Month: October 2016

Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor

Neiko’s Five Land Adventure
(The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor


What if the fate of two worlds were in the hands of one person: you?

The childhood secret of a troubled teen warrior is used against her by her enemies. It turns out what Neiko imagined is real, and she becomes trapped in the same world she imagined by an otherworldly evil that is worse than the devil. Getting home is the least of her problems.

The Indians and the Cracked skulls are locked in the turmoil of a war that has raged for centuries, and it is presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to take her down, but in doing so they inadvertently open the door to another universe and to an otherworldly evil. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and the dark being is not a figment of her childhood imagination-he is terrifyingly real and she faces him for the first time. To make matters worse, it is now in her world and he has evil plans especially for her.

After several standoffs with the malevolent Ramses the Dark Pharaoh in Hawote, she is trapped in Qari by his strange and powerful magic. Trapped in another universe in a place that is not exactly the way she imagined it, and she must somehow find a way to teleport home. That is easier said than done; the odds are overwhelmingly against her and her scorpion-cobra companion as they must travel to find the answer and help but at the same time avoid Ramses’ allies, traps, and tricks. Can she come back home and turn the tables on her enemies?

If you love the hidden worlds and magic of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, travel to other worlds like Warriors of Virtue and The Never-ending Story, and a strong female protagonist with a bow (only that she’s Native American and a nerd at heart who doesn’t want to completely grow up!) like the Hunger Games, you will love Neiko’s Five Land Adventure!


  • Winner of the 2012 Indie Reader Approved Award
  • Nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole

Praise for Neiko’s Five Land Adventure:

“Plenty of action and inspired imagination.” By Wulfstan Top 100 Reviewer

“From the first word, Taylor delivers a fresh, vibrant tale of two different worlds.” By Steven Knight Book review and author of “Born of Blood”

“An imaginative journey that is that is much of an adventure for the reader as it is for Neiko.” By CC Cole Book Reviewer and author of the Gastar Series

“A great middle school or read to me book with tons of adventure and characters.” By Paper Mustang Book Reviewer

“A fantastical twist to the childhood game of Cowboys and Indians and a wonderful coming of age story.” By Indie Reader Reviewer

“Neiko’s five land adventure is a gripping young adult fantasy tale. You get an exceptional feel for the protagonist, Neiko, as you travel through the rich worlds between reality and imaginary (well not really imaginary as Neiko soon finds out!) alongside her and her cohorts (I particularly liked Quickstrike)” by Michael Dadich, Award Winning Author of the Silver Sphere

Book Review For Neiko’s Five Land Adventure
(The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1)

I can’t begin to imagine A. K. Taylor as a young girl writing fascinating fantasy tales like Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (Neiko Adventure Saga Book One). Granted as an adult the author has revised this teen writing project and added the wisdom and balance of being a grown, educated and married woman.

Take a moment and think back to your childhood bedroom. Recall your favorite toys, the ones you played with the most and the ones that caused you some discomfort in the dark. Now imagine your bedroom transformed into a fantasy land were you were called upon to battle for the good and defeat evil between reality and imaginary. What if you found out those imaginary worlds and the people/creatures in it were real and you became trapped there? Some things you imagined were incorrect. What would you do?

Neiko’s has one foot in reality and the other where she is Captain Neiko Kidd, commanding officer of the Desert Storm Falcons a hidden world that coexists with the known one. These woodland warriors battle with the Crackedskulls and it has to be done before supper.

I always like to share a quote from each book that I review, not to spoil, but to engage. Now imagine yourself back as a teen trying to communicate with your mom and see if it would go something like this:

“Well, here goes nothing,” said Neiko as she walked down the hall. She was trying to measure up what to say to her mother about what happened. She sat down at the table and waited for her mom to hand her dinner. They prayed, and after they finished, Neiko began eating.

“I wonder where your daddy is,” her mom said, trying to break the silence.

“I don’t know, probably got held up at LP again,” Neiko replied with a mouth full of cabbage.

“Is there something on your mind? You’re awfully quiet.”

“Yeah, um—did you hear anything strange—like in my room… like metal hitting the wall or something?”

“No, why?”

“I was just wondering because a couple of strange things happened a few minutes ago.”

“Like what?”

“Well—like…um—I was playing with Ramses, and when he hit the wall he clanged, and then I tried to bring him in the toy box; I missed, and he hit the side and said ‘Ow’.”

“Who is Ramses?”

“One of my toys—the guy with the shiny armor.”

“Amanda,” she groaned in an aggravated manner, then said gently, “Oh—yeah— well… that’s nice, dear.”

“Mom, I ain’t makin’ this up. It really happened.”

“That’s really using your imagination. Did this happen during a battle?”

“No! This wasn’t pretend—this was real. Like in real life,” Neiko stammered.

“Oh, well, that’s a really nice joke—”

“I’m not joking—and I haven’t even laughed about it. If I was joking, then I would be laughing my head off.”

“Has he ever done this before?” “No.”

“Did he come with any special real-life sounds or anything?”

“No, he was just a plain toy. I’ve had him for a long time, and I’ve played with him a million times, and it’s never happened before—never mind, let’s talk about something else.”

The question begs to be answered, would your Mom believe you? What if your real or imaginary friends reveled in the fact that your Mom just didn’t understand.

I encourage teens and young adults to read ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and learn from a peer that you must have courage and the strength to face the odds and fight for what you believe. Teens will enjoy this book and perhaps it will encourage them to write about their toys and action figures that seem to at times, take on a life of their own.

This book was winner of the ‘2012 Indie Reader Approved Award’ and this book was nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole

Author A. K. Taylor created the Map of Hawote/Georgia and the Map of Qari and has been writing and drawing since the age of sixteen. She worked with another artist to create the 23 black and white photos that help bring the story to life IN THE Sixty-five chapters. There are also letters and an amazing log titled “Neiko’s Log” at the end of this book which details, people, places and events. This log will help young readers as this series continues.

For parents: The author grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She has her degree from University of Georgia with a biology degree. I think she is a good role model for teens and young adults.

Theodocia McLean endorses Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor and encourage teens and young adults to read Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (Book One), Escape from Ancient Egypt (Book Two), The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide and her latest book title Bloody Klondike Gold. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on October 20, 2016.

Amazon Customer Reviews
Hard Cover Print
Soft Cover Print


Bloody Klondike Gold: A Randi Braveheart
Mystery Short Story by A. K. Taylor

A summer trip to the Klondike can be deadly…

Randi and her friend go to the Mineral Creek mining claim in the Klondike to visit her father during the mining season. Sabotage, theft, and a death threat turn wilderness summer fun and normal mining operations into a fight for survival…

Bloody Klondike Gold is an introductory short story to the new Randi Braveheart Mystery Series by award winning Teen/YA author A.K. Taylor! Stay tuned for the first installment To Catch a Catfish coming in 2017.

Lovers of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries will enjoy this new series with a gutsy, tomboy heroine from the bayous of Lousiana!

Book Review For Bloody Klondike Gold:
A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story

Short stories are to an avid reader like chocolate to sweet tooth. Bloody Klondike Gold by A. K. Taylor is a short Story introduction to the Randi Braveheart action suspense mystery thriller series.

Two teenage friends, Randi and Brittany drive the long 2, 700 mile trek from San Francisco to southeast Alaska. Randi’s father, William Wallace Braveheart was already on location as his reputation for finding gold at any location made him a valuable asset.

Mining communities are tight knit as the environment, equipment and the mining processes inherit dangers make mining for Gold a driving force with the claim crews but also a draw for the darker side of human nature.

The summer starts out as an adventurous vacation with Randi dreaming of fishing in cool streams to a mining community’s worst nightmare.

If you enjoyed Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries then I invite you to read ‘Bloody Klondike Gold’ to prepare for ‘To Catch A Catfish’ scheduled for release in 2017. If this short story is any indication of what is to come with ‘To Catch A Catfish’ then prepare yourself for an action packed, suspense mystery thriller.

Theodocia McLean endorses Bloody Klondike Gold: A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story as the introduction to A. K. Taylor’s new action suspense mystery thriller series coming soon. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on September 23, 2016.



Escape From Ancient Egypt
(The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor


When being stuck in the past has a whole new meaning…

What if your worst enemy sent you on a one-way ticket to the past? Worse, later he shows up and tries to play match-maker with a dominant historical figure while all of history and the future on the line? Survival is just one problem, but then add your friends into the mix…

Following an intense battle between the Indians and the Crackedskulls, Neiko and her comrades enjoy victory while her enemies suffer a crushing defeat. Victory is short lived for Neiko when Francesco pays her a visit at her home and sends her away in order to collect on his threat of revenge. She is banished into the ancient world of ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II the Great on a one way ticket.

Lost and trapped in this ancient world, it doesn’t take very long for trouble to find her. Taken by a rich man, she is reunited with three her friends that had been missing, and an eleven-year-old mystery is finally solved, but one of Neiko’s friends is still unaccounted for. After escaping from the rich man and journeying to Thebes, Neiko and her comrades have actually jumped from the pan and into the fire.

Things go horribly awry when Pharaoh finds out about Neiko and becomes infatuated with her. Francesco comes to Egypt on orders to bring her back, but he has other plans. Can Neiko and her friends thwart Francesco, return to the 21st century, and escape from the past and one of the greatest kings that ever lived?

If you love the action, adventure, and time travel intrigue of Back to the Future and Time Machine (except without the time machine) and modern Native Americans in ancient Egypt, but the story of the Ten Commandments and the Prince of Egypt in reverse with a battle of wills and the motives of passion from Pharaoh, you’ll love Escape from Ancient Egypt!


  • Finalist: Wisebear Digital Book Awards
  • Winner of the Bronze Medal Award and Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards!
  • Winner of the UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge!

Praise for Escape from Ancient Egypt:

“Neiko has the potential for becoming a literary role model for young girls. The Escape From Ancient Egypt storyline is good conceptually with lots of action and we did find ourselves anxiously wanting to know how the author resolved Neiko’s dilemna. Taylor also does a nice job of drawing the reader into the fictional world of ancient Egypt literally with her fantastic artwork interspersed throughout the novel.” By Wisebear Books

“An exciting and action packed book from start to finish. This is the story of a young girl who travels between different times and places, and leads a life in each. Neiko finds herself in some scary and challenging situations in each place, and the book has a good amount of suspense as the reader awaits her next move. The writing is fantastical and highly imaginative, without being too far-fetched that the reader will lose interest.” By Biblio Phanatic 5 Stars

“There is never a dull moment, and the book is punctuated with wonderful illustrations which break up the chapters. It reminds me of those books you read as a kid where you had to choose the ending and second guess what was coming.”  By N Bookwitch 5 Stars

Book Review For Escape From Ancient Egypt
(The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2)

Escape From Ancient Egypt by A. K. Taylor is book two in the Neiko Adventure series. Although penned as a series, each book stands alone with action adventure all its own.  ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ is for those young adult readers who enjoy time travel to ancient Egypt with a Native American Indian twist.

The book starts out with a wonderful map drawing of Egypt Ca 1300 BC drawn by author. The seven photo illustrations were produced by a separate artist. Her book cover design is by Mallory Rock.

In chapter one, Neiko (main character) emerges from a portal and makes a log entry concerning Hawote, a “hidden land that coexisted with the United States, Canada, and Mexico”.

Forty-three chapters reveal realistic characters, imaginative fantasy with action suspense drama, easy to follow dialog that will keep the reader engaged anticipating the next carefully placed photo that brings visual enhancement to the story.

In order to give you the reader a feel for the author’s writing style, I quote a passage from chapter three and share a description of the illustration photo in this chapter.

“Neiko’s vision turned from the green light to the world spinning around her in dizzying speed. Neiko wasn’t moving, but she felt like she was in freefall—like someone had cut the cable from an elevator, and she was plummeting with it. Descending in what—space and time? The evergreen and colorful deciduous vegetation of the Hawote woodlands changed to a desert with a river with some greenery and palms nearby. The cool autumn air of Hawote in October transformed into stifling, searing, dry heat. Pyramids, sphinxes, and strange statues spun around her after her house, porch, and front yard disappeared within the vortex. It was nighttime in Hawote, but the sun rose and set as time flew by— from west to east—backwards. Beneath her bare feet the wood from her front porch turned to nothing then into hot, soft sand.

Neiko’s world stopped spinning, and the sun was high in the sky. Neiko watched the sun to be sure it didn’t move again. Wherever she ended up, she guessed the time must be about high noon there judging by the sun’s position in the sky after a few moments of observation. The heat was intense, and she discovered she must be somewhere far from home. “Where?” was the ultimate question.”

There is a photo of an Indian within this script. “The man chattered in a language she didn’t understand—God knows what he was saying to her. He thrust at her a fine scarab necklace. Neiko looked at him puzzled with her right eyebrow raised. The language didn’t sound like Arabic since she watched a lot of action movies. Neiko put up her hands and shook her head and signed “map” and “phone” and spoke the words in every language that she knew of but got nowhere.”

As you can see Neiko is far from home. You must become a detective yourself and read this book to find out how and why Neiko travels through time? What mystery involves Neiko and some of her friends? How does a Native American girl fit into ancient Egypt culture and what is a girl to do when the Pharaoh takes a romantic interest? What will it take to get Neiko out of the past and back home?

‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ was the finalist in the ‘Wisebear Digital Book Awards’, winner of the ‘Bronze Medal Award’,  ‘Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards’ and Winner of the ‘UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge’.

I invite you to read the first book in this series titled ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ as both books stand alone with their own adventure.

Theodocia McLean endorses Escape From Ancient Egypt (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor. I purchased and reviewed this book from Kindle format. This review was completed on September 8, 2016.

Amazon Customer Review
Hard Cover Print
Soft Cover Print


The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide:
How to Thrive in the Book Marketing Wilderness by A. K. Taylor


After crash landing into self-publishing with nothing but the clothes she had on, author AK Taylor fought for survival with trying to market her books on a small budget. After two years of trial and error, reworking, refining, and reaching out, she has created the first survival guide for book marketing compiled of great tools and resources that can be used by any author during the rough times.

Comparing the book marketing wilderness with the real wilderness is how Taylor viewed the publishing world around her. Growing up in the woods and learning survival skills has given her this unique viewpoint for a different kind of world. When she started her search for information, a book marketing survival guide didn’t exist–until now.

New Author? Confused about social media and where to begin? Need a field guide or manual? Here it is! Pick up a copy today!

Genre: Nonfiction

Praise for The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide:

“Wish I had picked up this survival guide MUCH SOONER! Easy to read, well organized. I find myself referring to it often, and I have no doubt it will help build the endurance a new writer needs in order to survive and flourish. Happy to highly recommend this one!”  By Audrey Kane, first time author

“I found this book incredibly useful. I have been searching for a book to help me get my head around Google Adwords. In terms of the amount of support it gives others, it would be worthy of five stars.”  By J. James Goodreads Reviewer and Indie Author

Amazon Customer Reviews


Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author A. K. Taylor

A. K. Taylor is an award winning YA fantasy/science fiction adventure writer who has been writing novels since age 16. Taylor also draws her characters and maps of the worlds she created sense then. Before this she began loving writing at age 8 and a natural world builder.

She grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections.

She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.

Now she is a compulsive blogger and a genre hopper, but her first love will always be fantasy!

In 2013 she founded Soaring Eagle Publicity. Visit to see what it’s all about.

Connect with her on her author site and blog at

Occupations: MG/YA fantasy/sci-fi author (now award winning), beekeeper, amateur herpetologist, scientist, artist, marksman, blogger, outdoor sportsman, and animal lover. Musician and instrumentalist who played the French horn since middle school.

Interesting facts: I love the animals that most people hate. I LOVE snakes. Snakes need love too, but I don’t cuddle with the venomous ones, BTW, so you won’t see my life story on “Fatal Attractions”. Most people hate bees (not the same thing as wasps and hornets), but they aren’t as easy to hold and pet since they are too easy to squash and they sting.  I love them enough so that they will make honey.

Chocoholic and action addict. Big Vin Diesel fan. I have a lot of favorite movies: Star Wars, Dirty Harry, Legend…I’ll stop there. Did I mention I was an action addict? I don’t like being bored.

I began my writing career young at sweet 16 that began with my debut novel Neiko’s Five Land Adventure. Instead of a car, I wanted my own computer, but didn’t happen till I bought my own about five years later. I started out on my parents’ ancient slow computer. I received my first rejection slip when I was 21, but it was a blessing in disguise. I chose the indie way instead!

Graduate of UGA with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Total science nerd. I love all science besides biology; chemistry is my fave. I hate political science, but that’s not science–I don’t even think it’s a pseudoscience.

  • Owner and CEO of Soaring Eagle Publications LLC
  • Blog Coordinator for YAPC
  • Owner and Publicist at Soaring Eagle Publicity
  • CEO and Publisher at Soaring Eagle Books
  • For savvy tips, tools, and resources for new and aspiring (sometimes established) authors, check out my other blog Newbie Authors Guide
  • Blog Coordinator at Booklover’s Heaven
  • PT Book Reviewer and avid reader when I have time to read between it all. Not a fan of Romance but I love action!

Why is it called this? There is more than one AK Taylor out there, but as far as she knows she’s the only one from the backwoods, and the backwoods makes up her life!


What makes you proud to be a writer from White Plains, GA? White Plains, GA is out in the middle of nowhere. I am proud to be an author from the backwoods. Since there are a couple other AK Taylors out there, I appropriately named my site “backwoodsauthor”. I have lived most of my life in the rural and backwoods of Georgia. I am not originally from the town of White Plains and lived in other rural areas in the state. However, living in a remote area proposes some interesting challenges in book marketing like having to travel at least 30+ minutes to the nearest Barnes and Noble to do a book signing if I’m lucky. The world is really big compared to the one red light town I live close to but not in.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have enjoyed creative writing and using my imagination as far back as I can remember–well, I enjoyed creative writing when I learned how to write, lol. I have always had a vivid imagination. I also love reading, video games, role playing, movies, and even nature caused the spark. Becoming professional sort of happened.

As an experiment I decided to see if I could graduate from short stories and poems to novels at 16. I was successful, but then an entire series was born. My talent only grew from there.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? My environment, both good and bad, had a lot to do with why I started to write novels at such a young age (16) and influenced my creativity. Let’s start out with the good. Living far out in the woods provided me places to create adventures and new worlds, and I loved writing short stories for school when I could write what I wanted to. Being an only child with very few friends close to my age forced me to have other ways to occupy my time. I also grew up watching, playing, reading, and loving fantasy, science fiction, action and adventure, and mysteries. A lot of these things influence and find their way into the writing. Later in life, I have inspiration from dreams. Yes, you did read that right.

OK, the bad. I was bullied a lot just about the entire time I went to school, and it followed me into the workplace. I would write to escape and lose myself. I learned to hate reality due having to deal with that and because it was painful. The worst years of the bullying took place during the time I lived in the suburbs, so I couldn’t hide in the woods anymore. I was then at the age that playing was no longer allowed although I stuck it out as long as I could. This finds its way into the first installment of my teen/YA fantasy series where it finds controversy with the more grown-up readers. The strength of my female leads has been remarked upon by readers and when working with editors. The strength they have for their amazing adventures was the strength I had to have to survive the day for many years. Bullying finds its way into stories as well, but it’s taken more to the extreme than what might be found in high school.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? When I started writing I never intended to publish. I wrote my first full length novel when I was 16 as an experiment (I am also a scientist at heart). I taught myself how to do it. I never went to a writing class or a writer’s group. Even if there were, would they allow teens in there? I had no teachers or any mentors available to me. I don’t even know if they had them where I lived. Due to the chronic bullying, I felt that no one would ever want to read my stories and would think they were stupid, and they would laugh me to scorn. I never told anyone at school I wrote stories even my teachers; it was my top secret project. The only reason why my parents knew was because I would keep them up all hours of the night hammering away at the keys since the computer was in their room at that time. They had to yank me off from the story so they could play solitaire or get me to come to dinner. They did tell on me to other family members who later peeked. Then it leaked at church. The secret came out even when I didn’t want it to.

There was this time the computer messed up and had to be taken to the shop. The repairmen somehow came across those stories on the hard drive and started reading them. People I didn’t even know said I needed to get this published. Later I was invited with some people at my church to go to a writer’s conference in the mountains. I had been writing and drawing maps and characters for 5 years so then I was 21. I am advised to take something else I had written and leave those fantasy books at home. So I took some of my character sketches and maps. I had menial or nonexistent expectations from the other writers there or the instructors. I was the youngest person at that conference. People there said I need to get it published–the complete opposite of what I expected. They wished I had brought some samples of those books. Bummer.

At 21 I try to pitch to traditional publishers. Nothing ever happens, and it is a huge disappointment after the high I had, but then who was I kidding? They would laugh at something written by a kid anyway. Then it’s time to go off to college. I am not going to have time for this in college, so I put my publishing dreams aside. After I graduate, I find out about self-publishing. After dealing with a shady publisher, it deals a blow. I have no idea what to do next after I am able to republish the first book again. I have to figure it out on my own with no one to ask or teach me anything. OMG, what have I done? What have I just gotten myself into? Well, everything I had to learn the hard way became both a book and a blog which have been moderately successful.

After toil, frustration, tears, learning, ups and downs, and wondering if I have lost my ever-loving mind while fending off depression and PTSD, I have now become my own imprint and started a business. More series have come and the Neiko Saga continues to grow. I have many that need edits and publishing and more to write. I have epic dreams with a fishing line budget, but I am ever closer to one day achieving some of my more gigantic dreams someday.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? For me it has been about the exploration and discovery along the way. The discovery of new people, new worlds, and brave new adventures. The writing process holds for me what life does without bullies. My imagination went to new heights after laying down the action figures and picking up the pen (or the keyboard). I don’t know if I will try Dragon since it may not like my Southern drawl. I know the speaking app on the phone or automated answering computers don’t.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? After a few awards and mostly good reviews and support from readers on my books and my blogs, it is nice to know that it was worth it to take a risk and do it. I was able to find out that I truly did have a talent to share with the world even though I was reluctant and terrified. There have been the occasional few who didn’t, but that’s okay. No one is laughing and telling me to go hide somewhere.

How many published books do you have? I have 4.

Please list the titles of all your books:
Neiko’s Five Land Adventure
Escape from Ancient Egypt
The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide
Bloody Klondike Gold

Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I usually try to come up with a working title before writing the manuscript, but there could be tweaks made to it afterward and after I stew on it awhile to make sure I am happy with it. I rarely do not come up with anything at the beginning, and “then after the manuscript” is plan B.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Well, as for genre, I am a genre crosser and a genre blender (like fantasy action adventure), but the common threads I follow are action adventure and tween/teen/young adult (this is an age group and not a genre, BTW), but fantasy and sci-fi are my first loves because I love to build worlds. I write for younger audiences because I don’t enjoy writing for grownups. Too many rules and limits besides what makes a fun, great story. I do also dabble into mystery, paranormal, supernatural, and horror but the age group and the action and adventure still apply.

Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Escape from Ancient Egypt

What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Since I was 17 at the time let me think… I probably had just learned about Ramesses II in school in history class and saw a couple movies about him, so then a question of “what if” came along. I looked at some other kings, but they just didn’t have quite enough muscle to try to pin down Neiko, the right personality or I didn’t have enough information about them. This was the day of expensive dialup internet, so I didn’t have access to information that I have now. And, I always was a sucker for time travel.

And I just want to dive into the story now. I wrote this one shortly after my experiment novel Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (it was called something else then, but I am not going to share that embarrassing title). Amazingly, the story is the same as it was when I wrote the books just as it was when I was a teen, but with the polish of a professional edit of course. Not many first ever books make it to press, and I didn’t plan it that way, but it happened nonetheless. They are doing well for books written by a kid (the readers and awards say so, not just me).

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? You must believe in yourself and your talent and take calculated risks because no one else will. Always remember that you are your own worst critic. Getting that inner critic in check is tough at times, but it must be done.

Who is your favorite author and why? It’s a close tie between Brian Jacques and Terry Brooks, but I do read others. Mostly it’s the worlds and characters I have come to enjoy more than anything, and I like the adventure that goes along with it.


Amazon Author’s Page
Professional Website

Professional Blog
Professional Backwoods Blog

Soaring Eagle

Cold Coffee Press
Cold Coffee Café



Cold Coffee Press Book Endorses Sometimes Fate Can Be Very Cruel! Book # 9 by Raymond Cook

Sometimes Fate Can Be Very Cruel! Book # 9 by Raymond Cook

Migrating to the Colorado Territory was not without perils. From cholera, smallpox, broken wagon wheels, Indian attacks, lost children, injuries, rattlesnake bites, taking the wrong road, blizzards, starvation and even robbery could crush the dreams of a pioneer family.

Sometimes Life Can Be Very Cruel! is a 179 page story about Arnold and Bonnie Brown who with their two children, Missy, age fourteen and Autumn, five years old traveled by covered wagon from Independence, Missouri on their way to Marble, Colorado in 1897. A rancher by the name of Eddie Fields loved to prey on pioneer families by switching a sign on the main road to lead folks in covered wagons to his ranch.

After taking that wrong turn Arnold and his wife find themselves at his ranch at dusk. Arnold asks the man if they can spend the night but that was a tragic mistake. Eddie kills Arnold and his wife; before beating Missy savagely. As the killer carries Autumn towards his cabin, Missy shoots the man with her pa’s pistol but doesn’t kill him. Filled with terror; she picks up her little sister and runs for the forest before she’s shot in the arm.

After three days they’re hungry and scared to death after living on nuts and berries. Finally Missy and her sister reach a main road. A couple on their way to Marble spot the two children on a road. They’re taken to town so a home for the children can be found. The mayor and city council will hold a meeting where all interested families can plead their case as to why they would be the best family to provide the two children with a loving home.

Amazon 5 Star Comment. Another excellent book. July 25, 2015. Excellent book, I really like this author, as soon as I finish one I start another, and when they fit together it’s wonderful.

Cold Coffee Press Book Review For Sometimes Fate Can Be Very Cruel!
Book # 9 by Raymond Cook

Can you remember the emotions you had as a child when your parents made the decision to move out of town, out of-state or out of country? Now put yourself in fourteen year old Missy’s shoes and 4 year old Autumn’s as their parents load all their belongings into covered wagons leaving Independence, Missouri for Colorado Territory?

Parents always know what the children can’t comprehend. Arnold and Bonnie Brown were had apprehensions about out rooting their two daughters from the only home they had ever known. Stories about Indians, cholera, smallpox, broken down wagons, lost children and countless other dangers kept them up at night discussing the risks. After fifteen of struggling on this dry, unforgiving land with hot humid summers, Arnold and Bonnie longed for the promised land of 160 acres with fresh water, herds of deer and lush green meadows for their girls to play in.

Almost to the end of the perilous journey, it’s a thief and a murderer named Eddie who becomes the Brown’s worst nightmare. Fourteen year old Missy is forced to shoot Eddie after he kills both her parents, beats her and is intent in harming her little sister Autumn. After Missy is shot in the shoulder she grabs her sister and runs into the dense, unknown forest for protection and is forced scavenge for wild berries to keep them both from starving. Terrified of running into black bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes and maybe even grizzly, Missy holds on tight to Autumn’s hand.

Walking for days they finally come upon a road where a couple stopped their buckboard and took them into town. The mayor and town council must decide who will adopt both girls. It was decided that Carl Jackson and his wife Cheyenne would take the girls into their home, offered love, comfort and a hope of healing from what they witnessed. Missy will always be over protective of Autumn who has a better chance of accepting the loss of her parents.

Loss of a loved one at any age is difficult, but loss of both parents at a young age cause the child to lose their compass. Life marches on for Missy and Autumn, but it is also hard and challenging as you will discover when you read this book. Kids grew up faster and tougher in many ways in those days. I invite you to read ‘Sometimes Fate Can Be Very Cruel’ and see what happens to these two young girls. If you have a sibling that you are close to, you will understand the sister bond between Missy and Autumn. As you read you will see what life has in store for both girls. Can their sister bond they share ever be threatened or broken by time or even distance?

I have several of Raymond Cook’s twenty-five western family sagas. Each book stand alone and can be read out of order. . If you like western family drama that is much like ‘Little House On The Prairie’ then you will enjoy the western series of books from Author Raymond Cook.

I personally endorse Sometimes Fate Can Be Very Cruel! Book # 9 by Raymond Cook. His next book, a western romance titled ‘The Gunnison Serial Killer’ is promised to be released soon. I purchased and reviewed this book from Kindle. This review was completed on October 4, 2016.




Escape From A Territorial Penitentiary! Book #25 by Raymond Cook

Note: This Book begins with a historical background outline of the homestead era.

Escape From A Territorial Penitentiary! © 2016 by Raymond Cook is a 288 page (Light Erotic Content) story about Frank and Martha Hoosier who traveled from Nauvoo, Illinois on the Mormon trail to Rock Springs, Wyoming in 1901. But the following spring Frank dies in her arms in the middle of the street from two stray shots by a drunk man. Martha is devastated. The land agent takes the land back and now she’s homeless.

Desperate, Martha robs a man in an alley and ends up killing him. She’s charged with murder and taken by train to the federal courthouse in Green River for trial. A judge Martha sentences her to two years in the Territorial Penitentiary. There were thirty cells for women and none of them had running water or toilets. Their mattresses were thin and only had two blankets and a pillow. The women worked in the broom making room in the prison during the day, ate their meals together; otherwise they lived alone in their cells. Worst of all, none of the women convicts were allowed visitors or correspondence. This allowed the ruthless warden and his guards to rape them at will. Compliance was quickly gained through beatings, starvation, abuse and isolation.

After a month of rapes and beatings the warden offers Martha a chance to live in his house outside the penitentiary cooking, cleaning and providing sex to just him. Becoming his sex slave and not living in her cell was the lesser of two evils. Ten days later Martha leads a riot in which the warden and prison guards were killed.

The women convicts burn the records of who they were and the towns they lived in before being sentenced to prison. They flee and start their lives over under new names. Three days later someone arrives at the prison and finds the warden and all the guards dead. He alerts the U. S. marshal’s office.

Note: This is my 25th western frontier eBook and I believe that with each book written I have become a better writer. This I feel is my most well written book.

Cold Coffee Press Book Review For Escape From
A Territorial Penitentiary by Raymond Cook

Escape From A Territorial Penitentiary by Raymond Cook is a western tale dated in the early 1900’s. Author Raymond Cook writes with authority in this time period and has a heart for his story and characters. Although each book in his series stands alone and can be enjoyed in any sequence, this book is slightly different from the rest. (Light erotica requires a more mature audience.)

Realistic characters in a rugged western environment with seventeen gorgeous photos depicting that time period that fit right into the chapter where the authors placed it.

A well written, time period researched drama brings the characters, dialog and story to life on the page.

This book begins with a wonderful Education Of The Homestead Act Of 1862! Included in the pages of this book is a real letter of desperation and even seven passages of scripture.

Twenty Three Chapters with color photos follow the life of Mrs. Martha Hoosier as she follows her husband Frank from Nauvoo, Illinois and acquire a homestead in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Life is rugged for Frank and Martha with dangers from wildlife, weather, bandits, illness and accidents where life and death hang in the balance.

One morning as the couple crosses the street, a drunk shoots at a deputy and hits Frank by mistake taking his life, Martha becomes desolate as the land agent takes the homestead back. With no one to lean on, no money, no way to grow food and no supplies, Martha resorts to stealing or begging for food for survival.

After she holds up a man in an alley and kills him, a Federal Judge sentences her to two years in Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary. With crude accommodations Martha finds herself in a cell surrounded by nine other women in cells. She will have to make do with no running water or toilet, as she clings to the comfort of her thin mattress, two blankets and pillow.

The convicts were allowed to eat together but weren’t allowed visitors or correspondence. They endured unimaginable abuse from the warden and his guards. Like any caged animal, human beings revolt at some point. Martha summoned up the courage to lead a riot and becomes the leader of these women. They must escape, change their names, start over in a distant town, staying hidden and not break the law. The US Marshal will seek revenge for the death of the warden and all his guards.

I invite to read this book and learn about the wild, Wild West from Martha Hoosier’s tragic life situation. Find out what it’s like to homestead in the Wild West and what happens if a woman become homeless in the 1900’s. What will become of Martha and her friends after they break out of the penitentiary? Will Martha or any of the escapees get caught, and would they hang a women?

I personally endorse Escape From A Territorial Penitentiary by Raymond Cook. I purchased and reviewed this book from Kindle. This review was completed on September 6, 2016.

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I Miss My Pa The Most! (Book # 19) by Raymond Cook

‘I Miss My Pa The Most!’ by Raymond Cook is a 388 page story about Christopher and Shannon Rose O’Shea who lived in Marble, Colorado in 1898. The couple have a daughter, Emma, aged eight. After a stove pipe fire erupts downstairs, everyone must escape out a small window to the roof and jump down. Christopher dies in the fire and Shannon suffers burns on the right side of her face, neck and arm.

Emma is devastated over the loss of her father. Shannon and her daughter are taken in by their neighbors, David and Pamela Liley. It takes months for Shannon to heal from her burns however, accepting the loss of the man she loved and the father of her daughter will take longer. When spring arrives, Shannon remembers that her husband has an older brother, Lance in Garnet, Montana. He agrees to take her and her daughter in.

With the help of the town’s parson, Thomas O’Malley, townsfolk’s raise the funds needed to help get Shannon and Emma to Montana. But the last leg of her journey won’t be easy, to say the least. Indians, grizzly bear, cougar, highwaymen and rancher who betrays her will whittle away at the last bit of hope Shannon has for them to reach Garnet alive. When they finally reach Garnet, she learns her husband’s brother, Lance is dead too.

Now they’re camped at the edge of town and believe there’s no hope left. She feels that no man will ever want to marry her and that she’ll have to raise her Emma alone. The town’s reverend introduces her to Kenneth Buchanan who’s agrees to take them both into his home. But the women of Garnet don’t like the fact they’re living together and fight her. So the reverend marries the couple, ‘out of convenience.’ Can Kenneth and Shannon stay married but be just friends or will he see beyond her scars and see the love she has to offer him? And what about Emma? Will she finally bond with Kenneth and call pa again?

Book Review: “One part of this book, took 5 Kleenex’s, I was almost sobbing, it was so emotional. The story just kept going along with this family from one drama to the next. I kept thinking this is enough for these poor farmers. it showed how lawless a lot of the West was in the 1800’s.” Reviewer: Sue A. Hanke, Amazon, Feb. 28th, 2016

Cold Coffee Press Book Review For I Miss My Pa The Most! by Raymond Cook

I Miss My Pa The Most by Raymond Cook is a western tale from the late 1890’s. The author writes with sincere passion and authority about the West.

Christopher O’Shea, his wife Shannon and eight year old daughter Emma manage to survive all the perils on a covered wagon trip from Nauvoo, Illinois west and set up ranching in the outskirts of Marble, Colorado. This tight knit little family has faced “cholera, smallpox, Indian attacks, drownings, injuries, dust storms, wildfires, tornadoes, rattlesnake bites and mountain avalanches”.

There are many beautiful descriptive written scenes that are set off by breathtaking photography. Here are three of my favorites, but you will have to read the book to see the photos.

“As they walked through knee high wet grass the sound of rushing water got louder and louder. When they walked as far as they could go, they stopped and stared at the large creek that made a slight bend to their left. The sky was still mostly blue with patches of white clouds drifting south. It was a wide, deep and winding creek, sure to be filled with Rainbow, Brown or German trout Christopher thought.”

“Brush and young saplings lined the edge of the slow moving creek. Leonard followed a deer trail along the creek making his way down to the lake. When the lake came into sight, everyone was startled as a large bald eagle swooped right passed them and grabbed a fat trout just below the surface.”

“As it flew off with its meal Emma excitedly pointed and said, “I wanna catch a trout that size pa!” Suddenly everyone laughed. Now and then the family saw trout jumping out of the water though none were big fish. Finally Leonard called out and said, “Well let’s make our way back up to the cabin folks.”

The O’Shea family homestead on small piece of land containing old cabin and barn where they set out to make this country their home. Like all new settlers they have to live off the land and defend their property from both wild and human dangers. They are settling into their new life, enjoying the new friends, local community, a church and Emma even goes to school.

Little did they know that their worst nightmare would be a fire. Christopher gives his life to let his wife and daughter escape the fire engulfing their cabin. Grief stricken Shannon sets out with her daughter for Montana where Christopher’s brother will take them in. The journey is rugged and dangerous and it is up to this strong woman to protect her daughter.

Amidst the struggles comes so many heartwarming and beautiful moments between a father and his daughter, husband and wife and mother and daughter. There are new friends and a new beginnings. The characters, dialog and story are realistic to the time. There are nineteen breath taking photos throughout the story which show the beauty of the land and the abundance that is harvested from hard work.

This is book 19 out of 24 Western Family Saga’s that you can enjoy through Kindle. Revisit the Wild West in its beauty and tragedy as Americans forge their way to a new life.

Let me address a side issue. As a published author myself, I always read the reviews before I purchase a book. It is not unusual for readers who have never written a book to be over judgmental. I found the grammar and voice in this book to be consistent with the region of the country and time period. There are a couple of line spacing issues that in no way affect the story. If you like family stories of the Wild West, you will enjoy this book.

Raymond Cook’s bio clearly states that he is a “62 year old disabled veteran”. We thank him for his service to our country and encourage him to keep on writing heartwarming stories like this.

I personally endorse ‘I Miss My Pa The Most’ by Raymond Cook. I purchased and reviewed this book from Kindle. This review was completed on May 8, 2016.

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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Raymond Cook

As for who Raymond Cook is, well, I’m a 62 year old disabled veteran. In 1972, at the age of 18, I enlisted in the marine Corp. My plan was to retire. But fate has a way of changing our destiny. In 1974 on my way back to my base, a drunk driver hit me head-on going 80 MPH and my life was forever changed. Those were my darkest days. Eventually in 1983 I enrolled in college and took a creative writing class as an elective. At that point I had no interest at all in becoming a writer or author. In truth, how many people have taken a writing course in high school or college and believed one day they would write a book?

Little did I realize what a ‘profound Impact’ that class and my instructor, Mr. Art Wicks would have on my future. Between 1983 and 2010 I wrote my poetry and short stories, but refused to believe that one day I could set down and pen thousands of words, put a title to what would one day be considered a book. In 2003, I wrote a 5 page western romance story I simply called, “A Western Romance Story!” It was only meant to be a short story. Each year though I would add a few pages to the story because I liked the story plot and characters. In 2011 while wanting to add 10 more pages to what was now a 50 page story, ‘something happened’ and it became my first novel called, “Was It Fate Or Destiny?”

This is my 5th year writing western frontier novels.

I recently learned that Arthur William David Wicks, my college professor who taught Creative Writing to me in 1983 recently died on Nov. 10, 2013. It is a great loss to the world because he truly touched the lives of his students, me in particular. Without his guidance, encouragement and inspiration, none of my eBooks or poetry would have been written.

An author’s goal is to not just ‘Entertain a reader’ but to try to touch the reader’s emotions too.  After all, that’s the entire purpose of reading a book, to enjoy what you’ve read.

Random stuff about me:

  • I grew up in Shelton, Washington, a small logging town. My family lived on an Indian reservation for several years.
  • I have a grown daughter, 31 and a grown son, 27.
  • I presently live in California and love the blue sky.
  • I’m a life member of the DAV having served in the Marines. (1972-74)
  • I love deer hunting and fishing but don’t do either right now.
  • My best friend’s grandchildren treat me as a long lost uncle. (Big Smiles)
  • I like going to rodeos, county fairs, garage sales, swap meets and farmers markets.
  • I like helping others if I can and have a strong ‘volunteer’ spirit within me.
  • I love all types of music but couldn’t carry a tune if someone handed me a bucket.
  • I like to garden and am health minded.
  • I love horses, dogs and cats.
  • Favorite Movies: True Grit, Silverado, The Magnificent Seven, Unforgiven and Pale Rider.
  • Favorite Bucket List Thing I’d Like To Do: Go shark fishing off of Monterey Bay, California.

As you scroll down my homepage you’ll see the four books that are my favorites. Since my first eBook in 2011, I’ve written 23 more western frontier eBooks totaling 6,200 pages. If someone had told me in 2011, I would write this many books, I wouldn’t have believed them. I hope one of my eBooks will become your favorite.

My advice to anyone who wants to write a book but thinks they can’t, stop saying, “I can’t” and take a ‘creative writing course’ like I did back in 1983. Then read your book slowly and fix the typos and grammar.


What makes you proud to be a writer from CA? Although I have been writing poetry and short stories since 1983, I never wrote a novel until I lived in Lodi, California. I would hate to think what would happen if I moved and couldn’t write again, lol!

What or who inspired you to become a writer? I took a 5 credit Creative Writing ‘Elective’ college class with no interest in writing anything, it was just an elective. But Art Wicks, the teacher was a mentor to thousands of students who took his class during his years as a professor. He left a profound impression on me for decades to come. I never believed an instructor or a class would have such a profound effect on my decades later. Arthur William David Wicks, my college professor recently died on Nov. 10, 2013. I know anyone who took one of his classes will not forget him.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I grew up watching western movies and tv series like Little house on the prairie and Bonanza. John Wayne will always be a person I admire.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Actually I never intended to be a published author. I had a 50 page western romance story I had been adding pages to for a number of years with no expectation of it ever becoming a book. In January, 2011 I exploded and wrote 200 pages more and it became ‘Was It fate Or Destiny?’ If I was to give a date I guess 2011 would be my answer. Since 2011 I have written 24 western frontier eBooks, with 5 more planned.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Seeing that I only got a ‘C’ in college English I have to say without a doubt that learning how important (GRAMMAR) is to my books has been the most rewarding experience. Spell check highlights typo’s but NOT misuse of words in sentences. It is almost impossible for an author to write a book and then correct his or her Grammar while they feel on cloud nine. It is a euphoria that clouds of mind since we know every word of our book.

I intend from now on to wait two weeks after finishing a book to go back and read it slowly as a stranger would read it. Then try to catch my mistakes. I 100% believe in using Beta Readers to help me better my books, but they need to be good Grammar minded readers. A Manuscript editing service is far beyond my budget to be able to afford. I have paid a high price Amazon comment wise to better my grammar. I still have books to re-edit before I write Book #25.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The most rewarding experience for me has been to watch some of the children in Book #1 throughout my series “Grow up” get married and have children of their own.

How many published books do you have? 25 eBooks

Please list the titles of all your books.

#1 Was It Fate Or Destiny?

#2 A Gunfighter’s Promise!

#3 Death Rides On Three Horses!

#4 A Marshal’s Destiny!

#5 Cheyenne’s Destiny!

#6 Death Followed The U. S. Deputy Marshal!

#7 Life Can Change In The Blink Of An Eye!

#8 On The Trail Of A Killer!

#9 Sometimes Fate Can Be Cruel!

#10 Tales From A Small Town Sheriff!

#11 Ambush On McClure Pass!

#12 Unstoppable!

#13 A Journey Along The Mormon Trail!

#14 Sometimes Trouble Comes In Two’s!

#15 Who Abducted The U. S. Deputy Marshals Granddaughter?

#16 When The Hunted Becomes The Hunter!

#17 Revenge is A Dish Best Served Cold!

#18 An Appointment With The Gallows!

#19 I Miss My Pa The Most!

#20 A Journey Along The Oregon Trail!

#21 It Was Fight Or Die!

#22 He Was The Only Thing Keeping Her Alive!

#23 A Brothel, A Beauty And A Murderer!

#24 The Hunt For The Mountain Man!

#25 Escape From A Territorial Penitentiary!

Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I feel every writer has his own strategy he or she uses. For me, I browse through thousands of western frontier era photographs at various photography websites. The moment I see a particular photo I know the whole story from title, events to ending. In my mind a movie plays out and I just type. Of course I have to get permission to use the photo as my eBook cover or purchase the rights to use the photo or there will be no book. This is because the entire story is built around the photograph. The same is true for the title.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My genre is western and I grew up watching all the favorite western tv series as a child. I have always liked the era of homesteaders, wagon trains, good guys vs. the bad guys. Many of my main characters are women.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? It is an ABSOLUTE MUST to not only fix the typo’s spell check identifies but to also (READ) your book about two weeks after you have finished writing it. Let the “Excitement of your accomplishment wear off before you slowly read your book again. Don’t hurry. Take your time reading. A poorly edited book on Amazon will draw “Negative” comments and they will haunt you even after you have fixed the typos and grammar.

Case in point, in one of my books I wrote by mistake….

“When the couple opened the picnic basket they smelled the aroma of fried children.”

Because children was spelled correctly, had I not read my book I would not have realized the word I meant was chicken. I still laugh about that blooper though.

Who is your favorite author and why? I don’t have any one particular author I enjoy reading. The same holds true for my favorite western movie. I like many.


Here Are Just A Couple Books From The List Of Twenty-Five


It Was Fight Or Die! (Book # 21) by Raymond Cook

‘It Was Fight Or Die!’ by Raymond Cook is a 224 page story about the conflict between settlers coming to the town of Marble, Colorado and the bands of Indians that inhabited the Colorado territory in the 1890’s. The Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, Crow, Kiowa, Paiute, Pueblo, Shoshone, Sioux and the Ute tribes relied on vast hunting and fishing grounds not only for food but also clothing. Many of the Indian tribes were relocated to reservations by the U. S. Calvary to clear the way for settlers.

But the U. S. Government often times failed to provide the necessary cattle to help feed the Indians according to the treaty, for giving up their hunting grounds. Worse, inscrutable Indian agents many times deliberately gave blankets to the Indians which contained smallpox or cholera on them. Often times the reservations the Indians had to call home lacked suitable water and the soil was poor for growing food. If the Indians tried to flee, they were either killed trying to escape or were hunted down and killed.

The Homestead Act of 1862 however allotted each married couple 160 acres of land to homestead on in the Colorado Territory. Some families traveled 1,500 miles by covered wagon to reach Colorado to stake their claim. For those who didn’t want to be a rancher, they could prospect for gold or silver. Cattle ranchers needed ranch hands and The Yule Quarry outside of Marble needed workers to work at the quarry too. By 1899 nearly 400 people lived in or around Marble. The town now had its own newspaper and a dentist too.

The railroad would soon reach Marble too and that would open the area up to even more settlers. But the families calling Marble their home needed food, lots of food. Numbers of Elk, buffalo, deer and antelope dwindled. For the Shoshone, Sioux and Paiute, with game getting scarce for their people they have no choice but to join forces and make a stand or die. This is their story.

Book Review: “Western history about the white man and Indians has never been a pleasant read. The white man was greedy and felt the Indians were below him in importance. They were herded up and put in reservations for the most part. Many died during this process, including anyone that fought against it. No one should have been surprised when they fought back.

Mr. Cook has done a nice job of gathering facts about Marble, Colorado and the Indian wars there. He points out how the land was given free to anyone willing to homestead for five years, or they could buy the property cheaply if they planned to resell and move on sooner. He also mentions the lack of food the Indians got in reservation (many of soldiers in charge of delivering the animals sold them elsewhere and kept the money) and how they got smallpox from the used blankets they were given to keep them warm.

He makes his characters come to life and you care about the white families as well as the Indians. Many of the families had hard lives before they settled in the valley. Misfortune had touched almost everyone in town. Yet, they had courage and were willing to fight for their family and land.

Mr. Cook does a very good job of explaining the Indian’s war strategy. The white man didn’t give them credit for being smart and that was a big mistake. While the white man thought superior weapons and force would win the fight, the Indians used stealth and planning to take them down. This resulted in more guns and horses for the Indians.

I noticed a couple of historical references being repeated more than once in this book. Once is enough to establish the sequence of events. There were also some grammatical mistakes and a misspelling. Nothing too big, but I would suggest the author ask someone with new eyes to read his manuscript before publishing. They might catch these things, and then your book would be perfect.

All in all, it’s an educational read done in a fictional form and it makes reading history much more pleasant. Mr. Cook has the facts down right and his discussion of their motivations is also right on. Life was hard in homesteading days. Life was even harder for the displaced Indians. We have much to learn from history and this author will help you find out about it.” Book Reviewer: LAS Reviewer, July 21, 2014 Amazon

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Death Rides On Three Horses! (Book # 3) by Raymond Cook

The “Homestead Act of 1862” was the match that lit millions of Americans dreams back east of wanting to own their own land out west. Each married couple was eligible to own 160 acres of land out west if they lived on the land, built a home and farmed it for five years. Marble, Colorado was one such tiny town that held the promise of work in the gold, silver or marble mines.

‘Death Rides On Three Horses!’ is a 217 page story about one such gunfighter by the name of Daniel Coulter or ‘Big Dan’ by his friends. After killing a gunfighter in Brodie, California in 1877 by the name of Gene Martin, ‘Big Dan’ left Brodie headed for Colorado. When Gene’s older brother Andy and two of his friends ride into Brodie three weeks later from a cattle drive and learn of Gene’s death, they set out to track down Dan Coulter if they have to search three states to do it.

Meanwhile, Dan found himself in Redstone, Colorado where he met a 28 year old gal named Annie Sinclair. He never raised his hand against her nor hurt her with his words. But he taught her how to use a gun. After they married, he settled down to raising cattle and horses for three years. The couple hoped Dan’s past wouldn’t follow him but they were wrong. In the spring of 1888 three men rode into Marble, Colorado looking for Daniel eager to settle an old score. What happened next would change Annie’s life forever.

After finding ‘Big Dan’ on his ranch outside Marble, Colorado they murder him and beat and rape his wife. As they viciously beat Annie they told her their names, leaving her for dead. The problem was…. ‘They let her live’ and now Annie is out to track each one of them down and kill them for murdering her husband and raping her.

Book Review: “We’re back in Marble, Colorado in the late 1800’s. Along with the Liley’s & Bates families & all the other previously met residents of Marble you’ll meet Dan Coulter & Annie Sinclair. Dan was previously a gunfighter & he meets Annie in Redstone, a town near Marble. They fall in love & Dan has promised to hang up his guns but Annie wants to move to a smaller more peaceful town so they buy a home close to the Liley’s & settle down to a good life.

The last man Dan killed in a gunfight in Brodie, California has a brother named Andy Martin. Andy, along with his buddies Buckskin Mark & Adam Banks decide they are going to track Dan down & kill him. Along their way they continue their life of robbery, murder & rape until they end up in Redstone where they find that Dan is only a few miles away in Marble.

When they find Dan they murder him & rape Annie beating her almost to death. Thinking she is as good as dead they brag to her telling her each of their names. After Annie recovers she vows that she will not stop until she finds each & every one of them & makes them pay. Her journey of revenge & hate takes her to Wyoming, Utah, Montana & finally to California.

This part of the story was excellent & the reason I didn’t hesitate to give this book 5 stars. But, there is a “but.” The ending was very corny.

You’ll know what I mean when you read the book. It did not take away from the very good story but I didn’t care for that added part.

This is a cleanly written book with no smut & only some violence but nothing graphic. I highly recommend this to any lover of the old west.” Book Reviewer: Mary Jane Kail, July 10, 2015 Amazon

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A Journey Along The Mormon Trail! (Book # 13) by Raymond Cook

‘A Journey Along The Mormon Trail!’ by Raymond Cook is a 222 page story about a miner in Marble, Colorado named Jim Liley who worked in a marble quarry and lost his sight in his left eye due to an injury. He decides to get a 160 acre ranch but doesn’t want to live there alone so he places a mail-order bride notice in an Illinois newspaper. Kristy Greenfield saw his ad in The Nauvoo Gazette and after writing back and forth she decides to travel to Colorado to meet and marry Jim.

Does Kristy have what it takes to be a homesteader’s wife? Follow Kristy on her 1,200 mile trek along the Mormon Trail. The journey thousands of families made across the trail wasn’t without perils. Cholera, smallpox, broken wagon wheels, Indian attacks, drowning’s, lost children, injuries, savage dust storms, rattlesnake bites, getting lost, blizzards, starvation, lack of water and even robbery could crush the dreams of a pioneer family’s hopes for a new life.

As if all of those risks weren’t enough to discourage someone from trekking 1,200 miles across unknown dangers, unscrupulous merchants were known to sell covered wagons and provisions to families only to rob them several miles out of town. Then the men would bring the covered wagons back to the merchant who would re-sell them over and over. Take a trip back in time and see through Kristy’s eyes all that she endured hoping to find happiness at Jim Liley’s side as his wife.

Will she find the happiness she risked her life for or will she regret her marriage and break his heart by leaving on the stage? This is my 13th eBook in this series of pioneer families living in Marble Colorado in the 1890’s.

Book Review: “Jim Liley is a young man growing up in a Colorado quarrying town in the late 1800s. When he’s blinded in one eye in a quarry accident, he’s afraid no woman will ever want to marry him. Kristy Greenfield’s hometown in Illinois is becoming depleted of marriageable men as they all head west seeking their fortunes; will she end up growing old alone? Then Jim places a wife-wanted ad in the newspaper, beginning a sweet long-distance courtship with Kristy which leads to her making the momentous decision to head out west to marry him.

A Mail-Order Bride for Jim Liley follows the difficulties of life in a rough Colorado town, the developing romance between Jim and Kristy, and Kristy’s harrowing journey traveling with a wagon train along the Mormon Trail to meet Jim in Colorado and marry him. The story rambles, going into the colorful histories of the townsfolk of Marble, Colorado and other side trips, I caught a few anachronisms, and there are a few problems with the writing mechanics, in particular the paragraphing, though otherwise the prose is clear and well-written. But the story of Jim and Kristy’s courtship is engaging (no pun intended!) and the tale of Kristy’s trip west is full of excitement and danger, and a large amount of work and research clearly went into this heartfelt book. Recommended for fans of sweet western historical romance and books depicting the realities of life on the frontier in the 1870s.” Reviewer: Lunarmommyk, April 14, 2015, Amazon

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Was It Fate Or Destiny? (Book #1) by Raymond Cook

‘Was It Fate Or Destiny?’ by Raymond Cook is a 257 page story about Emily Brown, a 24 year old widow and her two children, Tommy age seven and Sarah six homesteading in the Crystal River Valley outside Marble, Colorado. Her husband Jess was a miner killed in a card room brawl at Kate’s Place saloon in 1890. Look through her eyes at the challenges she faces trying to raise and protect her children alone outside of town.

With Jess buried behind her cabin Emily doesn’t feel she can ever allow herself to fall in love with any other man. Travel back in time and see her meet Sam Bates, a kind but shy ranch hand bunking at the Triple R ranch. See the struggle each of them endure trying to share their feelings for each other and her love she had for Jess before they allow their love to grow.

See through their eyes after they marry the strength it takes to survive the harsh Colorado Rocky mountain winters where one day it can be blue sky and the next, four feet of snow. Three years later Sam discovers a jar of gold coins hidden in an old apple tree he chops down and their new found wealth nearly gets Sam murdered by two men seeking work as ranch hands. Tommy ends up saving families life from the killer’s.

Feel the terror in Emily’s heart as her family is terrorized by a grizzly bear. When Sam buys his children their own pony, he also buys Emily a horse for her birthday. After Sarah breaks her leg falling as she tried to put a baby owl back a barn rafter; Sam uses Sarah’s love for her new pony to help get to walk again. When the time comes for Marble to build their first schoolhouse, Sam, Emily, Sarah and Tommy ride to town as a family.

Book Review: “This is a good fiction western romance novel set in Colorado, among the mist of silver and marble mines in a small town of Marble, Colorado. Jess and Emily with their children, Tommy and Sarah were homesteading their land according to the Homesteading Act passed in1862. Jess was killed during a card game leaving 24 year old Emily to raise the children. One day going home from town her wagon wheel broke.

Sam Bates stopped to help Emily. Almost at first sight, love sparkled. A few months later, Sam and Emily married and became a family. This is a story of how people settled in the west; and the hardships they endured. Families and neighbors helped and protected each other. They had to prepare for the cold hard winters gathering food for themselves and their animals.

This was a clean, comfortable, fast paced read, just sit back, relax and enjoy reading about some of our history that made this great nation and see how our country grew out west with day to day living, by family after family. Thank you, Mr. Cook for a good book. A good clean romance about the hardships, accidents, and mishap. Also, a sweet love story.” Reviewer: Pat, April 16, 2016, Amazon

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Cold Coffee Press Endorses Axe of Iron Novels by J. A. Hunsinger

Cold Coffee Press Endorses Axe of Iron Novels by J. A. Hunsinger


Assimilation: An Axe of Iron Novel by J. A. Hunsinger

Assimilation will wet the appetite of the fans that have developed a fascination with the plight of the Greenland Viking settlers in the first two novels of the series, The Settlers and Confrontation.

The twists and turns of this continuing tale will engage the reader from the outset as the tall, fair-skinned invaders, knowing it is their key to survival, gradually assimilate with the savage natives of the pre-historical land that will become the Hudson Bay and Great Lakes regions of Canada and the US.

In a scenario ordained by the gods, this assimilation process has a thin chance of success through the forced involvement of two of the Viking settlers with tribes of natives that are habitual enemies of one another. Against overwhelming odds that can have but one successful outcome for the settlers, daily life becomes a balancing act where one word, one gesture, one innocent mistake, can spell disaster in this hostile setting.

Cold Coffee Press Book Review for Assimilation:
An Axe of Iron Novel by J.A. Hunsinger

Assimilation is the final novel in the Axe of Iron series by J. A. Hunsinger. The author asks that you read or reread the ‘Historical Perspective’ that is located in ‘The Settlers’ which is the first volume in this series. The author’s research into the historical time frame and authentic pre-historical Indian names is irrefutable. The ‘Historical Perspective’ goes into the whole concept of the Norse sagas. Even though each book stands alone, as a reader who has enjoyed the entire series, I encourage you to purchase all three books.

As the author states in his book’s description, the first two books in this series (The Settlers and Confrontation) “dealt with the plight of the Greenland Viking settlers”.

Assimilation begins with a map showing where the settlements are and opens with two Naskapi warriors hidden from view, surveying the river valley below. The saga continues with descriptive writing that puts you the reader on the ground experiencing the mysteries of the Viking period. Smell the earth and lush dense forests, travel the routes carved out of the land by natives and take up residence in the villages and experience the hardships of this pre-historical land that we now call the Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes of Canada and the US.

Eavesdrop on Nipishish and Ingerd as they lay in each other’s arms, engaged in whispered conversation like couples do.

Join warriors in their canoes as they glide in the chill of pre-dawn morning heading toward the Haudenosaunee Village.

Stand at the rail of a Viking ship called Steed of the Sea and feel the motion of the sea as the ship heads towards a distant beach.

After the storm, the Norse society dries out and attends to the damage that Njord and Thor (the gods of weather) have forced upon them. Catch a glimpse of the smoke that curls into the calm skies over the cook fires where fish, meat and stew aroma awaits the barley bread and other leftovers that will nourish the community and reward the daily chores.

Reconnect with the characters that you have come to know like Halfdan, his dog Fang, Tostig, and experience the council meetings where men discuss their destiny, when in reality it is the gods like the “mighty Thor” who have the final say.

Strong women who cook and weave on looms by the light of seal oil lamps, teach their girls to spin fibers of wool into skeins of thread, care for the children and their men with tenderness in a world where both beauty and harshness intertwine. Communities where communication and yes even gossip are the norm, and where the outsider might find rest if assimilation is acquired.

Drumbeats of war are as common as the moon rising over the snow, so too are the tracks of snowshoes where the trappers are as important as the warriors for a civilization that exists within a fine balance between preservation and extinction. Here is a quote: “Nipishish, Kejo, and Lothar returned to their village as quickly as possible after the parley with Nesatin. Word spread faster than normal through the Nitassinan that the Anishinabeg had rejected Sachem’s peace offering regarding the people of Haldansfjord.”

I invite you to read Assimilation and discover for yourself where the legend of the Death Wind came from and what it meant for the earliest American colonies. Enjoy the detailed glossary at the end of this book which will help you understand the authentic names and terms used in this book series.

Let me take this moment to thank Author J. A. Hunsinger for his time, research and engaging storytelling that has made An Axe of Iron series possible. I sincerely hope that he will continue to write as some storytellers have one story to tell, others have infinite stories that need to be told and preserved for generations to come. The Axe of Iron novels are one of those series that time will not forget.

Cold Coffee Press/Café endorses Assimilation: An Axe of Iron Novel by J. A. Hunsinger. Assimilation is book three in the fictional historical accounting of exploration and settlement of Vinland (North America). Reviewed from a Kindle format on October 1, 2016.

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Confrontation: An Axe of Iron Novel by J.A. Hunsinger

Second Book In An Axe of Iron Series

In Confrontation, two calamitous events occur that pave the way for the hostile beginnings of an assimilation process between the Greenland Norse settlers and the natives of Vinland. The first mixing of cultures occurs when a woman of the Northmen, Thora, and Deskaheh the Haudenosaunee, marry. This union, accepted enthusiastically by the Northmen, opens a window into the native mind.

For all the people of this land the way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn, but the acceptance and friendship that develops between the Northmen and the Naskapi, another native tribe, over an affair of honor, the eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods, makes it all begin to fall into place, as it must for the Northmen to survive.

Will this developing relationship allow the Northmen to remain in the homeland of the Naskapi, or are they doomed to failure?

The settlers must deal with that question on a daily basis. Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous peoples, the pre-historical ancestors of the contemporary Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, the warriors of these various tribes violently resisted the incursion of the tall, pale-skinned invaders. The overwhelming numbers of the native peoples in Vinland hold the fate of the Northmen in their hands. The success or failure of the settlement at Halfdansfjord hangs in the balance.

Cold Coffee Press Book Review For
Confrontation: An Axe of Iron Novel by J.A. Hunsinger

This character driven, action packed historical fiction saga continues from ‘The Settlers: An Axe Of Iron Novel’ where 163 Greenlanders and 152 Icelanders (including men, women and children) set sail with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, equipment ( tents and parts to horse drawn carts) and supplies to explore areas of what they call Vinland (North America).

Confrontation – An Axe Of Iron Novel cover with the Viking battle axe reflecting warriors gives us the first clue regarding the brutal facts of survival and desperate measures taken by men to protect their women, children and settlement with blood sweat and tears. Author J. A. Hunsinger has provided an in-depth ‘Glossary of Norse Terms’ and ‘Native Terms’ to help readers understand the people and culture.

Settling into a new land will prove challenging when the indigenous tribes who have a distaste for any fair skinned men due to those who cheated them in trade, abused them and killed their tribesmen in the past. Apart from expected interaction with the variety of native cultures, life in the new settlement is forced into daily and seasonal routines out of necessity.

Halfdan Ingolfsson and Gudbjartur Einarsson (his second in command) walk the settlement commons overseeing the duties pertaining to survival like the grueling process of filling the Kiln (furnace) with dry birch wood, burning the wood until only charcoal is left and then storing this precious commodity under the shed roof to be used for heat and cooking during the harsh winter months.

Children in the settlement (especially the boys) had to earn their place in their family and settlement by moving from boyhood into manhood by demonstrating skills taught and mirrored to them by their fathers, brothers, cousins and other men around them. Skills like hunting which was the core of survival. Unfortunately dangers exist when dealing with wild animals like a Bull Moose protecting his territory, cow and calf. Death can be mercifully quick and brutal. The burial ceremony, reverence for even the youngest hunter/warrior, tradition and spirituality (Gods Will) play a role for the dead and those who remain.

Seasons marked by the moon predict work, trade, play, marriage and birth. I quote Bjorn “as a pleasant smile curved his lips”. “Yes, it is time I thought of a mate. Another long winter comes and company in my bed would be welcome. Perhaps this is the one (as he recalls the tall blonde woman)”.

Confrontation is inevitable, warriors’ attack, prisoners taken, injuries sustained, spoils of battles and questions about their ability to live in peace brings us to the anticipation of the third book in An Axe Of Iron Series titled “Assimilation”.

J. A. Hunsinger’s series ‘An Axe Of Iron’ has been exhaustively researched and parallel the actually events as close as a historical fiction can. I recommend this series to both men and women and suggest that the series be placed on a high school/college reading list.

This reviewer is looking forward to ‘Assimilation – An Axe Of Iron Novel’ which is the third book in the series.

Cold Coffee Press Endorses Confrontation: An Axe of Iron Novel by J.A. Hunsinger’s book two in the fictional historical accounting of exploration and settlement of Vinland (North America). Reviewed by Cold Coffee Press on October 20, 2014.

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The Settlers: An Axe of Iron Novel by J. A. Hunsinger

First Book In The Axe Of Iron Series

The Settlers: Axe of Iron is a tale of survival, strife, love, and the quest for a new home in the face of hostile opposition. Conditions of manifest destiny propel a large contingent of Norse Greenlanders from relative security into an odyssey of exploration and settlement out over the unknown waters of the North Atlantic, to a North America of one thousand years ago, to a land they called Vinland. The chieftain, Halfdan Ingolfsson and his second-in-command, Gudbjartur Einarsson, spend a winter gathering 315 men, women, and children from the two Norse settlements on the southwestern coast of Greenland.

Early in the spring of A.D. 1008, the company sets sail aboard six large cargo ships. Five days into the voyage, in the strait between Helluland and Markland, present day Hudson Strait, a gale holds the flotilla in its grip for four long and arduous days. Halfdan decides to seek shelter in a protected bay, so they can rest, repair the storm damage, and replenish food stores lost in the storm.

During the following weeks, the settlers reap a harvest of fish and game that is the best in living memory. When hunters discover a sheltered fjord, Halfdan orders a move. Tornit hunters from far to the north venture south to hunt, and the Northmen strike up a friendship with them. The Tornit tell the newcomers much about the local area and describe coastal waters far to the south.

It is this thought-provoking insight into the geography of this new land and the dawning realization that the storm god, Njord, seems to have led his people to this place, that cause Halfdan to revise his thinking and propose a new plan to Gudbjartur and the council of ship’s captains: sail south before choosing where to build their settlement.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Cold Coffee Press Book Review For The Settlers:
An Axe of Iron Novel by J. A. Hunsinger

The Viking ship called ‘Steed of the Sea’ sailing in the cold dark waters in the foreground of tall glaciers under a foreboding sky on the cover is just the beginning.

Whether you sat under the history lessons of Columbus discovering America or are more adventurous in your approach to history and have a yearning to know who was here when Columbus arrived and where did they come from, ‘The Settlers’ is a tale that should be on a mandatory reading list in all schools in order to provoke thought and discussion on native North America in the latter half of the tenth century. Scholars can’t agree but this tale offers a new perspective about America’s indigenous people, how they viewed explorers, handled settlers and coexisted on a bountiful body of land with all its beauty and treacherous environment.

It is important to read the ‘Author’s Note’, ‘Historical Perspective’ and the ‘Glossary Of Norse Terms’ provided by the author to educate the reader. In the Author’s Note you will meet Gudbjartur Einarsson who is an Icelander, a Northman or Norseman who is second in command under Halfdan Ingolfsson. Chapter one unfolds six wooden ships carrying 163 Greenlanders and 152 Icelanders (including men, women and children) set sail with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, equipment ( tents and parts to horse drawn carts) and supplies to explore areas of what they call Vinland (North America).

Exhaustive research, realistic characters garbed in functional layers residing in a true to life story line that allows the reader to experience the sea voyage and land exploration with exquisite writing that creates a sense of being present in the story even when this first book in ‘An Axe Of Iron Novel’ series has been closed on a night stand.

Here’s a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“He whistled tunelessly to himself, the notes blown away on the wind. His eyes darted over the sea ahead and aloft at the trim of the sail and rigging. The heart of the ship pulsed through the soles of his feet, vibrated up through the steering oar and the palms of his hands, an inaudible hum that told him all was well in his world.”

“Wind driven rain stung exposed skin like bees protecting their hive.”

“Several kettles of whale blubber boiled over individual fires on the beach to render the valuable oil. The thick, rich oil, skimmed of the connective tissue – the crunchy fried meat and curled pieces of skin were a delicacy-had many uses. It was a valuable food source, preservative, and lamp fuel.”

After the journey across treacherous seas land was a welcome sight with all of its wild game like “Grunting herds of Reindeer” not to mention the predators like wolves and bears. Women and children scour rocky cliffs for seabird eggs to add to their food supply giving the kids some stress relieving egg throwing activity.

Unforeseen and inevitable injuries, herbal treatments, Viking burial ceremony amidst deep held Christian beliefs.

Attraction and a “bed of soft, furry skins nestled in the scrub brush, well protected from the north wind’. Passion, “eyes smoldered with lust” hands explore, tongues probe, “locked bodies swayed in the throes of passion”.

Hunting and cooking for survival, sewing for protective covering, animal pelts and jewelry making for trade commodity. The best and the worst of human nature revealed in a hostile new world.

Now heading into the reading of ‘Confrontation: An Axe Of Iron Novel’ book two of the series gives clarity as to the sequence of history, characters and events that readers should follow in order to understand and digest the fiction history which is laid out in great detail, humanity and historical correlation regarding much debated events.

Cold Coffee Press Endorses The Settlers – An Axe of Iron Novel book one in the fictional historical accounting of exploration and settlement of Vinland (North America). Reviewed by Cold Coffee Press on October 18, 2014.

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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author J. A. Hunsinger

J. A. Hunsinger is an Author, Publisher, Amateur Archaeologist and Historian. His Axe of Iron Series Details The Settlement Of A Large Group Of Norsemen On The North American Continent Beginning In 1008 AD.

J. A. Hunsinger’s Books Include Axe Of Iron: The Settlers, Confrontation and Assimilation.

J. A. Hunsinger lives in Colorado, USA, with his wife Phyllis. He writes and promotes full-time. His three book trilogy Axe of Iron Series can be purchased at Vinland Publishing. His books are also available from Amazon.

Although he has long been a writer, much of his adult life has been associated with commercial aviation, both in and out of the cockpit. As an Engineering Technical Writer for Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group, Phoenix, AZ, he authored two comprehensive pilots’ manuals on aircraft computer guidance systems and several supplemental aircraft radar manuals. His manuals have been published and distributed worldwide to airline operators by Honeywell Engineering, Phoenix, AZ. His first published work for the general public, Flight Into Danger, appeared in Flying Magazine, (August 2002). Many of his articles have been featured in other periodicals and websites or are featured on his blog.

After his flying career ended on his 60th birthday, he found himself with time to continue his writing; this first novel was actually begun more than twenty years ago. He attended many writing classes and seminars, but couldn’t sustain a head of steam as a writer. All of that changed abruptly in 2004, when he remarried. Phyllis provided the necessary push and as a result he treated writing as work, which it most certainly is.

Writing is a learned craft. In order to learn to write, you must write. Eventually the classes must be set aside; set a daily work schedule and stick to it. That is not to say you should stop taking classes altogether; learning is a lifetime experience. Sooner or later though, you must take the plunge and go at it on your own.

Have a story to tell, one that you like. Then sit down and get busy. Have your work professionally edited: rewrite, edit, rewrite, until you’ve gotten it as good as it can be.

That’s all there is to being a writer.



Tell us what makes you proud to be a writer from Grand Junction, Colorado? Writing is the culmination of a lifetime of learning and working at my chosen profession. My first composition for hire was as an air transport engineering technical writer. Now, for the first time I am able to work at my own pace in response to my criteria for the task at hand. I always wanted to write, but my primary mission was to make a living for my family, so I had no time for pie-in-the sky dreams. Now that my career has ended and my life is settled I can write without the worry of making a living. If my books continue to find a market, one day I might perhaps make a success of this. In the meantime I am telling my stories, people are buying and reading my books, and that is what this is all about for me. It never was about the money; rather it is about telling the story.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have been a writer all my life, but I merely dabbled at writing. But I did have a story to tell that gradually possessed me, so I had to tell it. My wife, Phyllis provided the support and advocacy that I needed to actually write a novel.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I began to write the story 20-years ago, but the time and desire to write and finish the work did not manifest itself until I retired from flying and remarried. My soul mate entered my life in Feb. 2004. From that point on she gave me the shove that I needed to organize the details of what had been rattling around in my head over most of my adult life.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and why? Yes, definitely! I came from a military family of readers and I was raised before TV ruined the family unit in American society. My Dad wrote many short stories and articles, so his grasp of the English language and his amazing vocabulary impressed me from the beginning. My entire education was in Parochial schools and Parochial College, so I received the best stimulus available to become whatever I wanted.

Do you come up with your title (s) before or after you write the manuscript (s)? I have all the titles of my Axe of Iron Series noted, as each covers a certain segment of the series and that title reflects a major scene of that particular book.

Tell us why you write the genre (s) that you write? I am an avid reader of both history texts and historical fiction novels. Written history has many holes, gaps if you will, that give an author an endless supply of fodder. It is natural for me to tell stories about subjects in which I have an interest. The Greenland Vikings and the medieval Viking culture in general have always been my focus. My Swedish/German heritage is another reason for my interest in the medieval Germanic tribes.

The Axe of Iron Series are character-driven, historical fiction books. My characters tell the story and the reader sees the events through their eyes. I have had a lifelong interest in the medieval Norse people. That interest became focused on the five hundred year history of the two known Norse Greenland settlements. The mystery surrounding their abandonment and the disappearance of every single person living therein has captured my imagination. My books offer a plausible story of what my reading and research has indicated may have happened to them.

Tell us your most rewarding experience while in the writing process? That would have to be when the rough draft is finished and I read the entire manuscript and realize that I have written a good story.

Tell us your most negative experience while in the writing process? The road to publication has been a nightmare because of the time and money wasted while I learned the business. I wish I could say that there is lots of help out there for the newbie’s, but actually, the reverse is true. You are prey swimming in the shark’s pool— take heed. Believe nobody, and get everything in writing, research, research, and research. Even then, you will have picked the worst time in the world’s economy to enter the business.

Dealing with agents is a most disheartening undertaking for a writer. Agents act like the writer exists because of agents, when in fact it is the other way around. I wasted a year trying to find an agent from among those professing to have an interest in my area of my genre only to find that there are not any in existence. I have no need for an agent. Having said all of that, though, clearing the air so to speak, I do have a few suggestions if you are interested.

Do your homework on the submission guidelines for any query. All literary agents will have their own guidelines; adhere to them absolutely. Do not ever send a manuscript unless it is requested. Hire professional editors to edit everything that another person will read, especially the final draft of your manuscript. Spell check, spell check, and spell check.

An English teacher is not an editor and you cannot edit your own work, so hire someone. Your professionalism will determine whether you ever make the grade. A shabby cover letter on your submission packet will guarantee its demise. Agents and publishers are busy people and they have no time to waste on people who do not follow their submission guidelines.Tell us your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? When you hold your finished book in hand. You will have been through a gut wrenching, mind-numbing roller coaster ride. You will have wanted to get off more than a few times, but you stuck it out and your finished book has made it worthwhile.

Tell us your most negative experience in your publishing journey? Having to learn the trade, write my book, take care of copyright, ISBN, barcodes, etc. and find a reputable house to print, manage, warehouse, and distribute my books was a negative from the outset. It made the process all uphill and much of the pleasure was lost as a result. I did find such a house in BookMasters, Inc., Ashland, OH, but it was a long search. Bookmasters can and will do everything they tell you. However, be aware that there are MANY unscrupulous people and companies out there waiting to take your money while promising the moon. Now that I know something about the business I have found this second book of my Axe of Iron series to be a satisfying experience. I would have preferred to hire a literary agent and publish my work through a large house. That did not happen due in part to the continued decay of publishing in this country. In this economy, which will continue to worsen at all levels, few large houses will survive, leaving the small independent publisher as one of the few avenues to publication for an author. Those publishers that survive, large and small, will be extremely selective in the books that they publish, leaving many authors to wither away.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Our mission as authors is to get published. Let’s assume that your manuscript is a first draft. Before you can send out query letters telling the world of the birth of the great American novel, your work needs editing. I do not mean having a friend, an English teacher, your boss, or any other layman read your manuscript, no, I mean that you must engage the services of a professional editor. Thus begins the process of polishing your manuscript until it is the best it can be. This process can involve numerous corrections and rewrites. Done correctly it is a lot of work. I do all editing electronically within MS Word. The time and expense involved varies with the quality of the work. One hundred thousand words will cost in the neighborhood of $2000.00, or more, by the time you get it right.

Believe it or not, writing your book is only the beginning. With a final draft of your manuscript in hand, it is time to query. Famous people query with a proposal before writing the manuscript. I will assume that you are not yet famous. As an author, you cannot deal directly with one of the large publishing houses, so your next challenge is to interest a literary agent in your work. If you find a literary agent, your relationship will be contractual. Do nothing with anyone without a contract. Fully understand your part of the contract before signing, or hire an attorney versed in literary contracts to help you understand. There are numerous listings of literary agents on the Internet. Research each agent for their submission guidelines, select those receptive to your genre, be certain that they are accepting submissions, submit only what they require, and never send an unsolicited manuscript. They will not read it. Your literary agent will handle your contractual relationship with a publisher; they are your agent acting in your behalf.

If you are fortunate enough to become a published author through the literary agent/publisher/reader sequence of progression, congratulations, you have hit the big time. Your publisher will handle all the details of composition/format, cover design, printing/binding, fulfillment/marketing, and warehouse/distribution, leaving you free to crank out books. You will have little or no input regarding any of the production aspects of your book, nor will you retain any rights other than copyright. The publisher will own the ISBN and all future negotiations for anything concerning that work will be through, or with the permission of, the publisher.

Who is your favorite author? Why I am my favorite author, of course! But, I continue to read with pleasure: Cecil Scott Forester, Wilbur Smith, Ayn Rand, W.E.B Griffin, Ken Follett, and too many others to list in this space.


J. A. Hunsinger’s Websites:

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