Tag Archives: Book Spotlights

A Day in the Life of Bestselling Author Claire Cook

Claire Cook

A Day in the Life of Bestselling Author Claire Cook

by Claire Cook

I wrote my first novel at 5 AM in my minivan outside my daughter’s swim practice, and while I’m thrilled to have moved inside to a home office, I’ve kept the early morning writing habit.

I wake up and spread some whole wheat toast with almond butter while the coffee is brewing, then I head up to my office with a big mug of coffee and get to work. I like to start my day’s writing before I’m fully awake, before the doubt and procrastination set in. Before the rest of the world is awake.

I write two pages a day, seven days a week. This keeps me almost living in the book, following the characters, nudging the story forward.

I start by rereading and polishing the pages from the day before, which helps me find the rhythm again. I try not to go back much farther than that. If I did, I might still be working on the first chapter of my first novel instead of my eighth!

Seven Year Switch 2Sometimes my two pages take only a few hours. Sometimes I wrestle well into the night. My deal with myself is that I’m not allowed to go to bed until I’ve finished my daily quota. Books are fun to start and triumphant to finish, but all those pesky pages in between can really get you into trouble. So this works for me. No matter what else happens in my life, I can finish two pages.

And two pages become four, then six, then eight, and one miraculous day I have the first draft of a novel. And then the revising begins!

For more writing tips, and to win a beach bag filled with all 7 of Claire’s novels, plus a beach towel, go to http://ClaireCook.com.

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Graham Parke’s debut novel No Hope for Gomez will leave you in cyber-stitches

It’s the age-old tale:
Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We’ve seen it all before, many times, but this time it’s different. If only slightly.

This is the exciting premise of a just released book by Graham Parke. No Hope for Gomez (Outskirts Press) is Graham’s fiction debut that I’m sure humor suspense lovers are going to enjoy.

No Hope for Gomez focuses on Gomez Porter who becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial and is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. What Gomez isn’t ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, his neighbor boiling salamanders on his balcony at midnight, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science.

But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced illusions, he decides it’s time to go underground and work out a devious plan.

Now, years later, his blogs have been recovered from a defunct server. For the first time we can find out firsthand what happened to Gomez as he takes us on a wild ride of discovery.

California Chronicle calls it “Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature…”

Reader Views says, “No Hope for Gomez! by Graham Parke is a very funny book; a veritable page turner of nonstop laughs…”

Readers Favorite calls it “The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius…”

If you’d like to find out more about Graham Parke and his new book, No Hope for Gomez, visit his website at www.grahamparke.com. If you’d like to purchase his book online, you can visit Amazon for purchasing information.

Graham Parke will be on virtual book tour throughout the months of April and May 2010. If you’d like to follow his tour, click here to find out where he’ll be touring and to find out more about this talented and very funny author!

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Interview with Christian Fiction Author Jimmy Root, Jr.

Jimmy RootJimmy Root Jr., author of Distant Thunder: Book One of the Lightning Chronicles is a life-long student of Bible prophecy and has connected ancient prophecies with world events in a fast-paced fiction thriller. Jimmy has been an ordained Pastor since 1982 and has served churches in Nebraska and Missouri. He and his family also served for five years in Colombia, South America as a church planter and educator. He is an alumnus of Central Bible College of Springfield, Missouri, and Southeastern University of Lakeland, Florida majoring in Theology and Cultural Studies. Raised in the Mid-West, Jimmy is an outdoorsman and sports enthusiast. He is an aficionado of the military thriller genre and is an avid blogger as well as an author. More can be discovered about Distant Thunder and the Lightning Chronicles series by visiting his website at: http://www.lightningchronicles.com.  He also hosts a blog dealing with current world events and their relationship to Bible prophecy at: www.prophecyaler.blogspot.com, as well as a writer’s blog at: www.lightningchronicles.blogspot.com.

Distant ThunderQ: Thank you for this interview, Jimmy. Can you tell us what your latest book, Distant Thunder, is all about?

A:   You are Welcome. Distant Thunder is the first book of a Prophetic Fiction trilogy called The Lightning Chronicles. The story poses a question that I believe needs to be asked: What would happen if radical terrorists somehow got their hands on tactical nuclear weapons, and then used them against both America and Israel? It is a frightening scenario that is becoming more and more plausible in light of current world events. But in the midst of unimaginable terror and tragedy, two unsung heroes rise to extraordinary heights as they begin to understand that everything has been prophesied.

Two main characters form the storylines of Distant Thunder. Moshe Eldan is an Israeli F-16 “Lightning” fighter pilot who is doing his best to defend his country against the latest cycle of attacks. Unbeknownst to him, the greatest horror imaginable is waiting in the form of a nuclear tipped missile. Moshe finds himself in an unlooked for journey toward faith as he attempts to save his people.

The other character is a man named Ty Dempsey. His story is a bit closer to home. He is a suburban Kansas City pastor who, in working through the grief of losing his younger brother to the war in Iraq, has begun to discover the ancient prophecies of Ezekiel. So enthralled is he by the information that he preaches the prophecies to his congregation. Some of his people listen and are interested. Others, however, do not want the status quo of their comfortable lives challenged by something they consider allegorical in nature. A good old fashioned church conflict ensues. Ty decides to stay the course in face of tremendous opposition and is ultimately vindicated when nearby Kansas City is the target of a terrorist attack. Moshe and Ty become connected throughout the story in strange, spiritual ways that will only increase as the series progresses.

Q: Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

A:  Yes, Distant Thunder is my first novel, and what a blast it was to write it and see it published.

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

A:  It was not difficult at all, at least not until the editor got hold of it. Then the writing got serious. It was truly an exhilarating experience. I never experienced writer’s block during the process. I think that is because a large part of writing involves research. I might get hung up in the story simply because I need to delve a little deeper into what is between the lines of the story, but it all flows as the details fall into place.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

A:  Very much so. With a first novel, one never knows how it is going to be received. But so far, I have had nothing but positive and exciting feedback. The funniest came from a US Air Force fighter pilot who also served as a combat instructor. Much of Distant Thunder revolves around an Israeli F-16 fighter pilot complete with several segments of air-to-air combat. This particular pilot picked up the book with skepticism written all over his face. You see, I have never even touched a fighter plane, let along fly one. I’m not a pilot. All I have is a computer flight simulator. But not three weeks went by before this guy emailed me with a one liner. “I can’t believe you nailed it.” The next time I saw him he just shook his head. Since then, other pilots have commented that the aerial sequences are accurate and thrilling.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

A:  There’s no doubt that writing takes discipline. However, I am also a full-time Pastor of a vibrant congregation. That takes up the bulk of my days and weeks. Therefore, I have been forced to carve out my noon hour specifically for writing on my novels, and my evening or early morning times for working on my blogs.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

A: Oddly, writing for me is relaxing. But I also have a few hobbies. I love to fish and hunt. Gardening is a great source of peace and quiet, and I am a passionate football fan.

Q: What book changed your life?

A: As with most students I had to read many of the classics during my high school years. But when I was 17 years old, my dad gave me a set of books called The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. I was hooked. That was thirty-three years ago, and since then, I have read Tolkien’s masterpiece nineteen or twenty times. What a work of art!

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

A:  That’s a great question, and difficult to answer, mainly because I’m not that introspective. So, as with any wise man, I consulted my wife. Here is her response concerning the title of my life. “Saddle-up Your Horse: We’ve Got a Trail to Blaze.”  I suppose that fits. I am a self-starter, am self-motivated, and love to create.

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

A:  “…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believe and live that verse. It is my driving force.

Thank you for this interview Jimmy.  I wish you much success on your latest release, Distant Thunder!

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Book Spotlight: Coming for Money by F.W. vom Scheidt

F. W. vom Scheidt is a director of an international investment firm. He works and travels in the world’s capital markets, and makes his home in Toronto, Canada. He is also the author of a new book, Coming for Money (Blue Butterfly Book Publishing), a remarkable and provocative novel about the world of international finance and the human quests for success, understanding and love. You can find out more about his book at http://www.bluebutterflybooks.ca/titles/money.html.

How much money is too much? And how fast is too fast in life?

International investment firm director and author F. W. vom Scheidt, writes from his first hand-hand experience of the world of global money spinning with candor and authenticity in his remarkable literary novel Coming for Money.

As investment star Paris Smith steps onto the top rungs of the corporate ladder, he is caught between his need for fulfillment and his need for understanding; trapped between his drive for power and his inability to cope with his growing emptiness where there was once love. When his wife disappears from the core of his life, his loneliness and sense of disconnection threaten to overwhelm him. When he tries to compensate by losing himself in his work, he stumbles off the treadmill of his own success, and is entangled in the web of a fraudulent bond deal that threatens to derail his career and his life.

Forced to put his personal life on hold while he travels nonstop between Toronto, Singapore and Bangkok to salvage his career, he is deprived of the time and space necessary to regain his equilibrium.

In the heat and turmoil and fast money of Southeast Asia, half a world from home, and half a life from his last remembered smile, he finds duplicity, friendship and power — and a special woman who might heal his heart.

A talented author, vom Scheidt has confidently crafted a fast-paced, highly readable and intelligent novel. His details are fascinating. His characters are real, and not easily forgotten. A deeply felt story about the isolation of today’s society, the prices great and small paid for success and the damages resulting from the ruthless exercise of financial power, Coming For Money is a taut literary page-turner about a man who refuses to capitulate to the darkness in his journey into the light.

The executive offices of the Bank of South Asia filled the penthouse of a chrome and glass tower rising from the foot of Battery Road on the edge of Singapore’s harbour.It was always as if the money possessed some kind of negative density or inverted gravity—the more you concentrated it, the higher it lifted its players to the upper reaches of office towers and condominium towers and hotel towers. As the quantity of money swelled, it lost its weight of coinage and bills. A room full of it could be evaporated into a string of zeros on a single bank draft, more flimsy than an airline ticket; a truck-load could be zapped around the world at the snap of a computer key.

Stepping out from the dizzying upward rush and spine-compressing halt of the high-speed elevator, I hesitated in the bank’s airy foyer.

Broad two-storey-high windows sectioned up a panoramic view of the rows of cargo vessels baking on the brilliant water far below as they waited to enter the churned brown channels of the busy harbour. The darker ocean spread out, glassy, beyond them, and, in the steamy distance, the verdant islands of the Indonesian archipelago floated dreamlike along the lip of the South China Sea.

The bronze tinting of the glass turned patches of sunlight into a mottled pink carpet at my feet; the instability of the shimmering light on the marble floor taxing my limited reserves of balance.

I was reminded that, in non-stop travel, I had made poor trades of day for night without any rest, tropical heat for Canadian cold without sufficient fluids; I was now paying the price in exhaustion and dehydration.

My vision was jagged at its edges from fatigue.

I was jittery from harsh Asian coffee on an unsettled stomach.

I had arrived at midnight; plunged through a few hours sleep; risen, restless and un-rested, out of ripples of jet lag at dawn; spent the early morning polishing off a pot of room service coffee, surfing CNN, repeatedly rehearsing this negotiation in my mind from a handful of different perspectives and likely outcomes; and had come directly to the bank’s offices for their nine o’clock opening.

Still, now that I was here, I was more confident; my optimism returning from memory, fed by the headlong momentum of my travel and arrival, if by nothing else. In dashing halfway across the world without pausing for breath, I had given substance to my initiative and commitment; I had proved my willingness to go the distance. I was sustained also by my unflagging conviction that I was the only one who truly understood all of the complexities of the deal; like breath blown onto an ember to bring forth a glow, my seizing control of the bond issue would bring it back to vibrant success.

A final exhale to focus. I waded boldly across the swirling marble under the balls of my feet, pushed through the glass doors to the reception desk.

The receptionist grinned happily, recognizing me immediately, chirped a request into her telephone that, within several minutes, which we passed in courteous intermittent chatting, produced Albert Quan.

Balding, trim, tailored, Albert Quan was hurried in his handshake. “How very good to see you Mr. Smith.” Then, without change in tempo, he added, “Were we expecting you? Our corporate finance group perhaps?”

“No,” I stated evenly, “I came to see you. I flew twenty-six hours. Almost directly from our telephone discussion earlier this week.”

“Then I had better not delay you any further.” Albert Quan amply rounded up the tone of his response in feigned urgency to mitigate the inevitable confrontation lurking in our exchange.

Swimming upstream against my instincts and experience, towing my haggard sunrise rehearsal, I held my impatience in check as I followed Albert Quan down the hall to his office, declining refreshment as we seated ourselves in facing armchairs.

Crossing his ankles, leaning back slightly, Albert Quan opened with, “I very much hope that you are not expecting anything further on the Bangkok Commercial Bank bond deal.”

“I am. And of course you know that.”

“I thought I had made it very clear. That we both understood. That we closed that matter in our telephone conversation.”

“We would like it re-opened.”

Albert Quan was broadly avuncular, conciliatory, “Then I’m afraid you have come a very long way for nothing. There’s nothing I can do. It’s out of my hands. It fully belongs to Amsterdam Bank. We don’t have the slightest role. We don’t even have the slightest carried interest. I can do nothing.”

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Great book discussions coming up!

Okay, okay, so I’ve been BUSY. I could only wish we as human beings could have been granted more than two hands. Boy oh the work that could be done then.

I wanted to stop by to mention on Jan. 19 – 21, I’m going to have a special guest come aboard and talk about her book, Amazing Grays: A Woman’s Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50. This is one amazing woman and one amazing book.

I blogged about this over at Boomer Chick today so I guess I won’t repeat it here, but the book really makes you think. As a boomer chick, I can relate to what Maggie has written. I’m only on page 9 right now because I’ve had so much work to do, but tomorrow, I’m going inside deeper and discuss some of the main issues of her book.

The week after (Jan. 27 – 30), we will be discussing another wonderful book, Vivian Eisenecher’s Recovering Me, Discovering Joy: Uplifting Wisdom for Everyday Greatness.

Two extraordinary women out there helping us find joy in our lives.  Please stop back by and get ready for some interesting interaction with two wonderful authors!

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