Posted in authors, books, Christian, fantasy, fiction, God, novels, purpose, writing

James Voris presents The Perfect Daughter

James Vois      James L. Voris

Welcome James to Author Interview Friday. Your story is an interesting one and I am going to let you tell it without my interruptions. Take it away James.

I’m probably going to sound like some weird nut case but I had this story in my head for many years. When I retired, I finally had some time and decided to try to write it. It ended up with over a million characters and I had to trim, trim, trim. The characters took over early on and all I did was write down what they dictated. I found my self laughing with them, crying with them and actually arguing with them. I would often say (out loud) I can’t get you out of this or that situation but low and behold they could, … and did.

My first writing endeavor began as a graphic adult love story with a science fiction twist (The Waters Series – 2 books). That was followed  by to science fiction that developed into four books (Tra$h Man Series). Then a change of genre, to a humorous memoir of my time in the US Air Force as a photographer (Helluva Ride), to a fictional religion based book dealing with the second coming of a messiah, a woman this time. (The Perfect Daughter)
 I am a lousy self marketer of my works. I chose to self publish because I don’t have to answer to anyone and write the kind of stories I like to read. They don’t fit to formula writing and if no one reads them, that’s okay. I’m just not concerned with selling books. I believe I’m a “author” not a writer. Writers write to earn a living and authors write in hopes of being read.
Without a doubt, for me the editing process is the most difficult. Luckily I have several very intelligent friends and the Pine Island Writers group that provided constructive criticism. I’m terrible at grammar and if it were not for computers and spell check writing would be impossible for me. Sorry to say that I don’t follow an outline. I tried to, but with my writing style of letting the characters go their own way, following an outline doesn’t work for me. My characters play in a similar manner to life itself, where despite the best of plans, what the next day brings is often a roll of the dice.
I am probably be the last person to answer any questions about writing as a career. If it’s for your own feeling of self worth then write what comes calling and let it flow. Let your story tell itself and don’t worry about things that are “cleaned up” later in editing.
The Perfect Daughter
 The title of my book is “The Perfect Daughter” You can get it on Amazon at the link below. Briefly, it is a strange twisting chain of events collimating in the second coming of the next Messiah, a woman this time. The product of an immaculate conception virgin birth, Christine brings a message of love and hope for humanity. Her mission is to find and train twelve women to carry on her message as she explores her own human side. (It’s kinda the story I think most people would like to know about Christ and his human side.)
 Here are excerpts from my book.
 (Character talking with God.) Why don’t you show yourself to me? I’d feel less afraid if I could see you.”
 “In all the religions of all the worlds throughout the universe, I made my creations with free will first, and secondly, I gave them an awareness of me. Please, understand this wasn’t so they would worship me. I am not vain. I neither need nor want the whole of creation falling on their faces at altars to sing my praises, or pray to me morning, noon and night ad infinitum. Certainly I never, ever, want sacrifices to me. I would never ask that of my children. The only reason I want my creation to know of me is so they know love, forgiveness, trust, and kindness. I greatest desire is for the whole of my creation to celebrate that. But nearly everywhere across the universe, where their writings proclaim me as their only God, I am assumed of have make them in my image. They often presume that I demand the blood of anyone that doesn’t believe in the religious cultures teachings in this country or that. The same as it is here on your world.”
 “Then, …” I asked clearing my throat and with a little fear in my voice, “ ahhmm … what do you really look like?”
 (Sara’s – [To be Christine’s mother] early introduction into story)
 So, this young woman, who had everything; brains, beauty, talent, and in the prime of her life only months from obtaining her PhD – was lying on the highway amid the cataclysm.
 Each heartbeat spurt from the gaping wound in her neck lessened her chance for continuing life.
 First, she was aware of the tumult, a cacophony of sounds, … sirens screeching, men and women screaming, people running, the deep, heavy rumble, crashing sounds of heavy things breaking and the ground shaking under her. Then the sounds of shattering glass and dogs howling, but it was the screaming and running that frightened her most.
Then she was aware of acrid, black rubber and tar-burning smoke that seared her lungs, stung her eyes and burned her throat.
 Dazed, she rose up on one arm to look through the fog in her mind. The caustic smoke, bedlam and carnage all about her overwhelmed her senses as she tried to understand what was happening. Looking at the ground through a fuzzy haze, she was aware of blood splattering, and the thought flashed through her mind….‘who’s getting blood all over my new, beautiful, yellow, dress, … I’ll have a devil of a time getting that stain out. Who’s doing that, … stop it!’ The blur increased as she grew weaker. The sudden realization struck her that she was the source of the blood. She began to cry as she slumped forward. It grew darker and she felt sick as the chill overcame her.
 (First meeting with 25 of the top world religious leaders  to show the proof of the divine miracle of virgin birth.)
 By the time they entered the vault room Keith had another lighting pack set up. There were twenty-five cases stacked. There were also comfortable chairs for those gathered to sit in. Robert stepped forward at this point and addressed the group. “This ‘proof’, is by far the most unbelievable of all. I’m a medical doctor and I had doubts, even though it was my own daughter, so rather than bore you with my story I’ll just show you the proof.” Robert gave a visual presentation of every record, the entire CT scans, Sonograms, MRIs, DNA evidence, detailing everything he had discovered. He had Sara and Victor tell their story in their own words of what they experienced. At the conclusion he wrapped it up with the statement. “I can’t offer you more proof than this. I’m giving you all the material I have, every scrap of paper, every note, memo, thought. I have to let you now decide what to do with it.”
Thank you James. It has been a pleasure having you on Author Interview Friday.
Posted in authors, books, characters, fantasy, fiction, mystery, novels, sci-fi, Young Adult

Young and fearless, author, Shannon Thomspon


I would like to welcome back Shannon Thompson, who was on Author Interview Friday when I first started my blog about a year ago. This young lady is an inspiration to everyone, and especially to the young people that are contemplating starting into a career as a writer.

Shannon, complete this sentence….. My first ever published piece of writing was November Snow. It was a dystopian science-fiction novel for teens. It was published in 2007, but I hope to re-publish it one day. (It’s still available as a paperback, but I was 16 when it was published. I would love to send it out in the world again.)

How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript? November Snow was completed in 2005, but it wasn’t published until 2007, so two years. I didn’t get published again until 2012, but since then, I’ve had a steady stream, so never give up – it might take a few years, but it’s worth it.

What advise would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript? During your first manuscript attempt, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just enjoy the writing, feel the story, and if it works out – great! – if it doesn’t , that’s okay, too. I believe I wrote two novels almost to the end before I finished November Snow. Sometimes, artists have to create a lot before they finish what they want to share with the world.

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way? Sure! My mother was a writer, so she taught me a lot. After that, I was taken under the wing of T.L. McCown, and then I went to the University of Kansas where I studied poetry, fiction, screen writing, and many kinds of literature.

Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s: My published novels alternate between a boy and a girl telling the story. My upcoming novel that releases March 27 also alternates, but my NEXT novel is only told from one perspective, so I’m excited to share it with everyone.

Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore? Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise in The Timely Death Trilogy would be in the Young-Adult section for sure, probably in paranormal romance.

Do you always write in the same genre? Actually, I’m a firm believer in writers exploring other genres, even if they don’t plan on publishing it, because we learn by pushing through our boundaries.  I’ve written in many genres, and I was amazed that I ended up getting some of my “outside” genres published, such as military fiction and poetry.

 covers for Shannon

Here is her synopsis for her 2nd book, Seconds Before Sunrise

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

Thank you Shannon. I can’t even imagine having enough of my head together to write a novel at sixteen. Good luck in your career. I know you will go far. I expect to see your books to be equal to the Harry Potters and Hungers Games of the world  very soon. Readers, go to her website below to get more information and to buy her books. 


Posted in authors, children, fantasy, fiction, novels, writers, writing, Young Adult

Susan Squires visits Writing Under Fire

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a very accomplished author, with both traditional publishing houses and self-published works. Susan Squires offers a wealth of information about her journey in the literary world.  


Joanne:  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Susan:  I tried to write my first book when I was twelve. It was first person from the point of view of my dog. Got 35 pages on an old typewriter. So writing was always in me. I was a theater major in school and then switched to English literature. I considered a creative writing masters degree, but chickened out. Then life got in the way. I got a Masters in English Literature, and then got a job. The company was growing fast, and I got promoted. Pretty soon I felt stuck. So I started to write on the side. The degree in English literature was actually a problem. I’d spent years being a critic and reading the masters of literature. Anything I tried to write, I just got disgusted with because it wasn’t good enough. What finally got me started was a book I bought that I thought had a great premise. But the execution really disappointed me. I thought, I may not be Jane Austen, but I can do better than that. That freed me from my inner critic long enough to get a book written. It wasn’t very good. But I learned along the way.

Joanne:  Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

Susan: I was first published by a New York Publishing House. My first publisher was Dorchester Publishing. I wrote five books and a novella for them. Then I switched to St. Martin’s Press (a division of McMillan) and published 11 books and two novellas there. I got my first agent at the San Diego State University Writing Conference. They allowed agent and editor appointments, where you got to submit the first seven pages of your manuscript. The agent who read the first pages of my book, Danegeld, offered to represent me. I thought I was in! But she couldn’t sell the book. It was dark and very carefully researched historical paranormal about Vikings and Saxons in Dark Age Britain, when language was changing, and religion, and cultures were clashing. I went on to write the next book, but I loved Danegeld, and didn’t want to let it die. I joined Romance Writers of America, and started entering contests where the finalists were judged by editors. Danegeld won the paranormal division of 11 contests, but it was one I didn’t even win (I think I came in third overall) where the editor from Dorchester who read it bought the book. So, I believe in both writer’s conferences and contests! I often judge contests to give back to others what I was given.

Joanne:  Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indi publisher to a colleague?

Susan:  After 17 books with New York publishers, and being on both the USA Today and New York Times bestsellers lists, I burned out. I’d been working a day job of 50 plus hours a week as an Executive for a Fortune 500 company as well as producing a book on deadline every 9 months for 12 years. I thought I could do it forever. I couldn’t. I was fortunate to be able to take early retirement from the dayjob. But the joy of writing was gone. It took about six months to a year to re-emerge. It was then that I conceived my six book Children of Merlin Series about the big, modern day Tremaine family who have inherited a magic gene from Merlin of Camelot. Each sibling is drawn to another person with the magic gene. With true love comes a magic power. Of course, it isn’t that easy. Each has unique problems to overcome. And there are those who inherited their magic from Morgan Le Fay who become the Tremaine family’s enemies. But I was excited to live with that family and watch the kids grow up. My agent said he could have sold it, if not to New York, where the market is tough, to one of the reliable independents like Montlake or Sahmain. But I looked at having deadlines again, and I didn’t want to do it. So I published them myself. I love it. No deadlines. I have a pretty big mailing list because of my prior career and it’s worked out fine. The first two books in the series (Do You Believe In Magic? and He’s a Magic Man) were the winner and runner up in the Book Seller’s Best Contest paranormal category, which just allowed self-published books in this year. So I’m writing what I want, and getting it out there without having to deal with deadlines and marketing departments. Would I self-publish without having published in New York first? Probably not, if I thought the book had a chance at getting bought by New York. They have great distribution, and they can make your career.

Joanne:  What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Susan:  Synopsis! Without question, the synopsis is the hardest part for me. I started out as a pantster, and we hate synopses. The first three books I sold to Dorchester were already completed when they sold. No problem. That editor bought the next two books off a vague description in a half-page email. But then I went to ST. Martin’s Press. While my editor there bought three books on the strength of one of those half-page emails (and the fact that I had five books published, so I did have a track record), she didn’t want me to do that to her in the future. It was too risky for her. So she structured my contracts so I got paid 50% of the advance on signing the contract, 10% on her acceptance of the synopsis, and 40% on delivery of an acceptable book. Voila! I was not allowed to be a pantster anymore. I learned to do synopses. I even teach classes in how to do it now. But it was painful! Now I will say this—it saves time and pain in writing the book. You never get lost in the middle, or write yourself into a corner, because you have figured it out in advance. And it’s just a fact of life that you deviate from the synopsis if you have to do that to get the book done. It’s like a roadmap, and that can be a good thing.

Joanne:  What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Susan:  Take the time to learn to write well. We’re all so anxious to get our book published that we send it out before it’s ready. I did that. My first book was nowhere near in a shape to be published. I sent it out and got a lot of discouraging rejections. I re-did it (and it still wasn’t ready) and sent it out again. This time one agent said she thought it had hope, and if I’d cut it in half she’d look at it. I didn’t know how to do that, so I never sent it back to her, and got discouraged again. So the other advice I would give you is, don’t stop. Keep plugging away at the craft, and when it’s ready, or the next one you write is ready, keep sending it out. I wasted years in discouragement when I could have been practicing my craft and been published much sooner. (That first book did see the light of day. I reworked it again after I sold Danegeld and the editor wanted to know what else I had in the drawer. He bought it and it was published as Sacrament.)

Joanne:  What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?

Susan:  Waiting for Magic is the third book in the Children of Merlin Series. This one is a little different than the first two books, Do You Believe in Magic? and He’s a Magic Man, in that it follows two members of the Tremaine clan. Keelan Tremaine waits for the promise of true love that will activate the magic in her genes, now that two of her siblings have already found their soul mates and their power. Waiting turns out to be hard. But if waiting is hard for Kee, not having the Merlin gene at all is harder for Devin, the orphan adopted by the Tremaines when he was nine. He and Kee have lived like twins, but now they have to accept that their paths will diverge. Everything is about to change.

Joanne:  Can you share a few paragraphs from your book, Waiting for Magic, to wet out appetite?

A misshapen shadow fell across Kee’s canvas. Her brush, laden with the deep teal she was using for the early November shadows under the pergola, paused in midair. The somber tone of her painting matched her mood today. She might be moving out of her Monet period. The question was, whose style was she moving into? She sighed.

“Those are going to fall off one of these days,” she said to the shadow without turning.

“You always say that,” the familiar deep voice complained. “They never do.”

She gave a reluctant smile and swiveled. In spite of his protest, Devin put his surfboard down on the lawn and hiked up the baggy, wet board shorts from hips to waist, retying the cord. The chill November wind had dried his body on the hike up from the beach, but his longish blond hair was still wet and dark. She refused to ask if he was cold. He always called the weather “brisk,” even if she was freezing. Today she’d bundled up in a turtleneck under the men’s work shirt she used as a painter’s smock, while Devin was half-naked. Salt rime left a wavy line over his tanned chest and shoulders. He had to be strong to surf the big waves and he’d worked hard at it. His muscles were sleek. Like a seal, he seemed to have been born for the water.

Kee turned herself forcibly back to her painting. Somehow the bougainvillea looked like the last bright defiance of the coming winter. She hadn’t intended to make it seem so poignant.

“You just want to give those surfer girls a thrill,” she said over her shoulder.

He snorted and plopped down on the grass. “Like I care.”

“Not for any of them?” she asked, suddenly serious.


Her brother, with whom she’d shared everything since they were nine, had seemed, well, closed off lately. She’d thought maybe he’d finally found a girlfriend. “You’ve got to start dating.” It was inevitable. She’d been dreading it, but he had to move on. He wasn’t a boy anymore.

Everyone’s life would move on, except hers. She was like that mosquito stuck in amber for a zillion years from Jurassic Park. Frozen, still.

Thanks Susan. Readers – here are the links to her website and Facebook pages so you can order her books.  It has been a pleasure to have you on Writing Under Fire’s Author Interview Friday.

Susan’s Website:

Susan’s Facebook:

Do You Believe in Magic Buy Link:

He’s a Magic Man Buy Link:

Waiting for Magic Buy Link:

Posted in authors, characters, conflict, fantasy, fiction, mythology, sci-fi, writers

The evolution of writing with “Seeds” author Robert Messier

I can’t tell you pleased I am to have Robert Messier with us today on Writing Under Fire for Author Interview Friday. Robert and I are close friends and critique partners. We have struggled and sweated through countless revisions on our WIP’s and I think I am just as excited as Robert about SEEDS making its first appearance as an e-book on Amazon. This story begs to make the top seller list. Robert has a unique style and insight into his writing that I have rarely seen. How he manages to combine sci-fi, fantasy, mythology and history and even prophecy into one cohesive compact story amazes me. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Robert Messier. Please take the time to read this great work of art in SEEDS.

Robert Messier

Robert: Thank you Joanne. It is a pleasure to be here and thank you for the kind words.

Joanne: Let’s get straight to the questions. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get you started?

Robert: When I was 14, I would write silly adventure stories for and about my teen friends called “The Born Losers” which was popular. I also felt inspired to write epic poetry tales similar to “Beowulf, Conan the Barbarian and Homer’s Greek myths”. This again was popular with kids but not so with my English teacher Mrs. Keating. LOL

Joanne: Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Robert: I took a class for creative writing and was voted top writer in class at Edison Community College in Florida for my short stories. I majored in English at Nassau Community College in New York and wrote for Think Magazine with both articles on magic and epic pagan poetry devoted to Goddess worship. For personal reasons I ended my association with the magazine.

Joanne: How long did it take you to publish your first manuscript?

Robert: I was fortunate the editor of Think magazine attended my class when I was teaching about “The Power of Music” in a New Age bookstore called The New Moon and immediately wanted to feature me as a writer. As for my first book 100 Years of Thrillers and Chillers, this took three years of handwritten re-writes before learning to type my manuscript and sending it to Rose Dog Books and it got published almost one year later.

Joanne: Do you always write in the same genre?

Robert: No, I just write whatever inspires me at the moment. I like diversity.

Joanne: Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

Robert: Of the three books I have written, two are easy to categorize but “Seeds” combines numerous genres but since it begins and ends science-fiction I suppose it falls in Science Fiction.

Joanne: Are you published through a traditional publishing house?

Robert: My first book was produced by Rose Dog Books, a self-published division of a Dorrance Publishing house in Pittsburgh. For now, Seeds will be available as an e-book on Amazon but at some point I will attempt to get an agent and publish it traditionally because (I don’t want to brag- but) it is a very special story. My third book will not be available until it is re-worked with reggae recording artist Frank Carroll to promote The Unknown Guitarist. It will be a music e-book dedicated to musicians from around the world that are relatively obscure guitar virtuosos.

Joanne: Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indi publisher to a colleague?

Robert: I met an author who had her book self-published by Rose Dog and so I chose them hoping to gain credibility as an author but this method is expensive.

Joanne: Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?

Robert: I like writing in a narrative style but I have not always written in this method…

Joanne: What do you think writers are talking about when they say “finding your voice?”

Robert: I think this is meant to mean is…to write about your passions because if what you are writing is passionate to you then it will excite your reader also. That is what “voice” means I think. LOL.

Joanne: For you, what is the hardest part of the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query, marketing?

Robert: Marketing is far and away the hardest part of being a writer.

Joanne: What marketing techniques do you use to promote your books?

Robert: An author must learn computer marketing techniques such as blogging to reach an audience because traditional publishers now expect the author to promote his own work. Talent is no longer enough. Luck and computer generated promotional skills are required for success. This is the new reality of publishing. On some level it is more difficult to be a successful writer today than in the past. That said if you love to write hang in there but know there are a million other writers to compete against who want success too.

Joanne: What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Robert .If you really believe in your manuscript and abilities as a writer then find a method of publishing that works for you. Whether self-publishing, e-book or traditional publishing with an agent. I’m still exploring all these methods to see what works best.

Joanne: What is the overall premise or theme to the book we are promoting today?

Robert: Seeds is the quest for humanity’s evolution and place in the universe. It is a story of love and growth, history and myth with interesting main characters that evolve along with the world.

Joanne: Can you share a few paragraphs of SEEDS with us?  Also, where can readers purchase the e-book?

SEEDS cover from website

Robert: SEEDS and my other book, 100 Years of Thrillers and Chillers can be purchased on from my Amazon Author page at

If you are not into sci-fi fantasy don’t be afraid to read further because many genres are covered in the 32 chapter novella. It evolves. LOL




Jesse has always been the optimist, thought Lucy.

Watching my brother skillfully navigate our crystal starship down towards the green vegetation and lush flora of the young planet, I felt apprehensive but naughty. This was a mission of observation but Father required some action. Large flocks of birds of various shapes and colors scattered and flew off at our approach. Jesse loved to observe Father’s seeding projects first hand. Our beloved scientist Father called these new worlds the Terraforming Project, but this was one of those worlds that made me wish I had stayed home with Mother.

Ages ago Father discovered this small planet rotating in space lifeless, just another large rock in the universe. It had volcanic activity and great deal of hot carbon monoxide gas caused by excessive meteor showers and other cosmic debris. The planet was a prime candidate for seeding life forms in all its bio-diversity. This would be a test subject for Father’s atmospheric projects to induce and sustain life because of its proximity to its sun. This planet also had the ability to maintain an ocean which could act as a nursery for the development of new life, plants and animals including the humanoid species for which our Father is so fond of.

But this world is so boring. If it wasn’t for Father’s psychological experiments on growth I would never choose to come to this planet at all but I am Father’s favorite child and I did not want to disappoint Him.

I looked outside the viewport of the starship still lost in thought. Last time we were here Jesse formed a bond with these aliens and was eager to see them again. These beings were so unlike the life-forms on the fiery, gaseous world of Tartarus. The humanoid creatures of this world were infantile in mind and weak in body and they just seemed so damn lazy and stupid. All they seemed to do was eat, sleep and shit. Not much different than the animals and the lower life forms. They could not change their shape at will or thrive in extreme conditions. They are limited in intellect and physical form. What is so special about the human beings?

“Did you hear me Lucy? I said it’s time to go!”

Despite Father’s wishes of non-interference, Jesse insisted on communication with these inferior beings. As we approached a clearing in the garden, we could see two people eating fruit naked amongst the trees. Jesse transformed himself into a likeness of the man but since I had nothing but contempt for these lazy creatures I chose to transform into a slithering beast and watched from some bushes.

The man embraced Jesse and they walked off in the distance talking. The female of the species had stayed behind and fell asleep under Father’s experimental tree and since our Father asked, I was obliged to do something about it. Another seed needed to be planted to stimulate growth and quite frankly I did not want this species to become immortal. They are not deserving of the gift. These beings were only flesh and blood. No more, no less. They are not like us at all.

As our starship prepared to leave this world, my good natured brother quips, “I can’t wait to tell Father the Good News. He will be pleased to know the experiment was a success. The human beings had not eaten the fruit from Father’s tree and I for one am hoping Father will let us return to this world someday Lucifer, because there is potential here.”

I hated to be called by my formal name as I smiled in response to Jesse.

“My dearest little brother Jeshua”, I teased, “Wherever you go I will follow.”

In the blink of an eye, our crystal starship quietly flashed into space and we were gone.