Interview with Michael Don Fess

When did you first start writing?
Back in the early 1990s, I realized that unique experiences in my early years as a sales engineer, could be fictionalized as an interesting story. Being an optimist, I plunged in, not realizing that I didn't know how to write a novel.
After several drafts, and much research on "how to write, I finally finished "Politics . . . Louisiana Style."
What was your best review?
Just finished reading The Cruising Black Widow! What a kicker ending!
Sure hope they make a movie out of these! If not a movie - how about a TV series??
Really think the cruising should continue with some of these interesting characters!
Not ready to disembark! Joan M - South Texas
What's the story behind your latest book?
After the success with "The Cruising Serial Killer" and "The Cruising Black Widow," I made another trip to the Bahamas. After learning about more of the unique local history of the Abacos, I was inspired to write "Mystery on Elbow Cay."
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My research into the publishing industry made me realize that I didn't want a publishing house in control of my work. In addition, I love the flexibility of eBook publishing . . . afterthoughts can be added at any time. People can buy my eBooks from the comfort of their home and begin to read instantly.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Yes, after bumbling through the formatting traps, I found the system to be easy to use. Smashwords also publishes good marketing information that I find to be very helpful.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It is probably best expressed by something I read a while back. "People who read a lot enjoy many lives . . . people who don't read live only one."
What is your writing process?
I try to have one or more characters "larger than life." If a character is memorable, people remember the book. I like to have several sub-plots along with the main plot . . . this makes the story more interesting. I try to include as many facts as I can . . . it makes fiction seem more real.
How do you approach cover design?
I initially used photos of my art, but realized that wasn't dramatic enough. I can buy cover art that is more appropriate to the story and much more eye-catching.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My favorite is the iPad . . . I can enlarge the print and it's backlit. I don't have to find a lamp or light source in order to read.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I find that email, Facebook, book signings and word-of-mouth has worked the best. Paid advertising hasn't been cost effective.
Published 2013-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Know Your TimeA non-fiction
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 3,710. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2020. Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Study guides - Sciences
A non-fiction analysis of how we measure time including a factual account of how we arrived at the calendar we use today.
A Shaking Experience
Price: $3.95 $1.58 USD. (60% off!) Words: 69,180. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel
Based on an actual cruise to the Panama Canal, a man experiences shocking events and meets amazing people. He learns about the search to prove that Hitler lived out his life in Argentina after the war. He learns surprising facts about the canal after the U.S. relinquished control and discovers how enemies can resolve their differences.
A Pill Is Bitter
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 67,020. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
A sequel to "The ISIS Pill" that continues to reveal cutting edge technology for pursuing criminals. Follow FBI Special Agent, Herbert Hanks, as he travels to Paris to investigate the role of a Saudi Arabian Prince in drug smuggling. Learn the amazing schemes used by drug smugglers and their violent way of life.
A Secret In Black
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 74,170. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Enjoy a ringside seat while you witness six retired federal agents try to bring justice to our current world. They dive into the political bag of dirty tricks, risking their lives to make things right. A newspaper reporter gains fame as he tryie to assist them without knowing who they are. Their creative solutions to put criminals out of business gains favor with the police.
The ISIS Pill
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 56,790. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
“The ISIS Pill” is a mystery thriller plucked from today’s news. The FBI tries to prevent a high level ISIS operative from setting up a drug smuggling ring and in the process, they discover a covert drug packaging plant. Drugs have been used and abused for centuries, but especially during modern times. The ISIS Pill, or its generic name Captagon. is a highly addictive mixture.
The DNA Conspiracy
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 58,580. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
What if the DNA sample Bo decoded was the last existing record of the history of the world. Bo and Ken travel to Rome, escorted by the FBI and the CIA, looking for another survivor of the ancient intelligent species who encoded it. Murders and assassinations seem to follow them everywhere they go as members of ancient secret societies try to prevent the truth from being told.
A Dance With Carlos
Series: A Political Dance. Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 69,000. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
The third novel in a trilogy, "A Dance With Carlos" highlights an amazing insurance scam against the backdrop of the New Orleans Mafia boss returning from exile with vengeance on his mind. Inspired by real people and real events, the novel documents exciting assassination attempts.
Dancing With The Mafia
Series: A Political Dance. Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 72,950. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
A sequel to "A Political Dance," this novel explores the influence exerted by the Mafia on Louisiana elections. A young Assistant Attorney General risks his life to expose corrupt practices with state leases and stumbles onto a much bigger scam. All of this against the backdrop of the Civil Rights unrest.
A Political Dance
Series: A Political Dance. Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 86,530. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Book One of a Trilogy, "A Political Dance" is a fictional account of a young man struggling against established political corruption. This novel tries to expose some methods used to accomplish those deeds. The characters are fiction, but were inspired by real people in Louisiana history. The series of events depicted are pure fiction, all leading up to the political Bar-B-Que.
The Secret DNA Code
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 63,790. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Graduate students try to decode the history of the universe they think is encoded in our DNA. Fanatic fundamentalists learn of the project and try to stop them at any cost. The mystery, propelled by a foreign embassy, deepens as the FBI and the NSA become involved in trying to protect the researchers. A hired assassin keeps the action going fast and furious.
A Petit Jean Mystery
Price: $1.95 USD. Words: 5,480. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Imagine going to a state park for a weekend to camp out and the weather changes. Snow covers everything with a six inch blanket while law officers are trying to catch a murderer before he kills again. Would you get involved to attempt to learn why this killer is guarding a sector of the park, especially since he shot at you?
Her Two Week Cruise
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 63,860. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Gunshots in the middle of the night precipitates a "get outta town" two week cruise. It's amazing what can happen in two weeks.
Mystery on Elbow Cay
Series: Caribbean Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $3.95 $1.58 USD. (60% off!) Words: 58,200. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
A Bahamian lobster fisherman discovers a mystery hidden by the Nazis near the end of WWII and people began to be murdered. Why are they so desperate to preserve this secret? Did the Nazis really did get help from aliens when they made such phenomenal progress in the years during Hitler’s rise to power?
The Cruising Black Widow
Series: Caribbean Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 60,270. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
When Burt Holmes sold his business for $1.4 million, he decided to borrow some ideas from the cruising serial killer. Kinky sex and larcenous intrigue stimulate much action in the Caribbean until one of the murderers matches wits with the cruising Black Widow. She is definitely one of a kind as she traps victims in her web . . . an unforgettable character.
The Not-So-Little Rock
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 59,060. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure
Erotic play drives this novel of intrigue, murder, and politics as a billionaire reveals his humble beginnings with the discovery of a not-so-little rock in Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds. Rich in history, the story includes the state’s financial difficulties during the depression and North Little Rock’s famous “Old Mill,” featured in the opening scene of “Gone With The Wind.”
It's About Time
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,560. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Astronomy
An interesting dissertation on TIME. Have you ever wondered if time is different on other planets? Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
Casino Scams
Price: $3.95 $1.58 USD. (60% off!) Words: 68,950. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Amazing and intriguing scams that happen in casinos beginning with the WSOP circuit tournament in Tunica, Mississippi. Not surprisingly, the mob figures into much of the action in this fast moving account that lasts a little over two weeks. The devious nature of these scams produces surprising results.
The Cruising Serial Killer
Series: Caribbean Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 77,580. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Forman Blocker is a serial killer who preys on cruise ship passengers, assumes their identity, and enjoys their assets as he island-hops around the Caribbean. Imagine the shock if your grown son or your brother went on a Caribbean cruise and never returned. Can an iPad become the key to the mystery?
What Do We Do With What We've Learned?
Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 54,050. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » General reference » Questions & answers, Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Religion & politics
The purpose of the documentations contained in this book is not to discourage the pursuit of answers to man’s search for “Where did we come from, why are we here, or where do we go when we die.” Neither is the purpose to bash religion. It is simply to explore how religion has been misused and abused down through the centuries. This edition contains a surprise BONUS !