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Paul Martin Midden is the author of five previous novels, each of which explores different writing styles. He practiced clinical psychology for over thirty years. Paul’s interests include historic restoration, travel, fitness, and wine tasting. He and his wife Patricia renovated an 1895 Romanesque home in 1995 and continue to enjoy urban living.

Riley FRONT COVER hi-resQ: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Riley. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: Thank you. Riley is about the eponymous protagonist who is about thirty, a writer by trade, who lives in Washington, D.C. At the beginning of the book, she has left her husband and has undertaken a novel about separation and divorce. She lives in a small apartment in a D.C. high-rise.

The characters in Riley’s novel are also in a marriage that is teetering on the edge. It opens with Adam, her protagonist, trying to decide if he should talk to Suzanne, his wife about their relationship. He works from home, and he has decided this was the day they would talk. In the end, he loses his nerve and doesn’t say anything. But to his surprise Suzanne is the one who takes the initiative.

Riley’s life and the novel she is writing share many similarities, but there are also major differences. Suzanne turns out to be having an affair with her female boss. Riley’s best friend is a slightly older lesbian who is attracted to Riley but who values the platonic friendship they have.

As the story unfolds, unexpected things happen that challenge all of the characters. Without giving away the plot, the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur, and each of the characters has to deal with the emotional impact of events as they unfold.

That is what the story is about.

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

A: A good contemporary fiction work requires a realistic portrayal of the characters, both externally in terms of their behavior and internally in terms of the mental process they undergo. The other two elements are important for all novels: an interesting narrative that keeps the reader reading and sufficient suspense to encourage them to read until the end.

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

A:  I am definitely one of those writers who discovers the work as I go along. It is one of the joys of writing. It’s almost like reading in reverse.

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

A: Not formally. But as a psychologist with lots of time spent with patients up close, I have a pretty well-developed understanding of how people function. That has important in all my books, but it was invaluable in writing this book, as much of the action takes place inside the characters’ heads.

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: What made the antagonist realistic was relating his internal story as well as his behavior. He wasn’t so much just a bad guy as a confused, conflicted, angry, and neurotic guy. Of course, there is considerable overlap among those things. Again, the internal, mental landscape gives life to otherwise confusing or bad behavior.

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

A: For this novel, the dynamic tensions existed both among the principal characters and in the lives of the novel-within-a-novel characters. And there was a lot of interplay among them all. I think this helps the excitement and engagement level of the readers. Hope so!

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: The setting of the novel is Washington D.C., which I visit often. It is a city rich with opportunities for description and emits a certain gravitas that is distinct from most other cities. Being a large city, it also provides a lot of background material.

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: Along with the plot, I discovered themes as the writing unfolded. The specific themes of this book are distinct from my other works, although there are some secondary themes that reverberate in several of them. I am given writing about neurotic, conflicted people. Occupational hazard, perhaps.

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

A: I think I’m not a good judge of the line between craft and art in my own work; that is probably something for others to determine. Re: editing: It depends on the editor. I interviewed a woman who apparently thought the central structure of the book was flawed. I did not hire her, as the changes she proposed would have destroyed the narrative structure of the book. The ones I did hire were respectful of the work and its characters. I tend to be protective of my characters.

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

A: Dedication to the craft; a more or less continues output; and a love of writing. A willingness to self-promote is also important for commercial success.

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 think there’s something to that, but with a caveat. I seldom enjoyed homework in school, but I love writing. That is such an important difference. It is a mature kind of love, however, rather than a one-night stand: it takes patience and perseverance.

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

A: The book that triggered my actual decision to write was Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. Anyone familiar with that work knows immediately how potent her advice was. Beyond that, I think reading widely is one of the best preparations for writing.

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

A: For those who love to write, the craft often comes naturally. I think it is important for individual writers to respect their own love of the process and write accordingly.

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When attorneys Vernetta Henderson and Neddy McClain are tapped to take on the biggest case of their careers, they are less than thrilled about working together. Their strained relationship, however, is the least of their problems. Their socialite client—charged with the brutal murder of her husband—is demanding an immediate dismissal of the case. But a ruthless prosecutor is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen. Forced to fight a common enemy, the two women close ranks and, in the process, develop a bond that sees them through the uncertainties of trial, the pain of betrayal and pressures neither could have imagined.


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2WNlraB






If Max Montgomery ever had to commit to monogamy to save his wife’s life, she would just have to come back and haunt him from the afterlife.

Max rested his forearm on the registration desk as his eyes anxiously crisscrossed the lobby of the Beverly Hills Ritz-Carlton. He watched as people milled about, dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. He made eye contact with a short, brown-skinned cutie who sashayed by in a dress so tight he could see the faint outline of her thong. Max smiled. She smiled back. Too bad he was already about to get laid. Otherwise, he definitely would’ve taken the time to follow up on that.

“Here’s your key, Mr. Montgomery,” said a cherub-faced girl with a shrill voice. “You’ll be in room 502. One of our most elegant suites.”

When he reached for the key, his fingertips accidentally brushed her hand and she nervously looked away. She wants me, Max thought. But she was way too young for his taste.

He thanked her and headed for the bank of elevators in the rear of the lobby. Max tapped the elevator button and the car to his left instantly glided open. Some of the tension eased from his body once he was safely inside. He had waited nearly a week for this night and his wait was almost over.

The anonymous invitation to a “private evening of intimacy” had intrigued him and he had immediately decided to accept. No questions asked. A man like Max didn’t make hasty decisions very often. On the rare occasion that he did, it was only because he was banking on a huge payoff.

Max stepped off the elevator, studied the sign directly in front of him, then turned left down a long hallway. He walked with a distinctive, self-assured stride, like a male model taking a slow stroll down the catwalk. He stopped in front of a door near the end of the hallway and fished the plastic card key from his breast pocket.

A huge smile of anticipation spread across his face as he entered the lavish suite. The place was a classy ensemble of muted colors, luxurious fabrics, and calming scents. From the flowing silk curtains to the massive mahogany sleigh bed to the sleek suede comforter, everything in the room spelled class with a capital C. And that pleased him.

Max made his way over to a nightstand near the window, his feet sinking into the plush, caramel-colored carpet with every step. He examined a champagne bottle sitting near an antique lamp. Dom Pérignon, vintage 1995. Definitely his style. He only hoped his host was familiar with some of his more erotic personal preferences.

The sight of a red teddy hanging from the corner of the headboard triggered a twinge of arousal that warmed him inside. He rubbed the soft fabric between his fingers, smiled again, then tossed it onto the bed. On the floor near the nightstand was a large wicker basket with three packages of rose petals, twelve scented candles, two champagne glasses, and a book of matches. He set the basket on the bed and read the fancy gold card inside. It provided additional instructions for the evening.

Max glanced at his watch. He didn’t have much time. He scooped up the basket with one hand, began undoing his tie with the other and proceeded into the bathroom. It was just as dazzling as the rest of the suite. The marble floor, the shiny granite countertop, the extravagant gold fixtures were all symbols of an affluent lifestyle Max knew well.

As the card commanded, Max filled the oversized Jacuzzi tub with water, sprinkled it with the rose petals and positioned the candles about the room. He lit each one, then turned off the lights to admire his handiwork. Yes, yes, yes. He was about to have himself one big ball.

Max ripped up both the invitation and the card and flushed them down the toilet. A married man could never be too careful. Just as he was about to head back into the bedroom, the enormous mirror on the wall directly across from the tub stopped him in his tracks. Max grinned. He would get to watch.

Marching into the bedroom, he stripped off his Hugo Boss suit and draped it over the back of an armchair near the bed, making sure his pants were carefully folded along the crease line. After removing the rest of his clothes, he grabbed the champagne bottle and strutted naked into the bathroom, where he eased into the steaming hot water and waited.

All day long he had tried to figure out who his freaky little hostess might be. He had instantly ruled out Janice. A single parent with three kids didn’t have the time, not to mention the energy, to plan something this elaborate. She could barely escape from her solo law practice for their once-a-week lunchtime romps. That left Paula, a stewardess who had served him on a flight to New York three months earlier, and Natasha, the big-breasted Swede who was temping as a receptionist at his firm’s Newport Beach office. She had straight out boned him with her eyes when he walked up to the reception desk to find out her name. Yeah, both Paula and Natasha were kinky enough to plan something like this.

Max poured himself a glass of champagne and took a slow, satisfying sip. The air jets pelting his back with spurts of water felt great. He closed his eyes and slowly twisted his head to the left as far as it would go, then repeated the move on the opposite side. The muscles along the base of his neck felt like dense, knotted fists. Maybe she would give him a massage afterward.

At the sound of the hotel room door opening, Max bolted forward, causing rose petals to splash onto the floor. He could feel his pulse racing as he waited for his mystery date to appear, and when she did not, he settled back into the tub and tried to calm himself down. She was probably just slipping into that sexy little teddy. He was so hard now he had to fight the urge to jack himself off.

Max reached for the champagne bottle to refill his glass just as a sharp, searing pain attacked his left temple. He hoped it wasn’t another migraine. There was a time when he could almost will them away if he concentrated hard enough. But that wasn’t working anymore. He sat the bottle back down. He would wait and share the rest with her.

Max leaned back, sucked in a long, deep breath, and closed his eyes for several seconds. When he reopened them, he could not focus. A thick curtain of haze had suddenly filled the room. He tried to sit up, but his head felt heavier than a bowling ball and fell backward, slamming hard against the tiled wall. He was now blind, dizzy, and in excruciating pain.

By the time the bathroom door opened, Max could feel the presence of someone else in the room. He could even hear a voice. A voice he was too dazed to place, speaking words he could not quite make out. Max had never had a migraine like this one before. He tried to speak, but his lips spewed nothing but gibberish. Had the champagne been spiked?

Without warning, a powerful jolt of pain pierced the right side of Max’s chest at the same time that his head seemed to explode.

His visitor, hovering over him now, plunged a knife deep into Max’s chest, then repeated the motion. A second time, a third time, a fourth time. The stabbing continued until the rose petals disappeared into a pool of deep, dark red.


Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

website & Social links

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPamelaSamuelsYoung/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorpsy/

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Title: Failure To Protect
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 414
Genre: Mystery/Legal Thriller


When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, the outraged mother of a bullied nine-year-old is determined to seek justice for her daughter. An ambitious school principal, however, is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?


When the mother’s two hard-charging female attorneys enter the picture, they face more than an uphill battle. As the case enters the courtroom, the women fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2PXwixo


Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Please, Uncle Dre, let me stay home with you today. Can you homeschool me? Please!”

Dre stroked his goatee and laughed. “Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough to homeschool you or anybody else.”

“I’m serious,” Bailey pleaded, her face twisted in terror. “Please don’t make me go!”

As his Jeep inched along behind the long line of cars dropping off kids in front of Parker Elementary School, Dre peered over his shoulder at the cute little girl sitting in his back seat. Bailey’s stress level was way too high. She’d had a few run-ins with a bully at her old school, but he assumed the transfer to Parker had fixed everything.

“What’s going on? Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Bailey hugged her book bag to her chest as if it were a life raft. “I just don’t.”

“C’mon, talk to me. Is somebody bothering you here too?”

After a long beat, Bailey slowly bobbed her head.

Dre had purposely used the word bothering, not bullying. He was tired of hearing all the hoopla about bullies. Kids getting picked on was nothing new. It happened in his day and would keep happening until the end of time.

Truth be told, today’s kids were too damn soft. People turned backflips to protect them from the realities of life. Like everybody getting a freakin’ trophy just for participating. That was the stupidest crap he’d ever heard. Sometimes life is hard. Kids need to know that sooner rather than later.

“Please don’t tell my mom,” Bailey begged, her brown eyes glassy with tears. “She’ll fuss at me for not standing up for myself.”

Dre reached back and gave Bailey’s foot a playful squeeze. “No, she won’t. But you do have to start standing up for yourself. If somebody’s being mean to you, you have my permission to be mean right back.”

He wasn’t condoning violence, but if another kid started some mess, the only way to show ’em you weren’t no punk was to clap back twice as hard. Most bullies were wimps. Once you got in their face, they backed off. That’s what he’d taught his son to do and, to his knowledge, Little Dre had never had a problem. He would teach Bailey to do the same.

“You don’t get it,” Bailey huffed, her shoulders drooping. “That won’t help.”

They were almost at the drop-off point, when Dre steered his Jeep out of the line of cars and made a hasty U-turn in the middle of the street.

Bailey’s upper body sprang forward. “We’re going home?”

“Nope.” Dre pulled to a stop along the curb. “I’m walking you inside. I want you to show me who’s messing with you.”

Bailey slumped back against the seat, her lips protruding into a pout. “That’ll just make it worse.”

Turning off the engine, Dre hopped out and jogged around to open the back door. “Let’s go.”

He took Bailey’s hand as they stepped into the crosswalk. The closer they got to the school doors, the slower Bailey walked. By the time they reached the entrance, Dre felt like he was tugging a sixty-pound bag of potatoes.

“Please, Uncle Dre,” Bailey whispered, glancing all around. “Please don’t make me go!” Her tiny hand clutched two of his fingers.

Dre led Bailey off to the side, squatted until they were at eye level, and caressed her shoulders.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s no reason for you to be this stressed out about going to school. If somebody’s messing with you, I need to know about it. What’s the kid’s name?”

Bailey hung her head as a tear slid down her right cheek. For a second, Dre thought she was about to come clean.

“It doesn’t matter,” she mumbled, hoisting her book bag higher on her shoulder.

“Yes, it—”

Bailey jerked away from him and dashed inside the school.

He was about to go after her when a woman stepped in front of him, blocking his path.

“May I help you, sir?”

The woman’s chin jutted forward like an accusing finger pointing him out in a lineup. “And you are?”

“I’m Bailey’s”—he paused—”uh, I’m Bailey’s godfather.” He’d started to introduce himself as her uncle to make himself sound more legit but changed his mind.

“Your name?” Her tone conveyed all the warmth of an icicle.

“Andre Thomas.”

Dre pegged the woman to be in her early forties. Her thick, black hair fell a couple of inches below her ears in a blunt cut that matched her funky disposition. Her sleeveless, form-fitting, red dress hugged every inch of her curvy frame. Actually, she was kinda hot. Kerry Washington’s classy style with Cookie Lyon’s bad attitude.

“Bailey’s mother didn’t tell us someone else would be bringing her to school today.”

She looked him up and down like he was some pedophile on the prowl for a new victim.

Dre couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away. Despite an innate seductiveness, the woman still managed to carry herself with the spit-shine polish of a CEO. If professionalism had a smell, she would reek.

“Erika had an early meeting in Irvine and asked me to drop her off.”

Dre ran a hand over his shaved head. Rarely did anybody—especially a female—make him feel this degree of uneasiness. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m the principal. Darcella Freeman.”

He should’ve guessed. A sister with a little power.

“I’ll be dropping Bailey off and picking her up from time to time,” Dre said, anxious for the chick to move out of his way so he could go after Bailey. “Erika got a big promotion. Her job’s a lot more demanding now.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep, that’s right.” What’s up with this chick?

“Please ask Bailey’s mother to email the office authorizing you to pick her up from school.”

Dre nodded. “Will do.”

He still wanted to go inside, but the woman stayed put like a queen guarding the gates of her castle.

Without saying goodbye, Dre pivoted and headed back across the street. As he opened the door to his Jeep, he made a mental note to have a talk with Erika. She’d been thrilled about getting Bailey into Parker Elementary because of its stellar reputation. But the place might not be any better for Bailey than her old school.

Dre also couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And not just with Bailey.

About the Author

Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPamelaSamuelsYoung/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorpsy/

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James D. Bell - PhotoJames D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live in Brandon, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell practices law in Jackson, Mississippi, but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments. Visit the author’s website at www.judgebell.com.

About Maximilian’s Treasure:

Maximilian’s Treasure is inspired by an encounter I had 40 years ago with an elderly Choctaw gentleman who believed Civil War gold was buried on his farm.  In the novel, rumors of treasure incite a legal battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm.  Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm.  Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family.  The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped.  At the same time, clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm.  Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues to a Caribbean reef and the Chiapas jungle.  John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm.  His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love.  The adventures of John and Jackson rush toward an intertwined triple climax that could shake the world and will leave you breathless.


When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

I fell in love with law practice the first time I stepped into a courtroom.  The life changing drama unveiling before my eyes gripped my imagination.  Almost immediately I wanted to write about my experiences.  I wanted to share my passion for the law with others.  My friend Jack and I were young lawyers defending citizens charged with crimes.  We attracted more than our share of attention because we kept winning cases.  Jack was a loyal friend, intrepid investigator and skilled researcher.  We were an unbeatable team.  Jack died twenty years ago.  I miss him, so I brought him back to life in my novels.  It has taken me way too long to write these stories.


How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I know the beginning and the end of the story.  I use an outline to sketch the route I plan to take to get to the end.  The outline keeps me focused, but sometimes the story starts telling itself and I just run with it.

Did your book require a lot of research?

I read books on Maximilian and on Cortez, and articles on Quantrill’s Raiders, Jesse and Frank James and the legend of their connection to Maximilian and a vast treasure.  That led me to research Aztec mythology and hummingbirds of all things.  You’ll see why when you read the book.  I even explored the places described in the book.  The research was enough to make me think my old friend may have been right!

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

A vivid imagination is vital, but I use actual experiences to give depth and realism to my writing.  I cross-examined witnesses like those in the book.  I’ve been to the swamp and the jungle.  I’ve climbed the cliff, hung by my fingertips over the precipice, entered the cave behind the waterfall, dodged bullets, investigated my own cases, elicited confessions on the witness stand, and won impossible cases.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

I am embarrassed to say that it took 35 years from conception to completion and 7 years to write.  I started Maximilian’s Treasure right after finishing my first novel in 2012.  I have the same problem most writers have; I have two full-time jobs and I’m a full-time husband.  That leaves little time to write.  I usually write when I travel on business.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Absolutely.  I wrestle with a hundred excuses to delay writing.  Then, I finally get to work, and nothing:  Writer’s block.  I got over it by passing it to one of my characters.  In Maximilian’s Treasure, Jackson wants to get away to write about his recent spectacular case, but the blank computer screen stares at him and he gets writer’s block.  He doesn’t notice that he’s being followed by a crowd of fortune seekers and a homicidal maniac.  While he can’t think of anything to write, he’s living a fast paced, high risk adventure.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t let the blank computer screen intimidate you.  Just write, even if you don’t feel like it.  After a couple of pages, the story will start telling itself.  When you’re done for the day, you can delete the first two pages.  Find a reason bigger than yourself to write.  Make that your purpose.  I want to enrich the reader with truths that can change his or her life for the better.



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David Schaub is a writer and Academy Award ® nominated Animation Supervisor working in the film industry for more than 25 years. In 2019 he produced and directed the audio adaptation of SPIRITS OF THE WESTERN WILD.  He also developed STORY COMPASS® smartphone app for screenwriters (www.moviemethods.com) in 2017.

Schaub received Oscar nomination for animation in Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Disney), along with nominations for BAFTA Award, Saturn Award and Critic’s Choice Award, and won the Golden Satellite Award for Best Visual Effects for his team’s work on the film.

HEAD ANIMATION on Sony Picture’s SURFS UP – recognized with two Annie Awards among its ten nominations including Academy Award nomination and four Visual Effects Society (VES) award nominations.


ANIMATION DIRECTOR – Universal’s award-winning JURASSIC WORLD EXPEDITION (2019) VR EXPERIENCE. Exploring cinematic potential of virtual reality.

Website → https://www.dschaub2.com/


Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/dschaub2writer

Goodreads → https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19662596.David_Schaub

Roger Vizard is a writer and self-taught artist. He was accepted into the animation program at Sheridan College in1987, then worked at Sullivan Bluth Studios in Ireland, then as an animation apprentice on “WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT” at Richard Williams’ studio in London.  He later became Williams’ assistant animator on “THIEF AND THE COBBLER.”

After several years working in Europe at studios like Gerhard Hahn in Germany and A-films in Denmark, he moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to work as a story board artist on the first season of Sonic the Hedgehog, then rolled back into animation again after that.  He successfully made the transition to from 2D to CGI on “STUART LITTLE 2” in 2001, and since that time have worked non-stop at animation/VFX studios in Los Angeles.

Website → https://www.rvizard.com/


Inside the Audiobook

Title: Spirits of the Western Wild
Authors: David Schaub & Roger Vizard
Publisher: Independent
Genre: Adventure / Mystery / Comedy

This mystical adventure follows a young adventure-seeker named Luther McCleron on a westward journey to learn more about his Grandfather. A series of fateful missteps take Luther far from his destination to a disheveled little town under the tyranny of a crooked sheriff named Big Willie. It’s here that Luther comes face-to-face with the legendary ghost of Monty: a curmudgeonly ghost who refuses to believe he’s dead. Luther just wants to get back to his quest, but Monty thwarts his plans by using Luther to take out his vengeance on Big Willie.

Through a catastrophic string of events, Luther and Monty find themselves hopelessly entangled in a combative partnership that escalates to the breaking point. Only by reconciling their differences are they able to uncover the profound connections that weave their fates together.

A mysterious book of premonitions, an ominous crow, and ancient Indian drive the mystical tone of this world; conjuring spiritual forces to help steer Luther on his journey through this western “twilight zone.”

All the loose ends resolve in a satisfying story of redemption, loyalty and ascension while exploring the mysterious nature of fate and destiny. Was all of this a coincidence? Or are we guided by ancient “spirits on the wind” that nudge and steer us along our path to assure that we arrive safely at our intended destination in the end?

5 out of 5 stars

 A fantastic and Immersive adventure for everyone. 

What a wonderful audio book and what a pleasure it was to be on this journey. Not only the adventure was captivating but also everything around it. The sounds effect and voices really bring it all together, you almost feel like you are right there witnessing all this first hand. The production quality is something I have never heard before. Very well done and I highly recommend it.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2qsxtKC

Audible → https://adbl.co/2OjjleM

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Since I am not writing every day, I think the answer would have to be no.  With so many different projects underway, writing is just one part of the equation that plays into the larger picture from one day to the next.

For me, writing is more of a means to an end.  It’s a vital creative step toward manifesting some end result… whether it’s a fully executed screenplay, game narrative or just a troublesome scene where the dialogue needs to be rewritten.

I’ve been working as an animation supervisor in production for over two decades now, so I really came in the back door on this writing thing.  I spent years working with writers, directors and producers – fully immersed in that world.  And when you are around those forces for long enough, it has a tendency to rub off.

I’ve broken down hundreds of screenplays (for cost estimates and bidding purposes), and through that process became fascinated with the mechanics of story.  I was exposed to some really great material, and some not-so great…  and developed my own instincts for what works and what doesn’t work in a story.

A few years ago I was convinced that it was all about story structure, and developed a smartphone app called STORY COMPASS ® (www.moviemethods.com) for screenwriters to keep at my fingertips as I write.  I also did a white-board animation that makes a case for story structure without being formulaic:


Given the nature of how SPIRITS OF THE WESTERN WILD evolved, we really only used the app during the rewrite-phase.  With all of the broad strokes and creative elements in place, the app actually helped us fit together the larger puzzle in a way that ebbs and flows with a natural story rhythm.  We were able to dial in those structural nuances in the end, rather that fixating on the up front where it can block the creative flow.

What was your inspiration for SPIRITS OF THE WESTERN WILD?

It was Roger [Vizard], my story partner who pitched me the idea for a buddy film with a young cowboy and a crotchety old ghost who refused to believe he was dead.   It was mostly a character premise with some great drawings and situational gags.  We kicked ideas around between ourselves about where the story could go, and ultimately decided to join forces to see if we could shape it into a fully executed screenplay that would sustain itself as an animated feature.  It was the characters that inspired us, and that’s what drove everything down the story path.

How long did it take you to complete the screenplay?

I’ll confess to about five years.  Crazy… right?  But keep in mind that this project evolved during our downtime between larger productions that we were both involved in.  Another obstacle was that our schedules and production commitments didn’t always align.  But for us, this was a “passion-project” that helped us maintain some level of sanity while working on some grueling visual effects shows.  The fact that we were just chipping away over time was enough to keep both of us sane.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

No, I am not very disciplined.  Neither is Roger.  Writing is hard, and I require a heavy dose of inspiration before I’m compelled to sit down and execute.  I’ve also discovered that if writing comes easy, then it means I’m not digging down deep enough.  So with that in mind, I’ve got to be good and ready for some level of pain and suffering ahead!

The good news is that when inspiration strikes, I am unstoppable.  Obsessively compulsive might be a better description.  I can remain focused for HUGE stretches of time, and those stretches can go for weeks, or months at a time.  There’s usually very little sleep involved, and it’s not a very healthy routine.  But it’s all in the interest of capturing lightning in a bottle during those times of intense focus.

Sometimes the marathon sessions pay off… other times the result is just a heaping pile of crumpled paper.  Same as any writer, I suppose.  I’m often overwhelmed at the endless possibilities and self-imposed forks in the road.  Of course, I feel like I need to go down all those dead ends to see if there’s anything lurking in the dark before turning back empty handed.   I hate that nagging feeling that I might have missed an undiscovered treasure down that darkened alley — especially if I feel I might have missed it because I was just too lazy to go look.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

As I mentioned, we started with some fun characters, but no sense of a real beginning, middle, or end from a story perspective. Definitely not the best starting point for the goal of a tightly woven screenplay!

I have to say that starting from that premise, the process of dredging up a meaningful story out of nothing was a grueling, soul-searching process.  I lost count of the rewrites. But those rewrites were absolutely necessary for us to find the story that was buried down much deeper.

Through that process, the characters became real to us.  So much dialogue had been written that we really began to understand their personalities and motivations.  From there, the characters just kind of spoke to us.  Then our job was to chase them on this adventure, getting them into deeper-and-deeper trouble as they went.

Ultimately, of course, we had to reel in that adventure and focus on structure, theme, and all that… But that came much later, where STORY COMPASS ® helped us fine-tune the beats.

Usually the process is done completely in reverse — first the story, then find suitable characters to people the story.  But finding the story with only characters as a premise was probably the most ridiculous challenge.  But the upside is that it resulted in a story that we would never have conceived of had we gone the traditional outlining route.

What do you love most about being an author?

Turning over that final page… fade to black… the end.

There’s nothing like the joy that comes from completion.

It’s from here that we have the potential to convert it from a stack of paper into a real thing.

Hopefully, a real thing worth producing!

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?

We went in the back door on the publishing side as well.

This project was crafted as a screenplay, with no intention of publishing as a book.

When Roger moved onto another animation gig, I decided to keep chipping away at the next steps toward production.  I had the crazy idea of producing it as an audiobook to make it super-easy for studio execs to absorb on their commute.  No reading required — just straight-up entertainment for the listener.

Self-funding the film wasn’t an option, but since I was looking for something to direct, I figured I could certainly produce an audio drama!  It was also a great opportunity to demonstrate my directing chops with actors, bringing it to life in a way that the written page alone could never achieve.

Once the audio was completed, I was informed by Amazon that a print (or Kindle) version had to be released before the audio version could be approved.  So that put me into another tailspin…

Unfortunately, Kindle doesn’t offer a solution to display screenplays in their native format, which is a strict standard by industry definition.  But I came up with a formatting solution that seems to work pretty well.

Now that the Kindle version is out there, I’m happy that it is.  Not only can you follow along with the audio version, but you also get a first-hand account of how the audio adaptation evolved from the written screenplay.  It’s also a convenient way to share some of the artwork that Roger and I have collaborated on along the way.

We are going to keep kicking this project down the road, with the goal of eventually making this film.

I started an Instagram feed for anyone interested in following that journey:


I thought it would be entertaining to post the twists, turns and writing inspiration as we go. I’m sure there will be lots of discoveries, insights and takeaways on the bumpy road ahead.   Please FOLLOW – and enjoy the ride!



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Author: Richard Robbins
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Pages: 281
Genre: Literary Fiction


Is it better to take the risk and pursue the glory of fame and fortune, or to live a simpler, more grounded life?

“Richard Robbins has presented a cast of interesting characters, and each one is fully explored. The plot engages the reader from the first page to the last. The writing style is fast-paced and flows smoothly. Author Richard Robbins has penned a captivating novel in Panicles. A fascinating read!” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Deborah Lloyd (5 STARS)

Follow the fates of two families, one wealthy and powerful, the other blue collar, from a chance meeting at a Florida poolside, to the highest levels of politics and power. This sweeping saga of love, war, money, and power leaves each family weighing their duty to their family versus service to their country.

It all leads to a fateful choice—a sacrifice—which could change the course of history.

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS a contemporary literary exploration of two very different families, with their ties to politics, power and influence, and to each other. [DRM-Free]

Panicles will make you think, make you cry, make you laugh and smile and keep you reading until the very end.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Trudi LoPreto (5 STARS)

Panicles is a novel that invites reflection with its subtle and significant meaning… Connections, effects, and a great storyline make Panicles a remarkable novel from many points of view.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Astrid Iustulin (5 STARS)

Books by Richard Robbins:

  • Love, Loss, and Lagniappe
  • Panicles
  • The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy (Coming 2020)


Amazon → https://amzn.to/37wyWjR

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/2qGgPax

Book Excerpt:

“I agree, Mr. Murnane. Both of your sons are exceptional, but Robert never struck me as someone who’d want to serve in elected office. He seems happy practicing law, and he has a strong commitment to his family. Elizabeth is an equal partner in their marriage, and they’ve just had a daughter, Emily, to which he seems quite devoted. Do you think he’d want that sort of life? The spotlight, the scrutiny, the hours, the travel?”

“He will. Even if he’s not certain, I’ll make sure of it. Sometimes a father knows his son better than the son knows himself. With his gifts, it’s his responsibility to serve. He’ll come around. It may not be now, it may not be soon, but one day he’ll decide to run for office. Oh, he’ll go along with his life, practicing law, spending time with his family, going to soccer practices and PTA meetings like that’s all there is to life. But one day, it’ll hit him, and he’ll decide to fulfill his destiny. Either he’ll come to me and let me know, or I’ll come to him and tell him that it’s time. But before too long, you’ll see a Murnane in the Senate, if not higher.”

Mike leaned forward and placed his hands on the dining tray table. “And what of your granddaughter? Being in a political family can be quite difficult for a child. It can affect them for the rest of their lives. Are you ready to put her in that position, without her choosing?”

Emerson placed his hands at his sides, and pushed himself up in the hospital bed. “That’s this family’s destiny. There are great benefits to serving at a high level. She’ll thank me for it one day.”

About the Author

Richard’s first novel, the award winning Love, Loss, and Lagniappe was inspired by actual events in his life, and utilizes his Medical and Business School background to explore the journey of self-discovery after heartbreaking loss, while revealing the scientific basis for the meaning of life (You’ll have to read it to find out!)

Panicles, explores the price of fame and fortune through the eyes of two families, one wealthy and powerful, the other blue collar, from a chance meeting at a Florida poolside, to the highest levels of politics and power. This sweeping saga of love, war, money, and power leaves each family weighing their duty to their family versus service to their country.It all leads to a fateful choice—a sacrifice—which could change the course of history.

Richard lives in New York City and New Orleans with his love and inspiration, Lisa, my wife of thirty years (and counting), near their beloved grown children.


Website → www.Robbinsbooks.com

Facebook →  https://www.facebook.com/richard.robbins.7737



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Title: A Whisper of Thoughts: about Love, Life and Self-Awareness
Author: Annelies George
Publisher: BI Publishing
On Tour: November 11 – January 31
Annelies George is the author of the Jessie Golden Earth Series. In this fiction saga she aims to pass a strong message among other topics about the current situation in the world and the connection with the increasing climate changes. When writing the second book in the series, Darkness and Light, she started to reflect on something that she wrote. This led to the Loveable Light initiative. On her Facebook Page she started to post videos and thoughts about things that matter to her (www.facebook.com/anneliesgeorgeauthor). On a July Sunday morning she got the idea to bundle those in a small booklet and to add other thoughts that she has not yet posted illustrated with pictures that are partly a result of the photo shoots she does on a regular basis to support her activities with Vincent Kos, a Dutch photographer. The remainder is a random collection of pictures she made herself.
She believes that our personality is the result of our education, our free will and our own choices, as well as the love we discover in our own heart.  Therefore, she dedicated this booklet to her parents, who always loved and supported her, even if her lifestyle wasn’t exactly what they had in mind.


Annelies George was born on 4 August, 1964 in Bussum, After the gymnasium, she followed a one-year course as an international secretary in Amsterdam. Immediately afterward she started to work for a law firm, studying finance, management and law during the evening hours with the goal of becoming a lawyer herself. A move to a different town brought her into the fast IT world, where she was employed by GE Capital, marking the start of a successful career in the international IT Finance world. Due to the intensity of the job and long working hours, she abandoned her plans for a law degree. At the age of 30, she was appointed to Benelux managing director of a US based lease company, a rare phenomenon at the time, since few women were holding similar positions in the specific branch in the Netherlands. Thereafter she accepted a variety of EMEA and regional management and sales roles with Cisco, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard. Annelies still lives in Bussum and is taking care of her 83-year-old mother. She loves, among other activities, to paint and design necklaces when she is not writing. On occasion she likes to travel to discover new places and understand the different ways of living around the globe.

You can visit her at: https://www.anneliesgeorge.com 


Monday, November 18

Book featured at The Zen Reader

Tuesday, November 19

Guest blogging at Book Backstory

Wednesday, November 20

Guest blogging at The Book Czar

Thursday, November 21

Book featured at All Inclusive Retort

Friday, November 22

Guest blogging at Inkslinger’s Opus

Monday, November 25

Book featured at Read Between the Ink

Tuesday, November 26

Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom

Wednesday, November 27

Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords

Thursday, November 28

Book featured at Lover of Literature

Friday, November 29

Guest blogging at It Feels Drafty

Tuesday, December 4

Book featured at The Dark Phantom

Wednesday, December 5

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Monday, December 9

Guest blogging at She Writes

Tuesday, December 10

Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Wednesday, December 11

Book featured at Review From Here

Thursday, December 12

Book featured at A Taste of My Mind

Monday, December 16

Guest blogging at Straight From the Authors Mouth

Wednesday, December 18

Book featured at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, December 19

Guest blogging at I’m Shelf-ish

Friday, December 20

Guest blogging at A Title Wave

Thursday, December 26

Book featured at Voodoo Princess

Friday, December 27

Guest blogging at As the Pages Turn





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