Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mystery Writer and Readers Choice Award Nominee John Desjarlais

A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John Desjarlais teaches English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval crime novel Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection.

Bleeder and Viper (Sophia Institute Press 2009 and forthcoming 2010, respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. A member of The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Who's Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who Among America's Teachers.

John, Thank you for joining us today. It's exciting to interview such a prolific writer. With two books published, I'm eager to learn what you are working on next. Can you tell us about your latest books?

BLEEDER is a contemporary amateur-sleuth mystery where a stigmatic priest bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Aristotle professor Reed Stubblefield needs to find out, because police regard him as the prime ‘person of interest’ in the mysterious death. He applies Aristotle’s logic to get at the truth before he is arrested or killed by people who don’t want this mystery solved.

VIPER, the sequel due out this fall, features a minor character from BLEEDER as the protagonist. Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz learns that her name has been written in her parish church’s ‘Book of the Deceased’ on All Souls Day. The problem is, she’s not dead. But someone wants her to be.

These are interesting plots! I’m intrigued. How did you pick the genre you write in?

When I worked as a scriptwriter for a multimedia company in the 1980s, I produced a documentary on the history of Western Christianity and became fascinated by the Irish monastic movement. These artistic, scholarly monks saved civilization at a time when barbarians were burning their way through Europe. Saint Columba of Iona was especially interesting – a hot-headed warrior and poet with Second Sight who went to war over a disputed manuscript and, in remorse over the thousands slain, exiled himself among the Picts of Scotland where he dueled the druids, miracles versus magic. So his fictionalized biography, The Throne of Tara, was my first novel.

I learned about relics along the way and the rich trade in them (and battles over them) in the Middle Ages and that became the basis for book 2, Relics. I’d begun researching a third historical wherein Aristotle, the Father of Logic, would solve a crime. But I learned this had already been done (and well) by a British writer not long ago. So I fancied a classics professor who was familiar with Aristotle’s writing and who would apply Aristotelian logic to solving a crime that defied reason. That’s how BLEEDER began, a story of a stigmatic priest who bleeds to death on Good Friday. I always enjoyed reading mysteries and now I’m hooked on writing them.

It sounds like you enjoy the experience of researching topics and writing about them. Are there any parts of the writing process you find challenging?

You won't believe how many times you'll read your own book in the proofing process. You do want it to be perfect and avoid typos and such - but what tedious work.

Promotion and marketing are harder than writing the book, more time-consuming, and potentially a real hindrance to writing. 15 years ago, my publishers invested in my titles with advertising, solicitation of reviews and other things. We've all heard how little publishers are putting into marketing these days, backing only their top-sellers who don't need much publicity anyway. The business side of writing, the selling side, is a real challenge. There's always something you could be doing, and this can bite into the work you like most - writing.

How can my readers get in touch with you?

My email is – my web site is – I look forward to hearing from your readers. Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you.

It’s been a pleasure to host you and to learn more about your books. Thank you for sharing your writing with us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Books for Kids by author Kevin McNamee

Kevin McNamee joins us today at Writers in Business. He is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY. He primarily writes for the children’s market. He has several children’s picture books published including If I Could Be Anything, The Sister Exchange, and The Soggy Town of Hilltop. These books are available at Guardian Angel Publishing,, Barnes and Noble or ask your local bookstore.

When Kevin isn’t writing, he spends his time playing hide and seek, at the insistence of his five year old daughter, and at his day job, at the insistence of his wife. When time permits, Kevin also enjoys fossil hunting, home-brewing beer, and gardening. He is currently engaged in an epic battle against roving gangs of crazed squirrels who are digging up everything in sight. Kevin notes that the squirrels are winning.

Welcome, Kevin. How do you define your writing?

I discovered writing for children by accident. I was watching my nieces fight and it gave me an idea for a sibling rivalry story. I thought it would be fun to write, and it was. There was no looking back.

There seems like an endless supply of topics to write about for children. What messages would you like to convey through your books?

I think that writing for children carries a lot of responsibility and it’s a challenge that I try to rise to. The world can be a confusing enough place as it is for adults, how much more so for children? If I can help children understand the world around them and help them make sense of various situations that effect them, that would be the most rewarding thing of all, for it would be something that they could carry with them long after they have put down my book.

What can we expect when we read one of your books for the first time?

I try to entertain, and whenever possible educate. I also try to incorporate humor into my work whenever possible. My goal is to write for everybody and to create stories that adults as well as children can enjoy.

Can you describe when you realized you were a real writer?

Somewhere along the way, I stopped doubting my ability. A rejection of my manuscript ceased to be a rejection of myself. A rejection letter became an opportunity to send my manuscript somewhere else. Comments and criticism became opportunities to strengthen my story, revise something unworkable, or something to ignore altogether if it didn’t fit with my vision of the story. I was able to refer to myself as a writer without feeling self conscious and … oh yeah, someone was willing to pay me for what I wrote.

How can we learn more about your writing?

To find out more about me, please visit my website at or my blog. I also have a new child-friendly site with games and activities at

My daughter is now hooked on your new web site. The Word Jumble game is her favorite. It’s been a pleasure interviewing you and we are looking forward to reading your books. Thanks for joining us today.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Release, To Take Up the Sword, by Brynna Curry

Bethany Cagle joins us today to share the exciting news of her new release, To Take Up the Sword. This new book is written under her pen name of Brynna Curry. I've enjoyed reading your first book and am excited to learn more about this one.

Thank you for having me here. To Take Up the Sword is the second book in my Elemental Magic series and already receiving rave reviews.

5 Ravens from The Black Raven's Reviews
"To Take Up the Sword is excellent. There are paranormal elements and sexual elements but neither overpowers the plot. This is a good read with enough twists and turns that you'll be rereading it just to be sure you caught everything." Lea The Black Raven's Reviews

5 Diamonds from Got Romance Reviews
"I loved this book. It has everything: well-developed characters, strong emotions, obstacles galore, villains, and a complicated plot and all in a novella-length story. " Starla Kaye Got Romance Reviews

These are wonderful reviews. Tell us about the plot for To Take Up the Sword.

After the acquittal of Gueraldi's right hand and favored killer for hire, Ashton Smythe, Special Agent Gabriel Spiller takes time away from his work with the FBI. Having failed in his mission to avenge his lost would be lover, Serena Roarke, Gabe returns to Alabama in search of the missing diamonds needed to reopen the investigation and to lay low from the death threats he's received since Smythe went free.

Almost two years after her sister's death, Leannan O'Neal feels the loss of Serena more now than ever. A secret meeting between them before she died left Lea with an ugly figurine and nothing but questions. Hang-up calls at work and a trashed house reminds her of the card Serena gave her. "If you find yourself in trouble, go to him and only him" were the last words her sister spoke to her.

With Smthye out for revenge and hot on her heels, Lea goes on the run in search of Serena's 'Angel', but how long can Gabe keep her alive, and is the cost worth more than her life?

Wow... now I'm even more excited to delve into the book!
How can we order a copy?

By visiting Lyrical Press. The book is also available through Amazon and various book vendors online.

How many books are planned?

There are five books in the Elemental Magic series. For more on each book, visit my website.

Earth Enchanted Available now

To Take Up the Sword 9-6-10

Wait for the Wind 1-2011

Sea's Sorceress 4-2011

Fire's Ice 8-2011

How can readers contact you to learn more about your writing?

At my web site . I have a page titled "Brynna's Links" and from there you can visit all my online homes including Facebook and Twitter. There's also tons of info on the series, blurbs, excerpts and news. I'd love for you to visit me there and if you have a moment sign the guestbook or shoot me an email. I love to hear from my readers!

Thanks for allowing me to join you today!

I'm looking forward to reading To Take Up the Sword as well as the other books in the series. Thank you for joining us today at Writers in Business.