Mother Son Writing Team Hits the Big Time!

When Wendy Siefken and her son, Charles first sat down to pen the story of “Kai’s Journey” they had no idea it would lead to an opportunity to be entered into the hottest new contest for author’s titled “Writer’s Got Talent” Sponsored by Bruce Goldwell.

To see more about this contest and if you think you have what it takes to participate in the next season of “Writer’s Got Talent” starting in March please go to this site;  The contest site will explain how to vote for your favorite author on Pinterest as well.

pinterest image

This week there is a special treat for all the readers! The first chapters of the remaining contestant’s books are up for your judgment! Here is the readers chance to judge for yourselves whether or not you would like to read more of the story each contestant has submitted. The remaining authors are listed as follows;

Wendy Siefken   –

Aoife Sheridan –

Vanessa Castillo Kimball –

Shannon L. Dearing –

Dawn Gray –

Dominique Goodall –

Jim Henry –

Clarence Bonner –

You can check out the first chapter posts on Pinterest at this site where you can like, re-pin, share, tweet and like for Facebook to show your support for the authors!

As Bruce Goldwell says, “Vote for your favorite author, watch book trailers and order a good book by an Independent Author!”

We have entered the America’s Next Author contest!

America’s Next Author

I have entered the contest with a story called “Hiding in Plain Sight.” Its sort of a thriller mystery type story. I found out all you have to do to vote is share it in linkedIn, facebook or twitter. Read the story and write a review if you are so inclined. I was tickled pink when we were accepted into the contest. I don’t know if I have a chance of winning or not, but I am trying. I feel like I have been spamming everyone for this trying to garner votes and shares. I kind of feel bad for doing it, but then again, if no one knows how will they find out about it? Once again I am in the quandry of to promote or not to promote! that is the question! but I think I will be promoting because even though I wouldn’t be crushed if I didn’t win, I am getting that feeling, like I want to win. I want to be competitive. Keeping it at a normal level of course. I don’t want to get all crazy or anything. ha ha ha. So I have entered and now I check it to see how its coming. How many tweets, shares and reviews. I work on Kai’s Journey the edits that are coming in now. I rewrote Hiding in plain sight a bit to tighten it up and fix some errors I had found. I am going to work on a powerpoint to help someone learn how to take tags off her amazon page tomorrow. do edits, add some ideas we had for book 2 of Kai’s Journey. Tomorrow will be a busy day! yay! like busy days. So I guess I had better get off of here and get to sleep so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for tomorrow. I have a lot to do and not a lot of time to get it done in. If you haven’t voted for me yet, would you please give it a peruse and vote? thank you very much in advance! Hope everyone’s day is a true blessing tomorrow!

Our Interview with Ethan Jones!

Ethan Jones

Arctic Wargame (A Justin Hall Novel) Arctic Wargame: A Justin Hall novel

Ethan Jones is a lawyer by trade and the author of Arctic Wargame, a spy thriller available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback.  He has also published two short stories: Carved in Memory, a prequel to Arctic Wargame, and The Last Confession, both available on Amazon as e-books.  His second spy thriller, Tripoli’s Target, will be released in fall 2012.  Ethan lives in Canada with his wife and his son.

Bio provided by author

Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya.

When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field.  His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defence.

The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own.  Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location.  Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country.

Excerpt from newly published “Arctic Wargames”

We were very fortunate to have Mr. Ethan Jones contact us and feel very privileged to be asked to do an interview with him regarding his debut novel, “Arctic Wargames” Ethan is a private person who works very hard at all things he does whether it be as an attorney, writer, husband or father. So please give a very warm welcome to Ethan!

1.What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?

Arctic Wargame, the first book in Justin Hall series, opens with a scene where the main character, Justin, is in jail, waiting for the right moment for an escape. This hooks the reader from the first moments they pick up the book; the subtle conflict and intrigue, the need to know how the escape will take place and whether it will be successful and if yes, what will happen next.

The first lines are extremely important. They should offer the reader a foretaste of what the novel is all about, a sample of the best that your writing can give them, the promise that if they buy your book, they will be rewarded with a great entertaining story. Tripoli’s Target, the second book in Justin Hall series, opens up with this line: Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic.

My spy thrillers are in a sense inspired by current events. Not a dramatized version of true stories, but an imaginary development of a ‘what-if’ scenario. What if an Arctic power decided to take some unilateral military action in that sensitive area of the world? What if an assassination plot happens while the US President visits one of the rogue states of the world?

Another driver of my storylines is the desire to entertain the reader, to take them away from the ordinary and into an imaginary world where they can follow a great story and take a break from their daily routine. If I have accomplished that, my job is done.

2.Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?

I wrote Arctic Wargame and Tripoli’s Target without an outline. I just planned the main storyline in my mind and went on writing. There were a couple of places where I really stumbled and had to think hard to come out with ideas and solutions. I learned my lesson and now I make charts, with the characters’ names and their traits, in order to have a clear picture of who’s who and how they relate to one another and the story.

3.What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?

I have a full-time job, so I do not have a normal writing day. I try to write wherever and whenever I can. At times, I wake up in the morning and put in a few hours before heading to work. Other times, I write well after midnight. Depending on the day, it could be thirty minutes or eight hours. I try to get about 1000 words per day, but that is not always possible.

4.Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?

John Grisham was one of the writers I read when growing up. I also read books from David Baldacci and Daniel Silva, as well as many other spy thriller writers. They have inspired me to write stories with a lot of twists and turns, face-paced plots, clear and concise language, and overall quite entertaining for the readers.

5.It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?

The middle of the novel does not come as easy as the beginning or the end. After the fast beginning, the introduction of the characters and of the plot, the middle seems to be quite laborious. I don’t want it to be boring or slow, as readers may lose interest. So, I need to work extra hard to make sure the quality of the middle parts is as good, if not better, than the beginning, and, of course, the rest of the story.

I also dislike rewriting and editing. Once the book is finished, I let out a sigh of relief and celebrate. Then I realize that my work is not done. I have to rewrite and edit, make changes, cut entire paragraphs and add new sentences and phrases here and there. These are required steps in order to have a great novel that readers will love.

6.Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?

Reading is important for every writer. It helps one understand the market and the competition. It helps sharpen a writer’s skills while learning what works and what doesn’t work in other fellow writers. Reading supports the industry and my colleagues and overall it entertains and it relaxes me.

At the moment, I am reading Deception by Adrian Magson, a great spy thriller. Next on my list is The Bourne Imperative by Eric Van Lustbader.

7.What drew you to writing about the fictional spy genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?

Growing up, I liked reading adventure stories and watching action movies. My dad, who worked as a radio technician for the Army, wanted me to attend a military school, but that didn’t work out. I still like reading suspense and thrillers. Since I know the genre, I thought I could learn how to write stories that fit what I like.

I am not a spy or a secret agent, but I have read a lot of literature on the subject and made use of extensive research.

8.Your book is being published by, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?

Yes, no doubt about it. Many publishing companies offer their books on Amazon, as well as in the traditional book stores and other distribution channels. The cost is lower, the delivery almost instantaneous, no storage or transportation costs. It makes economic sense.

9.Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?

I run – a blog updated daily with exclusive author interviews, book reviews and more. My blog also contains exclusive excerpt from my works and news about upcoming events, giveaways and future novels.

I would love your readers’ feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address:  I promise to write to each and every one of them.

My blog – – is the place to learn about my future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.

Follow me on Twitter: @EthanJonesBooks

10.Do you have any more stories in the works? After the trilogy will you branch into other types of genre or will you stay with the spy genre?

I’ve finished two short stories, Carved in Memory––which is a prequel to Arctic Wargame and explains an important aspect of Justin’s background–– and The Last Confession––about justice coming to a dying NY mobster during his last confession to his priest. They are released along with Arctic Wargame.

I’m revising Tripoli’s Target, the second book in Justin Hall series. This time, Justin and Carrie are sent to meet with the Sheikh of the largest terrorist network in Northern Africa, to receive some high-value intelligence. They learn about an assassination plot against the US president, which is to happen during a G-20 summit in Tripoli, Libya. Justin and Carrie inform the US Secret Service about this plot. Then new intelligence comes in, and they realize something is very, very wrong in their plan. Against all odds, they must stop the assassination before the summit forty-eight hours away. Tripoli’s Target will be published in the fall of this year.

I’m also working on Fog of War, which is the third book in Justin Hall series. Justin and Carrie infiltrate some of the most dangerous spots in the planet. Iran, Somalia and Yemen, the hotbeds of terrorism in the making. Fog of War will come out in spring of 2013.

Besides spy thrillers, I love mystery and suspense novels. I have started a murder mystery set in the US, called A Complicated Justice. A Court of Appeals judge goes missing and the detectives are trying to find him, the reasons why he has disappeared and the whole truth. I have no date in mind for the release of this novel, perhaps it will be published late next year.

11.Who would be your first choice to play Justin Hall from “Arctic Wargames”?

I haven’t really gives that much thought to this question. It takes a lot of time for a book to turn into a movie. Since Arctic Wargame is a Canadian spy thriller, it would be great if a Canadian author could play Justin. Ryan Gosling, for example.

12.If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?

Oh, time travel. I am a Christian, so naturally I would like to meet Jesus. First question would be: Why would you suffer and die for mankind, when so many deny you even existed?

13.How much research went into the writing of the “Arctic Wargames” Trilogy?

I spend about nine months writing Arctic Wargame and about the same time revising it.  Tripoli’s Target took about the same time. I do extensive research, since that’s necessary for the spy thrillers. The setting of the places needs to be true and factual. The same about weaponry, gadgets and other equipment used by the characters. I learn about the geo-politics of a certain region, the main players and the relations between the different countries. I explore the background of current and past developments in that area, so that the storylines I create do not appear in a vacuum and do not come across as contrived.

Our interview with Jason Z. Christie!

Hurricane Regina


Grindcore/thrash metal drummer, nerd rapper turned novelist, Jason Z. Christie writes for the love of his perfect wife, Johnnie Christie, and his family and friends. Startlingly intelligent, insightful and romantic, he tells tales of high adventure via a variety of genres.

                                                 Bio provided by author’s site.

Jason graciously agreed to be interviewed by a novice who is trying to help other authors while learning the trade.  I have found through the interview and the bit of research I have done that he is a thoroughly interesting and engaging person! He is a true artist who dabbles in various styles of the arts. It is my great pleasure to introduce Jason!

 1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
I tend to come up with the concept, and write on it for a while. Along the way, I try and come up with the ending. The rest follows from there. I am fully inspired by my fiancée and editor. Were it not for her, I wouldn’t be writing…
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I have always written with a vague scene in mind when I start off, or tried to. But there are entire chapters in Pageburner, for instance, that I had no idea I was going to write until after they were written. I enjoy that sort of writing. The entire cross-country travel section in that novel was entirely impromptu.
But with the Ultimate Hustle series, I went all out. I mapped out the next two novels, Ultimate Hustle and Superlove, when I was writing Penultimate Hustle. I had so much story, I had to add an additional novel to the series.
It’s about the adult film industry, so I came up with something like 150 porn star names, and 100 film titles. I probably used 10% of them, but it really did add a lot of detail to the storyline. Having all the major elements planned ahead of time really allows the story to sort of grow into that framework.
My story ideas are usually a page of characters and plotlines, with lines connecting the various bits. It looks more like someone was designing a webpage than a novel.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I do everything I can do to avoid writing, lately. I’m still promoting and editing my first releases and trying to get my name out there. I’m trying to fall back into a schedule of writing at least ten pages a day. Editing is an ongoing process, as well. Life gets in the way…
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
Johnnie Christie is my favorite author, and she only writes for me, so far. She is the most inspiring person I have ever known. We manage to have a lot of fun writing poems for each other, as I slowly attempt to get her to write something lengthier.
For more mainstream authors, I really like Stephen King and Tom Robbins. I mention them in almost every interview, and I haven’t even read all of their stuff. I also used to enjoy a lot of classic sci-fi like Heinlein and Asimov. Douglas Adams has always been a favorite of mine, as well. Clive Barker doesn’t seem to get enough credit for the work he’s done.
5.    It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
I’d say the fact that novels are never really done, and that each new editing pass reveals problems in the book you were convinced was finalized. I also regret that I write them by hand, as my girlfriend types them up for me. I enjoy the thought of her doing it, but I know it’s actually a lot of hard work.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I’m rereading The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein. I have a bad habit of rereading books I really like instead of reading new ones. In this one, he details automatic vacuum cleaners and AutoCAD thirty years before they hit the market. I do have several ebooks I’d like to read from contemporary authors as well.
7. It looks like you have a variety of styles in which you write. Which do you prefer? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
Yeah, I sort of have this plan to write books in many different genres. I am torn, lately. Ordinarily I like to write simple prose with storylines that aren’t convoluted. The latest I’m working on has a pretty ambitious plot that’s a lot less linear, and the writing is sort of looser, as well. I’m working at integrating the two approaches.
There’s too much of my life in my books, sometimes. But who would believe it? It’s fiction.
8. Your books have been published with and Kindle Direct Publishing, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
I actually regret not going this route a year earlier. I was caught up in writing during that time, but after giving the print world long consideration, decided that direct publishing was the way to go. It’s still up to you to do it, but there is no one who can say “no” and stop you. A complete inversion of the literary agent process. But there are a lot of poorly written ebooks out there, to be fair.
If nothing else, I see epublishing as a proving ground where you can work the kinks out of your novels before a live audience before submitting manuscripts. Having sales records to back you may be of interest to some of them, at this point. That end of the industry is going to change soon. Literary agents will come to you, in other words.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
You can get Zombie Killa and Six Stories Short and Sweet for free at, along with a link to my blog. I‘m trying to write a poem a day there, and a bit about the ebook industry each week.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
I have three that are more or less actively being written, although I’m focusing on one of them lately. One is a construction murder mystery with Renee Hollander of Zen Construction from Hurricane Regina. Another is my attempt at a funny fantasy novel involving, among other things, a city of princesses.
But the one I’m working on the most lately is called Cure for Sanity, and it’s a novel that brings together the Ultimate Hustle series with the Perfect Me series earlier than I had planned. I can’t write Star Hustle until I write two more UH novels, so Cure For Sanity is a workaround for that. It’s a pretty fun story, and sort of complicated for a humorous book. Or, that is my aim, at least. It’s definitely darker than either of those two series.
There’s a project that we’ve backburnered for now that I hope to get back to researching soon, but I also have my first poetry edition that I’d like to have ready for February. Penultimate Hustler, the sequel to Radar Love, should be out by March 23rd.
11. Who would be your first choice to play Captain Dan Nolan from your book “Hurricane Regina”?
We used to call Hurricane Regina “Overboard” for a long time, probably nearly two years. So I say Kurt Russell. ; ) Or possibly Dan Dolan, of Captain Dan and His Scurvy Crew, the pirate rapper in Florida. With a portion of the proceeds going to Clive Cussler.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
I would meet myself from the future and ask, “What took you so long?”

Interview with Graham Smith!

Harry Charters Chronicles

Graham Smith


Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well respected review site for over two years.
As well as reviewing for Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

                                    Bio taken from his Author’s Page.

It was my pleasure to take a moment and get a chance to interview Graham Smith! I had seen him around the water cooler in the usual places that new and independent authors like to congregate and he accepted my invitation to be interviewed. So without further delay, here is the interview with Graham~

1.     What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
I try to always have the first line or paragraph dramatic to grab the reader. If it is mundane or boring you are fighting an uphill battle to keep the reader interested. A lot of my inspiration comes from jokes. I often dismantle a punchline and re-write it as a twist at the end of the story. Once I have the end I can start to write something and it’s amazing where I wander off to before reaching my planned finale.
2.     Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters?  Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I tend to utilize both methods. Once I have the ending I can free write a short story without any kind of outline or preplanning. For the novel I am writing I have a full “cast list” with names, relationships, characteristics, appearance and so on otherwise I would get confused and change people names half way through.
3.     What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
My normal writing day is ten hours at work, a few hours with family and then if I’m lucky, there’s time for a couple of hours grabbed late at night to write or network my books.
4.     Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I don’t have a favourite author as I like so many different authors for different reasons. The authors who have supported and encouraged me to write are Col Bury, Matt Hilton and Sheila Quigley. There are lots of other writers out there who have given me great help and advice on writing and I gained valuable tips and advice from attending writing courses run by Joseph Finder, Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie.
5.     It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
The only part of writing I can claim any dislike for is the editing. I tend to throw a first draft down as the story tells itself to me. Then I have to go back and edit it to remove typos and malapropisms along with plot errors. I have learned the hard way that this is best done after setting the story aside for a week or two. If it’s too fresh I see the mistakes as correct as I’m still to close to the story. Having said that, if I see someone asking for a story on a certain topic as part of a challenge or competition with a short deadline then I write it and send it off the same day.
6.     Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I always have a book on the go and I’m currently reading Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson. I can never ever be without a book. I am also a book reviewer for the well respected review website
7.      What inspired you to write thriller/murder mysteries with gum shoe twists? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
I was invited by the wonderful Kate Pilarcik to write a Noir piece for a blog feature she was doing and in my naivety I though Noir was all about the gumshoe detective sub-genre. I wrote a piece and deliberately left the character nameless until Kate persuaded me to give him a moniker. I so enjoyed getting to grips with the character I wrote more of him until I had enough for a collection. When I write him I can feel myself really getting into character.
8.      Your books have been published with, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
 Personally I think that there is room for both paper and electronic devices and luddites like me will always want a paper book.
9.     Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
Every time I’m asked this question I cringe as I do not have my own website or blog where people can find out about my writing. However it is rapidly climbing my “to do” list and I have decided that once the first draft of my novel is complete I will make it my priority.
10.  Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
My novel will be a police procedural thriller and I aim to finish the first draft in the next few weeks. Then I’m planning to write more short stories followed by a Harry Charters novella. The next step will be the dreaded editing of the novel. I haven’t planned any further ahead than that
11.  Who would be your first choice to play Harry Charters of your book “Harry Charters Chronicles”?
My first choice would be Bruce Willis as he plays a drunk better than any other actor I’ve ever seen
12.  If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
 I’d love to meet Carl Hiaasen and my first question would be “How do you manage to create such wonderfully out-there characters and manage to keep them believable?”