SPOTLIGHT: Krysten Lindsay Hager’s “Dating the It Guy”

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

Book Trailer

Enjoy an Excerpt

He put the magazine between us, and when I moved forward to see it, he put his arm across the back of my chair. Now lots of guys did put their arms on chair backs, even Kirk did that with Rory, and he definitely wasn’t interested in her, but I couldn’t help but hope it meant something. I got this shivery feeling, and he asked if I was cold. I shook my head. I always got a feeling before something major was about to happen, and it has nothing to do with being cold, but I didn’t know why I got the feeling. Grandma used to do the same thing and always said, “Somebody just walked across my grave.” Somehow I didn’t think Brendon would understand if I told him I needed to move my future burial plot to a less high-traffic area.

“Are we still on for the art fair?” he asked.

I had only been circling it with hearts on my calendar since he asked.

“Sure, I think I’m still free,” I said.

We finished up our work, and he walked me out to meet Kylie.

“Okay, I’ll pick you up at three tomorrow,” he said, walking off.

“Can I ask a stupid question?” Kylie asked as soon as Brendon was out of earshot. “What’s he like? Because he’s so well-known, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to grow up with your whole life under a microscope. I mean, my mom remembers his first birthday party pictures being shown on the news. And he’s hot, but he’s not like I-know-I’m-a-hottie hot, but more like a confident, ‘Yes, I am hot. Any questions?’ I mean, he has to have noticed there aren’t any guys who look like him walking around.”

“I should tell him what you said.”

“Don’t you dare,” Kylie said.

“I get what you mean—he’s grown up with everybody knowing his dad and watching him, but he’s pretty down to earth.”

“So what’s up with you two? You guys didn’t do any work last Saturday, and now you’re going to an art fair.”

“I dunno. He just asked me to go with him.”

“Asked you to go with him as his study buddy or asked you to go with him because he’s desperately in love with you?” she asked.

I said we were just friends, but she wouldn’t let it go.

“Okay, duh, obviously I like him, but let’s be honest. He’s out of my league. He’s out of most people’s league. It’s weird because normally if I like a guy then one of two things happens—either he likes me and asks for my number…or I find out he’s not into me and I cry in my pillow and listen to man-hating music for at least three days,” I said. “But this time’s different because he’s, I dunno, not just ‘some guy.’ I mean, I’m not putting up a shrine to him in my room, and I haven’t rooted though his garbage can, but I have as much chance of going out with him as Kirk does of getting an ‘A’ in this class.”

“You listen to man-hating music?” she asked, and I narrowed my eyes at her. “Whatever. Anyway, Em, he’s asked you out once already, and you are seeing him tomorrow. Plus, he’s always staring at you.”

I said he was probably just bored in class today, but she wouldn’t let it go.

“I’m not just talking about today. When we watched the movie on Monday, he watched you instead, and whenever I see you guys, he acts like there’s no one else in the room,” she said.

I couldn’t hold back the big, stupid smile spreading across my face. “He does? For real?”

She nodded. “You know, it’s weird. Here you were all upset you didn’t have a partner at the beginning of the semester, and then you ended up with like, Mr. Perfection, as your partner.”

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About the Author

Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, ​Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she’s addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She’s also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.

Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

Connect with Krysten Lindsay Hager and her books







TURNQUIST’S TROUPE: Anyone want a FREE advance e-copy of my next release?

Hey, everyone! I have some great news. Well, a couple of things that are great to share. I spent this past weekend at the Mid-south Christian Writers Conference in Collierville, TN (just outside of Memphis). I had a great time and learned quite a bit. And I had some good one-on-one time with mentors. Both mentor sessions, I spent talking about marketing/promoting. And I have decided to put together a Launch Team for my next book. So, if you would like to:

  • get an advanced reader e-copy of my book
  • enter to win contests
  • be a part of a secret Facebook page and get sneak peeks
  • learn more about my writing journey as it happens
Then, “Turnquist’s Troupe” is for you!! I will send out FREE advanced reader e-copies to the members of my launch team. There will be a secret Facebook page and a private newsletter just for this team. I will offer opportunities for contests to this group and give them a little more insight into the writing process. Ever want to help name a character? Join my team!

What am I asking of the members of Turnquist’s Troupe?

I am encouraging the members of the team to participate in this journey with me by sharing their honest opinion in reviews, tweeting and posting about what they are reading, and the like. For the most part, being a part of “Turnquist’s Troupe” is about having fun, reading, connecting, and learning more about the author journey and process.

How do I sign up?

Follow this Google Doc Link to sign up:

Thanks and I hope to see you in the secret Facebook page!!

Pre-editing: The Nitty Gritty

Hey, all! So, my writing tends to go in ebbs and flows. What I mean by that is…either I’m doing a ton of writing, or all editing. Two months ago, it was a lot of writing. These last couple of months, it’s all editing. I have a manuscript that is just newly under contract. So, I have to do a round of pre-edits before it’s turned over to my publisher’s team of editors. And I have one I’m self-publishing that I had to self-edit before turning over to my freelance editor. Edit, edit, edit… So today’s blog is about editing. Imagine that.

I’ve talked before about self-editing and the importance of it. Today, I want to get into the trenches with you and discuss some of the nuances of pre-editing. (Self-editing and pre-editing are essentially the same thing, I believe. For me, “self-editing” is what I do every time I look at the novel and that last round before I submit the manuscript to my publisher, “pre-editing” is when I take a fine-tooth comb and the publisher’s list of preferences and go back through the novel again.)


What’s the deal with adverbs anyway? What’s so harmful about a few -ly words? You’ve probably heard all the typical answers: “It indicates ‘lazy writing'”, “there are better ways to say that”, “it’s telling, do more showing”… Mark Twain encouraged writers to avoid them as an exercise in being “simple and straightforward”. Stephen King has quite a bit to say about the use of adverbs. Bottom line – in most cases, they are not needed. Here is a quote from Stephen King’s On Writing:

Consider the sentence He closed the door firmly. It’s by no means a terrible sentence (at least it’s got an active verb going for it), but ask yourself if firmly really has to be there. You can argue that it expresses a degree of difference between He closed the door and He slammed the door, and you’ll get no argument from me … but what about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came beforeHe closed the door firmly? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, isn’t firmly an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?

So, check for adverbs in your manuscript. You can do a search for “ly”. Sure you’ll turn up words like “only” that are not adverbs, but it will help you pull out the adverbs more easily. How many should you have?The truth is, there is no “right” answer. That is between you as an artist and your agent/publisher. My publisher’s rule of thumb is one, maybe two per page.

Extraneous Words

These are words that are just that–extra. You don’t need them. But you wrote them. As well you should have. During the first draft phase, you’re writing like a maniac and just putting it on the paper/word processor document. You aren’t thinking about each word and it’s necessity. But now is the time to do that. I’m talking about the “that”s. About the “to her”, “from him”, the dreaded “up” and “down”. Here’s a couple of examples from the manuscript I am working on, my A Convenient Risk,

The silhouette of the figure became visible to her.

The “to her” here is not necessary since we are in her point of view.

“I’ll help.” He knelt down next to the glass and picked up the shards.

The word “down” is not needed here. We understand that he is kneeling on the ground level.

Overused Words

Wait…didn’t we just talk about this? By “overused words”, I’m talking about words that are specific to you. As you read through your manuscript from top to bottom, you may come across a word, or maybe two or more, that you use more than you’d like. Words that may or may not be necessary (i.e. not all are extraneous). I apparently love the words “over” and “toward”. Most of the uses of the word “over” can just be taken out. But I have to replace/rewrite several of the “toward” occurrences. It’s amazing how often I use these words! And, knowing this about myself, I now do a global search during the pre-edit phase for these words to find and hopefully eliminate as many instances as I can.

Holding her chin high, she maneuvered Samuel over to her right hip so she could look the preacher square in the face.

This is but one example of MANY I found in pre-editing where “over” is inserted, but not needed.


It is important to have good flow, rhythm, and pacing to your manuscript. Flow can be helped by varying sentence beginnings. Making sure you don’t start consecutive sentences with the same word. Or multiple sentences in a paragraph with the same word even. And check consecutive paragraphs to ensure they don’t start with the same word. It just makes things more pleasant to read. It can be very off-putting if every other sentence starts with “she”.

Rhythm and pacing is something that comes with your voice. And that is developed as your write. Think about how you would tell your best friend a story. (It’s way different than how you would testify in court about the same event, yeah?) That’s hitting on your voice. You adjust pacing by shortening and lengthening sentences, paragraphs, and scenes. The shorter the sentence/paragraph/scene, the faster the pace and action.

All Time Good Tips

Read it aloud

You should always, always, always read your manuscript aloud. It’s amazing what you can catch this way. There’s something about the way it rolls off the tongue and to the ear that helps you catch mistakes (especially mistakes in flow and pacing) that you may have missed otherwise.

Use multiple word processors

I write in Scrivener.  That software catches a certain set of grammatical mistakes. My publisher and beta readers speak Microsoft Word. So, I convert it into Word before sending it. But before attaching it to an e-mail, I run another spell check in Word. Because Word catches a different set of mistakes. I also can (and usually do) run it through LibreOffice (another word processing program similar to Microsoft Word) which will catch another set of things. Some of these “catches” of course will overlap, but some will not (i.e. Word will catch things Scrivener did not and vice a versa.

In Conclusion…

I know you are all ready to head out, grab your red pen (or track changes) and tear into your manuscript. Many blessings upon you! Happy editing!!


FEATURED GUEST: Author Elle Marlow

Hello, everyone! I am pleased to welcome fellow author Elle Marlow onto my blog today. She is here today sharing a clean historical romance with us (right up my alley!). If pirates and adventure and romance intrigue you, this seems like the book for you. So, let me get out of the way and let you hear more about it (and the author) from Elle:

Thanks for being on the blog today, Elle. First, can you tell us a little about The Black Raven, White Dove?

I’d love to! The Black Raven, White Dove is a sweet, historical romance with light adventure and suspense. It is about 40k words in length, making it a larger novella. The time period of the story is in the 1700 when Portugal ruled the trades, especially by sea. After doing some research into the coastal area, I was completely taken by the beauty of it, and so, decided that a romance must take place!

There’s always room for romance! Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader! LOL. But somewhere around my 20’s I started writing. I have written (and lost) more manuscripts over the course of the years, but one of those I kept, and it sat on a shelf for over 15 years until it finally found a publishing home. So, even if you set your dreams aside for a bit, never give up. I’m an example of better late than never.

Isn’t that the truth! It’s never to late to pursue your dreams. I know that, while writing is something we enjoy, that not all of it is roses and sunshine. There are parts of the process we don’t love so much. What about you? What part of the writing process do you dread?

The synopsis. Seriously, dread the synopsis.

I totally understand. Not my favorite either! I have learned myself that we hone our craft through workshops and conferences, but also through reading. Always reading. Some of what we learn about writing is intuitive I think. What are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m reading A.J. Kohler’s romance titled Repeat. It’s fantastic!

I love a good recommendation! Now when I need to get in the mood to write, I need to have the right atmosphere, but I also need the right music to get in the right headspace. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

My all-time best selling romance is a contemporary western, Josey’s Mountain. I wrote that novel to country music hottie, Luke Bryan’s song “That’s my kind of night.” Okay, we can argue that he isn’t real country, but that book produced real results, so I kind of love him.

Can’t argue with results 🙂 How long does it take you to write a book?

Generally, speaking, a novella will take three months. A full novel up to six or seven. Josey’s Mountain is a full novel and I wrote it in six weeks. (Don’t ask me how.)

Everyone is different. But I know how that happens sometimes. It just flows out of you. Tell us something about The Black Raven, White Dove that is NOT in the blurb.

I loved writing this story because of the good messages within it and the beautiful setting. I wanted to stay there with Bianca and her pirate, Stefan. I was sad when it was over.

That’s good to hear. It is hard to let go of good characters. Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?

Sigh. Right now, I am going through a contemporary western novella titled, Horses from Heaven. I cannot decide the heat level. It’s a beautiful story dealing with a young woman who becomes a widow and her journey back to finding love again. I go back and forth in my mind just how much intimacy to add, and if this should be a clean reads or not. It could go either way. It’s the emotional connection I really want to convey, so we’ll see.

Sounds intriguing. Thanks again, Elle, for sharing with us. And now, let’s take a closer look at The Black Raven, White Dove…

The Black Raven, White Dove


Known as the Ice pirate, Stefan Ice captains the Raven, a wicked ship filled with treasures and haunting secrets. The one thing missing from Raven’s coffers is revenge. The only thing missing from Stefan’s life is love. Bianca is the jewel in her father’s crown. When she is captured and bound on the Raven, she becomes an unwilling pawn in an unknown feud between the dark pirate and her father. With every rock of the ship, Stefan steals her heart and unravels their tangled and tragic past. Bianca will need to rely on her faith and her heart to find God’s purpose for her life. Is it with the legendary pirate?

Buy Links


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Also available on iTunes

More About Elle Marlow

Hello, everyone! My name is Elle Marlow, and I am thrilled about my latest release, The Black Raven, White Dove. Never, would I have imagined penning an exciting pirate tale. See, I’m known for my western romances which can range from sweet to sizzling. So, when the inspiration came to return to my love of Christ and find a way to speak of it in and unique and fun way, pirates came to mind!

Crazy, right? Well, the way I see it, what a better way to showcase our true growth then through adversity. Bianca and Stefan have plenty to overcome in this romance. And when you’re on the high seas with such a rough crowd as the crew of the Raven, there are multitudes of ways in which to bring about hope and inspiration, and to show that God’s grace is for all—even crusty old pirates.

I had so much fun trying to take my “writer’s voice” to a whole new level with this story. I’m used to the familiar, “Yes, ma’am and howdy,” of my heroic cowboys. But, a good pirate isn’t too different from a good cowboy, I just had to think outside the box and reach outside my comfort zone.

I would love for you to dare to climb aboard the Raven take this, and many other journeys with me.

Follow Elle Marlow and her books

Or follow one or both of my FB pages: This FB is more personal and candid.

Or, if you prefer not all the small talk, there is my official FB page that is strictly for Elle Marlow current information and new releases.


Swag: I Want My Book Cover On Everything

I just had the privilege of celebrating my nine year anniversary with my husband. Yes, it’s been a wonderful, eventful nine years. And I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. And I will share an example of why. He knows me so well. As evidenced by the present he gave me: book swag. But not just any swag. Take a look:

Yes, those are bracelets of all my book covers, including the one that will be coming out in the next few months. Isn’t he super sweet and thoughtful? I think so, too!

When I first published, I was just like anyone else…I wanted swag, swag, and more swag…I wanted it all! But that can get quite pricey. So, you have to be really choosey. What’s the biggest bang for your buck? I started with bookmarks and postcards that I could hand out easily at conferences and whatnot (and, of course, business cards). At this point it was all about what I could justify to pass out. The bookmarks were wonderful. I handed those out everywhere. I continued to order bookmarks for every book I published.

Then I added notebooks and notepads. Which quickly turned into some playing cards (for myself). And magnets for my friends and family. I had caught the swag bug. But I was really making stuff for myself, not so much to be passed out…unfortunately. This is not so much the point of swag. But I didn’t care at the time, I wanted my book cover on everything. I was a newbie author. I was proud of my cover!

So, I turned my thinking cap on…what could be passed around that would interest people in my book? Maybe entice them to buy? Then I heard about these handouts that were basically the cover and the first chapter of the book. That, I needed to check out. So, I had some done. They were fabulous. Great pieces to hand out. I even put the blurb for my next book on the back. No harm done, right? I might even interest them in that book as well.

And so I got carried away again. Why shouldn’t my stationary be my book covers? Of course, it should be! So every book cover up to that point became a piece of stationary. It’s a disease, I tell you. It gets in your system and you can’t hardly stop it.

That brings us to bracelets. And I’m now researching pens. My goal is to have swag bags–reasonably priced bags that I can pass out at conferences and other functions which would include some of these things (pens, my business card, the one chapter pamphlet, and other things I might think of).

What do you think? What is your favorite piece of swag you’ve gotten from an author? As an author, what is your favorite piece of swag to have? To pass out?

“A Convenient Risk” COVER REVEAL!!!

It is that time again, my friends! I am preparing to send another novel out into the world. This will be my second venture in the world of self-publishing and I am very excited!

The Cover. This cover is the work of the very talented Cora Graphics. I will tell you, I can be rather detail oriented and a little on the demanding side, but she is so easy to work with and so very gifted. Just amazing!

The Story. For those of you who are subscribed to my mailing list, you have already had access to the first chapter of this new adventure. If you are not on my mailing list (getting my newsletters), you can subscribe here. But, let me give you an overview of the story:

He never imagined her heart would be so hard to reach.

Forced into a marriage of convenience after her husband dies, Amanda Haynes is determined she will never love again. Not that it bothers Brandon Miller. He needs her husband’s cattle ranch and life insurance policy. She needs financial stability and long-term support for her son and herself. But she never expected to care so much about the running of the ranch.

Butting heads over the decisions of the ranch, adding to her frustration and grief at her loss. Her wellbeing is soon threatened as their lives become entangled with Billy the Kid and his gang. What has she gotten herself into? What kind of man has she married? Is there any way out?

Once love is gone, will it find you again?

Here it is…and so, I have rambled on about all these things. Now, I present to you the unveiling of this cover:


A LITTLE OFF TOPIC: Why am I soooo tired?

I love these little off-topic posts. I am sorry if you are missing the writing posts…I promise you one on Friday…maybe a cover reveal! But today I wanted to talk about something serious and real. But something that traditional medicine is struggling to catch up with: Adrenal fatigue.

There are a few pieces to this medical puzzle for me. I have a thyroid condition. I have for many years. And have been on medication for it. But I still had symptoms of an underactive thyroid (tired, always cold, hair loss, etc), though my blood work consistently showed I was in “treatment range”.

About a year and a half ago, I was also undergoing treatments for vericose veins. I ended up with a superficial clot in one of my legs. This led to blood thinners, which led to iron deficient anemia, which I still struggle with today, though I’ve been off the blood thinners for more than a year. This does not help with the fatigue situation.

I noticed that whenever I worked out, I would feel bad (NOT sore) for several days. Just fatigued, yucky…low mood. I talked to my doctor…”you’re working too hard”. Well, I’m not huffing and puffing, I’m not even sweating, I’m not sore after, but okay. I’ll lighten up. Even then, I’m feeling terrible after for days. I work through it though.

Fast forward, I mention this to my chiropractor (when I start going to one about two months ago…I’m just waking up to holistic medicine…still got one foot in the holistic world, one foot in the traditional world), she mentions adrenal fatigue. She says especially if I’ve had a thyroid condition for a while, it’s a real possibility. Who knew the two were connected? They are.

So, she gives the names of two supplements I can find several places, including our favorite online retailer. I order them, thinking “I’ll give it a try”. I kid you not, SIX days into taking these supplements, I felt like a new person. SIX days. I will never go back.

I contacted my Primary Care Physician…after all, I do want to make sure these supplements don’t interact with my other medications. “Is it possible I’m suffering from adrenal fatigue?” I write in my e-mail communication. “I’m not familiar with ‘adrenal fatigue’,” he writes back. “I am more familiar with ‘adrenal hypofunction’ and ‘Adison’s Disease’.” Because, of course, if it can’t be seen on a blood test, traditional medicine has a difficult time wrapping their minds around it, right? This is not a criticism, but a recognition of the facts.

They need to be able to quantify. To measure. In order to medicate. And I get that. There is a place for that. But there is a place for the realization that something is not working the way it’s supposed to and it needs help. And you may not be able to quantify that.

I will tell you that my doctor is amazing and is very open to non-traditional approaches to health in general. So, I did schedule an appointment with him to bring in these supplements and talk with him about my symptoms and how these supplements have helped me.

Bottom line: you have to be advocate for your own health. You know your body and you know when something is not right. Don’t give up on yourself. But please have someone that is on your team who, even if they don’t always see eye-to-eye with you, can be your medical expertise and at least give you a professional opinion. Someone you trust and respect. If you don’t trust and respect your doctor, you need to look elsewhere.

Sara’s Hiatus: Mini Blog Tour and Other Things

Hey, all! I have been out of touch for a bit. Sorry about that. It seems life has really taken me by storm these last few weeks. So, what exactly has been going on, you ask? Well, let me tell you…

Mini Blog Tour for Hope in Cripple Creek

At the end of January and into February, I was on a mini blog tour for Hope in Cripple Creek. In case you missed it, you can check out the links below. Read more about the novel, get some tips on self-editing and becoming a writer from a newbie’s perspective, and find out who I think would win in a superhero battle (and read my answers to other random questions).

Guest Fox Sara R. Turnquist

New Cover Design

A couple of my works in progress got new names. And one got its cover!! The sequel to The Lady Bornekova is now titled The Lady and the Hussites. It is in the final self-editing stages and will be submitted to my publisher this month (hopefully this week)!

My most recently completed work, Second Chances, was renamed. Mostly because I decided that this name was too general, not unique enough. The new title is A Convenient Risk. I also added a page to the website for this book (on the left sidebar with my other titles). This novel should make an appearance in the world in the coming months. The cover will be revealed in the coming weeks!

New Opportunities

I have also been booked to teach at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference this coming summer. And I couldn’t be more excited! I have attended this conference for the last two years and have fallen in love with the people who run it and its mission. It is quite an honor to be asked onto the faculty this year.

And, of course, being sick…

What would “winter” (since it’s 70 degrees in February…can we really call it that?) be without a viral infection? I got the “flu-like” virus everyone has been talking about. It is no joke. I was just relieved that none of my kids got it. But I had my oils (RC and THIEVES diffusing constantly) and some traditional over-the-counter meds for symptoms (why yes, I do have a foot in both worlds).

So, how’ve you been?

Featured Guest: Author Greg Turnquist

For this very special edition of my blog, I have a rather interesting guest. This is an author who has published several technical (computer) books that, quite frankly, I have no interest in. (Sorry, Greg.) But a couple of things have brought him on the blog today: first, he is trying his hand at fiction (sci-fi dystopian fiction, to be exact) and, secondly, he is my husband and I have been so very eager to give my readers a peek into his work. So without further ado, let’s jump right in 🙂

Welcome to my blog, Greg. Glad you could finally come on and tell us about your fiction work. Let’s get started. Tell us a little about this novel of yours.

Snitch, a young woman who grew up on the streets of Kelmar as a thief, has learned something terrible. The regime’s evil military ruler has learned the hideout location of the resistance she joined and ordered an all out assault. Combined with the captain of the disbanded royal guard, a political prisoner, a duke’s daughter, and an old advisor, can her team survive and free Kelmar?

Interesting. Everybody loves an underdog. What was the inspiration for Darklight?

When I was a kid, I had this idea about an entire world below ground, underneath the manhole covers of the sewer system. Having read exciting books like Dune and Doctor Strange comic books, my mind started weaving tales of people overcoming a hostile environment while facing extinction.

So did you always want to be a writer? Or what did you think you would be?

Not really. I’d always been into computers, even at a very young age, which is why I became a software developer.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When a friend introduced me to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, I became an instant sci-fi fan. I read everything I could find. And then one day, this idea of a world hidden below ground kind of popped into my head.

I’m sure that even as a technical writer and novice fiction writer, you already know that it’s not all puppies and sunshine, this writing thing. There are parts to the process that are not fun. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing. Going back for the nth time and making another sweep is tiresome, and I hate STILL spotting mistakes.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Get out and do it. Make time to sit down and write, or it’ll never happen. There are no excuses. You either write or you don’t.

Good point. I think it’s important to make time for reading others’ works too. So, what are you currently reading?

Attack Planet by Mars Dorian and Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

I always listen to music to get into my writing groove. What about you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

Anything by Rush as well as the soundtrack from Tron: Legacy

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Either when I’m on a writing date with my wife, or at night, when everyone else is asleep.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It usually takes me about 4-5 months to write a tech book, but I’ve been writing Darklight going on seven years now. I’m hoping to find the right publisher.

Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?

When I finished Darklight, I had all kinds of ideas for a sequel. I wanted the main character thrown into new challenges, so I started drafting Neophyte. What would you do if you had to defend the Earth but had no training?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Snitch moved as fast as she could in the dark toward the southern edge of the city-state of Kelmar, desperate to not draw attention to herself. Fortunately, rain had caused a haze to fall.

He was coming. Snitch couldn’t believe it. Could they make it?

Snitch knew this part of the city, but she had to steer clear of rival gangs. As she exited an alley a gust of wind made her clutch the edge of her coat and pull it tight. She steeled herself and pressed on.

He was coming, she’d heard from one of her contacts. What were they going to do?

She approached a familiar corner and slowed when she recognized members of the Raiders. She looked back and knew it was too late to find another route.

“Snitch,” Marlon boomed. “What are you doing here?”

He was the Raiders’ second lieutenant or something. She couldn’t keep track of the ever changing titles.

“I didn’t know you guys had moved into this block,” she said. “I was trying to stay off your turf.”

Tall and dark, he crept closer, eyeing her, the others drifting in behind him. “You haven’t answered my question.”

Snitch knew Marlon wouldn’t take kindly to any sort of brush off. She’d heard enough stories, and the last thing she wanted was to become another story.

“I was hooking up with one of my associates to hit a shop. No moonlight, hazy night, perfect opportunity, right?” Snitch had an offer to work such a job. Two weeks ago.

“You know, I believe you. You do shoot for easy hits like that. But you still crossed onto our turf.”

She knew where this was headed. Gang respect was so juvenile…and expensive.

“I have to maintain control or Boss won’t trust me. What kind of job are you doing?”

“A pawn shop. Cheap stuff, but easy to fence. Maybe worth a couple thousand credits,” Snitch said.

“The going rate when you cross turf is 10%,” Marlon said.

“I don’t have that much on me. And the last time it was 5%.”

“You trade sharp. I tell you what, Snitch. you haven’t crossed us and your jobs have fed us in the past. Give me a hundred credits, and we can ignore this.”

Snitch fumbled in her pockets, when Marlon stepped up next to her with a short blade. Sweat beaded up on her forehead.

“Watch it there. You’ve been good to us, but there is still a proper way.” He snapped his fingers and shouted, “Green, get over here. Check her pockets.”

Snitch pulled out her hands and held them up. Green rifled through her pockets and found bits of junk along with a hundred and twenty-five credits. He handed them over to Marlon.

“I remember you coming up short last time. This should cover it. Now get out of here.”

Green pushed her to the side, and Snitch huffed, having been licked.

The Raiders laughed and talked to each other as she stumbled away. After getting around the corner, she picked up her pace. At first, her mind repeated “you came up short.” She added up how many jobs she needed to make up for this.

Snitch stopped. It wasn’t important. Not like it used to be be. Snitch had always been good at what she did, but now she was part of something bigger, the Undergrounder’s resistance movement. There were more critical things than the next job.

More About Greg

Greg has read sci-fi since he was a kid including Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Bret Saberhagen, and Lester del Rey. Years ago, the idea of a futuristic world reduced to a medieval existence began to bounce around in his head. He also loves slinging code as a software geek, and has written several non-fiction books. He lives in Middle Tennessee with his wife and family.

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FEATURED GUEST: Author John Theo Jr.

Happy Friday! And thank goodness it’s FRIDAY!!!! It has been a crazy busy week for me, how about you all? I am excited to introduce you to my guest today – author John Theo Jr. He is here to talk about his latest release with Clean Reads.

Welcome, John. First, would you tell us a little about your novel?

White Mountains’ False Flag is a conspiracy novel that takes place in the Great state of New Hampshire.

Ransom Doniphon is a Park Ranger working in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. While on a helicopter search-and-rescue mission he spies a make-shift shelter deep within the woods. When Ransom and his partner investigate there is a shootout leaving three men dead. What at first appears to be a mobile drug lab hidden in the woods turns out to be a home grown terrorist cell with roots that run deep into state and federal government.

What was the inspiration for White Mountains’ False Flag?

I’m a Christian and a Libertarian. This novel was written from a point of view of frustration with both parties of Congress. Many of the storylines in White Mountains’ False Flag are pulled directly from news headlines over the past few years. For example, quantitative easing to infinity, government shutting down monuments and parks to force congress to raise the debt ceiling, spying on citizens using smart technology are just a few of the headlines incorporated into WMFF. I also predict where I think the government over-reach could go in the future such as drone strikes on US soil (against US citizens) by the government. I was also inspired by the great state of NH. It’s literally the last true free state along the northeast seacoast. You drive up there from Massachusetts and it’s vastly different.

I gotta be honest, this is right up my husband’s alley. In fact, I think I’m going to download your book for him right after this interview. But back to you… When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

One day in high school, I started writing down a story and kept writing. After I finished I had another story idea, and another. It’s been a long (slow) path but fun.

I always have to ask this next question because I know there are parts of the writing process we all love (or we wouldn’t do it) and parts that we don’t like as much. Is there any part of the process you dread?

Probably the 3rd to 8th round of editing. By this time I’m burnt out of the story. The honeymoon is over at that point, but as the old saying goes, writing is re-writing.

“Honeymoon is over”…that’s a good way to put it! Editing is a necessary evil indeed. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

I have two pieces of advice. 1. Find a mentor. It can shave years off your learning curve. 2. Stay out of debt. This will give you a lot of latitude with how you spend your time = more time spent writing. It’s also just a good life lesson.

You are sounding more and more like my husband…he’s a numbers guy and a one time padawan of Dave Ramsey. Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Authors are known to vicariously put themselves into their characters, which I’m sure I’ve done. However, I vicariously purchased some fun toys in this novel for the characters. The protagonist lives in a log cabin on the side of a mountain and has a small farm with a trout stream running through it. He drives an old pickup. The firearms he carries and the RV his buddy have are also some cool toys I geek’d out on.

Too funny! Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?

I just finished the first draft of a novel that will be the sequel to my dystopian sci-fi Mission Trip.

Well, John, thanks so much for being on my blog today and sharing your thoughts, advice, and inspiration. And with that, I will segue us to what we’re all eager for: more details about White Mountains’ False Flag.

White Mountains’ False Flag


Ransom Doniphon is a Park Ranger working in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. While on a helicopter search-and-rescue mission he spies a make-shift shelter deep within the woods. When Ransom and his partner investigate there is a shootout leaving three men dead. What at first appears to be a mobile drug lab hidden in the woods turns out to be a home grown terrorist cell with roots that run deep into state and federal government.


Enjoy an Excerpt

The man outside the tent had a bowie knife in his hand and a 1911 handgun in a kydex holster on his right hip. There was a high probability the guy in the tent was armed as well. It was clear that he would need backup. Ransom started to sneak away. His stomach dropped when he turned to face another man. A third man. He was in his fifties and held a bolt-action deer rifle which he pointed directly at Ransom.

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More about John

John received an MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College, in Chestnut Hill MA. He has a long publishing history in non-fiction. White Mountains’ False Flag is his fourth fiction novel. John lives in Massachusetts with his family and teaches screenwriting at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

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Twitter: @Theolotics5