Saturday, April 9, 2016

#BOOK #REVIEW: Silent Sentry. . .

SYNOPSIS:

Award-winning author Theresa Rizzo delivers a thrilling crime novel packed with suspense, romance, and redemption.

The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. “Family takes care of family” is the code they live by.

So when a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli’s life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve.

Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.



M & J’s Review

Author, Theresa Rizzo, contacted me and asked if I’d review her latest novel, Silent Sentry. I’m always honored when a publisher and/or author contacts me personally to ask for my opinion, and with Theresa she wasn’t any different. Once again, she did her homework in knowing the exact kinds of books I enjoy reading, and I always appreciate any author who takes this extra step. Why else would an author waste their time sending their novels to reviewers who aren’t interested in the subjects they’ve just spent their time slaving over? Something to keep in mind for any hopeful writers out there!

Gianna Donnatelli works in the medical field and has started a new business, along with two good friends who are also partners in her business. They stand to make millions of dollars on an invention Gianna came up with that will catapult the medical industry to the next level. So was it any wonder someone other than Gianna and her friends want to be a silent partner as well? Hmm, that’s strange given the fact Gianna hadn’t invited anyone else to be involved in her new technological company. So, you’re asking, who might have a reason to get involved in Gianna’s new business venture? Umm, wouldn’t you like to know? (Buy the book to find out!)

Gianna’s love interest, Dr. Joe Scarfili, had to work his way into my heart because at the initial beginning, I truly didn’t like his character. I felt like Gianna’s best friend, Faye. Joe was a self-centered, egotistical good looking asshole, but there was something about him Gianna couldn’t help but to notice, and I quickly understood. It could be the fact that they grew up together and their families were very close nit, so what wasn’t there to love about this gorgeous hunk of doctor? The man on the cover of the book looked good, but Theresa’s description of Joe in the story looks twenty times better than our cover man. Umm, even though I had to warm up to Dr. Scarfili, he was damn sure good looking and that just helped ease my pain a little. 

When you first meet Joe, it may be hard to like him because of the way he comes across. However, as you move through the story, Joe’s backstory gives a lot of information as to why he is the way he is. Eventually he begins to show a mature human quality that softens him and yet keeps his character true to form. His love for Gianna was unwavering, and as you go through their love story, which I might add, the love scenes were good and juicy and not overdone, you’ll soon discover at what lengths Joe and Gianna will go to protect the other. What and who they thought they could trust will turn out to be a game of sorts. 

Joe was extremely protective of Gianna and he had good reason to be. Someone had attacked Gianna in her father’s home and she had absolutely no idea who would do this or why? When Patrick, Joe’s best friend and police detective, asked Gianna was there anything missing or anything out of the ordinary, Gianna hadn’t noticed at that point, until she looked at her laptop. Across the screen was a message from the hacker who wanted to make sure her new business became theirs. Gianna was scared to let Joe and Patrick know what this hacker was up to because that would mean the police would have to cease her laptop and she was within days of launching her IPO for her product. What was an up-and-coming entrepreneur to do? Patrick had a nose for good detective work and he suspected something wasn’t quite right with Gianna’s story that she didn’t think anything was tampered with. After some prodding from Patrick, he and Joe quickly came to a conclusion that Joe wasn’t sure he wanted to embark upon. There was a real sense of danger and Patrick’s antennas were up. For you mystery buffs out there, I wonder will you figure out the ending? I must say, Theresa fooled me to some degree. She did a good job keeping the reader guessing.

This was a nice romantic/suspense novel with just the right amount of love scenes and story to keep any reader engaged for hours. Theresa has a nice touch with descriptions giving your mind’s eye just what it needs to see the story unfold as if sitting in a movie theater, which is why I enjoyed the description of Joe because that man was smokin’ hot! Oooh yeah, just what ladies want to read! Overall, this was a pretty decent story, very engaging and thought provoking. Mello & June gives Silent Sentry four stars. The book is on sale now! Please pick up your copy wherever books are sold and use the downloadable links for your convenience. Theresa is a welcomed voice to the literary world! Bravo!


GET TO KNOW AUTHOR, THERESA RIZZO


1.  Theresa, after having read your book, I was sold! Tell our readers how you came up with the concept for Silent Sentry?

Thank you, Kimberly. And thank you for hosting me on your blog. Though Silent Sentry is the fifth book I’ve published, it’s the second book I’ve written. The first book was a HUGE learning experience not even worth revising. Basically that book had no conflict and little reason to turn the pages. Romantic suspense is all about plotting and giving the reader reason to turn pages, so I wanted to write in that genre.

Only I wanted a story that wasn’t cliché—that didn’t feature a navy seal, a damaged war vet, or a cynical, burned out cop/detective. I wanted an unlikely hero like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. So my hero was going to be a surgeon.

At the time, the advice was to write what you know. Well, I knew Grosse Pointe, I had a bachelor’s degree in nursing and grew up in a medical family, I’m married to an engineer, and I know big Italian families. So I thought of a plot to tie it all together, and Silent Sentry was born.

2. Silent Sentry was published under Rizzo Publishing. Assuming that’s your publishing house, do you publish other indie authors? And if so, how may aspiring authors contact your company?

Nope…it’s just me.

3. I loved the fact the story took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. It was obvious you researched your material well for this book. I also loved the tidbits at the end of the book, which added a nice connection for the reader. Why did you choose this hometown base for your characters?

I’m glad you appreciate all the research and the Fact and Fiction pages. When I need to take literary license, I do, but only feel it’s fair to let the reader know where I did and what the truth is. Also, I like to share great Grosse Pointe local restaurants and stores with readers and perhaps help increase these retailers exposure a little.

I’m a proud Michiganer. I grew up in Grosse Pointe. As an adult I’ve lived in Riverdale, NY, Hicksville, Long Island, 3 towns in the Chicago suburbs, San Diego, CA and my current home in Colorado. I’ve moved around a little bit, and still think Grosse Pointe is a charming, unique place. I’ve always found its stark contrast to neighboring Detroit fascinating—and sad. Also there were practical considerations… I have a lot of family there (Irish/Italian, Catholic. Need I say more? J ) with varied careers and expertizes, and could use them as resources, so I had an easy way to make sure aspects of my story were as accurate as I could make them.

4. It’s always great to see strong women characters holding it down. You expertly created Gianna Donnatelli. Was her character patented after anyone you know personally? And if so, why did you choose this person to base your character?

So pleased you liked Gianna. Nope, she wasn’t based on anybody I know. Only once have I created a character with a real person in mind. In The Lives Between Us, I modeled the senator after an actor I greatly admire, but Gianna is all my imagination—well, except for her name.

My friends, Joe and Jennifer, named their baby girl Gianna, and I thought it was such a lovely, unique name that I borrowed it. My Rizzo family have lots of Bridgets, Angelas, Josephines, Alberts, Pauls, and Joes, but no Giannas. Now we do J

5. How much blood, sweat and tears went into writing Silent Sentry?
No blood or tears, but a lot of sweat. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and wasn’t ready to share this story with the world until it was the best I could make it. It took about 18months to write. Then through many more revisions and rejections from editors from publishing houses—large and small-- I got wonderful feedback that help push me to make the story even better, until I was very happy with it.

Funny story… I had at least 5 editors from different publishing houses tell me I could not kill the cat. I explained that my villain was a really vicious guy and he’d definitely kill a cat. But every dang editor insisted that I could not kill the cat or my readers would hate me. I pointed out that in other books, I’ve killed babies (Okay, so I didn’t murder them, but they died) and nobody complained. They nodded and agreed. I can kill babies, but not cats. How silly is that? So IC got to live. What do you think? If IC died, would it have ruined the story for you?

6. How long have you been present in the literary world?

I’ve been writing and going to conferences, learning the craft of writing and business of publishing for about 19 years. I’m a member of 4 different writers groups. I developed The Sandy, a writing contest for unpublished writers, and ran it for 8 years. I co-coordinated the Crested Butte Writers Conference for 5 years. I still, judge a couple of writing contests a year; I really believe in giving back. There’s a video of my writing journey on my website.

I had 2 very good literary agents who failed to sell various books, and the last one urged me to self-publish because she believed there would be an audience for books like mine that don’t neatly fit in a genre.

So in 2013 I self-published, He Belongs to Me, a child custody story that went on to win the National Indie Excellence Award for romance and The Readers Crown Award for Mainstream Women’s Fiction, finaled in 3 other contests, and became an Amazon #1 bestseller in romance.

7.  Speaking of characters, Dr. Joe Scarfili was something else and fine as hell, I might add! I thought he was pretty hot. He played well off Gianna. What prompted you to write his character in the way you did?

I love Joe, too. Since my dad was a general surgeon, I knew surgeons well. Dad used to take us to the hospital to make rounds with him on a weekend, every once in a while, so I’ve always been comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Joe’s character was familiar, and then I just made him the type of guy that I could adore. Not perfect, but willing to try. Can’t ask for more than that, now can I?

8. Do you plan to write a sequel to Silent Sentry or possibly make those characters a part of a series? I have to admit, as much as I detest series, I’d be interested to see how Joe and Gianna made out. Can you give our readers any thoughts/plans?

I have no plan to write any sequels, though readers are starting to ask for one as they too are not ready to let go of the Donnatelli and Scarfili families. The biggest stumbling block with that is inspiration. I’m not quite sure what I’d write, but if anybody has any ideas, let me know. Seriously.

For now, When I finish promoting Silent Sentry, I’m going to get back to work on a suspense called Secrets.

Dr. Piper Warren moves back to Boulder Colorado for a fresh start in her marriage and her career; however she can’t get pregnant, her husband is sent to war, and her best friend’s husband becomes her patient—and then disappears. As Piper unravels the truth, she’s drawn into a secret world of vengeance that threatens not only her moral code but her very life.

9. The Donnatellis and Scarfilis were all about family. I’m often asked how I find time to write and hold a 9 to 5 job. (Truth be told, Theresa, it’s damn sure not easy), but how do you balance your family life and your professional life?

These days it’s pretty easy because my kiddies are all grown and off on their own, so I write full-time. But while I was still raising four kids 24/7, it was simple…they came first. Always.

I’d fit in the writing when I could and didn’t pressure myself to write more because when it stops being fun, I’m not going to do it. Life is too short and throws us too many curveballs as it is to make yourself crazy. Which is why I only got 6 books written in 19 years. Many authors crank out 2 or more a year. The type of complex, research-intensive books I like to write take me 12-18mos to write, so 2 a year isn’t doable, but I’m okay with that. As I said, it’s gotta be fun or there simply no point for me.

10. I’ve read recently there’s been a spike in paper books again. Many readers argue that they get tired of their eReaders not functioning properly interrupting the flow of their reading. How do you feel about eBooks versus paper?

I prefer paperback. I like the feel of a book in my hand, however when I travel, you just can’t beat the convenience of having 5-6 books on a kindle.

11. When we were children, most of us had hopes and dreams about what we wanted to be when we grew up? Did your childhood dream become a reality for you? Or, do you have other talents you’d also like to explore?

You know…I was never all that ambitious as a kid. I wanted to be a mommy—until I was a good mommy and wife and found that lacking. Though being a stay-at-home mom is a laudable profession, I felt underappreciated, and living for my kids and husband was sucking the life out of me—all my fault by the way. So I started learning the craft and business of writing, and it saved my sanity. Writing was a wonderful creative intelligent outlet and it fed my soul and made me a much happier person and better mother and wife.

If I tire of writing—or rather tire of working so hard and not making any money—you write, you know what I mean—then I might spend time
creating mosaics with my wet tile saw. I have tons of projects in mind that I’d enjoy doing. Right now I’ve designed a Harry Potter mosaic for this summer—can only work on it while it’s warm outside because it’s messy, noisy, and you spray water everywhere!

12. As writers, there’s always something we’re passionate about. So, what we’d like to know is what makes Theresa Rizzo tick?

Now that’d be telling, wouldn’t it?

A girl’s gotta have some secrets. Okay, I guess it’s really not much of a secret. Family. Love. Appreciating the wonderful life and planet God gifted us. Sharing the talents God gave me.

I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life! I’m even thankful for the painful lessons, as I believe they help chisel a person into a better version of themselves—if one allows it. And hard as it sometimes is for this reforming control freak to accept…I do believe all things happen for a reason and if we can just surrender, our perfect life will unfold the way it’s meant to and it’ll bring us immense happiness. I just wish surrendering wasn’t so damn hard!

Mello & June would like to give a big THANKS to Theresa for taking time out of her day to hang out with us.  Please show your love by following the links below.  Happy Reading!

Find the Author/Buy the Book:

Theresa's website:  http://theresarizzo.com/




Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

If You've got Family,
You're Blessed!

Friday, April 8, 2016

#Book #Blitz ... At Circle's End

COMIN' AT'CHA 

Proudly Presents. . .Book Blitz

Featuring Author, Ian J. Malone



At Circle's End (The Mako Saga: Book 3)

By Ian J. Malone

Genre: Science Fiction: Space Opera

Sharkflight Publishing

In the months since his disappearance, Danny Tucker has retreated to the darkest corners of Alystierian space in search of intelligence on the empire’s new chancellor, Alec Masterson. Backed by a crew of outcasts and fighting from the shadows as the enigmatic Rogue centurion, Danny will stop at nothing to achieve his mission: absolute vengeance for Masterson’s now infamous “Return to Fear” demonstration.
Still, try as he might, Danny can’t remain underground, and with sightings of the Rogue growing more frequent, Lee Summerston won’t rest until the lost Renegade is found. Meanwhile, in the core, Aura stands on the brink of annihilation as imperial forces, aided by an ancient enemy, draw ever closer to her shores.
In the end, scores will be settled, and brothers will rise united… or they’ll all burn together.
AT CIRCLE’S END is the soaring climax to Ian J. Malone’s epic space-opera series, THE MAKO SAGA, and a heartfelt sendoff to sci-fi’s most beloved band of bar buddies turned intergalactic heroes of war.

                                                    GET TO KNOW IAN

As a graduate of Florida State University, Ian J. Malone has written in a number of arenas ranging from public health to news and sports. When it comes to his fictional work, however, he’s a firm believer that nothing shapes an author’s writing like experience. That’s why he credits his tenures in radio, law enforcement, sport management, and the military for much of his thematic inspiration, plus the legion of family and friends who’ve stood with him along the way.

Beyond writing, Malone is an avid fan of audiobooks and sports, though it’s also not uncommon to find him at a beach, a music concert, or somewhere out by a grill.

Malone presently resides in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, son, and their two dogs— but he’ll always be a “Florida boy” at heart.

For more on Ian J. Malone and his books, visit him online at
www.ianjmalone.net. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or Goodreads.

On Amazon:
http://amzn.to/1T7gm7D

                        BOOK GIVEAWAY! BOOK GIVEAWAY!


The author is giving away signed copies of Book 1 and 2 from The Mako Saga & Two Audible Audiobooks!





Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

A Read That's From Out of This World!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#Book #Review: Wake Me Up

SYNOPSIS:

"If you enjoyed The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - you'll LOVE Wake Me Up by Justin Bog."--Melissa Flickinger

A small college town's populace is tied, complicitly, to the brutal, bullying, attack of a teenage boy by four of his classmates. Soon, heated rumors of a possible hate crime surface. Injustice is a hungry beast.

AN ADULTEROUS FATHER IS HAUNTED BY HIS PAST -- HIS WIFE LIVES HER LIFE IN A RIGID SHELL -- THEIR SON, UNTETHERED, DISCOVERS THE SECRET THEY SHARE WITH DEEPIKA, A VISITOR TO THEIR TOWN FROM NORTHERN INDIA.

"I see all of these people. They're living and breathing and acting on their basest impulses. I lay in a coma. They live. I hover over all of them, all at once. I can see my body, motionless, wired up, adrift. And I can find out why this happened. This is my story and I won't remember any of it when--if--I wake up. But I'll try to remember--I'll try damn hard."

MIDDLETON, MONTANA --OCTOBER 2004--AN ELECTION YEAR

While Chris Bullet remains unresponsive in a coma, his skull shattered, he floats above dire circumstance. In this phantom state, compelled to witness his past once more, the family's darkest secrets, hidden over generations, will be aired.

"Although Justin Bog is a member of International Thriller Writers group and his new book Wake Me Up is a crime story in general, it's not an easy-going page-turner about catching and bringing criminals to justice . . . The story unfolds from a very unusual point-of-view: from the depth of Chris' coma, the narrator is Chris himself. This is an original approach to tell such a complex and intricate story!"---Portland Book Review

"A Kafkaesque literary trip through the brain of a brutally assaulted teenage boy whose supercharged perceptions expose the secret sins of those he wants to love and hopes to believe in . . . The genius of author Justin's Bog's first full-length novel is that though everything Chris "knows" and recounts in his inner monologue is mysterious, maybe mystical, there is no hint of hocus-pocus, nor of the vague disjointed dream sequences one might expect from an unconscious protagonist . . . In the brief lead-up and denouement we see reality clearly: the attack and the aftermath. In between, everything that "happens" to Chris in his shut-off state is just as real and just as believable-but impossible. It would be hard to identify a literary precedent for this method of construction--Franz Kafka, perhaps, meets Lewis Carroll."---Chanticleer Book Reviews


M & J's Review

This story was one that had me on the fence, of sorts.  I loved it and hated it at the same time.  The realism bitch slaps the hell out of the reader and makes you wake up, literally. It's like the married couple who sees the elephant in the room, but skirts around it so not to disturb what is really going on.  Sometimes the most simplest things are the hardest.  Often times, if people would just reveal their true feelings, a lot of misunderstandings would disappear. The Bullets were no different.  They refused to deal with what was wrong with their own family unit, so they did like most of us do, ignore the elephant.  

That is, until a reality so sinister nearly left Chris Bullet for dead. Because he was different and misunderstood by his peers, he lay deep within a coma that gave him an insight into his own world, and the lives around him.  To me, the stranger, Deepika, was used as a pawn for each Bullets' own self-destruction.  Deepika was the excuse for them not to accept their own responsibility of what was wrong within themselves. 

Chris' new found insight stirred a host of emotions which helped him to better understand his parents.  His father was an attorney who appeared to have it all together, only to discover a deep hidden secret that was about to rip the seams open of the Bullet family.  Much like their name, this family lived up to it by tearing the skin and piercing each other's souls. Chris was able to hear his father's thoughts and watch him with a suspecting eye. His mother, a professor of creative writing, had her own crosses to bear which enlightened Chris and gave him new respect from his mother's point of view. Deepika holds the key to each Bullet family member, but before Chris's coma-induced state, couldn't know she would unlock their family's secrets.

What I disliked is the fact as much as I didn't want to identify with Chris, I found myself not able to ignore his new awakening.  His feelings and views resonated so much with myself, it terrified me.  Although his differences were very different from my own, what we shared when it came to our peers was eerily similar.  Chris was a geek, a genius, if you will, and the kids thought he was weird because of it.  Not only did his peers not like him, they hated him for not being what they were.  I could so identify with that.  To this day, I am still hated by the talents I possess, and yet I survived it.  What Chris goes through was more than I was ready to deal with, but Bog makes you wake up!  This is what I mean when I say I didn't like the story because it makes you deal with your own reality.  The one where often times you bury bad thoughts so deep down, you almost forgot they ever existed.  Wake Me Up will do exactly that.

Bog was able to bring this very real human element to life and the reader doesn't have a choice but to accept what is happening.  As with the Bullets, it's what you do with what happens to you that makes all the world of difference.  I've never read a story quite like this. Some reviewers have compared this story to The Lovely Bones and I'm not exactly sure if I agree with that assessment. I believe this story goes even deeper than The Lovely Bones for it demonstrates the destruction that one tends to lend to himself. In The Lovely Bones, the protagonist is dead, which the reader finds this out in about the first page, and here, Chris is in a coma and the reader sits and waits to find out will he ever recover?  Will he wake up?  To me, that's what sets it apart. No matter what, human beings will always be an intriguing animal.  We're supposed to be the highest intellectuals, and when you read stories like this, it begs to make you think again.  Hmm, just who is the superior intellectual?

Mello & June gives Wake Me Up four stars. It's a raw emotional ball of drama that will wake up the most dormant soul. Brilliantly written, with a sense of dark humor, which I loved! One thing Chris does that I've always done is use laughter as your best medicine. There isn't any medicine prescribed that's better. If you can't laugh at yourself or others with a sense of pride from realization we're not perfect, then you will continue to be lost. Great read and one that I most certainly would recommend adding to your reading shelf. Bog is the conscious voice of literary reason and socially adept to handle whatever story comes his way! Well done! I'm impressed!  I'd love to see this made into a movie.  It would be so fitting for today's movement.


GET TO KNOW JUSTIN BOG


A member of ITW: International Thriller Writers group, Justin Bog lives in the Pacific Northwest with his two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling. He is the author of the Suspense Magazine Award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition, and Hark: A Christmas Collection. Find Justin at http://www.justinbog.com and on Facebook at Justin Bog.

1.  Justin, I’m dying to know more of the backstory of the cover of your book Wake Me Up. You were kind enough to give your readers a snippet at the end of the story. I’m sure there’s more to the story. Would you care to elaborate?

My father and mother were both artists and met in an art supply store while in graduate school at the University of Iowa in the late fifties. I look at them as iconoclasts, and they definitely marched to their own drumbeat, possibly beatniks. They loved the art world. Instead of following heavy artistic dreams, my parents had five kids within six years, including two sets of twins. To pay for a suddenly huge family, my father took a professor job at Denison University in Ohio. This gave him a huge studio to paint in, and my mother began teaching junior high art. We five Bog kids were taught art by our mother! My father grew up on the Jersey Shore, and yes, Seaside Heights was his hangout place, where he brought his dates, and he was a bit of a player. One of his series of paintings became his Boardwalk Series of New Jersey in the thirties. The “Ocean Boy” painting was one of about 25 paintings, and I love the feeling in this canvas. I created the father, and his father, who lived near the Jersey Shore in Wake Me Up. They haunted the beach together, dreaming, and this haunted quality worked well as the basis for the book cover design.

2. Your novel was such a hauntingly gripping story line. Please tell our readers how you came up with the concept? 

I wanted to write a book that dealt with a family at its lowest point. The father came first, someone contemplating the end of his life even though, on the surface, he has everything to live for, be happy about. He’s hiding a huge depression, and I researched how men deal with depression differently from women and how they act out. This made the story go into a different direction. The father had an affair with a visitor to the town, acting out his depression through serial adultery. Deepika came into being, and she became my favorite character because she wasn’t buying this married man’s story either, and her confrontation with him down the line set off the main storyline. The son of the father, and narrator, Chris Bullet came into being, someone so hurt by the sins of his father, the abandonment of his mother because of her own dreams of success, that he finds himself in the wrong place and time, the victim of a brutal assault by four classmates. This crime is soon labeled a hate crime by the press, and this amps up the atmosphere. Matthew Shepherd’s horrible death was an influence, and bullying, antigay bullying, needs to be addressed at every new turn.

3. Did you mean for Chris Bullet to have such a dark sense of humor, or was that just the way some readers may view him?

I love this question because, in a way, this is a shared sense of humor that I also lean towards, and I’m happy you caught this in the book. I worked in an E.R. before grad school, in Ann Arbor, and the gallows humor there remained behind the scenes, but it’s there riding beneath any tragic circumstances. Tragedy and Comedy are linked. Chris probably inherited his sense of humor from his grandfather, passed down to his father, unknowingly.

4. How do you feel knowing some reviewers are comparing your story to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold?

I love that too; I’m honored. In terms of narrative perspective, The Lovely Bones was in my head when I decided to make the narrator tell his story from an impossible place: while comatose and fighting for his life. This added urgency as well. Will Chris wake up? There really isn’t anything else that connects the two books.

5. It’s obvious you’re a great writer. Have you won any awards for your writing?

Thank you for saying that. Writers seldom hear from others about the craft, the hard part, nailing each word, phrase, sentence, and forming paragraphs that don’t bore readers. I’ve won a few short fiction awards, and was a runner-up for one other. It thrilled me to now end that a self-published title could earn the Best of 2013 Suspense Anthology from Suspense Magazine and become a Finalist for the Ohioana Book Award in 2014---that was Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition. 

6. What professional literary associations are you affiliated with?

I’m now a member of the ITW, the International Thriller Writers organization, and you can sign up for a cool newsletter that shares writer tips and new releases in the thriller/mystery genre by going to thrillerwriters.org and signing up by email to The Big Thrill. This reaches over 27,000 mystery readers each month, and they interviewed me for the February issue of the magazine.

7. Knowing that most authors put a little of themselves into their story, what character(s) in Wake Me Up is most like you?

The character who is most like me is the guy walking Myrtle and Lucille in the story. He’s there with his partner, and decides to take Lucille’s leash off and gets scolded for it by a man doing yoga nearby. There are several characters who are composites of people I know or knew. My real friend Deepika knew I was going to use her name, and she said: “What dreadful thing are you going to make me do, Justin?” They are nothing alike, by the way. The character who is most true to someone in real life is The Chess King. His fabulous backstory is probably 99% true and he gave me permission to use his life biography as the basis for the character of the narrator’s grandfather.

8. How many years have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for several decades, working in bookstores for 20, always reading voraciously since the second grade.

9. Where are you from?

I was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Pullman, Washington until moving to Granville, Ohio beginning the second grade year. Then, I moved to Ann Arbor for college, and stayed in Michigan off and on to attend grad school in Bowling Green, Ohio until 1993 when I moved to Sun Valley, Idaho for the next twelve years. I’ve lived in Anacortes, Washington, on Fidalgo Island since 2005.

10. Whose writing style comes close to yours?

I love Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Rachel Ingalls, Stephen King, and other writers like Margaret Atwood and John Irving, people who tell stories about real people. They taught me restraint, that subtlety is sometimes better than bombast. Crime and Punishment, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Castle were novels that influenced me greatly. I prefer Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, and Ridley Scott film treatments to the films of Michael Bay or Zach Snyder.

11. Who is your favorite author?

I was wowed the most by Raymond Carver and Shirley Jackson after devouring the early work of both Stephen King and Peter Straub.

12. What’s next for Justin Bog?

I’m actually going “all in” to the horror genre for my next three titles, if I can complete them in a timely manner. I’m about halfway finished with each of these three books. The next will be a collection of four dark novellas: HORRORSTRUCK . . . sort of an homage to King’s wonderful dark collection of novellas, DIFFERENT SEASONS. Then I will finish A PLAY DEMONIC (THE QUEEN’S IDLE FANCY), a story about an ancient cursed play brought to a small island theater community. It’s only performed once every hundred years or so, and the auditions promise to be the most competitive and bloodthirsty --- by the time the curtain is raised for the spring performance, the town will know what darkness really means. That’s my tagline, anyway.

Mello & June would like to thank Justin Bog for hanging out with us and sharing his thoughts and writing skills with our readers.  Wake Me Up is really a good book and one, I guarantee, you'll be talking about for years to come!  We wish you the best of luck, Justin, in your writing career. May it be long and prosperous. You've definitely got the skills. Outstanding!




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Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

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