Ethan Jones Books

10 Questions with Brian January

EmeraldToday, I’m reposting an interview with my third author who was a guest on my blog. Brian January is the author of two thrillers, Emerald and Silver. Please scroll down to read the interview.

1. Your new book, Emerald, opens with an action-packed scene and the promise of a high-octane ride to the very last page. Tell us a bit about Emerald.

I wrote Emerald with the intent of making it a high-octane ride for the reader–I’m glad it appealed to you that way! My goal in writing novels is to entertain the reader to the best of my ability. I think an author owes his or her audience that!

Emerald is about OSR (a fictional secret government agency) agents Park Skarda and April Force, who investigate anomalous happenings around the world, especially if they pertain to US security. It’s not X-Files in any way–just things out of the ordinary that happen to pop up on OSR’s radar. In Emerald, they investigate the fabled Emerald Tablet of Thoth, the legendary priest-king of Atlantis, which ultimately leads them to a cult which wants to destroy the world.

2. April, the main character in Emerald is not your typical hero. Where did you find the inspiration for her character?

April fascinates me. She’s a very strong, independent woman—definitely not somebody you want to fool with (lol!)—who has a core of compassion for people who have been wronged or who are in trouble. Like Skarda, she cares very deeply about justice. Even when I’m writing about her, April just kind takes off and goes in her own direction!

I think the ultimate inspiration for her character would be Modesty Blaise, another strong, independent woman created by Peter O’Donnell, whose adventures I read when I was very young. If you haven’t read the Modesty Blaise novels, I strongly encourage you to do so!

3. How do you create minor characters of your work? How important are they do the storyline?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I actually like creating minor characters the best. This is because I can give them all kinds of quirks and oddities (Jaz, for example, the assassin who tries to kill the heroes in Emerald, is truly a psycho—and proud of it!), which is lots of fun!

4. How do you weave sub-plots throughout the entire structure of the book?Since I write action-oriented thriller novels, I tend to keep sub-plots at a minimum, usually only to advance the main plot in some way. In Emerald, there is a minor love dalliance between Skarda and Laura “Flinders” Carlson (the linguist who helps the heroes), but Skarda is still reeling from the murder of his wife (which took place before the story opens), and so is not psychologically ready for involvement as yet. He takes a few steps in the healing direction in the next book, Silver, though!

5. What kind of research do you do for your works?

I do extensive research. I usually wind up with about a hundred or so pages of notes about various things that are going on the story. It takes lots of time!

6. How does Brian write? When? Outlines or not?

I write every day. It’s like practicing an instrument—you have to keep at it. I always use outlines—in fact, I can’t imagine writing a story without planning it out beforehand. You save yourself so much rewriting time that way and a well-structured book is a far better experience for the reader.

7. What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve just always had the urge. As a kid, I loved to read and to write. Stories occur to me all the time, so I guess I just approach the world in those terms.

8. When do you know the ending of your book and does it change throughout the writing of the novel?

I usually start the outlining process with the ending in mind, especially as it relates to the villain (s). The villain is really what any story is about, because without an antagonistic force, the hero would have nothing to do! As I write, various permutations occur to me, so things change and flux all the time, but the ending generally stays the same.

9. What’s next for April? What other stories are you working on?

Skarda and April have already returned in their next thriller, Silver, available now as a Kindle edition from Amazon at this link. In this one, they’re looking for an ancient hoard of Minoan silver which contains a rare earth element vital for U.S. weapons systems.

I’m also planning a novella for them, too, and have their next full-length novel already planned.

10. What can readers except to find in Emerald?

I hope they will find a solid, fast-paced story, with interesting, engaging characters. Ultimately I hope they will be entertained!

Grammar Rules

Grammar Rules.

stephen-king-on-writingYes, grammar governs writing by its intricate body of regulations and, of course, exceptions. Stephen King said in his book On Writing that if you don’t know the basics—like a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a dot—it’s too late. We’re not going to spend a lot of time on basic grammar rules, but we discuss shortly what authors can and can’t do with the craft of writing.

Let’s begin with perhaps the most feared punctuation mark, the comma. I like to call the ‘comma’, a small dot. It separates words, thoughts and clauses in a similar way like the dot, but to a smaller extent. A dot is a long pause, a comma a short one.

Authors can do a lot with a comma, especially in a dialogue. They can give the reader a the-little-gold-grammar-bookclear idea about the how a character speaks, by using the commas for pauses or avoid using them altogether, to show the rush of the character’s emotions or passion during a particular scene.

In his book, The Little Gold Grammar Book: Mastering the Rules That Unlock the Power of Writing, Brandon Royal gives numerous of examples of correct use of commas, whether they are listing commas, joining commas, omission commas or commas of any other type.

What are your thoughts on comma use?

Weekly Intelligence Briefing

EthanJones_TheSecretAffair_800pxTHE SECRET AFFAIR, my first romantic suspense, is almost done. I’m working on the last chapters and the story is wrapping up pretty good. Jennifer’s plan to save herself and Amber from Blackwood’s evil plot has hit a big setback; while Cheryl, Blackwood’s sister, is also working on her own scheme. How will the story unfold when these two women and their plans come head to head?

I’m very excited about this novel, and I’m looking forward to sharing the first six chapters (or about 50 pages) with my most loyal readers in early March. If you’d like to enjoy them before this novel is released to the public, then please drop me a note at my e-mail account author.ethan.jones@gmail.com.

EthanJones_ShadowAgents_800If you are a fan of spy thrillers, let me bring to your attention SHADOW AGENTS, the latest installment in the Justin Hall series, which came out last December. Have you read it yet? If no, then why not download it now from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay or iTunes? And let me know how you liked it.

Joining my Fans Mailing List is the best way to stay in touch with me, be informed of new releases, special deals, promotions and news about my writing and my books. And as a token of appreciation for joining my Fans Mailing List, I will send you one of the books in the Justin Hall series free of charge. Join now by clicking on this link.

EthanJones_PriorityTarget_800Reviews are crucial when it comes to new readers checking out my books. If you have enjoyed a Justin Hall book, or PRIORITY TARGET, why not post a review about it on your favorite book retailer? Give a voice to your opinion and let others know what you think of my books and my writing. And if you let me know about your review, I will send you the book of your choice in the Justin Hall series free of charge.

THANK YOU for your excellent and continuous support and encouragement. If you’d like to contact me, you can always drop me a note at my personal e-mail account, author.ethan.jones@gmail.com. I promise to answer every one of you.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Stephen King’s 11/211-22-632/63 is not your typical horror story, albeit there is plenty of horror in it. There is blood and brain matter splattered on walls and couches and a child murderer. A subtle thread of horror is apparent throughout the novel.

However, 11/22/63 is a time travel story, in which English teacher Jake Epping travels to 1958, a few years before the US President Kennedy’s assassination. The story reminded me of Michael Crichton’s Timeline and flashes of Back to the Future appeared in my mind, when Marty McFly traveled back to 1955. Vivid descriptions of root beer and the slow pace of life in the fifties made me both thirsty and sad, for that time is gone forever.

There are direct and indirect lessons any author can take from 11/22/63. Mr. King’s way of tying every little or seemingly unimportant detail together; his tear-jerking description of Harry’s incident right in the introduction; the way he builds the suspense and the expected and unexpected twists and turns, as the past refuses to be changed. And the clear instructions about ‘keeping the reader guessing’ and ‘keeping it simple’.

The book deals with important questions about the possibility of changing the past and how that affects the present. Will Jake be able to stop Kennedy’s assassination and save the lives of millions of people in the process? What about saving the life of a common individual, of a child, incomparable to Kennedy, but still precious in the eyes of his family and of Jake?

What would you do if you were Jake?

Shadow Agents is on KOBO NEXT Today

EthanJones_ShadowAgents_800SHADOW AGENTS is on Kobo Next today.

Enjoy a copy from this link and please share it.

Shadow Agents is on Kobo Next Today

10 Questions with Ty Hutchinson

tt-box-cover-150Today, I’m reposting the second author interview on my blog with a good friend and a good author, Ty Hutchinson. Please scroll down to enjoy his interview and check out his website, his other books, and especially the latest box set, Thrilling Thirteen II: 13 Mysteries/Thriller, for 99 cents, which includes Tenderloin (Abby Kane FBI Thriller Book 2), one of Ty’s best works to date.

1.   Tell us a bit about Stroganov, the much-anticipated sequel to Chop Suey.

Stroganov is the continuing adventures of Darby Stansfield, telecommunications consultant to the criminal underworld.  In this book Darby continues to consult for crime organizations.  This time it’s the Russians.  But he also realizes his personal life is lacking, so he sets off on a vacation overseas to find someone special.  What he discovers is the seedy world of sex trafficking and ultimately ends up in the middle of a war between the Ukrainian government and a dangerous sex trafficking ring.  Anxious to get out of the situation, Darby reluctantly offers his help to the authorities in hopes of a clean break.  What he gets instead is the attention of Russia’s most feared criminal.

2.   Darby Stansfield is not your typical hero.  Where did you find the inspiration for his character?

I was thinking about how wireless business solutions could be sold to various people.  Don’t ask why.  Anyway, they’re sold to big organizations and there are these case studies that show you how well it works.  I wondered if it would work for any organization, even criminal organizations.  I thought that was a funny idea and I started spinning a story from that.  How did this company start selling wireless business solutions to these organizations?  Is it done secretly?  Is it public?  Then I hit the idea of a salesperson that goes rogue, someone who couldn’t land the big accounts because they were all taken.  He thought if he could find a new market, he could get in from the beginning and snag the big accounts.  Thus Darby Stansfield was born.

3.   What is your view on the importance of minor characters in a novel?

I think they are important, especially if you have a lot of scenes or chapters that your main character isn’t in.  If you main character is the only person who’s interesting, then you run the risk of the other parts of the story being boring.  So I think it’s important to develop them.  I don’t even worry about them stealing the limelight, every now and then.  It’s okay.  It makes the story that much more fun. It’s like Seinfeld.  Jerry was the star, but he surrounded himself with interesting characters.  In the end, he often ended up being the straight guy.

4.   How do you weave sub-plots throughout the entire structure of the main storyline?

I start with a prayer.  No seriously, I don’t have a formula.  I come up with an overall storyline that may or may not change.  Usually it does.  Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a subplot from the very beginning but normally they come to me when I’m writing. I like having a lot of conflict so early on when I’m writing I’m constantly spinning ideas for sub-plots in my head.  The ones I like, I introduce into the story.  So imagine a single road and then from that road, there or four roads grow out of it and go their own way.  I then have fun with the subplots and am basically freewheeling it at that point knowing at some point I got to reel these suckers in so that it’s one road again.  There’s no hard rule how I resolve the sub-plots or what order, it all depends on the main storyline.

5.   What kind of research do you do for your works, the culture, the locales, the events?

I write from experience.  That’s my research.  To me it provides the most realistic story possible.  My Darby Stansfield series is based in San Francisco but it also takes place in exotic locales like Hong Kong and Belarus.  Both of which I have firsthand experience.  So I start with what I know and then supplement with research as needed.  Google Maps is great when you want to describe an area. Get online and in a few seconds you’re walking around.

6.   How does Ty write?  When?  Outlines or not?

I think I’ve settled on a loose outline.  I find that when I make it too ridged, the story begins to fall flat because I literally write the outline.  I find that I’m not as free to take turns because I’m trying to stick to the outline.  So now I keep it loose.  When I run into a wall or point where I’m stuck, then that’s where I’ll start brainstorming various directions and start writing detailed paragraphs of how the story might progress at that point.

7.   What made you want to become a writer?

Advertising, most likely. I spent the last twenty years in that business as a copywriter, heck; I’m still in it. I was already writing.  Anyway, about two years ago I had an idea floating around in my head.  It wasn’t right for advertising but I liked it and wanted to do something with it.  For a while I thought of turning it into screenplay but then a novel popped into my head.  The more I thought about it and the more people gave me positive feedback the more I knew something needed to be done.  I figured I’d turn it into a book because all sorts of things could come out of it.  So I wrote a book and I loved it right from the start.  I knew right then and there I wanted to keep doing this.  I recently traded agency life for that of a freelancer—my way of breaking the ball and chain.  This is the beginning of my transition from Ad Man to Author.

8.   When do you know the ending of your book and does it change throughout the writing of the novel?

I always know the ending of my story, in a broad sense.  It’s where I want my character to end up.  I guess my stories tend to be goal oriented.  Once that is achieved, the story is over.  In Chop Suey, Darby’s goal was to figure out a way to succeed at his job.  His answer was to become a telecommunications consultant to the criminal underworld.  So once he established that, got it up and running saw that it could work, the story ended.  In Stroganov, Darby wants to improve his love life.  The end is whether or not he finds the special someone or not.

9.   What’s next for Darby?  What other stories are you working on?

The Darby Stansfield series will continue.  I’m currently writing the third novel, which will mostly take place in Hawaii.  I’m also working on another story titled, The St. Petersburg Confessions.  There’s a villain in Stroganov that I really liked so I thought it would be interesting to write a novella about how he came to be.  Those are the two stories I’m actually writing right now.  I’m also developing a detective series that will take place in Hawaii and another novel about a serial killing couple.  All fun stuff.

10.   What can readers except to find in Stroganov?

Jimmy Hoffa.  I’m kidding.  They’ll find that one small act of kindness can bring on a world of pain.

10 Questions with Claude Dancourt

Today, I’m reposting the first author interview on my blog with a good friend and a good author, Claude Dancourt. Please scroll down to enjoy her interview and check out her Amazon’ author page, her websiteSecoSecond Chancesnd Chances and her other books.

1.   Tell us a bit about Second Chances.

Second Chances is a contemporary romance inspired by Bryan Adams fantastic song “The right place”.  I was driving home one evening, and listening to this song, and suddenly I saw Maya welcoming Arthur home and the novel was born.

2.   Where did you find the inspiration for the character of Maya, the female hero of the romance?

Maya is strong; she is fragile; she listens to her heart; she listens to her head.  She has fears and strengths, just like every female character I create.  Maybe her emotional side dominates, which makes her a bit different.  As to point out where I find the inspiration for her character, I have no answer.  She is not like me, that’s for sure!  Except for her taste in Christmas trees.

3.   What is your view on the importance of minor characters in a novel?

Minor characters are very important.  They allow the writer to give depth to the main characters. Minor characters show a different point of view on the heroes, bring out the best and the worst of them.  They made them more credible, real people with friends, families or enemies.  I often use them as tension relievers too.

4.   How do you weave sub-plots throughout the entire structure of the main storyline?

My stories generally are born with a scene, a line of dialogue or an image.  The main plot appears when I start writing that scene down.  Sub-plots come later, when I realize I need to explain this or that; a secondary character appears, or something totally random at the beginning grows because I need to connect some dots.  I wish I could tell I plot and plot and plot until the canvas is good and then start writing. I don’t.  Things just happen.

5.   What kind of research do you do for your works, the culture, the locales, the events?

Google and Wikipedia are my two best friends!  Just (half) kidding.  I read a lot, I love dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Generally, I look for dry facts, and knit them together myself.  When I’m done, I use social network and forums to contact people more familiar than I am with the subject at hand, to see if I’m right on tracks or totally out of it.  For an example, once I emailed a museum because I had some questions about a painting that inspired me.

6.   How does Claude write?  When?  Outlines or not?

It depends!  Second Chances wasn’t outlined at all.  The novel I am revising now, Return to Caer Lon, was outlined.  I find it difficult to write with a plot-line.  I prefer let my imagination take me from point A to point B.

As for the how and when…  Anyhow, everywhere loll.  I have restless muses, who tend to attack me at the most inconvenient moments.  Grocery shops, during a flight, or late at night. I sometimes write directly on my laptop, but I prefer the old method of ink (blue) and paper (lined).

7.   What made you want to become a writer?

Ah ah, the big question.  I read a lot.  And sometimes, I didn’t like the endings.  So I decided to write my own stories so I could choose the endings.  More seriously, I always read a lot, even as a kid, and after a while, I couldn’t find the story I wanted to read, at the moment I wanted it.  So it was easier to write it.

8.   When do you know the ending of your book and does it change throughout the writing of the novel?

I wrote Second chances ending before I was done with chapter 12.  It just popped into my head, and it never changed.  The ending of Return to Caer Lon changed three times, and I wrote it last.

9.   What’s next for Maya and Arthur?  What other stories are you working on?

Maya and Arthur had their happily ever after.  However, they might appear as very secondary characters in other novels.  I mentioned Return to Caer Lon a couple of times; it’s a fantasy, inspired by the Arthurian Legend.  I am revising the manuscript at the moment, and hopefully it will be available somewhere in 2012.  I am also working on a paranormal romance.

10.   What can readers expect to find in Second Chances?

A couple of laughs.  A couple of sighs.  Hope.  Love. Fun.  I certainly had some writing it.

Weekly Intelligence Briefing

EthanJones_TheSecretAffair_800pxLast week, I was blessed with time to work on THE SECRET AFFAIR, my first romantic suspense. Over half of the novel is now complete and my beta readers are hard at work pulling apart the first chapters, finding things to improve and polish. You can be a beta reader too if you want and get yourself listed in the Acknowledgment page of THE SECRET AFFAIR. If interested, just let me know at author.ethan.jones@gmail.com.

Things are heating up in the book. Jennifer is now preparing her plan to save herself and Amber from Blackwood’s evil plot. But what will she have to do? How far can she go without losing herself?

The first five chapters of THE SECRET AFFAIR will be available at the end of February or early March. If you’d like to enjoy them before this novel is released to the public, then please drop me a note at my e-mail account. In this way, you can decide if this romantic suspense novel is for you.

This week, I want to bring to your attention ARCTIC WARGAME, the first book EthanJones_ArcticWargame_800that kicked off the Justin Hall series. Amazon has it for the special price of $3.38. Take advantage of this special offer and buy a copy for yourself or one of your friends who loves spy thrillers. And if you’ve already read and enjoy it, why not leave a review on Amazon or your favorite book retailer website? Your opinions are crucial when it comes to new readers checking out my books. Even a short review of one sentence is extremely valuable.

EthanJones_PriorityTarget_800If you’ve read all the books in the Justin Hall series, then it’s time to make the jump to PRIORITY TARGET, the first novella in the Carrie Chronicles series. In PRIORITY TARGET, Carrie O’Connor is assigned the mission to confirm the elimination of a priority target hit during a drone attack in southern Somalia. Soon enough, Carrie finds herself a target in what appears to be a massive cover-up. Determined to find out who wants her dead, she begins to cut through a complex web of lies and deceit, even if it means going to war with the CIA.

If you like Brad Thor, David Baldacci, and Vince Flynn, you’re going to love PRIORITY TARGET, an action-packed adventure and a powerful page-turner that will keep you reading through the night. Why not try this novella today? You can get it from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Word of mouth is vital so my books can reach more people. So please take a moment to talk to a friend, drop an e-mail to a loved one or a relative who enjoys spy thrillers, or share the news about my works on your social media, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever you have an Internet presence.

Joining my Fans Mailing List is the best way to stay in touch with me, be informed of new releases, special deals, promotions and news about my writing and my books. And as a token of appreciation for joining my Fans Mailing List, I will send you one of the books in the Justin Hall series free of charge. Join now by clicking on this link.

At the end, I’d like to thank you all for your wonderful support. I love getting your feedback through e-mails or Facebook or Twitter. You can always write me at my personal e-mail account, author.ethan.jones@gmail.com. I promise to answer every one of you.

Weekly Intelligence Briefing

EthanJones_TheSecretAffair_800pxWith great pleasure and excitement I’m revealing the cover of my first romantic suspense, THE SECRET AFFAIR. I’ve gone with E. JONES instead of my full name, to make the clear distinction this is a new series in a new genre. There is plenty of suspense, and many twists and turns in the intriguing plot line of this new book. I hope most of you, my loyal readers, will cross over and enjoy THE SECRET AFFAIR, the first novel in the Jennifer Morgan series.

In THE SECRET AFFAIR, Jennifer and her partner, Amber—who own an advertising agency—begin to work for Blackwood Advertising, a large and powerful corporation, in one of their ad campaigns. Jennifer soon finds out that the intentions of Blackwood Advertising CEO—William—fall outside the realm of business, and that something doesn’t add up in his actions. Amber, on the other hand, has already fallen for William, and her feelings cloud her judgement. But what is truly going on within Blackwood Advertising and what could be the consequences of William’s tricks on Jennifer and Amber?

The first five chapters of THE SECRET AFFAIR will be available at the end of February or early January. If you’d like to enjoy them before this novel is released to the public, then please drop me a note at author.ethan.jones@gmail.com. In this way, you can decide if this romantic suspense novel is for you.

This week, I want to bring to your attention TRIPOLI’S TARGET, the second book in the Justin Hall series. EthanJones_TripolisTarget_1400If you’ve been following the news, the situation in Libya is getting worse and worse by the day. TRIPOLI’S TARGET explores the scenario of an assassination plot targeting the US President during a visit to Libya’s capital, Tripoli. Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor discover the plot is being bankrolled by a powerful Saudi prince. Now, Justin and Carrie have only forty-eight hours to stop the Saudi prince, dismantle the assassination plot, and save the life of Tripoli’s target. Why don’t you give TRIPOLI’S TARGET a try today or recommend it to a friend?

And if you’ve read all the books in the Justin Hall series, then it’s time to make the EthanJones_PriorityTarget_800jump to PRIORITY TARGET, the first novella in the Carrie Chronicles series. In PRIORITY TARGET, Carrie O’Connor is assigned the mission to confirm the elimination of a priority target hit during a drone attack in southern Somalia. Soon enough, Carrie finds herself a target in what appears to be a massive cover-up. Determined to find out who wants her dead, she begins to cut through a complex web of lies and deceit, even if it means going to war with the CIA.

If you like Brad Thor, David Baldacci, and Vince Flynn, you’re going to love PRIORITY TARGET, an action-packed adventure and a powerful page-turner that will keep you reading through the night. Why not try this novella today? You can get it from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Word of mouth and reviews are crucial when it comes to new readers checking out my books. So please take a few moments to talk to a friend, drop an e-mail to a loved one or a relative who loves spy thrillers, or share the news about my works on your social media, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever you have an Internet presence. And why not post a review about my books on Amazon or you other favorite book retailer? Even a short review of one sentence is extremely valuable.

Have you joined my Fans Mailing List? If not, you’re missing out on news about my future book releases, special offers and deals. Joining is free, very easy, and takes less than a minute. Simply go to this link and enter your e-mail account, which, of course, will be kept very confidential.

At the end, I’d like to thank you for your excellent reviews and your wonderful support. I love getting your feedback through e-mails or Facebook or Twitter. You can always write me at my personal e-mail account, author.ethan.jones@gmail.com. I promise to answer every one of you.

Are you on my Fans Mailing List?

My loyal readers who are on my Fans Mailing List are already enjoying the cover of my next book THE SECRET AFFAIR.

If you are not on the list, click on http://eepurl.com/HIG7r and add your e-mail account now.

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