Hello, Friends:

Thanks for visiting my writers’ chateau. Every Monday, I chat with a new author and have been very lucky to have so many talented wordsmiths visit my humble abode.

My staff, especially Henrietta (“Cook”) and Claude (my esteemed butler), work very hard to ensure that all guests get star treatment and that everything runs smoothly.

But…I have just learned that Henrietta and Claude have eloped (it was bound to happen!) and will be returning from a three-week honeymoon on July 7th. (Oh, dear…I should have paid more attention to the rumors going around.)

In the meantime, while Henrietta and Claude luxuriate in Luxembourg, dance their last tango in Paris, and waltz in Vienna, please check out my wonderful past guests whose interviews you may have missed the first time around.

And join me in wishing Henrietta and Claude a very happy marriage.




Shykia Bell

Maria Savva

Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick

C.A. Kunz

Dan McNeill

Eden Baylee

Tiffany King

Dean Mayes

Peter Carroll

Pat Bertram

Ann Swann

Cassius Shuman

Lorna Suzuki

Mike Roche

Molly Ringle

Brenda Sorrels

Dionne Lister

W.M. Driscoll

Dorothy Dreyer

Raine Thomas

Stacy Juba

Christa Polkinhorn

Deb Nam-Krane

Simon Hay

Julia Munroe Martin

Amy Sue Nathan

Uvi Poznansky

RJ McDonnell

Delia Colvin

Check back on July 7, 2013 when the Monday author interviews will resume.



Delia Colvin is the bestselling author of The Sibylline Trilogy: The Sibylline Oracle, The Symbolon and soon to be released The Last Oracle. She resides in Prescott, AZ with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

What is your latest book?

The Last Oracle – Book Three of The Sibylline Trilogy is scheduled to be released in July 2013.

The trilogy is about Alex Morgan, an immortal oracle, whose visions guide him in his attempts to save his mortal beloved.

Those that are interested in Greek mythology will be pleased to know that Book Three delves far more into the Greek underworld while maintaining an anchor in present day Italy.


Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Treat book writing as a business. Successful authors spend the majority of their time writing and a smaller percentage of time managing and marketing.

Also outsource to professionals for a professional product. Hire pros with a great reputation for editing and cover design. Other recommended outsourcing: formatting, web-design, SEO (search engine optimizer) management.

In your spare time read every author blog, like Lisette’s (this blog has the advantage that she is a successful author and interviews other authors).

Lastly find a trustworthy mentoring/educational site like Fostering Success.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I finished Book One of my trilogy and set out to have it published in the traditional manner. My husband was upset to think that the publisher and the agent would take such a huge cut.

A few weeks out my husband came home with some information about indie publishing on Kindle. I was completely against it and believed that only non-fiction worked in self-publishing.

Then one of the top five publishers went out of business and that caused me to take a fresh look at the new world of publishing. I found that independent publishing was going the same route as independent film-makers in terms of acceptance and respect.

In fact, I was stunned to discover that several indie-published novels were New York Times bestsellers.

About that time I received an offer from a “top ten” publisher. I was so tied up with writing and editing that I didn’t have a chance to respond right away. A few days later I received another offer from a very small publishing house. My husband and I decided to sit down and compare offers on a spreadsheet when we could find the time.

A few weeks later the “top ten” publisher contacted me again, this time by phone.

Evidently one of their staff had read my entire manuscript and they more than tripled the original offer—as well as offering me advances on the other two books of the trilogy. I had a VERY difficult time turning that one down. But for some reason I never took it to the next step.

In the end I decided that I wanted to maintain control of my books and the majority of the time I’m very pleased with that decision.  It’s been a lot of work but it’s also been very rewarding.

In December with the highest level of competition on the market both Book One and Two of my trilogy hit Amazon’s bestsellers lists and have been on those lists almost every month since.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

I like books that draw a full range of emotions out of me and leave me hopeful or joyful. Reading is such a pleasure because I can totally get lost in another world and often in the delicious language of the writer.

The thing I like least is that I have so little time to read!

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

All of this has been pretty surprising to me.  Not long after Book One was out it was voted Goodreads Best Book of June and nominated Best Love Story. That was pretty thrilling!

Then, less than a week after the book was released I was walking my dogs on a path I frequented.  As I rounded a corner a woman was standing there with a notepad and pen and asked, “Are you Delia Colvin?”

I nodded, wondering how she recognized me, as I was incognito with my baseball cap and sunglasses. Then I realized that my pups are fairly well-known in the area.

She said, “Well, I’ve been waiting for you here every day to get your autograph.”

Now I was absolutely certain that my husband or stepson had set her up to do this.  I couldn’t grasp the idea that in less than a week someone that I didn’t know had read my book and wanted my autograph.

The woman continued, “Me and the ladies down at the FBI are all enjoying The Sibylline Oracle.”

I’m not certain but I think my jaw rebounded off the path at that point. Then she added, “Of course, I usually like more sex in my books but it is a great book just the same!”

I didn’t know what to sign on her pad. My hands were shaking with excitement when I scribbled something illegibly and then tried to walk, rather than skip, all the way home.

My stepson said, “Yay! You got your first stalker!”

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

Yes to both. Before I could write I was creating stories in my head. That is how I have entertained myself nearly all my life. Later I wrote them but never had the nerve to share them.

A few years ago I nearly died from massive blood clots to the lungs. I realized that I hadn’t been following my passion in life which was writing novels. I decided that was going to change.

I had always kept a list of stories in-progress that I would work on someday. But one day, not long after the blood clot, a new story popped into my head nearly complete.

It was a present time story about an immortal from Ancient Greece who had been trying for 3000 years to save his mortal beloved.  I had never been interested in writing Fantasy or Paranormal novels and I had never been interested in Greek mythology.

My days were filled and there was no time to write. Still, I was so compelled that I pulled out my iPhone and started typing away on the notepad while I was walking to work. Three weeks later I had the first draft of my first completed novel. Then I realized it was a trilogy and six weeks after that I had the drafts for the next two novels. That was January 2012.

Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?

The Sibylline Oracle, Book One and The Last Oracle, Book Three (to a lesser degree) required a tremendous amount of research in Greek mythology. While it was fascinating research I spent a lot of my time double-checking facts.

Writing The Symbolon (which is the original word for soul mates) was just a lovely experience because while there was a lot of mythology in it, most of the ground work had been laid in Book One. The Symbolon is about the pure affinity that these main characters share and the price they are willing to pay for the other’s survival. It was a lot of fun to write although it required about a case of facial tissue.

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?

Authors know that when we run discounts on our books that a small percentage of 1-2 star reviews will show up. Further, almost all of those low reviews will clearly state that the reviewer has never read the book.

I read all of my reviews and if there is a valid complaint on marketing or content I correct it, if not I move on and write. I never engage review bullies. I discovered early on that anything you say, even in kindness, may be taken out of context and used against you in the public eye.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Does coffee count?  Hazlenut coffee with half and half and a hint of cinnamon.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Without a doubt the very best gift I’ve ever received was when my husband, Randy read the first chapters of my first novel and said, “Forget Air Traffic Control, you were born to write!”

Since then I’ve been a full-time novelist and it has been a most extraordinary life!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I was completely ambidextrous when I was young. To teach us right from left the teacher told us, “You write with your right hand.”

So I would write out the word with both hands to try to determine which looked better. When they both looked about the same I decided that I must not be very smart and I zoned out of school.

Still to this day I do some things with my right hand and some things with my left.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Be kind and accepting of others.

Encourage others.

Eat more vegetables. That leads to better health, which leads to greater happiness, which     leads to more kindness and leads to increased ability to study, which leads to increased knowledge and intelligence which leads to more understanding.







Email: DeliaJColvin@gmail.com



RJ McDonnell is the author of the Rock & Roll Mystery Series. He worked full-time as a non-fiction writer for 17 years, spent two years writing scripts for a comedy television series, two years as a Careers columnist, and the past six years as a novelist while continuing to write non-fiction.

Time to chat with RJ!

What is your latest book?

My latest novel is The Classic Rockers Reunion with Death. It’s the 4th novel in my series, and may be read as a stand-alone. My protagonist, Jason Duffy, worked his way through high school, college, and grad school as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for a club band in San Diego. After working in the counseling field for two years, Jason completed an internship with a private investigator and opened an agency in La Jolla, CA. He’s the son of a retired SDPD detective with whom he’s had a very strained relationship since purchasing his first electric guitar at the age of 14. Since Jason entered the family business, their relationship has improved, but that progress has been a two steps forward, one step back type of progress.

In the new novel, Jason travels to Northeastern Pennsylvania in mid-winter to help his 59-year-old uncle, whose best friend was murdered just as they were about to play a reunion concert for their 60’s rock band. Jason agrees to fill in on rhythm guitar while conducting his investigation since the clues all relate to the reunion show.

Jason’s father has been estranged from his hippie, rockstar brother since the Vietnam War. Jason is forced to arbitrate their feud while dealing with his depressed, pot-smoking uncle. He also deals with being in the crosshairs of the killer in this hardboiled mystery.


Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I am the sole proprietor of Affordable Quality Resumes (aka, www.affordablequalityresumes.com). I was formerly the Regional Director of the largest resume writing service in the United States, and co-author of a manual used to train professional resume writers at over 500 offices across the country. Experts fielding questions on Monster.com and Career Ladders continue to quote my contributions to the manual on a fairly regular basis.

In addition to writing resumes, I continue to write about issues relating to the job search process that have a significant impact on job seekers. Last week I posted a blog about how more than half of all resumes are screened out at the computer level through Applicant Tracking Systems. In it, I drill down into specifics on how it works, why the average job seeker is behind the curve on important screening technology, and how to make the new innovations work to their advantage. Here’s a link to the article if you’re interested: http://www.affordablequalityresumes.com/?p=178

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

I was definitely born to write. I could be the poster-boy for right brain/left brain asymmetry. When I reached high school, I was allowed to skip 9th grade English while being treated to an encore performance of Algebra I.

Is there a question I haven’t asked you that you would like to answer? If so, what is it?

[What life experience helped you the most in creating your novels’ characters?]

I tend to spend a great deal of time getting to know my resume clients. Having written over 5000 resumes in my career, I have a very good feel for the range of motivations that lead people to significant career choices. In addition, I have a firm grasp of the day-to-day responsibilities of most professions. When one of my clients comes home from a long day at the office (or assembly line) I know exactly what he’s been dealing with and why he is in his current state of mind. I also have a good feel for how perspectives change over time in many fields. I use this information to bring a genuine quality to my characters.

For example, Jason has developed a strong working relationship with a 55-year-old homicide detective on SDPD. He also frequently deals with an ambitious younger detective who is focused on climbing the ladder via political connections, and who serves as an antagonist. Once it became known in San Diego that I was the son of a police detective, I received numerous referrals from cops trying to help coworkers advance to the next level. Invariably, the higher the position that the cop was seeking, the more value he placed on communication skills. Conversely, the lower the cop’s rank, the greater the emphasis on physical confrontation. I work those attributes and attitudes into my novels on a regular basis.

Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?

I try my best to control my characters by developing fairly detailed outlines, but they still tend to surprise me. The creative process is just that – a process. Outlining has become a bigger part of my process with each succeeding book. But I never exclude the notion that an even better idea could be right around the corner.

I took guitar lessons five years ago after a long layoff due to injury. My teacher played in a band with Noel Redding of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. He once told me that almost all songs have an “outside chord” that falls outside of the key. Because of that, it’s the most difficult to suss out, but frequently the part of the song that listeners like best. I view new ideas that don’t fit my outline as my outside chords. It’s imperative that I give them serious consideration. I wouldn’t want to ignore something that could prove to be the best part of my story because it didn’t fit neatly into my outline.

If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?

One of the saddest patterns I’ve noticed in my years in the resume writing business is that almost half of my clients sought jobs that they really weren’t interested in doing. They usually pursued those job objectives because they felt it gave them the best chance for earning the most money. Most people never take the time to realize that they bring the drudgery of a bad job home with them every night, and it can have a profound effect on their family life and free time.

If I had to put my finger on one root cause it would be the fact that, as a society we expect 18-year-olds to know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives. About half of the resumes I prepared for people with a college education were for job objectives that had nothing to do with their degrees. Some of the folks who pursued jobs in their field were doing so only because they felt the need to get a return on their educational investment.

My non-fiction book would be directed to the parents of high school students, and aimed at helping them guide their children to career/education decisions that are consistent with the child’s interests and aptitudes, while also factoring in the realities of the job market.

How would you define your style of writing?

I write hardboiled mysteries with a bit of humor. I would describe my style as reality-based. Many of the books that I read in my genre tend to feature a lot of coincidences and “barely-in-the-nick-of-time” climaxes. Yes, I’ve been guilty of the latter on a few occasions, but I try to not make a habit out of it. Just as I do my best to purge my books of clichés, I also try to avoid hackneyed formulas. No one wants to read a murder mystery that has already been done to death.

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

A couple of years ago I gave myself a Saturday afternoon off from my writing schedule to watch my alma mater play football. As I was about to settle onto my couch to watch the kickoff, my mailman dropped off a package at my door. At the time, I had my books in record stores across the country, and as they closed their doors, many were kind enough to return unsold stock. The package I received was about the size of one of my books. I tossed it on my kitchen table and watched the game.

By halftime, I was feeling guilty about slacking off, so I decided to process the return during the break. When I opened the package, instead of finding a returned book I discovered a plaque with my name on it, declaring my novel “Rock & Roll Rip-Off” the 2010 Mystery/Thriller of the Year.

I was shocked. The football game continued to play on my TV but I don’t think I even noticed who won. The recognition fueled my passion for writing and inspired me to do a bookstore and library tour that included relating several classic rock songs to my characters and series storylines. I don’ think I would have put in the time and effort to write and learn and hour-long presentation along with practicing a dozen songs every day for months were it not for the emotional B-12 shot I got from that plaque.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

Several of my high school friends went off to war after graduation. I opted for college instead, but always felt an obligation to contribute in some way. A couple of years after writing the resume manual, I volunteered to write an article for the Military Press designed to help military personnel to make the transition to the civilian world. The newspaper liked the article so much that they talked me into writing a column that appeared in all of their issues for the next two years.

What music soothes your soul?

I’ve always enjoyed both hard rock and acoustic rock. When it’s time for soothing music I turn to Clapton’s blues albums, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, and Jack Johnson, to name a few.

Have you ever played a practical joke on a friend?

When I was in my mid-twenties, I set my alarm for 5:00 AM on April Fools Day. My sister was the target of my ruse. I called and told her I was in Las Vegas, and that I had just gotten married to a girl I met earlier in the evening. For my wedding present I wanted her to break the news to our parents. Despite the hour and obvious lack of caffeine, she went into a rant that lasted 15 minutes. When she finally calmed down enough for me to get a word in, I said to be sure to tell them one more thing – happy April Fools Day! Friends of my sister might be surprised to learn I’m still alive to tell that tale.






Email: rj@rjmcdonnell.com