Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Darlene Cannon, Dollygal, Peacock and the Serpent

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Today we are interviewing Darlene Cannon about her series titled, "Dollygal, Peacock and the Serpent." The series, which includes "The Gift," "The Awakening," and "Conquering Ego...The Return to the Extraordinary," deals with themes of love, hope, charity, and accepting ourselves exactly as we are.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I work with senior citizens in the Long Beach area and surrounding cities. This is my first time writing a book, and I have many more to come. 

Describe your new book series for us.
"Dollygal, Peacock and the serpent" are highly interactive mystical fantasy books. The trilogy series will challenge the reader of all ages, to be the best they can be...by simply being themselves.

Who do you think would most appreciate your books?
Young and mature people will appreciate the series.

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Who was your favorite character to write?
I enjoy all of the characters because it's like experiencing different parts of myself.

An excerpt from "Dollygal, Peacock and the Serpent":
Dollygal says, "The rain is singing a song can you hear it?"
"I'm afraid not, honey," Peacock finally says.
"Sure you can, just like at the lake. Let's close our eyes, but no peeking, Brother Serpent,"  Dollygal replies.
"This is ridiculous. Rain does not sing tunes..." grumbled the serpent.
Suddenly, a big smile appears on Peacock's face, and he says, "Wait a minute, I can hear the raindrop song. So can you, serpent, admit it."
(Peacock slaps serpent on the back leaving him quite disturbed by the situation.)
"Ha, ha, ha, ha."   Peacock continues to laugh, as their carriage re-enters the castle gates.

His laughter is taken by the wind and carried out the back window...
down through the Garden, passing by the flowers and the weeds, tickling the water in the lake and finally swirling around the most magnificent tree in the Garden.
More Information
Visit the author's website 
Buy the book 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Daniel C. Lorti, Author of The Avignon Legacy

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Today we are interviewing Daniel C. Lorti about his historical mystery "The Avignon Legacy."

Author’s Biography
Daniel C. Lorti has a B.S.E. (summa cum laude) and an M.S.E from Arizona State University. An aerospace engineer with his work in the defense industry and intelligence community, he was involved with advanced technology particularly with bistatic and laser radar, and weapon systems. He was a founder of XonTech, Inc., a company performing highly specialized functions for the Defense Department. He was Chief Radar Engineer for the Northrop Grumman Corporation for many years. In 1995, he was appointed to President Clinton’s twenty-member conference committee for Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland. As an international arms broker he conducted business in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In 2003, he and his partners sold their highly classified aerospace company to Northrop Grumman.

Daniel C. Lorti has written four novels; The Missing Factor (A Jim Factor Novel), The Avignon Legacy, The Mulligan and The Business End (A Jim Factor Novel), a sequel to The Missing Factor. The novels are mystery thrillers (arms dealing, Russian mafia, assassins), historical fiction/mystery (medieval times and events, sophisticated modern day thieves), and romantic fantasy (washed-up golfer relives his life with a twist). The novels are set in the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, Moscow and Bulgaria. The Missing Factor will be released in the fall. He’s currently on his next novel, a sequel to The Avignon Legacy.

Describe the plot of your new book, “The Avignon Legacy,” in a few sentences.
What sets the stage for this novel is the extensive international experience living and working in Europe in which he applies real world expertise to the historical past of The Avignon Legacy bringing to life an intriguing mystery extending across the centuries ending with a present day search for a treasure with only ancient clues to its existence and location.

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Author Daniel C. Lorti

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
The novel will appeal to those fans of medieval times when knights evolved from pages, nobles in a feudal system, jousts and castle sieges, a war with England, a Papacy located in Avignon, battles in Spain and Italy, the Black Death, and notables such as kings, dukes and lords fought for honor, power and country. The transition to the present day with organized and highly sophisticated art and literature thefts will attract the attention of young adult and mature adults. 

Tell us a bit about the main character, Jean Termonde.
The 14th century in France is a time of hardship and turmoil, beset by climatic catastrophes and religious wars to the Black Death. The lives of peasants are difficult and short. As a child peasant Jean Termonde displays exceptional athleticism and intelligence and is sponsored along with the noble family’s son Maurice Chatillon onto the path to knighthood. An unselfish act of bravery brings the young knight to the attention of an important Cardinal who enlists Sir Jean in the role of Father Jean to guard the papal presence and the Church’s treasury in Avignon. His zeal and determination in unraveling plots against the Church, the pope and the treasury with his friend Sir Maurice will alter the course of French and Church history.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
The list of authors who have influenced me is large but they all have the quality I try to emulate, namely; engaging, compelling and repeating characters, twisted plots, and diversified writing styles. Here are a few of them; Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, John Sandford, Robert B. Parker, Stuart Woods, Vince Flynn and Dan Brown.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

The initial ideas flow from past professional experiences, acquaintances, and places harboring an interesting background. In the case of the Avignon Legacy, I have been to Avignon and Provence in the south of France and Vatican City in Rome, Italy. Buildings constructed in the 13th and 14th century still exist throughout Europe, so it is in Avignon and the Vatican. The feudal system of France and England with peasants, nobles and knights contrasted sharply with the city-states of Italy. I started with a summary. My outlines were linear, mostly chronological which contain not only scenes but actual historical events and figures by year. I relied on a character list and chapter, section and subsection short overviews as I went along. These were very helpful with sub-plots and their integration in the body of the novel was simplified.

The Road to Publication
Every published author has their own story but here’s mine. I started by writing two movie scripts after seeing a particularly terrible movie. (I can’t remember the title.) After attending Screenwriters Conferences and National Film Institute offerings in Los Angeles, I learned producers generally rely on their own screenwriters. I decided to write a novel in the hope I would go in the back door that way. My first novel, The Missing Factor, was a mystery thriller based on my experiences as an arms dealer. I sent out over 250 query letters with no success. Meanwhile, I thought a different genre, historical fiction/mystery may be more appealing. On completing The Avignon Legacy, another 250 query letters were sent out. Again, after two months of no answers, I embarked on another genre, romantic fantasy, with The Mulligan. It was just completed when I received eight months after I offered The Avignon Legacy, a reply from a literary agency they were interested in the novel and representing me. (Bless the Loiacono Literary Agency, Irving, TX.) While they edited and critiqued the novel, I wrote a sequel to The Missing Factor entitled, The Business End. By the way, The Missing Factor is slated for publication in the fall. After four months of representation, my agent, Jeanie Loiacono found a publisher for The Avignon Legacy. (Blessings on William Connor, Managing Director, Argus Enterprises, Kernersville, NC.)

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
There are no shortage of excellent writers out there who are waiting to be discovered. I have encountered them and their self-published e-books at book fares and writers clubs where we bumped elbows with avid readers buying our signed copies. It allows a writer to showcase their talents and their writing while they keep sharpening their skills. I have purchased interesting self-published novels at book fares.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I’d like to continue to write sequels with the Jim Factor novels (The Missing Factor, The Business End), and The Avignon Legacy with the two knights, Jean Termonde and Maurice Chatillon.

What is the most difficult aspect of writing for you?
I find publicizing myself and my novel as the most time consuming and frustrating part of the process. As a result of time demands on other aspects of my life, I have engaged a publicist (Clemens Public Relations, Palm Desert, CA) to assist me with social media and TV/radio interviews.  Thank goodness for my agent who also provides a steady flow of material on the subject.

Tell us a bit about what we can expect from you for your next project.
As a result of wonderful reviews and comments on The Avignon Legacy, I have started its sequel.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
When historical times are presented in novel form and characters are inserted to present their impressions and attitudes as they cope with catastrophes, battles, uprisings, cultural class, and living standards, you find times and events are easier to digest and more interesting than history text books.

An excerpt from "The Avignon Legacy":
Two inventive and audacious men separated by 700 years.
One incomparable treasure, hidden for centuries.
A legendary mystery waiting to be solved.
Though born a peasant in the middle of the 14th century, Jean Termonde’s uncommon intelligence and courage has enabled him to rise above his station to become a knight. Brought to the notice of a high-ranking cardinal, Sir Jean’s new position is to provide security for the papal city of Avignon, France and the vast treasury at the Palace of the Popes. When the Pope decides to move the Papacy back to Rome in 1377, noting the treasure is at risk in the chaotic time following the decision, the resourceful Sir Jean devises an ingenious hiding place until it can be safely transferred to the Vatican. The treasure never arrives in Rome.

Seven centuries later, antique book collector and seller Jim Pearce acquires rare volumes for unscrupulous but well-heeled clients. His background in the arts may be important but his experience with the U.S. Army Investigative Services was invaluable. He coolly dispatches two heavily-armed thugs who try to steal a rare 14th century volume on the Avignon Papacy. When he receives an offer of $5 million from reclusive billionaire John D. Baxter shortly thereafter to steal an ancient 14th century volume from the Vatican Secret Archives, he suspects the legend of the lost treasure. His interest is piqued and, with his equally talented French partner, Maurice Germain, an audacious plan begins to emerge whereby he will penetrate the Vatican’s defenses, get to the Secret Archives, exchange a clever forgery, and escape unseen. It calls for boldness, timing, disguises and an incredible use of remote-controlled helicopters. They become aware that Baxter’s men, the New Scotland Yard, and the French police are now in play as well.

Once the volume is taken, they hold on and enlist the help of a French scholar, Dr. John St. Rouffignac. A letter written by Sir Jean Termonde to his cardinal tells of the location in an odd riddle. A climax occurs at the Avignon Palace of the Popes where Pierce uses both his ability to decipher the cryptic riddle and intricate maneuvering to extract the treasure from under Baxter’s vigilance while at the same time framing him for the theft.

Now, with the immense wealth in their hands, Pierce has to wrestle with the decision of its disposal noting Baxter remains a threat, giving the historic value of the collection, and honoring the memory of the steadfast Sir Jean Termonde.
 Book blurb for Daniel C. Lorti's upcoming novel - "The Missing Factor":
A Jim Factor Novel
Jim Factor is a successful arms dealer living in Southern California with clients in Europe and customers in the Middle East.  A recent client, Carlos Sengretti, phones Factor and tells him he is marked for death due to their discovered illegal arms deal by Mikhail Borichov, a Bulgaria arm dealer.

Factor barely escapes to San Francisco where he starts a new life with a new identity. His distraught wife Diane hires Adam Weatherly, a cunning and relentless private detective who tracks Jim to San Francisco and is in turn followed by Borichov’s Russian mafia hit team. Factor finds work at a marina prepares for an eventual confrontation learning martial arts and Spanish, and acquiring counterfeit ID. He becomes friends with Chris Muncie, his martial arts instructor.

Weatherly uncovers Factor’s new passport identity and finds him. Borichov flies to San Francisco and gets directly involved with his hit team who is trying to find Factor.  Jim, Chris and Weatherly soon come together and confront the Russians in a bloody gun battle on Alcatraz Island where Borichov and the hit team are killed.

Factor discovers he’s still in danger and flees to Spain. He seeks closure by meeting with Dimitri Federov, the Russian mafia head, who places him in charge of Cortex, Borichov’s former Bulgarian arms company. In Bulgaria, a Russian mafia territorial dispute places Factor in another gun battle where he must fight with Chris, Adam and Federov at his side to not only survive but have a chance to regain his former life.

Relevant Links
Visit Daniel C. Lorti's website
Get "The Avignon Legacy" on Amazon
Get "The Avignon Legacy" on Barnes and Noble