Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Than A Book: A Commitment To Our Wounded Warriors

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. ~Dr. Seuss
These simple words from my child's story book convince me that I was the one that needed to make a difference, not wait for others around me to do it.

Hello to all Lauren's World of Mystery Writing readers, I'm Jon Renaud, the author of the newly release fiction novel, Dereliction of Duty. An exciting action novel that was published with the intent to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization dedicating to helping wounded heroes returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and help them return to a normal and productive life.

Your friend and mine, Lauren, has allowed me to use her wonderful platform, not to promote my book, but to share with you a cause that is dear to my heart and hopefully bring it a little closer to yours.

First, a little about myself, I'm a retired U.S. Army Warrant Officer who served our nation for twenty years including tours in Panama, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. By the grace of God, I returned from those conflicts unharmed and able to enjoy a productive life. But I was one of the lucky ones. I saw the horror and devastation the wars brought to some of my brothers and sisters in uniform.

Shortly before retiring, I began to write many of my memories from my time in the service, more for history's sake, than to actually write a novel. At the urging of friends, I took those notes and transformed them into a fictionalized representation of my career. The true stories quickly faded away and an exciting series materialized, blending real life with fiction. It was around that time that I discovered the Wounded Warrior Project and came up with the idea of using my writing as a way to raise money for this incredible charity. Being blessed with a new career to support my family, I did not need to depend on my writing for financial support. I decided that if I could actually publish and sell these books, I could donate the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project, and maybe, just maybe, I could create something that could provide support to this organization for years to come.

So, what is the Wounded Warrior Project and why should you care?

Here is a little of their history taken right from their website at

Wounded Warrior Project began when several individuals took small, inspired actions to help others in need.

One night while watching the evening news, a group of veterans and brothers were moved by the difficult stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. They realized then and there that something needed to be done for these brave individuals beyond the brass bands and ticker tape parades

The resulting objective was to provide tangible support for the severely wounded and help them on the road to healing, both physically and mentally. What had been initially viewed as a small contribution (compared with what the warriors had sacrificed while serving our country) has become WWP's signature program:"WWP backpacks delivered bedside to wounded warriors."

What started as a few people sitting around watching television with great ideas grew into a nationwide movement to help our wounded soldiers. Just as Dr. Seuss said it should be.

The WWP doesn't just talk about helping, they role up their sleeves and get out there and make a difference. They sponsor sporting events, such as ski trips where they teach amputees that there is nothing they can't do. They work with national and international businesses and show them that these heroes, although wounded, still have incredible talents and would make great additions to their corporate teams. They don't just talk about what should be done, they do it!

I can't think of a more worthy cause than protecting those who protected us. And that was why my decision to help them was an easy one. If my book sells one copy or a million, I know it was worth it.

So I invite all of you to visit the WWP website and see if you can also find a way to help in your own special way. Make a donation, send a book to a recovering soldier, sponsor an event or just write an encouraging letter to soldier recovering in the hospital. There is nothing you can't do when you decide it is the right thing to do.

Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way. ~Dr. Seuss

Many thanks to you, Lauren and all of your readers, for allowing me to share this wonderful organization.

My warmest regards,

Jon Renaud
Author of Dereliction of Duty
Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

Friday, August 13, 2010

Author Spotlight: Jack Everett and David Coles

Writing Team: David Coles (front) and Jack Everett

This week, we are being visited by Jack Everett, half of the writing team of David Coles and Jack Everett, the authors of a host of exciting thrillers and mysteries ranging from Roman times to present day international terrorism.

Hello, Jack! Can you tell our readers a little bit about you and David?

David's life has been mainly in computers and computer systems, programming and analyzing moving up into computer management. Now as well as writing he enjoys designing our covers and promotional banners.
I came via a much different route from apprentice plumber/heating engineer to Fireman, then to Royal Air Force Police Dog instructor and a member of the dog demonstration team. On leaving the forces I returned to construction and climbed the ladder from trade to supervision of workers to that of the work itself. I then left the hustle and bustle of the sites to become a Training Adviser within the construction industry. Finally when that began to bore me I bought a social club and ran that for some years.

You and David have a lot of books out right now. Tell us about them.

Last Mission was released last week. It tells the story of a survey ship discovering a 66 years old U-boat on the ocean floor in the Caribbean, what they discover inside frightens them. Based on the premise that Hitler orders an elite team of German soldiers to steal an atomic bomb from Los Alamos in the last month of the war the story is then played out.
1/1:Jihad-Britain is our take on what would happen if insurgents planted five bombs in the UK timed to explode at 12 o'clock midnight one New Years Eve which exploded killing tens of thousands and most of the ruling government party who were attending a carol service inside St. Paul's Cathedral. This book is due out next month.

The Last Free Men is a historical action thriller that suggests what might have happened to the Roman 9th Legion, which mysteriously vanished in the 2nd century AD.
Do you have any other titles in the works?
Our writing took a new turn two years ago when we started writing a crime thriller about an ex-special forces guy recruited by the CIA and sent on several clandestine ops only to be brain damaged then hospitalized. His treatment includes being given false memories as a rock-something for his damaged mind to cling to. One of these memories is that he once loved his brother’s wife. Escaping from the hospital, he determines to find her. What better place than with his brother one suggests? But, on reaching his brother’s home in Florida he finds the woman he dreams of has argued with his brother and returned to her former home in England. He falls out with his brother and they fight with only one possible outcome. Using his brothers passport he travels to the UK and .......

This novel, entitled The Tourist, has been acquired by Virtual Tales and we are told due out sometime this year.
Do you have any other projects that you two are working on now?
Our next book now that we have a feel for the genre involves MI5 and MI6, an Italian count that thinks he is like his ancestor Machiavelli, who rules an estate in Tuscany bigger than a small country and funds everything by buying and selling information. One of his deeds, which involves payment in diamonds, goes wrong and the shockwaves are long reaching in years as well as distance. This manuscript is at the copy editing stage. Would you believe we are now talking about werewolves?
1/1:Jihad-Britain is about present day terrorism. How did you and David research this thriller?

Our research into terrorism I am afraid was done the old fashioned way, reading everything we could on the subject in the papers, watching 24 hour news programs and searching the Internet. still, far easier than sitting for days in the public reference library like we have had to do in the past. We found events were happening at such a pace we were having difficulty in writing the ideas down before they risked being dated.

From Roman times to present day terrorism? Where do you and David get your inspiration for such diverse plotlines?
I can't tell you, if I could I would probably have written a book about it and it might have become a New York Times best seller. You see, David and I started off writing Sci-Fi in the days when some people thought of you as visionaries while others thought you to be plain cuckoo. In fact that is how I met David by reading a short story he had had published but that is a tale for another time.

Thank you for visiting Lauren's World of Mystery Writing. Where can our readers get more information about you or your books?
All of our books including our medieval mystery The Abbot & the Acolyte and our YA fantasy Merlin's Kin which we haven't had time to discuss are available from or from , from any good online store or, in the case of Last Mission and 1/1:Jihad-Britain, these may also be ordered from Acclaimed Books.

Readers may e-mail Jack Everett at for more information about any of his books.

Thank you, Jack, for stopping by. It's been a lot of fun. Be sure to stop by again when your next book comes out, which should be next week!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Kolodziej

This week, Elizabeth Kolodziej, author of Vampyre Kisses is stopping by for a visit.

Elizabeth J Kolodziej, a young fiction writer originally from Torrance, California, is a smart and original thinker who has researched the origins of vampires, werewolves, and witches for many years. She writes her books from the knowledge she has gained while trying to be as original and inspiring as possible. Her books encompass both true folklore facts along with innovative ideas motivated by the great writers around her. This is the first book in Elizabeth's Vampyre Kisses series.

Welcome, Elizabeth, please tell us a little bit about your book Vampyre Kisses.
Well, Vampyre Kisses is a story about a young woman, Faith, who meets a sexy Irish vampire, Trent. Soon after this, Faith is told that she is a witch. The last witch in the world. Then I introduce the werewolf royalty and the master vampire. Gems are stolen that are important to both races and therefore they must work together to get them back. While all of this happens Faith is trying to gain more power through learning about all of the elements and trying to keep the slayers from killing her and her friends.

This is a love story about Faith, the last witch on Earth; and Trent, a 400-year-old Irish Vampire. How did you come up with such interesting characters? What inspired you?
I have always loved witches. Ever since I was little I wanted to fly and have fireballs come out of my hands. Then there are vampires, whose immortality and romance-ism attracts lots of young girls. So, from a young age, I was constantly reading books that either had witches or vampires in them.

Then one day when I was around the age of 18 I started writing this story. Actually, what is a fun fact is that Faith’s name when I began the story was Alex. I always liked names for girls that could be mistaken for a guy’s name. Anyways, when I was younger and read those stories I used to put myself into the story and fantasize what it would be like and how the story would end up if I were in it.

When I began Vampyre Kisses I think I started Faith out as being me but what happens is that these characters become their own individuals and they start talking to you. When Faith started talking, I started listening. The same thing goes for Trent. He started out as what my dream guy would be like, but then he ended up as someone more. He became his own person too.

When it comes to what inspires me there are actually many different things. Certain books inspire me. I’ll think, "Well that sounds neat, but what if this happens," and I will make something new happen all together. Then there are movies that do the same thing for me.

For example, I was trying to write out the synopsis for Vampyre Kisses and I just couldn’t get it flowing. I let it go and started watching Push, with Dakota Fanning, and all of a sudden in the middle of the movie the idea for the synopsis came to me.

But what inspires me a lot more is the people around me. I am a big people watcher and I get ideas for what characters should look like or gestures they might make by watching others. Family, friends, strangers, it doesn’t matter. I even take some of their personality traits and try them out on some of my characters.

Mostly, though, I have one particular friend of mine that is into writing like I am. We have known each other for years now and there is some sort of connection between the two of us. No matter the problem I am having he will talk it out with me and offer ideas or act out a scene and I will get inspired all over again.

Reviews for Vampyre Kisses comment on how skillfully you blended fact and fiction. How did you research your book?
From a very young age my parents were always supportive about my brother and I reading. We would make trips to the bookstore all the time. Well, due to my mother I found my interest in the supernatural. So I would get books on folklore or books that taught you how to use magic. For example, Dancing With Dragons by DJ Conway. I have tons of her books.

So when I started writing my book I wanted to include what is real (or folklore) and what is my own. So I just read whatever books I could find about vampires, witches, and werewolves. It is even much easier with the Internet being as vast as it is now.

I will say this though; researching werewolf history and folklore stories is not easy. There is much more information out there about vampires.

Also, I was very lucky. I wanted my book to end with them being in Ireland but I had never been there. I had just finished college though and my parents offered to send me out there for a month. Being able to really be in the place you are writing about is important.

I think research is just about reading everything you can on your subject along with having real life experiences. What I find so funny, is that I didn’t think of blending fact and fiction as being my hook but everyone seems to like that best about my book!

There is also a whole other mystical universe in Vampyre Kisses. Where did that come from? How much of that was from your imagination?
The universe in my book comes from my imagination, sort of. You see; it goes back to those fantasies I use to have when I was younger. It was like I would pick and choose different things from books that I liked and I would fantasize about a world like that.

For instance, I was always interested in the Greek Gods, no matter what religion I would look into, like the Norse Gods, the Greek always seemed to be my favorite. So those were the Gods I wanted in my own story. Like this, I would pick and choose certain abilities for my vampires to have that I read about. I wanted to be traditional so I kept the fact that they couldn’t go out in the daytime. However, I added my own spin to it by making them able to walk under the sun for the first 10 years of their life after being changed. That was purely my idea.

What it comes down to is what I grew up knowing and liking and then adding my own twist or new things to the mix. That is how I came up with the universe in Vampyre Kisses.

Do you have any plans for a sequel with Faith and Trent?
Oh yes! What I have heard from my readers so far is that they want to find out more about the werewolves. Well, before people started telling me that I already had the sequel in mind that would revolve more about the werewolves than vampires. Mostly because I introduced a new kind of thing with werewolves in my book and a lot more explanation needs to be done.

The first book is just an introduction to the main characters. A little tease to say this is who they are and what they can do. The second book is going to take it further.

Hopefully it will be done by the end of this year and it will be out and published by the middle of next year just like the first one was. And don’t worry … I even have a third one in mind!

Is there anything else that you would like to tell our readers?
The reason that I wrote my book and wanted to publish it is because I wanted to inspire people. So many authors, friends, family, and movie stars have inspired me. I wanted to do the same thing for someone else. Even if it is only one other person. I really hope I can do that.

Also, if there is something wrong with my book or something you don’t understand tell me. It is possible that I can explain what it is in the next book. I love getting feedback about my book no matter if it is negative or positive. But I prefer the positive. :0)
Where to buy the book: