Thursday, June 30, 2016

PUYB Chats with Edward B. Irving, author of The Day Of The Dragonking

Thanks for joining us at the book club, Edward.  Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into writing Urban Fantasy / Satire novels?

Thank you for having me.

Some people have described me as a “man of many parts” in my writing and it’s true. One part is writing Urban Fantasy/Satire, one part is going for his third motorcycle/political thriller in 2016, a third part is preparing a private-eye novel in 1930s Manila, and a small but wiry part is writing Westerns like “Mirage, Colorado.” Wait! Did I mean “parts” or pen names? It’s so hard to keep them “a-part.”

At any rate, this particular part yclept “Edward B Irving” has been in love with the work of Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Ilona Andrews for years and wanted to write a novel where people go about their normal lives and then, BLAMMO, magic shows up and changes everything. I’ve found all their books fascinating—especially now since they’re dealing with the problem of making every problem just a bit more difficult than the last and, on their umpteenth novel, having to make their characters demi-gods just to keep things moving along. I should be so lucky.

Where is your book set and why did you choose that location?

Day of the Dragonking is set in Washington DC because I’ve been settin’ in Washington DC for 40 years. It’s odd. I never wanted to live here and always thought it was a boring city but I keep marrying women who simply refuse to leave!

I’ve been a television journalist (if that’s not an oxymoron) since I carried news film on a motorcycle back in 1973 and, over the years, have run into many strange situations and odd stories—none of which I could put into a reputable newscast. So, I was forced to write a book of “fiction.”

In addition, Butcher had taken Chicago, Harrison settled on Cincinnati (why?,) Atlanta is off the table, and half the writers in fantasy seem to live in Seattle or Portland. Washington was one of the few places left.

Your novel sounds perfect for a movie!  If it were made into a movie, who would you want to play the main character?

I’ve always used Nic Cage as the go-to guy for my thrillers but he just wouldn’t fit as the failed journalist Steve Rowan. There is a lot of my personality in there but he doesn’t need to deal with a bad attitude AND an enormous stomach.

Perhaps Woody Allen? Seth Rogen wouldn’t be bad except I can’t bear to watch any of his movies. Same with Adam Sandler. Kevin Smith would be perfect as director and I could write in Silent Bob somewhere but he keeps to his own scripts.

OH I Got IT!  Bill Murray! Just like in Zombieland. He’d be perfect—just wandering along, making jokes, and not taking anything seriously. YES.

I’d like to know more about your main character, can you tell us more about him/her?

Whoops, maybe I shouldn’t have talked about Steve Rowan so much in the preceding answer. I’ve already worn him out, I’m afraid. I’ll talk about Ace instead, he or she (it’s confusing) is a lot more interesting anyway.

Master Chief Petty Officer Ace Morningstar was a man before the Magical Change that swept across the Capital, wiped out every vestige of magical power from the previous minor magicians, witch doctors, and such, and made Steve Rowan the Last American Wizard. According to her, she wanted to go to Basic Underwater Demolition School at Coronado Beach and become a SEAL so she found a bruja (a witch) who made her look like a man. Note that Ace didn’t get the muscles or stamina of a man so she had to work damn hard to get through and, even though she looks like a gorgeous blonde now, she can kick your butt three ways from Sunday. Here’s how she reacted after Steve Rowan tried to give her a friendly kiss after he’d learned how to fly in time to save them from a nasty death:

Snick. Snick. Wham.

Steve looked up from the pavement.

Ace had released her hold around his waist, shot both hands up between his arms, wrist–snapped his hands away, and then nailed him with a roundhouse punch to the side of his head that had spun him all the way around before he hit the ground. This time, the impact with the ground was hard, painful, and much like all the other times he’d been knocked down. As he rubbed his cheek, Steve reflected that while it had been an open–handed blow, it sure as hell hadn’t been anything he’d describe as a slap.

Ace was leaning over him, her face only inches from his, and pale with fury. In a low, hissing whisper, she said, “Listen very carefully, because I’m only going to say it once. I am a Navy SEAL, a veteran of four combat tours, and a rated expert in all weapons and tactics in the US Special Operations manual as well as those of fourteen other nations—both enemies and allies. My rank is Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer. ‘Ace Morningstar’ is just an alias—you will never be cleared for my real name. Morningstar is a translation of ‘Lucifer.’ I’m named for the Devil because ‘The Devil of Ramadi’ was what the hajjis called me after my fortieth confirmed kill. ‘Ace’ is the nickname my squad gave me because I wouldn’t answer to ‘Lucy,’ and ‘Lucifer’ was just silly. You will never ever, ever attempt to kiss me again. Do you understand?”

Steve nodded his head slowly.

“Now, are there any questions?”

"Yeah. I thought Chris Kyle was the 'Devil of Fallujah'?"

"No, he was the 'Devil of Ramadi'. People make that mistake all the time."

So, you see Ace is a fairly formidable character. She also turns out to be the Ace of Swords in the Tarot Arcana—no big surprise there—and is gifted with Joan of Arc’s sword by Joan herself. She’s good person to have around in a fight. I mean, here’s how she dresses to go out for a night on the town:

“I’m wearing Pinnacle Armor’s Level II–A Dragon Skin body armor—it’s rated to stop repeated hits with the 30 millimeter autocannon round, so with luck it should handle an equivalent amount of magical mayhem. Under that is a CoolMax inner layer, and over it is the black version of the Crye Combat Uniform.” She pulled the shirt up to show a thick belt around her waist. “This is a standard plate vest, although it’s too hot to be wearing any plates. I will, however, be carrying all my smaller weapons—knives, brass knuckles, a couple of Filipino escrima—along with a dozen flash–bang grenades and a couple of MK3A2 concussion grenades for emergencies. I’m still trying to recover from the shock, but you were actually correct about pressure waves in an underground environment.”

“Thanks a lot.” Steve put up a hand as she looked about to speak again. “Wait a second. You carry all those knives, brass knuckles, and heavy beating things around with you every day?”

“If by ‘heavy beating thing,’ you mean an Asp Tactical Baton, then yes.” She pulled an odd–looking metal device out of the duffel and began to fit it on her left arm. “I was hoping to get a small rail gun I could strap on, but it’s still on its way from a kid in Germany, so I’m going with the tried–and–true Saunders Wrist Rocket Pro.”

“A slingshot?”

“Yeah, a wrist–mounted slingshot with half–inch lead pellets. Might not kill, but anyone who gets hit will definitely remember the experience.”

Can you tell us a little about the other supporting characters?

“Supporting”? Every one of them could carry a book on their own but I see your point. Barnaby was named after the old 1950’s comic strip “Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley” and just happened to be the first computer program that the NSA ran back in the late ‘50s. I’ve always liked Mr. O’Malley. He claimed to be a fairy godfather and did indeed have a tiny set of wings but mostly he smoked cigars and took credit for whatever happened. I don’t believe he ever actually flew.

Once Barnaby was released into the NSA system, he grew as it grew and developed an ability to stick around even as lesser programs were deleted. True, he had to spend a good deal of the 1980s in a digital watch but when the Change came, he was already pretty sentient and was the quickest to grab the central server core. Like most of the other computers at the NSA, he’s primarily a creature of Air and dedicated to the safety and security of the USA. The vast majority of the other computers simply introduced themselves to their equally Air-based human operators and went right on working. It was very different out in Utah where the big STORMBREW computer center had just been built:

“…the STORMBREW system out in Utah is reporting that they’re having success with what can only be described as séances.”

“You’re kidding,” Steve said.

“No, I’m afraid I’m not, and if you’ve never spoken to an opportunistic distributed system made up of Cray Titans, IBM Sequoias, and Chinese Skyriver 2s as it’s trying to climb down from the yottaflop range, you have no idea what ‘spooky’ means. STORMBREW managed to speak to Harry Houdini a couple of hours ago and is now sifting through approximately five thousand spirit guides a second. STORMBREW turns out to be an amazingly apt codename. I mean, there are data halls where the danger from floating tables alone—”

“Off topic,” Ace said.

As you can see, Ace has very little patience for anything not related to the task at hand—which in that particular case was killing a bunch of the Illuminati. One of my favorite characters introduced himself just as Ace was explaining the ways of the world to our reluctant hero, Steve.

“Steve, you seem like an OK guy, but I can’t let the Last American Wizard just walk away.”

Steve didn’t hear her move, but he suddenly felt a very sharp piece of cold metal touch the back of his neck.

“As a matter of fact, if you’re not going to join up, I don’t think I can risk you being recruited by the first magical terrorist cell that comes by.”

There was a slight pause.

“Not alive, anyway.”

The phone vibrated. Steve looked on the screen and saw that the translator app was running. On the little screen, these words appeared:


“Barnaby, are you trying to be funny?”

Slowly, Chinese characters appeared on the screen.


Then English letters appeared.


Steve couldn’t help himself; he spoke to the phone directly. “What does that mean?”

The translation went through a series of changes, finally ending up with


Steve turned around and held the phone out to Ace. “Can you see this?”

“Yeah. It says, ‘Not big computer. Telephone speaks.’”

“Great. Now we have a talking telephone.”

Now the translate screen read,

            MY NAME IS SEND MONEY.

In fact, his name is not “Send Money” but that’s what the translation software in the smartphone came up with so that’s what he was stuck with for the rest of the book. Send was a worker in the factory where the phones were made and managed to miss the suicide nets he was jumping into for fun just as that phone was competed. He turns out to be amazingly talented and, indeed, arguably is the Hero at the end of the book.

There are others (a ghost, a demigod, a Confederate General, the president/Empress) but I’d rather let the reader discover them on their own.

They say all fiction books have pivotal points in the book where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one pivotal point in your novel?

Gee, I usually put a book down when I can’t stand the bad writing any longer. Since my writing is virtually flawless, that wouldn’t apply.

OK, I’ll try to answer the question:

·       After Steve blasts a smoking hole through a Lieutenant Colonel?

·       When the volunteer fire-elves of Greenbelt Maryland put out the Illuminati’s fireballs?

·       Steve’s battle to save Ace against the Bladensburg Ghosts?

·       After the fight with the Illuminati and the drug gang where they’re saved by a mythological hoofed dog?

In fact, I would strongly advise going all the way, otherwise you’ll never know how Ace and Hans, the BMW get out of the Potomac River or the effect of mothering a lump of C-4 explosives.

What’s next on the agenda for you, Edward?

Well, I’d like to say that it’s on to “Taxi Dancer” my 1930’s private eye book in exotic Manila but, in fact, I think next is a second draft of On the Frontlines of the Television War, Tony Hirashiki’s fantastic memoir about his decade of filming news in Vietnam. Then another segment of the Western neo-classic that I began in Mirage, Colorado. This time, our lost Civil War veteran, Moss Partridge, heads for the gold mines of Colorado and a parlous meeting with the real Deadwood Dick.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans?

Live, love, laugh, and be happy. Keep your cool and don’t be nobody’s fool. Solid Ted, ‘nuff said. Remember, prayer doesn’t change things. Prayer changes people and people change things. This is Hy Lit signing off until tomorrow right here on WIbbage, the Rock of Philly, with “Underwater” by the Frogmen. (music up)


The Day of the Dragonking Banner

Inside the Book:

The Day of the Dragonking

Inside The Book
Title: The Day of the Dragonking
Book 1: The Last American Wizard Series
Author: Edward B. Irving
Publisher: Ronin Robot Press
Publication Date: Paperback - February 2, 2106 / eBook - May 17, 2016
Pages: 316 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Satire

Book Description:

A “mystical terrorist group” sacrifices an airplane full of innocents to a dragon and uses the deaths to power an event that wreaks magical havoc on Washington, D.C. All the wizards in the U.S. government’s employ abruptly lose access to magic, and the world’s computers and gadgets become sentient.

Second-string journalist Steven Rowan embodies the tarot's Fool and is forced to figure out the card's magic on the fly. Bombshell soldier Ace Morningstar, who used her magic to disguise herself as a man so she could become a SEAL, drafts Steve and his cell phone, which contains the ghost of a Chinese factory worker who now communicates through screen animations and bad autotranslations, to help fix the mess. Gathering allies, including NSA supercomputer Barnaby and Ace's BMW, Hans, the team fights off newly transformed demons, dog monsters, and ogres while trying to find out who is controlling the Illuminati before the villains embark on the next step of their world-domination strategy.

Book Excerpt:

The airplane crash woke Steven Rowan. To be entirely accurate, it wasn’t a crash.
It was the insane screaming of four of the world’s largest jet engines being pushed twenty percent past their factory- recommended maximum thrust only thirty feet over his head.
 In addition, awake wasn’t really the correct term for his state of consciousness at that point.
 Steve was standing stark naked in the center of the room, jerking back and forth in the classic fight-or-flight reflex–his mind frantically spinning between possibilities, developing and rejecting dozens of possible threats every second, and running throughas many options for escape. A small part of his mind was simultaneously working on the less-important questions of who he was, where he was, and what he’d done to himself the night before.
 The pulsating howl of the jet began to diminish, but the screaming only grew louder and more intense. Suddenly, Steve fell to his knees, slamming clenched fists into his temples over and over, and screaming at the top of his lungs.
 Tears flew from his eyes as he crawled forward and began to pound his head against the glass door to the balcony. A small rational part of his mind wondered that he could be driven to such desperation that he would fill his mind with self-inflicted pain in the vain hope that it would expel the shocking sound, the sheer terror, and the infinite grief.
He felt a sharp spark of agony as the glass cracked.
 Suddenly, as blood began to stream down his face, the terrible pain diminished. The confusion and terror, the immense waves of emotions, all of that continued to pour through him, but the anguish had ceased. The massive assault of sound began to break down into hundreds of what he could only think of as voices.
Men and women were screaming, a mother was kissing the top of a tiny head and whispering soothing sounds, a man on a cell phone was frantically dialing and redialing–desperate to leave a message. In contrast, two men were running through a checklist with professional calm, but curses tickled at their throats, fighting to get out.
In the center, he heard a steady sound. A quiet chanting– young voices tinged with success and anticipation.
 The glass door exploded.
It was going to be a lousy morning, his head hurt even worse than usual, and his head usually hurt like someone dying from alcoholpoisoning.
 Steve opened his eyes at the sound of someone singing about hiding in Honduras and needing “lawyers, guns, and money.”
 OK, that was Warren Zevon, so it was probably his phone ringing. On Mondays, he set it to Afroman’s Because I Got High just to irritate any senior editorial staff he might run into, but this song pretty well summed up his mood every other day.
 He waited patiently until the late Mr. Zevon finished singing about how “the shit has hit the fan” and then listened for the Asian gong that would indicate a phone message.
 Instead, Max Weinberg’s driving drumbeat pounded out the syncopated SOS that began Bruce Springsteen’s We Take Care of Our Own. Since every journalist knew (but would never report) that this song raised the dead whenever the Boss played within a mile of a graveyard, Steve figured someone was truly serious about talking to him.
 In addition, he was curious because he’d deleted it from his phone over a month ago, exhausted by its contrast between the American ideal of “help your neighbor” and the reality of greed and selfishness that was currently sweeping the nation.
There was a series of clicks and several of those odd changes in the quality of silence that indicate a call is being bounced from machine to machine or area code to area code. Of course, these were also the sounds that you heard when a telemarketer’s robot war dialer realized it had a fish on the line and switched in the human voice to make the sale.
 “Is this a freaking robot?” he said, sharply.
 There was a short pause without any clicks. For some reason, Steve thought the caller was thinking.
“Mr. Rowan?” It was a man–the deep and authoritative voice of someone used to giving commands.
“Who the hell wants to know?” Steve hated people with that kind of voice.
Another pause.
“Mr. Stephen Rowan of 14500 Windermere Drive, Apartment D2?” The voice had changed, just slightly. It wasn’t quite as abrasive and superior. Steve thought he could have a conversation with this guy.
“Yes.” Steve’s state of awareness was beginning to recover sufficiently so that it wasn’t taking all of his concentration to talk on the phone. Unfortunately, that allowed him to begin to look around the room. If he hadn’t just received his ten-year chip from Narcotics Anonymous, he would have instantly identified this as a drug dream—and not a pleasant one.
The smashed sliding door. Glass shards covering the carpet. The dozens of framed photographs he’d hung to remind himself of the good times when he’d worked in cool places were gone. They were in a heap of wood, glass, and photo paper on the other side of his bed. Only one remained. A picture of a Lebanese militiaman with an AK-47 wearing a T-shirt decorated with a picture of an AK-47 and the words “Lebanon War.” He reached over and straightened it.
 “Mr. Rowan.” The voice on the phone had changed again. Now it sounded like a person cowering with fear. Hell, this guy was afraid to speak to him. “Umm. Are you busy at the moment?”
 Steve looked around the wreckage of his apartment. His cheek tickled and he touched it with a finger. He stared at the blood on his fingertip. “Busy? No, not really.”
 “Would you be so kind as to consider possibly doing me a favor?”
 Now the voice had gone all the way to obsequious.
 “Not until you tell me who the hell you are and what the hell you want.” Steve licked his finger, tasting the blood as if it might tell him something about what had just happened. “And stop sucking up.”
 “‘Sucking up’?” There was another series of clicks and silences, and the caller continued in its previous, more confident tone. “Mr. Rowan. Let me ask you a question. Could you use a job?”
 Steve reached into his back pocket to check his wallet for his current financial position. Suddenly, he felt a hand stroke his butt. He jumped. When he looked down, he realized it was his own hand because he was still naked. Then, a sudden stab of pain proved that the silvery dust all over him was tiny bits of glass from his broken door and he’d just shoved a shard into his ass. He pulled his hand away sharply and held it out in front of him–carefully examining both sides.
 “Mr. Rowan?”]
 “Oh. Sorry, I was distracted for a second. What...Oh, yeah. I have plenty of money.”
“From your increasingly occasional work as a freelance reporter?”
Steve didn’t say anything. The caller continued. “How’s that working out for you?”
Steve surveyed his ruined stereo and television and stopped as he saw his metal-cased laptop. It was rolled into a cylinder. He wonderedwhat in hell could do that to an expensive computer. Or at least one that had been expensive when he’d bought it.
 “Don’t worry about the laptop. I think you’ll find your telephone will be sufficient."
Steve’s eyes widened and he slowly pulled the cell phone away from his ear and regarded it carefully–again, front and back. When he turned back to the main screen, a cartoon of a hand making a “thumbs up” sign had replaced his usual home screen picture of the Lebanese militiaman.
Steve just stood there and looked at the hand. He knew it was a cartoon because it only had three fingers and a thumb. Somehow, the artist had made it look happy and confident. That worried Steve.
He heard a faint squawking from the phone. He held the phone with only two fingers and raised it gingerly until it was an inch from his ear.
“Mr. Rowan? Can you hear me?”
 Steve cleared his throat and answered carefully. “Yes.” “Good, we can continue.”
 “Not until you tell me how you knew about my computer, we can’t.”
 “Your computer? Oh, you mean that you were looking at it?” “Yes. How did you know that I was looking at it?”
The voice sounded more confident, almost comradely. “That’s easy. Look straight out your window. See the apartment building with the exterior stairs?”
 “They all have exterior stairs.”
 “Well, the one with stairs and exceptionally ugly pink paint.” “Got it.”
“OK. Look at the left edge of the building and then run your eye straight up.”
 Steve saw the gleaming black cube of a building on the other side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. There were dozens of round white satellite dishes on the roof.
 “OK, I see the building across the highway. The NSA or Fort Meade or whatever.”
 “Just keep watching.”
 Slowly, almost ceremonially, all the dishes on the roof turned, swiveled, swung, or tipped so that they were all pointed straight at him. Without thinking, Steve’s left hand moved to cover his crotch.
 He made a noise, but it wasn’t a word. Something between a cough and the beginning of a scream, but definitely not a word. On the top of the black building, all the dishes nodded up and down in what he could only describe as a friendly fashion, and then moved back to their original positions.
  “Mr. Rowan?”
 Steve cleared his throat again. “I guess you just made that happen.”
 “That was better than anything I ever saw in college, even on mushrooms, but it still doesn’t tell me who you are.”
 “But it does answer the question of how you could see me.” “Yes.”\\
“And demonstrates a certain amount of power over things.” “Things and quite a few people as well.”
“I would have to say that that remains to be proven, but I can agree that you’ve gone a long way in that direction.”
“Why don’t we leave the rest of your questions for a later time and let me ask you one?”\
Steve’s eyes wandered from the roof of the building across the highway. “What am I looking for?” he wondered.
Then he remembered.
 “Give me just one more question first.” Steve walked out on the balcony and scanned the horizon as far as he could. “Where is thesmoke?”
“Smoke. From the crash of the plane that just flew over me.”
“Mr. Rowan. Can I suggest you step back inside? Good. You were frightening several of your neighbors. No, there is no smoke and, as a matter of fact, no airplane. Since there is no airplane, there wasn’t a crash and, ergo, no smoke. That’s one of the things I’d like to hire you to investigate.”
 Steve thought for a second. “I don’t like it when people say ergo. But we can deal with that later. Right now, I’d like to know why–no wait, let’s begin with how I would investigate the nonexistent crash of an airplane that wasn’t there.”
 “You’re getting a bit redundant.”
“You’ll have to live with it. It’s a side effect of the unease I’m feeling due to the stress of this uncommon and aberrant situation.” Steve’s voice rose to a shout. “Stop fucking around and tell me what the hell is going on!”
 “Well.” The voice on the phone paused as if choosing the next words carefully. “The jetliner did crash. At the same time, it did notcrash.”
 “OK, I’m relieved that you made that clear. Now that I understand, I’m hanging up.”
“Mr. Rowan! Wait! Just one more minute.”
Steve didn’t say anything, but he didn’t punch the END symbol, either. He really wasn’t sure why.
“There has been a Change.”
Steve blinked and looked at the phone. He put it back to his ear. “Did you just capitalize the word change?”
“Hmm? Oh, yes, I suppose I did. This particular change is a pretty big deal and certainly deserves to be capitalized.”
“I’ll be the judge of that. What do you want me to do about this capitalized concept?”
 “Would you work for me? Investigate this Change?”
 Steve’s answer was quick and automatic. “I’m an experienced freelancer. I don’t work for just anyone.”
 “Really? Not even if it was for the Good of the Nation?”
“Stop talking in capitals and, if you mean working for the government, the answer isn’t ‘no.’ The answer is ‘Hell, No.’”
"I believe those last two words were capitalized.” Steve’s head felt like it was about to explode. 
“Would it make you feel better if I hired you on a temporary freelance basis?”
Once again, the answer was swift and automatic. “What are you paying?”
 “Well, I think I have unlimited funds...”
 “Then you’re full of crap. I’m hanging up now.”
The phone began to vibrate in his hand and the voice became agitated. “Mr. Rowan. Don’t do that! It has to be you. No one else observed the airplane!”
 Steve’s eyes closed and whatever it was that had woken him up came back with the feeling of a knockout punch. His face twisted up in anguish at the memory of all the people...their terror...their helpless panic. He groaned.
 “Mr. Rowan! Are you all right?”
“Not one of my better mornings.”
 “I am actually glad to hear that.” 
Because I’d hate to think of what it might take to cause a worse morning. What’s your daily rate?”
 “Five hundred dollars. Double over ten hours.” Steve always held out hope even though he hadn’t made over $350 a day for the pastdecade.
 “You’ve got it.”
 Steve opened his eyes. “Plus expenses?” “Expenses and the use of a car and driver."
“A car?” Steve walked over and looked out to the space in the parking lot where he’d parked his light-blue Prius. He thought it was still there, but it was difficult to tell because an enormous jet engine was smoking sullenly on top of the entire row of parked cars.
 He could make out some twisted pieces of light-blue plastic in his usual parking space.
 “I guess I will need a car.”
 “Good. Then we are in business, right?” “I guess so."
“Good. I’ve got some things to do right now, but I’d appreciate it if you could begin immediately.”
Steve slowly turned around and looked at his apartment. His clothes looked as though a knife-wielding fashion critic had attacked them. He touched his laptop and it rolled away, revealing fluttering bits of paper that he deduced must be his stack of notebooks. One of his shoes was lying by his right foot. He picked it up and slowly poured broken glass out onto the floor. “I’m going to need to be paid up front, I think.”
 “Not a problem. Just answer the door.” 
There was the synthetic clicking sound that cell phones made to indicate the end of a call.
 “Answer the–”
 There was a firm knock on his door.

For More Information:
The Day of the Dragonking is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreadsNetGalley
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author

Terry - Edward Irving

Edward Irving was a respectable television journalist for 40 years in Washington D.C. Any shred of respectability has been destroyed by "The Day of the Dragonking." He is waiting for the committee to call and demand his 4 Emmys back at any time.

He has worked for just about every TV channel: Nightline, Wolf Blitzer, Don Imus, and Fox News Sunday - talk about culture clash! He has written 4 documentaries - mostly on Moral Courage - and the last one was particularly fun since it was about rescuing Jews to the Philippines, a decision made over poker and cigars by Manuel Quezon, Dwight Eisenhower, a private detective named Angel Zervoulakos, and brothers from a family that was the biggest importer of cigars to the USA.

Mr. Irving enjoys many things he can't do anymore: motorcycles, racing cars, hang-gliding, scuba-diving, and long vacations. The good thing is that he can put them into books. He has a very forgiving wife, two kids, two grandkids, and a LOT of old books.

For More Information: Author Website  Facebook Twitter Goodreads Goodreads - 2

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Monday, June 27, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club: Spotlight on MacClinton by Sam Griffith

Inside the Book:

Title: MacClinton
Author: Sam Griffith
Publisher: Conservative Press Books
Pages: 176 pages
Genre: Political Science / Political Satire

Book Description:

MacClinton, a modern tale of Bill Clinton’s political career told in the format of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This amusing drama is fleshed out with notes that detail Clinton’s scandals and cover-ups. After reading it, you’ll want to examine the character and actions of political candidates before voting for or against them.

"When a citizen gives his suffrage [vote] to a man of known immorality, he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country." (Noah Webster) Although Webster wrote this statement almost two hundred years ago, it is good advice for us today.

MacClinton illustrates this warning as it recounts Bill and Hillary's immorality, scandals, and cover-ups in an entertaining and enlightening way. From the opening scene with the three *itches meeting Bill MacClinton to the closing scene of George W. Bush's presidential election victory, you'll view Bill's political career and Hillary's cover-ups for her political ambition in a new light. The preponderance of evidence against the Clintons as fit leaders of America should motivate you to investigate political candidates more closely before voting for anyone who will betray the interest of our country.

Book Excerpt:

*itch 1: When shall we three meet again
            In thunder, lightning or in rain,
            In the district court,
            Or on David Letterman?
*itch 2: When the hurly-burly’s done,
            When the court battles are lost and won.
*itch 3: Or likely before the setting of the sun.
*itch 1: Where the place?
*itch 2: At the motel at the edge of town.
*itch 3: There to meet with MacClinton.
*itches 1-3: Again!

Thus begins MacClinton, a modern tale of Bill Clinton’s political career told in the format of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

For More Information:

MacClinton is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author

Sam Griffith is a retired Justice on the Texas Twelfth Court of Appeals, a position to which he was elected three times, twice unopposed. As a high school senior, he worked after school each day full time in a manufacturing factory, then worked his way through college and graduate school, and through law school. Before being elected an appellate justice in 2000, he was a trial court judge and trial lawyer. He earned two legal specialization certifications from the Texas State Bar Association’s Board of Legal Specialization, an achievement of less than three percent of Texas lawyers.

Outside of the court room, Judge Griffith taught U.S. Constitutional Law at universities in Iraq and China, preached through northern Iraq and South Sudan, funded twelve water wells in South Sudan, and built homes for earthquake survivors in Nepal.  In addition, he co-founded a vegetable-growing ministry that was featured in a New York Times article and which, in five years provided more than one hundred tons of vegetables for local food banks.

For More Information: Author Website Goodreads  

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Interview with Dudley Mecum, author of A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom


Inside the Book:

Sojourn pic

Title: A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom 
Author: Dudley Mecum 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Visionary and Metaphysical 
Format: Ebook

Chris Cole enjoys aiming for the stars. After he rockets into orbit aboard the space shuttle, his mission is cut short when he is the victim of an accident aboard the International Space Station. Whisked back to earth for medical observation, Chris is eventually released. Before his return flight to Kennedy Space Center the next day, Chris decides to attend a nearby medieval fair with an acquaintance—a decision that will change the course of his life forever. Shortly after the astronaut's arrival at the festival, the king unexpectedly selects Chris to be a contestant in a tournament. As Chris's quest to become a knight begins, he learns how to wield a sword, battle foes, and achieve greatness. Unfortunately, villainy, treachery, and a crucible await him. As enemies emerge from the shadows, others use him as a pawn to settle old scores. Guided by a cast of colorful characters who dispense timeless advice, Chris is overcome with self-doubt as he ponders whether it is really possible to change his destiny. In this gripping fantasy tale, wisdom of the world's greatest philosophers and modern sages is brought to life as one man attempts to escape from a prison of his own making.
A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom is available for order at

How did you come up with the title of your book?

I tried to improve upon the suggested title, “A Journey of Self-Discovery through the Wisdom of the Ages.” Unfortunately, that title would put most people to sleep. Coming up with a new title of my book took me many weeks because it’s summing up my narrative in the fewest words. I have James Cameron to thank for introducing me to his movie, Avatar, because that word wasn’t in my vocabulary. Fortunately, I was familiar with the term sojourn. When I used both words, I had the bulk of the title of my book.

What is your writing environment like?

During the workweek, when possible, I wrote an hour before work, during lunch, and an hour after work. On the weekends, I tried to devote one day to writing. Perhaps like most writers, I try to isolate myself from the outside world.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers?

I can only speak for myself. To help me write my book, I kept a list of favorite words. I remember a Los Angeles Times review of the 1979 movie The Fog. The article used the word frisson in its review. In junior high, I read Word Wealth by Ward Miller. Another source of words came from reading Lord of the Rings. In addition to a favorite word list, I copied a list of sentences that really appealed to me. It has reached eighty pages. Together, my word and sentence compendiums helped me as a writer.

What inspires you to write?

My book is a gift to my younger self. You see, I experienced a lot of setbacks when I was young, perhaps more setbacks than most people endure. A seventeen-year stretch of stuttering as a young adult preceded a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, which causes constant headaches. That tag team prevented me from experiencing much success in life. When the stars didn’t align to provide me salvation from my current state of affairs, I endeavored in a new adventure, one that required a great deal of patience. Fifteen years passed until my idea became reality. When I turned to quote books for inspiration, the wisdom revealed was compiled author or by subject, which is very dry and lacks context. So, I felt the need to find a more cohesive, yet entertaining medium in which to impart the wisdom of the ages that gives hope for those who have endured a lot of adversity in their lives, perhaps more misfortune than their fair share. The best approach was to weave the non-fictional elements of wisdom into a fictional narrative. My book became a Rubik’s Cube of sorts because certain scenes called for specific wisdom and vice versa. In addition, I had to figure out who would impart what wisdom and in what order. The end result called for a colorful cast of characters and a multitude of scenes in which solicited advice would be given. Complementing the adventure and wisdom, I included the traditional literary devices such as symbolism, irony, and foreshadowing. Finally, my book is an homage to Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, a mid-19th century art movement. The story depicts three out of four scenes from his Voyage of Life series of paintings. In essence, my book would convey not my wisdom, but the counsel of the world’s greatest sages, allowing my younger self to avoid common mistakes and achieve a greater success in life. Similarly, I’m hopeful that most readers will find my narrative entertaining and its underlying wisdom compelling.

Did you learn anything while writing this book?

I found that I needed to trust my instincts. I looked at quote books for inspiration and found their cataloging of quotes by author or by subject too dry. It’s as if each quote were a star in the sky. Even the notable quotes that I was drawn to, by themselves, really didn’t amount to much because there was no connective tissue. Only by writing a narrative, which not only provides context for each quote, but also related the quotes to each other, did I succeed in my quest. As a result, the “constellations of wisdom” are evident. Trusting my instincts proved to be the best thing I learned when writing my book.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My father said I had a lot of perseverance to write a book that took me fifteen years to complete. My original plan was to complete my book in three to five years. I was discouraged at the three-year mark because the book proved to be a lot harder to write than I thought it would be. Fortunately, I completed that Rubik’s Cube of a narrative!

Meet the Author:

  Dudley Mecum, a trained commercial pilot, earned an MBA in Finance, later working at a defense manufacturer. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoys fine art, swimming, and virtual flying.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

PUYB Chats with Charles M., author of 'The Jungle Within'

Despite growing up in a small town, I always knew I was destined for bigger things. At age eighteen, I enlisted in the US Navy, a move that allowed me to see the world and explore my passion for life. After 6 years and an honorable discharge, I settled into civilian life, earning my Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Technology Management.

Always eager to challenge myself with new and different roles, I took on the role of “Author,” writing my debut novel among the roles of full-time engineer, local business owner, and family man. But, I have no plans to stop there!

I am an avid outdoorsman, enjoy camping, hiking, snowboarding, shooting, and fishing, making the Land of Enchantment an ideal place to call home.

I look forward to sharing my novel and experiences with all of you!

Charles’ latest book is the drama/suspense, The Jungle Within.

For More Information
About the Book:

When Evan and Katie said “I do”, they expected to navigate life together side-by-side. But when a car accident and a tawdry affair disrupt life as they know it, Evan and Katie are forced to venture on alternate paths, alone. In the darkest depths of an unforgiving coma, Evan fights to survive the
treacherous jungle of his mind. He embarks on a spiritual journey to understand the meaning of life and the beauty of death…forcing him to face his deepest fear. Meanwhile, Katie ventures through her own guilt. On a strenuous moral journey, she juggles the consequences of infidelity and the strain of caring for her unresponsive husband. But are their paths truly separate? Or are they simply on parallel journeys that are destined to converge?

For More Information

  • The Jungle Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

Actually I did some basic research, not on the book itself, but on things like number of pages in a chapter and number of words in a book. I had the story for The Jungle Within inside my head and it wasn’t too technical, so I didn’t need any deep research on that sort of stuff. But I was new to writing, so I had to ask questions that a novice would ask. I learned so much, so fast. It’s amazing how much information we have at our fingertips with technology today.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I decided to go with the self-publishing route. I wrote a great story and I was proud of it. I wanted to world to have access to it immediately. The other reason I chose the self-pub route was because after I released it on Amazon, I could always send it to a publishing house afterwards. Which I have recently started doing.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the eBook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

Kindle makes it so easy for you to create your own eBook that the choice was pretty clear. You download an eBook creator from Kindle and upload your PDF or word document and it converts it all for you. It’s really that easy.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

After I finished writing my rough draft I put my book away for a month or so. This is when I had to start figuring out all the little details such as price. For a seasoned writer like Stephen King, you could pretty much name your own price. For an author that is just starting out, you have to be wise about it. If you charge too little, you cheapen your hard work. If you charge too much, readers might not take the chance on a write they’ve never heard of. I settled on the paperback price of $12.99 and the kindle price of $0.99. This is on par with what is considered reasonable.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I chose to release by book on my birthday, March 22, 2016. It was my present to myself. The Jungle Within is my first novel so I’m not sure if there is a hot month to release a book. I’m sure there is, but right now I’m focused on putting out good books and making a name for myself as an author. I don’t think the month that you release a book has a lot of bearing on that.

How did you choose your cover?

The cover to The Jungle Within was clear in my head before I even wrote the book. I knew exactly what it was going to look like. The cover to my book is at the heart of the story. When you read the blurb about the book and look at the cover it sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense, but after you get into the book you quickly realize how it’s related. It’s actually a really beautiful cover.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I actually did both with The Jungle Within. I revised as I went, but also did many, many revisions afterward.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

As an author just starting, I think it’s vital to give your book away. Some people say that if you work hard on something you shouldn’t give it away for free. I initially agreed with this thought but after doing some homework I found that there are so many books and authors out there. If you hang on to your pride you might find that less people hear about you. I want to get my name out there as a solid novelist and with my second novel I might choose to not give away the book as much.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

I think the first and most important thing an author should do is get their book edited. I know this sounds obvious, but I’m talking about getting it edited after you get it edited. One person may miss a few things that someone else will catch. Now I know it’s very difficult to catch every mistake, but the more times it’s seen, the less mistakes there will be. Secondly, an author needs to market their book before it’s released. There are many ways to do this now with social media. The first thing I did was created a website and Facebook page about my book. Get people curious about it. Make it a suspenseful so that it generates some buzz. Lastly, I would say the author needs to temper their expectations. Especially if it’s their first novel and they are self-publishing. I had it in my head that my book would be on the best-selling list within a month. I quickly realized the competition was massive and that I would need to do a lot of work to get the name out there. Good things take time.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Market, market, and market. I mean that. If you are a serious writer you might also want to be working on your next book. Or bask in the glory of having published your first novel. That is entirely up to you.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

See above answer.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

The Jungle Within is my baby. It’s my first book and it’s near and dear to my heart. The only long term plan I have is to hang it on my wall and be proud. I love writing and I plan on writing many more. I want The Jungle Within to be the one that got me started.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

To my fans, thank you for being a fan of my work. I’ve been told I have a unique writing style that they love. I do this partly for me, but mostly for them. If you haven’t the book, I ask that if you have an open mind about spirituality and morals, give it a shot. Most people have been surprised about the wisdom they found inside. Thank you for hosting me.