1. Monday · Author Interviews · Monday Musings

Guest Post By J. L. Greger

There are some genres which we may enjoy reading but feel woefully inadequate to dip our toes into that particular pool, for me, detective and procedural thrillers are far beyond my comfort zone.  Today I am lucky enough to have a guest post from a lady who is infinitely better qualified than me to talk about the Crime Genre and more specifically to discuss the differences between fact and fiction.

 

Is There a CSI Effect?

   By J. L. Greger

 

Think of the scientists depicted in fiction and movies when you were a kid or teen – maybe Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Strangelove. Not exactly “normal” people.

Sir Christopher Frayling studied a thousand horror movies distributed in the United Kingdom between 1930 and 1980 (New Scientist, Sept. 24, 2005 issue). He found “scientific research” was a threat to mankind in 39% of these films.

Now consider the scientists depicted in popular television shows today. The scientists in CSI, Bones, and NCIS are “hip” men and beautiful women using instruments with unlimited capabilities in spacious laboratories.

Author’s disclaimer

Before I go any further, I’d better admit I’m a scientist, a retired professor in the biological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now I put tidbits of recent scientific discoveries in my medical mysteries and thrillers: Coming Flu, Ignore the Pain, and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. Not surprisingly, I think science is a good, although I admit it is sometimes misused. I’ll also admit most of the scientist I know aren’t as attractive as the ones I see in the TV shows. Now back to the main theme of this blog – the effect of fiction on image of scientists.

Is the image of scientists changing?

At the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) conference in July 2012, several forensic scientists mentioned the “the CSI effect.” They observed jurors and reporters were disappointed when real forensic scientists weren’t as good or as fast as Catherine Willows (CSI), Tempe Brennan (Bones), and Abby Sciuto (NCIS). For example, jurors became skeptical about an expert witness’s competence because he didn’t retrieve fingerprints from a rock at the murder scene.

My previous comment was just an anecdote, what are the facts? Data are limited. According to NSF’s 2012 Science and Engineering Indicators Report, Americans’ opinions about scientists have not changed much since 1974; 35 to 45% of those surveyed expressed confidence in scientists in 1975 and 2012, respectively. During the same period of time, confidence in physicians fell from 54% to 41%.

Are scientists trying to change their image in fiction? And why?

A number of scientists beside myself (including Carl Djerassi, Jennifer Rohn, Carl Sagan) have written novels, which are examples of a new sub-genre of fiction called: science in fiction or Lab Lit. Their purpose is to interest more readers in realistic science, not just “far out” science fiction.

Agencies funding scientific research in the US and Britain have also tried to support efforts to improve the image of scientists for several reasons. An improved image will help universities attract more students, especially women and minorities, to scientific careers. The average non-scientist is more apt to accept scientists’ advice on the safety of vaccination, global warming, or the safety of nuclear reactors if they trust them and understand how scientific research is done.

I don’t want a science lecture when I read a novel.

Don’t worry my novels fun and exciting, but you’ll absorb a little science painlessly.

Here are thumbnail sketches of my medical thrillers/mysteries.

• Learn whether the Philippine flu or a drug kingpin caught in a quarantine because of the flu is more deadly in Coming Flu.

• Discover whether an ambitious young “diet doctor” or old-timers with buried secrets are killers in Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.

• Feel the fear as drug dealers in Ignore the Pain chase an epidemiologist on a public health assignment from New Mexico to the Witches’ Market of La Paz, Bolivia.

JanetAndBugBio

For more on me, check out my website: www.jlgreger.com and blog: JL’s Bugs at http://www.jlgregerblog.blogspot.com. The Bugs in my blog aren’t insects. They are my real life Japanese Chin dog, who is a pet therapy dog in hospital in the Albuquerque area, and the fictional dog featured in my novels.

 

 

 

My novels are available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.

Coming Flu: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Flu-ebook/dp/B008WDL84O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372715303&sr=1-1&keywords=Coming+Flu 

Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-New-Lose-Weight-ebook/dp/B00DFCC3IM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372715439&sr=1-1&keywords=Murder%3A+A+New+Way+to+Lose+Weight

Ignore the Pain: http://www.amazon.com/Ignore-Pain-J-L-Greger-ebook/dp/B00HOODVTW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390779199&sr=8-1&keywords=ebook+Ignore+the+Pain

Coming Flu Front CV Cover Ignore the Pain cover Murder- A New Way to Lose Weight

Author Interviews

Author Interview with Maureen Flynn

I know I promised that Sunday Story would be returning and I promise there is a Who fan fiction waiting in the wings but today I have the first of two special guests for this week.

This one is very special as Maureen and I share a passion for the mad man in a blue box and that was how we first got to know each other so please welcome my friend Maureen……

229224_10150180835873546_3183210_nHer new book of poetry My Heart’s Choir Sings has just been released and I was lucky enough that she allow me to prod her with a sonic probe and find out a little more about her and her writing, I hope you will enjoy her answers as much as I did

Tell us a little about you and why you decided to write poetry.

I actually started off writing speculative fiction. I have one manuscript being assessed at the moment. It has been work-shopped before with Kate Forsyth but it needs loads of work. That’s first novels for you! I am also working on a second novel in a different world which is only at 10 000 words. It had to take a back-seat for this poetry release. I also write short stories and want to start marketing them this year. My New Year’s Resolution was that this year I took my writing to the next level.

I first started to write poetry in high school to deal with teen angst. There was the usual stuff teens get angsty about but I also used poetry to express my feelings about being a carer. My brother has autism and my mother been ill for a number of years. Those first few notebooks of poems are truly, truly awful but they did help me when I felt down and everyone has to start somewhere! At university, I joined a writers group and got into poetry that way. I also read the verse novels of Dorothy Porter, a truly wonderful Australian poet, whose free verse is edgy, full of emotion and meaning. Ever since then I’ve been addicted to the idea of telling a story in verse.

I like poetry because word choice is so important. Nothing can be wasted. I love painting images with words and capturing people’s hearts and toying with emotions. I think there is something so passionate and heartfelt about good free verse.

There are many who would say poetry is a dying art. What’s your opinion on that?

Who says that? Maybe I hang out with the wrong crowds. I don’t think poetry will ever die. I do think that its form or presentation may change. For example, many singers write songs that are poetry. For a contemporary example look no further than Amanda Palmer and her Theatre is Evil album. I don’t care what anyone says, songs like Trout Heart Replica and Berlin are poems as well as songs. Songs aren’t going out of fashion any time soon.

Verse novels are huge at the moment, especially young adult verse novels. For example, Ellen Hopkins is famous for them, as is Lisa Ann Sandell. Author, Gabrielle Prendergast, runs Verse novels.com, a website dedicated to the popular form. You only have to read a few posts to see how many names are out there!

Do you believe that you can make a living as a poet in this day and age, without using poetic talents for songwriting?

Well, you’d certainly be richer writing songs! I don’t know. The reality is MOST writers never earn enough to give up their day job altogether, and that’s regardless of creative form. I think the average income for an Australian author per year is $20 000 which is very low when you consider that this is an average. As an indie poet, it’s even worse as all of the marketing and promoting has to come from you.

I’d argue that poetry is a niche market. If you find your audience, then you can do reasonably well but that doesn’t mean you’ll be a millionaire any time soon.

Can you tell us a little about the concept behind your book?

Well, as I said previously, I have loved verse novels since I read Dorothy Porter’s crime verse novel, The Monkey’s Mask, in first year university. I have always wanted to write one. Embarrassing story: I have a simply terrible skeleton of a Sydney murder mystery verse novel on my USB which is a shameless rip of Dorothy Porter. It will never see the light of day but it helped me to get better at word choice and poetry.

My Heart’s Choir Sings came about because I wanted to write about London. I’ve been on exchange to the UK twice and I love it. If I could, I would spend half my year there. Anyway, I was stuck in London in December 2010 during that awful snow storm and temperature drop that saw masses of flights cancelled. I’d never really seen snow before and even though I hated the cold, I liked the effect.

I really like writing about relationships using poetry. I think it’s a very visceral way of writing about them. I am also a History Honours Graduate and love messing around with concepts of memory, gender relations and ways the past, present and future can intertwine. I started off writing a poem called Blue, which was very popular on my blog. It was from the perspective of the male in the relationship, remembering his dead partner. Don’t ask me why I ended up writing from a male perspective. I am a feminist and this sequence discusses gender issues so maybe I just wanted to try something new! It went on from there. Image after image came to me and before I knew it I had a little story happening.

Smashwords_E-book_Cover (1)

My Heart’s Choir Sings is set in London and is told from the perspective of Stuart Hinchcliffe, a creative who loses his fellow creative and partner in tragic circumstances.  As he goes through their old flat, each object or item reminds Stuart of a new aspect of their relationship. Where did everything go wrong? Was it all the fault of the mysterious dead woman, or is Stuart and society to blame? The 25 poem sequence acts as a eulogy and as a process of healing for Stuart. It took me two years to write, edit and publish and it is very dear to my heart. I really hope people love it!

What is next for you creatively?

Where to start? Late last year, I started working on a verse novel detailing the story of Merlin of King Arthur fame. I’ve always had an obsession with ‘the historical Arthur’ and I’ve done quite a lot of research into the area. I’ve written about 30 poems for that verse novel and Merlin is just about to prophecy for Vortigan. Given that My Heart’s Choir Sings took me two years to get on the web, I doubt that this novel will be finished before another two years is up.

I am also working on a young adult fantasy manuscript. I really love the idea so hopefully it’s one that I can sell to agents and/or publishers down the track. When I’ve done the rewrite for this manuscript, I have to rework that beast of a first novel. It’s not a total write off yet.

I have a number of speculative fiction short stories in various stages of development and I want to market those to magazines such as Aurealis this year.

As you can see, I like to be busy. I always have a thousand ideas. The trouble is having the time to work on a project. I always want my work to be professional and that’s why it takes me so long to do anything with a project.

I will be working with an author this year on a writing mentorship, so hopefully that will teach me some great new skills!

People here will not know that we met through a Doctor Who fan page, but are you excited about Capaldi taking over the role and would you ever consider writing Who?

This is actually such a tough question. I LOVED Eleven. I knew Matt before he was cast in the role from a television movie called The Ruby in the Smoke. I kid you not, my brother and I both stated that he was Doctor material before he was even speculated to be up for Eleven.

Matt had such a way of being young and old, mad and serious, rage filled and gentle, a wizard, a good man and a fairy story all at once. His era isn’t perfect but he is definitely MY Doctor.

However, I love Capaldi’s fierce eyes from Day of the Doctor and though what we saw of him in Time of the Doctor was brief, he looks to be a refreshing TARDIS change. I always give new Doctor’s a season’s chance.

YES YES YES I would write Doctor Who. Somebody page Stephan Moffat. There has been very few female script writers on New Who. What I love about Doctor Who is that you can write practically anything in time, space and genre. There is no such thing as canon Doctor Who. I have never written a script before, but writing a Who script is one of my secret author goals, so never fear, one day it may well happen! Maybe a tie in book is more achievable…

I just want to thank Maureen and you can find all her links below please pop over and take a look…

Facebook

Goodreads

Blog

Or you can find the book here…

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402166

http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Choir-Sings-Maureen-Flynn-ebook/dp/B00I5LT638/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1391259195&sr=8-3&keywords=my+heart%27s+choir+sings

4. Thursday · Author Interviews · Highs and Lows · Thoughts on thursday

We Have Company, It Started With….Estelle Wilkinson

As my long term friends here know earlier this year I reviewed a book by someone I had interacted with on our respective blogs and Facebook, it was the first time I had really worried about upsetting someone with my comments.  The storyline of her book is based on biographical events so as you can imagine this is a deeply personal subject for her, but thankfully the review has actually built the respect we have for each other and I will say I have had a sneak peek at the new improved book and look forward to reading it afresh.

So without further ado let me hand you over to Estelle….

Book One Cover

Thank you so much Paula for hosting me on my blog tour and allowing me the opportunity to reach your readers with my news.

Earlier this year I published a memoir detailing an odd encounter I had with a man I met on eBay. It happened almost ten years ago to the day and took me, very much, by surprise! When relaying the story people always said what a great book it would make. I never had the confidence to go for it and so put the idea to bed about eight or nine years ago.

Part of what had put me off all those years ago was the idea of receiving rejection after rejection from publishers. Then, I heard about self-publishing and I decided I had nothing to lose.

Unfortunately, I didn’t put much work in and expected the story to sell itself. I had no idea what was involved in writing a book and marketing it. This, I would say, was quite apparent but luckily I have learnt a lot in the past twelve months and am able to put that into practice now.

I also hadn’t prepared myself for the more negative reviews I might, and did, receive. In a positive way, these reviews have got me to where I am today though and I am now thankful for them. The major points raised were down to formatting and the ending being an anti-climax. They were very valid points! I know I’ll never please everyone but I don’t want to disappoint either.

So, I have put in a lot of effort changing the format, removing the more repetitive messages, adding in more of a narrative throughout and enhancing the final chapter enormously.

The majority of emails and messages that are still in there are the originals but I have fictionalised parts to enrich the story. You’ll definitely notice that at the end of the book if you’ve read the original version already. I have to admit, I rather enjoyed writing that final chapter this time round…

In fact, I’ve really enjoyed putting in the extra effort with the whole book and hope that comes across. So, I really do thank all those who reviewed the last version (Paula included) as without their input I would not be writing to you so positively here today. I really do appreciate hearing what people think of my book – good or bad. The feedback is really helpful and all reviews this time round will go into making book two a far better book as well! I know there will still be people that the book doesn’t suit but I’m hopeful more will enjoy it than last time.

Please look out for It Started With A Click: The Story of an eBay Romance on Kindle now. Plus, from Friday 15th November until Tuesday 19th November, the book will be free to download.

One extra thing is that anyone who followed Estelle previously will know that she was a little camera shy, so I am now hugely pleased to be able to show you how gorgeous she is in real life and provide the links for you to all go look her up and show her your support…

Guest blogWebsite: www.estellewilkinson.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/EstelleW_Author
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EstelleWAuthor
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/EstelleW_Author

Author Interviews · So it's Saturday

Interview with Tilly G

Today I want to share an interview with a remarkable young lady. Despite being only 18 years old she is about to publish her second work venturing forward into a second career which like her first as a model can be harsh and requires determination to succeed.  Her book The Anthology is due to be released tomorrow over on Lulu and her face book links can be found at the bottom of the page.

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I had the chance to ask tilly a few questions so here we go…

1) You began your career as an alternative model before branching out into writing, what inspired you to write?
I have always enjoyed writing, all the way through my school life. I finally decided to put it all into a book so that I could share my work with the world. My mom has also written a book and I think her writing gave me that bit more of a push to write more too. It’s a great way to put your personality on paper.

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Tilly modelling

2) Which writers have influenced you as a writer and who are your favourite authors to read?
I have to admit, I don’t like modern authors as much as I like the old ones, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde being a few. Simply because they are original.

3) The Anthology is your second publication can you tell us a little about it?
Its basically all the stories and poems I could find that weren’t too personal from my high school work books, I loved reading them out in front of the class, so it only made sense to put them all into a book. A few of the stories I have written recently. There is about 4 years worth of creativity in this book.

4) You have, so far, self published your work, have you considered trying the traditional route?
I have but unfortunately being 18 I don’t have that much money in my back pocket yet, but it is something I would love to do in the future.

5) Now to let peope get to know you little better the silly questions, if you were stranded on a deserted island and you were allowed two items one practical one luxury what would they be?
Hmm, well that’s a difficult one. I think for practical reasons I would take a mobile phone (not for angry birds… honest. For phone calls of course!) and for luxury I think I would have to take a photo album, just so I could look at it and remind myself of fond memories.

6) who would you want to play you in a film story of your life?

Maybe Kate Winslet or Nicole Kidman, or possibly Scarlett Johansson. I can’t really give any reasons as to why, I just find them remarkable to watch and I see them as such powerful women.
But Y’know if they aren’t available I could give it a go! Hehe!

Tilly can be found on facebook here at Tilly Greensmith Alternative Model and The Anthology – Tilly.G

Author Interviews · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Drumroll Please…..Cover Reveal of M.S. Fowle’s Exciting New Book

Here we go what fans of her work have been waiting for………

SONY DSC

She has thoughtfully provided us with a brief blurb for The Sire which I will share with you here.

“Enter a realm of magick mirroring that of Europe in the late 1930s, one illustrating persecution under an authoritarian regime, a girl’s struggle to see beyond prejudice, and a boy’s lack of faith in humanity.

The era jives with jazz and swing, while giant boats sail the sky, and war divides a great land as its king hunts down any with the gifts of magick, the Mages. Claire Royce reached her fifteen years believing Mages only wicked and selfish, but she can’t condone her king’s war. So when she sees his soldiers harassing a hungry street kid, she naturally tries to help the teen boy escape. But her deed only makes her a target. That’s when the boy miraculously comes to her rescue and saves them both with his unmatched powers as a Mage.

As young Walter Tully tries to convince Claire that Mages are not the enemy, the two soon learn that their king’s true intent is to find the most powerful Mage of all: the creator of magick, The Sire. Differences aside, Claire and Walter must find The Sire first or risk the corruption of all magick, as well as the world. They just need to stop arguing long enough to pull it off.”

I know this work is aimed at a slightly younger reader than her previous work, however I have a feeling that the layers of Mel’s work will make this an intriguing read for readers of all ages.

THE SIRE will be available as an ebook exclusively on Amazon in January 2013.

There are numerous ways to follow M.S. Fowle so feel free to click the links and be sure you don’t miss out on more exciting news from this amazing author whose previous works have recieved amazing reviews and are available on Amazon also.
Website – http://msfowle.wordpress.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/msfowle
Twitter – @ms_fowle – https://twitter.com/ms_fowle
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/M.S.-Fowle/e/B007MOAU0W/
Cover Design Services – http://melchelledesigns.com/

Author Interviews · Book Reviews · Tuesday Reflections

Book Review – First Light By M.S. Fowle

Finally the concluding part of M.S. Fowle’s First series.

This is so difficult as there is so much to say but I really do not want to give anything away with spoilers.  Many of you who have read the first books will have awaited this with a slightly heavy heart knowing it is to be the last in the series.  Although the door is left open for Fowle to resume this storyline should she choose to in the future I can honestly say if it has to end what a way to go.
Twists in this amazing plot will have you shedding tears of pain one moment mingling with tears of joy the next, and believe me only the most hard hearted of readers should read this without tissues at the ready.

For Alex and Zeke there are finally answers, some more painful than others as the pair up to face the enemy for a final showdown where the winners will take all.  Revelations accost them from every angle and terrible truths must be faced but throughout it all the small band of human and First stay strong and the relationships between individuals are every bit as intense as those between their leaders.

The dark brooding Bade seems the unlikely candidate for becoming a fan favourite yet throughout the series he has grown as a character and should the series ever be picked up and adapted for film then a spin off series of his own would be very much on the cards.  It is through the characters of Bade and to a lesser extent Zeke that we see Fowle examine what it means to be human.  Bade is the voyeur, the one who watches, listens and learns, finally it is he who understands far more of the emotional complexities between Alex and Zeke than they themselves.

There are some interesting new characters introduced, but it is really the lives of those who we have watched grow over the four books that engages us the most and leave the reader wondering as the end approaches can there ever be a happily ever after?

To find out you will have to read for yourself but from me a simple 5 out of 5 and the knowledge that should it be the end then it ended with my heart in my mouth and tears rolling down my face whether from pain or pleasure only the reader will know.

links to the other books

First Night

First Blood

First War

Author interview

Author Interviews · Monday Musings

Author Interview with David McGowan

One of the most enjoyable parts of blogging is the interaction with so many talented people and today I get to add yet another great author to the list of those who have been generous enough to spare time from their busy schedules and answer a few questions.  David McGowan is the author of the exhilarating thriller The Hunter Inside the review for which can be found here .

1)    Describe your work environment, are there any special items you must have at hand as you work

I keep a written diary of each scene in my work in progress with the word count. It helps when looking back for a scene or something that has happened. I also keep plot notes, maps, iPad, laptop, iPhone and, most importantly, candy – lots of candy!

 

2)    What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was Duma Key by Stephen King. Very absorbing after a bit of a slow start, but reminiscent of some of his older work like The Shining. I would definitely recommend it!

 

3)    If you could have credit for writing any book in history what would it be and why?

That’s a great question! I guess there are a couple, but my favourite of all time would be Catch 22. The intricacies, humour and downright intelligence of Heller’s writing is mind-boggling! I’d love to have written that novel. Also, I’d quite like to have the sales figures for Harry Potter (I’m not greedy, just one of them will do!)

 

4)    You are based here in the UK but chose to set your book in the States was there a reason for that?

I think setting a novel far from home is more of a challenge, but also it seemed more exotic. My second novel, From the Sky, is set in California, but there’s a very good reason for it this time, and you’ll find out when it is released and you (hopefully) read it!

 

5)    I know you put a lot of research into your novel including bus routes, journey times etc what was the most difficult bit of information to track down?

To be honest, none of the information is difficult to track down. We are the luckiest generation of writers yet, with the advent of the Internet making our life so much easier. We can go to places online that we’d never go to in real life – even other planets! It is harder nowadays to narrow the amount of sources for research from the vast amount out there. I love Youtube for letting me quickly research an actual place and be there, without leaving the comfort of my desk and flying for ten hours to get there!

 

6)    Were you tempted at any point to stay with the more conventional thriller route and keep your killer human?

Paula! You’re giving spoilers away! I think Shimasou being Shimasou makes the novel much more interesting than if it had been a plain old boring human killer, but I don’t want to say too much as I’d prefer people to find out the novel’s secrets as they read it rather than me telling them!

7)    The ‘hunter’ is of ancient origin which seems to leave space for whole series of back stories there have you considered this?

I hadn’t ever really thought about it to be honest. It was such hard work getting The Hunter Inside finished. Now I’m 36,500 words into writing my second novel, From the Sky. It is a very different project. You can read a sample on my website – http://davidmcgowanauthor.com/from-the-sky-exclusive-preview/

8)    At the end of the novel there is quite a profound statement about why the world needs evil does this reflect your thoughts on the subject?

The news is full of evil day in and day out. Without evil we would not be able to define its opposite as we would have nothing to measure it by. A world without evil would be fabulous, but it’s such a hard place to imagine. Maybe on another planet. There’s a novel in there somewhere!

 

9)    The Hunter Inside was self-published and it would appear from your blog you are considering the same route for your next book. Does this mean you have chosen not to try the traditional agent/publisher route?

As I said earlier, we are the luckiest generation of writers yet. We now have the option of self-publishing, but not like it was years ago when you had to pay for hundreds of copies and then hawk your wares anywhere you could think of. We have so many platforms available to us online that the power is shifting into the authors hands. We also get much better royalties this way too, which isn’t the be all and end all obviously, but it helps. It’s hard work, don’t get me wrong, but the rewards are so much more to reap. Every sale is a sale you earned from your hard work. Every good review is about you totally, not publishers or editors. It’s so rewarding!

 

10) What one piece of advice would you give to someone sitting down to start their first novel?

Research, outline a rough plot for the first part of the book, and have at least an hour in your day for writing. Routine breeds confidence and confidence in turn enables you to plough through the tough parts of writing. Remember you’re always learning, and also remember when you think your writing is no good that there is someone out there who wants to read what you are writing. That’s what it’s all about – getting your work to your readers, and there’s no better feeling than seeing a positive review go live or getting a tweet or an email, or even a ‘Like’ on your Facebook page. Most importantly, never give up. Never ever ever give up. Because in ten years time you’ll come back to it and you’ll think ‘I could have done this ten years ago’. Do it, you will never regret it.

 

I would just like to thank David for giving up his time to answer my questions and recommend that anyone who is not already following him pop over and take a look at his site