Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eric Thirteen, Los Angeles Director and Producer

film, movie, director, producer, double feature, the birthday massacre, los angeles, hollywood, eric thirteen, la producer director

Today we are interviewing LA-based director and producer Eric Thirteen.

Tell us a bit about your background in film.
It’s weird actually, my background is actually in engineering. I never went to film school. For a long time I thought I’d spend the rest of my life in Silicon Valley writing code. Eventually my dreams started to be crushed by bureaucracy there, and I think I fled to Los Angeles to avoid suffocating to death. Navigating the politics of film became a cute challenge compared to what I was used to.

What first got you interested in directing and producing?
Penn Jillette had written a movie, Adam Rifkin was going to direct it, and they were crowdfunding. I emailed Penn (who I had barely ever corresponded with at that point) and told him I wanted to come to LA and work on it. I dropped everything I was doing, drove to LA and lived on that set. I’d sit next to Adam all day picking his brain and watching him work. I couldn’t get enough of it. The set felt like where I belonged.

You recently re-mastered and re-released a concert film about The Birthday Massacre. Tell us a bit about what originally inspired you to make the film.
That was before I even started work in tech, it was really the first thing I ever did. I was following the band around on tour at the time. It was a big deal that they were finally playing outside Canada. I was documenting it all like a digital pack rat. First it was photos, then video of individual songs. Everyone in the US had waited so long to see them play here that I think we wanted to savor the moments.

I wanted to push that as far as I could and see if I could make a whole multi-angle concert. I was spending everything I had on the tour so there was no budget to do it properly. I ended up cutting together something like the Blair Witch of concert films. I put it together and gave it to the band as a congratulations gift for completing their US tour.

What made you decide to re-release the film?
I made the entire thing on home equipment when it was just becoming possible to do something like that. Getting it cut and distributed online when YouTube was so new was a technological feat in and of itself. I didn’t expect it to get as much attention as it did, and I certainly didn’t know I’d end up working in film. When I got to Hollywood, the first thing I decided to do is remaster it and give it a proper modern release.

Can you tell us what the remastering process is like? 
I went back to the masters and did a new mix in 5.1 surround. Every step of the way, the focus was on detail. Preserving the live sound and feel. The color was never touched in the original release either, so I graded it for the first time. It was a matter of combing through every scene and pushing the colors apart. Getting the skin color away from the fog color so there would be a nice contrast. I’m able to do things today I wouldn’t even have thought of back then.

You’re also are involved with Double Feature, one of the longest running movie podcasts on iTunes. For readers unfamiliar with the podcast, can you describe it for us? 

Yeah, I produce and edit and cohost and the whole deal over there. The aim of Double Feature is to pair two films up every week and talk about why they’re both awesome. If you’ve ever seen a movie and thought “why do people like this so much?” Double Feature kind of exists to answer why. Over time though, more and more people are getting involved with that show. We’ve been getting listeners in on the schedule and everything through Kickstarter every year.

It’s your third year crowdfunding the podcast. What made you decide to go the crowdfunding route? Were you surprised by the response?
Crowdfunding has enabled weirdos to bypass the system and go right to their audience. You don’t need to get the permission of an out of touch middleman who doesn’t understand you or the audience in the first place. It’s the reason we even started podcasting. We didn’t want to convince a radio station to hire us, that never would have happened. You put your stuff out there, and if you can get it to the people it speaks to, they’re going to vote with their dollar. Every campaign is nerve-wracking. At the same time though, it’s incredibly validating once it’s funded. It’s a sort of proof that what you’re doing is worth doing in the first place.

What can you tell us about your next film project?
I’m in preproduction on a short film I’ll be directing in September. I wrote it when I was making the transition out here and going through some nightmarish stuff. It’s my little art-as-therapy piece. We haven’t announced anything yet, but there’s some people on it I’m really excited to work with. We want to take it to festivals and make some new friends.

Relevant Links
Find Eric Thirteen on IMDB
Check out the Double Feature movie podcast

Monday, July 27, 2015

Daniel Wicharz, Online Payment Industry Expert

Today we are interviewing Daniel Wicharz about the online payment industry.

Tell us a bit about your background in online payment providers.
I have worked in the online industry since 2007 and did work for leading companies such as Apple, Google, PayPal and Skrill.

What first got you interested in the field of online payment?

I liked the online payment industry from its very beginning in the late 90s. Buying something from abroad, from other continents fascinated me in that time and I still remember I bought some software abroad and paid with cash on delivery in that time. I thought straight away: there must be a better way to pay for that online. This “dream” became true very quickly.

What’s the most fulfilling part of working in this field?

Since I worked in the republic of Ireland for more than 5 years covering the German market from there I can tell you that working in the field is much more efficient as you get to meet and greet people. Even though we do have video chats and all kinds of tools nowadays nothing beats a face to face meeting and since I am a good driver I make a decent mileage every year to meet our customers on a regular basis. This fosters their trust, boosts sales and helps me doing my job.

For people who aren’t familiar with online payment, can you explain what a digital wallet is?

A digital wallet is basically an online account where you set your favorite payment options. This is usually a credit card, or in some continental European markets an alternative payment option such as direct debit or an online bank transfer.

Most people are comfortable with using services like Paypal and Skrill, but some people worry about security. Are online payment providers as secure as using a credit card at a restaurant?

Well I am sure there is more security online than in a physical location at the POS (point of sale). This is due to the fact that people simply can read your card details “on the fly”. I would compare it to the likelihood of something happening while flying versus driving a car. So after all people are more scared of flying, but it is illogical because it is certainly more secure than driving a car, the same is with using a card online (secured by SSL for instance) instead of physically handing your card over the counter.

Bitcoins are in the news a lot these days. Can you tell us a bit about them? Are they accepted by most online payment providers?

Bitcoin itself is an interesting technology but has not proven that it can get mass adoption. To be honest I am not confident it will ever become as important as real FIAT money, nevertheless it is a technology trend and worth to be observed. Future will tell if there is any benefit to online shoppers or webshops, however I haven’t seen many online companies accepting it yet.

It seems the industry is changing a lot recently, with new services constantly being released. What changes do you see on the horizon?

I am sure that online payments will evolve also to payment options in physical stores and credit cards will become virtual. Meaning: why do I need the physical plastic card, if I can simply use my mobile device which I carry with me anyway? So I am confident we will stick to the card schemes as they are, only the device will be different and cash will disappear at least in the industrialized nations in a short time frame.

With the internet becoming more available worldwide, do you see the field of providing online payment growing? 

Yes to both. The internet is far more than computers, it can and already does replace for instance a paper TV guide in most homes, it becomes mainstream to use applications and as mentioned will also ultimately be the way of payment also in physical locations. I am sure this trend will foster and even expand in the future.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Having all our funds under the control of our bank accounts and credit cards we will have a better payment experience and tackle fraud and crime at the same time. Pick pockets do have a difficult future in a world where no cash exists and fraud prevention tools stop suspicious activities. Also no more money can get lost like in the past when people lost for instance their wallet or purse in public transport. So it benefits the overall society and the individuals.

Relevant Links
Connect with Daniel Wicharz on LinkedIn
Connect with Daniel Wicharz on XING

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brittney Mulliner, Author of Live Again

teen romance, teen mystery, suspense, live again, brittney mulliner, YA mystery, YA suspense, young adult mystery,
Brittney Mulliner is the author of the YA novel titled "Live Again."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a major bookworm! My husband has asked me what I love more, him or my kindle and he didn’t believe me when I chose him first. I have my kindle with me at all times. My motivation to wake up and get to the gym before work is knowing that I’ll have thirty minutes to read while I do cardio. I love becoming so involved in a story that I’m falling in love with the characters, crying with them, rooting for their successes and cringing at their embarrassments.

Describe the plot of “Live Again” in a few sentences.
Live Again picks up where Begin Again left off. We finally know Aubrey’s story and now watch her overcome another huge mystery. She grows a lot and becomes her own person. It’s a coming of age book with the angsts of a teenager mixed with drama and suspense.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
It’s a YA book involving high school teens, but there is so much more to the story and I think adults enjoy it, too.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Aubrey Tate.
Aubrey may seem like she’s a typical spoiled teen, but as you get to know her you watch her overcome things so much bigger than the average girl her age has to face. She’s strong and independent rather than being a damsel in distress.

In the previous book, “Begin Again,” Aubrey was settling into her new life. Now she’s settled in until a note changes everything. Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about this note?

teen romance, teen mystery, suspense, live again, brittney mulliner, YA mystery, YA suspense, young adult mystery,
Author Brittney Mulliner.
This note changes everything in Aubrey’s life from that moment on. Live Again starts just after she gets it, and the drama picks up immediately.

In “Live Again,” does Aubrey experience the same problems with guys as she did in the first book?
She has a few experiences that help her mature. Boys in high school come and go so quickly and she has to deal with heartbreak, but she makes up her mind and follows her heart this time.

Who was your favorite character to write?
I love Gage. He started out as a character that was only supposed to make one appearance in Begin Again, but I couldn’t leave him behind. He was the friend and comedic relief that Aubrey needed.

What inspired you to write this YA series?
I had a dream about a stalker following me and my best friend around our hometown. When I woke up and actually remembered it (which rarely happens) I wrote it down and over the next few days I added more details and it evolved into the story really, really quickly and effortlessly.

 Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
The author that inspired me to start writing is CL Stone. I’m so addicted to her two series! Her descriptions of characters and setting are spot on. Her books made me want to contribute to the world of YA.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
The ideas come very naturally. I actually have the characters talking out scenes in my head like when I’m driving or exercising or grocery shopping, and they usually don’t go away until I write it out. I try to outline and storyboard early on in the process, but characters have a way of taking control and completely changing my plans. I don’t try to keep things going according to my outline because I’ve found it’s harder to force things to go one way than just letting things play out. Writing dialog is easier for me so I usually write out scenes of that then go back to add descriptions and details. My mom is my first reader and has become my sound board for ideas. When I’m stuck I’ll talk to her about the characters and what’s happening and she always tells me to trust my instincts which is usually just what I need.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

I swore I would never give up paperbacks. I love the smell, the feel, and even the sound of turning a page…but I’m a big, fat traitor. Having all of my books with me all the time on my kindle is possibly the single best thing that has happened to me in the past two years.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
My goal is to publish three books a year and hopefully be in a position one day to make writing my fulltime job.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

It can be very isolating. Luckily, I have amazing writing groups that I talk to regularly that help me feel connected to other people in the same situation.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I’m currently writing book three in the series. It will be from Mckayla’s perspective and takes place a few years after Live Again. I’m really excited to tell her story as well as having the readers see what happens with Aubrey.

An excerpt from "Live Again":
“I need you.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, and when they opened he looked down at me. One step towards me was all I needed to throw my arms open and wrap them around him. I was openly crying now and made no moves to cover it up. I was broken, and he knew what to do to fix me.

Slowly his arms wrapped around me, holding me tight. “I need you too, but I can’t stand back and watch you with other guys. I don’t want to give you an ultimatum, but I need to know that you chose me. I don’t want to just be your friend anymore. I want you to be mine, just mine.”
Relevant Links
Visit Brittney Mulliner's site 
Buy "Live Again" on Amazon
Buy "Live Again" on Barnes and Noble

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mirriam Musonda-Salati, Model, Designer, Entrepreneur & CEO

Model, Fashion Designer, CEO of ZBIL a charity Organization, entrepreneur, Footwear, clothing, Accessories, Dresses, boots, Long Sleeve, Maxi Dresses, Shoes, High Heels, Wedges, Flats, Slippers, vest

Mirriam Musonda-Salati is a Model, Fashion Designer, CEO of ZBIL a charity Organization, entrepreneur and long-lived style visionary.

Be Gorgeous Styles by Mimmie is a unique online ecommerce destination that offers an exhaustive selection of fashion, footwear, jewelry, hair products & extensions, health & beauty products, for both men and women.
Zambian Bridge for Inclusive Living (ZBIL) is a non-governmental organization (CBO) that was founded on the fundamental principle of selflessly serving the people with disabilities in Zambia with the ultimate aim of uplifting their social and economic status through empowerment, and helping children who have no parents.

Tell us about your background in the fashion industry.
I have modeled in countless print campaigns, and starred in—and danced—in the music video for MP’s “No Dull Yourself.” And Mista Silva a Ghanaian Artist’s Azonto music video In addition, I worked directly with such events as The Miss Zambia U.K. Beauty Pageant, the Cancer Research Charity Fashion Show and Children’s Charity Fashion Show, which also inspired me to start up my own charity organization ZBIL (Zambian Bridge for Inclusive Living) which I am currently working on and I plan to eventually start a school back in my home country.
Model, Fashion Designer, CEO of ZBIL a charity Organization, entrepreneur, Footwear, clothing, Accessories, Dresses, boots, Long Sleeve, Maxi Dresses, Shoes, High Heels, Wedges, Flats, Slippers, vest

I am actually currently working on starting an orphanage Centre which in turn I pray to God that will turn out to be very successful, it’s my ultimate dream to be able to help those children.

What first attracted you to fashion?

The time I really decided that I was going into fashion, was after I took part in the Beauty Pageant (Miss Zambia UK Beauty Pageant), this was an amazing experience and that I really enjoyed being a part of and what’s more this was for a very good cause as well, so it was like doing something I really love and at the same time giving back to the people.

You’re unique in that you’re a CEO, a model, and a designer, among other things. Do you think having all these roles has given you a unique perspective on the fashion industry?

Most certainly, in that as a young industrialist in the fashion business, I greatly comprehend what my company should offer to the young and ever-changing generation. My fashion background allows me to make sure that the products I am offering is luxurious, affordable and fashionable catering for all members of the society. And also having worked for charity projects, and having an African background gives me all the motivation and dedications I need to go forward with my projects.

Tell us a bit about your work with Be Gorgeous Styles.
Well after taking part in the fashion shows, I figured I love fashion and what’s greater is that I create and design my own clothes and also to let other people experience and look gorgeous in my own fashion designs.

You’re also the CEO of ZBIL, a charity organization. Your designs have received a lot of praise. Can you tell us a bit about your design process?

I believe, it is important to stay updated with the latest trends in the fashion styles in order to achieve real confidence and attractiveness in the middle of a crowd. Anyway, what are the things that embody the latest trends in the stated industry? In order to find the latest changes in the field of fashion style industry, look into the latest models of accessories and footwear that were created for men and women. There are several clothing stores in the market nowadays who can offer new clothing products for all the people in this world.
Model, Fashion Designer, CEO of ZBIL a charity Organization, entrepreneur, Footwear, clothing, Accessories, Dresses, boots, Long Sleeve, Maxi Dresses, Shoes, High Heels, Wedges, Flats, Slippers, vest

But only the Be Gorgeous Styles by Mimmie can offer the best examples of such products to the consumers at affordable prices because everybody should be inspired as a woman, man, kid and teenager, we are all encouraged to look and feel beautiful about ourselves.

One of the things you’ve done at ZBIL is diversified the products, delving into children’s and men’s wear. Why was it important for you to branch out with the company?
Ha ha... ZBIL is totally different, Be Gorgeous Styles is a Fashion Company and ZBIL is a charity Organization, and as for expanding the company it feels good to have to increase the customer revenue and also to give children and Men the chances to experience the beautiful gorgeous clothing by Mimmie. And plus the chance to have extra financial gain couldn’t hurt much. Lol

What do you think are some of the biggest conceptions people have about the fashion industry?
To be honest with you, I haven’t really given it that much thought, I believe people will have their opinions about anything no matter what, and as long as you know you are doing what you love and are very motivated, always do the best you can, people will always be people with their views and opinions.

What are your goals for the next ten years?
Like I said earlier, I my ultimate goal is to make sure that my charity is very successful because eventually I would like to start a school and name it after my grandparents who both passed away about 10 years ago, and to help all the orphan children who needs all the help. As well as helping children I feel it’s important to assist those elderly people who do not have anybody to help with them every day necessities and other assistance they may need mentally and socially.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

 I would like to thank God for giving such a wonderful family and my partner whose is always there to support me when I need support and most importantly I would like to thank you my father for always being such a wonderful man and my inspiration for wanting to work very hard and never give up on my dream.

Outside of my career, I enjoys poetry (reading and writing), Science & Geo, sports, shopping (!) and traveling. I also continue to study the latest psychological and criminological principles & practices, with the goal of ultimately helping to improve our society through the development of new theories and findings.

I also continue to be inspired by my father—who was also a self-starter and a successful businessman throughout his career, ultimately serving as Director & Chairman of Cavendish University and a CEO of KSM Investment Group Company.

Relevant Links

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Faye Hall, Author of Mistress of Purity

misstress of purity, faye hall, historical erotic romance, australian romance, australian author

Faye Hall is the author of the historical erotic romance novel "Mistress of Purity."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in North Queensland, Australia.  I married the love of my life in 2013 (though we met each other over 20 years ago) and between us we have 9 children.  I have been writing romance since I was in high school and currently have 4 eBooks with Red Sage Publishing.

Describe the plot of “Mistress of Purity” in a few sentences.
When Gareth obeyed his father’s widow’s request for him to return to Sarina to collect his inheritance, never could he had imagined he’d find her to be the same woman he’d loved so passionately a few weeks before.  The secrets that Gareth unveils upon returning to his late father’s estate become a near obsession to him, revealing to him not only the truth about Prue, but also the man his father had truly been.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
"Mistress of Purity" has a very intricate web of tales to tell which ultimately joins the lives of all the main characters together through love, lust, lies, deceit and murder.  There is also an underlying love story told between two sub characters which I feel is extremely heartwarming too.

Tell us about the selection of this book’s title, “Mistress of Purity.”
The title came about as more of an idiom than anything else because when the affair between Gareth and Prue first began he did think to set her up as his mistress, indulging in all her innocence.  When Gareth was requested to return to Sarina though and back in the company of Prue he realized the cruel irony that she was in fact his father’s widow and maybe not quite as innocent as he first thought – hence becoming a tongue-in-cheek version of his ‘Mistress of Purity’.

Tell us a bit about our protagonists, Prue and Gareth.

Prue was a wonderful character to create.  She has a soft and vulnerable side to her, but she struggles so much through this book to keep that hidden and portray a very strong front that she is often far from feeling.  She’s also very determined to get revenge on the man who tried to kill her father and is reluctant to let anything get in her way.

Gareth starts off quite a cold character, having held a lot of reluctance to let anyone close to him emotionally.  Because of his abusive childhood, he wants to share little more than a physical relationship with Prue.  As the book progresses though Gareth soon finds he is willing to sacrifice near anything for even an ounce of love from this woman.

All of your books are set in the rural areas of North Queensland. What is the allure of this area for you?
Most of it comes from my childhood.  I grew up in a rural area of North Queensland and was raised on stories and photos of the area and it made me wonder just what it must have been like for my ancestors when they first moved to this country and helped develop the townships.  I also like being able to show that Australia has just as an intriguing and beautifully romantic history as other parts of the world.

Your novels incorporate elements from multiple genres (romance, suspense, mystery, etc). Have you always wanted to write stories with aspects from different genres? Or did this just develop naturally as you wrote?
A bit of both really.  I have always loved romance, be it in books or in the movies, but I have always needed more than just the love story to keep me interested.  When I started to write my own stories I set out to incorporate this ‘more’ in my books but as I kept writing it all kind of took on a life of it’s own.

Who was your favorite character to write?
My favorite character from "Mistress of Purity" to write would undoubtedly be Prue.  She has so much to tell, and so many things she is searching for answers to.  She also has so many sides to her personalities including a fiery, stubborn side that I just loved writing dialogue for.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
A few have.  I have always enjoyed the romance novels of Amanda Quick, but I have equally enjoyed the mystery of Agatha Christie too.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
My editor with Red Sage Publishing, Rosie Murphy, has taught me heaps since my first book was contracted.  Most of all is to try not to head hop too much throughout a book or you risk confusing your readers.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

I’m of two minds about it.  From an author’s point of view I love that eBooks are taking off as it makes submissions to publishers so much easier as everything can be done via email which allows for quicker communication.  It also allows for quicker and more spontaneous sales from readers you might not have reached a few years ago.  But there is always the thing that a writer craves to see their book in print and be able to walk in to a shop and see their name on the cover of a book.  As a reader too I still prefer paperbacks.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
I dislike writing a synopsis.  Honestly my one pet hate.  I can sit and type out a few thousand words a day easily, usually resulting in a near 100,000 script but ask me to condense that into a few paragraphs or a few pages then I usually chuck a hissy fit and carry on like a child as my poor husband would tell you.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Coming up next for me are a few things – I’m currently waiting to hear back about two other manuscripts and I’m about a third of the way through book number 7 – "Lust & Chastity" – my own take on a seven deadly sin and one of the heavenly virtues.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
The first draft of "Mistress of Purity" was written almost 20 years ago.  I wrote it in a matter of three days whilst listening to Fleetwood Mac and eating copious amounts of chocolate.  Since then the manuscript has been rewritten about 4 times until the final product was taken up by my publisher.

Relevant Links 
Buy the Book

Faye Hall Social Media
Check out Faye Hall's website 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Byron Neary, Managing Director of Yougottohaveit Group

dedicated servers, web hosting company, server with /29 subnet, domain registration, yougotthaveit

Byron Neary is the Managing Director of Yougottohaveit Group.

Tell us a bit about YOUGOTTOHAVEIT.
Yougottohaveit was started in 2005 by Byron Neary as a web development company in South Africa. Yougottohaveit expanded to other horizons in 2009 of which hosting was one. As of 2011 we expanded to the United States and Europe and currently have 4 operational data centers in operation.

What kind of dedicated servers does YOUGOTTOHAVEIT offer?
We offer 2 dedicated servers namely Black Core Dedicated and Blue Core Dedicated.

What are the fees per month?
Black Core Dedicated ($170) & Blue Core Dedicated ($280)

Can you tell us a bit about the specifications for each of the dedicated servers?
Black Core Specifications:
Intel Core i7-2600
16 GB DDR3 Memory
2 x 1 TB Hard Drive
1 Dedicated IP

Blue Core Specifications:
Intel Core i7-3770
32 GB DDR3 Memory
2x 2 TB Hard Drives
1 Dedicated IP

Both available with 100Mbit Uplink and 10 TB Bandwidth

How should someone determine whether they should get the black core dedicated or the blue core dedicated?
Black Core is ideal for web applications, email server, webmail, web api services and all general server purposes Windows and Linux based. The blue core is ideal for corporate applications with excess of 100000 Unique Hits per month.

Does YOUGOTTOHAVEIT offer additional IPs with its dedicated servers?
Yougottohaveit offers /29 Subnet for ($29) and /28 ($49) Subnet as well. We are proud to say that all subnets are instantly approved no questions asked.

How many locations are available?
Texas (USA), Cape Town( South Africa), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dallas (USA), available.

Is support available?
Yes, we offer an always available (24/7) support service via a ticketing system and email.

Why should someone use YOUGOTTOHAVEIT for their dedicated server needs over other companies?
Yougottohaveit offers a quick setup time, excellent support and unbeaten prices, with latest hardware.

Relevant Links

Caldric Blackwell, Author of The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf

kindle picture book, children's picture book, free kindle children's picture books, kindle unlimited children's books, wolf picture book, boys pictures books

Caldric Blackwell is the author of The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Northern California, but went to college in Santa Barbara. In college, I studied English and psychology. After writing short stories for a few years, I transitioned to writing children's books. The Enchanted River Race is  my first book. The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf and The Missing Alchemist are my other two books.

Tell us more about your kindle picture book, The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf. 
It's a picture book about a six-year-old werewolf, named Byron, who can't howl. Byron embarks on a mission to learn to howl after being chosen to lead a full-moon ceremony. He learns a lot about howling during his journey, but more importantly, he learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.

What was the inspiration for this story?

The idea came to me while I was doing research as an undergraduate psychology student. I was working on a project that involved playing games and reading books with toddlers. I saw firsthand how important self-confidence at that stage, and I came up with the idea of writing about a six-year-old werewolf who lacks self-confidence.

What made you decide to use werewolves in the plot?
I wanted to do something imaginative. Having werewolves as the main characters adds a bit of a fantastical element to the story. It allows the reader to escape into the story more than they would if I wrote about a six-year-old boy living in New York. It's important to note that the werewolves in The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf are very friendly! They are not scary whatsoever.
What was it like working with illustrator Emma Phillips on the picture book?
The whole process went really smoothly. Emma did a great job of transposing the ideas in my manuscript into beautiful illustrations. We did a lot of emailing back and forth because I was in Louisiana and she was in California while most of the illustrations were being done. She'd send me sketches, and I'd email her back with feedback.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I'm working on a middle-grade series called the Young Alchemist series. The first book, The Missing Alchemist, is already out. I've really been enjoying the experience because I get to work with a more complex plot than usual due to the older target audience.

Anything else you want to add?
Yes, I'm happy to share that the The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf is a Kindle Unlimited children's book, meaning if you're a subscriber, you can get it free!

Relevant Links

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jim Allen, CEO of Appliance Zone

appliance parts, appliance repair, appliance tech jobs, veterans appliance repair, veterans online scholarship

Today we are interviewing Jim Allen, CEO of Appliance Zone, about a scholarship for veterans interested in becoming appliance techs.

Tell us a bit about your background in appliance repair.
I operated an appliance repair business for nearly fourteen years before starting Appliance Zone. I learned a lot about appliance repair and the industry as a whole during that time. I saw a need for a company like Appliance Zone. A company that could supply appliance parts to anyone fast and at a great price. My wife Paula and I incorporated the business in 2008.

Tell us a bit about your company, Appliance Zone.
Appliance Zone was really a family affair from the beginning. After we incorporated in 2008 we started seeing growth. It took a lot of long hours and hard work to get things going and still does today. In 2010 we were recognized as the 3rd fastest growing retailer in the United Stated by Inc. 500. This was a huge honor and was really a reflection of the hard work and dedication at Appliance Zone.

You recently partnered to create a scholarship program for military veterans interested in becoming an appliance tech. What inspired you to offer this scholarship?
The scholarship program was really born out of our desire to do something positive for our military veterans. There is a shortage of high quality appliance repair technicians out there. We knew that if we could get some interested veterans the training needed to be successful in the appliance repair trade, it would be a win/win situation.

Describe the details of the scholarship for us.
Appliance Zone believes that we are truly indebted to our military veterans. This is why we have teamed up with the Samurai Tech Academy to offer a scholarship opportunity for free training to military veterans who have the desire to enter the highly rewarding field of appliance repair.

The Military Veteran Appliance Repair Training Scholarship Program is for the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair Training Course offered through Master Samurai Tech Online Academy. Scholarships will be awarded periodically to qualified applicants, chosen by a committee.

Scholarship recipients will have ½ of their tuition paid at the start of the course, with the remaining tuition costs being reimbursed to the recipient pending completion of the course. The course must be completed within 90 days to fulfill the scholarship criteria for reimbursement.

Applicant must be retired, honorably discharged, active duty, or a member of the National Guard or Reserve.

To apply for the Military Veteran Appliance Repair Training Scholarship Program please go to
Tell us a bit about the process of setting up the partnership for this scholarship.

When we decided to move forward with this program we knew that we needed to partner with a leading appliance repair school so we started at the top. Scott Brown and The Samurai Tech Academy were number one on our list. We contacted Scott with the idea and he was very receptive. After a few phone calls and emails the details were worked out and with input from all sides the website for the program was born.

What are the requirements for veterans interested in applying?
Anyone interested in the applying for the scholarship needs to go to They must be retired, honorably discharged, active duty, or a member of the National Guard or Reserve.

Is the appliance repair tech education program online or at a campus?
The program is entirely online.

How long does the program typically take?

The course must be completed within 90 days to fulfill the scholarship criteria but could be finished sooner than that depending on the student.

How do interested veterans find out more information?

Anything else you’d like to add?
We have seen a good number of applicants already and are in the process of choosing our first round of recipients. We’re anxious to spread the word to more veterans who could benefit from this program.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Scott A. Lerner, Author of The Fraternity of the Soul Eater

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Today we're excited to share an interview with Scott A. Lerner as part of "The Fraternity of the Soul Eater - A Samuel Roberts Thriller - book 3" blog tour.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an attorney and an author. I enjoy movies, good books and snacks. I have been told I am handsome by people who have consumed a great deal of alcohol. I also strive to be kind to pets and plants.

Describe the plot of your new book, “The Fraternity of the Soul Eater,” in a few sentences.
A fraternity on a large Midwestern campus is sacrificing co-eds to an Ancient Egyptian deity. Sam, a small town lawyer, and his friend Bob want to put an end to this evil practice. It turns out the sacrifices are just the start of a far more sinister plan.
Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone going to college for the first time would enjoy this book. It is certainly a must-read for anyone going to the University of Illinois. But any reader who loves a fun, fast-paced paranormal romp will like my book. My friends and relations might also like it. They will at least buy a copy due to social pressure.

For people who haven’t read the first two books, tell us a bit about the protagonist, Samuel Roberts.
Sam is sort of an average guy facing nightmarish situations. He is calm, smart, and willing to do what has to be done. Sam is extraordinarily in that he is willing to put his life on the line to save others, despite having no superpowers. 

Egyptian lore and genetic engineering are featured in the plot of this novel. Have you always been interested in these topics or is this an interest that developed recently?
Yes, I love both topics. What I enjoy even more is the juxtaposition of the ancient with modern scientific techniques. In my day job I sometimes have to cross-examine witnesses as to genetic identification evidence. I do find it fascinating. I am also a little concerned about genetic manipulation in humans going forward into the future. 

How do you think fans of the first two books will respond to this one?
I hope they will enjoy it. It should be a fun read.

Tell us a bit about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

It is just a matter of finding the time to write. I enjoy doing it when I have the time. Sometimes I have to wait for an idea to come but once I get started it gets easier.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
It is hard to try and market a book.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
"The Wicca Witch of the Midwest" comes out around Halloween. Should be spooky fun.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Yes, it is fast paced and fun and certainly worth a look. People can read my blog at they can find my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Camel Press web site or wherever fine books are sold. You can also like me on facebook

Enter a giveaway for "The Fraternity of the Soul Eater"
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