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Click here to check out: False Positive

Click here to check out: False World

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Interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

What are your books about?

“False Positive” and “False World,” the first two books in the Joe Daniel’s trilogy, are about deception, espionage and redemption. These are written under the pen name of J J Dare. I’m working on the third and final book.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was inspired to write about hidden government agendas and their devastating aftereffects when I thought about why we, as a nation, involve our resources in other nations’ conflicts. My biggest inspiration: the eternal, What if?

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

The aggressive part of my passive/aggressive personality is turned loose in the books. I can let myself go through my characters; I can destroy without regret, lie with a straight face and a cold heart, and generally, get away with murder.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Trust no one.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

Writing my first book a few years ago gave me confidence. I believe it was an exercise to prepare me for the challenges I would shortly face in my personal life.

What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?

I’ve lost three people in my family (my brother, my partner and my mother) since March, 2010. My late partner Dan was my biggest supporter. The belief he had in me gives me the strength to keep writing.

What are you working on right now?

This interview! Oh, and a few articles, blog posts, and my perpetual 30+ novels in various stages of incompletion. One particular thing I’m working on was suggested by my late partner’s brother, a Memphis novelist. He thinks I should put together a collection of my short stories.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Inspiration. When it’s not there, it can’t be faked. Constipated writing can be unbearable.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Inspiration. When it’s there, the words flow like a raging river. If the story is in my head and I’ve been tapped by my muse (and she stays with me), I can write a novel in a week.

Does writing come easy for you?

Short stories are much easier. I can put a short story together within an hour. All of my life I’ve been a “condenser.” I like to pare my words down, whether written or spoken, to the bare minimum. This is a double-edged sword since to write a complete novel I have to expand the story and I detest using useless filler.

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

The most surprising aspect of being a published writer is the positive feedback I’ve received from readers. Only a few weeks ago, I had a reader ask when the third book in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy would be coming out.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

The hook is the essential part of a story; with a good hook, the reader won’t want to put a book down. I try to draw the reader in immediately with a one-two punch.

Have you completed any other books?

I have three completed works that need editing. Editing is so boring that I put it off for as long as I can.

Where can people learn more about your books and/or you?

Find my books at Second Wind Publishing, http://secondwindpublishing.com/JJDare.html. Find me on my personal Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/jan.d.linton

Click here to read the first chapter of: False Positive

Click here to read the first chapter of: False World

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Rubicon Ranch: Do You Really Know Your Neighbors?

Video by JJ Dare, author of  False Positive and False World.

Find out more about the suspects here:  Characters

Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

Chapter Two: Seth Bryan — by Lazarus Barnhill

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Rubicon Ranch Video — The Suspects

Video by JJ Dare, author of  False Positive and False World.

Find out more about the suspects here:  Characters

Read the first chapter of Rubicon Ranch: A Collaborative Novel here: Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

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The Murder. The Mystery. The Unspeakable Crime.

Video by JJ Dare, author of  False Positive and False World.

Read the first chapter of Rubicon Ranch: A Collaborative Novel here: Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

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Happy Bloggiversary to Us!

One year ago today, we at Second Wind Publishing started to blog. Many of us had never blogged before, but we wanted a forum to connect with our readers, and so we learned. While learning how to blog, we also learned how generous readers are with their comments, and we would like to thank all of you for your support. Click here for: Goodies and Giveaways.

To celebrate this anniversary, Second Wind authors talk about their experiences with blogging.

More Deaths Than OnePat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire: I have more blogs than one, so I was familiar with blogging when I joined the authors here at Second Wind Publishing Blog, but it has been a wonderful experience participating in the growth of this blog with its fantastic array of posts. Wishing us all — authors and readers alike — a happy new blogyear!

Images of BetrayalClaire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny: I’ve never been afraid to try new things, but my biggest problem has always been time. I didn’t know where I would find time to post blogs every few days in my already tight schedule. I started slowly, writing about writing and posting every couple of weeks to my blog and the Second Wind blog. Now, I actually enjoy blogging and I spend a lot of time on my own blog. Visit me if you get a chance.

Loving LydiaAmy De Trempe: author of Loving Lydia: For me, posting a blog was harder than writing a novel and it took some time before I became comfortable.  I wondered what I should write about and if I had anything intersting to say.  Now I find it to be a fun activity and have enjoyed posting to both Second Wind and my personal blog.  More importantly, I’ve found I really enjoy reading the posts of others and comments from readers. It has opened up a world for me that I barely knew existed.

False PositiveJJ Dare, author of False Positive: It’s been an interesting blog ride for me. Finding something new to say was daunting the first couple of times. I got over the initial “oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-talk-about” reaction fairly quickly. Instead ofagonizing over a post (and rewriting and rewriting the week prior to my turn atthe blog), I’m at the point where I can zip a blog post off with only a littlebit of editing. I’d have to say blogging is helping me in my own writing – I’m honing a fast write and never look back style 🙂

front-sta-195x304Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato: I appreciate being able to tell followers of the Second Wind Publishing blog the evolution of my debut thriller Staccato from inception to publication to promotion. Sharing the journey through a series of articles in order to show the entire path this writer took, as well as what pitfalls I encountered along the way, has been a pleasure.

Buried in Wolf LakeChristine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County and Buried in Wolf Lake: Last year I barely knew what a blog was and hadn’t read one. Pat Bertram asked if she could post an article I had written for my fellow Second Wind authors about my first book-signing experience on her blog. Okay, sure. Suddenly, a link appeared on an email. I clicked it and there on the Book Marketing Floozy blog was my article. It was like magic. I have learned a bit since then, but haven’t been able to carve out the time to develop my own blog, or update my website. I post blogs on the Second Wind Publishing WordPress site. Mostly, I enjoy reading what the other authors write, on WordPress and Facebook. I recently joined Twitter and will try to figure that out one of these days. Blogs have opened a whole new world for me!

Badeaux KnightsSuzette Vaugn, author of Badeaux Knights and Mortals, Gods, and a Muse: In my first blog I talked about my extended family which just keeps growing. Every month it seems we get new authors in our mix that fit with the rest of us. Over the last year we’ve added several authors that seem like they’ve always been here. Amy, Lucy, Deb, Eric, Jennifer, Jerrica, Pat, Sherrie, Mickey, Juliet and the newest member J. Conrad have officially doubled my Second Wind Family. Then we have all you wonderful readers that make our family possible, thank you.

I’ve learned a lot since then too. I’m still working on the whole blogging thing but since I’ve figured out it doesn’t always have to be about writing, I’m doing better. I’ve featured favorite music, books, and slight jabs at my sister on my personal blog and actually have articles in the drafts waiting for those off days where I can’t think of anything.

Hand-Me-Down BrideJuliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride: Blogging seemed one of those internet “too much information” things until I got into it, and began to read the blogs of other Second Wind writers. Blogging keeps you focused on your craft and gets you to work in a briefer, but just as interesting, medium. It feels just one short step beyond the world of the campfire story teller. Personally, it’s been a sort of archeological project. A way for me to excavate  my own store of memory, from times now considered “historical.”  🙂

Thank you everyone for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out our goodies and giveaways.

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Lazarus Barnhill’s Newsletter

            Years ago I had a friend who wrote an article once a month for his company’s newsletter.  And nobody read it.  Tony could write okay.  The problem was his regular piece was always full of nothing but “thank you’s” and “coming events”.  Anytime someone did something noteworthy, he recounted the deed with effusive praise.  Whenever future activities were planned, he would write about them extensively and encourage participation.  By his third newsletter, everyone was ignoring Tony’s articles.

            So as I write this blog entry, I do so with a certain amount of trepidation—because I want to say a big “thank you” to all the kind people who posted such wonderful comments as part of the “Lazarus Barnhill Tribute”.  I’d also like to thank my friends at Second Wind Publishing who promoted and carried this off without me knowing about it until it was at hand.  You’re all delightful and lovely people—in addition to be fine authors.  This is the first time I’ve ever experienced a tribute, and it’s a wonderful, heady experience.

            I must admit, however, there is a dark side to this of which most people aren’t aware.  In the service of full disclosure, I suppose I should be completely candid and say that, without telling our “blog guru” what I was doing, I snuck in and removed all the ugly, hostile comments some people left. . . .  Well, I suppose it’s the thought that counts.  Folks make their tributes in different ways.  As I’ve read and reread the questions and observations about me that I deleted, it dawned on me I should respond to them.  Yes, even warped internet flamers need love and attention from time to time.  So here are some of the less favorable comments and questions along with my personal responses:

            What was your mother thinking when she named her son Lazarus?  Was that lame name the same as your daddy’s?  KDB

            No, my father’s name is not Lazarus.  When Mom named me that she was more than a little cheesed at my father, who at the time of my birth was in the Navy sailing over to Korea to fight a war.  She wasn’t about to name me after him.  Laz is a name that’s appeared in various generations of my family for some time, always accompanied with the hope that the bearer will final achieve something worthwhile. . . .  Now that I think of it, KDB are my mom’s initials.

            You should stick either to romance or to crime/mystery.  Where’d you get the idea you could screw up two genres?  M. Douthit

            You should read more good books.  In fact, you need to visit the Second Wind site.  Many quality romances (like Safe Harbor, Badeaux Knights, Fate and Destiny and A Love Out of Time) have strong elements of mystery and crime in them.  And some outstanding crime books (like Carpet Ride and my own The Medicine People) are full of romantic elements.  It would difficult to find a more heartbreaking romance—with a hopeful ending—than the thriller False Positive.  Murder in Winnebago County actually has a love triangle in it so compelling that Chris Husom’s readers demanded she resolve it in her upcoming sequel Buried in Wolf Lake.  Even though she would deny it, Pat Bertram’s books, especially A Spark of Heavenly Fire, are loaded with complex romances.  It’s a great privilege for me to be published by Second Wind, where authors are not confined to a single genre—which is really just an acknowledgement that a good book may have love, death, laughter, adventure, crime and even the supernatural in it.

            You make fun of police officers in The Medicine People.  You should be ashamed of yourself!  Edna S.

            My uncle and great-uncle were policemen in the little country town where I grew up, Edna.  They used to follow me around to make sure I wasn’t getting into trouble (or giving them a bad name) and when I got my driver’s license they’d find an excuse to stop me once every week or two.  I’m just getting even with them.  Anyway, the hero of the book is a clever cop and he’s surrounded by smart, ethical policemen who are trying to do what’s right.  I happen to think The Medicine People is actually pretty realistic in its depiction of police.

            Your hero in Lacey Took a Holiday is a kidnapper.  He gives me the creeps.  And the girl who’s the main character is a hooker.  She’s not much better.  Nobody wants to read about people like that.  P.P.

            Don’t I remember you from the romance writing contest?  You really ought to do something about your initials.  Anyway, get the book and the read the whole story.  They both start out as “damaged goods” through no fault of their own (he is an embittered WWI vet whose wife and child died in childbirth; she ran away from home as a teenager after being sexually assaulted and then being blamed for it).  Lacey Took a Holiday is not so different from a lot of modern romances in that the main characters have had prior relationships and endured great pain.  I’ll admit the story is a little gritty and realistic.  Second Wind is thinking about moving it over and making it a mainstream title.

            I understand you removed some of the steamier love scenes of your first two books to make them more acceptable to your readers.  Soon you’ll have another novel, East Light, coming out.  Have you made certain the sexual content is acceptable?  KDB

            Dang it, Mom!  Quit posting on the blog.

            Anyway, thanks for all the good comments.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them.  And now for some upcoming events . . .  —Laz Barnhill

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Hitting the Beat

J J Dare is the author of “False Positive,” the first novel in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy.

Music is an absolute must when I’m writing. Because I suffer from tinnitus, it’s important to have something to drown out the zillion crickets in my head when I’m trying to think about what I’m penning.

In addition, the mood of the music is critical. The best tempo for my suspense is, of course, heavy metal. There’s something about the deep, primal beat of the drum and the mysterious wail of the bass that feeds the story I’m writing.

 

As with music, tempo is important in storytelling. I try to keep an underlying steady beat throughout the story, with crescendos matching climatic scenes.

 

Dark and heavy with small glimmers of light populate my suspense stories. The music I listen to matches the mood of the scenes: Avenged Sevenfold, Pulse Ultra, Stone Sour, Godsmack, and Papa Roach are some of the more frequent bands I listen to when I want the story to pulsate with sinister tension.

 

When the mood calls for it, I switch gears. If a character becomes lost in a memory of love long gone or a life undone, I myself become reflective. This type of mood change calls for something retro and my pick of the pack would have to be Steve Perry. Other bands that bring back the good old days include Heart, Roxette, Fleetwood Mac, to name just a few

 

For me, there is a close relationship between music and writing. Music tells a story, whereas a story can be told with an underlying beat. The smooth transitions in musical chords mimic smooth transitions in writing.

 

I write stories with music as a driving force that helps me focus. Friends and family do not understand how I can write with the cacophony of noise. I cannot see how I can write without it.

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Inspiration on a Short Leash

J J Dare is the author of “False Positive,” the first novel in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy.

 

Writing has to start somewhere.

 

In college I was taught to kick-start the process by free writing. The inspiration was supposed to come from the flowing gibberish I wrote and would congeal into a coherent paper eventually, or so my literature professor told me.

 

I was an abject failure at free writing.

 

I am hit by inspiration. I can’t squeeze it out of the pen if it’s not there to begin with. I don’t write nonsense hoping that it will spark a fever of writing.

 

My own personal muse comes from the good old what-if question. What if the world was square instead of round? What if the war to end all wars started on American soil? What if survival depended on the untouchables? What if the key to world peace was locked in an imprisoned mind? What if squirrels were actually smarter than dolphins?

 

 

The list is endless.

 

For me, possession is nine/tenths of the writing process. Not the kind of takeover by the ghosts of Forester or Fitzgerald, but the takeover of my own imagination. The characters in my stories come to life and I see what they see, hear what they hear, and feel what they feel.

 

In my mind, my characters live their experiences and adventures. As a participant in every little thing they do, I become deeply involved. Their pain is my pain.

 

The whole writing process is exhausting. When I get on a serious roll, I suffer the consequences, usually in the form of a writing hangover that lasts for a few miserable days.

 

But it’s worth it. Someone once told me that writing is birth and death with the broadest spectrum of human emotions in between. For me, this is true. I run the written gamut of feelings from fear and absurdity to anger and hilarity, sometimes within the same paragraph.

 

Life is such a candy shop. Inspiration is all around, waiting to be picked up. The wonderful thing about inspiration is that it is different for each of us: I see an apple where you see the beginnings of life and love; you see torn, dirty jeans where I see a struggle for world domination.

 

I have to be careful and keep my imagination on a short leash, else the candy bar I’m eating becomes the catalyst for the collapse of modern society or the calendar I’m looking at morphs into a countdown to apocalypse.

 

It starts with a single grain of sand. That’s how my inspiration takes birth. A single act, a single look, a single mistake – all have the ability to snowball into a story.

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