Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rebecca A. Stelly

Author, Rebecca A. Stelly.
When I was a student struggling through school, my favorite subjects were social studies and history. These lessons resembled stories and involved less actual work than reading, math and writing - which I loathed. Yet it was my writing projects that seemed to impress the teacher when nothing else would. I loved letting my mind wander off on all sorts of adventures, but I really hated having to write them down.

It wasn’t until the last question on that final test - the test that would net me a diploma - that I realized how much my attitude towards writing had changed. I was told to, “Write an essay about something you once hated but now love.” That something was writing. I was given thirty minutes to finish and scored higher than most of the others taking the test.

I wrote several practice novels after graduating, all dealing with magic, and often starring creatures that mainstream media dismissed as “sidekicks.” I eventually started a blog, and there found an audience willing to tell me which of my ideas they thought were the best. This improved my work immensely, but I’m most grateful for those friends and family whose efforts make this job easier.

Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write Enthralled?
While visiting New Orleans, I noticed many of the shops along Bourbon Street had second floors that seemed to be used for storage. I wondered what could be hiding up there, behind those darkened windows, left over from a time when things like slavery and prostitution were legal in the city. The zombie slave is a staple of local folklore. I feel it neatly embodies the exploited soul.

I like to find new ways to present old ideas, or in the case of “Enthralled” ,old ways to present new ones. We have taken the vampire (originally a monster) and re-imagined it as a hero. Then we took the zombie ( originally a helpless slave) and re-imagined it as a monster more horrible than any of the rest. This intrigues me. I’d like to give it back to the zombie.

In the past and present century, zombies have been a topic writers have chosen with varying degrees of success. Instead of the pop culture concept such as in “Night of the Living Dead”, the zombie in “Enthralled” is based on the Haitian definition of a zombie as being a corpse who has been reanimated and controlled by magical means. Were the particulars about Sam’s idiosyncrasies based on research findings or your imagination as the author?
Both. I’ve done some research. I’ve read some accounts over the years. The role of salt in my story is based on beliefs as well as accounts of how zombie slaves were supposedly controlled. Sam’s obsession with following orders to the point of self injury is just how I chose to interpret the idea of a creature that literally lives to serve. Grave mites, however, are my own little pets.

What is your preferred genre of writing?
I prefer to work with fantasy, horror, mystery and suspense, as well as with combinations of the three. When dabbling in non-fiction, I prefer subjects that are unusual, and people who challenge the concept of normal. In short, I am far more interested in what a thing could be, than what it simply is.

What do you think makes a good story?
I like a good mystery from an author who isn’t afraid to cast a few spells. Combining mystery and fantasy means anything can happen. Then there is the ending. Ideally, it should be even better than the beginning with a twist or two that leaves me wanting more!

What does audio production bring to your story?
I think it brings portability and convenience to people who would not otherwise have the time. Audio production opens an exciting new door for me, a door I thought was closed to all but musicians. I look forward to having people not just read, but also listen to my stories on their hand held devices.

Do you have other published works or plans to write any novels in the future?
I have a blog - I post a lot of my material there, from humorous articles about renegade art (Bohemians at Large) to short stories and serials. I am also pretty good with colored pencils; I often use my original artwork to illustrate my articles.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently in the process of publishing a picture book. “To the World Above” is a deep sea adventure about a fish creature who learns to explore the surface world in a vehicle called an Ultra Marine.

Published Works

To the World Above (Picture book - due out in the coming year.)
RUST (blog novel)
Burlap Cat (blog serial)
Oscura (blog serial)
Red House (blog serial)
Bohemians at Large (blog humor articles.)


eBook Release Date: 12-23-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nancy Cole Silverman

Having worked both sides of the desk when it comes to print and broadcast media, Nancy Cole Silverman says she has to credit her twenty plus years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for story telling. “Radio has clearly been my muse from the time I first stepped into a newsroom as a young intern and pounded out a news story on an old Smith Corona typewriter, with an anxious news editor breathing down my neck,” Silverman says.

As a graduate of Arizona State University (1972) with a degree in Mass Communications, Silverman said she learned broadcast news depended not only upon getting it right, but getting it right in record time and in a format that people could understand instantaneously.

“I was fascinated by radio, everything from news reporting to the late night radio plays that depended upon great delivery and even better writing to paint a picture in the listeners’ mind. In those days, I literally ate it up, jumping the desk, form the talent side to the business side just so that I might one day break the glass ceiling and manage a station. You have to know that in those days, there were no women managing radio stations, and I couldn’t imagine a better career.”

Then came the broadcast mergers. “Merge and purge, I like to say.” Radio stations everywhere, from the once small independently held properties to the then larger broadcasting groups gobbled each other up, and seasoned executives like me were suddenly looking for what’s next.”

Silverman said it was then that she returned to her print journalism roots, founding The Equestrian News, in 2001, a southern California specialty publication targeting the nation’s second largest equine market. “That’s when I really began to write, toggling my time between news for the newspaper and fictional stories I’d been playing around with for years.’

Today Silverman is working fulltime as an author and living in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce Silverman. Silverman’s first novel, The Centaur’s Promise, was published 2010 by Eloquent Books, and she is currently seeking an agent for a second novel, while working on a third, in additional to a series of short stories for an anthology entitled, Whispered in the Western Wind, Western Stories with a Feminine Twist.

Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write The Salvationist? If so, tell us about it.
For years I knew there were letters from my Great-great Grandmother about her trips to Bisbee as a young Salvationist in the late 1800s. Those letters remained in a box, untouched until 2010, when I had an accident and felt I needed to start something new. I suppose I was looking for some form of courage and went upstairs and opened the box, and I was amazed. I mean, here was my Great-great Grandmother, a tiny little woman, probably no more than 20 some years old, headed out into the middle of the desert in a startup mining town with a group of Salvationists. The letters were amazing, full of strength and courage and unbelievable attitude. It was as though she reached right through those letters and told me I could do anything I wanted to do.

The Salvation Army’s beginnings in the United States began around 1879. Although your story is fictitious, could it be considered an analogy of an event in that movement?
Actually, yes. I was very careful to research as much of the movement as I could. I found it particularly interesting to learn that women were paid equally for their work and an unmarried woman could and did find work with the Army.

What is your preferred genre of writing?
I enjoy writing fiction, and I try to do a lot of research as well for everything I write even though my stories are largely fictional. I think it’s important for the reader to feel they are learning something and I always look for ways to include facts that bring the story alive when I write. I think if I can make reader believe the story might be true, then I’ve done my job.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
The most challenging part of writing is also the most rewarding and that is learning to trust the process. Sometimes I can sit down and know the direction the story is going and other times I may only have a vague idea. I’m always surprised when the story takes a twist and I have that, ‘ah-ha! Moment.’ It’s wonderful.

What does audio production bring to your story?
As a former radio person I love radio. The sound of a voice sharing a story is an ancient art and one that binds us together while at the same time opening the minds of listeners one on one. It’s both intimate and universal.

Are you planning to write any novels in the future?
Yes. In 2010 The Centaur’s Promise, was published and since then I’ve finished a second novel and I’m currently working on a third.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a novel entitled, The Freemen Are Coming!

You have stated that you worked in Radio. What was the most exciting task you performed?
I retired from radio as a general manager of a sports talk radio station. I consider this to be my greatest feat as I am NOT a sports babe!

The Centaur’s Promise, Eloquent Press, 2010

The Sunshine Sisters Move Home – Publisher: Rainstorm Press, No Rest for the Wicked Anthology - Release date: May 2012

Red Handed, Publisher: - Release date: January 2012

Ode to Kokopelli, Publisher: - Release date: TBA


Release Date: 10-14-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Release Date: 7-8-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Release Date: 5-13-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Troy Lee Henderson

Troy Lee Henderson was born and raised in Warsaw, Indiana. After earning a degree in fisheries biology from Ball State University in 1986, he moved to Miami, Florida where he has worked on a tropical fish farm since 1987. He has had an interest in writing since grade school, pursuing it mainly as a hobby. He has published several articles along the way and made contributions to various club newsletters. His other interests include gardening, sailing, hiking, and a host of other outdoor activities. He currently resides in Palmetto Bay, Florida with his wife Roxanne, cat Squeaky and leopard tortoise, Willy.

Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write Eathed?
Years ago I watched some program or movie on television in which the premise was all the old fairy tale characters were being forgotten and fading away. This gave me the idea of the last dragon and the last dragon slayer meeting up in their dotage and trying to fight but instead just falling about because of their frailty. The idea stuck with me and the rest of the story grew around it over time.

The story is in a British setting, anywhere specific?
This falls under the category of “write about what you know.” This story is rooted in European folklore and could be set almost anywhere in Europe, but because I’m most familiar with British language and culture, I chose to set it there. Beyond that, I had nowhere specific in mind.

Do you consider young adult or children stories your preference?
Young adults, definitely. With older kids you can write with greater depth and more complexity than with pre-teens.

What is your preferred type of writing?
Folklore based fiction. It’s such an enormous palette. It can run the spectrum from real life on the one hand to magic and mythological beasts on the other. And such stories can span thousands of years of human history.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Constructing that first draft. Revisions often take longer, but it’s that first draft that makes you sweat.

What does audio production bring to your story?
I think most stories are best when heard. It harkens back to the days when all stories were heard, not read or even written down, for that matter. When orated well, a good story is mesmerizing, like staring into a cozy campfire.

Are you planning to write any novels in the future?
I have ideas for three novels, none of which are directly based in folklore, by the way. One of these days I hope to crank one out. It took breaking my foot to slow me down enough to get “Eathed” ready for publication.

What are you currently working on?
Since finishing “Eathed,” I’ve gone back to some earlier stories and started retooling them.

“Shelburn Watershed Lake 1985 Fish Management Report”
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
“A Tankfull of Teeth: Gars in the Home Aquarium”
Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine
Various articles for gardening, kayaking and sailing club newsletters.

Release Date: 5-2014, Mind Wings Audio

Release Date: 12-2013, Mind Wings Audio
The Hill Brothers Trilogy, Book 3

Release Date: 12-23-2012, Mind Wings Audio
The Hill Brothers Trilogy, Book 2

Release Date: 12-26-2011, Mind Wings Audio
The Hill Brothers Trilogy, Book 1

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Author Terry Rich Hartley on Whisper

1. The story Whisper was your third novella since returning to fiction writing. MP3 download listeners are showing great interest in this particular story. To what do you attribute the surge?
"Whisper seems to have a mystical quality that captivates listeners’ imaginations. Perhaps more importantly it’s a story of redemption. The protagonist, Larry Grady, is deeply blemished; indeed, he is close to incorrigible. Yet, when backed into a corner, Grady chooses altruism over self interest. Most of us like to think we can overcome our own flaws when it really counts, and the novella plays on that theme. I also credit Nick Landrum’s spellbinding reading. He’s an excellent storyteller who could keep any group wide-eyed around a campfire."

2. Your psychological thrillers are unique and also reflect some type of psychological disorder about the character or characters in the story. In Paranoia it was paranoid schizophrenia, in The Ditchrider’s Daughter—it was claustrophobia, and in Whisper it was obsessive compulsive disorder. Whisper, the story of a grifter, read by Nick Landrum, contains some common characters that one would expect in street life, yet the way you presented them and the way they were performed by the narrator gave a fresh perspective to them. There was also a lot of dark humor. The ending for me was not seen exactly as it turned out but I thought it was right. What was your intention for the listener to come away with in Whisper?
"A feeling for the complexity of human personality. Larry Grady’s dominant behavior was sociopathic to the core, but he wasn’t just filling some cosmic role. Using flashbacks, I illustrated powerful forces that shaped his character, from his mother’s drug addiction to the parade of sordid men in his formative years who taught him that human beings are prey to be had. When Grady finally settles down long enough to actually get to know—and admire—other people he sees an entirely different dimension of life. When you hear or read dark humor in this or any of my stories you’re catching a glimpse of me. It’s the way I see life."

3. Was there any particular inspiration for Whisper and/or the characters in the story?
"No one particular thing or event inspired the story. I’ve ventured into the Madison Valley many times and the setting is stunning. So the setting provided the macro dimension for Whisper. The micro dimension came from my own interest in human behavior. Somewhere along the line my brain decided to drop an obsessive-compulsive person into the Madison Valley and let things rip. Regarding the characters, in my life I’ve known saints and sinners, flim-flammers and killers, academics and ditch diggers. Every single one of them had multidimensional personalities, not the black and white you so often see in movies. You could say I have an inventory of human cognitions, emotions, and behaviors stored in memory and I stitch patterns from them to form individual characters."

4. Are any of the stories based on your work as a research psychologist in the past?
"Not directly. However, that work along with journalism and all other experiences of mine add to that inventory I mentioned in the previous answer."

5. Are you working on any manuscripts now? Do you plan to continue writing novellas?
"I just wrapped up a 131,000 word draft for a novel—working title: Blood Pond, Idaho—and I’m busy cropping and tightening it before seeking an agent. It’s a techno-thriller influenced by the works of Michael Chrichton, but obviously told from my own slant, which includes technologically induced mental disorders. As to novellas, oh yeah! I’m about a third the way into a draft tentatively titled Midnight Ride to Forever. Additionally, a sequel to Whisper has been gnawing away at my fevered brain since the day the ink dried. I’d love to hear recordings of both one day. And if that sounds like a shameless self promotion, I’ll plead guilty but at the same time humbly thank everyone who helped make Whisper such a success."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Author Jack Bates on The Butcher's Heir

The very popular 1-Hour Audiobook Harry Landers, Private Investigator Series’ first episode was published in December, 2008. The Butcher’s Heir was the sixth published episode in August, 2010, and since January of this year, it has become extremely popular with MP3 download listeners. To what do you attribute the surge for this particular episode?
"I've had people tell me they thought I was hitting my stride with Landers in this particular story. I think I started to move away from Harry being a pastiche of other better known PI characters. Plus, I practically have him eaten by wild boars. I read once where there has to be a dead body in a detective story otherwise it fails as crime fiction. Mumbly Peg had everything but that, so Harry had to move into a darker world. It's a natural progression."

In The Butcher’s Heir the son of a long missing union president, Lane Shanks, turns to him for help, and private investigator Harry Landers delves into a mystery that spans two decades. The story is reminiscent of the disappearance of Teamster Union Leader Jimmy Hoffa—that is what I thought about when I listened to it. Was that the intent?
"I was a kid growing up in Detroit as the story developed. It's become part of the Detroit folklore. You drive by the restaurant where he was last seen and can't help but think of how many times it was on the evening news or in the papers. Plus, I grew up in a union house and an extended union family so the disappearance was a major topic at family gatherings and during dinner. The story just kind of became the basis for hiring Harry. When I first started writing it, I was calling it The Udjat Eye and tried to draw a correlation between Egyptian myths and the case. It was very heavy handed. I wisely followed my editor's advice and wrote what I knew."

Your story has its own compelling path and findings in solving the case, keeping listeners plugged-in throughout. What was the inspiration for the various characters?
"Characters start to unfold for a writer. Harry investigates problems, so there has to be people there for Harry to question, react off of, follow. Most often, one character will suggest Harry talk to someone else. Other times I know I need for there to be someone at a certain point in the story so I'll work my way to him or her. A friend of mine who has risen to be president of his local union once told me when we were both rank and file that absolute power corrupts. I've seen affairs happen, political infighting, broken friendships. It all helps to create unique and interesting possibilities for fiction."

In this story, Harry experiences physical assault—something in the past he has avoided when possible. I don’t want to spoil the story so I won’t elaborate, but is Harry going to be more physical in solving cases in the future?
"Yes. In fact, in the latest story I've submitted, Meatballs and Murder, he's a lot more physical."

Do you plan to continue writing the Harry Landers, P.I. series?
"Whenever an idea strikes me, I'll try it out as a Harry story. He's three years older than when I first started writing about him so he's developed from the kind of milquetoast slacker into a guy who is discovering the world he's put himself in isn't open and shut."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Carrie Knowles

Carrie Knowles started writing promotional materials and radio spots for WXYZ Radio in Detroit when she was a sophomore in college. After about a year she left the radio promotions and became a feature writer for a new Michigan sports magazine called Competitive Breed. After classes on Friday afternoon, she covered drag car, speed boat and motor cycle races, including interviews. On returning home late Sunday evenings, she’d stay up all night writing articles. On Monday mornings she would hand in her copy then presume her life as a student at Wayne State University.

After graduating from WSU in 1971 she took a job with an ombudsmen column, Contact 10, at the Detroit News. The next spring she moved to Chicago and freelanced. In 1978 she moved with her husband to Raleigh, North Carolina.

During more than 40 years of freelancing Knowles has written hundreds of articles, been a book reviewer for the American Library Association, a restaurant reviewer for the News & Observer, and published dozens of short stories and essays as well as a non-fiction book about Alzheimer’s: The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s (Three Rivers Press, 2000).

Throughout her years of freelancing, her favorite work, by far, has been writing radio spots. Audio books seemed like a natural progression. Knowles says, “Besides, all my characters ever do is talk and occasionally shoot a gun.”

In addition to writing, Knowles teaches an ongoing critique class at her studio--The Free Range Studio and Gallery. She is also an artist and the director of the international music festival: Cross Currents Chamber Music Arts Festival.

Carrie Knowles lives in Raleigh with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.

Is there a back story to the writing of Shoot Me, an actual incident or event perhaps?

We were invited out one night to have dinner with a friend and her husband. The friend’s mother was visiting from Ohio. She was a lovely eighty-something woman who had recently lost her husband. As the evening went on, our friend prompted her mother to tell the story about a robbery. About six months after her husband died, a gang of burglars, who had a rather successful business of stealing antiques from out of state then selling them in New York, broke into her house. She was home at the time.

They were surprised to find her. They had never encountered anyone at home before and didn’t quite know what to do with her. In the end, she fought with them and they hit her and knocked her out…but not before she memorized the license plate of the van they were driving. She showed us the seven stitches she had to have in the back of her head where they hit her with the butt of a gun.

She was very proud of being the one who helped break up this successful ring…the police had been trying to catch them for almost four years. It was a great story but what impressed me most was how, in her telling, it was clear that at some point in the incident she let go of her fear of dying. And, in that moment, became more alive than she had been in her grieving over the loss of her husband.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

I really didn’t decide to be a writer as much as I gradually realized that I didn’t know what else to be. I didn’t know how NOT to write. Not writing just didn’t ever seem to be a viable option.

What is your preferred type of writing?

I write both fiction and non-fiction and have for many years. They are the same to me. Whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction, you are working to reveal the emotional truth of a story.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

Having the courage day after day to sit down and dig at the emotional truth of a story.

What do you think audio production brings to your story?

I love the sound of words as well as the tradition of story telling. I also like how when you listen to a story being told you have to really listen. My father was blind and spent hours listening to audio books. Sometimes we’d listen to them as well. I loved how you had to concentrate to pull the story together…how you couldn’t cheat and read ahead to the ending and how, if you closed your eyes, you could see the story unfold. It was fun to listen with Dad, to know that we were both “seeing” the same story.

Are you planning to write any novels in the future?

I’m just finishing work on a novel set during the early 1960s about a husband who was a soldier during WWII and silently suffers from PTSD and a wife who cannot find a place for herself within their marriage. It’s a story about failing at marriage and at parenting and how through failure we often find out what is important in life.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a play about an unforgiving relationship between a Jewish mother-in-law and a Christian daughter-in-law.


Alzheimer’s: The Last Childhood, Research Triangle Publishing, Fuquay Varina, NC, 1997. ISBN 1 884570 67 4. Describes the real life battles family members fight with Alzheimer's.

The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s (expanded, revised version of Alzheimer’s: The Last Childhood) Three Rivers Press (trade paperback imprint of Random House), New York, New York, 2000.

Cardinal: An Anthology of North Carolina Writers, Edited by Richard Krawiec. Jacar Press, Wendell, NC, 1986. A short story: "The Jungfrau.”

At Our Core: Women Writing About Power, Edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz. Papier Mache, Watsonville, CA, 1998. A poem: "The Power."

Through a Child’s Eyes: Poems and Stories about War, edited by Victor Klimoski and Samuel Torvend. Plain View Press, Austin, Texas 2001. Memoir: “A War Journal.”

Long Story Short:Flash Fiction by Sixty-five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers, edited by Marianne Gingher. University of North Carolina Press 2009. A short story: “My Family.”

"Reflections On My Fight For The ERA." Southern Exposure, January/February, 1983

"Naturally My Way." Mothers Today, July/August, 1985

"Never A Dark Year, Never A Dull Moment. The Raleigh Little Theater." The Arts Journal, November, 1985.

"Spaces and Places: A Design for the Arts." N.C. Arts, August 1986.

“To Market, To Market," Taste Full Summer 1992.

"The French Kitchen," Taste Full Fall 1992.

"Pot au Feu, French Stew," Taste Full Winter 1992.

"Malted Love," The Independent, March 3, 1993.

"The Only Child," an article about living with Alzheimer’s, The Sun, August, 1993.

"Unplugged: Writers' Rights on the Net," The Independent, March 13, 1996.

"Antiquing in Raleigh," Interludes, inflight magazine for Midway Airlines, September 1996.

"The Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge," Interludes, inflight magazine for Midway Airlines, October 1996.

"Gifts From The Heart," Better Homes and Gardens, December 1997.

“Vessel of Hope,” Duke Medical Perspectives, Spring 2000.

“A Bow to Midlife,” The News and Observer, April 9, 2001.

Reviews in poetry, and the social sciences for Booklist, from 6/78 until 2/79.

"Parts." Beyond Baroque, 1973.
"Hunter Falconer." Northern Pleasures, 1982.

"Witness To An Execution." Village Advocate, 1984.

"The Widow Maker." A Carolina Literary Companion, 1985.

"The Black Siamese Twins Meet Queen Victoria." The Sun, March, 1990.

"Swimming Through The Catacombs." NCWN Fiction Syndication 1990 91.

"Selling Fish." First Place, Very Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, November 1998.

“Are You With me?” The News & Observer, September 27, 1998.

“The Hound.” The News & Observer, February 4, 2001.

“My Family.” Long Story Short, 2009.

"Bones." Bitterroot International Poetry Quarterly, 1973.

"In Spring Dying Is Absurd." Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, 6/17/1973.

"Without Rhyme." Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, 5/28/1974.

"Small Songs #1.” Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, 12/29/1974.

"The Dream Machine." Wee Wisdom, 1974.

"Dance Movements." (4 poems) Mati, 1976.

"My Name Is Dance." Salome, 1976.

"City.” New Earth Review, 1979.

"Winter Dialogue." The Poet, Autumn 1980.

"Putting My Hands Into The Fire." Windhover, 1981.

"White Anglo Saxon Protestant Work Ethnic Mother/Country Guilt." Windhover, 1981.

"They Were Rubies." Hyperion, 1980.

"Family Album." Hyperion, 1980.

"Things Grow Here That I Do Not Know." Hyperion, 1980.

"Southern Gardens." Hyperion,1980.

"Motherhood Innocence." Jump River Review, 1981.

"We Live To Sleep, Sleep To Wake." Jump River Review, 1981.

"Caught In Your Arms, Your Laugh." Jump River Review, 1981.

"Unmade For Days." Jump River Review, 1981.

"Seasons Pass." Jump River Review, 1981.

"Playing The Past In Present Tense." Voices International,1981.

"Ovulation Overtures." Women, A Journal Of Liberation, 7:3.

"On Naming," and, "The Pelican." Durham: A Living Anthology, 1987.

"Take Us To Heaven Jo nathan." The Carolina Quarterly, 1998.

"The Power." At Our Core: Women Writing About Power, Papier¬Mache Press,1998.

5/85 to 11/86: Monthly special food feature for the News and Observer writing cooking and travel related food articles.

5/87 to 12/89: Food Editor of The Leader, writing monthly restaurant reviews and a weekly dining column as well as special feature work.

8/89 to 3/90: Regional Correspondent, Southpoint Magazine, restaurant and entertainment reviews.

1/93 to 8/95: Dining critic for News and Observer.


Published: 4-2011, Mind Wings Audio

Friday, February 5, 2010

Victoria S. Johnson

Victoria S. Johnson enjoys writing short stories, novels and poems, as well as reading them. She takes pleasure in road trips, and seeing the beauty of the country. Victoria also spends time assisting the elderly and handicapped people in her community.

Was there any particular inspiration for Ninety Days?
I actually did go on an interview with my right arm in a cast. During the interviewing process, one of the places I went to, had a full size bronze cast, of a foal in the lobby. I've never forgotten it, and it worked well with the story line.

Do you prefer writing romance stories?
Yes, I have been reading or trying to write romance novels for quite some time. I also enjoy murder mysteries, westerns, and audio-biographies.

What do you think makes a good story?
Making the characters believable, showing not only their good points, but also their faults, and idiosyncrasies. Also, when possible put in some historical facts about the time period, or particular city or place. I think it helps the reader to visualize how things were when your writing about the past. One of my favorite authors Ann Perry, does a marvelous job of bringing the sights and sounds of 18th century London to life.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
I have to admit, that punctuation is something that I need to be constantly correcting.

What does audio production bring to your story?
It gives a actual voice to the characters, brings the listener closer to the story line, and enhances the plot.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
After reading The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck. She opened up the mystery of far away China, as well as the people who lived there. I still have the book, and read it about every five years.

Are you working on any stories or other literary works at the present?
Yes. I am working on a short story called Mama Lu's trunk, written in the time period of the early 1900's. And a romance suspense novel called Brandi Wine, written in the 1850's. I also have a nice compilation of poems that I've been writing since 1970.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I am an avid walker. I also enjoy hiking around Arches, and Canyonlands.

Published: 2-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Terry Rich Hartley

Dr. Terry Rich Hartley is a former research psychologist, psychology professor, and journalist who has recently returned to his first love of fiction writing.
In the early 1980s he sold seven science fiction stories and worked as a writer and copy editor for the Twin Falls, Idaho, Times-News. He then went to The Glens Falls, New York, Post-Star, where he earned two first-place awards for his satirical column and a third one for business/finance editing by the New York State Associated Press Association.
Among Hartley’s academic achievements are a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Skidmore College, a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a postdoctoral fellowship in biological psychology from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.
In the 1990s Hartley was a research psychologist at the Behavioral Sciences Labs in Oklahoma City and, from 2000-2005, an adjunct assistant professor in the Boise State University Dept. of Psychology.
He’s an avid outdoorsman who currently lives in Idaho’s Hagerman Valley along the Snake River with his wife and their Labrador retriever.

Was there any particular inspiration for Paranoia on River Road? Yes, the story came about as a convergence of my own experiences in Idaho’s Snake River Canyon, my interest in psychology, and my tendency toward free association, where I’m always asking, “what if,” and then letting my mind fill in the blanks. I also was inspired by Stephen King’s novella, “Secret Window, Secret Garden,” in which he masterfully created a character suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. What emerged in “Paranoia on River Road” was a story revolving around a schizophrenic man who was failing miserably to hide from his past.

You say you've been away from writing for quite some time. Was it difficult for you to get back on track with writing fiction?It was brutal. Years of writing grants and research papers had locked me into a stiff, formal style of communication. Additionally, I’d grown accustomed to justifying every written statement with supporting evidence. Somewhere in the midst of starts and stumbles on “Paranoia,” I had to stop and ask myself what I like in fiction. To be entertained, that’s what! And to be entertained honestly. Events in the story have to seem like they could actually happen within the universe of the tale being told. In other words, they have to stimulate my willingness to suspend disbelief. That self Q&A broke the ice and allowed me to actually enjoy the creative process of fiction writing again, something I hadn’t done since the 1980s.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Creating realistic characters. Readers don’t want stick figures wandering across the pages, they want to feel what the characters feel. Or, at the very least, cheer them or jeer them for their qualities and imperfections. The process of characterization tends to start rather laboriously for me, and then the fictional people gain lives of their own. The most gratifying part of the process is when they actually help write the story. If I could just teach them to use the keyboard . . .

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?At the tender age of nineteen when I was reading Robert Ruark novels. Many years passed before I made some honest attempts to learn the craft. I was in my early thirties when I sold some science fiction stories, then began working for newspapers so I could continue writing and eating at the same time.

What is your preferred genre of writing?Psychological mystery. From my view, that provides considerable leeway in which I can exploit anything from mental pathology to the mildly paranormal, or even horror.

What do you think makes a good story?Fear. Fear creates tension. What writer doesn’t strive to create tension? What reader isn’t captivated by it? I’m not talking strictly about horror or something earth shaking. This can be fear of anything that can be lost: love, power, honor, youth, wealth, esteem, and so on. Of course, fear of death is the biggy that every human being with a developed cerebral cortex possesses. Ergo, death—or the threat of it—is good in fiction.

What does audio production bring to your story?In a way it brings the entire concept of storytelling full circle. Homo Sapiens, the storyteller, spun out verbal yarns long before written (chiseled?) ones enthralled people. Radio dramas were popular before Howdy Doodie ever put his mug in front of a camera, and today busy people can enjoy audio versions of stories even while driving. As with print, I like the fact that people can form their personalized visions of my characters. Unlike print, they can do that even if they’re visually impaired or maybe just too busy to sit down and read. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to create a market for the combined efforts of writers and voice experts.

Are you working on any stories or other literary works at the present?Indeed. I have written a second audio, “The Ditchrider’s Daughter,” and have a shorter story, “Whisper,” in the submission process to print media. I have another short story or novelette—not sure of the length—formed mentally and will start on it very soon. A full-length novel is also running around “up there,” but I want it more completely gelled before putting a word to paper.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?I’m a voracious reader, and I like to do just about anything outdoors: landscaping, hiking, fly fishing, and doing comically amateurish nature photography. I also spend an inordinate amount of time spoiling my Labrador retriever, Sampson.

See special interview on Whisper's rise in popularity.

Fiction Publications:

"Armageddon Yellowstone: Hell Unleashed," novel, published 1/26/2012
“Last Old Man in Casanaland,” short story, quarter-finalist, Writers of the Future Contest, 1985
“Ten Points Toward Blastoff,” short story published in Pandora, 1985
“Shark Destiny,” short story published in Far Frontiers, 1985
“A Christmas Hazing,” short story published in Christmas Magic, 1984
“Alternative Realities,” short story published in Christmas Magic, 1984
“An Orchid for Lisa,” short story published in Orion’s Child, 1984; eBook available online
“Brain Twisters,” short story published in Pandora, 1983

Published: 4-2013, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 2-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 11-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 5-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 2-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Non-fiction Publications and Honors:
Dozens of scientific journal articles and free-lanced pieces too numerous to list.
"Tyrants of Self-Concept: Ruling the Rullers," published: 2/16/2012
1987: First Place, Columns, NY State Associated Press Association
1987: First Place, Business/Finance Editing, NY State Associated Press Association
1988: First Place, Columns, NY State Associated Press Association

Monday, December 21, 2009

D. B. Clifton

D.B. Clifton is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, retired and currently living just across the Ohio River in Covington, KY. He attended Northern Kentucky University where two of his short stories appeared in Collage, the university’s literary review. Recently his work has appeared in the anthology, Not From Around Here, Are You?

Was there any particular inspiration for The Last Watcher?
I initially intended to write a typical Twilight Zone/Poe-esque thriller; something I’d never done before. Along the way, it morphed into something a little different.

The setting of the story is in Bulgaria, did you spend some time there or have friends or family there?
A few years ago I visited Bulgaria’s neighbor, Turkey, and was captivated by Istanbul--which I mention in the story. But I thought that Eastern Europe lent itself more to the nature of the story, so I tried to incorporate both by using the link between Bulgaria’s capitol city, Sofia, and the great Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

The story ends with the tone of another event about to happen. Do you plan to write another or maybe several episodes regarding the last watcher, Brother Philotheos?
I’ve considered that, and have a couple of ideas percolating. I do intend to give it a try.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
I sort of grew into it. In first grade, our teacher always made sure to have a little time at the end of the day when she could read to us from Bullfinch’s Mythology. I was weaned on Hercules, Theseus, and Odysseus. I even began with the oral tradition like Homer, and made up stories to tell my friends. Writing came as a natural next step.

What is your preferred genre of writing?
I’m drawn to literary fiction. I trust the reader to be able to see through the various depths of a good story.

What do you think makes a good story?
Well developed characters, of course, a compelling source of conflict, and a realistic arena in which to fight it out. And the main character or characters must change in some significant way, whether for good or ill.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Rewrites. Not that I have trouble doing them. I have trouble stopping. I constantly go over my work, and will agonize over a turn of phrase or individual word almost forever. I’m getting better at finally holding up my hands and saying, Okay, that’s it.

What does audio production bring to your story?
It did make me think more about the staging, and especially the pacing of the story. After Mind Wings Audio accepted The Last Watcher for production, I turned a slightly different ear to the revisions I made on the path toward the final product.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m an avid reader with very eclectic tastes. But I do like to get out, especially into the wilderness. I hike, and enjoy rock climbing whenever I can find someone to go with me. I’m also a political news junky, and lately that keeps me very occupied.

Other Published Works:

ANGEL OF THE WAL-MART BIG-N-TALL - Short story - Not From Around Here, Are You? - Oct., 2008

REVELATION 20:13 - Short story - Collage - May, 1982

YOUNG METHUSELAH - Short story - Collage - May, 1981

In the last few years, I have completed two literary novels, as yet unpublished, and recently won 1st prize in the local Kenton County Library’s Halloween writing competition with my short story, SAFETY IN NUMBERS.

Fiction Publications [Available as Audiobooks & eBooks]

Published: 11-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 10-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 5-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 12-2009, Mind Wings Audio

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wayne Zurl

Wayne Zurl was born in New York and worked for twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department on Long Island where he gained investigative and supervisory experience. For thirteen of those years, he served as a section commander.

During the Vietnam War, Zurl served on active duty with the U.S. Army and later went into the Reserves.

He graduated from Uniondale High School in New York and Empire State College at the State University at Stony Brook, New York. Thanks to the G.I. bill he later studied everything from sociology and public administration to celestial navigation.

After retiring from the police service, he and his wife, Barbara, moved to Tennessee where he volunteered at The Fort Loudoun State Historic Area and dealt with publicity for their living history program.

The volunteer position inspired him to study more and write about the French and Indian War era of colonial history. Over two dozen of his articles have been published in magazines.

In 2006, Wayne Zurl began writing his Sam Jenkins Crime Stories. Jenkins is an ex-New York police officer now employed as the chief in Prospect, a fictional small East Tennessee city. Zurl says Jenkins and he share similar experiences, probably sound the same, and both enjoy good Italian food.

He is currently a member of The Next Big Writer, an on-line workshop.

You’ve stated that Chief Sam Jenkins’ crime cases are based on incidents that occurred during your employment with the Suffolk County, New York Police Department. Does Jenkins’ role in the story reflect you when you worked for the Suffolk County PD?In most cases, yes. These stories are not autobiographical, but I’ve taken cases from New York and transplanted them into Tennessee. Many times I embellish them so they’re more readable. Real police work isn’t always as exciting as we make our stories. Occasionally, I’ll take an aspect of Tennessee life or a recent incident and weave those into a story, too. Sometimes I composite several incidents into one fictional case. I think if you write about your own cases, you can recall and recount the emotions you had at the time. That adds a touch of authenticity.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
Three years ago I decided I’d try fiction as a creative outlet. It seemed a lot easier to store a bunch of novels and stories than oil paintings or model airplanes. As part of my job, I always had to write something, certainly in the police department and even in the Army. When your written word may be the only part of you a senior officer sees, it’s important to make your reports look good and create a favorable impression. I’ve always tried to do that.

What is your preferred genre of writing?
Remembering the maxim of ‘write what you know,’ I think I should stick with police or detective stories, but I think I’d like to try a western sometime. Most of my stories take place in the 21st century, but at times I can’t help myself and I make something sound like an old-fashioned hard-boiled detective piece.

What do you think makes a good story?

About fifty years ago I read a theory that there are only eleven basic plots which can be written. I try to make an interesting plot based on actual incidents and other elements needed for a good story. But I think character development is the most important thing in any story. If a character lacks that certain something that grabs a reader and makes them care, either love them or hate them--depending on their role, the best plot in the world won’t make them like your book or story.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Sometimes I get caught up remembering a police incident I really liked and I want to write about it. I have to think up a good way to convert an actual incident into something readable. Also, I had to get over my habit of writing fiction like a report. Reports must say everything; everything isn’t necessary in fiction. I like the ‘arrive late, leave early’ way of presenting fictional scenes. In a police report you’d get crucified for doing that.

What does audio production bring to your story?
When I write, I try to envision a character. I can’t formulate their actions or their speech without seeing them – as you can in a film. I write with a lot of dialogue. It’s important each individual has their own voice or dialogue sounds phony. The professional actors who read the audio books do a fine job of giving each character a unique voice. I’m amazed how well they can do that. They make a story come alive.

Are you working on any stories or other literary works at the present?
I’ve just finished the sixth novel length Sam Jenkins story and had it critiqued by other authors from an on-line writer’s workshop. Everyone seemed to like it enough that I’ve been encouraged to send queries to agents or publisher. I haven’t had any luck selling my first novel to a conventional publisher yet, so I may try the last one first. After that I have a western partially planned out, or if I’m struck by some great idea or inspiration, I’ll work on that.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’ve always liked to travel, from the time the Army sent me around the world to the trip we have planned for next week. Photography goes well with travel; I do a lot of that. I also read a lot of general fiction and some non-fiction about Colonial American history, specifically the French and Indian Wars.

Wayne Zurl - Published Works:
Non-fiction magazine Early American history articles with Muzzleloader magazine, Smoke & Fire News, and The Leathercrafter’s Journal
Former staff writer with Buckskinner magazine -- wrote feature called Cooperstown, regarding fiction of James Fenimore Cooper; and other articles

Zurl's first novel-length Sam Jenkins book, A New Prospect, published January 2011 by Black Rose Writing. Learn More at

Author Interviews/Reviews:

The Daily Times on Bullets Off-Broadway
Blog Talk Radio
Jessie Ferguson of Swamp Lily Review

Published: 6-2014, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 6-2014, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 4-2014, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 12-2013, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 6-2013, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 4-2013, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 2-2013, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 12-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 8-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 1-2012, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 9-2011, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 6-2011, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 2-2011, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 12-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 9-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 7-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 4-2010, Mind Wings Audio

Published: 11-2009, Mind Wings Audio