Kindle Author Interview: Sarah O'Donoghue

Sarah O'Donoghue, author of Primortia, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Primortia?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: Primortia is a seizure that strikes some people on the world of Hutosa where most of the book is set.

A religion has developed around Primortia over the centuries to the point where it defines many of the world's cultures. People who have the seizure are known as Primortians, and it is known to run in families. Once someone has suffered a seizure they're on a countdown to transfer, which Hutosans believe to be death.

The novel is the story of two women. Shonoka, known to her friends and family as Shony, is on a search to discover what Primortia is. She lost her brother to Primortia when they were children and she has dedicated her life to discovering its secrets. When the novel opens she's an academic, about to enter what she knows will be a loveless marriage, who is starting to work out some of what Primortia is. We meet her at her grandmother's funeral. She was very close to her grandmother, Piany, and Shony starts to learn more about her grandmother through the diaries she left behind. The diaries give her information about Piany's mysterious past and the adventures she got involved with before Shony was born. Shony is inspired to break free from what society expects from her and pursue the truth of Primortia. She gets caught up in a quest she never imagined with a man from her grandmother's past, and finds out that Primortia has consequences far beyond her world.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you do your world-building?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: It’s a very long process but it usually begins with a character or a scene. I then ‘reverse-engineer’ that snippet: how did that character come to react in that way? What technology or cultural aspects of the fictional world enabled that incident to happen? I also work in features of the real world that interest me. For example, I’ve just finished a science degree for which I took several geology courses. Geology fascinated me so there’s a particular mineral that plays an important part in the Primortia story. I used my background knowledge to enrich where this mineral could have come from and the properties it is shown to exhibit which, whilst not exactly true to science, are at least vaguely plausible!

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: I’ve always written cinematically. I see and hear the characters walking and talking in my mind’s eye and it’s always been natural for me to ‘cast’ actors in each role as if I was making my ideal movie adaptation of the book. I know that so-and-so is playing Shonoka Lagan (the main character in my book) so I use her appearances in various films to formulate the speech patterns and body language of the character.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: Primortia contains space-faring, technologically-based societies, time travel and a brutal war; but it's also the story of two people, one in the present and one in the past, each trying to escape what their society expects of them and to find out the truth about their families. I hope the novel will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about characters learning the truth about their society and themselves.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: I've always been immersed in words. My first degree is in English Language and Literature and I taught English as a foreign language for over 10 years. I started writing fanfiction for various television shows back in the mid 1990s which encompassed all sorts of lengths and genres. I got involved in fandom writing communities and met people who became good friends. They encouraged me to start writing original fiction.

Over the last few years my writing has taken me in two different directions. I successfully pitched a proposal for an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Science textbook. I co-wrote the textbook with a good friend and it was published by Oxford University Press last summer (Oxford Content and Language Support: Science by Saema Kauser and Sarah O’Donoghue OUP 2010). Alongside that I got involved with Nanowrimo in 2006 and wrote a 50,000 word novella which I expanded and refined over the next three and a half years. That Nanowrimo 2006 project became Primortia.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: I see writing as sculpting words. To create a sculpture you need a big block of raw material from which you carve the most beautiful object you can; I may start with a very rough outline or concept but usually I sit down in front of the keyboard and hammer out a big chunk of text. Then the real work begins. After letting that block of raw material sit for a while I go back over it. I delete what isn’t working and then I start exploring the text. I go through several cycles of expanding, rewriting and editing until I have a story I’m happy with. The manuscript goes off to a couple of trusted beta readers and then I integrate their feedback. For every hour of writing I probably spend four editing.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: P.G. Wodehouse for his sparkling, witty dialogue; Jules Verne for his technology; Isaac Asimov and Anne McCaffrey for their logical world-building; Neil Gaiman and Susan Cooper for their imaginative concepts; Susanna Clark and Connie Willis for their plotting and character interactions.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: Connie Willis’ Bellwether. Nothing is wasted. Every word of dialogue, every scene, every interaction is integrated into a funny, sweet and subtle plot. The characters are funny and real, the situations they find themselves in are ridiculous yet familiar and the story always makes me smile.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: It was really basic! I had a beautiful blue glass pendant which I took out into my garden on a bright summer’s day. I photographed it against a white background. I then manipulated the colour with a photo editing program to make the pendant appear green. The sundial image was created in a really old graphics program.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: I’ve concentrated on online marketing through my website, blog and Twitter feed. I want to get my name out there and provide readers with interesting, original content which I hope will encourage them to try my novel.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: I wanted to make Primortia as widely available as possible. The problem with using print-on-demand is that paperback books can be very expensive. Even taking a tiny margin the paperback edition of Primortia is still more expensive than many comparable novels. The ebook industry is growing exponentially so I wanted readers to be able to choose an electronic form of the book. Kindle is a huge part of that. It also means that I can offer a reading option at a far lower price for those readers who are happy with a virtual copy of the book.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

SARAH O'DONOGHUE: Format your book correctly! Even though my manuscript was fine for Lulu’s paperback printing and ebook format Kindle is pretty quirky. I had to tweak a lot of paragraph indentations and word spacing. It was a very fiddly job.

The other drawback with Kindle is that every time you make a change to the manuscript or Amazon description the book goes back into ‘publishing’ mode for at least 24 hours so minimizing those edits before you go live is essential.

My final piece of advice would be to get access to a Kindle or download the Kindle for PC programme and download your book to it. That’ll allow you to catch even more errors in the formatting that are invisible in a standard word processing program.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Sarah O'Donoghue a UK-based writer with a background in language and science teaching and I'm co-author of Oxford Content and Language Support: Science (2010 Oxford University Press).

Primortia is her first novel.  
She's been living and breathing science fiction for over twenty years. She's been involved in many fandoms from Doctor Who to steampunk but she's always wanted to create her own sandbox to play in. The world of Primortia has been in development for four years and is growing all the time.

Visit her website, read her blog, and follow her on twitter.

The Kindle edition of Primortia is available from and

Are you a Kindle author? Would you like to be interviewed for this blog? You can! See details on my Kindle Authors Wanted page.

Discover new writers! Subscribe to the FREE Kindle Author Newsletter.


Kindle Author Sponsor: Maryann Miller

Book Title:

Friends Forever


Maryann Miller

Kindle Price:


Available from:


Author's websites:

Book Reviews:

FOUR AND A HALF STARS “Friends Forever beautifully captures the pain and confusion of early adolescence. Young readers will identify with Debbie and her friends. Older readers will remember and smile. It is a delightful book. I highly recommend it.”
—Carrie S. Masek for Sharpwriter Reviews

“Ms. Miller captures the trails and tribulations of 13 year-olds very easily. She talks their lingo and keeps the book interesting with enough twists and surprises to keep younger readers turning the pages to the very end.”
—Pam Stone for Myshelf Reviews

“Miller’s book accomplishes what few others in this genre do. She effectively combines humor, true life feelings, and interesting dialogue in a novel about peer pressure.”
—Aimee McLeod for Wordweaving Reviews


Book Description:

Friendship is a tenuous thing when you’re thirteen and everything in your life is changing, especially your best friend.

Debbie Webly is terrified that she will lose Laura to the influence of Angie who is rich, beautiful, and the most popular girl in school. There’s not much Debbie won’t do to hang on to her friend, but will she cross some line that she can never come back from?

And what about Brad? Does she even stand a chance with him?

The challenges mount when Debbie is tempted to commit social suicide by taking up for Stephanie who is even more of an outcast than she is.

When Angie makes a surprising move, Debbie finds out that true friendship is based on much more than looks or popularity.

Book Excerpt from Friends Forever:


“Growing up isn’t easy,” Debbie’s mother said as she carefully worked a touch of yellow into the flowers coming to life on a canvas in front of her. “Goodness knows it’s never been easy, but the worst thing I had to worry about when I was your age was whether I’d get a new pimple on the night of my first date. I didn’t have to worry about drugs or who might be hanging around school with a gun.”

Debbie stood there half-listening, impatient to be off to meet Laura. She knew her mother meant well, but sometimes Debbie got so tired of hearing the litany over and over again.

Her mother’s voice droned on. “I’d never heard of uppers or downers. The only pills I’d ever seen were aspirins. And the first time one of those melted in my mouth, I decided I’d never...”

“Mom,” Debbie glanced at the door. “Could we talk about this some other time. I promised to meet Laura and I’m already late.”

“There, it’s finished.” Mrs. Webly picked up a rag and

wiped paint off her hands. Somehow she usually managed to get as much paint on herself as she did on the canvas. Debbie could measure her mother’s progress with a painting by the number of different colors splattered on her smock and her hands. “What do you think?”

“It’s pretty, Mom,” Debbie replied, absently. “Can I go now?”

“Such enthusiasm! I don’t know if I can stand it.”

“Aw, Mom.”

Mrs. Webly laughed. “Okay. But you can only stay an hour. Then I want you back to help me with dinner.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Fair, my little Chickadee says. Fair? Let’s find our contract and see what it says about fair.” Mrs. Webly made a big show of shuffling papers on the desk, and Debbie rolled her eyes. Her mother always acted a little goofy when she finished a painting, but this was a bit much.

“Okay, Mom, I get your point. Can I go now?”

Barely waiting for her mother’s nod, Debbie raced to the door, stepping out into bright sunshine and a cool, fall breeze. The leaves were just starting to turn and Debbie noticed that the colors on the maple almost matched the vibrant yellows and oranges in her mother’s painting. Cool.

Laura lived across the street in a rambling ranch

house similar to its neighbors, but distinct in landscape design. What Debbie’s mother could accomplish on canvas, Mrs. Parker created in dirt. Asters and Chrysanthemums bloomed brilliantly against a backdrop of deep green shrubs. Pansies and Primroses created a riot of color in and around a rock garden. And a low, sculpted hedge followed the curved walkway to the front door.

Most days, Debbie would pause long enough to enjoy the gardening spectacle, but today she had more important things on her mind. She hoped Laura wouldn’t be mad at her for being late. Her friend seemed to get mad over every little thing lately, and Debbie wasn’t quite sure of her footing anymore.

She didn’t understand it. They had been best friends since first grade. As far as she was concerned nothing had changed, and she couldn’t figure out what she’d done to create this tension between them. They only thing she knew for sure was that ever since Angie Cooper started including Laura in her group, things hadn’t been the same.

“Boy, I hate that Angie,” Debbie muttered, ringing the doorbell. “I wish she’d move away. Or grow a big fat wart on her nose.”

Mrs. Parker opened the door and motioned for Debbie to

step in. “Laura’s in the kitchen. Go on back. And help yourself to some cookies if you like.”

Laura was just handing up the telephone as Debbie walked in. “Who was that?” Debbie grabbed a cookie and settled on a barstool at the counter.

“Angie. We’re going to the school in a little while and watch the team practice.”

Debbie’s heart sank. “But I thought we were going to do something this afternoon.”

“You can come if you want.” Laura poured them each a glass of milk. “We might even get a chance to talk to Brad.”

That possibility created a shiver of anticipation in Debbie. New this year, he was the talk of the school, cute, nice, and a smile to die for. All the girls were dying to see who he was going to ask out first, and Debbie harbored a hope that she could surprise them all. But with Angie hanging around he wouldn’t even notice her. She wasn’t exactly a standout when it came to looks. Especially next to Angie who was tall and slim with long blonde hair and eyes that were almost golden.

Debbie could hear her mother’s voice playing another litany in her mind. About how she should see the positives in how she looked. The red highlights in her short, curly brown hair made it look shiny and healthy. And her green eyes sparkled like emeralds. But who wanted to sparkle and shine?

Even Laura had an advantage with her mane of curly red hair that was natural on both counts. And she was now a good two inches taller than Debbie.

Watching her friend put the carton on milk back in the refrigerator, Debbie realized that Laura’s recent growth spurt had reshaped her into something closer to a woman than an adolescent. Was that ever going to happen to her? Or was she destined to be trapped forever in a body thicker around the middle than the chest?

A blur of motion interrupted her thoughts as Scott and two of his friends raced into the kitchen, making a beeline for the plate of cookies.

“Get out of here,” Laura yelled. “And take your creepy friends with you.”

“Don’t have to. This is a free country and I can go anywhere I want. So there.”

Debbie welcomed the intrusion. It saved her the embarrassment of telling Laura the real reason she didn’t want to go to the practice field with her and Angie. “That’s all right,” she said. “I’ve got to go anyway. Mom has some jobs for me to do at home.”

“All you ever do is work. What does your mother think you are, the maid?”

“Yeah. Sometimes I think so, too.”

Debbie waited for a moment, hoping Laura would put up more of a fuss about her having to go. Or maybe say she’d back out of her plans with Angie, but her friend merely shrugged. “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” Laura said.

“Or I could call you later.”


Debbie walked slowly across the street. Why did that Angie have to be so popular? And so rich? And why did Laura have to be so impressed? Lately all she heard from her friend was, “Have you seen Angie’s new jacket? Her mom let her spend two hundred dollars on clothes. She got a brand new outfit for cheerleading tryouts. Course she’s a cinch to make it. After all those years of dance lessons, and looking like she does, who wouldn’t get picked?”

It was like Laura had formed a one-girl Angie Cooper fan club.

Well, she can just have her Angie Cooper, Debbie thought. She’ll learn soon enough. Angie was the meanest, most two-faced girl in the entire seventh grade. And one of these days Laura would be sorry.

But even so, it hurt to have her friend acting this

way. “Damn,” Debbie grumbled. “Damn! Damn! Damn!” Her mother would kill her if she ever heard her saying that, but it sure felt good. Much better than kicking the curb and having her toes ache for a week.

What was so hot about being rich, anyway? From what she heard, Angie’s father hardly ever was at home. He worked late or was away on business trips. And Angie’s mother? Rumor had it that Angie never invited anyone to her house because her mother was always yelling at her. That wasn’t much of a life, and if Angie weren’t such snot, Debbie would almost feel sorry for her.

“That was a quick visit,” Mrs. Webly said as Debbie walked into the kitchen. “I thought you and Laura had big plans for this afternoon.”

“We did until that creepy Angie Cooper called and ruined it all.”

“That’s no way to talk about one of your friends.”

“She’s no friend of mine.” Debbie got a glass out of a cabinet and slammed the door. “And if she doesn’t leave Laura alone, I’m going to punch her in the mouth.”

“Now, Honey, you don’t really want to – “

“Yes I do. Laura and I were just fine until she came along. I wish she’d just go away.”

“I’m sure things will get better. Laura will realize that your friendship is more important than anything else. In the meantime, maybe you can find some other girl at school who needs a friend.”

“But Laura’s my BEST FRIEND!” Debbie cried. “Best friends don’t stop being best friends just like that!”

Debbie burst into tears and ran to her room. Throwing herself on the bed, she pounded the pillow, wishing it was Angie. Or maybe Laura. Or maybe her mother for not understanding. Why couldn’t she see how terrible this was?

Please support our sponsor:

Become a Kindle Author sponsor.

Sample Sunday: "Cold Reading" by David Wisehart — Chapter Eight

Cold Reading
A Nick Shaw Mystery

by David Wisehart

Private detective Nick Shaw is hired by a Hollywood theater producer to find a missing actress.

[Chapter One] [Chapter Two] [Chapter Three] [Chapter Four] [Chapter Five] [Chapter Six] [Chapter Seven]

Chapter Eight

I woke in my own bed, lying on my back with a thin arm across my chest and soft breathing in my right ear. My mouth was dry. The air was cold from the rumbling AC. The pale blue sheets smelled of alcohol. I turned my head to the right and saw a tangle of dark hair.

Meow, I thought.

Cat Lady’s hip was touching mine, skin on skin. My right arm was trapped under hers and pinned against her naked body. With my left hand I explored between my legs. I felt tender and spent, as if my gun had just been fired.

So it was like that. Another memorable night I couldn’t remember.

I raised my head a little from the pillow and saw Cat Lady’s sensuous curves beneath the sheets. My gun stirred in my hand. It may have just been fired, but I was pretty sure I had one left in the chamber.

The doorbell rang.

I wasn’t expecting anyone. Not at the door, and not in my bed. It was an unexpected morning.

Archer whimpered and got up from the floor where he had been laying at the foot of the bed. He padded over to my side. He wagged his tail and looked at me.

“Yeah,” I said, to clear my throat and my conscience, and removed Cat Lady’s arm from my chest.

She was out cold, whoever she was. I brushed aside the long, dark hair and recognized the face.

Caroline Myers.

The doorbell rang again.

I stared at her. Caroline Myers. Cat Lady. Silver Mustang. Stella Burke. It all went together somehow, but my head was too foggy to sort through the implications.

The doorbell rang again, followed by a knock. I sat up, tossed back the covers, and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. The room swung a little, too. A fresh pot of coffee, I thought, might settle the place down.

My cell phone rang.

“Jesus,” I muttered, and grabbed the phone off the nightstand.

I answered, “Yeah?”

“Nick Shaw?” I didn’t recognize the voice.


“We know you’re home.”

“Thanks for telling me. I wasn’t sure.”

“This is the police. Open the door.”

Not my kind of morning.

“Give me a minute,” I said, and hung up fast.

It took me three minutes to get from the bed to the front door. My legs weren’t cooperating, and neither were the cops. I let two more calls go through to voice mail and ignored the rude knocking as I struggled with my pants and shirt and hair. The mirror didn’t like me, and gave me a dirty look. I splashed some water on my face, downed a cold cup of yesterday’s coffee, grabbed my lawyer’s business card from the office desk, and opened the front door.

Two policemen waited out in the hall. One was a woman. Policepeople, you might say. I didn’t recognize the policepeople, but I recognized their mood. It was that same mood I saw in my exes—right before they became my exes.

The policeman was short, young, and Hispanic. The policewoman was a foot taller, and pale as a Nazi. She stood two steps back from the door and let the young man do the talking.

“Are you Nick Shaw?” he asked.

The general rule for talking to the cops is: don’t. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. With or without Miranda. But people like to talk, especially about themselves, and cops like to listen. It’s their job. Some of them are good at it. Others, not so much. Both kinds can put you in prison. And friendly chit-chat is how poor innocent bastards retire to death row.

I’m a talkative guy myself. It’s part of my charm. But cops don’t much go for charm, and for good reason. Charm is how bad guys get their way with the girls, and away with their crimes. I hadn’t committed any crimes worth talking about, but that didn’t mean I was completely innocent. I’ve bent more than a few rules in my day. Some days I bend them just to keep in shape. There’s always something those policepeople can pin on you, if you give them the motive and opportunity

To stall, I rubbed my eyes.

The policeman repeated his pick-up line, “Are you Nick Shaw?”

No charm at all. They must have loved him at the Academy.

I said without smiling, “I’d like to talk to my lawyer, please.”

“We’d like to talk to Nick Shaw.”

“He’d like to talk to his lawyer, too.”

The Nordic policewoman said, “Have you been drinking, sir?”

“I couldn’t pass the bar,” I said, “but my lawyer did.”

The man turned to the woman. “We’re in luck—a comedian.”

“You should see my lawyer. He’s a barrel of laughs.”

I handed him the business card.

He read it. “Marty Shaw?”

“My brother,” I said.

“Pro bono?”

“Pro fessional.”

The policeman tucked the card in a pocket of his uniform. “If your brother is Marty Shaw, then you must be Nick Shaw, right?”

“Call the number and ask him.”

“You’re a licensed private detective, is that correct, Mr. Shaw?”

I just smiled at him. Cops don’t like that.

“Do you know Antonio Moretti?”

I kept on smiling.

“He worked at Dante’s Den.”


“We know you talked with him yesterday.”


“But we don’t know why.”


“We assume you’re working on a case.”


“Your case just became our case.”


“Antonio Moretti is dead.”

I let the smile go before I hurt myself.

PREVIOUS: Chapter Seven

NEXT: Chapter Nine

Join us each week for #SampleSunday.

Kindle Author Sponsor: Deborah McCarragher

Book Title:

Mission Possible: Spiritual Covering


Deborah McCarragher

Kindle Price:


Available from:


Author's website:

Book Reviews:

"If your husband is unsaved, take heart. A man is most likely to be led to faith in Christ by their believing wife. The sacred Scriptures are not silent concerning your role as a believing wife with your unsaved husband. Deborah, has in Mission Possible, expounded scriptures to encourage women to believe God with a radical faith for the salvation of their spouse. She helps women fulfill their role in the marriage for the salvation of their mate. Give Mission Possible to any lady praying for the salvation of her husband."
—Scott Yirka, Pastor/Teacher Hibernia Baptist Church Green Cove Springs, FL

"I recommend reading Mission Possible: Spiritual excellent resource book that will change the life of both you and your husband forever. Now you can feel assured knowing that you and your husband will walk hand in hand basking in the Lord's everlasting grace, mercy and love."
— Stephen Knight

"The book was written for women, however I believe it would just as helpful to men hoping to show their wives the path to God. Religious differences continue to be a leading cause of marital break up. Mission Possible could save your mate and your marriage. Highly Recommended."
— Reader's Choice Book Reviews

Book Description:

This book is a powerful tool for any woman who is married to a man who does not share her passion for Jesus. Everyone has at least ONE friend who needs this book! In Mission Possible you will:

— Discover how to believe with radical faith for your spouse’s salvation.
— Learn the secret to “staying the course” while you wait for your promise.
— Find out why many women don’t like to share their “secret sorrow”.
— Overcome your own fears and doubts about your husband’s future with God.
— Join other women in the knowledge that God has a perfect plan of unity for you and your spouse.

“ For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy…
…For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband whether you will save your wife?”

I Corinthians 7:14, 16

Please support our sponsor:

Become a Kindle Author sponsor.


Kindle Author Interview: John Brinling

John Brinling, author of Quarantine, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Quarantine?

JOHN BRINLING: This novel is a science fiction adventure with aliens and mutants and immigrants struggling for survival in East Africa, where deception, savagery and death are an inherent part of daily life, and where indigenous hatred and unimaginable horrors fuel anarchy and rebellion.

The Mbili are the ruling class. The Ine the underclass. In a land populated by these grotesque mutants, one thing is clear. They will never live together in peace. It is not peace the Mbili seek. It is total domination.

When Paul Henry, an accountant for an international accounting firm, decides to emigrate to Uhuru, he knows only that he can never return once exposed to the deadly Lassa fever, that Oneida, the love of his life, is scheduled to join him in two weeks, and that his life is pretty damn good. He is disavowed of the latter even before Uhuruan Airways Flight 100 lands in Mombasa, when he sees things out the window of the unmanned Tristar that challenge his sanity.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you do your world-building?

JOHN BRINLING: I’m detail oriented, so when I attempt to create a new world fleshing out the characters, locations, etc. flows with the building of the story, and I usually go overboard in my descriptions and have to cut back during the editing process.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you create and maintain dramatic tension?

JOHN BRINLING: It’s as much instinct as anything else. When the plot seems to be ebbing, I know I’ve got to jazz things up because “boring” is a fatal error. So I ask myself the question: What can possibly go wrong here? And usually get more answers than I want.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

JOHN BRINLING: My characters flow from my experiences, whether they be real life, books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, etc. My characters are usually an amalgam of everything I’ve dumped into the hopper.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

JOHN BRINLING: My books are a journey. I don’t know where they are going when I start and the ride is half the fun. I always have to go back and try to square later events with the earlier plot line. Sometimes that is the most creative part of the entire writing process.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

JOHN BRINLING: I have been writing all of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. Black Dawn. It dealt with segregation and the KKK. Whatever happened to it I don’t know.

Since then, earning a living has preempted long periods of my life when I wrote very little. My wife and I are both in data processing (IT nowadays) and we usually work long hours when we are on a contract, which meant I spent little time writing fiction when gainfully employed. The birth of my daughter offered me another excuse for not writing, but that’s what it was: an excuse. Writing is hard. But it’s in my DNA and I keep returning to it, despite some part of me that prefers the lazy life. However, not writing is unthinkable, and I am constantly exploring ideas even when I’m not committing them to paper.

I lived and worked in Europe for seven years. I met my wife In Italy where we both worked for the same company, and were married in 1975. The contract we were working on ended that year and we took two years off to live in England, in a 300 year old farmhouse in Wiltshire. It was in that farmhouse that I wrote The Ghost Of A Flea, as well as Quarantine.

The Ghost has a strong autobiographical component. I was a programmer/analyst. The office ambiance in the novel is similar to life in my New York office, although the intrigues were of an entirely different nature. I had a good friend who lived in Sparta. I lived for a time near the George Washington Bridge. The building manager was an Irishman, who became a good friend, and an integral character in the book.

Quarantine is set in East Africa, where my wife and I vacationed, and I drew liberally on what we read, saw, and experienced.

I had an agent back then who marketed both books, and came very close to selling them to both Doubleday and St. Martins. Unfortunately he died before completing the sale and I put the books on a shelf and forgot about them for 35 years. Only this year did I resurrect them and publish them on Amazon’s Kindle and Smashwords.

In 1977, my wife and I returned to the states and founded our IT consulting firm, Brinling Associates. For the next fifteen years we worked hard building our business. I wrote one novel during that time, a book titled Alone, which dealt with a man in an irreversible coma who is aware of what is happening around him, but is unable to communicate with the real world. I thought the book was lost, but have just recently found a hardcopy of the book and have begun reworking it.

In 1990, during a down period in our business activities, I wrote several other novels which I am attempting to bring out of retirement. These novels were also put on the shelf when circumstances re-ignited our business opportunities. One book—The Watcher, a horror thriller—is already self-published. The other is a much larger work, a rural mystery series, that I’m still working on.

As you can see, writing books is one thing, marketing quite another. I am perhaps the world’s worst marketer, which helps explain why my writings have spent most of their lives on a shelf in my home in Vermont staring out at me asking “Why?”

For the past few years I have been writing screenplays, which are more bite-sized writing efforts. I have done fairly well in some contests, but am still waiting to be discovered. The small royalty check I earned from Amazon this quarter is the only money I’ve ever earned from my fiction writing.

My writing is pure escapism. When I sit down to write, I embark on an adventure. I let things happen and I let the characters be who they are. Since I strongly avoid outlines, I am as surprised by events as I hope the reader is. Pulling together loose ends is a subject for revision, which I do endlessly. This undoubtedly makes for more work and takes me longer to “finish” something, but it seems to be the best, the only, way for me. It is the candy bar just out of reach that keeps me at the keyboard.

My background illustrates my chaotic approach to life. I have been at different stages a pharmacist, a pharmacologist, a tech writer, a programmer/analyst, a business consultant, a business owner, a teacher, a novelist and a screenwriter. At one time I thought it perfectly acceptable, if not desirable, to change jobs/professions every year or so. I didn’t worry about the future, assuming I would always find a way to muddle through.

I’m still muddling through.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

JOHN BRINLING: Chaotic. I can and do write at all hours. I may have multiple projects underway at one time. The last few years I’ve written a bunch of screenplays, since I thought I could do those faster than a novel. That may be true, but not by much. Seems I’m always editing a screenplay, where a novel has a more of less completed feel.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

JOHN BRINLING: The oldies but goodies. Ian Fleming, Agatha Christie, Alestair MacLean, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Robert Ludlum, Steven King, JK Rawlings (probably the most imaginative of them all!), Lee Harper.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

JOHN BRINLING: The Harry Potter series. To Kill A Mockingbird. Gone With The Wind.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

JOHN BRINLING: All my covers have been designed and implemented by my wife. We discuss ideas, but it is her creativity that triumphs. What amazes me is the fact that we don’t have any sophisticated software to do this, and yet she still manages to produce something that is really quite clever (in my opinion!).

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

JOHN BRINLING: Badly. Very badly. I have sent out many requests for reviews, interviews, etc. and had very few takers. Mostly I get back a rejection claiming that they are overwhelmed with requests and have a huge backlog of books to read. I believe this to be true, so my marketing has been an uphill climb.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

JOHN BRINLING: I got tired fighting the system, and Kindle seemed the easiest way to get my material before the public. As you will see in the attached bio, I had an agent many years ago who came very close to selling my stuff, but then up and dies on me. Since then I haven’t had much luck finding another agent.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

JOHN BRINLING: Nothing original. It’s a tough go. You need some luck and some material that has a ready audience. Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance seem to be hot genres right now. My stuff doesn’t fall into those categories, so I have to build a readership the old fashioned way: I’ve got to EARN it!

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


John Brinling writes, "I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on June 8, 1936. I grew up in Pittsburgh and didn’t leave home until I was 21 and heading off to graduate school at the University of Illinois in Chicago. I’ve attended multiple universities: Duquesne, U. of Illinois, U. of Pittsburgh, Columbia. And I have a B.S. in Pharmacy and an M.S. in Pharmacology. I was married in 1975 and have one daughter."

Are you a Kindle author? Would you like to be interviewed for this blog? You can! See details on my Kindle Authors Wanted page.

Discover new writers! Subscribe to the FREE Kindle Author Newsletter.

Kindle Author Sponsor: Gary Ponzo

Book Title:

A Touch of Deceit


Gary Ponzo

Kindle Price:


Available from:


Author's website:

Book Reviews:

"A Touch of Deceit by Gary Ponzo is a great action & adventure story that will keep you turning the pages so you can find out what happens next."
— Ardee Eichelmann, Amazon reviewer, 5 stars out of 5

"A Touch of Deceit is quite a thriller with many twists and turns and a great ending."
— James F. Ganem, Amazon reviewer, 5 stars out of 5

"The plot line was riveting, nail biting and fast paced. It was hard to put down. Ponzo takes you on a ride that is suspenseful, captivating and truly an enjoyable read. A real page turner. The ending has a surprisingly neat twist. I love a book that keeps you engaged from start to finish. A great thriller."
— caylen1, Amazon reviewer, 5 stars out of 5

Book Description:

Winner of the Southwest Writers Novel Contest, Thriller category!

FBI agent Nick Bracco can't stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can't stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this terrorist. Tommy is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.


There was a time when Nick Bracco would walk down Gold Street late at night and young vandals would scatter.  The law was present and the guilty took cover.  West Baltimore was alive with crime, but Gold Street remained quarantined, reserved for the dirtiest of the dirty.  That’s how Nick remembered it anyway.  Before he left for the Bureau to fight terrorists.  Now, the narrow corridor of row houses felt closer to him and the slender strip of buckled sidewalk echoed his footsteps like a sentry announcing his presence.  It wasn’t his territory anymore.  He was a foreigner.

Nick scrutinized the landscape and searched for something out of place.  The battered cars seemed right, the graffiti, even the shadows seemed to darken the proper corners.  But something was missing.  There were no lookouts on the concrete stairwells.  The ubiquitous bass line of hip-hop was absent.  The stillness reminded him of jungle birds falling silent in the prelude to danger.  The only comfort came from the matching footsteps beside him.  As usual, Matt McColm was by his side.  They’d been partners for ten years and were approaching the point of finishing each other’s sentences.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Matt said.

“Did I mention that I don’t have a good feeling about this?”               

“Uh, huh.”  Matt tightened his collar against the autumn chill and worked a piece of gum with his jaw.  “That’s your theme song.”

“Really?  Don’t you ever get a bad feeling about a call?”

“All the time.”

“How come you never tell me?”

“I’m going to feed the flames of paranoia?”

They walked a little further in silence.  It got darker with every step.  The number of working streetlights dwindled.

“Did you just call me paranoid?” Nick said.

Matt looked straight ahead as he walked; his casual demeanor caused him to appear aloof, but Nick knew better.  Even at half-mast, Matt’s eyes were alert and aware. 

“Maybe paranoid is too strong of a word,” Matt said.

“I would hope so.”

“More like Mother-henish.”

“That’s better,” Nick said.  “By the way, did you eat your broccoli tonight?”

“Yes, Dear.”    

They strode further; low-lying clouds gave the night a claustrophobic feel.    

“This guy asked for you specifically?” Matt said.

Nick nodded. 

“That bother you a little?” Matt asked.

“No,” Nick said.  “That bothers me a lot.”     

Up ahead, a parked car jostled.  They both stopped.  Neither of them spoke.  They split up.  By the book.  Years of working together coming into play.  Matt crouched and crept into the street.  Nick stayed on the sidewalk and gave the car a wide berth.  In seconds Matt became invisible.  The car maintained a spastic rhythm.  It was subtle, but Nick understood the familiar motion even before he flashed his penlight into the back seat and saw a pair of young eyes pop up through the grimy window.  They were wide open and reacted like a jewel thief caught with a handful of pearls. The kid’s hair was disheveled and his shirt was half-off.  His panting breath caused the inside of the window to fog up.  He wasn’t alone.  A pair of bare legs straddled his torso.

From the other side of the vehicle, Matt emerged from the shadows and charged the car with his pistol out front.  He was just a few yards away when Nick held up his hand and said, “No.”

Matt stopped dead.  He must’ve seen the grin on Nick’s face and realized the situation.  He slowly holstered his Glock and took time to catch his breath.

Nick heard the kid’s voice through the closed window.  “I ain’t doing nuthin’, man.”

Nick clicked off his penlight and slipped it back into his jacket.  He smiled.  “It may be nothing, but you sure worked up a sweat doing it.”

When Matt fell back into step next to his partner, Nick said, “You seemed a little . . . uh, paranoid?”

Matt returned to nonchalant mode.  “Kids that young shouldn’t be doing the nasty out in the street.”

“Consider their role models,” Nick said.  “You can’t change the tide with an oar.”

“Pardon me, Professor Bracco.  Who said that one—Nietzsche?”

“I just made it up.”

“It sounded like it.”

They slowed their pace until Nick stopped in front of an old brick building with a worn, green awning above the entrance.  Nick gestured down a dark flight of stairs where a giant steel door stood menacingly secure.  “There it is.”

Matt nodded.  “You bring me to all the best spots.”  

When he was certain of their solitude, Nick descended the stairs.  Matt followed, keeping an eye on their rear.  In the darkness, Nick barely made out Matt’s silhouette. 

“Listen,” Nick said, “it’ll be easier if we don’t have to use our creds, but let’s see how it goes.  I don’t want to say any more than I have to, and you say nothing at all.  Just be the silent brute that you are.  Capisce?”


“If we get lucky, I’ll see a familiar face.”  Nick raised his fist, hovered it in front of the door, then stopped to sniff the air.  “You wearing aftershave?”

“A little.”

“You have a date after this?”

“Uh huh.”



“Who makes a date with you at midnight?”

“Veronica Post.”

“First date?”


“At midnight?”

“She’s a waitress.  She doesn’t get off until then.”

In the murky darkness, Nick sighed.  He turned to face the door and, just like a thousand times before, he said, “Ready?”

He couldn’t see the response, but he heard Matt unfasten the flap to his holster.  Matt was ready.

Nick used his wedding band hand to pound on the metal door.  He shifted his weight as they waited.  Nick heard Matt chewing his gum.

Nick said,  “Midnight, huh?”

A rectangular peephole slid open allowing just enough light through to see a dark face peering out.  The face was so large the opening supported only enough room for one of his eyes.

“Yeah?” the man grunted.

Nick leaned close to the opening so the man could see his face.  The opening quickly slid shut.

They stood in the silence while Nick thought of his next move.

“He seems like a nice fellow,” Matt said. 

The clang of locks unbolting was followed by the door squeaking open.  It reminded Nick of an old horror movie. 

The large black man wore a large black shirt that hung over his jeans and covered enough space to hide a rocket launcher. The man ignored Nick and gave Matt the once over. 

Matt gave him the stone cold glare of a pissed-off FBI agent.  No one did it better.

Then the man turned his attention to Nick.  His head was round and clean-shaven.  His expressionless face seemed to be set in cement.

Please support our sponsor:

Become a Kindle Author sponsor.


New Short Story: "The Man Who Saved Gonesse" by David Wisehart

I've published another short story on Kindle, "The Man Who Saved Gonesse." This one is historical fiction based on a real event:

In 1783 the world's first hydrogen balloon rises above the Paris skyline and disappears into the countryside. The balloon lands in the village of Gonesse, terrifies the local peasants, and inspires a singular act of courage and redemption.

This short story is 6,800 words.

The Kindle Edition is now available on Amazon: "The Man Who Saved Gonesse" by David Wisehart.

Kindle Author Sponsor: Maryann Miller

Book Title:

One Small Victory


Maryann Miller

Kindle Price:


Available from:


Author's websites:

Book Reviews:

One Small Victory is great Romantic Suspense and a read you won't want to miss.”
—Victoria Kennedy, Midwest Book Reviews

One Small Victory is not for the faint of heart, but it is an excellent, well-crafted novel. The tension is all pervasive, and heat, rage, sorrow, despair, and all-enveloping terror fill every page.”
—Carolyn Crisher for Romance Reviews Today

“The resolution of these {personal} threads is most satisfying, in that they aren't neatly resolved, much like real life. The undercover side of One Small Victory is exciting and fast paced."
—Larry W. Chavis for Crime & Suspense

"One Small Victory is an engrossing suspense thriller with a hint of romance that is intelligently kept very minimal and mostly off page."
Harriet Klausner for ***** FIVE STARS

One Small Victory is an amazing, heart pounding, emotional tale about one mother's love of her children, and the steps she takes to protect them from harm.”
Jennifer Lawrence for **** FOUR STARS

Book Description:

Life can change in just an instant. That's the harsh reality that Jenny Jasik faces when her son is killed in an automobile accident, but never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect to be working undercover as a member of a drug task force. She is, after all, just a mom. But don’t discount what a mom can do when the safety of her children is at stake.

Book Excerpt from One Small Victory:


The car hurtled through the darkness as the wind whipped through the open windows; a cold lash against his warm skin. Mike braced his feet on the floor and fought a rising sense of panic.

How fast are we going? He snuck a look at the speedometer. Holy shit! The needle inched toward a hundred and Brad showed no sign of slowing. Do I dare ask him to stop acting like Mario Fucking Andretti?

Mike took a deep breath. “Aren’t you afraid of getting stopped?”

Brad glanced over with a cocky grin. “Are you?”

“No big deal, man. Just thought you might want to hang on to your license.” Mike wished he had the guts to say aloud the thoughts that whirled through his head. He was scared. And he wished Brad would slow down.

“You need to chill out.” Brad took the joint out of his mouth and offered it to Mike. “This is excellent shit.”

Mike pushed his friend’s arm away.

“Hey, what’s the deal?” Brad took an angry toke. “You weren’t passing it up last year.”

“I only did it so you’d get off my ass.” Mike paused to gauge Brad’s reaction. “Besides, the thrill escaped me.”

“That’s ‘cause you never gave it a chance.” Brad took another long drag. “You got to build yourself wings before you can fly.”

“Just remember this isn’t a fucking airplane.”

Brad laughed, and Mike couldn’t resist the urge to join him. That was the deal with Brad. Life was just one big joke—his reasoning for doing dope in the first place. Why shouldn’t they have a little harmless fun before they settled down to serious living? So Mike had let Brad talk him into trying the grass at Dempsy’s party last summer.

After the first hit, Mike had waited for some effect, but nothing happened. So Brad told him to take another. Deeper. Hold it longer. That time, Mike thought he’d cough a lung out before he got around to enjoying any benefits of the grass.

Mike didn’t care that Brad used dope. It was his life and his business. But now, as Brad’s red Trans Am screamed along the narrow country highway with Mike clinging white-knuckled to the ‘aw-shit’ handle, it wasn’t just Brad’s business.

The tires screeched as the car careened around a tight corner. The stench of burnt rubber blew in the open windows, and icy fingers of fear crawled up Mike’s spine. “Why don’t you ease up,” he said.

“On what?”

“The gas and the goods.” Maybe if it sounded like a joke Brad would take it better.

“I got it under control.”

Mike wanted to believe him. They were friends. Brad wouldn’t do anything to hurt him. And there was hardly any traffic way out here in nothing-land. What could happen?

“Hey, what’s the record on that?”

Mike looked out the front window to see a tight curve looming at the farthest reach of the headlights. “I don’t know.” Brad had slowed, but not enough in Mike’s estimation.

“Didn’t Butcher do it at fifty?”

“Something like that.”

“Bet I can beat it.”

Panic stabbed Mike’s stomach and he glanced quickly at his friend. “Come on Brad. Don’t even try it.”

“What? You scared?”

Mike gripped the door handle as the car barreled into the curve. Even without his hands on the wheel, he felt the car slide as the rear tires lost traction. He didn’t know whether to pray or to scream.

At the precise moment Mike thought they’d careen off the edge of the road, the front wheels grabbed the asphalt. The car blasted out of the curve like a cannonball. Brad looked over with a triumphant grin. “See. I told you. Fifty-five.”

Before Mike had a chance to let out a breath of relief, a violent thump threw the car out of control. The vehicle slewed back and forth, and his head banged against the window with a painful thud. A sense of dread buffeted him like a blast of frigid air.

“What was that?” Brad asked.

It wasn’t a question that needed an answer. He watched the muscles in Brad’s arms strain to gain control of the steering wheel. What the hell had they hit? He braced one hand on the dash and the other on the seat and twisted to look out the back window. Darkness swallowed the world.

Then he heard his friend shout, “Oh, shit!”

That’s when the car went airborne.

It seemed to float, and for a fraction of a second Mike found it almost a pleasant feeling. Brad was right. They were flying, and it was fuckin’ awesome.

The thrill ended in a powerful impact amid a deafening explosion. A cacophony of screams surrounded Mike as glass shattered and metal ground against metal. He barely recognized one of the screams as his own. A terrible weight pushed into his chest . . . harder . . . and harder . . . and harder.

God it hurts!

The weight closed in on him. He couldn’t breathe. He tried to reach over to Brad but his arm wouldn’t move.

Nothing moved, except the pieces of metal twisting and gouging at him.

Make it stop!

Suddenly everything was still. Blessedly still, and Mike was glad it was over. Then a great wall of blackness rose up before him.

It moved slowly at first, then gained momentum as it enveloped the twisted interior of the car. It reached up to dissolve the shattered windshield and snuff out the pale moonlight.

In the dark void Mike felt the liquid blackness crawl up his mangled body until it covered him like a heavy blanket.

Oh, my God!


Chapter One

Life can change in just an instant.

That thought wove its way in and around her mind as Jenny fingered the clothes jammed along the wooden rod in the closet. His funny T-shirts promoting the likes of “Prince” and “Dilbert.” His one good shirt, only worn under duress. His leather jacket that still carried a faint aroma reminiscent of saddles and horses.

Sometime soon she’d have to clean out the closet. Isn’t that what usually happens?

Tears burned her eyes and she turned away. She didn’t know what was supposed to happen. No one had ever told her. And a multitude of questions swam through her mind like restless minnows in a pond.

There were books on choosing a college. Books on how to plan a wedding or how to help your child find a job. But no one had ever written one on what to do when your son dies.

Thus begins what is a mother’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child. For most women, that loss would hold them in a grief so pervasive they couldn’t function, but Jenny Jasik doesn’t give in to the paralysis. After discovering how rampant drugs are in her rural Texas town, she bullies her way onto a Drug Task Force and works as a confidential informant to help bring down the main distributor. This isn’t done without considerable risk, not only to her safety but to her sanity and to the sanctity of her family.

Please support our sponsor:

Become a Kindle Author sponsor.


Kindle Author Interview: Tom Evans

Tom Evans, author of Flavours of Thought, discusses his books, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Flavours of Thought?

TOM EVANS: Flavours of Thought is a book about thinking. By thinking in new ways, you fundamentally change the world around you. It also introduces the concept that not all thoughts are your own and are generated in your head. Many come from unconscious processes elsewhere in your body and some others potentially from external sources. The Flavours indicates which are which and, in the second part of the book, they are combined into ‘recipes’ to give them practical real-world context.

I also wrote it specifically with ereaders in mind. The Kindle version is hyperlinked and indexed and no section is much more than 500 words or so. Shortly, I am also publishing an Enhanced Edition version with embedded audio for readers to experience altered states of consciousness.

It’s also perhaps ironic that it’s the sequel to a book on Light Bulb Moments I wrote in June 2010 which is being published by a mainstream publisher in June 2011. I wrote Flavours in less than a month in August and published it in September.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

TOM EVANS: The book is written for people who are stuck in a rut who want to break out of old patterns. It’s also a new and fresh toolbox for healers and therapists. It’s also a gentle and accessible introduction to esoteric thinking but written in a contemporary context.

DAVID WISEHART: You've also written a book about overcoming writer's block. What techniques do you recommend?

TOM EVANS: The two techniques I both use and teach are Whole Brain Thinking and Whole Mind Thinking. Whole Brain Thinking can be induced by using Mind Maps. Whole Mind Thinking uses meditative techniques. In some extreme cases where personal trauma is involved, I also use and teach hypnotherapy and regression techniques.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

TOM EVANS: I wrote my first book kind of by accident. It is a poetic fictional life journey called 100 Years of Ermintrude which started as a PDF ebook before ending up in print and eventually a multimedia iPhone app. Before that I was a bored IT consultant. As a result though, people started approaching me to help them write their books and I morphed into a character known as The Bookwright— I’ve now given up the ‘day job’ and write and mentor other writers full time.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

TOM EVANS: I always start with a meditation sometimes followed by drawing (using Brushes on my iPad) what I am about to write about. I then Mind Map (iThoughts) it using one of the many templates I have developed and finally write (iAWriter and Pages). I even use this process for blogs and articles.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

TOM EVANS: I like mavericks who buck the system like Seth Godin and his Domino Project. I’m also a big fan of writers who use powerful metaphor and allegory to get their points across like Paulo Coelho and Deepak Chopra. For fiction I like the quirky and unusual like Kurt Vonnegut and Mervyn Peake.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

TOM EVANS: The Snowgoose by Paul Gallico

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

TOM EVANS: After struggling for a couple of days to design it myself, I downloaded an image from a photo library that cost around $3 and it all came together in minutes. Note that I wanted something that was equally impactful in print, on the web and on greyscale ereader and colour tablet displays.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

TOM EVANS: I’ve been using a combination of my existing client database and social media. I’ve got a Facebook Page and each day I post and Tweet at #flought which is a contraction for “flavour of thought”. The hashtag makes them searchable on Twitter and by doing this I am writing another sequel over a period of 90 days that takes five minutes a day.

I also write for several ‘online’ magazines and promote the book through them.

In the New Year, I am launching a Master Chef Training programme teaching others how to make their own “recipes”. In this way, Master Chefs around the world will become advocates and extend the concepts behind the book.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

TOM EVANS: There are so many reasons. Speed, control and royalty levels are the main ones. For me too, I strongly feel authors should simultaneously publish across all media types using each platform for its strengths. For example, I will also be doing a three dimensional iPhone app which is a Life Journey around the Flavours shortly. A different experience and presentation layer again appealing to a new audience.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

TOM EVANS: Build your author platform first so you’ve got somewhere to launch and sell it from. This can be a blog and/or a following on Facebook and/or Twitter. Also keep the book and chapter length short and sweet. See your work as small silos of juicy content. The War and Peace edition can come from assembling them all later.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Tom Evans writes, "I’m an author, musician, poet and technophile who specialises in helping people and businesses tap into their Creative Muse.

"I’m  a student of both the esoteric and exoteric and have been called, by others, the wizard of light bulb moments, a seer and a modern day alchemist.

"My 30 year career in the broadcasting and Internet industries has given me considerable commercial acumen as well as a deep appreciation and understanding of advanced technologies. For example, I now find myself as being an iPhone app developer and expert at all things e-publishing as well as being pretty handy with all web technology.

"I’ve also got a knack for making these both simple to understand and empowering for others.

"Via a set of simple, elegant and thought provoking techniques, I will breathe life into your world and help unleash the untapped creativity inside you.

"I teach the arts of Whole Brain and Whole Mind Thinking and how you can experience light bulb moments on demand.

"When you work with me, your ideas will end up actually happening.

"I come with a caveat – don’t work with me if you don’t want magic to come into your life."

Visit Tom Evans at: - blog on all things books & creativity - follow Tom on Twitter - Facebook Fan Page

Are you a Kindle author? Would you like to be interviewed for this blog? You can! See details on my Kindle Authors Wanted page.

Discover new writers! Subscribe to the FREE Kindle Author Newsletter.

Kindle Author Sponsor: Debbi Mack

Book Title:

Least Wanted


Debbi Mack

Kindle Price:


Available from:


Author's websites:

Book Reviews:

"Sam is a hard-boiled, tough-gal lawyer who helps the downtrodden, and this book is a slam-bang action ride."
Dale T. Phillips' review on One Rounded Corner of the Writing World

"Mack delivers it all. A great story, developing characters, excellent writing and an e-book experience that sets the bar."
Peg Brantley's review on Suspense Novelist

"Spunky and sharp ... if you’re a fan of J.A. Konrath’s Jack Daniels series, this one is for you."
Neal Hock's review on Bookhound's Den

"The snappy dialogue, McRae’s wry sense of humor, the intricate yet solid plot that kept me turning the pages, and characters that I cared about right up to the end — this book has it all. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."
Karen Cantwell's review on Fiction for Dessert

"Least Wanted is the second book in the series.  Identity Crisis is her previous work, but [Mack] cannot write fast enough.  More, More, More!!"
Wendy Hines' review on Minding Spot

Book Description:

Maryland lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae has two tough cases that quickly turn worse, when both clients—a poor black girl and a white, middle-class man—are accused of murder. Sam's inquiries into the cases lead her to Washington, DC's suburban ghettos where she discovers an odd link between them: the seamy world of girl gangs and computer pornography.

The stakes rise considerably as more people die at the hands of a maniacal killer who'll do anything to keep Sam from learning the truth. Sam races to clear her clients before she becomes the next victim.

Book Excerpt from Least Wanted:


Shanae Jackson breezed into my office like she owned the place. Not even a knock or word of greeting. Pint-sized and wiry, in jeans and a plain orange T-shirt, Shanae projected an attitude that compensated for her lack of stature.

Her daughter, Tina, trailed behind her. Though she was quite tall for a 13-year-old—taller by a couple of inches than her mother—she slouched as if standing up straight carried too much responsibility. Tina slumped into a chair and began reading a book, while Shanae took the other seat and glared at me.

“Hi,” I said, hurriedly closing out the online research I’d been doing. “You must be Shanae Jackson.”

“You got someone else you meetin’ at two o’clock today?” she asked. Her piercing brown-eyed gaze pinned me to my chair.

“Um, no.”

“Then I guess I must be.” She spoke in a tone reserved for the village idiot.

I plastered on a big smile and refrained from telling her to fuck off. Standing and extending my hand, I said, “I’m Sam McRae. It’s nice to meet you.”

I half expected another snappy comeback, but she remained seated, looking at my hand like I’d just blown my nose into it. After a moment, she reached out and grasped my fingers.

I risked further sarcasm and turned to the girl. “And you must be Tina. Hi.”

Tina glanced at me. “Hey,” she said, then glued her eyes back on the book.

In contrast to Tina’s slouch, Shanae sat bolt upright, her posture as intense as her gaze. Her abundant hair was plastered back from a dark chocolate face with high cheekbones and angular lines.

I sat down and opened the thin file containing notes of my earlier phone conversation with the angry woman sitting before me.

“Is that the paperwork?” I asked, nodding toward an envelope clutched in her left hand.

Shanae thrust it at me. I pulled out folded copies of the police report and other papers concerning her daughter’s case. Smoothing them out on my desk, I took some time to review them.

“This looks pretty straightforward,” I said. “As I mentioned on the phone, I’ll need to speak to your daughter alone.”

I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but Shanae’s expression hardened.

“I gots to stay,” she said. “I’m her mother.”

“Tina is my client. I have to discuss the case with her alone.”

“But I’m her mother,” she said.

I suppressed a sigh. In juvenile cases, it’s never easy to explain to parents the need for complete attorney-client confidentiality. From the moment I saw her, I knew Shanae Jackson would be no exception.

“I have an ethical duty to keep client confidences,” I said. “Things Tina and I say in front of you are no longer confidential.”

“But I’m her mother.” She stressed the last word, as if I hadn’t heard it the first two times. Shooting a withering look at Tina, she slapped the girl’s arm. “Put that book down, child!” With a grimace, Tina closed the book and set it on her lap.

“In the eyes of the law, you’re another person. I have to ask you to leave.”

“I’ll find another lawyer,” she said, her eyes filled with accusations of my shortcomings.

“You can ask the Public Defender for the name of another lawyer who’ll do this for a reduced fee, but whoever you get will tell you the same thing.”

Still glaring at me, Shanae kept silent. If she thought that look would force me to change my mind, the woman knew nothing about me. Or maybe she resented the fact that, while she was too well-off to get a public defender, one glance at my dinky sublet office and she could see I was no Gloria Allred. I was just another scrambling solo who took work from the public defender’s short list of private attorneys willing to represent defendants on the financial borderline.

“White people,” she said, for no apparent reason.

I didn’t know if she was smitten with her own voice or blamed white people for her lot in life, the rules of professional conduct, or the price of gas. Maybe she was disappointed at my color. For the pittance I stood to earn from this case, I was ready to tell her to find a black attorney.

I considered telling her about my childhood in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn or pointing to the wall behind her at my father’s photo of Jackie Robinson entering the Dodgers clubhouse through the door marked “KEEP OUT.” Not so much to impress her, but to clue her in that she didn’t know jack shit about me.

She grumbled, “This is bullshit.”

I yanked open the bottom drawer of my old wooden desk and hauled out my Yellow Pages, dropping it, with an intentional thud, in front of her. “Here you go,” I said, flipping to the attorney listings. “Call anyone. And be prepared to pay dearly for what they have to say.”

She pursed her lips and continued to give me the evil eye. But she knew I had her. “Fine,” she said. Grabbing the large black purse she’d parked next to her, she shot to her feet as if the chair were on fire. “I need to do some shopping,” she announced.

I nodded and smiled, like I gave a damn where she was going or what she intended to do. “This shouldn’t take more than an hour.”

“Hmmph.” She turned toward Tina. In a stern voice, she said, “You behave. And answer Ms. McRae’s questions, you hear me?” Over her shoulder on her way out, she tossed the words, “I’ll be back.”

Goody, I thought. Tina’s sullen expression suggested our thoughts were identical.

Sinking into the chair like a deflating balloon, Tina’s elbows jutted over the armrests as she crossed her arms. Her blue-jeaned legs waggled, signaling boredom. I could see the outline of rail-thin arms and bony shoulders under the loose-fitting pink sweatshirt that swallowed her frame.

Please support our sponsor:

Become a Kindle Author sponsor.


Kindle Author Interview: Ellis Vidler

Ellis Vidler, co-author of The Peeper, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Peeper?

ELLIS VIDLER: The Peeper is a suspense novel that’s strong on police procedural—after all, my co-author spent 40 years as a LEO. It’s a tale of murder with some adult situations and language. T Elliott Cash is an unlikely hero. He’s a sweet but lonely young man who searches for “friends” in dorm windows. He finds more than he expected when he witnesses the murder of a coed. In trying to do the right thing, he becomes a target himself.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you create and maintain dramatic tension?

ELLIS VIDLER: If something’s going smoothly for the characters, trip them up. We tried to maintain the action and conflict, with detectives Sam and Kay and their screwed-up personal lives and baggage. And then there’s Jeremy, Elliott’s best friend. Does it matter that he only shows himself to Elliott?

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

ELLIS VIDLER: Jim had the final word on the males and I did on the females. But we knew them all well. As things got tougher, they seem to grow on their own. Each has something to overcome—or not. They always had distinct personalities. Sam is a veteran and Kay’s a rookie. Elliott is just...well, Elliott. In spite of some bad habits, he’s a charmer.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

ELLIS VIDLER: Anyone who likes darker crime novels with a touch of romance and police action. It’s definitely not a cozy.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

ELLIS VIDLER: I’ve been writing in some form for years. My first mystery, Haunting Refrain, was published by Silver Dagger. This is Chris’s first published novel. He didn’t start writing until he retired, but he has a thousand stories—funny, sad, terrible—he has them all.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

ELLIS VIDLER: I’m a compulsive rewriter. I start with yesterday’s work and redo it, then go on. Chris does it all in his head and then puts it down, finished.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

ELLIS VIDLER: There are so many, from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Tolkien to Robert Crais. I met Nora Roberts at a conference—she’s inspiring. Chris likes Michael Connelly.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

ELLIS VIDLER: If it could only be one, then Beach Music by Pat Conroy. But there are many.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

ELLIS VIDLER: I had the idea from the beginning. I took the photos and played around in Picasa and Photoshop Elements (an old version) till we both liked it.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

ELLIS VIDLER: Through our websites and a blog, and I belong to several lists. Mostly it’s word of mouth. Chris’s police friends spread the word too. I need to do more with all that Amazon offers.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

ELLIS VIDLER: I’ve been an Amazon fan since they started, and I love e-books. There’s room for print and electronic books, but e-books are here to stay. And Kindle’s dtp format is very user-friendly. We had no problems at all. It’s a good deal for writers.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

ELLIS VIDLER: Make sure you have a good story and that it’s well-edited. Keep it professional. Read the directions and do what they say. It works.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Upon retiring from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Jim Christopher turned his energies to writing what he knows best—crime. Then he met Vidler, a published author, and they began collaborating. “After forty years of police reports, I like the freedom of fiction. You create characters, plan the crime, and then go about solving it.”
Jim Christopher and Ellis Vidler. The Peeper, July 2010, is available through For more information, visit:

Are you a Kindle author? Would you like to be interviewed for this blog? You can! See details on my Kindle Authors Wanted page.

Discover new writers! Subscribe to the FREE Kindle Author Newsletter.