The Twenty-Nine – J.M. Richardson


If you look at J.M. Richardson’s profile picture the first thing you notice is his smile. It screams gentleness with a touch of wittyness and whimsy.  However, there is MORE to him than his picture.  J.M. Richardson is the author of The Twenty-Nine and the up-and-coming book The Apocalypse Mechanism – August 2012.

The Twenty-Nine described by Glenda Bixler:  “A remarkable tale of the potentiality–the reality of our future!”

So humor and whimsy aside, The Twenty Nine is a serious book written by a serious author. Thus, I am very excited to introduce you Mr. Richardson today as Muse In The Valley‘s Author of the Week:

The Interview

What 5 words describe you best?

Educator, writer, husband, father, (boy, this fifth one kills ya) intellectual

Tell us your latest news?

I have two events/signings coming up this summer: one at the Barnes and Noble in Sundance Square in Fort Worth, TX on July 21 at 1 PM, and one on August 18 at the Franklinton, LA library. I will be signing copies of The Twenty-Nine, but also promoting my upcoming August release, The Apocalypse Mechanism.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, I think I wrote my first poem in about first grade, and I also remember trying to write a “novel” at the age of about 12. It was a little western bound in brown construction paper that I had frayed along the edges to make it look old…and…western… I’ve wrote poetry and short stories competitively in high school. I tried to start a couple of novels in college, but I did not start serious writing until about six years ago when I began writing The Apocalypse Mechanism. I came to love writing more than I ever knew I could. It’s therapy for me. Helps me release inner frustrations and demons.


What inspired you to write your first book?

The Twenty-Nine is my first published book, but not the first I wrote. It’s inspired by political turmoil that is very much in the news every day. It’s also inspired by Rick Perry, the governor of Texas–a former candidate for President of the United States, who once mentioned that Texas should secede. But the first book I wrote, The Apocalypse Mechanism, is inspired by my love of ancient theology and the connections of those old Middle Eastern religions. It’s also inspired by my fascination with the sophistication of ancient technology.


Do you have a specific writing style?

Kind of. It’s always sort of morphing. I love description, almost to the painfully slow stuff that Steinbeck wrote. But not everyone likes that. Some abhor it. My novels have some deep, slow moments, and I use a lot of description there. But other parts are more fast-paced adventure, and so I cut back on the description and let it flow along. So I use a hybrid of literary fictional word-painting and the pace of an action novel.

Who inspired your main character, Derek, describe him a little?

Derek, to me, is the same kid as millions of other young men that come from broken homes, impoverished, but hard-working families, and an ever-increasingly difficult American economy to live in.  He grows up in rust-belt Cleveland, where his mother was laid off, his father was a dead-beat, and he was just doing what he could to take care of he and his mother.  His mother’s sick, and they have no health insurance, so he ditches the mechanic job for a military career, hoping to make a better living.  he has no idea he’s about to fight in the second American civil war.  Overall, though, he’s a good kid.  He’s a born leader; has a good head on his shoulders.  He’s a little damaged, and we all are, as he comes from a rough family life.  Just striving to find his place in the world.

Give us a blurb about your book The Twenty-Nine, why the title?

Counter-productive partisan politics in Washington have begun to cross the line, and some leaders take drastic measures.  Twenty-nine states out of the fifty secede as they did in 1860, and form a new country called The Republic of America.  Soon, the Republic and the US begin down a path into civil war–American killing American in burning US cities.  


What books have most influenced your life?

I don’t know that I could say that a specific book has ever really influenced my life. I could name several books I like. I love Fahrenheit 451 and Anne Rice‘s Queen of the Damned. I’m a fan of Steinbeck and Stephen King, but I can’t say that there was a book that made me say, “Hey…wow…I’m a changed man.”


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

Anne Rice, and it’s not a vampire thing.  I was way into vampires before this recent mainstream Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries era.  I love Anne Rice’s writing and her style.  I love the complexity of her stories, and how, though it’s supernatural, it all seem to make so much sense.  It’s all so plausible.  I love her darkness.  And it doesn’t hurt that she’s from New Orleans, which is the area I grew up in.


What are your current projects?

Well, The Twenty-Nine got published before The Apocalypse Mechanism, so I had to put the sequel to that, a book I call The Barataria Key, aside to write the sequel to The Twenty-Nine. I’m currently at about 75,000 words with that book, which is called A Line in the Sand, for now at least.


What do you do when you are NOT writing?

Well, I’m a teacher, and I still need the day job for now, so aside from summer and holidays, I’m doing that. I have a wife and two young daughters, so I spend a lot of family time. I play guitar, I like to watch football and baseball. I’m a lover of good beers and enjoy deep intellectual, political, and social discussions. Oh, and I like long walks on the beach…and puppies…


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope, it was pretty air-tight. The Apocalypse Mechanism is going through edits right now, and I’m pretty sure, since it was my first and written quite some time back, that I will be changing a good bit about that one. I don’t know that I could name any specifics at the moment, but they’ll come to me once I get into editing mode.


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

Maybe not from writing the book, but I definitely learned a lot from the process of finding a publisher. This industry is cold and cut-throat. It’s so difficult to get the attention of ANYONE that will take you seriously. I think it’s cool that the e-book revolution has inspired so many new, fresh publishers to pop up and challenge the big New York and London publishers. At the same time, the ease of just anyone being able to upload a manuscript to Amazon and Barnes and Noble has flooded the market, and publishers have had to become more selective than ever. This industry is crazy.


Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is art. So when you hear anyone say that a book was “poorly written” or that some one doesn’t know how to write, don’t listen. That’s like a Monet fan telling Pablo Picasso that his portraits of people were terrible and that it looked like a Kindergartener did them. There is not definition of good art, and there is no definition of good writing. These people sit on their high horses like sentinels, standing watch for “different” styles of writing, ready to defend the language like some holy relic. When it comes down to it, every reader likes a certain type of writing, and rather than say they didn’t care for a book, they pass judgment on it as being a badly written book. So take constructive criticism for what it is, and learn from it, but when it comes to just plain criticism, let it roll off of you.

If you had to give yourself a “theme song” what would it be and why?

The Walyon Jennings song from the Dukes of Hazzard. I grew up in the deep south–southeast Louisiana–and despite the fact that I really don’t listen to a lot of country music or have a pickup truck with a gun rack, there is a part of me that is a fun-loving, light-hearted country boy just floating through this life.


Name three items which need to be with you at all times?

My cell phone, my keys, and my wallet–pretty simple.


What would we find in your junk drawer right now?

Beer coozies, batteries, random buttons and screws, and a million drawings my five-year-old have done because I haven’t had a moment when she wasn’t looking to get rid of some of her masterpieces to make room for the twenty she will draw tomorrow.

Hulk, Spider Man or Iron Man?  Why?

Iron Man. Not only is he virtually indestructible and cool-looking, but he’s also, underneath…what’s the line from The Avengers…a genius, billionaire, philanthropist, playboy.


If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

To be the most popular best-selling author in the galaxy.

If someone wrote about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

Man’s head explodes due to too much thinking!

Where to we go to buy The Twenty-Nine?

Amazon  Barnes and Noble and just about any website that sells books.

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J.M. Richardson is a native of southeast Louisiana where he studied education and social sciences, earning his degree from Louisiana State University.  He has been writing for leisure nearly all of his  life, wrote competitively in high school, and had intensive writing coursework in college.   He now resides in the Fort Worth, TX, area with his wife and two daughters where he teaches geography, history, and sociology. ( source:  Winter Goose Publishing )

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Find Joshua on:

Facebook  *  Twitter

I want to thank J.M. Richardson for this delightful interview.  Please come back to Muse In The Valley in August when The Apocalypse Mechanism comes out.  It will be my pleasure.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed here please contact me at:

 kim.larocque@sympatico.ca

Threads of Life – Interview with Jessica Kristie


“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

These past few weeks of author interviews have been so inspiring.  I have had the pleasure to meet new friends, new writers who all have a distinct muse of their own.

This week, I have to pleasure to introduce you to Jessica Kristie, author of Threads of Life, and many other books you can discover as you follow the links to her website at the end of this conversation.  You can find her amazon profile here.

Her latest e-book, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators contains:

“Fifty-two topics followed by affirmations and writing prompts, tips and inspiring activities to engage and build confidence. Each week you will have an idea to focus on and a small task to complete that help you in your journey to overcome, and keep creating.”


The interview

If you had to write a short poem to describe yourself, what would you write? 

A great question. All my poems encapsulate pieces of me. We are all filled with so much emotion and strength. Although my poetry is often first person, it is not always a complete reflection of me. It is a reflection of my surroundings and those I have in my life. I would hate to write a poem specifically and completely about me. My guess is, it would contain the words: driven, supportive, caring, and would say I had a lot of love to give.

How did poetry find you, or how did you find poetry? 

Poetry chose me at the young age of ten. I was introduced to it in school and through books like Seuss and Silverstein. There was an instant joy, and through that grew my own desire and voice to write.

What do you love to do when you are not writing? 

I love to be outside and enjoying friends and family. I also love to sing and at one point did theater. I have a creative spirit and look forward to trying new forms of expression.

Where does your creativity come from? 

Originally, I misconstrued my creativity to be a confined space or fleeting muse. I later learned that inspiration can be brought to life and even called upon when needed through my own personal needs. I have discovered inspiration in the strangest things from the tone of someone’s voice to a common kitchen utensil. It is how you choose to look at the things around you. Inspiration is everywhere and you have to decide what that looks like to you.

What book struck you as a child and why? 

I actually read The Hobbit quite young and that book really stood out to me with its visuals and deep characters. That was not the type of book I would normally cling to, but I loved it and read it several times during my junior high and high school years.

What is the last book you absolutely couldn’t put down? 

I do a lot of reading for my current line of work and have got an early read of Prismatic by Sarah Elle Emm. Her book actually comes out this week and is a YA Fantasy. I have not read many YA books and was not sure what to expect. This is the first book in the series and I tell you, I can’t wait till the next one. I am so excited about this series and hope everyone checks it out.

Name a woman who inspired you to be who you are today? 

Maya Angelou is a proud and powerful woman who has been successful in inspiring others, including me, to be strong and keep our creative spirit alive. I have a great love and respect for all she does, not only as a poet but as a woman and human being.

Can you tell us about your book Threads of Life?   

This was an emotional journey for me. I was inspired to write this book after some people in my life confessed to some abusive relationships. My poetry is often a bit dark and I felt so moved by stories of not just physically but emotionally abusive and toxic relationships that so many people I know have found themselves in. The search for love and acceptance is a long road. Dealing with our past and fighting for a better future doesn’t happen overnight, and each of our processes is different.

Threads of Life goes through a series of these types of difficult relationships and the feelings that go along with them. There is a darkness expressed, but also a search for hope and self-acceptance.

I read the poem Onward, The whole poem struck me!  I love the line 

“I feel drained within this sinkhole of madness. But if looking into the tattered reflection that screams back at me won’t halt me in my ridiculous tracks, nothing will”  

The whole piece is very deep and dark, yet I feel a sense of hope.  Can you talk a little about  this poem? 

Onward was the beginning piece because it was that almost rock-bottom feeling. It deals with the issues of being alone, confused, and stuck on the wrong path, knowingly, but still moving forward. We have all been there. That feeling of being trapped is maddening and it is so easy to look past the escape routes when encased in fear and self-doubt.

What are you working on now?   

I am excitedly working on my first novel. I hope to have the first draft done soon and it all completed by the end of this year, with a mid-year 2013 release.

Now for some fun questions! 

Would you say you are a chocolate or vanilla girl? 

Milk-Chocolate all the way. But vanilla is often very refreshing and I wouldn’t turn down someone offering. [Symbol]

What is the weirdest thing you carry in your purse? 

Checking . . . I found an old Easter candy egg and some sweet tarts. Lovely. I would say that is an un-intentional carrying, but carrying none the less.

What is your “theme song” the one you live your life by?

Oh my, I have yet to deem any tune my theme song. Music does play a heavy roll in my life and a tremendous source of inspiration. Let me work on that one and get back to you [Symbol]

Do you love to write free hand, with a pen or pencil, or on a computer?  What are your writing rituals? 

I use all options and do spend a lot of time with a pad of paper and a pen. I LOVE pencils and when I can keep one around and sharpened, I prefer to use that over a pen. I also write on my computer but do seem to write free hand first for my poetry then transfer over later. Writing outside is my favorite but it happens less than I would like.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers? 

This business can be hard, thankless and unforgiving but when you write for you and no one else, you can maintain your joy through the difficult moments. Find your voice, read, support others and be strong. There is a place for you that is perfect in this industry. Find your niche and stay inspired.

How can we buy your books?

Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators is available only in eBook, but the others are available in print and eBook at all major retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   Threads of Life is also available on Amazon.com

Jessica Kristie is the author of several poetry books, and the co-creator for the ArtPlatform book Inspiration Speaks Volume 1 which is now available in print and eBook through all major retailers, and benefits ColaLife.org. She is also the founder of the Woodland, CA, poetry series, Inspiring Words—Poetry in Woodland.

Dreaming in Darkness is Jessica’s first volume of poetry; the winner of the 2011 Sharp Writ Award and nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Jessica’s second book, Threads of Life, is available through Winter Goose Publishing along with her eBook offering to writers, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators.

Jessica has been published in several online and print magazines such as Zouch, Muse, A Writer’s Point of View and TwitArt Magazine.  You can find all of Jessica’s appearances under her Press Page at JessicaKristie.com.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica Kristie discovered her passion for writing as a child. Her inspiration comes in many forms, often inspired by just a word or quickly fleeting emotion. Through years of writing she has been able to capitalize on her experiences, whether they are painful or joyous. She hopes to draw you close to her world through shared emotion while inspiring you to forgive, remember, and heal.

Follow Jessica:

Twitter: @jesskristie

 

I want to thank Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions for Muse In The Valley.  I wish her success in everything she takes on.. and keep on writing my friend.  Please come back anytime!

 

Kim 

Sucker Punched – Tom E. Carsley


Introducing author Tom E. Carsley.  I met Mr. Carsley through social media. I started reading his blog, and the rawness of his thoughts had me very interested in the man behind the writing.  He recently published Sucker Punched through Amazon, and the cover itself speaks a thousand words.

NEW!! His Latest creations are AVAILABLE

Paraphrasing his Blog Spot bio, Tom was a child of the 70’s born in Los Angeles.  He was a child of the U.S. Army, so his stay in L.A. was brief, as he traveled around the United States with his family.  He followed his childhood dream and became a U.S. Soldier himself for just over a decade. He now lives in Georgia with his family: – his wife of 11 years and his children by his side, he now creates stories that will shake you to the core.

This quote from Mr. Carsley’s facebook page caught my eye recently:

Ya know, I wanna be like the bad boy writers of the past, Hemingway, Twain, Thompson, Poe, I wanna be like them…not these Starbucks metro-sexual self proclaimed intellectual writers in cardigans and smart loafers…..I want to return to the drunk adventurist wild game hunter that seduced women, drank whiskey, smoked cigars then sometimes wrote.
~Tom E. Carsley

Describe yourself in 5 words:

A face made for radio.

How did you discover your love for writing?

As a kid I always made up stories. As a teen I wrote some short war stories but gave it all up when adulthood settled in and had to work for a living. After writing a few articles for a local paper in Florida and essays for college years later the desire to write came back on strong. At least older I have a life of experience to look back on. Spent the last couple of years writing to build ability and what I hope is a stand-out from the crowd voice.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Taken up some minor gardening the last couple years as well as raising a few chickens in the backyard. Right now Little League has started up and my son Tommy is a pitcher and my little girl, Analucia, is starting her first year so that is keeping the family busy. I do a lot of daydreaming as well.

Who inspires you?

Fighters. People with true grit and desire. People of action because they motivate me to action as well. Otherwise I procrastinate way too much if left to my own devices. Idle hands do the devils work, ya know.

What book struck you as a child/teen and why?

H.G Wells, The Time Machine. Don’t know why really but it has always stayed with me from way back in about 4th grade. In my teens I was all about Stephen Kings books with one of his stories written under the name Bachman staying with me, The Long Walk, very disturbing. Also in mid-teens until now the works of Robert E. Howard has been of great influence.

What is the last book you read?

Not even going to count from all the writing guides I’ve read the last 2 years. Last book I read was Princess of Mars because of the film, John Carter of Mars being released.

Can you tell us a little about your book Sucker Punched?

Sucker Punched is about a possible future of America written in a pulp fiction style that picks up on social issues of today and expands them into what may become of us.

In the book I put much blame on the citizens lack of truth seeking and a desire by far too many people to be given rather than earn, taken to the point that they become willing to kill their neighbors for a soft living. As if life is something owed just for showing up.

Education, family, community, national defense and welfare of the nation as a whole are meaningless in the face of instant gratification.

The political classes help create and manipulate an ignorant self-centered electorate for their own wants of absolute power.

From there genocidal civil war in order to install a dictatorship is a short step away as the story follows a father and daughter, thy only survivors of their family into hiding and survival in a country turned against itself.

Where did the inspiration for the book cover come from?

I started asking myself questions about things I see happening in this country, for instance, how the Democrat Party has become the beneficiaries of 93% of the black demographic vote even though the Democrats are the enslavers and ant-civil rights party. Why am I allowed to vote for any political party I want but a black person had better vote Democrat or else they get punished by their peers. Why is that?

How the heroes of the Democratic Party of today are people like Margaret Sanger, the eugenics following creator of Planned Parenthood.  Bill Ayers, Cloward-Piven, anti-military people, anti-Constitution minded, Socialist and Communists all identify with the Democrat Party. Always the blame America First crowd. Whatever the bad in the world for them the U.S. is somehow responsible. All speak of tearing down the institutions of the nation to build something else.

But what is it they want to build? Lenin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hitler, Che and Kim Jong all tore down their countries and look what they did. 170 million people killed. Bill Ayers’ group The Weather Underground expected they would have to kill 25% of Americans once taking power. Glad they didn’t.

Looking at the destruction of the black family and community under Democrat Party policies. Education, family, community and national identity ties had been wiped away, a wedge and for all practical purposes Self-Segregation has swept the black community. I had to ask way, how, who? What is the end goal?

Then add in the never ending rolling machine of power through government. Enrichment by policy writing for the elite and their buddies. Wipe away the private sector class and replace it with a public sector one, one that is dependant of the proliferation of government to sustain it.

There are many real life aspects packed in Sucker Punched and I hope that the story fleshes them out well for readers.

What are your future projects?

I am working on a war story set during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A huge novel called Lone Wolf which is finished and going through the revision stages. Also hopefully a couple more How-To books and a start up sc-fi & fantasy eMagazine. All for Amazons Kindle.

5 things you would like to accomplish in the next 5 years.

A successful writing career beginning or established. Family time spent traveling and creating memories.  Oh and getting National Book Tour fit. HA!

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers?  Any advice?

Practice. Like all things in life no one is just born with ability. Keep doing it and growing. Find what works for you and develop yourself. Nothing I write now resembles what I was writing two years ago or more. And I hope a few years as the edge is honed I can look back to now and say they same thing.

Never read anything that says how so-and-so writes. It won’t matter because every writer will have different ways to make it happen. Find yours.

Learn to edit your own work. Edit it several times. Then get a professional to look it over as well.

How can we purchase your Book?

All my work is available for Amazon Kindle readers exclusively right now. My Amazon profile is:

http://www.amazon.com/Tom-E.-Carsley/e/B006QALX7W/ )


Thank you very much Tom for taking the time to get to know you more.  Continue creating, as your writing takes on a life of its own.

Note:  All links to social media are tagged above, except for Twitter, so you can follow Tom on Twitter here .

Kim