Time Jumping Through History with Doug Molitor

Okay, I know that the term “historical fantasy” gets a lot of people bent out of shape. They like the pure, detail-rich very serious stories, and so do I, most of the time. I also enjoy using history as a jumping-off point for silliness and fantasy.  I look on such things as what I call “Jellybean books.” They’re not meant to be taken seriously, and yet you can still learn things and get intrigued enough to read more. Or just enjoy yourself for a bit. Not everything you eat has to be good for you. If Naomi Novik can write dragons into the Napoleonic wars iand become a gateway drug for more serious fare, God love her. Besides, it’s my blog, bite me. I’ll interview who I want.

Which leads us to Doug Molitor and his series of funny, time-traveling adventures. The latest is  Memoirs of a Time Traveler the first in a series.

Okay, get on with it. What’s the Doug Molitor story?

Humorist and TV writer Doug Molitor is the author of Memoirs of a Time Traveler.

I am a TV comedy writer and novelist whose books include the Time Amazon series: Memoirs of a Time Traveler, Confessions of a Time Traveler and Revelations of a Time Traveler; and two Full Moon Fever novels, Monster, He Wrote and Pure Silver. I wrote TV comedies like Sledge Hammer!, You Can’t Take It With You and Police Academy, sci-fi/fantasy/adventure series like Sliders, Mission: Genesis, Adventure Inc., Young Hercules, F/X, and the western spoof Lucky Luke. In animation, I co-wrote the feature SpacePOP, and was the writer of 200 episodes of such series as X-Men, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, Sinbad, The Future Is Wild, Captain Planet, The Wizard of Oz, Happily Ever After, 1001 Nights, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? and Sabrina.

You wrote Sledge Hammer!  I’m now fanboying. In a nutshell, what’s the book and series about?

In a nutshell – and my critics would say that’s just where it belongs – Memoirs of a Time Traveler is about Ariyl, an Amazonian tourist from 2109 A.D. who drags David, an archaeologist of today, on a chase through time to stop a psychopath who’s rewriting history. Romantic comedy meets sci-fi with sword-swinging adventure.

Jellybeans of the first order! What is it about the time periods you write about that intrigue you?

The first era my travelers visit is Thera, the home island of the vanished Minoan Empire ca. 1600 B.C., which according to many historians (including my hero) was the source of the Atlantis legend. Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by the fate of Thera; today’s sun-kissed Greek isle of Santorini is all that is left after a huge volcanic island exploded then collapsed beneath quarter-mile-high tsunamis.  The two sequels visit equally exotic and turbulent ancient times: the Mongol siege of Baghdad in 1258, and Rome under the monster Caesar, Commodus. There are also chapters set in America during the Revolution and just after the Civil War. But all three books come to a climax at pivotal events in Golden age Hollywood, between 1933 and 1954. Somehow, the birth of mass media is a nexus in time that repeatedly draws my antagonist into conflict with my hero and heroine.

What’s your favorite scene in “Memoirs”?

My favorite scene in Memoirs takes place in 1945, when my time-traveling odd couple find themselves at The Players, a storied Hollywood nightclub. Here they hook up with Orson Welles, and a trio of the town’s top leading men na

med Duke, Dutch and Jimmy. David and Ariyl are trying to keep history from being disastrously derailed by the murder of one of these beloved stars. When I first wrote the book ten years ago, I asked comedy legend Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H, Tootsie, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) to vet these chapters, since he’d actually begun his writing career in 1945 Los Angeles. Instead, bless him, Larry asked to read the whole book, and gave me the blurb I proudly put on my cover: “You couldn’t ask for a finer guide to the future – or the past – than Doug Molitor.”

I’d take that one too. Not for nothing but my wife has a quite unnatural and incurable crush on Orson Welles. Where can we learn more about you and your books?

By the way, for a few more days Memoirs of a Time Traveler is going to be FREE on Amazon. Click this link to get your FREE copy while you still can.

To contact me:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DougMolitorAuthor/

Author page: amazon.com/author/dougmolitor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DougMolitor

Webpage: dougsdozen.com/MemoirsofaTimeTraveler

The book on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Time-Traveler-Amazon-Book-ebook/dp/B078L82R4N/?tag-dougmolitor-20

Thanks for putting me on your page!

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

 

My Short Story “The Clairtangentist” is on Storgy

I’m thrilled that one of my favorite story sites, Storgy.com,  has published one of my short stories. “The Clairtangetist” is something completely different for me. It’s a light, maybe even romantic, urban fantasy, and one of many stories to come set in Las Vegas.

Read the story on Storgy’s site here.

Storgy.com is a great place for eclectic short stories, essays and just cool stuff to read while you’re surfing the web.

And just a question, why is it that editors in the UK and Ireland (The Book Folks, Dodging the Rain, Storgy) like my stuff better than US publishers? Is it my colonial roots? Just asking.

If you’d like to read some more of my short stories, you can check the Short Stories and Other Pieces page here on my blog

Hearing One of Your Stories Read Aloud is a Treat. Check This Out.

Like most authors, I write my stories to be read, usually silently and to oneself. But hearing someone else read your work is kind of fun. Enter Taylor Woodland and her podcast, Not Ready for Rhyme Time. In Episode 6, she reads one of my early short stories, “On the End of Magick.”

It’s a long episode, so you may want to skip to my story at 43:05 of the recording, but don’t forget to take a listen to the other stories and poems she showcases. She puts out one a week. If you are an author and want her to read your work, drop her a line on Twitter @TaylorWoodland5 or email rhymetimesubmissions@gmail.com.

This is a fantasy story, done in the style of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It’s not fan fiction, exactly, but there’s a not very subtle reference to that book in the tale.

If you enjoy audiobooks, this podcast is a good way to hear poetry and fiction you wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy while running on the treadmill or battling traffic.

This was one of the first short stories I wrote once I got back into fiction, and it appeared in Rivulets 28, the 2016 anthology by the Naperville Writers Group. You can read the story for yourself here,  and more of my short stories on my website.

If you’re new to the blog and my work, please visit my Amazon author page and check out my novels, The Count of the Sahara and Acre’s Bastard. The sequel, Acre’s Orphans is coming soon.

The KKK in Maine with Mark Alan Leslie

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is that it exposes us to subjects that we didn’t know, or think we cared, about. For example, I didn’t know that French Canadians were the subject of hatred by the Klu Klux Klan in the early 20th Century. That’s where this week’s interview comes in. Mark Alan Leslie is the author of The Crossing. 

Okay, so let’s start with the obvious. What’s your deal, Mark?

After 25 years writing golf magazine pieces for Sports Illustrated, Links, GOLF, Golf Course News and others — and winning a half dozen national writing awards along the way — I turned my time to something else I enjoy: history. Since then I’ve written three historical novels and three contemporary thrillers. The historical works are The Crossing about the Ku Klux Klan in Maine in the 1920s, True North: Tice’s Story about the Underground Railroad, and Midnight Rider for the Morning Star about America’s first circuit-riding preacher, Francis Asbury. Each book is loaded with action and adventure — and historical facts many of us have never heard or read about.

What’s your latest book, The Crossing about?

“As Maine goes, so goes the nation” was a motto of the early 1900s and the Ku Klux Klan determined that if it could grab a foothold in the bellwether northeasternmost state, it could succeed anywhere. So it sent its most charismatic recruiter to draw the crowds. He succeeded… for a while. One of his successes in this work of fiction is Cooper’s Crossing, a very close-knit town — close, that is until the Klan arrives.

The Crossing takes us into the dangers and intrigues of this scenario. The charismatic KKK leader is pit against a magnetic pastor, and townsmen against townsmen, culminating in a battle of brawn, and the spirit, when a French-Canadian crew of lumberjacks arrives.

Because when you think rollicking action, Canadian lumberjacks is what comes to mind. I’m kidding, but as someone with French-Canadian roots, I am a bit surprised.  After all, aside from Toronto hockey fans and Alberta oil workers, who doesn’t like French Canadians? What is it about this period in history that caught your attention?

Maine students have never been taught about this time when the KKK helped elect a governor as well as several mayors of prominent cities, the President of the Maine Senate and many others.

The whole idea intrigued me: How could a racist group thrive in a state with only a handful of black people? Well, they found others to hate, focusing on Jews and Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Poland and Canada who were “taking our jobs and with allegiance to a Pope a world away instead of our own government.”

It sounds trite to say, “haters gonna hate,” but history shows if you’re looking for a scapegoat, you’ll usually find one, even if you have to make it up. Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite character, lumberjack Jigger Jacques, and his crew arrive in townThe Crossing: A Historical Novel by [Leslie, Mark Alan] and are ambushed by Klansmen on horseback at the same time the town’s pastors are meeting nearby with embattled townspeople about the Klan. The dichotomy is powerful: brutal physical fighting at the mill versus peacemaking at the church.

If people want to learn more about this book, or any of your work, where can they go?

People can find my books at:

Amazon.com

ElkLakePublishing.com

Kindle.com

And fine bookstores

They can reach me at:

E-mail: gripfast@roadrunner.com

Web: www.markalanleslie.com

Blog: https:/thrillofthequillblog.wordpress.com/

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Long-Distance Leader is One of the Top Business Books of the Year!

The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership is out in the world, and it appears people really like it.

Last month, it was a Hudson News best-seller (so if you see it in an airport bookstore, snap a pic and send it to me on Twitter @Wturmel or @LeadingRemotely. So far 5 airports heard from…

Then Top Sales World named the book one of the Top 50 Sales Books of 2018. That’s quite an honor.

We’re rock stars in the Atlanta Airport apparently.

Kevin and I have also been on a number of podcasts and interviews about the book. Check my Twitter and Facebook feeds if you’d like to check them out.

Thanks to Berrett-Koehler Publishers for their support.

If you enjoy it, don’t tell me, tell Amazon.

Bram Stoker, Dracula and Victorian Dread

Before Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer ruined vampires for everyone, I was a big Dracula fan. As a writer, I loved the backstories of how tales like Frankenstein and Dracula came to be written. So when I heard about Calvin Cherry’s new novel, Stoker, about, duh, Bram Stoker I was in.

So what’s the Calvin Cherry story?

I am a 48-year-old native Georgian and a retired sailor.  I work as a Business Systems Analyst for a major insurance company in Atlanta and have a 15-year-old son named Jacob.  He is already 7 inches taller than me and six sizes up from my shoe size!  My spouse, Kevin, is from Tennessee and shares my passion for music, traveling, reading and writing.  I have seen Elton John 27 times in my life and about to make it 28 in November.  English and History were my favorite subjects in school, so I guess it did not come as a surprise that one Christmas Santa left me four graphic novels under my tree when I turned 7:  Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.  I have been taking a bite out of Dracula ever since!  After 11 years of intense research and crafting, my debut historical fiction novel Stoker: Evolution of a Vampire was published by Page Publishing this past February.

What’s the basic plot of Stoker?

My novel can be considered a prequel to Dracula.  It is mainly set in Victorian London and Romania in the late 1800s, during the time period Bram wrote Dracula.  There are also flashbacks to Bram’s youth and when Vlad Dracula III reigned Wallachia.  Bram is the central character in my novel, along with supporting roles by Bram’s wife, Florence, Bram’s son, Noel, and Bram’s employer, Sir Henry Irving.

Many of the events in my novel are factual as I used Bram’s own diaries, reference materials and notes on Dracula as material woven into my plot.  It is written in Bram’s own writing style, which is vastly different from my own and was a great challenge for me.  I listened to nonstop audio books written in this time period the entire 11 years I worked on my novel as I wanted the style and language to be as authentic to the period as possible.  Though my book is classified as historical fiction, there are elements of gothic horror, mystery, crime and suspense that yields a 576 page thriller.

I have a thing for Victorian England, but what’s your excuse? What is it about the time or subject you found so interesting?

Victorian England has been the time period for numerous fantastic and morbid STOKER by [Cherry, Calvin]fictional and historical tales from Sherlock Holmes to Jack the Ripper.  My fascination with this period began with reading Dracula as a child and then carried over into adult hood with favorites Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Lewis Carroll.  Though I have been quoted as saying countless times that Dracula is the most frightening phycological tale ever written, around 2004 I began reading everything I could on Bram Stoker.  Until then, there had been few biographies written about Bram – a fact in itself which I found interesting.  Today, there are close to a dozen.  With each additional book I read,  it was astonishing and fascinating to discover his life was worthy of a novel.    And in 2006 I outlined my book, incorporating many situations, milestones and  events in his life.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book. (Don’t deny it, we all have one)

I believe my favorite scene in Stoker is about two-thirds into the plot when Bram is finally on a train back home.  His watch had stopped shortly after he began his journey abroad, so he asks someone for the time.  The answer he gets back is more than what he expected!

Where can we learn more about your book?

My novel can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million.  Here is a link to my Page Publishing page which contains links to all the national retailers that are carrying Stoker:

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

The Story of Lao Tzu with Wayne Ng

It’s easy to forget that the “great men” of history were real people. I mean, it’s one thing to think about  Machiavelli, but can you imagine being the spouse of someone who actually thinks and operates that way? That kind of thinking got me intrigued by the subject of Wayne Ng’s new novel.

Lao Tzu is widely quoted and, along with Confucius, is one of the few Chinese thinkers most of us can name. But who was he, and what was his deal? That’s where Finding the Way comes in.

Wayne, besides having a very cool first name, what’s your story?

Wayne Ng, author of “Finding the Way”

I was born in downtown Toronto to Chinese immigrants who fed me a steady diet of bitter melons and kung fu movies. Like my romantic, idealist protagonist Lao Tzu, in Finding the Way, I dream of a just society, of worlds far from my doorstep, and of tastes, sensations, and experiences beyond my imagination. I am a school social worker in Ottawa but live to write, travel, eat and play, preferably all at the same time. I’m an award-winning short story and travel writer who has twice backpacked through China. Hopefully, I continue to push my boundaries from the Arctic to the Antarctic, blogging and photographing along the way at WayneNgWrites.com

I know you’re a traverler because when I showed you a picture I took in Guatemala you correctly identified the lake, which is impressive. So this book attempts to capture Lao Tzu’s (or Laozi’s) work and his life. What’s the plot of”Finding the Way”?

Finding the Way is a fictionalized story of China’s ultimate dreamer, the philosopher Lao Tzu. Rooted in history, based on legends, Lao sees a world spinning too fast. People feeling alienated, disconnected, insecure, unable to find solace in each other or governments, leaders without a moral or altruistic foundation…this isn’t just 6th century BC, but also here and now. The historical context of Finding the Way was written to synchronize with similar modern questions today. The emptiness and imbalance Lao Tzu spoke of then weighs us down as heavily then as it does now. However, he also offered a soothing balm through Taoism that gateways into an inner peace and harmony that’s as relevant and necessary now as it was then. This story isn’t just a cerebral journey, but also a political thriller wrapped in a philosophical bow tie.

I’m certainly familiar with some of Lao Tzu’s thinking, but what is it about the time period or the man himself that intrigued you?

Very little has been written about the China of 2500 years ago. And though Lao Tzu is much admired and venerated, he often falls into the uni-dimensional wise, old, all-knowing sage, and not much else. I felt it was timely that the world came to better see him in the flesh, which I imagined to be brilliant but also a naive, idealist, and almost tragic figure.

I also wanted people to better appreciate eastern history. That much of the world has an appalling lack of knowledge and understanding of it, is short-sighted and Euro-centric, like almost all historical fiction in the west. Yet the prize of understanding the totality of China is not just reconciling whether it’s a friend or foe, but in providing answers to much of what ails us here and now. Lao’s the Way/Taoism tells us that our thirst for sanity and simplicity is a quest that transcends culture and time. I believe if he were here today and started to write Tao de Ching all over again, the message wouldn’t be much different, He might have a rant about social media. But his message is as important now as it was then: that even in a time where rulers are unjust, where change is scary, where greed and consumption drive us away from our natural state of balance and harmony—-we cannot lose hope.

Since you can’t simulate his Twitter account,  and don’t want to give away any spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

Two sections stand out for me. Chapter 2, where Lao sees how the natural rhythms and energy around us are a force to be reckoned with and respected. This leads to the development of the Way/Taoism. Imagine Yoda discovering the Force and you’ll get what I mean.

The other section is 40 years later, when Lao has a private audience with one of the Princes vying for the throne. Lao comes to appreciate that the world and the people around him aren’t always as they seem, that people and circumstances are multi-layered and not so easily reduced.

Okay, there is another section, the end, big reveals happen, stunning, really. But that’s all I can say.

Fine, be that way. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

   Website   WayneNgWrites.com

  Amazon   amazon.com/author/WayneNg

Facebook  facebook.com/WayneNgWrites

            Twitter  twitter.com/WayneNgWrites

Goodreads  goodreads.com/WayneNgWrites  

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.