Writer, speaker, not a bad guy once you get to know him
Author: Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel is a writer, speaker, and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. Originally from Canada, he recently moved from Chicago to Las Vegas with his wife, The Duchess. He tries to balance his fiction and non-fiction writing, and loves to hear from readers. You can find him on Twitter @Wturmel. His Amazon author page is at https://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Turmel/e/B00J5PGNWU/
Okay, Kurt. What should we know about you?The author bio on my book tells you I have advanced degrees in anthropology and archaeology, and I teach as an adjunct at local colleges in New Hampshire. I’ve enjoyed science fiction and fantasy since I was a kid, starting with Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. In college, I became entranced with Andre Norton’s Forerunner series. Andre Norton includes ESP powers in much of her science fiction. She inspired mainly the paranormal end of my stories. While I’ve read many military science fiction books, the HALO video games inspired the military end of my writing. I like to tell people that the Dreamscape Warriors series results from Andre Norton’s Forerunner and HALO breeding. (Author note: not a pretty visual, but I digress.) I live in New Hampshire and take care of my elderly mother. Family is something else I find important in my writing.What’s the story about?
At the core of the story sits the topic of “paying the price of vengeance.” Liam becomes an orphan at the age of two when giant insects kill his parents. High Councilor Marcus and his wife take him in and raise him alongside their son, Randolf. As an adult, he becomes a soldier charged with defending the defensive outposts of New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.
When a sabotaged weapon leaves Liam injured and cut off from the city, he learns that an alien intelligence controls the insects and realizes he must learn to use the powers he’s only scratched the surface of. Upon entering the overrun city, Liam discovers that the traitor responsible for his parents’ deaths had his foster parents murdered. The quest for revenge takes Liam down a dark path.
I’m not a real sci-fi kind of guy but a good story’s a good story, and this book is compelling. What are the roots of Price of Vengeance?
I always find action-adventure stories exciting. As I said, I am a huge fan of the late Andre Norton. I thought I could combine the action-adventure element of military science fiction and the ESP of Andre Norton’s works and, perhaps, get the best of both words.
I first conceived of the story on a walk from the National University of Ireland in Galway to my flat in the sub-townland of Mincloon on the city of Galway’s outskirts. At the time, I wasn’t sure if it would be fantasy or science fiction.
Who are the authors you really enjoy(especially some we might not know)?
For me, The Last Witchfinder was the most entertaining and compelling installment of the Johnny Lycan franchise, which is why I’m all the more sad that it’s going away. Maybe a revival or a spin-off down the road? If it happens, I’d be there for it.
The time has come. The third and final (probably. Mostly. I’m pretty sure) installment of the Johnny Lycan: Werewolf PI series is almost ready for the world. The official date is May 2, but since it’s available for preorderit’s time for the big cover reveal:
This time our boy is facing a cult leader claiming to be a 400-year-old witchfinder and has it out for Chicago’s occult community. Not only that, but his boss has been kidnapped, and- oh yeah- an obnoxious blogger is threatening to reveal Johnny’s big, hairy secret.
“Turmel’s latest is full of the punchy, fast paced prose I’ve come to expect from him. It’s delightfully gritty from beginning to end, and Johnny Lycan is that sort of old school of PI Urban Fantasy hero that’s grown increasingly rare these days. My only complaint is that this book wraps up the trilogy, meaning I’ll just have to reread them to get more Johnny.”
One of the cool things about having a publisher such as Black Rose Writing is you come across a metric butt-ton of exciting indie writers. They ain’t all winners, to be sure, but the ones that are worth reading are really solid and I’ve shared a number of them with you in the past. I recently came across Cam Torrens. His work revolves around Tyler Zahn and his work as part of a search and rescue team in the mountains of Colorado.
Let’s start at the beginning. Who are ya?
I’m Cam and I’m a writer. (All together now: Hi Cam!)That’s my newest mantra and sometimes I feel like I have to repeat it over and over among other writers to make myself believe.
I’ve spent most of my life being other things. I’ve always been a voracious reader and usually read over 100 books a year. 2023 is the first year I’ve cracked 150 and about a third of them are from new authors. This has been one of the unexpected benefits of writing with our publisher—I now have 400 instant friends looking for people to read their work. I usually raise my hand; first, because of my love for reading, and second, because I really find joy in giving feedback to new and seasoned writers.
Thirty years (and one month) of my life belonged to the Air Force. I was a transport and refueling pilot for most of my career with additional jobs as a military diplomat at the US Embassy in Beijing, China, and as the Professor of Aerospace Studies at Virginia Tech.
Now I spend my time writing, volunteering on the board at our local library, and working on our county’s Search & Rescue team. Here in little Buena Vista, Colorado, we have 10 fourteen-thousand-foot peaks within a thirty-minute drive and people do the darnedest things while climbing these mountains. Keeps us busy. My wife is an airline pilot (which helps give me time to write) and we have six kids, four adopted from China and Russia.
What’s your book, Stable, about?
My debut novel, Stable, transports the reader into the Colorado Rockies and introduces them to Chaffee County’s renowned mountain Search & Rescue team. A 911 call sends the team on a search for a missing girl in the Collegiate Peaks. They find a child…but not the one they seek. My protagonist, Tyler Zahn can’t get the missing girl he found—and the one he can’t find—out of his mind. Someone in this mountain valley is collecting children, and Zahn is gradually drawn into the case while still trying to break through to his estranged daughter.
That’s the plot…but really the story of Tyler Zahn came from my leadership experiences as a 30-year pilot and commander in the United States Air Force. When I retired, I wanted to be done with making the big decisions involving potentially life-threatening consequences and just focus on family. I’d had enough drama in the desert. Tyler Zahn feels the same way, but quickly discovers he can’t just stand aside and let bad things happen.
While I follow the thriller arc, I like to think I spend most of my time on controversial and current themes such as integrity, judgment and grace, forgiveness, and combat stress. When my readers meet Tyler Zahn, he’s already overcome so much…the loss of his son, the loss of an aircrew in combat, and years of depression. Now that he’s “back,” he just wants to rekindle a relationship with his daughter and lead a normal life. In Stable, I want to show that you can pull the veteran from the battlefield, but it’s hard to quell his or her desire to continue to serve—and the inherent conflict of service before self or family is still there.
It was an exciting book and had some unexpected twists. The story sounds personal to you.
I covered the emotional roots already, but the setting also has a story. One of the first missions I went on as a new SAR member was for a missing 7-year-old girl in the same area I use in Stable. I took a real mission and fictionalized the participants and the outcome. The real-world mission turned out better than the one in Stable.
Who do you read? Share it with the readers…
I go through phases of favorite authors, but most fall into the category of mystery/suspense/thriller. I’m a huge fan of John Sanford, Lee Child, Louise Penny, CJ Box, and Craig Johnson. I’ll also read anything by Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, Mary Kubica, Riley Sager, Sally Hepworth, or Lianne Moriarty. Michael Koryta is my latest craze. In the last year, I’ve had fun reading AJ McCarthy, Gail Ward Olmsted, and David Shawn Klein. And of course, I loved my first foray into books about a certain werewolf detective.
Aw shucks, thanks. That’s some good company to be in. Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Stable was my debut novel. The second book in the series, False Summit came out last fall. I’ll release #3, Scorched, in August of 2024, and a prequel—Death Spiral–to the series releases in early 2025. I’m working on the fifth novel now. You can follow along with my efforts (and my reading) at www.camtorrens.com . I’m also on Facebook , Goodreads , and Amazon.
Hey, the third (and final) book in the Werewolf PI Series is now available for Pre-Order. Buy it from my publisher and get a 15% discount. Just use the promo code PREORDER2023. It will be available to pre-order on Amazon soon. Use the form on the left side to get on my newsletter and learn more.
I am in Gdańsk, Poland and reading book two in your Jonny Lycan series!
There’s something to read first thing in the morning. Today I woke up to a lovely letter from a reader. This happens occasionally and is always a blast when it does. When it comes from an unexpected corner of the world, it’s even more special.
I like Poland. I was there on business once and can speak my three travel words of Polish. Whenever I go to a foreign country, I learn three words: Hello. Thank you. Beer. (I don’t know the spelling, but in Polish, that’s Dzendobri, Djakuya, and Pivo)
I once tried adding up all the places my work has been read: The US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Ukraine, Israel, Dubai, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, China and Jamaica that I know of. There might be more. I hope so.
The reader even sent photographic evidence:
We writers have huge egos but also need validation for more than our parking. If you enjoy a book, please leave a review. But consider dropping a line by social media (Twitter/X is @Wturmel) or email. (There’s a place on the website.) It can make someone’s day.
Thanks, Lex, and I hope you enjoy Johnny’s future adventures.
Johnny Lycan & the Last Witchfinder is coming May 2, 2024, from Black Rose Writing. It’s not too late to get started on the series now!
“What do you do when the feedback you get doesn’t agree?”
Being a writer means getting all kinds of feedback. “It’s great, don’t change a thing!” “Lose the opening and start on page 47.” “Have you considered macrame as an artistic outlet instead?”
Here’s the thing. I don’t object to feedback. I like it. I have performed or put my work into the public since I was 18. Reviews are old news, both raves and pans. I’ve learned not to take the highs or lows too seriously, and look for value in the critique. There’s always something to learn.
Which brings me to the current dilemma: What do you do when the feedback you get contradicts the other opinions? I mean in precisely equal measure. It’s frustrating.
For context, I have been getting feedback on the “Johnny Lycan: Werewolf Detective,” screenplay. (The schmantzy jargon for it is “coverage,” in case you want to feel like an insider.) Some of this coverage I’ve paid for, getting opinions from neutral sources who don’t know me or give a rip about hurting my feelings. Some are from other screenwriters.
When feedback, even harsh feedback, is consistent writers must pay attention to it. Maybe the premise isn’t as clear as you think it is. If people constantly miss the joke, there’s a high probability that it’s just not funny. Take that knowledge and move on. That’s what feedback’s for, and only idiots write it off as not worth considering. Doesn’t mean you agree, but you have to at least give it some thought and consider your options.
As I say, some of the feedback I expected. There’s a big old lull at the beginning of Act 2. I need more action during the dialog scenes. (In “Save the Cat,” terms, I need more “Pope in the Pool.” Trust me, if you’ve read the book you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, hang in there.) I need to change a couple of settings or it will be too expensive to produce. I actually suspected all that, so the feedback is valuable. I can work with that.
But there are a couple of huge sticking points where the people doing the evaluation fundamentally disagree. They like something the other hates or the other way around. Here are two examples:
That noir-y first-person narration. As you know, the Johnny Lycan books are written in first person. Books aren’t films, so I agonized over whether to go for that old detective noir feeling to get inside Johnny’s head. The first draft was full of Johnny’s narration- very much like Zombieland meets The Big Sleep. One writer thought it was brilliant and the highlight of the script. Another reader thought it was cheap and if I did away with it, the story would flow better. Ummm, thanks?
How do you solve a problem like Meaghan? The other big source of disagreement is about poor Meaghan. Seems her father doesn’t like her much and neither do half the readers. Exactly half the readers felt her B story gives Johnny’s character depth and adds humanity to the story. The other half finds her boring and a distraction to the main story. Here’s the thing. If Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk gets made as a one-off, we can probably lose Meaghan as a character. Kill your darlings, right?
But she’s important to the rest of the series. I can’t imagine doing either The Vegas Berserker or Last Witchfinder without her. Of course, what are the odds someone’s going to make all three films? Slim to none. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Taking one set of feedback means creating a very different-feeling movie than the other, even if 80% of the script is identical. I don’t expect any of you reading this to have the answers, but thought you might enjoy a little look into the part of writing you seldom see.
My other screenplay, “Ghost Girl” is getting much more consistent (and positive) feedback that made the next draft that much better. I have high hopes for it. But Johnny is close to my heart, and I want to do right by him.
Not many people know this, but for about a year I took fencing lessons. I even competed in a couple of tournaments. (I’m way too sober at this writing to tell you the story.) So when I came across author Matthew Carauddo and learned he was heavily into stage combat and the like, I had to talk to him. He tells us about his “Diamond Dragons,” series and more.
So who are ya?
I’m Matthew Carauddo. My overall background is 30+ years as an actor, director, and performer. I was also a licensed fencing instructor at an academy of the sword since 2000/2001. In addition to instructing and competing as a saber fencer (12+ medals), I later created a website titled SaberCombat.com (now legacy/archived), which revolved around my live fight choreography, special events/workshops, L.E.D. saber designs, and sound effects work from 2006 to ~2018. However, from 2018 forward, I’ve primarily focused on my screenplay and book series/hexalogy known as “Diamond Dragons”. As of the moment I typed this, DD1-3 were published over 2021-2023. DD4-6 launch over 2024-2026. #Solstices
More information about my past, present, and future(?) can be found on the website: Diamond-Dragons.com
What’s the Diamond Dragon series about?
“Diamond Dragons” is a series of six, but tthe introductory story introduces readers to an ancient society of intelligent dragons on a foreign planet that is closer to the size of Jupiter or Saturn rather than that of Earth’s. In short, the “good guy dragons” seek to re-discover and protect a legendary, mysterious creature–presumably a “Phoenix”–from the “bad guys” (bone/ghost dragons). A race against Time itself ensues, and, a final confrontation at the “Night Pyre” (an array of volcanic spires) is inevitable.
I won’t bother mentioning any protagonists or antagonists–people can discover these superheroes for themselves.
What about this story appealed to you?
I can safely say that after 30+ years of experience in live production, directing, acting, storytelling, design (graphics, sound, video, props, costumes, etc.), and even many aspects of music… I was dying to craft an epic series revolving around dragons for years. In early 2018, I began crafting the SCREENPLAY version of DD1. With a powerful ending to the story in mind from the very beginning, I created a competent cast of characters and their approximate ages, skills, personalities, etc. By 2019, I’d developed a truly robust screenplay. Additionally, I’d even hired V.O. actors (including myself!) to record a few examples of character voices/vocals, commissioned a few artists to craft some concept art, and I also found a talented arranger/composer to work with me on realizing my vision for a 12-note, 3-chord primary theme for the series.
Fast forward to 2023 (currently the present, but if you’re reading this it MIGHT be “the past”), and “Diamond Dragons”, books 1-3 comprise ~420,000 words, 250+ illustrations, 3 gorgeous cover designs, a dozen teaser videos, many tracks of original music… aaand a paaartriiidge and a pear tree! 🙂
Whew. That’s so much work. What are the roots of the story?
Akin to the teachings of Joseph Campbell, “Diamond Dragons” (book/screenplay #1) is loosely modeled around the skeletal structure of a typical hero’s journey. For those unfamiliar with what that means, DD1 is comparable to SW, LOTR, The Matrix, HP, etc.
The remaining stories (books/screenplays #2-6) build upon subtle hints and purposely “hidden in plain sight” details from the first story. In short, they reveal the true vision of each thematic underpinning interwoven within the the series as a whole. Without giving anything away, I might merely type: “What is Armageddon’s Ballad?”. Anyone reading my words here, right now is welcomed and encouraged to find out just how far the portal of fire (from book one) leads. Reflection is truly key.
Who are the authors you really enjoy?
Rostand, Moliere, Aristophanes, Goldman, Shakespeare, Poe, Stoppard, Poe, Bukowski, etc. In addition to traditional authors, I’ve also been GREATLY inspired by storytelling which stems from other sources–such as filmmaking, video games, animation, etc. For examples in that scope of things, I’ve always been a huge fan of Garriott (“Ultima”), Jon VanCaneghem (“Might & Magic”), Ed Zwick (“Glory”, “The Last Samurai”), Ang Lee’s version of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, Ion Storm’s “Deus Ex” (helmed by the legendary Warren Spector), and certainly world-renown projects such as “Chronotrigger”, “Phantasy Star” (I, II, and IV), etc. And, obviously, famous creators such as Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, Coppola, the Coen brothers, the Wachowskis, etc. etc.
Pretty large list, I understand. 🙂 This is what happens when you’ve been studying and creating for 30+ years.
Where can we learn more about you and your book(s)?
The YT video channel–also listed on my website–is also a fantastic repository of (free) information, imagery/illustrations, teasers, and pre-visualizations of the DD series. And though I have accounts on TT, “X” (lol), Vimeo, etc., I don’t really have the hours to update them. YT is the best place to digest videos regarding DD1-6.
As a matter of note, I think it’s important that anyone reading this understands that I (Matthew) pretty much do everything alone. That means: outlining, writing, development, editing (all types), illustrations (most), formatting, cover designs, website(s), videos, V.O., etc. Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend this to 90% of creators out there for a myriad of reasons I won’t (and shouldn’t) go into here. “Time is the only resource for which no creature may bargain…” –DD1
Johnny Lycan & the Last Witchfinder is coming May 2, 2024 from Black Rose Writing. It’s not too late to get started on the series now!
I’m a 62-year-old man with a good job and a grown family. Why do I write silly, scary stories about werewolf detectives? Since the thought of using TikTok makes my skin crawl, I thought I’d just share my thoughts.
Why are we so fascinated with Lycans? Take a look. Let me know if you agree.
Johnny Lycan is a unique blend of werewolf story and Jack Reacher style detective thriller. There are demons and haunted relics, good old-fashioned clue-following and punching (and worse) bad guys.
The final book in the series, Johnny Lycan & the Last Witchfinder, comes out May 2, 2024 from Black Rose Writing.. If you’d like to get on the email list, let a brother know. Use the contact form on the left-hand side of the screen.
I am a sucker for a good heist story. That’s especially true when you throw in exotic locations and fantastic McGuffins. I really enjoyed The Medina Device and thought I’d talk to fellow Black Rose Writing author, T J Champitto.
T.J. What’s your deal?
I’m an award-winning fiction author with two novels currently on the market. My debut, The Medina Device, was given a 2020 PenCraft Award for Best Action Thriller and my latest novel, The Shadowmaker, recently won a Literary Titan Gold Award and is the first book in a new series I’m working on. Before I became a published author, I spent many years working as a travel writer and media buyer, and I now reside in the United States with my beautiful wife Tisha. I enjoy traveling, discovering new things, and seeking inspiration from all forms of art and culture.
Tell us about the Medina Device. What’s it about?
The Medina Device follows former Navy SEAL, Cameron Lyle, who’s trying to adjust to life as a husband, a father, and a government contractor. Along the way, his thirst for adventure gets the better of him and through a series of high-stakes robberies, Cameron has caught the attention of a fledgling FBI agent who is drawing dangerously close to putting the pieces together and solving these crimes. The story gets even more interesting when an ancient piece of technology is discovered in the mountains of Bolivia and Cam and his team are hired to steal it. As the plot presses on, the mystery surrounding the device begins to unfold in dramatic fashion. This novel has a ton of great settings, suspenseful action sequences, and fascinating characters.
I love the idea of a team pulling off international heists, and this one has some interesting twists. Where’d it come from?
I think the crime thriller genre has always appealed to me, and when I wrote this novel I was really inspired by authors like Dan Brown and Steve Berry, so the whole ancient brotherhood element along with mysterious technologies and fringe sciences really pulled at my creativity. I set out to write something that pushed the bounds of reality—something that would challenge the reader’s imagination. The roots of the story itself began with the concept of a good guy gone bad. I wanted to tell a classic heist story from the perspective of the bad guy, and play with some darker themes along the way. There’s a lot to like about Cam, and as his character begins to develop on the pages, you start to understand that, like many of us, he’s sort of going through a quest for self-discovery. And I think that’s a very relatable theme for most people.
Who did you read when you were younger, and who are you reading now?
Growing up I read a lot of George Orwell, John Steinbeck and Hunter S. Thompson. As I learned to appreciate the art of suspenseful storytelling, I drifted more towards authors like Tom Clancy, Paula Hawkins, Lee Child and some of the other commercial greats. These days, I’m really into Olen Steinhauer. His Tourist series is one of my absolute favorites and I’m constantly inspired by his pacing and plot sequences. The guy’s truly an amazing writer.
Where can we learn more about you and your work?
You can learn more about me and my books on my website at tjcauthor.com, as well as Goodreads and Amazon. You can also find promotions and announcements through my Facebook and Twitter pages, and for a tiny glimpse into my life as an author you can check me out on Instagram.