Friday, May 31, 2013

Bob O'Connor Speaks!

Today we learn a little more about Bob O'Connor, author of The Return of Catesby, in this author interview. Bob is currently on tour with Walker Author Tours. Enjoy, and pick up your copy of the book at
Tell us about your book.
My book is the continuing story of Catesby – a real colored blacksmith who lived originally in Charlestown, VA as a slave to Colonel Lewis Washington, a descendant of George Washington.  In the first book Catesby struggles to find his freedom. He runs away from the operation of a blacksmith shop under a cruel owner who permanently cripples him. He flees on the Underground Railroad to Pennsylvania.

This book follows Catesby’s new adventures leading up to his teaching position at Storer College, a new school to teach newly freed blacks to become teachers. Ironically, the students’ first day in the classroom was Catesby’s first day too, because he had been taught at home by his mother. Catesby’s vast experience is helpful in encouraging his students and helping them believe that if Catesby, a man with a bad leg who had been a slave could accomplish greatness, they could too.

Where can we find out more about you and buy your book? On my website at

What have been your most successful marketing techniques? I send out an e-newsletter. I have a website.  I send out a post card with each new book to persons who have already purchased other book. I have great signage at events.

Who is your favorite author of all time, and why? Michael Shaara who wrote “Killer Angels”. He changed Civil War writing to be about people not the battles or the troop movements.  I follow that same technique as I write. That way people get to know the emotions and feelings of the soldiers even if they don’t give a hoot about what the generals or the regiments did.

Is your family supportive of what you do? Absolutely. My two biggest supporters and fans are my sister,
Joanne, and my daughter, Kelli. But it was my parents (both now deceased) and my early teachers who encouraged me along the way that made the most difference.

What other books have you published? “The Perfect Steel Trap Harpers Ferry 1859”
“The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln”
“Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War”
“The US Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison”
“The Centennial History of Ranson WV -- 1910 – 2010”
“The Life of Abraham Lincoln: As President”
“A House Divided Against Itself”
“Countdown to West Virginia Statehood”

Do you find it hard to share your work with others? No. Not at all. I love sharing my work, especially with book clubs, school groups and others.

What is your opinion on people who post bad reviews? They should get a life. A friend wrote a book about Varena Davis. Someone posted a review of 1 on because they said Varena was a traitor to the cause of the Confederacy – which had nothing to do with the book, which was well written. DUH!

Are you an independent writer, or are you represented by an agent? How does this work out for you, especially if you have done it both ways? I am independent. I do not have an agent. I do not have a publicist. It works great for me. I have not done it both ways, but prefer the way I do it anyway.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Return of Catesby by Bob O'Connor - Excerpt

Today we have an excerpt from The Return of Catesby, by Bob O'Connor, currently on tour with Walker Author Tours. Enjoy, and pick up your copy of the book at

August 27, 1865
Today Marcia wanted to hear what happened in Washington City. She had known when I came in the house that I was disappointed. I am sure it showed on me because I was very disappointed.
I told her that I wanted to get to tell my story, but that Major General Lew Wallace had other ideas. “The government needed someone to convict. They chose Captain Wirz. He was no knight in shining armor, but my friend Allen said Captain Wirz repeatedly asked the Confederate government officials in Richmond to help him get more food and medicine. But they ignored him.”
“Catesby. I am proud that you were asked to go. It is out of your hands now. You did your best. You always do your best. That’s why I love you!”
Marcia, as usual, was right. There was nothing more I could do. I wished Captain Wirz the best, but knew in my heart that he was in big trouble.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rachel Rueben Rocks!

Recently, Rachel and I sat down for a chat on our monthly radio show. We never take the time to really talk about ourselves so Monday, May 13 was our day to shine. We had a wonderful time, and we even talked a little bit about our books! We didn't ask all the questions we had prepared, so we decided to share them on our blogs. These are the questions I had for Rachel. Enjoy!

When did you first realize you'd been bitten by the writing bug?

I was about 17 when I decided to take my first adult writing class. I did this because of boredom because I wasn’t learning anything interesting in school and out of sheer curiosity.

What made you decide to publish your own work?

After getting 40 rejections for my children’s book Escape of the Dodos, I got weary and decided I was through with rejections. At the time, I was writing my YA novel, Kindle, had just become wildly popular and Amazon was giving writers who published with them, a 60% royalty rate which is killer compared to the industry standard.

What have you learned from this experience?

I learned how hard it is to create a book from conception to birth LOL! I also learned a lot about the publishing industry and how it really operates. It’s not all queries and editing as some authors foolishly believe.

What prompted you to write Eternal Bond?

I began Eternal Bond in 2007 when Stephenie Myer’s book Twilight was being made into a movie and felt I could do better, to make a long story short, I ended up doing a Mark Twain and walked away for 5 years.

How much research did you have to do for Eternal Bond?

I did a little online research regarding the Middle Ages and the black plague but nothing extreme. I was more focused on delivering the best story I could. I don’t think people really care about whether women wore long open sleeves or kirtles. Research is nice but only if it enhances the story. If you’re stopping a fight scene to describe the red velvety drapes, something is wrong!

How long did it take to write Eternal Bond?

Embarrassingly enough 8 years. 1 year to write it, another 6 to ignore it and one year to pick up the pieces
and completely rewrite it.

Is it more important to write to trends or write what interests you?

As I proved with the whole trying to mock Stephenie Myer thing, I can’t write according to the trends no matter how hard I try. I have to write what’s on my heart.

When you aren't writing, how do you spend your time?

What’s this free time thing you speak of? Just kidding. Currently, if I’m not freelancing, I’m reading about self-publishing or taking a blogging course. Writing and learning to make a living at it has become my life 24/7.

If you had it to do over, would you pursue your career differently?

I probably wouldn’t have given up so soon after high school. I most likely would have hung in there and gotten more aggressive but I didn’t know any better. I figured if I was getting rejections, that it meant I wasn’t any good. I now know that the publishing industry publishes only publishes what the current trends are and rarely ventures out of that.

Rachel Rueben had no intention of becoming a writer, but after numerous attempts at being normal she gave up and became an author. Her first novel Hag made it to #10 on the Amazon’s bestseller’s list in its first month. Her next project includes a series of supernatural books called, The Eternal Bond Series due out in the fall of 2013.

Rachel is a blogger, freelancer, and content contributor to several writing blogs. The first three chapters of Eternal Bond are currently available on Wattpad:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Karen Writes Murder and More!

Recently, I had Karen Vaughan on my show to talk about her work. Her newest book, Daytona Dead, just came out and is marvelous! Of course, she, Christina Giguere and I chatted about so much else, we didn't get a chance to ask one another all our important questions. We decided to turn it into a blog sharing opportunity instead! Below are her answers to my questions, as well as the excerpt she read on the air.

Karen writes murder.
Why? I always liked the C.S.I and police dramas on T.V and in books. I love the clue gathering and why is the guy dead in the first place.

What other genres might you consider?
Romantic suspense and contemporary romance are 2 areas that also interest me. I am working on a story that I want to send in to Tirrgear involving a girl a guy and a bucket list. It is a complicated relationship in that he loves her even though he is decidedly gay but really wants to fulfill one wish for her to get married as she is sick.

There is a lot of humor in your books. Shouldn't murder mysteries be 'serious'?
That is so old school—cops have a bit of gallows humor anyway and I don’t think I can do serious.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I am not sure it was a conscious thought I did it as a way of therapy and to entertain myself never thought of a career.

What inspired your books?

A friend of mine had been married to a guy named Lou. I also didn’t know what to do with Lauras ex from OVER HER DEAD BODY. When Joleen and Lou were going through a nasty divorce she asked me to kill him off.  Solved 2 problems, a plot that would work for me and therapy for my friend. Dead Comic standing was inspired by my experience as a comic

Did you have to do a lot of research for your books?

For Daytona dead I picked your brain for Florida facts and for DEAD COMIC STANDING I researched serial killers and watched a lot of stand-up routines

If you had it to do over, would you pursue your career differently?

Not really I am having a blast but I would have edited DEAD ON ARRIVAL a bit better and gotten a distribution package for it. I don’t find it getting a lot of love.

What is your writing/ work schedule like?

I try to aim for writing 3 days a week and promote 1 or 2 and take care of life in between


Prologue --Blood on the Grille

The moon was high and a thousand stars appeared in the Florida sky. The sunset had been glorious, a flaming orange glow with pink undertones.

 Lou had taken up photography as a hobby since moving to the Daytona Beach area. Lou, a Canadian, had been lured to the area by a guy on the Dudes seeking Dudes website. Having broken up with his long time love, Richard, he had been itching to leave Toronto behind, along with a broken heart and ten years of bad memories. His marriage to Laura had died on Speaker’s Corner and it was time to leave the crap and the cold behind, in favour of a warmer climate and palm trees.  Ironically, Laura, the ex, had written him a glowing letter of reference for his work visa. He had applied via an online job search engine, and told his internet paramour he was heading to Florida to make a go of his career and a new life south of the Mason Dixon Line.
So today after putting in an eight hour shift, he went home and grabbed a shower and changed into beach shorts and a clean T-shirt sporting the slogan Just Grill Me. He had invested in a Digital SLR for taking some great landscape shots to post on Face book. He found that he loved photography and if his life as a chef sputtered, now he had a back-up plan.

Before meeting up with his new guy, Gary, he headed off to the beach to take some shots of the area. While Daytona was not the prettiest beach in Florida, Lou found some of the scenery to be rough, yet photo-worthy.  He was leaving the beach when he spotted what looked to be a vintage 1940’s Chevy, black as the abyss. The car looked like something out of a film noir gangster flick. Either way the car was a real beauty. He set up a few shots and started shooting. He didn’t stay long as this was encroaching on a seedier part of town where hookers plied their trade and bums wandered around with liquor bottles and another night of brown bagging their hooch and begging before passing out in an alleyway.

He was on his tenth picture when a gravelly voice yelled out behind him.
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing, asshole?”

Lou jumped back at the sound and turned around to see the meanest looking S.O.B. he had set eyes on, since his father’s last drinking binge a few years earlier.

This guy looked huge and a tad ornery, even in the moonlight. “Well boy, what’s wrong? Cat got yer tongue? If ya don’t say something soon, I may just beat it out of you."

“Just admiring your car man; it’s a classic.”

The big mean dude seemed to warm some at the compliment but reverted to his menacing stance quickly,  “Thanks. She is a beauty isn’t she? How long were you skulking around my car? You didn’t touch her did ya?”

Lou began to sweat.  This guy was getting way too intense over a car. He tried backing away but the bigger man was getting in his face about the whole deal. Finally Lou started to run and the guy backed off. Then he heard the engine start and looked behind him. The car was coming right at him!
Holy shit!! What did this asshole want? “It’s just a freaking’ car dude; damn”; Lou was incredulous that this guy was going ape-shit over a set of wheels as nice as they were.
He ducked down an alley, around the corner and thought he was safe. Then he heard it again. He looked to his left and the son of a bitch was still coming for him.

Lou took a deep breath, and promised himself that if he ever got out of this mess he’d start getting in better shape. ‘Dude you’re barely thirty six and you run like an old man.’ The car was catching up to him, it wasn’t stopping either. For whatever reason this shithead wanted him dead!  For the life of him, Lou could not figure out what had gone wrong. He felt the bumper hit the back of his legs sending him flying in the air. He came down with a thud on the hood of the car and his head hit the windshield before he rolled off the car, and was dragged under the front wheels of the car. The car backed up and left the body where it lay; somewhere in Lou’s pocket, a cell phone was ringing.

Part of Chapter 7 Laura's run in with the creepy cop

Plans for the next day included getting some of our pictures saved on a CD, so I could clear the card in my camera. So I figured I might as well develop the ones from Lou’s camera.  I was at a Kodak kiosk doing just that, when I felt the hair on the back of my neck prick up, so I whipped around to find the creepy cop behind me.

“Ok, this is getting old really fast. Do you have an odd fixation with following tourists around? Or are you just being a jerk?”

“Mrs. Fitz, dear, no need for a meltdown. I just happen to be at the same photo kiosk as you “

“Ya, I bet!”

“Oh my, someone is paranoid.” he laughed, “Maybe you really are guilty of that guy’s murder and used the road kill scenario as a cover up. Maybe, you staged it to divert attention. I may have to take my thoughts on this to the detective on the case.”

People were staring at us and backing away out of the store. The police officer was in his civvies and couldn’t do anything at that point.  He was grinning evilly, thinking he was getting the better of me.

I stood straight up, “Too late Fife, we’ve been cleared of all charges so don’t even go there.”

His weasel-like face turned bright red, “Quit calling me Fife, my first name isn’t even Barney! It’s Dave, Dave Meecham. With that he turned and stomped away from the kiosk.

Okay, so now my would-be stalker had a name, should I need to use it?  I continued to copy the photos from my card and printed off the ones from Lou’s SIM card.  I went to pay for my pictures and the clerk looked at me oddly.

“What do I owe ya?”

“Um, six dollars.” She was clearly rattled by clash with the creepazoid.

It’s okay, dear, I’m not going to rob or kill ya. There’s no need to be nervous. My friend who just left is highly delusional…thinks he’s a cop or something. Most people have a thing for FBI or the CIA. He just wants to be at home in Mayberry with Andy, Aunt Bea and Opie”

The counter clerk laughed, took my money and moved on. I walked out with my photos and CD and Lou’s hard copies.

Find Karen on Amazon:
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