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intro by Betty Dravis

Most of our readers are probably familiar with author/writer Joanna Lee Doster, but ever since I selected her exciting book Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit for a Betty Award for Book with Best Movie Potential, I wanted to share her story on Dames of Dialogue.

Joanna and Wonder Dog Jack

Joanna and Wonder Dog Jack

Doster is a writer and author whose published books include Celebrity Bedroom Retreats (Rockport Publishing) and the aforementioned Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit (MPI Publishing). The new edition of her family drama and motorsports racing thriller was released on May 4, 2014 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

She has also written a series of nationally syndicated celebrity profiles that featured legendary sports figures. Doster is a freelance journalist for syndicated newspapers (Gannett as one example), magazines and blogs. In addition, she has held executive positions in Cable Television (Arts & Entertainment, The Learning Channel and PBS communications) and the entertainment industry. She and her husband live in New York.

Now Doster has written the following, especially for our Dames of Dialogue readers.

by Joanna Lee Doster

Most people ask what inspired me to write a stock-car racing thriller. To keep it as simple as possible, I transitioned from my previous non-fiction book and publications to following the need to express myself with expansive, epic stories. I knew I needed powerful characters, with generational back stories; families with complex relationships from the past leading to the present. I satisfied my writing needs in Maximum Speed by writing about three generations of a stock-car-racing family.

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Since I love to explore the different kinds of interactions my characters have and how they maneuver throughout their lives, my book about car racing became a metaphor for life. People are racing to or away from something. It’s not so much their destination that determines the type of person they are. It’s their journey to the finish line that determines that. My main characters have flaws and handicaps that most of them bravely overcome. Everyone chooses the path they take in life and how they travel on that path defines them. Ergo, the racing metaphor…
I became intrigued with stock-car racing when I began to realize that it’s not just drivers going aimlessly around tracks. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline, endurance, precision and focus. Driving around tracks for at least four hours with the glaring sun in their eyes, breathing in some residues of carbon monoxide inside a two-ton car that has 2 g forces is difficult enough. The experience is grueling when coupled with when to let up on the gas, when to make a pit stop, knowing when to avoid hitting another car and avoiding track debris, other crashing cars, etc. The list is endless…
I developed complex multi-layered characters that are a composite of people I have known. What I always loved about reading great books was that the well delineated characters always hooked you right away whether they were the heroes or the villains. You wanted to know what happened to them even after you finished reading. In Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit I show their human frailties right from the start and they draw you in and you do want to know what happens to them at the end of the book. I also naively always believed in justice and so I try to balance out the imbalances in some of the character’s lives. But usually life has a way of meting out its own justice, so it’s not up to me, the author, to do that. I found that it’s best to let the characters take over and show that through their action and dialogue.
My protagonist Sean Devlin has been living on the edge his whole life, making speed and danger his constant companions in order to cover up a deep hole of loneliness and shame from the painful stigma of his childhood stutter. Reckless and testing the limits of life, he finally realizes that he doesn’t have to overcompensate for his speech handicap and conquer the world and his family to be number one. As Taylor, his mother, always told him, “You have no competition, as long as you believe you’re number one.”

The theme of “winning at all costs” philosophy is a thread that runs throughout my latest 2014 edition of Maximum Speed. People are always pushing the limit in their lives in order to achieve great success, whether they are celebrities like the ones in Celebrity Bedroom Retreats (Cher and Versace to name a few) or like the race-car drivers in Maximum Speed. Some of my characters push the limit on and off the racetrack with reckless disregard for their fellow teammates and or loved ones. My protagonist, a young champion racer, has an inordinate amount of drive, determination and obsessiveness for victory lane, overcompensating for a bullied childhood.
Joanna Lee Doster links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorjdoster
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joannalee.doster
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Joanna-Lee-Doster/e/B001K8KFNI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
BN order page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maximum-speed-joanna-lee-doster/1102419753?ean=9780996017916

joanna, ashley, me on marsha show...

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submitted by Dame Betty Dravis

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If you haven’t already, meet Madison Knight, the chocolate-loving detective, who is determined to solve murder and find justice for the victims—even if that means coming into contact with the sight of blood.

However, in Found Innocent, the latest release in the series (releasing October 16th!), she doesn’t have to face too messy of a crime scene, at least in one sense. What she does have to deal with is whether or not she’s willing to jeopardize departmental relationships and cross the wall of blue.

Here, this is what it’s about:

There’s one code when it comes to the wall of blue…and Madison Knight may have to cross it.

Any good cop knows you never report a brother for mishandling a case or accuse him of misconduct, but in order to find justice, Madison may not have a choice.

Lacy Rose had one goal for her twentieth birthday—to be found innocent of past sins—but her life is cut short.

When Lacy’s remains are found in a garden and the investigation becomes connected to a closed case, Madison must face her past. The lead detective on that case was Madison’s ex-fiancé. At the risk of jeopardizing departmental relationships, and churning up the attention of an old flame at the same time, Madison must push hard before the guilty are found innocent.

 Excerpt, Chapter 1:

“He didn’t do it!”Found Innocent 800 x 533

The hysterical shouting pulled Madison’s attention from her monitor to a woman rushing toward her.

The station was supposed to be quiet today. Sunday. She wasn’t required to be there, and that made it the perfect day to dig into her cold case.  She was so close to getting answers.

With one more longing look at her screen, Madison rose from her chair and held up her hands to stop the woman.

“Detective Knight.” She stated this as if they had met before.

Officer Ranson, the female officer who manned the front desk, came up behind them. “Come on—”

Another officer brushed past Ranson and slipped his hands under the woman’s arms. “Let’s go.”

He pulled on her, but she stayed still. Her eyes steadied on Madison.

“Please help me.” She attempted to shake loose from the officer’s grip.

Her frown lines were deep burrows, her eyes were sunken, and the flesh around them was puffy.  She appeared to be rough-edged, but there was something desperate about her, and she didn’t seem to be a threat to the lives of anyone here.

“I’ve got this,” Madison said.

“All right, your call.”  The male officer let go of the woman, and he and Ranson left.

 “I saw your face in the paper.” The woman held up the Stiles Times. “It’s you, isn’t it?” Her lashes were caked with mascara, and she blinked slowly. Madison wondered if the cosmetic had sealed her eyes shut.

Madison passed a glance to the paper. It captured a moment she wished to forget. A day when she had been forced to speak in front of a crowd and to take pride in the job she had done. The thing was, though, a good cop couldn’t care less about the recognition.

The woman sobbed, yet her tears didn’t affect her makeup. “He wouldn’t do this…”

Madison summoned patience.  A list of envelope-printing companies—which could prove to be a vital link in the chain of evidence against the Russians—would be on her monitor, right now.

She took a deep breath, passed another glance to her computer, and turned back to the woman.  “Come with me.”

Madison kept the woman to the side of her. Her first impression was the woman didn’t pose a threat, but she still wasn’t willing to sacrifice her back by leading the way into the room.

Inside, Madison gestured to a chair.

The woman dropped her red bag heavily on the table. It was large enough to serve as a duffel bag. She pulled off her jean jacket, folded it over the back of the chair, and revealed a pink sweater that displayed more cleavage than Madison could ever hope to see on herself. The woman went rooting through the duffel bag and she stuffed a stick of gum in her mouth.  She worked at chopping it into a soft, pliable distraction. It snapped in her mouth.

“Let’s start with your name—”

“Vilma with an ‘i’. Vilma Thorne, well, it would have been. My God, Kev!” She raised her face upward as if calling out to a Greater Being. Her gum chewing paused only momentarily.

 “Vilma—” Madison had to tune out the noise and the display of her open-mouth chewing.  “Let’s start at the beginning. Why are you here?”

Vilma stuck a finger through one of the large gold hoops dangling from her ears and leaned in.

Madison detected the blend of cheap perfume and cigarettes. Maybe—she inhaled deeper, trying not to appear obvious—it wasn’t perfume but whiskey. It was hard to discern. Her eyes appeared normal, except for the abuse of eye makeup. Besides the thick mascara, her lids were weighed with the color purple. Her pupils weren’t dilated or pinpricks.

Still, she didn’t respond to Madison’s question.

“Okay, Vilma, if you need my help, I need you to talk to me.”

Possibly this woman was on a new line of drug that disguised itself behind brilliant colors? Maybe this was a mistake and Madison should have let her get hauled away.

“My family is against what he did. But he didn’t do it!” Her voice rose, tears flowed. She stopped chewing and, sniffling, went rooting in the duffel bag again. She came out with a bunched up tissue and wiped her nose.

Madison’s tolerance level had almost reached its limit. “You keep saying he didn’t do it.  Do what?”

 A tissue still pinched on the tip of her nose, Vilma said, “He didn’t kill himself…someone killed him.”

Interested in reading more? See links below…

The Madison Knight Series is a clean, murder mystery series meaning mild graphic violence and language. Each book is self-contained so you can read any of the books, and out of order, if you wanted to.  Books in the series in released order: Ties that Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Life Sentence (Prequel in which Madison has a cameo role), and Found Innocent. Carolyn Arnold started to take writing seriously six plus years ago when a co-worker said “tell me a story”. Since then she’s written nine novels and has plans to write many more. She has a love for the canine world and has two beagles that are affectionately named Max and Chelsea. Like her female protagonist Madison Knight, she loves her chocolate and has been known, on occasion, to speak her mind.

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Website: www.carolynarnold.net

Blog: http://sassy3421.blogspot.ca/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

In celebration of the release of Found Innocent you can enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. You can enter as many times as you like and various ways. The contest lasts until October 31st. Enter here: http://carolynarnold.net/FoundInnocent.html#FIExtras

by Joni Lynn of Blue Harvest Creative

(presented by Dame Betty Dravis)

When Katie Jennings approached us about redesigning her bestselling series, The Dryad Quartet, we were beyond thrilled!

The Dryad Quartet is a contemporary fantasy series revolving around the fictional land of Euphora, where beings inspired by Greek mythology exist to preserve the balance of nature and human life, and to protect the living from the evil residing in the Underworld. Take a journey into a world where Mother Earth and Father Sky exist, secretly hidden from human awareness, and yet crucial to the creation and stability of our world. They are joined by those who control the elements, the Dryads, as well as the Fates, Muses, and Furies, all of whom play an integral role in preserving Earth and guarding those who inhabit it. 

We wanted to create something spectacular with the design of each book in the series. A design that would complement the beautifully written words of each story. We wanted to  fully immerse the reader into the book and mesh the words with the design to let the reader not only experience the joy of reading, but to also stimulate the senses with stunning graphics and typography for a complete reading experience. We wanted to create a complete work of art.

Katie Jennings creates all of her beautiful covers. She asked us to collaborate with her on the cover redesigns. We helped refine a few areas and with our suggestions, she created even more visually-stunning creations. And, most importantly, we helped her establish an author brand with front and back covers designed for marketability. Her new back covers also contain her publishing imprint, Sapphire Royale Publishing. The new designs for both front and back are styled to match the series

Old Dryad Front Covers

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New Dryad Front Covers

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Old Dryad Back Covers

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New Dryad Back Covers

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The next task was to create visually stunning and exciting interiors for each book. The Dryad Quartet consists of books that each use a different element in each story. We decided to use these elements to create the design and graphics for each book since they are such an integral part of the series.  A border strip was designed to incorporate the elemental feel of “movement” as well as to harmonize with each element.

The elements used in each book are:

 Air – Breath Of Air

Fire – Firefight In Darkness

Earth- A Life Earthbound

Water – Of Water And Madness

We created vector images to represent each element for each book. They were used for both the chapter heading as well as the paragraph separators. From left to right they are: air, fire, earth and water.

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From left to right is the prologue page for each book:  Breath Of Air, Firefight In Darkness, A Life Earthbound and Of Water And Madness.

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Each book interior was created using a combination of the fonts used on each front cover for headers as well as the chapter title. Instead of using a drop cap to begin each chapter, we took the first three words of each line and used a corresponding font from each front cover. Finally, we used Adobe Caslon Pro as the main interior font for each book in the series. We chose this because it is a softer font and also complemented all of the other design elements. As you can see, the beautiful graphics and design elements all complement each other yet each book has its own identity in the series.

Large Image for Firefight in Darkness Prologue Page

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We also redesigned the eBooks and created eBooks that incorporated all of the same design elements as the print book so that readers would have the same reading enjoyment and experience.

And there you have it! The completely redesigned Dryad Quartet series. Immerse yourself in the fantasy…of words…and of design.

Katie Jennings is the bestselling author of the Dryad Quartet series and The Vasser Legacy series.

For more information on the author and her books, please visit Katie at her Amazon Central Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Katie-Jennings/e/B007SYJ37C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1358371749&sr=8-2-ent

You can also visit her website: http://www.katieajennings.com/

For more about Blue Harvest Creative, check our website: http://blueharvestcreative.wordpress.com/

Thanks, Dames, for having me as your guest today. You five Dames are highly respected writers with true gifts, and your site is very popular. My privilege to speak to your fans and friends. – Joni Lynn

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Southerners have a way with words. Not only in the way they say things, but how they say things. I love a southern accent, but southerners also know how to talk expressively, which is why I like writing about characters from the South; it’s full of spirited people who use colorful language. And by language, I don’t mean swear words. I mean expressions. People all over the world use sayings or colloquialisms. But nobody knows how to wield an expression like a southerner.

Winston Groom didn’t originate “Pretty is as pretty does” or “Life is like a box of chocolates,” but he did make the phrases well known when he wrote them into Forrest Gump. I grew up hearing phrases like “I’m busier than a one-armed paper hanger,” and “She’s got the personality of a dishrag.”  Most everybody’s heard those, right? But the South has hundreds of them. I think colloquialisms are the spice of language. They add a little bit of spirit, they give a vivid picture of the speaker’s intent, and they are memorable.

Why say, “That surprises me” when you could say, “Well shave my legs and call me smoothy.”

Why answer a rhetorical question with “Yes” when you could say, “Does a fat kid like cake?”

“She looks like she made an ugly pie and ate every slice” says so much more than a simple, “She’s ugly.”

My father used to come home with new lines all the time. As a blasé teenager, I rolled my eyes and held my appreciation in check for lines like, “Her tongue’s tied in the middle and loose at both ends.” But all these years later, I remember them.

Suppose it’s the first day of August and you’re a southerner on the phone with somebody from up north. You could tell them, “Man it’s hot out there,” or you could say, “It’s so hot out there you could pull a baked potato right out of the ground.” Now that’s hot. You’ve illustrated just how hot it is outside and entertained your friend to boot.

Or suppose you’re angry with someone. If they said, “Oh calm down.” You probably would be anything but calm. But if they said, “You can just get glad in the same pants you got mad in, missy,” it’s a pretty good bet your anger is going to crack just a little bit, along with your smile.

My novel, Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction, is loaded with conversations peppered with expressions that are often bandied about in the south. I’ve begun to call these colorful phrases “goosepimpleisms.” It’s no secret that I didn’t invent, write, or first utter these lines. But I’m told they’re woven into the dialogue of my book in a way that makes Goose Pimple Junction take on a personality of its own.

Now my kids are the ones rolling their eyes when I say, “I’m hangin’ in there like a hair in a biscuit,” or “You’re actin’ crazier than a sprayed roach,” or “She had a hissy fit with a tail on it.” Now that’s a hissy fit, although a “duck fit” is one fit above that one, and a “dying duck fit” is one above that.

My favorite goosepimpleism is, “Get your straw out of my Kool-Aid,” to tell someone to mind their own business. But go ahead and put your straw into my Kool-Aid and read Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction. That would make me happier than a woodpecker in a lumberyard!

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0985138874

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-and-mayhem-in-goose-pimple-junction-amy-metz/1111849687?ean=9780985138875

Even though my novel 1106 Grand Boulevard was the first one I wrote, Millennium Babe: The Prophecy was the first to be published. Grand was making the rounds of publishing houses during the submission process when I finished The Babe. I felt that the latter had to get out immediately since it was a new millennium book and the new millennium was fast approaching. With that in mind, I couldn’t wait to submit it to traditional publishers in traditional manner, so actually decided to self-publish this book. Time was of the essence and I could control that with Xlibris, so chose them. They are affiliated with Random House, so are a good company.

The big problem I found in going that route was that they always price the books too high; they justify it with charts and figures, but I actually had little choice. This book had to be out by January 1, 2001…the first day of the new millennium and the 21st Century!

It sold quite well, despite the prices, for about a year, but my other books outsold The Babe because by then I had more traditional publishers (small independents, but good, honest) and much more competitive prices.

With all the competition out there, I began to neglect my first “baby” and concentrate on other, more sure things! Since then I’ve published four more print books, two e-books (with total of five e-books on the market, including Millennium Babe: The Prophecy).

That said, The Babe did get thirty 5-star reviews and one 4-star before I started neglecting it in favor of what I felt were more timely projects.

When Dame Maggie Bishop asked me to publish the first chapter, I decided it was time to do right by my “first-born,” so here we go. I’ll start with the Amazon description:

World chaos erupts when David Wetterman––a popular Silicon Valley weatherman––makes a startling prophecy about the first baby to be born on January 1, 2001: Countries fight over The Millennium Babe; expectant mothers are terrified; abortion rates accelerate. “The Prophet” becomes an international celebrity, forced into hiding when some VIPs threaten his life. With his remarkable TV director, Bitsy Blodgett, by his side, the apocalyptic countdown to the third millennium begins.

As further example of how I have neglected this book, I don’t even have a readable copy of the first chapter. When searching my files, I found that since I had written it on an older version of Windows, the file had gotten corrupted somewhere along the way… So sorry about that. I could have retyped it, but actually don’t have time since I’m working on another book at the moment. See, there I go, being neglectful again. Favoritism, you might shout! 🙂

I hope the brief synopsis above and the great reviews on Amazon might help you. If you’re interested, you can always buy a copy at: http://www.amazon.com/Millennium-Babe-The-Prophecy-ebook/dp/B005EY7C3A/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1345779932&sr=1-6

To check all my books, please visit my Amazon Author Central page:
http://tinyurl.com/7kyxajt

My Main website:

http:www.bettydravis.com

by Betty Dravis

As you might know, we Dames take turns posting first chapters (and/or excerpts) from our books from time to time. Dame Maggie Bishop reminded me that it’s my turn to share something from my latest e-book Six-Pack of Blood. I’m honored to be joined by the talented, award-winning author Barbara Watkins as co-author of this book. I love her writing…

This book just hit the market when it ranked No. 1 for a very short period of time on U.S. Amazon Kindle/horror; No. 5 in Germany/occult, and if I recall correctly No. 53 in the UK/horror. Since then it has done even better: Last week it was No. 5 in U.S./horror; No. 2 in Germany/occult; No. 34 in the UK/horror. We are humbled and pleased.

We’re also delighted that our book has been awarded the coveted Best Paranormal/Horror by award-winning filmmaker Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment and the foreword was written by the acclaimed movie director/producer Armand Mastroianni (TV’s Dark Shadows and Friday the Thirteenth; movies Pandemic, The Celestine Prophecy and many, many more). Thanks, gentlemen, for your faith in us.

Now, without further fanfare, let me share an excerpt and an illustration from “The Collector,” the first story in our Six-Pack of Blood; it happens to be one of mine. I hope you are enticed by this offering that gives a peek into the “other side” of my funky (at times whimsical; at times malevolent) mind. 🙂

As a young boy, The Collector had an innocent collection of items he’d crafted from Popsicle sticks. His current collection was far from innocent…

He had always been an odd child, but developed into a likable adult…a bit weird, but sexy and mysterious, as most Italian men are. His favorite food was Italian. His drink, California Red… His cigarette, Marlboro… His most revered singer was Luciano Pavarotti.

And he definitely favored large-busted women with red hair.

The Collector was a tit man!

~~~

His wife, Bianca, was small and dark with boobs as lumpy as cottage cheese, but he’d married her for her practical homemaking skills, her meekness and for child-bearing. (“Must marry Italian–keep those fine Sicilian lines going, y’know,” his father had insisted.) The Collector’s wife was simply a figurehead to give him a show of respectability, giving him children…

Yeah, Bianca’s Italian all right–from her frigid crotch to her crooked nose. And the kids are nothing but pawns–boys to cater to the Mob, girls to wed into The Family, The Collector mused bitterly.

Forty years later, he was still longing for “the love-of-his-life,” the beautiful, auburn-haired, Irish lass he’d been forced to give up to please the Mob. “Ah-hhh…” The Collector sighed as he thought of his lost Katie.

Then: But who the hell needed love? Everything he needed could be bought.

~~~

The Collector–legal name, Frank Joseph Fitelli–was generally in a good mood when he had a collection to make, but not that night. It was Friday and he was trying his usual method of priming himself by gorging on his favorite things, but it wasn’t working.

After rutting with his latest whore–dyed red hair, he’d noted contemptuously–he had paid her off and kicked her out. Then he sat at his desk in the custom-designed library of his luxurious Scarsdale mansion, nursing a crystal goblet of vintage rose flown in from his Uncle Sal’s California vineyard.

“O Sole Mio…” Pavarotti’s lush tenor burst forth with grandeur from the large speakers of a built-in CD system. The talented Italian’s voice brought back memories of The Collector’s mother who had always played Mario Lanza records–the volume sky-high–as she bustled about the kitchen of his childhood Jersey home.

A wry smile curved the man’s lips as he inhaled deeply of the harsh, calming tobacco of a “real man’s” cigarette. He’d switched from Camels to Marlboros years ago when Tom Selleck was The Marlboro Man, and fantasized they were the same macho breed of man.

Beneath the huge skylight that dominated the dome of his library, the man was locked in an inner struggle. There were no phones, no computers and no windows in this private room, but glancing up at the sky-light, The Collector saw that it was completely covered with snow––the worst blizzard of the year. Could he make it to Miami?

His thoughts about the weather were not idle thoughts; they figured heavily in his plans. He had a collection to make and it was different this time. The dastardly deed had to be done that night, and he planned to use his private plane. There could be no witnesses!

Procrastinating, his cold, cruel, brown eyes absently trailed gray wisps of cigarette smoke as they curled up to the skylight. He fancied this room to be a gigantic snow-dome–like the small ones he passionately collected–and he was the lone figure inside. In this room, surrounded by all his favorite things, nothing could touch him, he told himself.

The walls that flanked the man’s desk were floor-to-ceiling bookshelves–over twenty feet high–that contained books on every subject…impressive, but mostly unread. Behind the desk was a portrait painted in the stately parlor of his childhood home; it depicted him, at age twelve, with his mother and father. He gently ran a diamond-adorned, pudgy finger along his mother’s portrait, muttering, “I’m sorry, Madre mia,” then glanced at the surrounding smaller photographs. Most were of his father with other infamous Mafia chieftains–“Lucky” Luciano, Al “Scarface” Capone, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel–and several showed The Collector with his Godfather, Joseph “Fruitcake” Borelli.

The fourth wall, the one facing his desk, was dominated by an elegant green marble fireplace, and also held his priceless collection of snow-domes.

Setting aside the wine goblet, the man crossed to the cherished display, flicked on the custom lighting, captured his favorite dome with a well-manicured, shaky hand, and carried it to his desk. Placing the precious object reverently in the center of the blotter, he rocked it gently and watched the snow drift down to caress the pleasant scene: a lovely, red-haired mother and a dark, dashing father with four smiling children, two dark, robust boys and two dainty, copper-haired girls. The father was reading an article from the Wall Street Journal to the sons, while the mother was reading a fairytale to the attentive daughters.

That could’ve been me and Katie with our big, happy brood, he mused darkly.

The Collector played with the dome for several minutes, swiveling in his chair to watch the small family in the sanctity of their home, their private, pristine world. Then he leaned back to peer across the room at the lights reflecting off the rest of his collection. The chair tilted backward, squeaking noisily–infringing on the stirring music–as it took the full bulk of the man’s enormous weight.

The Collector prided himself on this beautiful collection, but jealously guarded his other one–the ghastly, secret one–hidden behind the others at the back of the intricately designed revolving shelves. Rising slowly, he crossed the room, replaced the family dome, then pushed a button to release his “real” collection–the one he was paid to collect.

As he lifted the first gory snow-dome, he heard loud pounding coming from the hallway.

Thunk! Thunk! Thunk! Thunk!

End of excerpt! Barbara and I hope you enjoyed it well enough to want to finish it and read the other five creepy stories in our collection. Here is the Amazon order link:

http://tinyurl.com/7ew24ql

And here is the link to my Amazon Central page where all my books are listed, along with a bio, book trailers, and more…

http://tinyurl.com/7ezca

Thanks for your time and happy reading.

Author Betty Dravis

Betty Dravis: Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Sally Rowland. We are mostly about writers, but we love the other arts too. It’s a great pleasure to have you here and to share your artworks with our readers.

You’ve been a Facebook friend of mine for a while, but oddly, I got to know you better when you challenged me to the Words Game. I don’t like to brag, but I beat you nine times out of ten. (laughs) Anyway, you took it in stride and when we joked about it is when we bonded even more. Needless to say, I enjoy roaming through your Facebook albums, viewing all your art and photos.

This brings me to your first question: Sally, what were you like as a child and when did you first start sketching and realize you had artistic flair?

Sally Rowland: Hi, Betty, and thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of your Dames of Dialogue family. I must say I was surprised, but pleasantly so, to be asked to share my artwork with you all.

I’m enjoying being beaten by you in the Words game–but it’s early days! Maybe we should be playing a drawing game, too, to even things up a bit? (laughs)

Artist Sally Rowland

Anyway, to your first question: I was born and spent the first ten years of my life in Bristol, England. I come from what is known as a “working class” family, which really means you didn’t have a lot of money. I think for many children back then, you didn’t have many “things” and had to rely on your imagination to have fun. I have fond memories of making mud pies in old cans, while we girls pretended we were cooking.

I remember loving to paint and draw as a little girl and I think I might have been about five or six when I won a prize at school for painting a clear plastic container with daffodils. Well, they were meant to be daffodils, but more likely just green and yellow blobs. (laughs) My biggest passion back then, though, was music. We were taught to read music and I played the recorder, finally moving up to the bass recorder, as I was the only one who had the finger span to play it.

My Christmas gifts were nearly always craft themed: Paint by Numbers, knitting kits, books and my favorite “Fuzzy Felt,” which was a box of cut-out felt pieces that you could attach to a board and make all your own scenes, pull off and do again and again.

My family immigrated to New Zealand not long after I turned ten and that was a huge change for us. The school system is quite different and I loved English and anything artistic. I did woodworking, metal craft, art, photography and so on. I think it was during that time I discovered my real love of drawing, so my essays and school projects were always full of pictures I’d drawn to go along with the required words. My favorite part of the art classes was actually doing a wood-block print and an etching on a slab of rubber that was then turned into a print. I still have a scar where the knife left the slab and went right over my thumb…

Sally Rowland – High atop the world in her native UK; an area known as Carn Brea that overlooks Redruth and other parts of Cornwall.

Betty Dravis: I have to laugh at you mentioning the Facebook game of Draw Something, Sally. I enjoy that one with my kids and a few friends. I’m such a terrible artist that I have no doubt you’d outdo me in technique, but I’m still pretty good at guessing the pictures. My drawings look like a kindergartner’s, but I’m getting pretty adept with stick figures. (laughs)

But back to your art, did you or your parents keep any of your younger works?

Sally Rowland: I’m sure my daffodils ended up in the garbage because I wasn’t really a prolific painter when younger, but I did do a wooden bird sculpture at school in New Zealand that my parents still actually have today. It’s complete with a burned beak, as I got a bit carried away when we had to use a flame to give it some color.

Sally’s favorite portrait of her “Mum” Margaret

Betty Dravis: I bet your parents really hated to part with the daffodil art. We tend to love everything our children do…good or bad, but it seems like they made a good choice, keeping the sculpture.

What’s your favorite medium?

Sally Rowland: I would have to say oil is my favorite medium. I’m entirely self-taught in regards to painting, Betty. I never had any formal training, so using oils was a way to be able to correct mistakes before the paint dried. (laughs) I also find that oils match the way I like to paint, which is a lot of blending to get my desired color and effect. I do the same when doing pencil portraits; lots of smudging and blending going on there too.

In recent years I’ve started to dabble with digital painting and I find that I do that the same way I paint with oils–lots of layers and blending. The good thing about digital is that, of course, there’s no mess–I’m a very messy painter–no time limit on drying and if I don’t like what I just did on a layer, I simply delete it and start over. Another thing I love about digital is that you can work on one thing at a time and when you’re happy with it, you can simply merge it into the main piece of work.

Betty Dravis: Digital painting fascinates me, Sally, so thanks for sharing some of the intricacies. I’ve seen samples of all your mediums and they’re fabulous. I think my favorite oil is the one that looks like a scene from a Greek isle. The colors are so vibrant… I like to think of that painting as a “feel-good” work. It really cheers me up.

Since you didn’t mention watercolors above, we would appreciate hearing a little about that. I saw some samples of your “exercises” and if I recall correctly you said on Facebook that you were beginning to try your hand at that. How’s that project coming along?

Sally Rowland: Oh the “Greek Village” painting… You have a good eye, Betty! I love that one myself, and you’re right, it’s definitely a feel-good painting. The joy in creating it is that I got to use whatever colors I wanted for the buildings, while still trying to keep it looking somewhat “Greek.” (laughs) I’m glad it cheers you up; it certainly does it for me too. I even got that one professionally photographed and sold some prints, as well.

But on to the watercolors: I’m definitely all at sea with that particular medium. My late mother-in-law, who was one of my biggest fans, used them. Although she was pretty modest about her talent, she painted some lovely works which we have here, along with lots of paints, brushes and papers she had amassed. She inspired me to give it a try and, as you mentioned, the exercises I tried were fun, but hard. I’d still like to get into it more at some point, but I’ll definitely need to take some courses. I can remember her telling me that her teacher kept saying, “More water, Patsy… More water…” (laughs) Nevertheless, it’s a whole new way of painting that I’m looking forward to trying one day in the not-too-distant future.

At the moment, though, I’m just enjoying having a room for my art supplies…one I can make a mess in and nobody cares. (laughs) We recently–well almost a year ago now–moved to a new city and home, so we’ve been busy redecorating. The first room to be finished is, of course, my art room, so I’m just settling into that and looking forward to finally having a dedicated space in which to pursue my passion properly.

Betty Dravis: If your exercises are any indication, you’ll be great at that too, Sally. I have two favorites: the red one with the chair and table and the purple viola. It will be interesting to see how you progress in the future, but never give up your oils…

So you have been traveling around quite a bit. I bet it’s exciting to be back in Canada again. I have some dear friends there; it’s a lovely country, eh? (laughs) From the few photos I’ve seen, your new home looks very comfortable and you’re making headway in setting up your work areas. I bet you look forward to getting back in the swing with the Belleville Art Association. Tell us about your plans for the future.

Sally Rowland: Yes, I guess I’m a bit of a gypsy! (laughs) I’ve always loved to travel and experience new things, and immigrating to Canada was certainly a big move. While things don’t always work out the way you expect, it’s fun to just take what life throws at you and do the best you can. Eventually, it all works out just the way it should, although it can take a bit longer than you thought to get where you want to be.

As I mentioned, we’ve been here in Belleville for almost a year now. I had intended to join the local Arts Association straight away, but thought it would be better to get settled first and get a few things sorted out so that I could make the most of what they have to offer. With that in mind, I’m looking at joining them later this year. I’m really looking forward to meeting other local artists and learning some new things along the way.

Betty Dravis: I’m really curious about digital painting, so one more question about that, Sally. Is that accepted in the art communities as “real” art? Also, I notice that most of your digital art is of movie stars. Your portrait of Sandra Bullock is certainly lifelike. Beautiful… I admire her greatly, but my favorite digital photo is of the unforgettable and gorgeous Marilyn Monroe. Are you, like most everyone these days, fascinated with movies and the entertainment world?

Sally Rowland: Ah, the good old question: “Is digital art real art?” Personally, I say yes, it is, although I know a lot of artists who disagree. To me, it’s simply another medium. You still have to have the talent to design, draw, paint, etc. On top of that, you also have to be able to use the software to bring it all together, so I view it as just another tool to create with.

I need to purchase a proper painting software package at some stage. Currently I use a photo/paint program; it’s not the best thing, so it really challenges me. To me, the process is almost the same as painting with oils, etc.: You sketch the idea, then use that as a base to add layer upon layer of color and shape until you get the final product. I mentioned the things I like most about digital painting above, but I’d like to stress the point: the flexibility is a definite bonus.

Yes I must admit most of my digital work has been of movie stars, but to be honest, I’m not really into movies/celebrities/entertainment. Photos of stars are so abundant on-line that I found them useful for learning how to use my software. (laughs) I do love trying portraits, though, so I guess that is why there are so many. Many years ago, I recall having a book of portraits of movie stars–the black and white studio shots. I didn’t really care who they were, I just loved the actual photographs. I have to admit that I do have a few books about Marilyn Monroe, though. I found her life intriguing and very sad, rather than glamorous, despite that she was quite the beauty at the time.

Betty Dravis: Sally,I think all generations adore Marilyn; she’s a real, unforgettable legend. But, OMG, I almost forgot that you also did a digital of my very favorite: Clint Eastwood. Although that’s not one of my favorites of your works, I love all things “Clint,” as everyone knows. Since I was lucky enough to interview and get to know him a little–back in the day—I’ve never forgotten him. At the time of the interview, I didn’t realize how much larger-than-life he is, but he put me so at ease that I immediately bonded with him. I made him my mentor (from afar) and tried to shape my career after his. Fat chance! (laughs)

But getting off the subject for a minute, since art is a rather passive activity, how do you keep in shape? Do you have a favorite exercise regime or do you simply rely on healthy eating? Or could it be that your husband Pete and your three cats keep you hopping? (laughs)

Sally Rowland: Oh my, Betty! Keeping in shape! I have to admit to being a passive exerciser also… (laughs) I think the biggest thing I ever did was a 10k marathon which I loved. I also used to play on an indoor cricket team (both all-girl and mixed teams). However, over the years I’ve noticed that I can’t do a lot. I have scoliosis (curvature of the spine). It’s not too bad, but one false move and I’m in pain for days. Keeping in shape now is probably limited to gardening and healthy eating. Now that we’re out of the city and living in a less populated area, I think I’d like to get back to biking, a great way to stay in shape and also see more of the area.

Oh yes, Pete and the cats definitely keep me on my toes, as well, but that could be an entire book if I told you everything. (laughs)

Sally with Tyson as a kitty.

Betty Dravis: Well, Sally, you certainly look fit and trim, and I’m very sorry to hear that you have scoliosis. With that in mind, you seem to have come up with the right solution for yourself: gardening and healthy eating. Sounds very sensible to me…

Perhaps you will write that book one day, with illustrations, of course, but the world will have to wait. (laughs) Now speaking of cats, I heard that there’s an interesting story about one of them that traveled back from New Zealand to Canada with you. Do you mind sharing that with our readers? The Dames love animals…

Sally Rowland: My oldest cat, Tyson, now almost thirteen, has probably racked up more air miles than some people. I got him as a kitten back in New Zealand and within months we were headed off to Canada. (I swear there are more paperwork and conditions for moving pets than people–at least there was back then…)

Then after a while we decided to go back to New Zealand, so off he went again… Loads of paper work and then quarantine back in New Zealand (more strict animal import regime). After some time there, and with my in-laws getting older and needing help, we decided to go back to Canada. By that time, we had adopted another cat from the local SPCA. Tyson took it in his stride, though, and was a real trouper.

The day we picked them up from the airport was so funny. We got a bit of a runaround, but finally got sent to the right ‘hangar.’ All we could hear was loud meowing as they were delivered to us, howling inside their cages–on a forklift! The silly thing about it all was that when we went back to New Zealand, Tyson had to be micro-chipped (NZ law). It was apparently so that he could be tracked. However, even with the government-approved micro-chip the cattery/pet shipping company that we used when we finally came back here said that they couldn’t read the chip. So much for that! (laughs)

Tyson has been through a lot for a cat; we all know how cats need routine and familiar surroundings. He’s now getting old and has had some health scares, but he is still my baby and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure he has a great “retirement.” (laughs)

Betty Dravis: Aw-www, poor Tyson, but he’s well loved, Sally… Truthfully, he has many more air miles than I do. I enjoyed your interesting stories about pets and airlines. I never realized pet transportation policies were that strict. With Tyson and the other two cats in mind, I hope you decide to stay in Canada for the duration. (laughs)

From little cats to big cats; Sally with her tiger print.

Now, if you don’t mind my asking, Sally, where do you get your inspiration for a particular painting or work? Art, like book publishing, is a tough, competitive field. Is your family supportive of your career choice?

Sally Rowland: In the last few years, Betty, I have to admit to not feeling terribly inspired. As with everyone, I suppose, life situations get in the way. I find I’m still trying to find my own niche. I often say, “I’m a jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” so in a way, I’m still on my own journey of self discovery. I’m definitely leaning more towards portraits, but as you say, like book publishing, art is also very tough and competitive, so I’m happy to take on anything…well, apart from landscapes. (laughs)

I’m very lucky to have an extremely supportive family. Painting had not been my choice of career at all, despite loving it. My career background is actually in finance, banking and tourism, of all things. Art had always been just a hobby, so I feel really blessed to be able to get involved in something I’ve always loved.

With my own family back in New Zealand and in the UK, it’s always lovely to send them photos of my art–what I’ve done or am working on–and get feedback. I remember when my parents had to have their dog put to sleep: He’d been so unwell and, although it was the right decision, it was heartbreaking. I decided to paint Mac as a puppy–when he was all healthy and vibrant–but it took my Mum quite some time before she could even open the parcel and finally get it framed.

Betty Dravis: It’s heartening to know that your family has been supportive of you, whether in tourism or art, Sally.That means a lot to anyone and often makes the difference between success and failure.

Speaking of support, Sally, do you have a favorite artist? If so, tell us about him or her…

One of Sally’s favorite artists is Tamara De Lempicka. Above is her version of one of her paintings; hanging on wall of Sally’s rec room.

Sally Rowland: Gosh, Betty, it’s hard to say I have one favorite artist. I love so many styles. It’s like I love ice-cream but all the flavors are delicious… (laughs) But when I think about it, my top artist would have to be Modigliani. We went to an exhibition of his art back in 2005 in Toronto. I was just totally blown away seeing them in the flesh, after only ever seeing them on-line or in a book. They were huge…vibrant…and up close you could see his brush work and the lines from his original sketch on the canvas. Awesome…

Needless to say I could never afford his work, so I decided to paint my own. I’m also a huge fan of Rosina Wachtmeister; her cat paintings are wonderful, as are her other works. I admire Vermeer for his use of light… Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Klimt, Beryl Cook …ad infinitum I’m afraid. (laughs)

Betty Dravis: I anticipated such an answer, Sally. When I ask authors about their favorite author, they almost always have a long list. (laughs)

With those choices in mind, it will be interesting to see how you answer this question: If you could spend a day with just one person (living or dead), who would you choose and why?

Sally Rowland: Well, Betty, I’ve been doing a lot of family research over the years and hit a huge road block with my own great-grandfather on my father’s side. He’s not famous, but he’s elusive and I can’t find anything much about who he really was, or his family, so I’d have to say it would be him.

I’d like to sit down with him for one day, notebook in hand, and ask him thousands of questions about his life and our family history. The most we know about him is that he was a musician in the Army back in the 1800s and spent over a decade in India and perhaps other countries; beyond that there is nothing. He’s a mystery and I love mystery…

Sally at an art show in New Zealand in 2005.

Sally poses with some of her art in Port Credit, Ontario in 2005.

Betty Dravis: That’s a very human choice, Sally. It’s too bad that so much of our personal family history gets lost because we’re too busy to ask our parents when we’re young, not becoming interested until it’s too late.

Sally, when you’re actively working, what’s a typical day like for you? Do you have any habits or established routines that work best for fulfilling your daily commitments?

Sally Rowland: I mentioned earlier that I’m a messy painter. For me, I just get absorbed in what I’m doing. I prefer to listen to music, which depends on what exactly it is I’m working on. I throw on my old clothes because I just know I’m going to get paint everywhere. (laughs) There is never a set routine; I just like to go with the flow.

Betty Dravis: Sally, I hear you loud and clear! That’s so typical of artistic types. I get so absorbed in my writing, I often forget to eat or even get out of my jammies. (laughs)

Which painting turned out to be your biggest challenge? Do you have a personal favorite?

Sally Rowland: Well, Betty, my biggest challenge–and it was actually a challenge on an art forum–was painting The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I had never attempted to reproduce or paint from a master, so I thought I should give it a go. Even to this day, I really don’t know how I did it. I just got lost in the process and loved it. It’s still my personal favorite. I gave it to my mother-in-law as a gift, and now, since she passed away, it’s back with me. That gives it a personal touch and some lovely memories too.

Sally’s version of Vermeer’s Girl With Pearl Earring.

Betty Dravis: Oh, I love that one, too. I had forgotten about it, but when selecting the Greek painting over The Girl with the Pearl Earring, I did so mainly for the cheerfulness of the painting, not for quality. I must say, the latter is absolutely phenomenal work, even if you did copy a master. Your rendition is brilliant, Sally.

Now for your next question, what advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Sally Rowland: From where I am now–at this later time in life—I would tell them to embrace their passion. Take as many classes as you can to help you, but don’t ever let that interfere with what you love to do. I hate that phrase “think outside the box”; I’d prefer to hear, “There is no box.” While I sometimes wish I had taken notice of what I loved to do, I realize there is a reason your journey takes you where you need to go first. Just keep that passion going…

Betty Dravis: That’s great advice, Sally. I never thought of it exactly like that; it’s thought provoking. I do agree about the passion; that makes the difference between winning and losing.

What is your most cherished memory of a viewer reaction to your work?

Sally’s work for Flintstone Lounge at end-of-season ball in mid 90s.

Sally Rowland: For me, every reaction is important, be it good or bad. One painting I sold started out as a really silly thing. I looked at it and went “arrghh,” so I turned it into a seascape. All in blue: clouds, sky, boat… All of it! When I posted the changed painting, someone wanted to buy it. They loved it–and that made me very happy.

Betty Dravis: Since blue is my favorite color, that sounds like “eye candy” to me. I’d like to see that one sometime. I think it may be on your lovely videotape (link below).

But now for a fun question! I waited till near the end to put you on the spot, but do you mind sharing the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you in connection with your artistic works?

Sally Rowland: Oh, this question took me all of two seconds to answer, Betty. (laughs) It has to be when I took part in another on-line art challenge. One of the pieces you could do was a Frans Hals. I loved it, so thought, “Yes, why not?” I thought not only could I paint, I could also have a go at using a palette knife. So off I went… But I couldn’t figure out why the paint was soaking into the canvas I was using. I was almost halfway through before I felt like running from the room screaming because I’d actually painted on the wrong side of the canvas! I did finish it, still have it, and it’s a reminder that sometimes mistakes are worth keeping.

Betty Dravis: Oh-hahaha, Sally. That is funny. I’m glad you treasure the work now, though…mistake or not! You certainly have a fun, exciting life…

Now before leaving, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that you also design CD covers. Please share about the ones you’ve created.

Two of Sally’s CD covers for Guitarra Azul are hanging in her new art room.

Sally Rowland: Oh yes, the CD covers… I’ve really loved this aspect of my art. I found Guitarra Azul, a Chicago-based band, through MySpace about four or five years ago and loved their music. I was lucky enough to be asked by Steve Edwards to paint something for their second CD. I love their music, so was really happy to do it. My first one was for Oasis; an 18×18 oil painting on which I had to actually change the title on the canvas itself. (McGuyver skills coming into play here.) Then in late 2011, I started work on a digital painting for their latest release Lotus Flower. I’m very happy for my art work to be a part of such wonderful music.

More recently I have designed and digitally painted a cover for Simon Allan in the UK for his upcoming EP release Demons and Dreams. We’re working together for another release later this year, also. It’s very exciting for me, and I hope, for them as well.

Sally’s digital painting cover created for Simon Allan’s upcoming CD Demons and Dreams.

Betty Dravis: Since you love music, it’s very appropriate that your work be on CD covers, Sally. I’ve seen all three covers and while I love them all, I’m captivated by the Demons and Dreams cover. Probably because my latest book, Six-Pack of Blood, is a horror anthology (co-authored with the very gifted writer Barbara Watkins) and I spent some time with the cover artist. I can picture that particular painting on the cover of a horror book. (laughs)

I also understand that one of your works is scheduled to be in a book. Please share that with us.

Sally Rowland: I guess this is where fun meets something wonderful, Betty. My friend Brian Bohnett, who is an author and also a graphic artist, has been working on a biography for many years now. Brian has done an amazing job on his biography The Remarkable Enid Markey: First Lady of the Tarzan Films. This will be an eye-opener because most people would recognize the men who played “Tarzan,” but not many would know the “Janes.”

While Brian was sharing his journey, he sent me some lovely photos; one caught my eye, so I decided to try painting it digitally. It was all in fun, but I am happy to say he has included it as a frontispiece to his biography, and it’s also part of a set of cards to go along with the book. The book is being released at a convention in California this coming August. I am so excited for him and proud to be involved, even if in only a small way.

Enid Markey

Betty Dravis: That sounds like a fascinating book, Sally. This is a coincidence, but I have a Tarzan tie-in: In my 1106 Grand Boulevard novel, I tell the story of my aunt’s first husband being Franky Johnston, the swimming coach who taught Johnny Weissmuller to swim for his role as Tarzan. Small world…and the Internet has made it even smaller. (laughs)

It sounds like you have some great projects coming your way. Since we’re almost finished, now’s the time to mention any other plans you might have.

Sally Rowland: Well, Betty, after I settle into the art community, as mentioned above, I’ve also got plans to get my own website up and running so that I can start selling my work, be it paintings, prints or digital. I like to think of myself as a bit of a late bloomer in the art world. I know how competitive it is, so I know that to be successful I’ll have to have a good business plan. That all takes time and is something I’ll be working on this year also.

Betty Dravis: I’m so happy for you, Sally. You sound so vibrant and full of life. The move seems to have agreed with you.

Before closing, I’d like to tell our readers that they can find more of your artwork in the photos on Facebook, and the YouTube video has a vast array of your works. I love the way it’s presented in sections. All your works are great, but the pencil sketches amaze me too. We didn’t get around to discussing the sketches, but an example is to the right. It all starts with an artist’s ability to sketch, so the fine examples on the video are important. The links follow and readers should keep in mind that the contact info at end of the YouTube is outdated. Sally will share that with us when she gets completely relocated.

https://www.facebook.com/sally.rowland.3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cCTXxLBMo8&feature=player_embedded#!

Black-and-white photograph of Sally, enhanced by infusion of light.

Thanks for being with us today, Sally, It’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you and to view your stunning art. We look forward to your website so we can check into buying some of your art. Until next time, please keep in touch and send your website link so I can put it out on the social media.

Sally Rowland: Thank you, Betty, for allowing me to be a part of your world. It’s always a pleasure to join with other artistic people. I know you showcase many successful people, so as a still-emerging artist, I truly appreciate that you took an interest in me. And you’ll be the first I inform when my website is up and running. Thanks again, for having me on Dames of Dialogue.

Photo Montage Created by Author Daniel L. Carter

by Daniel L. Carter

Reprinted from “A Christian Man’s Perspective”

 Daniel L. Carter: I am always pleased to introduce my readers to visiting authors but today is truly an honor. My guest today is not only a talented author but has been an interviewer to the stars for years. Ranging from Clint Eastwood to Jane Russell this talented woman could be categorized as a Hollywood schmoozer! Without any more introduction, I’m blessed to call Betty Dravis my good friend. Welcome to my website, Betty. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Betty Dravis: Hi, Daniel, and everyone. Thanks for inviting me to “A Christian Man’s Perspective.” To start at my humble beginnings, I was born in Hamilton, Ohio, second youngest of seven children born to John and Felda (Crawford) Barger. I came to sunny California after I graduated from high school and liked it so well I never went back home to live. But, Go Bucks! (laughs)

Most of you know me as the quirky lady you bump into all over the Internet. You know, the one who’s always pushing her own books and books of her author friends. (laughs) In recent years, I’m best known for my celebrity interviews, including actors, authors and artists of all types, but during my career I was a journalist, newspaper publisher and hosted a TV talk show.

But first and foremost, I’m a mother and grandmother; my family is my “real” life. All else is just icing on my cupcake… I had six children, five daughters and a son, but two daughters are now angels in heaven, having left us too soon…too young. Those were the saddest times in my life, but I’m consoled that they’re in Heaven now and our family circle will be complete as each of us find our way to them when our time on earth is over. And rather than mourn our loss, I treasure their memories and the children they left behind. I have nine grown grandchildren, five precious great-grands and one adorable great-great grand. They are what keep me so young at heart and filled with energy.

Daniel L. Carter: You are amazing! Your most recent book Star Struck: Interviews with Dirty Harry and Other Hollywood Icons. Tell us about your book, Betty.

Betty Dravis: Well, Daniel, you asked the right question here. There’s nothing I like better than talking books with another author. As you know, I write in many genres of fiction and also write non-fiction. I actually have six books on the market; three still in print format, two that were print but now “e-incarnations,” and two more e-books.

My latest is a short e-book, Star Struck: Interviews with Dirty Harry and Other Hollywood Icons. In this book I share behind-the-scenes happenings of some of my favorite celebrity interviews. You know, Daniel, the usual: What led up to the interviews and my feelings and impressions during and after the meetings… Among those I was fortunate enough to interview were: Actor/Director Clint Eastwood, Senator Ted Kennedy, 40’s Star Jane Russell, Singer/Actress Tanya Tucker, Mayor Joseph Alioto and Actress Ann Sothern. Those were “heady” days for a young journalist just starting my writing career. As delighted as I was to land such coveted interviews back in the day, in this day and age, I’m crowing over the fact that John Locke wrote the foreword for Star Struck. I consider that a feather in my cap because John’s the darling of the “e-book crowd,” having been the first self-published author to sell a million books on Kindle. Wow!

Daniel L. Carter: Out of all the stars you’ve interviewed, which of them did you most identify with?

Betty Dravis: Of the six high-profile people in Star Struck, I more closely identified with Clint Eastwood because he was sought after by every writer in the world and I was grateful that he chose me. I was a bit in awe of him, but identified with him because he was so kind, complimentary and considerate to me during and after the interview. I admired what he’d accomplished before I met him, so followed his career with great interest. From that day forward, I strove to be as good a writer as he is an actor, so eventually turned to him as my role model.

Daniel L. Carter: You’re not just a great interviewer but you’re also a talented author. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Betty Dravis: At age eleven, I started writing poetry and little short stories–more like life observations, from this viewpoint many years later–but even though my family encouraged me and my high-school, creative-writing teacher marked my papers as “best in class,” it was years before I took it seriously. You see, Daniel, in those days we were trained and encouraged to be wives and mothers, so I didn’t take writing too seriously until after my first child was born. I started out in journalism, writing columns for local dailies in various cities and eventually worked up to publisher. I always wanted to write a novel–try my hand at fiction–but journalism was a more steady income, so with six children to raise, I stuck with newspapers. I didn’t have time to write my first novel until I retired at age 62.

Daniel L. Carter: You are my role model! (smiles) If you could give advice to other authors or aspiring authors what would say?

Betty Dravis: I would tell them to take as many classes as they can, read all the books on writing in their selective genres, and to keep at it. Write! Write! Write! Even if it’s just little thoughts that come to them from time to time, write it down. Practice is what makes us better at our craft. And never let life’s setbacks (or negative people) stop them. Of all the ultra-successful people I’ve interviewed, they have all agreed: Keep focused on what you really want to do and you’ll win in the end. Persevere!

Daniel L. Carter: Great advice, Betty! What source or sources do you draw from when creating a new story? Personal life, your faith, the world around you, all the above…?

Betty Dravis: That’s an easy question to answer, Daniel, but harder to describe. It’s all of the above! I truly believe that everything we’ve ever seen, heard, read or experienced becomes part of us at some hidden level and that all of our accumulated information and experience filters up through our subconscious when needed. Whether we need information for a book we’re writing or other circumstances in life, our cumulative life experiences are there for us when most needed.

Daniel L. Carter: If I asked you to pick one of your characters as your favorite who would it be and why?

Betty Dravis: I have many favorites, Daniel. In fact I like all my characters, for one reason or another. But in giving it deeper thought, I will have to choose David Wetterman, the weatherman-turned-prophet in my first-published novel, Millennium Babe: The Prophecy. Why? Because he’s such a funny, likable little guy… He’s definitely not the image of your average hero; he’s just an ordinary, kooky guy who always bungles things, but somehow manages to end up “smelling like roses.” He’s what you call a “real character.” On the order of Jim Carrey, I suppose…

Daniel L. Carter: What was your greatest challenge, personally, when writing Star Struck?

Betty Dravis: My current book, Star Struck, is non-fiction, so it came with a unique set of problems. Since these six celebrity anecdotes were previously published in Dream Reachers, I had to get permission from my co-author Chase Von to put them in this book. He readily agreed, so that problem resolved amicably. My second problem was that, in addition to photos I owned, I also wanted to publish a few photos of the celebrities from their public life. That entailed either getting their permission or finding photos in the public domain. Since some celebrities’ managers charge as much as $200 per picture and take too long getting back, I opted for the public domain. That took a bit of digging, but it all worked out. And finally, I had to sell my publisher, Wendy Dingwall of Canterbury House, on trying the 99-cents price. Thank God, she agreed.

Daniel L. Carter: That’s great that your publisher was willing to work with you on the pricing. What factors do you use that tell your book is done?

Betty Dravis: Daniel, I consider a story finished after I’ve answered all the questions (tied up all the loose ends), making everything clear to my readers. And I always proof-read my books several times, trying to catch all the “nits.” I believe what Stephen King says, though: He said (in so many words) that if he had waited until a book was perfect in his eyes, he would never have published a thing.

Daniel L. Carter: That is so very true! Tell us, Betty, why did you choose to write in different genres?

Betty Dravis: When I first started, I thought I would write in the horror and thriller genre because that’s what I love to read. However, life just threw particular stories at me and I ended up writing an epic romance about my beautiful older sister (faction, my word to mean it’s based on a true story but is highly dramatized for commercial reasons). Then The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley came at me in such an unusual way, I just had to write that young adult. Once again I lucked out with another “famous person” boosting me along. Steve “The Woz” Wozniak agreed to play a speaking role in my Toonies. And so it went…until I ended up with one romance, one YA, one supernatural fantasy adventure and two non-fiction celebrity interview books. And yes, Daniel, I finally wrote my thriller and a horror. (laughs) I have those in the wings, waiting for perfect timing to publish. I think you’ll like them.

Daniel L. Carter: I am so looking forward to buying my autographed copy! (grins ear to ear) Do you have any favorite authors?

Betty Dravis: Indeed I do, Daniel. In fact, I have many, but my all-time favorite author (living or dead) is Pat Conroy. He amazes me with his beautiful words, perfect phraseology, dialogue, plotting and everything. I absolutely adore his poetic, flowery­­–some critics say too flowery—prose and his similes are to die for. To me, he’s a genius…

I have at least a hundred authors that are friends on the Internet and many, including you, who are my new favorites. You have a surprising number of great writers on Author Central, your popular page on Facebook. Of the ones I’ve read, at least fifteen blew my mind with their powerful, entertaining stories. Wow! I wouldn’t want to offend anyone by mentioning my favorites; actually, there are too many to list.

Daniel L. Carter: (Laughing) That’s alright, Betty. I know where I stand in your heart… wink wink. Are you working on a book now, and if so, tell us a little bit about it?

Betty Dravis: In addition to the horror and thriller mentioned above–Evil Voices at Circle Lake and Dead Women Don’t Talk Back (both finished except for a final proof)–I’m trying to find time to finish a second in the young adult Toonies series: The Toonies Rock New York. It’s similar to the first Toonies, with good cartoon characters escaping out of a humanoid boy’s computer into the world. The bad ones follow them out and wreak all kinds of havoc as they try to destroy everything in their paths. It’s another story of good versus bad, with good winning in the end. (laughs)

Daniel L. Carter: Now that sounds fantastic! You could have them come out of their IPhone…hehehe. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could pick only two books to have with you, what would they be and why?

Betty Dravis: The first one is a no-brainer. I would choose The Holy Bible because it’s always been my inspiration and I need it to refresh me on a daily basis. I’d also like to take a book that I wrote, 1106 Grand Boulevard, because my family members are in it and it has special meaning to me; many fond memories of my parents and siblings. Since there are only two surviving from our family, I would most likely get the most benefit and enjoyment from that book.

Daniel L. Carter: Hopefully readers have guessed that I am very fond of you as a friend and a writer, Betty. I pray they caught of glimpse of what a special person you are. Before we say goodbye, I want to thank you for sharing with us today. I’m sure you have intrigued many today. Where can people go to get more information about you and your books?

Betty Dravis: Thanks for the opportunity to reach more people, Daniel, and for giving me a chance to share my links. I wish you best of luck with your amazing G-6 Chronicles trilogy. I’ve read the first two and they’re very exciting and original; love the children in your books. Can’t wait to read the third one.

My website: http://www.bettydravis.com

My Amazon Author Central page: http://tinyurl.com/7mqorjj

My DOD blog: https://damesofdialogue.wordpress.com/

My Orangeberry Books page: http://tinyurl.com/6t5khqy

Blessings,
Daniel L Carter
Author of The G-6 Chronicles

 

presented by Betty Dravis

Author Betty Dravis

I recently met two fantastic authors, Brian Bianco and Dr. Niamh Clune, who belong to Author Central, a group of “authors helping authors” founded by Daniel L. Carter. Bianco and Clune are also co-founders of Orangeberry Group which promises to be an invaluable marketing site for up-and-coming authors. I thought our Dames of Dialogue readers would enjoy meeting them, so I asked Niamh if I could share the following story she recently wrote about Brian. (To balance the slate, I hope to interview Niamh for a future issue of DOD.)

Meet and Greet Brian Bianco

by Niamh Clune

When Brian Bianco puts pen to paper, he begins a marvelous journey into creating a story of make believe. He becomes completely involved with the lives of his characters. Creating them and weaving a story that brings them to life is as magical and fulfilling to him as Disneyland is to kids. Writing is Brian’s passion. So when I asked him what makes a good novel, he answered immediately: realism. He believes passionately that a writer must win the hearts and minds of his readers. The only way to do that is for the reader to believe in what they are reading. They must believe that the events in the story could happen; that they are real.

When he first started reading John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief, the story instantly engaged him because Grisham wrote about characters and a story-line that was completely plausible. Brian was present with Grisham inside the conference room listening to FBI Director Denton Voyles. Brian was with Gray Grantham in the newsroom of the Washington Post. Brian was in the lecture hall when Darby first appeared in the story. And Brian was sitting next to Grantham’s buddy taking camera shot after camera shot of the victim. The point is, Brian was there because John Grisham put him there. Grisham’s ability to convey realism through his writing style made Brian Bianco believe.

As far as Brian is concerned, writing style is the make or break point where a writer either engages a reader or loses them. Brian offers an example of this. Recently, he started reading a novel, but put it down after the first chapter. The writer lost him because the dialogue was smothered in over-description. The characters had so many internal feelings clamoring for attention all at once, that as a reader, Brian lost contact with them. He found himself continuously trying to pick up the dialogue, but failing and remaining lost in the hole into which the author had put him.

As far as Brian is concerned, dialogue is what moves the story along. It tells the reader about the true feelings behind a character. Descriptive wording, when used rightly, paints images of the visual aspects of a story. From the words they have chosen, we should be able to see who the characters truly are. Once a point has been made through the use of descriptive narrative, the writer needs to move on. Otherwise, Brian fears, a reader will find the story boring. He thinks it far better to write a shorter novel than to write a longer one filled with unnecessary descriptive wording that ultimately drives the reader to search for another book.

When Brian started writing Dressed for a Kill, the three main points to which he tried to adhere were: realism, dialogue and not being overly descriptive. He wanted the dialogue to tell the story and not have the characters interact with unrelated conversation. He wanted the descriptive wording to fill in the blanks and make certain the story was a real possibility in time—that it could happen. He also wanted his characters to be human, with real flaws just like the rest of us, and not make them like those seen on movie screens who are neither plausible nor real.

Brian thought hard about what kind of a story he wanted to write. To which genre did he belong? What kinds of stories did he personally enjoy reading? What attracted him as a reader? Most importantly, would he be a story-smith, able to tell it well? Brian questioned himself on all of these issues; not for him to start writing without a clear direction.

Murder/mysteries intrigue him. As a reader moves through a book, he or she must always keep an eye open for the one little clue, the one tell-tale sign that might lead to the right conclusion before the author has had a chance to tell us. Brian loves being able to outsmart the author. To Brian, writing is a challenge. The scent of the challenge is what inspired him to write Dressed for a Kill.

He labored at his task, as first impressions are lasting impressions. It took him a year to write and longer to edit; until finally, he was pleased with his labor of love. Brian knows it is good. He trusts what his gut tells him. And his positive reviews reinforce his belief in himself. Some of these can be read on his website, some on Amazon.

He wanted a unique storyline that incorporated twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the very end. Even at the end, he wanted to leave the reader unsure as to whether the real killer was caught, or if others were involved.

Brian believes that those who like John Grisham will like him, also. And John Grisham had to start somewhere. Readers must always take a punt. As a new writer, all that Brian asks is that readers do likewise for him. It might be a risk. But Brian is a risk-taker and believes the price of discovering a new author is well worth it. After all, there is nothing better in life than discovering something new. And he guarantees, readers won’t be disappointed

http://www.amazon.com/Dressed-Kill-Brian-Bianco/dp/1439258880

www.bbianco.ca

www.orangeberrybooks.com

Endnote by Betty Dravis: Dr. Niamh Clune resides in the UK and is best known for her metaphysical book Orange Petals in a Storm. She can be found at:

ttp://www.niamhclune.co.uk

http://facebook.com/niamh.clune

www.orangeberrybooks.com



by Betty Dravis

Since world-renowned author Joseph Finder is heading “across the pond” to the UK to participate in the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and has limited time before leaving, instead of asking him too many questions, let me share a little of his background.

This extremely talented, Boston-based author penned nine best-selling, stand-alone novels: Red Carpet, The Moscow Club, Extraordinary Powers, The Zero Hour, High Crimes, Paranoia, Company Man, Killer Instinct and Power Play (all from 1983 through 2007). High Crimes became a movie starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.

I’m also pleased to announce new developments in the adaptation of Finder’s book Killer Instinct to film. Film development is a long process, but the project took a major leap forward recently with the announcement that Bruce Beresford would be directing the film for Chockstone Pictures and De Fina Productions. Beresford will also work on a revised screenplay with David Murray, who wrote the original screenplay adaptation. Beresford is best known for winning an Academy Award as director of Driving Miss Daisy.

I regret that I didn’t discover Finder’s outstanding works until the High Crimes movie was released. I quickly grabbed a copy of the book and will be the first to admit I became an instant, die-hard fan, following his career with interest. Since then, I have read and reviewed many of his subsequent novels, including Vanished (2010) and am in the process of reviewing Buried Secrets (2011).

Those two novels are the first of a thriller series that Finder plans to write for a very long time. His new hero is the popular, dashing Nick Heller, a private spy who is as handsome as he is clever and exciting. In fact, Heller has been described by many as “the James Bond for this generation.” And since Finder writes about CEOs and businesses, he’s often called “The CEO of Suspense.”

This popular author is also a founding member of the International Thriller Writers Association and has won so many awards there isn’t room to list them all. If you’d like to learn more about thrillers and Finder’s writing style, check his recent interview with Artful Hatter at http://artfulhatter.com/2011/07/06/artful-interview-joseph-finder-the-art-of-the-thrill/

Joseph Finder with Graham Smith of CrimeSquad.com at Harrogate/UK.

Betty Dravis: I think that’s a pretty fair introduction to your works, Joe, but now it’s my pleasure to welcome you to Dames of Dialogue. Since I’m a long-time fan, I’m honored that you granted this email interview, especially since I caught you at one of your busiest times.

The logical place to begin is with your childhood. This is not a highly original question, but pertains to something that readers always want to know about their favorite authors: When did you decide to become a writer? And do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?

Joseph Finder: I have to give credit to Eleanor Cameron, author of The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet and other books for children. I read those books as a kid and loved them so much that I wrote to Miss Cameron–and to my amazement and delight, she wrote me back. We corresponded for several years. She was tremendously kind to me, and her letters were my first real understanding that books came from real people who wrote them. From there came the idea that maybe I could write books, too. . .  I can’t remember the first thing I wrote, but I can tell you that I originally wanted to be a cartoonist, so I drew a lot more than I wrote. Those dreams died during my freshman year of college when I got a D in drawing. A D! (laughs)

I started reading the great thrillers and espionage novels as a teenager–Ian Fleming, Eric Ambler, then Robert Ludlum–but rather than wanting to be a writer, I wanted to be a spy. I was recruited to the CIA after school, but to my dismay, I found the life of an intelligence analyst was very different from James Bond’s. A career in a cubicle reading crop reports wasn’t what I had in mind. (laughs) So I taught for several years, wrote a nonfiction book and gave myself a certain amount of time to write and sell a novel. I barely made my self-imposed deadline, selling The Moscow Club not quite three years after I’d started it.

Betty Dravis: That’s fantastic, Joe. You were lucky to meet your deadline. I tried for eight years to get a New York publisher or a good agent. That was in the days when they wouldn’t accept multiple submissions, so I had to wait at least three months to get the dreaded rejection slip before submitting to another. Thus, in eight years, I could only submit it thirty-two times. I have no idea where I got that patience, but what kept me going was that every editor, including Random House, said I had talent (one even said “enormous talent”)…followed by the inevitable BUT we can’t take you on right now. Ouch! That’s when I went to small Indies. I’ve had two good publishers and one bad one, but… Well, that’s my story and my readers are here to read yours. (laughs)

I’m delighted that you met your deadline, Joe, because the literary world is much richer because of you and your writing. And I’m not surprised to learn you were with the CIA for a time because I had read that in your biography. That helps understand why your plots are so exciting and realistic.

Sandie Van Dyke from Grand Rapids, MI, won a signed library in a special contest.

Joseph Finder: It would be more accurate, Betty, to say they recruited me; I was not an agent.  But thanks for noticing the research. I spend a lot of time on it, and it’s important to me to get the details right.

Betty Dravis: That accuracy is evident in your work, Joe, because your scenes are so realistic that when I read them I feel like I’m there and the action is happening all around me… So real… So frightening…

I understand that you just ended a book tour for your latest thriller Buried Secrets, but before running off to the UK, please share how it came about that you allowed yourself to be buried alive in order to make your book more realistic? That scares me to death just thinking about it. In fact thinking about the poor girl in the casket is what made the book so gripping to me. I turned those pages faster than I’ve ever turned any, holding my breath until the final outcome. Wow–talk about thrills! (laughs)

Joseph Finder: Well, Betty, I discovered a few years ago that claustrophobia is one of my own fears. So when I had the idea for Buried Secrets–of a young woman held captive underground in a coffin–I felt I couldn’t do that to one of my characters, much less a teen-aged girl, unless I was willing to see what it was like for myself.

It was harder than I expected to find a funeral director who was willing to let me “test drive” a casket (that’s the term of art; funeral directors don’t say “coffin”). It’s not exactly an everyday request, and I can only imagine what some of the people I talked to must have thought. But I found a very nice funeral director, Dennis Sweeney in Quincy, MA, who agreed to lock me into a casket.

The first thing that surprised me was how comfortable it was. That’s a real mattress in the casket; I almost thought I might be able to take a nap. But it didn’t take long before I noticed how stuffy things were getting. I don’t know whether a casket is actually airtight, but I quickly became aware of how little air I had.

Then, to my horror, I realized I hadn’t set up any kind of signal with Dennis to let him know when I was ready to come out. I started knocking on the inside of the lid, but at first they didn’t hear me. Needless to say, I was relieved when they finally opened the lid. I probably only spent about ten minutes locked inside; it felt much longer. I sincerely hope I never have to do that again while I’m alive.

I made a short video about the experience; you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXNsL4vG6Xw

Betty Dravis: OMG, Joe… I know that feeling. My brother and I used to “play-fight” on the couch at our childhood home and once he held me down with a pillow over my face. Talk about panic; I panicked big time, and ever since then I’ve been a tad claustrophobic. But you’re much braver than I. In fact, I’m beginning to think Nick Heller is patterned after you. He is everyone’s idea of a great protagonist: smart, handsome and oozing with courage.

But moving on, I’m guessing that you’re currently working on the third Nick Heller book. If so, can you tell us a little bit about it? Just enough to intrigue us, but not enough to give anything away… And the title, if you have one yet…

Joseph Finder: I’m not ready to say much about it yet, except that Nick goes international in this book, and the story involves identity theft. Most people have no real idea of how easy identity theft can be, or how badly it can wreck someone’s life or business.

Betty Dravis: I’m impressed that you’re choosing identity theft as a plot line, Joe, and I know second hand how it wrecks lives. I had a friend whose identity was stolen and he had to work with his creditors, hire an attorney and it took several years for him to regain his own identity. That not only took its toll on his finances but on his health too.

But the third in your Heller series sounds like a high concept story and I can’t wait to go on another exciting adventure with Nick.

At this point I would ordinarily ask about your favorite authors, but since your time is limited today, our readers would much rather know the answer to this: If you could spend an entire day or even a weekend with anyone besides your wife (living or dead) who would you choose and why?

Joe's fans stand in line to get his autograph wherever he goes. WTG, Joe!

Joseph Finder: That’s a really tough question, Betty, and on any given day you’d get a different answer from me. Robert Ludlum, whom I had the pleasure of knowing, was great company, and I’d love to spend another day with him. I’d also very much like to meet Nabokov, who was so brilliant on so many different topics. But expand it to anyone, living or dead, and I’m paralyzed by choice. Thomas Jefferson? Helen of Troy? No, my wife would probably object to that one. (laughs)

Betty Dravis: I don’t blame her there, Joe. Helen of Troy was an alluring beauty. (laughs)

Joe with his own "alluring beauty," wife Michele, and the renowned John Updike.

I’ve seen photos of your office and I would love to write in that atmosphere, but can you also share with us what you generally wear when writing and what a typical working day is like for you? Do you listen to music while writing or do you prefer absolute quiet?

Joseph Finder: Yes, I have an office, and keep more or less regular office hours, although I’m often up very early writing, especially toward the end of a book. Since my office is a few blocks away from where I live, I dress “business casual” to go to work, much as I’d have dressed when I was teaching. Once in a great while I might need a jacket or tie, but not usually.

Joe writes here! Now this is what I call a "Dream Office!"

As for music, yes, absolutely I listen to music, but it all depends on what I’m writing. I find that individual characters often have their own theme songs, and sometimes the book itself will have a particular soundtrack in my head. I listened to a lot of gospel music while I was writing Company Man. For Vanished, Nick Heller’s song was Johnny Cash’s “All I Do is Drive.”

Betty Dravis: Oh, I remember that from Vanished, Joe. In fact, I’ve always enjoyed country/western music and am a fan of Johnny Cash too. In fact, knowing Nick liked Cash,  made me relate to him even stronger. Thanks for refreshing my memory about that.

Since you have to pack and do a million other things before leaving, I’m going to cheat a little and ask a question that might entail your giving away more than one secret in one question. I’m not nearly as clever as Nick, but I try hard… (laughs)

Give us three unknown little facts about you. Be creative. This could be a sport you enjoy, your favorite coffee, or even a clever anecdote about how you met your wife (our readers love romance) or what strange critter your child brought home. Well… whatever comes to mind.

Joseph Finder: This is hard, Betty, because I don’t know what people don’t know. I mean, my life isn’t exactly an open book, but I’m not a hoarder of secrets, except in fiction. Let’s see. . . English was not my first language. I spoke Farsi first, because my family was living in Afghanistan while my father taught there. Second, I once had to get out of Russia before the KGB arrested me; I’d been talking to people they didn’t want me to talk to. And third, I got to sing with Ella Fitzgerald once while I was in college, as a member of the Whiffenpoofs at Yale.

Betty Dravis: Wow, that must have been cool, Joe; singing with the great Ella! All three of those are interesting tidbits about you. I find them pretty amusing and I bet now that you’ve mentioned the Whiffenpoofs many of our readers will rush to Google for more about them. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard of them… (laughs)

I have many more questions to ask you, Joe, but I know you’re in a hurry and doing this as a favor to me, so out of consideration for your schedule, I’ll reluctantly end this session, hoping you will return again when you’re back in Boston. I really would love to chat with you about the changes in our industry, especially your feelings on electronic publishing. But I will have to wait.

Before leaving, I hope you don’t mind if I share something that author Lee Child said about your character Nick Heller: “If Jack Reacher met Nick Heller in a dark alley, my money’s on Reacher. But it would be ugly. Or would it? Actually, I think they’d go for a beer together and set the world to rights – because Joseph Finder has given me a terrific new hero to root for. This is an action-packed, full-throttle, buy-it-today-read-it-tonight series that you definitely shouldn’t miss.” —Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels

Wow, Joe, that’s impressive! What a wonderful compliment from an author whose Jack Reacher character is loved by all. That says more for your new series and Nick Heller than I could ever say.

 Joseph Finder: I’m glad you found that quote, Betty. Lee is great, and probably the most generous author I know. Nick Heller would be honored to have a beer with Jack Reacher.

I guess you know that my Amazon review of "Buried Secrets" will be five-star all the way. I do not want Joe to have me for dinner. 🙂

Betty Dravis: In my opinion, the time has passed much too swiftly, but I’ll have to say farewell for now, Joe. Please keep us posted on what Nick Heller gets up to and on all your writing. I appreciate your sharing your time with us. Best of luck with Buried Secrets. I’m reviewing it soon, but can tell you now that it’s the most gripping story I’ve read this year. I recommend it unconditionally. Farewell for now and I hope Nick Heller has a long, long run. He’s my new favorite serial character.

I’m not the only one who feels that way. In closing, I’d like to share your first official review of Buried Secrets: “Highly recommended not only for Finder fans but for mystery lovers fascinated with digital surveillance. Crisp, clipped chapters and numerous cliff-hangers propel the action at a breakneck pace. Finder’s outstanding writing and engrossing plot twists embellish a captivating summer read.” – Library Journal

Joseph Finder: Thanks very much, Betty! It’s been a pleasure. Hope to see folks at Bouchercon in St. Louis. Before then, you can find me online at www.josephfinder.com, on Facebook as Joseph Finder, and on Twitter. Happy reading!

ENDNOTE from Betty Dravis: By the time you read this, Joe will be back in the States, preparing for more exciting author events. As you might know, Bouchercon (that he mentioned above) is the biggest event of the crime fiction year. Finder is on the program that will be held this year in St. Louis, September 15-18. In addition to the link Joe supplied, please check the following links to learn more about the fascinating, multi-talented Joseph Finder:

http://www.facebook.com/josephfinder

http://twitter.com/#!/joefinder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0m2FCQZaok&feature=player_embedded

Finder - On the program at Harrogate with many of our favorite authors: James Rollins, at podium, Carla Buckley, Jeffrey Deaver, Joseph Finder, Jamie Freveletti, Andrew Peterson and John Sandford.

                                                           

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