Monday, August 29, 2011

Mondays With Mike: Business lessons from a Duck? Marketing expert Tom Porter

OCCASIONALLY I FIND an author that’s not primarily a writer, but has something to say and manages – despite not being a writer – to successfully put it in book form.  My interview this week is with Tom Porter, a Drake MBA grad who had an impressive career as director of marketing for the Iowa-based Brenton Banks before opening his own firm, Porter & Associates where he became a recognized authority on branding, marketing, and advertising. After selling that company he became vice president of marketing for Homesteaders Life and now runs the marketing consulting firm, Asset-Based Marketing.  But as an author, what really caught my eye was the title of his book, All I Need to Know about Business I learned from a Duck/Business Lessons from Nature.  Ducks and business?  Okay, you got me on that.

Mike:  Thank you for joining me today.  Before I go to your book, tell me a little about your business.  From what I can see you are a “business coach,” is that a fair description?

Tom:  I’m reluctant to refer to myself as a coach primarily because I believe what I provide to my clients goes far beyond what most professional business coaches deliver.  Instead of “coaching” I see my function and responsibility more along the lines of serving as a catalyst for change and for growth.  I ran marathons for over 20 years mainly because I was interested in pushing the limits and boundaries that I had established for myself.  What I have found is that business leaders have unconsciously established limiting beliefs about themselves and the organizations they are in charge of, so my job is to help bring those beliefs to a conscious level, and then facilitate a program and process of achieving their full potential.   

M:  Your company, Asset-Based Marketing, deals with branding and marketing. A quick observation indicates a subtle difference between the two, what is it?

T:  Some people define marketing as a process of satisfying a target market’s needs, profitably.  In accomplishing that goal a marketing professional has the “four Ps” as his or her tools:  Product, place (channel of distribution), price and promotion (personal selling & advertising).

Branding is a strategy and its purpose is to differentiate a company or a product from competitors.  Its goal is to “own” a word in the mind of the target audience.  The essence of brand is “experience”, so brand is the emergent property of everything that is said, heard, read, written or seen.  Ultimately, branding is a process of managing the target audience’s brand experiences.

M:  As part of your business, I believe you publish a newsletter; how often does it come out and how can someone receive it?

T:  I’m very disciplined in many areas of my life, however creating a newsletter on a regular basis is not one of those areas.  I write an article if, in the process of working with one of my clients, an interesting topic comes up, or if I feel that old ideas and marketing “truths” need to be updated.  For example, there’s an old adage that an unhappy customer will tell 10 people about the poor service they received.   So I wrote a brief story about a musician whose guitar was broken while traveling on United Airlines.  After a nine month fruitless claim process,  David Carroll and his band, Sons of Maxwell, blew the lid off that rule by uploading a song onto YouTube that chronicled how his $3,500 Taylor guitar was broken.  I went to YouTube this morning and as of 9:30 a.m. the video has received 10,789,975 views!  Going back to your earlier question about branding, you now have a real-life example of how a “brand experience” can be direct and indirect (everything that is said, heard, read, written or seen) … and how important it is for companies to manage those experiences.

If anybody would like to receive my e-newsletter, they just need to simply provide me with their email address and I’d be happy to include them in the future.

M:  Okay, let’s go to your book, All I Need to Know about Business I learned from a Duck/Business Lessons from Nature, first, can you tell me why you wrote it?

T:  I wrote the book for a number of reasons; however the primary one was that I became disgusted with news stories about greed and corruption in the financial markets as well as some of the business practices I had personally witnessed over my career.  So rather than sitting on the sidelines I thought I’d jump into the game and do whatever I could to improve business ethics.  Writing a book seemed like a good idea.

To get my message seen and heard I recognized that I needed to pursue the topic in a completely different way than anybody else had taken.  I also knew that I needed to keep my philosophies and solutions simple.  So when the idea hit me of using elements of nature as a metaphor for best business practices I went with it.

M:  Now, where did the idea of business lessons from a duck come from?

T:  I owned an advertising agency for over 22 years, so I have firsthand knowledge about how difficult it is to get a target audience’s attention.  For example, in 2008 over 560,000 books were published - approximately 11,000 of them were business books.  So when you add in all the books that are already sitting on bookstore shelves to the number of new books published every year, the competition on the shelf and on websites is stiff.  To stand out I created a funky title as well as a front cover design that is an eye grabber.

Another reason why I came up with the title is its true!  There are a total of 88 business lessons in the book.  I used a quote from Jacob Braude to illustrate a fundamental management principle in one of them:  “People are like ducks … calm and unruffled on the surface but paddling like the devil underneath.” 

For me that quote speaks to the fact that most people are insecure and unsure of themselves.  Based upon my experience I believe a large percentage of today’s managers and supervisors attempt to exploit subordinates’ insecurities.  What I hope readers learn from ducks is that the best business leaders understand that positive relationships are what truly drive success in business.  And those relationships must be cultivated in an environment of mutual respect where employees feel they can grow personally, feel fulfilled and are able to measure how they are contributing to a common good.   In essence, that’s the theme for my entire book and that’s all a supervisor really needs to know about business

M:  Are there any other animals that we can learn from?

T:  As I said earlier, there are a total of 88 business lessons in the book, but one of my favorites is something we can learn from honeybees because it could save small and medium-sized businesses across America millions of dollars.  Honeybees do a waggle dance when they come back to the hive to communicate the direction and distance of food sources.  Communication specialists refer to that as 1-way communication.  The lesson we can learn is that a majority of email messages are actually 1-way messages that don’t require a response.  But, because the sender doesn’t tell recipients that a response isn’t necessary, people waste literally thousands of hours composing them … and as they say, time is money.  So if you want to improve the effectiveness of email within a company (and save money) include the following words in the subject line of your email message if it applies:  No Reply Necessary.  (I started doing this and reduced my volume of email by over 60 percent.)

By the way, recent studies show that a typical executive spends 1 ½ days (30%) out of a 5-day work week sorting, reading, filing, writing, sending and recovering from email messages.  That means a company that is paying an executive $150,000 per year is spending $45,000 of that salary on email management!

M:  I know a bit about the flood of e-mails…not only do I get a ton of them, but my wife is always complaining about being in e-mail jail at her office.  But I digress… Let me go to your writing habits, do you write each day, morning, evening, etc.?

T:  I really don’t consider myself to be a writer, and if you read my book you’ll probably agree with me.  I DO feel that I have some copywriting skills and ability, but even those are mediocre.  More often than not writing is painful for me, so quite honestly I don’t do a lot of it.  Fortunately, and I can’t explain why, when I was writing my book I had a deep sense that it was being written through me, rather than by me.  So the whole experience was actually fun and exhilarating.

I guess I only write when I feel like I have something of importance to say … and that doesn’t occur very often.     

M:  Many professionals in your position carry a speaking schedule.  Can you tell me about yours?

T:  I speak to all sorts of groups including breakfast clubs, service organizations, corporate and association meetings … I’ve even done some presentations for groups associated with sustainability and ecology.  My message is centered on biomimicry, which is a new discipline that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.

M:  Tom, I’d like to thank you for being with us today.  Before you go, how can readers contact you?

T:  Thank you for having me.  Here is my contact information:

Tom Porter
515-480-2345 (cell)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mondays With Mike: Author & Writing Coach Bill Sheridan

I WANT TO stay local again this week and introduce to you a member of one of my writers’ groups.  Bill Sheridan grew up in the little northeast town of Lawler, Iowa in the 1950s and went on to become an English and speech instructor at St. Edmond High in Fort Dodge. There he began to submit freelance articles to various newspapers and magazines and was  often featured in the Des Moines Register and Fort Dodge Messenger, and  even authored an article in the Writer’s Digest about how to freelance.
 Upon his retirement as a trainer at two different Des Moines-based life insurance companies two years ago, he formed a company (Sheridan Writes, LLC) in which he helps folks from all over the country write books, articles, web page material, brochures, and speeches. “I find that there are people who have terrific stories to tell, but not necessarily the writing skills to make their work reader friendly,” he says.

Mike:  Welcome, Bill, and thank you for taking part in my weekly blog.  I think your latest book is "Depot Street Memories--The Lawler Stories."  Can you give us a short synopsis of it?

Bill:  The book is kind of a memoir of my growing up in Lawler. Approximately 20% of the chapters (almost considered essays) are pieces that have been published through the years. I write about the good and funny times and the sad times. My father took his own life when I was seven, leaving my 43-year-old mother with six kids, a failing meat locker business, and no life insurance. That was, obviously, a big deal in our lives and my siblings appreciated me going public with some of our struggles. Mostly, however, the stories and short and (am happy to report from various readers) fun and the time I set the only basketball record that’s still in effect after 50 years at Turkey Valley High School: getting four fouls in under a minute. As I say in the foreword, “The book does not really have a beginning or an end. At some point I will quit writing. That will be your cue to quit reading.”

M:  You seem to have an eclectic body of work, so what started you writing? 

B: My biggest influence was my high school English teacher, Josine McGreevey, who recognized my gift and encouraged me through the years. Even though she passed away 20 years ago, still hear her voice when I’m writing. Thanks to Mrs. Mac, I began in high school at age 17 and have not had the good sense to quit even now at age 67!

M:  Your business, Sheridan Writes, LLC, is intriguing, how do you work with writers needing help … what services do you offer?

B: I give a free one-hour, no obligation consultation in which we discuss the potential client’s needs and wishes. Sometimes I offer to look at a small portion of their work so that I can make a judgment on the person’s writing skills. More than once I’ve been able to tell the writer that his/her skills are excellent and they don’t need me unless they want some editing or fine tuning. Thanks to the internet, Skype, and cell phones...I can work with anyone in the country. Occasionally, I have to do a completely rewrite of the work, but mostly it’s a matter of slicing and dicing. As you know, Mike, one of the biggest sins first-time authors commit is using 12 words when seven would do quite nicely. I have also ‘ghost written’ entire articles and my name seldom, if ever, shows up on the final product. I work either by the hour or by the job. It can be a challenge to figure out how much time a particular project will take, so at times I will put a ‘cap’ on what it will cost for me to ply my trade. Then I do my best to come under that target, but do not charge client if it does take me longer that projected.

M: Where do your clients come from?

B: In the two years since starting my company, virtually every client came as a referral. Many of them turn into repeat customers. In the corporate world I helped put on meetings with 500-1,000 people in attendance. We used a local meeting planner to help hire main platform speakers. She and I became great friends and she gave me a great idea several months before my retirement, “Why don’t you help speakers write books? Many of them are terrific on stage but don’t have the ability to express themselves well on paper. You  could help them write books that they could sell after their speaking gig.” When I told her that it was a great idea, she lined me up with my first client and that mushroomed into many others. I’m having way too much fun for an old guy in my encore career.

M: What are your personal writing habits? In other words, do you write each day, morning, evening, etc.?

B: For a long time I made sure that I was writing in my home office every day. I’m a morning person, so that’s when creativity is at it’s peak for me. I understand that many of your readers are still in the 9-5 thing, so don’t have that luxury. My recommendation, however, is to somehow make it a habit to write frequently...if not daily. My writing schedule depends on two factors professionally: 1.) If I am working with a client, my personal writing comes in second. He/she is paying me and deserves my full attention; 2.) Since self-publishing ‘Depot Street Memories--The Lawler Stories,’ I have been doing a lot of speaking/reading gigs at service clubs, retirement centers, schools, and libraries.

M:  Tell me about your speaking gigs, and do they sell many books?

B:  In general, I try to keep them within a 20 miles radius of the Des Moines area. My biggest crowds, however, were in the NE Iowa area where it was not unusual to have 50-60 folks in attendance. Those were always good signing/selling experiences. On the other hand, I had one at the Ankeny library and told my wife later, “They had police there for crowd control, but neither one of the women bothered me!” The good news is that they both purchased a book, so I am able to frame it in such a way that, “Everyone in attendance bought a book that night in Ankeny.” I someone forget to mention the size of the crowd. Average attendance runs from 10-12 people.
Harley Man??

M:  Do you have anything upcoming? Books, magazine articles, etc.

B: I continue to submit articles to the Register (most recently published was one about the passing of my childhood hero, Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers). The New Hampton Tribune is in the county seat town eight miles from Lawler and the editor and I have become good friends. He publishes most everything that I submit. I don’t charge him because I’m so grateful for the exposure they gave me (front page article with pix) when my book came out in February 2010. Also, every time I have a piece in there, someone buys a book from a gift shop in the area. I had one recently talking about how retirement doesn’t have to be boring if you plan for it, and another on how I would solve all of my pet peeves if the world made me king for a day. If I write another book, it will most likely be on Kindle or Nook as an e-book. No fuss, no, no mess, no cost.

M:  Do you have any hobbies, etc. for your spare time?

B:  I pretend to be a golfer, but could never be convicted in court of being one based on my scores. Those scores are like my weight, much higher than I would like them to be!

M:  Since you are a “writing coach,” what advice would you give up and coming authors?

B:  I can’t say enough about attending book clubs such as the one on the first Tuesday of the month at Beaverdale Bookstore. It’s a wonderful opportunity to mingle with other Iowa authors such as Jerry Hooten, Tony Powers, and Mike Manno. A wealth of information for zero cost. I also have signed up for a LinkedIn writing group.

My advice to authors: Contact libraries, service clubs, and retirement centers and offer to speak/read. Have a ‘hook.’ Mine is the importance of people preserving their own memories, even if only on a yellow pad, because when they are are their stories. I normally sell between zero-three books, but that it okay. You’ve given some joy for an hour. To me it’s almost a ministry.

M:  Here is how you can contact Bill:

Website: for printed copy (PayPal)
Work/cell: 515.669.4913
M:  Bill, thank you for your time today.

B:  You are welcome, it was my pleasure.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mondays With Mike: Writers of the Lake

L to R: Jordyn Meryl, Maggie Rivers, & C.Deanne Rowe
TRYING TO INTERVIEW three authors at the same time poses a bit of a problem, but I wanted to try it with my friends who have formed a very well received writing partnership, Writers of the Lake, which was formed by three friends (Maggie Rivers, C. Deanne Rowe and Jordyn Meryl) when they took a week long writing retreat together, staying at a friend’s lake house. They got along well and had a blast creating stories while there.  It was only natural then for them to decide it would be fun to put those stories into a book, Blue Jeans and Stilettos. Besides Blue Jeans, they have each created their own impressive list of works.  But rather than me try to tell you about them, let me have Maggie, C. Deane, and Jordyn tell you about themselves.  

Mike:  Welcome, ladies.  Let’s start with introductions.

Maggie Rivers:  I’ve been writing since I was knee high to a cockroach. I sold my first piece of writing when I was 21 to a parents’ magazine.  I’m not sure why they thought I knew what I was talking about but apparently they did.  Since then I have written a number of books.  My books are listed below.

C. Deanne Rowe:  I have always loved the power of words.  How they could make you cry, laugh, or provoke all range of emotions.  I wouldn’t be who I am without words.  I learned to feel good listening to songs which filled my heart.  I learned the meaning of love watching all the good romance movies.  Of course, there was sex scattered through the pages of the paperbacks I hid from my parents.  Words have always been my friend, my comfort, my teacher.  It was only logical I would grow up and want to be an author, to spin a tale which would captivate readers.  My life’s journey has taken me in this direction and I can only hope I don’t disappoint those who choose to follow.

Jordyn Meryl:  By day under the guise of a passive, quiet, school librarian, books and kids are the passions which keep my mind fresh.  But it is when the night muses visit me, my spirit rises up to wrap around the stories that float in my head.  Land locked in the mid-west I dream of days on a white sandy beach with a laptop to write all my tales.  Crossing many genres I spin chronicles of romance, paranormal and fantasy, for they are stories worth telling, even at the risk of revealing true feelings 

Mike: Can you tell me a little bit about your books? 

Writers of the Lake:  As Writers of the Lake, our first but definitely not our last is Blue Jeans and Stilettos!  Coming out on November 10 is Ms. Claus Wears Stilettos and then in February 2012 we have Venus in Stilettos. In June we will have another in the “stilettos” series and after that we’ll see what happens.

Maggie Rivers:  As Maggie Rivers, I write hot, sexy, sizzling romances.  On the other end of the scale, I write inspirational as Mary Freeman Boardman.  In the middle of those two, I write mystery/suspense as Leeza McBride and I write non-fiction as Jamie Lee Coulter.  And yes, I do have to ask myself each morning “Who am I today?” 

You can read a bit of the Maggie style in Blue Jeans and Stilettos.  For Mary it’s And Then There Was One; for Jamie Lee, try Who Took My Husband: Or How I Survived Living With A Drug Addict.  Leeza will have a series coming out in 2012 entitled Death by a Rose; Death by a Daisy; and Death by an Orchid. 

C. Deanne Rowe:  I am working on a book, Cowboy Butts Drive Me Nuts, which I hope to have completed around the first of the year.

Jordyn Meryl:  I am a storyteller.  Stories come to me at night while I sleep, or float around in my head when I am awake.  Committing the number one sin for a writer, I genre jump.

Mike:  Let’s go to your latest group effort: Blue Jeans and Stilettos. I understand it is an anthology of three romance stories.  Can you give us a short synopsis of each?

“It’s Better in the Dark” by C. Deanne Rowe:

Sofie Edwards was about to celebrate another birthday – single. She dreamed of adventure, but in reality liked to feel safe and secure, comfortable, for the moment, with her crush on a gorgeous employee of her favorite coffee shop, The Morning Brew. Sofie’s two closest friends find what they believe is the perfect birthday gift; dinner at a new restaurant, “It’s Better in the Dark.” Could they convince Sofie to take a chance at an adventure? Blindfolded and fed dinner in the dark by a perfect stranger, would Sofie enjoy the intrigue of sensual desires? This birthday could forever change her life if Sofie discovers It’s Better in the Dark.

When Dreams Change” by Jordyn Meryl:

A small quaint Italian cafe on the shores of the Mediterranean was the dream for Jessica. Failing to realize her husband’s ambitions were another woman almost blew her plans apart. Stepping in as her bartender, Alejandro helps save her when he becomes not only her rescuer, but a man who brings out hidden feelings of desire. When her wayward husband returns, Jessica faces the decision of her future.

“Take A Chance On Love” by Maggie Rivers:

All Jennifer Sinclair wants is to feel safe and protected for a little while. The men she’s met so far only want one thing – sex. When handed an ad where you design your own sexual fantasy, she comes up with a plan. A fantasy with no sex, just strong male arms to hold her. Mention sex and her money must be refunded. Caleb Hollister, the island’s owner, must step in when an employee leaves him short one man to service a client, although sex with any of these jaded, aggressive women is not his thing. But when he sees Jennifer Sinclair, a girl from his past, his thoughts change and sex goes to the top of the list.

Mike:  Okay, as writes there is a continuing debate about plot and character.  What is more important to you: plot or character?

Maggie:  I think they’re both equally important.  You need to create well rounded characters your readers can fall in love with and still remember long after they’ve finished reading the book.  But, you also need a great plot with lots of conflict to make those characters memorable.

Deanne:  You have to have some idea for a plot but characters are what makes your story.  They get you through the twists and turns of your story.  Without good characters your story will stall out in the first few chapters.  They carry your story to the end.

Jordyn:  I'm not a plotter, however I feel the story has to be solid.  I want people to love my characters.  So I guess I think they both are important

Mike: What started each of you writing? 

Maggie:  I’m not sure if I have an answer to that.  I can’t remember not writing.  I’ve “written” long before I knew my ABC’s.  Even before I entered First Grade, I’d make marks on paper and read my “stories” to my dolls.

Deanne:  I have always loved reading a good book.  It doesn’t matter what genre as long as the story keeps me hooked.  I always wanted to believe I could write as well as some of my favorite authors.  I don’t know if that is true, but I had to give it a shot. 

Jordyn:  The introduction of a laptop and spell check opened up a whole new world of writing for me.

Mike: What are your writing habits? In other words, do you write each day, morning, evening, etc.?

Maggie: You can usually find me at my computer around 2 A.M.  My characters just won’t let me sleep beyond that.  I write until around 6 or 7 a.m. and then it’s back to sleep for a couple of hours.  I get up again and I write the rest of the day and sometimes into the evening.

Deanne:  I normally write in the evenings and on the weekends since I work a full time job.  But during the day my mind is always going back and forth on whatever story I am working on, plotting and planning.  I make notes, send myself emails, anything I have available to keep from forgetting an idea I come up with.
Jordyn:  Since I work in education, I had my summer off, so I could write whenever I wanted.  I loved it.  During the school year, I come home from work, pour a cold beer, prop up my feet, put on some music and start typing what has been going through my mind all day.

Mike: Anything upcoming?

Writers of the Lake has another book coming out November 10 and everyone’s invited to the book launch party!  The title of this one is Ms. Claus Wears Stilettos.   Then for Valentine’s we have Venus in Stilettos.  There will be a fourth in the stiletto series coming out in June 2012 also.  After that we’ll have to see.

Maggie:  I have several romances in the works which will be coming out next year and writing as Leeza McBride I will have several mysteries coming out, too.

Deanne:  I am working on a book, Cowboy Butts Drive Me Nuts, which I hope to have completed around the first of the year.

Jordyn:  I just finished a Christmas story for our second book.  I have a paranormal that I want to finish on my own.  Then a Valentine story for 2012.  I love writing so having all these stories in front of me is fun.

Book Signings:  Writers of the Lake will be autographing copies of Blue Jeans and Stillettos beginning at 1 p.m. on August 13 at Beaverdale Books in Beaverdale and beginning at 3 p.m. on August 20 at Pritchard’s Book in Southridge Mall.  Both bookstores are in Des Moines, IA.

Also, November 10 is our book launch party for Ms. Claus Wears Stilettos and everyone is invited!

Mike:  Do you have any hobbies, etc. for spare time?

Maggie:  Spare time – what’s that?  Writing under four different pseudonyms you expect me to have spare time!  LOL!  Actually I’m learning to play the hammered dulcimer and the mountain dulcimer.  I love folk instruments and would love to be able to sit around and jam with folk musicians.

Deanne:  There’s not much spare time for hobbies.  I am President of Two Rivers Romance Authors and belong to another writer’s group, Saturday Writers.  I also have three grandchildren who I like to spend time with. 

Jordyn:  What spare time?  LOL   I love going to concerts.  Spending time with family and friends.  But mostly writing.  Right now it is my life.

Mike:  How can readers contact you?

Writers of the Lake:
Two Rivers Romance Authors:

Snail mail:
Writers of the Lake, P.O. Box 17214, Des Moines, IA 50317
Maggie Rivers, P.O. Box 17053, Des Moines, IA 50317
Two Rivers Romance Authors, P.O. Box 17014, Des Moines, IA 50317


You can email us, preorder our books, give us a review, or just say Hello.  We love to hear from fans.  All three of us are members of Two Rivers Romance Authors, so if you’re a writer or a wanna-be writer, come join us!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mondays With Mike: Author Tony Powers

TONY A. POWERS is an old friend who is a member of one of my writing groups.  He grew up on a farm in Altoona, Iowa and attended Old Dowling High School (which I did, too) and Ellsworth Junior College where he lettered in football. He graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Radio & Television and worked nearly 20 years in broadcast news; 16 years at WHO Radio & TV in Des Moines in the 70's and 80's where he did basketball play by play for Iowa, Iowa State and Drake on WHO Radio. In the 90's he became a Veterans Employment Counselor for Iowa Workforce Development.  He is a combat veteran winning the Bronze Star for Valor.

Mike:  Tony, it is great to have you with us today, especially knowing that your computer crashed and you probably have a lot of other things to do.  Your latest book, I beleive, is 1st & Dead which follows Murder on the Opinion Page.  How did they come about?

Tony: 1st & Dead and Murder on the Opinion Page arose from my interest in writing letters to the editor over the last twenty years. First I wrote a self help book, Getting Published: A layman's guide to writing letters to the editor. In the book I coached readers on how to write an effective letter to the editor. The book included past letters that were published in the Des Moines Register and USA Today. I might add that it is very difficult to get a letter published in USA Today. They receive something like one thousand letters a week.
I've always read mystery novels and after reading one, I thought about writing a novel about people who disappeared after writing a letter to the editor. Murder on the Opinion Page was born with the main characters being Dan Kawowski, a police detective, and Jane Dockery, his intern studying criminology at Dixon University in Des Moines County, Colorado. Dockery by chance discovers that people have disappeared after their letter to the editor was published. They stumble onto an al Qaeda terror cell disguised as hog farmers who were kidnapping and murdering people who had written letters to the editor condemning al Qaeda, Osama, Saddam or any of its operatives. There's also a terrifying killer hog in the novel.

M: Your main characters are Dan Kawowski and Jane Dockery. Can you tell me a little about their relationship and how it has developed from book to book

T: Dan Kawowski and Jane Dockery had become heroes for terminating the al Qaeda cell. He is elected Des Moines County Sheriff and she becomes an FBI agent. But al-Qaeda plots revenge. They smuggle an assassination team into the U.S. with Kawowski one of the targets. It's in this novel, that I introduce a huge canine named Laddie. It turns out to be a real page turning thriller.

M:  Do you have anything upcoming?
T: I'm going to start writing the third novel of the trilogy soon.

M:  What are your writing habits … do you have a daily or weekly goal?

T: I usually try to write a chapter every day.
M:  What started you writing?
T: My interest in writing really blossomed after I finished a 3-month writing course from Marshall J. Cook who retired as a writing professor at the University of Wisconsin. He is a published and accomplished author. He advised me to self publish because of the extreme time and difficulty it takes to find an agent and get your book accepted by a traditional publisher. I chose AuthorHouse a leader in the self publishing field. I felt they did an admirable job in publishing my first two mystery novels.

M:  Where can we find your books?

T:  You can find my novels on all the major book sites: Google, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as well as at selected bookstores. I've done very well in Google eBooks I'm very proud of my novels and feel they stand up to even the traditional mystery novelists in quality.

M:  Besides your third book in the thriller series, do you have any other writing goals?

T:  One of my writing goals is to write a screenplay someday but first I have to learn how to do it!

M:  Thanks, Tony … I’m posting some links to your books (and ebook editions).
      Amazon                              The publisher
T:  Thanks, Mike