Friday, September 25, 2009

Author Fridays Presents...Tim Maddox!

Welcome to another edition of Author Fridays!  Sit back, get comfortable and read about this week's featured author, Tim Maddox!


Tim Maddox is the author of two works of fiction.  The first, "A Memory of Lessons" tells the story of a young boy in the 1960's and his adventures.  It is published by Publish America

"The Summer That Hope Lived", published by Author House

tells the story of a family torn apart by depression and war, and what it will take to bring them back together.


At 41-years-old, Tim loves his family, loves being outdoors, enjoys bird watching and thanks God everyday for his wife and children and the abilities given to him.  He enjoys reading, but would rather write.  "My favorite authors," Tim says, "are Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Wilson Rawls."


In his early 20's, Maddox had a passion for writing.  He wanted to write poetry.  "Unfortunately," he says, "there was a house fire and all my work was lost.  I then lost the desire to write.  Almost twenty years later I had a medical emergency.  While I was in the hospital, the desire came back to me."


"Honestly I don't know how to explain it," he said, when I asked him how he got his ideas for stories.  "They just come to me.  I believe that people of all ages can enjoy my books.  They are written so that children can comprehend them and adults can relate to them.  My hope is that the readers will get a good feeling from the books.  I also hope that the children will learn some good lessons and the adults will recall good memories."


The first thing Tim Maddox would say to any aspiring author would be to, "write from your heart.  Second, find your true style and stick with it.  Third, get the book 'The Elements of Style' by William Strunk & EB White.  The last thing is – if you get stumped don't panic!"


Currently, Tim is working on his third book.  He hasn't decided on the title, yet, but he believes the story is coming along nicely.


When I asked Tim if there was anything else he would like to share with us, he said, "I am also involved in a great cause to help support our troops called 'Operation Desert Swap'.  I will be 'adopting' a soldier and will send him my book along with letters and care packages during his deployment.  You can check for updates about that and my next book on my website


Thank you, Tim for allowing me to interview you and post your article on my blog!  I also have joined Operation Desert Swap and look forward to sending a copy of my book to my soldier. For more information about ODS, go to their website


Thank you for joining me for this week's edition of Author Fridays!  Don't forget to come back next Friday, same place, same time to read about our next featured author, Bonnie Carlson!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Author Fridays Presents...Victoria King!

Welcome to this week's edition of Author Fridays! Sit back, get comfortable and read about our featured author, romance writer, Victoria King!


Victoria King is the author of two books: "Her Strong Tower" and "Cast the First Stone", both published by publish America.


"I think it's a close tie as to whether I like to read as much as I write," says King.  When I'm not watching romantic movies, I'm writing my own. And when I'm not writing my own, I'm reading romance stories/novels."


With favorite authors, like Danielle Steel, Nicholas Sparks, Jillian Hart, Linda Goodnight and Margaret Dailey, along with her enjoyment of many of the Harlequin Inspirational series, it is no wonder that King writes romance.   "I aspire to get to the point where my readers are looking to reading my next book, just like Danielle Steel's fans are waiting to read her next book," she says.  "Writing romance novels is truly a strong passion of mine and I hope to one day do it as my primary avenue for earning a living.  Until then, I will keep plugging away until I make that dream a reality."


Victoria king has been reading romance stories ever since she was a pre-teen.  She used to read Harlequin Romance, but due to the high content of bad language and inappropriate scenes, she mostly sticks with the harlequin Inspirational.  As for hobbies, well, you could guess that all of them center around love stories, and you would be correct.  She loves to read, watch, and write romance.  She reads romantic novels to pick up on styles from other writers, she watches romantic movies to memorize nuances of the actors and actresses in order to try and copy their movements in her writing.  When she gets stuck in one of her own scenes, she will watch one of her many romance tapes/videos and see if one of the actors/actresses makes a particular face.  She then tries to describe in words what she just witnessed.  "A bad habit of mine," King tells me, "is to critique romance stories/movies and books.  I look and grade on things like did I 'feel' the love that was supposed to be so 'evident' in the movie.  I critique on whether I felt the plot was credible.  Did what the story try to portray make sense?"


"I don't believe I started thinking about writing my own stories until I was in my 20s…about thirty years ago," King says..  "I kept reading so many of them and thought to myself that I could do that.  I don't believe there was a particular thing, other than reading the stories and watching the love stories on television that made me want to write one.  Although, I probably read or saw a badly told story and felt I could do better than that!


As is common with authors, Victoria gets her ideas from a variety of sources.  "Sometimes," says she, "they come from something that has actually happened to me and then I start to think "I wander what would have happened if …" reminiscent of "HER STRONG TOWER".   Sometimes my ideas come from instances in my friends' lives, like in "CAST THE FIRST STONE".  Sometimes the ideas come from a song I heard on the radio, like the story soon to be published "A FRIENDLY BET"."


So what will readers get out of reading books by an author who doesn't necessarily enjoy those spicy love stories?  Well, to quote this author, "Well…I don't like to toot my own horn, but from what my readers have said…they like my stories because the characters seem like real people.  My stories have a lot of details that seemingly make the story come alive.  Some readers have even said that the  first scene in CAST THE FIRST STONE was so vivid that they could literally envision my one character actually walking down the aisle of the church in the beginning of her wedding.  I think another facet of my stories that make them so special is that there isn't any profanity in them, not any sex scenes, etc.  They're just clean, well told stories that make you keep wanting to turn the page to find out what happens next.  If the readers read closely, they may even get a glimpse into me personally, because all my stories have a teensy bit of me scattered throughout."  I don't know about the rest of you readers out there, but this alone makes me want to pick up one of Victoria's books, just to see what she is talking about.


As is purely evident in this article, Victoria King is one who works hard at being an author of romance.  When I asked her if she had any advice for aspiring writers, here is what she said.


"My best advice would be to spend a lot of time reading the type of stories they like to write.  Spend some time honing your craft.  Harlequin Romance site has a lot of good writing tips that are good to follow.  Then do some research on the various publishing/agent sites to learn what specific publishers/agents are looking for.  Never give up on your dream of becoming a published author, if it's truly what you wish for!" (SO TRUE)


"Shannon, I would like to thank you for affording me the opportunity to put my thoughts out here in this interview.  You're the first person to officially interview me…so I feel really special!"


You are so welcome, Victoria, and thank you for your time and your advice.  I know of so many writers who do not like to read the type of books that they write, and they could well-afford to study their craft as thoroughly as it seems you do.


For more information about Victoria and her books, visit her website

From what I can tell at a glance, it is filled with lots of interesting stuff.


Thank you everyone once again for joining me today for this edition of Author Fridays!  It has truly been a pleasure.  Come back next week, same time, same place to read about the next featured author, Tim Maddox.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Author Fridays Presents...Laura Ann Ford!

Welcome to another edition of Author Fridays! Sit back, get comfortable and
read about this week's featured author, Laura Ann Ford

Laura Ann Ford is the author of a Western novel entitled "McCullen"
published by Publish America.

A resident of Harrisonburg, Virginia, Laura lives with her husband and two
sons, ages ten and two. An animal lover, she has taken in many abandoned
dogs over the years. "I love them almost as much as I love my kids," she
says. At present, she says she has quite a few dogs, but Dusty is her baby.
She also has a cat named Kiki whom she found wondering in front of her house
when he was just a kitten. The thought of leaving any of them to fend for
themselves leaves her heart-broken, and she and her family are well-known
for taking them in.

Although she loves to read.Dean Koontz and Stephen King are her favorite
authors.Ford says she would rather write, instead. She freely admits that
some find her taste in books strange, seeing as how her novel is a Western
and not the horror that she likes to read.

Many things can inspire a writer, and in this instance it was her dogs that
first inspired Ford to write. Every day, she would write letters to her
grandma. Over time, those letters evolved into poetry and short stories.
She never really expected to have a book published, but after a dream about
a female gunfighter, she wrote down everything she could remember about that
dream, and suddenly, "McCullen" was born! "After reading it to my grandma,"
Laura says, "she kept telling me to get it published, so I gave it a try."

"Ideas for stories usually just pop into my head," she tells me. "Most
times, a song on the radio will inspire me. Lately I've been inspired to
write poetry about my cousin who passed away in March. She was one of the
most wonderful people I will ever know. Her death changed a lot of people's
lives, including mine."

Ford believes "McCullen" to be unique in that it is not just a Western, but
also has a touch of romance, religion, and a supernatural twist.
Throughout the book, McCullen, the main character is in love with two men
and can't choose who she wants to be with. She has several visions in the
story; she actually predicts what is going to happen. "I think it is an
exciting story with lots of twists and turns," says Ford.

When I asked Mrs. Ford if she had any advice for anyone who wants to become
published, she replied, "My advice to someone who wants to become a
published author is to have patience. Good things won't happen overnight.
It takes a lot of work to make a book that's worthy of publication.
Research prospective publishers and agents BEFORE submitting anything to
them. If you get a rejection, don't give up! That's the main thing, keep

"So, Laura, is there anything else that you would like to share?"

"I have been asked if I am planning to write anymore books. The answer to
this is yes. I am currently writing a sequel to McCullen and there is
another book planned after that. I'd like to thank everyone who has
encouraged me to follow my dreams."

Thank you for joining me for another edition of Author Fridays. Be sure to
come back next Friday, same time same place to read about next week's
featured author, romance writer, Victoria King!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Author Fridays Presents...Arlington Nuetzel!

Welcome to another edition of Author Fridays! Sit back, relax and read about
this week's featured author, Arlington Nuetzel

Arlington Nuetzel is the author of three books: "The Low January Sun",
published by iUniverse,
and "2027, New Madrid, Missouri" and "Murder in March Commons" both
published by Publish America

A retired laser engineer, Nuetzel has attempted careers as a rock star, a
horse trainer, a dog breeder, an airline pilot and a ski instructor. "I
failed at almost all of them," he says, "so, a leisurely life of writing has
great appeal."

He loves reading, travel, horses and music, especially the blues, and yes,
he reads and writes interchangeably. "I have the incredible benefit of being
married to a novelist who edits my work," he tells me. "I return the favor.
It is a heavenly relationship. We love each other's work. In fact, that is
what drew us together in the first place."

When it comes to favorite authors, Nuetzel asks, "Who doesn't love Kurt
Vonnegut? Ellmore Leonard is a hoot, But my inspiration is and was John D.
MacDonald. I haven't ripped him off but his characters have walked into my
writing because they are contemporaries of my own characters and they all
get along."

Nuetzel says he did not realize he wanted to be a writer until his journal
was full of junk, and he received a check from Madison (WI) Magazine. He
says he had to cut a thousand words before they would accept the piece, and
they actually paid him to do that.

A machine tools salesman in his twenties gave him a lot of time on the road,
and often, he would pull into a shopping mall parking lot, just to make
notes in a spiral steno book. Those notes became the inspiration for his
first short stories on a mechanical Olivetti on the bar in his rathskeller.
He has been writing ever since. "I wanted to make a mark with a longer
story, and I wrote my first novel a few years ago," says Nuetzel. Now, he
works on one a year.

When I asked Arlington Nuetzel how he gets his ideas for stories, he
replied, "It's a great shock. Time stands still. The story finds you. My
characters write their own dialogue and advance the plot for me. It is
amazing. I don't have to do anything but type. I'm first an educator.
People will be entertained by my books at the beach, pool or on the plane,
but they will also find out about useless stuff like where the Bootheel of
Missouri came from or why airplanes fly or how a lens actually works."

Every author has their own advice to give to those who wish to become
published, but I think Nuetzel's advice is some of the best I've heard. He
says, and I quote, "Find your own voice. Write stuff, get an editor, then
self publish. Promote yourself relentlessly as your own brand. Don't push
the book or books, promote yourself as an author. First, though, edit like
there is no tomorrow. Then edit some more. You must have a professional
editor do the same. Don't release your work until it is pure. Remember, if
you edit yourself, you will read your own errors as correct. I'd like to
advise new writers to, first, know that you can do it. Be a writer. Network
and share your failures and also the stuff that works. Be a mentor. Above
all, pay attention in restaurants and at Wal-Mart. There are stories
everywhere. Write some short stories. They are the black and white film that
cleans out your camera and your tenth story will become a novel. Just keep
writing and good luck."

To learn more about Arlington Nuetzel and his books, please visit him at
And, be on the look-out for his techno-thriller and a collection of short
stories due out this fall!

Thank you for joining me for this week's edition of Author Fridays. Be sure
to come back next Friday, same place same time to read about next week's
featured author, Laura Ann Ford!