Sunday, January 15, 2012




Thank you so much Thomas for the opportunity to interview you.

My first question has to do with what I read on Goodreads about you. You made a comment that you should have been an engineer instead of a writer but you will still be able to bring your futuristic inventions to life in your stories. What if you were to write a story with one of those inventions in it and then were approached by someone to actually design it. Would you do it?

Before becoming an author I would have said "Hell Yes!", but now I know I have truly found my calling and God's special Gift for my life, I would say no. I might help advise the design team on the side through e-mails or phone conversations but not for pay. I don't want to work that hard. I am in the corporate world now in my day job. I am Operations Manager of a large company and only two people down from the owner of the company.

As a writer I work for myself. Because it is a true passion of love, my imagination unleashed on the world, and my stories I have found it has transformed my life. Spiritually, Health of my body and mind have improved, I am Happy almost all of the time, because I am doing what I enjoy. The shame is somebody will read my books and years from now actually develop one of my ideas and it will be years after the fact that the profits and benefits are realized. In my first two books I don't actually have any of my invention ideas! So please don't read my first two books and think, OMG this guy knows how to build a time machine! I do not have a clue how to actually travel through time.

Much later in other books I will write, some of my better ideas will be revealed that are actually feasible, do able and potentials for huge profits, by somebody else someday in the future. I did meet with a University about one of my ideas years ago and they got really excited about it and volunteered to help develop the idea up to their entire budget, they only needed me to secure money for the rest of the development. They asked me if I had anything smaller I was working on, unfortunately that was the smallest cheapest project in my crazy arsenal of ideas.

My Future will consist of writing books until I die. It is something I can do well past retirement age so baring getting Alzheimer's and losing my mind I will keep writing.

Tell us about your stories, especially "No Rules of Engagement" how did you come up with the idea for this novel?

No Rules Of Engagement, grew as a story over ten years of thinking about a couple of premises.

a.) One of my favorite books is "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. As a person who is obsessed with history, especially military history, two things about Ender's Game have always bothered me. One is that Mr. Card was never in the service and just doesn't have the feeling of the military in his stories. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army, ex-Tank crewman. Secondly, a true military genius would not be able to be fooled, tricked or misguided. Cards reasoning is that was the reason they used children to fight, because they would do what adults wouldn't. I look to Alexander the Great as the prime example of a young military genius and what they would be capable of. In No Rules Of Engagement (NROE) the young military genius is named Alexander Hawk.

b.) Because of my passion for military history, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how the world would be different if man-kind never developed the fight or flight response. If they were always the dominate species, with no predators, and they always worked together for the benefit of their species as a whole, communication, compromise, and cooperation, to develop win/win relationships with fellow tribes instead of war. What would the world be like? What technologies would not have been developed? What would have been developed? What problems would they have on the planet? What would happen when that species meets a society like ours? Or Worse!

From ten years of thinking about different aspects of these issues the story line developed for NROE! It is a series of at least three books. Each can be stand alone novels, each with the high intensity non-stop action and twisting plots or taken together as an epic story.

If you were given a choice now between being a novelist and an engineer, which would you choose and why?

I think I probably answered that in question one. I would be a novelist!

Did I always dream of being a novelist? Hell no! I suck at English, it's my worst subject in the entire universe of subjects. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but got glasses in fifth grade and that shot that all to hell. In the Army I almost made it to West Point twice, if I had I would surely be a General by now. I didn't, so I opted out of the Army. The Army and I didn't get along well, but I loved and miss the Tanks and my fellow tank crewman daily. Life has a way of getting in the way of the best laid plans. I didn't start reading voraciously until my mid-thirties. I didn't start thinking about writing a book until I was 36 and didn't start really writing until I was 44, last year.

The ladies of my book club had me bring in a chapter of something I was writing and they helped me edit it as a group. Each month we did a different chapter. I shelved that nugget of gold until I hit 1 million words, publish ten books or get picked up by an agent and traditional publisher which ever happens first. So I picked Whisper to be my first and off I went. Whisper starts out slowly because Chapters 1 through 5 were written in pieces from 2002 to 2010. Knowing that ahead of time you can actually see where I started earnestly writing on the book in 2010 by where you are at when it grabs you and takes off running.

I believe I was destined to write now. I also believe it took 44 years of seasoning, reading others books, and accumulating experience to be the writer I am becoming. I just need the best editor in the world to polish the English and mechanics of my words.

Tell us about your family, do they help with critiquing your novels?

My family is incredible. I have a daughter who is turning twenty-one in 2012 from my first marriage. Two boys, Hayden who will be four in 2012, and Garth who will turn two! I got remarried to Wonder Woman in 2004 and started having children again at forty something. I never believed in soul mates until I met my wife, she is sixteen years younger than I am but we were so made for each other. The family dynamics are crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way, we are happy and making it in a hard and mean world. My wife doesn't read my books but she is a huge supporter of my efforts in writing and working on them and I am happy about that. The boys don't read yet. My father says I have made his list of favorite authors, which coming from him is high praise. My daughter is reading NROE now, but she also works and is going to school full time.

I have three people who read and critique and am actually looking for about seven more to read and critique, not edit, but tell me what they like, don't like, discuss the book with me so I can find out what parts might be unclear, hard to follow, etc. Then I can re-work those spots on the re-write before editing. My only requirements is that they are avid readers, not authors or aspiring authors as that might be a conflict of interest. People can check out blog and E-mail me if they are interested. They have to promise to keep things a secret until the book gets published!

You've also written "Whisper" which is part of a series called the "Wiley Randolph Series" tell us about that series.

My first novel is actually a surprise for me as much as the reader. I knew it would always be my worst story, so when I committed to actually writing a novel I picked the weakest piece I had to work with, which is why of the further adventures of Captain Wiley Randolph his last mission is the first one that I wrote and published. Captain Wiley Randolph tests ships and technolgy for the a secret division of the Navy. In the sequel it will come out what he was originally trained for and why he didn’t end up in that position.

The surprise is that while I thought I was writing a Science Fiction Action Adventure novel inadvertently I wrote a Love Story. ALL the feedback I have gotten about the book revolves around the guy and the girl! Why did I introduce her? Will she be in the sequel? Do they get married? Nobody asks about the action sequences, or other characters, or the fictional time traveling equipment, because it's a love story!

There is quite an age difference between the guy and the girl, very similar to this author’s own true to life home experience.
I originally planned to have the sequel to Whisper be about Wiley's training and his first mission, to explain how and why he is so extraordinary. Because of the feedback from my fans I will be writing the sequel picking up where Whisper leaves off and through the guy and girl telling the tale of his training and first mission while they are traveling around the world on their honeymoon. Plus some usual unexpected plot twists which my readers should be used to by now. The next one will be two stories intertwined for the price of one, and it will be a love story continued.

When did you first realize your passion and ability as a writer?

With writing Whisper and NROE, both in 2010. I finished Whisper and sent it off to a retired English teacher to edit it, and wrote NROE (the rough draft) while the first book was being edited. I finished NROE and sent it off, and started correcting and editing Whisper. I was able to figure out and bring all the pieces together to self publish Whisper in January 2011. Then I started making corrections to NROE.

I didn’t know if I had any talent or was even going to be any good with any of this, but it was changing my life for the better because I really enjoyed what I was doing in spite of working full time Monday through Friday and spending almost every single evening from 8PM until Midnight or later writing or editing. The passion for it showed up first, but like every writer, we all think are stories are the best, but I didn’t know how good they really were. Could they sell? Will people like them.

The feedback on Whisper was good to great! Nobody trashed talked it. I hurried to get NROE ready for publication, but did find a new editor. Along with the new editor came the realization that NROE needed an overhual from start to finish, plus massive editing. I became a disciple of editing inspite of hating to do it. The thing I wanted to do was start rewriting the entire 120,000 some word book. But I am glad I did it now. It isn’t perfect, but I finished it between February and August of 2011.

The first four reviews of NROE where perfect five out of five stars. I got one three star rating, and another perfect five star rating. The reviews are fabulas! I discovered I am not a hack, but I have some talent in writing. Then the most amazing thing started happening. Slowly my books began to sell, with no promotion, no advertising, they began to sell on their own and from good old fashioned word of mouth.

I believe success is the journey to a predetermined goal, and not the destination. The Predetermined Goal is to one day keep or improve my current standard of living and stay home and write full time. The journey is underway so I am successful in my book. I will keep writing, self publishing, and wearing all the other hats involved with self-publishing, because that is the journey.

By the time I reach my goal I will have newer higher goals set by then, again it is being happy, doing what you are passionate about, developing your skills and craft, along the journey that is being successful, not reaching a set point somewhere in the future.

Passion realized in early 2011, that I have the abilty to be a great writer was realized since August 2011. I have realized how writing everyday, writing two novels in 2010, publishing them both in 2011, and well underway to deliver two more finished books sometime in 2012 has transformed and changed my life. I am working harder than ever before in my life, longer hours, much happier all of the time, being a better manager at my day job, a better father, and building a second career which can take me way past the normal retirement age, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

What genres do you read when you have time to read?

I read just about any and everything. If there is a genre that is most prevalent it would be Fiction Action Adventure. I believe the best writers are your most prolific readers. I believe a large part of my inspiration comes from continually feeding my brian stuff from different fields, genres, fiction, non-fiction, history, blogs, and watching real people in real life situations. I read history books, science books and reports, numerious blogs, crime stories, mysteries, action adventure. I have read numerous series including the Patrick O’Brian - Jack Aubrey series, House of night series, Twilight, Harry Potter, The Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik. I have read most of James Pattersons, Alex Cross novels.

I my younger years I read the Myth adventures series by Robert Asprin, the Incarnations of the Immortals by Peirs Anthony, all of the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries and Novels. The Stainless Steel Rat Series, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenent and countless other books. There are several series I want to start as I finish some others.

The ladies of my book club force me to read Nicholas Sparks books under protest in spite of my hatred of Nicholas Sparks stories. I have a post on my blog earlier this year devoted to Why I hate Nicholas Sparks. I do read romance novels from time to time though generally not my first choice of reading material. I am continually fascinated and enthalled with history books!

Who are some of your inspirations in writing?

James Rollins, definitely, he is the first author I started following right from his start and I have seen his transition from a really good author to a great author. He is an inspiration because I love the action sequences, plot twists, and speed at which his novels fly. In his words he likes to drag his reader to a cliff and then throw them off!

James Patterson’s, Alex Cross series has such scary bad guys, I aspire to be able to get that sick and not get thrown into an insane asylum.

Jack Higgins, has awesome plots and spy novels they are inspirational.

Ken Follett, has great Spy novels along with other deep thoughtful surprises in other works.

Naomi Novik’s Temeraire Novels are inspirational and entertaining to me.

Kate Morton’s, The Forgotten Garden was inspirational in how you could cover four generations of plot twists into one fluid epic story of such beauty, mystery, and how to tell just enough at just the right time to lead the reader step by step and never loosening your hold of them.

What can we expect from you next?

Directly NEXT will be SEQUELS. I am on Chapter Five of the sequel to Whisper, and Chapter Fourteen of the sequel to NROE. I am excited about both.

The sequel of Whisper because it is a challenge to tell the two stories at once. Continuing on with the love story I inadvertently started with but also communicating and sharing the story of Wiley’s training, what he was supposed to be doing, and why he didn’t end up continuing on with that chosen Naval career.
NROE, the sequel has surpassed the first book and I am only coming up on half way through the book.

I know both books will have at least a third book, and I may try to end each series with the third book in each series. I have a completely new series I am biting at the bit to start which will be raw, unpredictable, and cutting edge in a dark way. I know that one will be a multi book series.

Eventually, after book nine to ten, or after I have passed that million word mark and I have definitely developed a style of my own and hopefully have built a following of readers who really enjoy the stuff I write, I will start my greatest story idea I have come up with to date. It is a multiple genre epic series. The church ladies of my book club got a preview of the first few chapters of the first book of this series. They are still hounding me for that book. I wait only to refine and polish my skills as a writer to this story the justice it deserves. In my humble opinion, if anyone has read any of my stuff and been impressed in the slightest, this series will put all of my previous work to shame.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

I have lots of advice for aspiring authors and I genually put it in a blog post on my blog as I come up with some new thought, nugget, or idea.

Off the top of my head I have a couple . . .

a) Write something every day, it all adds up and before you know it you will have a finished novel.

b) Write your book, what you know, what you are passionate about.

c) That feeling you get when your reading a great and awesome book, if your not getting that same feeling writing and reading the stuff you are writing, you are not there yet. Rewrite it! I write my novels and I get that feeling you get with reading a great book, I get it again when re reading it, and again when editing it. It dawned on me that this is what transfers through the writing to the reader. This also is part of what makes writing as addictive as the enjoyment of reading.

d) Edit your work, get people to review it, re-write it, and edit it again! The more polished you make it the more professional you will come off and the better your work will be.

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