Monday, April 29, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author Lawrence Fisher

Lawrence Fisher, Author

Please welcome Lawrence Fisher, who turned his dating escapades into prose to remind us "to have fun and enjoy life." Although frank, his book  KILL ME NOW!  is filled with humor that "is pointed and slaps the reader in the face with its realism.” When Fisher is not writing about his dates, he works in computers and education. He also holds a personal fitness trainer certification, and currently lives in Tel Aviv.

Don’t miss the excerpt following the interview.

Q: Why did you write KILL ME NOW!?

Lawrence Fisher: It kind of like wrote itself. I went on a date and my friends asked me how it went and when I told them they packed out laughing. I started a blog about amusing or horrifying dates and one reader said that I should start a book and so I did.

Q: Is KILL ME NOW! a “how to” book to help guide men how to pick up women?

Lawrence Fisher: Heavens no! I had no idea what I was doing, so my only guide to readers is to not do what I did. It is simply to show people that the idea is to have fun and enjoy life. One woman told me to my face that I was too fat. At one stage in my life, I would have been deeply hurt by that statement but nowadays, I brush it off and move on. As I say in my book, NEXT!

Q: Is KILL ME NOW! fiction or non-fiction?

Lawrence Fisher: Total non-fiction. These incidents actually happened!

Q: Although this is a book about men “in pursuit” of a soulmate, I discovered that I, a woman, laughed and appreciated the situation as I was reading an excerpt. Did you write your book for men or were you thinking about women readers, also?

Lawrence Fisher: I geared this book towards guys like me who enter the dating world and have no idea what they are doing. They are not going to find anyone sitting on a couch, although in the world of online dating, you do not know. But I found that like you, many female readers get a kick out of seeing the male mindset and of course, I use humor to tell my story.

Q: “Not my usual fare, but I do love humor...and the author hooked me with the book description and title.” How important is humor in telling your story?

Lawrence Fisher: If there is no humor, no story! Simple as that! If I cannot find the humor in an incident, then there is something wrong with me and the incident is not worth talking about. You remember I mentioned the woman who called me fat? I was thinking of adding that as a story and changing Winston Churchill’s famous quote to: “Yes I am fat, but I can diet and be thinner, but you will always be unpleasant.” There is a debate as to whether it was Churchill who made the comment “And you, Bessie, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning, and you will still be ugly.”

Q: How did you come up with the title KILL ME NOW!? 

Lawrence Fisher: It was a nice spring evening when I met, Ms Motor Mouth. Young Lawrence (ok, young at heart...) shaved, showered and perfumed himself up to meet Ms Motor Mouth, who was a blind date, bestowed upon him by a match maker. Yes, yes, you heard it, a match maker. Read my book for sordid details of the awfulness of this period.

So I met Motor for coffee and for the better part of two hours, she did not stop talking. The poor waiter was standing next to her waiting for her to order while she went on and on. The only thing I knew about her soliloquy was that she was complaining about her job. Not explaining, but complaining. Should I have charged her $200 for therapy?

My mind wondered and wandered and I looked up to the heavens for release. Scotty was not available, but the title was born. Thanks Ms Motor Mouth.

Q: “Mr. Fisher's style is personal and he opens his soul for all to see” How do you get readers to care about you, the “protagonist,” in your book? How do you create you as the main “character?”

Lawrence Fisher: I think people care because I am a regular guy, not one of the Hollywood types but a regular Joe, like them. Just someone looking for a mate.

Q: What made you want to be a writer?

Lawrence Fisher: A reader made me become a writer. I never thought I would but I am not sorry I did!

Q: What’s next? How do you envision your writing career?

Lawrence Fisher: KILL ME NOW! will be a trilogy. I am working on the second and third books together. The second will be “How I didn’t meet your mother” and the third will be “Why didn’t I listen to my friends?”

Q: Tell us something about you. Since you no longer have to search for your soulmate (and I trust married life is agreeing with you), what do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

Lawrence Fisher: Supposed to be a secret that I am married, until the second book is published. Well, I happen to love my wife and she likes my book. So apart from being with her, I love reading and of course I have my day job.

About Lawrence Fisher

Lawrence has been out on countless dates in search of his soulmate. Like most people he has found himself in many strange situations. However, he found that he could see the humor in each situation. Lawrence is a single guy in his late 40s. He has worked in computers and education for about 25 years and also holds a personal fitness trainer certification. He currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. Lawrence Fisher spends his days writing software tutorials and his nights in the endless search for the ONE. Will he find her? Or will there be book two out?

KILL ME NOW! is about Lawrence, a man in his late 40s dodging bullets deep in the dating battlefield while searching for the ONE. In KILL ME NOW! Lawrence tries to decode signals of his enigmatic opponent, often resulting in his hasty retreat. Why is she resting her head on her hand? Is she bored? Or is she interested? He finds himself in many humorous situations where he has no idea what he is doing and no idea how to maneuver through the skirmish. Trapped in the epicenter of the courting conflict, the motivating thought that sustains him is his strong belief that somewhere out there, she awaits. Join Lawrence as he painfully stumbles through the mating minefield in search for his SOULMATE while silently wishing that he was elsewhere. Be warned, you will laugh! 


No date again, woe is me! How many of us have sat at home wondering why we don’t have a date? How many of us have gone to a bar to look for a girl, found someone interesting and just froze? What should we say to her? What is a good pick up line? Questions, questions, questions! Help! 
Those of us who know how to use the internet instinctively say, “Google it!” In the search tab, you type in, “how to pick up girls” and hope for the best. You then receive a plethora of websites offering you information from the best of the best. THE experts! Or so you assume. One site says there are plenty of people who are good at picking up girls, but cannot explain their art. If they cannot explain, then what good are they to us? Do they describe which girls are they trying to pick up? What kind of girls were these, real or imaginary?
One night, I decided to try a line from one of those websites. Me, myself and I, the holy trio, decided to go to a bar. A stunning brunette caught my attention as she eyed the crowd. Somehow she managed to avoid eye contact with me. I walked up to the lady, took out my iPhone, and hoped it impressed her.

I read off my iPhone, “Baby, I’m no Fred Flintstone but I can make your Bedrock.” OK, I agree with you. That is a lame line.

She leaned toward me seductively and said, “Go Google again!” Was she being rude to me or not? I still have no idea. I think she had learned the true art of diplomacy, which is the ability to tell someone to go to hell so that he actually looks forward to the trip.

It is very important to make a good first impression. The first impression is vital. It is difficult to correct a bad first impression. Oh, the pressure, the pressure. There is only one chance to do it right!

Going up to a girl at a bar saying, “What is a girl like you doing in a place like this?” will probably earn you a smirk. Not only is the line antiquated, but it seems to work only in the movies, and sometimes not even there. The only time I tried that line, the girl said it was her bar and that I should not refer to it as “such a place”.

Oh, what should I do? What should I do?

The internet provides contradicting information. What's new? When we search for something in our field of expertise, we understand whether it sounds right or not. But if our understanding is close to zero, how can we define what is right and what is not?

Somehow I need to hone my non-existent skills. Somehow I need more practice. Somehow I need experienced friends.

Looking at my friends and hearing their stories, I wonder, does experience really help?

Oh, crap! Kill me now!"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Other Worldly Authors Alex and SJ Byrne

Please shine the spotlight on Alex and SJ Byrne, a mother-daughter team who together wrote the "other worldly" ONCE A DRUID -- just published. Check it out.

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Alex and SJ Byrne are just trying to make their way through the insanity that comes with creativity. Writing is SJ’s passion—life is her must—Alex is the force that brought  this long anticipated novel to light after 17 years in a box.

"By the light of the Lunar Eclipse—let them see!"

There is something seriously wrong in Kirra Munro's head. Besides suffering from amnesia, night after night she is plagued by dark dreams of other worldly rituals and a past she has no right in remembering—or does she?

Psychology professor Cayden McKinnon has the ability to unlock the blockages in her mind, but after one visit things begin unraveling far too fast. 

Time is running out...or has the battle for one woman's soul just begun?

Beyond her heavy eyelids, Kirra knew she was no longer alone. In the darkest shadows a presence had joined her.

The being didn’t breathe. Her sensitive hearing would have detected the slight whoosh of air filtering through the spongy mass of a living lung.

It also wasn’t human—her tongue would have tingled from the imminent promise of a blood offering.

Whatever the thing was, she had never encountered its kind before.

A slight shift in the air to the left alerted her to the creature’s exact position. Part of her wanted to be afraid but her stronger essence knew there was nothing to fear.

A prickling began in the tips of her toes as she pushed the comforting thought into every corner of her brain. Curious about the cause, she stilled her mind and focused on the heat spreading from her feet throughout the rest of her body. Not an entirely unpleasant sensation, it was much like bathing in a gentle wash of warm water.

Once the sensation penetrated her brain she knew all her past actions were being picked apart and judged by the invading heat. Somehow she understood that the being held her life in its hands. Despair saturated the infrastructure of her spirit but ceased almost immediately, leaving a sense of weightlessness at her soul’s core.

“Only the pure of heart can receive my protection—all others perish during the purging.”

The edict slipped into her thoughts like soft feathers turned to a thick warm liquid. Through the haze washing over her reflective process, Kirra sensed her body being lifted off the slab of stone and was unable to resist the movement.

To be cradled against an essence exuding such strength and vitality made her want to cry. All she’d been lacking in her heart flooded her system, choking the breath from her lungs.

“Weep not...”

The voice drifted off into unintelligible murmurings as the shadows behind her eyes turned pure black and Kirra’s thoughts were no more.


Amazon –

SJ Bryne author links

Thursday, April 25, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Suspense Author J. J. DiBenedetto

J.J. DiBenedetto, Author

Suspense author J.J. DiBenedetto brings us a series of novels whose protagonist, Sara Barnes, sees other people’s dreams, including some gruesome murders. As Sara struggles to understand and even act on these dreams, "The tension built over the length of the story and I found myself unable to put it down," said one reviewer. In the four-book series, we see her grow, become a doctor, get married, and have a family - all while dealing with other people's dreams.

When the author is not writing about dreams, he enjoys operas. As with so many of us, he and his wife do whatever his cat says. And, he is a New York Giants fan.

Don't miss the short excerpt at the end of the interview.

Q:  What inspired you to create a character who dreams other people’s dreams --and then build a series with that character?  

J. J. DiBenedetto: The idea just “came to me” – that someone could see into dreams, and then use what they saw there in their waking life to solve a problem.  Then I asked myself, “what problem could someone see in another person’s dream that they’d have to solve?”  That’s where the idea of a killer who committed his crimes without witnesses came from—so the dreamer would be the only witness, and they’d feel compelled to act.

Q: Many of your reviewers appreciate the suspense in your series -- “a lot of suspense that will keep you guessing.” How do you create this suspense for your readers? 

J. J. DiBenedetto:  Mainly by trying to keep everything else in the book more realistic.  Each of the books has a lot of focus on everyday life, whether it’s college or medical school or the everyday ups and downs of a marriage.  I think that heightens the suspense of the dreams and the difficult situations my characters get involved in due to them.

Q: What do you do to help readers care about your characters?

J. J. DiBenedetto: I just try to create real people, with quirks and foibles, and show them in everyday situations that the reader can relate to.  Who knows what any of us would do if we were confronted with a serial killer—but  we all know what it’s like to be up against a school or work deadline, or how to balance family and work, or whether to keep a secret that would hurt a loved one if they knew it.

Q: What makes a hero/heroine?

J. J. DiBenedetto: Unselfishness, most of all.  Putting what’s right, and the good of others, ahead of yourself. 

Q: What makes a villain?

J. J. DiBenedetto: The quality of treating other people as less than you, less than human.  Once you start down that road, there’s eventually nothing you won’t do, if you don’t see the people you’re doing it to as human beings.

Q: One of your reviewers said of your first book DREAM STUDENT, “A bit of paranormal for fans of realism.” How do you create that realism or sense of credibility in books about someone who can see other people’s dreams? 

J. J. DiBenedetto: Basically by making the dreams the only paranormal element—and also by not giving Sara much, if any, control over them.  It’s a lot easier to accept the story when it’s basically the real world, with one small exception.  Also, I think it helps that Sara still has to work out what the dreams mean during her waking hours, and she ends up doing a lot of old-fashioned detective work.  The dreams aren’t a cure-all for the situations she finds herself in.

Q: Is setting relevant to your story? Could Sara dream other’s dreams anywhere, at any time? 

J. J. DiBenedetto: The setting is mainly relevant because putting it in the time and place I did made it a lot easier to create a believable, detailed world for Sara to live in (her college in Dream Student is more-or-less my college with the names changed, for one thing).  The setting of 1989-90 for the first book is also so I didn’t have to worry about Sara and her friends having cell phones or using Google to solve their problems.  But we do see in the later books that Sara’s dreams follow her to medical school, residency and private practice.

Q: Do you write from an outline, or do your characters push you around? (I might be a little nervous that Sara might use your dreams to make you do what she wants!)

J. J. DiBenedetto: I don’t have a formal outline, but I do have a general idea of where the story is going.  But Sara (and some of the other characters!) have surprised me now and then as the books have gone on. 

Q: How important is delivering a message or educating readers in your stories? Or do you write purely for entertainment?

J. J. DiBenedetto: Entertainment is the main purpose, but I also definitely wanted to write about a heroine who was unselfish and courageous and compassionate, and who didn’t make self-destructive choices.  If there’s any message, it’s that those qualities (courage, compassion, hard work) are important and ought to be valued.  I don’t think that’s a message that we see often enough in popular culture these days.

Q: Tell us something about yourself. What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a muse? Do you have any hobbies? Music? Books?

J. J. DiBenedetto: I’m a huge opera fan and I try to go as often as I can.  I read a lot, mostly science fiction/fantasy, and I’m a big sports fan as well.  And when I’m home I do whatever my cat wants me to, since she runs our household!

About J.J. DiBenedetto

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve university, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

The "Dreams" series is James' first published work.

About DREAM STUDENT (Book #1)

What would you do if you could see other people's dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets...without them ever knowing?  

Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who's got a crush on her.

 But when she starts seeing dreams that aren't hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates...and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.

“I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody.  I thought I was done with that once and for all..."
But Sara's not done with it. As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren't difficult enough, she's started seeing the dreamas of everyone around her, again. Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara's hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life...

"I would give anything to take this away from her.  I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself - the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit - rather than see Lizzie go through this..."
As a resident at Children's Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases. But she's about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven't prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people's dreams...

"Why is this so hard for me?  Why am I having so much trouble?  Why do I feel so helpless, so hopeless?  What the hell is wrong with me?"
After tangling with murders and mobsters, not to mention medical school and three years of residency, Sara thought she could handle anything.  And then the police show up without warning at her new office and arrest her for a crime she can't possibly have committed. Sara's confidence, and her grip on reality, is shattered during one terrifying night in jail. 
Now, the very dreams that have endangered her life and driven her to the edge of madness may be the only thing that can help Sara find herself again...


          “You said he opened the trunk.  Were you watching from behind him?”  I try to picture it.  I feel pounding, as though my brain is beating itself against the inside of my skull.  I was in the back seat, but then – I guess – yes.  I was outside. 

          “Yeah.  I see what he’s doing.  I can see the trunk.”

          “Can you see the license plate?”  God!  It’s really hard to focus.  It hurts.  I just want it to stop hurting.  I can see – it’s an Ohio plate.  I can read - I think I can read it.

          “LXG.  L like in large, X like in x-ray, G like in good.  And then three numbers.  One, four, seven.”  I feel a tear fall from my eye.  I want to stop.  I can’t – can’t keep doing this.

          “Are you sure?  L, X, G, one, four, seven?”  Beth’s voice is so calm, so peaceful.  How can it be so calm?  I hate her for that.  What right does she have to be so calm?

          Am I sure?  I don’t – I have to focus.  Focus.  Focus.  “Yes.  Definitely.  I’m sure.”

          There’s a hand on my head, pushing my hair off my forehead.  Something cold – a washcloth?  That’s nice.  That feels a little better.  “You were amazing,” Beth whispers into my ear.  “Really amazing.  I’m proud of you.”

          I can’t make any words come out; none of my muscles want to work.  I think I might have managed a very weak smile, but I’m not even sure about that.  

          I feel a hand on my back, and another on my forehead, I’m being pushed up.  Someone grabs my left hand and puts a cup into it, and some – pills?  aspirin, maybe? – into my right hand.  “There you go.  Swallow those, have a little water,” Beth says.  I follow her orders, and I’m lowered back down.

          “Good.  Now go to sleep.”  I feel lips pressing against mine.  I assume they’re Brian’s.  I hope so…

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