Sunday, October 28, 2012

Phil Davis

Interview with Phil Davis            
Author of The Affect of Red

Questions by R. Murry  

1.   Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I was born in Los Angeles, CA and at the age of four my family moved to Laguna Beach, CA which is what I consider my home town. I am the son of an electrical contractor but never really considered following in my father’s footsteps. 

I have always had a creative bent, and as a youth I admired the work of some of the local architects in Laguna. When it came time to go to college I surprised my family and made a turn to music. After two years I decided the hours and the pay were terrible. I came around and returned to architecture and have been on that track since.

I’ve been writing small pieces for as long as I can remember and in 1984 I started expanding a short story that I turned into a complete novel in 1994 (The Red Poppy). I hope to retire from architecture in about five to seven years and spend more time writing, playing golf, and who knows.

2.   Were you inspired by someone or something?
It’s hard to point directly to a single person or entity with regards to inspiration.

Writer’s who have inspired me in fiction are: Pat Conroy, Frank Herbert, Liz Hoban and Leo Tolstoy. Science fiction writer’s who inspire me are: Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, and Sarah Hoyt.

I learned a great deal about the use of language from J.D. Salinger and the beauty of harmony in language by reading the poetry of Robert Frost.

3.   What do you like about writing a story?
Writing is challenging and complicated, it requires tremendous planning, and it demands that you pour your soul out on the page without fear. 

To me, conceiving of a story and then setting up a general plan depicting how it plays out is the easy part. I enjoy expanding the outline, for me this is where my creativity really takes off, and where the story happens.

I love to do research, especially now that I don’t have to wade through the stacks at the library anymore! I guess the architectural training is ingrained as I make sure my facts and descriptions are correct before the work goes out to the public.

4.   Can you tell us about your book?
The Affect of Red is a tragic love story. Robert Jordan and Camille Durran both find themselves victims of failed relationships. Robert is a studio manager for successful engineering firm and Camille is a young attorney in San Francisco. They both have consuming jobs that leave little time for romantic affairs.

Through her normal discovery research, Camille realizes that the plaintiffs in her court case are a front for an international human trafficking operation run by the Russian mafia. She exposes them to the FBI and threats on her life begin. Anxiety and epinephrine become a way of life, resulting in fear and despondency. Her friend, Stacy shakes her loose from her melancholy, but the threat remains.

Camille meets Robert in a bar in San Francisco. She is wearing a red evening dress and she attracts Roberts’ attention. They both quickly realize their connection is a fairy tale of love at first sight. They meet the following weekend in Reno, Nevada for lunch, and then find themselves fleeing from the Russian Mafia thugs who are after Camille.

5.   How did you come up with the story?

The Affect of Red really blind-sided me. I was finishing up my second SciFi novel (Raindancer) and I wanted to take some time off writing. I did make some notes for a new novel, but didn’t plan to act on the notes for a few months.

I think I lasted a week. My wife went to Phoenix for two months to help our daughter through the end of her pregnancy, and I had huge blocks of time to myself. One evening I went back to my notes, looking for ideas I remembered writing for my next work. I had a section titled “Writing Ideas” and I began looking for the notes I made and they weren’t there. Turning a few more pages I found the notes, there were five: Witness protection; Women’s rights; Abortion; Color; and  Human trafficking

These were all powerful subjects, and human trafficking was a cause whose roots disgusted me (and still does today), and an expose appealed to my writing needs. I wanted to write a love story, but a story with more of a purpose, and based on some reality. In my mind, human trafficking made a perfect backdrop for a tragic love story.

I read two other novels about human trafficking, one before and one during the writing process. Both concentrated on the dark side of the subject, and each contained graphic details of the hideous lives these young girls were forced into. I wanted a wider audience and decided to stay within my original plan, and I was off and running.

After a huge research project I finally laid out a general outline, created the characters: Camille Durran, Stacy Babineaux, and Robert Jordan. Stacy became a unifying character that I needed throughout the story, but I still wasn’t sure how to begin.

One morning (at an ungodly hour) I wrote what is now the first Soliloquy before Chapter 1. It has changed little since that first writing, and it was the fuse to the rocket that ensued. By the time my wife returned in late May, I was into the editing phase.

6.   What genre best fits for the book?
Fiction – generally in the crime area.

7.   Are you working on something new at the moment?
Yes. I’m growing as a writer and focusing on character-based stories. I like the subjects of: personal growth, conflict, the subtleties of relationships, and redemption. My next novel is about 75% complete now and is very different from all my previous work. The work goes slower as I’m spending more time marketing and communicating with fellow authors on social media. I’ve projected a completion in early/mid 2013 and still feel it’s a good timeline.

8.   Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
*      Read
*      Write
*      Go on sites like Autonomy and read others work. Solicit other writers to critique your work, and write critiques for them.
*      Put your ego outside and listen to what is said and make adjustments in your knowledge and ability, and to your style of writing, if necessary.
*      Write reviews.
*      Read
*      Write
*      Don’t be afraid to spill your guts on the page.
*      Learn social media / share with followers and other authors
*      Read
*      Write
*      Do it all over again.

9.   Where can people go to read your work?
Both ebooks and paperbacks are available at this site.
My blog: (there are samples here)

10. Where can people go to find you on the internet?
Author Site: (there are samples here)
Twitter: padavis249

11. Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I think I can speak for all the authors I know on this subject.
Readers and fans; please don’t be afraid to send us a note, make a suggestion or request. Even a “Hi, how are you” is welcome. Most of us are spending hours writing and reading, and the break of a friendly voice is welcome. 

If you’re writing a review, let the author know, get more in-depth information about the piece you read before committing to a review. We love feedback and we love providing context with regard to our stories. Writing in a vacuum inhibits growth, who knows, you might influence our next novel.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Highlander

The Highlander, The Rise of the Aztecs Series,      Book 1
        Author Zoe Saadia

Reviewed by R. Murry

      The Highlander is a well thought out historical novel that portrays real people doing what their nation-tribes have done for years.  The main characters are young leaders breaking out into their own predetermined   adventures.
     The elders are determined to control their situations in the world.  The young people (Coyotl, Kuini, and Izrac) rebel that world in their own way to change it for others and themselves.
     Ms. Saadia brings this out in detailed conversations and confrontations that propels this intriguing developed story forward, keeping the reader’s attention.  The reader will not be bored with historical data. 
    The young people are the future and the only names that are important: Coyotle, the emperor’s first born son, wants to change the way things are done – social reform.  Kuini, the great warlord’s son, wants to change breakdown bearers between peoples.  Iztac, the princess, wants to liberate herself and others from their bondage to the way men think.
     Zoe Saadia makes their points clear, using well developed conversations.  Although these young people are not Aztecs, they see common ground in others, where the elders don’t.  Especially Kuini, The Highlander, in his confrontations and communal exchanges with the only Aztec – The Aztec Warlord.  To a point, the Aztec influences Kuini’s decisions. Against the Aztec and his father’s wishes, Kuini becomes a warrior in Coyotl’s father’s army – their enemy.
     In this end is a new beginning for Coyotl and Kuini, which may include princess Iztac. Fate will determine that end.
     Saadia’s novel is an excellent lead in to the next chapter of the lives of these three young leaders.  I for one will continue to read the series, because of the enjoyable read of book #1.  Will you?     

Purchase at

Zoe Saadia

Interview with 
Zoe Saadia

Author of The Fall of the Empire

Questions: R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I was an avid, not to say obsessive, reader of historical fiction since I knew how to read. As a child I was always busy making up my own stories in order to prolong a good book. Curiously, this inclination survived even the difficult teen I was (at those times I was writing covertly, so no one would notice and take me for a nerd :D).
And all the while my other obsession with misunderstood Pre-Columbian Americas kept making me argue with everyone who would dare to say a word “Indian” in my presence, up to the point that people were careful with what they say around me (all the while living on the other side of the globe).
At some point, when I had a few years to myself, to research whatever I liked, and wonderful libraries of places like Berkley at my fingertips, I knew how I would combine both of my passions. Although it took me more than a decade to evolve into a worthwhile author, I’m pleased.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Oh, that would be very difficult to remember. I was busy writing since I was a teenager, and I remember that the first attempt to write a full length novel involved a time traveling into some parts of the Amazon River. I don’t think I ever finished it J

Were you inspired by someone or something?
Oh yes. My official inspiration is James Clavell and his wonderfully epic historicals, bringing to us cultures unfamiliar to the western mind but in the way that did not turning them into artificial or too “western”.
Colleen McCullough and her “Masters of Rome” Series had also contributed to my conception of how good historical novels should be written so as not to scare off the reader with too much history.    

What do you like about writing a story?
I love the way the writing transfers me into a different world. It’s a difficult, very demanding process, and most of the time I’m stressed, working with no breaks, afraid that I won’t be able to bring it out in the best of ways. Still, when I’m finally finished, and after a day or two of breathing with relief, I start missing the excitement, the surge of adrenaline that drives me crazy while working on each story. I guess writing is a sort of an addictive drug 

Can you tell us about your book?
“The Fall of the Empire” the book that Mr. Roy Murry was so kind to read and review, is the last in my “Mesoamerican Saga”.
My “Pre-Aztec” Series dealt with the times when the Aztecs only began to come into the game of powers that kept Mesoamerica on edge for more than a few centuries.
“The Rise of the Aztecs” Series opened the new era, when the Aztecs and their allies began to feel powerful enough to challenge the might of the Tepanec Empire. It ended with the beginning of the revolt, while the balance of powers began to tip.
So “The Fall of the Empire” is the story which brings the whole saga to the closure, uniting both series. One empire is about to fall, while another is about to rise - the Empire is dead, long live the Empire :D.
But, like all my books, this story is about people, historical characters and the fictional ones, people who just might have been existed, helping to make history while pursuing their private goals. A Tepanec trader, a girl who has her own very peculiar agenda, nursing a grudge against no lesser person than the emperor himself, and the conquerors, of course, the Aztec Warlord and his allies and friends, all thrown together in the turbulent times for their homelands and their people, making history, changing their lives . 

What genre best fits for the book?
Historical fiction, definitely!

Are you working on something new at the moment?

Oh yes, I left Mesoamerica for a while, well settled under the raising Aztec Empire.
So now it’s back to North America, to deal with the raising to power Great League of the Iroquois. My new trilogy will be dealing with this historically important event while the first world’s true democracy was being born.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Oh yes. I would advise those people to write. Write, write and then go on writing some more. New authors sometimes tend to forget why they had started to write in the first place, overwhelmed by the crazy world of the social media. I was guilty of this too with my first book, promoting busily, making all the mistakes and dealing with mounting frustration along the way.
Today I know better. Writers write. One book doesn’t turn a person into an accomplished author and the writing process help to keep our sanity in the best of ways.  
Where can people go to read your work?
I have plenty of excerpts and reader-friendly articles, dealing with the relevant history and cultures, on my site

Thank you so much. I’m delighted to be a part of this wonderful blog and I had a great time answering those questions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sarah's Dirty Secret

Sarah’s Dirty Secret
         By Charity Parkerson

Review by R. Murry

Sex is a major part of a healthy human’s life, but most people cannot convey what they did in the process of making love or they won’t say.  We just did it – a ‘70s saying, I know?!

It takes a special person to put into words the manner in which one enjoys that endeavor.  Charity is one of those authors that you tingle while reading her erotic prose.  I read this short story twice and most likely will another time in the future.

Ms. Parkerson takes a man and a woman, puts them in a confined room with a mirror, and the emotions rise to a temperature that is so hot the reader starts to sweat.  At least, I did.  I won’t go into detail, but just say the two individuals enjoyed each other’s bodies after 6 months of built up tensions. 

What they do to each other is tasteful lusting body touching.  They are intrigued with curiosity - he watches her play with herself and her in wanting to consume his manhood.  They both reach their climaxes, which moves the reader to think “What if?”

Sarah’s Dirty Secret is fast pace enjoyment into a world many don’t talk or read about – their lost. We’re only human!

Charity's links in #Interview @ Bubblews: