Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Tour: Covert Dreams

Please tell us about yourself?
I am a retired English professor. I taught writing literally around the world for 40 years, at universities in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Virgin islands, and finally spending the last twenty-four years of my career at a California community college. I live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two other cats.

Tell us your latest news?
I was recently selected to be part of a groundbreaking virtual Mega Book Tour for my international novel of suspense, COVERT DREAMS. It was quite competitive to be selected to be part of this tour. The home page can be found here:

When and why did you begin writing?
I became fascinated with books at a very young age. I must have read every CURIOUS GEORGE book out there. At the age of ten, I self-published my first book, a short synopsis of California history. My parents bought the only copy, but I was a published author.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have written my entire life, but I jumped head first into this avocation upon my retirement in December 2010. Since then, I have published three novels on Amazon Kindle.

How can we find you? 
My Amazon author’s website:\

Now that we've warmed you up a bit, let's dig in to the good stuff.

Tell me a little about your book.
COVERT DREAMS is an international thriller set primarily in Munich and in Saudi Arabia. How is a murder back in 1984 connected to the disappearance of an American’s spouse in today’s Saudi Arabia? What is real, and what is not? Who is who? What is the horrifying link?

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I have always loved mysteries, so I wanted to write one in exotic locales that I know well. I have been intrigued by the strange relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the whole area of parapsychology has always fascinated me.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
As a recent retiree with a teacher’s pension, I do not write for monetary gain. Rather it is an avocation for me. I write for my own enjoyment, but I also hope that others will read and enjoy what I have created. I try to write early each morning, probably five or six days a week. I have always been a morning person. My creative juices flow like wine at that time.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I am an eclectic reader and writer. I currently have three published novels for sale on Amazon Kindle. COVERT DREAMS is an international thriller. THE FAMOUS UNION is comical fiction. THE SURVIVAL OF MARVIN BAINES is contemporary fiction. In other words, I like to write in different genres. I am currently at work on THE DEADLY EYES OF ST. CROIX, a murder mystery.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part of being a writer is finishing a novel. When the words The End appear, I feel sad. My baby is now on its own. It is like having a movie that has fully engrossed you coming to an end. It is like being so absorbed by a book that you are reading that you simply never want it to end.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I come from a long line of teachers. My grandmother was a teacher, as were my father and mother and nearly all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My three sisters are all teachers. My wife is a retired teacher. Books have always played a prominent role in my life. The urge to write has always been there, tickling me constantly. All I had to do was scratch it, and the rest is history.

What are your current projects?
I am currently working on a murder mystery set on the island of St. Croix, where I lived for years when I was an English professor at the University of the Virgin Islands. I hope to publish it on Amazon Kindle in the next couple of months. It is entitled THE DEADLY EYES OF ST. CROIX.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

From the wonderful reviews I have received for COVERT DREAMS, I would honestly have to say that it turned out exactly as I had hope it would, which just goes to show that hard word does indeed pay off.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing is fun for me. I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the craft. What is challenging is tooting my own horn. I am a writer, not a salesperson. Promoting my own work is very difficult for me, but as an indie author without the enormous clout of a big publishing company behind me, I try my best.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I am an avid traveler. I have visited many parts of the world, and I plan on doing so as long as I can. My wife and I travel overseas at least once a year. We also take trips up and down the California coast quite often, and we love to take vacations in places such as Chicago, Miami, San Antonio, and New Orleans. The truth be told, I like to travel.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing COVERT DREAMS was difficult. I did not want it to end. I was like a reader as I wrote it. I never really knew exactly how it would end until it finally did. I wanted it to keep going on forever.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned that hard work can lead to great satisfaction. A job well done is something that instills pride in a person. It sure has in me!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write, and write. There are many excuses that can be made as to why you cannot write at a particular time, but ignore them. A writer is a person who writes. Period.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you like my books, then please let me know and let others know. I depend heavily upon word-of-mouth advertising. Honest reviews posted on my Amazon author’s website are like water to a thirsty straggler in the desert heat. They mean everything.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
All three of my books have been published by Amazon Kindle. Amazon Direct Publishing has been a godsend to me.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I have been asked many times in my life what inspires me as a writer. I am a keen observer of people, for one thing. I can sit on a barstool and easily converse with a person who might diametrically oppose everything that I believe politically or religiously, and yet we can get along. We can communicate. I know how to listen, and I pick my words carefully. I enjoy seeing how people interact with others, how they cope with what life deals them. Bits and pieces of what I have observed and heard appear in both the dialogue and scenes that I have created.

I have always been fascinated by the human brain. I like to try to reconstruct what must have been going through a person’s mind at the moment of some great tragedy or some wonderfully unexpected event. What must have General Custer been thinking the very second he saw his own death? What went through Captain Smith’s mind the second he realized that his Titanic was doomed? I like to imagine shouting out to historical figures way before tragedy strikes and tell them, “No, don’t forge ahead! No, don’t ignore the ice warnings!”

The very act of creating people and being in complete charge of their thinking processes, and then putting them into a situation where they must act—this sort of thing appeals greatly to me, and, thus, I am a writer. The characters and events in my international thriller COVERT DREAMS are people and situations that I have created, and yet they seem so real to life to me. Even now, when I reread my own work, I find myself judging their actions, and empathizing with their plights.

I enjoy being alive. I am inspired when I see a small dog born with only three legs, hobbling around and having the time of his life. I am inspired when I see a small plant sticking its head out of a crack in a boulder, when I see a small ant carrying twice its weight to who knows where. Inspiration is all around us. And when I see evil, or hear of it, I am inspired in another way: I would like to destroy it. Often my imagination is the only way to do so, and that brings me to my own need to write.

COVERT DREAMS is filled with characters, both good and evil, who inspired me in one way or the other as I created them. Some of them I greatly empathize with, while others I detest, the way of the world. And that is precisely what COVERT DREAMS is: a worldly novel, an international thriller whose birth came about through my own inspiration.


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