My favorite authors are: Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Jinx Schwartz, Janet Evanovich, Lee Child, John Sandford, James L. Conway, Jim Butcher, Chelsea Cain, Jutta Profijt and Oliver Potzsch. And these are just a small sampling! I read just about anything from science fiction, fantasy, adventures, mysteries, police procedures, sexy fantasy and the occasional erotica. All either flavor or have flavored my style.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life. Learning. Writing. Seeing what lunacy we've managed to get ourselves into today.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a bicyclist, mountain and road in summer, cross-country skier in winter. Anchorage, AK has over 150km of trails and that's not counting single track. Most of these trails are maintained for skiing and biking. I take care of the house and yard all that entails; mowing, gardening, snow-blowing. As a friend says, "It's not a house, it's a hobby."
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Emails from Kindle, friends, Twitter and Facebook. I read a lot of samples.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I certainly do. It was about a sentient computer...yeah, I know. Been done. But it was fun to write and every now and then I pull it out and reread it. I'll post it on my blog someday.
What is your writing process?
I think about the project I'm working on. As my writing is mostly character driven I go where they want to go. So I think about it: does this sound right? Would he/she actually say that? Does this character really go there and do that? Or, I catch myself realizing the character could not have known what was happening to another character or situation. I get completely caught up in my 'worlds' which helps the process. My worlds have to work. I dislike logic holes or gaps and things that don't make sense.
I have no minimum word days. I write as they come. Some days they pour out and I can do as many as 10,000 words. Other days, I'm lucky to get three or four. I don't do the "go to the office and write" thing that many writers do.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Probably would have to be either "Witch World" by Andre Norton, or "The Wailing Asteroid" by Murray Leinster. The impact from both was enormous. Telepathic cats? Memories from a chip of 'something.' What concepts! I've managed to avoid the talking animals ideas but some of the other things I loved. Like the ancient memory the chip from "Wailing Asteroid" produced. I've borrowed that "ancient" human idea for my first series, "The Witches of Aba Nam." And all this before I read Doc Smith and his books.
How do you approach cover design?
DIY. I'm a photographer and I play around with Corel Paintshop Pro and Adobe Elements. Interestingly, a friend of mine's daughter did the paintings for the Aba Nam series covers. I took the photographs of those and "enhanced" them and added my own text. I'm still working on the covers for my Scepter of the Nile books.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Foundation series by Asimov. I love the idea of "future history" and the telepathic elements. Sentient robots. Almost all '50's novels by Heinlein. Those helped my freedoms of choice concepts; physical, sexual, religious. Fountains of Paradise by Clarke. Gotta love nanobots! JD Robb's "Death" series. Near future concepts and some of her transportation idea. John Sandford anything. Great characterizations and procedures. And last but certainly not least, the late Elmore Leonard. Dialog at it's finest. And of course, his total loony toons offbeat plots and characters.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much everything. And yes, I've even read a YA title or two. I love series, some I've already mentioned. JD Robb, Janet Evanovich, John Sandford, Lee Child, Nora Roberts trilogies. Occasionally I'll read an erotica although it's got to be well written or it's the dreaded 'delete' button. Kenny Wright is excellent at building tension. I've read German and Finish authors: Jutta Profijt, love her Morgue Drawer series and hopefully a Dust Angel series is coming. Oliver Potzsch's Hangman's Daughter series. He does incredible research as history is a favorite subject of mine. And my wife's German so I have that going as well.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPhone5, iPad, although I don't read much on the Pad. I don't have anything specific for reading only, like a Kindle, as I carry enough junk around with me when I'm out.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far Twitter, Facebook, my blog and word of mouth. I am trying to reach a wider audience, hence Smashwords. There's a Mercedes out there somewhere with my name on it.
Describe your desk
A freakin' mess! It's a dark wood Pier One reject with two letter-size drawers. My own self-installed keyboard tray. A clock from my first wife. Full pencil cup from my step-daughter, a 1" photo of my wife (the German one). Two 27" Samsung monitors. A mostly empty box of recordable DVD's. A thumb drive is hidden there someplace. A stick dancer tile from my mom for a coaster.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
To borrow from Hank Snow: "I"ve been everywhere man, I've been everywhere." It's helped color my characters and locations. From the heat and humidity of Houston to the snow-capped Chugach outside my windows in Anchorage to the electricity of San Francisco. All these places and a zillion others add color and depth.
When did you first start writing?
From about the time I knew what word were and how to form them and put ideas together. So, 3rd grade, I suppose.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's odd how things come about. My Witches of Aba Nam series actually started way back in the early 90's as a story about a pizza delivery to Valhalla. From there it morphed into the witches, the writer, the war that pushed my Queen into the path of that writer and magic that drives all this. My second series came because vampires are all the rage. I thought I'd try my hand at it and from what my beta readers are saying, it's pretty good. My vampires have a twist, something that runs through most of my writing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
About the same as most of us: trying to convince an agent that my stuff's better than your stuff. I wrote many, many letters. Sent emails all over. I can't imagine how some of the poorly written crap Ive read ever got published. I have never been a journalist which keeps that door into the publishing world closed. Along came Peanut Press and ebooks and the idea was born.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Not yet. I've not listed anything so far but will as soon as this interview is done.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Watching something I've done give enjoyment to others. Seriously, it's not about the Mercedes. I love talking to people who've read my first Aba Nam book and listening to what the say. I've mad an impact on someone's life. However, I'd love to earn enough to at least fill my Tacoma once in awhile.
What do your fans mean to you?
There's someone out there waiting for the next installment and they let me know emphatically that I've been sitting and not doing far too long.
What are you working on next?
My Scepter of the Nile series.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.