Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Character Interview: Shane Parsons l Brett Armstrong @BArmstrongWV

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Rather than just do a character interview, I want to do something a bit more fun and add to the tapestry of the Tomorrow’s Edge trilogy.  This isn’t in the main body of Day Moon, but is a look at something happening behind the scenes that contributes to events of the book. 
(SYSTEM NOTE: Begin interview : Shane Parsons : 2039- 10-15 21:05:35 UTC-4)
Amar: Good day, Mr. Parsons.  I’m Agent Hain Amar of the NSA. Thank you for agreeing to speak with me.
Shane:  No problem, though I really don’t know why I’m here.  The agents didn’t make it seem like this was a “by-my-choice” kind of meeting.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Papers shuffling)
Shane: “So, why exactly am I here then?”
Amar: One minute please.
Shane: Ok…
Amar: Born-Lancaster, PA on June 12, 2018. Parents-Bill and Karen, divorced.  Average scores on university admittance exams. One note from a high school math teacher: “Clever pupil, but lackadaisical above all else.”
(SYSTEM NOTE: Finger tapping on table)
Amar: One sibling, Ellie Brahn, 26, of Newhaven, CT.  Two nephews Jordan and Jacob, three and five respectively.  You work in the university hospital in addition to attending courses.  No pets, no school extracurriculars, avid video gamer, and “looking for love or something like it” on social media. Just let me check one more thing…
(SYSTEM NOTE: Increased rate of tapping indicates anxiety in subject)
Amar: Ah, there. Sorry for the wait. I just wanted to review your file.
Shane: My file?
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject exhibits apprehension)
Amar: Yes?
Shane: Why do you have a “file” on me?
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject displays signs of irritation and potential for aggression. Biostatistics analysis started. Blood pressure and heart rate evaluation under way. Agent remote alert pending)
Amar: Shane, may I call you Shane?
Shane: You already knew that’s my name. It’s in your “file” on me, right?
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject has elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Subject hostility meets threshold. Advise change of tactic. Agent alert sent)
Amar: It is, but I think you misunderstand the purpose of our meeting.
Shane: Really? Because I’m pretty sure you guys kidnapped me in the middle of the night and have been keeping me held up here with no answers for who knows how long.
Shane: Well you know of course. Since you know “everything”, right?
Amar: I apologize for the lapse in your care. Our office has been swamped with the situation.
Shane: Situation?
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject biostastics stabilizing. Tactic effective. Alert sent to agent)
Amar: Yes, your apartment complex was the target of a terrorist strike. We’ve had to bring in everyone for questioning. Particularly after the detonation.
Shane: Detonation?
Amar: Yes. Yes, I apologize. I forgot you couldn’t have seen reports of the apartment building’s destruction.
Amar: Which is really why you are here. You’re an acquaintance of an Elliott Calhoun are you not?
Shane: …
Amar: Of course you know him. He is, or was, your present roommate. How well do you know him?
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject biostastics show no variance on goading. Advise change of tactic. Alert sent to agent)
Amar: Let me ask it this way, how did you come to have contact with Elliott?
Shane: He and I had a class together his first semester.
Amar: Interesting. Aren’t you a couple years older than Elliott?
Shane: Yeah, he is in that advance placement program, right? He is already about to graduate.
Amar: And you have a few years left, yes?
Shane: Well, yeah. You try working shifts in a hospital ER and still balance a full course load.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject is engaged in dialogue. Subject biostatistics confirm a passive state. Ideal conditions to press for information present. Alert to agent pending)
Amar: That is quite impressive. Your “file” says you saved a man on drugs from jumping out of a window. He was quite violent I’m told. Very heroic of you.
Shane: …
Amar: You don’t consider yourself a hero, do you?
Shane: Anybody in my position would have done the same. Wouldn’t you have?
Amar: I would like to think I would. But twelve other staff members didn’t act when you did. That is heroism.
Shane: If you say so.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject reticence noted. Psychological evaluation complete. Complicity highly probable. Pursue primary agendum. Alert sent to agent)
Amar: I do.  Which is why your country needs you now. Your friend Elliott, his intelligence impressed you when you first met, didn’t it?
Shane: Elliott is a good person. That’s why we are friends. I know you’re dancing around what you really want to ask, so can we cut out all this nonsense and get to it? I’m pretty tired and hungry here.
Amar: Of course, you probably haven’t eaten much since Elliott failed to bring you your dinner the other night. Strange for a loyal friend to forget something like that. .
Amar: The truth is we are looking for Elliott. We believe he is in danger. You aren’t very familiar with his cousin, John McIntyre, are you?
Shane: Never met him. Just called Elliott a few times.
Amar: A few times recently, actually. Would you like to see summaries of the chat logs?
Shane:  I’ll pass.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject wavered in resolution. Likelihood of complicity almost certain)
Amar: Mhm, well. They are innocuous, but many of John’s other correspondences haven’t been. John has been planning the attack with an Asiatic terror cell for nearly a year. We have reason to believe John has Elliott hostage, perhaps using him for his extensive expertise with digital devices and software.
Shane: Elliott would never…
Amar: Willingly aid a terrorist? Are you sure?
Amar: Has his behavior lately been, suspicious?
Shane: He wouldn’t help by choice. They’d have to force him.
Amar: How might they do that?
Shane: Probably threaten Lara…
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject has divulged unintended information. Suggest staggering expressions of compassion and aggression to achieve maximum results)
Amar: Lara? Do you mean Elliott’s classmate Lara Hopewell?
Shane: No, I mean his girlfriend, Lara Hopewell. Or at least she was going to be his girlfriend.
Amar: Why only “going to be”?
Shane: I called her looking for him when he didn’t come back to the apartment with the pizza he promised. I heard another guy snoring in the background.
Amar: And it wasn’t Elliott?
Shane: Ha, definitely not. The snoring was about three octaves below Elliott’s register.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Aggression unnecessary. Subject exhibits regret. Alert sent to agent)
Amar: You seem unsettled by this.
Shane: He’s my friend and like I said, if he would turn his back on his country, it would be for her… and I’m pretty sure she was hardcore cheating on him.
Amar: Do you think she could be involved with the terror plot? Perhaps the man she was with was John McIntyre. We know so little about Lara. Her family keeps an usually low profile. Do you know anything about her that might help direct the investigation?
Shane: Just that she wasn’t at a great hotel. I could kind of make out things in the background. I haven’t seen a hotel that plain and tech-less since, well, ever.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Beginning search for hotel images featuring simplistic floor plans and amenities in 10 square mile area. 20 square mile area. 50 square mile area. 100 square mile area)
Shane: Listen, I can’t say anything about Lara or John, but Elliott is no traitor. He’s no terrorist. He’s a little too trusting though, so anything he’s mixed up in, it isn’t what it looks like. Okay?
Amar: I understand. Thank you for your time Mr. Parsons. We will take everything you said under advisement.
Shane: Am I free to go?
Amar: Absolutely. I will direct one of our agents to drive you home.
Shane: Um, I think I would prefer a friend’s house. Seeing as my apartment was blown to pieces.
Amar: Oh, right. Of course. Anywhere you like.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Shuffling of chairs and footsteps nearing room exit. Interview complete, after-action analysis beginning)
Shane: Great. Oh. Just one thing, how did you know Elliott didn’t remember to bring dinner back to me? That happened before he got mixed up in this, right?
Amar: “File” remember?
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject heart rate increasing)
Shane: Ah. Super. Thanks.
Amar: Take care Mr. Parsons.
(SYSTEM NOTE: Subject tagged by agent for enhanced surveillance)
About the Author
Brett Armstrong, author of the award-winning novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio, started writing stories at age nine, penning a tale of revenge and ambition set in the last days of the Aztec Empire.  Twenty years later, he is still telling stories though admittedly his philosophy has deepened with his Christian faith and a master’s degree in creative writing.  His goal with every work is to be like a brush in the Master artist’s hand and his hope is the finished composition always reflects the design God had in mind.  He feels writing should be engaging, immersive, entertaining, and always purposeful.  Continually busy at work with one or more new novels to come, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and playing with his beautiful wife and son.
His latest book is Day Moon (Tomorrow’s Edge Book 1).



About the Book:

Title: DAY MOON (Tomorrow’s Edge Book 1)
Author: Brett Armstrong
Publisher: Clean Reads
Pages: 389
Genre: Christian/Scifi/Dystopian

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global software initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare's complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled "Day Moon". When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.


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Writing Killers: Procrastination l Esmae Browder @esmaebrowder

12:00 AM 0 Comments

You have a plan. You’ve created a writing To Do list. You’ve cleared your schedule and informed your family you are diving deep into your writing cave—no interruptions allowed. It’s time to sit down at your laptop, open the file you’ve been thinking about for a while, and let the magic flow.
But something distracts you. It’s a stray thought about the dishes. Did you do them? How many are in the sink? Is someone else going to clean them up or will they sit there until later? You should probably take care of them now.
Okay. Done with dishes. Now time to make the magic happen.
Wait. Have you checked your blog stats yet? Wasn’t there a reply you were supposed to make to someone’s tweet? Is your Facebook status still accurate? Maybe you should update that now while you’re thinking about it. Come to think of it, wasn’t there an episode of your favorite TV show on last night that you DVR’d? Better watch it now or else it will bug you while you’re writing.
Does any of that sound familiar? If so, you’ve been in contact with a total writer killer: procrastination. It sneaks up on you sometimes, eating at what your precious writing time before you even realize it. When writing my latest novel, Bite Thy Neighbor, this was a problem kept encountering. There was always something else that needed to be care of. 
It’s not that doing the dishes isn’t important or that your social media obsession is wrong. If you’re an author working on exposure for your career, Facebook and Twitter are an important part of getting people to learn about you. You have to take care of those things, and let’s face it, dirty dishes stink. The thought of food hardening on them minute by minute disturbs me on many levels.
But those are just distractions.  They keep you from spending your time on completing your novel or short story. You have to let them go and write. You’ll never win the big prize, you’ll never be published, you’ll never have the accolades if you don’t do the work. When I finally convinced myself of this, the words for Bite Thy Neighbor flowed. 
I developed a writing routine which helped me avoid procrastination.  My summer writing schedule looks like this:
·        Thirty minutes for social media/blogging. Once done, turn off ringer on phone. Put phone in different room.
·        One hour for writing
·        Fifteen minute break—check email/dishes (or other task)
·        Back to writing for another hour.
Naturally, creating a schedule will depend on your own unique needs. Notice this is my summer schedule. My entire routine changes in the fall. Think about what is manageable for you and then stick to it! Good luck and happy writing! 
About the Author

Esmae Browder is an ex-catholic school girl who loves romance and vodka tonics. When not reading a spicy novel, she enjoys creating them by combining elements of well-known tales and updating them for our modern world. She is the author of the Naughty Shakespeare series, as well as, the paranormal romance Bite Thy Neighbor—a sexy Dracula meets Wisteria Lane style novel.



About the Book:

Author: Esmae Browder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance


Some neighbors suck...literally.

Quirky Maisy Harker spends her time daydreaming about her sexy husband, Jensen Helsing. Though their marriage is one of convenience, Maisy wishes the sparks of heat she feels around him were reciprocated. Sexually starved, she also lusts after her mysterious neighbor, Adam. True, his incisors do look a bit sharp, and he never seems to drink or eat anything—but hey, maybe that’s how he keeps that yummy, drool-worthy physique!
Yet Maisy knows something’s not quite right, and it isn’t long before she learns Adam is a centuries-old vampire embroiled in a gypsy curse placed on the women of her family. All her female ancestors have been drawn to the vampire and bound by his desires, experiencing a terrible side effect of the curse and resulting in death.
It's up to Maisy to find a way to break the curse once and for all before she, too, falls under his spell.



Monday, August 21, 2017

Money-wise, Writing Is Often Iffy. So, Why Write? l Evy Journey @eholychair

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Someone once said the urge to write is born.  I know people who write volumes of journals that hardly anyone but they and someone close to them ever read.  They are driven by those words. 
Writing is not exactly what you do if you want an adrenaline rush. While it’s an adventure, it is a solitary one and mostly of the mind and, often, also the soul (or spirit or whatever you call that nonmaterial sum total of who you are). And it can be punishing in its own way if you want to push it further than your hard drive—from nights glued to your computer, to months of editing, revising, and proofing, to the ego-busting heartbreak of rejection letters—all before you see your words in print. 
You may actually wonder why anyone would go through all that, particularly because monetary returns are usually iffy unless you’re a salaried writer or a fiction writer with a large following. Or you’re a celebrity or someone who’s gotten media attention for doing something notorious or crazy.
Or, unless you’ve written erotica.
But people write books for reasons other than money. Just ask memoirists for whom the need to get rid or at least make sense of psychological baggage finds expression in words on paper. Writing about a painful experience is cathartic. Even the process of turning your draft into a work worthy of publishing and sharing with a broader audience can help heal your psyche. More detached from the experience, you see it in a different light, changing your perspective and teaching you a useful lesson.
But you don’t have to spill your guts in a memoir. You could write fiction. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple says writing is
“a matter of necessity and that you write to save your life is really true and so far it’s been a very sturdy ladder out of the pit.”
Writing can and does heal. In fact, Writing Therapy joins Music and Art Therapies in the arsenal of psychotherapy/counseling techniques that professionals use.
After spending my first six years with my grandmother in a quiet house full of books, I returned to live with my parents and three rambunctious brothers. To cope with feeling out of place, I wrote my thoughts and feelings in a notebook. Nowadays, I think I’ve finally matured and I’m reasonably comfortable with myself.  I write, not out of psychological pain. Instead, I write about what fascinates me: exploring what it means to love, mostly from a heroine’s viewpoint. But you cannot take loving outside the context of a how you live your life. So, ultimately, my stories are about life, about real issues women and men face.
I love this particular quote from Ray Bradbury:
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
Evy Journey, 2015 SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist (since she was nine years old), and a flâneuse (feminine form of flâneur). Her pretensions to being a flâneuse means she wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. She’s visited Paris, even lived there a few times as a transient; that is, she stayed from two to six months.
She's a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales.
In a previous life, armed with a Ph.D. and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded  the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.

Evy’s latest book is the contemporary women’s fiction, Hello, My Love.



About the Book:

Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Pages: 317
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

In this modern-day tale inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, bright, beautiful law student Elise Halverson looks forward to a promising career. Falling in love is low in her priorities.
Well-known playboy Greg Thorpe is engaged to be married when he meets Elise. He finds her so unlike the women he used to date and he’s deeply intrigued. Distrusting the image she has of him, Elise avoids him.
But Elise’s parents invite Greg to their frequent dinner parties. There, Greg and Elise butt heads. She’s surprised to find that, behind his rich playboy persona, he’s intelligent and engaging.
The night before his wedding, they give in to their mutual attraction. Although Elise expects nothing more from that night, Greg is in for trouble. His jilted fiancée strikes back, intent on revenge.
Two years later Greg and Elise get a second chance but they find that the way to their happy-ever-after is not so easy.
At the core of this women’s fiction is a literary and realistic romance spiced with a twist of mystery. Hello My Love is Book 1 in the series Between Two Worlds, a family saga about three strong women.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Got a Light? | Greg Messel @gregmessel

12:00 AM 0 Comments

A trip back in time to the 1950s world of my novels, "Last of the Seals," “Deadly Plunge,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Fog City Strangler,” “Shadows In The Fog,”  “Cable Car Mystery,”and now my new novel “San Francisco Nights,”  is full of reminders how much the world has changed.

One of the most obvious changes involves the social mores surrounding smoking. In all of the Sam Slater books, the characters rarely have five minutes of conversation before they start lighting up. 

My main female character, Amelia, even tries to light a cigarette while she’s on a wind swept water taxi going out to Alcatraz. I’ve been out on San Francisco Bay on a boat to Alcatraz. You can hardly stand up straight because of the wind, let alone light a cigarette. 

Sam Slater’s cigarette case actually saves his life during a shooting in “Shadows In The Fog.” He quips to Amelia, “who says cigarettes are bad for your health.”

When I began my career in the corporate world in the 1970s, I remember conference rooms being smoke filled with ash tray spilling over with cigarette butts and ashes.
I remember the smoking sections on airplanes. I recall that being in the last row of the non smoking section was pretty much the same as sitting in the smoking section. 

Flight attendants still warn you on airplane flights to not smoke in the  bathrooms. That warning is about 35 years old now.

Today smokers must huddle around the doorways of office buildings to grab a cigarette outside. There are enclosed rooms at airports for smokers. That's fine with me but it has been a monumental change.  

In today’s business world it would be considered appalling if in the middle of an office, someone lit up a cigarette. 

In the 1950s, smoking was even more pronounced. My grandparents were both chain smokers and I remember as a child or a teenager, that you could actually see smoke rolling out the front door when you entered their house. I was exposed to massive amounts of second hand smoke for years. 

My grandparents are long gone but when I picture them in my mind’s eye, they are holding a cigarette.  

In my mystery novels set in the 1950s, everyone smokes and virtually non stop.  They are constantly lighting up--even baseball players like Sam Slater. 

The biggest baseball stars of the day—Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and it goes on and on—all lit up as soon as they got to the clubhouse. I found a magazine ad featuring the great Jackie Robinson. He’s holding a baseball bat in his right hand and a carton of Chesterfield cigarettes in his left hand. The ad copy says “Take my tip—smoke Chesterfield…much milder. Jackie Robinson.”

Babe Ruth, who died later of cancer, advertised Old Gold cigarettes. Babe took the “blindfold cigarette test” and picked Old Gold. The Babe said there’s “not a cough in a carload.”

Sophisticated, glamorous San Franciscans of the 1950s, like Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan nearly always had a cigarette in their hands. Watch movies from the 1950s or 1960s to witness how it was just part the persona of the attractive, urbane persona. When you view an old “Tonight Show” you’ll see Johnny Carson smoke one cigarette after another with guests like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. 

Sinatra hawked Chesterfields as well. His ad tag line asks “like your pleasure big?” Frank says Chesterfields offer “man-size satisfaction.”

When Amelia barely escapes some murderous bad guys in “Cable Car Mystery” she tries to calm her nerves by lighting a cigarette but her hands are shaking so badly from the ordeal she can’t do so. 

I’ve watched vintage cigarette commercials which played on television in the 1950s. They are funny but somewhat disturbing when you look back on them with our knowledge about the impact on health from cigarettes. 

I found a hilarious magazine ad showing future President but then actor, Ronald Reagan with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He is filling out gift cards on Christmas presents which are all cartons of Chesterfields. Behind him is a Christmas wreath and in the foreground is a big pack of Chesterfield cigarettes. The ad copy says “I’m sending Chesterfields to all my friends. That’s the merriest Christmas any smoker can have—Chesterfield mildness plus no unpleasant after-taste.” 

Brands like Kool and Newport touted the soothing effect on a raw throat from their filtered cigarettes. There is a famous ad for Camel’s cigarettes which includes the tag line “According to a recent Nationwide survey: More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.”  

When Sam and Amelia visit Dr. John O’Dell in an earlier book in the mystery series, “San Francisco Secrets”, the first thing the medical doctor offers the couple is a cigarette.  At their first meeting, Sam asks the doctor if cigarettes are bad for your health. 
Dr. O’Dell advises Sam “there are benefits of smoking as long as you don’t overdo it. I think smoking filtered cigarettes like these Winstons helps,” the doctor says. “It cuts down on the irritation to the throat.  Smoking actually releases a couple of chemicals in the brain, which relieves tension and helps you experience pleasure.”

The doctor also tells Sam that smoking can aid in weight loss and releases chemicals in the brain which are similar to the sensation that you experience when you kiss a pretty woman.

The doctor’s advice is the common thinking of the times and the narrative from the tobacco companies.  Dr. O’Dell tries to convince Sam that smoking a cigarette is almost as pleasurable as kissing Amelia. Sam’s not buying that argument. 

Ah, the 1950s, when you could knock down a steak dinner, light up an after dinner cigarette and not feel a bit guilty. Not a calorie count or a trace of guilt in sight. Ignorance is bliss I guess. 

About the Author

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is "San Francisco Nights" which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Shadows In The Fog," "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty." For a more detailed summary of Greg's novels go to www.gregmessel.com 

Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel "Dreams That Never Were" which is not part of the mystery series.



About the Book:

Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 232
Genre: Mystery / Suspense

The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her.  Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world. 

Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit. 

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


Monday, August 14, 2017

When was the last time you actually had a conversation around the dinner table? l Jason Reid @jasonreidauthor

12:00 AM 0 Comments

When was the last time you had an actual conversation with your family around the dinner table, without the distraction of the television or any other form of technology?

In today’s technology-driven world finding time to stop and enjoy real, in-person conversations with our loved ones is becoming less of a priority and more of an inconvenient task. Like any family, our individual schedules keep us constantly on the go, passing each other as we run in and out of the front door. I travel a couple of nights out of every week, my wife and 4 kids have busy lives and their own individual obligations—it is easy to find ourselves disconnected from each other. Starting to sound a little familiar?

Dinner Conversations is a book that contains my personal collection of conversations that happened roughly over a five-year period, mainly between my kids, wife, and I around our dinner table. I know what you’re thinking and before you start glancing towards the top corner for the “x”—let’s get personal for a minute, shall we…

My name is Jason, I have four children, a wonderful wife of 24 years, a successful career and have absolutely NO filter. Every family has that one person who says exactly what pops into their head, always without hesitation and in my family that ONE person is yours truly. I use my own personal “trial and error” approach to parenting, cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I’m turning 50 this year and like most guys my age--I figure things out the old fashion way. I don’t read manuals. Typically, I find myself trying unusual ways of putting things together, taking different paths and swearing more frequently no that I have teenagers, which I find clears the head and helps a great deal with the thought process.
Two of the most important pieces of my unique parenting style are:

If I am home, we are all sitting down to a family dinner (except on date nights that is just for my wife and I).

Dinner should be fun, we should all laugh and not be afraid to speak our minds.

In Short, the collection of conversations and hysterical moments a family has and laughs about privately, I have put together for you to laugh, enjoy and possibly even find some of the unique conversations relatable. I invite you to take a break from the serious page turners and chapters that seem to go on for weeks, because you are in the constant process of finding where you left off. Take a break from raising your own kids and just have a good laugh at how I raised mine. The only thing bigger than my college tuition bills will likely be the therapy bills that I will be paying for down the road, so feel free to go ahead and pick up a few copies of the book to share the laughs with your own friends and family : ) profits from this book will be applied to one of the following:
-Family Therapy Jar
-College tuition bills (Did I mention I had FOUR kids?)
-The 18+ years of alcohol consumption my wife and I will surely need to get them all graduated and still maintain some degree of sanity.

If you’re still here and have made it this far, I hope that you enjoy reading Dinner Conversations and the raw glimpse of our family’s most hysterical conversations and moments over the years.

Grab a seat, a drink and as always enjoy the conversations.

All the Best,
Jason Reid

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook @DinnerConversations for new conversations, family updates and to also share your own dinner conversations with us!

About the Author

Jason Reid is an entrepreneur by trade and a dad by passion. He currently lives in Murrieta, California with his wonderful wife and amazing four children. Over the years he has written numerous business books, a novel, and children’s The Protector Bug book series.

His latest book is the humor/family/parenting book, Dinner Conversations.



About the Book:

Author: Jason Reid
Publisher: Createspace/Reid Group
Pages: 348
Genre: Humor / Family / Parenting

“You are going to LAUGH! You are going to then wonder if these conversations actually happened. You are going to wonder what kind of guy would actually say these things to his family.”

The answer is simple—yes, these conversations did actually happen. They occurred over a period of roughly 5 years, mainly at my dinner table.  I took them verbatim and posted them on Facebook so that all my friends could get a good laugh.
I must be honest with you, some of you will are going to laugh and say things like “…that sounds like something I would say or want to say” others are going to think that I am a horrible parent.  I am ok with either thought process.
What I hope is that after laughing, scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with Jay Reid, you realize that you need to create more of your own Dinner Conversations.  
Please join me @ www.Facebook.com/DinnerConversations to read more and post your own.” 


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How to Make Your Characters Believable l Peter Thompson @pthompsonbooks

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Have you ever finished a good book, closed the cover and then felt a sense of loss? Does it sometimes feel like a friend or family member has moved away when the story is over? I feel that way sometimes. And when I do, I know that the author did a great job of creating the characters. These characters weren’t just a collection of character traits, and descriptions. They were real, living, breathing people whose live mattered. Setting, plot and pacing are all essential elements in any good story. But the one thing that really makes a story come alive, is having realistic, memorable characters.

Writing compelling fiction is like a magic trick. It is an illusion. Readers are reading words on a page, but when it all comes together, it clicks, and the world seems real. Like with magicians, there are some tricks to the craft which can help you round out your characters, and make them real. In my new novel, Summer on Earth, my two main characters are a young boy, and a space alien stranded on Earth. These characters are so different, and for the story to work, I needed to make them, as well as the other characters, feel real. In Booklist’s review, they said, “The unique, fablelike story with gentle charm and strongly drawn characters - human and otherwise - will satisfy with its quiet aura of resilience and hopefulness.”

Here are a few things that I do with my writing that helps to breathe life into my characters.

·        Physical description and identifying characteristics – When you first introduce a character in a story, you describe them. Personally, I believe that less is more. Rather than giving a very detailed rundown of how the character looks, I give a brief physical description, and let the reader fill in the rest with their own imagination. The character is revealed more by their actions, what they do and what they say.
·        Give them a goal – Every character, even minor ones, should have a goal in the story. What is the one thing they want more than anything else in the world? What drives and motivates them? If you know what your characters want, that determines how they will act, and that makes them more real.
·        Emotion – This is the secret sauce. As humans, we identify and respond to emotions. If someone smiles at us, we smile back. If someone around us is in a bad mood, that can be contagious. The same thing goes with your characters. If they lack emotion, they come off as flat. When you give them real emotions, we identify with that and they will seem more authentic.
·        Everyone is the hero in their own movie – It’s easy to make your hero likable, but in the villain or antagonists mind, they are the hero. From the view of your story, they might be evil and nasty and stupid, but not in their own mind. While writing, think of what the world looks like from each character’s perspective. It will add depth and fullness to your characters.
·        Dialogue – What your characters say to each other is a way to move the story forward, to reveal information the reader needs to know, and a great way to reveal who that character really is. Everyone talks differently. They use different vocabulary, different phrases and everyone has their own vocal tics. A professor will talk differently than a cowboy, and a teenager will speak differently than a young mother. The way your characters talk will let you know if they have power, or not, their level of education, how they feel about the person they are talking with, their level of confidence and so much more. This can be a great way to build a character who is memorable.

These are just a few things that work for me. Think of your characters as real people and they will take on their own life on the page.

About the Author
Peter Thompson grew up in Illinois, and lives near Chicago. He remembers how excited he was when the first astronaut stepped on to the moon. He has had an appreciation of space, and all its possibilities ever since. His love of children’s books developed while reading to his three sons. His first novel, Living Proof, was a thriller published by Berkeley Books. Summer on Earth is his first book for younger readers. It will be released in August of this year.



About the Book:

The night that eleven-year-old Grady Johnson looked out his window and wished upon a shooting star, his life changed forever.

Grady, his Ma, and younger sister Luanne are having a hard summer. Dad has died and the family
isn’t the same. Though Ma is trying her best, Grady knows they don’t have enough money to get by.

The shooting star he saw was a space craft plunging to Earth, and landing at the back of their farm. Extraterrestrial engineer Ralwil Turth has one goal, to fix his power drive and go back home. But things don’t go as planned. Stuck in human form, he gets to know Grady and his family as he works on their farm. He starts to learn about what it means to be human, and the exotic charms of this planet like the taste of potatoes, and how amazing bugs are.

Ralwil grows to care for Grady and his family. On a trip to town, he realizes that money is what matters to humans, and is the cause of the family’s trouble. That night, he uses his technology to combine a twenty-dollar bill with an oak twig. Over the next week this grows to a towering tree, every leaf a twenty-dollar bill. This, Ralwil is sure, will solve all the family’s problems.

But the family’s wealth raises suspicion in this small town, and this soon leads to more trouble. With the family’s fate, and Ralwil’s life, on the line, Grady has to find the courage to help his family and save his friend.

Summer on Earth blends humor, adventure and poignancy to create an unforgettable story about finding home.


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