Wednesday, February 26, 2020

INTERVIEW: Author John W. Nassivera



John W. Nassivera
Upstate Eastern New York
USA


Good morning, John, and thank you for being with us this morning. Can you tell us a little about what you've written?
The Garden Raid, (middle grades fiction) presently a paperback. Being republished summer 2020 as an interactive eBook version featuring 15 original songs by various artists.
Chain Links We’re Better Together, an interactive eBook version featuring 19 original songs by various artists. (middle grades fiction) Also available in paperback.

The Magic You Don’t See, (children picture book) interactive eBook.
All my music is available through streaming on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. Also available on iTunes, Amazon Music, and Apple Music.

What is your favorite genre to write?
I’m presently writing middle grades fiction and children books. I would also like to experiment with YA fantasy and adult historical fiction in the future.

Tea or coffee? 
Coffee

Pizza or ice cream?
Pizza

Wine or beer? 
Beer

Where would you like to visit? 
I would love to travel the US through a variety of adventure travels.

There are so many beautiful places to visit here in the US. The Grand Canton is a must. It's truly life-changing. Favorite musical artist. 
I enjoy artists who are storytellers, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Tom Petty, but I enjoy the guitar of Stevie Rey Vaughn, Carlos Santana, and BB King. Also enjoy classic rock; The Who, Beatles, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy. No favorites, but a lot of likes.


   
Do you listen to music when you write? What?
I don’t listen to music when I write.
I write music to complement my stories.
Books Set to Songs
I offer a totally unique reading experience by opening chapters of my stories with music. My books feature a variety of artists and music genres alongside the written text. Music and lyrics are composed to enhance the setting, character development, provoke an emotion, and allow you the reader to become more amerce in the story.

What makes you laugh? 
Young children and the human experience.
 
Favorite work of art or sculpture.       
I enjoy realism. 

How old were you when you started writing? 
58

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write? 
I have a story idea in my head that leads to research and sharing. Once my pen goes to paper I just write, which reveals new ideas that lead to additional research and conversations.

Describe your perfect evening. 
Hanging with family and friends in the natural environment, (forest, beech, mountain top, lake, ocean) especially after/during a physical adventure or challenge.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Growing up in small town America, my mother used our front porch as an outdoor living room for family and friends to pass the time. A place where advice was garnered, jokes were told, melodies were sung, and stories were spun. It was a place where my mother told tales that taught us the cultural ideals of family, friends, and community. I’ve carried her lessons into my approach to writing. My stories and music address subtle messages of friendships, community acceptance, respect, collaboration, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
My mother.

My mission/vision for writing is Creating community one story at a time by complementing the good work our neighbors are doing, so that good work continues. When designing and developing my work, I try to use the following elements of JOY to guide my work. 

ConnectEngaging in the needs of the community.
RelationshipsForming and nurturing social groups that create and support healthy communities.
PurposeHelping people use their strengths to create innovative and sustainable solutions and deepen their sense of purpose.
ServiceActivating and cultivating Acts of service to humanity. 
Gratitude & CelebrationExpressing and nourishing the accomplishments of the work and giving back so that the good continues.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Close the draft, walk away, do something totally different, and then come back.

Who is your favorite author?
At the moment I’m really enjoying Neil Gaiman.


I like Neil Gaiman, too. What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?

I just completed 30+ years as an educator in New York City. I started as a classroom teacher, designed curriculum, professionally published, presented at NSTA, awarded over 4 million dollars in grants, designed and open a new public high school, and was a teaching professor in the CUNY University system. I was fortunate to have many professional opportunities and I’m very thankful to all the people who made it happen. Without their hard work and partnerships, it would not have happened.


What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 
Be ready to do the hard work to find and develop your voice. Most importantly just be you. There’s nobody else in the universe like you and the world deserves to hear from you.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?
Front Porch Storytelling blog: https://frontporchstorytelling.com/

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

BOOK: Star Traveler Series by Theresa Snyder






























Amazon Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Helavite-War-Star-Traveler-Book-ebook/dp/B00CMJEN96

Excerpt: The Helavite War
Chapter - 1

            Many long years ago pivotal events occurred remembered by few modern historians.

            There lived a Henu… 
            He was the last of his kind… 
            The end of a dying race…
            His name was Arr…

            Arr could not remember the time when his people were many. He could only remember back to when there were two, he and his brother Nor.
            Nor told him wonderful stories of how the planet was peopled by hordes of Henu. His words drew pictures for Arr of forest communities where the Henu lived as gatherers, peacefully in their homes in the trees - homes that had laughing children and warm fires. Nor told of his memories of their mother and father, of the chilled nights when they would lie round the fire, snuggled deep in mounds of soft, fat cushions, listening to their father tell stories of his dealings as a trader with the galactic convoy.
            Arr's father was the backbone of the Henu colony. He was the trader of all the spices and herbs that the people gathered. He, like his father and his father's father before him, piloted the communal ship to the far corners of the galaxy, selling the goods and buying whatever the people of the planet needed. Being the older of the two boys, one day the position would be Nor's; then eventually Arr's. 
            However, none of this came to be. Arr and his brother's world ended the day The Others came. The day it happened there was no time to ask themselves where The Others came from or what they wanted - there was only chaos and death. Three days later, when The Others left the planet, the two brothers were the only ones still alive.
            Arr could just barely remember those three days. They were like a dream. They were still pictures in his mind like the drawings in the sand that they made in the summer, by the Crystal Lake. He heard his mother screaming to get to the trees for safety, his father calling his name right before he disappeared, in a cloud of dust. The Henu were all fleeing to the trees. The trees were on fire and the screams - he could still hear the horrible screams in his nightmares. Arr tried to go to his father and he would have died in the arch of the blast ray with him if it were not for Nor holding him back in the tall reeds by the water's edge. Three of the most important days of his life and that was all he could remember except for the numbing cold of the water as they crouched there waiting for The Others to leave.
            That was fourteen flowerings ago. Today he said goodbye to Nor for the last time. 
            It was a silly accident. They'd been stuck on the planet ever since The Others destroyed or stole everything, including their father's ship. They fled from the burnt forest and the smell of death to the opposite side of the tall mountains to the east. It was warmer there. The brothers took to wearing lighter clothing and sandals instead of the smooth knee high boots of their youth. Nor stepped on a thorn from a casha bush, when he tried to remove it the tip broke off. It was not long after that, that the foot began to swell and turned bad. Nor tried to remember all the herbs that his mother would have used, but so much was forgotten. He was only eight flowerings old when they lost their parents.
            Arr thought back as he sat watching Nor's funeral pyre engulfed in flames. It took Nor only five days to die. The last two he was delirious with fever. He talked of times long ago and called for their mother. Now Arr was alone, the last of the Henu.
            He could not imagine living without Nor. Nor taught him all he knew; all that was important in the world. Nor was brother, father and mother to him. He sat silently, as the flames licked at the clear blue spring sky. When there was nothing left but a pile of ashes, he cradled his head in his hands and cried until he could cry no longer. Then he gathered a few things together and headed back to where it all started, to the trees by the lake.
            The journey was shorter than he remembered it as a child, at Nor's heels. Then, it took what seemed like months to get to their new home. Now it took just eight days of dedicated hiking. Arr crested the small hills to the east of the forest about mid-morning. He somehow thought it would still look like that picture in his mind, all burnt and dead, but it was alive. The forest came back from its scorching. It was alive and green and beautiful again. He saw the lake to his right at the foot of the hills, still sparkling and crystal clear. As he made his way down into the valley, walking beneath the trees, he saw no signs that the Henu lived or died there. All was cleansed with the passage of time. 
            Since leaving the burnt forest his brother and he took to ground dwelling. Now, Arr had an uncontrollable urge to climb and climb high. His sandals were useless in the trees. He kicked them off and shinnied up the trunk using the natural handholds of knots and burls on its surface. He made a mental note to construct a pair of soft climbing boots as Nor taught him in the eventuality that they should return to the forest. 
            It was always Nor's plan to return home, but Arr was so reluctant that Nor put the deed off until a later time in the hope that his younger brother's memories might fade. In a way, this trip to the forest was really in memory of Nor.
            When Arr climbed to the highest branch, in the largest tree he could find, he found that he was home. The smell of the forest, still damp from the morning dew, the sway of the branches, the rustle of the leaves in the gentle breeze, were all so familiar to him. It all seemed so right. 
            He wished fervently that he had not delayed his brother from this trip.... 

            He wished they had come back years ago.... 
            He wished he was not alone....
            
            Arr spent several days camped by the lake. Each night he would climb a different tree and let the gentle sway of the branches in the evening breeze lull him to sleep. Before long he made the decision in which tree he was to build his home. The branches of one of the trees overlooking the lake were perfect. The tree lay open like a hand. In that palm he built his home. The wood from smaller trees made the walls. The reeds, still growing by the water's edge, made a waterproof roof. It was late spring by the time the house in the tree was completed.

Chapter - 2

            Jake Harcourt established orbit around the planet. He was a mercenary, the son of a mercenary. Jake had just come from ‘One Hell of a Battle,’ if you asked him. It had been on a small God forsaken planet in the Nubula System that was nothing more than a rock. The crunch came because the rock was almost solid galnon crystals. A very sought after item - worth your mother's weight in gold - and that's what Jake liked, the shiny stuff. Not that he didn't like the adventure of a good fight, but he found since he turned thirty-nine a few weeks ago some of the fun had gone out of the battles. Jake was finding more aches and pains after each confrontation. That's how he felt today, full of aches and even though he showered three times he still felt gritty from that dirty little planet. He wanted to see some green, relax for a few days and nurse his bad leg from that Arcanian pig sticker. He checked his father's log for the closest planet that was habitable, with a lot of green, where he could buy some fresh grub from the friendlies. His dad kept a detailed log of all the planets he visited and all the people he met in his forty odd years of mercenary work. The entry for this planet he was orbiting sounded like the ticket.

Met a trader today on Rigil Four. Name of Raa.
Nice robust chap with unusual bright, blue cat eyes.
Says his home is Sector 124, Section A10
Star Line 43/68/15/44, in the Nigula System. 
Sounds like a sweet place for R & R. 
Forested, tree dwellers.
He says the welcome mat is always out.
            
            Jake threw a few things in his pack. He tossed the pack in the planet pod for the trip down and called to Kay-o, a pet dar-dolf, something like a cross between a wolf and a bear. Jake picked up Kay-o as a prize in a game of chance, about two years ago. He had been trying to teach him manners ever since. The dar-dolf did not take well to discipline and he had very sharp teeth. However, even though he had a habit of chewing up Jake's best gloves every time he got a new pair, Kay-o was a loyal companion and a real scrapper in a fight. He'd saved Jake's bacon more than once.
            Kay-o planted himself confidently in the pilot's seat as though he intended to fly the pod himself.
            "Come!" Jake patted the passenger seat invitingly.
            Kay-o settled down in a half lying position in the pilot's seat, the sheer bulk of his massive, hairy body spilling over the edges of the chair. Even in this simi-reclining position he was still tall enough to be able to see out the front viewport. Jake thought for sure he detected a slight glint in the dar-dolf's eyes.
            "Kay-o! Come!" Jake commanded, in what he hoped was a more forceful tone. He followed the command with a tug on the dar-dolf's stout harness.
            Kay-o's eyes narrowed to slits and he emitted a deep rumbling growl.
            Jake removed one of his gloves from its place tucked under his belt and tossed it into the passenger seat. Kay-o obediently hopped over grabbing Jake's glove triumphantly in his paws. The mercenary thought he saw a sparkle of mischief in the beast's eyes as he tore into the leather of the new glove with his huge canines.
            "Enjoy it while you can," he muttered to Kay-o. "I swear that's the last one you get." Jake took his own position in the pilot's seat and powered up the thrusters for the descent to the planet's surface.
            When Jake got within scanner range he started looking for the settlement. There was none. Lots of green, but no people. His father's log was never wrong. Something must have happened. Jake decided to land and investigate. There was nothing he loved more than solving a good mystery.
            He set the planet pod down on the shore of a crystal blue lake at the edge of a grove of trees. The planet might not be inhabited, but it was a lovely place for a good rest. He and Kay-o piled out of the pod to start their reconnaissance.
            They found a tree dwelling almost immediately. There had been no effort made to conceal it. Jake was walking around the trunk of the tree wondering how to announce himself when everything happened at once.
            He saw a young man, hardly more than a boy, step through the bushes at the edge of the stand of trees. He was tall and slender. He wore britches and a loose fitting tunic of tan, with knee high boots of a soft fawn color. The kid was holding a knife in one hand, a bunch of reeds in the other. He had been gathering, not hunting. The boy was startled to see someone at his home. He stood transfixed, rigid in surprise, at the edge of the clearing under the trees. All of these details plus his beautiful, blue cat eyes, that stared out of an otherwise human looking face, Jake took in the few brief seconds before Kay-o sprung out of nowhere to attack the boy. The dar-dolf's sheer power and weight took the boy by surprise. His knees buckled and he was knocked to the ground. Kay-o saw the knife as a weapon. He went for the boy's throat, his teeth sinking savagely into the kid's shoulder. The boy screamed in pain and took a valiant stab at the dar-dolf, the knife glancing off the chain-mail coat Kay-o wore. This action reinforced the dar-dolf's feelings that this alien being was hostile. Kay-o went in for the kill.
            "Le-go!" Jake screamed. "Le-go! Back!" He hollered, as he tugged violently at Kay-o's harness. "Down!"
            Jake's commands to Kay-o were interspersed with kicks and curses. Eventually, he had to physically pull the raging dar-dolf off the boy and leave him lying there bleeding while he secured Kay-o in the planet pod. The dar-dolf had gotten his taste of blood. He was all for finishing the job. Flushed with anger, Jake dragged the snarling beast back to the pod. He couldn't be too angry with Kay-o. On Titan III there was a similar situation, but the guy in the bushes was an armed Adruvian and Kay-o's actions then saved Jake's life. After all, Kay-o was only a dumb dar-dolf. Sometimes, he had a hard time distinguishing friend from foe.
            By the time Jake made it back to the boy the lad was lying in a pool of blood, ashen colored and cool to the touch, but still alive. He had grabbed the first aid box from the planet pod. The mercenary went to work with that cool professionalism that only came from experience on the battlefield, many battlefields.
            He'd seen a lot worse injuries. This kid looked strong and healthy enough. If an infection didn't set in from the dar-dolf's filthy bite, he'd be okay. Even if an infection did develop, Jake had some antibiotics he'd saved for an emergency and in his opinion half killing a friendly was an emergency. Jake kept expecting someone else to show up while he was dressing the kid's shoulder. He was working on an explanation so they wouldn't lynch him, but no one came. Either they were out gathering and hadn't heard the commotion, though Jake thought that unlikely, or there wasn't anyone but this boy here as his instruments had shown.
            Once the kid's wounds were bandaged Jake decided to get him into the house in the tree. He had no difficulty slinging the unconscious lad over his shoulder. Jake's body weight was probably twice the boy's. And, he had another four to six inches of height on the boy, too. It was the climb up that hurt. His leg still bothered him when he stressed it. 
            He laid the boy on a pallet in the corner, covered him with a blanket of some unusual cloth and then started to look around.
            It was a simple place, but more than adequate. There were rush mats on the floor and over the windows. These were pulled back for the morning air and light. There was a pit carved in the middle of the wood floor, lined with clay and used as a fireplace, and there were cushions beside it made of the same unusual material as the blanket. The utensils on the low floor table by the fire pit, one wooden bowl, one wooden cup, indicated that Jake's guess was right, this boy was alone.
            Now that the emergency was over, Jake was starved. A reaction he often experienced after a crisis situation. He began to check the place for edibles. There were a group of storage baskets at the back of the room and he scrounged through them as quietly as possible in order not to disturb the slumbering boy. There was something that looked like a black potato, but smelled like an onion, something that looked like a cross between a carrot and a turnip, and some purple ball shaped objects that definitely were the potatoes of this planet. He juggled his assortment of vegetables in a loose embrace to the fire pit. Well, all he needed was some meat and he could make a decent stew. He checked to make sure the boy was still sleeping soundly, then descended to go hunt.
            When Jake returned to the planet pod he found Kay-o had calmed down enough to let him out for a run. The beast was curled up in the pilot's seat, glove between his paws, snoozing. 
            At the edge of the lake, he washed the boy's blood from the dar-dolf's face, than commanded him to ‘Seek.’ This was a universal command. It could result in Kay-o flushing out rabbits, quail, the enemy, or another friendly. But, Jake didn't have much fear that another accident would occur. He was relatively sure the only inhabitant of the planet was safe up a tree.         

            What had happened here? By signs that Jake was very familiar with he could tell that there had been a battle maybe ten to fifteen years ago. He ran his hand over the tree trunks where they were blaster scorched. He scuffed his boot across the laser dimples in the ground from ship to ground firing. Had they all been killed by some invading force? As hardened as Jake was it made him shiver to think that Kay-o almost killed the last of a race. Earthlings were very destructive in the past. Many species came to an end at their hands. Now they were almost fanatics about the preservation of diminishing civilizations. Even though Jake was basically a hired gun the thought that he was almost a party to, and the cause of a whole culture's demise, made him sick to his stomach. He'd have to make sure the boy was well enough to take care of himself, before he moved on.        














Books Available Everywhere in e-book & paperback

“Scifi reminiscent of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein”“Paranormal like a breath of fresh air in a genre that has become formatted”“Fantasy beautifully written with complex characters that children to adults can appreciate”“Memoirs that are heartwarming, funny and soothing to the spirit”

Monday, February 24, 2020

ART: Annual Orchid Show, MCP Riverside Gardens

It's that time of year again, the annual orchid show called Jewels of Winter held in the Davis Center in the Riverside Gardens of beautiful Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, Ohio.

This has been a bad year for home orchid growers. The wildly fluctuating temperatures of this winter season affects the indoor room temperatures as well. Orchids do not like drafts. 




My own orchids do not look so good this winter. Two are blooming. One had many buds, but they all fell off. One is green, but not growing. And one is tap-dancing on the edge of doom.

So I did not expect much this year at the show. Boy, was I ever wrong! (It happens...)




This was a great display. They hung their orchids like little hanging baskets with hooks from a wooden garden grid. Each orchid had an information card with name and care instructions.

At one time I had twelve of these beauties. My sister sent me one from the local florist. I bought a few at Lowe's. And I separated my larger ones as they grew too big for their pots.

But orchids need care and we were traveling quite a bit at the time.  So now I'm down to four, but they are hardy. I water them, cover with plastic, and place them away from windows and drafts, but still getting plenty of light.


There was this great giant full color chart with photos of all the different kinds of orchids native to Ohio. It was very informative. 
If you're interested in growing an orchid or two of your own, Orchids.com has a terrific selection of orchid plants online.
You can choose by color, price, or type of orchid. They have a newsletter sign-up, and an orchid of the month club.
"Orchids are the Jewels of the plant world, full of color, let them dazzle you with their brilliance and splendor. During the heart of winter, find the spirit of the tropics here at Davis Center as you observe these exotic beauties on display. Bring your camera, as there will be plenty of amazing flowers to photograph."
                 -from Mill Creek Metroparks
                            brochure

The show runs through March 8. Daily hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily in the Davis Center at Fellowship Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., Youngstown, Ohio 44509 USA. The phone number is (330) 740-7116 for further information.





Sunday, February 23, 2020

*SCHEDULE: Feb. 24 - 28, 2020


Mon., Feb. 24 - ART:
Jewels in Winter
MCP Annual Orchid Show
Tues., Feb. 25 - BOOK SERIES: Star Traveler,
Helavite War by Theresa Snyder
Wed., Feb. 26 - INTERVIEW:
Author John W. Nassivera
Thurs., Feb. 27 - ENTERTAINMENT:
The Sniffer
Fri., Feb. 28 - BOOK:
Dark Return, Belterra Book Two
by Carol Ann Kauffman

Friday, February 21, 2020

BOOK: Belterra by Carol Ann Kauffman



The Time After Time Series follows a pair of unlikely lovers on their adventures through their many lifetimes together, this time on an alien planet divided into four tribes.

Can one person make a difference?

When Neeka, daughter of the Lord of the Warrior Clan, was out picking lavender in their vast fields of the West, she felt a stirring in her heart. She felt him coming for her, and she was ready for him. 

When Braedon, Lord of the Soldier Clan of the East, rode into those lavender fields, searching for the woman he had dreamed of so often, he had no idea if she were even real. But there she was, standing there looking up at him, smiling. 

He reached his hand down to her. She accepted, thus beginning their new adventures together, changing not only their lives forever, but the course of life, unity, and the political structure on their planet forever. 
An alien planet. 


Or is it?


Amazon Buy Link: 
https://www.amazon.com/BELTERRA-Time-After-Book-ebook/dp/B0072F88NM

But wait! How about a sample before you buy? To set the scene, Braedon plans a feast to welcome Neeka to their village. He begins the party with a speech:

“My people, it is my pleasure to have you all gathered together to welcome my lovely Neeka to our clan. I feel very fortunate she has agreed to come and live with us. It is the first time in ten years we have a medicine woman. I am sure we will all keep her busy.
“On a more serious note, please remember to keep ever vigilant.  Northford and Southland are always ready to devour each other. We must remember that Belterra must be kept in balance. We are like legs of a table; all four must remain strong, not allowing one to take over. Keep strong. Be vigilant. Keep on the lookout for trouble. Stay ready. Thank you.”                                             
Then they ate. It was heavier cuisine than she was used to, and very salty. Her people ate mostly plants. After dinner as he refilled his wine cup, she panicked. She smelled something.  She looked at him and noticed a faint blueness around his lower lip. As he raised the glass to his lips, she reached for his hand and held it away from his lips. She stroked his hair and his earlobe with her other hand and got very close to him.
“Lord Braedon, listen to me carefully,” she smiled and whispered to him very quietly. “Do not show reaction in your face. Do not drink. Pretend to drink. Get a little on your lower lip. Then kiss me so that I may taste it to be sure. I think it is poison,” she whispered in his ear. She brushed her lips up against his ear. 
“Your people already? They are fast!”  He kissed her. She hung onto his lower lip. He kissed her again, holding her tightly in his arm. “Am I going to die?” he whispered.
“Yes, my love, but not this day.” She kissed him again, this time just to kiss him.
“All of my men are very envious of me right now,” he observed. “They cannot take their eyes off of you.”
“Can you get us out of here? I need to tend to you now.” He nodded. They stood up together, still locked in an embrace.
“My people, please stay and continue to celebrate our good fortune. My Neeka and I have some, uh, urgent business to take care of!” He wiggled an eyebrow at them. The crowd roared with laughter as Neeka and Braedon waved and left the table and went back to their small house. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

ENTERTAINMENT: King Arthur, The Legend of the Sword






Charlie Hunnan said he would like to get another chance to play King Arthur because he felt he missed the mark in this film. He certainly had the right look.

This was a dark, strange movie, but not necessarily a bad one. Cheeky orphan boy Arthur is raised in a brothel. He grew up on the streets and was a successful petty criminal.

Unbeknownst to street thief Arthur, the uncle responsible for the death of his parents (played masterfully by Jude Law) is looking for him.

Once Arthur and Excalibur are reunited, the action kicks in.  If you’re looking for a different, darker, stranger King Arthur tale, this is it. Charlie Hunnan. An unattractive mage. Snakes.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

INTERVIEW: Author Caven Tootell


Caven Tootell
Sydney, NSW
Australia



Good morning, Caven, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for art and authors and the people who love them.  Tell us a little about yourself.
I am currently a Director with Sydney Trains.
In the past I served for over 20 years in the Royal Australian Navy as a Combat Warfare Officer before moving across to Intelligence where I finished my career as Deputy Director Navy Intelligence.  During my career I served in a combat role in Desert Storm II, as well as HQ intelligence staff for the operation to stabilize East Timor.  I also served in exchange postings in Malaysia and Indonesia.
After leaving the Navy I worked briefly in the mining industry as a consultant in Indonesia, then took up several contracts in Afghanistan assisting the UNAMA mission and other contract clients over a seven year period, finishing in 2010 conducting the civilian side of a US counterinsurgency mission, in essence living by myself out in Afghan townships and managing local civil engineering projects with villages (wells, road rehabilitation, farm land clearing etc.) paying locals to encourage them not to take up offers from the Taliban for paying work.  At times though this meant, due to the isolation of this work, having to gain the local Taliban commander’s approval for the work to proceed. I have recently returned from a 2 year contract constructing the new Metro rail system in Doha, Qatar.
At present I am completing my second Master’s degree, but have always felt I could write a historical (colonial) novel in the genre most associated with my favorite authors, Graham Greene, Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling.



What have you written?
1.   Dis’ Taste– fiction
2.   Currently working on post WWII murder mystery in Penang, built on Dante’s Inferno
3.   Several Folklore Tracts
5.   4 x Business Manuals  

What is your favorite genre to write? 
Historical Fiction (not romance)

Favorite food.  
Asian

Tea or coffee? 
Coffee

Pizza or ice cream?  
Pizza

Wine or beer? 
Beer

Where would you like to visit? 
Asia

Favorite musical artist.  
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Do you listen to music when you write?  
No

What makes you laugh?  
Very dark & black, gallows’ humor

Favorite work of art or sculpture. 
Anything by Klimt

How old were you when you started writing?  
40’s

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?  
Unfortunately, all of the above, but find outline is perhaps the better method.

Describe your perfect evening. 
Watching Film Noir

Where do you get your inspiration?  
Childhood reading of Boys’ Own Adventure stories

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
Walk away and do something different

Who is your favorite author?  
Graham Greene

Best book you ever read. 
Burmese Days

Last book you read. 
Almayer's Folly

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
Unfortunately what I am doing now – so not a full time author.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?  
Joseph Conrad

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why? 
Graham Greene



What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 

Just write – anything! But do it every day.