Monday, September 16, 2013

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 18, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways Disclaimers.      


A Ton of Gold by James R. Callan


Our guest blogger is James R. Callan, author of A Ton of Gold. After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published several non-fiction books.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his fifth book released in 2013.

Welcome, Jim. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Jim:  I am married to Earlene Callan. We have four children (one son and three daughters) and six grandchildren (four grandsons and two granddaughters).

What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know? 
Jim:  I just gave a surprise birthday party for Earlene.  All the kids and grandkids came to stay at our Texas home for four days—big surprise.  Earlene had no idea.  Then, on Saturday another twenty friends and family showed up for lunch.  It was fun.  Unique? Hmmm. I took an undergraduate degree in English. Then entered a Ph.D. program in mathematics.

Please describe yourself with three words.
Jim:  Adventuresome, laid back, confident.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Jim: I enjoy reading, traveling, and working around our Texas property, clearing trees and cutting new trails.

How did you become involved in writing?
Jim: I had intended to write when I graduated from college, but soon found out I could not support a family doing that.  So, I entered graduate school in mathematics. I pursued a career in research in the field of mathematics, which segued into computer science.  Many years later when the kids were all out of college and self-supporting, I thought, “I don’t have to support a family. I can go back to my first love – writing.”  At first, I wrote some non-fiction.  But soon I began to write what I had always intended to write – mystery and suspense.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
Jim: I have a nice office in our Texas home and a nice office in our Puerto Vallarta home.  They are rather different. The Texas office is very quiet – we live in the middle of a forest. The Mexico office is always filled with music – from the happy Mexican people.

Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?
Jim: I always have a working title. But that seldom is the title that ends up on the published book.  For example, my latest suspense novel is titled A Ton of Gold. But from day one, I thought of it as Crystal and Gold.  

Please tell us about A Ton of Gold.
Jim: Crystal Moore is a computer scientist.  Her only living relative, the grandmother who raised her, calls to say someone is trying to kill her. Crystal suddenly finds herself in the midst of murder, arson and kidnapping, all because of an old Texas folktale and the lure of gold.  And as she struggles with these unknown assailants, the man who nearly destroyed her emotionally comes back. This time, he can ruin her career.  Crystal will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise friend, and her feisty, 76 year old grandmother.

What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
Jim: I hope people are reminded of the importance of family and the need to believe in yourself.

Where did you get the idea for your book?
Jim: I had long wanted to use someone involved in computer research, as I had done that for many years. Then, I read an old Texas folktale. The two ideas percolated in my head for awhile, merged, and A Ton of Gold resulted.

Did you have to do any research for this book?
Jim: This book required little research. I had worked as a computer scientist; I had lived in Dallas and east Texas, and I started with the folktale.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
Jim: I began writing about sixteen years ago. I sold my first non-fiction book maybe fifteen years ago.  And my first mystery/suspense book sold in 1999.

What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?
Jim: First, be persistent.  Madeline L'Engle's masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time received 26 rejections, then went on to win the Newberry Medal.  Second, study the craft of writing. And third, join a writers group (one that is serious about improving writing).

What are you working on now?
Jim: I am putting the finishing touches on a book on the craft of writing, titled How to Write Great Dialog.  This follows my book on character development, Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel, (Oak Tree Press, 2013).  As soon as the dialog book goes off to the publisher, I will begin to polish my second Crystal Moore book, currently titled The Silver Medallion.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Jim: Read good authors. And write, write, write.
 
Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
Jim: The easiest way to find my books is to check on Amazon.  All are in print and most are also in Kindle editions.  My author page on Amazon is at:  http://amzn.to/1eeykvG

Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
Jim:
My website is www.jamesrcallan.com

Any parting comment?
Jim: Thank you, Jo, for having me on your site today.  I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and your readers. 

Jim, thank for your your interesting interview. I enjoyed your visit with my readers and me. One of the commenters will win a copy of Ton of Gold, which you’ve graciously offered.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 18, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of A Ton of Gold by James R. Callan. Please, please remember to leave your email addressI’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Thursday’s blog.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey is BarbaraT. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

32 comments:

  1. It was nice to learn more about you, Jim. No need to enter my name in the contest. I've already read "A Ton of Gold" and I loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He Pat, and glad yhou've already read the book. Thanks for stopping by - and leaving a comment.

      Delete
    2. Patricia, thanks for reading and leaving your comment.

      Delete
  2. Good interview, James. You have excellent advice for young writers. Surprising how many writers try to be published before they learn the craft. Congrats on your success in the industry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elaine, for you comment. Writing seems easy -- before you try to be published. Most of us need to study the craft, no matter what field we're in.

      Delete
    2. Elaine, glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for commenting. IF YOU WANT TO BE ENTERED IN THE BOOK DRAWING I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

      Delete
  3. Enjoyed your interview. I always suspected you were a romantic at heart. Your birthday surprise for Earlene proves it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gay, glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for reading leaving your comment. IF YOU WANT TO BE ENTERED IN THE BOOK DRAWING I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

      Delete
  4. Well, Earlene is a very special person. Thanks for your comment, Gay.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Jim and Jo!

    Jo, thanks for featuring Jim on your blog. He's a fine fellow and good writer.
    Jim, I enjoyed hearing more about you, although I already knew quite a bit!! You're so talented to write both fiction and non-fiction!!

    ann.everett@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words. Persistence is the main quality for the writer. And you have it, coupled with a great sense of humor and a talent for writing.

      Delete
    2. Ann, you're welcome. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

      Delete
  6. Enjoyed learning more about your background, Jim. I think we all need to be reminded occasionally that recognition didn't come without perseverance even to those writers we admire. Look forward to reading A Ton of Gold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, John. And we all know about the "overnight success" after years of work. Well, I'm getting in my years of work so I'm ready, should "success" wander by.

      Delete
    2. John, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. IF YOU WANT TO BE ENTERED IN THE BOOK DRAWING I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

      Delete
  7. It was great to see you again this week online, Jim. I always learn something new. I might have known, but forgot, that you were doing a book on dialogue. I just posted a reply to that interview today or yesterday. That's a book I must have here, to go with your book on characterization. Thanks, Jo, for hosting my friend,Jim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you saw the post on dialog. The book is complete and off to the publisher. We'll see what happens from here. And thanks for the nice comment, Eileen. I've tentatively agreed to do a workshop on dialog at the Puerto Vallarta writing conference next spring, as well as a conference in Texas.

      Delete
    2. Eileen, thanks for reading and leaving your comment. IF YOU WANT TO BE ENTERED IN THE BOOK DRAWING, I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

      Delete
  8. Hi, Jim!

    Enjoyed learning more about you & your writing, Jim! A Ton of Gold sounds very exciting, & I would love to read it! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. I am a follower!


      bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Bonnie. And good luck on the book drawing.

      Delete
    3. Bonnie, thanks for reading and leaving your comment. I appreciate you following my blog!

      Delete
  9. I've read Jim's books on character development and dialog - both provide excellent advice for writers of any genre. I'm looking forward to reading A Ton of Gold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul, thanks for coming by and leaving your comment. IF YOU WANT TO BE ENTERED IN THE BOOK DRAWING, I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Paul. You are most generous, and I appreciate your comments. Let me know what you think about A Ton of Gold when you read it. Do leave your address and we'll enter you in the drawing for a free copy of A Ton of Gold.

      Delete
  10. I hope we don't have to comment by Sunday June 2013 - it is past.
    Loved interview. Enter me in drawing.
    jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No.You're in the drawing. Good luck.

      Delete
    2. Jane, you're the first one to catch that mistake and it's nearing 6 pm!! Glad you enjoyed the interview. You're entered. I appreciate you following my blog and proofreading!

      Delete
  11. Thanks Jo for giving us chance to meet James. And, I really enjoyed the interview. James you seem to have been a very busy man. Know you must be happy now to write full time. Would love to see your place in Texas, a great place to live. Bet it is a pretty place. But, don't think I would like living in Mexico. Hear too many things about bad stuff. Sounds like a great surprise you gave to Earlene. I love being with my children and grands, and greats. Theres a lot f us, and we have to go my son's for any big gatherings. You see, I live in a Mobile Park and don't have enough room and these people hardly have places to park. I would love to win your book. Jo, I am a follower. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maxie, and thanks for the nice comment. Our place in Texas is pretty - and a small part of it was used for the cover of the book A Ton of Gold. (I didn't like the background the publisher first proposed, so I ask if we might use one of my pictures. And they did.) Mexico is not nearly as bad as we hear in the U.S., unless you are involved in the drug scene. We feel very safe there. Of course, we are not in Juarez or Tijuana.

      For the big party, we had air mattresses all over the place. It was like a big slumber party for the grandkids.

      Good luck in the drawing.

      Delete
    2. Maxie, glad you enjoyed the interview with James. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. I appreciate you following my blog!!

      Delete
  12. I loved 'Ton of Gold,' and I'm looking forward to reading Jim's new novel when finished, he has a unique way of writing that keeps you turning the page. Oh, yeah...Jo, I enjoyed the interview :) augie

    ReplyDelete