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.”
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.
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.
Someone pointed out recently that I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet. (It should also be noted they weren’t complaining about that.) That’s because I’ve been very busy in the real world, but I figured it was time to update you about my foolishness.
Johnny Lycan and the Last Witchfinder is now safely at Black Rose Writing. The publication date is May 2, 2024. Now, if that seems like an eternity away, you’re not kidding. The wheels grind slowly in the publication world. But I have been getting people to read advance copies… here are a couple of the nice things they’ve said:
“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 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.”
– Bob McGough author of the Jubal County Saga
“Johnny Lycan is a fantastic gritty story about a werewolf enforcer for various crimes that sometimes solves crimes. Wayne Turmel has created a unique world that is seedy, supernatural, and alive.”
CT Phipps, The Rules of Supervillainy
Adventure, supernatural beings, mystery, and tough choices wrapped up in a PI’s fur coat. Johnny is at it again!
Johnny is at it again!
Madilynn Dale, The Chapter Goddess
Could We See Johnny Lycan: the Movie?
Years before most of you knew I existed, I dreamed of being a hot Hollywood screenwriter. In fact, I had two screenplays optioned, although they never saw the light of day. Now I’ve got a sad, quivering little first baby draft of a screenplay for Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. I’m in the early stages of having other humans look at it. Here’s how you can help:
If you have screenwriting experience, would you be willing to take a look and give me feedback?
When you’re an indie author, you get told constantly that you need a newsletter. How else will people know about what you’re doing? How can you tell them about your new books?
The problem is that I hate bothering you unless I have something to say. That disclaimer out of the way, I’m seriously going about rebuilding my reader list. I’m looking to not only update you on publication, but also let you know what I’ve been reading and who you might want to read as well.
If you’re on my list, you’ll be receiving an email in the next week or so. All you have to do is tell me whether you want to remain on the mailing list.
If you’re not on the list and would like to be, let a brother know. There’s a sign-up form on my website ( look halfway down on the left), or just drop me an email. I promise not to make your life miserable.
Enough for now! Enjoy. There are more author interviews on the way. Thank you for your patience and for supporting my work!
What is my author brand? When you think of what you’ve read from me, what do you think of?
Most of you reading this are not writers, so you probably don’t know what I’m about to tell you. In December, I had a book come out. Last week, I had a second. You’d think as an author that would be a very good thing. Everybody who bought the first book would buy the second, right? Guess again.
The thing is, readers who enjoy silly thrillers about Lycan gumshoes are not necessarily the same bunch who are reading serious books about making their remote teams work. That
doesn’t even include my short fiction, which has been published all over the world and in every conceivable genre. In fact, if you think about my work, including historical fiction like Count of the Sahara and the Lucca Le Peu stories, the Venn diagram of possible readers looks like this:
What I”m trying to say, is if you read my work, you are in very elite company, and I appreciate you. If you enjoyed The Long-Distance Leader, maybe take a chance on Acre’s Bastard or Count of the Sahara. The same brain, for good or evil, created all of them, and I hope you find, read and enjoy my work.
Plus, you’re in an exclusive club, and that’s kind of cool, right?
Recently, as part of a price promotion, I came across a few fantasy authors I really enjoyed. One is LS O’dea and her Lake of Sins series. It’s a unique combination of the races in the Time Machine meets Doctor Moreau. Figured you might enjoy meeting her…
Okay, lady. Tell us about you.
Hmm. I hate this question because I’m not very exciting – on the outside. Inside my head is where the excitement happens.
Internal conversations are a constant for me. They aren’t always stories but there’s always talking going on in my head. When I started writing, almost everything was dialogue. I had to go back and add description and scenery. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but those parts of the stories don’t come easily for me. Dialogue, on the other hand, just flows.
Because of these conversations, I was an odd-ish child. Even my mom said so. ? Like most people, I didn’t realize I was odd because I am who I am. It’s normal to me. When my mother mentioned that I was a bit different as a kid (I was an adult when she said this), I was surprised, but I believe her. She had seven kids, so she knows what “normal” children do, and that wasn’t me.
Unlike my annoying (my words not my mom’s) siblings, I entertained myself. I’d sit for hours and play, talking to myself. What she didn’t know was that I was actually talking to the characters in my head. I never realized that everyone doesn’t do this until she mentioned that. I’d be so lonely without those voices.
So…besides for being an odd child, I was also a tormented child. Growing up the youngest of seven in a time before 24/7 TV, computers, the Internet and video games, kids had to be more creative in their entertainment. Unfortunately for me, that meant teasing and tormenting me. In some ways I can’t blame my siblings. One of them was always stuck with me tagging along. I’m four and a half years younger than my closest sibling. That means nothing as adults, but as kids…that’s a lot of years.
The easiest way for them to not have to watch me was to get me to go home on my own. That always meant teasing me until I cried and ran home.
One would think that they would’ve gotten into trouble for this, but this was also before there were pre-made meals, fast food five minutes away, and dishwashers. My mom was busy. Really, really busy. Unless we had a broken bone or we were bleeding profusely she didn’t deal with our tears. Plus, if she’d punished my siblings for making me cry, she would’ve had to make them come home and then she would’ve had more kids under her feet and in her way.
Instead, when I came home crying my mother would make me take a bath and then I was in for the evening. The good thing was that when my siblings did come home, they still had to take a bath (we didn’t have a shower) and they always missed some of whatever TV show we were watching before bed. It wasn’t much, but I relished that small vengeance.
The other good and bad things were that I learned to deal with their teasing because I didn’t want to go home and take a bath. That was good because I was well prepared for life. The bad thing was that they had to escalate the torment in order to get the result that they wanted. It was kind of a vicious cycle.
With all that being said, I get along very well with all of my siblings. We are a close family. Was I teased and tormented? Yes, but they also played with me, and I knew that they always had my back against anyone outside of the family. Inside of the family it was every kid for themselves. Lol.
What is your series about?
I’ll tell you about Escape, which is the first book in the Lake of Sins series.
This book takes place on the earth of the future, but instead of a story filled with new technology, this world is more forest than city. It starts hundreds of years after the Great Death ravaged the world, killing most humans, all domestic animals, and most other animals. The humans who survived had to rebuild and in doing that they changed – genetically.
As far as the characters know, the only descendants of the human race are the Almightys. The other classes are something else, but the characters don’t know what they are. Just like a dog doesn’t know it’s a dog; it just is who and what it is.
The first book gives a very narrow view of the world of the Lake of Sins because the story is told from the point of view of two Producers. The rest of the books build on that world view with new POV characters.
The two POV characters in Escape are in the class of beings that produce all the food for the other classes. Every year after harvest, the teenage Producers are either chosen to stay and assigned a mate or removed from the encampment. Trinity knows she’s not going to be picked to stay because she’s not a good specimen. She’s not even all Producer. Her father is a House Servant, but that secret will get them all killed.
Trinity escapes into the forest one last time, hoping to find her friend who was taken last year. She has a good idea of where her friend might be, but she doesn’t plan on being chased and hunted by Guards and predators that shouldn’t even exist. When she’s surrounded by a River-Man in the water, a team of Guards in one area of the forest and an unknown predator in the other direction, she must choose which enemy she thinks she may be able to escape.
Where did this come from? What are the roots of your story?
The roots of my stories vary. I’m not one of those writers who has trouble coming up with ideas. I am flooded with ideas from things I see, articles I read and many other things that happen in my daily life.
The roots of the Lake of Sins series goes back a long, long time to the movie Soylent Green. I saw the movie when I was a kid. I don’t remember much about it except the horror of the main character finding out what Soylent Green was.
Add to that, my personal decision to become vegetarian and you have the beginning of the main theme in the Lake of Sins series. I began to ponder what us humans would do if some catastrophic event killed all domestic animals and all other larger animals.
I’m also fascinated and a bit horrified with our tinkering with genetics. These things were tossed together in my cauldron of a brain and the Lake of Sins series was born.
The Chimera Chronicles series is a spinoff of the Lake of Sins series. There was a lot of interest by readers in the Rive-Man character in the first book of the Lake of Sins series, so I decided to tell his story. Rise of the River Man is Mutter’s story of how he is genetically modified and turned into a River-Man.
Once that book was written, I realized that I had to tell the stories of the other “monsters” that appear in the Lake of Sins series.
I’m not positive how the Immortal Defiance series came about. It probably stems from my love of Greek mythology. One of my favorite things to read as a kid were the various stories of the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology. I started to wonder how they felt about going from being revered and worshiped to being nothing more than a myth. These thoughts rolled into A Demon’s Gift.
Iatee is a Punishment Spirit who refuses to conform with the times. He has no interest in becoming a kinder, gentler spirit, and he is punished for his disobedience to the gods. When the story starts his spirit is trapped inside a stuffed teddy bear.
Where can people learn more about you and your books?
I’ve created a series page that will give you an idea about the books in that series. The Chimera Chronicles and the Immortal Defiance series are standalone. The Lake of Sins series needs to be read in order.