Archive for June, 2015

An interview with thriller author Kasia Radzka

Hi, Kasia! Thanks so much for joining us today.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

Hello, and thanks so much for having me! I’m Kasia, I was born in Warsaw, Poland and grew up on the Gold Coast, Australia where I currently reside with my husband and son. It’s an awesome spot to get out in the great outdoors all year long. I love the fact that I have ten minutes to the beach and twenty minutes to the mountains.

On a professional note, I’ve just released my debut novel Lethal Disposal. The next couple of months will be lots of trial and error as I concentrate on marketing, marketing and more marketing. Self-promotion does not come naturally to me so it’s going to be a challenging and enlightening time.


If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

If we stick to the writing theme, I’d love to have a chat with James Patterson. He’s a marketing genius when it comes to his books. He has created such a brand that whatever his name is on will sell. It’d be interesting to pick his brain for some marketing tips.


If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

A strong and intelligent character like a younger version of Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwell’s novels. Lara Croft for a bit of adventure though she’s more of a video game than literature, isn’t she?


Pirates or ninjas, and why?

Ninjas for sure. I’m a huge fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ninjas get to kick butt.


Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?

Sleep maybe, sometimes I get up at 4:30am to get some writing done before my son wakes up. My husband gets up for work at that hour so that makes it easier for me. Sleep is overrated anyway, right? I work four days a week and have twelve hours of commuting so I get the majority of my writing done on the train. I try to find a balance so I don’t have to make too many sacrifices. It’s a juggling act but it’s doable if you have a good support network around you.


What is your number one pet peeve when it comes to writing/reading books?

When I’m reading a really good book and it ends and there’s no follow on. That’s like watching a good TV series that gets cancelled in favour of something inferior. I find it frustrating when I have a scene playing out in my mind and I can’t find the words to transfer it to paper.


Did you learn anything from writing your book?

I learnt, and continue to learn with everything I write, that I really love putting stories on paper. It’s relaxing and stressful at the same time if you know what I mean. It’s a creative outlet that keeps me sane and I love that I’m constantly learning something new. I also realised that even when I type ‘The End’ there’s so much more that could be done but I have to let it go. As a writer I’m never going to be 100% happy. There will be always something that could be tweaked, omitted, or changed. But you get to a point where you just have to let go and move on.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve been writing since fourth grade when we had to write and illustrate a book as a project. I remember writing something called ‘The Magic Tree’. That’s when writing became a significant part of my life. It wasn’t as regular then but the flame was lit. Since then I’ve written quite a bit, including some book length manuscripts I threw out before anyone could lay eyes on them. But it’s only the last few years that I’ve come to the realisation that yes, I am in fact a writer, and that part of me is not going anywhere so I better just accept it and make the most of it.


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I read a lot when I was a kid, everything, from Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High to Stephen King, non-fiction books on the Mafia, KGB, religions of the world, and more so it would be hard to choose. I always wanted to be as good and prolific as Stephen King. That was a dream so I guess he could be considered a mentor. His book ‘On Writing’ is one that I’ve read a half dozen times for motivation and inspiration.


Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy reading Lethal Disposal. And keep reading books in general. I hope that books, both print and e-books, will survive for centuries to come but that will only happen if people continue to read. Take a chance on the unknowns. It’s a hit and miss sometimes but I’ve found that for every book I don’t like there are two that I do. There’s something to learn from every book one reads. The world is a really loud place so it’s nice to tuck yourself away for an hour or two with a good book and just get away from it all.


Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

A long string of moderate sellers would be better. It would be a shame to be a one hit wonder. At least from moderate sellers you can still make a living and have something to build up to. If you have one giant bestseller it’s going to be tough to reach that pinnacle again and again. This is something I want to do for a very long time, so I’d be pretty pleased with a string of moderate sellers.


Would you rather read a book that is poorly written but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content, but is well written?

Definitely a good story with poor writing, although if it was really shitty on every page I might give up on it. A good storyteller can improve their writing. If you have a good story just get it down on paper, the writing can be fixed later. Well-written books aren’t necessarily good books just as poorly written books aren’t necessarily bad. It comes down to the story and characters. Of course you don’t want to be reading a book that has constant and obvious errors, nor do you want a perfectly well written book where nothing really happens.


Do you think a writer should write every day?

I think writers need to find their own rhythm. Though I think writing every day is better, it keeps you in the story, and keeps those writing muscles active. It’s like physical exercise, you should aim to exercise every day, at least walk or move around so your muscles don’t go stale, especially if you have a sedentary job. The same goes for your writing muscles. Even if it’s just 100 words, a journal entry, a blog post, a little bit every day adds up to a lot after a few months. Find the rhythm that works for you and keep doing it.


What five words would you use to describe yourself?

Determined, stubborn, adventurous, objective, daydreamer.


Tell us something about yourself that few people know.

I rock the dance floor after a few too many wines. LOL.


Give us one piece of sage advice on writing, relationships, or life in general.

Live more. Life is short and precious. Stop looking at what everyone else around you is doing and follow your own path. If you want to write, then write. If you want to travel, then travel. Don’t let anyone belittle your dreams and never belittle the dreams of others. Live more and be kind. The rest will work itself out.





Twitter: @kasiajradzka






Thank you so much for joining us, Kasia! Please keep us posted on your latest developments.






Lexi Ryder vowed to never return to the Gold Coast, but after a desperate phone call from an old friend, she returns only to learn shes dead. 

Was it murder or an accident?

Lexi finds herself embroiled in a game of politics, assassinations and secrets. A world where people are not who they seem.

Detective Matthew Ryan wants Lexi as far away as possible from him and the case. But Lexi knows too much. After a public assassination they discover that whoever is responsible is willing to go to great lengths to dispose of those who get in the way of their plans.

Is Lexi willing to risk her own life to seek the truth?

Money, status, and power. Some people will do anything to get it, others will do whatever it takes to keep it.



Matt stirred on the couch. She grabbed a tall glass of water from the kitchen and two Nurofen. He still kept them in the same drawer.

“Here,”she said, “drink this, it’ll help with the headache.”

He took the pills and skulled the water.

“Thanks, now get the fuck out of my house,”he said letting the empty glass roll onto the floor.

It wasn’t as if she had expected to be greeted with open arms. They hadn’t exactly parted in a civilised fashion.

“I need your help Matt.”

He sat up and put his feet on the ground. When he stood, he wobbled and grabbed the arm of the couch.

“Are you okay?”Lexi said grabbing a hold of him.

He pulled away and fell onto the couch. She reached for him but he shoved her hand away.

“Which part of get the fuck out didn’t you understand?”he said.

Sweat trickled down his front, his pupils were tiny and she could feel that he was feverish. Ignoring his comments she asked, “How much did you have to drink?”

“None of your goddamned business.”

“You could have alcohol poisoning.”

He laughed.

“It’s not funny Matt. When you showed up on your doorstep last night with the redhead keeping you on your two feet, you were in no state to entertain anyone, while she seemed straight as a kite.”

Ginger. He had forgotten about her. How many drinks had he had over the course of the evening? He had hit the bar mid afternoon. The first few were quick rounds to ease his frustration, he had skulled the whiskeys straight, snacked on some bar nuts and olives and then slowed down. Between the piss-arse easy game of pool with some try-hard just turned eighteen-year-olds he returned to the bar and had a couple more. Maybe nine drinks in the space of six hours. That wasn’t enough to make him as hammered as he had been. He didn’t even remember leaving the bar. The last thing he recalled was Ginger leaning over the bar and whispering in his ear. But Ginger wasn’t here. Lexi was.

“What gives you the idea that you can just walk in here and think nothing has changed?”he said getting up again, this time steadying himself so gravity would not force him to sit back down.

“I’m not here about us,”Lexi said following him into the kitchen.

“There is no us. You made sure of that.”



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Posted by Matthew Peters - June 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

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An Interview with the Award-Winning Historical Fiction/Western/Romance author Steven W. Kohlhagen

Welcome, Steven!


Thanks so much for joining us today. I want to mention that one lucky person who comments below will receive a free paperback copy of Chief of Thieves!

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

I’m a military brat, married for 46 years, father of two married boys in the Washington, D.C. area, grandfather of a boy and a girl, living summers in the Colorado San Juan Mountains and winters in Charleston, S.C. I was a Professor of International Economics and Finance at U.C. Berkeley for ten years and in investment banking on Wall Street for twenty. I now am on several corporate Boards and write novels. I am currently promoting my two historical fiction novels from the American West, Where They Bury You and the sequel Chief of Thieves, both from Sunstone Press. I am currently writing a contemporary terrorist thriller.


If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

At this moment in time, I would like to talk to my father about something in particular. He died in 1992.


Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

A search for home.


If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

I’m content being me.


What is your number one pet peeve when it comes to writing/reading books?

I don’t have one writing books, but I hate getting to the end of a novel that “promised” a logical ending but leaves the reader in a corner or in a ridiculously unbelievable ending.


Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

I learned an immense number of things about life in the 19th Century American West. Anything you, the reader learned, trust me, I learned it, too.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I finished writing Where They Bury You.


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Elmore Leonard.


Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Do what you love.


Would you rather read a book that is poorly written but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content, but is well written?

Well written carries the day for me as long as the characters are interesting.


Do you think a writer should write every day?

I think other writers should do what they love doing.


What five words would you use to describe yourself?

Thoughtful. Literal. Caring. Naïve. Pessimistic.


If you could marry a fictional character who would it be?

My wife is the most wonderful person in the world. Fictional doesn’t get more amazing than that.


Do you have any talismans, charms, superstitions, or music that helps you write? If so, what is the story behind them?

I have what anybody who has looked at it is the most eclectic playlist in the world. It is always on in my library. All three of my novels themes and/or titles have come from random songs in my life.


Give us one piece of sage advice on writing, relationships, or life in general.

Do what you love.


What question didn’t I ask that you wish I had?

Question: How/when do you write the flow of your novels? Answer: I don’t. My characters do. I admit I create the characters, but they, not I, write the stories and the resolutions (except, of course, for those I kill off).


Please share your social media links with us, including where the book(s) may be purchased:

Twitter: @StevenKohlhagen

Available at Amazon:


Thank you for joining us, Steven. Please keep us posted on your latest developments. Readers, please remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of Chief of Thieves!




Chief of Thieves by Steve W. Kohlhagen



Chief of Thieves by award-winning author Steven W. Kohlhagen is historical fiction, based on a factual group of 1862 con artists who successfully stole millions of today’s dollars, became cattle ranchers in Oregon and Wyoming, and ultimately met their respective fates at the Battle of Little Bighorn.


Chief of Thieves takes the reader into the disasters of early Western cattle ranching life and the births of lawless Wyoming towns; inside Cheyenne villages and tipis, where this hunting civilization of people, called “the greatest horsemen and cavalry the world ever saw,” lived, raided, and were attacked and massacred as they slept; and into the relentlessly driven lives, internal conflicts, and battles of George Armstrong Custer’s 7th Cavalry.


The stories interweave from Colorado negotiations to battles in Oregon, Wyoming, Kansas, and what is now Montana, including the massacres at Sand Creek and the Washita River, before culminating on a beautiful June 1876 day on the Little Bighorn River.


Custer’s Little Bighorn decisions under fire become understandable in real time when death comes to historical and fictional characters, con artists, U.S soldiers, and Cheyenne as the three stories merge climactically on that fateful day in American history.



At that moment, three more men walked in through the Bucket of Blood’s swinging door. They carried shotguns. The girls retreated behind the bar. The bartender pulled out a shotgun and placed it on the bar. It was pointed at Lincoln.

“I’m giving you fair warning,” the taller brother said to the man he had called Jim, ignoring the three newcomers. “You get out of here now and take your six friends with you. We’ll forget this ever happened the minute the doors slaps your butt.”

“It’s you three who are leaving” Jim said. “Put your guns down there. On the table.”

“You don’t leave right now, I’ll shoot you right where you stand. Self-defense. Creating a public disturbance. Threatening us. I assumed you were armed like your friends.” He shrugged. Said, “Your choice.”

“Actually,” Lincoln said, “The choice is yours, friend.”

The bartender reached for the shotgun. Nick waved him a warning gesture with his left palm as he aimed his gun at the bartender’s chest.

The other two brothers looked over their shoulders at Lincoln.

“You going to shoot both of us?”

“Like I said, and I just hate to have to repeat myself, it’s your choice. If one of the three of you pulls a trigger or even turns around, then the next three shots will kill you all. I know you’re armed, I don’t have to assume.”

The bartender stepped away from the bar. The other two brothers holstered their pistols. The man with the shotgun nearest the door motioned the girls and the other eleven patrons out of the bar. The two girls looked expectantly at Nick as they backed out the door.

“What now?” said the taller brother after everyone had left.

Under the cover of the three shotguns, the four men who had entered first disarmed the three half-brothers and handcuffed them behind their backs.

“Now we’re going to kill you.”

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Posted by Matthew Peters - June 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: , , , , , ,

The Alcohol Problem

According to a 3 June MSN article, a recent report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that 3 in 10 Americans have a drinking problem at some time in their lives.

The report, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, contains other interesting and important findings, such as the following:

  • While 30% of Americans have a problem with alcohol, only 20% are ever treated
  • 37% of people aged 18-29, and 34% of people aged 30-44 had lifetime alcohol disorders
  • White and Native American men had the highest rate of lifetime drinking problems—33% and 43%, respectively
  • People previously married or who were never married had high rates of lifetime alcohol problems—27% and 35.5%, respectively

The study was led by Bridget Grant and used data from a 2012-2013 national survey of more than 36,000 adults.

the-last-drop_21083566Part of the explanation for the high numbers lies in the way the data were compiled. “The researchers relied on a new way of compiling data on alcohol abuse based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5)…The changes included eliminating separate categories for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. They were combined into a single ‘alcohol use disorder’ diagnosis. This increased the number of people diagnosed with a drinking problem…”

Nonetheless, the high numbers point to the extent of the problem, which costs the United States $224 billion a year.

To put these numbers in perspective, it is useful to compare them with those for high blood pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that roughly the same percentage of American adults (29%) have high blood pressure as have alcohol use disorder.

Let’s think about this for a moment and ask ourselves some questions.

How many people who have high blood pressure are ashamed or walk around feeling guilty because of it?

How many people who have high blood pressure are afraid to seek out treatment because of the stigma attached to it?

How many options and medications are available for people with high blood pressure?

And high blood pressure costs the nation roughly a fifth ($46 billion) of what alcoholism costs each year.

There seems a vast disparity here.

More treatment options for those with alcohol use disorder need to be developed and the stigma against it must end.

What are your thoughts on this?

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Posted by Matthew Peters - June 5, 2015 at 8:17 am

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