Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rob Tiffany: The IAN Interview

A bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction books, Rob Tiffany has spent the last decade combining his military past with his high-tech present to take readers from the depths of the ocean to the world of mobile apps. Rob served with the Navy SEALs on a special ops delivery vehicle and patrolled the seas on a Trident submarine. As an Architect at the world’s largest software company, he’s in-demand as an advisor to executives and a speaker at conferences all over the world. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and three kids.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book.
RT. My book is a 30,000-word, middle-grade/YA adventure novel – with fantastical elements - called Submarine Warriors > The Enemy Beneath.  The fathers of twelve year-old Caroline Connery, Nick Wyatt, and their friends mysteriously disappear during a top-secret submarine mission. Not long after, Caroline receives a secret text message revealing the government’s story that their fathers died in an accident was actually a cover-up. The two kids enlist the help of Caroline’s grandfather – a retired Navy Admiral - and their friends to rescue all of the dads. A daring submarine theft results in the entire Pacific fleet chasing down the children with orders to sink them on sight. Upon finding their fathers, Caroline and Nick are confronted by an even greater terror when they come face to face with the Underworlders, a previously unknown species living beneath the ocean floor that are bent on the complete annihilation of mankind.

IAN. How long did it take to write Submarine Warriors?
RT. I spent the past 4 years working part-time, off and on, whenever I could spare a free moment.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
RT. Believe it or not, it was during a large family gathering where everyone had to perform, or otherwise show off a particular talent.  While others sang, danced, performed skits, or told jokes, I quickly wrote the original premise for the novel in 20 or so minutes.  I stood up and read the beginnings of what would become Submarine Warriors to the amazement of everyone in the room.  I won the contest and had siblings, cousins, parents, nieces, nephews urging me to turn it into a book. 

IAN. Talk about the writing process. 
RT. My “day job” in the computer business keeps me busy with a heavy travel schedule around the world.  It’s safe to say that I stole time to write the book on airplanes and in hotel rooms.  I never wrote in the morning because my brain just doesn’t function during that time of the day.  I’m also happy to say that I wrote some of it sitting outside at café’s in Paris.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft? 
RT. It was actually a combination of both.  I knew the initiating conflict and outlined high-level bullet points for many of the events in the book.  Sometimes I sat down intending to outline and would suddenly find myself getting carried away writing content.  I was a very unorthodox approach to say the least.

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
RT. While my book targets tweens and teens like the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson, it brings a level of military realism that you don’t see in other action/adventure novels in this category.  Many readers have found the world of submarines and Navy SEALs I’ve created to be reminiscent of Tom Clancy novels.  Spy Kids meets The Hunt for Red October.

IAN. Is Submarine Warriors published in print, e-book or both?
RT. Yes, it’s published in print and the e-book version targets the Kindle and Nook.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Submarine Warriors?
RT. I want my young readers to know that with resourcefulness, persistence, teamwork, and courage, they can accomplish anything.  I want them to reflect on the power of being bold.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?
RT. will get you the paperback and Kindle versions.  A trip to will also get you the paperback as well as a version for the Nook.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
RT. I am currently working feverishly on the sequel.  I’m constantly asked when the next book is coming out by the young adults who just finished reading my book.  Needless to say, I won’t have the luxury of taking four years to write the next installment. The new war with the Underworlders is definitely a multi-book affair.  

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
RT. Readers can learn all about the world of the Submarine Warriors at  It includes maps of where the adventure takes place, information about the characters, and volumes of educational information about all things related to submarines and ocean.  
The Submarine Warriors Facebook page can be found at My personal blog is and you can follow me on Twitter at

IAN. How did you learn so much about the workings of submarines?
RT. I’m asked this question a lot.  Most people assume I did intensive research to gain the depth of knowledge of submarines that I write about in my book.  I actually served on two different submarines when I was in the US Navy.  My first sub was part of SOCOM and was a SEAL Team Delivery Vehicle used for special ops which was very exciting.  The second sub I served on was a Trident ballistic missile submarine where we spent our time waiting for a special message from the President. This is a message you never want to receive.

IAN. How did you ensure that the dialog in your novel had the right “voice” for young readers?
RT. I have the three kids at home and all of them are tweens or teens.  As I would write new chapters, I would often read passages to my children as bedtime stories.  My kid’s friends would also participate in some of my readings and provided lots of feedback on what they liked and what they thought I should change.  This constant feedback loop with my target audience ensured that the book never sounded like an adult pretending to be a teenager.

Submarine Warriors > The Enemy Beneath by Rob Tiffany
143 pages
Hood Canal Press

       Just as the Omaha Beach was about to land on the ocean floor, the strange radar dish reversed its magnetic beam and pushed the DSRV toward the pyramid. The sub eventually settled down next to the glowing structure with its occupants shrouded in darkness, due to the electrical disruption from the magnetic beam.

An accordion-like tube extended from near the tip of the crystal pyramid. It reached out to the Omaha Beach, arched over the top, and sealed itself to the upper escape hatch. The sailors onboard watched in disbelief as the hatch slowly opened and an infrared light washed into the main compartment. Several humanoid creatures dropped through the open hatch and landed on the main deck with a thud.
They looked like astronauts in black, spacesuit-like outfits and helmets. Peering out at the sailors from behind the curved, glass face-shields were ultraviolet, glowing eyes.  

This turn of events quickly put the crew of the Omaha Beach on the defensive and everyone took slow steps backwards away from the intruders.

“This was definitely not in the Navy recruiting brochure when I signed up.” A nervous Petty Officer Love tried to make light of this new situation.

“I think we just made first contact with an Alien civilization,” added the Weaps.

“If you want to live, you’ll come with us and you won’t try anything stupid,” one of the strange humanoids announced to the group.

“I guess they don’t come in peace,” uttered Petty Officer Grant.

Without warning, the Pilot pushed through the group towards the Aliens. “I don’t take orders from freaks like you!” shouted the Pilot. He hit one of the creatures over the head with a fire extinguisher, knocking it to the ground.

Without skipping a beat, one of the other humanoid creatures reached out and clutched the Pilot’s face with its hand. Intense heat shot out from its fingers and seared his skin.  

The Pilot screamed in anguish as his face began to burn.  

“You’re killing him!” the Captain shouted.  “Stop, and we’ll do what you ask.”

“It’s a little late for that, Overworlder.” The creature released his grip and the Pilot’s lifeless body collapsed to the deck. “Consider yourself warned.  Now get moving!”

“Oh my God, he’s dead.” The Weaps picked up the smoldering remains of the Pilot. “We can’t just leave him here.”

“Oh, you will,” remarked one of the creatures with an outstretched hand.

The Weaps suddenly felt an invisible burning sensation, causing him to drop the Pilot on the deck. 

“Okay, okay, I’ll do what you want,” the sunburned Weaps muttered to the creatures.

The terrified crew climbed out of the upper hatch, and the creatures forced the sailors through a translucent tube into an opening in the pyramid.  After walking down a short corridor, the sailors were pushed into an airtight compartment and sealed inside. Everywhere they looked, they saw the red glow of infrared lights being used for illumination. With the crewmembers locked in their new underwater prison, the humanoids removed their suits and helmets to reveal their bald heads, hairless bodies and translucent skin. 

“You’re being quarantined in this containment cell to ensure we don’t become infected by your Overworlder diseases,” barked one of the humanoid creatures.

“Who are you and what right do you have to capture our sub and hold us prisoner?” Captain Connery shouted.

“We have every right, Overworlder scum!” A new creature with an ancient Egyptian headdress emerged from the shadows. “Did you think you were the only intelligent life on this planet? Did you really think you had this whole place to yourselves? We’ve lived under the continents and the ocean floor for centuries. We were once like you until our ancestors were pulled underground several millennia ago when the waves of the Red Sea crashed in all around them. They believed they had descended into Hell. But our surviving forefathers learned how to thrive deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Our advanced race adapted to this subterranean world in a way that none of the Earth’s other primitive cultures ever could. Over the centuries, our bodies and eyes evolved to better suit our underground surroundings. Constant exposure to radioactive elements has mutated our genes so that we have the power to project heat from our hands. Today, we are one billion strong and we control the world beneath your feet!”

“Why show yourselves now, and why did you sink the cruise ship and kill all those innocent people?” Captain Connery retorted.

“That’s simple,” replied the Underworlder. “Your technology is becoming advanced enough to threaten our civilization. You may not realize it, but we’ve been closely monitoring you for the last hundred years. We’ve tapped your undersea phone lines and fiber optic cables. We’ve watched you create great societies and technologies, only to destroy them with greater and greater ferocity. I only wish your barbaric cultures would have wiped each other out by now. Like some kind of runaway virus, you keep multiplying and consuming all the Earth’s resources. Your world and ours are linked by a few miles of rock and ocean and we want those resources for ourselves. To that end, we’ve decided that your civilization has forfeited its right to exist on this planet. Consider the dead Overworlders on the cruise ship your first casualties in this new war. But for now, I have something different in mind for you.”

“Commander, begin the wrapping process on the prisoners!”

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Penny Childs The IAN Interview

Penny Childs. Besides riding horses, writing is one of my very favorite things to do. I kid about the people in my head, but they really are in there! They are the reason I may have a faraway look in my eyes when someone is trying to talk to me once in a while. They are also the reason I get asked a lot, “Hey, are you even listening to me?” Well, in all honesty I probably wasn’t listening to you. Sorry, chances are good I was working out a scene between characters in my head.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid and I still have my first finished book stashed away, which I wrote when I was 13. It is titled Sundown and is about a kid and her horse. It has a hand drawn cover and everything. You will thank me to never, ever, let it see publication…. They say practice makes perfect. Well that particular little gem was one of my first practice sessions.

These days I lean toward more adult themes such as paranormal suspense and romance, with a thriller and a mystery thrown in just to spice things up.
I live in Michigan with my husband Dennis on ten acres my family lovingly refers to as The Petting Zoo.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book.

PC. There’s Always Tomorrow is the second book in the Never Say Goodbye Series. It brings back Mel and Trevor, the two main characters from the first book, Farewell to Goodbye. I had so much fun with Mel and Trevor not getting along in Farewell that I just had to do it again. When Mel loses her memory in a plane crash the killer they were after turns the tables on her and Trevor. He convinces Mel he is her husband and Trevor is the enemy.
The killer is playing a dangerous game and he loves it. He will try to drive a wedge between Mel and Trevor and draw her to him for the kill.

IAN. How long did it take to write There’s Always Tomorrow?
PC. It took about two months to get the 1st draft completed.

IAN. What inspired you to write There’s Always Tomorrow?
PC. I love the way Mel and Trevor love each other. I also love the way they argue. They’re fun to write about. Plus they still had a lot to do and they wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote their new adventure.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.
PC. I mainly write in the afternoon when I get home from work. I am the only one there and it is quiet (except for my dogs once in a while). On the weekends I love to get up and write with a cup of coffee before the rest of the house is up and around.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
PC. I’ve tried to use outlines but I can never stick to them. So I just wing it. Sometimes I even surprise myself with the direction the book takes.

IAN. How is There’s Always Tomorrow different from others in your genre?
PC. I’d love to say I’m the only one that’s ever written a book like this one, but that would be a lie. I do think it is well written and a fun read.

IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
PC. Just e-book.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading There’s Always Tomorrow?
PC. I hope it will give the reader a little getaway from reality and will allow them to experience something different through my characters.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your books?

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
PC. I am working on a paranormal/suspense/romance titled I Remember Everything. It is the third book in my Lost Loves Series and centers around Tommy Logan and his lost love, Rachel. They were torn apart due to circumstances beyond their control but will be reunited, whether they like it or not. It is currently in edit and I hope to publish in May of 2012.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
PC. My facebook page is:
My Amazon Author Central Page is:

There’s Always Tomorrow by Penny Childs
Paranormal Suspense

“I’ll bet you bled beautifully,” David told Mel, looking across the aisle of the jet at her.
Trevor leaned around Mel and glared at him. “I told you to shut up. I meant it.” They were taking him back to California, charged with five murders. He was making a point of being as annoying as possible, making Trevor regret not letting Wayne and Lee bring him back.
“What was it like, finding her like that, Agent Giles? The woman you love with a madman perched atop her. It must have been an incredible sight.”
“I really want to shoot him,” Trevor told Mel, who was leaned back in her seat, eyes closed. Planes lulled her to sleep. “Or maybe a gag.”
“Did it hurt, Melanie? When he cut you?”
Trevor saw Mel’s lip twitch, but other than that she ignored Mercer.
“Were you afraid, or had you made your peace?” He smiled at her. “No, I think you were probably very afraid of dying. You were still young, still had so much to live for. You were in love and had a budding career. You would have clung to life with all your might.”
“Shoot him,” Mel muttered to Trevor without opening her eyes. There was no way she was going to get a decent nap in if he wouldn’t shut up.
“These are the questions I strive to find answers for.”
Now Mel did open her eyes and look over at him. “No, you’re just a wack job who gets off on killing women who can’t defend themselves. You don’t care how they feel about it. Give me a break.” She tilted her head back again and closed her eyes.
“I’m not as one dimensional as you think I am.”
“Tell it to the judge, ‘cause I don’t care.” Mel was thinking about moving to the back of the jet so she could catch a nap. She didn’t think it would be fair to desert Trevor though.
“Don’t you dare,” Trevor said, catching her thought loud and clear.
“For better or worse my ass,” she teased.
“My lawyers are the best money can buy. I won’t see one day of prison.”
“Uh, huh.”
“I should have gotten drunk at the airport bar,” Mel grumbled.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dracula: Hearts of Stone--A Tale of Magic, Romance and Fangs by A.J. Gallant

Dracula: Hearts of Stone

A tale of magic, romance and fangs. This adventure is sprinkled with humor.

This MIGHT be a little like Dracula if written by J. K. Rowling. It’s a place where magic and vampires interweave for an exciting adventure.

We start with a shiny new pot of boiling water and add too many evil vampires, and not enough of the good biters. Toss in one suicidal Dracula; add a cup of mayhem and a dash of romance. Oh yes, and a pinch of mirth. Stir lovingly and you have a new novel by A. J. Gallant. If it sounds like the recipe for you then you must read Dracula: Hearts of Stone. Dracula commands it.

Will Dracula male contact with a long lost love?

New York City is under attack.

Dracula is suicidal in a world where evil vampires are in the early stages of taking over. The Master has lived too long and can’t find a reason to face another day. Nasty vampires are feeding on vulnerable mortals and causing chaos. Years ago he trained valiant sheriffs and expects them to defend the humans but they are being overrun. Piers Anthony, the author, is now a vampire. He spends his days attempting to get the Master to snap out of it and to defend the humans, without losing his head.

A 12-year-old girl is a rare hybrid, half human and half vampire; she was conceived the normal way, with her mother a mortal and her father a vampire. Jenny is slowly discovering that she may be a blood wizard. She’s already an accomplished vampire killer and can cast spells, but an underground figure has noticed the girl. Some believe that she might be the one of legend that tips the scale toward good.

Sheriff Alexander and his vampire German shepherd stand and fight for justice.

Will the red sheriffs be overrun? Will Michael finally get the courage to ask out the sheriff?

Here are some of the characters in this book.

Dracula is a bit of a good guy.

Piers Anthony is now a vampire.

Jenny is a 12-year-old hybrid with extraordinary talent.

Lauren is an exceptional sheriff with unsurpassed fighting skills.

A very special Siamese cat searches for Dracula.

Tessy is a vampire German shepherd that hates the evil ones.

Alexander is a handsome sheriff trying to save the world, one vampire at a time.


Dracula: Hearts of Fire

Jenny is well on her way to becoming a high level wizard, but the evil vampires are multiplying at an alarming rate. But it's definitely not easy to learn the ways of a wizard.

The red sheriffs have their hands full as Dracula finally decides that he's going to help.

Dracula: Hearts of Glory

Jenny discovers that she's one of the most powerful wizard's in existence, but her lack of experience may just be the death of her.

The battle rages to an exciting conclusion.

Author A.J. Gallant

The writing spark was first initiated by reading the works of Harlan Ellison. A. J. Gallant is now inspired by such authors as Steven King, J. K. Rowling, Dean Koontz and many others. He's the writer of more than a dozen screenplays.

The author resides in New Brunswick and is at work on a new Dracula series, with magic, romance, and the battle to save humanity. The first of the vampire trilogy Dracula: Hearts of Stone is now available.

A. J. Gallant is currently working on the sequel Dracula: Hearts of FIRE and should be available in August, 2012.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Armageddon Yellowstone: Hell Unleashed is a Psychological Thriller by Terry Rich Hartley

Armageddon Yellowstone: Hell Unleashed

It would explode with a force a thousand times more powerful than the Mount St Helens eruption in 1980. The world’s largest super-volcano located underneath the United States’ Yellowstone National Park is set to blow. (Actual report from the UK's Daily Mail.)
A scientist on a suicide mission...
A brain damaged boy disappears from the hospital...
A Faustian bargain with a mysterious life form ...
A ghostly shaman bearing visions of disaster...
A rash of murderous behavior in two small towns
A cavern concealing clandestine paramilitary maneuvers...
A vast, deep reservoir of fiery molten rock threatening the heart of North America...

Armageddon Yellowstone: Hell Unleashed, the stunning new science fiction thriller from award-winning writer Terry Rich Hartley, author of Paranoia on River Road, The Ditchrider's Daughter, Whisper, and Whisper II: The Books.


“This is a full slate of a story. It is a feat in and of itself that the author, Terry Rich Hartley, pulls all the strands together; major kudos to him . . . It's a fast moving story, and it keeps you hooked . . . a killer high tech thriller.” (
“If like me, you're a Brit fascinated by Yellowstone and the films about volcanoes, this is a book worth reading. It combines geology with science fiction, with a bit of native American mystique thrown in for good measure.” (

Buy at Amazon

Also by the author:

Paranoia on River Road

A dispatcher sends Deputy Sheriff Lita Echeveria to a ghoulish burial site. A professor isolates himself in Mystic Canyon after apparently going mad. A wealthy retired farmer lives in denial of child abuse. A mysterious blonde girl and a dog point the way to criminal evidence before disappearing. The interaction of these characters cracks the boundaries of normal/abnormal psychology and criminal justice/cosmic punishment, and reveals the aftermath of a collision by two complete strangers, each running from his own past.

“Hartley does an excellent job of tying all the loose ends together, and bringing them home in just the right way. As they say...Karma's a bitch...and this one delivered quite a bite!” (Loretta Wheeler)


Biff Summer has a rich life: a cabin above the Madison River in Montana, river guide friends, a heart touched by a mentally challenged boy, and a possible future with the boy’s mother. He seems to have it made. Problem is, Biff is actually Larry Grady, a grifter on the run from a notoriously brutal loan shark who plans a living autopsy for him. “Mr. Awful,” will employ any means to see that happen, including unleashing “The Birddog,” an evil bounty hunter who it’s said will follow his prey’s psychic trail of fear into hell if he has to.

“Haunting! If you think you can run from your past you should read Whisper. It gives real meaning to the old saw: You can run, but you can't hide. The characters were absorbing to the point I actually cared about their outcomes. This psychological thriller captures one's imagination.” (Amazon Review)

Noted science fiction editor Jerry Pournelle wrote in Far Frontiers magazine:

Terry Rich Hartley thinks that perhaps we were not all meant to love one another, except in the sense that flesh is heat, and we enjoy that love we feel as we kill or are killed.

While that ominous theme occurs in some of his fiction, Dr. Hartley argues that he's really a normal guy who likes to bring the abnormal side of psychology to story writing. Hartley has been a research psychologist, psychology professor, and journalist, but his passion is and always has been fiction writing.

His current themes mingle psychology, science fiction, and horror with suggestions of the paranormal. Prior to chasing his doctorate he wrote science fiction stories and also earned first-place awards for newspaper column writing and for editing in New York State.

An avid outdoorsman, Hartley lives in the rugged American West beside a turbulent river where scary themes play on his mind.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meg Mims:The IAN Interview

Meg Mims is an award-winning author, artist and amateur photographer. Her book, Double Crossing, won the prestigious 2012 Spur Award for Best First Novel from the Western Writers of America. She loves writing blended genres – historical, western, romance, suspense, mystery with a touch of inspirational elements. Meg infuses historical details and vivid imagery into her writing. Her heroines usually have artistic talent to some degree. Being an artist, Meg loves to incorporate her own experiences of sketching, painting or crafting into the stories she writes. Her romance novella, The Key to Love, published in February of 2012, features an artist who creates collages. Meg earned her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. A lifelong Michigan resident, she also writes non-fiction articles about lighthouses and keepers for Lake Effect Living, a west coast of Michigan on-line tourist magazine. Her article, “South Haven’s South Pier Lights” depicted the life of James S. Donahue, a one-legged Civil War veteran and lighthouse keeper, and appeared in The Chronicle of the Historical Society of Michigan.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book.
MM. Although I had received more than 25 wonderful reviews on and Goodreads, I was stunned when I noticed a “tweet” on Facebook that mentioned my name and Spur Award in the same 140 characters. I had hoped to get recognized as a finalist, of course, but I also knew the competition would be tough. I quickly checked my email and saw the congratulatory email from my publisher, Astraea Press, followed by the official “letter of recognition” from the Western Writers of America Spur Award chairman. It’s been a blur since then, with preparations to attend the June convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a book signing at Seton Hill University’s Alumni writer’s workshop plus an invitation to speak and sign books at the South Dakota Book Fest in late September. I’m excited!

Here’s a brief preview of Double Crossing:
In August of 1869, Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

One recent reviewer said, “I was swept away from the very start. I was constantly trying to figure out who did what.. The book was packed with action, betrayal, mystery and had a little love mixed in. I really think a lot of men would enjoy this book.” I hope that’s true—the men who told me they read it did enjoy it. And I know women, young and old, can identify with Lily’s “journey” and sympathize with her quest. I loved researching the details of the 1869 transcontinental railroad and incorporating them into the story. I’m a stickler for accuracy, and I’m so grateful for readers who have mentioned learning so much about this era in America.

IAN. How long did it take to write the book?
MM. I wrote Double Crossing during the hot summer months before undergoing foot surgery in September. After I finished a rough draft, I set it aside to earn my M.A. I’d come close to publishing a historical romance about ten years before, but knew I was missing that elusive “something.” Seton Hill University’s program was intense and yet incredibly helpful; I devoted myself to reviewing crafts books I’d read in the past, like Dwight Swain and Robert McKee, reading whole series of books to study story and character arcs, receiving and giving critiques with partners, plus interacting one-on-one with published author “mentors” – it forced me to identify both the strengths and the weaknesses in my writing. I wrote a cozy historical mystery as my thesis over two years, and decided to revise Double Crossing as well. When it reached the finals in over three different RWA contests, I knew it was ready for submission.

IAN. What inspired you to write Double Crossing?
MM. The 1969 movie, True Grit, planted the seed. I loved the sweeping cinematography and John Wayne’s portrayal of Rooster Cogburn—who seemed larger than life as a character. The heroine’s determination also impressed me. But hands down, the Charles Portis’ novel was far more of an inspiration. From the authentic dialogue, the heroine’s journey and determination, plus the action/adventure, I loved it all. I decided to adapt the premise (the theme of revenge) for Double Crossing, but added my own “spin” with the transcontinental railroad and an older, yet more naïve, heroine.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.
MM. My best time is early morning. I’ve adapted to writing any time of the day or night, however, depending on the deadline—but I’m freshest in the morning. I call my method “the ocean wave” because I start writing, go back, write further, go back a bit more, then resume—over and over. Sometimes I’ll go back to the very beginning and revise. By the time I’ve finished a “first draft,” it’s more like a second or third draft. I still revise at least twice more to polish it into submission readiness.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
MM. I normally start the first few chapters (set-up) and that gets me ready to plan out the story arc as a whole. I also do extensive character sketches before I resume. I’ll redo the outline if necessary, and develop it I get stuck. But I did “pants” my novella, The Key to Love. That was the first time I’d ever written out of sequence! It worked, but I had much more revision in the end. So I’d rather plot as much as possible.

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
MM. Because Double Crossing doesn’t fit in one genre, that makes it unique. I call it a “blended genre” book, basically a historical western suspense (if you can call that basic) with elements of mystery, adventure, romance and an inspirational tone as well. So it has something for everyone!

IAN. Is Double Crossing published in print, e-book or both?
MM. Both,

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Double Crossing?
MM. With the same stirrings of adventure, heartfelt enjoyment and a niggle of “what’s next for these characters” that I felt after watching the movie and reading True Grit. Portis’ novel ends with more finality, but Double Crossing promises further adventures in a sequel.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?
MM. Double Crossing is available at, Barnes& and

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
MM. Double or Nothing is the conclusion of the “Double Series” I’d planned.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
MM. Check out my IAN page!

Double Crossing by Meg Mims
264 Pages
Historical Western Suspense
Astraea Press

Chapter One
Evanston, Illinois: 1869

I burst into the house. Keeping the flimsy telegram envelope, I dumped half a dozen packages into the maid’s waiting arms. “Where’s Father? I need to speak to him.”
“He’s in the library, Miss Lily. With Mr. Todaro.”
Oh, bother. I didn’t have time to deal with Emil Todaro, my father’s lawyer. He was the last person I wanted to see—but that couldn’t be helped. Thanking Etta, I raced down the hall. Father turned from his roll-top desk, spectacles perched on his thin nose and hands full of rustling papers. Todaro rose from an armchair with a courteous bow. His silver waistcoat buttons strained over his belly and his balding head shone in the sunlight. I forced myself to nod in his direction and then planted a quick kiss on Father’s leathery cheek. The familiar scents of pipe tobacco and bay rum soothed my nervous energy.
“I didn’t expect you back so early, Lily. What is it?”
With an uneasy glance at Todaro, I slipped him the envelope. “The telegraph messenger boy caught me on my way home.” My voice dropped. “It’s from Uncle Harrison.”
Father poked up his wire rims while he pored over the brief message. His shoulders slumped. “I’ll speak plainly, Lily, because Mr. Todaro and I were discussing this earlier. My brother sent word that George Hearst intends to claim the Early Bird mine in a Sacramento court. Harrison believes his business partner never filed the deed. He needs to prove our ownership.”
“Hearst holds an interest in the Comstock Lode, Colonel.” Todaro had perked up, his long knobby fingers forming a steeple. The lawyer resembled an amphibian, along with his deep croak of a voice. “His lawyers are just as ambitious and ruthless in court.”
Father peered over his spectacles. “Yes, but I have the original deed. I didn’t plan to visit California until next month, so we’ll have to move up our trip.”
“Oh!” I clasped my hands, a thrill racing through me. “I’m dying to visit all the shops out there, especially in San Francisco. When do we leave?”
“We? I meant myself and Mr. Todaro.”
I stared at the lawyer, who didn’t conceal a sly smirk. “You cannot leave me behind, Father. I promised to visit Uncle Harrison, and what if I decide to go to China?”
“Lily, I refuse to discuss the matter. This trip is anything but a lark.”
“It’s a grueling two thousand miles on the railroad, Miss Granville. Conditions out west are far too dangerous for a young lady,” Todaro said. “Even with an escort.”
“The new transcontinental line has been operating all summer. Plenty of women have traveled to California. I’ve read the newspaper reports.”
“I’m afraid the Union and Central Pacific cars are not as luxurious as the reports say. You have no idea. The way stations are abominable, for one thing.”
I flashed a smile at him. “I’m ready for adventure. That’s why I’ve considered joining the missionary team with Mr. Mason.”
Father scowled. “You are not leaving Evanston until I give my approval.”
“You mean until you dissuade me from ‘such a ridiculous notion.’”
“Need I remind you of the fourth commandment, Lily?”
“No, Father. We’ll discuss this later.”
My face flushed hot. Annoyed by being reprimanded in front of Todaro, I ignored the rest of the conversation. I’d always wanted to see the open prairie and perhaps a buffalo herd chased by Indians, the majestic Rocky Mountains and California. California, with its mining camps, lush green meadows and warm sunshine, the cities of Sacramento and San Francisco that had to be as exhilarating as downtown Chicago. I’d pored over the grainy pen-and-ink drawings in the Chicago Times. Uncle Harrison, who’d gone west several years ago to make a fortune and succeeded, for the most part, would welcome me with open arms. I plopped down on an armchair and fingered the ridges of the brass floor lamp beside me. Somehow I needed to persuade Father to allow me to tag along on this trip.