NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Welcome Paige Randall to "An Author Speaks!"

Paige Randall is a DC-based fiction writer and just published her first novel, Circling The Shadows. She writes contemporary romance, today, but as she says, "Who knows what the future holds."  Circling The Shadows is the first in a four book series called Sunshine and Moonlight.  Paige's books promise passion, interesting fun, and probably a few tears! She likes her characters a little flawed, just like the rest of us. Paige lives for sun, surf, sand, music, dining with friends and loved ones, travel, books, TV and film. Book two, Forever Falling, should be available in August 2015.

What five words describe you?

Honest, Tenacious/Stubborn (opposite sides of the same coin), Passionate, Confident

What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?

Currently I am in final edits of Forever Falling, the second book in my Sunshine and Moonlight series.  Circling The Shadows is the first. I’ll begin writing the third in June and then the fourth and last in 2016. In Circling The Shadows, we meet Anna and John. I don’t want to give too much away, but Forever Falling brings us Callum, a relation of Anna’s. Gorgeous British Callum leaves London, heartbroken and angry before showing up on Anna and John’s doorstep in South Carolina. Callum journeys the United States looking for ways to mask his pain. His pain gets much worse, before it gets better. He finds solace in the most unexpected of places and in the most unexpected of people when he starts thinking about more than just himself.

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I’d love to see Anson Mount, who plays Cullen Bohannon from AMC’s Hell On Wheels, as John and the incomparable Cat Deely as Anna in Circling The Shadows.

  If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

This is a really hard question.  I think I would have to select J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter series and that is not a very exciting answer.  I have enormous respect for J.K. in that she literally changed to world for young readers.  Not since The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew can I think of an author that brought more young readers to the written word.  That astonishes me.  Since Harry entered our world the genre of young adult has boomed, bringing us countless and truly excellent young adult new authors.  It is truly incredible.  

 What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing is real life. Keeping focus on my 9 – 5 job, doing laundry, cooking, showering, etc.  When I am really into a story, no matter what draft, I can only minimally function outside of the story.  It is engrossing in a way I would have never imagined.  It is a feeling like the truest love there is.  Writing Circling The Shadows, I lost 10 lbs., my car battery kept dying because I was a virtual shut in, and I showered… well… not quite enough.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?

While I know this exists, I haven’t experience it yet (knocking on wood).  My first two novels have flown from me hard and fast. I have a rule that I never stop a writing session at the end of a section or chapter.  I’d rather leave the story mid-sentence so it is always still moving inside of me. With both stories, I did get to plot points where I was concerned I was “writing myself into a corner.” With both novels, I would go to sleep feeling a little unsure.  Again, with both novels, I would wake (typically I am up 3 am – 5 am, thinking) and the story would have written itself in my sleep.  I became one of those people with a notepad at my bedside to wake and write notes. Solutions came like gifts in the night.  It was the most incredible feeling, for which I am forever grateful.
Where would your dream location be for writing?

 A beach, everything is a beach for me.  When I started my second novel though, I was on a plane to Asheville and spent hours upon hours in the hotel lobby on my laptop unfolding the story.  You will see that hotel lobby in Forever Falling. I think in my perfect dream, there is a beach house with a little room on a high floor. Windows are open wide and curtains blow gently from the ocean breeze. I can smell the ocean every second of my day.  I’ll write here and live my life in perfect peace and passion.

When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?

My characters are 100% fiction.  The only time I did borrow real life people was for more of a joke with my hairdressers. One was retiring and the second was taking over so I made them a married couple in Circling The Shadows (note: Joe and Barbara in the story and yes that is their real names). People find my commitment to fiction a little unbelievable, as in not believable.  My characters have a few traits from my life – love for music and curse words, fear of food poisoning but love for cooking, dedication to family – but they are otherwise pure fiction. Frequently people ask me of my sex scenes are based on my own experiences. I WISH is the only answer for that.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I do read reviews.  I’m still new at this and send every single review to my mother!  I would never respond to a review, good or bad.  I think that violates a trust between a reader and a writer. Just because we have incredible connectivity through technology, doesn’t mean we need to use it.  When a reader takes the time to read my novels, I am so incredibly honored.  Time is precious and they’ve chosen to spend time with me.  I hope they will like it, but every story is not for every reader.  We are all entitled to a difference of opinion, as long as we speak with respect, I think.  Mean reviews don’t deserve a response.  That is just a very rude attention grab.

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?

I have learned that I need to create. For many years I subsisted with great joy in making and raising children… making beautiful meals, a home, holidays, etc.  These are all wonderful and worthy occupations. There came a point when I needed to create something else.  Now it is writing. If I wasn’t writing, or when my pace slows, I will learn to create music.  I am absolutely enamored with the idea of an acoustic guitar and a simple song. 
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?

WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE!!!  I applied to a Master’s fiction writing program after I got my English degree.  It was a tiny program (25 writers) at a huge university.  I didn’t get in and I didn’t write for years after that.  I want to kick myself every time I think of it.  I see on social media people list themselves as an “aspiring writer.” NO!  If you write, you are a writer. Aspiring has nothing to do with writing.  We all aspire to finish a large piece, to be published, receive acclaim, but that isn’t about being a writer.  Writers write, that’s all. 

Where can we buy your work?

Circling the Shadows is available on Kindle and Paperback on
Links are here on my site:

 How can we keep up with you?

I LOVE to connect with readers!  Find me at the following links:

Twitter: @ThePaigeRandall
Instagram: Paige Randall Writer
Goodreads: Paige Randall

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In Regards to the Supreme Court Decision

I am not ashamed to admit I was devastated by the Supreme Court Decision.  I believe in traditional marriage and always have.  I believe homosexuality a sin, just as lying, cheating, abortion, etc.  Does that make me a hater?  No. 

I've been accused of being close-minded, unfeeling, judgmental, and bigoted because of my beliefs.  I've been accused of alleging homosexuals are forever damned, with no redemption in sight.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If I hated homosexuals, I would also hate everyone else who sinned ... leaving me the most miserable, loneliest person in the world.  In fact, I wouldn't even want to be around myself, for I too am a sinner. 

I am a Christian.  I follow, to the best of my ability, His word.  I love my neighbors and try to be a friend to all.  I believe God loves us all equally and offers redemption for anyone who has a repentant heart and asks for His forgiveness. 

That is all I have to say on this matter.  God Bless Us All!

Note:  I saw this post on Facebook and wanted to pass it on. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Are You Fine?

Friend:  "How are you?"
You:  "Fine."

How many times does this happen in a day?  Now, how many times do you say "fine" when you're struggling with something? Yep! Thought so.  
I'm guilty of it, as with many others (glad I'm in good company). For some reason, we are afraid to voice our true feelings. Either we don't want to bother anyone with our fears or problems, we don't think they'll understand, or we don't want to appear weak. Whatever the reason, unless you have a therapist at your beck and call, you need to talk to somebody.  Sure, if your boss or an acquaintance walks up to you and asks that dreaded question, it might not be appropriate to engage in a lengthy dialog. Or, if someone asks you on social media - not a good idea.  I'm referring to our trusted family members, friends or clergy.    
Pretending everything is okay works for awhile, but eventually whatever is causing anxiety will simmer, bubble then boil over ... making it worse.  If we reach out when the issue first surfaces, more times than not, it will be resolved.  If not, then at least we have someone there to offer advice on where to turn.  No one should struggle alone.  
I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer and try diligently to "turn it over", but I'm also a firm believer in the power of family, friends and clergy. God uses them to speak through all the time ... based on personal experience a hundred times over.  
Just my thought for today.  Oh, wait a minute ... do you know what "FINE" stands for?
                                      Freaked Out

Friday, June 19, 2015

Welcome Reese Hogan to "An Author Speaks"!

Reese Hogan is a science fiction author whose novels often include a historic, or historically-inspired, setting. She enjoys studying languages and military history, and also loves outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, exercising, and skiing. She has been writing for eighteen years and published her first novel last year. Her favorite genres to read are science fiction and fantasy, but she also likes biographies and history texts.  Reese lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, with her husband and two young children (ages three and one). She currently stays at home with the children and writes in the evenings.

What five words describe you? 

 Introverted, obsessive, organized, creative, and a dreamer.

What are you working on at the minute? What is it about? 

I am working on the first book of a new trilogy about an occupied country in time of war. The main character is a submariner who returns home to find out his brother is an enemy collaborator. He is also the carrier of a dangerous secret that makes him and two of his comrades the target of a hunt by their conquerors. He has to deal with the guilt when one of them gets left behind during an escape.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your
         most recent book?

My last book was The Deadliest Echo, which is a science fiction thriller set in 1920’s Soviet Russia. The main character is a 24-year-old American mercenary. My two main choices for him would be Sebastian Stan, who is best known as Bucky Barnes in Captain America, or a lesser-known Irish actor by the name of Ronan Raftery.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would
it have been and why? 

If I had to choose one, I’d say the Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. Every book in that series has the perfect mixture of emotion, action, humor, world building, and excellent character arcs that I can only hope to emulate in my work.

What is the hardest thing about writing? 

Every book is a puzzle. There’s so, so much planning that goes into any given work that it’s hard to fit all those pieces together perfectly and come out with a novel that resembles what you had in mind when you started. The hardest thing for me is that from the time I start something to the time I finish, I am constantly doubting everything I’ve done—there’s not enough action; there’s too many subplots; I need more points of view; this setting isn’t working. It’s an insane amount of work to fit it all together. But when you come out at the end with something you love, it’s so much more rewarding than if it had been easy. (It’s never easy.)

 Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?  

I’ve had a lot of experience with this, and I think writer’s block stems from losing excitement about your story. When this happens, the first thing I do is go back to the last place I felt excited about and try to figure out if there is another direction I could go with the character or plot to bring that feeling back. Try to remember what made you excited about the project in the first place and bring more of that back to the forefront when the writing starts feeling sluggish. Switch to a different P.O.V. Concentrate on a subplot. If you only have one story arc, your story will feel flat and you will lose your steam, and then—bam. Writer’s block. Have enough going on that you have another avenue to go down when you want a break from the main thing. Or work on a different project. But whatever you do, don’t take a break from writing. In my experience, the longer you’re away, the harder it is to come back to.

Where would your dream location be for writing? 

In the mountains, without distractions, on a mild spring or autumn day.

 When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?  

Not usually. But I do use things that have happened in my own life as flavor for my characters.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 

I would never respond, but I do read them. Maybe if one day I have hundreds, I won’t, but that hasn’t happened yet. The first bad review I got was difficult, of course, but I think it’s like a rite of passage to becoming a real writer. Somebody you’ve never met has read your work! And I honestly think those bad reviews and ratings help people trust your book more if they are thinking about buying one. If I’m considering a book and see seven 5-star ratings, I know right off the bat that those are all friends or paid reviews. I don’t trust it. I’d rather see a book with mixed ratings and reviews, because there is no book in the world that is loved by everyone. Sometimes, it helps to go read the 1-star reviews of your favorite novels. You’ll find that most bad reviews boil down to a single aspect of the book (dragging pace, misogynistic main character, self-centered hero, whatever) and once you start getting a feel for that, you’ll realize that your own bad reviews are likely about a single aspect, too. Once you realize that, then you’ll have a good idea of what you need to work on.
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be? 

A few things that come to mind are airline pilot, fertility doctor, or translator.

What would you tell your younger self that would have
helped you in your writing career? 

Get involved in writing communities. Join critique groups. Share your work. Take classes. Write every chance you get.

Where can we buy your work? 

Both paperback and ebook versions of The Deadliest Echo are available through the Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites. If you contact me through Goodreads or my website, I’m always happy to mail out a signed copy.

 How can we keep up with you?

My website:
Twitter:  @ReeseHogan1

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I saw the following on Facebook and it struck me like a bolt of lightening. My picture could be on top of that quote ~ I am that quote.  Through the grace of God, my wounds are healed and that's why I'm involved in Rachel's Hope and Silent No More Awareness.


The words apply to anyone who has experienced physical, emotional or spiritual trauma.  It is human nature to bury the pain ... a defense against re-experiencing it. Reaching out for help in dealing with past traumas removes the pain and anguish that has taken up so much valuable space in our souls ... making room for indescribable peace, serenity and joy. 
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
 Revelation 21:4

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Welcome S M Spencer to "An Author Speaks"!

S M Spencer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a young teenager her mother introduced her to the world of romantic suspense by encouraging her to read the works of authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books stirred a passion in her that would last a lifetime—to become a writer. Feeling the need to experience life before embarking on a writing career, Ms Spencer completed a business degree. Her career eventually landed her in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived ever since. Yet her true passion to be a writer never abated.  S M Spencer now writes from her home in the outskirts of Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, horses, cats and dogs.  Her book Destiny is the winner of both the indieBRAG Medallion and Awesome Indies Badge of Approval.

What five words describe you?

Creative, pacifist, tolerant, optimistic and yet, wait for it … one-who-does-not-suffer-fools-gladly.   

 What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?

 I’m working on two books – a contemporary romance, and another that is hard to categorise.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

 I think Jennifer Stone has the perfect look for Lili, with her reddish hair and beautiful dark eyes.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
The Horse Whisperer—because even though I basically liked the story, there were things in that book, that as a horse person myself, really rubbed me the wrong way.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Promotion! The writing is easy, but getting the word out afterwards … not so.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block? 

I don’t get it … if I’m in the mood to write, I write. If I’m not, I don’t stress over it.

Where would your dream location be for writing?
 Right where I am now.

When creating characters, are they based on people in your life? 

There are attributes of all the characters that come from people I’ve known, but no character is based entirely on anyone.

 Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Sure, I read them, but I don’t respond. As for the bad ones, everyone is entitled to their opinion—but that’s all it is, their opinion.

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?

 I can’t conceive of a world where I couldn’t be a writer.

What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?

Trust your intuition.
Where can we buy your work?

DestinyClick Here  When nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born.  But when she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him. Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy. But the real test is how to follow her destiny as she faces some of the hardest decisions of her life. Using a modern theme, the author tells an old fashioned love story that you won’t want to put down, even when you’ve finished the last page.

SacrificeClick Here  Lili is in love with Sam. Or is she? Has he simply cast some sort of spell on her? Can vampires do that? Indecision and self-doubt nearly cripple Lili as she contemplates returning to Australia to be with Sam—after all, what does a nineteen year-old California girl know about living with vampires and ghosts? There are many challenges ahead of her, and each time she meets one Lili discovers she is stronger than she thought. But even so, is she prepared to make the hardest decision of her young life, and learn the true meaning of sacrifice? In this second installment of The Absent Shadows Trilogy Lili’s journey continues, across wide expanses of sea and land, as she seeks to confirm true love and fulfill her destiny. 

DeceptionClick Here When Lili has just about given up hope of ever seeing Sam again, unexpected events turn her world upside down, and she finds herself headed back to Australia. But years have gone by—will Sam even want to see her again? And what’s with this new addition to their group? How can a strange woman, who claims to be a dhampira from Spain, arrive unannounced and be accepted so readily? Has jealousy blurred Lili’s vision, or is she the only one that can see clearly? In this final installment of The Absent Shadows Trilogy, Lili must fight for the life she feels she is destined to live, and for those she calls family, even when a new evil threatens to destroy their world. 
 How can we keep up with you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Recently I submitted some work of mine for review. Chills went down my spine as flashbacks surfaced of the dreaded  "annual performance evaluation" I used to face while in the workforce.
The fear victims experience in my suspense series pales in comparison to the terror I felt sitting down in my manager's office as she shut the door.   I always fared extremely well in my performance evaluations and should have been ecstatic, BUT although 99% of the evaluation was positive I would invariably zero in on the 1%, beating myself up over it.  Why?  Because my name is Patti, and I'm a perfectionist.

Focusing on the 1% stripped every ounce of joy I had in what I was doing.  The joy morphed into fear and doubt.  Fortunately, later on in life, I had a manager who cared enough to knock me off that pedestal of perfectionism by pointing out the 1% did not represent failure, but an opportunity for growth.  Now, why didn't I think of that?  @#$%&!I'm doing it again!
Too many people miss the
silver lining because they're expecting gold.
--Maurice Setter 

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Writer's World: Robert Niswander

Robert Niswander is a forty-four year old poet trying to make it in this world of ours. He writes under the name Plot121 and has been writing since his teens. He has published four books available at Amazon. Many of his poems are based on his own experiences and how he sees the world. 

What is your primary focus when writing poetry?

I write about things in life, the subjects differ from time to time. I seem to let my mind dwell on many planes. So with that being the case, I have an opinion on everything. I like to learn and study so it's a joy when something comes to my mind and I poke at it for awhile with my imagination and see what forms.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was in my teens. I had a difficult childhood. Often being teased because I did not fit in the normal pattern of school. So in my alone time I started to sort out my thoughts through this craft. Over the years, it became more than a coping skill but a salvation, and it has helped me deal with a lot of issues.  
Who inspires you?

My first inspiration was Poe, like so many. As I grew older, I leaned towards Gothe and Frost. Still, even now at the age of forty-four, my mother continues to be my greatest inspiration. Her boundless positive influence geared my work less from the darkness and more towards a humanitarian way of thinking.

Is all your work based on personal experience?

I guess you can say my work is both from experience and perception. We all see how the world is now, but giving writing about the way life should be is the talent we have as writers. I feel that is our job to give options on how it should be done as well so we can come with a solution good for us, all not just a few.
What would you like readers to
gain from your writing?

I would like readers to see the many different options they have, then they can make a more rational decision on the course they should take. Learning that everything they do affects someone. Keeping that in mind maybe someone will pause to really examine what needs to be done. My works cover a variety of subjects.  Although some may not agree with my point of view, I hope it gives pause for consideration.
Where can readers find your work?


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sin in Disguise

I try to avoid getting on my soapbox, (my husband might argue this! J), but there are times when I can no longer maintain silence. 

Henry Virkler once said, “Temptation often comes wrapped in the form of something beautiful, something that appeals to our senses and desires. It is often necessary to think twice before we recognize that a beautiful object or goal (at times) is really sin in disguise.”  Mr. Virkler was right on point, especially as it pertains to today’s view of what is right, wrong, moral, immoral, acceptable and unacceptable.

You cannot go anywhere recently without reading or hearing about Bruce Jenner’s transformation.  It’s on talk shows, in newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter, Google+; the list goes on and on. One more time our impressionable children, (as well as society as a whole) are being told they can do whatever they want, regardless of the circumstances or consequences.  It doesn’t matter who it hurts or the fact it goes against God.  If it feels good, do it. 

We are all created in His image and those not accepting this fact are saying God made a mistake.  The desire to change what was created is not of God but of evil and should be fought with every ounce of faith and courage … not celebrated, sensationalized and encouraged. 

You might say I'm being judgmental.  Maybe I am, but I hope not.  We all have personal struggles and battle temptation every day.  Sometimes we win, sometimes not.  When we lose, we are called to repent - not justify our actions and demand the world to turn the wrong into a right.  






Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Occupational Hazard

In the course of a writer’s life (at least mine), a frustrating period of what I call “mushpair” rears its ugly head.  You won’t find mushpair at, it’s a Patti-ism, but not to worry … you’ll get the drift.
Being a prolific writer, my brain is always in overdrive – full of future stories, blog features, retreat formats, poems, etc.  Usually, the ideas are safely stored in their dedicated brain spot until they are formulated enough to put on paper as a draft.  Usually. 

That dreadful period comes when nothing can be stored, let alone formulated.  All my wonderful ideas mush together and I can’t for the life of me pull them apart.  The mind just whirls and whirls propelling me into a state of panic and despair.  I race to the refrigerator for comfort food (lots of comfort food) then try to find something on television to distract me for a while. 

It doesn’t last long in real-time, but in mind-time it seems to last forever.  After the first few episodes, I realized it was a sign I'm taking too much on and to slow down … but does that keep the monster at bay?  Nope.  Because it knows I will gradually return to hyper-mode and it patiently waits ... along with the frozen M & M's, string cheese and chocolate pudding.

So why do I go through the torture?  I’m a writer and it’s what I love.  I gain much more than I lose in the long run … unfortunately that includes a few extra pounds!  

Monday, June 1, 2015

Welcome Greg Scott to "An Author Speaks"!

Greg Scott is a veteran of the tumultuous IT industry.  After working as a consultant at Digital Equipment Corporation, a large computer company in its day, Scott branched out on his own in 1994 and started Scott Consulting.  A larger firm bought Scott Consulting in 1999, just as the dot com bust devastated the IT service industry.  Scott went out on his own again in late 1999 and started Infrasupport Corporation, this time with a laser focus on infrastructure and security.  He currently lives in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area with his wife, daughter and two grandchildren.  He holds several IT industry certifications, including CISSP number 358671.  Scott graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1979 with a double major of math and speech.  He earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis in 1996.  In the 1990's, he wrote a popular column on the back page of IT industry publication ENT Magazine titled, "NT Heartland," and another column in Enterprise Linux Magazine titled, "Converts Corner."

What five words describe you? 
Christian, Dad, Grandpa, bald, IT guy.  (IT guy can be one virtual word.)  I’ve also been called a nutcase, but now I’m over my five word budget. 
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about? 
Publicizing my very first book, “Bullseye Breach,” an IT security book disguised as a fiction international thriller about a large retailer that loses 40 million credit cards to some Russians.  I have some more adventures in mind for Jerry Barkley, the “Bullseye Breach” main character, but let’s get some momentum behind “Bullseye Breach” first.  And then I also try to generate income with IT consulting services.  So if your company needs to update its server, or is considering going to the cloud, or needs help connecting branch offices, or needs security work, or just needs IT help – support an independent author and contact me!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? 
Jerry Barkley looks a lot like me.  People tell me an actor named John Malkovich also looks like me – so he would be the logical candidate.  None of the good guy characters in “Bullseye Breach” will stand out at a glamour event. 
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? 
At this stage of my life, I can’t think of any other book I could have written other than “Bullseye Breach.”  I wrote it because, even with today’s sensational headlines around data breaches, every time I try to show business owners how to be safe, their eyes always glaze over.  I had a conversation a few months ago and said the word, “protocol.”  She was engaged and looking at me until I said that word.  By the time I finished the third syllable, her head was turned and she started walking towards the door.  It takes less than one second to say that word and in that one, single second, I lost her attention.  Just one example of many.  So I studied everything I could get my hands on for telling a good story and wrote a fiction book that will hopefully keep people’s interest.  The book does have the words, “port scan,” but they’re in context and a book about a cyberattack has to have some cyber words to be credible.  IT pros who know what they’re doing will appreciate the realistic scenario I laid out, including how the good guys fight back.  Everyone else will hopefully enjoy the characters and appreciate what’s behind solid IT work.
What is the hardest thing about writing? 
My biggest challenge with “Bullseye Breach” was trying to explain heavy-duty tech concepts in language everyone can understand in the context of an interesting story without ruining the story and putting readers to sleep.  And keeping an appropriate level of detail.  I could not have done it without help from some great editors.  The first draft had actual computer commands to run port scans.  Steve, my content editor just shook his head when he saw those.  Steve and Lily both worked hard to help make this book readable for non IT people.  In one draft, I had 800+ words of tech explanations in a conversation with two characters.  Lily, the professional editor, spent about 3 hours on those 800+ words and turned them into 400+ words that gave the same explanation and engaged readers.  Lily has no IT background, but she explained those IT concepts better than me. 
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?  
It’s usually late at night for me when this happens and I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open.  I go crash in bed, close my eyes, and try to think about where the story should go from here before dropping off.  Sometimes inspiration comes the next day, sometimes it takes longer.  I also put myself in the situation of the character and try to react as that character should react. 
Where would your dream location be for writing? 
Anywhere quiet with a computer and some word processing software.  Indoors.  With access to food, water, and shelter. And the Internet.  I do lots of research over the Internet.  Other than that, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t have a special chair or special spot to compose. 

When creating characters, are they based on people in your life? 
Some.  But not all.  I’ve never met any Russian mob bosses.  I’m the model for Jerry Barkley, although he is smarter than me.  I like Jesse Jonsen.  A lot.  But she is pure fiction and her personality evolved to meet the story.  Other characters share attributes from people I’ve met.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 
I crave reviews.  As of this writing, I’ve only had three and the first one from somebody I haven’t met came in this morning.  It was only four stars, so I’m not batting 1.000 anymore.  J  All the advice I’ve read says not to respond to negative reviews.  And I get why – there’s no sense in getting into an online argument with a negative reviewer.  But if somebody has a constructive criticism, I might respond with a thanks and try to apply the constructive lesson in the next story. 
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be? 
I’m really an IT guy learning how to be a writer.  I’ve always had a curiosity about how infrastructure works.  I’ll only consider myself a real writer when my writing tops break-even, which will prove somebody cares about what I have to say.  Until then, I’m a wannabe writer. 
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career? 
I would say, “Greg, get off your dead, lazy butt and start writing stories now.  Pay attention to all this stuff they’re trying to teach you in high school and college.   So by the time you’re my age, you’ll have a track record and won’t have to start from scratch.”
Where can we buy your work? 
It’s available in physical and eBook form at all the popular book sellers.  This is cool – I even saw copies in stock at a few Barnes and Noble stores in the Twin Cities.  The best place to buy is right from the book website at  All the books at all the retailers come from the book distribution site here in the Twin Cities and the book website has a link to buy right from there. 
How can we keep up with you via Social Media?
I write a blog on my company website,  Go to “Greg’s Blog” for lots of great content.  I put videos from interviews and other content relating to “Bullseye Breach” on the book website,  And I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.