Thursday, May 8, 2014

Starfish Prime by T.S. O'Neil

Starfish PrimeStarfish Prime by T.S. O'Neil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain Michael Blackfox thought he was done with the marines living the life of luxury on the lam with his father on their yacht "Good as Gold," but once you sign your name on the dotted line giving up your life to the government it is theirs forever until you die. Due to a series of unfortunate events he is called back into active duty, to go on a super secret mission of which its success would make or break the history of the world. Do you like military dramas? Is Tom Clancy one of your favorite authors? Then this book series is for you! It is filled with enjoyable characters, action, and suspense. All of the technical military information aside, I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story about a unconventional hero saving the day.

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Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
 I am 54 years young and originally from Newington, CT. I went to undergraduate school at Northeastern University in Boston and have an MBA from the University of Phoenix in Technology Management. I spent a good amount of time in the military; first as an enlisted Marine in the Marine Reserve, then about ten years on active duty as an officer in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army and I finished out my career in the Army Reserve. I got out of the military and eventually gravitated to the IT Field. I am currently an IT Architect for a healthcare company. I live in Seminole Florida with the love of my life, Suzanne and we got married on Oct 4th of this year. What first inspired you to start writing? I have a very active imagination and was always getting into trouble in grade school for day-dreaming. I think being a fiction writer is a great endeavor in that you get to invent your own reality and create a different world. You can kill someone on paper a lot easier than doing it in real life and its less likely to end with you going to prison or being executed.



How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
 The easiest way is to confront your fear and work through it. But, you have to decide whether it’s worth it or not. I mean, is it worth it to confront the muscle head at the gym who constantly grunts when he lift weights? A comedian once said, “If something is so heavy that you have to grunt to lift it, you need to put it down!” but I digress. Regarding working through fear and confrontation, do a cost benefit analysis and decide whether confronting a problem is the best way to resolve it. I look at guys that constantly do that and find they are freaking crazy, but fearless. Sometimes you can just shift the argument and make it go away.

What scares you the most?
 Death.

What makes you happiest?
 I was going to say “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women,” but that line was already said by someone else. I guess I’d have to go with great sex, followed by a sumptuous meal, including excellent wine, and then a fine cigar.

What’s your greatest character strength?
 I have the ability to quickly reinvent myself when something isn’t working for me. If I fail at something and feel that I should do something else, I get up to speed on the new endeavor and have at it. For example, I retrained in IT Security and after a little more than a year I was making over six figures. I think it has to do with being humble enough to check your ego at the door and be humble enough to learn something and exercise geographic mobility.


When not writing how do you spend your time?
  I work a regular job for forty or so hours a week and spend time golfing, biking and taking my wife out to keep her happy. I used to do a lot of scuba diving with trips to the Great Barrier Reef, the Caribbean, Thailand and the Philippines, but I think those days are behind me and I’ll just make do with snorkeling.

What attracted you to writing thrillers?
 With my background, it was a ‘no-brainer.’ I mean what else do you do with years of mindless training in military doctrine, tactics, weapons, another five years of work in trademark investigations and about fifteen years in computer security, but write thrillers?

What do you bring that's new to the genre?
 After thirty or more years association with the military, I feel I bring a verisimilitude (sorry, but I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence) to the genre that a lot of authors may not be able to. When I write about firing a particular weapon, chances are I’ve actually fired it. That may not mean much if you’re talking about a nine millimeter pistol, but it might if you’re talking about firing the M2 Machine Gun. I can detail how different units operate that might not be able to be accurately captured by writers without that experience. I have experienced first-hand experience ranging from being a Marine Corps Recruit up through being the Deputy Support Operations Officer for a Theater level command. I also received the military education to cover any potential holes in my military curriculum vitae. I’ve rubbed shoulders with lots of Special Ops types and actually served in a unit within that command for a while, although I’ve never claimed to be a true “snake eater.” During my time in the Marines and in Special Operations, I learned enough about how certain special ops units like the SEAL, Force Recon, Army Rangers and Special Forces operate and researched a lot more to write accurately and realistically about that particular subgroup In my opinion, some of the funniest guys in history are Service Members; a catch all phrase for Soldier, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Another thing I try to impart is the humor with which these guys view life. I think it’s because they are often living in austere conditions and have lots of time on their hands. I think that they operate under a lot of pressure and often have little in the way of release, so humor is one of the ways they can do it. I believe that there are a lot of frustrated comedians in the service as they’re given a lot of material to work with―based mostly on the stupefying ridiculousness of the huge bureaucracy that is the U.S. Military. They are given lots of material to work with, but little freedom to do so; hence the frustration. I try and imagine what would accurately be said in humor to mask the occurrence of a bad event. Someone once said that war is interminable boredom punctuated by moments of terror. An active imagination is what keeps you in good spirits and help you fill the void or salve your fear. I bet King Leonidas was an especially funny guy to be able to crack wise when confronted by hundreds of thousands of Persian Soldiers. “Come get them,” is, if not the first bad ass line in history, probably the best known.

What is your favorite song lyric?
 Lately, I’ve heard a song called The Devil came up to Boston by the Adam Ezra Group and it’s a hilarious homage to the famous Charlie Daniels song of a similar name. It’s by a group. The specific lyric would have to be ‘Wicked Pisser’ or ‘Wicked Pissah,’ as it’s pronounced in Boston. .’

Which author do you most admire and why? 
  Elmore Leonard, may he rest in peace, taught me to believe that you can and should try to write the way people speak. People are funny and they say lots of humorous things, even in tense situations. He famously said, “Try to write what people want to read and leave the rest out.” Leonard labored in obscurity for most of his career and finally found some level of acclaim after Hollywood discovered him by basing movies on Get Short, 3:10 to Yuma and Jackie Brown. Another great author I admire is Norman Mailer, but for different reasons. He managed to write a really twisted thriller called Tough Guys Don’t Dance and also wrote the script for the movie of the same name. The protagonist, played by Ryan O’Neal, is watching his world crumble all around him; his wife leaves him, he can’t stop drinking and oh yeah, there are two heads in a bag in the basement and he is left trying to figure out how they got there. I would always watch the movie when my life was at a low point and it would allow me to say: “Well, at least I don’t have it as bad as that guy.” I believe the movie bombed, but the script closely followed the book and I liked that.

What are you working on at the moment?
 Promotion. I don’t start the next book for a while yet so I’m actively trying to get the word about Starfish Prime, before I start Mudd’s Luck.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
     I published Tampa Star late last year and it is my first book. It’s the story of a father and son that’s told in two parts. The first part of the book starts in the early seventies in the aftermath of the Viet Nam War. The father, Char, is a Seminole Indian and former Green Beret who is wounded by a dead guerrilla in the aftermath of a firefight. He is subsequently evacuated and discharged with a bum leg. Char moves to the Florida Gulf Coast, gets a job, meets a girl and life seems to be going his way, until he falls in with the wrong crowd and things spiral out of control from there. The second part of the book picks up in two thousand and four when the son, a former Recon Marine Officer, is discharged and travels to Florida in search of his father. The story has a host of villains you will love to hate, including a corrupt cop, a Mafia Capo and a Russian ex-CIA interrogator. I think the story has a lot to offer as the characters are richly drawn and are believable. I takes place in and around Florida and is written in the “Florida Glare” style of authors like Elmore Leonard and Laurence Shames. It has the same style of witty, realistic and somewhat caustic dialog that they are known to employ. Tampa Star is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Tampa-Star-The-Blackfox-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00A6DSN5A My latest work, Starfish Prime is a continuation or sequel to Tampa Star. This time, Michael Blackfox thought he'd left Marine Force Recon behind, but they had other ideas. The best trained man for a high risk mission is dead and Blackfox is uniquely qualified to be the heir apparent. The trouble is he and his father are currently fugitives on the run from the law. Marine Special Operations roughly brings Michael back into the fold, while allowing his father to be arrested and extradited. If Michael cooperates, the government will go easy on his dad. A Russian arms dealer recovers an ICBM from Iraq during the invasion and sells it to the Iranians. They commission him to reconfigure the missile as an electromagnetic pulse weapon that, if fired, will destroy all electronics in the United States--effectively plunging the country back to the nineteenth century. The launch pad and assembly building are deep within the Venezuelan jungle. The missile's telemetry system is hosted by a closed network. Michael's job is to parachute into the jungle with a team of Marine Special Operators, hack into the network and deliver a virus that will destroy the missile, while making it all look like an accident.

What motivates you to write?
  I think leaving a legacy inspires me to write. Penning the perfect novel which is motivating because there can never be a perfect novel. Being considered an author also can be inspiring.

What writing are you most proud of?
  I think Starfish Prime is a well written book that I’m very proud of. http://www.amazon.com/Starfish-Prime-Blackfox-Chronicles-ONeil-ebook/dp/B00IQXL2LO

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
   I think finally getting married and to a wonderful woman is something I am most proud of. Don’t get me wrong I sowed lots of wild oats, to use an antiquated phrase but I finally found a woman with the right mix of compassion, wit, intestinal fortitude and niceness to actually put up with me.
 
Why do you write?
 Because I want to create things and it’s my artistic outlet.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
   My wife and close friends support my efforts. My extended family is kind of skeptical. I guess they are waiting for some outside objective judgment from an impartial agency before they go on the record. Something like ending up on a best seller list somewhere would do. I guess I can’t blame them as before I knew about all the requirements for the job; copy editing, developmental editing, and proofreading, my early work was substandard. Those shortfalls have been addressed, but my mom gifted some of my relatives with my early stuff—I guess the saying that applies is, you only get one chance to make a first impression. My process has gotten a lot more rigorous since then.

Do you plan to publish more books?
  I think I will continue to write for the next year or so. They say that your name really doesn’t start to get out there until after your third book. So, I’m planning on starting Mudd’s Luck, soon. I don’t want to publish any spoilers, but it will be the third book in the Blackfox’s Chronicles.

What else do you do to make money, other than write?
   It is rare today for writers to be full time. I’m an IT Architect for a great Healthcare Provider that provides life giving medical care to those in need. It’s an excellent position and best of all is that I get to work from home.

What other jobs have you had in your life?
  I spent a good amount of time in the military; first as an enlisted Marine in the Marine Reserve, then about ten years on active duty as an officer in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army and I finished out my career in the Army Reserve. During that time, I travelled a lot of the world, picked up Spanish, as the Army sent me to language school and managed to have a lot of fun while managing to avoid combat. While most sane people look at the being shot at as merely a life threatening situation, those in the military look at it as an opportunity for career advancement. As a careerist, I was an abject failure as I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Meaning wherever I happened to be, peace was breaking out like mad. I was supposed to jump into Omar Torrejo Airport with the Rangers during Operation Just Cause, but instead I went on to the MP Officer Advance Course. The invasion took place in December of 89, as I drove home to Connecticut for Christmas break members of my former unit parachuted into glory. Later, as I sat in Panama enjoying the new era of peace and prosperity, Operation Desert Storm took place. My luck finally caught up with me and I spent part of a tour in Iraq. Other than a couple of nights of rocket fire, the period in Iraq was relatively peaceful. I got out of the military and spent some time chasing counterfeit clothing manufactures and vendors around Latin American for an unnamed clothing company, but eventually gravitated to the field of IT Security. I am currently an IT Architect for a healthcare company.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
   I would love to study cooking, but that would probably be at a culinary school. MY wife thinks I’m a talented cook, but I really just know the basics and it would be great to know more. If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? I think Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens would be an interesting dinner guess, as would some of our past Presidents, such as Abe Lincoln, George Washington, either Adams or U.S. Grant.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
  I’ve been getting into golf recently and really am enjoying that. A good glass of Bourbon and a cigar are also a nice way to relax. . Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? I think that Elmore Leonard had the right idea; he wrote until he passed away. I think I would like to write for the rest of my life as well and hopefully, develop some level of renown before I go. I would love to have writing be a career in retirement. I would perhaps back off a little bit and publish a book every couple of years instead of every year.


Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
  Starfish Prime is the sequel to Tampa Star. I literally just published it on KDP last month. Michael Blackfox is pulled back into Marine Special Ops for one high risk assignment. Since he has been out, a new Special Operations unit has been formed and his skill set makes him uniquely qualified for a mission in the jungles of Venezuela. Michael is forced to participate in the operation or watch his father be sent to jail for the crimes he committed in Tampa Star. I wrote it because I sometimes get strange ideas. I’m an IT Security guy and in that field, we have to know the enemy. At the 2011 Blackhat Convention, which is a gathers of both hacker and IT security personnel, a hacker nicknamed Barnaby Jack demonstrated hacking a wireless Insulin pump, the device that some diabetics use to inject insulin on a continuous basis. It continuously reads blood glucose levels and keeps them within appropriate parameters by injecting it into the abdomen. I thought that would be a great way to kill someone and set about designing a novel around that. At the time, I was also fascinated with the new Special Operations force within the Marine Corps and I thought it would be cool to have Michael drawn back in to the fight. What marketing works for you? I think book giveaways are important and I constantly have one of two going on Goodreads and Amazon. I also do some marketing, although right now, I’m doing it on the cheap through Fiverr. I know it’s important, but dedicating a lot of capital to something when you are just starting out is difficult. I’d like to anything I’m open to anything, but it’s really anything cheap.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
  I used to not find it hard at all. Now, I don’t share something until its ready for “primetime.”

Can you tell us about your main character?
  I actually have two: Char and his father Michael. I developed Char as I wanted to have a character that was unique to Florida and about the time I was thinking of writing Tampa Star,

How did you develop your plot and characters?
  I attended a Battlefield Walk of an Old Seminole Battlefield Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, including a discussion with a local historian by the name of Richard Procyk, who is an Archaeologist and Author of a book about the Seminoles and their participation in two battles with the Army along the banks of the Loxahatchee. He made the Seminoles, both Black and Red, to be fierce warriors. The Blacks were escaped slaves who the Red Seminoles allowed to join their tribe. The character Char grew from that source as I wanted someone strong, with a military background, but scarred in some way to reflect my need to have heroes with ‘a few chinks in their amour” and yes, “chinks’ is the right word it refers to misalignment of the chainmail caused by contact with pointy objects and came to regard a person with character flaws. Char is a former member of the 101st who becomes a Special Forces Advisor to an ARVN Infantry Battalion. He is shot by a dead guy in the first chapter, and that incident was actually based on real events. It happened to a guy I served with when I first entered the Army in the mid-eighties. The guy was on a Listening Post outside the perimeter while the Viet Cong were attempting an infiltration. He fired up a few of the enemy and made the mistake of trying to pull the weapon from the dead guy’s hands while his finger was in the trigger guard and the result was a grievous leg wound. The soldier was a “tough as nails” South Korean, who had been a ROK Marine, emigrated to the U.S. and was immediately drafted. He ended up in the 101st Airborne and was deployed to Vietnam. Michael is a lot like his father, but tends to operate with a little more adherence to the law than dear old dad. He’s a former Force Recon Marine, who is also wounded in Iraq. I wanted Tampa Star to be an interaction between a father and son, with different, but similar military experience. The reason I made Char rob a casino is unclear. He gets burned by love and I needed him to extract some level of revenge against the people who did it to him. Some readers chided me in reviews for making bad guys the protagonists of the story, but in relation to all the evil people in Tampa Star, Michael and Char are sweethearts.

How much of the book is realistic?
 In Starfish Prime, the hacking part, the weapons and tactics are realistic. I’m sure that there are things that would not play out like that is real life, but for the most part the way the team was inserted through High Altitude Low Opening jumps, was realistic and accurate. For the most part, the equipment; aircraft and vessels operate the way I depicted them. In Starfish, Michael hacks an Insulin Pump and that’s as real as yesterday’s news. A hacker named Barnaby Jack demonstrated the technique at a Blackhat convention in 2011. I had to take a lot of license with the weather and history in Tampa Star. I make up a hurricane and invent a shipwreck, but other than that, it’s pretty realistic in how I describe the various locations.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why?
  Brad Thor, because he’s a marketing genius and he’s a Conservative like me.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
  There are a lot of snack oil salesmen in this field, first and foremost are the vanity publishing houses and editors who deliver crap. It takes a while to sort out who is who. Kindle Direct is a great resource for writers desiring to self-publish. You can literally do everything yourself. Twitter and Facebook help a little to develop a following, but you have to work it. Goodreads is OK, but buyers beware as they are now owned by Amazon and now have nearly cornered the market on the self-promotion and self-promotion market; meaning you can promote giveaways and buy your book from the same source. They also offer review groups for those who really want to know if their work is any good. Another site I use in Authors Marketing Club and they offer a basic service for free. Finding an editor is like finding gold, I would denigrate the bad one I had, but I will promote the good one. Erica Ellis is a very knowledgeable editor who offers reasonably priced services for copy editing that is thorough and fast. She is available at http://www.ericaellisfreelance.com/

What books did you love growing up?
  I think the first book written for an adult audience I ever read was Puppet on a Chain, by Alistair MacLean. I think I went on to read most of what he has written. What I liked about MacLean was the plot twists and tortures he inflicted on the hero. I came to believe you couldn’t be the protagonist unless someone has kicked the snot out of you. What I took away from that was the author wants you recognize how the lead character has suffered to achieve the goal and that the suffering is noble and necessary. You’ll notice that in both my books, the protagonist suffers a good deal. I think it’s all about the running the gauntlet to get what you want from life and engaging the reader in that journey.

Who is your favorite author?
  Currently, my favorite author is Laurence Shames. He blends just enough quirkiness into his characters to make it interesting. Also, he writes in the Florida Glare genre and that makes me a fan.

Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Yeah, the whole YA genre is lame. A couple of authors cashed in by feeding the shallow egos of today’s youth, infusing them with the belief that they’re special. Now every other author is chasing that fad. Every one of the books in the genre denotes tweens or twenty-somethings with special powers who go about fighting evil. Young people flock to these books because they want to be special without actually doing anything. You want to be special? Join the Marine Corps, graduate boot camp, put in for Recon and then if you make it, put your hat in the ring for MARSOC. Then, you’ll be truly special one out of a million who can make that cut. You won’t have to go read a book to feel that way as you’ll be making history. Not quite that elite? Then go stand on a wall someplace and guard the freedoms that the majority of us currently take for granted. Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? I grew up in Connecticut, joined the Marine Corps Reserve when I was seventeen as I needed some toughening up. I attended college, but my father died and I couldn’t afford to continue. Reagan’s military buildup solved that problem, because I received an ROTC Scholarship and garnered a commission. After joining the Army, I never looked back toward Connecticut. I lived in Panama and South Korea and lots of different places in the United States and the world. I also worked as a Director of Investigations for Latin America and was able to travel to most of the countries down there. Eventually, I found Florida and decided that this was the place for me. Although it’s been likened to God’s waiting room, I love the Florida lifestyle.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
  The character of Char came from a battlefield walk and talk I attended of the Loxacahatchee battlefield. But, I literally get inspiration from all over and I think that I can best illustrate that with a short story. My wife and friends were at a bar called Sloppy Joe’s on Treasure Island after a day of golf. We had eaten and were having one more beer before heading home. Paddle boarders were paddling by in the gulf and the girls voiced how much they wanted to try the sport. I’ve never tried it, but decided it looked tedious and announced that I hated paddle boarders so much that I thought they would be good targets for a sniper in my next novel. My companions all laughed at the thought. My buddy Ken was ribbing me over it, so I declared that I would name the antagonist after him. That’s how Ken Q. Kelley was born. He’s a hired killer who is mopping up some old business by finding inventive ways to do certain people in. Anyone who asks him what the ‘Q’ in his name stands for is presented with a different answer; Quincy, Quoto, Quasimodo, etc.

Have you met any people in the industry who have really helped you?
Yes, a few, some fellow authors, most notably, Dan Pollock, have stepped up, purchased my work and done a review or two. He’s a great guy! Most authors understand the struggle and will try to help. However, there are one or two out there that are real asses, but I’m going to concentrate on the good.

What’s your favorite meal?
  Filet Mignon, luckily I don’t have a child or I’d name him or her…..Just kidding about the last part that would be dumb.

What movie do you love to watch?
  There are a lot of good ones out that that stick in your head because of the dialog. I just watched Boiler Room the other day and there is some great dialog in that movie, but it was somewhat derivative of Glengarry Glenross.

What makes you angry?
  Stupidity, as evidenced by the abysmal state of the average American voting public. They are easy to hoodwink, because they would rather spend hours watching any number of abysmal shows specifically set up to make them feel better about their lives, rather than educating themselves about the issues of the day and working to do something about it. I mean, take a few moments away from Here Comes HoneyBooBoo or Keeping up with the Kardasians to study the issues effecting your life, your health and the ability of the state to intrude on your rights, just to name a few issues of the day. And by that I don’t mean, just read things from either side of the political spectrum. I work with lots of intelligent people who have a blind spot when it comes to politics; they make their decisions on who to vote for from a sound bit on television. The media and politicians know this and act accordingly.

How do you feel about self-publishing?
  It’s the next big thing. The book publishing house -agent relationship needed to be updated, if not constructively destroyed, as it was bad for the market and the reader. They were in the enviable position of picking winners and losers. It’s akin to a guild system where supposedly, only the best and brightest will be published, but we all know that the other attribute in that dynamic is being politically connected or well-known and few are cognizant of that factor. I mean, Piers Morgan, a man the vast majority of the country loathes, would automatically be published because he has a dedicated following of fans that dote on his every word. The most common complaint is that most self-published books are horribly written and that’s a gross generalization, but even if were the case, let the market sort it out. If your writing or process is lacking, the reader will let you know and Amazon has a return policy. Self-publishing is a boon to the reader in that many self-published books are both well-written books and inexpensive. The quality of the Indie published work is catching up to that of traditionally published books and the same type of naysayers who said there is no market for personal computers or man will never land on the moon will be served an extra big helping of crow.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
  Starfish Prime is the sequel to Tampa Star. I literally just published it on KDP last week. Michael Blackfox is pulled back into Marine Special Ops for one high risk assignment. Since he has been out, a new Special Operations unit has been formed and his skill set makes him uniquely qualified for a mission in the jungles of Venezuela. Michael is forced to participate in the operation or watch his father be sent to jail for the crimes he committed in Tampa Star. I wrote it because I sometimes get strange ideas and its best to write about them. I’m an IT Security guy and in that field, we have to know the enemy. At the 2011 Blackhat Convention, which is a gathering of hackers and IT security personnel, a hacker nicknamed Barnaby Jack demonstrated hijacking a wireless Insulin pump, the device that some diabetics use to inject insulin on a continuous basis. It continuously reads blood glucose levels and keeps them within appropriate parameters by injecting it into the abdomen. I thought that would be a great way to kill someone and set about designing a novel around that. At the time, I was also fascinated with the new Special Operations Force within the Marine Corps called MARSOC and I thought it would be cool to have Michael drawn back in to the fight.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
  Well, I’ve written two books and am self-published through KDP. Writing is the long pole in the tent, but publishing through traditional venues is difficult. I sent out a bunch of queries and either received a negative response or heard nothing. I think that agents and publishing houses are in shock from the rise of self-publishing and digital; media and they are trying to adjust fire. They were gate-keepers, but now they are not and that had democratized the industry or it will. I am confident that self-publishing is the next great thing. Originally, the quality of the work was poor overall, but authors either adapted to the market and they stopped writing. And a whole supportive industry sprang up to make that process happen; for fee copy editors, formatting professionals, development editors, graphic artists, and marketing professionals. For me marketing is tough because I’m just learning how to do it. Every first time author thinks that if your write it they will come, but that’s just part of the equation. Marketing is tough, but writing well is the hardest part of the endeavor.

What marketing works for you?
  I think book giveaways are important and I constantly have one of two going on Goodreads and Amazon. I also do some marketing, although right now, I’m doing it on the cheap through Fiverr. I know it’s important, but dedicating a lot of capital to something when you are just starting out is difficult.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
 I used to not find it hard at all. Now, I don’t share something until its ready for “primetime.”

Have you started another book yet?
  No, I just finished and self-published Starfish Prime, so I’m taking a month or so to decompress. I’ll start Mudd’s Luck a couple of weeks from now. Idle hands and all that.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
  I’d like to have half dozen books under my belt by then, but we’ll see. You know what they say about wanting to hear God laugh? Tell him your plans. Still, it’s a nice dream.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
  I’m reading Detroit, An Autopsy right now. It’s a good read and the author is the kind of old school reporter that I used to admire. It’s a great book.

What contributes to making a writer successful?
  Sticktotiveness. I think about one of the most admired fiction writers of this and last century, Elmore Leonard. He labored in obscurity for much of his career until he was finally discovered by the mainstream after publishing at least a dozen books. He went on to write and publish at least thirty more. If you deliver a quality product and stick to doing so, I believe that eventually, the market will discover you. Luck is also a big factor.

Do you have any advice for writers?
  Develop your craft, keep after it and don’t quit.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
  I had a dream to write a book, now I’ve written two. That reminds me of a similar line from the movie, The Freshman, Larry London: “Carmine said one boy, here are two!” But, I digress. I can Google my name and see a couple of pages of results. I have two books for sale on Amazon. A few people think I’m very talented, including my wife, but then she is supposed to think that. So, life is good.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
  My books are all about enjoying yourself. I like to think that I take you on a journey, muse your hair a little, bring you a laugh or two and then deliver you back to reality all for the price of a few dollars. If I don’t deliver on that, ask for your money back.


Thank you: (Interview provided by and used with authorization from the author.)