Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Interview with Richard Hacker, Author of 'Die Book: Book One of the Alchimeia' @Richard_Hacker #interview

January 29, 2019 0 Comments

I don’t want to move, but I’m not in control. Up and over the mud wall of a trench, the weight of a pack straining my back, the rifle heavy in my hands. A man to my left flies backward as if jerked by a cable, his cry muffled by explosions, his chest ripped open, organs spilling into the muck. I, we, plod forward through mud. A rhythmic takka-takka-takka, tat, tat, tat in the distance and more explosions vibrating through my feet.”

–From Die Back: Book One of the Alchimeia by Richard Hacker

Richard Hacker is a longtime resident of Austin, Texas who now writes and lives in Seattle. His writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. In addition to his writing, he provides editing services to other writers and is the editor of an online science fiction and fantasy journal, Del Sol Review. His three published humorous crime novels ride the sometimes thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. DIE BACK, his first fantasy thriller novel, has been published by Del Sol Press.

Die Back
Book Description:
In 272 AD Egypt, an enemy thwarts an attempt by League Inkers, Thomas Shaw and Nikki Babineaux, to obtain the Alchįmeia, a document holding alchemical secrets. Sensing his impending death, Thomas secures Nikki’s promise to keep his son, Addison, from the League, an organization defending the time continuum. After his father’s death, Addison inherits a mysterious pen, accidentally inking himself into the consciousness of a man who dies on a muddy WWI battlefield in France. Hoping to make sense of his experience, he confides in Nikki, his best friend and unknown to Addison, an Inker. Keeping her promise to Thomas, she discounts Addison’s experience.

Fixated on the pen, Addison inks into a B-17 bombardier in 1943. The pilot, whose consciousness has been taken over by someone calling himself Kairos, gloats over killing Addison’s father and boasts of plans to destroy the League. As Kairos attempts to wrest Addison’s consciousness, Nikki shocks Addison out of the Inking. She confesses her knowledge of  the League. When Kairos threatens to steal aviation technology, she she sends Addison and his partner, Jules, to an Army test of the Wright Flyer in 1908. Believing they have succeeded, they return to find the continuum shifted and Nikki knowing nothing about the League.

Inking back to his father’s mission in Alexandria, Addison and Jules hope to get his help in returning the time continuum to its original state. Instead, Addison’s father gives him the Alchįmeia to hide in a crypt at the Great Lighthouse on Phalos. On their return to the present a Kairos agent murders Jules, her consciousness Inked into the past. Addison follows the clues, Inking into Pizarro in 16th century Peru. He finds Jules in the child bride of the Inca emperor. His plan to find the technology and save Jules without destroying the Inca civilization is thwarted by a fleet of Inca airships. Captured, he is taken to Machu Picchu. With Jules help, they find the stolen schematics, but are confronted by Kairos. He stabs Addison, forcing Addison’s consciousness back to the present and traps Jules in the 16th Century. Addison returns to another altered world. Nikki no longer exists, the world is at war with the Inca, and Manhattan lay in ruins.

Addison Inks his father, learning the origins of the League. Thomas urges Addison to uncover their enemy with the help of his colleague, Maya. Putting suspicion on another inker,  Cameron, she insists he must be killing Inkers and acquiring Pens. In a final attempt to stop him, they entrap Cameron, only for Addison to discover Maya is Kairos, his enemy.  She kills Cameron, also wounding Addison.  He chases Maya, who intimates that she holds his mother’s, Rebecca’s, consciousness. Confused he delays, giving her time to scrawl a name with her pen before shooting her dead.
Inked away when Maya died, Kairos finds himself, not in his intended host, Hitler, but in a German infantry soldier POW in the Ardenne during the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. Hoping to repair the shift in the time continuum, Addison brings the League Pens together with the fate of the world and everyone he loves at stake. He awakens to a dissimilar world, but Jules and Nikki exist. And with life there is always hope.


Welcome, Richard!  Your new fantasy/thriller series sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
Richard: This might sound odd, but Dieback started with a fountain pen. I was holding a fountain pen one day and my mind wandered to the power of words. Human beings have been naming things since the beginnings of language. It’s how we find our place in the world and in some cases I think, gives us a sense of control. Or at least the illusion of control. So, what would happen if a character had a pen filled with alchemical ink that when he wrote the name and a date for someone living in the past, his consciousness would be transported into that person? What would he do with that astounding capability? And as with most technology, what if someone decided to use the alchemy to acquire power and control time itself? How would the protagonist fend off this attack on the time continuum and reality as he knows it? And then I put the fountain pen down, pulled at the laptop, and started writing.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters?
Richard: The protagonist, Addison Shaw, is a complicated guy. He has a deep guilt and sense of responsibility for the death of girl friend when he rolled their car on a mountain road in a snowstorm. He carries the scars of that night, emotionally and physically with a damaged knee requiring him to use a cane to walk. He went from school athlete to disabled loner. As the story progresses he will face even greater challenges and will have to find a way to heal himself enough to move forward. He’s also a bit of a smart ass, a little compulsive, more shy than he’d like you to think, and willing to act even when he’s terrified.
His parter and off and on girlfriend, Jules McCullough, is a strong and courageous woman, full of life. When Addison first meets Jules, her presence intimidates. Her ebony hair swept tightly back from her face, exploding into a Mohawk of red-tipped spikes. She had piercings in her eye brows, a silver nose ring, and white bone spiraling through her ear lobes contrasting against mocha skin. A tattoo ran the length of her right arm, a twisting vine of green leaves and yellow, orange, and pink flowers, disappearing into the short sleeve of a black Ramones tee shirt. She wore a khaki utility kilt with a silver studded belt slipped over her hips and black combat boots. She looked like a woman from another time and place—a fierce female Maasai warrior from the Tanzanian Serengeti. They will live…and die, many times over to protect the time continuum.
Cuthbert Grimwalde, a 15th century scryer and mystic befriends Tobias Faryndon, the founder of the League and the perfecter of its alchemy. But Grimwalde’s dark heart soon turns against Faryndon as the scryer realizes he can use the alchemy to not only change the past or the future, but to control and master the world for all time. By the time Grimwalde encounters Addison, he has sojourned across a thousands of years and has taken the name, Kairos. He considers himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Master of the Space Time Continuum.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Richard: Several points come to mind, but I think readers will have a difficult time putting the book down during the Inca encounter. Ethan Inks into the consciousness of the 16th century conquestador, Pizarro, in a desperate attempt to save his partner, Jules. Attacked in the present, she inks into Cuxirmay, the child bride of the Incan Emperor Atahaulpa. Addison struggles to maintain control of Pizarro and the passions and violence of both Pizarro and Atahualpa. If he succeeds, both Jules and Addison live to fight another day and the time continuum remains stable. If he fails, Jules will be trapped in 16th century Peru, the outcome of Pizarro’s encounter with the Inca is altered, and the future will change in a thousand unknown ways. And I think the outcome will surprise you.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Richard: Both. I always proof and edit my work, but at some point, I’ve been standing in the forest for so long, all the trees look the same! It’s remarkable how I can read something a hundred times and in my mind, I’ve corrected the typo, but on the page, the typo remains. So I always have others comb through the manuscript. They’ll point out typos and grammar issues, as well as continuity issues, and make suggestions. And then I make decisions based on their feedback.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Richard: Absolutely. These days, most people are shopping for the next read online, which means they’re looking at a thumbnail image of the book. The cover needs to be something that catches the eye and then draws the reader in for a closer look. The title, which gives you pause, is easy to see in thumbnail. The image of a young man floating upward captures the idea of both the inking—when he uses the pen to enter the mind of someone in the past—and the dieback—when he dies to re-enter his own body. I think the publisher did a great job taking that image and then designing the front, spine, and back. Hope you think so too.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Richard: Well, like a lot of kids I wanted to be many things. The first time I saw Louis Armstrong on the Ed Sullivan Show (okay, I just dated myself!) I wanted to be a jazz musician. When I was in the third-grade I started writing short stories which I read to the class for show and tell. Why I did that, I’m not so sure. My squirrel skeleton in a shoebox had been a hit, but I think having the class respond to my stories got me hooked on writing. And then in high school I gravitated towards medicine. As an adult, I dabble in jazz, I know how to rip open a bandaid wrapper, and I write novels.
Do your novels carry a message?
Richard: When life looks hopeless, when everything seems to be turned upside, the people who make a difference are not super heroes, but people like you and me, who persevere in spite of the odds.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Richard: Thanks so much for providing this opportunity to share my work with your readers. I hope they enjoy reading Dieback as much as I enjoyed writing it. For fun, go check out the trailer for the book. https://youtu.be/qesyHscyzNM And I’d love to hear from you. Visit my website, www.richardhacker.com and drop me a line.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Conversation with John R. Beyer, Author of 'Iquitos, The Past Will Kill' @DrJohnRBeyer #interview #thriller #mystery

January 24, 2019 0 Comments

“Frank had gone from a crimes-against-persons detective to private detective when he retired from the Riverside Police Department. Jonas Peters had gone from homicide detective to falling into a bottle of Jack Daniels and then re-surfacing to finish a case which cost him a dear friend, along with many innocents. Fortunately, that story had a happy ending, with the killing of Zachary Marshall, the psychopath who had started it all. It should have meant the release of the demons Jonas had felt for so many years, but instead, it just reinforced the negativity of the world in which he had lived for so long. He wanted out, but did not know how to exit.”

--From Iquitos: The Past Will Kill by John R. Beyers

John R. Beyer spent nearly ten years in law enforcement in Southern California as a street cop, a training officer and a member of the elite SWAT team. After leaving the force, he continued in public service entering the field of education. During his tenure, he served as classroom teacher, school administrator and district administrator, and was an integral part of the gang and drug force in San Bernardino. While in both worlds he earned a Doctorate in School Administration and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

During all those years, he never gave up the passion for writing – both fiction and nonfiction. He has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and the like for decades, writing on a variety of topics. His latest short stories in the past year can be found in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine (2016) and GNU Journal (2017). He is also the author of three highly praised internationally known novels – Hunted (2013), Soft Target (2014) and Operation Scorpion (2017).

He won the 'Write Well Award' in October of 2018 from the Silver Pen Writer's Association for a fictional short story.

His newest novel, ‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’, was released in November of 2018 by Black Opal Books bringing two of his protagonists together for their first investigation. Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders will work hand in hand with an international incident which left undetected could cause a catastrophic issue for the United States. They are friends and they are good at they do. Catching the bad guys.

Book Description:

Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders team up to solve a string of murders, starting with the intentional and fatal bombing of a local coffee shop in downtown Riverside—a usually calm city in Southern
California. Dozens are dead after an explosion rips apart the Coffee Grind, leaving dozens of others gravely wounded. Frank soon finds himself up to his elbows assisting the bombing victims, especially when he discovers that Jonas was walking to the Coffee Grind to meet up with his fiancée, but he never made it. In an instant, all their lives are thrust into a trail of death and destruction carried out by an unknown psychopath.

Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for, Iquitos, The Past Will Kill?
I had a desire to use Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders in a novel together. They have been protagonists in my other books, but the thought of them working together to solve a heinous crime seemed pretty interesting. My wife and I had traveled to Peru a few times and I was always deeply intrigued by the mystery and darkness of the Amazon rainforest. I had to use it as a backdrop – just had to. Then the idea came up of having Jonas there in the past and move the past forward as the harbinger of dangerous things to come for both Jonas and Frank.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?
Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders are both retired police detectives from Riverside, California. They had worked together in the past but were not what we would call close friends. When they retired and turned to the business of private investigations, they again worked together on cases and a close friendship has developed. Both men have suffered great losses in their lives – Jonas watched as his young daughter was murdered in front of him and Frank’s entire family, his spouse and two children, were killed in a car accident while he was on duty. So, both are emotionally flawed but at the same time, they have a great understanding of human nature. They can laugh, love, but simultaneously, be very dangerous for those who may want to harm others.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

I am hoping it is when a terrorist attack takes place in Riverside leaving the love of Jonas’s life in a medically induced coma. Jonas is also physically hurt but, and again this goes to his character, he defies doctor’s orders and leaves the hospital to find the perpetrators. It is at this point in the story, Jonas’s true personality comes to the surface and he makes it his mission to find those responsible and to ensure they pay for hurting those he loves.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
My usual writing procedure is to knock out as much as I can in a sitting and then edit it the next day. Many times I will go back and check what was written to ensure it is following logically with the telling of the story. My wonderful spouse, Laureen, is my first editor, since she is looking at the writing with a critical eye where a writer may not see some flaws in both story and grammar, since they are the creators of the fiction. Her fees can usually be paid with a kiss or a glass of wine. After the novel is finished, the editors at Black Opal Books, the publishing house which has purchased all four of my novels, puts the novel through a rigorous three editor process. After each edit the work is returned to me so I can agree or disagree with any changes they have suggested. There are multiple sets of eyes perusing the work to make sure it is the best it can be when finally released. Since they have purchased the rights to the book, the editing is done, of course, at no cost to me.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
I believe it is human nature to look for beauty and a book cover definitely needs to fit that definition. But the cover of a book must also be able to draw the eyes of a potential reader, and reveal an intriguing glimpse into the story. The cover of any book, be that fiction or non-fiction, is the first thing a reader sees. If it draws enough curiosity, that book will be picked up, turned over and the back cover read so the reader will begin to form a concept in their mind whether or not if it is something worth reading. Let’s look at a book cover like a house for sale. New paint, a well-manicured yard, and the right appeal will have potential buyers stopping by for a peek. It’s the same with a well-conceived book cover.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
I wanted to be so many different things. A dentist, a cop, a painter, but the one thing that has always been in my mind was to be a story teller. I am so thrilled and honored to have people enjoy reading what I write – that is a dream come true. Of course, I wanted to be a good husband and great father – I hope I have succeeded in both – I think I have given it my best and continue to do so.

Do your novels carry a message?
I never intentionally set out to create a message, but since my novels deal with crime and the solving of crimes – I guess the message is that good will always triumph over evil. Even if my protagonists are flawed humans – not always the best people they go out of their way to protect others, with their own lives if need be. I suppose, as my story and characters develop, the psychology of the message is revealed to me, and unfolds within the telling of the story. It is more of an unconscious thing. I love the motto we used to have when I was in law enforcement – we are the sheep dogs who will protect the sheep from the wolves. That theme certainly has run through my life and pervades my writing.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
I just want my fans and potential new readers that it is very humbling to have such people in my life. The appreciation I feel cannot be described in simple words. When I work on a novel and know when it is released that people will enjoy reading it – it just makes all the hours sitting behind a keyboard worthwhile. Without readers there would be no writers – there wouldn’t be a need for us.
Thank you all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Conversation with Cozy Mystery Author Duffy Brown #interview

January 23, 2019 0 Comments

“Sutter draped his arm over my shoulder and brought me close. “Bodies float, Chicago. They get washed ashore with the tides, especially with the big diesels churning up the water. Disposing of a body has to be done right. They have to be tied and weighed down and dumped out in the middle of the lake. Something to keep in mind the next time you and your sidekick here think about dragging me away from dessert. I can take care of things from here. You two take care of my horse then get back to whatever you were doing.””

--From Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She is a National Bestselling author and now conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own. She has two series the Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah along with rescue pup Bruce Willis and the Cycle Path Mysteries set on Mackinac Island with judgmental cats Cleveland and Bambino. Her latest book is the cozy mystery, Tandem Demise.

Book Description:

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles. 

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. ​Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop. Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.


Welcome, Duffy!  Your new cozy mystery sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
Duffy: I love Mackinac Island! I took my daughter there to do research. She’s from NYC and Mackinac is so so different and a huge adjustment. So, Evie Bloomfield was born…a designer from Chicago who comes to Mackinac and is completely out of her element. 

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?

Duffy: My main characters are not perfect. They’ve made mistakes, been in bad relationships, failed at marriages and jobs, BUT they always bounce back. And they put family above all else. I think that’s what most people are like and what is real. Also I like to have my characters change and grow from their mistakes. I don’t want them to be the same book after book. In my Cycle Path series Evie owns a bike shop and she can’t ride a bike…but she’s learning. The learning part is so important to all characters.  

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Duffy: When the chief of police is accused of murder and all the evidence is stacked against him. How did this happen and why? And how will the Mackinac regulars get him off the hook. 

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

Duffy:  I pay a professional. I suck at catching those pesky typos that are always there and it really helps to have a professional look things over. Typos still sneak though but I do the best I can.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Duffy: You bet! My daughter designed the cover for Tandem Demise and she’s a professional designer and special effects artist in NYC. I just love the cover she did for me. The cover tells the story and draws in the readers.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Duffy: Something with horses and now that I’m an adult I’m scared to death of them. LOL. I did always make up stores in my mind and I think that’s why I’m a writer now and that I read Nancy Drew over and over. Deep down I wanted to be Nancy Drew. Didn’t we all. 

Do your novels carry a message?

Duffy:  I think they do and it’s that best friends are priceless, family first, have some fun and never giver up. 

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

Duffy: Thank YOU! Meeting and chatting with readers is the very best part of writing. I’ve met so many wonderful people along my journey as a writer. I’ve truly been blessed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Conversation with Satirical Fantasy Author & Win $25 Amazon Gift Card! @thenoblegasses #TheKinfolk #interview

January 16, 2019 0 Comments
“To get close to something a million times is the same as being a mile away from it!” Papa Dilly reminded a hastily-gathered group of upper-level Kinfolk in a scornful shout, wagging his finger judgmentally. “What you see to believe in is what you need... If you need a doorstop, I'll be your doorstop. As you need me as your aquarium, I'll be your aquarium, for those of you that don't have an aquarium... If you need me as your Pat Boone, I'll be your Pat Boone. Need a pimp? Say ‘Hello’ to Silky Bradford, welcome to my stable! I am just a holy mirror. Turn your nose up at me, you’ll see a beggar. Worship me, you’ll see a higher being. Look me straight in the eye, you’ll see yourself. If you need me as your merciless vengeful God, I'll be your merciless vengeful God!”
The windows rattled in the long, sweaty pauses as the winds outside grew with the rhetoric. I’m not God,” Papa Dilly clarified paradoxically. “God is me!”

--From The Kinfolk by Josh Hickman

Equally fascinated with horror movies, comedians, and true crime since early childhood, Josh Hickman spent equal time wading in the heady waters of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, the Three Stooges comedy shorts, and Helter Skelter while growing up in various parts of Texas. When he became a writer, Hickman incorporated his comedic sensibility and lifelong love of the horror and true crime genres into his satiric writings. His past comic novels also include the fictional comedy bio THROUGH TICK & TINN: THE TRUE STORY OF THE GREATEST UNKNOWN COMEDY TEAM EVER KNOWN and the illustrated surreal, cautionary high-seas treasure-hunt saga AMBERGRIS. Hickman lives and works in Hollywood.
About the Book:

Hollywood Author Josh Hickman will release his latest brand of satirical, humorous books in mid-November. In the author’s new book, THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE  he explores FIVE SLICES OF FEAR, that has received much critical praise from book reviewers.
the maddening world of cults.  Mr. Hickman’s new novel follows his last satirical fantasy book,
Hollywood writer Mr. Hickman releases his new book as the fourth in a fantasy book series he has created and published.  In THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE he chronicles the rise and fall of a “seductive, fanatical cult” led by the enigmatic Dillman “Papa Dilly” Bradford.
With THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE once again fact meets fiction in the funny fantasy worlds author Josh Hickman creates. This time his fascination with cults has produced a fresh, yet familiar cast of charlatans, rubes, losers, and lucky fools, finding laughs in the cult impulse, religious fervor, and the common pathos of the average person who will do anything to find solace and belonging. Once more, author Hickman focuses his gaze on tragic comedy that is human existence--with all its fears, pitfalls, trials, and triumphs--and again he speaks hilarious truth to power in his latest entry THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE.
“For as long as I’ve read books I’ve always been a huge fan of comedic novels,” Hickman asserted. “It was time I decided to start expressing my own comedic side of creative writing.”
Welcome, Josh!  Your new satirical fantasy novel sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
Josh: While weighing inspirations and ideas for my next comic novel, I was suddenly sort of hit over the head with the obvious fact that I had been researching cults of one form or another—i.e. the Manson Family, the Jonestown massacre, Scientology, est—since my early college days. The trick then was to “find the funny,” to expose that eternal human pathos—that ever-present weakness and blindness in all of us waiting to be exploited when the time and situation are right.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters?
Josh: The main characters in The Kinfolk: Cult of Sex & Cheese are cult founder and leader Dillman “Papa Dilly” Bradford and his immediate family. Always an eccentric outcast who some called mad, Papa Dilly maintained an inexplicable power of mesmerism and influence of people since his childhood days as a boy faith healer. He and his rabidly protective wife “Mother Milly” started what became the Kinfolk cult while proselytizing on the road in 1953.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Josh: Well, around the halfway mark The Kinfolk experience a big change and a bigger challenge. Hounded by what they think is persecution by the authorities and outraged citizens, the cult pulls up stakes in Los Angeles and disappears into the night. Secretly, Dillman plans to convert and take over an entire small town, Lemon Curd in Northern California, the question is, will the Kinfolk be successful in their diabolical mission?
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Josh: Yes. To paraphrase Buster Keaton, the trappings or setting of a joke must be completely realistic and believable for the joke to work. Then you can go nuts. I have always tried to make my comic novel book covers look dryly realistic: the academic, biographic cover of Through Tick & Tinn: The True Story Of The Greatest Unknown Comedy Team Ever Known, the scrimshaw engraved look of the whaling epic Ambergris (I drew the image myself), the early-70s pop literary horror anthology style of Five Slices Of Fear: A Connoisseur’s Hoagie Of Horror. For the Kinfolk I went for a mid-70s overly serious but sensational cover, in the style of Helter Skelter, The Family, or the Charles Manson Life magazine cover—muted colors with a shock of red, very photographic. The Kinfolk cult functionally ended in 1974, so I tried to make it look like a pop-true crime or pop-sociology bestseller from around 1976 or so. If a few people are confused whether its fact or fiction, then I feel like I’ve done my job.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Josh: At first, I wanted to be a mailman. But, by the time I was nine I was producing little animated home movies on super 8mm film, and by the time I was twelve I had written my first collection of short stories. But I also drew constantly, as well. Art was probably my first love, but film and writing took over at some point. I continued with art into college, then transferred to film and screenwriting before I graduated.
Do your novels carry a message?
Josh: I think so, yes, a subtle one. There’s a lot of tragedy in my comedies, a lot of pathos. Many times in my life I think I “laugh to keep from crying,” as they say. To illuminate and illustrate hypocrisy, to be able to laugh at others and especially at yourself seems to be an eternal gift. To expose the stupid things people do—the lies they tell you as well as the lies you tell yourself—is a healing and informative thing to do, I think. When people’s perspective and cold reality become completely at odds, sometimes all you can do is take note and laugh.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Josh: Laugh more. I think we all need to laugh more, I know I do. Times seem to have gotten awfully unfunny as of late; emergency shots of humor and satire are desperately needed right now. If you’re looking to be offended in this world, you will never be disappointed. I think concentrating on how we are all human—to look at our similarities rather than our differences—is a worthy and fun endeavor.


Josh Hickman is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 7, 2019

A Conversation with Adventure Thriller Author Mark H. Jackson

January 07, 2019 0 Comments
“The Emperor thrust out a hand and one of his men pulled him to his feet.
‘Cut his throat and bury him in the bog.’ He clenched his fists. ‘Then find
his belongings. Find them, or I’ll order you buried with him.’”
–From The Atlantis Deception by Mark H. Jackson

Mark H. Jackson is a qualified solicitor who splits his time between protecting the rights of academics, writing thriller fiction and raising five mostly lovely children. He studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on the relationship of the Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilisation and religion. It was within this flame the plots for his future novels were born.
Mark’s writing career extends back over a decade and his diverse portfolio includes three novels, a number of short stories and even a six-part sitcom. Long listed for the Breakthrough Novel Award, he is currently a featured author on the popular writing website, Wattpad, with over 6,000 followers from all around the world and well over one million reads of his first novel. Aside from Wattpad, Mark is an active member on a number of other writing websites, spending his spare time offering editorial and structural advice to fellow authors. Up to now Mark has considered writing as a creative outlet for the myriad of characters and ideas roaming about his head. The time has come to tease them out of hiding and breathe a little life into their lungs.
His latest book is the adventure/thriller The Atlantis Deception.

Book Description: 

A German property developer, Hans Hoffmann, revels in the belief he has discovered the key to unleashing the weapon responsible for sinking Atlantis. Hoffmann requests the help of Cambridge
archaeologist, Dr John Hunter to validate his mysterious find. Hunter’s acceptance leads the maverick academic on a journey from the headquarters of a clandestine organisation in England, to a lost city in the heart of the Brazilian Rainforest, and climaxes inside a chamber hidden deep beneath Egyptian Heliopolis. Pioneering theory is spliced by epic battles, daring escapes, and elaborate schemes aimed at unravelling a secret history hidden from humanity for the past twelve thousand years.

Atlantis is a very visual word. A word evoking mystery, forgotten realms, underwater palaces… the list goes on. I find this Plato inspired concept of Atlantis fascinating and read anything and everything I can lay my hands on. The theories are diverse and range from the feasible to the outlandish, but certain concepts keep reoccurring. The Atlantis Deception takes the ideas of accepted and alternative theory, weaving them together to create a believable universe where our past still dictates our future.

The novel follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional Cambridge academic, Dr John Hunter. The focus is not on Atlantis itself, but rather on what happened to its people it the wake of the loss of their homeland. The Atlantis Deception is a classic action adventure tale with heroes, villains, shadowy organisations and self-serving plots, each underpinned by progressive archaeological theory. The novel is written with the aim of both exciting and making readers think in equal measure. Although imagined, many of the conclusions the characters reach are cutting edge and described in such a way so as to blur the line between fact and fiction.


Welcome, Mark!  Your new adventure/thriller, The Atlantis Deception, sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
Mark: Thank you, and thank you for having me here today. The idea for what has evolved into my novel, The Atlantis Deception, arrived in stages. I studied Archaeology and Ancient History at university and although I didn’t deviate too far from mainstream ideas, I secretly loved the more alternative versions of our past. I read authors such as Graham Hancock, Colin Wilson and Rand Flem-Ath and my fascination with the unexplained developed, particularly around the idea of Atlantis and Earth’s lost civilisations. Many other authors have used the idea of Atlantis and the focus tends to be on finding the lost continent. I wanted to tread a different route and instead fixated on what happened to the population in the wake of their apocalypse. It was great fun to research and write, and I hope my enthusiasm for the topic comes through.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters?
Mark: If I’m honest with myself, my main protagonist, Dr John Hunter, is a parody of what I wanted to be and do in my adult life. He’s not perfect by any means, and best described as a flawed individual, struggling through life while trying to rid himself of the scars and demons of his past. His back-story certainly dictates how he elects to deal with the situations thrown at him throughout the novel. As much fun as Hunter was to write, the villains of the piece are still my favourite characters. I found it quite cathartic transposing traits of the less likable figures I’ve encountered through my life onto my villains. None are based on any one person so hopefully no lawsuits are going to follow. Bizarrely, the easiest to write was the infamous Nazi, Heinrich Himmler. Bringing him back to life was an interesting experience and the research phase, although harrowing in parts, certainly held my interest.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Mark: I try to write all of my chapters in such a way that my readers should always want to continue. That said, there are a number of significant and pivotal points scattered throughout the novel. My favourite is probably the point at which it becomes apparent Hunter’s benefactor is not all that he seems and his origin story unfolds.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Mark: I do proof and edit myself, but I have been lucky enough to be published by the publishing house, Unbound. They professionally edited and proofed the book for me, which was great. It was sometimes tough hearing all the criticism thrown my way (and consequently being forced to delete sections that took hours to create!) but I believe the novel is all the stronger for it and my skin is certainly thicker.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Mark: A book cover is of paramount importance to the sales figures of a novel, and particularly for new authors such as myself. Established names such as Dan Brown or Stephen King probably do not have to worry so much, since their name alone will sell anything they publish. However for a debutant, standing out from the crowd is all-important. A poor cover will, without question lose sales. If a cover doesn’t stand out in the bookstore or online, why would anyone click or pluck it from the shelf?
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Mark: Indiana Jones – which I think says it all! Writing about a similar character has been the next best thing.
Do your novels carry a message?
Mark: I’m not going to pretend the main goal of my work is anything more than to create a credible piece of escapist entertainment, but if I can achieve that whilst educating and creating a situation whereby my readers can question the rhetoric of the establishment, all the better. I’m not saying we should all be looking for conspiracies under every rock, only that it is sometimes worth enquiring as to why certain rocks are harder to lift…
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Mark: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to interact with my readers and potential readers. I am always available and willing to discuss my work or wider questions in general. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via the following mediums and thank you again for taking an interest in my work.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkJackson873
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mhj873/?hl=en
Website: www.markhjackson.com

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