Interview with Multi-talented Author Sal Buttaci

I think of Salvatore Buttaci as a multi-talented writer because of the great range of genres he writes. These include fiction and flash fiction, where he prefers humor, horror, mystery, sci-fi, and crime noire. In nonfiction he writes essays and memoirs, and he also writes poetry in as many poetic forms as he can.

Sal, it’s great to have you on my blog. Tell me, do you plot your stories before you write them or are you a pantser? 
Before I sit down to write a story, I work it out in my head the way a movie director does, scene by scene. I know where I will begin, for the most part what develops, and how the story ends. To write blindly, hoping it will all fall together by the last line is not my idea of a good time. However, when it comes to poetry, I sit down and let each line take me places. I’m comfortable with that approach in writing poetry but not in writing fiction. As for nonfiction, I spend time researching and outlining what points I will cover. I sort of follow a loose blueprint where I want the article to take me. Am I a pantser? No, more of a plotter.
When writing fiction, some editors advise writers to make a detailed list of their character’s habits, likes, dislikes and family members. Do you agree?
No, I don’t, especially for flash fiction stories. When I first began writing in my teens, I tried writing a set of index cards for all of my main characters: what they looked like, how they would react in particular conditions––the whole nine yards! Too often it seemed I knew too much and assembling these characters in a story was akin to setting up cardboard characters or literary puppets that moved so stiffly I’d give up writing the story.
Most of what I need for a character comes as I write. The less told the better unless it impacts on the story itself. I don’t like slowing down the narrative by offering readers unnecessary chatter. Their concern is the main character and the action he or she takes to solve the story’s problem. They don’t care if his great-great grandfather rode with Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill.
An interesting point of view. What do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?
Like always, they want to be entertained, to be swept away from the real lives they lead to the vicarious ones they can only dream of. While there are still those readers who delight in taking on the thickest of novels with pages approaching or passing 1,000 pages, so many readers today live ultra-busy lives where taking what little leisure time they have for reading is a struggle. This is why I wrote two collections of short-short stories, each tale no longer than 1,000 words. Each story does not exceed three book pages. These flashes are fun to read and often are re-read again and again.
I agree. Today’s readers prefer something shorter and more direct. What book would you like to feature in this post?
My second flash collection called 200 Shorts.

The collection runs the gamut of adventure to zany. I tried my best to include sci-fi, fantasy, love, crime noire, humor––you name it! Something for everyone. There are even about twenty autobio-flashes: stories that trace the character Anthony Lanzetti from first grade to about twenty-four years old. Of course, Anthony and I are one, and all the names have been changed to protect me from irate relatives and friends who might not enjoy what I’ve revealed and could very well find ways to cut my writing days short. Let them go find Lanzetti. Lots of luck.
I love it! You say you have written about love. Judging by the success of Fifty Shades of Gray,  today’s romance readers want steamy love scenes. Do you agree? Have you written anything that would meet their expectations?
I wrote a steamy story once where it was published in a steamy magazine. The editor suggested I write a steamy novel, but when I became a practicing Christian, I decided against it. You might say I was not about to assure myself in a steamy you-know-what after this life ends! My stories treat love scenes with kid gloves. No one is going to flip through the pages of my work, find sex scenes, and then, based on that discovery, purchase my book. I’ve read novels and stories laden with the f-word. And even those blatantly antireligious. That’s not me at all.
Do any of your your stories have a message?
I believe every flash in my book has a message, though few are hitting readers in the face. We all share the Human Condition. We have all made mistakes in life, hurt others, placed wrong priorities on our lives, worried needlessly, and sought love. Readers can find themselves in many of these stories. Will these stories save lives? Will they help readers make important decisions in matters of the heart and head? Probably not, but they will certainly entertain them.
Tell us what one character from your stories would say to you if he/she was to meet you.
In my story “Grab Bag,” the narrator gets lost in the mountains one night and sees a cabin with a light in the window. He is welcomed indoors by Tempus Navigato, a man unusually tall and slim. It’s frightening how much he knows about future time. He shows scenes not yet acted out, scenes clear as now in a glass cube the narrator holds in his hands that tremble as he views his father’s future death. Understandably so, it frightens him enough to leave the cabin, the strange Navigato, and drive safely home. Years later the glass cube’s paternal death scene verifies itself. In fact, at the wake, he sees the face of the time predictor at the back of the crowd.
If Tempus Navigato were to meet me, he would speak of the inevitability of time’s passage, how we are powerless to change it or relive it. He’d tell me to make the best of it, fill it with whatever positive memories I might gather in my life.
A wonderful message. Did you self-publish, or query and hope a publisher would accept your work?
In the past I self-published several chapbooks, then in 1998 I self-published a book of my poems called Promising the Moon, and A Family of Sicilians… I paid for a 1,000 copy run of each book and then, self-promoting them, managed to sell every copy except those I gave away for review.
Before I wrote Flashing My Shorts, my first short-short story collection, a friend of mine had a book of her haiku published by All Things That Matter Press. She encouraged me to contact him about doing the same for my poetry. He wasn’t in favor of taking on another book of poems and asked what else I had. At the time I had written about ten flash stories. I sent a few to him and he liked them enough to ask for over a hundred more! In the next two or three months I worked feverishly (well, maybe not that hard) until I had 164 flash stories which I sent him and he accepted for publication. A year later he accepted 200 more in my book 200 Shorts.
Wow!! That’s impressive! Sounds like your writing is really good. How did that work out for you?
Phil Harris, publisher of All Things That Matter Press, is a reputable guy who works hard to teach his authors to promote their work by getting out there and making themselves visible to potential book buyers. Though horror stories of dishonest publishers do make the rounds, I am grateful to do business with ATTMP and to consider Phil, his wife Deb, and all the authors they have published part of my family.
What do you do to promote your writing?
I write articles about flash fiction and submit them to local publications as well as post them at various writers’ and readers’ sites. I belong to a few marketing groups committed to helping one another to promote our work. I’ve been a guest on Internet radio and interview sites. I promote our work on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Scoop-it, etc. I do readings at local venues.
What advice do you have for your fellow writers/authors?
I offer these several suggestions I call the four W‘s:
(1)  Work on mastering the craft of writing by reading and internalizing writers’ handbooks and critical essays on writing by established writers.
(2)  Write every single day.
(3)  Ward off negatively unhelpful criticism by building self-confidence.
(4)  Welcome editor and publisher rejections because they serve a positive purpose: to persuade you to write more acceptable publishable work.
Great advice. I hope every writer who reads this will take it. Tell us about your next project.
I am editing two of my novels. The first one, Under the Dome of Noonan, is a combination of time travel, alternate history, and science fiction. The other is called Carmelu the Sicilian, the story of a former movie actor who played Mafiosi roles in Hollywood and now in his old age realizes he was wrong to contribute to anti-Sicilian media bias.
It sounds like you have some very intriguing ideas. Why do you think we should buy your book?
Here is where I cast modesty and humility to the winds! 200 Shorts is a book worth reading, not only because I say so, but because the world’s largest and most prestigious Flash Fiction Library at the University of Chester in England lists my book in its bibliography and carries it on its shelves.
200 Shorts offers readers their money’s worth. The short-short stories are varied in themes and they lend themselves to several readings. I had a buyer tell me she’s read 200 Shorts six times so far. Now if one pays the price of one book and benefits from several readings, wouldn’t you agree the book pays for itself? Those who have ordered and read 200 Shorts are my best promoters, recommending it to their family and friends.
Please include a paragraph about you, your family, your interests… anything you’d like people to know about you.

I have been writing since nine. The first poem “Mama” was the Mother’s Day gift I gave my mother in 1950 because I’d spent all my allowance on green grapes and a strawberry malted! I have not stopped writing since. I love it, but not as profoundly as I love my wife Sharon. She inspires everything I write and do. I am blessed to have such a special woman. We are both Roman Catholics who love the Church and Christ’s Gospel. Volunteering at our parish is something we both enjoy doing. I would like readers to know I also edit books. My last was “Knowing As We Are Known: An Exercise In Inner Stillness (A 29 Day Journey)” by Eugene T. Yotka. Any writers in search of an editor can contact me at
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
                      If Roosters Don’t Crow It Is Still Morning: Haiku and Other Poems
 LULU:         A Family of Sicilians: Stories and Poems

Interview with Children’s Author Paul Hewlett

My guest today is Lionel Snodgrass – oh sorry – Paul Hewlett, his creator, but from what I’ve seen of Lionel he seems to be quite a memorable character. It’s great to have you here, Paul. You sound like my sort of person – a lover of animals, reading, sports and the outdoors.

So we know you write children’s books. Can you expand a little?

I have written beginning chapter books for ages 6-10, and am working on a bit more of a true middle grade book right now.

Are you a plotter or pantser? (You plan before you write or you write by the seat of your pants and the story is all there in your head.)

I’m a little bit of both, but predominantly a pantser. I tend to do a rough outline of the book and then get going. I have begun to incorporate chapter outlines as I go, but I mainly document the main points/events I want to get across in the chapter. I much prefer to just write and let it take me where it goes as opposed to preplanning the entire chapter or story.

What do you think today’s young readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?

That’s a great question, and tough to answer. It would seem obvious based on what is popular, but I don’t really believe that. I think certain genres are popular because great books have spurred interest in them. I think that readers really want great stories with characters they can connect with and relate to. I don’t think that has changed over time. If you see a popular genre or style, it’s because a really great book created that buzz.

Paul, what book do you want to feature in this post?

Lionel and the Golden Rule. Meet Lionel as he arrives in Larrystown and discovers the magical Three-Toed-Potbellied Walbaun foot. Follow him as he finds out what it is, uses it for the first time, and learns a valuable lesson. This humorous story about a loveable boy is perfect for young readers and even those “reluctant readers.” Lionel and the Golden Rule is the first book in the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series.

Sounds like you have an incredible imagination. Children’s books usually need pictures. Was it tough to find an illustrator?

Finding illustrators is tough. It’s really tough as a self-published author because rates are all over the board. I have found that no one seems to want to give a rate because they don’t want to run off potential clients. That makes it very tough, because they would like you to open with a rate. I totally understand that, there is no point in wasting an illustrator’s time if you only have a small amount to spend, so I get that. In my situation, it’s tough because I’m a fairly new author and am not sure what rates should be. I’m a bit afraid of offending the illustrator, so it’s been difficult. I have used a pretty close friend so that has made things a bit easier.

Oh yes. We love our talented friends. The illustrations in your Youtube trailer (link below) are great.  If one character from your book was able to talk to you, tell us what he would say to you.

I’d choose Lionel Snodgrass, the 12 year old main character of my books. After introducing himself, he would most certainly ask me fist, what is your favorite baseball team, and then is Carrie ever going to know I’m alive?

Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work?

I self-published. I did query my work to publishers early on, but did not have any success. I feel I’ve learned a lot since then, and am planning on querying again once my middle grade book is completed.

I think it’s tougher to be accepted by a conventional publisher for children’s books. How did self-publishing work out for you?

It has been a lot of fun, but a lot of work too. I’m not going to lie; my goal is still to be traditionally published. I would love to see what that is like compared to self publishing.

Now for the burning question. Why should we buy your books?

My books are geared to children ages 6-10. Parents and children should buy/read my book because it may just get your children to read. The benefits of children reading are countless and it has become tougher and tougher to get them to read. They are bombarded with so many different technological advances it seems sometimes reading takes a back seat. I combine fantasy, magic, humor, and a main character everyone can relate to, to create stories that children (even reluctant ones) and parents alike may enjoy.


Paul R. Hewlett is the author of the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series. Lionel’s Christmas Adventure: Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas is the third book in the series. His debut book Lionel’s Grand Adventure: Lionel and the Golden Rule was released in December of 2011, followed by Lionel Turns the Other Cheekin March of 2012. In addition to writing the Lionel’s Grand Adventure books, Paul co-authors a middle grade/young adult blog called Sher A. Hart: Written Art.
Paul is married and lives in Illinois with his wife and “senior” dog JoJo whom they adopted from the local rescue facility. Paul is a huge advocate of pet adoption and animal shelters. Paul loves spending time at his local library and is a big supporter of libraries. He enjoys travelling, spending time outdoors, Indiana Hoosiers basketball, and Chicago White Sox baseball.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?


Interview with Guest Author Cynthia Ainsworthe

Today I welcome my friend, IPPY award winner Cynthia Ainsworthe to talk about her book. Cynthia has actually met Barry Manilow, and has dedicated this book to him. That’s them together in the picture.

Cynthia, what genre/genres do you write?

Definitely suspenseful romance.

Are you a pantser? (You write by the seat of your pants and the story is all there in your head, as opposed to plotting it all out before you start.)  

Yes. Rigid outlines are not for me. The plot develops with my first thoughts, then I imagine obstacles for my leading characters. Instead of plotting, I use the “What if” thought, and take it from there.

I love it. Do you write a detailed list of your character’s habits, likes, dislikes and family members?

I create this list as I write to keep the characters straight in my head.

It is definitely important to know as much about ones’s characters as possible. What do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?

I think readers want to be able to escape into a fantastic story that can take them many places, both geographically and emotionally.

 What book do you want to feature in this post?

Front Row Center focuses on two people who are drawn immediately to each other at a concert. Under normal circumstances, this encounter would seem ideal for most. It couldn’t be farther from the truth of bliss, as Taylor Allen is a happily married career woman and Larry Davis is world-renown and her singing idol. Additionally, Taylor loves her husband deeply. The conundrum that ensures is built on impulsive choices of love and passion with horrific results—results which devastate the lives of others. Some romantic fantasies should never come to life; if they do, the consequences can be tragic. Taylor and Larry learned that very lesson.

Romance readers want steamy love scenes. Do you agree?


Do you think your book will meet their expectations?

Yes. Definitely.

Does your book have a message? Please explain.

Every decision, good or bad has consequences. Once that decision is made, one has to live with the results.

Choose one character from the book and tell us what he/she would say to you if he/she was to meet you.

Taylor Allen would say, “You know me so well; my passion for new experiences, love of travel, and my self-delusion tendencies.

Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work?

I self-published, with agent representation.

How did that work out for you?

Quite well. FRONT ROW CENTER won the prestigious IPPY Award in romance, I received a 5-star review from Mid-West Book Review, and I’ve been a guest on two radio interviews. Also, Front Row Center was later published in audio format.

What do you do to promote your writing?

Social media, blogs, word of mouth, book signings, radio interviews.

What advice do you have for your fellow writers/authors?

 Write for the pleasure of it, or as Barry Manilow has said, “Do what you love and the rest will follow.”

Wonderful advice. Tell us about your next project.

I have the sequel “Remember?” in the works as well as being mentored by a Hollywood director/producer/screenwriter to adapt FRONT ROW CENTER to a TV mini-series and a feature film.

Wow!! A movie. That is so awesome. Why do you think people should buy your book?

A 5-star book review from Midwest Book Review answers this question as the best I’ve read. “…Cynthia B. Ainsworthe’s ‘Front Row Center’ is a superbly crafted novel…. Taylor Allen, a happily married business woman, begins with her attendance at a concert where she encounters Larry Davis, a world-renowned singing idol and eligible bachelor whose passion is  for his music. Yet Larry finds himself as much drawn to Taylor as she is to him as she sits in the front row, center seat, where their eyes meet and a kind of electricity passes between them. What happens next is told in the form of a fast-paced narrative as Ainsworthe explores through the lives of her characters just what would make a happily married woman cheat on her husband. The answers are neither simple or predictable. ‘Front Row Center’ is a riveting and original novel which can be confidently recommened … who prefer their romance literature to be sophisticated, complex, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and thoroughly entertaining.”


Born in Mahopac, New York and raised in Yorktown Heights, New York, Cynthia Ainsworthe enjoys a varied and interesting life as a retired cardiac nurse and recently an author. She lives in Florida with a loving family that includes her five poodles. She volunteers at her former place of employment, Bayfront Medical Center, Florida. Cynthia is also a lifetime VIP member of Cambridge Who’s Who, Empire Who’s Who and Manchester Who’s Who; all organizations which recognize excellence in professional careers. Writing was always a passion from childhood, but early life choices led to different career paths.
French and Italian cooking is another favorite pastime. Cynthia is functionally fluent in French and has enjoyed many trips to Paris and the French countryside.

Where can we buy the book and find out more about you and your work?

Awesome Reviews for Redneck P.I.

Thank you SO much to Sharon Evans and KropotkinZin (sorry, don’t know your real name) for the GREAT  reviews for Redneck P.I. posted on Amazon and Goodreads.


When I first saw the cover and title of the hardcover version of this book, I couldn’t wait to read it. I knew immediately that it would be funny, and after finally reading the ebook, I was not disappointed.

This book is an absolute scream! Though it’s listed under Romance, I think it should be classified under humor. Detective humor. For those who enjoy fun reads heavily laced with sexual references, this one is for you. If sexual content bothers you, leave it alone. Also, some of the humor, though right on target, is at a rather lowbrow level that may not suit the taste of some. But this book is also very heavy on the suspense, making it an excellent page turner for lovers of mystery and suspense. I really enjoyed the way the multiple layers of plot came in. The protagonist, Twila Taunton, ends up with so many problems-some of her own making-that
as you go along, you wonder what on earth is going to come at her next. I can, in all honesty, say that I had a very hard time putting it down and grabbed a read every chance I could until I was done.

I congratulate author Trish Jackson on her portrayal of modern Southern culture and colloquialisms in such an entertaining fashion. If it were possible, I think that Flannery O’Connor would give her a pat on the back for a job well done. I also like the cover of the ebook. It perfectly suggests the contents of the book to be detective humor with a red neck attitude.

Just FYI: There is a setup for the next case that Twila Taunton must solve, but other than that, you’ll find that the various loose ends are all tied up at the end. So if you love sexy mystery and suspense, and you really need a good laugh, get yourself a copy of Redneck P.I. You’ll be glad y’all did.


It is said that a hallmark of a good book is that it reaches beyond its genre. Here is a book that reaches beyond two genres: the romance and the detective novel. The self-proclaimed “redneck” heroine is not only a fine detective and a fine lover but also a fine comic creation who gently satirises the Yankee culture in which she finds herself. And if that is not enough by way of laughing down stereotypes, in rides Aunt Essie, a hard-drinking, cool-tokin’ geriatric biker: the grandparent you wish you had (or will become). There is more to these ladies than meets the eye, and I hope Trish Jackson will mine their characters further in follow-ups. Right now, I’m looking forward to two things: the sequel and the film. I trust the author has been working on the script.

Authors love good reviews and these two far exceeded my expectations. I’m currently reading Sharon’s book, The After School Murders.

Guest Author Lori Foroozandeh’s Horrific Experiences

Rape, torture, incarceration, drug addiction, domestic violence,  and childhood sexual abuse. Most of us flinch at the thought of any one of those awful things happening to us, but this author has experienced it all. I cannot imagine what horrors she must have gone through, and I commend her for picking herself up and putting it all down on paper so maybe it will help others not to make the same mistakes.

What genre/genres do you write?

I’ve only written non-fiction. But if by chance another tragedy happens it will be non-fiction too. But I don’t forsee any future books:) 

You obviously didn’t have to plot the book, as it is probably all stamped into your memory forever.

Unfortunately yes this book was a total recall. Everyone was bugging me to write it and said “OH IT WILL BE CATHARTIC”. So finally I sat down one day and started writing. It took me about 3-6 months and I’ve never re-read the book. I let John (fiancee) do all the proof reading and checking. Although I did have a literary agent at the time who did the grammatical and spell checking as well as formatting. 

I would have never plotted anything like this. 

Does your book have a message? Please explain

YES, it emphasizes the need to do a background check on the country you’d like to visit. Get to know the laws for the citizens as well as visitors. Make sure there is a USA embassy in the country you are visiting.

I often ask myself, “Why the hell didn’t you check out IRAN, and the laws as well as the culture prior to going there?” 

Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work?

I self-published, my literary agent tried to get a publisher for me but they wanted to edit too much out of the book which wasn’t comfortable for me.

How did that work out for you?

Honestly it has been EXPENSIVE!!! I published through OUTSKIRTS PRESS which only helped you according to the FINE PRINT. There was always a catch that denied what they were promising according to how they listed it. E.G. They sold me 5 celebrity addresses (supposedly) so that I could ask them if they would help promote my book. In the fine print it said something like: The celebrity addresses are the LAST KNOWN ADDRESSES ON FILE, if you don’t get a response we are not responsible for any other follow-ups.

That’s good advice for anyone looking for a publisher. What do you do to promote your writing?

If you’ve thought about it I’ve done it. 

—Radio interviews
—Professional book reviews, including one from the MBR (*Midwest Book Review). 
—I tweet about it daily. I also belong to a group of authors and we tweet for each others twice a week.
—I have my own website
—I’ve paid for every marketing option that OUTSKIRTS PRESS had. Overall I’ve paid Outskirts Press almost $8,000 to self publish my book.
—I submit my book for interviews not only to famous talk show hosts but to anyone that will possibly listen.
—Finally, I did get some success when the Discovery Channel did a SHORT DOCUMENTARY on my story.
—I have a blog with ALL THE LINKS to these sites and my book.
—I even paid $1,000.00 for my book to be seen in the International book fair for Germany, England and somewhere else it was a long time ago. 
—I am also doing Speaking conferences at Brighton Hospital Rehab. Center on a monthly basis speaking to patients (who are in for substance abuse rehab) about my experience and lifelong struggle with drug addiction

Tell us a little about the Book. 

After 911, my husband said we had to get out of Iran. When we got to the bus station after showing our passports, these two cattle type trucks pulled up and grabbed me and Mohammad, they took me one way and him another and I’ve never seen him since. I’ve gotten death threats but never saw him again. THANK GOD!!!
I was handcuffed to a girl named Faresh from Bahrain, who was publicly raped. Her family was rich and her brother finally worked out SOME TYPE OF DEAL with a guard, and we were led out through the fence, where there were two men waiting, I think Pakistani. (I didn’t speak the language.) They led us over the hills for two days back to Shiraz, Iran. I went to Ostandary a place that helps foreigners in trouble, and since there was no USA embassy in Iran they flew me to Dubai, UAE, where our embassy paid for my way home, but ONLY after signing a non-disclosure agreement, which I have ignored, because in the US we have the first amendment, which allows us freedom of speech. They didn’t want me to talk about what happened because they said then the public would demand a war or confrontation with IRAN and they couldn’t afford it now due to JUST being after 911. I was flown home on Nov. 14, 2001.
“Lori’s Song” not only tells my story of captivity in Iran during 911, and finding out I was married to a terrorist after moving to Iran with him. It also tells of my childhood sexual and physical abuse, domestic violence with two husbands, my struggle with drugs and alcohol, dealing with PTSD once returning from IRAN, and being bipolar and not knowing it until 2005. 

It describes a lot of signs and symptoms to recognize in oneself and explains how one downfall in your life can lead you to a spiral downward spin, and you need to deal with it before this happens. Most of all it explains the culture of Iran, their attitude towards America, and what Iran knew about 911. And…the struggle I had with freedom of the press once returning and how our government treated me.


I have the most WONDERFUL man. He sold his John Deere business to stay home and take care of me. Then he ended up spending his retirement money on me and my medical bills, and is now WORKING AGAIN! He doesn’t smoke, drink, swear, and no speeding tickets, a total OPPOSITE OF ME! But he has succeeded and is my ROCK. He has stood by me through all the seizures (*due to my brain injury I suffered in the camp),my ups and downs with bipolar, my drug abuse until I was ready to get clean.  I can’t say enough about him. He just bought my son a house (a cheap one) but nonetheless something he can fix up and doesn’t have to worry about foreclosures on. My son is 29 and spent almost 10 years in prison due to acting out when he found out I wouldn’t be returning from Iran (you need your husband’s written permission to leave the country once you’re there), and he committed a robbery. Due to his anger he was detained a lot longer than he “COULD HAVE” been out in. 

My hobbies and passions are my steady work at enjoying life. I’ve been depressed for so long, that once I pulled out of it, I realized just how precious life is and we should enjoy EVERY SINGLE DAY. I thank GOD daily for allowing me to have what I have and beg him to give me 40 years of “good” due to the past 40 yrs being so bad. 

Oh yes, and my two beautiful kitties (*cats) who also have been with me thru the hard times and have been GREAT LISTENERS!

Where can we find out more about you and your work? (WEBSITE) (BLOG) (TWITTER)!/lforoozandeh (FB) (AMAZON (YOUTUBE VIDEO) (My DISCOVERY CHANNEL documentary, I’m the third story out of three and this is a 60 minute special and the season finale).

Thank you Trish for the opportunity to get my story out there.

Kick Assitude is now Available

My publisher, Uncial Press, has finally released my latest novel, KICK ASSITUDE.

It’s available for download in a format of your choice at this link: Uncial Press and also at many book sellers including and Barnes & Noble.

Small town redneck P.I. Twila Taunton is hell-bent on solving her mother’s murder. Accompanied by her canine companion, she follows the trail of a cold murder case and discovers a secret code on the skeletal remains–Cyder Hill 1952.

Sexy cowboy Tanner Ferrano makes a concerted effort to seduce her and drive a wedge into her relationship with long distance boyfriend, hunky Harland O’Connor.

When hard-drinking, weed-smoking Great Aunt Essie cracks the code, they head to a haunted mansion in the dead of night, mindful of the man-eating wild boars that patrol the grounds…

Twila is not certain whether she’ll succumb to Tanner’s advances or end up rolling in the hay with Harland. She does know one thing, though. It’s gonna be wild and passionate.

Uncial Press also released Rhoda Baxter’s romantic comedy, “Having a Ball” on the same day. Rhoda and I got together and held an event on Facebook to celebrate. Since we live on two continents, we called it the Transatlantic Pot Luck Party, and participants were entered into a drawing to win our books. The winners were Stephanie Keyes and Alison Sherlock. Congratulations to you both.

Rhoda and I also wrote a short vignette about what might happen if Twila were to travel to England and meet retired academic Evelyn and her young event planner, Stevie. We called the piece Tea for Three, and it is still available for download at no charge on Smashwords and Amazon

Redneck P.I. is Only 99c This Week.

REDNECK P.I. is selling for 99c (or 77p) for this week ONLY (March 8th through 14th).

This is the prequel to Kick Assitude, which is due to be released on March 15th.

“Trish Jackson pens a tale that will have you on the edge of your seat from the suspense when you’re not rolling on the floor laughing out loud. Imagine Twila’s dilemma as she has to chose between two hunks. If that isn’t enough we have pot smoking, hard drinking Aunt Essie and her pet, Piggy Sue. The characters in this tale are unique to say the least. Dialogue and Twila’s introspection into her life and situations is unequaled by other more mundane tales. This is one of those rare books I’ll read again just because it makes me smile so much.

Several murders and some family disputes make for some great sleuthing as we try to solve them before Twila, Horton, and Harland do. None of them are easy to solve and this writer would hazard to guess most readers won’t figure them out before the author is ready to unveil the real villains. If you read for enjoyment like I do this is one of the best of the year. Romance, suspense, and fun fill the pages making it harder to put down than most.” 

Overall rating: FIVE HEARTS
Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual

Reviewer: Dee Dailey, The Romance Studio

March 4, 2011 

Buy Redneck P.I. now so you know what’s going on when you get the sequel KICK ASSITUDE.

You can get the Kindle version on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.



OR go to my publisher’s site for all other formats 

Guest Author Delinda McCann and President Jake

Multi-talented author Delinda McCann writes from the heart from her own experiences caring for a severely disabled loved one, which adds up to some very compelling fiction.
Great to have you here, Delinda. Which book would you like to feature today?
For the purpose of this interview we will be talking about my books in the M’TK Sewer Rat series.  M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire and M’TK Sewer Rat: Birth of a Nation.  Note:  Partway through this interview my hero Jake joined us as he likes to do.  He feels that it is important to tell his own story. 
Tell us about the genre. I know it’s a love story.
I write love stories that don’t follow the usual path for a romance.  In the M’TK books the love story focuses more on Jake’s parents than on his relationship with his future wife.  Jake’s love for his childhood friend is one of the driving factors in his story.  Jake even comes to love the drunks and prostitutes that he processes as a prosecuting attorney.  It is love that drives social change until all people attain full citizenship in his country.
Do you plot your fiction works or are you a pantser?
How I write depends partially on what I write.  My current work-in-progress has a fairly detailed outline.  With M’TK Sewer Rat I knew the road I needed to take to get from beginning to end.  However, I let my characters surprise me and behave in ways I wouldn’t expect.  Jake has a strong personality and tends to do what he wants.
Some authors make a detailed list of their characters’ habits, likes and dislikes, do you? (Jake answers)
Dear Reader, this is President Jake Jaconovich aka the M’TK Sewer Rat.  You are assuming that Delinda is more than our consultant in publishing.  Yes she knows us well, but we are real people despite the fact that we reside in her head.  Would she need to make a list of her brother’s or her mother’s habits, likes and dislikes?  No.  There is no need for such a list.  If she needs to know about a particular like or dislike we will tell her. 
I see Jake has taken over the interview. Jake, what do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?  (Jake answers)
As president of my country I try to be sensitive to the mood of my people.  Of course there are always those who turn to books simply for escape, which is fine.  I’ve done that frequently myself.  When I was a young man, the people of my generation needed to know that equality before the law and equal rights should be the rule for each person.  I am certain my former classmates agree with me that To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was the book that changed many lives for our generation.
Today the world is facing constant war and violence.  It is my opinion that people need to know that peaceful change is not only possible, but is greatly preferred to violence.  That is why I wanted to tell the story of how my country has dealt with violence through the legal system, and how we used that system to change our whole form of government.  I think all citizens need to be reminded that through team efforts and the commitment to love your neighbor, we can defeat violence and poverty.
Can you give the readers an idea of what your story is about?  (Jake answers)
MTK Sewer Rat is my autobiography starting from when I was about three and my sister died.  The story ends when I make my decision to run for the presidency of my country.  Now before you get to thinking that this will be dull reading, let me tell you that my country is not only poor but…well…rule of law has not always prevailed.  I come from a portion of the population that was oppressed for centuries.  We’ve been a bit creative over the years.  In my story, I confess to having been a smuggler and tell how my dear cousin Margaret got the trade laws straightened out—much to everybody’s relief. 
Because it is mentioned in the book, I will confess that I am a master in martial arts.  That is where my title The M’TK Sewer Rat came from.  I do tell of the times my skills came in handy on the streets of M’TK and as I worked as a fisherman for Uncle John.  I also discuss the role that my training played in making me the man I’ve become.  I’ve learned self-control and self- discipline.  I learned about wisdom and honor in my training.
While I had more adventures as a young man than I would ever want my own son to experience, most of the important changes in my country came when I was behaving very properly as a prosecutor in the courtroom.  I admit that my martial arts training prepared me well for facing my most challenging cases with courage.
Jake, here’s your chance. What would you like to say to the author?  (Jake answers)
I say many things to dear Delinda.  She tends to be over-anxious.  I try to be constantly reassuring.  Because I count her as a friend, I feel free to advise her on topics where I have some experience.  I do appreciate her efforts in helping me bring my story to the public and express my gratitude.  I try to distract her from her anxieties by pointing out the humor under most human interaction.  Others tell me that my gift of seeing humor, even at the darkest moments, is one of the strengths that allows me to see the truth.
And does the book have a message?  (Jake answers)
I hope so.  I want my reader to feel hopeful and encouraged.  This is a message of hope, love, and peace.  My country is poor.  It has a history of violence.  I personally lived through two purges where government troops entered my city to kill whole boroughs of citizens.  All four of my grandparents were killed in purges.  Mama was watching when the emperor’s soldiers shot both of her parents in the street outside their home.  Despite our violent history we’ve made great strides in establishing justice.  I am telling a story about how people working together can make the social changes necessary for all to prosper.  My country is not the only place to make such changes peacefully—most countries do.  Yet so often, attention is focused on those who resort to civil war rather than the courtroom to resolve inequalities.  I wish to honor all those dedicated to peaceful change by telling our story.
Delinda, is there a third-party publisher involved? (Delinda answers)
I am best considered to be President Jake’s agent rather than his author.  I learned about Writer’s Cramp Publishing through word of mouth and referral.  So far I have been very happy with this fee-for-service publisher.
What are either, both or all of you doing to promote this book?  (Jake answers)
I am most grateful for the efforts Delinda has put into making a web site and promoting this book on twitter.  I do have my own Facebook page, although my duties as president prohibit me from spending much time on the project.  I plan to visit Ireland and Scotland in the summer where I will most certainly be recommending my books.  Delinda has promised me that she will send out more announcements.  I just uncovered a plot to have a big birthday party for me in order to promote the book.  I’ve put my foot down.  There will be no big party.  Yes, yes, I know the book must be promoted, but I hate to lay this chore on just anybody and those closest to me are busy with their own projects. 
You may also find a few pictures from my country on our pinterest board.  Sadly, I lost most of my photos when my house was bombed.
This question is for Delinda.  Tell us about your next project. 
I have two works-in-progress.  Something About Maudy is a romance featuring Maude as a pastor in her first year at Blackfish United Methodist Church.  She meets Ralph shortly after starting with this new congregation.  While she struggles to keep her church afloat and meet the ordinary demands of a congregation, she hardly has time to recognize that she is falling in love with Ralph.  This should be out in April of 2013
(Jake butts in.)  My family is not entirely absent from Something About Maudy.  Maudy is the pastor at a wedding we all attend for my wife’s nephew.  I was thankful that my daughter Mary Anne was able to meet respectable, loving people to help her adjust to living in Seattle while her husband Edward completes his residency in oncolology at the University of Washington.
(Delinda takes over)  My second work-in-progress is Taking Grammy Home about two sisters, ages eleven and seventeen, who travel to Ireland with their grandmother.  This is a delightfully mismatched group.   Grammy left the country at the end of WWII, and this is her first trip back to Ireland.  The girls are supposed to be looking for their Celtic spiritual roots.  Grammy is looking for her first love.
We’ve heard all about you, Jake, now let’s learn a little more about Delinda:
Delinda McCann is a social psychologist who has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over twenty years. She has served on committees for the state of Washington and been an educational advisor to other governments. Her work has earned her the praise of doctors, government officials and families all over the world. She has published numerous articles on disability issues, education, and adoption. Her unique perspective and sense of humor have delighted her readers even when she has been writing about the reality of caring for a loved one who has a severe disability. When the world turns crazy, as it frequently does for the disability community, her friends say there is nobody they would rather laugh and cry with.
Delinda lives a on a small farm near Seattle, WA where she raised her daughters and now runs a small organic flower business with the help of her husband and two giant poodles. She enjoys singing with her church choir and playing the piano-poorly. A brush with cancer made her realize that she needed to slow down, so she turned to writing fiction inspired by her behind-the-scenes experiences of advocating for and loving the people who are just a little bit different.  
Where can we find out more about your books?

Writer’s Cramp Publishing:


Both volumes are available in paper and e-format.

Transatlantic Pot Luck Party

Enter the drawing. You are invited to the party to share recipes and celebrate the release of my next book, romantic comedy KICK ASSITUDE, on March 15th.

My publisher is releasing another romantic comedy on the same day, HAVING A BALL by Rhoda Baxter,  and we have joined forces and we’re holding a joint FaceBook event. Rhoda lives in England, and I live in Florida, USA, hence transatlantic.

Anyone who attends, posts or shares a recipe will be entered into a drawing to win a free download of either book. Here’s the page:

We thought it would be fun if my redneck girl, Twila were to meet up with her very British characters, so we wrote a vignette together called TEA FOR THREE. It’s been published on Smashwords, where you can get a FREE download here:

We think it’s quite funny!

Guest Interview with South African Author Jacob Singer

Today I’m pleased to welcome South African Jacob Singer to be my guest. He writes true stories about people he has known. His featured book is a fascinating true story of courage he promised only to write after the primary character was deceased.

Jacob, tell us what genre or genres you write.
I write about people I knew as I grew up in a town called Potchefstroom in South Africa. I would then call the genre historical romance.
Are you a pantser? (You write by the seat of your pants rather than preparing a plot, and the story is all there in your head.)  
Yes, the story is in my head… stories I have lived with all my life.
What do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?
Todays readers want a good story, about events that truly happened. Unless of course they are looking for porn.
You’re probably right. What book do you want to feature in this post?
The story is about a young girl, Emily Kleintjies, born into the Cape Coloured Community of South Africa during the apartheid era. She finds that she cannot live as a second class citizen in a country that she loves. She jumps the racial barrier, changing her name to Emma Kline, and moves to Johannesburg from Cape Town. With the help of friends she makes, many who believe that she is Jewish because of her surname, she succeeds in establishing a life as a White. However she lives in constant fear of being discovered. The book is about how she succeeds and how she raises a daughter, Marla.
This amazing story is true, so it must have a message.
My book does carry a message. Hendrik Verwoerd, the founder of apartheid brought in legislation that all non-white should receive a poor education, so that they would always be servants to the Whites of the county. This means that the present Government of South Africa was not properly educated to Western standards, and rule by their tribal education, namely ‘look after yourself and your family first, and everyone else second.’ Emma Kline believed that it would take at least three generations, before South Africa would be ruled at westernized standards.  
Note from Trish: (I don’t know whether I see it quite that way, but it’s an interesting take. Living in the USA I’ve come to realize that racial segregation was just as bad here at one time, only the government didn’t put a label on it that could be perpetuated by the media.)
Choose one character from the book and tell us what he/she would say to you if he/she was to meet you.
Marla today would thank me for writing a story about her mother; about how hard she worked throughout her life against the apartheid system of South Africa.
Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work?
Publishers turned me down when I submitted the book, which was disappointing, so I self published. 
Rejections are something all writers have to deal with, but at least in today’s world we do have the option of self-publishing. What do you do to promote your writing?
Any and everything possible. Must say the stress is abnormal.
Marketing is the hardest part of our vocation. What advice do you have for your fellow writers/authors?
Make sure that ALL grammatical errors are corrected, so employ a GOOD editor, then submit your book to every publisher accepted by Preditors and Editors. Be patient.
Excellent advice. Tell us about your next project.
Learning how to reach the general public with a book title.
Yes, the titles we give to our books are very important. Why do you think we should buy your book?
First of all, it is a beautiful story, about a young girl who with all the handicaps of a cruel racial system facing her, succeeded in life. Secondly, you would like to know what happened to her, and especially her daughter, Marla, who is still alive living as a happily married woman with a beautiful family.
Please tell us a little about yourself, Jacob.
I studied Pharmacy in London at Chelsea Polytechnic, from 1953 to 1958. Much of my book covers my stay in London. Returning to South Africa, I practiced Pharmacy in a town called Potchefstroom, hence the name of my first book, BRAKENSTROOM, a book of short stories told to me by my parents and friends. I started writing when a good friend died of a heart attack at a young age. I simply had to tell his story, and how he affected my life. Then it was a story about my grandfather, so that my children would know him. The other stories just followed and flowed from my fingers.
The VASE with the MANY COLOURED MARBLES is a story I lived with all my life. I promised only to publish it after Emily had passed away, so it took many years to write.
My wife and I emigrated to Canada in 1992, after our children, who we encouraged to leave had established themselves and no longer needed our financial support. We encouraged them to emigrate, after I was threatened by the South African Security Police for refusing to give them certain information. They then poisoned our dog, Gamboo, as a warning to us. 
Living in Canada, my wife and I work very hard to make a living – long stressful hours. Fortunately our children are well established, and have given us seven grandchildren.
What are your hobbies/passions/pastimes?
My hobby is trading the stock market, and writing for magazines on Technical analysis. My passion, a 5pm Scotch on the rocks, and a good Turner Classic movie.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?