Featured Author – Tracy Lawson

2013_12_17_Tracy_Portrait_69(1)Tracy Lawson is my guest today and she will tell us all sorts about everything and anything. 🙂 This is one author who isn’t at a loss for words!

Hi Tracy, welcome. Make yourself comfortable because I’ve got some questions for you. I’ve heard you’ve always wanted to be a writer. A statement most writers can claim as theirs, but why? Why do you want to write, or rather why did you want to write?

Lucy, this first question was by far the hardest to answer. Why did I want to write? When I was very young, grandmother was my sitter while my parents both worked. During the day, my grandparents and my uncle were around to read to me, and in the evenings, my parents read to me, too. I memorized all my picture books long before I was old enough to actually read them. Suffice to say, I was very focused on books and stories. I managed to completely ignore numbers until I started kindergarten.

Fast forward through my school years, during which I read voraciously and garnered praise for my writing. I was sure that I would someday be an author. I had notebooks full of childish stories, but somewhere in my adolescence the flow of ideas slowed to a trickle. In college, I took several creative writing classes in which I did not excel, but instead struggled to find my voice. I didn’t have anything to say, and I feared my dream of being a writer was slipping away.

Why did I want the insecurity, the angst, the highs and the lows of writing that sometimes occur within an hour of each other? I have no idea. All I know is that flow opened back up when I was in my mid-forties, I jumped on the opportunity, and worked harder than I’ve ever worked to attain a goal. Seeing my first book on the shelf in a brick-and-mortar store was…well, let’s just say the security camera probably caught me doing the happy dance in the aisle. Now, as I await the release of my first novel, I realize I had no choice. I had to write, and I can’t seem to stop.

If you weren’t an author now, what else would you be

If I weren’t writing, I’d probably teach tap dancing. Seriously. I’ve been a dance instructor and a choreographer for twenty years, and although I no longer teach in a studio setting, I still choreograph the musicals at Bexley High School, my daughter’s alma mater. I’ve done sixteen shows at Bexley, and love that I can stay in touch with that creative side of myself. If I had to choose something completely new and different, I’d want to restore old houses.

What do you feel are the qualities that earn a book an award?

The books that earn awards entertain and enchant us. They have compelling, well-crafted plots and action that keeps us turning the pages. Award-winning books have characters worthy of our concern, whether we love them or hate them, and writing that draws us so completely into the experience that we cease to be aware of the writing itself.

Can you explain what a contact-paper bound book is?

When I was in elementary school, we were encouraged to write and illustrate little books. contactpaper bound booksLegions of stay-at-home mothers volunteered to type the stories and bind them by machine-stitching them onto cardboard that had been covered with patterned contact paper or scraps of wallpaper. The finished books were meant to be keepsakes. I still have a few around here somewhere!

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or in your life?

I’ve never been a coffee drinker, so none of the writer memes about coffee apply—though I do drink tea when it’s cold outside. My go-to snack when I’m writing or revising is roasted sunflower seeds and diet Dr Pepper. The floor under my desk is always littered with shells!

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

I’m not much of a chef. My husband does most of the cooking because I worked evenings for many years, but I do make a mean chicken enchilada quiche. Here’s the recipe:

2 refrigerated pie shells

4 eggs

½ cup milk or half and half

1 ½ cups crushed tortilla chips

12.5 oz. can chunck chicken breast in water, drained

8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

4.5 oz can diced green chiles

1 cup medium picante sauce

½ teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350

Beat eggs and milk together, then stir in other ingredients, divide mixture and pour into two pie shells. Sprinkle tops with pepper

Cover edges of pie crust with aluminum foil and bake for 55-65 minutes or until crust is golden brown and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Let stand ten minutes before serving

Garnish with salsa and sour cream. Best with margaritas!!

Nom! Sounds like one to try myself.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

Counteract is my first novel. It’s a coming of age thriller about a girl, a guy, the terrorist attack that brings them together, and their race to expose a conspiracy that could destroy their country. It’s scheduled for release August 2014.

SONY DSC


The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense, created in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks on the US in the late 2010s, has implemented Restrictions to protect the people—no gatherings in places like stadiums or shopping malls. No public grocery stores, where food might have been tampered with. No personal vehicles which could be used as weapons. The OCSD bullies the executive and legislative branches of the government into agreeing to whatever new Restrictions they deem necessary, because, after all, “it’s a small price to pay for your safety.”At the opening of the story, the OCSD announces that a deadly poison has been released into the atmosphere, where it literally hangs over everyone’s heads until the terrorists responsible choose to activate and detonate it. Mass casualties are expected—unless everyone immediately begins to take the Counteractive System of Defense drug (CSD). Three drops of the antidote, ingested daily, will neutralize the poison. Tommy and Careen, the eighteen year-old protagonists, are too young to remember life before the Restrictions, and of course they queue up to receive their bottles of the antidote. But that’s when their troubles begin.

Careen’s worked hard to win a scholarship to college. Why is it that, when she takes CSD, she has strange hallucinations, forgets to attend class, and wakes up in unfamiliar places? Tommy’s recuperating from serious injuries sustained in the accident that claimed his parents’ lives months before. But when he takes CSD, he neglects his physical therapy, spirals into despair, and believes he’ll never get well.

Both teens flounder in their confusion until they meet—on the day of the feared attack. Careen’s run out of her antidote, and Tommy shares his last dose with her, even though doing so could potentially hasten his own death.

Did you have any difficulty coming up with the title?

The book had several other titles before I hit upon Counteract. I like the title because it’s a verb that suggests the many twists and turns in the story. Early on, CSD is touted as a way to counteract the effects of the toxins in the air. Later, Tommy and Careen have to figure out a way to counteract the conspiracy that threatens everyone in the country.

Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?

I love being an author, and I love talking with students about books and writing. Sometimes I’d like to be able to ask for help when I’m wrestling with a plot issue, but ultimately, the answer has to come from me.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

I love to talk to people about writing and books. If I could sell each copy individually, I would, but that’s pretty impractical, so I worked with a great web designer to create a website dedicated to the book Counteract long before I found a publisher. Visitors to the site can download the first chapter of Counteract and also get a look behind the scenes. There’s a playlist of music that reminds me of the book, photos from the day we shot the cover art featuring the glowing vial of CSD, and my blog, where I tell about my experiences writing Counteract, and also write articles about YA and dystopian books. When I post to the blog it goes out on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and there’s a noticeable spike in hits to the website.

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written for a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

Why didn’t I write today? I was answering all these interview questions! Just kidding. That’s not my real answer. How about this scenario, which actually happened earlier this month:

(Wake up at 8:00 am) Woohoo! I can write for a few hours until lunch rehearsal at school.

(Check email) Snow day? Nooooooo….

(Look outside) Five inches of new snow.

(9:30 am Call theatre teacher, who was at school until 2:00 am the night before painting scenery) “I’m only here for the week! I had a lunch rehearsal with Rachel and William to learn their featured tap dance before we set the big chorus number in rehearsal after school…We can’t rehearse in the building until the snow stops and the superintendent clears us? OMG. Let me call my old studio and see if we can book space in the tap studio there.”
Text students: Can u meet me at BalletMet if I can get studio space? That way we can learn Mr. Cladwell feature before this afternoon.

William: Yes

Rachel: Can I get a ride?

William: I’ll come get u

(10:00 am Telephone dance studio and speak to new receptionist) “Hey! It’s Tracy. I used to teach tap there, and I was wondering if Studio E is available for an hour, oh, about 1 pm?”

“Miss Pat does the scheduling and she’s snowed in at home. I can call her and see if that’s ok.”

(Get dressed and wait for phone call that never comes. Go out to shovel front walk. See condo association fees are actually good for something as front walk has already been shoveled.)

(12:00 noon Get call from theatre teacher) Superintendent says we can practice at school! Hooray! And dress rehearsal for the middle school show that opens tomorrow night is also a go!

(Text kids and tell them to meet me at school)

(Leave at 12:15. Well, almost) Get to garage only to find condo association snowplow guy has dumped eight foot mountain of snow partially blocking my garage door. Thank my stars my next door neighbor’s car is gone. Make 20-point turn in 1997 Chevy Blazer to angle out of garage. Slip and slide down secondary roads to school. What should be a ten minute drive, tops, takes twenty. Park as close to curb as possible and break path through virgin snow to high school’s front door. Swipe ID card through reader. Access denied. Stand alone in snow and curse the polar vortex and cards with fauty magnetic strips. Students arrive. All stand in snow and curse the polar vortex and cards with faulty magnetic strips, then slog through the virgin snow until we find a way into the building. Kids lead me on circuitous route through upstairs hallways to avoid security gates. Arrive at rehearsal room in school 1:15 pm. Learn tap dance.

(2:15 pm) Oh man. It’s only an hour til the chorus shows up to learn the rest of this number. Did I really forget to eat? Decide to go to deli short distance away. Deli is closed because of snow. Continue down sloppy road to Subway, amid heavy traffic. Travel approximately two miles in 35 minutes. What was I thinking?

(3:00 pm) Order sandwich to go. No time to sit and relax while I eat. Arrive back at school late for my own rehearsal.

(3:30-5:30 pm) Conduct choreography rehearsal for 40 students amid bites of turkey sub. Epic dance number involves rolling office chairs, tap dancing on a desk, money bags, scientists with goggles and beakers, and big kick line finish. Thank everyone for coming. Truly surprised and grateful that, despite the adverse weather conditions, only three kids were missing from this important rehearsal.

(5:45 pm) Is it really that late? Dress rehearsal for the other show starts in 30 minutes? Find emergency Power Bar in bottom of dance bag. Consume with diet Dr Pepper.

(6:15 pm) Settle in to seat in theatre to watch fifty fabulous sixth, seventh, and eighth graders dancing and singing in All Shook Up. Dancing looks almost exactly like I hoped it would.

(10 pm) Scrape new snow off car.

Drive home. Find parking space, as there’s no way I can get past that pile of snow into my garage.

Collapse in bed.

Wow, that sounds like one heck of a reason I totally believe! 

Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. Make me laugh, cry, or even envious. Tell me something no on ehas ever heard from you. Hehehe, love those dirty little secrets, real or make believe!

Given the choice, I’d rather make you laugh! Wow, it’s hard to come up with something no one has ever heard from me before. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m rarely at a loss for words. I think romantic scenes are the most excruciatingly difficult part of writing for teens. I obsess over them and try to get everything just exactly right. But my husband loves when I’m working on one…says he can always tell.

Thank you Tracy, that was it for today. I do hope you’ll want to come back in future if you have any news to share. For now I’ll leave the readers with where they can find you and  that first chapter to download. It’s not that hard to find, it’s Tracy’s website TracyLawsonBooks.com.

 

Life First by R.J. Crayton

AMAZON | AUTHOR SITE | B&N | GOOGLE PLAY | iTUNES

 Strong-willed Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney and give it to someone else.

In this future forged by survivors of pandemics that wiped out 80 percent of the world’s population, life is valued above all else. The mentally ill are sterilized, abortions are illegal and those who refuse to donate an organ when told are sentenced to death.

Determined not to give up her kidney or die, Kelsey enlists the help of her boyfriend Luke and a dodgy doctor to escape. The trio must disable the tracking chip in her arm for her to flee undetected. If they fail, Kelsey will be stripped of everything.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

R.J. Crayton grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (What is a ninja mom, you ask? It’s the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job of mom). Before having children, Crayton was a journalist. She’s worked at big publications like theWichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Her first novels, Life First and Second Life, were published in 2013. The third novel in the series will be released in 2014.

Find RJ on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and her site

Review Turning by Melinda Chapman

cover Turning

 

 

AMAZON

This 54 pages novella has a very nice story premise, but at times reminded me of I am Legend and World War Z. I guess it’s hard to write a zombie flick that is new and exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it and couldn’t find too much fault in it. Here and there a bit tell instead of show and a bit of an info dump, but not that much that it completely drowned out the story. There were a few inconsistencies and the semi-open end with explanation by the author I could have done without too. But, if you are looking for a quick and easy zombie read, and you’re not too demanding, this is the right choice.

 

Featured Author – Sarah L. Wallace

S.L. Wallace in hat resizedToday the lovely Sarah L. Wallace is a guest on my blog. She is here to answer a few of my questions and to talk about her work.

Hi Sarah, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions of mine. I’d like to start with some personal ones to get to know the woman behind the author a bit. Is that okay?

Sure! What would you like to know?

You have a family name that sounds familiar. Why do I think I have heard it before?

Although Wallace is my pen name, William Wallace was an ancestor of mine. If you’ve seen the film, Braveheart, you may recognize the name. He fought for Scottish independence from England at the turn of the 14th century and is often thought of as one of Scotland’s greatest heroes. Here is a brief biography for anyone who is interested in learning more: http://www.biography.com/people/william-wallace-9522479

I know you are a Montessori teacher–I am a great supporter of the idea and even had my son enrolled in a school based on the same ideas in his early years–but can you explain why you chose this education system over what is generally seen as the ‘normal’ one?

I earned my degree as a public schoolteacher and spent my first two years teaching English classes and reading in a traditional middle school. Then we moved to Chicago. That is where I first toured a Montessori school. The child-centered approach to learning drew me in, so I took a huge pay cut to switch from being a traditional teacher to being an assistant in a Montessori classroom. After spending two years working as an assistant, I earned my Montessori degree.

Many people think that all teaching is child-centered, but that’s simply not true. In most traditional classrooms, the teacher is the main focus. In Montessori classrooms, the children are the main focus. The main components of the Montessori philosophy are hands-on materials, which allow even the youngest of children to learn abstract concepts; multi-age classrooms so that children at the same stage of learning can learn from each other as well as the adults in their environment; and a child-centered approach in which the teacher has been trained to observe each child as an individual, take them where they are, and propel them to ever higher levels of understanding.

I’m really glad to have you on my blog and explaining this great educational system to the readers.

Would you as a reader after doing a bit of research opt to enrol your child on a Montessori school?

Now we’d like to hear about your writing!

First, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Let’s talk about Retrospection.

Retrospection final cover

AMAZON

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Yes, did I ever! I even posted a poll on Facebook as well as on my website. I took suggestions from everyone, even some of my students got in on the fun. In fact, Retrospection is dedicated to one of my students: And for Monet, because history is about so much more than names, dates and wars.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

No, I don’t think my book conforms to any particular genre. Even though the dedication makes it clear that it contains some historical fiction. The first part of my dedication is to my grandmother; it gives us a different glimpse into the genre of this book: For my Grandma Gert, who always loved the strange and unexplained. I think of Retrospection as a paranormal historical fiction, but that category simply doesn’t seem to exist. It is not a paranormal romance.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

First, I feel satiated. I’ll sit back and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Later, I’ll remember that chapter and share my tale with anyone who cares to listen. cover canvas skiesFor example, in Canvas Skies (the second book in my dystopian trilogy), there is a chapter where Guy takes Keira to a formal dinner at his parents’ home. The conversation there is upsetting to both Guy and Keira, who are members of the Resistance. When I first wrote that chapter, I was very unsatisfied with it. It just fell flat to me, but I couldn’t figure out why. So I set aside my writing for a few days and just let it simmer in the back of my mind. Eventually, I realized the problem. I had no idea how his parents would react if they ever learned their son was a main player in the Resistance, a movement they are strongly against. Once I figured this out, I was able to imagine these more minor characters and really bring them to life in my mind. Then I scrapped the entire chapter and rewrote it. It is now one of my favorite chapters from any of my books.

What don’t you like about writing?

I love everything about writing, from the planning, to the writing, to the editing. I don’t even mind formatting most of the time. What I don’t like and don’t have the time for is putting the energy into a marketing campaign. With teaching full time, fitting in writing when I can, and spending time with family and friends, I simply have no energy left to market.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Sadly, my books don’t get much attention. The one that has been the most successful is my free book, Price of a Bounty.SLWallace_PriceOfBounty_eFINALclean It’s the first of my trilogy. Pricing it for free has allowed many people who would not have otherwise noticed my books to become aware of my other books, especially the rest of my trilogy. I think some people also discover my books due to my Twitter posts.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

In my books, Keira enjoys drinking wine, and at one point the gang has a lasagna dinner. Oh, and Guy makes Keira an amazing omelet. But no, there’s no constant food or beverage factor in my books. As for me, I consume a lot of caffeine.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

My favorite dish is a pasta recipe I learned about in college. My roommate’s fiance worked at an Italian restaurant, and he taught me how to make it. Way back when, he asked me not to share it, so he wouldn’t get in trouble for giving out company secrets. But I think enough time has passed. Don’t you?

To 10 ounces of cooked pasta, add 2 teaspoons parsley, 1 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. I like to serve it with chicken.

From Chasingfooddreams.com

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

This one’s easy! And it happens all the time.

I woke up bright and early at 5:30 A.M. on a weekday morning. I spent about 20 minutes tweeting and checking my messages, then I got ready for work. I tried to let my daughter sleep as late as possible, so I took the dog out for a quick walk around the block. When I got home, I had just enough time to wake my daughter, help her get ready for the day and pop a frozen waffle into the toaster. After she put on her coat, I got us into the car and handed her the toasted waffle to eat on the drive to school. At 8:00, I dropped her off at early arrival and headed back to my classroom. My work day was filled with teaching lessons, mentoring children, supervising during lunch and recess, and using my prep time to plan tomorrow’s lessons. By 3:30, I was ready to relax, but no such luck because we had a staff meeting that ran until 4:30. After that, I returned to my classroom and prepared the environment by posting the next day’s lessons on the whiteboard and setting out materials. At 5:00, I was in my car heading home. I had dinner with my family, then took my dog and daughter outside to play for awhile before it got dark. When we came inside, my daughter wanted to draw for a while, so I hopped on the computer hoping to accomplish something, anything. But my daughter saw what I was doing and asked to chat with my friend on FB. A half hour later, it was time to get her ready for bed, and I was exhausted. So I sat in bed and read for a little while before turning the lights off and getting some much needed sleep.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please, no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

This isn’t a dirty little secret, but it’s a dream of mine that not many people are aware of. I’ve always wanted to learn to fly. I love the feeling of being high above the ground, just sailing along on the wind itself. Looking down upon the land, from such heights, gives you a panoramic view of a patchwork quilt, filled with the greens and yellows of farmland. Why is it that human activities leave a geometric imprint on the world, when geometric designs are inherently a part of nature? Still, from such elevations, it’s the natural world of lakes, streams, and rivers that interrupt the orderly patterns of humans. My uncle once took me flying in a very small plane. There was room for only four people: my uncle and dad sat up front by the controls, while my aunt and I sat just behind them. Four tiny humans in such a big wide world. And then we flew over the devastation of a tornado. So much destruction, another blotch on that patchwork quilt. Even so, I was hooked from the moment we rose into the air.

That is a great anecdote Sarah! Thanks for sharing so much of you with us. The only thing left for me to tell the readers is where they can find you and your books.

AMAZON | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | BLOG | GOOGLE+ | SITE

Featured Author – Michael Kaye

MichaelKayeToday I feature the incredible Hulk! Erm, I mean Michael Kaye! 🙂 

Hi Michael, thanks for allowing me this interview.

When you think of yourself, can you name a few words that come to mind?

I think the best description would simply to say I am have an extreme Type A personality. I constantly set goals and push myself to achieve them.

Besides writing you work in the technology field, and have great affinity with the economy. Do you busy yourself with volunteer work in any way?

Yes, I have been involved with several charity organization, including holding leadership roles in the local chapters. I believe that everyone should look to find a way to help another human being when possible. If more people helped on another with a hand up, perhaps we wouldn’t have so many abusing government assistance – taking a hand up and turning it into a permanent hand out.

Which amendment do you think is the most in need of your support, and why?

Honestly, each amendment is as important as the rest. I am, however, a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment being a gun owner and active shooter. I believe our founding fathers knew firsthand what a tyrant government could do to its citizenship and the fact that gun ownership ranked number two on the list should mean something to everyone.

Would you rather watch a sitcom or the news?

I am a complete news junkie. I have either Fox News, CSPAN, or Bloomberg on the TV during the day. Although I am a fan of several sitcoms – Duck Dynasty, Gold Rush, Pawn Stars.

Hahaha, I seem to watch Storage Hunters a lot lately, give it a try. Before you know it you go around saying, “Money!” 

Thanks for giving us that little insight of the person behind the author. But you are here to talk about your book, right?

Yes, I would love to talk about my first novel.

So, what is the title of the work you would like to talk about?

The title is The Awakening. It is the first book in a post-apocalyptic series entitled “Oh Sh!t”

The_Awakening_Book_Cover

AMAZON

Did you have difficulty coming up with that title?

Not really, the title and the series name just popped into my head the first time I went to save the document I had started. I have heard from more than one reader through email and direct messages on twitter than the title truly fits the story. Book 2’s title will be The Initial Shock – that title also just came to me, because I was thinking: If this really happened, it would be a complete shock to everyone’s way of life in America. Oh, “Initial Shock.”

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

Well, that is the fun part about being a self-publishing author on Amazon. I don’t have the book listed under Post-Apocalyptic fiction because that is a sub-genre under Sci-Fi fiction. Instead, I chose War Fiction and under Action & Adventure – War & Military. While I have no problem with Science Fiction, as I am a huge Margret Weis – Tracy Hickman fan, I feel that my novel is set in our modern world. The driving point is although my book is fiction at this point; it could very well turn into fact.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

The hardest chapter to write was where I had the main character, John, outside learning skills with the men of the group and I had his wife Cindy and daughter inside working with the woman of the group on a second skill. My copy editor actually made a suggestion that brought it all together and now as I write the second book in the series, I have simply duplicated her suggestion and it flowed so much easier between two different scenes.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

The most attention has been with the help of our own governmental shutdown that has been rampant in the news over the last few weeks. Having a fiction book based on the Economic Collapse of the U.S. dollar and seeing reports almost 24/7 about how a default by the government was highly possible has raised interest on the topic. Also, being a preparedness novel, having it released in September – National Preparedness Month and giving it away in remembrance for both 9/11 dates, I think kick started sales. In addition, I actively use social media and advertise on two popular preparedness web sites. Finally, the work that you do, with your blog, also is a huge help for authors – I have been interviewed by 3 or 4 blogs, 3 podcasts, and 1 radio station thus far. Every single time an interview is released, it helps with bringing attention to the book, so THANK YOU! For doing what you do with your blog.

*blushes* Thank you Michael. 🙂 It’s my pleasure, but let’s not talk about me.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

I am not a heavy drinker, but four things keep reappearing in The Awakening – Macallan’s 18, which is an 18-year-old scotch definitely appears multiple times. Another item would be John constantly having a Diet Dr. Pepper in his hand. Although not a food or drink item, another item that seems to be consumed a decent amount of time in the book are fine Cuban cigars – which I do admit, I love a good cigar.

What is your favorite dish and can you give me the recipe?

My favorite dish can be found at Besh Steak in New Orleans. It is the 32 ounce bone-in rib-eye cooked medium rare, a side of uncut green beans steamed then sautéed in a garlic butter sauce, followed with a crab and corn risotto. I can never finish the steak, but I do take it back to the suite to nibble on later or the next day… it is simply the best steak I have had, and I have traveled extensively across the US, and I always look for great steak houses when I am on the road. However, to answer the rest of your question, I don’t think Chef John Besh would give me the recipes if I asked, but if I would highly suggest Besh’s steakhouse in New Orleans.

I found the recipe for the Shrimp, Chanterelle & Pumpkin Risotto, almost the same and from the same chef. I think it looks delish!

Righ, back to you and writing. Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

I own an IT consulting company here in Atlanta. There isn’t a day – including weekends and holidays where my phone does not ring at least two times during the day with a client calling with some type of question.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

To be honest, it is more fun than having a client call you with a down server. Honestly, I have spent almost 20 years in the IT industry, I love it, it provides a great life for my family, however, I am constantly looking for change. Now that I have discovered that I can write a novel, see it climb and reside in the top 20 on Amazon for fifty-five plus days straight, I am eager to keep writing. I have realized that there is nothing more rewarding than reading a review, a direct message on twitter, or an email come in from someone who has enjoyed reading what you wrote. That is more satisfying than bringing a server back online.

It is, and I wholeheartedly agree with you! Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

I first started writing this book, not because a friend or colleague told me I should write something, but my daughter said it. When I sat down at my laptop one Tuesday morning in May, I had no clue that I would write more than 5,000 words the first day. After she got home from school, I had her read it and she liked it. Now granted, that is my daughter, so I had doubts that it was as good as she said. Therefore, after a day of wondering if it was actually any good, I posted it to a preparedness forum where I am a member under the fiction area. A few days later, several self-publishing authors, who I have read and enjoyed their novels, sent me direct messages encouraging me to finish the book.

Here is the real kicker, I wrote on the book Monday through Friday for one to two hours a day from the first week in May to the end of September. It wasn’t until the book was at the copy editor that my wife learned that I was about to self-publish a book. The funniest thing is after reading it, she looked at me and said, you know you definitely got one thing right in it. You are bat-shit crazy.

Hahaha, that is a great story. Thanks for sharing this and all of the other tid-bits of your life and inner workings. Leaves me with nothing more than to tell the readers where they can find you online.

http://www.michaelkayebooks.com/

http://www.twitter.com/michaelkayebook

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelKayeAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/MichaelKayeBooks

http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/michael-kaye.html

http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/4934-michael-kaye

Now I would like to ask the readers what amendment they think is most important. For those outside of the US, what do you think is the most important civil right?