Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet - D.J Donaldson

Today on the blog I am pleased to have 
D.J Donaldson, Author of 
the Andy Broussard /Kit Franklyn Mystery Series




Synopsis:

When Kit goes to meet an anonymous stranger—who’s been sending her roses—the man drops dead at her feet before she could even get his name. Game on. 

Andy Broussard soon learns that the man carried a lethal pathogen similar to the deadly “Ebola”—a highly contagious virus, feared worldwide for killing its victims (grotesquely) in a matter of days. When another body turns up with the same bug, widespread panic becomes imminent. The danger is even more acute, because the carrier is mobile. The man knows he’s a walking weapon and… he’s targeting Broussard

And when Kit Franklyn investigates her mystery suitor further, she runs afoul of a cold- blooded killer, every bit as deadly as the man searching for her partner.


Bio:

D.J. (Don) Donaldson is a retired medical school professor.  Born and raised in Ohio, he obtained a Ph.D. in human anatomy at Tulane, then spent his entire academic career at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.  In addition to being the author of several dozen scientific articles on wound healing, he has written seven forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers.

Author Interview:

What inspired you to start writing, and when?
Oddly, the thought that I wanted to become a novelist just popped into my head one day shortly after my fiftieth birthday.  Part of this sudden desire was a bit of boredom with my real job.  I was an anatomy professor at the U. of Tennessee and had accomplished all my major professional goals: course director, funded NIH grant, teaching awards, and many published papers on wound healing.  So I guess I needed a new challenge. And boy did I pick a tough one.  

I wondered, how does a novice like me learn to write fiction? Taking a few writing courses is an obvious answer. But I had the vague feeling that there were a lot of unpublished writers teaching those courses and I worried that all I’d learn was how to fail.  I’m not saying this was the best way, but I decided to just teach myself.  I bought ten bestselling novels and tried to figure out what made each of them work. What tricks were the authors using to hold my attention?  What made these books so popular?  In a sense then, maybe I didn’t teach myself.  Maybe Steven King, Robin Cook, Pat Conroy, Michael Palmer, Larry McMurtry, and James Michener did.  In any event, eight years later, I sold my first book.  So, it took me about as long to become a published novelist as it did to train for medical research and teaching. 

What is your preferred genre?
My first book was a mystery.  As a beginning writer, that seemed like the best genre for me because mysteries have a classic structure that guides the behavior and direction of the main characters. In a very general way that structure provides those characters with goals and motivation: Goal: find the killer.  Motivation:  It’s their job. The genre also provides a structure for conflict: The killer doesn’t want to be found, so he will try to thwart the investigation.  I had no idea that my first book would lead to six more with the same characters.

After six series mysteries I took a break to try my hand at writing stand-alone thrillers.  (Stand-alones have a different cast of characters in each book.) Someone once asked me what the difference is between a mystery and a thriller. There can be a lot of overlap in the two, but generally thrillers put the main character in danger throughout the book. In mysteries, the danger often arises only when the protagonist begins to close in on the killer.

I have to say I like series and stand alones equally well.  If you look at my list of published novels (seven forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers), it’s obvious that I’ve drawn on my academic background to write both kinds of books. They say to “write what you know”, and I have.  Except that for every book, It’s taken about six months of intensive research to learn a lot of necessary material, both scientific and otherwise, that I didn’t know when I started the book. That research has been a lot of fun.  For one book, I spent a week in Madison Wisconsin, visiting dairy farms... even had a milk cow poop on my shoes. (Okay, I didn’t like that part much.) 

What was the hardest part of writing LOUISIANA FEVER? 
Did you learn anything from writing that book and what was it? 
My intention in each book is to reveal more about my two main characters, Andy Broussard and Kit Franklyn by putting them in situations that cause them to change and grow. And the more books I write about them, the harder it is to develop these little character arcs. LOUISIANA FEVER was number four in the series, so my two protagonists were already fairly well fledged out when I began work on the book. At that time, I had no idea what would face them in the new story, or how they would react. But as pieces of the project took shape, opportunities appeared, as they always seem to do. In fact, those arcs for Andy and Kit turned out to be more significant than I ever expected. Strange as it sounds, in each book my characters teach me something new about themselves.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?
I do a lot of planning and thinking before I start writing.  In my mysteries I always know who the killer is and why he did it.  Knowing who he/she is establishes a lot of the story and tells me who some of the other characters should be.  If I didn’t know who did it when I started writing, it would be impossible to scatter the appropriate red herrings and real clues throughout the book. Even my medical thrillers all have a surprise reveal at the end. Those revelations have to be carefully set up.  Having done all that planning, I then have to be sure I don’t make it all too obvious. Many of my readers who write Amazon reviews say they were surprised at the end. Occasionally though, a reader will think the story was too predictable. I’m never sure exactly how to take that.  If they mean all the loose ends were tied up and everybody got what they deserved, fair enough.  Because that’s exactly my intent. Our real lives are full of unresolved conflict and irritation, including hearing about killers and rapists who get off on technicalities. I think people read to escape that world.  I want my readers to smile with satisfaction at the end of my books.     

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?
I’m sure my characters contain parts of many people I know.  At first I was worried that they might recognize themselves and not like what they read.  But I soon discovered that no one sees themselves as others see them, so any similarity goes completely unnoticed even when it’s there. 

Tell us your latest news? 
I’ve always wanted my books to be available on audio.  I’m excited to tell you that my entire New Orleans forensic mystery series is now in production with Audible books. I haven’t yet heard any of it, so I’m really looking forward to listening to what they’ve done.  The narrator is Brian Troxell, who has narrated about 75 other books for Audible. I’ve listened to some of those and I think he’s going to do a great job. When he asked me for some hints about how to portray Broussard, the greatly overweight New Orleans medical examiner, I told him to think of the character actor, Wilfred Brimley.  From the moment I wrote the first words about Broussard I pictured him being played in film by Brimley.  

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t write for wealth or fame because most writers in the world, even those who have sold books to major publishers, can’t claim either of those status symbols.  There’s an old quote that says, “You can get rich in this country by being a writer, but you can’t make a living.”  Write because you love it.  If you don’t love doing it then you can be crushed by the difficulties inherent in the pursuit.  

Ok, now some fun questions….

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, unless we’re talking about mango or blackberry-flavored iced tea. Ever notice that when you put cream in your coffee it doesn’t stain the cup as much as black coffee does?  Why is that? 

White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?
Dark… preferably surrounding a big fat almond.  For some reason, I can never remember if it’s Mounds that has the whole almond in it, or if it’s Almond Joy. I keep thinking the mound in Mounds is an almond (which it isn’t). Can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought the wrong one. (I know, you’re saying to yourself, how hard can it be to remember?  The one with the almond has almond in the name.)  The problem for me comes when I see Mounds without the other one around so I can compare the names. I’m sure now that I’ve written about it I’ll never make that mistake again. (We’ll see.)

What is your favorite color?
For a shirt… white…. Crisp and white.  To me it shows you respect yourself and wherever you’re going that day.

Winter or Summer?
Summer when it’s winter, and winter when it’s summer. Yes, I’m a malcontent.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I’d like to be Captain First Draft, where the words come out exactly right the first time I write anything. (I even had to revise this sentence twice.)

If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why?
I really wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  Everybody has difficult things to deal with.  We usually just don’t know what they are for someone else. Better to learn how to deal with your problems than spend time wishing them away.

Are you a technology buff (i.e have every electronic gadget known to man)?
I’m definitely a technophobe. I love my computer, but hate to upgrade anything on it because I know it’s just gonna create problems somewhere. About a year ago, I replaced my eight-year old computer.  Now I can’t open any of the files I created in FINAL DRAFT, the screenwriting software.  One of my favorite lines in a TV show was from Homicide: Life on the Street, where Yaphet Kotto, the head of homicide looks around at all the drop cloths, ladders, and painters in the squad room, scowls, and says, “I hate change.”  Amen, to that.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and enjoyed?
For recent TV, I’m hooked on Game of Thrones.  …. Loved the scene where… No, I better not say, because I might ruin that episode for anyone who hasn’t seen it.  (Here’s a hint:  It involved fossilized dragon eggs.) 


If you want to own your own copies of the series, the four e-books (Louisiana Fever, Sleeping with the Crawfish, New Orleans Requiem, and Bad Karma in the Big Easy) are on sale of $0.99 each on Amazon throughout the month of October. 



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Meet - Mario Saincic - Author of My African Dream


Author Bio:

Recipes are rules meant to be broken!
Mario Saincic was born in 1970, and has a passion for life. Starting off in restaurant kitchens and ending up as an architectural designer, he has managed to turn his creativity into a career. Writing is one such desire, and since the release of Infirmity, there is hardly a day that goes by without characters sitting around discussing their lives with him.

"Inspiration appears at the strangest of times, and we need to embrace it."

His desire in life is to be as perfect an example to his kids as his father is to him.


What inspired you to start writing, and when?

A bad separation. It was a way to put my feelings down on paper, and soon after it turned into a book which led to another...and so on.

What is your preferred genre?

To read: various. To write: romance – it gives me a chance to tell stories about people in a way that focuses on real life.

Tell us your latest news?

Uhm...I have two new books almost complete...

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

Inspired by a friend, the character of Milly developed over time and she eventually started dancing across the pages. When I booked her ticket and sent her to Kenya, I had to introduce her to the reality of African life, and the brutal act of rhino poaching and how it is threatening the extinction of a beautiful beast. She developes as a character and eventually surprises herself when she ends up saving her man.

How long did it take you to complete?

5 months

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?

I write about people so each book will have characteristics from someone I know or have met, even if the waitress at my favourite coffee shop or a granny I chat to at the green grocer.

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?

That worried me more than completing the book. The story is filled with heart and passion and nothing less than perfect would be good enough. I got in touch with Heart Covers, a new design company, and the process and final draft was perfect. It incorporates everything I wanted to portray, and Natalie really paid close attention to what I wanted. To be honest...I still smile when I look at the cover.

Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?

My heart.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

I don’t start a book without playing it out in my head like a movie. So far everything I have written had the closing line and scene before I started writing ‘Chapter One’

Do you write under a pen name?

No. I am the only Mario Saincic in the world, and I’m proud of it.

Do you have any advice for other writers starting out?

Don’t stop no matter what. Follow your heart, and be prepared to get raised brows when you tell people you are a writer. Very important...take edits and comments as a way to better yourself and not as a personal attack.

Ok, now some fun questions…. My favourite kind...

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee

White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?

I very rarely eat anything sweet, but when the craving drags me to the pantry or closest store, it is milk.

What is your favourite colour?

Green.

Winter or Summer?

Depends who I am with...

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Teleportation.

If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why?

Nelson Mandela, so that I could try and rectify the mess that has arisen since his death.

What are three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

A smile, a tune in my head, and a longing to get back to the ones I love.

Are you a technology buff (i.e have every electronic gadget known to man)?

I still use a map book instead of a GPS.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and enjoyed?


The Tomorrow People on TV, and Hansel and Gretal Witch Hunters.

Social Media Links:




My African Dream

My African Dream finds Millicent Cramer in the heart of Kenya, a world she only ever dreamed about. Even her wildest imagination could not have prepared her for life on African soil, but what she experienced there changed her life forever. She found the harsh beauty overwhelming; the people comforting; and even found love…but the biggest thing she discovered was a purpose for her life - a calling far beyond anything she had experienced before.

Keep your eye out over at Pinky's Favorite Reads for my review of My African Dream.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meet - Victoria Bright



Pinky's Favorite Authors is pleased to have Victoria Bright, author of The Daring Assignment here today. 





What inspired you to start writing, and when? 
I actually started writing in the 8th grade. It was the only thing that resembled “doing classwork” when I was bored out of my mind and couldn’t concentrate. I actually thought I was Harriet the Spy!

What is your preferred genre? 
I love Romance!

Tell us your latest news? 
I just released my first erotica, The Daring Assignment, which is the first book of the Curvy Assignments series.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest work? 
The Daring Assignment is the first erotica I ever wrote. It’s about a woman who feels stuck in her every day life and is tired of having her life controlled with money and status. She gets this risky writing assignment from her literary agent that sends her on an erotic adventure and she quickly realizes that she can’t lead double lives. In the end, she has to make the ultimate decision. Does she stick with what she’s familiar to, or does she continue following the path she stumbled upon?

How long did it take you to complete? 
Probably about 2 months.

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances? Yes. Every character that I ever write about are either based on different faucets of my personality, or people I know in real life.

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself? 
Ha, I’m not talented enough to design something that sexy. My best friend Laura, who owns Bookfabulous Designs, is my cover designer. Isn’t it awesome?

Where did you get the inspiration for your cover? 
My covers reflect my storyline. My character, Arianna Donatelli, is very shy and reserved when it comes to sex. In other words, she’s a prude (as am I). The cover reflects that she still wants to be sexy, but in a teasingly shy way. I think that it portrays her nicely.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? 
I have to outline or else I’ll be all over the place and nothing will make sense.

Do you write under a pen name? 
Nope! I write under my actual name!

Do you have any advice for other writers starting out? 
Always look at the bigger picture. Don’t stress over whatever milestone you’re currently at. Think about reaching the finish line at all times and imagine how accomplished you’ll feel when you see YOUR book for sale in the online market place!



Ok, now some fun questions….

Coffee or Tea? Neither. I’m obsessed with Gatorade.

White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Milk chocolate

What is your favourite colour? Pink and purple

Winter or Summer? In the south, NEITHER! Give me spring all year!

If you could have one superpower what would it be? The ability to heal people.

If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why? Beyonce because she’s awesome!

What are three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)? Chapstick, gum, and ...

Are you a technology buff (i.e have every electronic gadget known to man)? I guess so? Well, I mostly have a ton of Apple products. My ipod, iPhone, ipad and Macbook. And a Kindle. And a PS Vita.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and enjoyed? I think it was Property Brothers on HGTV. I love HGTV!





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