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Author Archives: bill011942

Our Government Officials Should Read Thrillers

Tom Clancy wrote about our enemies flying an airplane into the Capitol Building long before 911. Whatever the mind can conceive will eventually be done by someone. It’s only a matter of time and opportunity. Rather than listening to the rantings of analysts and pundits. I suggest they read the likes of Khal Hosseini, Henning Mankell, and Veronica Roth, whose imaginations capture a truth and reality more accurate than the tripe they are being fed.

The passionate novelist with a heart for truth can reveal more about what’s happening in the world than the pundit. American writers can educate the Eastern mind about the Western mind. Iranian writers can educate the Western mind about the Eastern mind. How does a person born in Mashhad, Iran, where patience is measured in centuries, understand a New Yorker whose patience is non-existent. Yet through the beauty of the written word, this is possible.

So I say to the senators, representative, and the cabinet members of our Nation. Read great fiction before advising our president, voting on a bill, or adding an amendment. Maybe we would make better decisions.

 https://www.facebook.com/authorbill.wetterman. madnessEBook

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Interview with Laura Popp

An Interview with Laura Popp

Laura Popp is a University of Tulsa graduate with a B.A. in Film and Creative Writing She is a member of the Tulsa Nightwriters and OWFI, a world traveler, and a great friend. Please welcome Laura Popp.

Thanks, Bill! I’m excited to meet your readers.

Rena shot

 

Me, dressed as my character, Rena.

Help our audience get to know you by giving us an insight into Laura. What inspired your sojourns to Malawi, Japan, and India?

Well, it all started with a mission trip to Mexico. That journey taught me that most of the world lives very differently than we do in America, with a high level of poverty and without the freedom we enjoy. Yet the people had such strong faith in God and that He would provide for them. It sounds counter-intuitive, but that divine dependence was their greatest strength. I wanted to trust God like that. So I went to Malawi to make a documentary about various mission organizations, worked at a children’s home in India, and was a missionary in Japan for two years. My goal was and still is to spread the Good News of God’s saving and forever love through Jesus, wherever I go. I do that through serving the people I encounter. Even in Japan, such a rich and powerful country, there’s a lot of hopelessness. The suicide rate is double that of the United States. I had the unexpected privilege of being at just the right place when the tsunami hit, and by God’s grace was able to help a lot of people.

77 girls preparing to work

Cleaning up after the tsunami

I understand you made a YouTube film while in Malawi. Tell us about the motivation behind the film.

I was so moved by the need in Malawi, especially of the AIDs orphans, but I was also inspired by their love for each other and deep devotion to Jesus, despite having nothing. I wanted not only to share the needs of Malawians with those who can help, but also deliver their message of hope and joy to a broken and hurting world. It’s a two-way street. The last thing I wanted was for Americans to see Malawians as victims. They have a lot of problems, and they do need help, but they also have a lot to offer the rest of the world in terms of faith.

kids with crosses

AIDs orphans at VacationBibleSchool in Malawi

So okay, you’re a filmmaker, an author, and a musician. Your creative mind seems to direct your life. What instrument do you play and are you teaching any of these arts to others?

I play a lot of unconventional instruments. One is the psaltery, favored by King David. That’s how the Psalms got their name. I play handbells, too, and just last weekend performed several pieces in a group at a Tulsa-area festival. Two other instruments I enjoy are the fife and Renaissance recorder. I wrote some music for Treasure Traitor. Here’s the theme song: (embed the music file I’m attaching)

As a matter of fact, in May-July of 2012, I was in India teaching at a children’s home. One of the things I taught was recorder, fife, and piano! I also go around to a lot of schools and guest-speak in creative writing and English classes. I’m only successful because of the great teachers I had, so I want to pay it forward.

Before publishing Treasure Traitor, you wrote a series of five novels, Immortals. Describe the world Laura Popp saw in her early years.

Wow, how long do I have? Ha, ha, well, since I was five-years-old I’ve had this universe and cosmic war between the telepathic Hierarchy and elemental Kingdom swirling through my head. The Kingdom started as the “Empire,” governed by the “super sisters,” (now the Lord and Ladies of Light) each with a different power. I envisioned hundreds of stories revolving around these planets and races (and I still do), every one of them connected.

The Immortals, started when I was fourteen, was my first attempt to turn my short stories and sketches into a novel series. The characters, four men and four women, were the last survivors of our neutral planet Earth, and traveled around as a space band keeping the memory of their beloved planet alive through rock ‘n roll music. They were always getting mixed up with conflicts between the Kingdom and Hierarchy and eventually became ambassadors. Suffice it to say, they were a bit hokey, and though I do plan to bring them back in some form eventually, I chucked that idea.

Family portrait

The Immortals, drawn by a friend, Michelle Davis in 9th grade

But there was one character in the series who stood out to me. She was in one scene. Just one. She sold a wedding ring to the main character so he could propose to a Hierarchy girl. This trader was really strange, with a patch over one eye and an ugly back bird on her shoulder. I started to wonder about her when suddenly she said, “The name’s Renagada, and this is my bird Acha. Have we got a story for you!”  Voila, Treasure Traitor was born.

Treasure Traitor reminds me in some respects of Orson Scott Card’s style of plotting. Tell our readers about your interest in telepathy and the reason for naming your race of people “Terrians.” Also, explore how you weave Christian themes into your novel.

I love Orson Scott Card! He’s my favorite author, though he once said that mind powers are “cliché.” Hopefully I’ve found a unique take on telepathy. You see, when most people have telepathic bonds in books, it’s with another person or a “cool” animal, like a horse or a dragon. Something useful. That got me thinking. What if there was a society of people who used their telepathic bonds with animals in battle? But there’s this one girl who gets stuck with the most ugly, annoying, hated creature in the land. So, I decided, Rena has a vulture. Only she loves him despite what everyone else thinks, and that’s what makes her lovable.

As for the Terrians, each Kingdom race was named by the Keeper based on their power. For example, Pyrans can transfer their own heat energy, causing objects to catch fire. Glacians can do the opposite. Terrians can manipulate tectonic plates, causing earthquakes. (“Terra” means ‘earth’ in Latin.) These abilities are adaptations to their environments. Pyrans live in a very hot climate, Glacians in a very cold one, and the Terrians on a planet that is tectonically unstable.  I used Greek and Latin roots because the Keeper of the Kingdom was given a classical education on 18th century Earth. But mostly, this just makes it easier for the reader to keep all the races, powers, and planets straight!

Speaking of Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite things about his writing is how he weaves in his faith. Most of his stories take places in the more or less real world, though, and his references are rather explicit. I wanted to do something semi-allegorical, along the lines of C.S. Lewis and Ted Decker. The words “Jesus” and “Christian” never in the Treasure Traitor books. Rather there’s an unseen ruler, King, who sometimes manifests himself as Prince and Presence. Rena slowly learns about King, his love, and his ultimate sacrifice for his people as she journeys through the Kingdom. Names are also very important to me. There’s meaning behind every character’s name. For example, Charis, which means “Grace” in Greek, teaches Rena about King’s love. In the second book, Salvador (Latin for “Savior,”) teaches her the true meaning of King’s sacrifice and how to live that out in her own life.

For a long time I struggled with whether to be a missionary or a writer. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve seen how my books are an integral part in my overall mission. That being said, Treasure Traitor isn’t “Christian fiction.” Believe me, I tried to sell it to the Christian publishers and they told me it wasn’t explicit enough. I’m just a follower of Jesus who happens to write.

DSCN1018

Writing in India

I think Christian fiction is about values and morality, not explicitness. Seek out other publishers in the future. Where can our readers buy Treasure Traitor—online, in bookstores? And, what marketing are you doing yourself?

A few local bookstores in Oklahoma are carrying Treasure Traitor, and hopefully Mardel’s soon, but the easiest place it get it is on Amazon.com. Right now my publisher is running a special on the Kendal version, only $2.99!  For marketing, besides social media, my website, weekly blog, and blog tours, I speak at a lot of high schools, clubs, and churches. I love to give presentations about Japan and other places I’ve visited. If you’d like to book me as a speaker, you can email me at laurapopp(at)ymail.com!

What’s next for Laura? Will you continue with Fantasy/Sci-fi, or branch out into other genres?

I’m currently working on the next two books in the Treasure Traitor series, An Honest Assassin and Reluctant Rebel. As I said before, there are a lot of other stories swirling through my brain about the same universe, and I want to write all of them eventually, including a graphic novel about Rena’s main nemesis.  I’m about half-way through a nonfiction book about my adventures in Japan entitled Now What, God? culminating with the March 2011 tsunami.

Vikie's Kyra

Kyra, Rena’s arch enemy. Drawn by a friend, Vickie Todd, in 8th grade

Besides that, my dad and I just finished a picture book entitled, “Twas the Age of Augustus,” retelling the Christmas story from Roman eyes. Thomas Nelson is currently considering it. I’m also working on a historical fiction novel set in America during the Great Awakening. My editor told me it could even be called “experimental fiction.” It’s through the eyes of Lucy, a being of pure light forced to relocate from King’s Star before she becomes the evil Keeper of the Kingdom. So it’s connected to the Treasure Traitor story, but it’s a hodge-podge mix of about three different genres. It’s proving to be a challenge to write, but very fun!

Good luck in your future endeavors, Laura.

Thanks, Bill, it was great chatting with you! Readers can check out my website, ljpopp.wordpress.com to see pictures from my travels, contact me, and read the first chapter of Treasure Traitor free!

Final cover

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with J.E. Pendleton

Love of family, automobiles, and history sum up J.E. Pendleton and his writing. Being an auto racing fan myself, I relate to the dreams of individuals pursuing the sport. J.E. and his wife attended the Lexicon conference in Denton, Texas earlier this year where a number of writers brought wisdom and novels about the history surrounding World War II. Please welcome J.E. Pendleton. 

Let’s start off with a personal question. Do you and Nancy often fuss at each other over the time you spend writing? 

First Bill, let me thank you for featuring me in your blog. It is not often that a very successful author like you features a newbie like me. No, Nancy has never been upset over the time I spend writing. In fact, I write in longhand using a fountain pen and spiral notebooks. Nancy then does all the work to interpret my hen scratching and types up the manuscripts. 

How did you come up with the title, The Special?

The Special is the name of the car that is built in the novel.

Your main character, Billy Pendleton, heads to California just prior to the start of World War II. I’m figuring this is a fictionalized Pendleton family story, yes?

This book is fictionalized as are all novels, however my uncle, Billy Pendleton, did indeed hitch-hike to California before WWII just as described in the book.

How does Billy find the funds to make an attempt at building a speed-record breaking car?

The car was built from cast off pieces. The frame came from a wrecking yard for $5.00. The running gear from a donated burned Ford pickup. The engine was originally built for an Indy 500 car, but never used as it wasn’t finished in time. In other words, very little out of pocket money was required to build the car.

Back in those days, a woman associated with racing was a rarity. Tell us about Billy’s love interest.

She was Sally Anthony. Prior to meeting Billy she was surrounded by friends and family that were involved in different aspects of the car business including racing. Once she met Billy, I think mutual attraction took over and working on the car was a good way to spend time with the man in her life.

So far there’s speed for the male readers and romance for the female readers, how does World War II affect the characters’ lives?

WWII was the most significant event of the 20th Century in my opinion. It affected every person on the planet in some way and still affects our lives today. It was no different for our characters. Millions of people were killed, both those in the military on all sides and civilians alike. Our characters experience that loss and deal with the grief. That is a major part of the story.

J.E., what life experiences influenced you to pursue a writing career?

When I was in the third grade, I read my first book, it was about Charles Lindburgh and it changed my life. The book captured me and I felt I was in the tiny cramped cockpit with him as he flew the Atlantic. I had secretly wanted to write a book for decades when I started thinking about the story of The Special. The more I thought about it, the more the story became alive in my head. The characters told me the story, I had to write it in self-defense to keep my sanity.

I understand you’re working on a series based on the events of World War II. Will these be historical short stories?

Yes, Bill, I am working on a series of historical novels, not short stories, about some of the events that led to WWII. Most Americans believe the war started with Pearl Harbor,  others believe it started in 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. I think it began in 1931 in China when Japan invaded Manchuria. My story starts in China in 1933. I hope to continue it through WWII and tell a story not many people know.

What’s next for J.E. Pendleton?

I am actively writing the first book in the series right now. I am about three hundred pages into the manuscript. I am also doing research on the period and have read approximately fifty books on the subject. Needless to say it is an engrossing story and I hope I am able to convey that to my readers through the lives of my characters.

Thanks for sharing with us, J.E.

You’re welcome, Bill and thank you again for thinking of me. It has been a pleasure.

To buy J.E.’s novel, click on the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Special-ebook/dp/B006W09CWO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351693412&sr=8-1&keywords=JE+Pendleton+The+Special On Amazon.com  http://amzn.to/xhAdgs.

To buy my books, click on the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Bill+Wetterman.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with Henry Bodden

 Please welcome Henry Bodden, a man who spent his life photographing and documenting the deeds of valor our veterans performed during World War II. Henry seems a quiet and reserve man, but then we can learn volumes from his writing journey.

Henry, before we discuss In The Footsteps of Valor, tell us a little about your personal life.

Thank you Bill for this opportunity.  From an early age, I have always been interested in history and geography, via movies and books.  I moved to Dallas in June of 1963, and married in October of 1963.  On Nov. 22, 1963, I had a “Forrest Gump” moment when I witnessed the JFK motorcade whiz by just seconds after the fatal shot, with SS agent Clint Hill hanging onto  the trunk of the limo hovering over Jackie Kennedy and a mortally wounded JFK.  I will never forget that sight.  I took a Polaroid photo of Oswald’s rooming house in “63, which was two blocks from our apt. in Oak Cliff.  This b&w photo became my first of 700 photos used in my book, placed in the JFK section some 48 years later. In 1979, I asked my boss for an $8 a week raise to pay some extra bills, offering to do extra work and was refused.  At that moment I determined to work for myself in the future, not to be at the mercy of others, which I did a year later.  In 1991, our family moved to the Cayman Islands and began building a three phase shopping center over the next 8 years, which today is still my “daytime” job which is renting out commercial shops.

What prompted you to take the seventeen year journey you reveal in the book?

In 1994, we visited our son in Germany, who then showed me his scrapbook of “then & now” WWII photos he had compiled.  He took us to Nuremberg to stand in the same podium where Hitler used to stand in at Zeppelin field in front of 200,000 Nazis.  Then to Hitler’s “Eagle Nest” in Bergestgaden for more photos.  It rekindled my interest in WWII and I was hooked.  I was so moved by the opening and closing scenes of “Saving Private Ryan” at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach that I flew to Paris and drove to Normandy to photograph D-Day sites.  On another trip, my son and I retraced the entire Battle of Bulge throughout Belgium & Luxembourg, and onto the Colmar Pocket in the Vosges of NE France.  On yet another trip, we covered Berlin, Remagen Bridge on the Rhine, and again to France to find the exact site in Holtzwihr where Audie Murphy alone held off 6 Tiger tanks and 250 infantrymen for an hour atop a burning tank destroyer.  Now that I was compiling a scrapbook, I wanted to visit some sites in the Pacific.  I took a tour to the Philippines with five veterans of the Bataan Death March and Corregidor which really changed my perspective of what these veterans endured.  I had at this point become passionate about revisiting WWII sites, and my scrapbook was bulging with material.  In March of 2010, I took the ultimate WWII trip – IWO JIMA. My wife and I spent a week in Hawaii researching and photographing where it all began.  It was at this point that I began to realize I need to graduate from an elaborate scrapbook to a book.  From Hawaii, I went to Guam and then for a full day on Iwo Jima with 35 veterans who fought on Iwo.  Iwo Jima is sacred ground to the Marines and the Japanese, as there are still about 12-15,000 Japanese entombed in the caves, and about 200 Americans somewhere on the island.  The Japanese only allow one trip per year, for one day for Americans to visit.  After returning home, I assembled all my photos in chronological order and began writing and researching the narrative for the next 18 months. I had met Hugh Ambrose, author of “The Pacific” and the HBO miniseries of the Marines in the Pacific. He told me that his father, the late Stephen Ambrose who authored “Band of Brothers” said “if you write about history, you must first walk the ground.”  Confident that I had done just that, I wrote my book in a diary fashion.

You write and present the book as a military travelogue with photos, trivia, and history. How many interviews with veterans did you do during you adventure?

I made five trips to Europe with no contact with any veterans, as my focus was more as a “tourist” and not a potential writer.  However, after my trip to Omaha Beach, I asked and was permitted to attend two Iwo Jima reunions in New Orleans and Lafayette, La. with those who fought on Iwo.  I was shown Jack Lucas, the youngest Medal of Honor recipient of WWII, but I felt a little out of place and did not approach him.  He was one of the 27 MOH recipients on Iwo.  Thereafter, I began seeking out and touring with veterans and chronicling their stories.  I drove to Kansas to meet a Navajo “code talker” in the Pacific.  I met Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay and Hiroshima fame, and recently his navigator Dutch Van Kirk.  Also, R.V.Burgin featured in “The Pacific” miniseries.  At the opening of the Pacific wing of the D-Day museum in New Orleans, I was around Stephen Ambrose, Tom Hanks, and President Bush the elder, the youngest Naval aviator of WWII; a Marine on Saipan trying to stop the locals jumping to their death off the cliffs; two Pearl Harbor survivors in Hawaii; one of “Merrill’s Marauders” in the China-Burma theater; some Filipino guerillas on Corregidor, and the list goes on.

Describe some of the most moving places and people you met in your travels.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would walk on the black sands of Iwo Jima, or stand on the summit of Mt. Suribachi at the spot where five Marines and one Navy corpsman planted our flag which was immortalized in a split second snapshot by Joe Rosenthal, and then walk down the Suribachi.  Nor did I ever think I would trek to Holtzwihr, France and stand on that little narrow road where Audie Murphy made his “one man stand” and his grave at Arlington which is the second most visited gravesite next to the Kennedy graves. A few other places were driving the 65 mile Bataan Death March route.  The American cemetery at Omaha Beach is quite moving where 10,000 lay dead breaching Hitler’s fortress Europe.  Standing at Teddy Roosevelt Jr.’s grave and two of the Niland brother’s grave, the real basis for “Saving Private Ryan” at Normandy.  And of course, the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and Ernie Pyle’s grave at “Punchbowl” Cemetery in Hawaii.  George Patton’s grave in Luxembourg.  Standing on the dock on Corregidor where Gen. MacArthur was whisked away by PT boats and onto Australia to escape capture by the invading Japanese.

Some of the memorable veterans I have met and communicated with are Capt. Bob Prince of the Rangers who planned and led “The Great Raid” at Cabanatuan in the Philippines.  His Rangers raided a death camp and rescued all 502 American POWs due to executed the next day, which was the basis for the “Ghost Soldiers” book and movie.  One man on our tour talked extensively about his 62 days in the hold of “hellship” with 700 POW’s en route to Japan.  His account of men suffocating and going berserk in the dark with little ventilation and dying POW’s around him was horrifying.  He weighed 60 pounds when liberated.  US Senator Daniel I’nouye of Hawaii, the Japanese-American who witnessed Pearl Harbor and went on to fame as a member of the 442nd Japanese-American outfit and lost his right arm while earning the MOH in Italy.  I have a letter from him on his Senate letterhead in appreciation for having his story in my book.  I have visited Nadine Murphy in her Farmersville, Texas home about her memories of her brother Audie Murphy.  On our Iwo Jima tour, Cy O’Brien was with us.  He was a combat correspondent on Iwo and was with Rosenthal, Lou Lowery who photographed the first flag raising, and William Genaust who recorded the video of the flag-raisings.  He was killed several days later and is still entombed in one of the many caves.  One of the few Japanese survivors on Iwo (only about 200 of 22,000) was with us and he and the grandson of the Japanese commander – Gen. Kuribayshi – signed my poster in Japanese and English.  I met and was photographed with Marine Corps Commandant James Conway on Iwo also. I met and have Eva Untermann of Tulsa in my book.  Eva and three other Tulsa area people were survivors of Auschwitz as children – about 12 years old.  They regularly tell their stories about the horrors of Auschwitz and surviving Dr. Mengele’s fascination of human experiments on children.  Having visited the crematorium at Flossenberg in Germany, and the Yad Vashem holocaust museum in Jerusalem, I can more appreciate their sacrifice.  I have a framed real “Jude” armband signed by them in my office.  There are so many more, you have to read the book and view the photos.

Henry, I have to admire your journey and the commitment you made. What plans do you have for future projects?

This is a one-time book with no shelf life, written as a tribute to “the greatest generation.”  I don’t really consider myself a writer in the strictest literary sense.  It is more a vehicle for me to take on the road and keep their memory alive through speaking engagements and book signings as they are leaving us. However, I just led a tour to Normandy and Paris and took a slew of more photos and more veterans – some British glider pilots who took The Pegasus Bridge and Americans who were at Sainte-mere-Eglise in the predawn hours of the invasion; finding the actual spot where Rommel was attacked by Allied aircraft which ended the war for him.  I also found and toured his hq in La Roche Guyen on the Seine, so I hope to update my book in the next printing.  When I went to Paris, my book afforded me to meet the manager of the Hotel Meurice, the headquarters of the Nazi high command, the managers at Napoleon’s tomb and the Paris Opera House which Hitler visited on his tour, the manager of the Hotel Scribe bar which was famous for hosting Hemmingway, Pyle, Robert Capa, William Shirer, Cronkite, Murrow, Andy Rooney and Josephine Baker during the liberation of Paris.  This bar also was the debut of the cinema by the Lumiere brothers of Paris.  I also met the manager of the Trianon Hotel in Versailles where Eisenhower was headquartered.

I imagine Veteran’s Organizations and families of World War II veterans are your main market. What avenues are you using to publicize your book?

I have my book on Amazon.com, and through my website www.inthefootstepsofvalor.com.   But I try to attend as many military and veteran events to market the book.  I also do gun shows and craft shows, and am putting together a weekly program to submit to newspapers like a “Believe it or not” syndicated piece.

For me, keeping the sacrifice “The Greatest Generation” made in front of the public is paramount. What would you say to the under forty population to impress upon them the untold sacrifice of those who kept our country free?

In Ken Burns book and documentary “The War” he says WWII was the single most important event in the history of mankind.  This is because it claimed 50-70 million lives, mostly civilian, and touched almost every country on earth.  Major cities were leveled causing untold suffering to those citizens.  Today our freedom is taken for granted, and yet we face instant world annihilation by superpowers with nuclear bombs that are fifty times more destructive than Hiroshima, not to mention these weapons falling into terrorist hands who are not concerned with “mutual destruction.”  The destruction is beyond comprehension to most people, and to those of us who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, we are just recently finding out how close we really were to a nuclear war.  We were at Defcon 2 alert.  I meet with about 15-20 WWII veterans in Tulsa each Thursday from all theaters of the war.  One was circling over Siberia in a B-17 with two hydrogen bombs, just awaiting orders to begin WWIII.  This is why we cannot forget WWII and how close we were to being conquered if the Axis had gotten the bomb first.  Sad to say, the younger generation for the most part know very little about our history or appreciate all the blood shed on Iwo Jima, Normandy, and The Battle of the Bulge, and on and on.  The Tulsa WWII vets have visited for the last fifteen years our schools regularly telling their story to great interest.  I have gone with them and will continue to using my book to keep their memory alive.  “Let time not dim their sacrifice.”

Thank you, Henry, for sharing your amazing story with us.

Thank you again Bill, and I know it was a long response, but it is something I am very passionate about it.  You are doing a great job promoting our fellow Lexiconians.

To purchase Henry’s book, click on this link:

http://www.amazon.com/In-Footsteps-Valor-Henry-Bodden/dp/0984705511/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351350722&sr=8-1&keywords=Henry+Bodden

To purchase my novels, click this link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bill+wetterman&sprefix=Bill+Wetterman%2Cstripbooks%2C222

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with Ken Farmer and Buck Stienke

Ken Farmer and Buck Stienke have achieved more than most, yet remain humble and giving of their time and their talent. Talent breeds confidence, and confidence allows Ken and Buck to give of their talent without worrying someone might try to copy their style. I met them at the Lexicon Conference. Welcome guys.

Thanks Bill, you’re too kind.

With all the acting, directing, and screen writing experience the two of you have, how did the idea of writing novels enter the picture?

In August of 2010, we adapted an epic 900 page novel, Verdict in Search of a Crime, to a screenplay for a friend, John Eastman. When we finished, ten weeks later, we looked at one another and simultaneously said, “Hell, we can write a novel.” So, two months later, we finished the first draft of Black Eagle Force: Eye of the Storm.

Let’s talk about talent and egos. First, to collaborate the way you have in the past, each has to bring his own expertise. Does one of you act as the main storyline writer and the other layers with color and technical expertise, or is the process different?

We both input the storyline, but since we both have military aviation experience, Buck in jets (both military and commercial) and Ken in choppers, it was obvious who handled what. Buck also has enormous knowledge and experience with all types of weapons an ballistics. (he is a gunsmith and owns a large gun store in Gainesville, Tex.) Ken has over 40 years experience as a professional actor and oversees most of the drama/dialogue. But nothing is exclusive.

Second, do the sparks ever fly between you? If so, have you ever drawn blood?

Of course sparks fly, but no blood…yet. We make a concerted effort to leave our mutually enormous egos at the house. Our key to successful collaboration is to be open to criticism and suggestion. We have a mantra, “Never fall in love with your own stuff.” We never hesitate to tell each other, “That sucks”.

Black Eagle Force novels have swept the military fiction genre by storm. Much of your success has been defining and marketing to your audience. Describe your marketing techniques for those struggling reach their markets.

Do we have techniques? Damn if we know. We just do anything  and everything we can to reach our potential audience: Radio/TV/Internet/Newspaper interviews; Personal appearances; Charity events; Book Signings; Libraries; Military Base Exchanges; Conventions; Blog; Facebook; Twitter; Linkedin; Our own web site; Email and never go ANYWHERE without cards and books.  Our friend and NYT best selling author, Dale Brown, posted just the other day that he attended a function and didn’t bring any books or cards…”Bad Dale,” he said.  Provide interesting content on FB and web site for your potential audience in addition to your books. Support other authors, by reviewing their books. If you don’t toot your own horn, rest assured no one will toot it for you. Do something every day to promote your book or yourself. At any event, you have to learn how to be outgoing, make friends and be likeable.

Avid readers are every author’s audience. Still I find the vast majority of authors end up marketing to other authors. Do you have any advice on where to uncover readers in various genres?

Actually, Bill, we avoid marketing to other authors…we prefer to give or trade our books. Call it professional courtesy.  This is part of supporting our profession. As part of the Lexicon group philosophy, we like to “mentor” those who ask for help in writing…especially dialogue and help them promote their books. A lot of people can write well, but can’t SELL effectively. Go where your audience is: if you write children books go to schools; Christian books – church functions, ect. One of our best venues is to hold periodic book signings at banks…that’s where the money is.

Return of the Starfighter has just been released. I understand you have a historical out called, THE NATIONS. What can we expect from the Stienke/Farmer team in the future?

We are currently working on three new novels…simultaneously. Our fourth Black Eagle Force, Black Eagle Force: Blood Ivory, about poachers and pirates. Two more westerns, Haunted Falls (sequel to The Nations) and Trail to Durang (post civil war). We are at 85,000 words on Blood Ivory and expect it to be out by the holidays.

One final question, I know at least one-third of my time creating a novel is spent in research. How much time do you spend on checking the facts, outlining the flow, and general research prep before you write down the words?

Well, one; we don’t do outlines, neither of us is locked into structure. We have a general concept of where the conflict will be…we brainstorm.  Buck and I also often write out of sequence, like a particular event that actually may wind up in chapter 7 and we are working on chapter 2. Go figure. Strike while the iron is hot…never negate the muse. But, we have a start point and then just take off. Research “as we go” because we don’t always know how the story is going to turn out. We kinda turn the characters loose and see where they go. After all it’s the characters that tell the story. Sometimes they surprise even us.

They say to write what you know and Buck and I have a great deal of knowledge on both the military and western genres, but thank God for the internet―there’s no delay in research like in the old days when you had to go to the library and check out beau coup books.  One of us may be writing while the other is looking up information.

Thanks for sharing with us guys. Where can we buy your books?

Thanks much, Bill, for thinking of us. Hope this information is helpful to others. We have four books on our web site, Amazon and elsewhere.

Black Eagle Force: Eye of the Storm

Black Eagle Force: Sacred Mountain

Return of the Starfighter

THE NATIONS

www.blackeagleforce.com

Amazon links: http://tinyurl.com/BuckStienke

                     http://tinyurl.com/KenFarmer

 

To buy my books click on the following link: 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Bill+Wetterman.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with Renee Allen

Today let’s welcome Renee A. author, reviewer, contributing writer for The Examiner and all around great person.  I met Renee at the LexiCon Writers Conference in July of this year and we hit it off immediately.  I’m in the middle of reading Dysfunctional Beginnings  and quite intrigued so far.

Renee, please take a moment and describe your genre to our readers.

I enjoy writing sensually and somewhat graphical material. Therefore urban fiction is my genre of choice.  When I am reading a book nothing is more disappointing to me than to know that an author could have as they say “went there” but shut down their creative juices  in order to appease an audience that didn’t ask them to. My two books called: Dysfunctional Beginnings and I Let All Of Them Come Inside Me are “in your face” stories written for shear entertainment and enjoyment.

Additionally I love writing in the self-help genre, writing relationship and motivational chapbooks.

We all reflect our internal persona in our writing and ficitionalize parts of ourselves. How much of your writing is personal and how much is based on the experience of others that affected you?

Funny you should ask that question, because at least ten percent of my novel could be considered personal because my main character Taylor in Dysfunctional Beginnings reflects some of my weaknesses and strengths. Both of us share an independent spirit and strong will to endure no matter the circumstances. About five percent of the story is based on people whose paths crossed mine on my life’s journey.  The remainder of the story is strictly fictional with a very strong storyline.

Wet the reader’s appetite. Pitch your novel to us.

Both stories, Dysfunctional Beginnings and I Let All Of Them Come Inside Me are meaty stories.

DYSFUNCTIONAL  BEGINNINGS:

At some point we’ve all entertained dark thoughts that might shame us in the light of day. Taylor’s dad, Clint, finds that out the hard way when he crosses an unforgivable line. His wife Delores criticizes him for what he’s done, but a finger’s pointing at her too.

Taylor an innocent child is caught up in the middle of their chaos. As a teen Taylor has to move in with her aunt Delores, who hates her with a passion.  While living there each day is scarier than the one before. Unscrupulous characters are running rampant around the house. Seeking refuge from a false sense of security Taylor finds comfort in the arms of Bobby a regular that hangs out around there. But the relationship ends before it really begins. The love she had for him leaves her heart twisting in the wind. She leaves town to get Bobby out of her head and ends up mixing it up with Mitch, a man that’s brilliant at satisfying the flesh. But a twisted fantasy tears them apart. On the rebound again she becomes the perfect candidate for the insanity a guy name Victor has in store for her.  He shakes her world up so bad that she wants to kill him, but is afraid to do the time. Left with nothing after paying the piper of love she waves the white flag of surrender. But she’s one of loves favorite customers and it wants her to open just one more account. But she feels depleted of the effort it takes to start afresh.  Void of the will to subside a deep depression building up inside her she begins to contemplate the unthinkable. She finds herself pondering rather a dysfunctional beginning, should dictate her ending!

I LET All OF THEM COME INSIDE ME

A series of  very interesting short stories  written specifically for readers that like to read  true to life scenarios.  There’s a lion’s share of pain, deceit, love, adultery, addictions, inspiration and so much more.  Each story was written to peak the readers attention so they’ll hopefully anticipate my future books.

Your profile indicates you are a reviewer for Rambles.net. Inform us about this site and your role in it.

Rambles.net is a popular online reviewing site for music, books, etc. My role is to read authors’ books then write a review of them by giving an honest assessment of the books and appreciating the author’s hard work and creativity.

What writers have influenced your writing?

Authors that have had a major influence on my writing are :  J. California Cooper , Imani True and Zane.

How far along is your short story book called Crossing Love’s Line from being published and what else can our readers expect from Renee A. in the future?

I decided to change the title of my next novel from Crossing Love’s Line to All Kitty’s Ain’t Pretty. It’s a book that is very compelling and written to help raise the awareness of STD’s and AIDS. This is a book that I know will touch the hearts of everyone that reads it.  This book is scheduled for publication in January.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about embarking on a writing career?

My advice to someone embarking on a writing career is absolutely go wholeheartedly after your dream. Don’t treat it like a hobby. There will be naysayers all over the place. Don’t try to prove points to them. You are the captain of your ship. The minute you surrender that stern you weaken your power. Say no and mean it when it comes to dream stealers. Remain humble. Don’t become big headed. Find a mentor to help you get through those days when you feel like you can’t write another  word. And finally remember that someone believed in you. Return the favor.

Thank you so much for sharing with us Renee. I’m looking forward to reading your future work.

Bill I am truly grateful for your generosity.  Please accept my gratitude. May success be yours, you’ve certainly earned it.

To buy Renee’s books, click on the following links.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/175-7144019-2777137?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Dysfunctional+Beginnings

To buy my books, click on the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Bill%20Wetterman

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with T.C. Miller

Welcome T.C. Miller to my blog. T.C.’s writing defines all that is great about military action novels, combining domestic crime plots and national security teams into espionage plots that keep the reader on a roller coaster ride of thrills they can’t get off. He’s a nice guy and a good friend.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Bill. It’s always great to talk with you, and now, your readers!

Like me, you’ve developed more than one successful career. Describe the journey that brought you to writing novels.

I’m not sure how far back to go. I started reading when I was in grade school. My parents split when I was young, leaving my mother to raise nine children with no support. I was the oldest, so the responsibility for my siblings often fell to me while my mother worked. Reading books became an escape to other worlds. I started writing when I was eleven or twelve, and actually had a piece published in the “Toledo Blade” newspaper. It encouraged me to write even more. Unfortunately, much of my early work was destroyed while in storage in the seventies. Although, I’m not sure if much of it would have stood the test of time.

I started doing free-lance work in the seventies, while I was in the Air Force. I was writing newspaper articles, reports, and lesson plans as part of my job, and thought there might be a market in the civilian community. I made contact with a number of advertising agencies in Denver, and started ghost-writing articles, writing ad copy, and doing the copy for corporate brochures, articles, and letters. I made a nice part-time income, until I was transferred to Mather AFB, near Sacramento.

By then, I was teaching martial arts classes, which took up most of my spare time. I still wrote, but it was mostly student guides and hand-outs about Hakkoryu Jujitsu.  I retired from the military in 1993, and took a job travelling the country demonstrating products and home and garden shows, fairs, and trade-shows. (My wife says that we “joined the circus”). It was a fifteen year stretch that left little time for writing, but I picked up some experiences that will show up in my books in the future.

You don’t want to try to rob T.C. Tell us about the art of Hakkoryu Jujitsu and the significance of the name Kiyoshi.

Hakkoryu is a twelve-hundred year old system that includes all aspects of combat and self-defense, including, kicks, throws, punches, joint opposition, nerve-pressure restraints, biting, scratching, and even spitting. Seriously, nothing is off-limits in the style. It is traditional for practitioners at a certain level to have dojo names, usually conferred upon them by their Sensei, or teacher. My dojo name is Kiyoshi, which translates roughly from Japanese as, Wizard, or Magician.

Describe Blackjack Bomber to us and how you came up with the idea.

Mather AFB had an Alert Pad, (remember the Cold War?), that contained nuclear-armed B-52 bombers and in-air refueling planes. I taught handcuffing techniques to some of the Security Policemen at the base, and became friends with them. Casual conversation sometimes turned to the question of how criminals or terrorists would attempt to invade the base and its facilities. I began to formulate the idea for BlackJack Bomber, and was fortunate enough to meet Dale Brown, a New York Times bestselling author of military novels. He encouraged me to finish a novel and submit it to agents. It only took me twenty-four years to do it.

As you and I discussed at the WordWeavers in Bartlesville, promotion and market involve a lot of time. How does this affect your time for writing?

It would be nice to turn the promotion and marketing over to somebody else. As you and I know, it is time-consuming and often tedious. It greatly reduces the time I have to spend actually writing. I do enjoy doing book-signings, though. It gives me a chance to talk with readers, and the feed-back they offer it valuable. I don’t know if readers understand how much power they have in the market. Word-of-mouth is the best advertising, so reviews, even critical reviews, offer support and encouragement.

Are you publishing your own books, using what tools, and what are the advantages and disadvantage?

The internet has opened some tremendous opportunities for independent publishers, both good and bad. I’ve done countless hours of research and figured out a few general truths. First of all, I have a professional editor, Joyce Gilmour, who worked hard on BlackJack Bomber. I found her through my membership in the Military Writers Society of America.  Some writers assume that the “A” they got in college English makes them qualified to edit their material. There are too many other factors to consider, such as style, verb tense, and punctuation. Editing your own work is like a do-it-yourself appendectomy, probably not a good idea. I also turned to the al-a-cart services offered by CreateSpace, a division of Amazon.com. They let me pick and choose what I wanted them to do. Their graphics people created both covers for the book, although I furnished the photo of the B-52 bomber, since using a commercial photo would have cost a lot of money. They’re also doing a lot of the distribution, including Amazon.com, and Kindle. On the other hand, I’m also using barnesandnoble.com, and it will be available on other e-book sites in the near future.

You’re advertising a new novel, Black Star Bay, coming out in 2013. Is the novel a sequel, a standalone #2 in a series, or totally different?

Yes. What I mean is that it is a stand-alone novel, but I also reiterate the highlights of BlackJack Bomber. BlackStar Bay is the second book in a continuing series that follows the exploits of the BlackStar Ops Group.

Looking ahead to the future, what are your plans for your writing career?

Boy, that’s a good question, Bill. I’m really occupied with the BlackStar Ops Group at the moment. I do have a number of other books I want to research and write, including some time travel science fiction pieces. I see myself being busy for at least the next dozen years or more.

Thanks for joining me, T.C. I encourage readers who love action books to pick up Blackjack Bomber. The link is listed below.

Well, again, Bill, I want to thank you for having me on your blog. By the way, good luck with your writing career. I know it’s going great, and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

To buy T.C. Miller’s books click on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/BlackJack-Bomber-BlackStar-Group-Mission/dp/1470098768/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350594663&sr=1-1&keywords=blackjack+bomber

To buy my books, click on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bill+wetterman&sprefix=Bill+Wetterman%2Cstripbooks%2C284

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized