Meet Michael Allan Scott

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Today’s interview spotlight is on Michael Allan Scott. Born and raised at the edge of the high desert in Kingman, Arizona, Michael Allan Scott resides in Scottsdale with his wife, Cynthia and their hundred-pound Doberman, Otto.  In addition to writing mysteries and speculative fiction, his interests include music, photography, art, scuba diving and auto racing.

His book The Dark Side of Sunset Pointe – A Lance Underphal Mystery is a paranormal mystery that reads like a thrill ride with twists and turns you won’t see coming. You can view the book trailer here.

KT: So tell us Michael, how did you end up writing in this genre?

MAS: When I started writing fiction, I was drawn to science fiction, dark fantasy and horror, yet I love reading a good mystery. In researching which genres within my wheelhouse had the best commercial potential, mystery/suspense/thriller was the clear winner.

KT: If one of your books was being made into a movie, which celebrities would you want to cast for it?

MAS: Of course, I’m expecting they will all be made into movies. In fact, the writing style is more visual than typical novels, custom-built for movie adaptation. That said, for the first book, Dark Side of Sunset Pointe, I envision Jack Nicholson or John Travolta as Lance Underphal and Ryan Gosling or Brad Pitt as Detective Frank Salmon.

KT: Ooh, all good actors and dreamy to watch on the big screen. Nice choices. Moving right along, if you could actually spend a day living the life of one of your characters, which one would it be and why?

MAS: Hmmm … it would have to be Sonja, the protagonist’s dead wife. She’s got the best of both worlds—spiritual and material, with none of the drawbacks.

KT: That would be exciting. Now of all your writing projects thus far, which one are you most proud of?

MAS: The one I’m finishing up now, Grey Daze, the third Lance Underphal mystery in the series.

KT: When did you finally feel like you had really made it as an author?

MAS: April 13, 2013 when my first book, Dark Side of Sunset Pointe, hit #2 in the Kindle Best Sellers Top 100, and #1 in the Best Sellers – Mysteries. Yeah, baby!   

KT: I’d like to take a minute to say congratulations on that and all your successes. I can’t help but wondering if you always wanted to be a writer. What job did you dream of having as a kid?

MAS: When I was really little I wanted to be a cowboy or an Indian (oops, Native American.) Then when I heard “She Loves You” I wanted to be a Beatle.

KT: I know right, who is cooler then a Beatle? Since we are talking about fun subjects, if you could have a super-power what would it be and why?

MAS: The Genii who has the power to grant wishes. I’d get a lot more done in less time. 

KT: That is one I haven’t heard before, most people pick flying. LOL. How about giving us a little known fact about you?

MAS: It’s been rumored I do yoga in the nude.

KT: You sure have a good sense of humor throwing that one out there! If you could give any piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

MAS: Do it NOW! Don’t wait!

KT: So true. Doesn’t it often seem to be the folly of youth that we always put things off for another day that may never come. While we are on the subject, what was the best advice you were ever given?

MAS: Never disparage yourself or minimize your strength or power.

KT: Wise words indeed. As we wrap things up here, do you care to tell us anything about your next project?

MAS: The next project is still a mystery to me. I’ll burn that bridge when I cross it.  

KT: That is one way to keep us all in suspense. 🙂

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To learn more about Michael Allan Scott and his work, check out the links below.

Website:  http://michaelallanscott.com/

Dark Side of Sunset Pointe – book trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbGeaIs_Kuw

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6617186.Michael_Allan_Scott

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MAllanScott

G+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112111830672923490472/+Michaelallanscott/posts/p/pub

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelAllanScott

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00AB4ETQ6

Written In The Stars (An Interview with Thomas Watson)

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On a clear night you can gaze up at the stars and gape in wonder at the multitude of beauty to behold. Even among the millions of stars, each one is unique and incredible in its own right. Together they make up something magical and inspiring.

It is my belief that this is also true of people. This belief is what gave rise to the “Slices of Life” portion of this blog and all the personal interviews with the incredible people featured there. This latest interview is no exception.

Today’s interview features one of my favorite science fiction authors, Thomas Watson! Thomas is one of those lucky people who seems to be in touch with the Earth and attuned to the skies. His written works include: “The Luck of Han’anga”; “Founders’ Effect”; “Mr. Olcott’s Skies”; “Long Time Passing”; and “Second Chance”.

KL: Thomas, you describe yourself as an amateur astronomer; and as I understand it, your book “Mr. Olcott’s Skies: An Old Book and A Youthful Obsession” was born from your love of astronomy. So I have to ask the obvious question, how did your fascination with astronomy get started?

TW: As I tell it in Mr. Olcott’s Skies, there isn’t a single thing or event I can point to that explains how I became a stargazer. It was an accidental confluence of many events and experiences that, over a number of years, turned my eyes to the Moon and stars. I was fascinated by all of science and nature as a youngster, but somehow the night sky caught my imagination, and held it most firmly. It never really let go, although I stepped away from star gazing for a regrettable number of years.

KL: I love that you took your passion for the stars and turned it into written form so you could share it with the world. Since then you have written a number of other projects as well. Of all your writing projects, which one are you most proud?

TW: That’s too much like deciding which of our four cats I like best! But if I had to pick, it would be the big guy, Linus. No, wait, you were talking about writing. In that case, I’d have to pick Mr. Olcott’s Skies, my brief memoir regarding star gazing. It was intended for the amateur astronomy niche market but has found a readership beyond that niche. That pleases me to no end!

KL: Rightly so. It’s an incredible feeling to have your heartfelt work appreciated by others. In a similar track as the previous question, please think for a moment about the characters you have written. If you could ‘walk in the shoes’ of one of them for a day, who would it be?

TW: Probably Robert MacGregor, the POV character of The Luck of Han’anga and one of the POV’s in Founders’ Effect. We share a love of horticulture and music, though unlike Robert, I’m no musician. Of course, in a way I’ve lived every day of his life, when you think about it.

KL: Being a science fiction fan as you are, what is your favorite sci-fi book, movie, or tv show?

TW: Its an answer given by many, but I’d pick The Lord of the Rings. Its message of hope when things seem most hopeless has brought me through some dark times. I’m not a big movie-goer, but the film made from Sagan’s novel Contact immediately comes to mind. The scenes at the end where faith and science prove themselves compatible were amazing. I don’t watch a lot of television, outside of the baseball season, but I did enjoy Stargate SG-1. The ability of that show to depict a plausible alternate reality was simply outstanding.

KL: Excellent choices! What about authors? Are there any authors you have a soft spot or special respect for?

TW: Isaac Asimov, for one. His anthology The Early Asimov or Eleven Years of Trying made me take short story writing seriously, and inspired me to try to write science fiction of my own. After that, well, this could quickly become an intimidating list! C.J. Cherryh, Ray Bradbury, and Kim Stanley Robinson stand out for science fiction, with Annie Dillard, Edwin Way Teale, and John McPhee as authors I follow in the realm of nonfiction.

KL: If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

TW: Ignore the practical advice of your elders and write. Write a lot. And when you aren’t writing, live. Take chances. Travel. Risk getting your feelings hurt. Life sometimes sucks, but you absolutely must take the risks that come of being fully alive. And I’m not talking thrill-seeking, here (I’ll never be a skydiver!), but real-life matters such as relationships, jobs, and the like. I was far too timid in my younger days, when it came to life experiences. So much easier to hide behind books and, later, a typewriter. And having just written that, I wonder if I would listen to myself giving that advice? The younger man I used to be eh, probably not.

KL: Let’s lighten the mood here with one of my favorite interview questions, what is one little known fact about you?

TW: All facts about me are little known. Okay, I was once thoroughly buffaloed in the middle of the night by a bullfrog. It was, however, a very large bullfrog.

KL: I would love to expand on that a bit (as I sense an interesting story in the making), but we are running out of time. So one last question, just for fun. If you could have any superpower, which one would it be?

TW: I’d go for the ability to fly. Just to be able to get away from it all, from time to time.

KL: Nice! I like the way you think.

Well, there you have it, the low-down on Thomas Watson (author, astronomer, and more). For more information on Thomas, please check out the links below.

Under Desert Stars (the blog of Thomas Watson)

Thomas Watson’s Author Page at Amazon.com

Thomas on Twitter

Tapping Your Emotional Wellspring

It has been said by many, to write with passion and intensity the writer needs to tap into their emotional wellspring. It comes from within, brought on by life events. It can take us from happy and peaceful to any number of extremes.

Even if your present state of life is content and calm, (which I hope it is), at some point in your life you have felt pain. We all have. We’ve known our share of pain, loss, grief, sadness, desperation, desire, anger, need, and many other emotional extremes.

To fuel your creativity, start with the simple act of remembering. Close your eyes, go back in your mind, and pull the emotions from deep inside of you, until they boil over to the surface. Once it is raw and real and (sometimes) terrifying, just dive in and let go.

Daniel Kemp and The Unpredictable Nature of Life

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Daniel Kemp is a father, grandfather, poet, and an amazing author. Unlike the stories of authors who dreamed of writing stories their whole life, Daniel’s journey to writing came about in a most unexpected and challenging way.

(Daniel): I’m not sure that I was ever ‘meant’ to be a writer, I stumbled into it by accident; literarily.

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006 minding my own business, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to Hospital and kept in for while, but it was not just the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was mental.

I had lost all confidence in myself, let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from.

On good days I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin, and the anxiety attacks would start.

I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly but I wasn’t. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it.

Somehow or other with the help from my wife, and the host of professionals that I saw, I managed to survive and ever so slowly, rebuilt my self-esteem.

It took almost four years to fully recover and become what I now am, somewhere close to what I was before that day, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write.

My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless it was there. After telling me to write another story, he said that there were two choices open to me: One, wait for a traditional deal. At sixty-two, with no literary profile or experience; little hope. Two, self-publish through New Generation Publishing.

This, I’m delighted to say, I did.

His career as a writer really took off after a chance meeting.

(Daniel): About a month after The Desolate Garden was published I met, by pure chance, a film producer, who on reading my novel paid me for a twelve month option to turn my story into a film.

I’m a licensed London taxi driver and met him in that capacity. It was, he said, exactly what he was looking for.

This is maybe why. It is copied from a review, and summary, of an Australian journalist’s radio broadcast from the novel.

 “The Desolate Garden is especially for readers who like a story, largely rendered through dialog because it was the dialog that pulled the work off the page and onto a movie set. This political thriller resonates with charm, deft touches of satire, and romantic entanglement and where the promise of rampant sex is a turn of the page away.”

I should add here that there is no graphic sex nor gratuitous violence in the story and it is suitable for all ages

He wrote something recently that he led to an unexpected opportunity.

(Daniel): I posted this three-line romantic poem on the internet a week or so ago.

“To rise from a barren earth.

To soar above, to wing away.

To escape from all that’s lacking, and live to love another day.”

From it, I met another author who liked it so much that she commissioned me to do the prophecy at the heart of her enticing tenth century novel. It was an honour and great privilege to do.

The book is titled Viking Hearts, and written by Robynn Gabel.

 It tells the story of a boy left to die by his Viking parents because of the birth stain on his face. He is suckled by wolves until discovered by the Druids who believe he is their answer to this ancient prophecy. The boy becomes…..and there I will stop.  Allowing your imagination to take over. This is the Prophecy I wrote.

The story is hidden in this, and follows the chronological order of the tale.

 “There be cometh a boy that a wolf did raise, with a blotch and stain on his face.

He hath a twin who will rule this land, that only he hath the right to replace.

‘Tis a leader of men he will become, with much victory and treasure at his feet.

But that is not all that will trouble him. T’is much danger he will meet.

 

His image will be seen at an altar, where a marriage will be made.

T’will be a terrible time of vengeance, when plans will be laid.

Come one score year and seven, a mask of death will fall.

The boy will stand alone as a man, with ner’e a fear of its call.

 

All is not pure that lives inside, as greed is hidden away.

With no pleasure the Gods will watch, with much pain and dismay.

Ner’e wielding axe, ner’e slashing blade will spill nor cease his breath.

T’will be only a mirror of disguise that can bring upon him death.

 

Ner’e human hand can take his life, though many will want to try.

He is blessed from the heart of the forest, and to water one day he’ll fly.

T’will be a reflection of his own face he will see that coming day,

But all but the eyes will be hidden from view, secured far away!”

If he could give advice to his younger self, what would he say?

(Daniel): What a question and where to start! One part of me would want to say, change; don’t become what you did, but then again I have loved my life. What some could call ‘mistakes’ I would call ‘opportunities.’ There are so many hackneyed clichés one could use here, but I wrote another poem, that my granddaughter now has, that sums me up quite well. This is it. 

Along the Way.

“I am heavy, I am tired” said the old man to the child. “My life, is drawing to an end. It is not what I have done to life that has brought me here today, but what life has done to me along the way.

I was strong, I was fierce, I took no-one to my side, simply brushing them aside with no need of them. Now I find that I’m alone, but don’t pity nor disown those memories that I’ve sown, along the way.

My path was never straight, sometimes narrow, sometimes wide but along it I did stride to find you here. And I am pleased that I did, otherwise you would never know what I managed in my life, along the way.

I have reached that final bend, the one that leads me to my end, and now I leave you here to make your own way through this life. Tread your path with care, and always be aware that there is no such thing in life, as a mistake. 

Daniel’s book “The Desolate Garden” is available in here!

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Check out Daniel Kemp’s website here.

Daniel’s on Twitter.

Getting Published – Is It Really As Hard As It Seems?

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How many times have you dreamed of writing a book? How often have you wondered how to get a book published?

We have all heard discouraging stories about the difficulties of getting work published. Yet many authors have managed to do it; so what is it they know that you don’t? What are the tricks of the trade so to speak?

It’s time to get all the insider information you’ve been waiting for with Gabe Berman’s brilliant new book, “The Complete Bullshit-Free and Totally Tested Writing Guide: How To Make Publishers, Agents, Editors & Readers Fall In Love With Your Work” available now on Amazon.com!

Get it here!

A Look at Life Lessons with R.S. Guthrie

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Today’s interview spotlights writer, R.S. Guthrie. In case your not already familiar with this talented man, we will start things off with a brief look at his bio:

R.S. Guthrie grew up in Iowa and Wyoming. He has been writing fiction, essays, short stories, and lyrics since college.

“Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel” marked Guthrie’s first major release and it heralded the first in a series of Detective Bobby Macaulay (Bobby Mac) books. The second in the series (Lost) hit the Kindle shelves December of 2011.

Guthrie’s “Blood Land” is the first in the Sheriff James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series and represents a project that is close to his heart: it is set in a fictional town in the same county where he spent much of his childhood and still visits.

Guthrie lives in Colorado with his wife, Amy, three young Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who thinks she is a 40-pound Aussie!

Now let’s dive into the questions:

Tell me R.S., if you had to pick a favorite from among your writing projects, which one would you pick?

(R.S.) – “My third book, which is the first in my James Pruett mystery series, because I have always wanted to write about the people, land, and mannerisms where I grew up in Wyoming. It’s a place of which I’m very proud and when people read the books (I have a second out and a third on the way) and tell me that they felt like they were there and they loved it, well, that’s exactly what I was hoping for, so it’s pretty gratifying.”

Most people start writing as a hobby, dabbling a little here and there along the way. But for some writers, things happen in their lifetime that changes them as people and as writers. What was that moment for you?

(R.S.) – “When my son died of SIDS in 2008 it went so deep into my heart and soul that my writing changed. It wasn’t that the emotions weren’t already there, or that I wasn’t already the writer I was, but his death caused me (willing or not) to really plug into my core. That’s why I am so adamant to other writers that they need to dig down, use the pain, too.”

You have my deepest sympathies on the loss of your son. As a parent, that is the nightmare that keeps me up at nights (worrying about my kids).  

Considering where you are at in life now and the lessons you have learned along the way, what advice would you give the younger writer you once were?

(R.S.) – “Write earlier. Write later. Write more. Write when you don’t feel like doing it. Make writing a part of every day, even if it’s just a fun short-short, blog. But man, once you’re forty, you have yourself in a rut where it’s too easy to put off (like exercise or a million other things in your life). I would have told myself that to be a writer there can be nothing more important in your life (elementally speaking).”

Sounds wise indeed and gives credence to the “practice makes perfect” theory.  🙂

I have asked other writer’s this, and I’m curious what you will say, but have you ever struggled with writer’s block?

(R.S.) – “I seriously don’t believe in writer’s block, per se. We get jammed up or blocked by something else in our lives (usually stress or pain from something) and creativity takes a blank canvass. I believe Life (capital “L” intentional) blocks our creativity and that’s what we writers call “writer’s block”. Until you deal with whatever is blocking your creativity, you CANNOT force writing. I mean you can do some writing exercises (I usually blog when I can’t come up with something for whatever I’m writing at the time—for some reason I can always blog). Now here’s the upside: if the thing that is blocking the creativity is something painful or dark (say a death in the family), use it. As I mentioned before, you should be using it anyway. Break through by figuring out what it is that’s stressing you and use those emotions to get you going on that page—infuse those emotions into a character, or a new plot twist. Say you were stressing about an upcoming family vacation. Jump a couple chapters ahead (i.e. disjoint from your current time line) and write about your character preparing for ______ (it doesn’t have to be a vacation; use the emotion you’re feeling to infuse a great scene for your character (and it can be something you use later, earlier perhaps, or even not at all, but it will get you writing like crazy).”

Were you ever inspired by other authors?

(R.S.) – “John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee series really got me interested in writing Mysteries in a recurring character format, but it wasn’t until I read James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux series that I really feel like I found my voice. I was recently fortunate enough to meet Mr. Burke at a book fair and then listen to him speak.”

On that note, are there any favorite books you are particularly fond of?

(R.S.) – “Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. There are several audiobook recordings of it, but a very special one, narrated by Scott Brick, is the most soothing, wonderful literature I’ve ever heard. I can listen to it anywhere – honestly it is like one of those relaxing Zen CDs. For me Brick accentuates what Conrad was shooting for as the writer; he assists in telling the tale rather than detract from it. Another combination of narrator/author that is completely magical is Actor Will Patton (Remember the Titans, Armageddon) reading many of the James Lee Burke newer collection. He is so perfect I can’t imagine listening to anyone else.”

Out of curiosity, what are the top three things on your bucket list (assuming you have one)?

(R.S.) – “1. Visit Scotland; 2. Meet Clint Eastwood; 3. Fly, just once, in one of those new wingsuits that allow you to leap off a four-thousand foot mountain, fly for several minutes, and then slow down, pull your chute, and land. You reach speeds over 200 miles per hour. (The death rate in that sport is near 100% if you stay in it for more than like five years. But there’s just something about it. Watch it here.)

Disclaimer about #2: I’m not a stalker. But if I could meet Clint just once and have a half hour or an hour with him, man, that would be amazing.”

I’m inclined to agree with you on #2. Clint is the man!

As we wrap things up, can I convince you to share a little known fact about yourself?

(R.S.) – “In 2002 I had cancer and just this past July, I hit my ten year anniversary cancer-free!”

That’s awesome news, Congrats! May you be blessed with many more decades of cancer free living.

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Now that you have gotten the skinny on R.S. Guthrie, check out one of his books:

 

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Blood Land Synopsis:

Crime’s an ugly constant in the big city. L.A. Chicago. New York. But when a savage murder brutalizes a small town and neighbor turns on neighbor, a tough-as-nails cop is essential to restoring order. Blood Land is a gritty, emotional saga set in the Wyoming badlands with both greed and vengeance at its core—the first in a series of James Pruett Mystery/Thrillers.

When billions of dollars in natural gas rights hang in the balance and the town’s top law officer’s wife is slain by her own blood, a reluctant hero is forced to battle his own demons and ultimately choose between justice, revenge, and duty.

In the tradition of Dennis LehaneTony Hillerman and James Lee Burke, Guthrie’s sparse, haunting storytelling compliments his talent for creating richly-drawn, unflinching law officers with human frailties and a sense of justice.

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Don’t forget to check out these links for even more tidbits of info on R.S. –

Official Website of R.S. Guthrie

R.S. Guthrie’s Amazon Author Page

R.S. Guthrie on Facebook

R.S. on Twitter

 

 

Ed Coburn And The Dog Who Ate The ???

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The focus of my interview today is on author, Ed Coburn. My first introduction to Ed was actually through Twitter. He often tweets some of the most thought provoking and deeply inspiring quotes and messages of anyone I have seen.

Yet, his real passion seems to lie in his books. He is most notably, the author of “The Dog Who Ate The ???” series, as well as the beginnings of a couple others, which he mentions later in this interview:

Ed, I have gotten the impression that your love for writing started at a very early age. Can you tell me a little more about that?

“I would have to say at about eight years old. I had a dream and then typed it out the next morning even though, at eight, I didn’t know how to type. My parents, naturally, thought it was great but it was probably crap. But it was a start.”

As is sometimes the case, it can take an important life event to really prompt someone to get serious about their dreams and passions in life. Was this true for you?

“A little over two years ago I had three small strokes and I emerged from that experience a different person and have been writing seriously ever since.”

I know you have written a few different books thus far, but out of all your writing projects, which one are you most proud of?

“I would have to say The Dog Who Ate The ??? series. I will be more proud when it is finished many years from now because the series is alphabetical (A-Z) and I am only writing D now (The Dog Who Ate The Drawing).”

So Ed, that being said, if you could spend a day living the life of any one of your characters, which one would it be and why?

“I would have to say Adam in my series of The Dog Who Ate The ??? series. That’s because he’s young (38), rich, and psychic.”

In your writing career, what has been the biggest challenge for you thus far?

“My biggest challenge would have to be finding enough time to write with all the other parts of my life always getting in the way, Twitter, Facebook, my real job (a programmer for the DMV). But, in less than two years I will be able to retire from the DMV with 5 years and then I hope to become a full-time writer.”

Considering for just a moment, the work of other authors you admire, do you have a favorite book?

“That would have to be “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein. I’ve read it probably ten times and I have never before read a book more than once or twice.”

Last but not least, what are the top three items on your “bucket list” (assuming you have one)?

“1. Finish my The Dog Who Ate The ??? series as well as write more books in my “Standing” series (the first one is The Last Killer Standing), my “Order Of The White Feather” series (the first one is The Sword of Dalamar) and I want to write some books of two more alphabetical series I want to start.

2. Ride in a hot air balloon and/or go skydiving.

3. Tour Europe and, at least, go back to Ireland where I was in 1997.”

Thank you so much for your time Ed. I am looking forward to seeing where your “The Dog Who Ate The ???” series is going to take us as you work your way through the alphabet.

Readers,  take a few moments to browse through the links below to learn even more about Ed Coburn and his written works.

The Dog Who Ate the Airplane (Book One of The Dog Who Ate The ??? series)

Edward Coburn’s Amazon.com Author Page

Ed Coburn on Twitter

Ed’s Bio Page on Smashwords!