Hale and well met me hearties!
The Whimsical Herald will cast anchors aweigh to scurry up the New England coast for a much anticipated interview with bestselling author Joseph J. Christiano. Though Spring has arrived we are grateful that the still frigid winds are at our backs, and we are warmed by the thought of having our guest sitting at the Captain’s table, regaling us with his tale of danger and intrigue.
TERROR CAN EXIST IN A VACUUM…SPACE IS A VACUUM
“They did not see the body until they nearly stepped on it. Hansen ignored Kehoe’s gasp and knelt beside the body. It might have been a man once, though Hansen was not convinced of the corpse’s gender. It lay on its back, one arm outstretched toward the ceiling; its other arm was gone below the elbow. Its skin and what little remained of its clothing were the color of coal.”
Joseph J. Christiano takes readers back to the moon with the release of the Author’s Edition of his best-selling novel, MOON DUST.
The luxury starliner Sovereign of the Stars makes an unscheduled and unannounced landing at Armstrong Base, mankind’s first permanent facility on the moon. Armstrong’s commander, Colonel Michael Hansen, boards the vessel and discovers the mummified remains of the passengers and crew. A single comatose survivor is found.
A team from earth arrives to begin an investigation. They are led by Lindsay Dwyer, a bureaucrat who far outranks Hansen, and who becomes the de facto commander of Armstrong. Things begin to go wrong soon after their arrival. Several of Armstrong’s personnel are found dead, their corpses mummified. Hansen orders and evacuation of the facility only to discover the base has been locked down from Earth.
Facing a terror of unknown origin and a mutinous executive officer, Hansen must find a way to keep his people alive long enough for them to discover how to defeat their enemy…an enemy that reduces its victims to moon dust.
1.You’ve written many bestselling novels-do you have a favorite aside from ‘Moon Dust’?
I do but I’ll never tell. I can’t choose among my “children” in public.
2. Between Hansen and Nixon, which character do you relate to the most?
There’s some of me in both. I guess if you made me choose I’d say Nixon. He’s the more put-upon, he has a shorter fuse. He makes very detailed plans that are can’t-miss, and then some unforeseen x-factor steps in and makes a mess of those plans. That happens to me. Often. Also, he’s a little more fun to write as a character.
3.Do you see space travel becoming more routine in the future outside of military applications?
I hope so! But if/when that does happen it’ll be well after my lifetime, unfortunately for me. I’d go up there in a second!
4.What is one of your favorite quotes from any of your books?
Man, that’s tough. Since we’re talking about MOON DUST I guess I should pick one from that novel. There’s a scene at the start of the third act where Nixon goes to retrieve the body of one of his friends. At this point the characters believe they are out of danger. The body isn’t there and he gets very angry, thinking someone beat him to it and did so without treating the body with respect. The scene ends with these two sentences: “It would not occur to him until much later that he had missed something obvious in the security office. By the time he realized his error, he was running for his life.” That line shouldn’t even be in there. It’s the dictionary definition of Authorial Intrusion. But I love it! And my editor must have agreed because that line made the final cut.
5.What kind of research did you do as you were writing ‘Moon Dust’?
Lots of online research. I also had access to an ex-employee of NASA but he asked not to be credited so I can’t say much beyond that. Every source I researched taught me something I never knew. It was very educational, and the environment within the novel is pretty accurate if such a place as Armstrong Base really existed.
6.Which of your books would you most like to see greenlighted for film?
Oh man. Ideally? All of them! I write visually so I don’t think it would take much to turn any of them from a novel to a script. Tell Spielberg to have his people call my people.
7.Who would you cast in the part of Colonel Michael Hansen?
Someone reviewed the novel and mentioned Bruce Willis or Ed Harris. I like both of them but I think Hansen is a bit younger. How about Eric Bana or Cillian Murphy?
8. There is a lot of humor in the interactions between characters in ‘Moon Dust’-is that characteristic of all your writing?
I write pretty dark stuff, very gothic. I try to balance that with humor. There’s usually a character with a wiseass attitude running around to make remarks that lighten the mood. A lot of that stuff comes from how I think I’d react to those situations.
9. Which of the trope themes popular in Scifi and Horror do you think is the most played out at this point, vampires, zombies or superheroes?
Lately? Superheroes. That’s something of an irritating admission for me. I grew up reading comic books. I still do. If these superhero movies had come out when I was a kid I would have loved each and every one of them. Now it’s starting to enter the realm of oversaturation. I doubt zombies and vampires will ever be played out. There’s just so much you can do with them.
10.Who are your favorite authors? Who do you read?
How much time do you have? Stephen King, obviously. Dean Koontz. Alan Moore. Neil Gaiman. Richard Matheson. Agatha Christie. So many more.
11. What’s coming up next? Do you have any events, appearances or conferences planned for 2018? What can readers look forward to as far as future releases?
I’m working on two novels at the moment. I hope to have both finished by the end of the year. I don’t want to say much more than that, though.
12. What advice do you have for aspiring authors based on your own experience in publishing?
Get used to the word “no.” You’re going to hear it a lot more than “yes.” But keep trying. It took me almost a year to find a publisher for my first novel. When I did, when that contract arrived, I was walking on air for weeks. The wait and the rejection are worth it when you finally get someone willing to take a chance on you. So, yes, keep trying!
Alas, me hearties, the sun is sinking into the horizon and it is time to wish our guest Author Joseph J. Christiano farewell and Godspeed. The sea certainly seems tame in comparison to the horrors of space travel! We look forward to his next exciting release!
In Your Service As Always,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
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Well blow me down! Avast ye maties!
Welcome aboard The Whimsical Herald! You are all invited to join me at the Captain’s table and our most distinguished and renowned author guest Francesca Quarto to share a cup of grog as we pick her brain about her latest popular release, Love’s Prey!
Fair Warning! It’s not a tale for the faint hearted! There is plenty of action, intrigue and steamy romance packed into Francesca Quarto’s new release!
HER EXOTIC BEAUTY IS A LURE TO EVERY MALE THAT CROSSES HER PATH, BUT WHEN THE ONE MAN SHE TRUSTS THE MOST BETRAYS HER, SHE MUST RUN FOR HER LIFE, MARKED AS A MURDERER.
“I need to show you how I feel. I have to let it out, or it will consume me as it has day after day since I first saw you!”
He sounded desperate and afraid. But there was something else, something sinister in the way his hands were moving. She shifted her direction, but now the backs of her legs bumped against a low desk. Tricia looked down in desperation and saw a pair of long scissors, instinctively slipping them into her hand. She held the newfound weapon behind her back. “You-you’re scaring me. You need to stay away from me, Reverend Reed. Whatever you are feeling toward me, isn’t right. It’s not something I ever wanted.” He took a step forward and she tried to reason with him, to make him realize what he was doing by saying, “Please, your wife is a good person and you don’t want to hurt her.”
His face contorted in anger and was covered in a sheen of perspiration. The bright overhead fluorescents highlighted dark smudges under his eyes, making him look more like a demon than a man of God. He edged closer. “It isn’t her I need to hurt, it’s you! I need to end your control over me, you little whore.”
Tricia Cooley’s dream is to escape her life in the Black Hills forever and follow her love of art into the Chicago galleries, but her exotic beauty draws the attention of any man seeing her on or off the Sioux Reservation. Her fantasy becomes a nightmare when the one man she trusts turns her into a killer and escaping means running for her very life.
While Tricia tears blindly through the night, the scent of death fills the air with sweet allure to a rogue band of shapeshifters. Her clan’s powerful shaman, Shadow Stalker, knows these Hunters are in pursuit, and that their leader, Dream Slayer, finds Tricia as irresistible as his lust for power.
Jackson Wolf, a Keeper of The People, is sent to protect her from the beasts that shadow her. His growing feelings challenge his discipline, just as they are forced to battle a pack of wild shifters.
Tricia must unleash the warrior within herself if she is to survive the diabolical scheme to kidnap and turn her into a sex slave for a demonic shaman.
1. Did the exquisitely detailed world building in ‘Love’s Prey’ evolve on its own or did it require a lot of research to create?
The setting for "Love's Prey" was one I was already familiar with from my travels throughout those areas. Though this does not include visiting the Black Hills (yet) I have been fortunate to have visited several American Indian Reservations throughout the Southwest region. I did research on the Sioux and that particular Reservation setting in the Dakotas and also used information on their tribal folk lore.
2. What/who inspired you to write your very first book?
My first book, "Wolf Master of Iron Mountain" is book 1 in my "Witch of Appalachia" series. It came about after I had already written poetry, essays, article and various newsletters over the years, some of which I actually saw published! I am an avid consummer of every kind of book, in every kind of genre, but my imagination sought a different outlet for discovery!
3. How would you describe Sioux native Tricia Cooley’s personality? Was her character inspired by anyone you’ve known?
Though Tricia Cooley is not based on any one woman I know or have known, her personal story is sadly indicative to many young women seeking to better themselves in historically, male-dominated cultures. This would be true in modern day Middle Eastern countries, African nations, what are refered to as "Third World" countries and here, in our own country where the 'glass ceiing" has only a few cracks!
For my character, Tricia Cooley, though young, her intellect inspires her dreams of bettering her life and her stregth of character help direct her actions. Her suffering actually ends up strengthening her resolve to live free of all control, physical or sexual.
4.There is a lot of danger as well as intrigue in “Love’s Prey’. Aside from Tricia which characters are your favorites?
I enjoyed hearing the voice of Thomas One Tree, the wise Keeper dressed in the guise of an old Indian they meet along the road. I also found the clan's Shaman, and Jackson's grandfather, a strong, non-judgemental advocate for Tricia. Naturally, making my hero a hunk was rather fun, but then, he was a great fantasy wasn't he?
5. What makes you laugh and cry?
I enjoy reading books with lots of edgy humor, like any mystery by the late, great Robert Parker.
I cry at movies all the time, especially if I've paid twelve bucks and the movie stinks like boiled cabbage! I do cry at sad movies as I tend to get totally wrapped up in whatever my head's into at the time.
6 .Can you tell us about some of your most popular works? Which ones would you recommend to a reader that is new to your novels?
My series the "Witch of Appalacia" would appeal to anyone in the family who enjoyed the magic themes in Harry Potter and Twilight I think. My stories are all independent mysteries and the reader can start anywhere in the series and not miss out on the story line. If readers enjoy mysteries and magic, I've got you covered!
7. The American Indian culture is a big part of ‘Love’s Prey’. What drew you to this theme?
After an extensive trip I took throughout the South-West, I became aware of the social and econimic challenges facing the American Indians. I witnessed what I called "grinding poverty" on many of the Reservations, even through my lens of a visitor, skirting the large, geographic areas. I wanted to see something more hopeful and Tricia would provide that.
8. What actress in your mind could do justice to the role of Tricia Cooley?
If I could choose, it would have to be a American Indian Actress and I can't name one..can you?
9. If you had to select one scene in this book to read aloud to an audience, which scene would it be ?
Though the sexual abuse Tricia suffers at the hands of the Hunters is germane to the developement the story, I would read the chapter where Jackson Wolf has to fight the three Hunters at the diner near the bus station. This sets up his sworn duty as a Protector, to keep Tricia from falling into the hands of the Hunter's Shaman, Dream Stalker, who lusts for her, body and soul.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Always CHOCOLATE! Everything else is just something cold sitting in the dish!
Rock or Jazz or Classical?
All of them! On a quiet island, Yo Yo Mah!
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, dark roast with cream please!
Any that finds me alive and writing!
My favorite actor to play Tricia Cooley? I would love to see both the male and female protagonists played by American Indian actors to be authentic in characterization. (I'll have to research who would fill that bill and get back with you.)
Cats or Dogs?
Love both, but DOGS rock!
10. Please tell us about the future projects you have planned and what you are working on right now!
As we speak, I am working on Book 5 of the "Witch of Appalachia" series. I'll have the first draft finished by week's end and then let it percolate for a few days, before I begin the task my editor most loves...re-writes! I will let this consume me and my time until satisfied and then start thinking about, "Celtic Fires" Book 6 in the same series.
I really want to begin a new Paranormal Romance, but will use mystery along with romance which is mysterious enough if you ask me! I am thinking of a setting in the deep south as I keenly remember a trip to Mississippi, where the cemeteries were far more inviting than the cities.
Well me hearties, the time has come to bid a fond farewell to our fascinating Author Francesca Quarto. We have enjoyed visiting with her and look forward to new literary booty from her fertile creative mind!
Keep a weather eye open-Old Man Winter still has his icy fingers in us yet. Stay warm and dry until next we haul into port to bring you more literary treasure from the briny deep.
Your servant as always.
Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
The Forest of Bleeding Trees--Author Interview with Patricia Mattern herself & Reading by coauthor Marcus Mattern!
Having been granted permission to come aboard, I would like to wish a hearty ahoy to the crew and visitors of The Whimsical Herald. I’m the harbor master, Elizabeth Fortin, and I’ll be hosting a celebration voyage for your favorite Mistress of Madness, Captain P. Mattern, as she launches The Forest of Bleeding Trees with her son and coauthor, M. Mattern, horrific fun for even the most blood-thirsty pirate among you!
Vampires, werewolves, and demi-gods, oh my!
Thanks for having me sit at the Captain’s Table, P. Mattern! I have read your exciting tale and have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind enlightening us.
1. So Johnny seems pretty uncomplicated for a guy with two hot chicks after him. What do you think it is about Johnny that makes the girls fall for him?
I think Johnny’s ingenuousness is a lure, his sincerity shines through as well as his devotion to his family. Because of these qualities they tend to overlook his shortcomings, e.g., he doesn’t seem to know what birth control is. ;)
2. Johnny’s family seems very close. How important do you think this theme is to the storyline?
This theme of family loyalty is key and part of my own frame of reference. I grew up around salt of the earth, nonpretentious folks, fiercely loyal to family, neighbors and friends. Loyalty not only adds to Johnny’s appeal as a character but explains his motivations and is the source of some of his conflicts in the novel.
3. The Forest of Bleeding Trees has several subplots. Did it make the complex world building of your story more difficult to write?
I am a pantser and just the willing scribe to my muses, so characters and subplots just kind of showed up when they were supposed to. In some instances I was kept guessing how they would eventually fit into the main plotline of The Forest of Bleeding Trees.
4. The species in your story are unique, and though they share some resemblance to more traditional creatures from fiction, they have unexpected traits and traditions. How do you come up with such interesting characters?
Thank you! I harvest creatures from nightmares and daymares and strive not to be too ‘trope’. I am always second guessing by asking myself,” Am I buying this? Would a reader buy this?” Even if a creature is fantastical it has to be believable.
5. Up until the very end, the reader doesn’t know for sure what’s going to happen. Did you know when you started your story how it would end?
Nope. Actually at one point the novel had three different endings. Through working with my incredibly adept Editor at Tell-Tale Publishing E. Fortin The Forest of Bleeding Trees ended up with what I am convinced is the best “knock your socks off’ ending it could possibly have.
6. Obviously this is a horror novel. What make you want to write horror?
I am sure that some of my own life experiences have inspired me to write horror. Life is kind of like a Fun House, only its not really that fun and scary things jump out at us when we least expect it. Fear is a very powerful emotional reaction. Nothing else seems to affect us in the same heart pounding, gut wrenching way. Horror also can include humor and I find that aspect of it very entertaining.
7. Do you prefer psychological scary or gory scary? Why?
Oh wow, psychological hands down. I grew up watching and reading Alfred Hitchcock on TV and in story collections. Sometimes the most subtle nuances can deliver the best terror. I am a big chicken when it comes to gore in horror though I do appreciate it in the writings of others. And I do include it, but I will skip over it when I read it even in my own books. I peek through my fingers when I watch a horror movie!
8. Who is your favorite horror novelist, and why?
Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker are at the top of my list, I love the poetry of Poe, Daphne duMaurier includes a lot of psychological horror in her novels, Shirley Jackson rocks and Clive Barker is scary. I also enjoy many Indie authors. James Longmore is a favorite as is K.C.Harper and Jay Michael Wright II. My son and cowriter M. Mattern can write a mean horror story too.
9. What do you think every good horror novel MUST have if it’s going to be a GREAT horror novel?
Pacing, clarity and conflict are key. And if I get ‘fooled’ somehow I am delighted!
10. Do you see a sequel in the future for TFOBT?
Absolutely! The area in West Virginia where Johnny lives is honeycombed with underground abandoned mines. Below ground level a new kind of evil is brewing.
The Forest of Bleeding Trees is a horrific delight, a fast-paced ride that will leave you breathless and exhilarated until you reach the unexpected but satisfying end.
First you have the straight-shooting but heroic JOHNNY TREADWELL, a handsome young man with backwoods charm and unwavering devotion to his family. He’s also the guardian of a thousand sorrows.
Enter the mysterious, Gothic, LILI MACLUSTER, a darkly beautiful daughter of the richest though most preternatural family in town—and keeper of a thousand secrets.
In stark contrast is KATRINA MCCOY, the studding blond princess of the town’s most prominent businessman—and survivor of a thousand waking nightmares.
Together they will fight for their lives in a supernatural turf war that takes place in the superstition and ghost riddled mountains and bogs of West Virginia.
Author Reading by P. Mattern's son and coauthor, Marcus Mattern!
What an exciting story, Patricia and Marcus! And what a great reading for your mom for Mother's Day, Marcus! Thanks for joining us at the captain's table in such a unique and fun way!
I, for one, can't wait for a sequel! Let's raise a mug of TT's delicious Highland Hauntings Coffee (Whiskey and Butterscotch flavored) from our Latte Da Cafe (with a splash from my secret flask of lovely whiskey and a dollop of whipped cream added since this is a pirate ship, for the perfect Irish Coffee--though any of the readers joining us can add just a dollop of whipped cream or drink it straight up, equally delightful) to toast the launch of your new book.
Thanks for having me aboard today, Captain Mattern. I had a wonderful adventure! I'm sure your fans can't wait to get their hands on your latest release!
Okay, we admit Dick's not the most politically correct agent alive, and he sometimes bumbles and reminds us of what happens when you cross a certain French Inspector with a British Legume to produce an American Dick, but you have to admit that he's as cute as a pink Rottweiler when he's on the scent of a good case! Who says you can't teach an ole dog new tricks?
Ahoy, Me Hearties! It's cloaks and daggers for this exciting interview with author Richard Avery! Our interview will be conducted under cover of darkness as we meet clandestinely to get the scoop on his newest release, 'Dick Scalps the Injuns', The Dick Avery Adventure Series, Book One.
As we lower the gangplank to welcome him we anticipate hearing about this amazing read from the veteran Spy himself!
HE KNEW HE WASN'T BEING GIVEN ALL THE FACTS...
HE KNEW HE'D BEEN CHOSEN BECAUSE THE MISSION WAS DANGEROUSLY IMPOSSIBLE AND NO ONE ELSE WANTED IT...
...BUT HE ALSO KNEW THAT HIS EMPTY WALLET LEFT HIM NO CHOICE.
...DICK AVERY IS ON THE CASE!
"It was the same old, same old routine since I returned to the states. I was bored out of my mind and welcomed the assignment for a change of pace and some sanity. I knew it was probably a no win situation for me, but I didn't care since I needed the money."
Ahoy, George! Welcome aboard The Whimsical Herald! I've got lots of questions for you today, so I'll dive right in!
When did you start writing?
I started writing rather late in life after more or less being retired with a lot of spare time on my hands. I’d toyed with the idea off-and-on for several years and finally decided to sit down and write a book. That start ended after I wrote five novels over a continuous, two year period. The story lines kept popping into my head until I couldn’t come up with any more. It was most definitely a manic phase in my life.
What methodologies do you use in writing your books?
I’m not sure what that means. I simply start out with a vague idea as to what the story will be about and go from there; sort of a stream of consciousness or perhaps unconsciousness way of doing things. One sentence leads to another until I’m finished. If I get stuck, I skip the part and move on. I don’t diagram things or sketch out the story line beforehand. Of course, I go back and try to perfect the writing, but for the most part it’s all about moving the plot along until conclusion.
What’s the raison d’être behind the books?
I wanted to write humorous spoofs and send-ups of the State Department, my organization, the Diplomatic Security Service, and U.S. foreign policy; all set to mystery/adventure stories. I didn’t want to vilify or glorify anything, but rather to poke some fun at our institutions and their foibles overseas. They are most certainly politically incorrect reads. There was already a plethora of conventional spy heroes, secret agents and the like out there and thought I‘d take a different tack. I believe my firsthand experiences and insights into the Foreign Service culture give the stories added depth and credence thus enhancing the reads. I also throw in some tongue-and-cheek comments about our war on terrorism, embassy life and customs, diplomatic protocol as well as some insider tidbits and teases.
Where do you draw your material from?
The Dick Avery Adventure Stories come from both my experiences working abroad and a vivid imagination, along with a very quirky sense of humor. They are loosely based on assignments and travels I had with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, The World Bank, and as an international security consultant. I’ve lived overseas and traveled the world during my career and have come across many different situations that lend themselves to a good story.
Tell us about the protagonist in the series.
Dick Avery is a retired special agent of the Diplomatic Security Service who is down on his luck and life. He doesn’t have enough money to sustain his many vices and few virtues and is always looking for a handout from Mother State. Hopefully, it’s a bone with some meat left on it for a change. He’s considered an expendable commodity and convenient scapegoat by the big suits in the State Department. That’s why he’s recalled to take on the tough cases that no other right-minded agent would readily accept since the assignments are fraught with danger to one’s Foreign Service career. Dick typically solves the cases in his own unorthodox, bumbling style of investigation, with the help of his colorful colleagues.
So, what’s Dick Scalps the Injuns about?
Dick is sent to India by his masters to investigate the kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador’s daughter in New Delhi. He subsequently learns that Afghan President Karzai’s daughter had been kidnapped at the same time and this has the State Department and White House in an uproar. Karzai’s daughter had been living at the ambassador’s residence under an assumed name and attending the International School of Delhi. His search for the girls leads him from Delhi to the crematoria Ghats in Banaras to the Taj Mahal and back to Delhi in his pursuit of his adversary, his foe and his nemesis: Kris Amar, the head Dalit at the largest crematorium in Banaras.
Why the pseudonym Dick Avery?
I originally used Avery Dick, but the publisher thought that it was a little too racy. I thought it was spot on to describe the character, but she won out. By the way, a nom de guerre is only used by Pentagon wonks with any leftover tail feathers relegated to the State Department as nom de plumes. So, Dick Avery it is.
Are you working on other projects?
Yes, I’ve written an anthology of paranormal stories titled Macabre Memories (Eclectic Tales to Chill the Soul) that I’m trying to flog at the moment.
Did you have a particular audience in mind when writing this novel?
No, I didn't, but the publisher thought the protagonist should be a younger, good looking guy who would better appeal to women. So, that's what happened in the editing in order to create broader acceptance by the readership.
Humor has a predominant place in ‘Dick Scalps the Injuns’ in the form of wisecracking, pun intended and other word play. Did you find in reality that the serious business of acting as a Special Agent has a lighter side?
Yes, most definitely. Despite the serious nature of the job and sometimes tragic events overseas, there were quirky, humorous events that happened from time-to-time. Early one Sunday morning, in the mid 1980's, when assigned to the embassy in Panama, I was awakened by a helicopter gunship hovering outside my bedroom window of my apartment on the 13th floor of my building. This was during the rule of General Manuel Noriega and the Panamanian people were expressing their displeasure with him and his regime. The area I lived in was largely populated by wealthy Panamanians who were protesting his continued leadership. By the way, gallows humor is very popular in the Foreign Service.
I received a frantic call one day from the pouch supervisor while assigned to our embassy in Bangkok. It seem an intruder had entered the pouch vault at the rear of the chancery without notice. An 8 foot long water snake had slithered underneath the back door and moved about 6 feet down a hallway and slid beneath the day gate to the vault, nestling itself among the diplomatic pouches. The snake likely came from the klong (canal) at the rear of the building. It was a funny event to everyone except the supervisor.
Coming from a unique insider background of 49 years as a Special Agent and Security Specialist are you ever concerned that you might reveal too much concerning the inner workings of government agencies?
No, of course not. My books have been vetted and read by my former superiors and colleagues.and were for sale at the Diplomatic Security Service store in a State Department annex.for several years when I self-pubbed them. When I refer to insider information and teases, I'm talking about embassy life as it relates to such things as how employee housing assignments are made and how some try to scam the system and how currency accommodations are handled and could be abused and many other tidbits. However, they are all made up from transparent, whole cloth---some fact, but a lot of my imagination.
As a world traveler, what cultures appealed to you the most? Would you consider retiring in any of them?
I lived in Thailand for 2 years and would consider retiring to Chiang Mai in the North of the country. Great people, medical facilities, food and a very low cost of living.
Can we expect more books from your series?
Yes, most assuredly. There are four more titles to be released by the publisher over time: Dick Slays the Dragons, Dick Fades the Albino, Dick Cases the Bank and Dick Hounds the Afghans.
Just one more question, for fun. What’s your favorite color?
That’s easy, pink of course. It’s the color of the mascot of the Dick Avery Adventure Stories: the Pink Rottweiler.
In Dick Scalps the Injuns, Richard Avery is sent to India to investigate the kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador's daughter in New Delhi. He discovers that the White House and State Department are in an uproar over the subsequent kidnapping of Afghan President Karzai's eldest daughter who had been living on the ambassador's residential compound under an assumed name and attending the International School of Delhi. His search for the girls leads him from Delhi to the crematoria ghats in Banaras and the Taj Mahal.
George Larson, AKA Dick Avery, both of whom are well thought of, puns and all, here at TT, have kept us on our toes keeping up with the fast pace with which a former spy guy is used to working/moving once he is given a directive.
George received a BA degree in English from Northern Illinois University. He then had a 49 year career in investigations, law enforcement and security in the US and abroad (private investigator, DOD security specialist, senior special agent Diplomatic Security Service US State Department, World Bank security consultant, Vice President Corporate Security for NASD, Security Director for Salliemae, independent security consultant). It's fairly easy to see from here, where Richard Avery comes into the picture.
Me? My nom de guerre is Richard Avery, though I'm old enough that my nickname as a kid was and still is Dick, so I've given it to the "character" Dick Avery, and I am a retired special agent of the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service or simply DSS, if you prefer. I'll leave out the plenipotentiary and extraordinary accolades that go along with the title because there aren't any. I was just one more bureaucrat among many who served their career sentences in the sideshow called the Foreign Service. What's the old quip? "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach join the federal government." Yep, that's me alright and I’m damn proud of it!
You may connect with me further, if you can keep up, on my website and other social media sites! http://www.dickavery.net/index.html
It is with deep regret and many still unanswered questions that we bid farewell to our honored guest Richard Avery as he departs THE WHIMSICAL HERALD. We are excited to discover more of his intriguing tale within the pages of his latest novel 'Dick Scalps the Injuns'. One click it today to immerse yourselves in a tale well told.!
All my duty to you,fair winds and following seas till we meet again!
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness
THE WHIMSICAL HERALD
ALL HAND HOY ME HEARTIES!
Aaaaaargggghhhhh! We are weary of grey skies, but with the advent of February we are steering a course for Valentine’s Day and ,beyond that, the Spring Equinox beckons like a Siren.
Walking the gang plank today to board The Whimsical Herald is an author with an imagination as vast as the ocean and a wit to match. We welcome Author Ellen Fritz on board. She comes bearing a pirate’s chest of literary treasure and has invited all of you to share the spoils of her newest release, ’UPRISING:The Second Birth Chronicles’ .
As she takes her seat at the Captain’s table we hoist theJolly Rodger and invite you to listen in on our first author interview with the notable Ellen Fritz! Prepare for chills, mystery, romance and (wait for it, wait for it) . . . ALIENS!
“He shivered. He knew the horrors humans were capable of. Whatmight aliens do?”
"The hairs on the back of Ted’s neck stood straight up as if lightning were about to strike. He blinked his eyes a few times and pinchedhimself. Erik Ander was the first to change, then his wife…finally Collins turned into something tall, thin, with lavender skin and long pastel-colored robes. The one facing the window had eyes of deep, deep blue with spots oflight twinkling in them.”'
Ellen Fritz is a retired teacher and high school counselor. Over the years of teaching reading and English to students in grades seven through twelve before be-coming a counselor, she had the great opportunity to discuss numerous favorite books with students and also took their recom-mendations for her own reading.
She finally found herself with the time to give life to the stories that have always been patiently waiting in her head for an audience. Ellen wrote Mira to appeal to those teen readers that she found so inspiring through her career as an educator.
"I didn’t start writing seriously until I retired and found myself with the time to spend a whole day in front of the computer. The ideas had been in my head for many years, but were undeveloped and unexplored. One day, several months after my teaching/ counseling career ended, I sat down and started.
Q-Ellen there is intrigue and drama, but also a lot of humor in uprising. How did you come up with the character of Detective Ted Peterson with his tongue in cheek sense of humor?
I knew I needed someone who was dedicated to his job, friendly and brave. He had to be willing to face the aliens to save the women who were abducted. It all came from there. Using humor to cover his nervousness and fear also worked to make him seem real.
Q-Do you take a break between novels or have several projects going at once?
I can’t take a break between novels because my mind doesn’t stop working on new ideas. I had a new novel started while editing Uprising and was finishing another series. It would be easier to do one at a time, but I’d have to stop thinking of new things and that would be boring.
Q-Who inspired you to complete your first novel? Who continues to inspire your fresh ideas for characters and plotlines?
I’m a retired high school English teacher and my inspiration to start writing at all came from students. But inspiration comes from everywhere. Often, the storyline seems to just pop into my head and it’s later that I realize where it came from. I’ve known a lot of people through the years and my inspiration for characters is usually a mix of many different people.
Q-Ted’s first alien kiss was a doozy. How did you approach writing that scene?
I knew I wanted it to be a doozy, so I thought long and hard. Ted and Sindri both needed to be wowed, so I wanted her to be in her Miran form. That would wow Ted, but how would it impress Sindri? Her story of no human ever knowing what she truly was after being on earth for thousands of years, became my answer. The fact that he knew and she could be herself touched her deeply.
Q-If you had to come up with a few dating rules for humans dating aliens what would they be?
I think they’re the same rules for any relationship. Stay honest. Stay open. Remember you don’t have to rush the relationship.
Q-You seem to have a lot of knowledge about police procedures, detectives and crime scenes. What is your background and how did it figure in with your portrayal of certain scenes and characters in ‘UPRISING’?
I have absolutely no background in police work except that many of my previous students are now police officers, detectives, and state patrol officers. I think my knowledge comes from all the detective shows I’ve watched on TV. See, you really can learn from TV. Thank you, Law and Order.
Q-A certain ‘genetic eye opener’ in ‘UPRISING’ provided a unique plot twist. Did you plan that or did it happen spontaneously during your writing?
I planned that. There had to be some reason Ted could sense the other race of aliens, the Dabih. I realized then that it also gave Sindri a reason to doubt him, which added an interesting twist.
Q-Was the world building and stage setting detail of the opposing alien cultures, the Mirans and the Dabih featured in your novel a challenge to flesh out?
It wasn’t much of a challenge. Sometimes, thankfully, one idea leads to another. I established the Miran settlement in the first book, and wanted the Dabih world to be completely different. Putting them underwater while the Mirans are in the mountains helped. I went back and forth a few times, and changed some things, but it was actually easier than I anticipated. There’s also much more about the Dabih in the next book. Watch for it!
Q-Who have your mentors been on your journey to becoming a notable YA author?
I have always been a voracious reader which is one of the reasons I became an English teacher. I’ve read literary classics, science fiction, fantasy, romances, mysteries, great literature and trash. So my mentors are all those other authors that I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed. My advice? If you want to be a writer, be a reader first.
Q-Who was your favorite character in ‘UPRISING’?
Answer: Without a doubt, Ted. I enjoyed every part of making him who he is – the good guy that everyone likes and appreciates as a friend. The guy who was born to be a cop because he genuinely wants to help people that need help. Who wouldn’t like Ted?
Q-What future projects do you have in the wings for your readers to look forward to?
The third book of the Second Birth Chronicles, which is ready for editing and all the other stuff the publisher needs to do. I also have a book with Tell-Tale Publishing that is about Bigfoot. No more hints now, but it is due to be out by May. There are two more that are partly written, but the dystopia is what is rolling around in my head and begging to be finished.
Detective Ted Peterson’s investigation of a suspicious death case leads him to suspect Lexi Collins and her boyfriend Adam. What he discovers is that they’re extraterrestrials. Now he's without backup and caught up in the conflict between two alien races secretly inhabiting the earth. One race, the Dabih, is abducting women and running experiments. The other, the Mira, seem friendly toward humans – especially their attractive leader Sindri - but can Ted trust aliens to help him find the Dabih and rescue the kidnapped women before it’s too late?
Also by Ellen Fritz
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)