Wednesday, September 27, 2017

QUOS EGO - Jones Howell - One Free Book

Welcome, Jones. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It seems only natural to come through in your characters because I know myself so well, and I want my readers to know me vicariously. I believe I project myself through various characters by way of my hobbies, my worldview, and in my knowledge of history. I let my good qualities come through certain characters, whereas their bad qualities are their own.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In my 30s, I got a cowboy perm. Since I didn’t have much hair on top, it was lopsided. My pastor even mentioned it from the pulpit, which was not flattering.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was in the Navy during our extended times in port I started experimenting with poetry, even though I hadn’t yet studied it.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I feast on World War Two books, do three-course meals on survival stories, dine occasionally on historical works, and treat myself to famous novels as finger food. I fast popular fiction and actually go bulimic when authors fictionalize true events, like the Siege of Leningrad or Nazi extermination camp stories. 

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I retreat to my Bible-reading and prayer room. Sometimes I watch the Quebec-produced Just for Laughs videos. Of course, I try to be with my mostly-sane friends. 

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I research the most common names from whatever country my character hails. I choose a name that is common, historically dignified, and not hard to pronounce. Of course, if my character is despicable, I choose a fitting name, either an unusual name or one that conveys deceit.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of finding my wife, Cindi, in Bible college. Marrying her was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Since I know both of you so well, I’d have to agree with you. She is special. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be a Mockingbird, the poet among creatures.

What is your favorite food?
Strangely, fresh garlic with cheese and crackers.

Sounds yummy to me. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The problem I had was avoiding clichés and to keep an authentic voice without sounding like I was consulting a thesaurus. I overcome this by a process called ratiocination, which means I search for phrases I’ve repeated too often and then go back and rephrase. I find that our colloquial speech patterns creep into our writing if we are not vigilant.

Tell us about the featured book.
Quos Ego is a near-future novel that is slightly dystopian. It relates the power, pervasiveness, and the insidious nature of authoritarianism and the courage it takes to stand for individual freedom, the sacredness of human life, and undying love for one’s country.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
“The worlds want to be taken in, so it is” [Petronius]
At dusk, a light blue van pulled up in front of the new flats on Rue Victor Hugo Street in Brussels. Two women and a man, all in white suits, walked up to the gate toward the door of the apartments. Claire Janssen heard steps and peeked through the blinds from the second floor window.
“Alexandre!” she muttered and turned, gripping the front of her blouse, wide-eyed.
“What is it, love?” the voice came from the bathroom.
By the time Claire was at the door of the bathroom, tears were welling up in her eyes. Shock masked her normally pleasant demeanor.
“Oh, God, no!” started Alexandre, and he jumped up to catch Claire as she fell against his chest. He put his forefinger over her mouth. The door ringer sounded. They just stood there, hoping this was not real.
There was a knock, and Alexandre went for the door. Claire composed herself, pulled her hair back and followed. Alexander opened the door to three faces, smiles freshly painted on.
“On behalf of Conducator Nistor of United Europe,” said the man, “and the mayor of Brussels,” chimed in the smartly-dressed tall woman, “the rectory of Quos Ego is proud to present you with the life book of honorable citizen Maxime Janssen,” the two said in unison. The second woman presented a small bottle of champagne tied with a red ribbon.
Alexandre looked down and saw in the hands of the man a clear cellophane bag. Inside was an attractive burgundy leather-bound book with gold-leaf edges, with the name Maxime Janssen engraved on the front in large letters. The man delicately placed the book into the hands of Claire Janssen.
“Here,” said the older woman. She handed the small bottle to a reluctant Alexandre. He just nodded and wrinkled his eyebrows, refusing to force a smile.
The three turned and marched away without another word. Alexandre saw a government hummingbird drone catch up to the trio and hover just behind them. He quickly closed the door.
Alexandre felt anger, like a metal swim cap on his forehead, but he was certain he could not say anything. He hurried into his office, took a pad and a pencil and wrote something. Claire read these words: We are going to Poland.
They would have to go without Maxime. Max was dead at forty. But Alexandre knew his brother would not have objected to his decision. Maxime had long been suspicious of the secretive and powerful Quos Ego complex, the obsidian and glass monolith in the heart of Brussels—sometimes derisively called The Black.

Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a wordpress blog at My email is

Thank you, Jones, for sharing your book with my readers and me.

Readers, if you want to buy a copy of Quos Ego, here's how: 
Lamar Howell
371 Blue Heron Ln
Wilkesboro NC 28697

I think postage is $3.50
At $8.99 per book that would be $12.49
I can accept payment through Paypal or via check.

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Jones Howell said...

I typed in the first page rather than scanning. In doing so, I misspelled "smartly-dressed," leaving off the "-ed."

Connie said...

This sounds very intriguing! Thank you for sharing.
Connie from KY

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.