Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trish Jackson Romances

Trish Jackson grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, Africa, which sparked a love of adventure and suspense, and being a romantic at heart, she writes romantic suspense and romantic comedy. Her stories are usually set in small towns, where the people enjoy country values, and the pace of life is a little slower. Trish also loves animals and always includes them in her stories. Welcome to the blog, Trish.

Thank you, Susan. I brought you a South African dessert that Andre's mom Rietta makes in Aquarius Addiciton. It called 


1 large ready pie crust
2 cups milk
2 tblsp sugar
½ cup flour
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tblsp butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Boil together milk, sugar, butter and cinnamon.
Blend flour with a little cold water, and add boiling milk mixture to it, stirring briskly to prevent lumps.
Return mixture to pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Allow to cool a little.
Add well-beaten eggs, stir well, and cook again for a few minutes.
Pour into pie crust and sprinkle with a little additional cinnamon.
Bake at 375 deg. F. for around 20-25 minutes until just browning.

It's delicious, Trish. Wow! Growing up in Simbabwe is awesome, I'm sure. Tell us more.
How did your environment affected your writing?

Having grown up in Zimbabwe, I had no clue what a 'redneck' was until I moved to the US. I found them to be wonderfully genuine people who would literally give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, and who are not afraid to speak their minds. That's when I started the first in my Redneck P.I. trilogy.

How many books have you written?

I've written a lot of books, and published six full-length novels, and a couple of non-fiction books. I also write short stories about my characters, which I offer free in eBook format.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

I had two books released around the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.
Backwoods Boogie (romantic suspense/comedy) is the third in the Redneck P.I. series. Twila Taunton, redneck private investigator is determined to rescue gentle Brit Pam Taylor from a being convicted of a murder she clearly did not commit. In the course of the investigation, Twila discovers an illegal puppy mill, where several dogs are living in filth and squalor without adequate food, shelter or veterinary attention. She and her quirky friends make a plan to rescue them, while she also helps a biker gang break up a dog fighting operation.

Aquarius Addiction (romantic suspense) is the second in the Zodiac Series, in which each heroine belongs to a different star sign and exhibits the typical traits of her sign. Aquarius Arlette Xylander is feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable. Her emotions rage between denial, anger and tears when her doctor tells her she is suffering from a rare terminal disease. When hunky Andre Rossouw asks her to help find his sister who has been missing for four years, Arlette makes two decisions. To beat the disease and find a cure, and to have wild and passionate sex with him. The book includes some paranormal, and (I always write about animals)—a black cat called 'Marbles'.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I suppose the author's unique voice is really the author's character showing through. I believe my love of animals has helped me create some memorable four-legged characters, including Scratch, the Cairn Terrier who rides on the back of Twila's Harley, and Riley's palomino, Flight-of-Fancy in Capricorn Cravings.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

I have been published by Uncial Press and Soul Mate Publishing, both of which have wonderful, caring editors who have helped to make my stories so much better than they would have been. I absolutely recommend an editor. Even the best writers have editors, because we can't see our own mistakes.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

I create new folders in Word and store them on my computer for later. Another word of advice for new authors is this—keep copies of all your work on another computer or storage device. I keep several copies of everything. Think of how devastating it would be if you lost it.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

Virgo's Vice, the third Zodiac Series story is with my publisher and will be released at the end of 2015.

I'm currently working on three projects:

  1. Leo's Legacy -- the fourth book in the Zodiac Series, which takes place in my country of birth, Rhodesia (nowZimbabwe), and is based on true events. Zimbabwe currently is governed by a ruthless dictator who appeases his disgruntled citizens by allowing them to attack farmers and force them to give up their farms, murdering and torturing them if they feel like it. They also maim and torture the animals, and I plan to bring this horrific situation to people's attention in this story.

  1. Ass Backwards – the fourth in the Redneck P.I. Series, as told by quirky character Gasser Cunha, whose many talents include farting, computer hacking, and superior guitar playing. This one is about illegal meth labs.
 I can hardly wait to read that one!

  1. My first psychological thriller.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

My websites – and also offer free downloads of a few short stories.

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility)

They're available in both.

Thank you for the delicious Melktert ! I wish you great sales with all your endeavors.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Prolific p.m. terrell

p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books in four genres: contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer how-to and non-fiction.

Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.

A full-time author since 2002, Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee, The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of the Year in 2014, The Tempest Murders was one of four finalists in the 2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category and River Passage was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner.

She is the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation and chair of Book ‘Em North Carolina (, and she sits on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library and the Robeson County Arts Council. She has also served on the boards of Crime Stoppers and Crime Solvers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia. I met Patricia the first year of Book 'Em along with many other authors from all over the place.

Trish how many books have you written?

Thank you, Susan. I have written more than 20 books. A Thin Slice of Heaven is the 19th title to be released, and two more are in various stages of production for release in 2015 and 2016.

Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book.

She had arranged to meet her husband in Northern Ireland for a second honeymoon, but when Charleigh arrives at the remote castle, she receives a message that he won’t be coming—and that he’s leaving her for another woman. Stranded for the weekend by a snowstorm that has blocked all access to the castle, she finds herself three thousand miles from home in a country she knows nothing about.

She is soon joined by Sean Bracken, the great-grandson of Laird Bracken, the original owner of the castle, and she finds herself falling quickly and madly in love with him. There’s just one problem: he’s dead.

As the castle begins to come alive with secrets from centuries past, she finds herself trapped between parallel worlds. Caught up in a mass haunting, she can no longer recognize the line between the living and the dead. Now she’s discovering that her appearance there wasn’t by accident—and is more earth-shattering than she ever suspected.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

This book took nearly three times longer to write than my earlier works. Each scene has more than one meaning; early reviewers reported staying up all night and once they read the twist at the end, they turned back to the first page and read it all again. Because each scene has double meanings, I had to delve deep into the world of the living and the dead, which required meeting with hospice workers and speaking with people who had near-death experiences.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

After I wrote the first draft of A Thin Slice of Heaven, I traveled to Northern Ireland in search of my family’s ancestry. I found that my ancestors had once been the Laird and Lady of lands in County Tyrone, so close to the site of the castle in my book that it was eerie.

I had also named the main character Sean Bracken and the castle ‘Brackenridge’ because it sits atop a ridge similar to the Cliffs of Moher. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my ancestors had arrived in Ireland from the Lowlands of Scotland near a village called Brackenridge!

Wow! What a great experience!

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

There is no quick path to fame. Authors termed “overnight successes” never arrive there overnight; it’s simply that their struggles are not visible to us. I’ve been in this industry since my first book was published in 1984, and I have seen a lot of writers come and go. I’ve learned that sometimes the most successful of them are not necessarily the best; they’re simply the ones who stayed in the game and refused to give up.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

In my head. If it stays, it’s worth writing. If it’s elusive, its time hasn’t yet arrived.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

Two more books are scheduled to be released over the next year. One is the 6th book in the award-winning Black Swamp Mysteries Series; when reports of UFO’s are sighted hovering above major U.S. cities before mysteriously vanishing, Dylan Maguire is tasked with covertly intercepting Russian plans detailing cloaking capabilities for a new breed of fighter aircraft—but a double agent is already on the run with them, with the Russians close behind.

Then the 3rd book in the Ryan O’Clery series will be released; when Ryan’s ex-wife shows up on his doorstep begging for help, he finds himself pulled into an investigation that pits him against some of the city’s most powerful leaders and threatening his future in America.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Author’s website:
Twitter: @pmterrell
Facebook: author.p.m.terrell

Can you tell visitors more about Book 'Em?

The Book 'Em Foundation was founded by p.m.terrell and Waynesboro Police Officer Mark Kearney in 2000. The mission is to raise awareness of the direct link between high crime rates and high rates of illiteracy. On the last Saturday of each February, the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair is held in Lumberton, North Carolina. It brings together more than 75 authors and publishers who participate in panel discussions and solo talks for writers and lovers of books. For every book sold at the event, at least 40% of the gross revenue goes to increasing literacy in our communities. To date, thousands of dollars have been donated to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Robeson County for ages 1 through 5; Communities in Schools of Robeson County for all grade levels; Friends of the Robeson County Public Library for all ages; and the Lumberton Police Department for Reading Across America. For more information, visit

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility)

Yes; my books are available in all book stores worldwide as well as in all eBook formats. Because the list is so extensive, readers can visit my website at, click on the “Books” link in the left menu, and follow the links to each of my books.

A complete list is also on amazon at

It has been a pleasure to have you over. Best wishes on all future endeavors!

Thanks for having me over to discuss my work. I hope to see you at next year's Book 'Em NC.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Amy Reade: dark secrets

Amy M. Reade is the author of two novels of romantic suspense: Secrets of Hallstead House and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor. The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor will be released on April 28, 2015. A former lawyer with a husband, three children, a dog, two cats, and a fish, she now writes full time from her home in New Jersey. She loves reading, cooking, and all things Hawaii.

Thanks for joining me on the porch for an interview, Amy. Have some chocolate-covered macadamias.

Thanks, I certainly will.

How has your environment affected your writing?

My first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, is set in the Thousand Islands of New York State, not far from where I grew up. It seemed only natural to set my first story in a place I know so well; besides, it’s the perfect place for a mystery!

My second book, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, is set outside Charleston, South Carolina. There is such beauty and a rich cultural history in the Lowcountry; I couldn’t resist its attraction.  

When I first started writing seriously, I needed absolute quiet. I did almost all my writing at one of the local libraries, locked away in a private study room in total silence. I also wrote that book almost entirely in longhand before putting it on the computer. I don’t have time to do that anymore, so I write at home and use the computer almost constantly. My desk is in the living room, so that’s where I spend most of my writing time. When I’m not there, I am at the kitchen table, which is also the hub of activity at my house. So as time has passed, I am finding it easier to work in the midst of noise.

I still do some work at the library, but at this point it’s mostly for research. Now most of my work is at home, where it can get noisy. So I guess you could say that my environment has made it easier for me to write through noisy distractions.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor comes out on April 28, 2015. It’s the story of Carleigh Warner, a recently-divorced woman who, with her young daughter, leaves Chicago to move into an antebellum plantation manor outside Charleston, South Carolina, while she restores it to its former grandeur. Once at the manor, she begins to realize that her hosts, the Peppernell family, do not all agree about the future of the manor and she finds herself being drawn inexorably into the secrets and the tensions that contribute to the atmosphere of greed, resentment, and violence.  

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

People who know me and who have read my books might answer this question differently, but I don’t think there’s much of me in the pages. I do love to cook, so food is mentioned quite often in the books. And I love living near water, whether it’s a river or a lake or an ocean, and all my books so far have taken place on or near the water. But in terms of personality, I don’t think I’m hidden in my protagonists or other characters. For example, in my first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, the main character, Macy Stoddard, is afraid of boats and can’t swim, and I’m exactly the opposite.  

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

I don’t travel to do research; rather, I research while I’m traveling. In other words, I don’t go someplace specifically to do research for a book, but if I go somewhere I love, I make sure to take lots of extra pictures (and sometimes, notes) to refer to in case I ever write a book about that place. I was fortunate enough to go to Northern Ireland last year, and I fell in love with some of the places we visited. I fully intend to use those memories and my photos for a book someday. And I do love Hawaii, so my next novel is set there.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

The greatest lesson I’ve learned so far is how much marketing work an author has to do to sell books, even an author that is traditionally published.

And here’s the lesson I would give a new writer: get a website, start a blog, or both. Preferably both. Keep them updated. Start a Facebook fan page and update it frequently. Get on other social media, too. I’m on Twitter, but there are lots of other venues to choose from. Post often.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

I use a three-ring binder for each book I write. It’s divided into sections such as plotting, characters, chronology, bibliography, research, etc. There’s also a section entitled “Ideas for future stories.” I write down ideas that come to me while I’m writing one novel so that I don’t forget them before I’m ready to start the next one. When one novel is done and the manuscript has been sent off, then and only then do I go back and look at the ideas I’ve written down.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in Hawaii. It’s the story of a sous chef who, sick of winter in Washington, D.C. (maybe I am hidden in these books, after all!), takes a job as a personal chef on the Island of Hawaii, sometimes called the Big Island. But trouble follows her from the East Coast and threatens the serenity of the life she’s trying to build in Hawaii. On top of that, the family she works for harbors secrets that could potentially tear them all apart.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I love it when readers connect with me online. I can be reached at the following places and I invite your blog readers to visit me at any or all of them:

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Theodore Druch and noir detectives

Born in Milwaukee and educated in Boston, Theodore P. Druch went on to take a “higher” degree at Timothy Leary’s LSD commune at Millbrook, NY. He has written about this experience in a “true” novel, Timothy Leary and the Madmen of MillbrookHe went on to become a general contractor in San Francisco, mostly remodeling old Victorian homes. At the age of fifty-eight, he and his partner, Maria Ruiz, chucked it all and ran away from home to see the world. They spent ten years traveling to fifty-two countries, and living in several for extended periods. In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, he rekindled an old love of writing. He was an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writer’s Group, and conducted a weekly workshop for serious authors. He was organizer and chairman for the 7th Annual PVWG International Writers Conference in February, 2012. He is currently living in Sacramento, California where he’s working on a series of detective novels featuring Joe Gold, a Jewish PI in the mold of Sam Spade.

Welcome to the blog, Theodore. 
How many books have you written?

     Eight so far.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

     The Case of the Mayor’s Wife:
     Joe Gold, a down and out PI, is approached by his ex-mistress with news that their daughter has been kidnapped. Thing is, she’s now married to the corrupt Mayor of Central City and he thinks the now 17 year-old girl is his. She also hasn’t told her husband because the kidnap is part of a blackmail plot against her and she doesn’t want him to know something. Before Joe can even begin investigating, he’s the victim of a knife attack and spends several days in the hospital. To top things off, before she can give him some important information, she herself is killed and Joe is left completely on his own without the vaguest idea of what to do next.
     As he sorts it all out, he finds himself on a journey through the corrupt backwaters of Central City on the way to a surprise he never expected.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
     Well, Joe Gold certainly has a lot of attitudes and thoughts that are mine, so he’s definitely an alter ego. We are also very different though. He gets himself into situations where I’d be hiding under the bed. Very Walter Mittyish, it would seem. I suppose that lots of other characters also spring from somewhere within my psyche or, at least, some of their behavior and thinking does.
          In my case, I’m really trying to do homage to the great noir detective writing of people like Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler and, in my lighter moments, Mickey Spillane, so I actually follow a tried and true formula that has more to do with familiarity than psychology. There are no new stories, only new twists - if I’m lucky enough to find them and tease them out of the narrative.
     The toughest part is doing it without being obvious, so the reader wonders “why didn’t I think of that.” When all is said and done, putting one over on him is great fun but you’d better make him enjoy it too or he won’t buy your next book.
     I also worry less about how much of myself is hidden in my characters than I do about how much is hidden within me.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

     I was living in Mexico, working with the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group when I started it. It was interrupted for some medical emergencies and a quick move to Sacramento that turned out to have saved my life.
     Other than that, writing it, and three sequels so far, was a blast. The words came in a flash and it was the easiest writing I’ve ever done. If I was a believing man I’d say that I was being guided by the ghosts of the writers aforementioned. But I’m not, so I’ll just say I have no idea. Creativity cannot be quantitatively evaluated beyond the number of books you write. Or is it sell? I get confused. Quality is solely in the eye of the beholder.

So do you travel to do research or for inspiration? 

     My partner, Maria Ruiz, also an author, and I ran away from home in 1998 and spent the next 10 years traveling the world. After that, we settled in Puerto Vallarta for six years. It was certainly the inspiration for two travel books. Footprints on a Small Planet is about the three years we spent traveling Mexico and Central America by motor home.
     The most interesting trip we took was an impromptu, month long journey in Africa, which we had to undertake to renew our Kenyan visas. We ended up visiting Victoria Falls, the Island of Zanzibar, and going on safari in the Serengeti. We had expected to be gone for a weekend. I’ve written about it all in African Odyssey.
     We lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a year and a half. It’s one of the most fascinating and interesting places on the planet. Another place not to miss is Halong Bay near Hanoi, Vietnam. If you can arrange a boat on a nice, misty day, you’ll have the experience of your life as fantastically shaped mountains rise from the mists like ghosts as you sail along.
     Anyone who truly wants to understand how lucky we are in the West must definitely spend three months in India. It’s truly a psychedelic place but give yourself about three months to come down afterward. Earplugs are advised and you must try to harden your heart to some the most abject misery on earth hidden behind a veil of brilliant color and motion, or you could go mad.

 WOW! That was a question worth asking you. Thanks for all the information.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What
advice can you give new writers?

     There are two things that I have found for sure. The more you write, the better you get. And when you write fiction, sooner or later your characters take over your story and you become just their hired pencil pusher. Eventually, you have to become ruthless or they’ll kick you around.
     The best advice I can give new authors is have a good source of income that doesn’t depend on writing. My very best advice is make sure that your parents are fabulously wealthy and don’t care if you actually make any money at all. If they’re happy for you to sit around scribbling all day you’re in like Flynn. Just don’t write anything too true about them or you’ll find your word processor set up in some dingy little tenement room.

HAHAHA! Love your response.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

They’re all in my head. I tried keeping a notebook but it became apparent that a good idea just stayed. If I forgot about it, it probably wasn’t any good anyway. That, by the way is probably your most important job, recognizing the crap and being ruthless with it.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

     Now there I’ve been remiss. I don’t do anywhere near what “they” tell you to do, but I’m  just not convinced that promoting yourself endlessly on the internet isn’t more annoying to everyone else than lucrative for you.
     I do have a blog, but I haven’t done much about updating it.
Blogs and websites are more important for authors who already have a considerable following. I know people who spend hours chatting on facebook and sell maybe $30 – 40 per month. Maria and I make regular rounds of retirement communities here and read from our books. We’ve made as much as $100, but that’s unusual.
      It’s also worth trying to get people to review your book, but no one really pays much attention to those that have been paid for.
The sad truth is that it’s easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than for an unknown author to sell a book.
     Unless you really love to write, you probably should not waste your time at it.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

     My immediate goal is to sell the next two books in the Pure Gold series. The Case of the Reluctant Vampire, and the Case of the Bigoted Blogger. They are being published shortly as ebooks by Stark Raving Books, a publisher of noir novellas, and I’m self-publishing the paperbacks on Amazon through Create Space.
At the same time, I’m starting work on a new one tentatively titled the Case of the Gregarious gringo that will bring Joe Gold to Puerto Vallarta.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility)

   They are available in both and are all available at this link. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Libby Grandy has promises to keep

Libby Grandy lives in Claremont, California with her husband, Fred. She writes a weekly blog, hosts a critique group and belongs to Inland Empire Branch of The California Writers Club. Libby’s novels, Desert Soliloquy, a mystery, Promises to Keep, Book One of the Haverford Trilogy, and Lydia, Book Two, are available on Amazon. True Abundance, Book Three of the trilogy will be
published in 2016.

Libby, welcome to the blog! Have a latte and a cookie while we talk about your books.

Thank you, Susan. Sounds good.

You're such busy lady. How many books have you written?

I've written four books, published three and am editing the fourth for publication in 2016.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

Some people make a difference by simply being who they are. They provide a spiritual haven for others. Lydia Nelson is such a person. When people are with her, they have a clearer sense of themselves. In Lydia, Book Two of the Haverford Trilogy, the problems of a family in a small town mirror the stress—and danger—of modern life.

Sounds intriguing.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us.

I did not have to travel to write Book One and Two of my trilogy, as my memories of the countryside in Virginia where I lived for over forty years served me well. I lived in a rural environment until we moved to California when I was forty-one. For my mystery, Desert Soliloquy, I traveled to Durango, Colorado and visited the beautiful mesas where the Anasazi once lived. I used the ghost town, Calico, in the high desert of California, as a template for my fictional setting of Odessa in the novel and visited the town often. On one visit, I collected epitaphs from the old tombstones in the graveyard there. I sat in the shade of one of the tall tombstones, typing, when I realized someone was standing beside me. A woman looked down and asked, “Are you from L.A.?” I guess if you are leaning against a tombstone in the desert, at high noon, typing on a laptop, you must be from L.A. (We live forty miles south of L.A. in Claremont.)

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far and what advice can you give new writers?

What I've learned over the years is to just enjoy writing. It is a gift, as well as a welcome distraction at times. My advice to new writers is to write from the heart. Don't concern yourself about what is presently trending, as it probably won't be by the time you finish your book. Learn about marketing but don't focus on it until you have a good, clean, well-written novel. Join critique groups that are helpful, not critical. I have advice about that on my website. Most importantly, learn the craft of writing before you publish your work.

Good advice, Libby.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

I promote my novels on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Goodreads. I write a weekly blog and mention them whenever I can. I attend book fairs in Southern California. I belong to the Inland Empire Branch of the California Writers Club and encourage fellow members to write reviews for me.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I am editing the third book in my trilogy, True Abundance, and hope to publish it in January 2016. I still have some research to do. I've written around 30,000 words on a new novel, The End is the Beginning, and will continue writing on it after editing Book Three of the trilogy.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

My published novels can be found on Amazon at and my published articles on my website,

It's been nice to meet you, Libby. I wish you continued success with your writing.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Get to know Ken Farmer

After proudly serving his country as a US Marine, Ken Farmer attended Stephen F. Austin State University on a full football scholarship, receiving his Bachelors Degree in Business and Speech & Drama. Ken quickly discovered his love for acting when he starred as a cowboy in a Dairy Queen commercial when he was raising registered Beefmaster cattle and Quarter Horses at his ranch in East Texas. Ken has over 41 years as a professional actor, with memorable roles Silverado, Friday Night Lights, The Newton Boys and Uncommon Valor. He was the spokesman for Wolf Brand Chili for eight years. Ken was a professional and celebrity Team Penner for over twenty years—twice penning at the National Finals—and participated in the Ben Johnson Pro-Celebrity Rodeos until Ben’s death in ‘96. Ken now lives near Gainesville, TX, where he continues to write novels, teach acting, writing and voice over.
            Ken wrote a screenplay back in the '80s, The Tumbleweed Wagon. He and his writing partner, Buck Stienke adapted it to a historical fiction western, THE NATIONS—a Finalist for the Elmer Kelton Award. They released the sequel, HAUNTED FALLS—winner of the Laramie Award for Best Action Western, 2013—in June of 2013. HELL HOLE was the third in the Bass Reeves saga written by Ken alone. They just released the fourth in the series, ACROSS the RED.
            Buck and Ken have completed twelve novels to date together including the westerns, six novels in the military action/techno genre and two in SyFy. Ken has also just started converting all of their novels to Audio...four down and eight more to go.

Ken, it is truly an honor to have you on the blog. I'd like to say thank you for serving our country. That is monumental! 

Susan, thank you so much and thanks for having me over here.

Now on to the interview.

How has your environment affected your writing?

I don't pay much attention to my environment as long as it's private. I live about twelve miles from town on a five acre ranchette with my two horses, six dogs and one cat. I like privacy.

How many books have you written?

A total of far. One non-fiction (Acting is Storytelling) and the rest fiction.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

Bass Reeves and the US Marshals Service team with the Texas Rangers to combat rustlers along the Red River. How good can it get?
            Between the Indian Nations and Texas lies an area on the south side of the Red River that was once the winter camp for the likes of the notorious guerrillas, William Clarke Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson and later, the James Gang—known as Delaware Bend.
            The same northeast portion of Cooke County, Texas in 1896 was the center of a massive rustling operation by the Red River Gang.
            Texas Ranger Bodie Hickman enlists the aid of Deputy United States Marshals Bass Reeves and Jack McGann to go undercover to end this scourge once and for all.
            But, the Red River Gang slaughters a sixteen man patrol of US Army soldiers to acquire a new weapon—a deadly Gatling Gun.
            Bass and Jack add Marshal Brushy Bill Roberts and Chickasaw Lighthorse Osí Hommá and Bodie calls upon fellow Texas Ranger Walt Durbin, to bolster their forces against the gang.
            Will it be enough when they have to face the awesome firepower of a ten barrel Gatling Gun? Who’s the mysterious person behind the massive rustling operation?
-336     Find out in the exciting fourth novel in the award winning and best selling Bass Reeves saga of The Nations—ACROSS the RED.

I'm in!

Ken, how much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I usually only weave my own personality into one...sometimes two of the characters. My background in acting has facilitated my ability to create widely disparate characters. It's really one of my greatest joys in writing.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

Research. I write what I like to call, 'Faction'. Historical facts (as in the case of our westerns) blended with fiction. Let the reader figure out which is which.
Across the Red takes place mostly in and around Cooke County, Texas which has a great history in the days of the wild west. I recently discovered that an area of the county, Delaware Bend on the Red River was a real hot spot in the latter part of the nineteenth century. I say recently because it has been under Lake Texoma since 1946. During the mid to late 1800s, it was considered one of the top three most violent places in America.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

Thank God for the Internet. The places I haven't been to, I research thoroughly on the net. Others, like Turner Falls—the primary location of our second western, the Laramie Award winning, Haunted Falls—I actually went to many times when I was in high school. It was only thirty-five miles north of my hometown of Gainesville, Texas.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

I had an epiphany when I started recording my novels for the Audio Book market. It's amazing what you learn about your own writing when you say every thing out loud. Now I don't mean just recite it...I mean tell the story. I feel that doing audio books has greatly enhanced my writing and my writing has enhanced my storytelling. A win-win situation.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

In my head. I'm a true pantser. I have more ideas floating around in my punkin than I'll ever be able to get to. Someone asked at a recent workshop I was teaching what I did about writer's block. I asked them: “What's that?”

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

Online, I'm on Face Book, of course, also I have a good presence on Linkedin, Twitter and the various writing associations...Westernfictioneers, Western Writers of America, Military Writers of America and so on.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

Future...Keep writing and my newly found avenue...Audio Books. I also love teaching workshops. I'm currently doing a Voice Acting Workshop every two months. I'll probably do a couple of acting and writing workshops this year too.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

My website: My publishing website: My Face Book page:

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? 

All of my books are available in print and e formats worldwide and, to date, the four western novels are available in audio too. Working on the rest. The best place to see all of my books is on my Amazon Author page: and the page link for my latest, ACROSS the RED is:

Thanks for taking time for the interview, Ken. I wish you the best in writing and acting endeavors!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Hey, folks. It's been a while since I posted but I wanted to let you know that beginning in April I will once again interview authors and other industry experts. I hope you'll check back for introductions to some new authors and exciting new work from some veterans. I am excited about having folks over and look forward to you giving feedback or asking questions. We love to get comments, so don't be shy. See you soon!