Summer is technically over, so why are we still getting this heat? As I sit here and type this to you, it's a mere 94 degrees heading toward evening hours. Now that the children are back in school (or almost for some), have you decided what you'll do with all that extra spare time? I have a suggestion or two. Yes, I bet you can imagine that I'll tell you to read. You are correct. I'll start with not-so-ashamedly marketing my own work for your perusal. If you haven't yet read my Ivanovich series, now's a good time. You can go http://www.QueenWriter.com to find out what the series is about and where to get it. But, don't stop at my books, check out the two featured authors below. They are my two picks for the fall (other than mine of course!).
I'm still editing for ARR Editing. That keeps me busy as well. As do my duties at Suspense Magazine. You can stay more up-to-date with my frivolous (and important) news simply by following me on Twitter and checking me out on Facebook and on Goodreads.
Enough about me for the time being. Let me show you my fall picks. Read the Features below.
Donald Allen Kirch lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he writes every day, with the exception of Christmas Day and his birthday. Born in Los Angeles, California, he has lived in 22 states and visited 32. His interests are history, Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, and the study of Strange Phenomena. In 2004, he had the opportunity to stay at the famous "Sallie House" in Atchison, Kansas, where he was attacked by a ghost. Visit his website to see more at website: www.donaldallenkirch.com.
Just a bio is rather boring, so I thought I'd throw a few questions his way. Listen to what he has to say (and don't miss my comments):
Starr for QueenWriter (QW): Tell us a little bit about yourself. Something that readers wouldn't see in your bio.
Donald Allen Kirch (DAK): There's an interesting story about my birth my mother always told me. I was originally born triplets. However, the other two were stillborn. There had been an earthquake during my birth, and my mother said that I had an unusual birthmark which looked like a little Jewish cap. It dissapeared without a trace after my fifth birthday. A nurse who was Jewish thought I was the Messiah. Think about it: I was born "three" symbolizing a trinity, I was born during an earthquake -- a rather loud way to announce a birth, in Los Angeles "City of the Angels," and on the day gold was discovered in California. Not to mention the fact that my family name is the German word for "church." The nurse tried to convince my mother and dad that I was "the chosen of God." My mother finally said, "Lady, if the Jewish Messiah's going to be born, I assure you it won't be to a Catholic family!" But, my mom was known for her own "tall tales." (Smile) Whether it's true or not...I can't say. I have always considered it the most "unusual" part of my life.
That was an interesting piece about Donald. Shall we start calling him the 'chosen'? That's up to you.
QW: How did you become interested in writing? Is it something you've always wanted to do or is this more of an adult career choice?
DAK: We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so I was always the "new kid" in school. I was shy and awkward, and not really that good at sports, so writing was my way to shine. I used to write stories and share them with the class. They all seemed to like them, and I got hooked on the idea of creating more. I would love to write full time. Writing defines who I am in my eyes. I couldn't give it up if I tried. I love it more than the act of breathing.
And Donald, if I say so myself, you do it well. Keep writing, please.
QW: You show an interest in the paranormal. Can you tell us what aroused this interest? Was it one thing that happened to you?
DAK: I do believe that there is more to the world than what science has to offer. Do not get me wrong. I am a logical man, but logic should never eliminate mystery. To do so is to ignore the very elements of life. I became interested in the paranormal when I was around thirteen. There was a TV series called "In Search Of..." Each week it would come on, and for thirty minutes I would escape into the wonderful mysteries the series' host, Leonard Nimoy, would offer. From ghosts to unsolved crimes, it was the best! I had a lot of fun with the show. Later, I became a paranormal investigator, and have had my share of encounters with things that go bump in the night. And...yes...I do believe in ghosts.
So, Don, what were the encounters? Maybe we'll get an answer in the next interview?
QW: Your website boasts of four published novels, and two novellas, one of which is serialized. Do you write short stories and if so, do you have any published?
DAK: I have tried to write short stories, but they keep growing on me. Short stories are hard for me because, simply, I do not know where to stop. Not that I haven't tried. I have one short story of less than a thousand words entitled "I Am," but the subject matter is so controversial that I feel it could never be published. It is the story of what goes through an unborn child's mind during an abortion. Too hot for this day and age.
Personally, Don, I know you can do it. I'm hoping to see some short stories soon. I'm sure your readers would as well.
Don trying to look serious, but not quite making it.
QW: I see you have a degree in Radio and Television Arts. Have you worked in this area? How did you get started and what does it involve?
DAK: I am licensed to operate radio equipment in a studio, video editing, and copyrighting. I love to create interesting commercials and did well at it, but the pay was not that good. Still, it has helped me with my communications skills...I hope.
Okay, I'll go out on a limb and say, yes, it has.
QW: "Manchester House" has stayed in my mind since I've read it. Can you tell us what spurred this book?
DAK: Manchester House was inspired by a ghost attack. I am quite possibly the only writer of my genre who can claim to have been attacked by a ghost. Back in 2004, I was doing research for my novel and wanted to get involved with some real ghost hunters. I knew of a house in Atchison, Kansas called "The Sallie House." I knew of it when it was called "The Heartland Haunting" on Fox's series "Sightings." So, when offered a chance to go, I went!
Our team just had a weird experience in the nursery, and I had been traveling down the staircase, heading back into the kitchen, taking notes. Suddenly, I felt a pair of very adult hands grab me by the shoulders, and a pair of child's hands grab me by the ankles. This caused me to pause. All at once, the adult hands pushed and the child hands pulled. If it had not been for my instincts to push against the wall and staircase, I could have tumbled down the stairs. Very scary stuff! Later, I ventured into the hole in the basement, behind the furnace -- got scratched up on my neck and arms -- never felt a thing. Only knew it happened when a female on our team pointed it out. Freaked her out more than me.
There was also a cameraman who got so sick, that we never saw him again. Don't know why, or what he felt.
Oh, here is the answer to the 'encounter' question above.
QW: What type of research do you do for your novels? For instance, "The Christ Project" seems like it called for quite a bit.
DAK: The Christ Project is my favorite book. Most of the research required understanding of genetic makeup, religious faith, and history on the Shroud of Turin. There were characters in this book that haunted me, and took me almost a decade to finish. In the end, it's a story we will all face in our life: Are we the property of "The State," or free souls created in the image of God? In these troubled times, when evil things are being done all in the name of religion, how would we all react if "The State" took away our fundamental need to pray?
Some good questions here. Some that will problem remain unanswered.
QW: What's on your agenda now and in the future? Do you have a new book release you can tell us about?
DAK: I have two new books coming out soon, and a two more next year! Later this year "The Lurker War" will be released. "The Lurker War" is the sequel to "The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight," a fantasy. Also "Marley: The Other Christmas Carol" will be out in December. Ever wonder what happened to Jacob Marley AFTER he helped Scrooge? Well, now you'll find out. Also, I just signed on for my first mainstream historical book entitled "Selznick's Folly." It's a fictional account on the making of "Gone With the Wind." In 2012, both "Selznick's Folly" and my final installment of the "Ka-Ron the Knight" series will start out the year. "The Return of Ka-Ron the Knight" promises to be quite an exciting read! I am pretty busy right now. :o)
Wow! It sounds like you're quite busy getting things out there for your fans and readers.
QW: What is your least favorite thing to do? One that you have to do on a regular basis.
DAK: My least favorite thing to do...I HATE turning off my computer and going to work. I have yet to make a separate peace with my J-O-B.
That sounds familiar. I'm sure many authors, including myself, feel the same way.
QW: You live in Missouri. Tell us one thing you hate about the state and one thing you love.
DAK: I love living in a state where such famous people as Samuel Clemens, Dr. Seuss, and Brad Pitt came from. But like most people from Missouri, I hate the weather. There's an old saying, "If you don't like the weather in Missouri wait ten minutes."
Famous people come from Missouri? Who would have thought? Well, Don, when the weather gets too much, just put the computer screen in front of you and forget all about it.
Thank you, Don for taking the time to speak with me. You are an interesting and very talented man. But I'm sure your readers and fans already know all this!
Don is not the only talented author. Check out Vicki:
Born in New Zealand, Vicki Tyley immigrated with her husband to Australia in 1982. She has traveled extensively, spending a year touring the world before terrorism was an influencing factor. She has lived in the central business districts of large cities, suburbia, idyllic seaside locations, rural areas, bushland, and remote desert mining camps. In the lead up to her writing career, she worked in a multitude of different industries including banking, stockbroking, importing and wholesaling, human resources, mining, hospitality, civil engineering, and toys, in predominantly accounting, IT and management roles. All these life experiences are brought to bear in her writing. Based in rural Victoria, Australia, Vicki Tyley writes fast-paced mystery and suspense novels in contemporary Australian settings.
Now, here are some questions to clear up some mysteries about Vicki:
QW: I noticed on your website you won a children's short story contest. How old were you? What kind of story was it?
Vicki Tyley (VT): My memory is hazy (very), but I do recall I was in primary school, which means I can't have been any older than ten years old. The story involved water and stepping stones, but that's about as much as I can tell you. I wish I'd kept a copy - the magazine it was published in is long defunct - but at that age, you don't tend to think about stuff like that. Or at least, I didn't.
I wouldn't either. My own earlier beginnings of a manuscript when I was fourteen is lost to this world.
QW: You have an eclectic professional background. You mention that health prompted you to finally realize your dream. When did this vision of writing start? Was it when you won the children's short story contest or even before that?
VT: Save for a few isolated flashes and what others tell me, I have little memory of my childhood, but one thing I am certain of is that I've been in love with books since I learned to read. For me, writing was simply a natural extension to reading, a desire to take the baton and run with it, so to speak. Even though I dreamed of writing for a living, I was also a realist, so consigned the idea to the "if only it were possible" basket. That's until I realized that life was too short for if-onlys.
Well said. I echo that sentiment.
Vicki is looking right at you. The eyes are the gateway to the soul. No more mystery.
QW: You write in the mystery genre. Have you tried your hand at any other?
VT: No, but that's only because I write what I prefer to read. I don't read widely enough outside the mystery/thriller genre to feel confident penning, say, a fantasy. I really admire those who can write across the genres, though.
The only way to try is...well, to try. Come on, Vicki. I know you have it in you!
QW: What is one thing-ie. Character trait, style, voice, etc.-that you carry through all of your novels?
VT: That would have to be voice. Although, if you'd even asked me what voice was ten years ago, I think I'd have been hard pushed to tell you. Now, I recognize it as an expression of the writer on the page, as unique as a fingerprint. My novels vary in tone and style, but they are all unmistakably Vicki Tyley mysteries.
They wouldn't be you if we didn't hear 'you.' Voice is important. Take for example this newsletter. If you think that's all I wrote and the only 'voice' I had, you'd think I was nuts!
QW: Many authors state a particular character in their book(s) reflect a trait of their own. Do any of your characters show a trait belonging to you?
VT: I guess if I had to pick one, it'd be determination. I'm not someone who gives up easily. I like to think both my protagonists and antagonists share this trait, albeit with different agendas.
Determination is good. How about taking some of that and trying a new genre? Just askin'. :)
QW: Is there one book or one author that stands out in your mind that may have influenced your writing?
VT: Along the way, many writers have influenced my writing, but if I'm ever asked whose writing mine aspires to, I usually say Erica Spindler. Her writing style is clean, yet engaging, and a pleasure to read - all goals in my own work.
Those aren't goals anymore, Vicki. I think you're realized them. And I do agree with you about Erica.
QW: Other than your website and your blog, is there other marketing you do? What is it?
VT: Word-of-mouth and reviews are my main tools, but for additional exposure, I also invest in a few paid sponsorships/advertisements. Most recently, I've dabbled with Goodreads pay-per-click advertising, with varying degrees of success. Hooking the reader with 140 characters or less can be a challenge.
I also spend time on Kindle Boards, but except for the Book Bazaar, I don't consider it marketing, more a place to socialize with like-minded people.
Feedback is always helpful. Goodreads is not a bad place to advertise. I do it myself there. Marketing can take up a lot of time. Even though it's vital, personally I'd like to spend more time on my writing, but if I don't market, people may forget about me (as if!).
QW: The 'always' questions: What's on your agenda now and in the future? Do you have a new book release you can tell us about?
VT: I've just released my fourth novel, Fatal Liaison: The lives of two strangers, Greg Jenkins and Megan Brighton, become inextricably entangled when they each sign up for a dinner dating agency. Greg's reason for joining has nothing to do with looking for love. His recently divorced sister Sam has disappeared and Greg is convinced that Dinner for Twelve, or at least one of its clients, may be responsible. Neither is Megan looking for love. Although single, she only joined at her best friend Brenda De Luca's insistence. When a client of the dating agency is murdered, suspicion falls on several of the members. Then Megan's friend Brenda disappears without a trace, and Megan and Greg join forces. Will they find Sam and Brenda, or are they about to step into the same inescapable snare?
My plans for now and the future are simple: keep writing. I'm about to escape on holiday/vacation, but I'm already toying with ideas for my next book.
That's sounds like another great novel. I for one can't wait to read it. 'Keep writing' are words to keep close to the heart.
QW: Tell us something fun about you that readers wouldn't get a chance to know.
VT: I love picnics. Especially in the bush/forest, where the only sounds and smells are of nature. Doesn't matter whether it's rain, hail or shine, I find time spent in the bush both relaxing and energizing.
'In the bush' must be an Australian term? Picnics are a lot of fun.
Vicki is looking right at you. The eyes are the gateway to the soul. No more mystery.
QW: If you have three wishes (rub a genie's bottle), what would they be?
1) My first wish has nothing to do with writing or books, but love, happiness and health for my loved ones and myself has to come top of any list.
2) The ability to write faster. When it comes to writing, I'm definitely in the tortoise camp. I can't even type as fast as some writer's write.
3) To earn enough income from my writing to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.
I think you stole my three wishes, Vicki. Now, I'll have to go back to the genie and see if he'll give me new ones.
Vicki, thank you as well for speaking with me. Your work sells itself. It's amazing. Check Vicki and her work out at www.vickityley.com.
So, there you have it. Two great authors. Please stand by...Other great authors will be in my next newsletter. I can't say if they'll be as wonderful as interviewees as Don and Vicki, but...You'll just have to read it to find out.
Until next time...
Now, what in the world am I doing? Those who know me, understand my passion for the written word. It's not just about what I accomplish, but about my fellow writers as well. So many people have helped me get where I am and because of that, I am doing the same. Hence, the reason I am part owner of ARREditing.com. With this company, we offer people the ability to get professional editing and critiquing services at a much more affordable rate than what most companies offer. I would suggest you at least check out our website at www.arrediting.com and see what we offer and the low prices we do it for.
*****About "Deadly Decisions"
"Deadly Decisions" is crime-driven novel interwoven with drama, suspense, wit and edge-of-your-seat action.
Trouble and misery can be part of life's ordeals, but for Ivanovich and Mancini they are everyday concerns. After his debacle of a life in "In the Name of Revenge", Pavel Ivanovich tries to find a new direction. Instead, his days are upended with the constant turmoil of drama with Teresa Mancini-the spoiled daughter of a mob boss, wanna-be agent and Pavel's girlfriend-thrown in the mix. Bullets fly, bombs explode and people get hurt.
Ivanovich's existence is an entire commotion of murder and mayhem, including a near-death experience and many other, narrow escapes while Mancini tries to become involved waist-deep in every one of Pavel's cases.
Travel with Pavel as he continues with crime-ridden, investigative cases while Teresa 'tries' to help him in "One Major Mistake", the third in the Ivanovich Series, coming soon.