Thursday, November 4, 2010

Suzanne Young's Murder By Yew

(I am beginning a new series on the blog, one which includes authors who contributed recipes for the cookbook, Killer Recipes. Even though each recipe has the contributing author’s book titles and web sites, that’s it. After all, it’s a cookbook. Now I’d like to interview a good number of these generous writers and learn more about them. Come along. I think you’ll enjoy meeting every one of them.)When I first had the inclination to compile a cookbook and donate the proceeds to The American Cancer Society, I invited other writers around the country to submit recipes as well. Since the title was Killer Recipes, we changed the names of family recipes to make them more fun and mysterious. Over the next few weeks, some of those generous authors who contributed will be showcased on my blog. We begin with Suzanne Young, author of Murder By Yew.

Welcome to my blog, Suzanne.Suzanne, please tell us what inspired you to write Murder by Yew.

My parents and Miss Marple were my inspirations. Primarily, I wanted to write about active retirees who enjoy life to its fullest and who are intelligent and talented. My parents were definitely two of those people. In addition, I enjoy cozy mysteries with characters who are clever and realistic. I find Agatha Christie’s stories and protagonists provide excellent examples of these qualities.

Give us a synopsis of it.

When local handyman Tom Greene dies, evidence points to Edna Davies, the last known person to serve him food and drink. Recently moved to southern Rhode Island, Edna has acquired herb and flower gardens, along with a number of hand-written journals from the house’s previous owner. While Edna admits to experimenting with various cookie recipes and tea concoctions, using ingredients from her backyard, she is certain she wouldn’t have used anything poisonous, even by accident.
Convinced that the police suspect her of Tom’s death, Edna cannot sit and wait to be arrested. Fearing to lose her reputation and the retirement life she and her husband have worked towards for years, Edna must find the real murderer. New to the community, she doesn’t know where to begin except with the victim’s grandson, a five-year-old boy with a speech problem whom she’s forbidden to approach. Shunned by the townsfolk, questioned by the police, and threatened by thieves, Edna taps into strengths she never before realized she possessed. Her search takes her back forty years to when two of Tom’s high school classmates ran away from the town.

Did you fall in love with a particular character?

Edna and I bonded in this first story, I think. I helped her to grow and, in turn, she led me down one particular path that I didn’t know existed until she pointed it out to me. Together, we got through our first crisis and we’re learning from each other.

Will you write more about this character?

Definitely. Murder by Proxy will be released in February. In this episode, Edna travels to Colorado (as Albert asked her to do at the end of Murder by Yew) to help her son and her pregnant daughter-in-law. Edna returns to Rhode Island in the third book Murder by Mistake – which we are currently working on together.

Where can folks buy Murder by Yew and in what formats?

Murder by Yew can be ordered through any online or local bookstore, such as Barnes and Nobel, Borders or Amazon in trade paperback format. It is also available for downloading to Kindle. I learned recently that Kindle software is free to download to any “reading” device, including PCs, iPhones, iPads, Nooks and the like, so I have not formatted it specifically for any device other than Kindle.

Do you have upcoming events you'd like to mention?

On Saturday, November 6, I will be one of four authors speaking at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Club in Colorado Springs. This annual fund-raiser is being sponsored by the American Association of University Women. The other speakers will be Beth Groundwater (also a contributor to Killer Recipes, as you know), Margaret Coel and Kathryn Eastburn.

You contributed recipes for my cookbook, Killer Recipes. Sin-sational Shrimp Pasta is delicious. Is it a family recipe?

No, I made it up one evening when I was hungry and wanted shrimp for dinner. I like to create quick and simple recipes that can be adapted for any number of servings—particularly single servings, since I live alone. This particular recipe uses several of my most favorite ingredients—shrimp, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, lemon juice and pasta.

Since proceeds of Killer Recipes are going to help fund cancer research, can you tell us why you personally wanted to contribute?

I joined a Pilates class about a year ago in which the majority of the women are cancer survivors and one is still fighting to survive. They are the most upbeat, fun and caring group I’ve ever enjoyed knowing. They inspire me and I want to do whatever I can to help them and others like them.

Where can readers learn more about you?

Suzanne, it has been a pleasure to have you over. Thanks again for the contributions you make to those around you. I hope we can sell lots of recipes and fun mysteries.

Thank you, Susan, for all your efforts toward this noble cause!

You bet! Folks, here's one of Suzanne's recipes from the cookbook (available at Amazon in all formats):

Deadly-icious Cracker Spread

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

3 Tbsp freshly chopped chives (can also be made with dill, basil or cilantro--use 3 tsp if using dried herbs)

Mix your choice of herb (or a combination of 2 herbs) with mayo, sour cream and cream cheese. Serve in a bowl to accompany a variety of crackers or spread on thin slices of baguette and toast lightly under the broiler to serve warm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Steven Nedelton's RAVEN AFFAIR

Okay, so the cover scares me. LOL. I welcome Steven Nedelton, author of The Raven Affair, to the blog today. Steven, tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks very much, Susan, for this opportunity. I am an author with three complete novels. My published novels are Crossroads and The Raven Affair. Both are in the suspense genre with paranormal and political undertones. I submitted another novel, Dawn for the fearless/Fear Factor, to my publisher in April. Crossroads and The Raven Affair were rated five stars by Midwest Book Review, Apex Reviews, The US Review of Books, and by independent book reviewers and readers.

What books came along at just the right time to influence your reading/writing?

I got my first grownup book present when I was thirteen, Three Musketeers, from my grandfather. And then, I got a book for each one of my teen birthdays. I believe those first few books made me think about writing. And then, a few of my school buddies began writing, and so I joined them. It was a serious business, all of us dreamed of becoming famous authors.

What are your writing goals?

I don’t have very precise goals. I try to write suspense, thriller genre novels. Of course, I would like to see my books read and would be very happy if one of them turned into a movie. I write when I feel that I have something interesting, hopefully, for readers too.

What is your most rewarding experience during the writing process?

Coming up with an idea and then turning into a novel, that process of creating, is very rewarding in itself. The end of that long journey of invention is the culmination, of course.

Tell us about The Raven Affair and formats available.

The Raven Affair is a suspense/fiction novel about a real criminal who was evading Justice for some thirty or forty years, and is finally caught and tried. But the novel includes also a number of directly and indirectly connected characters and events. There are two very likable priests living in San Francisco. There are Interpol agents pursuing the criminal. There’s a man who is living a double life, who works for Interpol, and is also a top gun-for-hire. Then there’s a young couple living a very romantic life, and yet unknown to the woman, her boyfriend is a dreaded underworld executioner. The action takes place in Europe and in the U.S. If I could rename the book, I think I’d call it--Runner. The novel was rated five stars by traditional reviewers, by a professor of Creative Writing and by authors/reviewers. The book is available online, and from book stores by order. In paperback and in Kindle format.

Do you think your writing has improved since your first attempt? If so, in what way?

I think my approach to writing, coming up with ideas and constructing a novel did improve. Starting my first novel of four hundred plus pages was literally a journey into the unknown. The central, single, idea cannot carry a novel. It’s a complex process of creating something out of practically nothing to start with. And it takes experience. But the final first product is always good, if it is well edited and publishable. Occasionally, it’s a writer’s best creation.

Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others? If so, why?

Yes, the first one was very difficult to write. I lacked the experience I needed to write a lengthy novel.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

I develop my characters and settings as I write. I don’t start with a plan for a new book. My original, central idea and the protagonist could come from a piece of news I read on the Internet, heard on the TV, or read in a magazine. The rest is pure imagination. My characters develop according to the needs of my story and action.

What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?

In The Raven Affair, my protagonist is a disillusioned man who experienced a great family tragedy in his very early youth. And so, he becomes a determined avenger. In order to preserve his anonymity, he becomes also a very calculating man. One of his strengths is his deep sense of justice. There’s his determination to find the culprit and punish him, and yet, when he finally does get him in his gun sights, he decides to let him live to be tried in the Courts of Law. The novel action was such that his flaws did not show up. It’s a complex novel and one must pay attention to understand what is really going on. By the way, this novel is based on very real historic events.

How do you determine voice in your writing?

I use and change voice based on my characters. In general, I use simple, everyday language in my writing.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

No, as I said earlier, my central scheme might come from an event I heard about. The rest is most often pure imagination and it takes time to get it right. I have to keep in mind that other ideas must connect eventually to the main one. In some instances, the central scheme may end up altered by newer thoughts.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

My writing is influenced by my reading past. I used to read a lot, not so much now. I try not to allow my environment influence my writing. I try to be realistic in my books and describe people as they are. I try to avoid prejudice that comes from upbringing and the environment. There’s absolutely nothing truly ‘me’ in my novels, I don’t write about myself.

Describe your ideal reader.

I think and hope that my readers’ age would start around sixteen and end around one hundred. That would be my ideal reader.

After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?

Exercise like biking or swimming is a great way for me to forget my writing pains.

Any current projects?

I started my new novel, Tunnel, a while ago. I have about thirty thousand words done, but it’s all very preliminary.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

All of my book information is available on my website,,/ and on Amazon, etc.

Continued success, Steven.

Monday, November 1, 2010

W.R. Park's Ripper thriller, Fatal Incision

Fatal incision, a historical suspense-thriller by author WR.PARK.

In the summer of 1889, the ‘Jack the Ripper’ mystery was solved, and until now, the true story was never revealed.

Ghastly Jack the Ripper murders of five mutilated women in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888 ended without an arrest—though suspects were plentiful.
Two young Scotland Yard detectives, armed with only a hunch, voyage across the Atlantic to New York City to assist in investigating a string of similar murders.
Did Jack slip away to America—and is now applying his macabre trade as The Manhattan Ripper?
This is my seventh novel. Fatal Incision and other novels received praise from a number of bestselling authors and others in the business. I’ll name a few.
James Rollins wrote: “A nonstop rollercoaster…part Cussler…part Clancy…all Park.”
Jon Land wrote: “Park brought back memories of Robert Ludlum at his best.”
Robert S. Levinson wrote: “A delicious stew of storytelling from WR.PARK in his devilishly conceived thriller.”
W. Crain Reed wrote: “His latest thriller created a chilling and suspenseful plot that compels you to keep turning pages.”
R. Barri Flowers wrote: “A captivating historical thriller that is sure to win Park fans on both side of the Atlantic.”
Additional words of praise are plentiful like: “It’s ten times more exciting than The Jackal.”—Midwest Book Review
And—“It’s the best thriller I’ve read this year.” Professional reviewer, Pat Foltz

My guest today is W.R. Park, author of Fatal Incision. Welcome, Bill (or WR). I read your book and want to congratulate you on a great Ripper read. When did you first become fascinated with Jack the Ripper?

A: My first recollection of ‘Jack’ was when I was a teenager at the movies. Since then it’s popped up on TV, film, and novels. It wasn’t so much a fascination as it was a challenge. What wasn’t told in the original tale—and what would have happened if some elements of the story were changed? Thus what’s being called the most ingenious Jack the Ripper rendition in 121 years.

What books came along at just the right time to influence your reading/writing?

A: I had spent 42 years as an advertising executive writing for print, radio and television—so when I retired I had to reinvent myself. Writing was the natural way to go. My list of favorite authors is a mile long. I gravitate to suspense-thrillers, mysteries, and adventure novels—therefore those are the types of novels I write.

What are your overall writing goals?

A: I’ve given up on writing the next great American novel. Recently, my New York literary agent mutually agreed on the best of terms to part company—so I’m searching for a new agent. All my books were produced by small independent publishers and I’m looking forward to having a major publishing house to publish my next book and re-publish those that have won praise from well-known bestselling authors.

What was the most rewarding experience during the writing process?

A: I guess that comes as a result of writing. Besides the satisfaction of reading what top authors in the business think about my work—having people come up to at book signings to tell me how much they enjoyed my novels and then ask when the next one will be released.

Tell us more about Fatal Incision. Is it available in print and e-book formats?

A: Not to give away the ending—what readers tell me is that they never saw the ending coming because of so many twists and turns. The end wasn’t what people were expecting. They were surprised. And that’s what I was shooting for.
All my books are in print. The last two are on Kindle as well. No e-book as yet.

How do you develop characters? Settings?

A: I had no choice. Jack the Ripper murders took place in London—and then in New York City. I did a ton of research to place the story in the right locations as they existed in 1888-1889.
One thing that most all writers will tell you—is that the characters write the story themselves. I’ll explain that later. But, I attempt to first develop a background for my heroes and villains. With their background in mind, I try to place myself into each character to see how I’d react in any given situation if I were them.

What are your protagonist’s strength? Flaws?

A: There strengths and flaws come from their developed background. Matthew came from a privileged background—and Jimmy from the wrong side of the tracks. Somehow the two hit it off and become best of friends. They compliment each other so that strengths and flaws balance out. Together, it makes for a formidable investigative team.

How do you determine voice in your writing?

A: Voice is developed by the circumstances of the story and the characters involved. Both dedicate voice.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

A: First, I usually know the beginning and end—then have some idea of the middle. As I said before—the characters tell the story. I may lie in bed at night or early in the morning thinking of where I’ll go with the story when I sit down to write. But more times than not, the character may make a right turn when I had planned he/she would go left. Again, most of the time the character’s move turns out to be far more interesting than my original plan. Often that move turns out to be justified later in the story. I have no answer for why that happens.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

A: My mother was the big reader in the family, not me. But I was blessed with an animated imagination that brought success in the advertising field. Nothing that I can put my finger on colored my writing, with the exception of those books I did read as a youngster were adventure novels. My first three novels (a trilogy) came about as a result of a dream—and the story was in my mind for eighteen years before putting it to pen. In fact, my fourth book was the one that I wanted to write first—but the dream wouldn’t turn me loose.

After hours of intense writing about infamous characters like Jack, how do you unwind?

A: Well a double dirty martini with three marinated queen olives does wonders. One of my characters in five of my novels drinks those—and I must confess, I do on Mondays and Fridays. Actually I don’t feel any stress, but in the morning I look forward to sitting down and find out what’s going to happen next. How will my characters surprise me this time?

Any current projects?

A: My present publisher has the sequel to Fatal Incision: Phantom Hounds. “Were Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson wrong?” I hope to re-publish a number of my earlier novels—including three completed novels and two more that I’m working on. Some times I might work on two or three at a time—going from one to the next in the same day. I do chew gum and walk at the same time—but sometimes I have a problem keeping the characters in the right novel.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

A: I invite everyone to my website: and read all seven pages. I even talk about my wife’s involvement in my writing and our cat.
Thanks Susan for asking me to participate.

It's been a pleasure.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New business card

My new business cards arrived today. I love them! Not only do they have all four of the Logan Hunter mysteries, but I am driving into a dark and stormy...uh...oh, not that!

I am driving down a long lane of shade trees at dusk. I think the mirror view is great too.

What do you think? Will it get attention?