Friday, January 8, 2010

Carol Denbow Discusses A Book Inside

Do you have an expertise that may benefit others? Has your
imagination run wild with thrilling mysteries others may enjoy
reading? Or do you simply have a story to tell? If you feel there
is a book inside you, the first step to turning your idea into a
book is, of course, writing it.

First and foremost, write what you know. With experience
comes knowledge, and you will enjoy writing more when you
are acquainted with your subject. Later, when you are promoting
your book, you will need to be very familiar with the information
in the book to be comfortable discussing it with potential buyersand others.

Carol, it's wonderful to have you here. I know you're a busy lady. Please give us a brief bio.
I am the founder of Plain & Simple Books Publishing as well as the author of six non-fiction books since 2006. I have been interviewed online, in print, radio, and television. Some of my books include Are You Ready to Be Your Own Boss?, Stress Relief for the Working Stiff, and A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story, a popular book with aspiring as well as seasoned authors.

I am the proud mom of two wonderful grown children. I live on a farm with my husband Craig just outside the small community of North Bend, Oregon. In addition to farming, writing, and publishing, Craig and I are the proprietors of The Clubhouse, a restaurant at Watson Ranch Golf Course.

Yum! I'll have to tell my husband about that. He heads west to pheasant hunt every year.
When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
It was never a dream of mine as it is for most writers. I had started up and operated a small business. After slamming into so many walls along the way, I saw a need for a simplified small business start-up book. Voila! Are You Ready to be Your Own Boss? was finished just two years following my retirement.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?
Back then, only to see a book in print. Nowadays, I truly enjoy helping writers achieve the same goal. Book writing is a business, but more importantly, a writer should embrace the experience and joyful accomplishment of seeing their book in print. If your heart and pen are ready to write—do it, and finish it!

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?
100 Ways to Market Your Book for Free (or really cheap) is a collection of helpful tips for published authors who are frustrated with rejection and stagnancy in the traditional book selling markets.
Let’s face it, the Barnes & Nobles of the world are not willing to put your first-time author book on the shelf next to the Rowling series, and The New York Times is even less likely to include your book on their bestsellers list. So where does one market their new release without the growing price tag associated with old-time marketing strategies?
My newest release is an e-book with built-in links to the places and avenues where new authors can create a buzz about their books without spending thousands of dollars to do so. It is also a “living” book where readers who locate additional resources they would like to share with other readers can submit their new finds to be included in this regularly updated book. Those who purchase the e-book can re-order it for free with these latest updates included. So the book is never outdated and we can share our ideas with each other, endlessly.

How do you determine voice in your writing?
I write non-fiction, although I do have an un-finished murder mystery hiding in my computer waiting to be born again. With my non-fiction books, I write from the heart; say it the way it is. I never attempt to use “big words.” Most of us are not college educated and have a need for plain and simple language which everyone is able to comprehend and easily follow.
The murder mystery I started (sad to say, 6 months ago), is only at 10,000 words. But those were written all at one sitting. I locked myself into a beach house up north and committed to seeing if I could even attempt writing fiction. Happy to say, I think it’s pretty good. I feel as if the non-fiction writing I have done in simple text has really prepared me for creating and speaking for my characters in the unfinished book. I strongly suggest new writers attempt non-fiction prior to fiction book writing to gain this insight and advance their writing skills.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
Maybe this is not the appropriate answer to the question posed, but all that come to mind is that, as a writer, I am blessed to have the perfect writing environment at hand. Where I live it is quiet and peaceful. My desk is set against a window looking out to a stunning valley and river view. I doubt there could be a better place to focus and create.

Perhaps I need to come for a visit. LOL
What are your current projects?
After publishing my first two business-related books, my loving hubby convinced me to write a book about my publishing experience. A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story has been my biggest success (released last November). So the journey has begun and nowadays I write specifically about and for this industry. My latest release of course is the e-book, 100 Ways to Market Your book for Free (or really cheap).
But I am hoping to draw back some and attempt to continue where I left off with the murder mystery. I might need to go back to that beach house!

Come on over to eastern North Carolina!
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
I have a personal Website for writers and authors which include pages about my books. Viewers can visit that site at I also have a very popular Blog for writers and authors at This Blog is regularly updated and loaded with tips and information on book writing and publishing.

Carol, thank you so much for all you do for other writers. It has been a pleasure to interview you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stelly's Human Trial

“What happens when all that remains of the world is fear, distrust and desperation?”
A scattershot group of men and women are left to fend off alien attackers who have waged a thermal war on the earth. The survivors must endure intense heat while warding off marauders, rabid animals and their own prejudices.
Daron Turner and a pregnant co-worker Regina Jackson, lead this eclectic mix of survivors: Dan, a former construction worker; gang member Melvin Hicks; Barbara, a tough-talking widow who more than holds her own with her male cohorts; and escaped prison inmates Rocks and Ray Earl. neither of whom is eager to follow orders.
The aliens desire to use the remaining children on earth for study and hybrid procreation. Daron and his cohorts must decide whether to give up or fight to protect the planet’s future: Regina’s unborn child.

Human Trial is an apocalyptic tale that focuses on race, group dynamics, and the survival of the human species. A ragtag collection of Americans struggles to survive after intergalactic invaders use their advanced technology to manipulate the earth’s temperature. The thermal war leaves the earth scorched and devoid of nearly all human and animal life. The survivors, a scattershot group of humans (who dub themselves “Mulholland’s Mad Dogs”), gather in the fictional town of Stonecutter, where the stress takes a toll in the form of suicide and deadly in-fighting. As group members come and go, the consensus is that they must overcome personal prejudice to work together, to not only endure the altered climate, but ward off marauders, rabid animals and the unseen danger lurking in the nearby woods.
The night after several group members are drinking, one of them claims to have seen an UFO. He is perceived as “losing it” by the others, and after he is abducted by the aliens and returned nude, they are certain of it. Making matters worse, two group members are discovered to be manufacturing and using methamphetamine. The confrontation between them and the group results in a volatile group meeting, where racial animosity comes to a head.
The MMDs prepare for the battle, and several of them attempt to force a confrontation with the aliens, but their attack is a futile one. The aliens retaliate by putting each of the MMDs into a deep sleep—except for Daron and his newborn son, Adam. When the aliens escape with Adam, Daron goes after them and there is a final woodland showdown.

Timothy N. Stelly, Sr. is a poet, novelist, screenwriter and essayist from northern California. Human Trial is his first novel, and is the first part of an urban sci-fi trilogy. He has also written more than 350 essays for and from social and political issues to film noir history. In 2006, he won first prize in the Pout-erotica poetry contest for his poem "C’mon Condi". He has contributed several poetic pieces to Oysters & Chocolate and is currently working on rewrites of his first two novel attempts, Tempest In The Stone and The Malice Of Cain, which were published by PublishAmerica. His upcoming book is a sequel, Human Trial II: Adam’s War. He is also putting the finishing touches on a crime drama, Blanket of Authority. He is a native of Northern, California, where he resides with his three youngest children -- Dante, Kimberly and Lawrence.

Welcome, Tim.
When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
I began writing around age nine, mostly humorous rhymes. My first serious effort began in high school with poetry and short plays. Now I prefer writing novels, short stories and screenplays. I became serious about this in 1999 after experiencing several personal setbacks. Writing was therapeutic. I had some notes from two novels I’d started writing in 1991 and from 1999-2003, I did my best to polish them. Since 2001, I have written more than 40 novels and 30 screenokays, most of it is what I call “hip-hop political satire,” a cross between Richard Wright and Richard Pryor.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?
I simply wanted to get published the old fashioned way—with the services of a vanity publisher, or self-publishing. Now I want to continue to publish in this fashion, but I may self-publish a series of books. I am also trying to break into Hollywood. As for a message, in my writing I try to deal with issues of injustice and that old standby, good vs. evil. I think I accomplished the latter with my sci-fi book, Human Trial.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?
Human Trial is the first part of a sci-fi trilogy. The story has a simple premise in that, it argues man may not be capable of saving himself from aliens because we cannot save ourselves from the evil of other men. The characters have to overcome their fears and prejudices to not only save their group, but what remains of mankind. I’ve always believed that smaller groups—families and neighborhoods—are a microcosm of how our nation functions, and if you have dysfunctional families and neighborhoods, you will have a dysfunctional nation. Sadly, we live in a dysfunctional world, so to change it, we have to start with ourselves and those we influence. This is what the group in Human Trial seeks to do.

The story itself, centers on a scattershot group of humans who survive a thermal war launched by aliens that leaves fewer than 3,000 people left worldwide. The group os led by Daron Turner, and his pregnant co-worker (who later becomes his wife by less than traditional means), as they attempt to find out who is responsible and why. The alien’s home planet is on the brink of destruction, and the intergalactic visitors are seeking a new environment—one with a species that is genetically compatible with their own. Their ulterior motive is to breed with earth dwellers and discover an emotional-depth their own kind lack. Furthermore, they are planning for a later, and larger, battle with earth dwellers.

What’s the hook for the book?
What happens when all that remains of the world is fear, distrust and desperation?

How do you develop characters? Setting?
I try and put the reader/my characters in uncommon situations. For Human Trial this was easy: Place an eclectic mix of humanity in confined quarters where they must fend of wilding youth, rabid animals and a more powerful enemy they can’t yet see. The challenge was to hypothesize as to how these people might react, while at the same time convincing the reader to suspend their disbelief.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?
The most unusual is Daron Turner. He is the leader, but he isn’t too trusting of strangers and reacts (sometimes overreacts) too quickly to dangers real and imagined. Throughout the book, however, we see him grow into a more thoughtful group leader. The most likeable character I think is Dan, a construction worker whom I tried to draw as an every man: a person who wants to fit in, follows orders and will fight ferociously for his own survival and that of the group.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
Many of my stories center of social issues, in particular racial injustice. I grew up in a town divided racially and was bussed to a high school in the heart of an all-white enclave, where blacks madder up but 10% of the student body. Over a four-year period there were three racial conflagrations that temporarily shut down the school. However, when we black students returned, we were met by a mob of people whom had graduated years before. This opened my eyes to racism, and reinforced the pronouncement of Malcolm X that racism is prevalent in the south—south of the Canadian border.”

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve even had.
"Human Trial is at once a sci-fi story, a look at the psychology of survival, and a timely cautionary tale regarding current environmental woes; our individual and collective responsibility to one another and to the planet…It is an entertaining and intricate story that can be read and enjoyed along with the likes of Mitchener, King, or Peter Straub. Stelly intuitively knows what everyday people will do to survive and how their interactions with each other will sound".—Brian Barbeito, Columnist and author of Fluoride And The Electric Light Queen

Great review!

What are your current projects?
I have Human Trial II: Adam’s War finished and ready to go to the publisher, hopefully in January. I have a crime-dramas finished—Under Color Of Authority, and a zombies-in-the-hood tale, The Zombie Factor. I also have a coming of age tale set in the 70’s—my magnus opus--titled Darker Than Blue.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
E-mail me at:, or visit me at

Tim, thanks for the interview. Continued success!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Anne Patrick's Lethal Dreams

Book Blurb about Lethal Dreams:

Dr. Erin Jacobs is making a name for herself in the sports world. Drawing on her own life experiences, she encourages and inspires athletes to recover one hundred percent from career ending injuries. So why would someone want to hurt the good doctor? Detective Logan Sinclair is determined to find that answer. He’s been mesmerized by Erin since the night she found him and his partner shot in an alleyway. Since that night their lives have never been the same. He longs to find someone to share his life with and wants to help her secure her dream of someday opening a youth center. Erin doesn’t want to be a cop’s wife though. She’s been there and done that and paid the ultimate price. She doesn’t want to risk that kind of heartache again. Or does she?

My guest today is multi-published and bestselling author, Anne Patrick, who grew up in a rather boring neighborhood she says. So it was up to her and her friends to generate their own excitement. When other kids were off playing with their dolls and army men, they were out solving make-believe crimes in the neighborhood. Each day was a new and exciting adventure with danger lurking around every corner. Then in high school she discovered the wonderful world of romantic suspense and decided to put her over-active imagination to better use. She’s been spinning stories every since.

Anne, tell us more.
Well, I was born and raised in Oklahoma then ventured north several years ago and now live in the land of OZ where I share a home with three furry roommates. Zoe is my two-year-old German shepherd, and Sailor and Prince are her feline friends. When I’m not writing or working on edits, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and every couple of years I love to travel out of the country on short-term mission trips.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
I write ‘Sweet’ Romantic Suspense and Inspirational Romance. I’ve always had a wild imagination. After some encouraging from my mother, when I was a teenager, I began to write the stories down. Later, I took a creative writing course and lucked out when I was placed with a teacher who was a multi-published mystery writer. She, like my mother, was very encouraging, so after completing the course I started submitting my work. A folder full of rejections later, I was finally published. Unfortunately, my mother had passed away by then, but she must have known it would happen because she’s the one who came up with my pen name.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?
To land on the NY Times bestseller list of course. Hey, when I dream, I dream big. Just to be published is a dream come true, and to have nine books contracted…well, let’s just say I feel very blessed. Honestly, the most important thing to me is for my readers to come away from one of my books feeling as though they not only went on an adventure, but that they were touched by it in some way. My books are suspenseful, but they also carry messages of hope.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.
Lethal Dreams is the story about a woman who has spent her life facing challenges. Trying to put the past behind her, Dr. Erin Jacobs now uses those life lessons to help others. Her peaceful existence is shattered the night she witnesses the shooting of two police officers in a dark alleyway.

What’s the hook for the book?
Will Logan, one of the police officers, Erin helps to save that night, be able to solve the puzzle of who wants Erin out of the way before it’s too late? And if so what impact will those answers have on their lives?

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?
Princess Tara, in Dark Alliance, was fun to work with. She is one of my more complex characters. In the eyes of the public she lives in a fairy tale world, is admired and adored by her people. But in the shadows lurks an evil far greater than she or even the king can imagine. When she meets up with former CIA agent Alex Girard, sparks fly and she finds herself torn between duty to her country and true love.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?
I’m a panster so a brief outline is all I start with. Once I’ve developed the characters and placed them where I want them they pretty much take over from there. I tired the whole detailing every aspect of the story and carefully planning out what I wanted to happen but it never worked for me. I find the story always turns out better when I turn my characters loose.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.
Teagan with Book Wenches gave me a wonderful review on Journey to Redemption. She said, “The entire book kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what might happen. The story was fresh and memorable. Ms. Patrick is truly a talented storyteller. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good crime mystery.” I floated on cloud nine for weeks after than one!

That's great!
What are your current projects?
I have six other releases coming out this year with different publishers, and I’m working to finish up two novels that I hope to have contracted for release in 2011.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events? or on Facebook:

Thanks for dropping by for an interview, Anne, and I wish you the best of sales in 2010!

Susan Whitfield, author of The Logan Hunter Mystery Series