Thursday, February 25, 2016

Interview with C.B. Clark, Author of My Brother’s Sins

What made you decide to be an author? I’ve always loved reading. By the time I was ten, I’d read the entire Nancy Drew Mystery series, and I’ve never looked back. I read voraciously in all genres, but romantic suspense is my sweet spot. Writing is another enjoyment. After I lost my voice for a year due to an operation, I decided to combine my two loves and write a book. The words bubbling inside me had to be spoken, even if through my characters’ voices. Little did I know the challenges of writing a book, but it’s what I do and who I am.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? I love creating new worlds and peopling them with interesting characters and then upping the stakes and watching them scramble to reach their goals. There’s a letdown once a book is finished, and a sense of loss as you say goodbye to the characters who have become friends. Like many authors, I’m uncomfortable with the business end of book promotion, but realize it’s an important part of this business.  
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I’ve always lived in small towns, and I’m intrigued by the dynamics of rural living. As a result, my books are set in communities where your neighbors, and the guy who works at the grocery store, or the gal at the post office, know you and you know them. I was a teacher for many years and taught high school English and college courses, so basic grammar and punctuation aren’t usually a challenge.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?  There are always bits and pieces of myself in my characters…it’s hard to avoid. In ‘My Brother’s Sins’, the heroine, Hallie’s character, took on a life of her own as if she were determined to tell her side of the story. When I was writing ‘My Brother’s Sins’, hours would pass as her words flowed onto the page.
You’ve written two novels and are working on a third novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? I’m new at this game. ‘My Brother’s Sins’ was released February 24, and I’ve just signed the contract with my publisher for ‘Cherished Secrets’, another romantic suspense novel. My time management tip: write every single day…even if you only have time to jot down a few words. Make time for your writing. Make it important. Figure out the best time of day for you…when the ideas flow more easily, the house is quiet, the dog has been walked, whatever…then plant your butt in the chair in front of your computer and write.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an organic writer? Definitely a panster. That’s part of the fun. I start with the germ of an idea and a first sentence and go from there. Some days writing is a wild, rollercoaster ride with ideas coming hot and heavy; other days, it’s like wading in mud. I love not knowing what’s going to happen next and letting my characters write their own stories. Of course, that means there’s lots of revising when I’m finished.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Write…wherever, whenever, as often as possible. Just write. The next time you look up from your computer, you may have a complete story in front of you.
Tell me more about My Brother’s Sins.
Ryan Marshall’s kid brother had always been trouble. Now, his brother wants Ryan, ex-DEA agent, to protect the woman he loves from a notorious, Mexican drug cartel.
The second Ryan lays eyes on Hallie Harkins, he knows he’s made a mistake. Hallie’s blonde beauty and stubborn grit tempt him like no woman ever has. It’s all he can do to keep his hands off her…and his heart intact.
Hallie’s worst fears are realized when the man she expects to meet, vanishes. In his place, a disturbingly attractive stranger appears, claiming he’s been sent to protect her. Can she trust him? Or is he working with her pursuers?  
Following an attempt on Hallie’s life, she and Ryan join forces, embarking on a perilous mission of danger and desire taking them from rural Montana to the sunny shores of Acapulco Bay, and into the clutches of a ruthless killer.
Will they survive the mission together and find love in each other’s arms?
How about an excerpt from My Brother’s Sins?

Ryan had made a mistake. He shouldn’t have hauled her out of the bar. No wonder she was afraid of him. What woman wouldn’t be after his caveman tactics? But then he recalled his brothers troubled voice, and his guilt fled. This misunderstanding was her fault. Shed refused to talk inside the bar, leaving him no other choice.  
The uncertain light cast by the flickering neon sign revealed her long, slim legs covered by tight, white, denim pants, which cupped her hips. The soft mounds of her breasts swelled against the fabric of her blue, silk blouse.
Sweat beaded his brow, and he forced his gaze back to her face.
Her full, red lips parted, and the tip of a pink tongue peeked out as she licked her lips.
He gulped. 
“What aren’t you telling me?” she asked. “Is Geordie okay?”
Her frantic voice broke through the haze surrounding him. He took a quick breath. “You want to know about Geordie?”
She nodded.
“Well, then, come on.” He turned on his heel and started walking across the parking lot, not looking to see if she followed, half hoping she wouldn’t. He couldn’t think with her perfume, something spicy, hinting at sensual delights, wafting on the night air. At least, he couldn’t think with his brain. Other body parts were more than willing to do the thinking for him. 
“Where are you going?” she called after him.
He fished in his pocket for his keys and opened the door of his red, four-wheel drive truck. Casting a glance over his shoulder, he wasn’t surprised she was still standing where hed left her. He’d figured she was too smart to drive off with a man she didn’t know. He risked another peek. 
She stood alone, illuminated by the faint light of the distant street lamp, looking frightened and vulnerable.  
He rubbed a hand over his face, the stubble rasping in the night air. Sighing, he spoke, knowing he was making a mistake even as the words left his lips. “I thought you cared about Geordie. You said you wanted to know if he’s alive.”

Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
I’m on the Amazon author page at:
Twitter: @cbclarkauthor
Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press:
C.B. Clark, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Character Interview: Sandy Fairfax, Teen Idol

Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood? I grew up in the small town of Conejo Hills, in Ventura County just west of Los Angeles. Looking back on ones childhood is subjective, as one has no other frame of reference as to what is “normal.” Music was a huge part of my upbringing. My mother was a professional singer before she got married, and my father is the founder, conductor and artistic director of the Golden Wing Orchestra. I started singing in the boy’s choir at church but surprisingly never sang in a school choir, probably because when I outgrew the church chorus I was busy with piano and violin lessons. My brother, Warren, and I were, naturally, quite competitive, always trying to win Father’s affection. My sister, Celeste, was born blind, so the family pampered and watched out for her. Sis and I were pretty close growing up.
Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing? I own a house in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Universal City. In my late teens/early 20s I was a teen idol and starred in my own TV show, “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth,” as well as two Buddy Brave movies. Those four years were quite a ride. But as they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and I crashed and burned big time when my show was cancelled and the record company became more interested in promoting the next big sensation. For a number of years I did an occasional TV guest spot but I mostly drank myself crazy and got into trouble with the law.
Now I’m 38 years old and finally sober. In my first book, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” I describe how I tried to kick off my comeback and ended up cornering a killer at a Beatles fan convention. I’d love to make some more movies or possibly another TV series, and spending more time with my kids (my ex has custody). I’d like to try my hand at songwriting. A new album would be fun, something introspective and personal instead of pop ditties. But for now I’m taking one day and one job at a time and counting my blessings.
What's going on in your life right now? I just got back from a week of concerts onboard a Caribbean cruise (you can read about that adventure in “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper”). On the cruise I patched things up with my estranged sister, but my brother and I were still barely speaking. That changed in my upcoming book, “The Quirky Quiz Shop Caper,” when one of Warren’s students at the college was murdered, and the killer framed my brother. Not only am I helping to find the murderer, but also Warren and I have to smooth out our rocky road to put on a show together for a black tie benefit gala. Also, I’m a guest panelist on a dreadful TV game show and I discover the producer is manipulating the winners and losers. Can I beat him at his own crooked game?
Is there someone special in your life? Ha ha, funny you should ask. Yes, there is. She’s a lovely girl named Cinnamon Lovett. We’ve know each other for a while but now we’re finally able to start dating and get to know each other.
How did you meet? What's his/her family like? I met Cinnamon in my second book, “The Sinister Sitcom Caper.” When I did a guest appearance on a sitcom, the studio hired her as my choreographer for a dance scene in the show. When I first saw her in the practice studio, wow! my libido kicked into overdrive. Her first words to me were, “You’re late!” Hardly an auspicious start, but we’re finally starting to mesh. I haven’t met her family yet. That will be often awkward because most people know me as the kid teen idol and it’s hard at first for them to relate to me as an ordinary guy.
What's keeping you two apart? Cinny’s been burned by previous relationships so she’s hesitant to jump into another one. Also, my reputation as a ladies’ man is not helping—Cinny’s afraid she’ll end up as just another notch on my bedpost. But I’m not going to let that happen. I really care for her. I’m use to women throwing themselves on me, so I’ll have to slow down with Cinny. Besides, we’re both quite busy. She runs a dance studio and I have my work as well. And she lives in Ventura County, a distance from my L.A. home, so I can’t run over to see her on the spur of the moment.
What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out? I’ve thought about moving to Ventura County myself. A number of show biz people live there to escape the L.A. hassle. My parents and kids reside there as well, so I’d be closer to everyone important to me. But we’ll see. In the mean time, I’ll see Cinnamon as often as I can and keep her involved in my life and my sleuthing. A guy never knows when he’ll need a choreographer.
Any last comments? I’ve thought about what makes me a good amateur sleuth. Since people know me, or at least my public persona, they feel comfortable around me and they’ll answer questions about the murder. And the bad guys underestimate me. They think I’m just a pretty face and I’ll outsmart them. Hey, a fella has to have some brains to be a teen idol.
Coming Soon from Cozy Cat Press: “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper”
Book blurb: Sandy’s family is in a pickle. His father’s orchestra is facing bankruptcy, and his brother is framed for murder. Sandy finds himself in an art deco theater, a college campus, a radio station and on a crooked TV game show as he pursues the killer. Sandy nearly sings his swan song at a black tie gala benefit when the murderer tries to silence him for good. And Sandy’s also looking for clues on how to make his lovely choreographer his steady girlfriend.
(Set in an old art deco theater)

I wormed my way through the dark, labyrinth backstage area. No wonder old theaters had ghosts—a performer could get lost in here and die. I descended a stairwell with concrete walls that shut out all other sounds. The door at the bottom opened to the basement level. The hall went straight into a dead-end and also split with a branch to the left. Just past this corridor was the elevator. To my right stood the door to the organ room. Just as I started punching the numbers onto keypad, from the left-hand hall came the sound of people running—and a scream.
As my left ear had lost some of its hearing during my boisterous concert days, I turned my head to listen. Footsteps echoed through the passageway. How odd. Nobody else should be here. Warren was the only performer in here on Mondays; he worked in rehearsals around his teaching schedule. Maybe he was meeting somebody, but why make an appointment in the basement of an empty, dark theater?
“Warren?” I called. “Is that you?” Curious, I detoured into the split-off.
A flickering fluorescent ceiling light cast a cold glow. Doors for the dressing, makeup and costume rooms lined the lengthy corridor. The strong odor of disinfectant hung in the air, the result of the cleaning crew. A young man, his ample girth ready to explode out of his tee-shirt and jeans, staggered toward me. He weaved about, ready to topple. Was he drunk? Sick? He flailed his arms and made odd gurgling sounds.
“Are you all right?” I asked.
Something from the man’s hand fell onto the tile floor with a “clink.” He tumbled forward. I dropped my cane and caught him. I staggered; his weight pushed me back against the wall. I couldn’t hold his hefty frame and I slid down the wall, still holding the man. I landed on my butt.
That’s when I noticed the knife stuck in his back.

Sally Carpenter is a native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition.
Sally also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper where she writes the Roots of Faith column (
Besides the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol cozy series, she’s written short stories in two anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in “Last Exit to Murder” and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in “Plan B: Omnibus.”
Her first mystery, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was an 2012 Eureka! Award finalist.
Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.
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