Monthly Archives: November 2011

Nov 30

Author Mary Deal Writes About “A False Sense Of Value” On The Child Finder Trilogy

When we writers select a topic on which to expound, chances are, we choose that topic because of its emotional impact on ourselves. We feel something strongly and want to let the world know our opinion. If we felt nothing, what’s to write?

Once the essay or story is finished and we’re feeling good about having gotten our brainstorm on paper, the next step is to decide if what we’ve written is important enough to send out to get published. Or have we simply committed a lot of weak personal opinion and gibberish to paper? Read More

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Nov 18

Joseph M. Rinaldo is Mike Angley’s Guest-Blogger Today

MA: My guest today is Joseph M. Rinaldo. He’s not only an author, but he has a distinctive family background that makes him an expert of sorts on the subject matter of his writing. I’m going to let him tell us in his own words. Joseph, welcome.

JR: Raising my daughter with Down syndrome has made me uniquely qualified to write this book, and I have witnessed the effects of Alzheimer’s on a family member. As for the espionage-related topics in A Spy At Home, I prefer not to disclose the source of my knowledge.

My daughter, wife, and I live in Tennessee. I look forward to releasing another ebook in the near future, as I have written seven others that deal with a variety of characters.

Thank you again for taking the time to help me promote my book and myself on your blog. I have always felt the writing community is a very generous and altruistic one, and bloggers like you have proven me correct.

MA: It’s my pleasure to have you here today. Tell us how you came to write.

JR: The actual impetus for me to begin writing came while I was reading Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. When I got to the part where he received a million-dollar advance, I thought, “Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.” I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

Eight years prior to reading about the million dollar advance I had only considered writing once in my life. Living alone, I hand wrote a page that I later read to my girlfriend, who is now my wife. She said the characters didn’t really tell the story, and that she heard me reciting rather than the voice of the main character. I wadded up the sheet of paper and threw it away. I never forgot what she said and believe I have corrected those mistakes in A Spy At Home.

Now, by day I work as Credit and Financial Manager for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning distributor. When I first started writing, I thought being a numbers guy would make me an oddity as an author. That’s proved to be wrong. The more people I meet in this industry, the more I run across accountants and CFOs. Apparently, creativity infects a variety of people. Of course, I have the same dream as other writers. I hope my book sells a million copies and becomes a smash hit movie. Selling ebooks isn’t the get-rich-quick scheme I thought it was before being published. It’s been a lot of work.

MA: That’s something many people who begin writing don’t realize at first. Getting published is a business venture, and while craft is important, so is a healthy understanding of the work that goes into marketing and advertising, for example.

In your story, did you frame any characters on real life people whom you’ve known?

JR: A Spy At Home recounts the life of a CIA operative which means I cannot answer any questions about a career as a spy that I may or may not have had. Generally, I think of the characters in my books as being completely separate people. The characters don’t interact with me, let alone stem from me. At least that’s how it is in my mind. None of my characters are “based on” a person I know. They are combinations of traits from many people, and some imaginary traits are thrown in to keep my friends from recognizing themselves. Just kidding, the characters live in my head, and I write down what they say and do. Hopefully this doesn’t sound too bizarre.

MA: Tell us about the story. Is it a mystery or a thriller or something else?

JR: The genre of my books is very hard to pin down. My wife and I have searched numerous times for standardized publishing industry definitions with no success. As silly as that may sound, especially for a person who wants to deal in words as a career, genres are hard to define. A Spy At Home could be considered contemporary fiction, mainstream (this sounds like a synonym for dull), thriller, suspense (what’s the difference between thriller and suspense? Shouldn’t you be thrilled reading a suspense novel, and shouldn’t you wonder what will happen next in thriller?), drama (any book without intense turmoil probably won’t be worth reading), or adventure (my main character travels to another continent; that’s adventurous, right?). I honestly don’t know where my books fall in the narrow definitions of the publishing world; I do know I have tried to make the characters interesting and multi-faceted, moving through difficulties in their lives. A Spy At Home is my debut published novel.

MA: Fair enough. Tell us, then, about your main character. I assume you crafted him/her by design before you began writing?

JR: I didn’t. That probably sounds absurd, but I don’t intentionally mold a protagonist. The characters live their lives in my head, and I write it down. During the editing process, I might smooth a rough edge, but I try not to do that very much. I mean, for example, instead of having the protagonist cuss out his girlfriend, he simply yells at her. However, I keep his anger, frustration, or whatever in full view of the reader.

Some books I’ve read develop a character like a precise mathematical equation. The character may say, “I hate the Rolling Stones. They’re like nails on a chalkboard.” The reader now knows that he or she will be trapped into listening to Brown Sugar and Satisfaction at some point. To me this detracts from the story because the character becomes too formulaic.

MA: So who is he? What are his attributes?

JR: Garrison in A Spy At Home loves his wife and son with every fiber of his being. That’s his greatest strength. This keeps him going through several ordeals. His biggest downfall is failing to accept life as it comes. As a spy he manipulated people and events to better America’s position in African countries. As a civilian he struggles and often fails to accept life’s messy obstacles. Without revealing too much, Garrison steals a little under ten million dollars before retiring. A stronger person would have taken his pension and left the spy life behind.

MA: And the “bad guy?”

JR: That’s a tough question to answer. A Spy At Home doesn’t have a traditional villain. The reader decides for themselves who’s evil and heroic. Some might find the protagonist, Garrison, deceitful. Others might see the U.S. government as cruel. Garrison worries a great deal about his own death and what will happen to his mentally retarded son after it. This overwhelming worry could be considered the book’s villain. The “bad guy” is in the eye of the beholder.

MA: I know you have a personal connection to your hero’s life and his family circumstances. Talk about that.

JR: Like Garrison, I have a child with Down syndrome. People with Down are living much longer than ever before, which means my daughter might outlive my wife and me. Who would take care of her as well as we do? This question haunts every parent with a dependent child. My wife wrote a short story based on this concern. I blatantly stole her idea and added a spy, stolen millions, a beach house on a Caribbean island…

MA: That’s really interesting! So what comes after A Spy At Home?

JR: Another book, Hazardous Choices, has been professionally edited and will be released in the near future. We’re waiting to release it until we’ve promoted A Spy At Home as fully as we can. I have seven more books waiting to be professionally edited and released. As we save the money for more editing, we’ll get the others done, too. At present I have three books floating around in my head but can’t find the time to write them. Hopefully, A Spy At Home will be made into a movie, and I’ll have Garrison’s boat where I can write all day long!

MA: Do you have a sequel planned?

JR: I can’t think of anything more boring than writing a sequel. Mr. Potter has proven what a great success they can be, but following the same characters from one book to the next doesn’t interest me. Once the book is finished, the characters are done with me.

MA: What are your thoughts on historical research when writing novels?

JR: I was at a writer’s conference, and a woman was telling me about her historical novel. She found the menu for the heads of states dinner that actually happened, and she was using it in her novel. While she said this, I kept thinking, ‘That has got to be the most uninteresting book ever if you’re telling the reader what they had to eat.’ Research can be good and bad. Research can make the book come alive and seem real. It can also come across as if the writer is bragging about all he/she knows. If your reader wanted to read a textbook, she/he would’ve bought one. For writing novels the most important thing is being believable, not scientifically accurate.

MA: Thanks, Joseph. Folks – please visit Joseph Rinaldo’s website: www.josephmrinaldo.com, and his blog: http://wwwjosephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com. Read More

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Nov 16

Author Mary Deal Shares Her Perspective On Foreshadowing With Mike Angley

I am excited to post — with permission, of course — an article that Mary Deal has put together with her perspective on foreshadowing. I told her when she sent me the article that I love this particular literary device, and I’m pretty good at spotting it when I read. Because I can spot it so well, when I write my own stories, I try to use it with great subtlety. In fact, I like to sprinkle foreshadowing dust in my books, and then pull the foreshadowed hints together like a bunch of threads at the climax to the story. Read More

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Nov 11

Brian L. Thompson, ‘The Revelation Gate’ Author, Guests with Mike Angley

MA: Brian L. Thompson, Great Nation Publishing’s President/Sole Proprietor and author of The Lost Testament, is a licensed educator, and former professional journalist.

He showed an early interest in classical literature and the arts, particularly after his poem, “Black Sunday,” received an honorable mention in Gwynedd-Mercy College’s literary contest for high school students in 1993.

A 1994 North Penn High School graduate, he continued his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta. While there, Thompson wrote for the Maroon Tiger newspaper; moving up the ranks from staff writer, to Sports Editor, and finally to Editor-in Chief.

After earning his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in English in 1998, he transitioned to a staff writer position at Montgomery Newspapers.

In 2000, his second as a professional journalist, he returned to the field of academics at Temple University, earning a Master’s Degree in secondary education in 2001.

Thompson then turned to education at West Charlotte High and Newton High schools respectively while simultaneously researching and writing his first Christian fiction novel, The Lost Testament – a project self-described as a “faith-based tale with everyday characters engaged in a thrilling plot.”

During this time, he also helped edit author Sabra Robinson’s anthology of inspirational stories entitled The Lost Sheep: How I Got (And AM Still Getting) Over the Hump – A Personal Account of God’s Restoration After Doubting His Purpose, the Church, and Human Existence.

He and his family reside in Georgia.

That is one impressive set of credentials, Brian. I am pleased to have you as my guest today. It sounds like you’ve spent a career between writing and teaching.

BLT: Well Mike, I’m a born writer and educator. I’ve been writing since I was 13. Professionally, I’ve taught in public schools. I was also an award-winning journalist for a time at a weekly newspaper. In May of last year, I resigned from teaching English and journalism to become a full-time writer and motivational speaker.

MA: What brought you to pursue writing novels?

BLT: I’ve always had a passion for writing and reading. As much as I believe I was called by God to do what I’m doing, I love to read an action-packed story with a redemptive message and I just don’t think the market has enough of that right now.

MA: I know what you mean. My own stories feature faith as a major character attribute of my protagonist. Did you find inspiration for your novels in your professional career in academia and writing?

BLT: I find that everything that I’ve done professionally, from teaching in the classroom, to clearing dishes at a restaurant, has added to the flavor of my particular brand of literature. But all of my characters are composite; there’s no one character I modeled after a particular person. In my first novel, Kelley James is a mixture of my deceased maternal grandmother and a few other older relatives.

MA: Tell us about your latest project.

BLT: The Revelation Gate is my most recent novel and is what would probably be called historical Christian fiction. It’s the story of one man’s journey toward becoming the deliverer of his people. There’s a love story, political intrigue, a racial war, and a message of redemption that my literary friend Michelle Sutton called “mind blowing.”

MA: Who’s the protagonist?

BLT: The protagonist, Chimelu, is really representative of what I imagine a flawed hero would be: fearful, unsure, lonely, and confused with these amazing abilities that transcend comprehension. I armed him with those characteristics, and as I put him in these terrible situations, the character sort of wrote himself.

MA: Would you describe him as courageous?

BLT: He’s a hero, so the courage to do what is right in the face of wrong is there. He puts the welfare of others above himself. At the same time, he’s confused because his destiny is kind of cloudy for most of the book. And he falls in love with a girl whose culture and religion put them at odds. He struggles with that.

MA: I assume your hero has a villain or two that he must struggle against?

BLT: There are a couple of “bad guys.” There’s Kgosi I, who is the king in power at the beginning of the book. He is cruel, but he’s nothing like Kgosi II, his son, who murders him for the throne. There’s Kaizari, who is a self-proclaimed emperor who has managed to live 800 years. Zarek is a kind of puppeteer behind it all.

MA: Is there much of your real life in The Revelation Gate?

BLT: There’s always a little bit of me in every book. My experiences in being an indie publisher and DIY publishing advocate factored into it. One of the books major themes is whether or not to sacrifice your wants for the greater good of others.

MA: I understand you have both a new book in the works and a speaking platform venture. Tell us about them.

BLT: I launched a motivational speaking platform in July called P.E.G.H. (Positioning, Empowerment, Guidance, Honor) that really has to do with my belief in DIY publishing. I’m compiling a non-fiction book to complement that. I’m also penning my third book, The Anarchists, for release in 2012. It’s the story of how an unemployed structural engineer, a currency trader, an aspiring marine, and a stay-at-home mom try to save two worlds from destruction.

MA: Do you thread your stories together in any way, like sequels or recurring characters?

BLT: I like to think that all of my characters play a part in the same universe. My first book, The Lost Testament, kind of ended on a cliffhanger, and The Revelation Gate will have a sequel or prequel. The Anarchists features ties to both of those books. Anything else, I guess we’ll have to see!

MA: Thanks, Brian! I am pleased you were able to stop by and guest with me today. For my readers, be sure to stop by Brian’s blog for more information about him and his writing: http://blthompson.wordpress.com/ Read More

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Nov 09

A Good Deal — Mary Deal, That Is, Guest-Blogs With Mike Angley Today

I want to extend a hearty welcome to thriller writer Mary Deal, my guest blogger today! Mary is a native of Walnut Grove in California’s Sacramento River Delta, has lived in England, the Caribbean, and now resides in Kapaa, Hawaii. (I’m insanely jealous). She has published three novels: The Tropics: Child of a Storm – Caught in a Rip – Hurricane Secret, an adventure suspense; The Ka, a paranormal Egyptian suspense; and River Bones, a thriller, which was a winner in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition. A sequel is being written. Down to the Needle, her next thriller, is due out early 2010. Mary is also a Pushcart Prize nominee. Read More

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Nov 04

Kenneth Weene Visits with Mike Angley

MA: A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist, and pastoral counselor by education. Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Sol Spirits, Palo Verde Pages, Vox Poetica Clutching at Straws, Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Bewildering Stories and A Word With You Press.
Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are published by All Things That Matter Press.
Welcome, Ken. Tell us more about your background. I’m interested in how being a psychologist and a pastoral counselor have helped shape your writing.
KW: I’m a psychologist by training and worked in that field for years. I’m also an ordained minister. You will find echos of both psychology and ministry in my novels, but I guess that’s obvious when you see Memoirs From the Asylum as a title or the cover of Widow’s Walk.

MA: Have you always wanted to write novels?
KW: I always wanted to write. Retirement has given me the opportunity to pursue that goal. I started with and continue a combination of poetry, short fiction, novels, and even some non-fiction. However, novels are especially fulfilling because they allow me to create a world and explore its truth.

MA: With at least two of your titles finding their inspiration in your career, did you base any characters in them from people you’ve met or worked with professionally?

KW: Clearly Memoirs From the Asylum is rooted in my professional career and is set in the state hospital in which I did part of my training. However, the characters are more drawn from my life than my professional contacts. I know that may sound a bit strange, but there it is. I took the people from my life (including myself) and wrote them large.

Widow’s Walk is actually more connected to my professional experience. The idea came from a family with which I worked. People sometimes ask me which of the characters in Widow’s Walk is based on me; they always think they know the answer. Their guess Arnie Berger, the protagonists love interest, a college professor. Not so. The home health aide, Jem, is my alter ego in this book.

MA: Are your stories character driven or plot driven?

KW: I write literary fiction for adults. Both books focus on language and character more than plot. That is not to say they lack plot, only that I start with the love of words and of people in their creation. I do have another novel ready to come out; it’s a conspiracy novel and much more plot driven.

MA: Tell us about your protagonist(s).

KW: In Memoirs From the Asylum there are three protagonists, an unnamed narrator, a catatonic schizophrenic (Marilyn), and a psychiatric resident (Buford). The narrator and the resident are both drawn from my own character. Their stories draw in different ways on my own biography. I started the book with the narrator, who is tormented – among other things – by his cousin’s suicide. My cousin, his death. The family madness is my family’s. Buford’s connection to me is perhaps simpler to understand: me as therapist. One major difference: my wife and I are still very much in love, and she is extremely supportive.

Marilyn is drawn from some strange place that has no real world corollary. I imagined her full cloth from my sense of what catatonic schizophrenia must be like. A couple of people who have experienced psychotic breaks tell me I did it quite well.

MA: So what’s next? I assume with your extensive writing credentials that you have something planned.

KW: I have two other novels finished. One is the conspiracy novel I mentioned above. The other is a set of interconnected short stories based on the characters who make their home in a bar in Albuquerque. I should mention that this book, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne: Because there’s one in every town is set as far from my personal experience as I could get.

I have another novel under way. Set in New England and very meditative in form except for the science fiction inserts from the protagonist’s writing career. I hope to finish this one at The Writers’ Colony, where I will be spending a three week residence this fall.

MA: Thanks, Ken! I appreciate you stopping by. I want to point my readers to your website where they can learn more about you and your stories: http://www.authorkenweene.com Read More

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Nov 03

Available for Preorder! ‘Child Finder: Revelation’

Finally! It’s less than a month away now. Child Finder: Revelation will publish on December 1, 2011, but it is available now for pre-order via Amazon. It’s currently available in hardcover and paperback, but the eBook should be coming soon.

Get one in time for Christmas! Read More

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