25 July, 2018

Invisible Mind Blog Tour Interview M.T. Bass!

Tell us about your genre.  How did you come to choose it?  Why does it appeal to you?  
I have never chosen a genre, so I don't really have one to call my own.  I choose stories—or maybe I should say stories choose me, because I honestly don't know where the ideas come from.  A character or a scene will percolate up into my consciousness and I can see there is a tale to be told there behind it, then I go to work.  Like, for example, I was reading about Alaskan bush pilots, 'cause I'm a pilot and the Great White North was also a pretty tough and interesting frontier for flying. Maybe I watched Animal House and Treasure of the Sierra Madre around that time and suddenly an opening scene with two Ohio State dropouts unconscious inside the fuselage of a plane wreck out on the tundra came to me, which morphed into Somethin' for Nothin'. Anyway, back to the question. Besides that adventure novel, I have a romance:  Lodging.  I have a murder mystery:  My Brother's Keeper. A satire of the Sixties:  In the Black.  An espionage thriller:  Crossroads. A young adult dystopian tale: Untethered. And, of course, I have a sci-fi series now—the Murder by Munchausen books.  I don't read books of just one genre, so why should I write in only one?

What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
My last “Writers Write” monthly meme (Writer's Write Gallery) was a quote from Thomas Harris that writing novels is harder than digging ditches.  Well…that's just BS. For me, at least, it is a bunch of fun telling tall tales, creating colorful characters and generally wreaking scenes of havoc that would likely get you thrown in jail or at a minimum slapped silly by the people you're messing with if you tried it in real life.  Really, the most challenging thing is not to let my ideas and stories get derailed by all the friendly “advice” out there about what the ever mysterious book market wants to see published. I know not everyone will like my stories, but you just can't calculate your way into a reader's heart.  

When and where do you do your writing?
I like to write first thing in the morning—before checking emails, on-line news or social media—so I'm up at five.  I might have a cup of coffee first, but then I get at it. That way my mind is free of petty distractions the World Wide Web is excrutiatingly good at delivering into your face.  As to where, I work wherever I happen to be at the time. In bed…out on the back patio…in an airliner at Flight Level Three-Seven-Zero…in a cold and uncomfortable cookie cutter hotel room…or at the desk I built from 100 year-old lumber I scavenged out of the Herald Building I bought with Lola in downtown Lorain, Ohio (Finally, The Desk I've Always Wanted).  The important thing is to write.  You can't wait to be in the perfect place at the perfect time or you'll never get anything finished.

What have you learned about promoting your books?
Wow, it is much harder work—and much less fun—than actually writing the books.  It is definitely a job in and of itself. What is most astonishing is the brute force needed to get noticed, like how an Amazon ad takes hundreds of thousands of impressions or views to get just a hundred clicks or so to put eyeballs on your book's page.  Not only that, but it is so impersonal. I especially like doing book fairs, signings, interviews and other “meatspace” events where you can interact with real people in real time.

What are you most proud of as a writer?
I guess that I haven't quit yet or been driven totally insane—maybe just 20-30%. Really, I'm always proudest of the book I just finished and most excited about the next one I'm working on, so it's kind of a moving target—which is good.  You don't want to get complacent.

If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Mark Twain. He wrote one of my all time favorite novels, Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn. We both grew up in Missouri along the Mississippi River side of the state. He worked as a typesetter.  I supervised the Text Editing Center for Ma Bell, which set all the phone company's internal manuals for publication. He was a river boat pilot and I'm an airplane pilot.  We both travelled extensively out West, though a hundred and some years apart. I think we'd have a lot of notes to compare. Oh, yeah, and I'm a writer, too. But I don't see it as a working dinner. I think it would be just plain fun.

22 July, 2018

The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot's Life in Vietnam By Marc Cullison!

The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot's Life in Vietnam
By Marc Cullison
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Military & Wars, Vietnam War
Book Description 
Each of us who served in Vietnam was the guy next door, the average Joe, not a hero.
The boy who might date your daughter or sister. The young man who might mow your yard.
In Vietnam, we weren’t out to be heroes. We just did our jobs.

For a helicopter pilot, each day was like all the others. You flew the mission and never
stopped to think that it might be your last. You didn’t think about the bullet holes in the
helicopter, the cracks in the tail boom, or about any of it until night, lying in bed when
you couldn’t think of anything else.

The Other Vietnam War is the story of the introduction to a new country, a backward
culture, the perils of a combat zone, and the effects on a young lieutenant fresh out of
flight school. It does not labor the reader with pages of white-knuckle adventures, as
so many other fine books about the Vietnam War do. It instead focuses on the internal
battle each soldier fought with himself to make sense of where he was, why he was there,
and if he was good enough.

The administrative duties of Commissioned officers, while tame compared to the
exploits of valiant pilots who wrote about them, caused a deep introspection into life
and its value in an enigmatic place like Vietnam. Aside from the fear, excitement,
deliverance, and denial that each pilot faced, the inner battle he fought with himself
took its toll. Some of us thought we’d find glory. But many of us discovered there is no
glory in war.

About the Author
Marc Cullison is a baby-boomer who grew up in an era when education was everything.
After serving time as helicopter pilot with the U. S. Army Reserve, including time in Vietnam,
a masters degree in architectural engineering helped honed his technical skills as a
professional engineer. Then into quality control at a manufacturing plant which led him
into computer programming. He was a math and science instructor at Connors State College
in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma, for thirteen years. Now retired from teaching, he lives
with his wife in a self-built log house near Sallisaw.

On Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2JdRIEj
An Excerpt
The male college student in the late sixties was screwed. If he had a clean nose, he could
avoid the draft with a college deferment. But even a minor academic mishap could erase
that and he would be on his way to see the world, courtesy of Uncle Sam. That’s what they
said in the commercials: “Join the army, see the world.” Hell, I hadn’t even been anywhere
but Kansas and Oklahoma. I had 49 other states to see in North America. I didn’t give a rat’s
ass about the rest of the world. Not then, anyway. But as a student, I suspected Vietnam was

Unless a guy had a shitload of luck, if he weren’t in college, he was probably already on a plane
headed for Vietnam. Another option was a medical deferment. If you were gung-ho,
you had no interest in that. If you weren’t gung-ho and had the money and knew the right
doctor or congressman, you could buy one. Then there was always Canada.

Those of us who had enough drive to seek an education and the integrity to do what we
thought was right ignored the ranting of our fellow students and peers who opposed the
Vietnam War and pursued commissions as officers in the armed services. That was ROTC,
the Reserve Officers Training Corps. All eligible freshmen and sophomores were required to
undergo four semesters, or twelve credit hours, of ROTC training. Since it was a bona fide
course, ROTC counted toward a student’s grade point average. For those who loathed military
training, this was a thorn in the saddle of education, at least to the students who were in
college to actually get an education. To those who weren’t, it was even more so, because
they could easily jeopardize their draft deferment with low grades in ROTC. To the few who
were gung-ho, it was a cushion for their grades.

The draft was not a fair business, but without it, our nation’s defense might have suffered.
A strong military seems to deter aggression by other countries. So, I can’t be too hard on the
draft. It was a necessary bit of awkwardness that we had to go through. I don’t begrudge our
country taking young men to fight for it. I was glad to do it. That’s not quite all there was to this
scenario, though. It’s what we were sent to fight for that’s the problem.

Since advanced ROTC was optional, after the sophomore year, most of the fellows dropped
out of it. Enrollment in advanced ROTC meant you belonged to the military machine. You were
one of them. You studied two more years, got your degree, and along with it a commission as
a second lieutenant. Then you served your time, usually two or three years on active duty
before being released. Well, you were still subject to being called up for active duty again,
but that didn’t happen very often.

Those of us who didn’t drop out knew what was coming down the pike and figured that
instead of allowing the military to tell us that we were going to be grunts sloshing and slashing
our way through the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam, we would select our own means
of risking our lives and satisfying our military obligation. Well, there was a slight chance
that you might escape the draft lottery. All the dates of birth of all eligible men were put into
a pool and the dates were drawn, supposedly, at random. If your birth date was the first drawn,
you would be the first to be called up for service. The first 120 dates were almost assured of
being drafted unless that person had a deferment. Because I already had an education
deferment, I had no idea what my number was and I really didn’t care. I’m sure I saw it on
the notice I received from the Selective Service Board, but I paid no attention to it. At that
time, it didn’t matter. But if I graduated, I would lose my deferment and if my crappy luck
held, it would be the only time in my life that I would be close to number one. I made sure
that didn’t happen.

I’ve always wondered, though, what my number would have been. And what kind of person
I would be now if I were number one and didn’t finish college?

Interview with the author!
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Creating realistic scenes. It’s difficult, at times, to place myself in a character’s situation and
predict how the character reacts to it. I have to think about what has happened in my life, or the
lives of others I’m close to, in order to construct the proper elements of a reaction. I believe a r
eaction to a situation occurs in phases, or parts. First, the surprise, then an incentive to solve it,
then the reasoning for possible solutions, and finally, action. Of course, these things happen quickly
in the human mind, so they can’t be drawn out into boring narrative.

When and where do you do your writing?
I find that I can write just about anywhere. I just have to be in the mood for it. The right mood
enables me to ignore any people and activities around me and focus on what I’m writing.

Do you have any routines to help you write?
I don’t have a ritual that I follow. I just sit down and write, usually without a detailed scenario
or story line for a novel. I just have an idea and let it run its course. Naturally, this leads to many
dead ends, but in the end, I wind up with something that can be unpredictable and prolific in s
ubsequent scenes for the story. In the case of a memoir, I become caught up in events that wash
onto the paper in a tide of memories. Little motivation is required, in that case.

What are you most proud of as a writer?
The fact that I can do it with some success. I used to hate reading, and especially, writing. For
the most part, I enjoyed school, except for the “stupid” books we had to read and the senseless
book reports we had to write, although I did master the art of sentence diagraming. Much later
in life I managed to overcome the fear of writing and learned to love the manipulation of words.

If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Herman Wouk. I’ve always admired the depth of his writing skills and personalities in his stories.
The combination of drama, humor, and personal introspection give a weight to his novels that few
can match, at least within my meager exposure to literature.

Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels) by Erin Johnson Book Tour and Giveaway!

Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels) by Erin Johnson

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 6th in Series 
Self Published Publication
 Date: June 23, 2018 
A bewitched prison. A brother with a deadly request. Can a magical baker launch a jailbreak and still keep her prince in the process?
Imogen’s magical bakery is thriving and she loves the company of the Water Kingdom’s dashing prince. But she’s not so enamored with the time she’s forced to spend with his awful Royal Family. She also can't help but worry that the increased media scrutiny could reveal her secret contact with the Royal Family’s sworn enemy: her own brother.
When her sibling shows up and demands Imogen spring his cronies out of jail, she flat out refuses. But when he threatens to hurt the ones she loves the most, she balances her allegiance to the prince with her plan for a covert prison break. Can Imogen keep up family appearances and avoid betraying the kingdom or will her pie-in-the-sky scheme become a recipe for disaster?
Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips is the sixth standalone book in a clever paranormal cozy mystery series. If you like crafty witches, charming romances, and fabulous French settings, then you'll love Erin Johnson’s enchanting adventure.

Enter Giveaway Here:

About the Author

Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more). 
Website: www.erinjohnsonwrites.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EJohnsonWrites
Twitter: @EJohnsonWrites 
Purchase Link - Amazon 

July 16 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
July 16 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 16 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 16 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
July 17 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
July 17 – The Cozy Pages – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 17 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW
July 18 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
July 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 18 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 19 – Varietats – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
July 19 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 19 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 20 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
July 20 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
July 20 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
July 21 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
July 21 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
July 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? 

20 July, 2018

The Pumpkin Patch by Sandi Smith Book Tour and Giveaway!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Pumpkin Patch by Sandi Smith
Category: Adult Fiction, 316 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Release date: November 5, 2017
Tour dates: June 25 to July 20, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M

Book Description:

How can one small-minded, angry person destroy the lives of so many people in her path, connecting them all together in a game of destruction and heartbreak? It is possible, but what pushes a person to enjoy inflicting pain to such an extent, leaving a trail of hate, anger, and defeat behind her, which only seems to make her stronger and more satisfied. Ms. Terri Plotski, owner of the Authors’ Book Agency, is that person, who, unknowingly, with a single thread of hate, has connected the lives of a small group of people, bringing them together with one single common denominator. Anger. The anger from this small group of people is building, but it has nowhere to go, or does it? Ms. Terri Plotski, owner of Authors’ Book Agency, has gone missing.

To follow the tour, please visit Sandi Smith's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Sandi Smith spent her time as a young girl combing the shelves of the public library. She has always enjoyed the magic that books have to offer and was inspired by her high school English teacher, Mr. Coolidge to embrace the arts. The author found her calling as a writer early one morning as her first story came to her in the form of a poem. Since then she has written more than 15 children’s books, with her most popular series about the adventures of an adorable spider in the A.R. Achnid series.

Sandi is happily married to her inspiration and husband of 40 years, John. She continues to write for her two precious grandchildren. When she’s not penning a new story, Sandi and John like to camp, kayak and to enjoy the simple life in their home in Pembroke, NH.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest
Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 28, 2018

19 July, 2018

Dawn by Dan O'Brien Book Spotlight!

Synopsis: The world is divided between a nation of men and a nation women, each of whom rules with absolute authority. A war brews deep beneath the surface of the peaceful negotiations between these two nations as a love blossoms between a princess and her guardian, a slave of the Society of Dawn, in the first entry of this romantic fantasy series.

Aurora had never journeyed so far alone. In the six years that Aeschylus served as her guardian, she left Pa’ngarin no more than a handful of times. She touched her saddle horn and rubbed the pearl there delicately.
She thought about the day Aeschylus was chosen as her guardian. It was her twelfth birthday, a milestone among maidens and Children of the Dawn. Her aunt, the Lordess Ascendant, the beautiful and powerful ruler of Pa’ngarin, picked Aeschylus for Aurora from among the horde of unseasoned and dirty men who worked the mines and fields.
Her aunt’s words were soft that day.
Soft speech wasn’t Lordess Ascendant’s way. However, on the day when Aurora was presented before the Court of the Nine Blossoms, she spoke in hurried, loving words. She told the young maiden that this man was the strongest among the bloodthirsty and hate-mongering species of men.
He would protect her until his death.
Her new guardian would be her steadfast companion for as long as she saw fit. He would see to all her needs; and if she required, be her First––marking her ascendance.
Aurora smiled as she remembered young Aeschylus. He was already a man when he was appointed as her guardian. Strong-jawed and tight-lipped, he was a cordial, but removed, warrior just a moon past his eighteenth birthday.
At the time, she didn’t know that Aeschylus followed her around long before he became her guardian. His mother died in the same Scythian raid that killed her mother when she was an infant. Every time young Aurora wandered without supervision, Aeschylus wasn’t far away.
But his assistance had a price.
When he was only thirteen, he carried Aurora from the orchards after she fell down and injured her foot. It was against Pa’ngarin law for a man to touch a woman without consent, especially to treat her as if she were powerless to help herself. His act of compassion earned him ten lashes at the center of the Court of the Nine Blossoms. After that incident, he became more careful, making certain to remain hidden from view as he protected her.
Aurora shook herself from her reverie.
Along the side of the road sat a heavy black stone etched in sparkling silver lettering. The letters read Ma’oren.
Ma’oren was a rich town built around mining and forestry operations and run by a minor ascendant named Eris. Aurora couldn’t remember having met her.
Rows of tall trees obscured her vision to the north and south, but she had little fear in her heart despite the circumstances of the previous evening. The silence enveloping the surrounding forest would’ve been disarming if Aurora didn’t know that mining drove the creatures of the forest deeper into the woods. There were few dangers to a woman of her station in a society governed by women. If she were attacked and kidnapped by brigands, they would swing in the Court of the Nine Blossoms.
The trees lining the road soon gave way to cramped male dormitories built upon each other like sloping cliffs. The buildings had no windows except for a wide opening on the second floor.
A man stepped out of one of the dormitories’ slanted doors. His long gray hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail and his brown eyes, wide and wise, watched the young maiden pass. He didn’t meet her eyes, but instead stared intently at her mount. He knew the penalty for looking at a woman, if not asked to do so, was the sealing of the eyes.
Opposite the dormitories stood a vast cavern dug deep into the earth, beside which sprawling mining equipment was placed. A piercing whine filtered from the mine’s entrance, as if a whistle were being blown deep below. Aurora spurred her mount forward through the haze of dirt and dust spewing from the mine and made her way up the road toward the city proper.
As if by magic, the haze disappeared and a gleaming citadel rose in the distance. A dawn sphere was a great, ribbed structure composed of symmetrical, ivory pillars from ground to sky.

Dan O’Brien has over 50 publications to his name––including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam Consulting, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AuthorDanOBrien.

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