Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interview with Peter G. Pollak

House Divided

About the Book:
In House Divided, Peter G. Pollak’s 88,000-word thriller, Leonard and Alison Robbins disagree how big a mistake their college student daughter is making by joining the radical Students for Palestinian Justice (SPJ). Alison believes Courtney needs to be allowed to make her own decisions, but retired CIA agent Leonard Robbins, who heads up a counterterrorism task force, fears she’s being used. Neither, however, foresee the real danger. Anti-Israeli terrorists are recruiting SPJ members to bomb Jewish organizations. Can Robbins’ task force find and stop the terrorists before they claim more innocent victims? Will Courtney Robbins figure out the truth about SPJ before it’s too late? House Divided is the story of a war no family should have to fight.

About the Author:

I'm passionate about writing stories. I can't not work on them to make them the kind of book I'd want to read myself. I drove myself to finish my latest--House Divided--because I believe it's a story that needs to be told. Let me know if you agree.

When I stopped working 9 to 5, I made a commitment to finish at least one of several ideas I had for novels -- some of which I had started in the last century. Getting positive feedback from readers of my first finished novel, The Expendable Man, I decided to keep writing. I'm hard at work on yet another story having finished five novels in 5 years.

What did I do before I "retired"? I was a journalist, educator and entrepreneur as well as Little League coach, civil rights & anti-Vietnam activist and yoga practitioner. All those things plus reading, reading & more reading gave me the courage to do what I'd wanted to do since I was a teenager.

Welcome to my blog Peter.  Please take a few minutes to answer a some questions about your latest book for my readers.
Q: Tell us about your latest work?
A:  House Divided is my fifth thriller. I wrote it because I'm interested in how families deal with serious issues about which they disagree. In this case, I escalated the danger involved by introducing an element of domestic terrorism.
Q: What draws you to your genre?
A:  Thrillers give me a chance to explore how crises impact people's lives. Two of my first four books involve police detectives––one a rookie, the other a man recently retired––confronted by unusual cases. Two feature businessmen who face life-threatening circumstances. In House Divided, a family is divided over the boycott Israel movement that is spreading on American college campuses. Introducing terrorism raises the stakes. All five stories give me a chance to show people rising above their circumstances when the stakes are high.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: When I decided on a story I want to spend a year working on, I've already written several pages exploring the main conflict. At that point I do begin an outline process by which I plot as far ahead in the story as I can, knowing I'm likely to have to revise and expand later on. I use the outline to keep moving forward, but am willing to stop and revise if I write myself into a corner or see a better path. One key element to my plotting is that I have a vision of the ending before I start. When writing mysteries or thrillers I think it essential to know where you are going in order to avoid wasted time and effort.
Q: What kind of research was involved?
A: I believe location an important part of a good thriller or mystery and so I research my locations thoroughly in person if possible or extensively online if I can't go there in person. I also research aspects of my stories where I lack personal experience using online sources and my local library. For example, in the story I'm working on now I had to learn something about modern car accident investigation procedures. I found a college where people are trained to do accident reconstruction and borrowed some of their terminology and procedures to make my story more believable than if I had just made it up.
Q: How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
A: I was in the audience at the Tucson Festival of Books a couple of years ago when someone asked that question of Diana Gabaldon. Some of me is in all of my characters, she said. That's my answer as well.
Q: How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A: Writers who want to have a successful career need to treat their writing time like they would a paid job where they have to show up or be fired. That said it is important to take a long view of relationships. So when your grandchildren visit as mine did this past two weeks, I don't expect to get as much done as normally.
Q: Have their been any authors in particular who inspired your writing?
A: Hundreds, starting with Thomas Wolfe whose novel Look Homeward, Angel inspired me when I was a teenager. Writers need to be voracious eclectice readers. I'll read almost any genre if I think the book has value.
Q: Is there a story you want to tell about your work?
A:  No
Substitute question: Why do you write?
A:  The simple answer is that what makes me happy is when someone tells me they like what I've written. I write to entertain, but also with a point of view, which is that each of us has a little hero inside of us. Sometimes it's necessary for circumstances to bring that hero out into the open.
Q: What other projects are you currently working on?
A: I'm half way through my sixth thriller which addresses the following 'what if' statement: What if the son of the president-elect knows his father is an agent of a foreign power?  After I finish that I'm going back to work on an epic fantasy I started many years ago and had to put aside to regain perspective and also to work on two thrillers I knew would be successful.
Q: Which marketing strategies are the most effective?
A: I have built a base of readers from family and friends, many of whom have purchased and read all of my novels. I also rely on a number of independently owned bookstores in communities where I am fairly well-known. Book signings have not always yielded big sales, but they help the stores and every new customer counts. I can't say I've solved the problem of gaining readers through online marketing. I would rather spend time writing than responding to other people's tweets. That said, earning reviews from people who have a following is important because it's as much about establishing relationships as making sales.
Q:  What would be the top things you would tell aspiring authors?
A: 1) Don't think everything you do has to be perfect. Put it out there (with beta readers to start) and see what happens.
2) That said, your first draft is never good enough. Revise until you think your draft is ready, then get feedback, then revise again.
3) Use a professional editor. You may have to pay for editing, but asking the public to read an un-edited manuscript is like serving a half-baked cake.
4) Join a writers group.
5) If you are convinced you want to become a writer, take it seriously. Tell people that's what you do; establish a place to write where you're free from distractions; write every day if possible; and take other people's feedback seriously.
Thank you for such an interesting interview Peter.  I look forward to reading and reviewing House Divided. 
Learn more about me and my books @

Available at:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God, by Sarah M. Johnson, takes you on a full journey of trauma, loss, and finally resilience. While on a mission’s trip in Guatemala, a small Cessna Caravan’s engine blows while carrying fourteen passengers. Unfortunately, the Cessna crashes in a remote village, leaving eleven of the fourteen passengers dead. One passenger, Sarah, shares her story in Life is Beautiful, about the deaths of her father and brother; her mother’s extreme physical and emotional injuries, and Sarah’s self-discovery to accept this new life.

Life is Beautiful, however, is more than a story about an airplane crash. Life is Beautiful shares the personal struggles of Sarah’s father’s drug use, his recovery, and redemption to be a better person. He gives back by doing missions work in Africa, takes in Sarah’s aunt dying of uterine cancer, and eventually leads their family to the mountains of Guatemala. Sarah also discusses her struggles with alcohol use and depression; where she eventually hits rock bottom. It is not until she starts seeking God through prayer, books, and therapy, where she starts to turn her life around.

Life is Beautiful is not only a unique story, but it shows the strength of God’s Will. When all hope is lost, she never gives up on God. This story is a true testimony of God’s love for His people, and when one seeks a spiritual journey and connection with God; He gives back in love, forgiveness, and happiness.

Life is Beautiful will be released on August 25, 2015. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:

Sarah M. Johnson is currently a graduate student seeking her Marriage and Family Therapy degree. She will graduate in 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. After graduating, she plans to open up a private practice office and guide those who are seeking their own self-discoveries of love and happiness.

Sarah believes that adversity is a gateway for change, and that through the difficult times of sorrow, loss, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, disease, or other mental illness, we can use this adversity to self-explore and change for the better. We must not run away from the adversity, but face it, heal, and use this particular adversity as a learning lesson.

We all have the capacity to be happy and love ourselves; but we must utilize all necessary support systems, medical professionals, mental health professionals, Religious affiliations, (and many more that I am not mentioning) to help us find the Power Within. The Power Within helps us to accept our adversity and create necessary change for a life of love and happiness.

To learn more, go to 

Connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Chapter 1 – The Crash

I remember all of the emotions, the trees whipping by, everything happening so fast, dad yelling, Here we go, and mom screaming, Stop it. I remember my brother Zachary looking back at me, his eyes bright with fear as I prayed God please...

I remember the sense of something coming; you know it’s coming and wonder: will I live?

I remember the violence of the plane plowing into the ground as we attempted an emergency landing in a roughhewn field...Boom, boom, boom...and then nothing but an unnerving silence.

I don’t know if I blacked out or merely paused with my eyes closed in the stillness of those first few moments. Awareness comes slowly. Then in a rushed breath of shock and revelation, Thank God I’m alive.

My eyes open to an eerily lit silence where sunlight and shadow intermingle, making it difficult to see into the new geography of the plane’s interior. My head and body buzz. My mind trips on the dissonance of dangling upside down, held a few inches from the ceiling of the plane’s cabin by my seatbelt.

Taking stock of my body, I notice that I peed my pants and there is a small cut on my left arm. Looking up, I see that one foot is missing its shoe. My eyes squint into bright sunlight that passes through a relatively large doorway next to me that was torn open.

The only noise to break the silence is the erratic popping of electricity; the final groans of a dying airplane.

I move my arms first and then my legs, which causes small shards of glass to fall from where they’re lodged in my clothes and upturned seat. I tilt my head back toward the ceiling beneath me and it is covered in broken glass.

My hair dangles down away from my face, but the position of my body and the way sunlight cuts through the cabin makes it difficult to see much of the plane. In those few seconds I realize that I am okay and begin to think that maybe we are all okay; that the crash wasn’t so bad.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Society of Orion Book Five The Tayos Caves

Name: The Society of Orion Book Five: The Tayos Caves
Author: Gerald J. Kubicki & Kristopher Kubicki
Series: #18 – they stand alone
Published: 8/5/15
ISBN-13:  None
Size: The book is approximately 176 pages and has 31,911 words
Genre: Action/Adventure/Mystery/Thriller/Sci-Fi
Amazon Link:   Click here

Inside cover – The society of Orion Book Five: The Tayos Caves
After returning from their unsuccessful attempt to enter the Tayos caves, the Forever Ours team discovers that the devious monk who sent them there has died. At the cemetery, they meet Ahmad Fasi, who is head of The Society of Orion in Morocco. He threatens Banyon. He wants all the Orion weapons for himself.
Banyon and his team put together a plan to stop the Arab and to set the stage to go after the weapons he possesses at a later time. They then head back to the Tayos caves. When they get there they find that nothing is as it appears to be. The real use of the caves is something far more threatening. Trapped in the caves, the entire team faces elimination.

Jerry Kubicki