Friday, September 5, 2014

Web interview

I just interviewed with Erik Van Mechelen on writing your first novel. Check it out here:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


It starts the moment we draw our first breath and continues even beyond our existence. Without it, civilization crumples and biology’s fail. We’re educated and trained in this multi-faceted art form throughout our lives and most never give it more than a passing thought. I’m speaking of maintenance of course!
      Think about it…our homes, cars, bodies, relationships… everything in this world requires regular maintenance. Even when properly serviced most things deteriorate but when neglected …well sooner or later expect the catastrophic!
As a professional electrical maintenance technician, I thought myself well versed in the methodology BUT after consideration I realized I’d committed the cardinal sin for someone in my profession…I ASSUMED!
In my writing life, I mistakenly ASSUMED that as long as I continued to write I was maintaining, right? WRONG! Writing is the operation! It’s the function or the work of the process it’s NOT maintenance! So…how does one preform maintenance on a craft? There are no lube points…no fluids…no electrical nor mechanical checks…Hmmmm.
For starters, on a regular basis I suggest you challenge your skillsets…do writing prompts that take you far beyond your comfort zone. They needn’t be long exercises but they should take you down paths you normally wouldn’t tread.
Attending seminars and conferences is another maintenance must! Not only will it tune your writing engine but it will also enable you to build a rapport with like-minded folks and other professionals in the industry.
Too often as writers and human beings we ‘circle the wagons’ drawing ourselves into a tight knit, small cluster of people, limiting our exposure to the dreaded unfamiliar. If you truly wish to empower your writing, open yourself to new experiences, places and people! It’s like dumping high-octane booster into your fuel tank…you’ll get MORE POWER! OOOH---OOOH----OOOH!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Being Social On Media....

            Being Social On Media

 It’s everywhere these days AND we're told, "It really IS necessary!" As authors, words are our chosen conduit for expression. We devote enormous amounts of time and energy to it, we craft and we mold, chipping away until we agonizingly send our 'darlings' into the world...but the world has changed.
Publishers today require more of their writers. Platforms, forums, followers, networking and the list go on. Why? Partially because the digital age has made self-publishing easier than ever. Today’s readers have more choices then ever, which makes finding your book akin to finding the proverbial needle.
So in publishing houses of all sizes, they require a…presence.
Facebook…Twitter…Pinterest…Google+…sound familiar? It can be overwhelming. Setting up profiles, what content to add, getting followers?! ARGHHHH!!!!
While I would agree that such profiles can be helpful and can generate word of mouth for your books, finding a balance will be challenging. Spending too much time takes you away from what you should be doing…writing your next book!
Indulging in repetitive self-promotion will quickly get you ignored or even BLOCKED!  I suggest a few simple things.
1.    Concentrate on ONLY one or two sites, making scheduled and relevant updates weekly or even monthly.
2.    Share things with your audience besides your product!
3.    Social means just that…you MUST remember that this is a PUBLIC forum… Ranting, raving or responding to negative feedback cannot happen!
4.    Breathe deeply and let it go.

The technology is here to stay folks…while we may not all embrace it; it’s a tool like any other. How you use it and how often are up to you.

Friday, April 18, 2014

When stuck in a rut....

When stuck in a rut…

We are all at some level, creatures of habit. Routines and regular schedules are comforting and even necessary for our daily existence. Its how we get things done in a timely fashion BUT every adult (and most teens!) have felt ‘stuck’ at one point or another in life.
We become bored with the sameness of it all! While it’s not practical (and unwise) to change some of the major routines in our life like work, school, commute, ect.  We should strive to shake things up in other areas. Not only is this healthy, it can give us a fresh perspective and a renewed vigor in our endeavors.
Einstein said:  
Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
When it comes to our writing and our efforts to market and publish our works, this quote is especially apt. There is no magic bullet, no secret path to becoming a successful author. It’s consistency, attention to detail, WORK! Sounds suspiciously like a rut…BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE!
While there are exceptions, most professional (full time, paid) authors compile a volume of work over a decade, (YUP, 10 years!) building their platforms and reader bases until they begin earning a modest living. So what can we do to avoid the dreaded RUT?
Diversify! Write in as many genres as interest you. Do freelance copywriting. Write short stories. Attend conferences and seminars…HOST a seminar! Speak publically and do signings. Giveaways, newspapers, libraries, volunteer events, everything can be a marketing opportunity.
Perhaps more importantly, NEVER stop learning! Experience new things and challenge yourself not just in your writing but also in your day-to-day living! If you have a fear conquer it! Do you have a dream or a secret desire? Then set concrete goals and chase that dream!
Nothing is impossible if approached with the determination, desire and willingness to work steadily towards its completion.
The only difference in a successful author (person) and a failed one is simply this…successful people never give up!
You’ll be rejected…told no…feel disheartened…so what? EVERY SINGLE successful person has experienced this too! Keep swinging…. sooner or later that bat’s gonna connect and when it does…. well… that’s a whole new kindia rut to get used to!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Amazing Grace, FREE weekend!

Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my thriller Amazing Grace this weekend and the next here:
What's it about?
It’s about being pushed to the the breaking point, then discovering that if you want to, there are other paths.  Life is change…and change is pain.
Special forces Major, Tammy Fuller knows this firsthand. As former delta force commander she’s given all she has.
     Despondent and medically retired Tammy drifts without purpose until a chance encounter with a child presents her with a painful choice.
            “Life is change….and change is pain.”
With each new challenge her heart is slowly healed and her spirit restored. Redemption seems possible…but turning the other cheek has never been her strong point.

A series of events inexorably draw Tammy back into a world she thought she’d left behind and she will need all of her former skills and experiences to survive.
Review and comments are always welcome and thanks in advance for the look.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Letters of Love

Four letters. L-O-V-E… As many meanings as there are people. A simple word, conveying such complexities…what other word can explain such opposing acts?
Stories of heroism and heinous atrocities are done in its pursuit.
     That single emotion that both makes us grand and reveals our vilest nature can equally elate and destroy those it touches but without it…ahhh…that absence is the essence of abyss.
The paths we travel are chosen no matter the motivator. Use the loftiest of your desires to anchor your journey…For L-Laughter, limitless, lighthearted, lustrous and lavish.  For O- open, optimistic, overjoyed, original and opulent. V is for- victorious, vigilant, vivid, virtuous and vital. E should be- enduring, enchanting, enthusiastic, empowered and empathic.
Living fully means embracing that which burns. Hold it close. Bask in the glow for as long as it’s given. Squirrel it away for those November days that come for us all. On the chilliest day, in the darkest night, that burning ember that cannot be extinguished will carry us through to face the dawn.
Beware of complicity…of complacency. Take nothing for granted, for what is easily given can also be lost. Be aware of the simplicity and the power of uttering that single word. Treasure and administer it carefully so as not to diminish it’s meaning.
Given freely it grows and flourishes, sinking deep roots that can weather any storm. Transcending age, language, social status and nationality those four letters wield elemental force with the wonders of magic and the music of angels.

Live with love and love what you live.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Author interviews his protagonist, Tammy Fuller of Amazing Grace

Major Tammy Fuller interviews author, James Hellvig:

MT lost in thought, startles as Jim stops in front of the deserted diners table.  Waving at the opposing bench she says.
“Welcome. Please, have a seat.”
Slouching into the cramped booth, JH forces a grin saying.
            “Thanks. This is a little…weird. Am I interrupting something?”
Nodding in agreement MT replies:
            “You’re always interrupting! As for my thoughts… are you sure you want to hear them?”
Shrugging Jim raises his hands in mock surrender mumbling.
            “Sure…why not.”
Face slowly reddening, MT replies.
            “You took high level operator and turned her life upside down. What the hell do I know about raising a kid or relating to a cantankerous old nun? ”
Signaling the waitress, Tammy orders coffee raising an eyebrow in Jim’s direction quizzically. Tensing, he tells the disinterested woman.
            “Black coffee please…and a few Equal packets if you have them.”
Nodding tiredly, the waitress shuffles away leaving a pair of stained menus on the edge of the table. Each ignoring the printed offerings, MT breaks the growing silence saying bluntly.
            “Sooo…let’s hear it! What in the CRAP where you thinking! Why saddle me with people and emotions I can’t control!”
Squirming a little uncomfortably JH answers.
            “I’m not sure. I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I can’t answer the why part except to say that there’s still more to tell. Your faith, Anna and mother Steele along with dozens of other questions remain unresolved!
Scowling, MT glowers at the man while the returning waitress sets their cups down, taking the untouched menus with her with a sigh. Jim hurriedly stirs sweetener into his cup, sipping as MT growls.
            “Does mental illness run in your family?”
Sputtering, coffees spraying into his off hand as he hastily lowers his steaming cup back to the table were it promptly sloshes over.
            Excuse me!”
Rolling her eyes, MT continues a little vehemently.
            “Please tell me you didn’t get me into this mess without figuring a way out of it! I’ve pushed my military commanders about of far as I can. You were an operator once! Having the proper intelligence in critical! ”
Looking embarrassed JH mutters.
            “Well no…I mean… yeah! I’ll figure it out eventually! What are you? My editor!”
Leaning back, MT snorts.
            “If I were your editor, I’d kick you butt! I don’t suppose I could speak to your muse?”
JH closes his gaping mouth with a click before chuckling and responding with.
            “If you can get anything out of that cigar chomping clown I’d be impressed! He only shows up sporadically, grunting here and there and making smart aleck comments. Good luck with that!”
Shaking her head sadly, MT mutters.
            “I’m doomed….”
Indignant, JH says.
            “Oh come on! I’ve done all right so far! After all, odd as it is, we’re sitting here!”
Taking a deep calming breath, MT sighs ticking off points on her fingers and saying pointedly.
             “ Nuclear detonations. Betrayals. Friends and family in pain…we’re steps away from anarchy. Do you still wanna stick with that ‘I know what I’m doing’ line?”
Thinking carefully, JH replies.
            “All I know for sure is that you’re tough and smart Major. I’ve given you plenty of help. I’m confident that whatever lies ahead, we’ll get thru it… IF we work together!”
Studying the greying man across from her, Tammy finally sighs loudly, reaching out a hand to cover one of his own saying firmly.
            “OK. I still think your butt could stand a kicking…BUT we’ll defer that for now. Just try and give me a little heads up, huh.”
Pointing a finger an inch from his nose, Tammy continues sternly.
            “You keep my people SAFE author man! Understand me?”
Smiling in return, JH nods solemnly saying.
            “Yes Ma’am. Kicking my butt might be harder than you think ya know.”
Squeezing his hand, Tammy stands to leave saying over her shoulder.
“Don’t count on it Kenpo man…coffee’s on you. Figure you owe me that much!”
Watching as she walks slowly out the door, Jim sips his cooling coffee musing.
            Maybe I OUGHT to get her to talk to the muse….