Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview on Poets and Writers -- WEHC

I just had my first broadcast radio interview and, judging by the comments I've received, it went well. It's Henry McCarthy's show, Poets and Writers. Here's his picture:

Click on this link: Poets and Writers then scroll down until you see my name and click on the link there. Thanks.

I've done internet radio and a spreecast interview that included video, but this was the first time I've had an audience in the thousands and one that included station listeners who may or may not be interested in reading my book. I'm hoping they enjoyed the interview and hoping this isn't my last opportunity.

Writing a novel is only the first step. A book needs readers to be a success, so marketing is a necessity. Some writers see the process as tortuous, but I'm trying to look at it as a challenge. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Angela Lam Turpin's blog tour

Thanks go out to Angela Lam Turpin for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. I’m proud to have my novels discussed alongside Angela’s stories. She writes from her heart. I knew that as soon as I read the first story in her collection The Human Act and Other Stories (written under the name Angela Lam).  Ashes to Angels is about a young woman, Adele, who is living a life limited by poverty and by choices made by others in her family. But Adele is blessed with a talent for math, a blessing that turns her life in surprising ways. Angela lives in California with her husband, a daughter, and a son. She is an artist as well as an author and writes nonfiction as well as fiction, primarily articles on real estate and finance for Like many other writers I know, Angela gets up early to do her writing at dawn. Her stories cover topics including sexual identity, poverty, romantic love, parenthood, eating disorders, infidelity, and family relationships. Turpin’s writing is emotional and uplifting, a joy to read. As well as The Human Act and Other Stories, Angela's books include of Out of Balance, Legs, and Blood Moon Rising. Here are the questions she posed to me about my own writing:

Angela: What are you working on?
Steve: I am working on my past life mystery series, of which Motherless Soul is the first, White Horse Regressions is the second, and I’m currently writing the third. The books are set in my three favorite places: Motherless Soul in a church (a place to think about the universe and God), White Horse Regressions in a community theater (a place to watch actors making characters interesting), and the third book at a lake (a place where peaceful water can sooth and inspire). Choosing those settings helps make the process pure joy and at the same time I’m adhering to the old writing axiom to “write what I know.”

Angela: How does your work differ from others in the same genre?
Steve: My books fit into at least two genres: mysteries and historical fiction. They are different from other mysteries because the detective is a hypnotist who brings out people’s past lives. Clues from different time periods are used to solve the crime committed in the present and since the various lifetimes share people with the same souls, determining who is who is a second, intriguing mystery. As works of historical fiction my books relate to time travel books, because they have a plot during the present time that leads the reader into similar situations in the past. But time travel books always have something that doesn’t quite add up. My work travels back to observe, but not to change.

Angela: Why do you write what you do?
Steve: I am interested in the continuity of life, which is why I find the concept of past lives so fascinating. It's also why I'm interested in historical fiction both as a writer and a reader. For the most part, people are alike in different places and times. So it's fun and thought provoking to put characters in different situations then see how they respond. I hope my readers enjoy these situations as much as I do when I'm reading the works of other writers. I also hope it gives them something to think about.

Angela: How does your writing process work?
Steve: I think about the characters and the situations until something interesting comes up then I write it down. That becomes the core I work with. After that I rewrite when ideas hit dead ends or just need imporving or when a something occurs that conflicts with something else. I think the hardest lesson I needed to learn after I decided to become a writer was how to identify and throw out the sections of my work that don't advance the story, even if they work on their own.

I want to thank Angela Lam Turpin again for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

Next week, discover the writing of Jean Rodenbough.

Jean Rodenbough is a retired Presbyterian minister, active in church and community, and in writers' organizations. Her publications include:

Published by
FIELD WATER is a poetry collection
GATHER WITH THE SAINTS is a series of stories narrated by the 12-year-old daughter of an enlightened Baptist preacher. She tells of the strange funerals and residents of her home town of Wheeler, NC.
SIGNS OF HOPE contains stories of loss, a description of the grief process, and a fantasy about Butterfly's journey into the Valley of Sorrow.
PREACHER'S DOZEN is a collection of sermons preached during the fall of 2008.
TREE features poems about trees through the seasons, to accompany color photos.
NOW AND THEN is a chapbook of recent poems.
ICE ON A HOT STOVE is a re-publication of an earlier collection, updated.

Published by All Things That Matter Press:
RACHEL'S CHILDREN:SURVIVING THE SECOND WORLD WAR tells the stories of those who were children during WWII, with poem commentaries, reflections, and narratives about the war.
BEBE & FRIENDS: TAILS OF RESCUE: Stories of rescued animals is a collection of heartwarming stories which also provides information about rescue organizations and statistics about rescues. Poems serve as commentary, and contact information for organizations is included.

The author lives in Greensboro, NC with husband Charles, also a writer listed on Amazon's Author Central. Their four children and families all live in the Greensboro area. They have a Beagle-Jack Russell, Katie, who gives them a hard time.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Most of the people who read my book reviews seem to do so on Goodreads, Librarything, and Amazon. So I'm going to switch things up a bit by posting my reviews out there and making this site more of a traditional blog. The book I just reviewed is J.A. Jance's Cruel Intent. If you want to read the review you can find it here: Cruel Intent. What you'll find on this site will be my musings.

I've been thinking about entering White Horse Regressions in a competition or two. The problem is that although googling novel competitions brings up plenty of hits, most of those seem like scams. Some have multiple categories such as mysteries, historical fiction, or new age fiction. WHR could fit into any of those. But they charge for each category. Goodreads has a site here that shows recent award winners. So I'm thinking I can find legit competitions by working my way backwards through those. I'll have to give it some more thought. I don't mind spending money on competition fees if the award is meaningful.

I picked up a couple of books at the Bookmarks festival last week. Turkmen Captives by Susan Williamson and Warning Signs by Sheila Englehart. They're both written by local authors. I'm looking forward to getting into one of those after I finish the current book I'm reading.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bookmarks Festival this past weekend in Winston-Salem

I attended the annual book festival in Winston-Salem this weekend. The weather was a little too hot to be perfect, but I can't complain because it didn't rain. Here's a shot of the WS Writers table.
I was taking the picture, so I'm not in it. But I got a chance to sell my books there from noon to one. I sold a few and had some great conversations.

I stopped in at the outdoor stage and heard a few authors speak, including Frances Mayes, who wrote Under The Tuscan Sun.
She told a story about how her book became a film. She said it was good luck, because she ran into a producer while shopping for wine in Italy who told her to contact him. Of course, the book was already well known by that time, so it wasn't all luck.

I also attended a workshop with J.A. Jance, a very successful mystery writer with about 50 titles in print. I had never read her work, so before the workshop I checked out a few audio versions from our local library, all from her Ali Reynolds series. I loved the way she manages to mix everyday problems such as issues having to do with sexually promiscuous children or unfaithful spouses with mysteries that have to do with psycho murderers and drug cartels. In her class she spoke about incorporating events from day to day life into her stories, so my impression was right on. One of the main reasons I was there was to check my methods for getting the word out about my books against the methods used by someone who had succeeded in that area. I'm doing the things she suggested, so now it's a matter of keeping up the work. We'll see what happens.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Conversations Among Ruins by Matthew Peters

Conversations Among RuinsConversations Among Ruins by Matthew Peters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Early on in Conversations Among Ruins the ex wife of Daniel Stavros tells him: Dreaming is what gave rise to the idea of the soul. This statement seems to capture what I felt after reading Matthew Peters' powerful novel. Stavros is an alcoholic who slips in and out of reality in a way that causes reality, imagination, and dreams to become indistinguishable.

The book starts in a detox center. Stavros is there because his struggles with the bottle are affecting his life. One of the threatened aspects of his life is his job. Jim Tierney, a department chair at the college where Stavros is an assistant professor, is as supportive as he can be. He's spoken to the dean and arranged for Stavros' position to be held for him if he agrees to enter rehab.

But Stavros goes back and forth between self destructive behavior and decisions to follow through on Tierney's suggestions. He meets Mimi while at the detox, a woman with her own troubles whom Stavros believes is the answer to all of his. Another quote from his ex wife shows that this isn't the first time he's believed a single solution could be the answer. Mixing the right drink, meeting the right woman, landing the best job, it's always been something, something outside of you that's going to make everything all right. Just before we met, remember, Christianity was going to fill you up?

A mystical side to the novel begins to appear about a quarter of the way through the book when Stavros and Mimi decide to visit a seer named Cassandra. A strange painting hanging in her living room seems to pull them both into its scene. Although we can't be sure what's happening because alcoholism and mental illness could be causing hallucinations, the mystic aspects of the story increase as we read on. As I said before, reality, imagination, and dreams are indistinguishable, but everything is important to Stavros. The painting is tied to other things that happen as the story progresses. In fact, every detail in Peters' novel is tied together beautifully.

Conversations Among Ruins is a powerful book that brings out issues concerning alcoholism and mental illness while pointing out the value of life in a way everyone can appreciate.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions

View all my reviews