Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 10 Preview: Adra Young

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  Our guest this week is author and teacher Adra Young

Adra Young is a native of Gary, Indiana. She is a Acting Coach, Actress, and Educator. Ms. Young graduated from the prestigious Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Making a conscious decision to further her education, she received her Masters Degree from the University of Detroit. In 2005, Ms. Young wrote her first acting and socialization guide for the youth titled, The Everyday Living of Children & Teens Monologues. Her second book The Everyday Living of Children & Teens Monologues Volume II is a sequel to the first. " Her third and very first fictional read- The Misfits was released via e-book version May of 2013. Based upon tweens attending Vernon Middle School in Michigan, The Misfits takes us into the lives of four great friends that have one terrible thing in common. They were all bullied their sixth-grade year of school and fear that the torment will continue on through out the seventh-grade as well

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Peter Hogenkamp Interview Part 2

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  My guest this week is author and doctor Peter Hogenkamp

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you bring (excluding family, laptop, or writing utensils)?

PH:  Swiss Army knife, sunglasses and a case of Corona (it’s all I have at home anyway.)

We find out the world is going to end tomorrow.  How do you live your last day?

PH:  Climb Everest.

If we were to make a movie of your life.  Who would play the part of you?

PH:  That’s almost unfairly difficult, Andrew. But I am a good sport if nothing else, and I appreciate this opportunity, so I will play along. Since Homer Simpson is animated, I will go with Ty Burrell, the guy who plays Phil Dunphy on Modern Family. I am flattering myself, as he’s funnier than I am, but my kids see the resemblance in the many ways.

Haha, I like to make the questions interesting, fun, but difficult.  Ty Burrell is very funny and I love the Phil Dunphy character as well.

Okay, crystal ball time.  Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

PH:  Living in central VT still, practicing medicine a little less (don’t let my wife see this) and writing a little more. The Jesuit thriller series is going to be five books long, and I want to finish that series and write a few stand-alone novels as well. (And I love to travel and I have lots of hobbies.)

Do you have any questions for me?

PH:  I usually ask the same question in these circumstances, because I believe that our favorite books speak volumes (pun intended) about who we really are. Therefore: What are your top five books of all time?

Hmm, my top five books of all time.  It’s a bit difficult to narrow down, but I’ll give it a shot. 
The Poe Reader, by Edgar Allen Poe.  It’s the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe and he is my all time favorite author.
Four Blind Mice, by James Patterson.  It was one of the most intricate books in the Alex Cross series.
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.  It is a short book but provides focus for authors and artists to strive to be more than just someone going through the motions.
Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks.  It was my favorite book growing up as a kid.  I know most people would figure Harry Potter of Hunger Games to fit in here, but Indian in the Cupboard was the first book that I was really able to get into.
The Phoenix Blade, by Andrew Hess.  I know it’s my own book, but I have read it about twenty times or more between editing, planning the rest of the book series, or just reading for the fun of it.

Where can our readers find you?

PH:  Thanks for asking. My author website is My blog is I can be tweeted at on  Facebook is

Any final words for our readers?

PH:  If you put stories down on paper, you are a writer—and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. What you do with those stories is a huge topic of discussion these days, but writing will always be about the very intimate act of expressing yourself in words. I think a writer should focus on improving his or her craft, as opposed to concentrating on the vehicle carrying the final product. In the end, it is good content that rules the day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Peter Hogenkamp Interview Part 1

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  My guest this week is author and doctor Peter Hogenkamp

Let’s get to know you a little more.  Describe yourself in a hundred words or less.

PH:  In order: Husband. Father. Doctor. Writer. Son. Brother. Friend. Recreational Athlete. Limited User of Adjectives. (Let’s not even mention adverbs.)

You said you are currently a practicing physician.  What made you decide to become a doctor?  How long have you been practicing for?

PH:  I wanted to go to school for creative writing but my late father ‘recommended’ I do something else and write later in life when I had figured things out some. (Good advice, Dad Thanks.) So I went off to Holy Cross College as a physics major, switched to math, and then to Chemistry. My first job was as a chemistry teacher in Salzburg, Austria. I didn’t even apply to medical school until two years after I had graduated from college. I have been practicing for 17 years.

Seventeen years is a long time to be practicing medicine.  So, what inspired you to write?

PH: Reading. The more I read, the more I wanted to create my own stories. When I read my first thriller, an old copy of Alistair MacLean’s Fear is the Key.   It was given to me by my mom’s friend when I was ten-years-old.  I knew I wanted to write thrillers.

I feel thrillers and mysteries are the most intense stories to read.  They really capture the reader’s attention.  Now as I understand, you have a thriller series you’re working on.  Tell us more about it.

PH:   Absolution is the first installment of the Jesuit thriller series. In a sentence, Absolution is the story of what happens when you thrust an intelligent, peaceful man into a cesspool of violence and moral turpitude from which there is no escape.

This sounds good so far.  You already have my attention.  How did you come up with the story?

PH:  The book is built around the main character, Marco Venetti, S.J., a Jesuit priest from Monterosso al Mare, Italy. Once I had finished creating Marco, my next step was to force him to act in a manner that was alien to his training, disposition and experience. I like 007 as much as the next guy, but let’s face it: he’s 007, he’s supposed to kill bad guys. I thought it would be interesting to replace James Bond with his opposite—a Jesuit priest. There was only the matter of how to do this in a plausible way—it struck me one day as I was hiking with my dog—and I was set. The book came very easily after that.

I like books better when they have more of a realistic or plausible feel to them.  I want to know more about Marco.  Tell me about him.  Who is he, what makes him special to you?

PH:  Marco Venetti is a Jesuit priest from the Cinque Terre region of Italy, along the Ligurian Coast. Like many Jesuits, Marco is an intelligent and complex man, but he is somewhat frustrated as well, a frustration the reader can feel even as the story opens in the airless confessional of Marco’s 800-year-old church. Some of his frustration stems from his position as pastor of a dying parish, yes, but his struggles to stay celibate in a non-celibate world don’t help. And the woman he left to enter the seminary is never far from his mind. I suppose that my boyhood love of Indiana Jones played a role in the formation of Marco’s character, and there is some of that archeology professor turned action figure in Marco, but with an added dimension: Marco’s internal conflict about using violence to problem solve that Indiana never had.

Now as I understand, you signed with a literary agency.  How did this come about?

PH:  It was my goal from the very day I finished my first ms. I will never forget getting a positive response (from Josh Getzler) to my very first query letter and thinking, ‘What’s so hard about this?’ Well, I learned the hard way that getting an agent is hard—really hard. Josh quickly turned down my partial ms, and rejections were a weekly if not daily occurrence for months. But there were enough positive responses and nice comments along the way to keep me going. After about a year, I came to the conclusion that my book—although very good—was not good enough to overcome the long odds of gaining representation from a reputable agent. So I shelved it (literally, it’s on my shelf, gathering dust) and moved on to a new idea. But it was apparent to me that I was not back at square one. I had learned much, both in the process of writing and querying, and I realized that I was starting from square 30 or so.

I had much better luck with the next ms, garnering over twenty requests for the full ms. But I still couldn’t break through, until a very savvy agent recommended a number of changes that made immediate sense to me. The irony of the situation is that when I sent her the revised ms six months later she never got back to me. But I didn’t care at that point because the revised ms was well received, ultimately scoring six requests for representation. I could have held out for two more as well, but I got a call from Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates that convinced me I had found my agent.

I agree it is a long process to find an agent, and most people don’t get representation.  Congrats on being one of the lucky ones.  It shows that hard work and determination pays off.

Who has been your greatest writing inspiration?

PH:  Daniel Silva. If you haven’t read a Daniel Silva novel, go straight to your local bookstore. Daniel’s The Kill Artist is the first book in his Gabriel Allon series. I challenge you to read this book and abstain from getting the next book in the series as soon as you finish. What makes the series is the main character: Gabriel Allon, an art-restorer turned assassin. I love the paradox, and I credit Allon for planting the seeds of Marco Venetti in my head. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 9 Preview: Peter Hogenkamp

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  My guest this week is author and doctor Peter Hogenkamp.  Read his journey listed below in his own words.

I read my first thriller, an old paperback copy of Alistair MacLean'sFear is the Key, when I was ten years old, and I have been hooked on the genre ever since. A few years later, in the summer before I began high school, I decided to try my hand at writing a thriller and I finished a good hundred pages before depositing it into the bottom drawer of my bureau. It would make a good story to say that I discovered the manuscript thirty years later, polished it up, and attracted dozens of literary agents with its magnetic power, but the truth is I have no idea what became of the notebook—I recall it was dark green—in which I scrawled a story about a maverick MI5 agent trying to save the world from a warped genius armed to the teeth with nuclear missiles.
I didn't write another word—of fiction, that is—for twenty-five years, mistakenly thinking that the writing bug had been eradicated from my system. But it hadn't been, and on a Saturday night ten autumns ago I picked up the pencil again and started writing novel number two, which I later titled The Lazarus Manuscript. It took me three years and a gross of Dixon Ticonderogas to complete the book, and several more to query the project, revise it, re-query, re-revise and query a third time. My lovely (and did I mention supportive?) wife Lisa, assuredly thought I was having an early mid-life crisis, but smartly concluded that a few writer's conferences and twelve dozen pencils were cheaper than a BMW convertible.
I still maintain the manuscript wasn't half-bad, and I almost hooked a literary agent with it—but in the middle of yet another revision (which the agent had requested) I learned she had left agenting to write 1920's erotica, and I took this as a sign and tossed The Lazarus Manuscript into a shallow grave and shoveled dirt over it. But I didn't remain on the sideline for too long; a premise had been germinating inside my head and I felt an urge to write it down somewhere (this time without the pencils). And whereas The Lazarus Manuscript had come haltingly, Absolution poured out of my fingers, largely, I think, because I had stumbled upon an idea for a main character that was not only truly unique, but truly conflicted as well—with a visceral conflict impossible to bypass.
All I needed was the right setting, and, as luck would have it, my pre-med advisor exiled me to Europe for three years before allowing me to attend medical school. (True story.) In my travels I found dozens of great places for scenes in a thriller: castles perched on cliffs, monasteries tucked away in alpine valleys, villages built above rocky coastlines, cities soaked in history, etc. I hope you will accompany Marco as he lays ruin to many of these places, beginning with Monterosso al Mare, Italy, whereAbsolution opens, and stay with him for Doubt, the second book of the Jesuit thriller series.
When I am not writing I like to enjoy the beautiful landscape of central Vermont with my family (my wife, two sons, two daughters, and dog, Hermione Jean Granger Hogenkamp). And I practice medicine as well, in an office with Dr. Lisa Hogenkamp—who does most of the work. (Thank you Lisa!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Phoenix Blade Virtual Book Tour Part 3

Welcome everyone to a special edition of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  Today I wanted to share the final leg of my Virtual Book Tour with everyone.  In the meantime I would like to thank all of the hosts that had me on their blogs for interviews, guest blogs, reviews, and spotlights.  And a special thanks to the Virtual Book Tour Cafe for setting everything up.

Guest Blog @Into the Land of Books: Origin of the Phoenix Blade

Excerpt and Book Review @Books, Books, and More Books

Reviewed @Kayla on Books:

Guest Blog and Reviewed
My Writing Process

Interview @BK Walker Books

I would also like to share what was supposed to be a guest blog from the other day.

Why Book Covers Are so Important

  They say the eyes are the window to the soul.  This is the way I feel a book cover represents a book.  They let the author express their book in one or multiple images.  To readers, they might feel it is unimportant, but I completely disagree.
  A cover is the first thing potential readers see when they browse the shelves.  If you’re looking around a bookstore, you have to think of what you would want to see on the shelves.  What would pop out at you?  What would pop out at others?  Those are the questions you need to ask yourself when designing your book cover. 
   Sometimes the image itself isn’t as crucial as the background.  A simple color or theme can make the standard image pop out and become eye catching to potential readers.  This was the case for my book The Phoenix Blade.  I had an incredible image that a friend of mine helped create.  Any color would look nice behind the picture, but I wanted something that would catch everyone’s attention.  I sat around for a couple hours, every day, for a week; trying different colors as the background.  I showed pictures to friends, family, co-workers; anyone that could give me an opinion.  I settled on a white background in the end; mixing with the bold green grass and fiery phoenix stood out perfectly against the white background.

   In the end, a book cover is your way of introducing your book to someone.  It’s a chance for them to see who you are as an author.  Your cover can either bring out the excitement and intrigue from the reader, or it could look like something they’ve already read or dislike.  

I'd like to thank everyone for hosting during my Virtual Book Tour and all my fans for following it.  This has been a lot of fun and quite a learning experience.  As a special note, the sequel to the Phoenix Blade has been re-written and will be ready to go early next year.  Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pamina Mullins Interview Part 2

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  This week we have an intriguing and inspirational guest, the author of Why MePamina Mullins

Time for some fun.

If you could only bring three items with you to a deserted island (non-writing items or people) what would they be and why?

A hammock, a good book and a fishing rod :-)

Hopefully it’s an island that has a lot of fish and that the book is a great read.

The world is going to end tomorrow.  How do you live out your remaining time?

Pack as much laughter and love and sunshine and beauty and meaningful connections in as possible…

At least you can go out laughing.

Someone wants to make a movie based on your life.  Who would you pick to play you?

Ellen Degeneres

Alive or dead, who is the one person you would want to interview and why?

A woman of courage and integrity—and there are so many! I am currently reading Aayan Hirsi Ali’s autobiography Infidel. She is just one who fits this profile. Oh, and Jeremy Clarkson who in my opinion should be patented as a substitute for Prozac!

Okay, crystal ball time.  Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Aaaah, (did you hear that sigh?) living  in a sprawling, thatched house, overlooking the sea, with the love of my life, surrounded by the people I love and writing for the sheer joy of it—rather than economic necessity or deadlines.

Any questions you would like to ask me?

Not about this interview (other than the technicalities of how it’s going to happen) but I’d love to hear YOUR story….

I don’t think we have enough time on the blog to write that J.  Some of it I have put on earlier posts on this blog, some are written in two of my books which are free verse poetry, Chamber of Souls, and Hall of the Forgotten.  I’m sure we can connect to discuss it at length another time.  But for now, our readers will have to keep tuning it to learn more about me J

Any final words for our readers?

Get a copy of Why Me? You’ll enjoy the ride, laugh and gain valuable insights.

Where can we find you?



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pamina Mullins Interview Part 1

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  This week we have an intriguing and inspirational guest, the author of Why MePamina Mullins

Tell me a little about yourself.

I am a writer, speaker, stress buster, life coach, problem solver, people empowerer, laughter lover, dedicated saboteur disarmer, hypnotherapist, inspiration generator, insight seeker and genius finder, with an incurable sense of humor and love for life. I have walked every step of my talk, which lends empathy and authenticity to my writing and coaching. I have lived an interesting and eventful life—most of it in Africa, which has by necessity instilled compassion, resilience, resourcefulness and a love for sunshine and wide open spaces in every cell. I am passionate about helping people to empower themselves through adapting their belief frames.

Wow, that was a mouthful.  Quite a few interesting adjectives/occupations listed there.  Before we go into the writing, I would like to touch upon a couple of them; mostly the life coach, hypnotherapist, and living in Africa.  Can you shed some light on those?

I have lived in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa (as well as the UK) at various times. I came relatively late to my “calling.” I had been a single parent for many years when my 16 year old daughter died—and my stress levels understandably, went ballistic. I urgently needed to find a way to cope, and that’s how I stumbled upon stress management. It enabled me to not only heal myself but others too. The profound impact of this so impressed me that I went on to become a life coach. Life coaching principles integrate well and add power to stress management strategies. Looking for ever more powerful, effective healing tools then led me to hypnotherapy, which has the capacity to change all manner of self defeating beliefs and habits.  
Although the concept of coaching and hypnotherapy were almost unknown in Zimbabwe at the time, my strengths were the fact that I walked the talk and my ability to adapt these principles so they were relevant to this environment—one in which the annual inflation rate in 2008 was a record breaking 231million percent! No, that is not a typo. Add to this no social security system whatsoever, a chronically overloaded and under resourced health delivery system, fuel and food shortages, a notoriously inefficient and unreliable communications system, frequent power outages, lengthy disruptions in water supply, and driving conditions that would make the Dalai Lama incoherent with anxiety, to name but a few, and you might begin to understand the relevance of stress management training.
The ripple effect continues to have a profound impact on people’s lives in a multitude of ways. For many the logistics of daily life can seem like climbing Everest on a daily basis—trying to keep your head above water, your business afloat, your kids in school and your sanity relatively intact! Some words (like pension or retirement for instance) simply don’t exist here….

What inspired you to write?  What type of genre do you write?

Having experienced the awesome sense of freedom and achievement that come from making profound paradigm shifts, writing was the obvious way to share this with a wider audience. Writing for me started as therapy and snowballed from there. I write about personal growth and coaching topics with liberal doses of self-deprecating humor. I have read so many wonderful books that have helped me so much on my journey, but found that there weren’t many in this genre that used humor to deliver their message. My experiences and those of my coaching clients, combined with an irreverent sense of humor, drive me to write in this way. The ridiculous habits and reactions and coping strategies we all exhibit when stressed are tailor made for humor. I also find humor a fast track to personal change. If we feel we are being criticized or judged, we instinctively build walls. If we’re laughing together at how silly we’re being, the changes come voluntarily and naturally.

I never thought about it like that.  I think humor is the best way to cope with life and bad situations, but never thought of it as a way to make change happen easier.

Tell us about your book.

Why Me? is a powerful, humorous roller coaster of a book that blows the assumption that stress essentially bad—or inevitable out of the water and offers explanations and prescriptions (with the help of case histories) for:
  • putting a stop to energy bankruptcy
  • making peace with your body
  • turning the stress response into a laughter impulse
  • starting a love affair with wealth and success
  • building personal boundaries
  • transforming relationships
  • employing anger productively
  • dumping beliefs that have passed their sell by date
  • embracing change
  • becoming immune to the chaos around you and
  • BEING the change you want to see - at any age!

I think there are many out there that could benefit from learning these techniques.  I can see a few in there about myself as well.

Is your book based on anyone specifically?

The themes rather than characters are built on my experiences and those of all the people I’ve worked with over the past 15 years. I am heavily influenced by the tumultuous history of my homeland and its people. The way they adapt to dealing daily with the kind of challenges that would make others catatonic with stress are a constant inspiration.

What inspired you to write this book?

To honor my own journey of discovery and those of the people I work with, many of whom live and work under truly extraordinary circumstances in a unique environment. And I felt there was a need to approach this subject in a simple, entertaining way to make even those who would ordinarily resist reading personal growth books, want to read it—even if just for the entertainment value. The insights are then absorbed unconsciously while being entertained.

I can safely say your description of, Why Me?, has my attention.

What other books or blogs have you written?

Please see well as guest blogs, short stories and articles

Were your other books self-published or traditionally published?

The publications page (link above) explains this

Who is your greatest writing inspiration?

My reading tastes are eclectic and I have been a bookworm all my life; so I draw inspiration from a multitude of sources. I am endlessly fascinated by the many faces of the human condition, particularly under pressure—our resilience, courage in adversity and the complex behavior patterns and beliefs that drive these; our ability to love and learn, adapt and survive, and find something of value in the most extraordinary experiences. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pamina Mullins: Excerpt

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  This week we have an intriguing and inspirational guest, the author of Why MePamina Mullins.

Failure is Feedback
Does that F word bring on a panic attack? Are you success fixated; terrified of being ridiculed if you slip off the A list? Well your chances of evading failure in life are as good as Bill Gates being homeless.  Every new experience, relationship or project you embark on is pregnant with potential for failure! And it’s just as well, or you’d never learn to walk. All inventors, entrepreneurs or achievers fail numerous times before tasting success. It’s a sign that you’re making progress. Failure is feedback and there is no success without risk—only inaction. Like remaining in a relationship that resembles a Stephen King plot, instead of admitting your judgment was out of whack or you bet on a loser. Like staying in a job that gives you as much satisfaction as trimming your toenails with your teeth, rather than risk paving the way for working with passion.

If you’re not making mistakes, you're not learning. When did you last take on a new project, learn a new skill, go somewhere you’ve never been or play a sport you’ve never played? Instead of bayoneting yourself with embarrassment if it fails, evaluate what you’ve gained; valuable knowledge and experience, how to do it better, that you’re timing was out, you didn’t do your homework, or that it’s a simply a stepping-stone to ultimate success. Maybe you’ll make useful contacts or acquire new skills along the way. We all do dumb things while we’re wearing “L” plates—but it’s more constructive than being anchored in a comfort zone so long, that your sense of adventure atrophies.

Failure can be fun! Laugh at yourself when you do a metaphorical belly flop. Tell your children funny stories about mistakes you’ve made and what you learned from them. React calmly when your children make mistakes; your attitude will have a major impact on how they handle them in future. Instead of threatening them with a parental firing squad, seek creative solutions together. Explore ways to turn the experience into an asset. Teach them by example that mistakes don’t define who you are; they expand who you are. 

Eric came to see me because he just couldn’t shrug off the dead weight of failure. He went into minute detail about how the company had shafted him in the past (they had), how his efforts to seek justice had backfired (it did), and how he was still a marked man; the personal vendetta was continuing (it was.) He analyzed the state of the economy, the specialized industry he worked in, his age and pointed out that there was no light at the end of the tunnel—he was destined to be flypaper for failure forever. He explained lucidly, in detail and with clear insights about his past failures in relationships and work experiences. Through constant repetition of these lopsided facts he’d convinced himself that the past would always ambush him and sabotage any chance he had of success. Failure was inevitable and irreversible—he’d been there before…knew what would happen. 

While I admired the honesty of his emotional striptease, it was clear why he wasn’t a towering success! So I laid down some ground rules—he was only to talk about himself, only in the positive and only in the present. In the last year Eric’s life has changed beyond recognition. He’s lost weight, regained his sharp sense of humor, made new friends, been paid out by his ex employers, had the confidence and freed up the finances to upgrade his pilot’s license, been offered a lucrative position, taken the first holiday he’s had for years and won a canoeing trip down the Zambezi. This is the kind of thing that can happen when we reframe our lives, allowing us to see the whole picture and get things into perspective; when we give ourselves credit for our successes, believe in ourselves and habitually focus on the positive potential in our lives instead of dwelling on the pitfalls.

Instead of tormenting yourself with your failures until you’re a walking advertisement for retrenchment, accept that circumstances areconstantly shuffled and reshuffled and there are always variables involved. Instead of haemorrhaging with humiliation, admit your fears. Accept that you may lose your job, possessions or relationship, but you need not lose confidence and hope. Study, explore, network and visualize the outcome you want. Practice flexibility and resilience. Security comes from the knowledge, skills and lessons you’ve learned, which keep you ahead of the pack. Keep expanding, diversifying or upgrading your skills so that you’re always in demand.

It’s not difficult to be excited and motivated by success. But rather than being a fugitive from failure or letting a failure expectation define your future, learn how to work with it, make it your ally. Being handcuffed to fear of failure prevents you from getting smarter and stronger. If you already have gaping cracks in your confidence, get professional help (as Eric did). Don’t allow your potential to be prematurely aborted—or stillborn.

Stress busting prescription: What are you afraid of right now? What is preventing you moving forward or doing something you’d really like to do? Now go out there and risk a failure today.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 8 Preview: Pamina Mullins

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  This week we have an intriguing and inspirational guest, the author of Why MePamina Mullins.

Pamina Mullins was born in Zambia and has lived in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and the U.K. Her personal experiences as well as those of her stress management, life coaching and hypnotherapy clients inspired her to write Why Me? The Energy Dynamics of Stress. Prior to this, Pamina was a contributing author to the best selling Modern-Day Miracles by Louise L Hay and Friends. Stress Free You! What's Stopping You and How to Reclaim Your Life written in her uniquely expressive, entertaining and infectious style offers an entertaining and powerful antidote to the stress, confusion and despair we all face from time to time.

Pamina, who by her own admission could have written a thousand page thesis on how to sabotage yourself effortlessly, and has dug herself out of many of life's major and minor potholes, while living in a country where resilience, resourcefulness and a well honed sense of humor are essential survival tools, delivers laughter and hope with liberal dollops of self deprecating humor.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mark Tierno Interview Part 2

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  I'd like to introduce our guest this week, the author of Maldene, Mark Tierno

Okay, time for a little fun now.

If you could only bring three items with you to a deserted island (non-writing items or people) what would they be and why?

A friend, both for company and to help me out.  A shortwave radio transmitter with its own battery so I could signal for rescue.  And a toothbrush, for obvious reasons.

The world is going to end tomorrow.  How do you live out your remaining time?

Trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening, or survive it.

Someone wants to make a movie based on your life.  Who would you pick to play you?

I can’t think of anyone with curly enough hair, so it’d probably have to be an unknown.

Alive or dead, who is the one person you would want to interview and why?

Growing up, I guess the closest person I had to a hero, or at least really looked up to a lot, was the man that made me laugh the most, and that was Red Skelton.  Funniest comedian ever.
Though now that I think about it, I might also include my Dad.  Always wanted to grill him about our family history, but Parkinson’s Disease sorta got in the way of that.

Okay, crystal ball time.  Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Ideally, on someone’s best seller lists and working on my next epic venture (you didn’t think I’d just stop at one or two sprawling epics, now did you?)

Any questions you would like to ask me?

What is the air-speed of an African Swallow?  And failing that, what is your favorite color?

Love the movie reference.  I tried to look up the answer anyway but couldn’t find an exact answer.  As for my favorite color, it depends on my mood.  I like royal blue and other times I like dark purple.

Any final words for our readers?

“tooti-fruity”  That’s a good word.  Or “muskrat”.

Seriously though, about the only piece of advice I might be qualified to give is to live for your dreams.  Whatever it is that you love to do, find a way to make a living out of it, because life is not about some stale 9-5 cubical job that weighs own your soul.  Find your dream and don’t give up on it.  If you keep at your dream, then say you have about a 50% chance of getting it, but if you give up on it then you have a Zero percent chance of achieving it.  I like the odds better from trying.

Where can we find you? has info on my book, a few free downloads, links to buying the paper and ebook editions, and more.  

I also have my Maldene Fan Page on Facebook at

And for those so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter as @MarkATierno

And occasionally you can find me bicycling around the streets of my home town, but thats another story.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mark Tierno Interview Part 1

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  I'd like to introduce our guest this week, the author of Maldene, Mark Tierno

Tell me a little about yourself.

Well, I have a MS in Physics and another degree in Math, so there’s a lot of that part of my brain going, but I’ve also nurtured the creative side of my mind as well and have quite the imagination.
For a number of years the bulk of my life seemed to be in caregiving.  My Dad got Parkinson’s Disease back when I was in High School and it was 25 years of that misery before he finally passed away; I was there the entire time helping out my Mom with him, a job that evolved from lifting him up from a tumble on occasion to 24/7 assistance.  Then after that I had to look after my Mom, and when in time she became really sick, I was the one that had to change her diapers and teach her how to walk again.  It was all pretty miserable, but even so I kept at formulating my book in my head until I finally had a chance to start it.  It was about 1994 when the Eaton Canyon fire took out my grandpa’s old house; he’d been dead a number of years but my Mom had never sold the place.  The insurance money eased things a bit.  About a year later I began working on my first novel.  S a side effect, it brought quite a bit of pleasure into my parents’ lives to watch me go at it, and that was good for all concerned.

I’m sorry you had to go through all of that, but I’m sure your parents were glad that you stuck by them and took care of them leaving it to someone else.

What inspired you to write?  What type of genre do you write?

I guess I always had a story in my heart, just a matter of finding the right mould to poor it into.  Back when I was about 12 or 13 I remember taking mental notes about a book I liked, what elements of style or plot that I’d include for the future book I knew I would some day right.  Even before that, my imagination was always looking for an outlet.
The genre I write in is a mix of fantasy and SF.  The first Maldene book begins as High epic Fantasy, but later books will see certain Sci-Fi elements blended in as well.  I also have another as yet unpublished series that goes the other way around; it begins as mainly SF cyberpunk stuff but with elements of fantasy tossed in.  I’ll leave the straight stuff for everyone else, me I enjoy mixing up some rare combinations.

I think the literary and even movie world could use someone to mix things up a bit.

Tell me about your book Maldene.

Maldene is a world far far away, a world of magic, mystery, and many secrets and surprises.  A world of three moons with mysteriously precise orbits, a world many times bigger than Earth (and in no way connected to it at all), and a world under the shadow of a dark wizard named Miro (pronounced “My-Ro”).  The legend of his evil goes back as far as anyone knows, to the very beginning of recorded History, and it is said that even the gods fear him; exactly why that is, no one is saying.  It is quite evident that he has grand designs for power and conquest, and has the ability, cunning, and greed to have long-since conquered the world, yet he has not.  What holds him back is but one of the mysteries that our adventurers will begin to discover in this first book of Maldene, as they begin a journey that will take them across three continents in search of answers.

Sounds interesting and very intricate.  Tell us more about Maldene and  the main character, what makes them unique and what makes them tick.

There are several characters even in just this first book, but for the “main” ones (at least at first glance) there are three.  Sabu is a wizard whose intellect often gets distracted in too-deep an analysis of his surroundings, while his elven friend Eldar lives for adventure and whimsy.  Completing their triad is a psychic-wizard named Sindar, whose own intelligence is so nearly an echo of Sabu’s that their discussions can leave Eldar screaming, “There’s TWO of them?!”

At first glance, they are on a voyage for treasure to be found at an old abandoned lab of Miro’s. They encounter some friends and companions, and a troop of hired mercenaries.  But there is far more to their journey.  Each of them saw a blind old gypsy fortune teller with golden eyes that foretold of their meeting, and of the destiny that they would find on this journey.  Their reason for this trip is not the treasure people hear about, but something far more insubstantial.
Of course, as it turns out, they aren’t the only ones in their group with ulterior motives.

Sounds like this has the making of a fun book series.  What inspired you to write this book?

I’d been accumulating elements of this story in my head over a period of about 15 years before I sat down to write it.  Starting in college, gleaning inspiration from friends, books I’ve read, movies I’d seen, and just adding to the details as they came to me.  Before I knew it I had a world map, alphabet, dictionary and language, heck even weather patterns noted down.  I also had amassed one heck of a plot.

Wow, that’s a lot of creativity poured into your book.  What other books or blogs have you written?

“Maldene”, currently published in two volumes (It’s kinda large and I was told that unknown writers should not put out 800-page paperbacks), but this 2-book novel is just the first of thirteen.  Yes, you heard me right.  There are 13 novels in the Maldene series for a total of 5.2 million words, 250 characters, and a plot that stretches across the stars and back through time.
Of course, since I’m a bit of a fast writer, I also had time for a few other things.  As yet unpublished is a 5-book cyberpunk-conspiracy-fantasy series entitled Cyberdawn, a series of 6 stories and novels about a guy named Inspector Flaatphut (the first in this series, a short story entitled “Project Looking Glass” is available as an ebook on Amazon), and I managed to squeeze in a 2-book prequel for Maldene.

I also have my little blog over at, but I mainly talk there about my book and a few writing tips.

Were your other books self-published or traditionally published?

The first two volumes of Maldene were originally traditionally published, but the publisher’s (Publish America) ideas of marketing involved getting the author to pay more fees and keep buying copies of their own books, rather than actually taking the effort to do something themselves.  So, I left them and started my own independent label and now publish under Vault of Knowledge.

I can’t believe they would make you pay extra fees and force you to buy multiple copies of your own book.  I think writers have been finding more success opening their own independent label and go through the self-publishing routes.

Who is your greatest writing inspiration?

I couldn’t narrow it down to just one.  Growing up I pretty much read everybody and everything I could get my hands on.  If it was SF or Fantasy, I read it.  Heinlein, Asimov, Andre Norton, Tolkein, the works.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  I'd like to introduce our guest this week, the author of Maldene, Mark Tierno

Maldene is a world of fantasy and science, a world of fantastic creatures, characters that range from the crazy to the wise, and home to many astounding secrets.  It is also home to the most villainous evil known:  Miro (Pronounced MY-RO).  It is said that even the gods fear Miro, though they aren't saying why, and stories of this evil wizard go back many thousands of years.

Into this, Sabu and Eldar lead a band of mercenaries for the alleged reason of raiding one of Miro's old abandoned labs, yet several in this group have ulterior motives.  For Sabu and Eldar, this would be what a blind old gold-skinned gypsy had told them about a destiny and the third of their number they would meet.  Making it through the hazards of this old facility only starts them on a road that will take them across the farthest reaches of Maldene, through it all ever the dark hand of Miro in evidence.  Everywhere save with a mysterious King who seems the only one willing to stand up against the forces of Miro, as Sabu and Eldar find that they and their companions have been recruited for a battle against the most evil being ever known.

The Maldene series spans several continents of this giant Earth-swallowing world, crosses to other dimensions, and later on in the series other worlds and even far distant periods in its history.  But it all begins in the first book (currently published as Volume I and Volume II), in which we follow Sabu, Eldar, Sindar and their companions on a search for secrets, destiny, and discovery of what Really goes on in the world.  Three different continents, journey to a second world, the Sea of A Thousand Islands, Tedelnosho (The Great Whirlpool), the mysterious King who is the only one willing to stand up to Miro's forces, over a dozen main characters, several alien races (from the sea-going Thirdocians to the avian-evolved K├┐ecians), and this is just the first book, as but the first chapter in a story that spans several books.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Phoenix Blade Book Tour Part 2

I wanted to update everyone with the recent stops from my Virtual Book Tour.

Interview with Andrew Hess at Infinite House of Books

10 Things You Didn't Know About Andrew Hess

Expanding Themes

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Phoenix Blade

The Origin of The Phoenix Blade

Interview With Andrew Hess at Eternal Curse

Week 7 Preview Mark Tierno

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  I'd like to introduce our guest this week, the author of Maldene, Mark Tierno

Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, while Mark had a good enough childhood that allowed him to develop both intellectually and creatively, in the middle of High School his father developed Parkinsons Disease. What followed was 25 years of watching his Dad and the family finances get worse and worse, helping out his mother with his Dad while finishing up his MS in Physics. A lifelong reader of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, when added tragedy, in the form of his grandpas old house burning to the ground, struck, the resulting insurance money eased off the collective burden enough to allow Mark to start writing a series of books that he had been developing in his head for the previous 15 years.

The result was some joy brought into the Tierno household to offset the bleak circumstances that an ailing father can bring. Caring for his father up through his death became a full-time job, but even so he was able to pen an amazing series of books that have few- if any- equals. This creative effort became the light in the darkness, bringing back some hope and joy and turning the house back into a home.

His father never lived to see it published, but his mother lived long enough to see it first published and a chapter or two read in a library before a small audience. Now his goal is to see his lifes work bring pleasure to the world outside his own.

In total, Maldene spans 13 novels, 5.2 million words, 250 characters, many worlds and dimensions, thousands of years, and is a unique blend of both Fantasy and Science fiction, coupled with skillful prose and realistic characterizations that put it head and shoulders above everything else out today. You will get lost in a story that will have you wondering if- somewhere out there- the world of Maldene just might exist.  Maldene is the first book in a series that will redefine the word Epic.

"A world beyond time... an adventure beyond imagining."

Friday, September 6, 2013

R. Clint Peters Excerpt 2 Pegasus Rising

Welcome everyone to another great week of the Writer's Revolution.  I am your host, the author of The Phoenix BladeAndrew Hess.  Our guest this week is R. Clint Peters

Excerpt from Pegasus Rising

Chapter 1

                Randolph Nixon French pressed the power button on his laptop.  As he waited for it to warm up, he took a long sip from his strawberry milkshake and then chuckled.  Having an office next to the company cafeteria definitely had benefits. 

Why do strawberry milkshakes smell as good as they taste?

                When the computer had fully warmed up, Nixon selected his e-mail inbox and clicked to open one special e-mail.  The e-mail had been received while Nixon was the Chief of Police of Sanctuary City, Idaho.  It contained a fifteen-picture slideshow.  Nixon pressed start. 

                The first image, taken from a long distance away, showed an unknown person hanging in handcuffs from a rope thrown over a tree limb.  Pictures two through seven zoomed in on the person until he could be recognized as Dennis West, the brother of Sandi West-French, Nixon’s former wife.  Pictures eight through fourteen showed Dennis being lowered into a bubbling, steaming mud pot.  Nixon could almost hear Dennis screaming.  Picture fifteen showed a frayed rope dangling perhaps a foot above the mud pot. 

                Nixon’s ritual every morning for the past three years consisted of a strawberry milkshake and a slide show.  He liked strawberry milkshakes but hated the slide show.  He planned to repeat the slideshow until his former brother-in-law was confirmed dead, a difficult proposition if Dennis had actually been lowered into a mud pot.  The only item remaining would be the stainless steel handcuffs.  Moreover, the only location Nixon was aware had mud pots was Yellowstone National Park.

As soon as he had received the pictures, Nixon passed them on to Doug Farnsworth, the top Internet engineer for Pendergast Holdings.  Doug inspected the pictures and the e-mail for any identifying information.  Everything was clean except for one photo with an embedded date tag which corresponded to when Dennis had disappeared. 

                The picture of the mud pots had been sent to the Park Service at Yellowstone.  After searching the park for several months, they thought they had found a similar mud pot.  However, there was no indication that Dennis had been lowered into that particular mud pit and no tree limbs were discovered within two hundred yards of any mud pot.  Trees simply do not grow next to mud pots. 

                OK, according to the fifteen minutes of Yellowstone history I remember, any mud pot in Yellowstone National Park would eliminate any evidence dropped into it.

Nixon frowned.  His ninth grade U.S. Geography teacher had somehow gotten her hands on a black and white U.S. Park Service informational film from before World War II.  In the film, a turkey leg on a steel wire was lowered into a Yellowstone mud pot.  When the wire was removed ten minutes later, even the bone had disappeared.  All of the girls in the class were horrified while the boys had a select group they were willing to sacrifice to the mud pots. 

                Nixon stared at his laptop for several minutes and then rotated his office chair to stare out of his office windows.  His corner office overlooked the employee parking lot.  Beyond the parking lot was a large field that seemed to extend forever.  In the center of the field, perhaps a mile away, Nixon could see the tops of a grove of trees and the flicker of sunlight bouncing off the waves of a small lake.  Nixon smiled.  He had been spending every snow-free weekend at the lake since Pegasus-Northwoods Energy had hired him.

Pegasus-Northwoods Energy recruited Nixon French three months after Sandi took her life.  Although she did not hold Nixon directly responsible for the loss of her brother Dennis, she could not deal with his death.  She began to resent the fact that Nixon was a Police Chief but had not brought her brother’s killers to justice.  As she lost touch with reality, she actually began to accuse Nixon of not wanting to find the killers.  She even suggested that he knew who they were.  Sandi’s final act was to connect a flexible hose to the exhaust pipe of her Mercedes and feed it in through a rear window.  Nixon still had nightmares about the call he had received from one of his officers.     

Nixon was hired to run the facility security department of PNE, a department with a less than stellar history of competence.  He had totally reorganized security in five of the seven remote facilities for which he was responsible.  The final two locations would be revamped later in the year.  

Nixon spun in his chair to look at his laptop once more.  He had come to two conclusions about the PNE facilities.  First, they were remote.  The nearest city with a population greater than twenty-five thousand inhabitants was two hundred miles away.  The roads were mostly gravel and almost impassible for three weeks after the spring thaw or two weeks after the first winter snowfall.  If a terrorist wanted to disrupt any of the facilities, he or she would require special travel arrangements.  Second, the winter in northern Alberta consumed six months of the year.  Was anyone willing to cross hundreds of miles of drifting snow and freezing temperatures to blow up an oil refinery?  However, it was now early summer.  Northern Alberta was thawing from the long, cold winter. Nixon was happy about the higher temperatures and the melting snow, but did not like the flies that were hatched by the warming weather.

                Nixon frowned.  He was over two thousand miles from his home.  The highlight of his day was sitting on the beach of a small lake, trying to forget the photos on his laptop.  Sandi had attempted to run away from her memories.  Was he running away from his own?  He was no closer to finding Dennis’s killers today than when he pulled out of his driveway more than thirty-six months ago. 

Nixon completed his morning ritual and then began calling his security teams.  For several weeks, he had been conducting security breach exercises.  Each of his security teams had been informed a breach was eminent, but they were never given a specific time or date.  How could he tell his teams when terrorists might shut down one or more of the PNE facilities when he didn’t know when they might strike?   

                Pegasus-Northwoods Energy had seven high-tech and very expensive oil sands recovery facilities in addition to a large technical headquarters.  Four of the recovery facilities were operating at full capacity.  Nixon’s biggest nightmare was a combined assault on all four of the producing facilities.  The resulting destruction would certainly cripple production.  The required cleanup would take several years.

Each morning, Nixon awoke with a fervent hope he could prevent the possibility of a large-scale breach of the facilities because of the weaknesses of his security teams.  He asked a good friend, Oliver Pendergast II, to help.  Generally referred to as O2, he was a former SEAL and the assistant district commander of the Pendergast District of the Idaho State Police. 

O2 enlisted in the U.S. Navy three days after he turned eighteen with a goal of transferring into the SEALs.  After boot camp in San Diego, he hiked to the Naval Amphibious Base, in Coronado, California, and camped out at the main gate of the Naval Special Warfare Center until someone gave him an application for the SEALs.  Three weeks later, he was enrolled in the Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal (BUD/S) classes.  Twenty-four years later, he retired from the Navy as a Commander and returned to Seattle, where he joined the Washington State Patrol. 

O2 had been the precinct commander of the Airport North Precinct of the Idaho State Police when Nixon lived in Sanctuary City.  O2 and Nixon had conducted several combined training exercises to gauge the response of the local police organizations during terrorist threats.   Besides becoming friends, O2 and Nixon had gained a good idea of how city and state police forces could work together.  And, a good idea of what not to do.  The things he had learned while working with O2 in Idaho had convinced Nixon that the probability of a security breach at one or more PNE facility was real.  His single purpose was to make the changes needed to prevent his facilities going up in smoke.  

                Nixon heard buzzing, flipped up the LCD monitor on the office intercom, saw it was his secretary, and pressed the answer button.  “What can I do for you, Polly?”

                Polly widened the camera field, which brought O2 into the display.  O2 waved. 

                “You have a visitor, Mr. French.”
      Nixon laughed and told Polly to send in his visitor.  While he waited for O2 to walk the fifty feet from Polly’s desk to his office, he counted the number of times he had told Polly not to call him Mister.  Had it been twenty, or was it now thirty? 

I guess it doesn’t really matter.  I only see Polly when she calls me on the video intercom.

When the facility was built, PNE had embraced technology.  All facilities were Wi-Fi hotspots, and every office was connected by audio and video.  And there were more Ethernet receptacles than Nixon could count in a year. Nixon smiled.  Even Doug Farnsworth might like this place.   

O2 walked through the office door and placed several strips of red caution tape on Nixon’s desk. 

Nixon looked up and said, “I didn’t know you were visiting.” 

O2 laughed and looked toward the grove of trees.  “I needed another shot at that lake.”

He turned back to Nixon and pointed at the caution tape.  “We got seven flags.”

The security test devised by O2 and Nixon was their version of the game capture the flag.  Each flag consisted of a two-foot long red plastic caution strip which Nixon placed in two or three different areas of a facility and then called O2.  Nixon was never informed when O2 was coming to capture the flags.  This set of flags had been placed at two sites that were over two hundred miles apart.  They were also furthest from Nixon’s office.  Nixon had hoped that the distance would create problems.  Distance for O2 was not a factor.

O2 sat down.  “You made two of the flags a little harder than usual, but it only slowed my team down a little.  Nix, I think you still have a very large problem.”

This was the third test performed by O2 at the PNE facilities.  So far, none of O2’s people had been discovered.  The security teams for each facility had been doubled after the first test and had been increased by 50% after the second perimeter breach.  

Nixon thought for a moment and then looked over at O2.  “How many people did you bring with you?”

O2 held up five fingers. 

Nixon grimaced and pursed his lips.  “How did they get in this time?”

O2 sat back in his chair.  “We were a little more prepared this time for the added security.  But, your company store is really insecure.  We were able to walk right in and buy the security team coveralls without any questions asked.  A strip of white tape with a blue marker created a nametag that was good beyond twenty feet.  I brought Ramona with me this time.  She fills a coverall very nicely.  She was a very good distraction at the main gate.”

Nixon smiled, gazed toward the lake, and then turned back to O2.  “If you have everyone waiting in the cafeteria, let’s go find a fish.”

Nixon stood, walked around his desk, and walked to the door.