1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
Before & Gone is the first book in my new series titled “The Chosen”. It is an Apocalyptic Science Fiction/Fantasy.
In the blink of an eye, everything that was before is gone. The human race struggles for existence. Are those that have been chosen really the lucky ones?
2. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
It came to me while writing a scene for the book. One of the characters said something that struck the right notes and there it was!
3. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
My favorite would be Shiloh. He is a stand-up kid who gets dealt a tough hand to play.
4. How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
Matt would be my least favorite. I don’t know that I can say why without giving something away. ;)
5. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
That would have to be the cover. Don’t get me wrong, I like the cover, but it just isn’t quite right. Hopefully I can have something new within the next few months.
6. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
It is set in Tennessee. It turns out that one of my readers is from the same town where the main character goes to college! I have to think that would be fun for her.
The word “OBSOLESCENCE” is of major importance and may just be the longest word I’ve ever used in any of my books! LOL!
7. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I am an amateur herpetologist with an extremely understanding wife. I have nearly one-hundred snakes living in my basement at any given time.
I am also a musician, though admittedly I play very little since I began writing. Music used to be my one creative and emotional outlets. Writing has now taken over!
8. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
I would love to hear from those that read my books! You can email me at:
I do have a blog that I am attempting to be more active with, and you can visit it here:
9. What can we expect from you in the future?
I just started writing the third installment of The Shadow Series (titled The Reverence of One) which I hope to have published in the spring of 2012. After that, I plan on writing the second book in the Chosen Series!
10. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Tips for readers? Just read what you love. Don’t fall into a trap of only reading things that others say is good or what some say is bad. Sample the work and decide for yourself. I am a big reader and one of my goals this year was to read in as many different genres as possible. I am having a blast achieving that goal!
Tips for writers? Read as much as possible and in as many different genres as possible. It can do nothing but help. Write every day. Make sure that your book gets as many eyes on it as possible before you publish. Listen to those that critique. That doesn’t mean that you have to change anything, but you shouldn’t dismiss it automatically either.
11. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I guess I’d just like to mention the other books that I’ve written and invite folks to give them a try.
Failing Test: Book One of The Shadow Series
You know him, but you can't remember his name. He is the one that is always there, in the background, all but invisible to those roaming the hallways. What if he had a secret? What if it was a secret that even he didn't know?
Test Davis has always been a blur to those around him. He's a shadow like a million other kids--not smart enough for the academic team, not beast enough for the football team, not extroverted enough for the drama crowd. In all things Test is just...not, which is why no one ever notices him.
But what happens when someone does notice him-- Nicole Paxton, a cheerleader, no less? What happens on the night that Test finds out there's nothing average about him and that a powerful gift has been hidden within, secretly waiting to be set free and alter his life forever? The question is, will that power save him and those he loves or tear them apart?
A Shadow’s Light: Book Two of The Shadow Series
After fleeing his home in Lincoln, Test Davis settles in the small town of Saratoga, Wyoming, where he hopes to slip into obscurity. But when his boss’s niece, Alyssa, draws him reluctantly into a relationship, he’s afraid he won’t be able to hide who—and what—he really is.
When a horrific confrontation with two co-workers forces Test to go back on the run, he reunites with an old friend, discovers that Alyssa has a secret of her own, and finds the answer to the question he’s been too afraid to ask:
What am I?
The Memoirs of Clifford T. Johnston: A Shadow Series Novelette
I was one of the fortunate few who got to know Clifford Johnston. Cliff placed this manuscript in my care, and in doing so, has given us a brief glimpse into his life. Though his words were written with the hope that a select person would someday read them, I’m sure you will find that reading this piece will give you a deeper sense and understanding of the man that many of us have come to love and admire.
WARNING! This novelette contains mild spoilers for the first two books in the Shadow Series. It is recommended that you read this after A Shadow’s Light.
The Memoirs of Clifford T. Johnston is approximately 14,000 words.
Can the damned be saved?
Kurt Lavine is at the end of his rope. Having buried his wife and eldest daughter, his grip on reality begins to fade. The loss of his loved ones, as well as his job, sends him into a downward spiral filled with alcohol and self pity. Inevitably, his mother has reported him to DHS, resulting in the loss of his two remaining children. Desperate and capable of anything, Kurt has nothing to lose...or so he thinks.
The day comes when, in a fit of anger, Kurt kills a man. In his attempt to flee, his tumultuous life comes to an abrupt end. For some, death is a blessing, but for Kurt, death is a name, or more specifically, his new name: Gavril--Satan's newest demon servant. Though his life was filled with pain, his death is tormented with the memories of the destruction his days above Hell purchased. Having successfully harvested the soul he's desired, Satan sees him as an easy mark; however, he's not counting on the fact that Gavril retains his faith. Even among the damned, Gavril knows that there is only one name that matters in both Heaven and Hell, but is his enduring faith, combined with the love of his children, enough to save him?
Duality is a Dark Christian Fantasy Novella.
12. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 20 OF BEFORE & GONE
Amy’s parents lived only a short distance away. Dark clouds continued to hang low in the sky, though the fury of the storm seemed to have passed. Tree limbs littered the road, several of them large enough that they forced me to go around them.
The ride had been filled with silence until we pulled into the driveway. As I put the truck into park, Mom hesitantly began to speak.
“Are you ready for this?”
Her question struck me wrong. I looked at her with disgust and a furrowed brow.
“How the hell could I be ready for this?” I barked.
She cowered in her seat.
“I’m sorry, I just mean…,” she paused, choosing her words carefully. “Amy and Jess could be….” She stopped herself.
Staring to the front door of the house, I took a deep breath and gripped the steering wheel with both hands.
“Dead?” I asked.
From my peripheral vision, I could see Mom shaking her head slowly.
As my swollen lip quivered and my chin dimpled, I replied. “Amy said that Jess was okay.”
Mom stared at me with her eyes opened wide, her eyelids bulging with tears. “And Amy?” she asked.
I turned from her and looked at the house. Without a word I opened the door and got out of the truck. I was halfway to the front door before Mom even stepped out. I should have run, but the fear of what I could find inside held me back.
The doorbell chimed inside as I depressed the button. I waited for a moment as Mom walked up the steps and stood behind me. I pressed it a second time and followed it with a loud knock on the door. No one answered.
The door had a narrow, yet tall, window centered on it, but the glass was etched and blurred the visibility of the room inside. I began to pound on the door violently.
“Amy!” I shouted. “Amy, it’s Shiloh ! Let me in!”
The house remained still. Forgetting that Mom was behind me, I backed away from the door, nearly knocking her down the steps. She gripped my right arm to keep from falling and nearly pulled me down in the process.
There were no apologies; the intensity of the moment prohibited anything other than getting through the door. Regaining my balance, I squared myself to the door. With a couple of steps, I kicked it near the handle. I could feel the door jamb give slightly, and my body ached with the vibration from the impact.
Suddenly, from inside, I could hear the whimpering of a child. It sent a charge of adrenaline through me as I reared back, throwing my foot into the door once more. As if shot by a cannon, the door flew open, smashing into the wall perpendicular to it as it swung. I leapt through the doorway and stopped to process the nightmare that unfolded before me.
There, in the recliner across the room, lay Amy’s dead body. Her eyes, like my father’s had become, were sunken back into her skull, with dark heavy bags beneath. Her face was swollen with red welts, and her hair was soaked with sweat which made it cling tightly to her scalp. Her mouth was agape, and a drying stream of blood ran from her nostrils to her neck, ending in a pool that had collected on her shoulder and collar bone.
On her lap sat my daughter, clinging to her mom’s blouse and whimpering softly. Blood from Amy’s nose covered her tiny hands and face. Upon seeing me, she hid her face in her mother’s chest, intermittently checking to see if I still stood across the room. When Mom came in behind me, her gasp of horror caused Jess to look up. Recognizing her grandma, Jess pulled away from Amy and reached out for her. I took a step, but Jess immediately turned away and let out a scream. It was something out of a horror movie; my daughter covered in crimson, screaming while huddled against her dead mother.
* * *
Thank you J.M. for taking part in my Author Spotlight interview! I hope your writing continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future.
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com