Archive for the ‘5MinuteInterview’ Category

#5MinuteInterview w/ R.B. Wood, of The Prodigal’s Foole

November 3, 2011

Today we’re going to do a little thing I like to call the 5MinuteInterview. This week we’re celebrating the release of The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood. You can buy your copy RIGHT NOW!

So let’s interview Mr. Wood, (oh gosh, there’s so many places I can go with that…) shall we?

1. Tell me one thing about little Richy Wood that, looking back now, you think was proof that one day you’d be a writer.

I loved stories of all kinds when I was younger.  Even at an early age I wondered what went into creating a story from the imagination—and I’d try it on my own.

Plus, as a kid, I always hated waiting for the next “Hardy Boy” book, so I’d try and create my own in the interim.  Frank and Joe hardy were probably glad I wasn’t writing their stories as they ended up in far more trouble in my tales than in Franklyn W Dixon’s.

2. Where did the idea for The Prodigal’s Foole come from?

All those fantasy stories about magic have this throw-away line about “magic can’t be known/used in front of ‘normal’ people.  I started off with the idea—“What if non-magical folks started figuring out what was going on?”  And the series started from there.

3. Name two people from all of history you’d love to take to the pub, and one you’d avoid like the plague (or punch his/her lights out.)

I’d love to go drinking with Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain.  Avoid?  YOU know the real answer to this one, but I’ll pick Adolf Hitler because he was a serious Jackwagon.

4. What was the biggest surprise in this whole writing/publishing game?

How supportive and open to questions professionals in the business are.  Once I started to connect with writers, editors and the like via social media, everyone was VERY patient with my newbie questions and either answered them directly or pointed me to helpful resources.  It’s been a wonderful experience—and I was expecting a lot less.

5. Give me one sentence, no more than a dozen words, of wisdom you’ve learned since you decided to write TPF.

Keep going!

I have ten words left…

6. Your favorite place to be/One place you never want to be again.

My favorite place to be is anywhere with my partner, Tina.  Never again? Hong Kong.  Long story.

7. You get to name one person who had been the biggest influence on you as a writer, only one, from any point in your life, whether you know them or not. Why?

Oh bugger.  I can pick only ONE? Well, I’ll say my parents (two people, one partnership) who encouraged me to do what I enjoy.

8. You have an unlimited amount of time and money: Where are we going drinking?

Ireland.  We are going to every bloody pub in the 36 counties.

Back to your host: I bet you can tell I had fun with this interview. The book’s better. Go get it!


R.B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy.  His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, is now available from Pfoxchase Publishing.  Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series and is host of The Word Count podcast.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.

Find him on his blog:
Feel free to contact him at:

You can find The Prodigal’s Foole on:

Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble

RELEASE DAY!!!!! The Prodigal’s Foole by RB Wood

October 31, 2011

It’s HERE! The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood. This is release day. You can buy your copy RIGHT NOW!

Hmmm, how to encapsulate my opinion of The Prodigal’s Foole? It’s hard because I saw this go through its many permutations prior to publication, so it’s just sorta one of those things that is. How do you describe it except “I love it!” (Or possibly “Thank God he took my advice on that section.”) 😉

I’ll say this, I give critique to other writers a lot. (Often without being asked…) Sometimes it’s honestly a chore to get through an unpolished draft. Granted, I came to The Prodigal’s Foole after it was past the first draft stage, but still. I loved it from page one. Couldn’t put it down.

Here’s the book-jacket blurb:

A man can run from his past … but not his future.

Symon Bryson lives in self-imposed exile until Monsignor DuBarry goes missing and not even the most adept of the magic practitioners can determine the reason for the abduction. The clues lie buried in the past amidst epic battles and horrific losses but reliving that failed mission uncovers fresh challenges and fearsome threats that reunite his old team.

Symon must deal with his own hidden demons and confront the menace that threatens the delicate balance of power. When the darkest of all evils lures Symon into springing a long-planned trap, an unsuspecting world will confront the unthinkable.

When all that stands between Heaven and Hell is magic, more than faith will be tested.

And the blurb he sold me on:

In a world where real magic has been kept from mankind for millennia by organized religion, the dawning of globalization and the communication age threaten a mass awakening and exposure of the darkest and most holy of secrets. 

Symon Bryson is a thirty year-old drifter and former magic practitioner.  Originally raised in secret by the Catholic Church to use his God-given power to fight evil, he has spent the last ten years of his life hiding from a tragedy caused by his wildly destructive spell casting abilities. When a cryptic telegram arrives pleading for his help, Symon returns to old friends and a skeptical Church to solve a mystery and face decade-old terrors that were part of a sinister plan put in motion by the epitome of evil itself.

So, that’s all you get from me by way of expounding on the plot because I figure that says it better than I ever could. (Plus I helped him write the second one.) :p Now, on to the review:

The Prodigal’s Foole is the sort of read I’m always looking for but can be so hard to find. Doesn’t every girl want more action-movie-excitement-with-an-actual-smart-engaging-plot in her life? It’s easy to find the smash-em-up, continuous-stunt-scene type of fiction, and not hard to find a smart, funny read. But it’s really hard to find them together in one book.

R.B. Wood weaves together an imaginative, unique plot with a great feel for pace and real characters. The main character, Symon Bryson has a great, dry wit; he’s such a smartass I was snorting with amusement or full-out laughter every other page.  Wood brings in the cast of characters without drowning us in names and details, and makes them fascinating, distinct pieces of the puzzle. And he does what I consider absolutely necessary in any good book: he makes the characters real and vivid so that you grieve, bleed, and rejoice along with every one of them.

The religion angle was awesome, specifically because it wasn’t religious at all. There’s nothing to offend here, no matter which side of the faith spectrum you fall on. Religious institutions are major players in this conflict that spans continents and centuries because religious institutions are the only other constant over that much time and distance. This book doesn’t preach or proselytize one way or the other. It features believers and disillusioned alike with no prejudice. It would be so easy for someone to shy away from this book because of the presence of the Catholic Church in the plot, and that would be a huge mistake.

I’ve said before that I don’t trust reviews that don’t have anything negative at all to point out, so here goes: There isn’t much sex. Specifically hot sex, with maybe some of the… I mean, more than one… ahem. Yeah.

This is simply a marvelous read, don’t pass it up.

Of course, you can always win your copy. This Wednesday, as part of 5MinuteFiction, I’ll be giving away TWO copies, and on Friday, I’ll be giving away another. All you have to do to win your copy in Friday’s drawing is leave a comment in on this post. (Make sure I have a way to contact you. Twitter handle or website url works fine.)


R.B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, is now available from Pfoxchase Publishing. Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series and is host of The Word Count podcast.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.

Find him on his blog:
Feel free to contact him at:

You can find The Prodigal’s Foole on:
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble

#5MinuteInterview with Brian Cortijo from When the Hero Comes Home

September 15, 2011

He’s Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo and I like him a lot. He was our judge for 5MinuteFiction this week, and he’s also one of the authors featured in When the Hero Comes Home, the new anthology from Dragon Moon Press. I like it a lot.

Now, let’s meet Brian. He’s agreed to one of my long, tortuous, 5MinuteInterviews (without any spaces between the words, even.)

So, because we only have five minutes, let’s not muck about:

1. Your short in When the Hero comes Home, “One and Twenty Summers” sticks with me even now, months after reading it. What do you think, as the author, was the one thing that really made that one work?

To respond to that question, I’ve actually got to hearken back to a lesson I’ve learned as a reader: the story doesn’t begin and end with what’s on the page. As an author, I think one of the most difficult things to do is to avoid the temptation to tell all of the story. We’re coming in on a moment, a snapshot of the lives of our characters–sometimes the most important, but not always–and that there are two things that we don’t always need to know about: the after, and the before.

2. So I’m impatient for the next Brian Cortijo effort. What else is coming from you?

Well, I’ve recently been asked to participate in a follow-up anthology to When the Hero Comes Home, and I’m tinkering with a short story or two of my own that I may start shopping around in the beginning of next year.

There’s also my game writing, for D&D and Pathfinder. I’m in the middle of a rather large series of articles for Dungeon and Dragon Magazines (the online, monthly installments of D&D support), of which I’m rather proud, to be honest. Not quite fiction writing, but honestly, some of it’s pretty darned close.

3. When the day comes that you’re a fabulously successful and wealty author, and you look back and say “this is where it started for me,” what is “this” going to be?

Hmm. That’s a toughie, because it assumes there’s a single moment. There could be the first time I played D&D. Or the time I decided to pipe up and say something on an RPG author’s message boards. Or the day that author (Sean K Reynolds) offered to forward some of my stuff along to Ed Greenwood for him to look at. Or when I read the email I got back from Ed saying that he’d love to see fiction from me, even though I’d never written any of it.

As an author, I’ve been blessed with a number of supportive people as readers, editors, and developers, and my current fiction work grows out of that. But the fiction work comes from my RPG roots, which all goes back to finding the old red box in a friend’s basement.

4. What’s the question you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? And what’s the answer?

“Will you please write more so I can give you all my money?” It’s a lovely question, and the answer is always “sure!”

More seriously, the question that I wish you’d asked is “What is your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?”

I love creating living things: characters, settings, creatures. The idea that I’m making something whole cloth that someone else will look at, and get the feeling that there is something larger to that thing–a before and an after and a before-before–is a splendid one for me.

What I like least is the part I call ‘choreography.’ While I appreciate that a story has to hit certain beats, sometimes it’s painful to force your characters or lovingly crafted details to contort to meet those beats. As a writer, I’d love the opportunity to let the story live its own life without my guidance. Of course, that’s not usually the case, so then the dance begins.

So don’t forget to check out Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo one of the authors featured in When the Hero Comes Home, the new anthology from Dragon Moon Press.

#5MinuteInterview: Jerry Gentry & SYN:FIN

September 5, 2011

I love this 5MinuteInterview thing! I like reading interviews, and yet I don’t, because they can be so long and boring. So I figured, hey, let’s remove the long and just enjoy the interesting bits.

And this one’s an interesting bit alright. (Byte?) Jerry Gentry, @JerryLGentry  is the author of the newly released techno-thriller, SYN:FIN. And he’s our 5MinuteInterviewee. I admit, I had a total geekgasm reading this interview. The book’s better. But all that’s coming Thursday when I review SYN:FIN. Right now we’re just going to get to know Jerry.

I believe your genre is techno thriller. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) What got you started in this genre?

That is right.  At least my first published book, SYN:FIN, is a technothriller.  You write what you know and in TRW I am a technologist.  I also grew up reading scifi – Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Herbert.  My actual first book was a futuristic scifi work.  I spent years working through the backstory and getting it written.  I put it aside to start working on SYN:FIN and when I went back to it I saw nothing but major re-write.  It’ll happen, but not this year.  All of the books I have written or have outlined waiting in queue all revolve around technology.  I’ve been working in IT for more than 30 years, mostly in network IT.  I’ve done everything from pulling telecom cable to managing a global network operations team of over 200 people.  The thing I love about network technology is that it seems to reinvent itself every few years.  But it does it by recasting existing technology.  Most of the high speed networks we marvel at today are all derived from the transmission principles of RF (Radio Frequency) technology.  Don’t get me wrong, the gigabit networks based on optical fiber are truly impressive.  We are finally getting to the point where the speeds of processing and network are reaching parity.  Batteries still screw everything up!  I’m also amazed at the miniaturization impact.  Just about everything we have is getting built with a communications device.  It was really that thought ( I got it from a presentation from a vendor about 5 years ago) the got me thinking about the premise of SYN:FIN.  As much as I love technology, it is a backdrop in the books.  It is an impetus and a means for me to get some interaction going and add the taste if intrigue.  I really hate tech based books that blow the technology part.  It is very distracting and frustrating.  I also hate books that aren’t written with respect for the reader’s abilities.  BTW, my first draft of SYN:FIN really sucked!  Have I digressed enough from your question?  It’s my ADD!  Or maybe it’s that I am just a man with short attention span.

Where do you learn all this stuff?

Well, I’ve been well trained over the years.  The good thing is that I have seen the progression and can see future options that make sense.  I mean, it’s been a long time since I did command line entries on a Cisco Router, but I can still read a protocol decode (you can see an image I captured on the cover).  When I started managing and moving into more strategic roles, I focused on the impact of technology on business functionality.  It really is a short step from what is being thought of today to what will be available tomorrow.  In my current role as an IT consultant, I am more focused on how technology impacts the design of an IT organization and processes.  The thing I draw on is the way people interact while dealing with technology impact.  I’ve been able to work with a lot of IT people at many levels and I think it adds credence to my characters.  They are graced with bits and pieces of people I’ve observed, but they are still their own people. When I imagine two smart women, who have totally different backgrounds but are good at what they do, driving in a car together I can just hear in my mind how they will talk.  It is like when I kick off the writing I transition to seeing a movie unfold in my mind and I’m doing what I can to capture the scenes in words.  The characters are all very real, they aren’t caricatures of real people.  They always surprise me and let me know when I’m not being honest with them.  Don’t worry.  I don’t hear voices, but I do watch the movie!

What’s your favorite piece of tech that you own or use at work?

Well, all of the technology just serves to interrupt me from social networking and playing my guitar.  I work at home these days.  It’s one of the benefits of being in consulting with a small firm (16 people).  We do have a staff call every week and the entire company is on a multi-image video conference.  It’s funny to see all 16 of us at the same time in T-shirts and various states of disrepair.  I’m going to wear a suit next week so I can be the new revolutionary!  I love my MacBook Pro and do enjoy my iPhone and its ability to do so many things.  When I think about it, though, the one tech device I use the hell out of is my Kindle 2.  I commuted to New York City 3-4 days a week for about 10 years.  The Kindle was with me every day for the 1.25 hour train ride.  The true test of a technology is how easily it disappears into your life.  The metaphor of a book is so fundamental.  It, like a bicycle, is just hard to improve on.  Amazon realized that and didn’t try to eliminate the book, just eliminate the things of a book that could be bothersome, like weight and wanting reding options depending on your mood.

What’s the least tech-y thing you like to do?

I run and bicycle, although technology is fundamental to those sports.  I like them because they are pretty simple once you get past the shoes and the bike.  You pretty much have just you to count on.  I mean a flat tire is still a flat tire and a tune up is all about wrenches and oil.  As far as writing goes, I do a lot of my first draft and thought catching using a manual typewriter or a fountain pen into a Moleskine notebook. I tell you, I just have to type out about two sentences and things just start to flow.  I love the tactile feel.  The way the keys push back at you and how the typebar slams against the platten.

Have you noticed how each answer has gotten progressively shorter?  There’s that attention span thing again!
Did you get all that? Jerry’s visiting again tomorrow when he judges 5MinuteFiction for us, and then I’m reviewing SYN:FIN on Thursday. So don’t miss all the fun! There will be books to win.

#5MinuteInterview – Steve Umstead & Gabriel’s Return

September 1, 2011

I’m very pleased to introduce today the lovely Steve Umstead. He’s celebrating the release of Gabriel’s Return, book two of the Evan Gabriel series, and we’re going to celebrate with him! Stay tuned to the end of this post for details on how you can WIN your copy. There’s a fun 5MinuteInterview in here but, first, why you should care.

Here’s the scoop:

Gabriel’s Return

On the far-off icebound planet of Poliahu, North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel suffered the loss of several team members in order to free a native species and save his brother. Now he is being called away on a new mission by a friend in trouble, and by a name from his distant past. He and his surviving team must again travel across the galaxy to the planet where he lost his naval command, and his original team, so many years ago: Eden.

Evan Gabriel must face three distinct threats on Eden: the well-armed terrorist group that has been raiding Eden City, the dangerous planet itself, and his own haunting memories of his past.

Now, as I said, this is a sequel. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it yet, time constraints and all that, but I’m looking forward to it, because I did read the first book, Gabriel’s Redemption, and Mr. Umstead is a fine writer indeed.

Here’s the skinny on Gabriel’s Redemption.

Can a disgraced Special Forces soldier find redemption, and will redemption cost him more than just his own life?

North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel was dishonorably discharged after losing his covert team on a far off world called Eden. Now, he’s being offered an opportunity to command a new team, on a new world, with a new mission, but the true motives behind the mission are unclear.

From the decaying Caribbean to politically-charged South America, from the slums of Mars to a tiny colony on a planet six hundred light years from Earth, Gabriel’s Redemption follows the disgraced Commander Gabriel as he leads a Special Forces team to an ice-bound world. Their given mission: to eradicate a drug cartel that is producing a highly-addictive stimulant brutally extracted from the bodies of the native inhabitants. Upon arriving, Gabriel and his team find the mission isn’t exactly what it appeared to be, and that they weren’t the only force dispatched to the planet.

Now that we’ve got the business out of the way, and you’ve got Amazon or B&N or whatever your preferred poision open in another tab, let’s learn a little bit about this author with a little thing I like to call the 5MinuteInterview.

So, Steve:

1: Your current trilogy is a sci-fi/adventure and I’ve seen it also billed as a military sci-fi. Why did you write in this genre?

I write in that genre, something I’ve come to refer to as “near future science fiction,” as it’s by far my favorite type to read. I certainly enjoy the far-flung adventures, thousands of years from now, with near-magical technologies and so on, but I feel like I relate better to a more realistic type of scifi. From a VERY young age I was into science fiction (and who my age wasn’t affected to the core by Star Wars?), but as I got older I tended to gravitate towards the technothrillers (Tom Clancy, back when he actually wrote his own books). When I ventured back into science fiction, that stuck with me. I love tech that can be easily extrapolated from today, or locations that aren’t entirely out of the realm of possibility. I think that gives a wide range of readers a chance to get into the story and the technology without being overwhelmed. And while I’ve never had the honor of serving our country in the military, there is no higher calling, and I love telling stories from a military perspective – to show the human behind the uniform.

2: Gabriel’s Redemption and Gabriel’s Return are the first two books in a trilogy. Do you plan to write more in this universe or are you moving on after this?

Well, I guess you’re assuming I have a Book 3 coming, right? 🙂  Actually just started the outline, and perhaps when this posts, will have already started Chapter One of the final installment. My wife asked me the same question – when you finish the trilogy, will you end the story? I did tell her I don’t plan to kill Commander Evan Gabriel, but I don’t know if I’ll go any further with it. There is a backstory, the failed mission that made the main character who he is today (in the time frame of the trilogy), that I do think I’ll go back to with possibly a novella, sort of the beginning of Evan Gabriel. But before that, I’ve got a story just dying to get onto ‘paper’ that I’ve been thinking about recently, and might make for a good NaNoWriMo challenge this year. Still scifi, but not military…time travel. Oh dear…

3: I met you at Readercon. In real life you looked just like your picture and were just as nice as you are online. So one creepy offline experience avoided. (On my side, at least.) With all the online promotion and social networking you do, have you had any odd/scary/traumatizing experiences?

That’s so kind of you to say! Like a mutual friend said, it would have been fun to pick you up in a car with plastic sheeting and an axe in the trunk, but I digress… I do find myself very much wrapped up in social media sometimes, and I’ve done my absolute best to avoid controversial subjects. I knew well before writing (I own an online business and started up the social media program for it last summer) that I would never send any type of religious or political messages…even innocuous ones. I don’t think that’s the platform for it… But as for odd experiences, I did have a ‘run in’ with a woman who vigorously objected to my reposting of an article she had linked to. She saw it as me promoting her as the author, and she was throwing around phrases like “heinously unprofessional” and “grounds for a lawsuit,” and had even taken to contacting friends of mine online to complain. (I had unfollowed her on Twitter in the middle of it – not vindictively, but as a method of ensuring her tweets would never get retweeted, thereby avoiding problems.) After a few days of explaining the system, she was fine with it, very apologetic, and ended up being a great online friend of mine

4: Does Gabriel have a favorite weapon?

Hmm, good question. In the two books he’s used several types, and worn completely two different types of combat armor. His personal weapon is a 7mm Heckart mag pistol, one with a very worn grip, that he’s had for many years. However I think his most important, and most used, weapon would be himself. He’s been fitted with an enhanced musculature for strength and speed (think Wolverine, just not nearly as silly), and he’s got black market upgraded neuretics (brain implants) that give him a huge tactical and strategic advantage on the battlefield. So he doesn’t often need an actual weapon. I think readers will see his brains and brawn really put to the test in the final book, as he’s got some personal scores to settle…so he won’t be handling them from long range.

Thanks so much, some excellent questions – and a great pleasure to meet you in person as well!
Back to your host: Awww, ain’t he sweet? Don’t neglect to check out his books, Gabriel’s Redemption and the newly-released sequel, Gabriel’s Return. In fact, let’s help you out with that. One random commenter on this thread will WIN a copy of  If there’s a nice turn-out, I’ll give away a copy of BOTH books to a second commenter. So, whatcha’ got to say to me or Steve? This your type of read? Willing to give it a try if it’s not?

Gabriel’s Return is available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook, and is also available on Goodreads.

More information about Steve can be found on his blog here: