I was raised in Brooklyn and spent most of my adult life in Chicago. I invent the characters in my writing by drawing upon my childhood memories and flair for the dramatic. With a writing style that is real and never sugar coated or phony, I endeavor to entertain my readers.
Finally realizing my longtime dream, my debut novel Salty and The Serpent is set to release after taking six years to create. I am the proud father of a Marine Corps veteran and have two beautiful grandchildren. I’m currently retired and living in Florida.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
You say I invent the characters in my writing by drawing upon my childhood memories and flair for the dramatic. Did you really know characters like Cha Cha and Milton?
Yes and a few others that were minor characters!
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
I have a vivid imagination that allows me to think outside the box. My writing style is narrative. Who is telling the story is up to interpretation I have my own wisdom on that but I like to reader to decide.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
When I did, I backed up and left it alone for as long as I could. When ideas came to me I would rush back to the manuscript and try to get the flow going again.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Do your research!!!!
What are your current/future projects?
I am working on a few more short stories and have started my second novel. The continuing adventures of my hero cops.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
As a kid I saw both sides, the criminals and the cops. Some people I knew turned out to be criminals, some turned out to be cops. I stood on the outside and knew I could combine the two for a great novel.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
The future is bright for anyone that has something to say. The e-book process is simple. Just be sure your work is edited and proofread.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I self published with printed and electronic versions of my novel “Salty and the Serpent”. It gave me great pleasure to see my work in print. My short stories are spinoffs from my novel and are only available in e-books. The e-book self publishing process is easy and fast, I’m not sure if I will go for printed versions of my next novel.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
No never, I had my titles set as I wrote. I may only mention the title once in the book. But it is meant to be caught by the reader.
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
My friends have been super supportive. I have a few reviews by people that don’t know me from a hole in the wall. They gave me great reviews, one person is mainstream in the literary field. She read my novel and my two short stories, and gave them all very nice reviews. That made my day.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
Promotions sadly have not worked for me as far as sales. I have thought long and hard about this current promotion with Author Shout. I hope it will generate interest in my work. I do feel like giving up sometimes. But my feeling is I have written a few “damn good books” and not being a quitter I will continue to self and ad promote.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I am sold on the Amazon platform, even though there are millions of titles they have so many readers (me included). I am on Smashwords but so far no sales from their site.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
I write Crime Fiction. It’s something I felt I could relate to knowing both sides of the equation helped.
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
My mind is always working, looking for scenarios and plots. I have been known to write down a few lines on a napkin of scrap of paper.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
Short stories can vary from 5000 to 15,000 words. Novels I feel have to be at least 80,000 to 100,000 words. When I write I try not to end it too abruptly.
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
I wrote because I knew I had it in me. I feel I have accomplished something so many people say they wish they can do. Now people ask me what are you working on now? I belong to a writers and poet group that meets once a month for an open mic. I share my poetry and writing, knowing my peers enjoy my work gives me great pleasure.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I designed my own covers. Catch the readers eye, give them great chapter titles.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
I have a press release but have not tried any services.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Reviews are great if they are independent, not influenced by friends of relatives that don’t want to hurt my feelings.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
Not the kind of reviews I want.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
Never have encountered anything like that. Although I recently was chastised for a shameless self promotion. This person called my work crap and inferred I was just another untrained self published slug. So be it, guess I’m off her Christmas card list.
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
I did a book signing at my local Library, I gave away my book and asked for a donation to the Library. I only raised $60 but they really appreciated it. It was fun!
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
Like I said there are millions of titles out there. Sorting through the hype can be tiring. I filter down to my genre and find my next read by scanning the reviews.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
I have no fear of publishing, I am willing to put it out there.
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
My novel Salty and the Serpent, it sets the stage for my short stories and the sequel or continuing adventures of my heroes.
What is the intended audience for you book?
Adults only, my wring is not sugar coated and contains adult themes. Some raw street talk and situations not meant for teenagers. Although they know about the things I write about, I still prefer to keep it adult.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
One of my cops, is based on a real person I grew up with. As far as his bio and where he was first stationed. He doesn’t realize I based that character on him. I changed his ethnicity and where he grew up, it made him unrecognizable except to me.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
As a writer I crave recognition, but a boat load of cash wouldn’t be bad either!
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
I do a lot of shameless self promotion, most on Face Book.
What makes a good story, why?
A surprise ending, twists and turn, events that lead up to a reader going ah ha….
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I like the names I have given my titles and so do the people that have read my work. I don’t over do the title in the book.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Reviews are my basic barometer on how well my work is being accepted. I will thank someone for their review, I haven’t received any bad ones yet. But if I did I would still thank them for their thoughts.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
I like to write the action scenes, I think I did a pretty good job with lines like “The room went silent, except for a few shell casings rolling on the floor. The room had filled with a blue smoke, and blood stained the wall”
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
My life, but I’m afraid it might not be as interesting as my imagined life.
Do you have any characters you would like to introduce in other books or a combination of characters from multiple books you would like to write about in one book?
I have just finished a short story where I introduce a character that I plan on bringing back in a future story.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
I invent the characters in my writing by drawing upon my childhood memories and flair for the dramatic.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Knowledge of your subject, for me it was researching police procedures.
What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?
My favorite author is Elmore Leonard, I think I unconsciously follow his style.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
E-Books will save the trees, but the printed book will always be around.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
Right now writing is my hobby and my poetry is a labor of love.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
I did all the research on the internet. The main thing I was concerned with was accuracy of police procedures.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
I do my own proofreading and have them professionally edited. I found a reasonably price editor. She has edited my two short stories.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
I would stick to what I know. I don’t think I could write a children’s book or anything science fiction.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from wanting to entertain my readers.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
My characters and the straight talk I incorporate in my writing.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
I designed all my covers. The Billy Goat Caper I used a Kindle template, it’s not as savvy as my others.
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