I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.
This week’s guest: Lonz Cook
1. Are there any traditional Thanksgiving dishes that you can easily resist or dishes you refuse to even sample during your family’s holiday meal?
Well, a bean casserole will push me to any corner of the room. It’s simply because you never know what was added, and its dependent upon who made it. So not to be disrespectful, I run for the hills avoiding that dish.
2. As a reader, name a few of your favorite books of all time. How have these books influenced your writing?
MILK IN MY COFFEE by Eric Jerome Dickey, RED STORM RISING by Tom Clancy and books by James Patterson, as well as books focused on social issues, have all influenced me.
I love how these authors tell a compelling story, grabbing you from the initial paragraph and capturing the imagination along the story. Then there’s the detail in suspense, Clancy and Patterson do this with a unique stroke of the pen. Both authors show enough before telling to ensure you’re a part of the scene and not simply an observer.
Dickey took me into relationships that I either experienced or was a bystander. He impressed me so much that I took pen to paper and became confident to do the same – share a true story through fiction.
3.Which Scooby Doo character are you most like? Bonus: How are you at solving mysteries?
I’d guess Shaggy [Rogers], the clumsy discoverer. I tend to focus on other things and slip upon key elements in solving mysteries. Or simply put, a fluke is my norm.
4. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which was the hardest and easiest to write?
Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. I had no idea I wrote in the genre when GOOD GUYS FINISH LAST was published. To me, it was a realistic and pure story of character and behavior. The love relationships in the story were essential, but the connection between family and friends were detrimental to the story. This was the easiest book because I had no idea what I was doing, and simply wrote what’s in my heart to share.
The most difficult book to write was CROSSED EXPECTATIONS. I had to dig deep into an area I didn’t like to explore nor remember. It’s a story of military challenges I endured, but not to the extent of mirrored events, just edges where you feel the agony of death through the journey. It was the memories I visited, the pains I shared, and the carnage I saw while in the Marines. Yet, it seems I put together a good novel.
5. If you could serve as a roadie for any band, past or present, for which group would be you be schlepping speakers and testing audio equipment?
I think I’m torn on this question. I’d think for R & B I’d consider The Commodores and yet for Jazz, I’d love to be with the Jazz Crusaders.
Both bands have a unique sound, and what an influence for music lovers around the world. It would have been a life-changing experience if I were fortunate enough to do so.
6. If someone has never read one of your books, which title would you recommend she read first?
For the story line, I’d suggest my first novel, GOOD GUYS FINISH LAST because the story is raw, and it’s unfiltered. I get many readers coming back saying how pure and touching it is.
Besides, GOOD GUYS FINISH LAST is the first in the Sisters and Romance Series, followed by WHEN LOVE EVOLVES and CROSSED EXPECTATIONS.
7. As a shoe shopper, are you all about the shoe warehouse where more is better, a discriminating shopper of only designer brands or a devotee of comfort with little concern for fashion?
You know, men (some men) are just as particular about shoes. However, in my case, I choose comfort and style over designer brand.
My lesson was attending a formal event and having Italian made fashion shoes for 20 hours. Oh my goodness, that was worse than working in boots as a Marine during 96 hours of operation.
Comfort any day 😊!
8. Favorite octogenarian actor: Robert Redford, Judi Dench, Diahann Carroll or Morgan Freeman?
Morgan Freeman – Class act and impressive with his story to fame.
9. Which one of your own fictional heroes would you have taken home if you could?
Not home, but surely to hang out as a best friend. Rodney the Marketing Genius!
10. What would you choose as your super power, and what would you do with it?
I’d have to choose anything that impacts the mind. I think reading minds and influencing decisions would be the super power I’d love having. Let’s say I’d at least increase human understanding and encourage love across all humankind.
11. In 10 words or less, give your best advice to aspiring writers.
Study the craft and write your heart’s desire. Be unique.
12. Sitcom in reruns: Seinfeld or Friends?
Seinfeld – it addressed lot of social issues.
13. What would you consider your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? What have you done to become a better storyteller?
My strength is creating characters who are common in behavior, where readers get to acknowledge similar actions that they either perform or know someone who has.
My weakness is finding the right balance in show and tell. There are times I tell too much and not show enough or show more than needed before telling the story.
Improving is understanding how to get the point across when telling enough to include the imagination of the reader. I’m advancing on that combination with each book I author.
14. Preferred activity in the fall: outside at the apple orchard or a leaf tour while inside a warm car?
I love watching football. I’m a sports fan of the game and enjoy attending professional and college-level events.
I grew up in the game especially when being younger. Emerson Boozer (NFL running back for NY Jets) was from my neighborhood and would play with us kids when he was home. That got me hooked. I’ve played, coached, and supported the game ever since.
15. Name your favorite compliment you ever received from a reader or reviewer.
You are as good a writer as those who inspire you. Keep writing and don’t stop using your voice. It’s a matter of time before you’re discovered.
A Cyber Affair
By Lonz Cook
Though she had held video chats with Manny over the span of three months, Tiffany wasn’t certain if they would be physically attracted to each other. She realized that looks could be deceiving: what’s viewed on screen isn’t always what appears in person. She wanted the excitement, the candlelight dinners, the slow dance amongst a disappearing crowd, and to feel her heart race at his gentle touch on her lower back. Tiffany imagined every moment Manny as they had been described in their many conversations.
It was a male passenger’s voice two seats over, the rolling tongue and spicy mellow tone of his soft delivery, which caressed her ears and reminded her of Manny. Her imagination walked the runway of sensuality over the fantasy about Latin lovers. Thoughts about them managed to sweep her into a frenzy: of how their passion and focus could raise a woman’s awareness with every affectionate touch, of their rhythmic movements and suave demeanors, and of their romantic language, designed to match the pace of their victim’s heart with a cadence of mystical influences. The thought of Manny made her soul quiver.
She stared out of the window at the ground as the plane taxied to the runway and leaned back for the takeoff. Tiffany thought about her reasons for going and how she had arrived to this point of no return.
She reached for her backpack and pulled out her computer. Tiffany looked out of the window again before she opened the laptop, booted up, and scanned Manny’s very first email. He had written: ‘…I read your profile and find you interesting…’ Next, she opened a more recent email: ‘…I’m going to kiss you all over, from head to toe. We’ll share ourselves, like we talked about last night.’ Her heart fluttered. They had exchanged flirtatious banters during many conversations. ‘I can’t wait to share our first-morning kiss.’
Tiffany clicked on Manny’s profile picture and smiled as his appearance gave her a tingle, a twinge, and caused her heart to race. His body, shirtless and sporting swim trunks, was that of a masculine man built with abs of steel and a V-span torso. His arms were defined, and looked perfect for making a woman feel secure and comfortable whenever he held her. Tiffany released a sigh when she looked at his dark eyes, perfect mouth, and caramel skin. She imagined feeling his chiseled cheek next to hers.
Tiffany read one more email and Skype conversation before closing the laptop. She then sat back and imagined their first kiss. Her body felt excited while her mind settled on her decision to invest herself in the coming days.
Tiffany reminisced about the night she had received Manny’s first email. It was months earlier and the season was cold and wet, a typical winter. Tiffany looked at the flight attendants who were passing out goodies from their cart and raised her hand to get their attention.
A CYBER AFFAIR, a June 2016 release from Elevation Book Publishing, LLC, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.
From warrior to romance. Lonz Cook is a Marine Corps veteran of 20 years and the author of numerous romance novels. He’s a screenwriter, an Adjunct Professor of Management, and a technology specialist. Stay in touch with Lonz through his website, www.lonzcook.net, and his blog or through Facebook and Twitter.