Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indie Author R.J. PALMER

I never tire of the excitement I get out of interviewing fellow Indie authors.  They are always so ready, willing and able to produce such great works as this author and yet have time to site down and chat about their daily lives.  It seems once a writer gets paper in hand, you just never know what you are going to end up with.  Thanks, RJ for giving us this insight into who you are. Without further adieu, RJ Palmer:

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I can remember wanting to be a nurse until I found out about all of the math involved.  Truthfully, I can’t remember wanting to be any one specific thing for any length of time and as a matter of point, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life until I was in my early twenties and really started writing.
What are your current projects?
My major current project is called Sins of the Father and it is a far more complicated project in the writing than I had originally thought.  I relish the challenge though and hope that my skills improve and that this novel shows growth and maturity when compared to Birthright.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to say Dean Koontz because he has dished advice to me.  Some of it I scrapped completely, like getting an agent because in my own words it’s “something akin to a fate worse than death” which is a little melodramatic but hey, that’s what it feels like.  Some of it I took to heart, like being stubborn.  Okay, so the word he used was “persistence” and it sounds a lot better but it doesn’t change the fact that you have to grow a thick skin out here in the world of writing.
What is the hardest part of writing?
I absolutely loathe proof reading.  It is such a necessary evil because proof reading means I have to go through my own work after I just finished it, see all the little mistakes and boo boo’s and struggle with saying to myself, “What the hell was I thinking?  I can’t sell this crap!” It’s horrible and drives me crazy because to me, that’s the self-doubt stage.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I do my best to translate the story that’s going on in my head onto the paper.  Characters develop as you relate to them, they start to show texture and personality and dimension.  I do my best to remember that I’m just the storyteller, the characters are the story.  As far as plot is concerned, I knew how I wanted Birthright to end before I started writing.  Sins of the Father has been far different and I knew how I wanted it to begin from the first moment but the ending has been a little nebulous.  I think developing a plot must be subjective according to the work or at least that’s my best guess.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was in my early twenties and started writing because I was bored out of my mind.  Everything just sort of came out then and it was so very liberating and quickly became habitual though I have to say it comes in handy because to be able to write intelligently is quite the asset.
What do you think makes a good story?
Wit and wisdom are the elements that come most quickly to mind as well as an ability to actually tell the story, naturally.  I just think that a dash of wit and a sprinkle of wisdom are essential lest the story fall completely flat.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do because it’s one thing I can do and I do it well.  I also happen to love writing and seeing where the creative process takes me.  It’s like a roller coaster that you get on and don’t know where you’re going but the story is in the journey, not in arriving at the destination.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
In Sins of the Father, Aaron is a minister struggling with questioning the feeling of emptiness that’s been creeping up on him regarding his faith and Lucian is a severely autistic child who takes a liking to Aaron from the first.  Aaron soon begins to discover that there’s more to Lucian than what he’d thought originally and discovers the horrible abuse that Lucian has suffered and determines to help in any way he can.  He gets just a little more than he bargained for though and he must learn what happened before he can do something about it which puts both he and Lucian in mortal danger.
How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Birthright took some mulling over because I had another title at first and didn’t really like it but the title Birthright kept going through my head and I finally thought about it and decided I liked it.  I knew what I wanted to title Sins of the Father before I started writing and I’ve kind of built the story around the title.  Does that sound at all bizarre to anyone but me?
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Vengeance always comes at a price and sometimes the cost is not worth the satisfaction.  It’s not worth it anymore when you figure out the long term consequences of your actions.  I can’t really say much more about it, it would give too much of the story away.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
This might sound kind of sappy but I thank God for the tools and talent to be a writer and the sheer dint of will to keep doing it.
What books have most influenced your life?
I am a huge fan of Dean Koontz and even I can tell the influences his writing style has had on my developing style.  I love the works of Madeleine L’Engle, as well.  She taught me how to stretch my imagination out and not be afraid to write about what may seem really unusual.  Charles Wallace is one of my favorite characters in any series and one of my favorite lines in a book comes from A Wrinkle in Time when Charles Wallace is told, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”  This is of course quoted almost verbatim from the Bible but it’s powerful nonetheless.

Find her books at:  Smashwords and Amazon

Interview by Sue Owen

This is part one of a series of interviews for my blog tour through Indie Writers Unite.  Look for the Support Indie Authors logo for further submissions.  Please support these authors, check out their blogs and purchase their books.  They are the best of the best.  /Sue Owen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


It is my pleasure to welcome David Sakmyster to my blog.  I've been after this guy for a while now trying to get him to give us some wisdom.  He did not let me down.  In fact, he well exceeded my expectations.  Thank you for joining us, David.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog. It’s an honor!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Well, when I was 9 and we went on a long family car trip, I wrote some zombie-haunted-house thriller in a notebook.  Thought I was a writer then, but… well, maybe not.  But it wasn’t until about 20 years, and a lot of bad writing later, that I first made a ‘pro’ sale.  A short story win at the prestigious Writers of the Future Contest got me into the 22nd annual anthology and I found myself invited to a week-long convention leading to the awards ceremony in San Diego. Accepting an award and seeing my story in a slick paperback book was cool. And I got to hang out with SF legends like Larry Niven and Anne McCaffery and Tim Powers! So that felt like I had arrived. But still, it was another few years before I got an agent, and then a novel deal. And honestly, even when that book (The Pharos Objective) came out, I still didn’t feel like a writer because it wasn’t selling well out of the gate.  However, a few months later, after promotions and some blog tours and some great reviews and word of mouth, I was able to see it climb the charts on Amazon and get into the top 10 in several categories – and stay there.  That, and then the attention and praise from other authors, some even asking me for blurbs – that did it. Oh, and selling foreign rights. So pretty soon people in Europe will be reading my stuff!

Tell us your latest news?
A lot going on now, actually. I’ve just finished the edits on the sequel to The Pharos Objective. This one finds my team of psychic archaeologists out seeking another of history’s enigmas – the lost tomb of Genghis Khan. The Mongol Objective should be out at the end of the month, from Variance Publishing. And I just sold what may be my favorite novel, the chilling thriller Blindspots, due out from 7Realms Publishing in 2012.  And then, the really, really cool news is that I just got an option for a screenplay. It’s moving forward into development, and we hope to film it next year. Called Nightwatchers, it’s a creepy supernatural horror story set in a trailer park.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh, I’ve suffered all right. Usually I don’t get it because I don’t start a project unless I can see it all played out in my head like a movie. When that’s there and it clicks, then it’s just a matter of describing what I see and hear up there. Writer’s block happens when I can’t see out beyond a few more scenes. For me, that’s usually a result of not outlining properly – and it happened recently when I was writing book 3 in my psychic archaeologist series. I actually hit something more like a brick wall, and just couldn’t go on. It took six months before I finally cleared out a dozen other projects I was working on and sat myself down to plow through the blockage; finally I saw a neat twist, and the rest fell into place.

What are your current projects?
I’ve got a couple collaborations going right now. I’m working with the brilliant writer, Steven Savile, on what we hope to be a 10-part series of novellas offered exclusively as ebooks, priced at $.99 each. Called The Lazarus Initiative, it’s about an eccentric billionaire transformed by Near Death Experience, who then recruits a team of other such survivors to study the phenomena.  Then I’m working with the very skilled screenwriter, Brian M. Logan on several high concept screenplays that we hope will be appearing on the silver screen very soon.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I’m close – not quite there yet – to realizing my dream of not having to work a day job.  I still do consulting and part time work for my old company to help keep a stable income, but I hope to soon be lucky enough to focus on writing full time. Apart from that, my dream of seeing my ideas unfold on the written page – and then be enjoyed by others – has started to come true. I’m so humbled and thrilled when I get an email or letter saying someone’s enjoyed my work! Next, I can’t wait to have one of my screenplays take life in an actual movie.  Hopefully next year it will happen!
Thanks again for your time,

David Sakmyster

David Sakmyster is an award-winning author and screenwriter who makes his home in upstate NY.  He has over two dozen short stories and five novels published, including The Pharos Objective and The Mongol Objective, the first two novels in a series about psychic archaeologists tackling the greatest historical mysteries; the horror novel Crescent Lake, and the historical fiction epic, Silver and Gold. His screenplay, Nightwatchers, has just been optioned and will begin filming in the spring of 2012.   You can step into his mind at

Thursday, September 15, 2011


As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I toyed with the idea of being a jockey for a while, until I found out that jockeys don’t just ride their “favorite” horses. I am also 5’ 9” so height was a bit of a problem too. The first thing that I seriously wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. From about the age of thirteen or fourteen, I have never wanted to be anything else. Writing is truly a dream come true for me.

Tell us your latest news.
I am very excited to announce that my first novel, Life is But a Dream, has just been professionally edited and rereleased as Life Is But a Dream: On the Lake. The novel is now the first of the Grace Adams series. All revolving, oddly enough, on the character of Grace Adams. lol

What are your current projects?
I just finished writing the sequel to previously mentioned book. The sequel is titled Life Is But a Dream: In the Mountains, and it is the second book in the Grace Adams Series. I will be releasing it in early November.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I think it can be difficult to define genres. My Life is But a Dream books have a mystery in them, but they are not full-blown mysteries. They are stories written about an ordinary woman who finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. A lot of readers have sent emails to tell me that they can really relate to Grace. And I guess that is the kind of books that I most like to read and write – books where the characters seem real and the reader can identify with them.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I spend my days writing the books that I want to write. THAT is a dream come true.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
For most of my life, I have written part time, while going to college, raising children, attending graduate school, and working various jobs. This year, for the first time in my life I am working at least 40 hours a week on writing and I love it! When I am working on a novel, I can easily write 12-16 hours a day. It can be pretty intense. And exhausting! But, honestly, I feel a bit lost when I am not working on a novel.

What do you think makes a good story?
I love character-driven novels with characters I can relate to. For me, the story is important, but not as important as the characters. A strong character can go shopping for hot dogs in a grocery store and still fascinate. I want my readers to think about the characters in my books long after they have finished the last page.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! My first novel (now titled Life Is But a Dream: On the Lake) sold over 10,000 copies in less than seven months. That absolutely shocked me. And I am grateful for every single sale.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
As a kid, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. Those books made me love reading. That led to My Friend Flicka – a book that was so beautifully written that I was inspired to write my own stories and create my own fictional worlds.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I frequently hear from my readers. They contact me through the contact form on my website or send me messages via Twitter and Facebook (I am on both under my name). In fact, if it weren’t for my readers, I probably never would have turned Life is But a Dream into a series. I heard from so many of them asking for a series that I thought I would give it a try. Now, I am really happy that I did. It has been so much to write these books about Grace Adams. Now I am receiving messages asking me if Broken Resolutions (my second novel) is going to be a sequel. Again, I never planned on that, but I might give it some thought!

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
I think the most important message we can learn in life is that we need to show our love to our loved ones. We are all much stronger than we realize, and we each have a unique purpose to fulfill with our life. Those are recurring messages in my novels, and I hope, in my life.

What books have most influenced your life?
The Bible, East of Eden (for its powerful writing), Journey of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (for an inside look into the mind and life of a writer – Steinbeck), and My Friend Flicka (the book that inspired me to write).

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have two favorites – John Steinbeck (mentioned above) and Elizabeth Berg. Steinbeck for the sheer scope and power of his writing and Berg because she makes it look so easy.

What are you reading now?
I love reading novels, but I can’t write fiction when I am writing my own novels. So I have to stick with non-fiction at such times. Right now I am reading A Strong West Wind a memoir by Gail Caldwell. The book is a coming of age book set during the 60s and 70s and also deals with Caldwell’s early life in Texas.

Links for some of my books on Amazon

Thanks so much Sue!

Thank you, Cheryl.  It is always a pleasure to chat with you.

Interview by Sue Owen

This is part one of a series of interviews for my blog tour through Indie Writers Unite.  Look for the Support Indie Authors logo for further submissions.  Please support these authors, check out their blogs and purchase their books.  They are the best of the best.  /Sue Owen.


Welcome Rosemarie!  I'm so very happy to have you guest blog for me.  I'm sure my followers will love to hear what you have to say and will support your on your blog too!  Take it away Rosemarie ....
If you're an author who has already taken the plunge into self-publishing, you'll know that it involves a lot of "self" - self-determination, self-esteem, self-awareness, and, if one is not careful, self-loathing.  But I digress...

The first time I self-published a book, I did most of the heavy lifting myself - the interior lay-out, proofreading, finding a printer, selling the book on my website.  The second time around, I decided to put a little more skin in the game ($$) and hired to help.  The service I purchased included all of the above and more. 

I'm proud of both books and have received tons of compliments from readers on the finished products.  Most readers who understand that I was responsible for producing the hard copies are pretty amazed and always comment on the cover of the books. 

I was lucky to have my son design the covers for both books - he did the photography, layout, font selection, etc.  He used my daughter as a model in both books. 

While writing the second book, he and I took a trip to New York City under the auspices of "location research" (which translated into shopping, shopping and more shopping for my son!).  We used our own photographs taken in Manhattan for several of the designs for the second book cover.

Working with my son on the designs was fun and extremely rewarding for me.  He came up with several iterations of a cover before we agreed on a final version.  Of course, I was lucky that he is very creative and had design experience (having taken all sorts of computer courses in high school).  Yours truly had some design experience way back so between the two of us, we made a great team.  The fact that my son chose my daughter as a model when he was creating the first cover turned the project into a real family affair.

When I hired iUniverse to do the second book, I told them that I had the photography and cover lay-out already done, but would appreciate their feedback as they have staff who design covers.  They didn't suggest any changes.

I will be asking my son to help with the cover of my the third book - unless my ship comes in and Penguin calls with an offer!

OPTIONS - When Evelyn Morris dies suddenly during an office function, her friends and colleagues at TechniGroup Consulting attribute her death to a reaction from a severe allergy.

Kate Monahan, a paralegal/legal secretary at TechniGroup deals with the daily ups and downs of the corporate world.  Evelyn was her best friend and the unexpected death leaves her shaken.  Kate starts digging around for information and she uncovers decades-old secrets that could kills careers and nosy-paralegals. 

Portraying the eccentric and erratic behaviour of the executives and directors who serve on boards of directors, Options delves into the cut-throat business and financial world.  It provides a fictional, firsthand into how executives can manipulate public share prices to benefit their own bank accounts - a situation in which the sloppy and inept management of shareholders' money leads to murder, suicide and betrayal.

ARTIFICIAL INTENTIONS  - Kate Monahan is back in this thrilling sequel to Options, the first Kate Monahan mystery. 

After the unfortunate chain of events at TechniGroup Consulting that left her injured and unemployed, Kate is close to hitting rock bottom.  She's working at a new job that she hates, just to get by.  She's been through a lot, but she's trying to persevere.  What other choice does she have?

And then Kate gets a call for help that changes her life.  She immediately boards a private jet for Manhattan, where nothing is what it seems.  Kate finds herself tossed into a pile of puzzle pieces - a tragic series of events within the unexpected realm of corporate enterprise.  She is faced with difficult decisions that will test her strength, her loyalty, and even her love.  Will Kate persevere to the end of this dangerous journey - or will she end up dead?
Check out her web site: for more information on Rosemarie and get some free chapters to her books.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Sarah writes historical fiction centered around the same time as my Chasing History series.  I thought it would be great to get another opinion on this time period and why she chose it for her books.  

Writing historical fantasy set in the dark ages requires research that goes beyond the world building of epic fantasy, but carries with it similar characteristics, since we know so little about that era in Britain.  For my Arthurian novel, Cold my Heart, I start with the knowledge that the Saxons (in actual fact, a combination of several Germanic groups) invaded Britain after the Romans abandoned the island in 410 AD.  King Arthur, if he existed, would have been born around 480 AD, but whether the real Arthur—the living, breathing war leader who defeated the Saxons for a generation—ever existed has never been proven. 

The paucity of historical documents from that time period is to blame.  What we have are three sources:

1) Y Goddodin—a Welsh poem by the 7th century poet, Aneirin, with it’s passing mention of Arthur. The author refers to the battle of Catraeth, fought around AD 600, and describes a warrior who “fed black ravens on the ramparts of a fortress, though he was no Arthur”. 

2) Gildas, a 6th century British cleric who wrote De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain). He never mentions Arthur, although he states that his own birth was in the year of the siege of Mount Badon. The fact that he doesn’t mention Arthur, and yet is our only historian of the 6th century, is an example of why many historians suspect that King Arthur never existed.  

3) Taliesin, a 6th century Welsh poet, who wrote several poems about Arthur.  Including the lines:  “ . . . before the door of the gate of hell the lamp was burning.  And when we went with Arthur, a splendid labour,  Except seven, none returned from Caer Vedwyd.” 

From these seeds grew the myth of Arthur, which the Normans (and then the French) co-opted, adding the Lancelot-Guinevere-Arthur love triangle, the sword in the stone, Merlin, and Arthur’s incestuous relationship with his sister Morgan along the way.

By 1191, the monks of Glastonbury were claiming knowledge of his grave, and soon after, the link between Arthur and the Holy Grail, which Joseph of Arimathea supposedly brought there. By 1225, monks in France had written The Vulgate Cycle, telling of the holy grail from the death of Jesus Christ to the death of Arthur. This story became the standard version used throughout Europe.

Whether or not King Arthur was a real person is an either/or query.  He either was or he wasn’t.  Many scholars, researchers, and Arthurophile’s have strong opinions on this topic, both for and against though much of the academic work has come down on the side of ‘wasn’t’—or at least if Arthur was a real person, his name was not ‘Arthur’ and he possible wasn’t even a king. 

For the purposes of my book Cold My Heart, I choose to believe that Arthur was real, that he was backed into a corner by his duplicitous nephew, Modred, and did not die at Camlann as the Norman/French/Anglo version says, but lived to see his country securely in the hands of a worthy heir.  At the same time, the world of Cold My Heart rests in the balance between the historical Wales of 537 AD, and the quasi-medieval Arthurian world that readers have grown to love throughout the ages.

Set in sixth century Wales, Cold My Heart tells the story of Myrddin and Nell, a journeyman knight and a former nun, who share a vision of a terrible future—one which encompasses the death of their King and the loss of their country

Sarah Woodbury
Links to my books:  Amazon and Amazon UK
web page:

Interview by Sue Owen

This is part one of a series of interviews for my blog tour through Indie Writers Unite.  Look for the Support Indie Authors logo for further submissions.  Please support these authors, check out their blogs and purchase their books.  They are the best of the best.  /Sue Owen.

Thursday, September 1, 2011



*** SEPTEMBER 2 – 5 ONLY ***
The first ever INDIE BOOK BLOWOUT – To celebrate this exciting event, I’ve reduced the price on my book to only 99¢!

Yes, it’s a weekend to remember!

To score dozens of FANTASTIC indie books for only 99¢, visit While you’re there, register to win a brand new Kindle & up to $ 100 in Gift Cards (entry form on the site).