CHAT WITH RICHARD SCHWINDT

RichardSchwindt

Richard Schwindt is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and writer of fiction and non fiction books. He has a specialized practise supporting targets of workplace mobbing. He lives in Kingston, Ontario, and has two adult children and two grandchildren.

Time to chat with Richard!

What is your latest book?

I have just put my three mysteries together in one book – The Death in Sioux Lookout Trilogy. They have only recently been available in a digital format and I promise if you love a good mystery that is strongly driven by setting, you will enjoy them. There is no place like Sioux Lookout and the trip will be fun.

 

flattrilogy

What else have you written?

I have written a collection of short stories, Dreams and Sioux Nights, a fantasy duology, The Love Duology, a book of satire, Social Work for Fun and Profit, and my Emotional Recovery from… series of books for people in crisis due to workplace mobbing, adultery, anxiety, etc.

emotionalrecovery

Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?

Yes, quite a few. Jeffrey Merrian from The Vermilion River Murder and Father Donovan from Dreams and Sioux Nights come to mind as particularly despicable. That said, most of them end up dead. One of the great things about being a writer.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I have fun on Twitter. Twitter is made for writers and is, to me, much more fun that other social media.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

My mysteries with a social worker sleuth and my social work humor tend to be loved by mystery readers and amuse the hell out of everybody else. But social workers not so much. The most moving responses come from my two books on workplace mobbing. Readers are so grateful that someone has written about their experience.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I write anything I can think of. Few people as yet have checked out a disturbing and twisted YouTube web series called Bob the Social Worker. Trust me, it is unique

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Between my practice and family I don’t have much time. I write when I can. If I have an idea for my latest book and I am between sessions I sometimes write it on my Blackberry in the form of an email from one of my email addresses to the other.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

I owe an immeasurable debt to Mangojar on Fiverr. She has done every one of my covers. She is Canadian like me and I don’t know how she does it but every time she does a cover she appears to have read my mind. Covers matter.

How would you define your style of writing?

All my fiction has a strong sense of time and place. I like to create mood and the feeling you get from the environment around you. I also value readability in myself and other writers.

Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?

Probably Stacey Trout from The Love Duology. She is brilliant, funny and has some remarkable gifts. I like writing women characters more than men. I’m not sure why that is.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

I am a top 500 reviewer on Amazon Canada and I am careful what I write. Your considered opinion as a reader means everything to a writer. After all, we are writing for you. I can handle a challenging opinion from someone who has taken my book seriously but I am distressed by negative reviews from people who appear to have not even read the book.

Have you ever started out to write one book and ended up with something completely different?

The Love Duology is two products of the International Three Day Novel contest; so the whole package was written in six days. It is an extreme writing experience and believe me when I say that you have no idea what is going to emerge from you unconscious mind by the end of three days. The second part of the book, Love Susan, is preoccupied with Gorillas. Why? I have no idea; it just sort of happened.

If you could duplicate the knowledge from any single person’s head and have it magically put into your own brain, whose knowledge would you like to have? And why.

The nineteenth century explorer, Richard Burton. All those experiences and languages. Wow.

What makes you angry?

I have a lifelong dislike of petty bureaucrats. I think that the current crop of human service managers lack moral courage and imagination. Mind you, I make them angry too. It is one of the reasons why I write for people who have been mobbed at work.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

I am currently working my way through the Murdoch Mysteries, which I believe is known as The Artful Detective in the United States. They are beautifully done period pieces with great characters and stories.

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

When I am having a difficult time in life I will watch The Fugitive with Harrison Ford or re-read any of the original James Bond books.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Russian Standard Vodka Platinum. If it were a woman she would be so beautiful and so dangerous. I would try to keep away from her unsuccessfully and complain about the cost of keeping her. She would be blonde and say things like, “Reechard, I know you vant me…

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Anything my grandkids Banana and Sniffin do. Banana; she’s the closest we’ve come yet to perfection in human form. But that’s just me speaking. Sniffin somehow inherited my sense of humor and is already getting into trouble for it. He doesn’t know it yet but it will get him through some hard times.

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CHAT WITH EDEN BAYLEE

Eden Baylee writes literary erotica and infuses erotic elements into many of her stories. Incorporating some of her favorite things such as travel, culture, and a deep curiosity for what turns people on, her brand of writing is both sensual and sexual.

Her latest release is a book of erotic flash fiction and poetry called HOT FLASH.

SPRING INTO SUMMER is her second collection of erotic novellas and the companion piece to her first book, FALL INTO WINTER.

Time to chat with Eden!


What is your latest book?

My latest book is Hot Flash. It’s a book of erotic short stories and poems, with two non-erotic pieces as well.


What else have you written?

I have two other books of literary erotica called Fall into Winter and Spring into Summer. Each is an anthology comprised of four novellas. Though the two books are companion pieces, the stories are distinct and cover varying levels of eroticism.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

As an indie author who writes full time, social media is a necessity in promoting myself. I’m on numerous networks because it’s important to be as connected as possible.

Having said that, striking a balance between my work and social life is essential. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s easy to be swayed toward “chatting” on Facebook or Twitter as opposed to writing.

My favorite part of social media is meeting incredible writers, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some in person.

My least favorite part is dealing with social media ‘newbies.’ These are people who only use the medium to sell their products and treat others as if they are their own PR firm. Rudeness and the hard sell do not work in real life, and they don’t work in the virtual life either.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

I have no fear of reviews because readers are as diverse as writers. Tastes differ.

As an author, it’s important to grow a thick skin. Don’t let negative reviews affect you emotionally. If you think there is merit to what the reviewer says, i.e.: holes in the plot, bad grammar, etc., do something about it to improve on the next book. If you don’t think there’s merit to the bad review, move on. There’s no point dwelling on it.

Writers are not perfect, and there’s always room to improve. Bad reviews should never stop you from writing. Don’t take it personally.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

I place a lot of importance on the design because there’s another old saying, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” I’m a visual person, and my initial response to a book is usually from the cover.

If the cover is poorly done, then I infer the content inside might be poorly written. This isn’t necessarily true, of course, but it’s important to have a professional appearance. It entices readers to look inside. In a less competitive market, this would not be an issue, but we all know our books are competing with millions of other books out there.

A great cover design is one way to help your book rise above the crowd.

How would you define your style of writing?

I don’t like formulaic writing. Mine is filled with original storylines, strong narratives and written in an easy style. Though my books fall in the erotica/romance genre right now, I write in many genres, including thriller, suspense, and poetry.

I don’t like to be bound by style or genre.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are. What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

I’d explain patiently that it does matter, but I would never get frustrated with a reader for not writing a review. They may not feel comfortable with writing reviews for various reasons.

Ultimately, readers (who are not authors) read for pleasure. They support authors by buying their books and spreading the word if they liked what they read. It’s not their job to “promote” the author, and writing reviews is certainly not part of a reader’s mandate.

As authors, it’s good to encourage reviews but never to coerce them from readers.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in Toronto, Canada now. I’d love to live in New York City if I could afford to.

London, England is also a favorite.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Loyalty and an adventurous spirit. Though my friends may not do everything I want to do, they are always open-minded to me doing it—especially if I make a fool of myself, and they can say “I told you so!”

What makes you angry?

People who are rude, mean, insincere, intolerant, uncaring.

What music soothes your soul?

I love old blues and jazz – Nina Simone, Van Morrison, John Lee Hooker. I’m also a fan of virtuoso guitar and listen to Jeff Beck and Pink Floyd a lot.

Many thanks for inviting me to your chateau, Lisette. It was a pleasure to be here,

eden

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CHAT WITH DAN McNEIL

Dan McNeil was born in Toronto, but raised in Ottawa.  He is an author and a video editor, spending 24 years at CHRO TV (now CTV 2) in Ottawa and the last 4 years as a freelancer at Canada Post in the video department.  His first book, The Judas Apocalypse was published in 2008. It was only natural that his love of writing and music would lead him to pen his latest, Can’t Buy Me Love, a lighthearted romp about a heist during the Beatles’ first visit to the United States in 1964. 

Time to chat with Dan!

What is your latest book?

It’s called Can’t Buy Me Love. It’s the story of Sonny Carter, an aging bank robber just recently released from prison in 1964 after a 25-year stretch for bank robbery. Hard-nosed and unrepentant, Sonny is determined to finish what he started back in ’39: knocking over New York City’s prestigious Hudson National Bank and Trust Company. It won’t be easy because banks are a whole lot tougher than they used to be, and the members of his old gang are just about ready for the retirement home. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the man responsible for Sonny’s jail stretch is now the president of the Hudson. This time, however, Sonny has a plan that just might prove to be foolproof, thanks to two unlikely sources: a sexy bank employee with secrets and a shady past, and the four unsuspecting mop tops from Liverpool about to make their historic American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. It’s my second novel and published by Pulse.

What else have you written?

My first novel, The Judas Apocalypse was published in 2008 by I Publish Press. It’s about Dr. Gerhard Denninger, a German archeologist who is approached by infamous Grail seeker Otto Rahn at the outset of the Second World War. Rahn tells him a fantastic story of the Knights Templar, a church scandal and the lost treasure of the Cathars. When Rahn disappears, Denninger finds himself in possession of a long-buried manuscript that is the key to finding the famous treasure. During his hunt for the treasure, Denninger is captured by a group of American soldiers separated from their company just after the D-Day landings. Denninger, with the help of his unwelcome accomplices, continues his quest for the secret of the Cathar treasure. As you can tell, I love historical settings.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Happens all the time. For instance, in this book, I have a character named Genevieve, who is the assistant to the executive producer of the Ed Sullivan show. I initially envisioned her as a cute and shy French Canadian. As the story moved forward, I found myself toughening her up somewhat as she becomes more frustrated with her boss. That toughened up personality begins to shine through, usually couched in rough Quebecois invective. I’m sure this happens with every writer, but I find that characters tend to take on a life of their own. Very often it seems that instead of creating situations for them, I feel like I’m following them around, chronicling what they’re doing.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I think so, because you have to know where you’re going. It’s a journey, right? You can take as many detours as you want, but ultimately you need to know your destination. You need to know where your characters are going to end up so you can get them there safe and sound (not sure where these travel analogies are coming from). As far as titles go, I never know what it’ll be until I’m finished (sometimes even months later). I went through 4 or 5 titles before I settled on Can’t Buy Me Love.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

As I finish each chapter, I’ll read it over and see how it flows. There may be some issues with word or phrase repetition but I’ll wait until I’ve actually finished the book before I do any major editing. If anything drags, no matter how much I might like it, it’s gone. Once that’s done, I have a copy editor (fellow author and good friend Selena Robins) do the real red pencil stuff. Having a great copy editor is key. Selena did an excellent job with CBML and I believe that it’s because of her whipping the book into shape that enabled me to get my deal.

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

I have a very good friend of mine (Ziyada Callender) who read every chapter as I wrote them. She really enjoyed my first book so when I mentioned I was thinking of writing a second one, she was exceptionally enthusiastic. At that time I wasn’t sure I wanted to even write another book, especially so soon after the first one but it was that enthusiasm that spurred me on to finish it. Her passion and affection for the story and in particular the characters told me that I was on the right track. I also had other friends of mine (who tend to be brutally honest and not afraid to say how terrible things are) read the manuscript as well.  Their positive reaction was terrific reinforcement.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I like to write music. My cousin, Steve Casey and I used to write pop songs together. We wrote and recorded two CDs of original songs – no hits unfortunately, but we did manage to win a number of songwriting contests here in Canada and in the US. We were once picked by Canadian Musician magazine as one of Canada’s best unsigned acts and we also won the Nashville Songwriters Association’s 2002 songwriting competition. That was pretty cool.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I certainly never thought that I was born to write. I’ve always had ideas for books, but writing seemed to be something other people did. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I decided I’d give it a try. When I had finished my first book, I printed it out and put it on my shelf. There, I did it – I wrote a book. I had no intention of trying to get it published. I just wanted to see if I could do it, to satisfy myself really. It wasn’t until a friend of mine insisted that I try to get it published. In retrospect, it was a good thing he did. If I hadn’t had that first one published I probably wouldn’t have written this one.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Definitely an early bird. I find that I work better first thing in the morning. I got into the habit of getting up an hour earlier than my usual time when I started writing because it was quiet and easier to get things done. The only “must haves” I need are an absence of phone calls and a cup of coffee.

How would you define your style of writing?

I’m not sure how I’d define it. I’d say it’s pretty straightforward and uncluttered, I guess.  I always try to follow Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing, especially number 10 – “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” I never want to be boring – and I hope I’m not.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

I’m not a traveler at all. Don’t like airports and I really abhor long drives. If I have to travel, I’d pick a train. There’s something about the sound of the wheels that I find relaxing – it always makes “Rhapsody in Blue” pop into my head.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Favorite food – hickory smoked ribs with a tangy BBQ sauce. I could eat ‘em every night. My least favorite food is the turnip. It is the most loathsome and repulsive thing I’ve ever had. If I think about them for anything longer than 20 seconds, I’ll throw up (just writing about them is enough to make me queasy).

What makes you angry?

Terrible drivers – It seems like no one knows how to merge or use their turn signals in this city. It’s inexcusable, really. The crap factor is right off the scale. I think if I ever struck it rich I wouldn’t buy an expensive car. I’d just take cabs everywhere or hire a limo so I wouldn’t have to put up with the truly appalling driving here.

What music soothes your soul?

Obviously I’m a Beatles fan. I’m also a huge Neil Finn/Crowded House fan too, probably because Crowded House is a very Beatlesque band. I also believe Neil Finn is the best pop songwriter living today. I’m a prog rock nut as well – Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Supertramp – when I was younger I learned to play keyboards by putting on their records and playing along with them. I like to say Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies from Supertramp taught me how to play piano.  My vinyl version of “Crime of the Century” is virtually unplayable now. I think I wore out the grooves.

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

My all time favorite film is American Graffiti. I remember going to see it back in ’73 with my family because the movie I wanted to see, The Sting, was sold out. I was pretty ticked off because of that so when my dad decided to take us to American Graffiti instead, I was determined to hate it. As it turned out, it was brilliant. I wound up seeing it about five or six times on that initial run. I’ve watched it dozens of times since then. It’s still great. The Godfather, Casablanca, and Stalag 17 are close behind it. Favorite book? Catcher in the Rye. Cliché? Probably, but I don’t care – I love it.

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