Interview with Michael Okon Author of Paranormal SciFi Novel Monsterland

I recently had the opportunity to chat with author and screenwriter Michael Okon. Michael is getting set to release his SciFi Paranormal Fantasy novel “Monsterland” on October 13 and I had a few questions for him. Take it away, Mike!

What authors and/or books made an impression on you as a youngster?

Michael Crichton has stuck with me the longest. I can remember where I was and how I felt when I would read Jurassic Park, Congo, Rising Run, and The Andromeda Strain.

I see on your website that you’re both an author and a screenwriter. Do you prefer one to the other? And do you approach them differently when you begin to write? 

I love the art of both. All my stories begin as a rough screenplay. I have to beat out my character arcs before I even begin to write. Once I finish the script, I then dive into the novel and flesh out all the character tics that I couldn’t before.

Do you have a regular writing routine (so many pages per day, for example) or are you more of a “when the mood hits” writer? 

Research and development all day. Write every night with the Travel Channel or Food Network on mute in the background. I stop for an hour on Friday night if my wife and I have a date night, otherwise its writing every night.

Have you always been a fan of horror and fantasy novels? What sparked your interest in those genres?

I actually do not enjoy horror novels. I’m not into super gore or gratuitous violence. I definitely did not want to convey that in Monsterland. Fantasy on the other hand is all right in my book. I’m a Lord of the Rings guy. Monsterland is not horror or even fantasy for that matter. Monsterland is a monster book, plain and simple. I’ve always had a fascination with monsters since as far back as I can remember.

Okay, Michael, here’s a wild card question: What are your favorite non-writing activities? 

I’m a sucker for Law of Attraction books. I’m also a huge movie buff. I try to fit in one movie a day, even if it’s a movie I’ve seen a dozen times already. I can cook a perfect rare rib eye. And I started lifting weights again – health is very important to me.

Michael Okon is a bestselling author and screenwriter. His newly revised book, Monsterland, is scheduled for release on October 15. Michael invites readers to connect with him on his website.

 

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The Unhappy Work Epidemic: Why So Many People Are Unhappy at Work and What to Do About It By Vicki Morris

Author and business coach Vicki Morris has written an exclusive article for me to share with my readers today.

Vicki has just released her second book, “InspiredWork:Create Work You Love in 8 weeks”. Vicki discusses why so many people are unhappy with their jobs and careers, and she offers some great career-change advice. Take it away, Vicki!

 

If you’re like me – and like 80% of the workforce, according to Deloitte – at one point or another, you’ve probably felt unhappy at work. Perhaps you’re feeling that way right now. Whether you feel as if you’re stuck in a dead-end job, or you’re doing well in your career but feel that there’s no real meaning in your work, you are not alone.

In fact, in my latest book InspiredWork, I call attention to some eye-opening statistics, which I’ll share with you here:

  • 90% of employees in a Monster survey are currently considering making a career change, and nearly half of those professionals (49%) want to change directions with their careers entirely.
  • Most professionals switch jobs every 4.6 years on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Gallup research showed employee engagement to hover around a depressing 32%. That means that less than one-third of the U.S. workforce is engaged. Gallup bases engagement on employees’ commitment towards and enthusiasm for their work.

The sad reality is that most employees are indeed unhappy with their current work situation. I call this “the unhappy work epidemic,” because it’s something that is plaguing an overwhelming majority of the workforce and it’s been a chronic issue for many years. Plus, the recent InspiredWork Quiz results confirmed that career unhappiness is at an all-time high with 84% of people reporting to be less than happy at their current or most recent job. So, the issue doesn’t seem to be getting any better and it may even be getting worse.

Why Are We so Unhappy?

Based on my experience with InspiredWork and interacting with 50,000 professionals worldwide, there are three main reasons why people are so unhappy at work. First, many people don’t enjoy what they are doing. They are only earning a paycheck. It may be because they are the main breadwinner or the only breadwinner. But, they settled for the work they could get. They don’t find their work to be meaningful and they don’t feel they are leaning and growing. Second, many people don’t enjoy who they are working for or with or they somehow don’t feel connected to their employer’s culture and values. The third main reason why people are so unhappy is because they don’t feel their job is secure or they are under-employed in some way such as being out-of-work or only able to get temporary consulting assignments.

What to Do about It

There are several keys to creating lasting career happiness. First, realize that no job or anything outside you will make you happy. In fact, most people who change jobs are just as unhappy after 6-12 months. If you’ve read Happy Habits, you know that you have the power to choose to be happy now and that one of the fastest ways to shift to a more positive mindset is to change habits you do on autopilot each day. By bringing intention and gratitude to your daily routine and filling each day with small, meaningful habits, you can be happier no matter what your work situation.

If you are unemployed, raising your energy BEFORE you look for a new job or start your own business will help you see and attract better opportunities. And if you are employed, you can see if changing your mindset has made you any happier with your current job. If you find that despite these efforts, your career is still unfulfilling because it doesn’t align with your passions and purpose, I encourage you to do a career assessment such as the InspiredWork Quizzes and select a career transformation path that is right for you. 

Know Where You Are At Currently

The FREE InspiredWork Quizzes are a great way to do a quick and easy career happiness checkup so you can find out exactly where you stand now. They quizzes are designed to help you gauge not only how unhappy/uninspired you are at work, but also determine the biggest obstacle(s) to your personal career happiness. The first quiz called the InspiredWork Career Happiness Quiz will give you your career official happiness score and help you understand whether you are in the Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red career happiness zone. This rating will help you determine whether you’re truly uninspired in your current career, or whether new habits could be implemented to make your existing work more fulfilling.

The second quiz called the InspiredWork Obstacle Quiz will help you understand what is causing your unhappiness. If it is a boss or company culture that is the issue, you may need to change jobs. If it is the type of role and industry you are in, then you most likely need to change careers. If you don’t want to work for anyone else any more, then the best way to be happier is to start your own business. Once you have this information, you will be able to make an informed decision about the best career path for you – one that will address the root cause of your current career unhappiness.

The Solution: Taking Action to Create Your Own Inspired Work

Determining which career transformation path is right for you is only one step in the journey towards creating more fulfilling work, but it’s an important one. Once you know which path is right, I encourage you to adopt the 8-week InspiredWork System to help you find a job, change careers or start your own business.

The InspiredWork System is included in both the InspiredWork book and the companion InspiredWork Workbook. The InspiredWork System is a proven, inside-out approach to creating inspired work. Unlike other career guides, InspiredWork includes a combination of recommended inner work (e.g., creating an InspiredWork vision that is heart-centered, reprogramming your conscious and subconscious mind for success and raising your energy daily) and outer work (e.g., creating an authentic personal and/or business brand, establishing a personalized career plan, and implementing a marketing campaign to achieve your career goal). The inside-out combination is very effective because it helps each reader to discover what inspired work means to him or her personally and it provides practical actions he or she can take to transform his or her career in only 8 weeks.

Becoming an Inspired Professional

Even after you’ve started a new business or found a more inspiring job or career that helps you fulfill your greatest purpose, you’ll still need to check in regularly with yourself to ensure that you’re inspired and happy at work. I invite you to revisit the InspiredWork Quiz at any point in your career. Ideally, you can do the InspiredWork as your annual career checkup to ensure your career happiness is on track.

The beauty of the InspiredWork System and Quizzes is that they are tools which can be used for professionals at any point throughout their working lives, and once you’ve used them, you’ll become even more familiar with their powerful capabilities to help you return meaning and purpose to your work.

This article was written by Vicki Morris who is the Career Happiness Coach, founder of InspiredWork and author of the transformational career guides InspiredWork: Create Work You Love in 8 Weeks and the InspiredWork Workbook as well as the Inc. Best 100 Business book Happy Habits.  Vicki offers 25 years of experience as a high tech business leader, entrepreneur, and career happiness mentor. Vicki launched InspiredWork to help professionals create their own inspired work so they can be happy at work and love their life.

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One by One by Robert Germaux Just Released!

I’m excited to be taking my brand new detective novel, One by One, on tour with My Book Tour. I’m sharing a spotlight and my author interview. As always, I’d love to hear your comments! If you’re interested in a review copy of any of my books please let me know by submitting a contact form here. Thanks!

 

The victims appear to have had nothing in common, other than the fact that, as one officer put it, somebody wanted them dead. And that somebody left a “clue” at each crime scene, but as those clues began to accumulate, Detective Daniel Hayes and his hand-picked squad soon discovered that the clues appeared to have even less in common than did the victims. In order to catch his prey, Daniel realizes he has to change his focus and concentrate on an entirely different aspect of the case by following a twisting trail that eventually leads to a face-to-face encounter with the killer. PURCHASE ONE BY ONE ON AMAZON HERE

My Author Interview…

Please tell us about One by One 

This is a very frustrating case for Daniel and his squad. There are multiple victims who appear to have almost nothing in common, and although the killer leaves a “clue” at each crime scene, those clues likewise appear to be completely disconnected from each other. It’s only through hard work and determination that Daniel and his colleagues eventually realize that they need to change their focus in order to catch the killer.

Since One by One is your follow-up novel to Small Talk, what new character developments can readers expect from main character Daniel Hayes and his team? 

We learn more about Daniel’s previous life as a professional athlete, and we meet a journalist who covered Daniel in that life, a man whose skills Daniel calls upon to assist the police in their hunt for the killer. In addition, we follow Daniel’s developing relationship with bookstore owner Lauren Cavanaugh. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the dual POV in Small Talk. I loved how you got inside the killer’s head. Can readers expect something similar in One by One? 

In Small Talk, Daniel and his squad had an idea who their killer was fairly early on in the case. The problem they faced was proving their suspect was actually the killer. Thus, a major part of the plotline in that book involved the way Daniel and the killer interacted with each other, which is why I used the killer’s POV occasionally. In One by One, though, the squad has no idea who their killer is until near the end of the story, so the emphasis is on the hunt for that person as opposed to any interactions the killer has with Daniel. 

Where do your story ideas come from? 

Everywhere! It doesn’t take much to ignite a spark in my fertile imagination. Sometimes I have to do a lot of research, as was the case with both Small Talk and One by One, because to the best of my knowledge, my social circle has never included any serial killers. But in Leaving the LAW, a Jeremy Barnes novel I’ll be releasing in the future, I relied heavily on my experiences teaching in an inner-city Pittsburgh high school that the police called Gang Central. 

What do you think makes a good suspenseful mystery? 

The answer, in part, lies in your question. Suspense. I like to read books that keep me guessing. Along with that, I think readers have to be involved with the characters in a novel, to care about what happens to those characters, even the bad ones. I want the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose.

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Grammar Sex and Other Stuff Released and On the Road!

I’ve just released my fourth book, Grammar Sex and Other Stuff!

Grammar Sex (And Other Stuff) is one man’s take on life’s little moments, minor annoyances and unexpected delights.

A collection of thirty-two (mostly) humorous essays about life, work baseball, The Beatles and more. PURCHASE GRAMMAR SEX AND OTHER STUFF ON AMAZON.COM

 

 

 

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Book Review of Cesar by Julian M. Coleman

Book Review of Cesar by Julian M. Coleman

I assume most readers would call Julian Coleman’s Cesar a horror novel, but in reality, it is much more than that. On one level, it’s a story about two sisters, Rachel and Angelina, who are dealing with a family tragedy from a decade ago. On another level, it’s a love story about Angelina and Allen, the young man who wants to marry her. On yet another level, it’s a coming of age story about Angelina trying to discover who she is and who she wants to be. In other words, there are universal themes at work here. But then you throw in the whole vampire thing, and suddenly you have a decidedly different take on all those plot lines.

I’m not usually a fan of horror stories (nothing wrong with them, just not my thing), but Coleman quickly drew me into the world she so expertly crafted, with so many interesting and vibrant characters, people (well, most of them are people) whom I found myself curious about and even caring about. Coleman does an especially good job of portraying Angelina’s ongoing struggle to control the monster that lies simmering just below the surface of her life.

I finished this book in record time, because I just had to know “what happens next.” The award-wining Coleman’s descriptions of people and places are colorful and, at times, even elegant, and her plotting is spot on. If you’re looking for a good horror story, then this is an easy selection. But it’s also an easy pick if you simply want a good read by someone who knows how to grab your attention from the get-go and never let up.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Robert Germaux

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Hard Court Released!

 

Hard Court by Robert Germaux Cover Reveal Event - Book Cover Photo

 

  • File Size:638 KB
  • Print Length:253 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher:Robert T. Germaux (April 6, 2016)
  • Publication Date:April 6, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language:English
  • ASIN:B01DX54ZFO

SYNOPSIS:

Miles Bradshaw, the dot-com billionaire owner of Pittsburgh’s first NBA franchise, hires private detective Jeremy Barnes to look into what appears to be a simple case of harassment of one of the team’s players. But when Jeremy (JB to his friends) begins his investigation, the case proves to be anything but simple, eventually involving a local businessman with suspected criminal ties, a major FBI task force, a computer geek in California and a mob boss in Erie. Along the way, JB, who can quote Shakespeare as quickly and easily as he can land a solid left jab, uses his wits and his ever-present sense of humor to wend his way through a cast of characters who range from the ridiculously inept to the ruthlessly lethal.

As Hard Court unfolds, there are numerous surprises and plot twists, culminating in a dramatic confrontation that neither JB nor the reader could have predicted.  PURCHASE HARD COURT ON AMAZON

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Grammar Sex

Grammar Sex
(How Dangling Your Participle Can Hurt Your Book Sales)
By Author Robert Germaux

Okay, I got your attention with that grammar sex thing, right? I’m sure you already know that in the wild and crazy world of eBooks, getting people to look at your work is often more difficult than it was to actually write the thing in the first place. And I’m sure you also know why. It’s because there is an inordinate amount of simply awful writing out there, so much so that the sheer volume of it can easily overwhelm the relatively few really good books, books like yours. The best way to keep your artfully-crafted masterpiece from drowning in that sea of mediocrity is to do everything you can to separate it from those thousands of other books. Research shows, and here I’m talking my made-up research, but I’m sure actual research would back me up on this . . . anyway, research, real or otherwise, indicates that once you’ve grabbed your readers’ attention (by, for example, throwing the word sex into your title), the best way to keep them turning those pages is to present them with prose so superbly written, so free of errors in spelling and punctuation and syntax, that they simply lose themselves in your wonderful narrative.
So how do you go about guaranteeing that your book lands in the can’t-put-it-down category? There are several potential paths to that goal, a few of which I’ll list here.

1. You can follow my example and spend thirty-one years as a high school English teacher before beginning your writing career. Frankly, unless you’re at a total loss about what to do with the next three decades of your life, I’d skip this option.
2. Find out where the retired English teachers in your area hang out and pay them a visit. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up a couple boxes of donuts along the way and put them on a table off to one side of the room. The retirees might think they’re at yet another faculty meeting, and you could give them your manuscript to proofread while they enjoy the free pastries.
3. Join a writers group and identify the best writer there. Then befriend that person (praise, pastries, whatever) and be completely open to every comment, suggestion or criticism that individual has to offer.
4. Go Google crazy. The problem here, of course, is that you’d have to at least know what was wrong and then Google a solution. Plus, contrary to what you might have heard, you really can’t trust everything you read on the Net. (True story: The Wikipedia entry for one of my college roommates, who went on to become a best-selling author, says he was born in 1951, which would have made Richard twelve our freshman year. I’m pretty sure I would have noticed.)

In the end, the how isn’t as important as the what. One way or another, get help.
Even the best writers occasionally hit a literary speed bump, and it’s nice to have someone around to pick you up and point you in the right direction when that happens.
A final word of advice, something I used to tell my high school students. There’s no such thing as good writing, just good rewriting. So good luck with your writing and, especially, your rewriting.

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