this quota,  sometimes I get past it and other times I don’t get there. But that’s what I aim for.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I always have a notebook in which I write down stuff I’m thinking of, but I don’t count that as a new writing project. I have notebooks full of stuff I think of. I’ve kept these forever, and I have notebooks with ideas, thoughts, story-lines, news items and anything else I though of all scattered around.
A friend of mine, a composer, described his creative process as two distinct periods: a “gathering” stage and an “assembly” stage. I find this description useful. In the gathering stage, I try very hard not to write too much down. I might jot down an idea, or a plot thread, or bookmark some research  pages, but I try not to do too much. Once all the ideas have coalesced, have reached a kind of critical mass, then I can start writing it. That doesn’t mean I jump right into the manuscript, it just means I’m ready to put it on paper. Maybe character sketches, or outlining the plot, etc. It all depends on the project, but no matter what, I try to give the gathering stage enough time to work itself through before I start the assembly process.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?
I wish I knew, really. Usually I get an idea here or there, maybe do some research, which then leads to other ideas or characters. At some point more characters appear, and an idea merges with one or two others and I get a sense of the narrative and where it can go. Once the characters start taking on traits that aren’t just descriptions but that grow from their nature, and the narrative feels solid enough, I start it. The book is in charge by that point, and I try to get out of the way as much as I can.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
Absolutely. Ten pages a night is what I shoot for. I keep track of page counts with a  detailed record of my daily progress. At the beginning of each week, I write down the expected page count I should have at the end of each night. Then, when I start writing, I keep track of how much I write every day. At the end of the week I take a look at my goals and my production, then base the next week’s numbers on where I left off.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
Self-published, and I did my cover art mostly by myself, though I did have some feedback. I took open source or creative commons photos and used Gimp to edit the photos and create the cover. It was a lot of fun, especially trying to come up with a single image that would capture the essence of the  book and the eye of the reader. I tried to take cues from some other authors in my genre while still retaining enough imagery from the book to ensure it was appropriate.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I’ve been asked this question several times, mostly by people who aren’t writers. I started my professional life as an attorney. Though I still write professionally, mostly about the law and related topics, I don’t practice law anymore. Writing was something, I feel, that chose me, not the other way around. Perhaps it is the path of least resistance for me, something for which I have a natural affinity. I can’t really say. But I do know that the act of creating, the creative process as it exists in writing, is something I don’t wish to be separated from at any point in my life. I’m not a religious person, but the loss of the sense of self I experience in the creative act is very similar, I imagine, to the sense of connection spiritual people experience. It is as much a part of my lifestyle as the religion of the faithful.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
Yes. I recently purchased the Kindle 3. I absolutely love it. I bought it as kind of an experiment, to see what everyone was talking about. But now that I have one, I find it’s one of my favorite possessions. I mean, a world of books at my fingertips, where I can buy any book I want by typing in a few words, pushing a button and waiting a few seconds for it to be delivered to me? Come on. It’s no choice at all anymore between e-books and bound ones.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
My favorite authors can change from week to week, but I always find the same name remain on the list: Ian McEwan, Bill Bryson, Hemingway, Tom Wolfe and Stephen King are always there. Ken Follet makes a lot of appearances, and other authors pop on and off depending on what I’m reading and when. Right now, I’m on Bill Bryson’s newest book “At Home,” and I’m reading an indie book “Forbidden the Stars,” by Valmore Daniels. Oh, and there are about a dozen others waiting on my stack, or rather, my e-stack.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I love the idea of a book trailer. Like a movie trailer, a book trailer is supposed to condense the essence of a film into a two or three minute summary. This can be incredibly hard to do, and even more so with a book because you don’t have any original visual or musical work to accompany it. Including the right images, the right music, cutting it to the proper length and giving it a sense of pacing, all of this is incredibly hard. The good book trailers do this fairly well, though I don’t think they are nearly as compelling as a good film trailer. After all, how could they be?

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
This one was really easy. “Ameriqaeda” is simply the nickname of the terrorist group in the book, an obvious play on words between America and Al-qaeda. Usually, though, if I’m having trouble with a title, I have this little trick I use that I find quite helpful. I write down the names of five authors. It doesn’t even have to be authors I particularly like or enjoy, just those who have books with recognizable titles. I then write down the author’s name and write three titles that they would come up with if the book was their own. For example, if Robert Ludlum were writing the book, I’d call it “The Hafnium Compression” or “The Vandenberg Gambit.” On the other hand, if it were Chuck Palahniuk's book, I’d call it “Vaporize” or “Domestic.” It is very useful and can be a lot of fun to try on another author’s hat.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
Well, I've got two stories that are near the assembly stage, one of which is a sequel to “Ameriqaeda, ” while the other is a mainstream work, much different from “Ameriqaeda.” I got the idea when I visited an old World War Two P.O.W. camp outside of Concordia, Kansas. It was a very large camp, with thousands of German prisoners held there during the war years. There’s barely anything left of it now, but I think a story has grown out of it, and I think it might be ready to put into paper.

Laura Vosika Interview

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
With 9 children and a job, I write on and off all day, as time is available.  Currently, morning, just after getting back from taking the youngest boys to school, is the most productive time, but I also get a lot done after they go to bed.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Always computer.  I type faster than I write by far, so I find it much easier, although if I'm somewhere without a computer, and free time, I will pull out pen and paper, even if that's the back of an envelope, and start writing.
What do you draw inspiration from?
Sometimes, ideas just come to me, sometimes, from songs, things I read, things people say.  One of my novels came from a passing comment someone made about cleaning out an elderly relative's house after her death, and the things he found there.  Blue Bells of Scotland comes from a combination of inspirations: a children's chapter book, an old folk song, and a flash of an image of a man so arrogant and selfish as to gamble away his livelihood (his trombone) and trick his girlfriend into pawning her ring to get it back.
Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write, such as word count?
I usually have some idea which part of the book I want to work on, something that needs editing, small concrete goals like scan through and make sure the monk's robe is the same color through the whole book.  My main goal, however, is the rather vague one of 'accomplish as much as I can today!'
Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I am published through Gabriel's Horn, a local publishing co-op, where we have a lot of freedom, but also some oversight, accountability and input from others that I wouldn't have with self-publishing.  I play around with cover art until I find something I like.  Then I play around with it some more until I like it better.
What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I have stories in my head, so I tell them.  I feel for many writers, it's more an issue of writing choosing them.  It's something, for many of us, that we can't not do.
Do you own an ebook reading device?
No.  Although I looked at one today, and looked at my shelves full of books, and thought I might consider it some day.
Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
Ted Dekker, Dick Francis, C.S. Lewis.  I'm currently slogging my way through Duanaire na Sracaire / Songbook of Medieval Gaelic Poetry, a 550 page book with facing Gaelic and English translations.  I think it's going to keep me busy for awhile!  It's a great resource for writing about Niall, a musician-warrior in medieval Scotland.
What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I like them.  I think they're a great way to connect and capture attention in a world that's very visual, thanks to t.v. and movies.  I have one up at youtube:   

How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
Until I was 33, I was a semi-professional musician, with trombone as my main instrument. One of the pieces well-known to all advanced trombonists is Blue Bells of Scotland, a theme and variations on an old folk song, arranged by Arthur Pryor to showcase trombone.  I wanted to write about the images of streaming banners and noble deeds from the lyrics of the folk song, and also liked the purpose behind Arthur Pryor's arrangement--to show what the trombone is really capable of.  I incorporated that theme into the story, that there is so much more to Shawn than he shows the world.  So it's a title that's close to my heart and has a couple of layers of meaning.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I'm hard at work on both books 2 and 3 of the Blue Bells Trilogy, in addition to writing my blog (, and collecting research to write a non-fiction on the medieval Scottish world of Niall Campbell.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NOOKcolor Touch screen $249

The NEW NOOKcolor is starting to ship Nov 19 for $249 Touch screen looks like a nice eReader no eInk though.

Wayne Farquhar Interview

About Wayne:
Wayne Farquhar is a 28-year veteran working with the San Jose Police Department in California. He has worked through the ranks from officer to lieutenant with detective assignments in Sexual Assaults, Homicide and Internal Affairs. He has also worked undercover assignments in Child Exploitation, Child Pornography and Vice. He spent 10 years as a street cop and hostage negotiator. Wayne has worked on Federal Task Forces with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). He has appeared on national television, America’s Most Wanted on a murder investigation. BLOOD OVER BADGE is his first effort in crime-thriller fiction, and he hopes to write more books and speak to larger audiences about his experiences in law enforcement. Wayne lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you would like to formally invite Wayne to speak about BLOOD OVER BADGE or law enforcement to your organization, association, conference or expo, please send an email

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

I like to write in the morning. It’s nice to start fresh with few distractions. I write at my kitchen table. And, I like to listen to music when I write. Sometimes it doesn’t work and I have to dive into my home office. I’m able to block out distractions and bury myself in writing. I’m extremely focused and I tend to be oblivious to everything going on around me when I’m in the writing mode. It’s become somewhat of a family joke.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I start and complete all my writing projects on a computer. Back in the old days when I composed music, it was pencil and notepad. Writing is so much easier with good quality software. This is especially true with screenplays.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration for writing comes in several forms. I enjoy many forms of creativity: writing stories, writing music and cooking. It’s cool to create something that others enjoy. I wrote Blood Over Badge because I liked the story/twist and I really wanted to put the reader on the “inside of the crime scene tape!” Let’s face it; police work is a secretive business. And it needs to be so crimes get solved and the cases have integrity. I have to be mindful when writing because I reveal the “real police world.” At the same time, I don’t want to expose tactics that jeopardize the working street cops and detectives. The challenge is inspirational for me.

4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?

I don’t set word count goals. I usually write until I’ve taken the story to the next turning point. My style is to have several parallel stories so I don’t like stopping in the middle of a scene. I stop writing when I feel fatigue. I’m not happy with my writing when I try to force it on the pages.

5: Being a self published author how do you come up with your cover art?

6: What drives you to chose the career of being a writer?

I look at writing differently. I’m still a police lieutenant and I write for enjoyment. I think the vast majority of writers have other careers as well. Writing allows me to share the crazy police life and at the same time, allows me to escape from it. The writing/publishing industry is changing so fast, I don’t believe anyone has a handle on where it’s going. So, I try to not worry about things I can’t control. If people enjoy my writing, I’m way ahead of the game.

7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?

I don’t own an ebook device. Call me old fashioned. I still like the feel of a book in my hands.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

My favorite author is Nelson DeMille. I’d like to meet him some day. For the past year, I’ve been reading screenplays. I mean, tons of screenplays! 

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I think book trailers are cool. I have one in the works and hope to see it very soon. Blood Over Badge will soon be released in E-version as well. Internet, blogs, trailers and social media are changing the world and how we do business. I think the shake-up is great!

10: What are you working on now that you can talk about? 

I’m working on the screenplay for Blood Over Badge. I’m almost finished with it and it was a lot of fun to write. The writing is obviously very different from writing novels, but I truly enjoy the structural challenges and the speed of screenplays. The sequel to Blood Over Badge is about half way finished, but I put it on the shelf to do the screenplay.

About the Book:


The murder of the Mayor of San Francisco’s daughter sets the stage for this intriguing and spellbinding crime thriller. Two police detectives, Jack Paige and Casey Ford are assigned to catch a cold-blooded rapist and killer. In this gritty, realistic tale of homicide, unrelated mysteries of two murderers seem to come together and make little sense. What does a man rotting away behind the stench-enclosed walls of Angola Penitentiary have to do with an evil and cruel rapist and killer now on the run from California to Texas? What is the relationship to the killing of the Mayor’s daughter?

BLOOD OVER BADGE, an intense, taunt and brilliantly told crime thriller, takes readers on a realistic, gritty and real-world tour de force exploring the underbelly of police and detective work. Its author Wayne Farquhar is a veteran police detective with years of experience working for the San Jose Police Department and an experienced speaker and author. Invite Wayne to speak at your next trade show, convention or expo by sending e-mail to

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Margaret Langstaff Interview

Hi, everybody! Just by way of introduction, I want to say that I’ve been writing for a living for many years and have written a number of books, feature articles, book reviews etc. for many different publishers, magazines and newspapers.  I write on a contract basis (for a fee) for publishers and individuals/companies and write fiction and poetry under my own name.  Just recently I decided to explore doing my own thing with Amazon (Kindle and CreateSpace) and I’m going to use Lighting Source soon.

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
This is a tricky question and can be a sore subject with my family!  Mornings, after I’ve had my coffee and spent an hour just letting my mind wander and wonder about things, are probably the most productive.  Say 8:00-Noon.  If I am writing for a client, my performance/output starts tapering off after that, but because of the amount of work I have I have to flog myself to keep at it until I’ve done my daily quota of words.  Under a tough deadline I’ve had to write 18 hours or more in a day.  This really annoys my family, but they’ve learned to put up with it.

Writing my own stuff is a totally different story (pardon the pun).  Once I get started on any given day, it is very hard for me to stop.  If I’m working on a story or novel, I do some of my best work late at night and even into the early morning hours. The creative process takes over, the images, scenes and characters just won’t let me go.  When I finally do turn off my computer, I need at least 2-3 hours to unwind before I can go to sleep.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I sometimes make notes on paper, not extensive notes, though.  Just jot things down, a word, a phrase. 

3: What do you draw inspiration from?
If you mean by that, ideas for writing: everything I see, hear, read, feel; what moves me enough to think about it, become intrigued about it enough to satisfy my curiosity in the act of discovery of writing about it.  Writing is an act of discovery.  If by inspiration you mean the craft of writing and what constitutes great writing: the vast and priceless treasure of World Literature.  My study for my degrees in English and Literature have given me so much pleasure and enjoyment and an infinite resource for my own writing.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
Usually.  And always when I’m writing something under contract for someone else.  When the pressure is on (a deadline), I write 3,000-4,000 words a day. Very draining!

5: Are you a published or a self-published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
All of my journalism and books were published by trade or specialty publishers until I started experimenting with Kindle and CreateSpace.  So far I love it!  I have two titles up and plan to do more.  I continue to publish with publishers as well. The covers for my Amazon books were done by a pro at a bargain price.  He used my ideas and we worked them up together, refining them until we got them right.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I knew as a child that I wanted to be a writer.  I loved to write!  People often praised me for my childish scribblings, something kids crave, praise, so I kept at it.  My high school English teacher Barbara Bixby (Vassar educated) validated all of this and I adored her.  I was fated to study English and Literature at the university . . . the rest is just a chronicle of me doing something I’ve always loved.  As for the “career” part of your question . . . that involves a thorny thicket of many factors—income, personal satisfaction.  Being a writer is not like being a doctor or lawyer.  It’s very risky, frustrating, unreliable as a source of income and the hours are terrible.  And the kind of writing you do determines many different things.  If you want security, lots of free-time to do other things, I don’t recommend it!

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
I have a Kindle.  I’m crazy about it!

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
Although most of my own work is aimed at the popular market—and people who like a good belly laugh!!!—my personal taste runs to the classics (I re-read Twain constantly!) and what some people call literary fiction.  I do read my fellow travellers in the mystery genre, but what I like to read the most are great books that have something profound to say about life and say it masterfully, unforgettably and in a fresh, wholly original way.  So off the top of my head some of my favorite contemporary authors are novelists Michael Ondaatje (The English PatientAnil’s Ghost and others), Peter Matthiessen (The Snow LeopardKilling Mr. Watson and many others), and John Banville (The Sea, The Untouchable, The Infinities and more).  As for contemporary mystery-thriller authors whose books are always on my Wish List:  Michael Connelly, Elmore Leonard (I love this guy!  I learn a lot about dialog from him!  So so funny!), Alexander McCall Smith, Scott Turow and of course that nutcase who never fails to make me laugh like a lunatic myself, Carl Hiassen.

Right now I’m re-reading Bartram’s Journals, his account of his journey alone, on foot and by canoe, through the wilds of 17th century Florida.  My mysteries are set in Florida, I’m a Florida native, and his Journals of his travels are fascinating and scary!  Also dipping into and re-reading a few gems of Poe’s “detective stories.”  They earned him the moniker “The Father of the Detective Story,” and are still so interesting and original.  For some reason this time, as a writer myself, I’m finding some of them funny!  The many stratagems he used to scare and intrigue the reader!  The pompous stuff, usually quotes from supposed authorities in Latin and French, he used to include to impress the reader with his profound insights and vast education!  Many of them contain grammatical errors, mis-spellings and are fakes.  The average 19th century reader could never possibly pick up on his ruses (few could read French or Latin!).  I can only read a little of each myself. I learned this from reading commentary on the stories. So funny!

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I really haven’t investigated this and so can’t comment.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
A good title for a book, in my experience, either occurs to you at the outset of writing a book, or is discovered in the process of writing the book. If I’ve finished a book and I’m still uncertain about the title, then I know something is wrong with the book.  Something about it is unfocused and doesn’t work.  When that happens I go back to the ms. and look for what’s wrong.  When I’ve found it and corrected it, I have the title.  This, actually, is what happened to me with The Dead Goat Scrolls (just pubbed as a Kindle ed.).  The novella went through many revisions—and titles—because I sensed I didn’t have the right title for it.  When I thought I finally got the ms. to really “work,” the title instantly came to me. As an aside:  I knew it would be offensive to some (e.g., Right Wing “Christians”), but I thought, tuff, they’re not they’re not the intended audience.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I’m working on Diva, #2 in the “Garnet Sullivan Live from Florida” series and also another book for a client.  I hope to have Diva finished in the spring, but it all depends on my income from my existing books and client work.  I have bills to pay. If enough $ isn’t coming in, I have to put Diva aside and load up on paying work from clients. 

This is what I said about it on Kindleboards/Book Bazaar/Writers Café/Florida Mystery Writers:

Diva, the second Garnet Sullivan Live from Florida opus, in the works.  Think hurricane season, stormy women/weather.  Garnet blunders into a job in broadcast journalism and acquires an impossible-to-satisfy ice maiden as a boss. She and her dreamboat public defender Chester are now living together (quite probationally), Best Dog, Irish Setter Ringo discovers a nude and horribly mutilated corpse on the beach one night during a hurricane warning and Garnet is shocked to find it's an old friend and former editor.  Sheriff Lance, having recovered from his Garnet Obsession, and socialite-best friend Allison launch a steamy, reckless affair that gums up the gears of everyone's life as well as vastly compromising the search for the perp.  Dr. Beidermeyer, Garnet's eccentric ancient sage and advisor on all things scientific from UF, develops a genetically enhanced, highly aggressive, rapidly reproducing and supposedly "trainable" squirrel (with enormous teeth) as a possible solution to the out-of-control Florida alligator population with hysterical unintended consequences for the residents of (where else?) Florida. A shady figure from Garnet’s past love life shows up and threatens to torpedo all the progress she and Chester have made in building their relationship.

The madness continues.

Comments? Questions?  Would you like to be featured in the plot? Looking for colorful walk-ons. Email me!

Thank you very much for having me here and letting me sound off!  It was really fun for me to talk about the writing process and what I’ve learned over the years—AND my books!  You were really very nice to ask me and I hope loads of authors have the same opportunity.  If you or your readers have any questions or comments, please email me at  I’d love to hear from you!

Margaret Langstaff
VP Creative
Literary Management Group LLC