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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Exploring Robbie Cutler's Diplomatic Mysteries with William S. Shepard

I think the readers will enjoy this visit with William Shepherd as much as I have.  Thank you for the conversation.

I was a career diplomat in the American Foreign Service, and served at our Embassies in Singapore, Saigon, Budapest and Athens, retiring as Consul General in Bordeaux. “Write about what you know,” is the usual advice given writers, and for me, that was the Embassy world. During one of my five Washington tours, I found myself staying late one late evening, as Duty Officer for the Secretary of State. I perused the files and diplomatic cables, and then realized what a variety of information from all sources a diplomat has access to. That is when the idea came to my – when I retired, I would write mystery stories set in American Embassies overseas.

It is a new genre, and to my knowledge I am the only writer writing what I call “diplomatic mysteries.” It now have a series of four, and my protagonist, Robbie Cutler, is a thirty something career diplomat. He serves where I have served, and where necessary, I have gone back overseas for research purposes.

The first novel, “Vintage Murder,” is set in Bordeaux. The bad guys are the Basque ETA terrorist group, who attempt to raise money by terrorism the great vineyards of the region. 

 Just released in Ebook format at

  • ASIN: B004X7F00Q

  • In “Murder On The Danube,” Robbie has been reassigned to the American Embassy in Budapest. Someone is killing prominent visiting Americans, in order to keep his secret, that he was a traitor to the Hungarian Freedom Fighter cause during the Hungarian Revolution.
    In “Murder in Dordogne,” Robbie and his bride Sylvie, whom he met in the first book and proposed to in the second, are on their honeymoon in this scenic and rustic area of France. An old murder intrudes on their honeymoon, and then, Sylvie solves a separate murder plot that threatens her husband.

    In the most recent novel, “The Saladin Affair,” Robbie is Special Assistant to the new Secretary of State. They visit six European capitals on Air Force Two, and Robbie must fend off an Al Qaeda assassination plot, and solve the murder of the American Ambassador in Dublin.

    Robbie is intelligent and knowledgeable, but he is not a people person. His sister, and then his wife Sylvie, often have a better feeling for people and their motives than he does. Readers like them both, but many prefer Uncle Seth, Robbie’s great uncle, a nationally prominent man, once Time Magazine’s Man Of The Year, who has access to Washington intelligence circles.

    Where did the names come from? “Robbie” is a family name, and Cutler was my mother in law’s maiden name. I had an Uncle Seth, whom I just remember, and Seth is my middle name. Bad guys? They are all sorts, but not one dimensional. The ETA gunman in the first novel was motivated by a police killing of a member of his family. Perhaps my favorite bad guy is a former French Collaborator, who has now served his time. Robbie’s task in “murder In Dordogne” is to mine this source’s memory for information that will be crucial to solving a present murder.

    As I said, this is an original mystery genre. As the President of the American Foreign Service put it in a cover blurb for “The Saladin Affair,” “London has Sherlock Holmes and San Francisco has Sam Spade, and now Washington has its first diplomatic sleuth, Robbie Cutler. Learn about embassy life from the inside, as you enjoy Bill Shepard’s  latest diplomatic mystery.”

    Here are the links to these four books:

    When I am not writing I am often lecturing. My series on Maryland In The Civil War was well received at Chesapeake College and Washington College, and I have now issued these essays as an eBook. For those with a short attention span, or a tight timetable, my Coffee Break Mysteries, also an eBook, gives twenty short mysteries, each followed by its solution. Betcha can’t just stop at one!

    Here are the links to these two ebooks:

    Coffee Break Mysteries -

    Maryland In The Civil War -

    Learn more about William S. Shepard on his website at:

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Author, Michael Murphy, Introduces New Mystery Novel...Scorpion Bay!

    You may think that this author only writes mystery/suspense novel, but he also writes screen plays!  It was a delightful journey as I learned about this author that likes to add romance and a splash of humor to his stories.

    I am an avid reader, and began my first novel 12 years ago.  I live in Arizona with my wife of 38 years, two cats, four dogs, and give chickens we raise in our backyard.  Scorpion Bay is my 7th novel. In addition to the release of Scorpion Bay, I am busy finalizing my 8th novel, Goodbye Emily.
    Tell us about the genre of your work. 
    Scorpion Bay is a mystery/suspense novel with a splash of comedy and romance with a surprise twist at the end.  I mostly write the type of books I like to read. My favorite author is Nelson DeMille.  I love his books for the humor as well as the suspense and hope readers think the same about my books.  This is a new book that is scheduled to be released this month by Second Wind Publishing Company.
    What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
    My first novel was, Try and Catch the Wind, the first in my Casey Bannister series about a retired NYPD homicide detective struggling to adjust to life in a small town in upstate New York. The second in the series is Secrets of Sheridan Manor, and the third is Cuts Like a Knife. I also wrote a spinoff from the series, a romantic comedy called Ramblin’ Man, that features Casey’s young sidekick, Bart Wheeler and a runaway heiress.  That’s a fun read. My other novels are Class of ’68, which is the first novel I wrote, and second to be published; and Cold File, is my first novel that takes place in Arizona.  The second “local” novel is Scorpion Bay.
    How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

     In Scorpion Bay and Cold File previously,  the story takes place in Arizona, so I had to make sure the places, towns, streets, stores were accurate. It is much easier to make up fictitious locals. I have also learned that when naming principal characters, to avoid names that can be shortened or can become a nickname.  For example, Casey Bannister is called Casey by most, but also Case. Your principal characters should be distinct, and not called different names by different people such as Bob, Bobby, Robert, Rob.  It’s too confusing for the reader.  Having said that, I have sometimes taken more time naming my characters as I did with my own children.  J

    How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

    Parker Knight is a motorcycle riding former Special Forces soldier who’s spent most of his newscaster career as an investigative reporter. I modeled the character after a Phoenix newscaster who goes around the state and never wears a tie.  I haven’t seen him on a Harley like Parker rides, though.   

    What’s your favorite thing about your book?
    Although Parker spends the novel seeking justice for his wife’s murder, the story is sprinkled with wacky characters and unexpected humor.  Parker’s quest is complicated by his best friend’s high maintenance girlfriend, Tina Banks, and by an obsessed fan. Author Alisha Paige who wrote a wonderful review of the book posted on Facebook around Oscar time that Tina Banks should win an award as best supporting actress.
    Why and when did you begin writing?
     I have always been a writer and thought journalism would be my career, but instead I gravitated toward a business career. In 1999, I attended a seminar called Power Goaling, which asked participants to implement a goal that would take a year to achieve. I picked writing a novel and a year later, I had finished Class of ’68, which won the novel of the year award from the Arizona Authors Association.
    What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
    My current work in progress is not a mystery. The pacing and short, impactful scenes in my mystery novels has helped me construct my next novel and I’m very pleased with the results.
    What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
    A good mystery is not just a story about an unsolved crime, but to me, a good mystery involves a protagonist that readers care about.   
    Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
    The most surprising thing I have learned in my writing journey is that the most important thing in writing a novel, is rewriting. By that I mean, editing and polishing. I always advise writers writing their first novel to not dwell on the little things, move forward and finish, then go back and scene by scene edit, polish and rewrite. 
    What do you do when you are not writing?
     I raise chickens in my backyard.  Seriously.  Oh, and if your spouse ever says, “Don’t you think it would be fun to raise chickens in our backyard,” run.  Seriously, the five girls are like our other pets, but they provide something the others don’t.  Eggs!
    I understand you have also written screenplays.  How does that differ from novel writing? 
    Writing screenplays has been a great experience. Because of the time constraints of scripts and screenplays, dialogue and scene structure needs to be crisp. I believe writing has made me a much better novelist. My novels are faster paced and the dialogue is much better, these are two important components in a novel, especially in the mystery/suspense genre.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Winner of a copy of The Archer, by Betty Sullivan La Pierre is Maryann Miller

     The winner of the pdf download of 'THE ARCHER' was Maryann Miller.  Betty has sent her the book, and she was thrilled.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Conversation with Karen Ranney, New York Times Bestselling Author

    I am delighted to have an interview with Karen Ranney who not only happens be a New York Times Bestselling author, but whose books have been on the USA Today bestseller list several times.

    New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney was first published in 1995. Since then, she’s gone on to write dozens of historical romances, most of them set in Scotland.

    Her books have been described as evocative, intensely romantic stories featuring characters who leap off the page.  As an Air Force brat, Karen lived all over the world. In addition to being trapped in East Berlin and lost in Russia, she also numbers among her early adventures having her first date in Paris and traveling the entire route of the Orient Express.

    She wanted to be an archeologist, a Foreign Service Officer, or a violinist. Instead, she became a decorated Navy Wave, a journalist, and the somewhat bemused mother of two sons. She’s also moderated a daily radio program, been a motivational speaker, and admits to having had more than six careers, among them Purchasing Director, Help Desk Analyst, Marketing Director, and a Human Resources Manager.

    However, it is her love of books and a fascination with writing that has remained constant throughout her life. Writing allows her to live vicariously, travel to other centuries and answer that one eternal question – What if? In 2011, she decided to self-publish her mysteries. The first, Murder by Mortgage, is published under the name of Katherine Storm.

    Tell us about the genre of your work. 

    I'm published in historical fiction (26 books) and now amateur sleuth mystery (ebook only).

    Why did you choose this genre?

    I love happy ever after endings.   I find that true in both in romance and mystery, at least the mysteries I like to read. Justice is served, the bad guy gets his just desserts, and good triumphs.

    What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

    Other than the twenty-six historical romances, the mystery is called Murder by Mortgage, and it's been out since January, 2011 written under the name Katherine Storm.

    How can readers learn more about you and your books?

    My website address is:

    You can find my books by clicking on the following links:

    Murder by Mortgage by Katherine Storm
    ISBN: 978-0-983243007

    Murder by Mortgage is an emotional suspense novel of one woman's determination and survival.  When Jennifer Roberts' daughter dies, she's filled with guilt and pain. Nothing could penetrate the fog surrounding her, nothing but murder.  Except that no one believes it is murder. Not Talbot, the cop who is her nemesis, nor her husband, whose actions lead Jennifer to think that she has a problem there, too. She's determined to convince others that what she suspects is true; her only help, an eclectic group of amateur sleuths who play at murder.

    Why did you choose a pseudonym?

    Because I am known for historical romance, and my mysteries are totally different books, I thought it would be easier for readers to associate them under a different name. I am not trying to hide the fact that I also write mysteries, just differentiate them from my usual books.

    Are there plans for any more books?

    What About Alice? will be released later this year.

    How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

    I was actually driving through an area of San Antonio, famous for its Victorian houses, when I started wondering about the inhabitants. Jennifer Roberts immediately flew into my mind, but I am used to that. I see characters first, then the plot.

    How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

    The more I thought about Jennifer, the more I realized that something awful had happened to her, something that had altered her life and her personality. Then, just when she's at her lowest, her best friend is murdered. Remember how I said I loved happy ever after endings? I also like people to struggle – yet overcome whatever problems they have.

    What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

    There are actually three, and I guess you could actually consider Tom, Jennifer's husband, to be among them. He wasn't the most supportive man in the world.

    What’s your favorite thing about your book?

    I love the story. I love how Jennifer begins to realize that she needs to survive. I love how she stops blaming herself for things that weren't her fault. She triumphs in the end.

    How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?

    There's a remarkable similarity between romance and mystery, to me. Same rules about conflict, character, journey, and the happy ever after I mentioned earlier.

    Why and when did you begin writing?

    I was five, I think. I had to write. I had all these stories in my head about all these things I felt and saw and knew. My first story was called The Maple Leaf, and it's around here somewhere.

    What is your writing schedule?

    I start writing every day at 8:00 AM. I write until 11:00 when the dog and I go outside and play. I may write outside on my laptop if the weather is good until 2:00, take a break and work from 3:00 PM until about 8:00. Sometimes, depending on my deadlines, I may write until midnight.

    What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

    Under the name of Katherine Storm:

    What About Alice? is a mystery of friendship and murder being released this year.
    Grace and Favor is a contemporary romantic suspense released April, 2011. (The story involves a royal duke in line for the crown and an archeologist – just in time for the Royal Wedding.)

    Under the name of Karen Ranney

    A Borrowed Scot – just released
    My Beloved – re-release August, 2011
    A Scottish Love – November, 2011

    What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?

    My only piece of advice to any writer, of any genre, is this: don't give up. It's simple, but not necessarily easy.

    What do you do when you are not writing? 

    I play with and train my dog, Flash, a Shetland Sheepdog. He demands my undivided attention – for a few hours every day.

    What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

    Making the New York Times bestseller list.
    Also, I've made the USA Today bestseller list ten times, so that's fun, too.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    The Voice of Experience – A Conversation with author Betty Sullivan La Pierre. the author of the Hawkman Series and more.

    As an author of only three published books, I try to visualize what it would be like to have fifteen successful books and another in the making.  I was fascinated as I read Betty's story, and I am sure you will be as well. Thank you Betty for the interview. 

    Born and raised in Oklahoma, Betty Sullivan La Pierre attended the Oklahoma College for Women and the University of Oklahoma, graduating with her BS degree in Speech Therapy with a Specialty in the Deaf. Once married, she moved to California with her husband.  When her husband was killed in an automobile accident, she was left with two young boys to raise.  She is now remarried and has had another son through that marriage.

    Ms. La Pierre has lived in the Silicon Valley (California) for many years.  At one time, she owned a Mail Order Used Book business dealing mainly in signed and rare books, but phased it out because it took up too much of her writing time.  She is an avid reader, belongs to the Wednesday Writers’ Society, and periodically attends other writing organizations’ functions.

    She writes Mystery/Suspense/Thriller novels, which are published in digital format and print.  Her Hawkman Mystery Series is developing quite a fan base.  She’s also written two stand-alone mystery/thrillers and plans to continue writing.  ‘BLACKOUT,’ Betty’s story about a bingo hall (of the Hawkman Series), ranked in the top ten of the P&E Reader’s Poll, and won the 2003 BLOODY DAGGER AWARD for best Mystery/Suspense.  EuroReviews recently picked ‘THE DEADLY THORN’ (One of Betty’s stand alone thrillers) for their 2005 May Book of the Month.

    Betty Sullivan La Pierre’s work is a testament to how much she enjoys the challenge of plotting an exciting story.  

    Visit her personal site at:

    Tell us about the genre of your work.

    I debated and debated how to explain what Mystery/Suspense I cheated and went to the dictionary...They put it very clearly. Mystery:  a person or thing whose identity or nature is puzzling or unknown.  Suspense:  a quality in a work of fiction that arouses excited expectation or uncertainty about what may happen

    Why did you choose this genre?

         I’ve always loved mystery stories and suspenseful movies...Even as a young girl, I was quite a tomboy, and loved pretending I was a private investigator.  It just seemed the natural genre for me to write in.  I love plotting and leading my protagonist down a road of danger and see how he gets himself out of the mess.

    What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

    The Archer
    # 13 in the Hawkman Series
    I have fifteen published books.  I have 13 books in the ‘Hawkman Series’, and each is a story within itself, so the books can be read in any order.  I also have two stand alone mystery/suspense/thrillers that are not involved with Hawkman.

    1591092043--THE ENEMY STALKS (Book #1)

    THE ENEMY STALKS is the debut of the “Hawkman Series”, where the introduction of a fascinating detective known as Hawkman, a former Agency operative comes into play under an assumed identity, Tom Casey.  Jennifer Morgan, the equally fascinating heroine, a young widow, lives across the lake. Together, with an aggressive falcon, they take on the dangerous double agent, Dirk Hinderson, a vicious murderer who hates Hawkman and has vowed to extinguish him from the face of the earth. A read you won’t want to miss.

    1591092167--DOUBLE TROUBLE (Book #2)

    In DOUBLE TROUBLE, the action is split between Los Angeles and beautiful Copco Lake five years after the explosive events of THE ENEMY STALKS. Now happily living with his wife Jennifer and their 15-year-old son Sam, Hawkman is a hard working private investigator.

    1591092086--THE SILENT SCREAM (Book #3)

    Richard lives with his mother far away from the hubbub of the city. He's home schooled and socializing is pretty much nonexistence. After a ride on his motorcycle, Richard comes home to discover his mother and dog murdered on the kitchen floor. When Hawkman becomes aware of the circumstances he takes up the deaf teen's cause, doing everything possible to keep the state and the police from taking him into custody.

    1591093643--DIRTY DIAMONDS (Book #4)

    ‘DIRTY DIAMONDS’ #4 of the Hawkman Series, is about the plight of JASMINE LOUISE GRAY, a twenty three year old attractive woman, after she committed a jewelry heist in Oklahoma City. 

    1591097959--BLACKOUT (Book #5)

    Hawkman is hired by a close friend, Jesse Wilson to find his missing daughter who never returned home from a night of fun at the White Oaks Bingo Hall. The search takes Hawkman to the Triple ‘C’ Indian casino where he discovers an old buddy working as a security officer.  Max Prichard is on undercover duty searching for his missing niece. The men combine forces to find the two women.

    1594574863--DIAMONDS aren’t FOREVER--(Book #6)

    In DIAMONDS AREN’T FOREVER, private investigator, Hawkman, discovers through an old friend, that Jamey Louise Schyler aka Jasmine Louise Gray, the knockout blonde jewel thief, is returning to Medford, Oregon.  Jamey had eluded Hawkman once before in his search for the Oklahoma diamond heist culprits, and his interest became highly piqued on the anticipation of her return.     

    1419607065--CAUSE FOR MURDER--(Book #7)

    Burke Parker is found dead in a local hotel room but no one is mourning his demise. Locals describe him as a loudmouth alcoholic. His wife Lilly and daughter Maryann are just glad that they no longer have to suffer under Burke’s tyrannical abuse. There’s only one question in everyone’s mind: Did someone finally kill the obnoxious abusive alcoholic or did the drink finally do him in? Private detective Tom “Hawkman” Casey aims to find out.

    1419633171-ANGELS IN DISGUISE-(Book #8)

    A Private Investigator, his wife, cancer, a missing mother and a little girl kidnapped.  You’ll see a side of Hawkman never revealed in this powerful novel.  Two stories entwined in such a way, you’ll find yourself crying and cringing at the same time.  Your heart will go out to Hawkman as he struggles with his emotions and tries to concentrate on the case handed to him by a distraught father. 

    1419661426-IN FOR THE KILL-(Book #9)

    Hawkman received a phone message asking for ‘Jim Anderson’, his birth name, which he hadn’t used since he left the Agency.  He’d been assigned the new identity of Tom Casey, and feared this call came from a nemesis in his past days of being a spy.

    1419681966-GRAVE WEB-(BOOK #10)

    Private Investigator, Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, took on a fifteen year old cold case presented to him by Becky Simpson.  Her father had just passed away without ever revealing why her mother deserted the family or why they never heard from her again. Hawkman thought the case sounded like a challenge, but little did he realize the twists and turns this investigation would take.  

    1439211043-THE LURE OF THE WITCH (BOOK #11)

    Sarah Willis, a teenager, was reported missing to the Medford police by her father.  When Greg Willis decided the authorities were dragging their feet, he hired private investigator Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, to find his daughter.  Since Greg and Cathy Willis had been divorced for a year, Hawkman found it a bit difficult to combine the information and decided to have Sarah’s belongings brought to his office, much to the dismay of the mother.

    When Hawkman began to dig into Sarah’s personal items, his wife, Jennifer, convinced him he didn’t understand the workings of a young girl’s mind, and needed her help.  As they dug into the inner parts of Sarah’s computer, diary and notes, they discovered some disturbing facts which led them to a ranch in the Medford hills. 

    1439258740-SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT (BOOK #12)

    Tom Casey, Private Investigator, better known as Hawkman, was hired by George and Maggie Hampton to investigate the deaths of their friends living in Morning Glory Haven.  The facility houses people capable of independent living, along with those who need twenty-four hour assistance.

    1456528491-THE ARCHER (BOOK #13)

    Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, found himself involved in a case where a young woman is being harassed with lewd messages on her cell phone.  As he dug into the case, archery came into play.  He knew nothing about the sport, but immediately educated himself on facts about the compound bow.  Clues were hard to come by, and even though he had an idea of the culprit, arrest was out of the question with no hard evidence.  Time marched by quickly and the perp was getting closer.  Hawkman knew he’d have to catch him in the act, as scary as it might be.  Read ‘THE ARCHER’ to get in on the thrills.    

    Stand Alone Murder/Mysteries


    Bud Nevers, the CEO of the Nevers’ Computer Technology Company
    in Silicon Valley is murdered.  Detective Tom Hoffman and his partner Detective Cliff Maxhimer suspect the president, Ken Weber.  Their suspicion heightens when the accountant, Ryan Conners is found dead in his office in what appears an act of suicide.  Further investigation proves the financial books have been tampered with and Conners was embezzling large amounts of money from the company.    To unravel the twists and turns you’ll need to read, MURDER.COM

    1591092205--THE DEADLY THORN

    Jimmy Oliver is a con man, who seduces, marries, insures and murders his wives.  Two of these women survived his wrath.  Along with the help of Sally Oliver’s friend (a woman who is a national shooting champion) are about to get even.

    There are real world issues in this book as well.  Domestic violence and the strength and courage to overcome physical abuse are an important part of this story. The climax of this novel is one of the fastest moving and action motivated moments you’ll ever read.

    All my books can be purchased on my publisher’s website at:

    How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

    All the settings in my books are in the west, and most of the Hawkman Series is in Northern California, as he lives at Copco Lake, his office is in Medford, Oregon.  So the stories take place mostly in this area.  I use the original names of the streets at Copco, but use my imagination on places in the area.  As far as the names I pick for my characters, they’re usually easy to remember, fairly common and not hard to pronounce.

    How did you develop the character of your protagonist in your books?

    Hawkman has dwelt in my mind since I was in high school.  I saw a picture of a man with a falcon on his arm and loved it.  Hence, with a little tweaking, Hawkman was born.

    What’s your favorite thing about your books?

    My protagonists.  I love writing about Hawkman, there’s many a story I can do with him in the lead.  Also, there is a character, Richard, in ‘THE SILENT SCREAM” who is a deaf boy.  I loved writing about him.

    Why and when did you begin writing?

    I wanted to try my hand at writing for a long time, but it’s hard to focus when you’re raising a family.  So once my boys were on their own, I concentrated on my first book, ‘THE ENEMY STALKS’.  I rewrote the book at least ten times before I finally got an e-publisher to accept it.  It took a good seven years.  Once I realized what I had to do, it became easier to write the second book and on to the next.  You learn so much during the process, and it helps so much.

    What is your writing schedule?

    I am at the computer 8 to 10 hours a day most of the time.  I sure don’t get much housework done..;-)  But I write probably 2 to 3 hours, and then spend a big part of the time marketing.  I probably don’t spent enough time networking, but I’m hoping to get better. 

    What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

    I’m working on #14 of the Hawkman Series.  Just getting started, so there’s no title, but I can tell you it involves a ten year old boy from a very dysfunctional home.

    What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?

    Do your homework; take a few writing classes, read, read, read in the Mystery genre.  This helps you get a feel on how to start.  Each author is different, so find one that fits you and study their technique.  Then write..write...write...Don’t worry about mistakes, just put down your thoughts. 

    Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

    Join a critique group, preferably one consisting of several genres.  Take their critiques to heart and use them, I’m not saying you have to apply them all, but if it bothered someone, it needs to be looked at.  Never give up, develop broad shoulders and thick skin.  Don’t give up your day job..;-) 

    What do you do when you are not writing?

    We have a home on Copco Lake (Hawkman territory) and I love to fish off the dock.  I’ve caught perch, trout, catfish, crappie and an occasional crawdad.  It’s probably the most relaxing thing for me there is.

    What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

    I have had several, but I’ll focus on the ones pertaining to writing.  When I finally found a stable e-publisher and have been with her for several years.  And finally getting those wonderful royalties, which tells me someone is reading and enjoying my work.  That is very fulfilling and makes my heart swell, especially when you receive a fan letter from a reader telling you how much they love your books.