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The First Year: A Marriage of Ideas

When any two people come together in any kind of relationship, you can expect that certain ideas will clash, and others will meld perfectly. As a man I once knew said, “If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.” The adage is just as true today as the first time I heard it.

So I’m not going to tell you a fairy tale here about the first year of marriage. It will not be a tale that will inspire those of you who are single to rush into a relationship and marriage. The truth of the matter is that marriage is hard, and the first year could be argued as the toughest. Abby talked about our first year of marriage over at Unbound Northwest.

But I am not going to tell you a story of woe either. Instead, I am going to tell you about true love, and what that has looked like over the last year (and then some). Because true love is not the fairytale first dance. It is life, lived together as partners every day.

The Honeymoon from Hell

This year for our anniversary we are headed to McCall to redeem our honeymoon and will be staying at the Shore Lodge. And yes, I will call out the horrible experience we had last year at the Hotel McCall. I wrote a review of them here, here, and here. To put it simply:

  • I tore my calf muscle a week before our wedding, so I was using crutches and a cane to get around. Our room was on the second floor. Did we get help with our bags to our room? No.
  • The restaurant they use for room service was closed from Sunday until Wednesday, so we had no room service. Did they tell us this when we booked? No. Contrast: the Shore Lodge is doing some renovations this winter. Immediately after we booked, we got an email telling us exactly what was going on, and apologizing in advance for any inconvenience it would cause during our stay.
  • The Hotel McCall has an indoor salt-water pool. They had an issue with the heater, and so it was cold–unable to be used the only day we could have used it. Did they compensate us, or offer any discount or anything else in return? No.
  • When confronted about our poor experience (before I left the reviews) the manager offered excuses. There was no offer of a discount, refund, future free nights, nothing. Apparently they don’t care if we return (or if you ever go there if you are reading this). They have enough tourist who get suckered in when everything else is full. They don’t need the likes of us, paying customers in the off season, coming in and interrupting their staff’s time on Facebook. (yes, I saw a staff member on her social media, and it took her a couple of minutes to acknowledge me when I dared ask for something)

Needless to say, we were off to a rough start. Put a groom in pain and a tired bride in the same room for a few days without the capacity to be pampered, and although we made the best of it, we need some redemption this year.

The First Few Months

Often, newlyweds live in a place that is less than ideal, but we had a place we were making work. We also had our then 14-year-old son living with us pretty much full time, interrupted with rare visits to his mother. We had an agreement to stay there until December, at which point we would decide where to go next.

The time period was designed to give us space to save money, recover from the wedding, and be able to move.

Not to mention that Abby had a major medical issue in May, just after she also graduated from college, and that set us back even more. Recovery from one thing or another just seemed to be the theme of the moment.

Then our landlord decided to sell the place we were living. With two dogs, we had to scramble to move with no money saved up and only 30 days to find a new place. This meant, more than likely our 14-year-old who was already adjusting to a number of things, would have to switch schools. Again.

We did it, and with the new place came a new peace for everyone. It was astounding the difference it made in our family. The drama, however, would continue.

Career Choices

Abby struggled with what to do after college. From simply getting a different job than the one she was in (she hated it) to going for a Master’s degree in…something…she wasn’t sure what was next. During her senior year, she had a mediation internship at the courthouse and found her calling: mediating conflict was her happy place. However, turning it into a career? There were a ton of questions about how she should best do that.

The answer came in the form of law school. It was something she had thought about, but never really investigated. The investigation turned from casual to serious to filling out applications and attending interest nights at law schools.

She’s retaking the LSAT in June, even after an amazing first score in February, so she can get more scholarships.

In the meantime, I was used to being a freelancer but had taken a job with a local internet marketing company, a job I like and dislike at the same time. The steady income and benefits are good: but it comes at a sacrifice, and does not pay as well as freelancing once did.

It has worked out well, though. I am still able to freelance on the side, not write as much fiction as I would like, but I am headed toward doing more of that. I’m also going to school, but slower. I am taking a freelance writing course, and am enrolled in college online, going back with the eventual goal of getting my Master’s in writing and rhetoric.

All of these career things equaled stress. Every decision was agonized over. There were moments when my job was going well, Abby’s was not. And vice versa.

Conflict

If you have not figured out by now that we are both ambitious people with lofty goals, go back and read what is under the headings. Stop skimming this article. When two driven, strong-willed people come together, they are bound to butt heads. Not to mention we have different styles of dealing with conflict: Abby is a verbal processor, and I process internally. I need space and time, she wants to tackle things right away.

Big honesty moment here: it took us ten months to figure out how to balance this out. Every time we had an argument, even a small one, I would try to retreat, and Abby would verbally chase me. I did not always handle being pursued well, and she did not handle me trying to back away well.

I had trouble expressing my need for space and time, while Abby had no trouble expressing her need to verbally process (no shock there, that is verbal processing). I’d never before dealt with anyone who pursued me with such zeal at those moments of, shall we call them intense marital bonding?

Love and Partnership

Want to know the secret of how we figured it all out? The one thing that will make your relationship perfect like ours, since now we have how to do this conflict thing figured out? HA! There isn’t one, and we don’t. We do better every day. We love each other more. But we are far from perfect. However, here are some tips that might help you:

We love each other, and we are on the same side. This applies to so many areas of life, but especially in marriage. We both want to raise a teenager from a boy into a good man. We both want our family to be well provided for, comfortable and happy. Neither one of us wants conflict, and certainly not with each other.

We are team Bertmore, and both of us want that team to be the best it can be. Neither of us are trying intentionally to tear the other person down and assume some kind of dominant control. This leads me to the next point.

We are partners. It is one thing not to oppose someone. It is another to be partners with them, coming alongside and supporting their goals and ambitions. But it is not just about supporting the other person’s goals and joining with them to help accomplish what they want. There are two other key elements:

  • Your partner comes alongside you and supports you in your goals and ambitions as well. This is not always perfectly balanced. Sometimes one person’s needs or goals come ahead of the other person’s, but this is constantly in flux. It reverses as often as it needs to.
  • You make shared goals and work together to accomplish them. These can be relationship goals, financial goals, and even career goals. They are short and long term and show your commitment to each other’s needs.

When does disaster strike in partnerships? When you have goals that are pulling you in opposite directions. Your shared goals must take precedent over your individual ones, at least if you are determined to stay together, so sometimes those goals have to take a back seat.

We cannot afford for Abby to go to law school and me to go to college full time, and support a teenager in the house at the same time. Abby gets to go to school first, me second. While she is in school, I need to support her in every way possible.

It does not mean that my goals are any less important, or that our partnership is unbalanced. It means that, although it is hard, I need to put my personal goals on hold so we can accomplish our shared goals. The time of a reversal of that will come.

None of these final tips I have shared mean we will have a perfect relationship going forward. It hardly means that I will never retreat, and she will never over-pursue me to get a verbal resolution.

It just means that we know a few simple things. We love each other. We have shared goals. And we have promised each other to partner in achieving those goals, no matter what that looks like. Our first year of marriage was not a picnic filled with rainbows, unicorns, and tooth-achingly sweet love. It’s been filled with real life, real challenges, and real work.

That is true love.

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Interview with Elizabeth Delisi

Liz photo

Elizabeth had joined me on my blog before, but this time she is talking about her novel, Fatal Fortune. Below is an interview with her, a few quick questions, but first an introduction:

Elizabeth Delisi is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. Her time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, LADY OF THE TWO LANDS, won a Bloody Dagger Award and was a Golden Rose Award nominee. Her romantic suspense novel, SINCE ALL IS PASSING, was an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist. FATAL FORTUNE, a paranormal mystery, was a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece. Three of Elizabeth’s contemporary romance novellas are combined in one volume, HEART SPELL, due out in June from Tirgearr Publishing. Elizabeth also has a short story collection available, THE MIDNIGHT ZONE.

 

Elizabeth is a writing instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught creative writing at the community college level, has worked as an editor for several small publishers, and has been a newspaper reporter and columnist. She invites readers to visit her web page: www.elizabethdelisi.com and her blog: http://elizabethdelisi.blogspot.com/

 

  • Tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to become a writer.

I’ve always enjoyed reading, and have wanted to be a writer since I was in first grade. After many years of expressing my quirky imagination and being told I was eccentric at the least, it was a natural step to become a writer. I love having the opportunity to share the stories in my head with others. There’s not much better in life than a good read! And there’s no thrill like someone saying, “I loved your book.”

  • Tell us what FATAL FORTUNE is about.

FATAL FORTUNE, the first book in the Lottie Baldwin mystery series, is a mystery with a touch of the paranormal. No one in Cheyenne, ND believes in Lottie Baldwin’s psychic abilities; especially not Harlan Erikson, Lottie’s boyfriend, and Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s Office. When a friend’s husband disappears, Lottie can’t leave it to Harlan. Armed with her courage and her tarot cards, she tries to solve the mystery herself, regardless of who attempts to stop her: Harlan, her friend—or the criminal.

  • If you were casting the movie version of FATAL FORTUNE, who would you choose for the leading roles?

HepburnLottie would be played by a young Joan Blondell. She looks the part, and would be a perfect fit for sassy, independent Lottie.

 

Harlan would be played by a young Robert Redford. He’s got a great sense of humor, and has no trouble being strong when it counts.

Redford

  • Tell us about a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about.

I know how to tat, which seems to be—alas—a lost art. I also know how to do card-weaving (another nearly lost art), and my husband and I built an inkle loom for weaving.

  • What’s your favorite comfort food?

Chocolate anything, of course! No contest. Current favorite: Almond Roca. Yum! I also have a fondness for Sky Bars, which I remember from my childhood. Hard to find now. They’re like a Whitman’s Sampler in a candy bar, with four different flavors.

  • Are you an outliner or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I outline before I write. I’ve tried just winging it, but I feel too uneasy if I have no idea where I’m going. Outlines don’t constrict me, as I feel free to change and adapt them as I write. If I come up with a better idea for a particular scene, I change the outline to match. That allows me to keep track of all the loose threads, and make sure everything works.

  • What’s your favorite season and why?

I love all the seasons, and am happy to live in a state with four distinct seasons. Here in beautiful New Hampshire, I’d have to choose fall as my favorite—early fall. With all the gorgeous leaves in shades of red, scarlet, orange and gold, apple cider everywhere, crisp nights and mild days, I’m in a constant state of wonder.

  • If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Tough question. I think I’d probably own a combination book store/yarn store/coffee shop. Just the kind of store where I’d like to shop myself! Anyone know of one in New Hampshire?

  • Tell us about anyone famous you’ve met.

Ooh, let’s see. I met Captain Seawhiskers when I was five years old and got to be on the show. J I’ve met Jim Nabors, Gary Puckett, Kathleen Sibelius and Bill Graves (both Kansas governors), and Peter Noone. My most recent meet: Steve Smith, a.k.a. Red Green, from the hilarious PBS show, “The Red Green Show.”

  • What’s your favorite non-writing-related website?

Definitely Ravelry, for yarn lovers: www.ravelry.com and Aeclectic Tarot for all things tarot: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/

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Tirgearr Blog Swap and Sale!

This weekend is Tirgearr Publishing birthday. Their first one, really, since the company was founded on the last Leap Day.

I’ve been proud to be a part of Tirgearr, and have edited for them as a managing editor for the City Nights series when it first got started, senior editor, and I still edit for them on a regular basis.

In addition, but two of my works are published by them, Stray Ally, a military thriller about a man who saves a dog in the wilderness, but in the end the dog saves him; and my erotic thriller One Night in Boise, the kickoff book for the City Nights series.

Both e-books are on sale for .99 on Amazon this weekend, but they are not the only ones. Many of the Tirgearr authors are participating in the Birthday Bash, so their work is on sale as well. Check out the graphic below, head to the publisher’s home page, and find some great deals.

Not only that, but watch this space. Over the next few days, there will be three Tirgearr authors and their work featured here on my blog. Erika Gardner, Elizabeth Delisi, and Kristi Ahlers will all join me. Look for their posts, and grab up some great books and fill your Kindle Reading list.

TIRGEARR PUBLISHING800

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Blissmas Blog: Christmas Traditions

One Night in Boise by Troy Lambert - 1800HRI didn’t grow up with much of a Christmas tradition. We were poor, and often far from family. If Grandma and Grandpa were in town, or at least close, we would see them. Sometimes aunts and uncles, even cousins.

So I wasn’t the best at establishing traditions for my kids either. In fact, although I like order and some would even say ritual, I don’t do much traditionally. I’m a hybrid author: I’ve self-published and published with small presses. And I’ve written everything from short stories to novels, humor to fantasy, and even a little erotic romance.

Yes, erotic romance. Even though it does have thriller elements. It’s called One Night in Boise, and its available here, from Tirgearr Publishing.

IMG_20141127_103421331The only tradition I keep nearly every holiday, mainly because a holiday is my best excuse, is grill a turkey. It is so much more moist and better than cooking it any other way, at least that I have found. How, you ask?

You turn your grill into a humid oven. You’ll need a charcoal grill (okay, I guess I am traditional) or a gas grill with two sides, so you can turn one off. You’ll need a pan you don’t mind putting in the bottom of the grill, and getting a bit messed up. I use one of the disposable foil ones, after ruining two of my wife’s baking pans over the years, (another story).

IMG_20141127_091719Build a fire, or light the burner, on one side, put the pan filled with water on the other. The turkey goes over the water. This is called indirect grilling (it’s not truly “smoking” the turkey). As the water evaporates, it keeps everything in the “oven” moist.

I like turkey to be super moist. The first step is injecting it with something. Melted butter and rosemary is one recipe: or as simple as melted butter and soy sauce (about a 1 to 1) mixture. The soy sauce gives it a smoky flavor. Reserve whatever you don’t inject for basting.

IMG_20141127_114306069_HDRYou’ll want to baste every hour. If you are using charcoal, this is when you restoke the fire, make sure the coals are still hot.

Depending on the size of your turkey, it will take about three hours or so. Check with a meat thermometer near the breast bone and thigh bones.

That’s it. I stuff mine as well, but you don’t have to. In fact, you can do almost anything to make this your own. But I promise the turkey will be one of the best you’ve ever had.

Got an idea? A comment? Go ahead and leave one! By commenting on this post you get 1 entry into the Blissemas grand prize for a Kindle Paperwhite stuffed with smut. For a list of rules and other Blissemas blogs please check http://blissemas.co.uk .

Have a Happy Holiday!! IMG_20141127_153752623

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Time Off

I’m a hard worker. I’m not bragging, more confessing. I am a workaholic. I’d go to meetings to try to find a cure, but who has time for that, right?

Then this last weekend I took off to Garibaldi, Oregon to share a booth with a friend and fellow author at their sole annual festival, Garibaldi Days.

Be quiet. I know how physical book signings go in the digital age for thriller authors. I’ve done several, with varying degrees of success, but all coming with valuable lessons, and in this case another added value: time off and brainstorming with a couple of brilliant minds.

I took my full Samuel Elijah Johnson series, Redemption, Temptation, and Confession. A few copies of Broken Bones. Happily Ever Afterlife and Dragonthology. Sherry Briscoe wrote a book of short stories titled Mists of the Garibaldi (it is pretty good. You should check it out). A local read it, and e-mailed her with an invitation, which she kindly shared. Rochelle Cunningham came with us, the co-author of Crash Landing in a Field of Outhouses, several memoir style vignettes by Ken Bauer, an entrepreneur and pilot with some interesting stories. She brought her first non-fiction piece, Codependency: The “Normie” User Guide: How the Non-Addict learns to Love when Love Hurts with her as well. She is currently working on a short series of children’s books and the beginning of a romance series. We sold some books, not as many as we hoped. But overall we did well.

My intention was to write a novella while we were there, but my mind changed as we sped toward the coast. Perhaps to truly reset, I needed a few days without writing. This was a total change of pace for me.

The results were astounding. My creativity flowed, but toward business. How do you sell more books? How do you leverage projects you were going to do anyway toward more sales? What do I really want to write anyway? And what do I really want to do with my new-found author freedom?

Answers flooded into my mind. I looked at a house worth half a million dollars, and seriously considered that while I might not buy that one, in a few years I could if I wanted to. I started to see my writing life in a whole new light: the errors of the past, and the way forward.

This morning, I started another story. Worked on two projects in progress, reassessing their direction. Ordered a book on marketing, and determined to apply the principles to every project I do.

More announcements coming soon. I’ll be releasing a new book soon, a short story collection with Marlie Harris, titled Ridge Falls: Into the Darkness. The sequel to Stray Ally is nearing completion. I’ve started the first in another series, and have plans for several more.

But my mind is clear. My path set. My feet and legs ready to run. All because I took just a little time off.

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Here, Taste This

What Scotch Night can teach us about Books and Reading

2014-04-04 20.39.19There were perhaps a dozen of us, although I never got a definite head count. And there were at least a dozen bottles of Scotch on the bar. Plus a Japanese whiskey. It was a tasting party, so no, we did not plan to drink a bottle each. However, we did all get quite buzzed, even sampling several varieties. Like nearly everything else, all that tasting made me think about books, reading and writing. There are some clear parallels.

Some people like, and relate to different regions. Scotch is created in different regions, or settings if you will, and the taste of the scotch takes on the character of that setting. From peaty lowlands to the woodsy highlands, even the smooth, almost sweet 20+ year olds, everyone likes a different region. Some are even more popular than others.

Books are set in different regions as well, most often the region the author is from or familiar with. That region has a character of its own, and some readers like certain regions better than others. From settings in the Northeast and along the East Coast by Allan Leverone, to tales of the deep South by Heath Lowrance, to my own works set in the Northwest, there are a variety to choose from. Each story inevitably takes on regional characteristics, just as scotch aged certain places takes on the characteristics of the surrounding environment. So if you do, or even don’t like a book, the setting may have as much to do with your “taste” as anything else.

2014-04-04 19.32.28Aging makes a difference. Young writers create fiction not as polished as that of more mature authors. This is not to deny that some first novels are break out pieces. Nor is it to deny that some writers get worse with age, are not edited as well because of their name or status. Also, in most cases more mature writers (and by that I mean authors who are physically older) have experienced more, and tend to have more experiences to draw from.

Note I said aging makes a difference, not that different is better or worse. The stories just take on unique characteristics depending on age of the author, age of the reader, and the age of the story. Scotch is similar. There seem to be certain ages that appeal to specific drinkers more than others. Whether 12, 14, 16, or 21 years old, each scotch has characteristics defined by age. No certain age is “bad” but liking that age is a matter of taste.

Blending changes the taste. Some of the best stuff I have read, or written, has been a result of collaboration. The novel Satanarium, written by me and Poppet, a brilliant and prolific author, is a unique work because it contains two distinct voices. Some people like it (it is dark and sinister) and some don’t, but it’s a good book either way. It is not like my other books, and in some ways is not like Poppet’s other books. It’s a blend, and when done well blends work.

Scotch is often blended as well. While all blends are not created equal, sometimes the combination created has an appeal all its own. Some lower end blends are designed with affordability in mind, while others are designed to create unique flavor. Either way, some people like the blends better than each original, while others would never drink a blend. It’s a matter of personal preference.

2014-04-04 19.34.40Finally, Price does not always indicate quality. Is the most expensive Scotch the best? Not always. The most expensive, over 20 year old scotches do not appeal to some aficionados, but they are more expensive simply because of the time involved in creating them. Just because something costs more does not mean it is better. Those scotches have their appeal, and their following, but not everyone likes them.

Books, especially e-books follow a similar pattern. I’ve read some great work I paid 99 cents for, like the recent offering of the Deadly Dozen. I’ve also read some great e-books that cost me nearly $10. Traditionally published books have a higher price point, but they are often no better edited or created than a small press or self-published book. In fact, they are often lower in quality, but that is another discussion for another time.

The point is that while price, blending, aging and region all go into both Scotch and books, sometimes the differences are just a matter of taste, not an indication of quality. So as a reader, don’t be afraid to taste something new. You might find something you really like.

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Why I Gave Money Away

And what happened when I did.

Happy AfterlifeI’ve been a part of charity anthologies before. I’ve given stories to causes, and even put stories in anthologies just for the exposure. However, I  never actually wrote one of my own stories and decided to see how much money I could raise for charity with it, until “The Angel,” and Happily Ever Afterlife. So how did that go?

We raised some money. It actually worked, and with a Facebook event, a Facebook page (you can still like the page here) and even before the first royalties we raised some money for Boston Children’s Hospital. Not as much as I would have liked, but the first big chunk of royalties has yet to hit the bank, and sales were good, at least for the first little while. Not bad for an anthology. We actually sold almost 50 t-shirts overall, although the shipping and the set up in the end cost me more than it should have. Not bad for a little anthology.

Not all of the feedback was positive. What follows are actually questions people asked me throughout the campaign:

Why did you give only half your royalties away? A: Well, because I paid for shipping, set up for t-shirts, and spent my time setting up the events. Giving half the proceeds away, I didn’t really make much. And I am a professional writer, so I get paid for my work. How much of your paycheck did you give back last week?

Boston is a long way away from Boise. Why couldn’t you give to something local? First, I didn’t live in Boise when I set up the charity. It took a while for the book to be published. My fans actually chose the charity by a vote. And amazingly enough, people from Boise who need specialized care go to Boston Children’s Hospital too. Would you give if it was a local charity?map

Is this just a gimmick to sell books? I’ve seen other authors do this for publicity. See above. If you gave away half of your paycheck, would it deserve publicity? Hollywood stars and the ultra-rich often give away small percentages of their income and it is a big deal because the amount is bigger, not the percentage. The charity gets money I could not otherwise afford to give. You still get a great book (and a great story) to read. Who loses here?

A final word. Here’s the real deal. I’m a giving guy. I like to help others. I do much of my work for non-profits for pennies on the dollar compared to what they should pay for my expertise. I gave money away because I wanted to, not because of any return, or to raise anyone’s opinion of me.

And I will do it again, with other work in the future. Think it’s a gimmick? Don’t like it? Well, that’s okay. Personally I’ll keep giving until I can’t, even when I don’t always have ‘extra’ myself. If people use the excuse they don’t like the charity, I don’t give enough away, it isn’t local enough, or it’s just an author gimmick so they don’t have to give, fine. It’s not about them. It’s about me giving back to others when I can.

For those who gave, bought books, ordered t-shirts, and just supported the effort, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys rock. Haven’t read the book yet? Find it here. Still want to give? The link is here.  Thanks again for all of your support.

BCH T-shirt Logo

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Writing to Music

Do you write to music? I do, often a variety depending on my mood. Today a few friends and I talked about it over on Red River Radio. You can stream the show here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2013/12/09/rfk-dellanis-tea-time

Below are my answers, with appropriate video links. The links can all be found in my rather schizophrenic YouTube playlist here.

Were any of your books inspired by a song? If so, which? Not specifically. A story in Broken Bones titled Amnesia was inspired (and includes lyrics from) the song Amnesia by Blue October.

Wish I could wake up with amnesia

Try to forget the things that I’ve done.

I wish I knew how to keep the promises

that I have made you.

But life I guess it goes on. . .

 

Do you find yourself including music within your books? Yes. There are several scenes in Temptation with music where it is used for both hypnosis and celebration. One of the final scenes involves a Mustang, Credence, and a car crash.

Do you use music for mood, pacing, etc in your novels? The music I listen to? Yes. I listen to quite a variety depending on what kind of scene I am writing.

Have you taken a song title for a book title? Nope. Never will I want the reader to use their imagination. I might include part of the song, or a snippet of lyrics, but I want my books to stand on their own, not be connected to whether someone likes a song or not, or even knows it to associate the book with it. A short story, maybe. But a book? No.

Are any of your characters musicians? In Temptation Gordon is a violinist. Other than that, no. That may change in an upcoming work, but it is hard for me to write musicians well as characters because I am not one. I love music, but when it comes to making it, I am very mechanical.

Do your characters’ musical tastes reflect yours? Yes and no. I don’t emphasize them in my books. They might listen to certain things on the radio. The struggle is, my musical taste is wide, eccentric and varied. The difference between life and fiction is that fiction has to make sense. No one would believe a character that has musical taste like mine.

What kind of music do you listen to when you write? Totally depends on the mood. I’ve posted a playlist, and I always say if you rooted through my computer, my music player, my phone, you still wouldn’t know what my favorite kind of music was.

Is there any type of music you will absolutely not ever listen to? I never say never, but I am not an old country, twangy, I lost my dog type person. It certainly doesn’t ever inspire writing for me. But I will listen to me some Big and Rich. Those guys are like the hair bands of the ‘80’s to country. The modern sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll.

Some authors make playlists for every book. Have you done that? Nope. My books are as musically schizo as I am. So I doubt anyone would want t listen even if I did. I did create a video for the Samuel Elijah Johnson Series, and there are several songs by Within Temptation that fit the book Temptation.

What are some of your favorite musicians? If we did this question by decade, genre, or style it would not be any easier. It varies from day to day. Some of my current favorites are Blue October, the indie artist from Texas David Ramirez, Disclosure, Daft Punk, Jean Michael Jarre, Giorgio, The Kinfe, Mumford and Sons, Joe Satriani, Rush, Floyd, and I am on a classical/opera kick early in the mornings.

If you had the chance to put together the perfect band, who would be in it? (Drums, vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard) What is your favorite instrument in the band?

    • Drummer: Rick Allen, Def Leopard, Great Drummer, great story. Unless Miss Margery was available.
    • Voacals: Male: Freddie Mercury, #1. Female: I’ll be contrary and say Lzzy Hale of Halestrom. They are not the greatest band by any stretch, but for female rock vocalists she has to  be in the top few. Below you will see her and another of my favorites, Amy Lee doing a duet.

  • Guitar: Living: Joe Satriani or Slash Dead: Randy Rhodes hands down, Steven Clarke (formerly of Def Leopard) a close second.
  • Bass: Geddy Lee. Don’t Hate. Appreciate
  • Keyboards: Keith Emerson, ELP
  • Violin-Multi-Instrument: Ryan Delahoussaye

If you were stuck on a dessert island and had only one album to listen to, what would it be? (Yes, this assumes you had unlimited power but no wi-fi) Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon or Daft Punk Discovery. Whatever was in the CD player at the time of the crash. Both all around great albums I can listen to over and over.


Do you ever get songs stuck in your head that simply won’t go away? How do you purge them? Yep. I sing them, play them on the air drums, or both. A little chair dancing never hurts.

I hope you enjoyed the show and all of my answers. Rock on and write on, not necessarily in that order.

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The Answers You Are Looking For

I have a Facebook Event! We are celebrating the re-release of Redemption and Temptation. Are you part of it? You may find some of the answers you are looking for here. 

What the hell is that? Well, I have no clue, but it sounded like fun, so I jumped in. Part of the fun is author trivia, so this post is your landing zone: start here, and you may find the answers (and prizes) you are looking for. Not the droids, the prizes!


My current labor of love is a fundraiser for Boston Children’s Hospital. Half or the royalties from my story “The Angel” in Happily Ever Afterlife published by Untold Press gets donated. We also have t-shirts for sale. If you click here, you can donate directly. So what inspired the story? Read here.

I’m finishing up a novel titled Confession. It is the third in the Samuel Elijah Johnson series. The first two books will be re-released next Wednesday November 27th, just prior to Thanksgiving. Something happens on Thanksgiving every few years. If you are friends with me check out my Facebook profile here. We aren’t friends yet? Send me a request, and like my author page here.

The first two novels have brand new covers. They were designed by a fan, Natalie Collins and are designed to improve series branding. Follow this link to see the old and new covers side by side.

Recently I wrote a standalone novel not related to this series, titled Stray Ally. A strange accident on the freeway, accusations of murder, and an encounter in the Idaho wilderness all propel Todd Clarke into a new friendship with a dog named Sparky. But Sparky is no ordinary dog, and there is more going on than he could have imagined. A military commander he once investigated for Aryan activity and links to domestic terrorism is after him, and he’s not sure why until another chance encounter gives him the answer.

With Sparky and the help of a few friends will he be able to figure out the Colonel’s plan and stop him in time? All Clarke knows for sure it that none of it would be possible without the help of his Stray Ally.

This novel will be published next spring by Tirgearr Publishing.

I am not just an author. I also work as an editor. I work for Tirgearr as Senior Editor, and will be the managing editor for a series coming next year. It’s an erotic romance genre. What’s the difference between erotica and erotic romance? The focus on character development and story of course. You will have to stay tuned for the details coming soon!

Until recently, I worked at a museum, designing exhibits, doing archival work, digitization of records, and many other duties. Click here to like the museum on Facebook, and find out the area I lived in before moving to Boise. I still do research for the museum, and am writing and producing a documentary for them this year. Watch the trailer here.

I love music: listening to it while I write and edit. I listen to a wide range. I used to play several instruments. I learned piano as a kid, moved on to the saxophone in high school, and even attempted to learn guitar when I was in college at Boise State University. I wasn’t any good.

I can dance though. And I do like to play the air drums. My favorite albums to air drum to this year are; Blue October Sway and Daft Punk Random Access Memories. Want to see a video of me air drumming? Well, okay. If I must. Click here. Just kidding. Click here.

My wife’s hobbies include playing an instrument and photography. Recently we combined the two to create and image that Natalie used for the rear cover of the print version of Temptation. See that image here.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and the Event.  Did you win?

Links to Troy’s other work: Broken Bones on  Smashwords, Amazon, Nook, and Kobo. Redemption on Smashwords or Amazon. Temptation on Smashwords or Amazon. They are both coming soon to Nook and Kobo. Satanarium (co-authored with Poppet) hereDragonthologyTwisted Tales , Happily Ever Afterlife, Twist of Fate, , and EFD 1.

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