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Archive for October, 2017

Fix Your Diet Fix Your DiabetesTitle: FIX YOUR DIET FIX YOUR DIABETES
Author: Tony Hampton, MD
Publisher: Windy City Publishers
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help

BOOK BLURB:

Want to fix your diabetes? In this book, I share with my diabetic and borderline diabetic readers that they have the power to reverse or prevent diabetes simply by changing their diets. It starts with how you think. By removing old beliefs to new ones that better serve you, the path to recovery from diabetes can be that simple. Once I provide the rationale for changing old beliefs to more productive ones, I then share with you ways to stay motivated as you journey to a new way of eating. You are then given a deeper understanding of why so many people have diabetes. This knowledge will allow you to remove thoughts you may have had where you blamed yourself for having diabetes. You are then given tips on how to maintain the motivation needed to make a successful transition to a diabetic friendly diet. Additional knowledge is given about the many complications which could occur when this condition is not well controlled. Empowered with the understanding of why diabetes occurs and its many complications, you will be given a case for changing how diabetes is treated. This is done by changing the focus of diabetes management away from the symptoms (elevated glucose), which is how we currently manage this condition, to treating the cause of the disease (insulin resistance). You are then given the rationale for increasing healthy fats in your diets while reducing starchy carbohydrates and processed foods. Once this is explained, examples of foods that should be considered for smoothies, snacks, and dinner are given so you will know how to choose foods which are best. Finally, tips on how to avoid being fooled by marketing labels and claims of so-called healthy foods provide the framework by which great dietary choices can be made. This new approach to reversing diabetes with diet will reverse diabetes in nearly anyone willing to make these simply lifestyle changes.

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Chapter One:

Fix Your Motivation

“If someone is going down the wrong road,

he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up.

What he needs is education to turn him around.”

~Jim Rohn

Answering the WHY Question

So what is your motivation for reading this book? Is it because you feel it’s time to finally win your battle with diabetes and are looking for the steps you need to take to get you there? Or is it because the world has convinced you that the reason you have this condition is because you have not taken personal responsibility for the lifestyle decisions you have made? If only you would eat less and exercise more, right? That’s what you have been told for so many years and yet no matter what you do, you have not found a path to success.

I have some good news for you. You are not the problem. If that was so, we would be living in a world of unmotivated individuals unwilling to make the necessary changes to improve their overall health. I don’t believe this at all. My experience with patients is that most want to be healthy and are willing to do what’s needed to get healthy.

So if that’s true, what’s been keeping them from finding success? The answer is simple. It’s not a lack of motivation but a lack of information. Yes, the path to success is understanding how our bodies work, which is becoming clearer as more and more research is being done.

In the pages of this book I will share a way of viewing your diet that perhaps no one has taught you before. With this new information you can take the steps needed to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. As you learn how to approach your food options, you will give your body access to the right nutrition. This will help you keep your blood sugars down, ultimately reducing the need for insulin, whether it comes from your pancreas (your insulin factory) or the pharmacy (medication). And yes, eating healthier can be done affordably, as long as you are open to eating some of the things you normally walk away from when shopping.

As a physician, there were times when I blamed my patients for not being at their ideal body weight until I realized one important reality. Maybe their behaviors didn’t lead to their inability to process glucose biochemically, but rather their biochemistry led to the behaviors. You may want to read that last sentence again. In other words, relax and stop blaming yourself.

Once you understand how sugars affect your decisions, you will stop blaming yourself (or anyone else) for your diabetes or the effects it has on your physical condition. You will also learn that all calories are not the same and that some calories are good while others are bad.

For example, calories from sugars are not the best way to receive nutrition, no matter what you’ve been told about how much of your nutrition should be coming from sugars or carbs. In fact, an International Econometric Analysis of Diet and Diabetes found “sugar availability is a significant statistical determinant of diabetes prevalence rates worldwide.”

To put this in perspective, a 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9-1/3 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) has put together a maximum intake allowance for sugar, and according to the AHA, women should have no more than 6 teaspoons per day. Men can have up to 9 teaspoons of sugar daily. So, whether you’re male or female, drinking a single 12-ounce can of Coke goes over the maximum sugar allowance for the day.2 The average American consumes 22 teaspoons daily.

Keeping these facts in mind, it would not surprise you that drinking just one soda per day increases your risk for diabetes by 29 per-cent, regardless of your current weight. So I ask the question again, are you lacking motivation or lacking knowledge? I think you know the answer. Now let’s start by looking at ways you can stay motivated as you work toward your goal of fixing your diabetes.

Set a Goal

The first step is to define your goal. Your short-term goal may be to get your Hemoglobin A1c under 7. Or maybe you have a long-term goal of preventing many of the complications of diabetes, like blindness or kidney failure. Either way, defining your goals will be an important step in reaching them.

Keep your goals realistic and focused. Goals that are out of reach only create an unrealistic illusion. For example, I’m a tennis fan and dream of playing at Wimbledon someday. But the reality is that I am at an age and skill level where this is an impossible dream. Likewise, if your goals are not focused, you may find yourself trying to accom-plish more than your brain can handle. This results in mental fatigue, which will sap your confidence.

Now let’s look at the benefits of sharing your goals.

Share Your Goal

I must admit, this is risky. Even your friends and family, who should be your greatest source of support, can sometimes be your greatest source of discouragement. Many times they are not aware that they are harming you. They want to limit your expectations so they can protect you from failure. All the same, friends and family can be our greatest ally as we work towards our goals. We want them on board when we are trying to accomplish anything, so talk to them and let them know you are determined to change and succeed. They will help keep you from falling off the wagon whenever a little motivation is needed. Your diabetes control may depend on it.

Introduce Your Goal to Your Refrigerator

In a world where stainless steel is becoming the norm, I hope I don’t upset anyone with the idea of putting anything on that fancy refrigerator door. But this may be the best way to find the daily reminder you’ll need to stay motivated. Most of us will pass by that big ice box at least once daily. Why not repurpose it as a reminder of your personal goals? Such a reminder could be exactly what you need to get your day started on the right foot. Consider a picture of your diabetes medicines with a big X over it. This could serve as your aspirational goal of using your diet to get off medicines.

Partner With Others to Help You Reach Your Goals

Have you ever thought, “If only I had a life coach?” Imagine having someone to help you as you take your journey to a place you’ve never been before. How secure would you feel knowing that you’re not alone, but have a built-in support system to help you along the way? Partnering with someone can make this all possible.

Partnerships create an accountability that for some of us is not easily achieved alone. Not only will you benefit, but you will be return-ing the favor by providing the same support for the person you’ve created your partnership with. You are now accountable to each other, sharing both your successes and failures. Even the most successful motivational speakers, like Anthony Robbins, have life coaches. Think about the people in your circle and see if someone could fill this role in your life. If you can’t find one in your circle, consider hiring a professional life coach or joining a diabetes support group in your area.

Focus on What’s Important to You, Not What’s Important to Others

The reality for many of us is that we spend too much time focused on other people’s agendas—whether it’s doing activities you really don’t want to do, not knowing how to say no, or allowing others to dictate how you should live your life. The key is to reflect on your own goals and allow those goals to set your day’s agenda. Once you remove distractions caused by others, there will be plenty of time to do the things that are meaningful to you.

If you rarely feel motivated, making this shift could correct your energy levels. When you’re doing things for yourself, motivation will naturally be high because you’re doing what your own spirit desires. Doing other people’s work will never create the motivation you need to accomplish anything.

Be Careful of the Words You Use Daily

You are what you think or say you are. If you use negative words to describe yourself or your capacity to reach your goals, you will likely fulfill those negative expectations. When was the last time you recall a negative-thinking person accomplishing much or inspiring others? This doesn’t happen. Understanding that our thoughts become our reality is one of the most important keys to creating an environment that fosters success. If you believe you can fix your diabetes, you will.

Create a Positive Environment to Nurture Your Spirit

I listen to inspirational messages daily. Messages from those who have mastered the art of positive thinking. They are so easy to find— in books, with an Internet search, or on Youtube. This has changed my life and it will do the same for you.

All you need to do is take a few minutes each day to get the positive juices flowing. This will enable you to counter the negative forces you will certainly face each day. Whether it’s the local news, a negative co-worker, a mean boss, or an unsupportive family member, your ability to manage the negative energy they are emitting is made easier with the armor of positive thoughts in your head.

So take a moment to think about all your activities and the time and resources they use. Then start the process of removing those activities which don’t add value or help you reach your goal of better controlling your diabetes. By replacing activities which don’t serve you with activities that do, you will find it easier to reach your goals. Will you have the courage to take away those activities which have been part of your routine for so long? Sometimes it’s what we don’t do that harms us the most

Take a w a y s

  • Reflect and decide WHY you are motivated to fix your diabetes. Your motivation may be a person, or it may be a goal you are trying to reach.
  • Set a specific goal with a defined date to reach it.

This could be a target level of hemoglobin A1c.

  • Share your goal with someone who wants to help you reach it, to create accountability.
  • Write your goal on a sticky note and place it on your refrigerator as a daily reminder.
  • Get yourself a life coach.
  • Focus on your own priorities and not the priorities of others.
  • Speak encouraging language to yourself and others.
  • Make sure your day is started with positives messages.

 

 

 

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We’re really excited to be hosting Marguerite Ashton’s HER FINAL WATCH Book Blast today! Leave a comment below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Title:
HER FINAL WATCH
Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 296
Genre: Crime
Speaking
second-hand truths can be deadly …
Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current
case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob
for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily’s usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom
she’d killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the
child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from
her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a
local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before
Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and
another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled
into a conflict that swirls around the boss’s son who’s hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might
still be alive if it wasn’t for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee
Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point
to Ibee and Jeremiah – placing Lily’s life and her unborn child in danger.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

 

Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice
until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged
cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.
In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have
to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she
needed to do was make it through this last night and she’d be allowed to be who
she was; a mom just doing her job.
After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had,
it would be hard to detah. Towards the end, she’d learned things she wished
weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.
Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take
on another undercover assignment.
Click.
Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and
closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the
backless white dress she wore at his request.
The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind
her, breathing heavily.

 

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up
acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime
fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek
and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she
founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement
investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime
writers who need help with their book research.
She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic,
plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado
recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in

Colorado, but is now happily
living in
Wisconsin and playing as much golf
as possible.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

Marguerite Ashton is giving away a
$25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway
    ends midnight October 31.
  • Winner will
    be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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The Guardian-SMAmazon Bestselling author Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass heroes who defy their limits to protect the women they love. A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she splits her time between Colorado and Florida, where she lives with her indulgent husband and a very opinionated cat.

Anna loves to hear from her readers. Connect with Anna at:

Annadelmar.com

Anna on Facebook

Anna on Twitter

Anna@annadelmar.com

Subscribe to Anna’s newsletter

Amazon / Kobo / Nook

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Guardian. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: Sure! The Guardian is the story of Matthias Hawking, an ex-SEAL turned game warden, engaged in a fierce battle to end poaching in Africa. When Jade Romo, a beautiful, stubborn, fiery journalist defies the poachers, Matthias will do everything in his power to protect the woman who has captured his heart.

The Guardian was born during a holiday in Africa. It was supposed to be a no-laptop, no-writing vacation. But I get a lot of inspiration from my trips and this one was packed with inspiration. Tanzania is an amazing country. And who could resist the magnificent Serengeti as the backdrop for an epic love story?

Q: What do you think makes a good romantic suspense? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: I think a good romantic suspense novel has to have a strong, twisting plot, an awesome setting and smart, clever, conflicted characters who defy terrible odds and evolve to challenge and love each other throughout the story. The stakes must be high, that’s a big one for me, with issues that matter in and out of bed, to each person, but also to all of us, to the human race. Oh, and a sweet, happy ending. That’s key for me. That’s more than three things, isn’t it? I’m smiling.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: This is one of those cases where reality laid out the storyline for me. There have been so many cases of major poaching documented in the press. When I was traveling in Africa, several of these cases were in the news. The threats that Matthias and Jade confronted in The Guardian are very real.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Matthias Hawking’s character is based on a number of real ex-special forces operators that have collaborated with the global fight against poaching. Matthias’s skill set as an ex-Seal fit neatly into the storyline. As to Jade Romo, in her own words, she’s what happens when you meld Anthony Bourdain with Nat Geo and add heaping spoon of attitude to the mix.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: To create my villains, I read the African papers, scoured the news about the world of poaching’s principals, and talked to the people on the ground. My story is completely fictional and yet, regretfully, similar things happen all too often, for real.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I kept a quick pace and made sure the plot twisted in a few key places. I also peppered the story with clues and details that came together at the end. It helped that both Matthias and Jade were so action-oriented. Neither one was willing to take a backseat to the action. Both of them were in the middle of everything.

The conflict between them helped and so did their competitive natures. Some of the best, most exciting scenes in this novel are exactly that. In this case, creating an action-adventure male/female alpha pair was the perfect fit for the plot. Their romance fed on the action scenes in such a way that their respective skill sets came through. Jade learned to trust Matthias and respect his competencies and Matthias loved Jade as she was, a hurricane wearing boots.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Well, let’s face it. My setting was incredible and so well suited to showcase the characters in this story. Africa is an amazing continent. Tanzania blew me away. The Serengeti—come on!—the Serengeti is the third character in The Guardian. It offered infinite opportunities to the writer in me. The landscape, the wildlife, the people, I used it all to offer what I hope is a vivid, breathtaking background. In my mind, the Serengeti was an epic setting for an epic love story. In fact, if you’d like to see the images that inspired many of the pivotal scenes in The Guardian, click here to see my pictures of Africa.

Q: Did you know the themes of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Are these themes recurrent in your other work?

A: I’m very passionate about my heroes. I love to write about my amazing wounded warriors, who rise from the ashes like mythological Phoenixes. In The Guardian, I carried through the theme, which by the way, also implies that the experience of being wounded, challenged, and defied by life itself is something that we all share as human beings. It’s not about physical wounds. It’s about psychological wounds.

In that way, both Matthias and Jade are wounded warriors, even though neither one of them is likely to recognize themselves as such. The idea of sex and love as healing elements is pivotal as well. Most importantly is the recognition that we are all wounded beings in one way or another. My wounded warriors teach us about the courage of healing through taking on the ultimate risk: love.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Writing is a craft and an art. The story demands both. A technically proficient novel without art reads like an instruction manual without a soul. An artistic work of fiction is unreadable when the writer neglects the craft. The novelist must be an artist and a technician of the craft at the same time.

As to editing, I think it’s always meant to be a force of good to the story. The problem ensues when editing becomes a way of censorship to the author. Self-editing can be particularly murderous to the creative flow, especially to a new, inexperienced author. The obvious prescription to overcome that is writing. You write now, and you edit later.

I’m also a huge fan of professional editing. I think an experienced, capable, professional editor offers the best and fastest opportunity to polish a manuscript. Notice the adjectives here, experienced, capable, professional. I would add to that the right editor is also genre-specific, meaning that she or he is in touch with your market and readers. Unfortunately, there are some editors out there who do not meet those parameters. They can do some damage, especially to a new writer’s confidence. I know a good editor when I see one. She or he seeks to build, not to destroy.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Guts, insight, and perseverance. Guts, because you’ve got to be able to stand for yourself, advocate for your stories, and defy the odds. Insight because you must offer more to your readers than what’s already out there, which—by the way—it’s a lot! And perseverance because you’ve got to be able to stick with it for the long term if you’re going to succeed as a novelist.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A: I hated doing homework when I was in school. I love writing.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Writing is an act of love. I’ve been saying that for a while. Writing is also an act of faith, I’d like to add, because—well—it just is.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Mark S. Bacon 5052 - smlrMark S. Bacon began his career as a southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the freeway from Disneyland, and later for a Los Angeles advertising agency.

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including Do-It-yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Denver Post, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Desert Kill Switch is the second book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City, an award winner at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival.

Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words.  He  taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, University of Redlands, and the University of Nevada – Reno.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Desert Kill Switch. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A:  On an empty desert road, stressed-out ex-cop Lyle Deming finds a bullet-riddled body next to a mint-condition 1970s Pontiac Firebird. When he returns to the scene with sheriff’s deputies: no car, no body.  Does the answer lie in Nostalgia City where Lyle works? The Arizona retro theme park re-creates—in every detail—an entire small town from the early 1970s.  It’s complete with period cars, clothes, music, hairstyles, food, shops, fads, restaurants—the works.

Lyle swapped his job as a Phoenix homicide detective for a cab in Nostalgia City when the anxieties and disappointments of police work nearly pushed him over the edge.

Nostalgia City VP Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star, is in Nevada on park business when she gets mixed up with a sleazy Las Vegas auto dealer who puts hidden “kill switches” and GPS trackers in cars he sells—mainly to low-income buyers.  Miss a payment—sometimes by as little as a few days—and your car is dead.  Maybe you are, too.

Front cover - Full Cover DKS v3 (1)When Kate’s accused of murder in Reno, Lyle arrives to help his blonde, not-quite-girlfriend and they plow through a deadly tangle of suspects and motives.  Kate and Lyle hit one dead end after another as they struggle to exonerate Kate, catch a blackmailer, save a witness’s life, and help find the missing corpse.

What compelled me to create Nostalgia City goes back to one of my early jobs as a writer.  I’ve always been a mystery fan and when I worked at Knott’s Berry Farm I thought a theme park would be a great setting for a murder mystery—especially at night.  While working at Knott’s I saw, from  behind the scenes, what it takes to make a large theme park work—and what could happen if things went wrong. Scary.

Q: What do you think makes a good mystery?  Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: The answer to the first question depends on who you ask.  Raymond Chandler, creator of Philip Marlowe, thought that many British mysteries, such as those that take place at a manor  house in the country, lack interest.  You have to read to the end of a cozy mystery, he said, to find anything exciting.

I don’t completely agree, but here’s my take on mysteries. I love to read novels filled with a multiplicity of clues and puzzles to solve—stories that appeal to the head.  But I appreciate mysteries that move quickly, are filled with suspenseful action and keep you guessing about the safety of the protagonist—thus appealing to the heart.  To me, a good mystery must appeal to both the head and the heart.  That’s what I try to do with my novels.

That’s an outline view.  The guts of a good mystery must include believable characters—I prefer sympathetic protagonists—and a challenging story.  Add to that realistic, entertaining dialog.  Entertainment is a critical element, but it’s one of those eye-of-the-beholder concepts.  Some people get bored reading interviews with suspect after supect, others want the detective to move ahead ploddingly, examining every clue and every witness with a critical eye.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A:  I plot my books piece by piece and don’t start writing until I have many pages of notes including a plot outline and summary of each character’s personality, manner of speaking and goals in the story.  I know some writers just start somewhere and say their characters move the story along as they go.  My characters move the story along because I tell  them what they’re going to do ahead of time.

That said, many of what I think are the best plot twists or complications occur to me as I’m in the middle of writing.  If so, things change.  I may have to back up and rewrite, add a new character or whatever is necessary.  But I have the main story arch, and lots of details, written before I start chapter one.

This is the way I construct a complex mystery (or two) and have all the pieces fit together logically.  I think many readers analyze the plot along with my protagonists.  I want to play fair with them and not bring in some murderer or major clue toward the end, without giving clues or foreshadowing earlier.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A:  As I mentioned, I do various types of character profiles before I begin.  I did much more for my two protagonists when I wrote the first book.  Kate Sorensen, for example, is a combination of several people I’ve known.  She’s a former college basketball star, a six-foot-two-and-a-half- inch tall USC grad.  She’s also a corporate vice president of public relations.  My youngest daughter played college basketball for four years. She excelled at the game, played with passion and led her team to many last-second victories.  But she was a point guard and nearly a head shorter than Kate.  Some of Kate’s abilities to deal with pressure comes from my experience watching my daughter.  A little insight on being a six-foot-plus woman comes from listening to her teammates.

Some of the executive women I’ve worked with contributed to Kate’s personality.  Like Kate, they had to be the best at what they did in order to succeed in male-dominated fields.   Kate’s height poses another challenge, both personally and professionally and I explore that in this second book in the series, taking inspiration from a combination of sources.

I spent even more time on my other protagonist, Lyle Deming.  Anxious is his default setting.  He left the police department under a cloud of accusations of mental illness.  Actually, he’s not crazy, even though he talks to himself aloud and wears a rubber band on his wrist for stress.  I did lots research into anxiety-related disorders as I was creating Lyle.  I combined that with other experience early from in my career covering the police beat as a newspaper reporter.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: You can’t tell much about the villain in a mystery without giving away the secret.  Let’s pick Al Busick as my example.  He’s an antagonist, but not really the main bad guy in the story.   He’s devious, self-centered and lacking in business ethics.  But he’s also a self-made man who started at the bottom in the car business and worked his way up.  I explore his personality not only through his actions and words, but in how others describe him.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I designed the point of view structure I use in each book with suspense and reader interest in mind.  Lyle and Kate are each POV characters and I alternate them. So in one chapter Lyle may be getting into trouble or about to uncover an important  clue, then I switch to a Kate chapter.  The reader has to wait to find out what happened to Lyle.  My chapters are also short, so the story moves apace.  My first book, Death in Nostalgia City, had 74 chapters in 300 pages.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Nostalgia City is a 1970s town.  Everything from the look of a J.J. Newberry store to the sound of a Linda Ronstadt rock song blaring out of a record store is designed to impart a retro feel.  The characters communicate without the use of cell phones—unheard of in the ’70s.  The cars cruising the streets include Oldsmobiles and Plymouths, marques that ended decades ago.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A:  The value of the past, the role it should play in the present and present-moment living are recurring themes.  The concept of nostalgia, while the main attraction for the Arizona theme park, can be a burden.  I will continue to examine this as the series progresses.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Of course editing can destroy creativity, but most professional editing is not designed to gut a story but to make it better.  Every good writer craves editing.  Every good writer can learn from editors.  I learn every time my work is edited.

In every job I’ve had, I worked with editors, whether they were called city editors, creative directors, or something else.  Writers need editors.  Period.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A:  The same things that make a successful novel make a successful novelist: characterization, plot and setting.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: At first I thought this sounded screwy.  Seems to characterize the occupation as a life sentence. I suppose the homework could be the constant revision of a piece of writing until you’re absolutely satisfied it’s the best.  Or it could be homework when you read for pleasure but actually analyze the writing to see what you can learn from it.  Maybe there’s something to this.  But writing is about words, about passion for words and for communicating.  Could you turn it off?  Possibly, but why would you do that?

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A:  I’ve read a lot of books on how to organize and write a novel.  Many are useful, particularly The Successful Novelist by mystery writer David Morrell.  The best book I’ve read on writing, one that shows simple yet effective techniques for telling a story, is The Art and Craft of Feature Writing by William E. Blundell.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A:  If you want to be a writer, you must be a reader.

 

 

 

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FHFrankie Hogan is an American writer, director, and filmmaker. He is a founder and principal partner of Corner Prophets Production Company, a film production company started in 2012, and the company controller for a Los Angeles-based international interior design firm.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a Travel author?

A: I want to bring you to these places. I want you to realize how accessible they are in today’s world and give a taste of what these lands have to offer. History, nature, and nightlife drive me. Livin’ includes a Thanksgiving dinner buffet’s worth of all three. Whether you dig on exploring a 4000-year-old pyramid of a pharaoh or hiking in the Amazon rain forest or stopping at an Amsterdam coffee shop, you’ll find all of these places in Livin’: From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush.

Q: Tell us why readers should buy Livin’: From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush.

A: If you are a vicarious traveler who dreams of far-off lands or someone waiting for a kick in the ass to stamp more countries on your passport, Livin’ is the book for you. I took some trips formed from childhood dreams and other trips formed from reading National Geographic. The book is the story of a globe-hop, not by a biologist or a mountain climber, but by an everyman. I stopped getting in my own way and went for it. Livin’ is the story of the ride, the road, and the reward.

Front ADN3395 Digest-Soft-Cover (1)Q: What makes a good Travel Book?

A: I think any vanilla travel book can give you a list of sites or places to eat. A good travel book takes you there and makes you feel the context. Livin’ includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. It doesn’t cherry-pick. It lays out the true, nonfiction experience. At least that’s what I shot for.

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

A: The book website is www.livintravelbook.com. You can also follow the book on Instagram (@livinfh5) or on Facebook (Livin’ by Frankie Hogan).

Q: What has writing taught you?

A: Explore your passions. I write spec scripts in Hollywood, and Livin’ is my first crack at book-writing, but the two types of writing have one thing in common: The subject matter galvanizes and consumes me. I’ve been offered the opportunity to write for TV as part of a writers’ room, but ten writers arguing over character development within pre-designed plots, on a deadline, doesn’t jive with the reasons I write. That sounds like a job. Fuck that. I write to share the fire I have for a story.

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Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to Manchester, UK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Would you call yourself a born writer?

No, I wouldn’t at all. I’d say I was a fairly imaginative kid that was exposed to lots of fun stories when he was young, and all I ever wanted to do from then was the same thing.

What was your inspiration for A WANTED MAN?

All sorts of things, in truth! Eighties action movies, fatherhood, the futility of war, disillusionment with government, crime stories, my home city of Manchester, mob movies. It started as a terrible action movie screenplay when I was 16, and I went back to it when I was 30 and thought ‘hey, I can do something with this finally!’.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

The ordinary smashing up against the fantastic. The real versus the outlandish. Normal splashed with amazing. Anything that surprises and satisfies in equal measure. Aside from that, I find myself writing about fatherhood a lot, but with two young kids and a third imminent, I suppose being a dad is never far from my daily thoughts!

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Well, after I picked it back up as a screenplay out of the drawer, and started a first draft, it was 6-7 weeks. Then after that a further three years of rewrites, so that draft 46 is the one you have in your hands.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I try to be as strict with myself as I can, but I love the fact that being a writer lets be spend a lot of time with my kids, and they always come first. But usually, I’ll be up early doors with the sprogs, they’ll go off to school, then it’s coffee and writing the rest of the day, breaking for lunch, the gym and errands. Family time again 5 until 7pm, then if we’ve got a quiet evening planned, I’m straight back at it until my eyes fuzz.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The patience I suppose. I’m fit to burst with my next book, and the next and the next, so that when I kept having to rewrite (and then because it’s actually a book and it takes a fair bit of time to read) it felt like it took longer and longer to get there. But now I’m so glad it did, because the book is literally the best I could make it, thanks to all the time it took me to get it here.

What do you love most about being an author?

The ability to create everyday, and the joy and freedom that comes with that. That and the fact that it lets me spend a lot of time with my family, which is a complete blessing I know how lucky I am to have.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self-published originally, until I hooked up with my agent, then we went hunting a publisher. Then it was a question of taking the best offer. I’d have got nowhere if I didn’t self-publish though, and would recommend it to anyone who is struggling to find an audience like I was. I loved that process, and I really enjoyed the thrill of self-publishing – people look down on it, but I know it was how I got started. I’ll always be grateful to it.

Where can we find you on the web?

All over!

https://www.facebook.com/robertparkerauthor/

https://twitter.com/RobertRParker45

www.robertparkerauthor.com

https://www.instagram.com/robertparkerauthor/

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