Tag Archive | Novels

My Favorite E-Books For 2015

Today I am very happy to present my favorite e-books read over January – December 2015. With increased writing commitments I did not have sufficient time to read more, but, as always, there were some great books to read. You can click on the book cover for a link to its Smashwords or Amazon entry. Without any further ado, please enjoy my favorite e-books read from January – December 2015!

*

*DEATH OF A SERPENT, by Susan Russo Anderson, best murder-mystery novel:

DEATH OF A SERPENT by Susan Russo Anderson

DEATH OF A SERPENT by Susan Russo Anderson

*PAMELA’S LOVE COLLECTION, by Pamela Cummins, best non-fiction self help book:

PAMELA'S LOVE COLLECTION by Pamela Cummins

PAMELA’S LOVE COLLECTION by Pamela Cummins

*THE MIRROR, by Sasha Gabriel, best paranormal short story:

THE MIRROR by Sasha Gabriel

THE MIRROR by Sasha Gabriel

*THE HUNTED, by Karen Black, best action-adventure short story:

THE HUNTED by Karen Black

THE HUNTED by Karen Black

*NOSTALGIA, by William Vitka, best horror short story:

NOSTALGIA by William Vitka

NOSTALGIA by William Vitka

*COLLISIONS, by P.S.Winn, best supernatural novel:

COLLISIONS by P.S. Winn

COLLISIONS by P.S. Winn

*ONE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE, by Misty Reigenborn, best romance short story:

ONE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE by Misty Reigenborn

ONE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE by Misty Reigenborn

*…AND WE, by Adonis Mann, best short story erotica:

...AND WE by Adonis Mann

…AND WE by Adonis Mann

*KATE & BEN, by Mark Stewart, best fantasy short story:

KATE & BEN by Mark Stewart

KATE & BEN by Mark Stewart

*AUTUMN LEAVES, by Phil Dumas, best tragedy-themed short story:

AUTUMN LEAVES by Phil Dumas

AUTUMN LEAVES by Phil Dumas

*ONE MORE WINTER, by Rebecca O’Connor, best women’s fiction short story:

ONE MORE WINTER by Rebecca O'Connor

ONE MORE WINTER by Rebecca O’Connor

*WINTER THUNDER, by Sylvan Scott, best male-male short story:

WINTER THUNDER by Sylvan Scott

WINTER THUNDER by Sylvan Scott

Advertisements

My Favorite E-books Read From July to December 2014

Today I have the pleasure of presenting the e-books I found to be the best I have read in the period July to December, 2014. As with my other round-up of favorite books, I was in the happy position of choosing these e-books, as there was a great array of entertaining stories from which to choose. You can click on the book cover for a link to its Smashwords or Amazon entry. And now, please enjoy my favorite e-books read from July to December, 2014!

*

*MURDER ON THE MOUNTAIN, by Glenn Gabriel, best horror fantasy short story:

MURDER ON THE MOUNTAIN by Glenn Gabriel

MURDER ON THE MOUNTAIN by Glenn Gabriel

*EIGHT YEARS IN ANOTHER WORLD, by Harding Lemay, best non-fiction book:

EIGHT YEARS IN ANOTHER WORLD by Harding Lemay

EIGHT YEARS IN ANOTHER WORLD by Harding Lemay

*PRINCE OF THE CITY: THE CAT’S WHISKERS, by Mackenzie Brown, best mystery story:

PRINCE OF THE CITY: THE CAT'S WHISKERS by Mackenzie Brown

PRINCE OF THE CITY: THE CAT’S WHISKERS by Mackenzie Brown

*ZENZORIS RETURNS, by Jenny Burnley, best science fiction short story:

ZENZORIS RETURNS by Jenny Burnley

ZENZORIS RETURNS by Jenny Burnley

*PICNIC, by Vonda Norwood, best erotic comedy short story:

PICNIC by Vonda Norwood

PICNIC by Vonda Norwood

*CASABLANCA, MY HEART, by Hannah Warren, best romance novel:

CASABLANCA, MY HEART by Hannah Warren

CASABLANCA, MY HEART by Hannah Warren

*THE BEST FRIEND, by Sasha Gabriel, best horror short story:

THE BEST FRIEND by Sasha Gabriel

THE BEST FRIEND by Sasha Gabriel

*THE DEPOT, by Carmen DeSousa, best suspense short story:

THE DEPOT by Carmen DeSousa

THE DEPOT by Carmen DeSousa

*HEARTFELTS, by P.S. Winn, best short story collection:

HEARTFELTS by P.S. Winn

HEARTFELTS by P.S. Winn

*WHERE THE JOYS ARE: BERTHA’S GUIDED JOURNAL, by Jane Carroll, best self-help book:

WHERE THE JOYS ARE: BERTHA'S GUIDED JOURNAL by Jane Carroll

WHERE THE JOYS ARE: BERTHA’S GUIDED JOURNAL by Jane Carroll

*WHAT YOU SEE, by Ann Mullen, best detective novel:

WHAT YOU SEE by Ann Mullen

WHAT YOU SEE by Ann Mullen

*GLIMMER, by Melodie Ramone, best romance short story:

GLIMMER by Melodie Ramone

GLIMMER by Melodie Ramone

My Favorite E-books Read From January to June 2014

Today I have the pleasure of presenting to you the e-books I found to be the best I have read in the period January to June, 2014. As with my previous round-ups of favorite e-books, I was in the happy position of choosing these e-books, as there was a quality array of entertaining stories from which to choose. You can click on the book cover for the link to its Smashwords or Amazon entry, and for further information about it. So, here it goes, please enjoy my favorite e-books read from January to June, 2014!

*

*THE SNOW GLOBES, by Glenn Gabriel, best mystery short story:

THE SNOW GLOBES by Glenn Gabriel

THE SNOW GLOBES by Glenn Gabriel

*DEATH OF A SAD FACE, by Susan Russo Anderson, best suspense short story:

DEATH OF A SAD FACE by Susan Russo Anderson

DEATH OF A SAD FACE by Susan Russo Anderson

*THE INVITATION, by Mark Stewart, best flash fiction piece:

THE INVITATION by Mark Stewart

THE INVITATION by Mark Stewart

*THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, by Susan Buchanan, best Christmas-themed story:

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Susan Buchanan

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Susan Buchanan

*CUTTERS VS. JOCKS, by Elizabath Marx, best romance novelette:

CUTTERS VS. JOCKS by Elizabeth Marx

CUTTERS VS. JOCKS by Elizabeth Marx

*NINE LIVES, by Terry Tyler, best short story compilation:

NINE LIVES by Terry Tyler

NINE LIVES by Terry Tyler

*A BONE IN THE THROAT, by Steven Ramirez, best horror short story:

A BONE IN THE THROAT by Steven Ramirez

A BONE IN THE THROAT by Steven Ramirez

*THE NEED IN ME, by Sophie Duncan, best paranormal erotic short story:

THE NEED IN ME by Sophie Duncan

THE NEED IN ME by Sophie Duncan

*RIGHT NOW, by Sarah Baethge, best comic mystery:

RIGHT NOW by Sarah Baethge

RIGHT NOW by Sarah Baethge

*BILL & BEN, by Lawrence Wray, best character study:

BILL & BEN by Lawrence Wray

BILL & BEN by Lawrence Wray

*THE SILVER SHORE, by James Hampton, best fantasy short story:

THE SILVER SHORE by James Hampton

THE SILVER SHORE by James Hampton

*LETTERS OF INTENT, by Angelica Boone and Hayden Voss, best erotic suspense short story:

LETTERS OF INTENT by Angelica Boone and Hayden Voss

LETTERS OF INTENT by Angelica Boone and Hayden Voss

*THE WOMAN WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR, by Amanda Green, best maternal-themed short story:

THE WOMAN WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR by Amanda Green

THE WOMAN WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR by Amanda Green

*MY EROTIC VALENTINE: THE ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL HUNTER, by A. Scott Boddie, best erotic male-male character study:

MY EROTIC VALENTINE: ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL HUNTER by A. Scott Boddie

MY EROTIC VALENTINE: ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL HUNTER by A. Scott Boddie

 

 

My Favorite E-books Read From July to December 2013

Today I have the pleasure of presenting to you those e-books which I found to be the best I have read in the period July to December, 2013. As with my previous round-ups of favorite e-books, I was in the extremely happy position of choosing these e-books, as there was a quality array of great stories from which to choose.  You can click on the book cover for the link to its Smashwords or Amazon entry, and for further information about it. So, here it goes, please enjoy my favorite e-books read from July to December, 2013!

*

*ALL OVER AGAIN, by Lynette Ferreira, best paranormal romance short story:

ALL OVER AGAIN by Lynette Ferreira

ALL OVER AGAIN by Lynette Ferreira

*HERR MELBY MAKES COFFEE, by Gavin William Wright, best art house short story:

HERR MELBY MAKES COFFEE by Gavin William Wright

HERR MELBY MAKES COFFEE by Gavin William Wright

*DIRTY BOYS, by Kyle Adams, best male-male short story:

DIRTY BOYS by Kyle Adams

DIRTY BOYS by Kyle Adams

*THE END OF TIME, by Glenn and Sasha Gabriel, best suspense short story:

THE END OF TIME by Glenn and Sasha Gabriel

THE END OF TIME by Glenn and Sasha Gabriel

*WHEN THE FAMILY GATHERS, by James Hampton, best character study short story:

WHEN THE FAMILY GATHERS by James Hampton

WHEN THE FAMILY GATHERS by James Hampton

*ABSENCE, by Dean Murray, best short story romance:

ABSENCE by Dean Murray

ABSENCE by Dean Murray

*LUNCH BREAK SHORTS, by Ann Mullen, best short story compilation:

LUNCH BREAK SHORTS by Ann Mullen

LUNCH BREAK SHORTS by Ann Mullen

*IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH, by Regina Puckett, best drama short story:

IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH by Regina Puckett

IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH by Regina Puckett

*THREE DAYS WITH MOLLY, by Jan Romes, best romantic comedy novel:

THREE DAYS WITH MOLLY by Jan Romes

THREE DAYS WITH MOLLY by Jan Romes

*BEHIND THE WAX SEAL, by Loren Robert DiGiorgi, best family drama story:

BEHIND THE WAX SEAL by Loren DiGiorgi

BEHIND THE WAX SEAL by Loren DiGiorgi

*THE BOOK OF SOULS, by Mackenzie Brown, best fantasy novel:

THE BOOK OF SOULS by Mackenzie Brown

THE BOOK OF SOULS by Mackenzie Brown

*BREAKFAST IN BED, by Robert Zimmermann, best erotic flash fiction:

BREAKFAST IN BED by Robert Zimmermann

BREAKFAST IN BED by Robert Zimmermann

*THE TRIALS OF VIRTUE, by Jeff Joseph, best romantic suspense novel:

THE TRIALS OF VIRTUE by Jeff Joseph

THE TRIALS OF VIRTUE by Jeff Joseph

*A LODI KIND OF GUY, by CE Wills, best short story with a small town theme:

A LODI KIND OF GUY by CE Wills

A LODI KIND OF GUY by CE Wills

*EVERVILLE, THE FIRST PILLAR, by Roy Huff, best teen/YA novel:

EVERVILLE THE FIRST PILLAR by Roy Huff

EVERVILLE THE FIRST PILLAR by Roy Huff

Interview with book reviewer Rick Friedman

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Rick Friedman, founder of the James Mason Community Book Club on Goodreads, prolific book reviewer, and fan of the cinema great James Mason, and welcome him to my blog.

Photograph of Book Reviewer Rick Friedman

Photograph of Book Reviewer Rick Friedman

Welcome Rick!

Many thanks Marcia!!

 *

Q: When did you found your group on Goodreads, and what led you to start the Book Club?

A: Interesting story there…back in October of 2009. I happened to be on Twitter, a relatively new user, when I saw a tweet from a writer who mentioned a site named “Goodreads.com” As I have always been a major book lover I checked it out. I enjoyed the site quite a bit and then noticed that there were individual Groups. I started to check those out and while I felt they were all quite good, I found myself skipping to various Groups to discuss various genres of books. This was also coinciding with the closing of the majority of brick and mortar bookstores. One of my favorite things was to go to bookstores and not only browse books, but also discuss them with others there and attend author readings and other events. The idea formed in my head that it would be wonderful to have an all inclusive, multi-genre “Virtual Community” where readers and writers from around the World could gather to discuss all things books. I also wanted to provide a place for writers to feel comfortable posting about their books and talk with readers about the writing process. Many Groups frown on members talking about their own projects, I strongly encourage it! So, I decided to start my own group…not an easy thing…but truly a labor of love.

As we near 7,000 members, I remember quite vividly how excited I was when I reached 7 members! The James Mason Community Book Club is quite organic in that it continues to expand along with current trends. We have over 300 threads, including ones that deal with films and TV as well as member participation games. There is a real sense of Community in the Group…as anyone can tell if they check it out…quite amazing is the friendships and sense of closeness have increased as the membership has. One might feel that a Group so large in number would be distant and formal…it really is a fun place to “stop by” and enjoy the diversity of members…and make great friends and contacts. I also, again, highly encourage Member Writers to post all about their books, links, blogs etc…as “Members supporting members” is a key tenet of the Group.

 *

Q: You have a prolific output of reviews on Goodreads. Do you have a reading program/schedule which works for you?

A: I really do not. It came as quite a surprise…a pleasant surprise…that as the Group grew in membership and stature, I would receive emails from writers asking me to review their books. Also from publishers as well. Some weeks I get a book or two in the mail, other weeks…over a dozen! I make an effort to read each book and as I am supremely loyal to my member writers, I always look for the positive aspects of their books to highlight in my reviews. This has been quite easy, as I have truly enjoyed everyone of them! I am constantly amazed at the level of talent in the Group…and this certainly includes Indies who I feel are putting out some of the most cutting edge fiction today. I make it a point to treat all members with equal respect…as I have many NY Times Bestselling writers as well as folks just starting out…everyone is equally respected in both the Group and my reviews.

 *

Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I have always enjoyed thrillers and Victorian Classics…yet over the years I have found my tastes broadening quite a bit into all genres as I get to know so many superb writers.

 *

Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who you have followed over the years?

A: Mostly classics…Wilkie Collins is a particular favorite. I have always loved Elmore Leonard…amazing that at over 90, he still is at the top of his game. As far as other writers…my answer is…my favorite books are those written by James Mason Member Writers and my favorite writers are James Mason Members! I feel a strong bond with my Member Writers.

 *

Q: Have you ever considered doing any writing yourself? If you have, in which genre(s) would you like to write?

A: I have…like most folks! A few tries…yet never able to stick to it…that is one reason I have such immense respect for writers. The ability to formulate an idea, complete all the writing and have it published…I certainly have not been able to do that!

 *

Q: Your book club is named in honor of cinema legend James Mason, who was a fine actor indeed who, unfortunately, never won an Oscar, despite receiving many nominations over his long career. When did you first discover James Mason as a film viewer, and what qualities of his do you find so compelling to witness?

A: I receive a lot of questions about why I named my book club in honor of an actor. When I was deciding on a title, I just felt the need to honor the memory of James Mason. He actually did write two books, and was a voracious reader. I was about 10 when my older brother was watching Heaven Can Wait on TV. This would have been in the late 1970’s. I happened to see his first scene…where as Mr. Jordan, Mason tries to explain to Warren Beatty that “This is not a dream…life has a quality…a feeling all its own…and so do dreams…” I always loved classic films and especially the character actors…and I had never heard a voice so distinct and cultured before. I asked my brother who it was and he told me James Mason. I did what I always did when I wanted to delve more into a subject…I went to the library…as there was no internet then! I discovered that James Mason has a legendary career in Hollywood…and became an instant fan.

I remember very well the 1982 Oscars when he was nominated for the third and final time for The Verdict. I was, at that time, a major fan already, and was utterly crushed when he lost. I have not watched an Oscars Telecast since. It is inconceivable to me that after 50 years and over 100 films, James Mason never won an Oscar…which tells me all I need know about the Oscars…As this was the only Oscars he ever attended…I learned that Mason detested them as pretentious and never showed up, even the previous two times when he was nominated. He only showed up the final time to please his second wife who never attended one before. I was devastated a year or so after when he died suddenly. I very much wanted to honor his memory so as I always intended my Group to be somewhat different from the traditional book club, naming it in honor of Mr. Mason was a perfect fit. I love getting emails from new members who still revere him as much as I do…and also young members who never heard of him until they joined the group…and became fans as a result.

 *

Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, from either the past, or still on the air?

A: My favorite shows will always be The Honeymooners and The Odd Couple. I really do not watch much new TV, the vast majority of TV I watch is sports, which I love. Favorites are Hockey…FL Panthers…and Baseball…NY Yanks of course!! I was weaned on the Yanks as I was born in a suburb just North of NYC!

 *

Q: Are there any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: I have always enjoyed playing sports as much as watching them…so certainly baseball. Golf when I have time. I would say the vast amount of free time I have is spent working on the Book Club and reading…which are my favorite hobbies!!

 *

Q: Do you have any other book-related projects that you would like to mention?

A: I wish I could say I had a book written and ready to be published…yet…nah!! but for all writers who do…please do join our wonderful James Mason Community…and remember to post about your books!!

 *

I am certain that you will join me in thanking Rick today for his time, and that we look forward to hearing about more great books from his group in the future. If you wish to contact Rick, he is available on:

*Twitter: @vanwalker67

*Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/25350-the-james-mason-community-book-club

*Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/rick.friedman.9

*Rick’s website: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/25350-the-james-mason-community-book-club

Interview with author Harriet Schultz

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Harriet Schultz, author of the novel LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS, and its short prologue, LUST AND HONOR, and welcome her to my blog.

HARRIET SCHULTZ, author photograph

HARRIET SCHULTZ, author photograph

Welcome Harriet!

Harriet Schultz is an award-winning journalist whose career began at TIME magazine. She loves to travel and is happiest when her passport is being used. She and her husband put 1,500 miles on their rental car during a recent road trip around the Scottish Highlands to check out some of the locations in her book.

Legacy of the Highlands is Harriet’s first novel. The novel’s prologue, Lust and Honor, has been at the top of Amazon’s short fiction bestseller list. She lives in New England and is at work on the sequel to Legacy of the Highlands.

*

Q: For how long have you been writing?

A: I was exposed to excellent writing as Pulitzer Prize-winner David Halberstam’s secretary at Harper’s magazine. From there I went to TIME magazine and was one of two reporter/researchers assigned to its Watergate coverage, which was very exciting. I wrote and edited a magazine, The Healing Arts, at Stanford University Medical Center and covered local government for a Maine newspaper. My work was recognized with an award from the New England Press Association.

Fiction, however, is new to me and I was quite shocked – pleasantly so — to discover that I have a vivid imagination!

*

Q: Do you have a writing program which works for you?

A: I’m not sure what you mean by a writing program, but I do try to write each day to keep the story’s plot fresh in my mind. I don’t work for a precise number of hours or stay seated until I produce a certain amount of copy. Sometimes I can only write one or two paragraphs and other times several pages. There are also days where I have no idea where the story is going and I just edit what I’ve already written.

*

Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: My favorite used to be spy novels, but after a friend turned me on to Nora Roberts, I devoured her books and have been a romance addict since. I gravitate toward historicals and if there’s a Duke or a Highlander in a kilt on the cover, I’m there! I also enjoy time travel stories, especially those by Lynn Kurland, and light, contemporary romances. When I pick up a book, I want to become lost in the story.

*

Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: My biggest influences are Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon — Nora for her storytelling and Diana for the way she seamlessly weaves fiction with history.

I set out to write a romance, but Legacy turned into a suspenseful thriller with romance, adventure, twists and turns, secrets, some hot sex and — of course — a delicious hero.

*

Q: Your books contain generous doses of romantic elements within them, but also feature international intrigue, crime, familial, and historical elements within their frameworks, and combine these elements in an entertaining way. While LUST AND HONOR deals with its subject from a more romantic viewpoint, LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS explores all of the above themes. From where does your interest in Scottish history originate, as displayed with great flair in LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS?

A: I’m not a big believer in fate, but many years ago when my husband and I visited Scotland for the first time, we ended up at the Culloden Battlefield on the anniversary of the 1745 defeat of the Scots by the English. Several kilted men, representing various clans, stood in silence as a bagpiper played. It was a simple ceremony, but very moving. I was reminded of that time when I read Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander,” since the novel’s hero, Jamie Fraser, fights in that war. The emotion of what I had witnessed stayed with me, and I suppose the germ of my own plot began to form.

*

Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or still on the air?

A: Downton Abbey is my current favorite, but I’m also following Revenge (season two is not nearly as good as the first) and a great show about Washington insiders called Scandal. I adore Castle, since it stars a crime writer. I am definitely not a fan of reality shows as I think most of them are exploitive. Although I never watched American Idol, I love The Voice.

*

Q: Do you have any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: Is shopping a hobby? The personalized license plate on my car is KRE8TV, so I guess that sums up my hobbies. I love to work with color and paint abstracts because I’m good at design, but can’t draw. I also went through a phase of making quilts, but not ones with traditional patterns. I used unusual fabrics and shapes since I’m not great at following rules and I have trouble sewing a straight seam. I also love to read and Tetris is my favorite video game.

*

Q: Do you have any other writing projects that you would like to mention?

A: I expected Legacy to be a stand-alone book, but readers and reviewers have asked for a sequel. Fortunately, the characters agreed to hang around and get themselves into interesting situations so there will be a book two. It’s almost finished, but the plot’s very complicated and so it can’t be rushed. Fans of Legacy will be happy to know that Diego, Alex and Serge are in the new book, joined by Diego’s very hot and charming friend, Sebastián.

*

I am certain that you will join me in thanking Harriet today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her work in the future. If you wish to contact Harriet, she is available on:

*Twitter: http://twitter.com/HarrietSchultz

*Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1420100.Harriet_Schultz

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.HarrietSchultz

*Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Harriet-Schultz/e/B006NOWK14/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

*Blog:  http://harrietschultz.blogspot.com

-Harriet’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below:

LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS by Harriet Schultz

LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS by Harriet Schultz

LUST AND HONOR by Harriet Schultz

LUST AND HONOR by Harriet Schultz

Interview with author James Hampton

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing James Hampton, author of the novels TO A FAR COUNTRY, TREASURE HOUSE, FOUR CLOCKS and short stories THAT’S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE and SWIM WITH ME, amongst his many works, and welcome him to my blog.

JAMES HAMPTON, author identification slide

Welcome James!  

Thank you, Marcia. I’m very glad to be here.

*

Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: In every story I write there are echoes of the past. Some of those echoes are loud and some are faint, but I can always hear them. I‘ve been blessed to grow up in a region of my home state with a rich heritage of ghost stories and old legends, so maybe it was inevitable that themes of wandering spirits, ancient maps, and shadowed forests full of danger and magic would be prominent in my work. But I frequently draw on real-life experiences as well. The trick is to modify and disguise those experiences just enough to gain some needed detachment, while staying true to their essence. To put it another way, I change names and circumstances to protect the innocent (and the guilty, especially if I’m one of them), but I work hard to ensure that the emotions I felt, and the lessons I took away, remain intact. TREASURE HOUSE is a good example of this. It has a failed high school romance, an older gentleman incapable of changing with the changing times, and two young people (who happen to be the principals in that failed high school romance) trying to figure out where they fit into the world. Real life experiences of mine, to varying degrees, form the basis for these plot elements, even though the storyline of TREASURE HOUSE is pure speculative fiction.

*

Q: For how long have you been writing?

A: I’ve enjoyed creative writing since way back in elementary school, although there were too many years during which I engaged in it sporadically or not at all. Starting in late 2004 I decided to get serious about writing again, so I’d say about eight years now.

*

Q: You have a prolific output of both short stories, and longer works. Do you have a writing program which works for you?

A: I do. No matter what, each week—and each day if possible—I try to write something, anything. I believe every writer should do this. It doesn’t matter what gets written as long as it requires a little imagination. If an author began a story with great zeal, but now finds he or she has run out of gas, I think it’s fine to set that story aside for a while—but I also think the author should find something else to work on, and quickly. Start a new story, or, better yet, return to an old story left unfinished. I do this all the time. Thus far not one of my longer works (more than 20,000 words) has been written in a single continuous stretch of time. I began, and abandoned, TREASURE HOUSE in 2006; in the summer of 2008 I came back and finished it. But in between I was writing short stories like THE WAY OF ALL THINGS and SWIM WITH ME. I think of Writers Block as being selective in nature. My experience has been that it blocks certain stories from completion but not others; so I just work on those others until the blockage clears. I find this to be a good way to achieve a high level of output, while keeping your enthusiasm fresh at the same time.

*

Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I enjoy reading all kinds of stories, just as I enjoy watching all kinds of movies. I may lean a little bit toward reading the kinds of stories that I write (or maybe I write the kind of stories I commonly read) but over the years I’ve been entertained by everything from science fiction and political thrillers to fantasy epics and contemporary fiction (ordinary world stuff, as I call it). I think compelling plots, high drama, and fascinating characters can be found in any genre.

*

Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: I have been most influenced by three authors: Ray Bradbury, Pat Conroy, and Madeleine L’Engle. SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, by Ray Bradbury, is a darkly glinting jewel of a novel that combines poetic prose, creeping terror, and poignant observations about friendship, growing up, and getting older. THE PRINCE OF TIDES, by Pat Conroy, is an epic family saga that melds beautiful writing with dramatic power, set in a geography that’s virtually identical to the one in which I was born and raised. Madeleine L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME, which I first read twenty-five years ago, introduced me to some frankly stunning scientific concepts in the course of a whimsical, provocative, and occasionally horrific science fiction book that doubles as a fine coming-of-age tale. Any story of mine can trace its ancestry to at least one of these three writers, all of whom I consider masters of language, though I like to think the finished product is fully my own. I also enjoy the works of Judy Blume, Judith Guest, Roald Dahl, Robert Cormier, and Stephen King, and I see some of their writing genes in my work as well. If I can ever get half as good as any of these writers, I’ll be happy.

*

Q: Your stories are intimate examinations of human relationships that get to the heart of their characters’ inner core, tearing away at surface superficiality, and exposing their lives for the reader to ponder. Your short story SWIM WITH ME reminded me of the Burt Lancaster film THE SWIMMER, especially, the character’s bittersweet odyssey looking back over his life. Has your interest in human nature been something which you have had for a while, or, something which has emerged for you at a certain stage of life?

A: I think my interest in human nature, and in the myriad ways humans relate to one another, has always been present. But I had to write a lot of stories in order to see that it was there. Reading over my stuff months and sometimes years after completion, I’ve found that people’s emotions, longings, fears, strengths and/or weaknesses nearly always play a significant part in the plots I develop. For example, SWIM WITH ME was largely inspired by a terrific movie from 1970 called I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER. Based on a play of the same name, it stars Gene Hackman and the late Melvyn Douglas. Hackman plays a son in early middle age trying to cope with the ups and downs of life while at the same time looking after his increasingly frail parents. At the end of the movie Gene Hackman’s protagonist reflects on the passing of his father (played by Douglas) with the observation that while the old man is dead, their relationship is not. SWIM WITH ME is built around this idea. Death has come between the narrator of SWIM WITH ME and his son—just as death has come between the characters portrayed by Hackman and Douglas—but their relationship, with all of its unresolved questions and bittersweet complexities, goes on. The supernatural element of SWIM WITH ME merely underscores some very human feelings. And human feelings are really, I think, what my work is all about. I write primarily science fiction and fantasy at this stage of my life, and I’m very proud to write in those genres. But my main interest lies with the relationships between people: between men and women, parents and children, young and old, steadfast friends, blood enemies, and so on. Granted, I like to add in liberal doses of weirdness: melancholy ghosts, country ponds full of monsters, magic timepieces, and storms that feed on human sadness. But in the end these are just props and set pieces: little devices I’ve made up to better explore the wonders and failings of the human animal.

*

Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or still on the air?

A: As far as writing is concerned, I would say Amazing Stories, Wonderworks, and The Twilight Zone (both classic and 1980s series) are the most influential. Each episode of these programs was like a little mini-movie with its own unique cargo of delights, surprises, and scares. That’s the model I try to use for my stories: a mini-movie. Now, when it comes to television viewing for pure enjoyment, my all-time favorite sitcom of the past is All in the Family, followed closely by Cheers. Here in the present I’m enjoying The Big Bang Theory, though I have no idea what Penny sees in those guys across the hall.

*

Q: Do you have any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: I like to be outside: walking on the beach, throwing a cast net in a tidal creek, anything that gets me out in the fresh air.

*

Q: Are there any other writing projects you would like to mention?

A: This weekend I’ll be unveiling Island Travelers on Amazon.com. It’s the first part of a romantic fantasy trilogy called The Eternity Papers. Set in the summer of 1971, Island Travelers introduces Caroline Richards and Wesley Ingram, two teenagers on the cusp of adulthood who meet and fall in love on an island off the Georgia coast. Both Caroline and Wesley are eager to escape home environments they consider stifling, but there is an important difference: Caroline lives in the modern age, while Wesley hails from an enchanted town called Eternity, a place where Time flows quite differently from the way we know it. It’s been a nice change of pace for me to do a love story. I hope people will enjoy it. I have definitely enjoyed writing it.

*

I am certain that you will join me in thanking James today for his time, and that we look forward to reading more of his works in the future. If you wish to contact James, he is available on:

*Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/…

*Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/vie…

*Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/James-Hampton/e…

*Blog: http://jhamptonwrites.blogspot.com/

James’ books can be accessed by clicking on the covers below:

TO A FAR COUNTRY by James Hampton

TREASURE HOUSE by James Hampton

RUN, JOEL by James Hampton

SWIM WITH ME by James Hampton

THAT'S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE by James Hampton

THAT’S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE by James Hampton