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Monday, April 12, 2021

Interview with Norm Karin


Arrangement for Revenge

by Norm Karin

Book Genre: Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Norm's Website

Follow Norm on Facebook


Today, we had an opportunity to talk to Norm Karin.  Norm has written the book, Arrangement for Revenge.  


Let me tell you that I love the cover. That is so important for a book. Yours makes me want to pick it up immediately. That is such an important part of the industry a lot of authors miss. It wasn't until I started writing and blogging that I really caught just how big a deal it is. 

We are also excited to hear about the book itself. But first, tell us a little about your journey to become an author?


First, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to Jerry's Circumlocution. I retired after a 35-year career as a biomedical researcher and science educator. 

Thirty-five years? That means you were doing biomedical research back in the 80's. I bet that was a great time to be in that career. Did you ever write inside your job?

I enjoyed writing scientific book chapters and journal articles (and endless grant applications), but I dreamed for years of writing a mystery novel. In particular, I wanted to write a story that incorporated some humor. I’d gotten a taste of creative writing years ago when I was a guitarist in an acoustic duo/trio that performed original satirical songs. 

How long was your group together? What kind of songs did you all sing and write?

Over the nearly ten years this group performed, I wrote more than twenty songs that describe such topics as: a husband’s despair as he accompanies his wife while she shops for clothes (“The Man by the Fitting Room Door”); the reluctance of men to ask for directions (“Directions”); and “Bad Hair Blues.”


That is great. Did you draw your inspiration for your book in the same topics? Or did you pull ideas more from your career?  

My career led me to live in a number of places in this country and in Germany, and I incorporate bits of these experiences when I write. I’ve been fortunate to meet a great many creative people in my life, including some with wonderful senses of humor. Most of the characters in my book are colored by the traits of people who have made an impact on my life.


What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?

I have many hobbies, and they definitely influence my writing! I find it really helps to “write what you know.” As I mentioned above, I am a guitarist (you can find me on YouTube) and have focused primarily on jazz and “fingerstyle” playing for the past twenty years or so. Therefore, I decided to make Ed Ramsey, the main character in my mystery, a jazz guitarist and music professor at a small college in Texas. I spent most of my scientific career in academic settings, so it was natural for me to write about this character as a college faculty member. I got hooked on sourdough bread baking a number of years ago, and Ed shares this hobby as well. My wife, Charlotte, and I are avid birdwatchers, and Ed’s new love in the book is a professor who studies bird ecology. Charlotte and I have lived in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, since 2012, but we learned to scuba dive in the early 90s when we lived in Houston. My next book will be out soon and involves Ed becoming entangled in a murder during a scuba diving trip.


What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

I’ll make two suggestions. First, make notes! Great ideas can pop up at any time of the day or night. When I’m home, I always have a Word document available for me to scribble thoughts that occur to me. I also use a memo recorder app on my cell phone, which is very handy when I’m traveling. My second suggestion is to constantly back up all electronic versions of your writing! External drives, USB drives, Google Drive, it doesn’t matter. This not only guards against losses due to a computer crash, but also helps protect against problems if inadvertent changes are made to a document. I back up to a USB drive every time I finish writing, even if only for a lunch break.


Both of those are great suggestions. What is your favorite part about writing?

I didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy creating characters for my books. They truly are like imaginary friends! Once I established their personalities, it is almost as if they write their own dialog for me.


Alright, please tell us about your current release.

In Arrangement for RevengeEd Ramsey, a jazz guitarist and music professor at a small college, has his life turned upside down when his department chairman is found with his throat slashed. Ed becomes embroiled in the murder when Allison Clark, the victim’s oboe student, discovers the body and rushes into Ed’s studio for help. To complicate things further, Ed’s friend and faculty colleague becomes the prime suspect in the killing.


Questions abound as the local sheriff tries to sift through the puzzling clues. What is the motive for the crime? Is the enigmatic Miss Clark somehow involved? Why does a student’s suicide four years earlier seem to hold a key to identifying the murderer? While trying to help the sheriff solve the mystery, Ed finds his own life in danger!

Sounds like it will contain elements of your entire journey both as a researcher and your humor and music experience. Is there somewhere our readers can get a taste for the book?


Your readers can see a free sample of the book by clicking on the Purchase Link, above, and selecting Kindle (Amazon).



What exciting story are you working on next?

I am in the final editing stages of another Ed Ramsey Mystery entitled Bad Breath. In this story, Ed; his girlfriend, Tracey; and his son, Frosty, embark on a weekend scuba diving trip in the Gulf of Mexico, only to have it marred by tragedy: a diver goes missing and later is found dead on the sea bottom. However, what first appears to be a fatal accident turns out to be a case of murder, and Ed reluctantly finds himself entangled in the investigation.


The murderer must be among the small group of passengers and crew on board the dive vessel, but the police can find no motive for the killing, which greatly complicates their ability to identify potential suspects. Ed, Tracey, and Frosty try to assist the authorities, which leads them into some harrowing experiences before the case is solved.


Ironically, this was the plot I had planned as my first book. I truly don’t remember how the plotline for Arrangement for Revenge originated. It just fell out of my head!


I hear that sometimes, especially amongst panthers. Some authors plot and outline and others just start writing. I love reading authors who do both as long as the yarn is well told. Who are your favorite authors?

I read many genres, but I love classic mysteries. I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes stories multiple times, and I really enjoy works by authors from the golden age of mystery writing: Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Gardner. I also am a fan of the irreverent but highly entertaining mysteries by the Texas country musician, Kinky Friedman.



All excellent choices. I thank you again for joining us. Tell our readers one more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

They can find it here.



Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Me, Boo, and the Goob by William L Garner

 Today, we are talking to William Garner.  

William has written the book, 

Me, Boo and the Goob: A Southern Adventure.  


First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.


Me, Boo and the Goob: A Southern Adventure

by William Garner



I had the opportunity to read your book. I appreciate the copy. If I can, I'd love to read my review here.

Me, Boo, and the Goob traces the story of a ten year old receiving a cadillac. The tale winds and turns well with every chapter being a different slice of the author's life. Sometimes the chapter may lose sight of the ultimate goal, that cadillac, but never the fun in the journey. The writing style reminded me a lot of Earnest Gaines, A Gathering of Old Men, even though the material was very different. I loved the prose and felt comfortable seeing the small town life through the eyes of William. His best friend, Boo, was a bit more initiative than say, Rowley on Diary of a Wimpy Kid . Maybe closer to Paul Pfieffer of the Wonder Years. There are tales of ghosts, explosions, guns, and fires to keep you turning each page. And like any good brother, William doesn't miss a chance to blame the Goob, his younger brother for his mistakes while also showing he clearly loves his sibling.  I read the book in two days and enjoyed the ride almost as much as I would a ride in a pink caddy. 

Those were my thoughts as I read your book. Overall, it was a very enjoyable memoir. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing this account?

When I was in 3rd Grade, my allergies were so bad I could not go outside at recess.  In the winter, my fingertips would split and crack from the dry cold air.  So instead of going outside to play for a while, my teacher used to send me to the library.  I read.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.  I read Great Expectations.  I discovered Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain.  I read the entire World Book Encyclopedia A through Z.   


"Some folks wait for inspiration to strike.   
Writers sit down and just go to work."



I used to thumb through the Encyclopedia as a kid. I think most houses had a set. But I never read through it! That is incredible.

For a book report once, I tried to turn in a book report on World Book’s Book ‘T’.

I bet you really developed a deep knowledge of history.

Early in the fifth grade, for a writing assignment I wrote about OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agents being parachuted into France at night during World War II to work with the French Underground.  I had read about the agents and their stories.  I had become a history nut of sorts.  I used to close my eyes and imagine what it was like to jump into night sky from an airplane hiding in the cold, darkness and clouds above a sleeping enemy.  I could almost sense the loneliness the agents must have felt hanging under the silk canopies as they drifted in the wind as they descending to the earth they knew was near, but could not see.  I wrote it like I saw it.  My teacher gave me an ‘F’, and accused me of plagiarism because according to her ‘there is no way you wrote this’.

That's rough.


By the end of the first 9 weeks, after several other writing assignments and a couple of parent/teacher conferences, she changed her mind.  She revised that grade, and I became her ‘star’ pupil.  For the rest of my academic career, whenever I needed to get my grade point up, I’d take a class that involved writing a paper.  I knew that even if I never became anything else, I would always be a writer.

That had to build a lot of confidence in you at such an early age. Were you ever given advice as a writer you would pass on to others?

Some folks wait for inspiration to strike.  Writers sit down and just go to work.


"Early in the fifth grade, for a writing assignment I wrote about OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agents being parachuted into France at night during World War II...


I used to close my eyes and imagine what it was like to jump into night sky from an airplane hiding in the cold, darkness and clouds above a sleeping enemy." 

I've heard that before. Just start writing and the inspiration will come. Where do you find you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?  

I get ideas from life.  My novel is based on my youth in Jonesboro, Arkansas and in Hernando, Mississippi.  I take things that actually happened and let my imagination run with it a bit.  Sometimes the actual true story is good enough.


Integrating your own bio into a story is very personal. Do your hobbies ever play into your writing?  

I really enjoy scuba diving.  I became a diver in 1974 and have been an instructor for several years.  I also enjoy building things.  I built our pavilion out at our pool, as well as the pump house.  My hobbies don’t usually play a direct role in my writing, but when I am engaged in doing them, I do some of my best thinking.


I understand that. I'm a volunteer fireman and find a lot of my ideas come to me when I am doing activities for the station, even though I have never written anything about emergency services. 

"If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid, 
this is the book for you." 

Shifting gears, what advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?  

Read, read read.  Read everything.  Read the classics.  Read biographies.  Read histories.  Read humorous novels.  Pay attention to the language and how the story is told.


That's good advice. I think Stephen King said if you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write.When you sit down to write, all those things you read become a tapestry from which to draw. I love that. What is your favorite part about writing?  

Polishing.  Getting a rough draft down is tough, grinding work.  I really enjoy crafting the language.  It has to flow in keeping with the character and the story.  It ought to almost play a movie in your brain as you read.

I definitely agree about the movie being played out as you polish and edit. Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?  

I am semi-retired, but my schedule is a mess.  Writing is ‘work’, so when I set down to write I block that time and write.  Even if I don’t keep anything I write that day, I write when I have blocked that time.


Please tell us about your current release.  

Me, Boo and the Goob: A Southern Adventure is a humorous story of three small boys growing up in a small town near Memphis.  The story is driven by the boys endless adventures and punctuated by their innocence, their naivety, their loyalty and their courage.  The story runs the gamut of small boy activities beginning with encounters with ‘ghosts’, including piano lessons, bad storms and bank robbers culminating with  the trauma of moving to a new town and making new in interesting friends.  If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid, this is the book for you. 


Can you read / provide us with a small exert? 

Well, on the day after Christmas, I was sitting in the parlor with my big sister, Sweet Pea.  That isn’t her real name, but that’s what Mom and Dad called her, so that’s what everyone called her. She was sitting at piano practicing ‘Heart and Soul’.  I wasn’t doing nothing but picking sock lint from between my toes and watching her play.  She’s going to be a big star some day.  Last year on the fourth of July, they crowned her ‘Little Miss Lady of the Lake’ over at Sardis Reservoir and set off a bunch of fireworks because she was the prettiest girl there.  Mom has her learning how to dance ballet.  If only she could sing, she could be on Ed Sullivan’s TV show or maybe Lawrence Welk.
Anyway, I was getting down to some serious lint picking when I got this big tickle in my nose.  I let out a ginormous sneeze.  It was so big that it shook the whole house.  When I sneezed, I kicked out with my foot a little bit and accidentally kicked the leg of the end table that was beside the couch.  The table banged up against the wall.  This made the big, old, tall, skinny candle on the table rock back and fourth three or four times.  Each time it would rock, it would pause just a second or so at the peak of the swing, then it would flop back the other way.  Each time it swung, it got closer and closer to falling.  Finally, it swung just a fuzz too far, and it fell over against the wall.  It just leaned against the wall for barely a half a second.  The flame of the candle flicked up on that old wallpaper just like a snake’s tongue.  Quicker than you can say ‘Jack Sprat’, I jumped and snatched up the candle. 

I blew it out.   “Whew!  That was close”, I thought. “I almost set the house on fire.”


What exciting story are you working on next?

I have two projects I am working on.  One is a sequel to Me, Boo and the Goob.  This is a tough go.  The boys age some, and so do their perspectives and their adventures.  They remain, none the less, somewhat innocent and naive.


The second is related to my 30 year career as an Information Technology executive.  This book targets people who are new to the work force and helps them understand what they need to do in the first ninety days of a new job in order to be as successful as they can be.  


Who are your favorite authors, other than the editors of Encyclopedia volume "T?"  

Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson are my favorites.  As a history buff, I do enjoy Max Hastings work.


Any plans for the upcoming holiday (this changes, but if we are near a holiday it can be a fun connect with readers)?



And I always like to ask, what is your writer’s kryptonite?  

Interruptions.  I have to focus, and dive deeply into the story I am telling.  I can not be completely invested in my story if my brain keeps getting yanked out to answer the phone.



Thanks for talking. One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

 My book is available by order at Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Millionand and almost any local bookstore.  It is in the catalogs.  It is also available in hard-copy and in a five CD Set via my website, williamlgarner.com.  Audible.com has the audio version.

Friday, April 2, 2021


Blog Tour: Go check out these great blogs (and see my book Jam Sessions promoted!)

April 12th

Gina  www.GinaRaeMitchell.com

Jessica www.jessicabelmont.wordpress.com

Didi www.didoviatt.wordpress.com


April 13th

Carla www.carlalovestoread.com

Meenu www.nerdybookarazzi.wordpress.com



April 14th

Nishtha www.feeltheread.wordpress.com

Amy www.zanybibliophile.wordpress.com

Yesha www.booksteacupnreviews.com


April 15th

Lili  www.lilisblissfulpages.wordpress.com

Sara www.avidinspire.com

Nina www.thecozypages.wordpress.com

April 16th

Els  www.bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Mary www.sophrilreads.com

Shalini www.bookreviewsbyshalini.com

As an independent

 writer, writing is only half the journey. Actually, it is probably a third of the journey. Then there is content editing, editing again, proofing, copy editing... I recall as a kid doing woodworking projects with my dad. We would cut the pieces to whatever we were making in one night. Then there would be four or five nights of sanding. My dad never made me work in his shop, but when I showed up to be with him I couldn't move on to a new project until I had finished sanding the one on my workbench.

While some writers, including myself, set a first draft aside for a bit before returning, I think the analogy still holds.  I am thankful for the friends and the hired professionals who have helped me develop my craft. 

Once the "sanding" is done you must assemble the project. For an indie writer that means epub, mobi, ISBN numbers, and, these days, navigating the "Zon" as well as possible venture into Book to Digital, Ingram, and others. I am a big believer in the small bookstore so always try and place my work where they can access it apart from Amazon. It is a labor of love since the majority of my sales are on the "Zon."

Which leads to the next point, How do you advertise? Amazon marketing? Facebook ads? Network with local libraries, bookstores, and small businesses? Move into audiobooks? Goodreads? Bookbub? Twitter blasts? Youtube video pitches? Look for a small publisher? Hold up a sign at the top of interstate reading, "Author: Will work for reviews?"

I have listened to many of my peers, read extensively, and tried several things. Up until now, I have never tried a book blog. I have taken down all my marketing except the blog for the month of April and May. I figured that would be the best way to see what the impact is for both real, tangible reviews and for book sales.

I am getting close to the final edits (just got back a paid edit to work through) for my next Middle Grade, this time a fantasy titled Freckles: The Dark Wizard. In fact, some possible art just came back.

It is done by the same young man who helped me out with Jam Sessions. He is a high school student and amazingly talented. But I digress. If you have read this far then you are likely one of my loyal supporters, encouragers, and patrons. Thank you. If you have time, go check out one of the above blogs and throw a like or comment up so that blogger knows their posting was worthwhile. We are all in this together.

Oh... and if you haven't go buy my books!  Links are on my webpage: