Sunday, June 25, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: GARY GROSSMAN



 ABOUT THE BOOK

In the midst of a heated presidential campaign, Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke gets an assignment that turns his world upside down. His investigation uncovers a plot so monstrous it can change the course of America's future and world politics. Roarke discovers that presidency is about to fall into the hands of a hostile foreign power. The power play is so well-conceived that even the U.S. Constitution itself is a tool designed to guarantee the plot's success. With the election clock ticking, Roarke and Boston attorney Katie Kessler race at breakneck speed to prevent the unthinkable. But they also know that it will take a miracle to stop the takeover from happening.

Praise for the Executive Series:

“Executive Actions is the best political thriller I have read in a long, long time. Right up there with the very best of David Baldacci. [A] masterpiece of suspense; powerfully written and filled with wildly imaginative twists. Get ready to lose yourself in a hell of a story.”
-Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author

Break out the flashlight, and prepare to stay up all night . . .  Once you start reading Executive Actions you won’t be able to put it down.”
-Bruce Feirstein, James Bond screenwriter, and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor



INTERVIEW WITH GARY GROSSMAN


Gary, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?

As I look back, I think I really began writing in 5th Grade. Mrs. Seymour’s class at 4th Street School in Hudson, New York. I started a class newspaper with friends. That was my introduction to journalism. But as a freshman in high school, I wrote a letter to the general manager of our local radio station recommending that WHUC put on school news and rock music. Apparently, I crafted my letter well enough to earn a call back. The station GM told me I would start on the air the following Monday as a teenage DJ and high school news writer. (May I add, with really no experience! Fortunately there are no tapes of my first months!)

I suppose it’s safe to say that the power of writing launched me. From there, college and documentary films and local TV news. Later I became a freelance writer, a columnist for a Boston newspaper, a TV historian, a documentary TV producer, and now political thrillers.

What inspired you to write Executive Actions?
I was in New York City on 9/11.  I remember the ambulances and firetrucks heading downtown and only pedestrians covered in ash walking back. I remember their blank, horrified stares. I remember the quiet. I remember the realization that nothing would be the same. I remember the realization that investigations had likely begun minutes after the attack. I remember thinking we’d never be able to completely protect ourselves.

My trip to New York was to pitch TV programs to networks. I returned to Los Angeles thinking about writing a novel that would consider how anyone could possibly incubate a deadly plot for so long, with such patience, and in hopes of gaining a great political victory.
    
Executive Actions
came out of that experience, and now more than a decade later, with the news of Russian tampering in American elections, let alone others around the world, the plot resonates more than ever.  

It certainly does! What do you hope readers will get from this book?
This is a remarkable question. What will readers get from Executive Actions? I believe they will get an understanding of Russia’s scheming, the depth of the sleeper spy networks that go way beyond the TV series The Americans, an awareness that we have to continue to think the unthinkable, and that there are brave, smart, dedicated people in the intelligence community, law enforcement, and government who recognize the real and present dangers we face. 

In the real world, these people are not headline makers or headline chasers. In fact, they prefer that their successful work will keep terrible news out of the papers and off the air.  They’re real people who help me shape realistic characters. 

They’re my father, who worked in law enforcement. My mother, who ran political campaigns. And they’re people like you and me who often find ourselves in situations we could have never imagined.  
    
Ultimately, I hope readers will relate, enjoy a thrilling read, and come away more awareness.

I see from your bio that you've worked in television, newspapers, magazines, and even teaching at the college level. Do you currently have another job outside of writing thrillers?

I’m principally a television documentary producer. My work has been on History Channel, A&E, Discovery, National Geographic, NBC News, and more than 35 other networks. I’m also a journalist, contributing editor to Media Ethics Magazine, a college teacher at Loyola Marymount University, and a TV historian. 
    
That’s lots of hats, but they all intertwine, almost on a daily basis. My TV research always works into my novels. My novel plots lead to TV documentaries. My teaching brings the debate forward, and my media criticism helps me focus on the world. 
    
Just today it’s all comes together answering your terrific questions, editing a TV presentation, preparing a school syllabus, as well as walking the dogs, cleaning the house for dinner guests, and thinking about the three pages of new novel writing I’ll be doing before going to bed. 
    
All in a day’s work.

How would you describe Executive Actions in a tweet?
A sleeper cell plot building 30 years and an assassin to pull off the biggest political coup in the world. Executive Actions, an all-too real, stay-up all-night read.

Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I do outline, but then the craziest thing happens. Other authors have likely told this to you, too. It’s like a Twilight Zone episode. Once the characters take form, they take over. I mean they really take over. They literally have me make room for them at the computer. They take control of the keys, and they tell the story. It happens all the time. Sometimes I’m not even aware of a new character coming to mind. He or she just appears and launches into a scene. In fact, some of the best, most colorful characters have entered the plot that way.

My only struggle is trying to tell them they’re not in the outline and they’re taking the story in another direction.
    
I haven’t won any of those arguments.  The characters are always right.

I love when that happens. For me, that's the best part of writing. Who are your favorite authors?
I’m a member of ITW, the International Thriller Writers Association. Every year, we have a conference in New York called ThrillerFest where I, along with other writers and readers, get to meet and interact with the best of the best. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I participate in panels, run discussions, and I get to meet my favorite authors. Over the years they include (and this won’t be a complete list by any means) Lee Child, Brad Meltzer, Steve Beery, KJ Howe, John Lescroat, Dale Brown, Lisa Gardner, Nelson DeMille, David Morrell, Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer, Steve Martini, and more. 

But it all started for me when I read Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II. I got hooked on political thrillers. I sure love it when readers get hooked on me.  They can write me anytime at gary@garygrossman.com. 

Do you have a routine for writing?
My drill is easy. Three pages a day. Do the math with me. That’s 90 pages a month. Multiplying that out, 180 after two months, 270 after three (if I’m really diligent). Of course, that doesn’t mean every word, line and page is a keeper. I’ll spend as much time rewriting, adding to my research, continuing to do interviews with experts, and discovering where I have holes in the plot to fill.  


However, if I get away from the plot for more than a few days, invariably I’ll have to re-familiarize myself with some elements because so much is swirling around. 

My plots are intricate with strong research, relevant history, and principled characters whether or not they are hero or villain. The more I write, the more I’m able to listen to them.

If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
It’s so interesting you ask this. Often when I teach, I borrow the conceit from Fahrenheit 451 where characters have to memorize a book. I ask my students what book they’d choose. 
    
Surprisingly, I’ve never been asked the question in return. So thank you. Now I have to think . . . 
(10 minutes later) . . . still thinking.  
(30 minutes later) . . .
(an hour later) . . . I’ve got it. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Written it 1935, it has tremendous impact today. In fact, elements from it somehow find their way into a character or a plot line of much of my writing. 

It Can’t Happen Here chronicles a populist political movement that sweeps the electorate and catapults a power-hungry man into the White House. With him comes authoritarian changes, concentration camps, incarcerations of political foes and the press, and a singular corporatist approach to government. There’s a great hero and an all-too believable villain. 
    
Yes, that’s the book I can’t live without and would have to memorize in a Fahrenheit 451 manner, take to a desert island, and put in every school library in America.  (Hopefully it’s already there.)

Do you ever get writer’s block?
Again, another great question. I answer it with other questions. Do carpenters get carpenter’s block? Do electricians get electrician’s block? Do truck drivers get truck driver’s block. I’d say no. Well, my job (at least one of them) is to write. It’s my job, my passion, my goal. I can’t get writer’s block. Moreover, my characters don’t let me. My only block is a starting block. I take time off between books and getting started can be something of a challenge. But now in my sixth novel, it’s getting easier.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Let me answer with two favorite quotes.

Mark Twain:  “A lie can travel half way around the globe while the truth is putting its boots on.” 

Echoes of this astounding quote were heard in the McCarthy Era, and it’s a political reality that continues to echo today in the world of 24/7 news, which too often is little more than 24/7 dangerous noise.

The second quote is from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 1: “Whereof what’s past is prologue.”
    
We better learn from the past. It’s not the way back, but the way forward.  
    
Okay, I have one more. A corollary to the last quote:  Again Mark Twain:  “History never repeats itself, but it rhymes.” 
    
With that, it’s back to It Can’t Happen Here.  Enough said.

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? (Don’t worry about the money. A publisher is paying.☺)
I love Positano, Italy. I love the sight of it. My wife and I discovered it in the rear view mirror of our people. And yes, I routinely set a scene at a favorite Positano restaurant, Chez Black.  It’s right on the beach and I’ve had spies, heroes, and villains eat there. They keep going back, so we do, too.

What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished a collaboration with another author, international hotel executive and anti-terrorism expert Ed Fuller. It’s a thriller titled Red Hotel. And I’m nearly finished with the draft of a new thriller in my Executive series which, of course, begins with Executive Actions.
    
I tackled another Executive book for two reasons.  Readers wrote and told me to do it, and the characters knocked on my door and said they wanted to get back to work. So who am I to disappoint savvy readers and demanding characters?

Wise choice!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Grossman is a multiple Emmy Award-winning network television producer, a print and television journalist, and novelist. He has produced more than 10,000 television shows for 40 broadcast and cable networks including primetime specials, reality and competition series, and live event telecasts.

Grossman has worked for NBC, written for the Boston Globe, Boston Herald American, and the New York Times. He is the author of four bestselling international award-winning thrillers available in print, eBooks, and Audible editions: Executive Actions, Executive Treason, Executive Command, and Old Earth. (Diversion Books, NYC) and two acclaimed non-fiction books covering pop culture and television history – Superman: Serial to Cereal and Saturday Morning TV.

Grossman taught journalism, film and television at Emerson College, Boston University, and USC and has guest lectured at colleges and universities around the United States. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at Emerson College in Boston and he serves on the Boston University Metropolitan College Advisory Board. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Association and The Military Writers Society of America.


Connect with Gary:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  


Friday, June 23, 2017

BOOK BLAST: A CRIME OF PASSION FRUIT


6th in Series
St. Martin's Paperbacks (June 27, 2017)

Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1250088079

E-Book ASIN: B01MRU56AS





ABOUT THE BOOK

Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary .

“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” ―Fresh Fiction

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.” ―Library Journal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she's not coated in flour, you'll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Connect with Ellie
:
Website Facebook  Twitter  |  Instagram

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound  

 




Check back on July 7 for an interview with Ellie!




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH WENDY TYSON'S ALLISON CAMPBELL



ABOUT THE BOOK

Allison Campbell accepted a dream assignment: a visit to the Italian Dolomites to help Hollywood socialite Elle Rose reinvent herself. A guest cottage on the grounds of Elle’s historic castle promises to be a much-needed respite from Allison’s harried life on the Philadelphia Main Line, and the picturesque region, with its sharp peaks, rolling pastures, and medieval churches, is the perfect spot from which to plan her upcoming wedding.



Only this idyllic retreat is anything but peaceful. There are the other visitors—an entourage of back-biting expats and Hollywood VIPs. There’s Elle’s famous rock star father, now a shadowy recluse hovering behind the castle’s closed doors. And then there’s Elle’s erratic behavior. Nothing is as it seems. After a guest plummets to her death from a cliff on the castle grounds, Allison’s trip of a lifetime turns nightmarish—but before she can journey home, Allison must catch a killer.




ABOUT ALLISON CAMPBELL

Allison Campbell is Philadelphia’s premier image consultant. A dissertation shy of a PhD in psychology, she spends her days helping others reinvent themselves, but her biggest transformation was her own.

Allison had a troubled childhood. Determined to overcome an abusive family life, she decided to become a psychologist. While in graduate school, she grew close to a teenage patient who ran away and was presumed dead. Allison blamed herself. Eventually Allison moved to the Philadelphia Main Line and reinvented herself as an image consultant. She’s able to use her understanding of human nature and her own experiences as an outsider to assist others (and solve crimes), but no matter how successful she becomes, the mistakes of her past haunt her.


INTERVIEW WITH CHARACTER ALLISON CAMPBELL


Allison, how did you first meet Wendy?
I met Wendy in the late 90s, while she was in law school. She’d just left a job as a therapist in a residential treatment facility where she worked with troubled teens and their families. She wanted to go into law, and she’d moved her family back to the Philadelphia area, where she was from, to attend school on the Main Line. 

The transition was jarring. The kids she’d worked with before were largely poor and many had been abused. She saw their resiliency, though, and a goodness that shined despite their experiences.
Law school had been an emotional break, but law school—and the affluent Main Line suburbs—juxtaposed against her previous career made her think about image and the fact that what appears on the surface does not always match what’s underneath. So when she met me—an image consultant with a troubled past—she knew we’d work well together for this series.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

The end is pretty exciting. Storms, that imposing castle, the jagged mountains surrounding us . . . the bucolic Italian setting morphed into something bone-chilling by the end of Fatal Facade. No spoilers, but now that it’s over, I can say it was a night I will never forget.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I work. A lot. I love spending time with Grace and Jason, though. I’ve vowed to make more time for fun.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Ha—the plot! I suppose it would have been nice to have gone to Italy, worked with a willing and engaged client, and explored the beautiful area without stress or a murder (or two) hanging over my head. Not quite how things worked out!

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I love them. Truly. Jason, of course, who is the love of my life. While our relationship hasn’t been the standard love affair, he’s stuck by me through so much, and we’ve seen each other at our worst. I truly believe we can weather any storm that comes our way. Vaughn is a brother I never had growing up—Jamie, too. And Mia has been not only a mentor, but like a mother to me. And now with Grace sharing our home? Well, we may not have a family in the conventional sense, but that’s exactly what we have become. I can’t imagine my life without any one of them.

Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
I’m a terrible cook, but I’m intrigued by people who can take basic ingredients and create something delicious with them. I’d love to learn to cook. In fact, I’ve always thought it would be fun to take classes from someone who teaches traditional methods of cooking with local ingredients, like the classes you find in Tuscany or the French countryside.

And I really need to take more self-defense classes. And maybe learn to shoot a gun (despite my feelings about weapons).



What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?
I think sometimes I come across as reserved, or even intense. As people get to know me, they see my softer side. I can be playful and spontaneous—even silly. But I really have to know you to let my guard down. It’s something I’m working on.



What are you most afraid of?
Making an error in judgment that hurts someone I love. It’s happened before, and I’m terrified it could happen again.

What’s your author’s worst habit?
She can be a little messy and disorganized. She tends to keep a lot of things in her head rather than writing them down or keeping a calendar. I wish she’d accept some advice from me and take the time to arrange her schedule and her surroundings in a more orderly fashion. I think she’d find it time well spent. (Hint, Wendy!)



Describe an average day in your life.
When I’m not embroiled in a mystery? I wake up with Jason, and sometimes we find that Grace and Brutus, my Boxer, have crawled into bed with us. (If you knew me in Killer Image, you understand that this is a big deal—I was terrified of dogs and didn’t want a child in my life back then!) Jason and I make breakfast for the family. My cooking skills are limited, so that usually means toast and fruit, or maybe eggs from Mia’s chickens. Then I work out at the gym and get to work by eight.

From there my typical day consists of a series of client appointments, group sessions (recently divorced, job seekers, weight loss, etc.), speaking engagements, and executive training programs. I also write self-help books. My first one, From the Outside In, was pretty successful, so I’m writing another follow-up now.

Of course, when Vaughn and I get caught up in a mystery, predictability is the first thing to go. Thankfully I have loyal clients!

What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
The role of image consultant is unusual. I don’t know of any other amateur sleuths who do what I do. One reviewer (Examiner.com) likened my series to Jonathan Kellerman’s Dr. Alex Delaware series and I rather liked the comparison. Dr. Delaware has his PhD, though, while I only have a background in psychology and am not a practicing therapist. But the background does come in handy when solving crimes.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again on a micro-farm with her husband, sons and two dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.

Connect with Wendy:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: LESLIE BUDEWITZ



ABOUT THE BOOK

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident? Or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.





INTERVIEW WITH LESLIE BUDEWITZ


Leslie, how did you get started writing?

I started writing at four, on my father’s desk. Literally—I did not yet grasp the concept of paper. Fortunately, my parents were very understanding, and kept me well-supplied with paper and pencils. I always wanted to write but didn’t really think you could. As with many people, the creative impulsive broke its way into my conscious life, insisting on being recognized, during a difficult period in my mid 30s, and I’ve been writing ever since. From idea for first novel (still unpublished) to first novel published—with a few short stories and a nonfiction book in between—was 19 years.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Flow. Getting so caught up in the story that I forget it isn’t real, wondering why it’s cold when it’s July (on the page), or why dinner isn’t ready when Erin, the main character in my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, just made her special enchiladas. The sense that the story knows where it’s going,  and the discovery that my subconscious mind has developed imagery and a theme that I didn’t consciously see. That might only happen for a few minutes in any writing session, but it’s magic.

Do you write every day?
Now, I write nearly every day except Sunday and my monthly visits to my 91-year-old mother. But when I started, I wrote on Fridays and Saturday mornings, because that was all the time I had. You can actually write a novel that way—I wrote three. If you are consistent and committed, your subconscious—the muse, as some would call it—knows the routine and shows up when you show up.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
Two things: Not knowing whether it’s any good—when you start, you’re sure it is, but you’re probably wrong; paradoxically, as you progress, so do your expectations and judgment, and it becomes harder to tell whether you’re hitting that higher mark.

And the isolation, which contributes to that doubt. I always encourage beginners and those looking to make a leap to join a writers’ group. For me, that was Sisters in Crime—and I’m not saying this just because I’m the immediate past president of the national organization! Writing is a solitary activity, but the support that comes from others is key. 

What’s more important – characters or plot?
The characters drive the plot. I start with a scenario, and because I write a series, my continuing characters and setting. I ask who else is involved, and look at what the key story people want in this book—and what they’ll do to get it. That creates the plot.

How often do you read?
Almost every night. Right now, I’m halfway through Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell, in which a young woman feeling at a loss travels to Paris to investigate the origins of a mask her great-grandfather brought  home after WWII, interspersed with the historical story of the mask and its subject. It’s rich and fluid, and beautifully told.

What books do you currently have published?
Treble at the Jam Fest is the 4th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, which started with Death al Dente, winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel; all are available in paperback and e-book, with two in audio and two more audio books on the way. So far, there are three Spice Shop Mysteries—Assault & Pepper, Guilty as Cinnamon, and Killing Thyme. (Catch the theme?) Look for them in paper, e-book, and audio. And my first book is a guide for writers on using the law in their fiction, Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure (Linden/Quill Driver), winner of the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction.

Is writing your dream job?
Most definitely!

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Remember that the key is to connect with readers. They want to know you, meet you, and like you—so there’s no point being nervous. The engaged reader—one who got a response to her e-mail or Facebook post, or who exchanged a few words with you at a festival or bookstore—is more likely to recommend your books to others, and what you want is to get other people talking about your books. Finally, don’t feel you have to do everything—you’ll make yourself too unhappy to do a good job.

What’s one THING you never leave the house without (besides your phone).
I often leave home without my phone, but I’m nearly always wearing earrings.

What do you love about where you live?

My small town has a real community spirit, which I hope I capture in fictional Jewel Bay. Our home is in the woods on the edge of a stunning mountain range, close to lakes, rivers, and hiking trails with incredible vistas, and we get out as often as we can. It’s beautiful and quiet, almost idyllic—with just enough characters and conflict to spark a good mystery!

What's your favorite treat for movie night?

Tillamook’s Oregon Hazelnut and Salted Caramel ice cream, with a big dose of chocolate-Cabernet sauce. So you can join in the fun, I recreated the sauce recipe in Butter Off Dead, the 3rd Food Lovers’ Village Mystery.

What is your superpower?
I can hang a picture perfectly straight and centered without measuring.

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I’m really good at making people laugh, and bad at singing, which I love anyway!


What do you wish you could do?
Go back to France with my hunny. We spent a month there a few years ago, in Paris and Provence, and adored it. And it changed our relationship to food and cooking, which helps me enormously in creating characters obsessed with food and finding and testing the right recipes for my books!

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
If you’ve got a book you haven’t read, there’s always something to do!


Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?

A rock star, if I could sing like Pat Benatar or Ann Wilson of Heart. Singing like that might make up for the travel and the other demands of the work. 


Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?

Oh gosh, yes! Erin, sweet as she is, can be a bit self-righteous, and a bit of a know-it-all, which make her a tad bossy at times. I plead guilty! Pepper, in my Spice Shop Mysteries, shares my occasionally sharp tongue. I love playing with their good and bad sides on the page! 

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
A large dish of Tortellini Salad, a recipe from Treble at the Jam Fest that I made for a gathering of women friends—I should have known they’d each bring a dish and we’d end up with too much! Happily, I love it!

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Backpack through Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness with my husband and brother. We carried 60 pound packs more than 60 miles, crossing the Continental Divide on foot at over 7,600 feet. It was also one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, for sheer physical accomplishment, and for experienced the incredible grandeur of the northern Rockies.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Never underestimate the value to the Universe of a fully realized life.” -Joseph Campbell

What would your main character say about you?
She’s nice enough, but she sure causes me a lot of trouble. 

You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?
I’d like him—or her—to surprise me with something inspired by the location and the local foods.

How do you like your pizza?
I like it every other Thursday night—pizza night at our house! Of course, sometimes we forget which week it is and eat it more often than might be good for us!

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
Ha! I change it so often, I had to go check! It’s a glorious picture of the Swan Mountain Range from the road in front of our home.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
I love books where the authors delve into the characters’ emotions and portray them on the page, whether through action, dialogue, gesture, or the occasional telling. It’s hard, so many authors don’t do it, but I believe that people read in part to better understand the people and places around them, so by pushing ourselves, we can reveal more of that world. And even cozy mysteries like mine—generally fairly light with a touch of humor—can do it. It’s a matter of diving deeply into our own emotional experiences, understanding what our characters go through, and controlling the tone on the page. 



What is your favorite movie?
Casablanca, of course. Romance, adventure, history, a great song, and champagne cocktails.

What are you working on now?
I’ve turned in the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, set at Christmas, and am working on a stand-alone set from 1981 to the present in Billings, Montana. The seed was a tiny incident my senior year of high school; I’ve wondered “what really happened” ever since, and because I’ll likely never know, I’m making up an explanation! I find myself delving more deeply into the lives of women, with a crime story thrown in.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, and the Spice Shop Mysteries, set in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime and first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction, she lives, writes, and cooks in NW Montana.


Connect with Leslie:
Website  |  Blog  |  Mystery Lovers Kitchen  |  Facebook  Facebook

Buy the book:

Midnight Ink  |  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble   





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 10, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: TRACY BUCHANAN



ABOUT THE BOOK

Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life? Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.






LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH TRACY BUCHANAN


A few of your favorite things:

Lip balm (obsessed with the stuff!), an old grey fluffy cardigan I wear when writing, books and more books, chocolate… lots of it!
Things you need to throw out:
Old school report cards declaring: "creative but talks too much." The clothes a size too small for me that I cling onto in the hope one day I’ll get back into them. 


Things you need in order to write:
My puppy Bronte snuggled up next to me. A cup of tea. Music.
Things that hamper your writing: My puppy Bronte when she wants to play. The drilling work going on as we renovate parts of our house. My tummy telling me its cake o-clock.


Things you love about writing: Messages from readers. Disappearing into my fictional world. Holding my novel in my hands and sniffing it.
Things you hate about writing:
Nothing. Seriously.

Things you love about where you live:
The beautiful green fields. The friendly people. The bonkers politics of the UK at the moment!
Things that make you want to move:
The rubbish weather!

Words that describe you: 
Creative. Ditzy. Happy
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Tired. Fickle. Hungry.

Favorite foods:
Scones. Cheese. Chocolate. Chinese food. Spaghetti carbonara.
Things that make you want to throw up: 
Liquorice. Kidneys. Liver. Pineapple.

Favorite music or song:
Forgiven by Within Temptation
Music that make your ears bleed:
Garage and house music.

Favorite smell: Vanilla 

Something that makes you hold your nose:
My puppy after rolling in fox poop.

Something you’re really good at:
Making people I love smile. 

Something you’re really bad at: Stopping writing in the middle of a scene
.

Something you like to do:
Go for long walks. 

Something you wish you’d never done:
Drink too much in a Greek bar once
.

People you consider as heroes: Writers are my rock stars! So I love authors like Angela Carter and Anita Shreve, huge inspirations for me. But most of all, my mum.
People with a big L on their foreheads:
People who try to force their lifestyles onto you (eg. vegetarians who lay into you for eating meat or meat eaters who sneer at you for ordering a vegetarian meal)



Last best thing you ate:
A Troll Princess Poppy shaped strawberry flavoured chocolate easter egg my daughter couldn’t finish
.
Last thing you regret eating:
See above. Felt kinda sick after!

Things you’d walk a mile for:
My daughter.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
My daughter when she’s having a tantrum!

Things to say to an author: ‘What did you last read?’

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
"Oh my god, you must be a millionaire by now!"

Things that make you happy:
Sitting in the sun (a rarity here!) writing and sipping wine as my daughter plays with my husband in her playhouse.

Things that drive you crazy: Mean people.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tracy Buchanan lives in the UK with her husband, their little girl, and their one-eyed Jack Russell. Buchanan traveled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the coast visiting family–a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.

Connect with Tracy:
Facebook  |  Twitter  

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Indiebound  |  Powells



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BOOK BLAST: OPERATION NO SANCTUARY


Operation No Sanctuary - A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story 
by James Moushon - Mystery, Murder, Intrigue and Politics
 



ABOUT THE BOOK

A gang war erupts in East LA between neighborhood gangs and the notorious MS-13 gang from San Salvador and a Mexican cartel from Tijuana is right in the middle of the conflict. CIA Agent Jonathon Stone is assigned the operation. He joins a crime task force to try to stop the violence and capture the cartel leaders. Along with FBI Agent Jodi Shannon, he pursues the elusive Raul Romero, the cartel kingpin, who he has been after for a decade.
 
Drug trafficking, gang shootings and politics all play a role as Jonathon battles the sanctuary city LA which seems to protect the innocent and the guilty.





EXCERPT FROM OPERATION NO SANCTUARY 



Twenty-One. My favorite words unless the dealer is looking at her hole card. I was on a great run which doesn’t come too often. The dealer kept busting and I kept raising my bet and the Jack and Cokes kept appearing at my elbow. The Ocean Queen Casino was my sanctuary.



Being an at-large agent for the CIA had its perks. Of course, tomorrow I could be anywhere in the world. Actually, tomorrow was the day for our weekly phone conference so I was safe until 0900. My boss, Russ Evans, would be prompt. 



I liked the freedom but I liked the action more. I am a part of the DOT division which is the domestic unit of the CIA. We handle terrorism matters that originate outside the country.



And you are asking me if that is legal? It’s not. And it’s not a well-kept secret either. Yet here I am in the Long Beach area living in the shadows. 



I motioned to the cocktail waitress for one more. This would have to be my nightcap. Jill was back in a flash. “Here you go, Jon,” she said, taking a long look at the stash of chips in front of me. I put a five dollar chip on her tray as she brushed against me.



I had about two thousand in black and green chips so she had higher expectations. “Not tonight, Jill,” I said to myself. I was going to cut and run shortly. 



The next morning came quickly. I made it to the back patio with my coffee just in time to catch the first ring of my cell phone. Wiley was controlling the calls, taking roll and passing along the weekly code word. Sometimes I got confused with this process but Wiley had my back. The regular agents used the code regularly. Me, not so much.



“Good morning, gentlemen,” Russ said in an authoritarian voice. “Before I get too far into the briefing, I want to talk directly to Agent Stone.” 



That comment got my immediate attention. I could hear him asking Wiley if I was there in the background. 



Russ continued. “Last night we had two murders in East LA. I know that’s not very unusual but the LAPD and now the FBI are trying to identify the deceased. The victims had false ID’s on them and the documents were excellent forgeries. In fact, they were so good that the FBI got called in and they traced them back to one of our old ops. The ID’s were made by the Romero Cartel in Tijuana. They are a merciless group of thugs and they are right in the middle of a drug war with a gang in LA.” 



He paused for a second. “Agent Stone, this is the group you were chasing several years ago in Mexico. The Feds have a meeting to setup a task force at the FBI office downtown LA at two this afternoon. I want you to get involved. We have to stay to the sidelines on this one. Oh, and Agent Jodi Shannon is in charge of the FBI portion.” 



I could hear someone on the other end chuckling. That damn Wiley. He knew about Jodi and my history. 



“I would love to snag Raul Romero,” I said.



I remember Romero, I thought to myself. In 2006, I was involved in a gun sting. We were selling guns through straw purchases, trying to trap Romero’s Cartel into using the guns for their illegal activities. Unfortunately, the op went sideways and the guns wound up back in the states. We concluded that Romero got tipped off someway about the sting and resold the weapons to gangs in Southern California. This deal in LA could give us another shot at Romero. 



That afternoon I checked through security at the LA Federal Building and was directed to a conference room on the second floor. I slowly opened the door to find at least a dozen people already seated. I saw Jodi in the front with a man dressed in a LAPD uniform and another guy in a suit. Probably FBI.



It sounded like Jodi was taking roll. She saw me and smiled. I halfway raised my hand in acknowledgment and took a seat in the back of the room. Except for Jodi, I didn’t recognize anyone. 



On the side wall was a map of LA with a big red ‘X’ and a bigger map of Southern California next to it. After studying the LA map a little, I noticed an area painted in blue and another area with a green ‘X’ that I recognized as the City of Whittier. 



Also there were two rows of pictures next to the maps. The first row had only two pictures which I assumed where our two victims from the murder yesterday. The second row had four pictures. The last one caught my eye. It was Raul Romero, the cartel kingpin. I turned in my seat to face the front as one by one people introduced themselves. We had the whole alphabet here. We had people from the ATF, a guy from ICE, a DEA guy and, of course, the LAPD and the FBI. I sat there trying not to make eye contact with anyone. I was there for observation but that didn’t last long. 



Jodi had the floor. “I want to thank everyone for attending on such a quick notice. The quicker we get on these murders the better chance we have to resolve this case.”



Then she turned and looked straight at me. “We have a new member of the task force I would like to introduce.”



I shook my head slowly no. 



“Agent Jonathon Stone from the CIA will be joining us. We think his involvement with the Romero Cartel can be invaluable especially south of the border. Everything we know now points to the Romero Cartel from Tijuana.”



A man at the front table raised his hand. 



“Yes, Agent Lopez,” Jodi said, acknowledging the man. 



“Are we sure that we want the CIA involved in this? I know from the DEA’s point of view, we can handle the Mexicans. Besides we already have people in place there that can give us live intel. We are all setup to handle both sides of the border. Besides, the CIA can’t work domestically.” 



Agent Lopez had a good point in a perfect world. With my division involved, that changes the game but Lopez didn’t know that. I wish Jodi had let me sit by myself in the back. 



Jodi got a big frown on her face but didn’t say a word. I had to jump in on this and try to keep my cover. 



“I need to say something about my role. I am here to just add information if it’s needed. I will not be a part of the active task force. I was involved several years ago with the Romero Cartel in a gun sting so I know the players in the cartel, that’s all.”



Now it was Lopez’s time to frown. He wasn’t going to give up. 



“Mr. Stone, I think that the DEA can handle this. We don’t need someone coming in and blowing everything that we have going against the cartel.” “I understanding what you’re saying, Agent Lopez,” Jodi said. “We will be careful not to expose the DEA’s position on this. I would like to introduce LAPD officer, Jerry Martin. He will explain our working theory on what we’re faced with. Officer Martin.” 



A tall officer with a large brown hat stood up from the table and took Jodi’s place at the podium. “Thanks Agent Shannon. I am in charge of the LAPD gang unit. We believe we are in the middle of a gang turf war. The Romero Cartel has become real aggressive in the last six months. There MO for years has been to supply drugs and guns to the small, individual gangs in Southern California. The gangs, in turn, distribute their drugs in their own neighborhoods.” 



I surveyed the audience. Lopez was staring directly at me. Something was up with this guy. He must feel I’m going to intrude on his turf.



“We believe two things happened. The MS-13, the Salvadorian gang, has started taking over various areas in LA and eliminating the gang members. We understand from informants that they want the drug trade all to themselves,” The LAPD officer continued.



That sounds like a regular gang war to me. 



“The other thing that happened was the establishing of the sanctuary areas in the state. That’s where Romero comes in. He is taking advantage of it by crossing people from Mexico with forged documents and getting them into safe zones. These guys are setting up businesses and using those as fronts to distribute drugs, guns and false documents. Also, because of the sanctuary status, we have a problem getting warrants for wire-taps to try to pin them down. As long as these guys stay squeaky-clean, they are home free.” 





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author James Moushon is a self-published mystery author of the Jonathon Stone Mysteries. Also, he is a short story writer and an author advocate. James is the creator of the industry blogs: The eBook Author's Corner, the HBS Author's Spotlight, and the HBS Mystery Reader's Circle.


Starting over 15 years ago, he helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars. 



In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to ebooks and their development.



He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published three books: Black Mountain Secrets, Game of Fire, The Cajun Ghost and Operation Alpha Dog, a collection of short stories all featuring Jonathon Stone, CIA undercover agent. 
 



Connect with James:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Operation No Sanctuary is NOW AVAILABLE at Amazon: only 99 cents
 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: DR. BOB RICH




ABOUT THE BOOK

1850, a small town in Australia: Glindi, an Aboriginal woman, gives birth to a daughter, the result of a rape by a white man. She names her Maraglindi, meaning "Glindi's sorrow," but the girl is a joy to all those around her. She has the gift of love.

During her short life, she encounters everything intolerant, cruel Victorian society can throw at people it considers to be animals. She surmounts the savagery of the white invader by conquering hate with love. Even beyond death, she spreads compassion, then she returns a second time, with an ending that will touch your heart.

Maraglindi: child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and instrument of love.

This meticulously researched book of historical fiction is very relevant to our modern times, when hate and discrimination are becoming the norm once again.


WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:

“I loved the story, didn’t want to stop reading it.” -Writer of Australian historical fiction Margaret Tanner

“Dr. Bob Rich’s powerful work, while set in the past, is deeply relevant today, as we witness hatred and prejudice spread by persons in powerful places, through the power of modern media. We need you, Maraglindi! Come, Guardian Angel!” -Florence Weinberg, author of exciting, true-to period historical crime mysteries

Guardian Angel is a book I would not hesitate to recommend, not just as a story that describes the racial discord of earlier times, but also as one that holds out a hope that things can be different. We live in times where hate is rearing its ugly head once more, so we need stories like this to remind us that hate can be overcome, not by violence and more hatred, but by love and acceptance.” -Max Overton, award-winning writer in multiple genres including historical fiction


LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH BOB RICH


A few of your favorite things:
 
Grandchildren. I have a few in my family, and great-grandchildren too, but I also have hundreds of grandchildren I’ll never meet. This is because they send to me, or publicly post, cries for help like “I want to kill everyone in my school except for 2 people,” or “Why does everyone hate me?” or “Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill myself!” I get adult cries for help, too, but sadly, so many are from youngsters. I reply, and often my words make a difference, and we become email friends. You can see many q&a examples in my monthly newsletter Bobbing Around.
Things you need to throw out: 
Greed that’s wrecking our world; hate, discrimination, fear of the Other; all the cruelties and idiocies of our global culture. I want to replace this with a global culture that brings the best out in human nature: compassion, empathy, cooperation, decency.


Things you need in order to write:
 
1. My laptop computer, which seems to be grown to me. You see, I can’t read my own handwriting, and can type about as fast as I can speak, and nearly as fast as I can listen.
2. I also need being busy at many other things to give my inner creativity time to do my writing for me. You can read about how I cheat on being a writer here. Instead of doing it myself, I subcontract the job to Little Bob, who lives inside my head.
Things that hamper your writing: 
1. Being busy at many other things. They say you get busier when you retire. Well, I’ve retired 5 times from 5 different occupations, and the busyness multiplies rather than adds. 
2. Marketing. I actually know how to do it, but . . . as a teenager, I tried out being a salesman. I lasted one day, with no sales made. At the moment, more of my time than I like is consumed by telling the world about my just-published book, Guardian Angel because so far everyone who reviewed it has loved the story.
I have entered Guardian Angel in Amazon UK’s Storytelling contest. The first round is judged on sales, ratings, and reviews, so I’ve priced it at the minimum Amazon allows: 75 cents . . .  for now. So, I’d really appreciate a purchase, a quick read, and a review, especially at Amazon UK.

Things you love about writing:
1. This is like asking “things I love about breathing.” It keeps me alive. When I get stuck in my writing, or when the sticks and stones of the world get in the way so I don’t have the opportunity to write, I get grumpy and impossible to live with. Of course, when I am caught in a creative frenzy, I get grumpy and impossible to live with.
2. My characters. I invent them in the first place, but then they take charge. They come up with things I’d never dream of. For example, one 19-year-old fellow said to the supreme ruler of his people, “Life is too short for the seriousness it deserves.” I would never have thought of that! In my about-to-be-published story “Hit and Run” my 14-year-old multiple murderer is explaining to his little brother about deciding to do things differently: “Our way is, if there’s a wall in the way, we knock it down. But usually there’s a door, and it’s easier to walk through that, like.”
Things you hate about writing:

It means I need to have a computer because I can’t read my own writing. It requires me to be busy at many things to give my creativity a chance, and these get in the way of writing. It means I need to promote my books, and because now 16 are published, I really need to run in 16 different directions at once. I wish I was an artist so I could draw myself running in 16 different directions.

Things you love about where you live:
I share it with my ex-girlfriend. When I was a young fella I was very shy and depressed, a lost puppy looking for a home, and she took me in. We’ve just had our 50th wedding anniversary, and the silly woman still likes me and laughs at least at some of my jokes. For the rest, I do my best to practice Buddhist equanimity, which means that you can be content regardless of what’s around you. Muslims have the same concept with Insha’Allah. Acceptance of God’s will is also central to Christianity. So, I could be happy in a cave in the desert – as long as it had internet connection and room service (and my wife of course). But, in fact, I live in a beautiful part of the world, except that industrial civilization is doing its worst to wreck it with things like clearfell logging, and the cancerous growth of suburbs, and invasion by multinational corporations that starve local small businesses.
Things that make you want to move:
Absolutely nothing. As Pip, the narrator and hero of my novel, Ascending Spiral said, “As long as you take it with you, you can enjoy being miserable anywhere.” It’s the inside that counts, not where you put it.

Words that describe you:
1. People accuse me of being a square peg in a round hole. This is false: I am a fractal-shaped peg that makes its own hole. Sorry if you have to look up “fractal.” I’ve never been able to follow other people’s instructions or directions, but do things my way.
2. I am a citizen of the universe. As far as humans go, there is only one race: the human race. Every living being is precious to me, with the possible exception of mosquitoes.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
I am a human on planet earth. Next time around, I want to be in a very different kind of body. If you want to understand what I mean by this, you’ll need to read Ascending Spiral but here is a spoiler: there I describe two of my previous lives. In one, I was a space flower: a planet-sized, long-lived being whose pleasure is creating beauty. My most recent previous life has been as a walking, intelligent plant on an entirely different planet. Both of these have hugely superior bodies when compared to humans.

Something you’re really good at:
If someone else can do it, I can learn it. I got this insight at 21 years of age, and it was the start of my healing from severe trauma during infancy and childhood.

Something you’re really bad at:
Doing things right the first time. Part of that trauma was my stepfather’s opinion of me: “If there is a wrong way of doing it, or even if there isn’t, that boy will do it that way.” What made it worse was that he was correct. I still stuff up the first time at anything I try. But by the fifth time, I am good enough to teach other people how to do it. Several of my very successful books are “how to” instructions, including Woodworking for Idiots Like Me. All this is described in my award-winning biography, Anikó: The stranger who loved me.

Something you wish you could do:
I’d love to be able to play a musical instrument well, and to draw and paint. I’ve tried all of these, and got so far that I could play a few nice melodies on the piano, but such things are not easy for me. I draw with words.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
There ain’t no such animal. All knowledge is useful, even if you never use it. All skills are necessary even if you never practice them. Learning is growing, and inherently valuable. One result of this attitude is that I am good at trivial pursuit.

People you consider as heroes:
I am not a Catholic, or even a Christian, but I love Pope Francis. I am not a Hindu, but I love Gandhi, not an African but I love Mandela and Tutu. I am a different kind of Buddhist from the Dalai Lama, but I love him.
There are lots of others as well, of course. I have a category of “people who inspire” in my monthly newsletter, Bobbing Around.

People with a big L on their foreheads:
Trump, Putin, Assad, Filipino president Duterte, North Korea’s little boy Kim – all the leaders of hate, suppression, destruction are high on my list. I don’t hate them, but surely hate what they are doing.
Same for Muslim terrorists – and all those who discriminate against Muslims because of the actions of a tiny minority.
The self-described “Christians” who go against the words of Jesus and preach hate.
And if this is too political for you, it’s my opinion, not yours.


Things you’d walk a mile for:
I used to run more than a mile for no reason at all, as a form of meditation, and as an antidepressant. For years, I ran 100 miles a week, training 3 hours a day. When you burst through the pain barrier, you reach a space with no time, no thought, a zone of flow. Of course, there is a price to pay. I am now seriously considering a second hip replacement, though I am determined not to have a third one.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
Opera. I hate shrieking and bellowing, which spoils the beautiful melodies. If they could only sing without all the artificial put-on vibratos and stuff, at a reasonable volume, something like folk singers or Joan Baez!

Things you always put in your books:
Writing.

Things you never put in your books:
In paper books, I never dogear a corner to mark the space, because my mother was a bookbinder by trade, and she trained me to look after books. But then, I do my best to read everything electronically, because in our crazy world they murder trees to make paper. Why not use annual plants like bamboo or hemp, and agricultural waste like straw?

Favorite books (or genre):
By the time I was 17, I’d read every book in the school library and the local public library. I haven’t stopped since. So, there are too many to mention. Dick Francis is probably my favorite author. I wish he was still alive to write a new book a year. I’ve read everything Isaac Asimov wrote, including his science textbooks and enjoy occasionally re-reading The Belgariad by David Eddings and the four books by Tolkien.
From time to time, I also enjoy re-reading the books I’ve written. This is dangerous, because I always want to make revisions.

Books you would ban:
Every piece of writing has hidden messages: the unvoiced, perhaps unthought, philosophy guiding the writer’s life. I refuse to read books the extol accumulating possessions; cruelty; putting down a person because of race, religion, sex or trivial physical characteristics like pimples or body shape or whatever. I expand on this here.

Things that make you happy:
Happiness is not a concept I value, because it is transient, and depends on things out of my control. Anything better than my current average is happy, what is worse is unhappy. So, instead, I aim for contentment. It is possible to be content in the worst hell, even while struggling to get out of it, or merely to stay alive.
I get contentment from daily meditation, from looking at the beauty of nature and the creations of the best in humanity. Watching young children gives me joy, and I love to play with them and make them laugh. I get a kick out of setting myself a goal and exceeding it (does happen sometimes). But the best is when I can do something that makes someone else’s life better, especially if I can keep it a secret. This is the Jewish concept of a Mitzvah.

Things that drive you crazy:
Well, nowadays that’s too strong a description, but making mistakes used to be a surefire trigger for depression, and as I’ve said, I’m really good at making mistakes whenever I try anything new. Nowadays, when I make a mistake, I exhibit a 5-second explosion, then laugh at myself. Then I think about how I should have done it, and if possible have another go.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Bob Rich is an Australian storyteller with 16.5 published books, 5 of them award-winners. Retired from 5 occupations, he is now mainly a professional grandfather who wants a future for all the kids of our world, and a future worth surviving in.

Connect with Bob:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Amazon Australia  |  Amazon UK



Hey readers! Bob is happy to give away a book to a person who comments.
 Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Guardian Angel.