I take at most, the three most important aspects of the story and try to get them on the cover, usually the one main theme, and at most (if at all), two supporting ideas.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
On Writing by Stephen King is probably the most motivational book I've read. I listened to the unabridged audio book, read by King himself. The version I have includes his experience with the hit-and-run, and how he got back on the horse, so to speak. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman has some of the best prose I've ever read. I've tried emulating the way he turns phrases, with little success, but it is a benchmark I strive for. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein is a book I read about every year or so. It influenced a non-Christian religion that is recognized by the US government, so the power of the writing, and just the thought processes of the characters, shows. The Spenser series by Robert B. Parker shows the PI genre in its simplicity, both in his style of writing, and the character of the characters.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on my Android phone, my iPad, and my Nook Simple Touch, depending on where I am and what I have access to.
Describe your desk
My desk is a mess, with little notes everywhere, small toys and electronic gadgets spread haphazardly everywhere.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Washington, IL, a suburb of Peoria, IL. Washington was small town enough to show the simple side of life, whereas Peoria (where I live now and spent a lot of my teen years) is big city enough to have shown me the hustle and bustle and sheer madness of citylife. I think I've seen enough of both sides to be able to connect with most people.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I had come up with the names "Spider and Fortune" some time ago, and knew I wanted them to be troubleshooters of some kind, whether it was cops, PIs, thieves with the proverbial hearts of gold, whatever, but I never found a story I liked.
Then I was in a rock band that was changing the members and we needed a new name. Someone looked at our set list and saw "Gimme Three Steps," "Jumpin Jack Flash" and "Deja Voodoo" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd respectively. They said, "There, that's your new band: Three Jack Voodoo." When looking at my previous notes for something to work on, I came across "Spider and Fortune" and "Three Jack Voodoo" next to each other. So I started thinking of what kind of story a "Three Jack Voodoo" could represent, and ideas started flowing. Next thing I knew, I had 10,000 words cranked out with a clear idea of where it was going.
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A collection of short steampunk stories featuring Felix Valentine, a robust, intelligent gentleman adventurer with a team of friends who assist him as he takes on the villains of the world in tales of high adventure!