Friday, April 20, 2018

Interview with international thriller author Ed Mitchell

I’m ending the week with author Ed Mitchell, as we chat about his Gold Lust Series 3-in-1 bundle of books which are action-adventure international thrillers: Gold Lust, Gold Raid, and Gold Fire.

Ed Mitchell was a foster child who later graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He went on to be an Airborne Infantry Ranger, a RAND Corporation Fellow, an aerospace systems engineer, and a community activist fighting to protect water resources in California. Along the way, Ed became a national award-winning author by weaving his real-world experiences from foxhole to space into his contemporary adventure/thrillers.

From private to Lieutenant Colonel, Ed served in Airborne, Air Cavalry, Armor, and Mechanized Infantry units, including guarding the DMZ in Korea and protecting nuclear weapons. Prior to the 1st war in Iraq, as the Space-Ground Combat Analyst for U.S. Joint Space Command, Ed fought that war in a simulator and analyzed the results for the command. Additionally, he spent years working National Missile Defense and Homeland Security research and development. Ed helped develop the prototype command launch center for the Army’s Strategic Missile Defense units in Alaska and California. Later, as a civilian Payload Integration Manager, he helped develop and test NMD kill vehicles for Lockheed Martin and Boeing. As a writer, he is proud of being a charter-founding member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

Welcome, Ed. Please tell us about the book bundle for the Gold Lust series.
A bundle of three thrillers for the price of one, consisting of:

Gold Lust: Winner, best new fiction in the USA. Awarded by the American Self-Publishers Association.

Gold Raid: Winner, best action adventure thriller. Awarded by the San Francisco Bay Area Publishers Association

Gold Fire: As real as today’s headlines, threatening an attack on the U.S. mainland using nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

The saga of Army hero Nolen Martin and stockbroker Maida Collins stretches from a massive gold strike, to Washington D.C. senate offices, and to terrorists threatening nuclear attack on the USA.

Nolen’s family and relationship with Maida are battered and challenged as they attempt to outwit a powerful international mining conglomerate, disloyal partners, and the Japanese Mafia. All determined to take control of their gold vein and destroy them. After the public learns of Nolen’s courage and character he is elected as an independent to the U.S. senate. There he applies his count-terrorism and financial experience to help America hunt down the son of Osama bin Laden who is threatening the world with stolen Russian nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Senator Martin is branded a traitor for negotiating with the terrorists, while behind the scenes he causes the President to emplace a prototype missile defense to protect East Coast cities. At the same time he pressures the FBI to send agent Cholo Cantera to team with an Israeli counterterrorism unit to find the deadly weapons.

But time is running out. Not only for the country but also for Maida and Nolen’s new baby. Little Georgia is losing her battle with an unknown syndrome that doctor after doctor does not know how to cure.

What inspired you to write these books?
I’ve always been good at looking downstream and assessing possible alternative situations. It’s a good skill for a military guy. So I often consider contemporary situations and ask myself what if x, y, or z happens? For example, the idea for the Gold Lust series of thrillers about an Army counter-terrorist who resigns his commission to help his ailing foster parents, came to me while attending the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

After class one day, I was thinking how useless it was for a terrorist to blow himself up in a market and kill a few people. It dawned on me that if we ever faced a terrorist general who had the strategic, logistic, and tactical skills trained into our military, then America would experience a terrible day. I also realized a story about a mastermind turning on sleeper cells in American would be informative and interesting. That’s when I began the writing my series of thrillers.

Unfortunately while I was halfway through writing the third book in the series, the 9/11 attack on New York City happened. I stopped writing that story because I had assessed vulnerabilities in America too well. I switched to another downstream threat that I felt could possibly happen: a modern-day Pearl Harbor attack on America with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Now, Gold Lust is as real as current headlines about North Korea threatening America with nuclear destruction.

If you want to experience the difficulty of defending American from inbound missiles, written by someone who helped develop the National Missile Defense system, then read Gold Fire.

Chapter 1 — Advantage

August — Monterey, California
I hope she’s okay? Nolen Martin escaped from the noisy campaign hall into the dark, enclosed hotel veranda. He smiled spotting his wife silhouetted at the window, studying the crescent of lights sparkling along the shore and hills rising above Monterey Bay. Stepping behind her he crossed his arms around her pregnant belly. “Maida, I love you,” he whispered as he nuzzled the back of her neck, enjoying the sweet scent lingering in her brown hair. “How are you feeling?”
“Big, bloated and unattractive. But very proud of you. You’ll make a wonderful senator once the election is over in November.”
“You’re as attractive to me as the first day I saw you.”
“That doesn’t make me feel better. I was firing a shotgun at you while you ran off screaming into the woods.”
“I did not scream.”
“It sounded like screaming.”
“I was hollering at Digger to start the pickup. And I meant afterward when I first spoke with you at your cabin. I’ll never forget how those leotards molded to you.”
“Wrong day to try on a new mail order outfit a size too small. I would have blushed at the way you ogled me if I had not been so angry at you.”
“You forced me to look up at you standing on the porch. I couldn’t avoid noticing a beautiful shape and a face I wished I could wake up with every day.”
“You stared.”
“Gave you back the gold we pulled from your stream and answered all the questions you growled at me. That’s all. Nothing more.”
Maida turned to face him. “I liked how you stared.”
Nolen leaned down and kissed her lips until she slipped away. “I can’t wait to have this baby,” she sighed. “Eight weeks after that and I can return to jogging. I want to be able to look down and see my feet again.”
“I guess it’s time to tell you. Plus-size women turn me on.”
Maida softly punched Nolen’s bicep. “You’re wicked.” She cuddled her cheek against his shoulder “Most of all I want the waves of nausea to stop. Every time they return I worry I’m going to lose the baby.” She twisted a strand of her shoulder-length hair around her finger.
“Let’s go inside.” Nolen answered. “I’ll say goodnight to the crowd and we’ll slip upstairs to our room. You can rest while I massage your back.”
“No. Stay and network with the locals. You need their votes. But I appreciate how you always reassure me that I’m not ugly.”
“Votes are not as important as doing what the doctor ordered since you’ve been sick so often. Anyway, running for senator is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I can’t spell diplomatic and I’m not a good horse trader.”
“You mean you won’t sell your vote. That’s why I encouraged you to run for office.”
Maida stopped speaking when the ceiling lights brightened. Turning toward the doorway the couple saw Shirley May Hobalero. Tall, thin and sparkling from numerous diamond rings, bracelets and dangling earrings, she glided toward them in a shimmering white gown, disclosing the tantalizing contours of her mature curves.
Maida kissed Nolen on the cheek. “I knew it wouldn’t last. The world of politics has tracked us down again.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
The fourth book in my series is scheduled for release December 1st. It is another international thriller. Hank Cameron, cousin to a U.S. Senator, is the most hated and most hunted man in the Middle East. Framed for stealing a religious relic that could enflame or end religious warfare around the world, he is isolated in Jordan. A dead or alive bounty has been issued for his capture. Agents of the Vatican, the Israeli Mossad, and Muslim terrorists all want what he has. Where to hide? Who to trust? Can he survive? Can the world?

To add to reader enjoyment with this book, I’m asking readers to take five minutes to preview the book as if THEY are the publisher’s trusted editor. Sitting in the editor’s inbox is the next book in my series. Their task is to select one of the author’s recommended titles and assess how it and the synopsis, and first grab, or turn off, the reader. Then pass their comments to the publisher and author, while realizing they are betting their company’s time, money, and future success on approving what’s submitted … or recommending changes or … recommend killing the project. I’m eager to hear from readers. Please click this link and begin previewing:

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Fourteen years after I wrote the first word, sentence, and paragraph of my first thriller I saw it on a shelf in a bookstore. Six months later, in San Francisco I received the Best Fiction award from the American Self-Publishers Association. But it wasn’t until I started hearing from satisfied readers that I could call myself a writer. It made me smile when Carol D. said: “It’s your fault I have a sunburn. I couldn’t put the last three chapters down and stayed in the sun too long.”

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My series is my time mistress. When my wife was alive and I had a full-time day job I would steal away to a room to write late at night. Now, I work every day on the book, and much of that effort is NOT writing. It includes doing a publishing task, such as converting a manuscript into an eBook. Or doing a marketing task such as interacting with book reviewers or improving my author website or getting a blurb from an expert to add to the back cover of the book. Time is also eaten when I prepare to write by conducting research on a technical aspect that will appear in the next thriller. Far more enjoyable is interacting with fans and readers on social media or those who provide comments at my website.

But the fun begins after I stop myself from doing everything else to write and edit a chapter.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can confidently say that the only quirky thing about my writing is the hero is devilishly handsome, like me. More seriously, this is a hard question to answer. I’m not sure readers will consider the following two habits quirky. First, to quiet and focus my mind, I always turn on symphony or elevator music. Second, after I’ve drafted a chapter I slowly read it out loud. This helps we read the actual words and not what I planned to write. This editing technique helps me find and eliminate errors.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A good guy. A soldier.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Most of my readers are surprised by the surprising twists in my stories. I hope you are too. Please verify my claim by reading the first chapter of any one of my thrillers on my website.


Thanks for joining me today, Ed.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Interview with short story writer C.D. Gallant-King

Today is the first interview in a series with the authors of:
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

About the anthology:
The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”
 - Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

First up is C.D. Gallant-King. His short story is a mystery/comedy called “Gussy Saint and the Case of the Missing Coed” in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime.

C.D. Gallant-King wrote his first story when he was five years old, and he made his baby-sitter look up how to spell “extra-terrestrial” in the dictionary. He now writes stories about un-heroic people doing generally hilarious things in horrifying worlds. A loving husband and proud father of two wonderful little kids, C.D. was born and raised in Newfoundland and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario. There was also a ten-year period in between where he tried to make a go of a career in Theatre in Toronto, but we don't talk about that.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
I like short stories with a hook, or even better, a twist. Short stories can’t be written just like mini-novels, it’s a completely different skill and style. A short story needs something that makes it memorable, something to make it jump out at the reader with only a few pages to get your point across. I can’t say I’ve always succeeded in finding that special spark, but it’s a lot of fun to try, and very satisfying when it works.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Well, I’m contractually obligated by Dancing Lemur Press to say that the Gussy Saint story in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime is the best thing I’ve ever written. With the legalities out of the way, I can tell you honestly that Gussy Saint was a lot of fun to write. It’s a mystery/crime sort of story, borrowing freely from those terrible old Mickey Spillane books, but with the same lack of seriousness that infects all of my stories. I love to blend serious genres with weird humour. I had a story published in Strangely Funny IV last year, which is a collection of comedic horror stories. My tale included four main characters who were killed in horrific ways nine times between them. If that math makes sense to you then you will definitely appreciate my sense of humour.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
If comedy is a “genre” then I’ll go with that, but usually I tend toward fantasy and speculative fiction. I like having the option to have anything and everything happen in a story, without the silly constraints of dumb things like death, gravity or the combustion point of small mammals.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m hoping to have another installment of my Werebear vs Landopus series completed in the near future. It’s a weird, comic fantasy with a lot of potty humour and senseless violence. It’s heartwarming. And the next part will feature a nun with a gun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t, half the time. I’m a monkey that flings words at a typewriter and sometimes good stuff comes out. I’ve been writing my whole life, but I rarely call myself a “writer.” A friend of my wife once greeted me with, “So you’re a man of letters!” and I basically replied “What the _ are you talking about?” It’s just not something you discuss in polite company.

That being said, I think the single-most defining moment for me thinking of myself a writer is when I hit “Publish” on Amazon with my first self-published book. That was the moment when I realized a certain threshold had been crossed, and I was actually putting my work out into the world for people to read and hopefully enjoy. I was now out in the world, and there was no turning back.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
I don’t, which is probably why my success has been limited, and I’ve been rejected by plenty of places that I had no business submitting to in the first place. In that vein, my advice would be “Don’t be afraid to fail.” Revel in your rejection and wear it as a sense of pride. Every writer goes through this, and if you’re persistent and continue to hone your writing, eventually you will whittle down your options and find exactly the right audience for your work. Because you will have tried and failed everything else.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I outline after I write. For some reason, writing the outline beforehand hurts the fun and creativity of writing for me. I like to just sit down and write and hammer out a story, then go back afterward and try to mold it into something that makes sense. It ends up taking a heck of a lot longer and being a lot more work this way, but it’s what works.

Also, I do most of my writing with my laptop balanced precariously on my knees on a crowded bus. Is that quirky?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first thing I remember wanting to be was a bricklayer. I was a big LEGO fan. It was in grade 4 that I decided I wanted to be a writer, but even back then I realized it was probably a terrible idea. So then I went to university to study to be an actor.

Yeah, I’m terrible at choosing careers. I probably should have stuck with bricklaying.

Thanks for being here today, C.D.!

Tick Tock links: