Sunday, June 14, 2015


(1) Snack-sized Mug Mat
(1) Single-sized Mug Mat
Bible/Book Cover Boho Style -
Fits Standard NWT and others
I'm celebrating the opening of my online shop, COLORCRAZED. I've been wanting to open a place to showcase my Handmade Gift Designs and Fiber Art. I've finally taken the plunge.

One of the most fun aspects of the marketing platform I'm using, Bonanza, is the ability for shoppers to make offers or negotiate price. What buyer doesn't appreciate having the opportunity to bargain on an item of their choice? If you're shopping at, be sure to hover over the letters OBO next to the item's price for more details. The next time you need a unique, one-of-a-kind gift, give me a visit.
Desk Set For Her
(1) Soft-cloth Eyeglass Case
 (1) Single-sized Mug Mat
Desk Set for Him
(1) Snack-sized Mug Mat
(1) Single-sized Mug Mat
(1) Eyeglass Soft Case
To celebrate, I'm giving three people their choice of any item in my booth for free, One winner chosen in June, one in July, and one in August. Winners will be posted in the Rafflecopter form each month.

Giveaway policy is listed on the tab at the top of the blog page.  (1 prize per winner)
Winners will be notified by email and need to acknowledge that communication within 72 hours.

June - Anne
July - 
August - 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with William D. Prystauk

My guest author today is William D. Prystauk. Mr. Prystauk is an award winning screenwriter, filmmaker, podcaster, and educator. 

(Lynda) William, please tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.

(William) I began writing stories in first grade when I still had hair. My hard-boiled crime thriller, BLOODLETTING, is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon: Currently, I teach English as an assistant professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. When not writing, I’m busy co-hosting The Last Knock horror podcast on iTunes. I enjoy life with my wife, author and editor Ally Bishop, and our two puppies, Suki and Karma. I’m proud of my alternative music and horror movie collections, and the fact that I never leave any sushi behind. The half-hou crime thriller I directed, CASE #5930, is in post-production, and the short family drama I wrote and directed, TIGERS IN THE SOUP, recently appeared in its first film festival.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I sincerely feel about editing, and editors?

(William) Thanks to my respect for teachers, and from the teamwork associated with all my years of marketing, I love editors. This is because I know the editor has only one thing in mind – my story. The goal is to make certain that the writer presents the best story possible, so to have an editor as a teammate is ideal.

When I originally wrote BLOODLETTING, it was a mere 70,000 words, but soon ballooned to a hefty 120,000, and after editing with a mentor came in at 94,000. Two years later when the manuscript was accepted for publication, my editor, Gerald Baude, helped me bring it down to a respectable 80,000. Yes, I had to rewrite to maintain a strong narrative, and I had to cut many scenes, but I knew my editor’s recommendations were solid. Better still, every writer has writing weaknesses, and Gerald caught mine every time. In the end, I had a fast paced manuscript that made sense for the main tale as well as the subplots. (Plus, I am even better prepared for my next book since I view my editor’s work as a master class in manuscript preparation.)

The point every writer needs to remember is that we are simply too close to our own projects, and regardless of how long we put the manuscript aside, we need that objective editor to help us reign in the narrative. Most important, and I must admit that I hate this term, writers are not “killing their darlings” during the editing process. The entire novel is the “darling” and we must focus on the overall tale.

Thanks to Gerald and his commitment to the narrative, BLOODLETTING is the best hard-boiled crime thriller it can be.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important to me?

(William) As an assistant professor at a university who has had the pleasure of teaching over 3,000 students in nine years, all of my best writers are also avid readers. As a writer, I read as much as I can from Internet postings and magazines to novels. Granted, I am a slow reader, and due to my teaching commitment, I can only truly indulge in book reading during breaks, but I know reading strengthens my writing muscles.

For writers it’s important to read as many books in the genre they are writing for. This doesn’t mean the writer should emulate other authors, but there are expectations within each genre and writer must know them. As with the rules of writing, it’s important for prospective authors to know the rules of the genre before breaking them, if need be.

In order to write well, one must always read well.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also have other hobbies, if so, what kind?
(William) Since I was sixteen, I had always wanted to write and publish a novel. However, my skills were quite awful at the time. I may have had great story ideas, but I had issues with storytelling. Once I realized I had been producing the equivalent of garbage, I took a break from writing for almost three years. During that time I read, and decided as a final act, to write a screenplay. Writing scripts taught me most everything I needed to know about storytelling, and for over a decade I had the pleasure of creating award-winning scripts. In fact, before writing any novel, I write the screenplay first, which serves as what I call a “glorified outline.” Writing the book becomes the equivalent of “coloring in the numbers.”

However, regardless of awards, it is rare to sell a spec script these days. This is why I have also become a filmmaker. To date, I have produced several short films, and directed two others. I hope to direct a dramatic science fiction of mine in the near future, as well as a character based dramatic horror from a fellow screenwriter.

Otherwise, I love photography. My subject of choice is abandoned architectural structures, and my work is available for sale at Just Around the Corner, a local art gallery in Easton, Pennsylvania. Taking pictures has proven enjoyable because I can tell a story in one photograph, and unlike screenwriting and novel writing, which take time to create, photography is akin to instant gratification.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write for myself or my readers?

(William) If I wrote for myself, I wouldn’t have attempted to become a published author. I had always wanted to share stories, and BLOODLETTING has given me that chance. With this crime thriller, my intent was to keep it as hard-boiled as possible with as much realistic grit as a story based in New York City could have to keep it genuine. I also wanted to incorporate story elements from the fringe and alternative subcultures that are either overlooked or stereotyped to the point of becoming a sad joke.

I want to introduce seasoned mystery readers to something new beyond the traditional scope of the crime thriller, while satisfying those readers who live outside the norm with a book that respects their world.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have a website or blog? If so, where can they be found? Do I offer promo features for other writers on my blog?

(William) I have a horror website called Crash Palace Productions (, which features movie reviews, stories about filmmakers, and interviews with horror authors, actors, and directors. The main focus is to find thematic value in horror, and I approach the genre in as much of an intelligent vein as possible. The goal is to present the validity of horror instead of a childish or even disposable genre. People can even find links to my horror podcast.

I welcome horror based articles from writers, and they can contact me through the website, or message me on the Crash Palace Productions Facebook page (, or on Twitter at @crashpalace. In addition, I love interviewing horror authors and would love to have more on my show.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be doing lots of research?

(William) A colleague told me that I did more research for BLOODLETTING than she had for her dissertation to earn her PhD. I indulged in heavy research because I do my best to be as accurate as possible. After all, writers should never skimp – there’s always someone somewhere who knows when we’ve shirked our duties in the research department, and this can clearly undermine our stories.

To make BLOODLETTING work, I not only revisited New York City’s Greenwich Village on several occasions, but I reviewed hundreds of “street level” maps on Google as well as satellite maps. I interviewed a former New York homicide detective, an active duty police officer, and even a private investigator. To capture the minute details of the story, I also interviewed a former nun, and a water specialist, as well as several others. I read at least two-dozen fictional crime books as well as non-fiction works, including New York City police procedure, and studied noir films as well as alternative music. The list definitely goes on, but I wanted to present a novel readers could believe: a fictional story that could have taken place in reality.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I take manuscript rejections well. And how do I feel about reviews, both good and not-so-good?

(William) I tell my student writers that if they cannot handle rejection to either just write for themselves or find another way to express themselves. Coping with rejection is part of the process. However, if a writer’s work is strong enough, someone should ultimately want that piece. Although BLOODLETTING had been rejected from some large publishing houses because they weren’t sure how to market the book, three small publishers ultimately offered contracts. It was wonderful to be in a position where I had to choose.

Positive reviews are fantastic, of course, because all writers need validation, though it is more important to know that one’s work has connected with readers. I certainly do not mind negative reviews as long as they have value, just as the positive reviews must. The art of writing can never be mastered, but writers can certainly improve, and a well-constructed review can definitely help a writer with his or her craft.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have preferred to live and write in a different era than the present?

(William) When Woody Allen’s film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS came out, I thought he had written it for me. I love F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, because I had taken a course about them, which ultimately propelled me to embrace literature on a grand scale, and to earn my masters in English. I also enjoy Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, and more, and loved the verve and vigor of the post-Great War era. To be an expatriate writing in Paris in the 1920s would have been amazing. Everything seemed to be carved out of solid stone, steel, or wood at the time – and I would have found a lack of plastic thrilling.

Amazon "Bloodletting” hard-boiled crime thriller:
Podcast: "The Last Knock" on iTunes

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I want to thank Author Regina Morris for agreeing to do an interview for us today. Regina writes in several categories of the Romance Genre and has published several books to date.

Amazon author page is

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What's the best/worse comments I've received from a fan or critic?

(Regina) I was told once in an Amazon review that the person enjoyed the story but found too many typos and grammatical errors in my novel. I only had one book published, and I did have it edited by a friend who had editing experience, but I took the critique to heart. I hired another editor to look over my book and she found several mistakes that my friend missed. I also contacted the Amazon reviewer and asked if she wanted to be a proof reader for me. We are still friends today. So never look at a negative critique as someone personally attacking you. Turn the situation into a positive one.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I sincerely feel about editing, and editors? 

(Regina) You would love, love, love them. It takes time to find an editor that you can really work with. Once you find one, you will cherish them like gold.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I consider writing a job, a vocation, a hobby, or a passion? 

(Regina) A passion. It's what you want to do when you first wake up and what you will be doing when you are burning the midnight oil. You'll find yourself dreaming of the day when you can quit your day job and just work on your writing.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be writing alone, or do I allow others in my space while writing? 

(Regina)  Alone. Especially if you have kids, you'll want it to be quiet so you can get into the 'zone' and really crank out your novel.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What things would inspire me? 

(Regina) Other successful authors inspire me because I feel if they can do it, then so can I. Authors who write books that I find sub-par, and yet who are successful, also inspire me because I think that if a book with no story, grammatical errors, and flat characters can make it, then so can my book. I find inspiration for my stories through music and from articles I read on the CNN and Mental Floss websites.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What are the top five items on my priority list? 

(Regina) A quiet day that you can devote to writing, good self editing tools, a computer that isn't riddled with viruses, your story board laid out in front of you, and either a caffeinated beverage or wine to drink. Having your dogs sleeping at your feet doesn't hurt either. ;-)

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I belong to any writing groups, if so, why? 

(Regina) Yes. You would belong to many writing groups. Some will be more formal like the national RWA, a local chapter of RWA, or a Writers' League where there are yearly dues and monthly meetings. Others will be a small critique group of friends with whom you meet locally every couple of weeks to work on manuscripts. You will also have writing groups that are completely online that will help you do giveaways, get reviews, and do online parties. There are strength in numbers.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be a Pantser or Plotter? 

(Regina) This is very personal. Everyone is different. I believe some genres really need to be plotter driven, such as mysteries where you need to know who committed the crime ahead of time. And, I think some genres, like YA or romance, can be pantser driver. Regardless, it's up to each individual and their writing style on how they enjoy writing their novels. For me, I'm a total plotter.

Connect with Regina at the following links:

Saturday, May 30, 2015



(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would my writing space look like? 

(Kayelle) I have a simple writing space. I use a desktop computer to write, but have my phone and tablet nearby.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Where would I live?

(Kayelle) I live in north Georgia, just north of Atlanta. I drive to Canton GA twice a week to attend a writer's critique group. It's a lovely area. Close enough to Atlanta to go to everything I want to see, but far enough away to be out of the hubbub and noise.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I do when taking a beak from writing?

(Kayelle) I love to watch movies and have a huge collection. I also read, and enjoy books by JR Ward and JD Robb.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be doing lots of research?

(Kayelle) Yes, you would! I write science fiction and it takes research. I subscribe to an astronomy magazine as well as the Smithsonian magazine. Knowing history helps me extrapolate trends of the future. I read many non-fiction books and magazines on a variety of topics. You never know what you'll find that sparks an idea.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I have any critters that keep me company while writing? 

(Kayelle) Please note the bottom area of my monitor in the picture above. See that little guy? That's Dustball. He's a character in an upcoming book. Mine is ceramic, but in the book, he has opposable thumbs, a prehensile tail (he can use it to climb), and the brain of a diabolic mule with demonic tendencies. Readers may have Sylk in several of my books. He's a little boy who's being trained to be a thief. Dustball will become his pet.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I consider writing a job, a vocation, a hobby, or a passion?

(Kayelle) It started out as a hobby, but I quickly realized it was what I wanted to do. Now that I'm retired I can make it my job, and vocation. It's always been my passion.

 Visit Kayelle Allen at the following links.

Come blog with me Romance Lives Forever News 
The Author's Secret

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

COLORCRAZED DESIGN - New Bible/Book Covers - Fits NWT and More

This Spring the birds have been exceptionally vocal in their appreciation of a new season. Their songs inspired this new series of Covers that you can now find in my Colorcrazed online shop. Covers will fit the Standard New World Translation (NWT) as well as other Bibles and books. (See size on the product page.)

Some cover selections come with a free 3-ribbon bookmark and some have a business-sized card pocket on the inside. Be sure to check the item description before purchasing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

INTERVIEW with Anita Kidesu

My guest this morning is Author Anita Kidesu.

From the time she was a teenager, Anita would sneak her mother's romances and read them until all hours of the night. She never thought about creating one herself, but fell into it with a few friends. On an over-long road trip, they started talking about their favorite authors and why they like their books. To kill time, they started making up their own characters and plot.

From that point on, Anita had story ideas and characters filling her head. Finally, to shut them up, (or so she thought), she started writing them down, surprised at how erotic her characters turned out to be.

Now, in between being a pharmacist, taking care of her two cats, and spending time with her family and friends, she writes. Her stories are about love and romance on the edge.
Her first book, South Seas Seduction, was release in March of this year.

Thank you for visiting us today and answering a few questions about your writing life and your current work. Here's your first question...

Do you have an critters that keep me company while writing? 
I have a hamster named Digger. He sits on a table next to my couch. He burrows into his shavings whenever the cats come to pester him. One of my cats, Midnight, who is pure white, loves to sit on my lap, paws on the desk, and watch the mouse move around my screen. Sometimes I play with the mouse and he tries to bat at it. I figure it's good exercise for him - at least for his paws.

What would your writing space look like?
 I have a roll-top desk that means a lot to me as it belonged to my grandmother who raised me. On the top is a bobble-head dog that was in her car, along with a statue of Joe Bonamassa, a jazz guitarist that I love. I also have a cup warmer to keep my tea warm while I write.

Do you write better when I'm feeling great or feeling low? 
I don't know if I write better when I'm feeling great, but it's much easier to write. When I'm feeling low and can't figure out why, I make myself sit down and write. I'm amazed how much better I feel. I've realized writing is what my soul needs. It's my passion.

Would you also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important to me?
 I'm a voracious reader. I read in the bathroom (sorry for that visual), while eating, watching television, or any place I can. I always have a book with me in case I get stuck at one of the train crossing in town. I don't read during my breaks at work because I use that time to write. I guess reading it like writing to me - it feeds my soul. A good book can take me away from my job and the everyday events of life.

What would you tell a beginning writer to never do/always do? 
I would tell a beginning writer to read about the craft. Take workshops. Go to conferences. Talk to other authors. I've found that the majority of authors are willing to help other authors. I know I am.  I would also tell a beginning author to NEVER GIVE UP! Don't let rejection notices get you down. Read them, shed a few tears, and move on. Learn from them. But most of all - NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Would you have preferred to live and write in a different era than the present? 
This is an interesting question. I've gone back and forth on this question. For women, writing in the past, like everything else was frowned on. Many female authors wrote under men's names. I would have found that frustrating. The other thing is, I'm pretty darn sure I wouldn't have liked to write a book long-hand or on a manual typewriter. Computers and the backspace key make life a lot easier. On the other hand, there were a lot less authors in the marketplace in the past competing for readers. Then again, with the internet and social media, it's easier to reach readers today.

What's the best/worst comments you've received from a fan or critic?
 I was surprised and pleased at how many people who read "South Seas Seduction," didn't see the ending coming. Several also said the ending made the cry (happy). The worse was a reviewer who gave me a one because, while they "didn't really read the book," gave me a one because I had too many fives. There are always those people who believe they should be an editor because they 'found a typo in the book." This last one was from a book I wrote under my real name.

Would you be a Pantser or Plotter?
 I am a mix of both. I plot out my characters and have a general idea of where I want the book to go. Then I let the characters take over - they do anyway. Sometimes when I try to make a story go the way I want and the characters don't like it, I get stuck or frustrated, so I just let them take over. Often they have better ideas than I do.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Good morning, Barbara, and welcome to Between The Pages. Thank you for leaving your writing world to spend a few minutes visiting with us.

Hi Lynda, thanks for having me. I write mostly contemporary romance and am published by Samhain Publishing. I also write a screwball fantasy series as AJ Tillock. When I’m not writing fiction or Dr. Seuss-like poetry for adults or song lyrics, I don a green apron and transform into a barista for a global coffee company. I’m still married to my first husband, have two fantastic children and reside in central Florida. 

(Lynda As:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I have any critters that keep me company while writing? 

(Barbara)  We have a dog named Pepper. She’s a black lab mix from a shelter. We got her when she was less than a year old and she’s about twelve now. I describe her as an almost perfect dog. She doesn’t chew, rarely barks, doesn’t make messes as a general rule or get into things she shouldn’t. She’s friendly with people but not always with other dogs. Everyone loves the way she prances when she walks. We should have named her Prancer. We didn’t teach her this; her gait has always been that of a Lippenzaner stallion. When she sheds, oh, boy does she shed. Black hair everywhere. My husband becomes the vacuum king! When it storms, Pepper freaks out, pants and shakes. But otherwise, she’s perfect.

 (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, If I took a drive in the area I live, what might I see? 

(Barbara)  You’d see palm trees and lakes. Florida Southern College and Southeastern University. The headquarters for Publix supermarkets. Lots and lots of small businesses.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What do I think is the difference between insanity and creativity? As a writer, do I use just one or a little of both, and how?

(Barbara)  Insanity is the deterioration or destruction of one’s psyche. Creativity is the expression of what’s in one’s psyche. I don’t think I’m insane but I’m pretty self-aware and self-analytical. I use a lot of what I’ve experienced or witnessed to create my characters’ internal lives and to give them motivation. I thought I was getting flaky as I got older until my husband informed me that I’d always been that way. I was surprised, but when I started looking back at some of my behavior, I see that he was right. Other friends have called me quirky. I haven’t determined if that is a compliment or a bit of an insult.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I sincerely feel about editing, and editors?

(Barbara)  If they are good at what they do I would love them. If they are not very skilled at editing, I would not like them so much. May I just say editing is necessary for quality fiction. Very few authors can edit their own work well, which is why so much self-published fiction that’s currently flooding the market is just not very good. It’s not that the authors can’t write. It’s that they can’t see the trees because of the forest. I’ve tried to read so many books that sound like good stories and maybe even start off strong but then they meander and the story gets lost. There’s a lot of repetition and the book stops going anywhere. That’s when I give up and think, “If she’d only had an editor…”

I’ve been lucky at Samhain Publishing. I’ve had some really good editors and some fantastic line editors. I might not always like their nitpicking and suggestions but I think a good editor is like your mother. You might not always like what she has to say, but she’s usually right.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, In what ways do I consider myself different from most of my co-workers, family, or friends?

(Barbara)  I’m always surprised at how much free time other people have, but then I remember they are not spending every available moment either writing or doing something writing-related. Nor do they look at almost everything and think about how they can use it in a story. For example, my son-in-law separates two double stuffed Oreos, takes the cookie part off them, puts all the cream in the middle of two cookies and eats them quadruple stuffed. But he abandons the two creamless cookie parts. Drives my daughter nuts. (I told her to put them in a freezer bag to accumulate them and eventually she’d have enough of them to make a cookie crust.) But then I had this short story idea for those lonely cookie shells who meet up at a singles mixer…after their relationship with their other half had been torn apart by circumstances beyond their control.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I love doing book signings, personal appearances, etc.?

(Barbara)  A couple of years ago I started doing signings at arts and crafts fairs and they are a lot of fun. My neighborhood has one every fall and so do some of the other local communities. I like to talk to people and I’m always surprised what they share with me. I like meeting the other vendors, too, and see what form their creativity takes. I’ll talk about writing and my journey and my books anywhere, any time, any place. All you gotta do is ask. Then try and shut me up.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What do I think of the publishing industry as a whole and my publisher/publishers in particular.

(Barbara)  Briefly, I’m just going to say I feel very lucky to have had five books published by Samhain Publishing.

They’ve been very good to me.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I tell a beginning writer to never do/always do?

(Barbara)  Always date everything and never throw away anything you start because you can always go back and fix it or finish it.

Never put bad/mediocre work into the marketplace. There’s enough of it out there already.

THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW, BARBARA. You can learn more about Barbara Meyers and her work at the following links.

Friday, May 15, 2015

COLORCRAZED DESIGN - New Bible/Book Covers - Fits NWT and More

New Bible/Book Covers that you can now find in my Colorcrazed online shop. Fits Standard New World Translation (NWT) and others. (See sizes on the product page.)

These were fun to make and I love the red and black color theme. Hope you enjoy them too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Meet today's guest author, Neil S. Plakcy. 

Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog. I’m delighted to have the chance to share my writing world with your readers. I write three different series. The Mahu Investigations are police procedurals set in Honolulu; the golden retriever mysteries are cozies set in the Philadelphia suburbs. I’ve also written stand-alone mysteries and romances, as well as a young adult novel, Soul Kiss. : my cozy dog-oriented mysteries

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would my writing space look like? 

I do most of my writing at my local Starbucks. The coffee is great and the staff is friendly, and no one interrupts me to find lost household objects or walk dogs. I can shut out almost everything except really juicy gossip and focus on my work in progress. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Where would I live? 

(Neil) A warm climate, for sure. I moved to South Florida almost thirty years ago, after growing up in Pennsylvania and working in New York, and I haven’t missed the cold weather at all. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I see out my window?

(Neil) I live in a community of zero-lot line townhomes, which means that my neighbors can’t see into my courtyard, and I can’t see into theirs. When I look out the window I can see just a corner of the lake behind the house across the street. A partial water view! 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What things would inspire me?

(Neil) I love observing the world, and I often use my phone to record voice memos – funny bumper stickers, odd-looking characters, details of a particular building. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I do when taking a break from writing?

(Neil) Brody and Griffin, my two golden retrievers, keep me busy! They require a lot of attention, from grooming with a special “furminator” to belly rubs, cookies and behind-the-ear scratches. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be doing lots of research?

(Neil) It’s amazing to realize all the things I don’t know when I go to write about them. In order to write convincingly, you have to get the details correct. For example, did you know there are no squirrels in Hawaii? 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I have any critters that keep me company while writing?

(Neil) Brody and Griffin are often sprawled on the wood floor beside my desk. Outside, we’ve got lizards, frogs, raccoons, opossums, squirrels and big orange crabs but I don’t let any of them in while I’m writing. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, If I took a drive in the area I live, what might I see?

(Neil) If you were to head due east about a half mile, you’d come to Hollywood Beach, a very funky low-rise section of the coast with small 1950s motels and a paved broadwalk for strolling or riding bikes. “Se habla espanol” and “Ici on parle Francais” signs dot the landscape, and at least half the cars have license plates from Quebec or Ontario. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write for myself or my readers?

(Neil) I think any writer has to write for himself first—I write because there’s a story in my head and I want to know how it comes out. I want to know who those people are and why they do what they do. And I hope that I write the story well enough, in an engaging enough way, that readers will enjoy reading it.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I often visit the library?

(Neil) You bet! I’m lucky that there’s a branch of our county library on the college campus where I teach, so it’s just a quick stroll over there to scan the shelves of new books, bring my students in for library orientations, or chat with the librarians about research and teaching. I can’t seem to walk out of that place without at least a couple of books on my arm! 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write longhand, on a laptop, tablet, etc.

(Neil) My parents sent me to typing class during the summer after sixth grade, so I’m a demon at the keyboard. When I was in college I worked as a temp and could type 90 words a minute. Sometimes when I’m at Starbucks people will ask me how I can type so fast! 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I belong to any writing groups, if so, why?

(Neil) I belong to Mystery Writers of America, and have served the chapter for years, as a board member, vice president, and then president. I relish the chance to meet with other people who love books as much as I do, and I always learn something from our guest speakers and our annual mystery writers’ conference, Sleuthfest. I also participate in a critique group with four other terrific authors and my writing is so much better because of their advice and input. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I love doing book signings, personal appearances, etc.?

(Neil) As a college professor, I’m pretty much able to get up in front of a group and talk on a moment’s notice. My partner might say that’s because I’m a ham. But I truly love talking about reading, writing and publishing and I enjoy talking to others who love literature as much as I do. 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important to me?

(Neil) I can’t imagine not reading. I read cereal boxes and bumper stickers and I always have at least one book with me. When I was a kid I used to trail around behind my parents in stores with a book in my hand.