A Swashbuckling Author Interview with Ian Nathanial Cohen

TN: Welcome to Ian, an aficionado of swashbuckling adventuresIan, when did you know you were a writer?

INC: I don’t remember ever not having a knack for writing, and I’ve always had ideas for all kinds of stories in various mediums. However, now that I think about it, I probably latched on to writing a lot more seriously when I was in college. I found myself with time to actually try writing my own stories and parody poems, on which I got positive feedback. I was a Radio/Television Production major in college, and more than one professor mentioned my stronger aptitude for ideas, conceptualizing, and writing than certain technical capabilities. Rather than being resentful, I think it’s what led to me embracing writing as at least one of my particular niches.

I’m always hearing about how important it is to brand yourself professionally, and I’ve made writing a core part of my professional brand, beyond my novels and blogging. I’ve written user guides, process documents, training manuals, and developed an entire online course, and before that, I worked as a writing tutor for college students. In some ways, it’s not all that different from writing a novel – you still have to communicate your ideas in a clear, concise manner that engages the reader.

TN: What is your writing style?

INC: I don’t know if I have a distinctive style. There are certain tropes and character traits I like to use and re-use, if that counts. I don’t like long stretches of the protagonist being on their own with no one to play off of, so I try and avoid those when I can, and I’m not one for overly flowery prose. I’m big on dialogue and banter, and I love any occasion where I get to throw in a sword fight or a card game. I also don’t like writing protagonists who are heroes in name only, who act like monsters and are only the “good guys” because the villains are so much worse. I want my protagonists to be empathetic and likable. As for romance between my main characters, I think it’s important that they enjoy each other’s company beyond just the attraction that draws them together. They have things in common, individual tastes, and they can talk about stuff with each other beyond just being lovey-dovey. (Not that I have anything against them being lovey-dovey – I just want them to be more than that with each other.)

TN: Why did you write your first book?

INC: The Brotherhood of the Black Flag was one of those ideas I just had to get down on paper. In addition to being part of what I call the Princess Bride generation, I’m a lifelong fan of classic swashbucklers, both books and movies, and they inspired me to come up with loose ideas for stories like that of my own. I fueled that not only with more books, movies, and the occasional video game, but also researching different historical periods. Eventually, certain pieces fell into place, and a semi-complete idea for a book was eventually born. Once that happened, I couldn’t not do something with this idea. I had to write it.

TN: Why did you decide to self-publish?

INC: For a long time, I tried to get representation with an agent, mostly so I wouldn’t have to be responsible for distribution and marketing. However, finding agents that represent historical adventure fiction in and of itself was hard, let alone one who’d agree to represent it. Getting represented by an agent has only gotten harder, given how many writers are self-publishing these days and the higher standards agents now look for. They go by what they think is marketable, and I guess they didn’t see much marketability in a possibly one-shot book in a genre we don’t see much of these days. And to be perfectly honest, from a business perspective, I can’t blame them. Historical fiction simply isn’t as trendy as YA, romance, mystery, and so on.

TN: How did you come up with your cover design?

INC: Since The Brotherhood of the Black Flag was written as a tribute to Hollywood swashbucklers and the classic literature they drew from, I wanted the cover to have that same feel. I wanted it to look like a movie poster from the 1930s or 1940s, or at least like a vintage adventure novel, and I think my cover artist, Luke Reznor, did a spectacular job on that front. He’s known me for a long time, knows of my love for classic films, and he understood exactly the kind of aesthetic I was going for. Also, while I know it’s not the typical book cover we see these days, that was kind of the point – I thought that this particular sort of design would stand out more.

TN: What software did you use? for print? for eBook?

INC: Nothing fancy – I just used Microsoft Word, and my editor helped with formatting.

TN: Do you have any tips for someone who is considering self-publishing?

INC: Don’t just throw your work out there on Amazon and expect instant success. First of all, there’s a lot of competition out there, and building and cultivating an audience will take a lot of time, so it takes a lot of patience. Second, readers have standards, and if they’re going to invest time and money in your book, they’re going to want to see that you likewise put time and effort into your work. Use beta readers and hire an editor, if you can afford one.

Also, when people help you out – research contacts, beta readers, cover artists, reviewers, etc. – be gracious about it, and make sure to thank them for their efforts and assistance, even if it’s only a small thing.

TN: What do you do when you are “stuck?”

INC: It depends on why I’m stuck. If it’s because I’m trying to fill a plot hole or figure out a particular character arc, I’ll bounce ideas off my regular beta readers to see if I can find ways to get unstuck. Other times, I’ll immerse myself in whatever genre I’m working on at a time, or do some research, and hope something triggers an idea. I’ll even work on other projects – a different WIP, an INCspotlight review for my blog, just to keep the wheel’s turning. Sometimes I’ll be stuck for months, no matter what I try, just because the well’s run dry, and then inspiration will randomly pop into my head.

TN: Describe the plot for one of your books.

INC: The Brotherhood of the Black Flag is set in 1721, when the newly United Kingdom is dealing piracy in the Caribbean, Jacobite rebellions, and an economic crisis. Michael McNamara, wrongly kicked out of the British Royal Navy, has become a victim of the last of these, and he decides to relocate to Jamaica in search of new opportunities. Soon after he arrives, he falls in with Captain Stephen Reynard, a notorious pirate turned pirate hunter in order to earn a pardon. McNamara’s adventures alongside his wily new captain pit him against harsh seascapes, battle-hardened buccaneers, and into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy that threatens thousands of innocent lives.

TN: Which one of your books is your favorite?

As of now, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag is the only one I’ve completed, so I’ll always have a soft spot for that one. I feel a great deal of pride that I took an idea and followed through with it all the way to full completion. It’s also given me the confidence that if I can complete one book, I can do it again. One of my works in progress (and likely my next one to be finished), The Sherwood Caper, is shaping up nicely. I’m really enjoying the dialogue and the way all the characters play off each other, I’m trying to surpass the action scenes from Black Flag, and I’m having lots of fun incorporating different versions of Robin Hood lore into my story. So when that one’s done, maybe it’ll be my favorite, or maybe Black Flag will keep the top spot. We’ll see what happens.




“FYI An Unintended Consequence” Interview with Patricia Gitt

TN: Today my interview is with Patricia Gitt, a former business executive turned writer. 

TN: When did you know you were a writer?

PG: I have been writing my entire career. However, I never considered it as anything more than another of my business skills.

TN: What is your writing style?

PG: When I first began to think of writing a book unrelated to my career, I chose to write a novel. Because it was an entirely different form of expression, I sought out seminars and workshops to better understand the differences between creative fiction and drafting factual copy.

TN: Why did you write your first book (fiction)?

PG: I was at a point in my career where I had become somewhat stale. In addition to writing corporate magazines and other documents I was also enrolled in graduate school and traveled a good deal for my job. During those days I spent a lot of time on airplanes and in hotels and wondered where I was going in my career. I asked myself what if I changed my goals and set my sights on becoming CEO of my company…what it would take to make me the best executive possible. That “what if” became the idea for my first novel entitled “CEO.”

TN: Very interesting reason for writing a book. Anyway, to continue…Why did you decide to self-publish?

PG: After querying over 80 agents with no success, I decided to self-publish so I could present my parents with a finished book. They had joined me in this journey that took 25 years from concept to publication. When I presented them with the first copy, they told me how proud they were that I had stuck with it. Their approval was worth the entire effort.

TN: How did you come up with your cover design?

PG: I photographed an office building that I thought represented the company in the book and a designer augmented it by placing the title on the roof of the office building.

TN: What software did you use? For print? For eBook?

PG: The entire book was done in Microsoft word and the publisher formatted it for paper and eBook publication.

TN: What advice can you give to someone who is considering self-publishing?

PG: Do your research to find the publisher that has a reputation for delivering the quality you are seeking. Ask friends, read reviews and talk to the representative to see how responsive they are to your questions since you will be working closely with them throughout the process.

TN: What do you do when you are “stuck?”

PG: Unfortunately, I go out to lunch.

TN: Describe the plot for one of your books.

PG: FYI An Unintended Consequence” – Fake news terrorizes Taryn Cooper Walsh, managing partner of 4G Investments. Each mysterious mailing contains increasingly vicious lies all suggesting that Taryn is running a highly unethical firm. Supported by her husband, business partners, and friends, Taryn searches for the source of these fallacious clippings before they are leaked and destroy her reputation along with the trust of investors in her firm.

TN: Very pertinent topic these days! Which one of your books is your favorite?

PG: It is hard to pick a favorite book, although the first book “CEO” will probably remain top of the list. Each novel is an improvement in my storytelling capabilities and draws on different experiences and people I have met during my career as an executive in public relations.

TN: Thank you Patricia for the interview, and I wish you continued success with your writing.


Joseph Spraga – “The Snitch, The Witch, and The One Who Was Rich”

Today, my interview is with Joseph Spraga, author of a modern day nursery rhyme.

TN: When did you know you were a writer?

JS: I knew I was a writer in college, but I did not start taking it seriously until many years later. I have always observed life, and read books. Seeing the connection between the two is a very natural and important thing for me.

TN: What is your writing style?

JS: My writing style for my children’s literature is verse. However I make sure to be as didactic as I can be with overtones of social commentary while still keeping it entertaining.

TN: Why did you write your first book?

JS: I wrote my first book because the chorus of the book popped into my head one day while in a painting class in college. It had been an ear worm for me for many years. I knew then that I had to make a story out of it.

TN: Why did you decide to self-publish?

JS: I decided to self-publish because of the size, and subject matter of my book. Although many traditional publishing companies liked my book, they didn’t see a way they could market, or make money on it. So I did it myself.

TN: You have a very interesting and beautiful cover design. How did you come up with it?

JS: “The Snitch, The Witch, and The One Who Was Rich,” is the title of my book. I wanted to have a logo that represented these three characters and “brand” my book as well.

TN: What software did you use? for print? for eBook?

JS: For my hardcover book it was a lot of Photo Shop, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft Paint. Once I put the final pieces together, I was able to upload my eBook to Amazon. I had my book printed through Print Ninja. Again since I had a final PDF, I just sent it to them and they printed the book.

TN: Do you have any tips for someone who is considering self-publishing?

JS: Yes. Patience, a lot of patience. Social media, and book signing events whenever you can.

TN: What do you do when you are “stuck?”

JS: When self-publishing, I get “stuck” on something every day. It doesn’t stop. I look to other mediums for inspiration. If the internet is a dead end on a particular day, I read a newspaper. If I have writers block, I do the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, HOW? Questions to myself until I am able to see the path ahead of me, and for my story.

TN: Describe the plot of your book.

JS: Welcome to Moonwood, a modern day nursery rhyme about how to use your time wisely and be a better you! Follow these quirky townsfolk in a beautifully illustrated picture book, as they gather outside the clock tower and seek Father Time’s wisdom on achieving personal goals, and getting along with each other in their magical community.

What will they discover? Time is the only true commodity. This story shows both children and adults, that we must use what little time we all have to be good to each other.

TN: Which one of your books is your favorite?

JS:The Snitch, The Witch, and The One Who Was Rich.” For me, it answers important questions and deals with the most common issues we deal with as a society on a daily basis.

TN: Thank you Joe for sharing with us, and I wish you continued success with your writing. 


“Re-member Yourself” – Interview with Christopher Felton

Welcome to my interview with Christopher Felton, author of “Re-member Yourself,” a self-help workbook.

TN: When did you know you were a writer?

CF: I discovered my penchant for writing when I was a teenager. When I realized that I had a talent for writing poetry, I began to use this talent to structure my poetry cryptically, so that I could express myself on paper in a manner in which only I could decipher, yet readers could still appreciate the poetry from a surfaced perspective.

TN: What is your background?

CF:  I am a former Maryland State Trooper and now work side by side with my wife. In addition to my books “Re-Member Yourself” and “Cipher’s Den,” I’m also a poet, the former writer/editor of a blog called “The Weekly Spark,” and have been featured in “Her Times” magazine publication. I’m also an avid Foodie and a DYNAMIC Cook! 🙂

TN:  What is your writing style?

CF: I often write articles, poetry, and business correspondence, so my writing style is varied. However, if I had to choose a style with which I feel most drawn, it would be “descriptive.”

TN:  Which writers inspire you the most?

CF: Kahlil Gibran, Emily Dickinson, Neale Donald Walsch

TN:  Why did you write your first book?

CF: I wrote my first book, “Cipher’s Den,” as a compilation of the poetry that I’d written over several years.

TN:  Why did you decide to self-publish?

CF: I chose the best of both worlds (in my opinion) by utilizing a publishing service that caters to self-publishers. As a result, I employed professional editing, design, and printing services while still maintaining full creative and legal rights to my work.

TN:  How did you come up with your cover design?

CF: My cover design depicts a hand that is lifted into the air and being healed (“re-membered”) to the remainder of the body by the light-giving and life-giving properties of the sun; hence the title of my book, “Re-Member Yourself.”

TN: What software did you use?

CF: I used basic WORD for my manuscript, then a publishing service for the professional finish.

TN: Do you have any tips for someone who is considering self-publishing?

CF: If you decide to self-publish, be sure to “inspect what you expect.” In other words, don’t allow editing and formatting errors to dampen the quality of your written content. Also, never allow anyone to convince you that using a publishing service somehow diminishes your work…it doesn’t…it simply fills in gaps which you may not be equipped to fill.

TN: What do you do when you are “stuck?”

CF: When I’m “stuck,” I “stop.” I walk away and give myself time (be it minutes, hours, days, or even weeks) to allow my “well to refill.” Regardless of how long it takes, never rush the process. Quality diamonds take time to form.

TN: Describe the plot for one of your books.

CF: My “plot” for my most recent book is more of a synopsis:

My book is entitled, “Re-Member Yourself: A healing journey through your ‘Innerverse‘.” It is a comprehensive self-help workbook and journal that can be understood and applied by people from all walks of life. This book is unique in that it is interactive, progressive, and is structured to metamorphose each reader into improved versions of themselves. The Journal section, alone, is unlike any other journal, as it is specifically formatted to help the reader learn from and correct negative thinking, bring meaning to the reader’s daily life, helps the reader to find purpose in each day, and prepares the reader to optimize  their ‘tomorrow.’

TN: What motivated you to write this specific book?

CF:  My motivation was simply my personal need for the information and exercises. My intention was to organize some sort of self-help compendium for myself. The questions, statements…everything, began as a way of achieving a profound and comprehensive method of introspection, as I was tired of experiencing my ‘potential’ creative energy lacking kinetic manifestation. In other words, I was tired of taking one step forward, then two steps back. I was tired of dealing with chronic depression since I was a child, and I was tired of hearing about the same old fixes for my life which was akin to placing a Band-Aid over a gash in a sinking boat. As I continued to write, the information continued to flow. Once I realized “Re-member Yourself” was simple and short, but significant and powerful, I decided to share it with others. In no way does this mean that I have all the answers, but it DOES mean that I now realize I don’t NEED to have all the answers, because I’m “enough” just as I am.

TN: Which one of your books is your favorite?

CF:  LOL…that’s like asking me to choose a favorite child of my children. My first book (“Cipher’s Den”) is a poetry book that reflects the most personal and private parts of who I am, while my second book (“Re-Member Yourself”) is a literary program I’ve painstakingly devised out of my own introspection which has helped me TREMENDOUSLY, so I decided to share it with others.

TN: Thank you Christopher for the interview, and I wish you continued success with your writing. To my readers, you can find the link to his website below. Of course his book is available on Amazon.







Interview with Marlene Ringler

Over the next few weeks, and maybe longer, I will be posting email interviews I’ve had with indie authors who belong to the Facebook group, BooksGoSocial Author Collaboration. It is my pleasure to share with you and I hope these authors’ viewpoints encourage you to keep reading and writing.

The first interview is with Marlene Ringler (MR), whose book “I Am Me” is scheduled to be published in July 2018. I will let you discover in the interview the subject of her work.

TN: When did you know you were a writer?

MR: I think my writing interests evolved especially when I realized that so little has been researched and written on the subject of the aging autistic population.

TN: What is your writing style?

MR: Because my first serious writing pieces were academic, including a PhD. I needed to try to adopt a more personal approach in writing my recent book about my journey with my autistic son. This was important as I wanted to really connect with my readers and research writing does not do this, obviously, so it took a great deal of time, revisions, and editing to change my style in keeping with my subject.

TN: Why did you write your first book?

MR: My personal journey with my forty-plus autistic son was written as an effort to reach out to the community of people affected by an autism spectrum diagnosis. It was written as a compelling very personal story about how one family, mine, dealt with this challenging diagnosis. In addition, since so little is written about what lies ahead as our children age, I felt that I had something to contribute to the conversations related to the issue of the aging autistic. As I like to say, today’s autistic children are tomorrow’s autistic adults and what challenges must we as parents face to ease this transition, especially when we are no longer around to support and love them. I ask some very tough and personal questions such as what will happen when we as parents and families are no longer around to provide daily guidance, love and support.

TN: Describe of your book for us.

MR: My book takes the reader into the world of the autistic adult and helps the reader to appreciate the complexities of living in a world where being different is a life long struggle. It is a journey told through my own prism of the mother offering hope, belief, and conviction that the life of a child with autism can and should be fulfilling and rewarding. One of my goals was to compel the reader to engage in helping to make the world a safer and better place for those affected by an autism diagnosis. My journey addresses very human questions as I presented research findings and current investigations into the spectrum disorder using everyday language.

TN: You decided to use an independent publisher rather than self-publish. Why?

MR: There are many really good options out there. I thought about using the services of Amazon’s own Createspace as they approached me and were outstanding. But, at the end of the day, I chose to go with this publisher as they appeared supportive, interested in my subject and did not pressure me. I think that it was a very good decision.

My publisher is Morgan James and the book will be released to the public in July 2018 but it is available now for preorders.

TN: How did you come up with your cover design?

MR: Publisher designed based on my request about a child looking into the future with longing and uncertainty. I think that it delivers a really good message to the potential reader, I do hope so!

TN: What software did you use? for print or for eBook?

MR: Just did all using Microsoft Word.

TN: What do you do when you are “stuck?”

MR:  It did happen and I just learned to accept this as part of the process. I usually just left my computer and moved on to other tasks but not for too long as I did not want to lose my self- confidence. Generally, it took a day or so until I returned to my writing.

TN: Thank you Marlene for sharing with us. You can learn more about Marlene on social media:  


Books on Readers Review Room (RRR)


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I’m trying another marketing channel. My books are now posted on Readers Review Room (RRR), a site for readers and authors. Mission statement: “To become the ultimate resource to help readers find their next great book, and to provide unparalleled support and exposure for indie authors.”

Theresa’s Books

Take a look at the RRR site. You might find some great books. You can also become a reviewer.  Readers Review Room.


Pierre Montant – Exhibition – 19-29 Oct 2017, La Cave, Geneva CH


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If you are in the Geneva (Switzerland) area, I invite you to come and see my husband’s exhibition. This is the 10th straight year he has had an exhibition at La Cave. Opening night is 19th October from 5 p.m. Other details are on the invitation.

I’ve a few of his paintings for the exhibition, and they are beautiful. Quite a few of his earlier works are centered around Varigotti, the site of my book Il Molo.

Si vous êtes dans la région de Genève (Suisse), je vous invite à venir voir l’exposition de peinture de mon mari. C’est la dixième année consécutive qu’il a eu une exposition à La Cave. La soirée d’ouverture aura lieu le 19 octobre à partir de 17h00. D’autres détails sont sur l’invitation.

J’ai quelques-unes de ses peintures pour l’exposition, et elles sont belles. Un certain nombre de ses travaux antérieurs sont centrés autour de Varigotti, le site de la version française d’Il Molo.

Website / Son site web: http://www.pierremontant.com/


Back in the Saddle!


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I haven’t posted in a while. I’m almost ashamed when I look at my site and see my last post was in April. Frankly, I am disgusted about what is happening in the US, and the true news and “fake news” have been occupying a lot of my spare time.

However, no excuses. My three books, one in French, are still available on Amazon and I would love to have you read them as well as leave a review.

Set on the Ligurian seacoast, a story about relationships and how unexpected, sometimes tragic, events can alter these relationships forever. When Martha Nathan’s dreams of the past begin intruding on her present, she’s left to wonder how they might change her future—and whether she wants them to.

Il Molo



And the French version below:

Situé sur le littoral de Ligurie, une histoire sur les relations et les événements inattendus, parfois tragiques, peuvent modifier ces relations pour toujours. Lorsque les rêves de Martha Nathan sur le passé commencent à s’introduire sur son cadeau, elle se demande comment changer son avenir et si elle le veut.

Il Molo – version française



A tale of betrayal and injustice, confrontation and retribution. Kate Johnson conceives and carries out an ingenious and illegal plan to calm her demons of over 30 years.

The Cruelty of Love

Free Kindle Promotion – only a few hours left!


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The Cruelty of Love – FREE ON KINDLE – March 31 – April 2, 2017.

Kate Johnson has made it to mid-level management in the IT group of a pharmaceutical company. Her intelligence, technical competence and easy-going personality are among the keys to her success. When Kate watches a television interview of one of her ex-boyfriends, her demons of over 30 years ago are awakened. Over the coming weeks, she cannot shake the resurrected feelings of betrayal and injustice, and vows to confront the men she once loved. She methodically conceives and carries out her ingenious, and illegal, plan. As the two men, her family and friends seek to understand her actions, Kate accepts her punishment.

Available on Amazon