Books by Melissa Bowersock

Monday, November 24, 2014

Announcing: Editing Services

I must be a masochist. There aren't enough hours in the day now, but I've just opened up another new business avenue, editing. Why would I do that? Well, over the past couple of years, I've been beta-reading books for friends as well as reading authors unknown to me and I've gotten very good at catching errors. When I've sent said authors my notes on what I found, I've gotten some surprising responses.

"You caught things that got past four other editors!"

"I paid thousands to an editor and you caught many more errors than she did, plus the ones she added in!"

I've always been a grammar and punctuation Nazi. Being such a nit-picky pain-in-the-butt has served me well, and I've been happy to share my annoying habits with friends. After all, I hate to have typos in my own books, and I'm extremely grateful whenever someone brings one to my attention so I can fix it. Most of the authors I've worked with feel the same way. At any rate, after the gracious thanks I've gotten, and with the huge satisfaction of knowing that I've helped polish a book for publication, I finally decided that it was time to offer my eagle-eyes to others. 

But is being a grammar Nazi enough to be an editor? I've been writing, editing and publishing for over 40 years. I have never hired an outside editor for my own books. I do all my own editing with the help of beta-readers who bring fresh eyes to my projects. I won't say I'll catch every error--no one is perfect--but I do a pretty darn good job of hunting them down. 

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, take a look at my web page and check out the trial process I've outlined. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. My goal, like yours, is to produce compelling, professionally-written books. 

We can work together to do just that.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Author Interview: Arlene Eisenbise

Veteran’s Day is such an important day for so many of us, I thought it only fitting that we extend the remembrance a while longer. Today I’m getting to know another fellow Arizonan, Arlene Eisenbise, whose book BIG WAR Little Wars is a YA historical novel about growing up during WWII. I have not read the book myself, but I’m guessing there might be more than a little bit of autobiography in this story. True?

You’ve guessed right, Melissa. The novel is a blend of fact and fiction. I often say that once I write something, it becomes fact to me. The experiences that the character Raymie endured in the story were those told to me by a cousin who served during World War II. He was a sharpshooter sent on a secret assignment as the war ended. None of his loved ones knew where he was or whether he was alive or not. Eight of my cousins served in that war, but I was advised by editors to cut the number because no one would believe they all came home.

That is a pretty amazing stat, and yes, might be hard to believe if people did not know it was true.

There are other fact-based accounts in the novel. The case of the waiting wife, for example, who learns her soldier husband has fallen in love with another woman in a foreign country. Such conflicts on the home front are the Little Wars in the title. The BIG WAR, of course, was World War II.

Can you give us a capsule description of the story? I’m wondering what messages you may have buried in the book for kids (or readers) to remember or discover on their own? This kind of war seems so distant to most of us, both in place and time, that it’s hard to imagine what it was like, both for the people who were directly involved and for the people back home.

It’s vitally important, in my opinion, that all ages are aware of what a war involving the world means. My favorite quote from the book is on the back cover: “Daddy said that nobody really wins a war. They only make it look that way.” I encourage envisioning peace.

I’ve heard from readers aged thirteen to ninety-one who have read or are currently reading the book. Each age discovers something different. Older readers are reminded of a time of great patriotism and/or they relive their personal experiences. One fifty-year-old reader stated she didn’t know her parents had experienced such times. And many readers say their relative who served never talked about their war-time experiences. Younger readers are studying World War II in school and characters in a novel can bring history alive for them. I claim on my website that this is a story for all ages, and that appears to be true.

There's nothing better than telling a story that can be viewed through the lenses of people of all ages. Each generation brings its own experiences to the story, enlarging on it. It is truly a world story.

The story is of a very real time in our history. Most people made sacrifices and did what was required for a common cause. The Great Depression left families desperate—penniless, hungry, and threadbare. Suddenly, there was big money to be made in the war plants. That often meant relocation so trailer camps sprang up near the cities. The novel is set in such a camp in a Milwaukee, WI, suburb. The camps provided space for those taking advantage of the employment opportunities. Camps were also a stop-over for the colorful transients passing through, those following their own dreams.
The story unfolds through the eyes of teenager Milla Jaeger. Her family resides in what her mother labeled “a 6X14 foot cracker box on wheels.” Dreams are placed on hold. Earnings are high but items the money would buy are rationed. And yet terms such as “for the war effort” and “we have to make do” were on everyone’s lips. Soon after the bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor, five of Milla’s cousins left for European battlefields. Milla’s deep concern is for Raymie; they are connected by a long-kept secret. The secret is not revealed to Milla until her family nearly perishes early one bitterly cold Wisconsin morning. Longing for news of Raymie when the waiting becomes unbearable, Milla gazes on an evening star. She makes a promise—a deal, actually—involving her own love interest. She places it on hold until they learn her cousin’s fate.

Between the red-white-and-blue covers of BIG WAR, Little Wars can be found much more than a story. Included are a Study Guide, a Glossary, and an extensive Suggested Reading section for both books and Internet links. The book can serve as a teaching tool or as a discussion guide.

That's what you call a multi-purpose book! On your website, you have a page dedicated to your PHOTONOPSIS (a photographic synopsis of the story). So many of the photos there are reminiscent of those in old, black photo albums we all paged through as kids. Are the photos all from your family?

Most of the photos are right out of the 1940s with one or two of them from an earlier time. Many of the photos were probably taken with a Brownie box camera like one of the props I use during my Story-Behind-the-Story presentation about the book. Some of them are family photos, some not.  I had to restrict myself to not give away the book’s ending with too much text accompanying the photos.

I see on your web page that you have two trilogies slated as future releases. In the first, the Crystal Skull series, it looks like you’re combining Atlantis lore with Hopi legend. How is that coming along? How far are you on the three books?

The Crystal Skull books are complete except for the third one about the Traditionalist Hopi. A few of the ending chapters are still to be written. They are a trilogy rather than a series, for they are each stand-alone novels.  I have it on “good authority” that the Atlantean, ancient Mayan, and Hopi cultures were connected.  Readers can choose to believe that, or not.

I don't think it's too far-fetched to believe that so many of the ancient cultures were connected. With as many similarities as there are, it's probably harder to believe each culture came up with similar ideas without contact.

The Lolly Fox series looks like it might be aimed at younger children, and the stories sound like teaching stories. Again, where are you on that series? When can we expect to see the books for sale?

The three Lolly Fox books are targeted for Early Readers. The main character—a red fox—matures in the series. They are stories with subtle Golden Rule messages. Characters for a fourth book, several endearing nocturnal animals, have begged for attention. 

There are no publication dates for any of the other books. For now my energy is focused on BIG WAR, Little Wars. I chose to bring that novel out first because of my original goal to see the book published during my cousin’s lifetime. With amazing help, we did it. Bud is ninety-one and reading the finished product. He’d read an early version many times over.

That is wonderful to hear. I'll bet it was an amazing process for him to be involved in the writing and publishing, to see the story come to life. That's a great gift, for both of you.

It’s obvious that you’re comfortable writing different genres. Which do you enjoy the most? Do you find it difficult or easy to switch gears from one genre to the next?

When characters appear and begin whispering who and where they want to be, it’s time to listen. I get them started and then they take over at some point. It was different with the World War II book since it was more factual. My characters are family. The research and writing for each of the books was a totally enjoyable process. Since I only work with one manuscript at a time, there isn’t a problem with switching from genre to genre.

I think our processes are very similar. I, too, get overtaken with a character or a story and everything else falls by the wayside. I never know what genre a book will be until I'm done with it.

What else can you tell us about the world of Arlene Eisenbise?

I can become totally lost between the covers of a book—fiction, nonfiction, biographies, the spiritual. I’m reading The Book Thief for the second time, after seeing the movie twice, because I cannot let go of those characters and the images that take my breath away. I met with teenagers who were studying that rich book set in Germany and did a comparative of the two stories set during the same war but from opposite sides of the Atlantic.

I am a clergy member, have been trained as a Reconnective Healer, have been Vice-President of the Professional Writers of Prescott, served as volunteer for numerous worthy causes, had writings published in newspapers and periodicals. More can be found within the pages of my book or on my website. And . . . every summer I do water aerobics in an outdoor pool.

How can readers find out more about you and your books?

My website contains many “drawers” where much can be learned about me or the books. The site includes a TV interview, newspaper interview, the blog, events, where to buy, and more.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Veteran's Day Sale!

Just in time for Veteran's Day (and maybe some early Christmas shopping?), I'm putting my non-fiction book, Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan on sale for just 99 cents. This is the award-winning true story of a courageous Army nurse and prisoner-of-war who just happens to be my aunt. 

This book was truly a labor of love. I had always heard growing up that my aunt was a prisoner of the Japanese during WWII, but not much more beyond that. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Wisconsin Historical Society had in their archives two scrapbooks that were created by my grandmother during my aunt's time in service, filled with letters, photos, news clippings, telegrams and every other bit of information from that agonizing time. I knew the story needed to be told, and I knew if I didn't do it, no one would. 

I've been hugely gratified by the way this book has touched others. It has garnered several awards and was featured in a TV documentary Our Wisconsin: The Military History of America's Dairyland. Here's a sample of some of the very nice reviews the book has received:

I found the story exciting, surprised by some of the descriptions of conditions and wondered why I hadn't heard this story before. The author has brought out one of the untold stories of World War II--about a nurse. I believe this book will have wide appeal to many audiences including: medical personnel, historians, veterans and anyone interested in good story with a happy ending.--Edward Kelly, Military Writers Society of America

If you like history, true stories, stories of dedication and commitment and humble bravery, you might enjoy this book. During this time of remembering and honoring our veterans, I believe it's important to keep their stories alive. I hope you will join me in honoring all the men and women who have served our country.

Want an autograph to go with your ebook version? You can now get an autograph for any of my ebooks here. It's free!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Author Interview: Amber Polo

Today I’m sitting down with my friend and fellow Arizonan Amber Polo to talk about her new book, Reprinted, Book 4 of the Shapeshifters’ Library, just released in late October. I read the first book in the series, Released, and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I haven’t had time to catch up on the two middle books. (I will!)  Even without reading those two (Retrieved and Recovered), the fourth book was excellent and made a nice wrap-up of the entire series.

First off, Amber, can you give us a quick description of the Shapeshifters’ Library books, then tell us a bit about the latest one.

Amber: Dog-shifting librarians nose to nose with book-burning werewolves. In Reprinted, Chihuahua shifter Pacifico Lopez, a readers' favorite in Released, the first book in the series, now at last has his own book. And his own romance. Richer and smarter than Bill Gates, Pacifico and werewolf book editor Landy Romero track down ebook pirates on a Caribbean island where they discover an e-book thieving sailing vessel called The Cloud, a diabolical book distribution plant, enslaved dog-shifters who hold the secret to the true dog-shifter werewolf history, and an unlikely romance that will shock the dog-shifter werewolf world.

I, of course, would love to see an Airedale as the hero (or heroine) of one of your shifter books; maybe there will be a story for that down the road?

Amber: Sorry about the lack of Airedale characters. Maybe you should write some Airedales into your stories.

Now there's an idea! Okay, I have to ask, where did the idea for dog-shifters come from?

Amber: After I wrote two Arizona romances, I knew I wanted to write fantasy. Fantasy allows an author to tackle subjects and make fun of serious topics not possible in real world stories. I kept seeing werewolf stories, realized dogs and wolves were very close in DNA, so why so few dog-shifters? I’d been involved in the dog world during part of my life. And at the same time I worked as a librarian and always wanted to reveal what happens inside a library. So I decided to put it all together for book lovers and dog lovers.

Did you have it in mind to write a series when you started, or did the succeeding books come organically out of the first?

Amber: When I first built the world, I knew there were many stories. Book 1 Released featured a small town librarian who saves the town from book-burning werewolves, helps free dog-shifters beneath her library from a curse, and falls in love with an Old English Sheepdog. And on the last page shifts into a Golden Retriever. Who knew? Book 2 Retrieved also stayed within the original town but added the archaeological aspect of a mound in the Midwest and a contest between a gentle dog-shifter (a Chocolate Lab named Godiva) and the werewolf Alpha.

You have a huge cast of characters in your Shapeshifters books. One thing I’ve noticed is that, even though you continue the series with most of the characters, it seems like you split off just a few to concentrate on in each book. I would think that would provide a fresher approach to writing the series, rather than the sitcom-style of same characters. Did you find that shifting (pun intended) your focus like this helped to keep the story fresh and exciting?

Amber: In many ways I enjoyed writing book 3 and 4 more than the first two. I think I was able to give the main characters more depth by taking them out of their comfortable settings and putting them in new settings. I also like writing villains much more than I expected. Of course, they are also my comic characters.

In Book 3 Recovered my characters took over and led me across country to New Mexico, naturally chased by villains. I thought that was the end of the series, until my publisher wrote the back cover blurb hinting another book would bringing peace to the dog wolf feud. Then I had to figure out which of my characters could accomplish this. In Book 4 Reprinted I blamed ebook piracy on werewolves, threw in a hurricane, added an author publishing a book, and put a pyramid in the Caribbean. It all came together.

The cover designs on your books are wonderful. Do you have any input into those, or does your publisher take care of that?

Amber: Thanks for noticing my covers. This series is unusual because my publisher lets me work with my own cover designer, the cover goddess Connie Lee Fisher. Definitely not the ordinary case. I’m more used to getting covers that didn’t work. I’ll never forget the cover where the typeface was unreadable and a male stood in water so it appeared his legs had been cut off. I complained and was told the artist could read the  title so I had to live with it.

When you are responsible for your own covers there’s the good – I got to select the dog cover models for Books 3 and 4 – and the not so good – Book 1 and 2 covers are beautiful, but I think the tone suggests dark fantasy, while I  write with a lot of humor. There’s a time when a book marketing professional needs to slap some sense into you. The cover needs to show the genre so readers know what they’re getting.
You also write romance and have one non-fiction. What’s your favorite genre to write?

Amber: I love it all, but fantasy is most fun. I tried writing about my neighbors, but most didn’t appreciate it. Heads in the Clouds is a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and only a few neighbors want to hear about it.

What’s next for Amber Polo?

Amber: I’m still working on the alternative history of dogs and wolves. Did you know Cleopatra was a dog-shifter, faked her death, and had a twin sister who was the Librarian of the Alexandrian library? I also want to bring out what I call my novel of coincidence, following two artists over a twenty year period as they stumble their way back to each other.

You know, I'm a bit rusty on my history, but somehow I don't remember covering that aspect of Cleopatra's life in class. I wonder why?

Upcoming for Amber Polo:

Amber will be having a Book Signing at the Crystal Lattice Gift Shop at 545 S. Main Street, Camp Verde, AZ 86322 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 8. If you’re in the Verde Valley area, please stop by and say hello. Then, she’s on to Albuquerque, NM for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Banquet on November 21. Exciting stuff. We’ll look for a report on her blog.

Thanks Melissa for inviting me to be your guest. See you at Crystal Lattice.

It's been great fun, and I will definitely see you on the 8th. Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?

Twitter @amberpolo 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Author Interview: Melody Clark

Today I’m sitting down with my friend Melody Clark to talk about her new book, Shamus Bead and the Cure for What Kills You. I read Melody’s first book, Shamus Bead and the Clockwork Resurrection Man and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was kind enough to let me get a sneak peek at the new book, and it’s just as good. The first book is available now (click on the book image below) and you can preorder the new book, which will be released on November 14.


First off, can you give us a quick description of the Shamus books?

They are Victorian steampunk mysteries set in the London of Sherlock Holmes, with numerous knowing winks and nods to that subgenre.   The two main characters, Professor Shamus Bead and medical Doctor Jeptha Lawton, are gay men in a relationship, which they must obviously keep hidden.  They would be seen as deeply subversive people by the culture of the times, and yet they are the only ones who are ideally suited to face the plagues of those times, both literally and figuratively.   Professor Bead is chief epidemiologist for the Royal Epidemiological Society.  Doctor Lawton is his supervising partner.  Their Moriarty is death and disease, which were rampant in Victorian England, due to pollution and many other factors.

At one point in my new novel, Shamus is asked what their number one enemy is and he says “ignorance.”  In some ways, I don’t think the US has ever fully escaped the Victorian period.  We’re a big country where ignorance can slip into small places and fester.   Even though Shamus is based in the UK, we’re still fighting the same kind of nemeses here in our country now.   We all repress parts of culture that are vital for us to thrive and survive.  We never know where the cure for cancer will crop up.  We need as many minds from as many different perspectives as possible.  That’s also what Shamus addresses in theme and content.

You’ve created a very caring relationship between these two men, something uncommon now but even more so back in their time. What was it that inspired you to write so fully about these two very different men?

The central relationship is everything in novels.   The characters have to care about each other in order for the reader to care about them and invest in their further adventures.   Many fictional characters are clothed on the page – I mean, they exist as a kind of proper form of who those characters are.  I wanted an honest depiction of their relationship.  As Shamus emerged as a more graceful and delicate persona, Jeptha became even more of a strong and soldierly fellow in my mind.  He had a protected young adulthood, in terms of growing up in English boarding schools, but he was still as preyed upon as Shamus was living in the streets.  I wanted Jeptha to be a full partner, too.  I didn’t want any Nigel Bruce dotty Watson interpretations being made.  Shamus needs Jeptha as much, if not more, than Jeptha relies on Shamus.

 How did you ever get the idea for this cross between Johnny Depp and Sherlock Holmes?

I wanted to write a Sherlock Holmes pastiche as I have had a deep love of the original stories since I was a child.  The legal waters are murky for a Sherlock pastiche, so I set about creating my own character to honor that same tradition.  Shamus Bead the name even suggests Sherlock Holmes.  The name Jeptha Lawton is similar to John Watson.  Shamus and Jeptha live on Orchard Street, which is the name of the street that Baker Street turns into.  There are a few other touches that wink at the reader.   But they are very different and unique characters.

As I’ve written him, Shamus has evolved into a much more fragile fellow than Holmes ever was.   He is even more of an outcast in his own way.  The more I wrote him, the more he became Johnny Depp-like in my mind in terms of the characters Depp plays – that same kind of deeply sensitive outsider with a poetic grace who must deal with the real world while speaking his own language.  Bless them, characters have a life of their own.  They will be what they will be, regardless of our wishes.  They’re like children in that way.

I can vouch for the truth of that. Does Shamus or Jeptha ever surprise you?

All the time.  One incident in the first novel involved a line where Shamus is chided by Jeptha for not bringing the right gun to a gunfight – as if Shamus would have any knowledge of guns.  Shamus says something to the effect that next time he’ll bring his really big gun.  Anyway, as I wrote the ending, I realized Shamus really did have a bigger gun – and I don’t mean that in a phallic sense – and he takes it out to use it.  When Jeptha acts surprised at Shamus wielding the big gun, Shamus says to him, but I told you I had one.  Jeptha replies, yes, but I thought you were joking.  Well, so did I when I wrote the first scene, but Shamus surprised even me.

The books have a very authentic feel to them, both in the writing and in the descriptions of the areas of London. I particularly enjoyed the dialog, as well. What kind of research do you have to do for the period?

I’m a stickler for realism so I research tiny details.  It’s important to me that the language be precise.  Too many Holmes pastiches and novels in that tradition are written in a 21st century North American idiom.   I also want to be accurate to the place and time.  For the new novel, The Cure for What Kills You, I had to do a lot of research about the Victorian London Zoo for what amounts to one brief scene.  I now know more than I ever wanted to know about the Bank of England too. :)  But the mystery fans are very, very canny readers.  They know if you have chops or not.

Do you have more adventures planned for Shamus?

At least three more.  The next one will bring Shamus and Jeptha to the World’s Fair – the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago – or the White City, as it was called.  The original idea was to link infamous Chicago serial killer H. H. Holmes to the Ripper, even though that had been done before, but the DNA test proving Jack the Ripper’s identity put the kibosh on that.  My husband was born and raised in Chicago, in the area H. H. Holmes lived and worked in, so it was his suggestion.  Now I’m having to regroup the idea around the propaganda war between Edison and Tesla, and the irrational nonsense Edison was bandying about to frighten people away from Tesla’s more visionary ideas.  It’s a rich tapestry from which to draw.

Sounds like great fun and full of promise. I'll look forward to that! Tesla is actually very timely these days, so that will make for an interesting story. 

You write across several genres and do both fiction and non-fiction. Do you have a favorite genre, style, or subject?

My father was a racist, I’m ashamed to say, so my siblings and I were sent to private schools to evade his noon day devil, namely busing.  Due to this fact, I learned to read from McGuffey Readers, which are these 19th and 20th century primers created for elementary school learners.  They consist of very serious English language literature – Milton, Byron, and the like.  Partly because of that, I think, I evolved a sort of formal voice in a lot of my work, which has especially served me with Shamus, though I have radiated away from that in later stuff.  I write what haunts me.  I’ll become involved in a group of characters or a theme.

What’s your editing process?

My problem is I overedit.  Pace in plotline is everything for me.  I have written eight page scenes that I cut out to hasten the pace of the plot.  My novels are quick reads because of it.  I have learned to relax a little with my hacking and slashing of verbiage.  This Shamus is a more robust novel than the first one.   I then have a couple of beta readers whose work I greatly respect go over it for me.  Beta readers keep writers from looking like silly putzes.  Anyone who doesn’t use a beta reader is putting herself at a disadvantage.

I can heartily agree with that. Beta-readers save us from ourselves many times. I find that interesting that you would sacrifice so much for the pacing, but I also understand. Without pacing, even the best writing can flounder. 

Do you design your own book covers or do you contract with a designer?

I select the images used, but I have a wonderful designer.

You publish under your own imprint. How did that develop?

I have published professionally in non-fiction and romance genres.  I had two novels with an agent that couldn’t be placed for the same reason most aren’t placed these days – there is simply no market unless you have an established name.  I had always written romance under pseudonyms.  One friend with an established name had no trouble selling her work, but my friend Wendy Rathbone, a very fine writer, couldn’t place her manuscripts either.  That kind of thing.

Anyway, I researched and became very wary of a lot of small electronic publishers.  Many of the supposed companies are author mills that churn out product the way that some people list merchandise on Ebay.  Post 100 listings, sell a certain percentage, turn a profit.   When one of my editors at one of these small epublishers didn’t know a fairly obvious literary reference I used, I became even more concerned.  Of course there are genuine epublishers with great reputations, but there are too many more that are nothing but scams preying on young authors.   What I made on one of my epublished novels in a year amounted to what I have made self-publishing my very first title.   Thus, Melody Clark Books was born.  I named it that because I have a bad memory. :)

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I love mysteries, true crime, science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc.  I’m a fairly eclectic reader.   My Kindle TBR pile is legendary.

We all know how helpful reviews are, especially for indie writers. Do you reviews influence your own reading choices?

It all depends upon the reviewer.  If I read a book a reviewer has recommended and don’t like it, I will seriously kick the tires on any other titles she or he praises.  I’m very wary of the big review places.  Too much covert marketing goes on there – people propping up their friends and knocking competitors.  I generally advise friends to place little stock in reviews of that kind. I rarely believe any Amazon reviews on non-fiction, for instance. I’ll listen to the recommendations of my friends before any review.

What’s next for Melody Clark?

I’m starting work on a series I’m calling CARREFOURS, which may be a YA series.  It’s about a system of villages that are self-sustaining, that generate their own power, food and other resources, that then become the target for big corporations trying to turn them back into consumers.   My main female hero is a strong and resilient young woman named Shaysan.  My hero, Abraham, is from a Kabalist settlement nearby.  Fun ensues.  :)

I’m also finishing up my sequel to A Room in the House of the Ancestors, which is about being an American in a post-American Exceptionalism era.   It was inspired by my own genealogical research.  I went in expecting the typical Heniz 57 conglomeration most Americans expect their history to entail.  Aside from my Cherokee ancestry, I found something very different.  Nearly all my non-NA lines led back to Great Britain.   Of course, the melting pot of cultures that comprise Great Britain and Ireland goes without saying, but I had hoped for a recent Russian nobleman or a runaway slave or something exotic.  All I saw was a genealogy filled with English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh people –– stereotypically American.  My cousins include John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, for instance.   If there’s such a thing as an Uber-Yank, it’s me.

So I began to think about what that means to be a British-American – and many, many of us are.  We don’t even have cultural language for it.  Brits don’t recognize us.  Even Irish-Americans are later-period immigrant descendants. My Irish family came over here as early immigrants or Scots-Irish slaves.  This is something that will become more and more an issue for us as the future unfolds.  The ending of the first “A Room in the House of the Ancestors” completely changed on me – the main character, Eddie, was supposed to kill himself, as a kind of tragic commentary of learning the truth inside the lie.  His family absolutely refused to let me dispatch him though. I kept coming up with dialogue – other writers will know how it is – where they made the case for Eddie’s survival.  So the result has been a somewhat more sentimental universe than I had intended, but I’m having fun with it.  Eddie Lives.

What would you like your readers to know about you?

That I write the best book of which I’m capable of at any time.  A good book is in the eye of the beholder.  Not everyone will like the same writers.  But I do what I can with what I have.

Where can we find out more about you?