Monday, February 29, 2016

A TON OF GOLD - James R Callan - One Free Book

Welcome back, James. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write mostly mysteries and suspense novels. I have published several non-fiction books, including two on the craft of writing. But my focus is on mysteries and suspense novels. In writing mysteries, I like the challenge of creating the puzzle, of giving clues to the reader without giving away the secret, of giving the protagonist obstacles he or she shouldn't be able to overcome and then figuring out how he or she will manage to overcome them.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Tough question. But I think it was the day my seven year old son came into the living room and said, "Where are my books. I've missed school. I need to catch up on my work." You see, he had been hit by a car and received a head injury. For days he didn't know where he was, what happened, or much else. For days he would ask what happened even though we might have told him half an hour before. We were very concerned about the head injury. His simple fifteen words brought us great relief. He was okay.

How has being published changed your life?
I had intended to write in my twenties, but that didn't support a family. So, I took a forty year detour through mathematics and computer science. After the kids were all out and self-supporting, I returned to my first love - writing. When my first book was published after such a long time, it was a very emotional high for me. I feel I am doing what I should have been doing all along.

What are you reading right now?
After many years of reading only technical material, I now read across a wide field. Of course I read mysteries and suspense books, as those are my favorite genres. But I also read some urban fantasy, romance, and other areas. My wife tells me I must read romance in order to make characters in my books better. I read many books of author- friends in other genres. And of course, I read materials on marketing, the bane of most writers.

What is your current work in progress?
My current WIP is titled The Silver Medallion. It is a suspense book in which the protagonist, Crystal Moore, discovers a woman in Dallas being held as a slave by threats to harm her two young girls in Mexico. Crystal would like to walk away and forget it, but her conscious won't let her. She realizes the woman will never try to escape as long as her children are held hostage. The only way to help her escape is to free the children first. She is not an adventure seeking person. Nonetheless, she travels to the jungles of Mexico to free two young girls.

What would be your dream vacation?
I think a weekend on the moon would top any earth-bound vacation I could take. And one of these days, that will be possible.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I first think of goal that must be reached. This could be solving a murder, rescuing someone, etc.. Then I work on the perfect culture, location, and time period to frame the story. 

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
After reading and hearing and seeing much of the Pope Francis visit to the U.S., I think an evening with him would change my life.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Visiting with friends and travel would follow close behind writing and reading. I am fortunate to have friends from around the world and they broaden my view and understanding. My wife and I have been able to travel a great deal. We do understand how blessed we are on so many fronts.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Procrastination. And I do not do a good job of overcoming it. A strict deadline is probably the best aid to avoiding it.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Sit down and write. Be it short stories, poems, articles, blogs, or e-mails, write. (Writing checks does not count.) Make yourself write something every day. After awhile, the writing will begin to congeal and you will be on your way.

Tell us about the featured book.
A 178-year-old folktale causes murder, kidnapping, and arson in 2012 Texas. In this contemporary suspense novel, Crystal Moore, a young computer scientist, is dragged into danger when thugs set out to kill her 76-year-old grandmother, her only living relative and the woman who raised her. Crystal has no idea who would want to harm her grandmother, or why.
In the midst of murder, arson, and kidnapping, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time, he can ruin her career. She will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise housemate, and a feisty grandmother to stop the criminals and confront her nemesis.

"What is truly impressive about Callan's writing is his gift for characterization." From a review by John Brantingham of Over My Dead Body.

Please give us the first page of the book.
The Year: 2012
Crystal Moore stood in her stocking feet, glaring at the row of shoes in her closet. Her raven hair, flipped up just below her ear lobes, looked like it had received three strokes with a brush. Dark circles under her eyes belied eight hours sleep.

“Terrific, I’m late and can’t find a single shoe to wear,” she grumbled.

“One won’t do any good. Need a pair.” Brandi Brewer, a mug of hot chocolate in her hand, lounged against the door to Crystal’s bedroom. “What kind you looking for?”

Hands on hips, Crystal surveyed the jumble of shoes. “Something that’ll match my outfit.”

Brandi appraised her housemate’s attire and shrugged. “Which part?”
Crystal’s frown only deepened.

“How ‘bout those by the foot of the bed.” Brandi pointed the mug at a pair of charcoal slings.

Crystal turned her head and focused on the shoes. “They’ll do.” She padded over and stepped into the Guccis.


“Don’t have time. Didn’t sleep well last night, and can’t seem to get going.” She rummaged in her purse, found a tube of lipstick and bent down to look in the mirror over the dressing table.

“Guess not. I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. No news flash there. When I passed your door, you were really thrashing around. Thought you had a man under the covers.” Brandi giggled. “Who’s Dr. Coup?”

Crystal’s hand jerked, sending a slash of bright coral from lip to nose. Slowly, her shoulders sagged, like a balloon losing some of its air. Her eyes glazed over and she stood motionless, barely breathing.

Dr. Krupe. The brilliant Dr. Krupe. Why couldn’t she purge his memory from her brain?

She forced her mind back to the present, straightened her back, focused her eyes. “I don’t know any Dr. Coup.”

“Well, he was on your mind last night. Heard it going and coming back.”

“I don’t know anybody by that name.” She snatched a pale pink tissue from a box on the dresser and tried to repair the damage. “And why were you eavesdropping?”

“Eavesdropping? You were talking in your sleep, for God’s sake. And I have to pass by your door to get to the bathroom.” The short, auburn-haired woman turned and sauntered into the living room.

Crystal examined the image in the mirror. Her upper lip retained an orange glow on the right side. She glanced at the clock, shook her head and tossed the tissue at the wastebasket. She dropped the lipstick in her purse and hurried into the living room.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Author Page at Amazon
Web page:                     
Facebook page                
Blog Page                     

Thank you, James, for sharing this book with us. I know my readers are as eager as I am to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Anonymous said...

would love to win angela in ky

James R. Callan said...

Hi Angela. \i know you would like the book, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Anonymous said...

This book sounds suspenseful, exciting, adventurous, and fun! I can't wait to read it!
J.C. -Indiana-

Edward Hancock II said...

James Callan is an uncommonly-talented author and a good friend. Please do not enter my name into the drawing, As I'm commenting just to encourage folks to check his books out! You will not be disappointed!

Caryl Kane said...

Gotta love a story with a feisty grandmother! I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Caryl in TEXAS

James R. Callan said...

Thanks, Eddie, for those kind words. I really appreciate it.

James R. Callan said...

Hi Caryl. You won't be disappointed with the grandmother. She is indeed feisty. Let me know what you think of her after you read the book. Thanks for stopping by.

James R. Callan said...

Hoi J.C. I think you have described the book very well. Thank you. Drop me an email after you read it and give me your thoughts. I'd love to hear them. Glad you stopped by.

Mary Preston said...

That must be some folktale.

Mary P


Brenda Arrington said...

Sounds like an exciting and fun read. Thanks for the chance to win.
Brenda in VA

Augie said...

Jim is one of my favorite writers. 'A Ton of Gold,' is one of my favorite books. I love Crystal and her grandmother. You will not be disappointed. Thank you Leena for featuring Jim. (do not enter me in the contest)

GrandaddyA said...

This sounds like my kind of book. I love suspense and mystery. I am not familiar with this author but look forward to learning about him and his books.
Edward A in VA

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

James R. Callan said...

Hi Mary,

It was an interesting folktale. It caught my interest and then I wondered how it might affect people today. Give it a read and see how that happened. Thanks for stopping by. jim

James R. Callan said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, and hope you get a chance to read the tale. It IS a fun read. Glad you stopped by, Brenda.

James R. Callan said...

What a nice comment, Augie. I do appreciate the kind words. jim

James R. Callan said...

Hi Edward. Sounds like you are my kind of reader. A Ton of Gold is a good place to start. Everybody can use a ton of gold. Thanks for visiting. jim

James R. Callan said...

You are entered, Sharon. Good luck. And thanks for visiting Lena's blog. jim

James R. Callan said...

Lena, Thanks for having me on your blog. It is always a pleasure to visit here. jim

Connie Porter Saunders said...

James, your book sounds great and I was especially touched by your answer to your greatest day. I can only imagine your fears when he wasn't responding and the extreme joy when you knew he was going to be okay.

kam110476 said...

Hi James & Lena! A Ton of Gold sounds like a of what I love in my my book: mystery, suspense, strong female lead, & a snarky friend!
Kristen in OK
Kam110476 at gmail dot com

Bakersdozen said...

What a blessing that your son was okay after that car accident. I love a good suspense story and would love to read this book.

Southern CA