Interview with Author Ben Schneider

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

  1. A) I am currently active duty in the Air Force. I have worked for the military 15 years. I am also a cartoonist and a comedian. I discovered many of my jokes work better in literature than they do in cartoons or on stage. In addition, I am a fan of thriller novels, which inspired many ideas in my own stories.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

  1. A) The work of other action/sci-fi authors and films based on such books inspired my novel.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

  1. A) My book has several messages I hope to give readers. If I were to choose just one, it would be: “Life with a bad attitude is far too difficult.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

  1. A) Several things drew me to action/sci-fi, especially James Cameron films.

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5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

  1. A) I would ask Sonya McCall what she would do if she were the first female president because she is very ethical and tough.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

  1. A) Facebook.

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7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

  1. A) Make your characters people you would admire and give them strong motives for everything they do.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

  1. A)Realm Journeyis my first book and is like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island. I finished it in 2009, but never tried to get it published. Now that I’ve seen some success with my second novel, Chrome Mountain, I am rewriting Realm Journey with the intend to have it published. Someday, I would like to write a sequel to Chrome Mountain as well as create and publish my 3rd Airman Artless cartoon book.

 

About the Author

 

BIO:  Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma. In 2003, he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design at Oklahoma University, married his fiancée, and joined the Air Force. Ben and his wife, Suzy, have been stationed in Italy, Okinawa, and Alaska. Aside from writing fiction, Ben’s other interests include drawing cartoons—mainly his Airman Artless comic strips. Chrome Mountain is his debut novel.

To order Chrome Mountain on Kindle or paperback, go here:

https://www.amazon.com/Chrome-Mountain-Ben-Schneider-ebook/dp/B07DMZ86B3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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To see 30+ reviews on Chrome Mountain, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/Chrome-Mountain-281058869320535/

 

Chrome Mountain is also available at the following sites:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40409574-chrome-mountain

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/903483

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chrome-mountain-ben-schneider/1128858008?ean=2940161675625

To message Ben Schneider or see more of his work, go here:

https://airmanartless.com/published-work.html

https://www.facebook.com/ben.schneider.9237

https://www.facebook.com/Quotes-by-Ben-270127620244047/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.facebook.com/Airman-Artless-281460331901271/?ref=page_internal

https://twitter.com/pinscratch5

https://www.instagram.com/airmanartless/

https://www.pinterest.com/schneiderben/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlYhC99bDcM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=000QgYUF_20&t=9s

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Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two people find themselves forced to fight together for survival in author Ben Schneider’s Chrome Mountain. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

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Trey and Sonya couldn’t be more different–yet their divergent lives are about to converge, with a bang. As Sonya evades the biker gang she was once involved with, she befriends Trey, a scientist, and helps him evade the Chromes, the most successful terrorist organization in the world. Trey and Sonya have more than their own lives to consider; the free world will change for the worse if the Chromes gain Trey’s priceless knowledge.

In the thriller Chrome Mountain, Ben Schneider explores one possible future our real world could be racing toward. Readers will find this story, driven by the female protagonist, a page-turner but without the darker tactics of similar sci-fi thrillers. The characters of Chrome Mountain tell their stories with clean humor, no profanity, a lot of advice from God, and action–lots and lots of action.

The Review

This science-fiction thriller is unlike any other. Filled with incredible character development and military style action, the story of two people from very different worlds coming together inadvertently in a fight against powerful forces made for an engaging read. An incredible blend and fusion of biker gangs, terrorist organizations, futuristic tech and relatable protagonists made this a truly fun read to enjoy.

Now one thing I will say that I cannot comment on fully is the inclusion of some religious storylines. I myself being not religious, I cannot comment on the strength or impact to religion this story has. I can say for anyone who enjoys characters with deep ties to religion, there are some truly important and strong stories intertwined with some of these characters that involve that subject. It examines belief and faith in a unique way as it mixes into this futuristic sci-fi world the author has created.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fun read. Filled with action and suspense, this original and incredibly creative tale is a wonderful fusion of interweaving character arcs, high-octane drama and a edge of your seat thriller you won’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy of Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider today.

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Chrome-Mountain-Ben-Schneider-ebook/dp/B07DMZ86B3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Kindle – $2.99 (free w Kindle Unlimited)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chrome-mountain-ben-schneider/1128858008?ean=2940161675625

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40409574-chrome-mountain

https://www.facebook.com/Chrome-Mountain-281058869320535/

https://airmanartless.com/published-work.html

https://www.instagram.com/airmanartless/

https://twitter.com/pinscratch5

About the Author

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Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1977.  He graduated from Newcastle High School in 1996 and earned his Associates in General Studies at Hillsdale FWB College in 1999.  While at Hillsdale he created Holidabblers, only then, he called it “Holiday Heroes” until another artist bought the copyrights to that title years later.  During the late 90s Ben drew his cartoons in colored pencil.  In fall of 1999 he transferred to the University of Oklahoma and later had cartoons published in “The Oklahoma Daily” (as shown at the bottom of the “Holidabblers” tab).  Since then Ben revolutionized his work, making it mostly computer-based by using Photoshop and Freehand.

Ben earned his Bachelors of Art in Graphic Design in May of 2003.  He joined the US Air Force the following month and received his first assignment in Aviano, Italy.  Ben’s experiences in the Air Force inspired him to invent Airman Artless.  In July of 2005 he had his first Airman Artless cartoon published.  He has been published repeatedly in the “Vigileer,” “Air Scoop,” “Kaiserslautern American,” “Samurai Gate,” and “Crimson Sky.”  One sample of each can be found on the “Published Work” tab.  The “Crimson Sky” sample also includes a story about Ben on page 18.  Ben welcomes any ideas for future Airman Artless cartoons.  Feel free to send an idea, question, comment or offer anytime to either of the following:

pinscratch@hotmail.com

pinscratch@yahoo.com

Author Pic1

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Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A dark, perilous story that explores one man’s struggle to balance the horrors of war, family and the hunt for justice in an unjust world, author Brandon Dragan’s short story Cast No Shadow is a gripping tale that packs a punch in just a short amount of time. Here’s the synopsis:

Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

The story was incredibly engaging. It showcased the struggle many veterans face coming home from war and seeing the horrors the nation they fought so hard to protect are enduring on their own front doors. In a unique twist that kind of blends stories like Breaking Bad with The Punisher, we see Beau take on criminals while still profiting from his vigilante work, and how the danger he comes into contact with slowly begins to infect his daily life at home.

It also does a great job of exploring the impact we have on our children as a whole, and the way profiling and judgement can lead to trouble no one would ever expect. The writing was incredibly powerful and captured the essence of the story perfectly. The setting and imagery was incredibly vivid, and by story’s end you were left wanting more of Beau and his story, hoping to delve deeper into this amazing character and his backstory more.

Overall I thought this short story was brilliant. It was an evenly paced short tale of intrigue, action, and heart-pounding thrills that very few short stories manage to capture. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan today!

Rating: 10/10

About Brandon

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Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature, to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status-quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Links:

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The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller #2) by J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today is a special treat my friends. I was recently sent an advanced copy of the highly anticipated sequel to one of my favorite thrillers in the last few years, The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. This time around the author has published The Fifth To Die, a thrilling ride that explores the continuing hunt for the deadly 4MK. Here’s the synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

This book was incredible. Of course as with all my reviews this will be a spoiler-free review. However I can honestly say that author J.D. Barker has mastered how to write the perfect sequel, upping his game greatly to create an even more intense, thrilling and engaging story than The Fourth Monkey. Delving deeper into the killer’s past, Detective Porter finds himself drawn into the twisted world of 4MK in ways no one can ever imagine, unless of course you’re J.D. Barker.

The way the story takes readers into the minds of everyone involved in the case, from new investigators and the team you came to know and love in the first novel to the killer himself and the newest victims who have to face the very heart of darkness and evil alone. It’s a powerful and explosive story from the first page, showing the way everyone was affected by 4MK’s surprising actions in the first novel and how just when you thought you knew the limits of this killer, he takes things so much further. By the end of the story your heart will be racing and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath because you got so enraptured with the twist ending that you forgot to breath.

Overall I loved this story. It was so fun and thrilling to take part in, and the entire time I was reading it I kept asking myself when someone is going to make a movie or show about this story. The tale of 4MK and those hunting him is the modern day serial killer story we’ve been waiting for, and makes for the perfect summer thriller read. In J.D. Barker we’ve found a spiritual successor to the incredible Stephen King, taking the characters of the everyday man and transforming their lives into one of a kind adventures and thrill rides that only these one of a kind authors could come up with. If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, be sure to do so now. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker comes out July 10th, 2018, so grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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ABOUT J.D.

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Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.

At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.

Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public. The novel, titled Dracul, sold at auction to G.P. Putnam & Sons, with film rights going to Paramount. Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) is attached to direct.

Barker’s initial indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.

Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

http://facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

http://jdbarker.com/

Author Interview with Lily Black

1)      Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

A: I’ve always been a writer—even though I was actually a late reader. Ever since I was a kid books and reading were my first go-to in coping with the challenges of life, so writing became a natural outgrowth of all that time spent reading.

 

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

A: I have a black belt and on occasion teach women’s self defense classes, so as my mind turned over story ideas I was struck by the concept of a warm and cozy small town juxtaposed against a seriously scary situation, and the people caught up in it. I explore this dynamic in both my first book, Storm of Attraction, and the second which is also set in charming Willowdale.

 

3)      What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A: The story always comes first, but one takeaway I really believe in is that even the most difficult circumstances can lead to unexpected good.

 

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I guess despite being very aware of the dangers in the world, I’m a romantic at heart and believe that true love can triumph over anything. Totally cheesy, I know! I also believe that sometimes people need something to shake them out of their usual circumstances in order to discover what other resources they might have, and who they really trust. Romantic suspense is the perfect medium to explore this.

 

5)      If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

A: Just now I’d sit down with Detective Rawlings and have a long chat with her about her estranged husband! I know the two of them have split—leaving her to raise her twins mostly alone—and I know he’s a National Geographic photographer, but I don’t have all the other details and want them, because these two will be getting a novella or some newsletter time in the near future!

 

6)      What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

A: I use my Facebook page to connect with my readers, and really enjoy that. I also have my news page on my website which doubles as a blog, and more importantly send out a newsletter to subscribers in which I share short fiction bursts that I’ve written, or anything else I can to give my readers insights into my characters and Willowdale. I also love connecting with readers generally through the Book Ninjas website (www.book-ninjas.com), a content-rating catalog of romance and women’s fiction which I co-own and help to run. There I can see which books are popular and of course pick out new books just right for me based on their blush level, and what I see other readers picking up!

 

7)      What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

A: First, read, of course. Then, write. Remember that even short burst of writing time can train you in the craft, so never underestimate the importance of short snatches of time you can devote to your writing dreams.

8)      What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

A: I’m so glad you asked! I recently turned in Willowdale book two—tentatively titled Storm of Deception—to my publisher, and it will release sometime in 2019. It’s the story of a senator’s daughter and the veteran who publicly humiliated her when he ended their engagement, plus a deadly black mailer. The hero was introduced in Storm of Attraction so readers will remember him, and there are cameo appearances from the first couple, so I think readers will get a kick out of that. But mostly it’s just a super intense love story set against the back drop of a winter festival and the black mailer’s schemes, with touches of the drama which comes from life in the political limelight. To celebrate Storm of Deception’s acceptance for publication I made ‘suspenseful snowflakes’ by printing a page from the unedited draft. So much fun to make, since they have tiny teaser peeks at a page from the novel! They’ve been lots of fun to give away and I’m happy to share them here, too, if anyone would like one. This is a novel that nearly ripped my soul in half writing, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers!

SofD three sparkly snowflakes white side

Lily Black website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

LB Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

Book Ninjas website: http://www.book-ninjas.com/
LB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lily-Black-1713161408963150/

 

Storm of Attraction low res

Wrecking Balls by Joe Giambrone Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friends become rivals in the cutthroat world of stand-up comedy in author Joe Giambrone’s Wrecking Balls. Here’s the synopsis:

Set in the world of stand-up comedy, Charleston and Gary are on the verge of comic greatness: broke, wasted, and floundering through life. As Charleston turns 30 he faces an existential crisis. His comedy career in the gutter, he considers leaving the life. That is until Gary pilfers one of his joke ideas. Then it’s comedy Jihad to the death, and there can be only one. 

Reviews: 

“A fun read, J. Giambrone has a talent for edgy humor, emotional baggage and quirky characters.” 

-Tome Tender Book Blog 

“I laughed, cringed, and overall found it a fast and enjoyable read… I’m so happy this book fell into my hands. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good laugh. You won’t be disappointed.” 

-Theresa on Goodreads

Now a fair amount of warning for this book: this is not a book meant for the faint of heart. Geared towards an adult audience, expect a lot of strong language and jokes that some might consider offensive. However one thing that I think is tackled well in this story is what should and shouldn’t be considered inappropriate in our society. There are definitely areas that don’t need to be joked about or made light of, and there are some areas of comedy that come across as abusive or offensive in today’s world. However there are times where our need to find and root out social injustices go too far, and a crude yet simple joke could be twisted into a far more sinister thing than it originally was. This novel explores that a lot yet without making it obvious that it does so.

The novel itself is filled with a great insight into the minds of not only comedians or competitive people in general, but into the minds of those who are so desperate to be remembered that they are willing to do anything to get there. The surprising thing about this book is just how vicious the rivalry gets between the two friends. The author does a great job of mixing the war games between the two comedians with a helpful dose of character development, as we get brief glimpses into aspects of Charleston’s character that a lot of people will be able to identify with. Most notably we witness a man who begins to question the path he put himself on. A man who begins to wonder whether his dreams and all the work he’s put towards said dream are enough to win the day, or if it was all for nothing. We’ve all been in that headspace before, and it’s interesting to see this character wrestle with that kind of mind game while fighting for comedic glory in his professional life.

Overall this was an enjoyable read. A must read for any adult readers out there interested in the behind the scenes aspect of stand up comedy, be prepared for a sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic and often vulgar filled adventure. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Joe Giambrone’s Wrecking Balls today!

Rating: 8/10

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Joe Giambrone

j.giambrone@live.com

 http://www.joegiambrone.us

Blog:

https://jgiambrone.wordpress.com

@joegiambrone

On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel Story by J. David Core Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman on a mission of vengeance becomes the savior of the underworld in author J. David Core’s On the Side of the Angel. Part of the A Bartering Angel series, this story explores a mystery woman’s role as a fixer and the complicated tale she weaves to save various criminals. Here’s the synopsis:

Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.
Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.
Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

What I really found interesting when jumping into this story was that it is the first in a series written by various authors. It’s all centered around Angel, or the Bartering Angel. Each author writes in their own unique voice, but focuses on this singular character and her journey. It’s a unique premise that led me into this gripping tale. Each novel can stand on it’s own, and this novel by J. David Core delivers a fantastic thriller. A mix between the films True Romance and Goodfellas (with a Bourne Identity element for good measure), this story is incredibly powerful and fueled by fantastic characters. The story is fast paced and action packed in it’s delivery, and the hints at Angel and her backstory led the reader into wanting more and more of this incredibly complex character and her story. The story delivers a satisfying ending while leaving the reader not only wanting more, but giving them a reason to go out and get the next author’s book in this series. It does a great job of creating an emotional pull to characters that are often billed as villains with no redeeming qualities. It proves that everyone is complex in their own right, and the line between good and evil are easily blurred.

Overall this is a must read tale. Every fan of thrillers and action packed stories will be able to pick this novel up with ease, and will be left wanting to jump head first into this adventurous new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel novel by J. David Core today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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With a profound interest in religion, liberal politics and humor, J. David Core began writing in High School and has not given up on it since. His first professional writing jobs came while attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when he was hired to create political cartoons forThe Pitt News and to write humor pieces for Smile Magazine.

Dave has worked in the newspaper industry as a photographer, in the online publishing industry as a weekly contributor to Streetmail.com, and was a contributing writer to the Buzz On series of informational books and to the Western online anthology, Elbow Creek. Dave’s science fiction novel, Synthetic Blood and Mixed Emotions, is available from writewordsinc.com. Dave currently resides in his childhood home in Toronto, OH with his beautiful girlfriend and his teenage daughter.

He enjoys participating in local community events and visiting with his two adult children and his grandkids.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lupaschwartzmysteries/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gamutman

Website: ThrillsandMystery.com

Read On the Side of the Angel: https://books2read.com/u/mV7yWr

Mailing list: bit.ly/JDCsignup