Author Interview with Lyrical Pens

MTW author meets up with cj petterson and shares his new release and main character Mac McClellan.

e. michael helms

LYRICAL PENS Spotlights author E. Michael Helms Today!

cj Sez: Lyrical Pens’ guest today is Mystery Thriller Week author E. Michael Helms, who writes the popular Mac McClellan mystery series. The latest in the series from Coffeetown/Camel Press is the brand-new deadly spirits, which launched on Jan 15, 2017. (Congratulations, Michael.)

This busy author graciously stopped by for a few minutes and answered some questions for us. Let’s get right to it…

Lyrical Pens: Where did you get the inspiration for your Mac McClellan series?

hardy-boys-1E. Michael Helms: My previous books had all dealt with war, mostly drawn from my own experiences. It was draining and I knew I needed a change. I grew up reading and loving the Hardy Boys books, and had recently renewed my interest in mysteries. One day I thought: Why not try my hand at writing a mystery? It took off from there.

LP: What…

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Mystery Mondays: Damon L. Wakes on Planning Your Novel


It’s Monday again, and we’re here with Damon L. Wakes author of Ten Little Astronauts.

Planning Your Novel by Damon L. Wakes.

Personally, I don’t like to plan my books in too much detail. Knowing (at least in your head) how you get from beginning to end is essential, but for me summarising individual scenes seems excessive: I feel as though I might as well just write the scenes themselves.

What I find does help is to take a pack of record cards and note down all the major plot points, one per card. This makes for a really quick way to put together an outline of the story, and you’re free to add or remove cards as necessary, even while you’re working. There are other advantages to this sort of plan too, but I think those are best left for another post.

I first tried this approach when…

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How to write a mystery thriller in the style of Alfred Hitchcock by Tony Lee Moral


As the author of three books on Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, including a ‘how to’ write a thriller, called Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass, I was naturally inspired by his stories when writing my mystery thriller, Ghost Maven, about a teenage girl who falls in love with a ghost in Monterey Bay, California.








Continue reading “How to write a mystery thriller in the style of Alfred Hitchcock by Tony Lee Moral”

My GRL – By John W. Howell

MTW author relaunched My Girl.

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

Today, it’s my pleasure to bring this re-launch of a great thriller to my readers. John W. Howell is a wonderful storyteller and I loved this trilogy! I highly recommend these books as great reads!

Announcing the re-launch of My GRL


The cover is new and the book edited once again to enhance the experience. What is really nice is the price has been cut for the introduction. You can buy the kindle version for a special introduction price of


Here’s the blurb.

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body…

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Award and After Party for Mystery Thriller Week

The Page Turner

Last night I was up with so many of the authors, bloggers, fans, readers, experts and organizers of the Mystery Thriller Week.  After 4 months of planning, 11 days of reviews, guest posts, interview posting, and hosting live events, the week came to a close.

Did we learn a lot during this colossal event? Yes! We did!

  1. If you built it, they will come, bringing books, reviews, interviews, and laughter.
  2.  You can never laugh at your own mistakes enough.
  3. Authors and bloggers love a good party together.
  4. Guests look better in Armani, Oscar De La Renta, and other designers clothing.
  5. Champagne flows like champagne.
  6. You can never have enough trailers in a screening room.
  7. No one wants to the party to end.

The party began at 10:00 pm and the red carpet started filling up at about 9:30. There was crush at the auditorium door but everyone made it in safely…

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Historical Division: Marie Silk on Historical Fiction Writing: Life in America 100 Years Ago

Someone recently asked me, “What is ‘historical fiction’?”  I never realized it was a confusing phrase until I really thought about it and concluded that it sounds like an oxymoron.  Here, I will do my best to explain historical fiction and the process that goes into writing it.

Continue reading “Historical Division: Marie Silk on Historical Fiction Writing: Life in America 100 Years Ago”

Why the beep do people like Fantasy? by a Fantasy Writer

What is something you hate? What is something you love?
The thing about opinions is that somebody always disagrees with you. There is somebody that loves what you hate and hates what you love.
What does this have to do with the Fantasy genre? You might have guessed by now. If you hate it, there’s somebody that likes it. If you like it, there’s somebody that absolutely despises it.

Continue reading “Why the beep do people like Fantasy? by a Fantasy Writer”

The Value of a Cliffhanger by R.M. Gauthier

Writing Mysteries intrigued me because I love a good cliff-hanger. There I’ve said it, so shoot me, as for anyone who says they don’t like them or don’t do them they’re not being completely honest.

There is mystery and cliffhangers in almost everything people write, if there wasn’t then your story won’t be worth reading. Whether you think so or not, everyone’s writing has cliff-hangers. Continue reading “The Value of a Cliffhanger by R.M. Gauthier”

I’m Going to Post it For the World to See* by Margot Kinberg

I’m Going to Post it For the World to See*

Subtitle: Reading and Writing in the Age of Social Media 


One of the most important changes we’ve seen in the last ten years has been the advent of social media. It’s had a profound impact on the way we communicate. If you keep in touch with friends on Facebook, or catch up on news and sports stories through Twitter, or check out someone’s Goodreads reviews, you know what I mean.

It’s no secret that social media has transformed the way people buy, sell, review, and share crime fiction books. For readers, social media has made it possible to learn about books from all over the world in ways that would’ve been impossible just a few years ago. Choosing what to read isn’t just a matter of going to the local bookshop anymore, and being limited to that store’s selection. Now, readers can choose what they want from among many thousands of different places.  

Continue reading “I’m Going to Post it For the World to See* by Margot Kinberg”

Operation Hardcover by Dave Agans

“Mr. Kneeland is here” said the intercom. Stephanie Crusher, head of AAH Furniture Corporation, pressed a button.

“Send him in.”

Bill Kneeland pushed through the door as if a tiger waited to pounce from the OC-55 credenza behind it. He wasn’t completely wrong. Stephanie nodded toward the hot seat, a specially adjusted model OC-23. As Kneeland settled onto the low, hard chair, Stephanie stepped around to his side and leaned against her desk. The ED-14 sported a smooth thumbnail edge which allowed her to sustain the intimidating position in comfort—and without creating a crease in her skirt.

“So,” she said, “what about Operation Hardcover?”

Of course, Kneeland tiptoed around the real issue like it was a shin-high coffee table in a dark living room.

“Well, we’ve been working with the Big 5 publishers to set the hardcover-to-paperback launch delay at 21 months, up two months from a year ago. And we talked them into a one-month adder for every 10,000 hardcover copies sold, so the popular ones hold out even longer.”

“Old news. What else?”

Kneeland tried to lean the chair back, but Stephanie had disabled the patented tilt-feature. He had to crane his neck to look her in the eye.

“Our Luddite Ladies team has increased their penetration of book clubs to almost 70 percent. The LLs insist on reading only what they can get in the library—which, of course, are mostly hardcover. With just one Luddite Lady member, a club can’t choose books that only came out in paperback or e-book.”

Stephanie felt like she was trying to open a stuck drawer. She gave it a final pull.

“Get to the point, Bill. What are we doing about Mystery Thriller Week?”

The chair squeaked as Kneeland straightened up and gathered his thoughts. This would not be a satisfactory answer.

“We’re trying to ignore it,” he said, squeaking like the chair. “We don’t think it’s a threat…”

“Not a threat?” she snapped. “Through MTW, mystery and thriller fans can discover hundreds of great new authors! There’ll be discounts and giveaways! Interviews! Excerpts! Reviews! And it’s all free on the web! These people don’t do hardcovers, Bill. If all those readers discover even one or two new authors, sales of the Pop 20 writers will tank! Mystery Thriller Week is a threat—what are you going to do about it?”

“We’ve been spreading propaganda for years that these new authors aren’t as good as the Pop 20.”

“Bill, you’re aware of all the independent reviews MTW is doing. Those lies you’re planting are shakier than a two-legged stool.”

Kneeland’s eyes fell, admitting she was right. He shrugged.

“Maybe we should sic the Editorial Board on ‘em?”

Stephanie considered it. The “Editors” were a small team of highly-skilled assassins, used to eliminate mainstream reviewers who dared to pan a new release. It didn’t take much—one or two “deleted” critics and the rest fell in line. There hadn’t been a bad mainstream review of a hardcover in years.

But this was different.

“We can’t kill a hundred people without drawing suspicion. Hell, I don’t know if the Editors even have that much ammo. Any other ideas?”

Kneeland shook his head.

“I got nuthin’.”

Stephanie let the failure hang between them for a few seconds.

“Well, get somethin’. We’ll talk again tomorrow.”

Kneeland nodded, extracted himself from the OC-23, and shuffled out.

Stephanie crossed to the window that overlooked the plant floor. The Assemble At Home Furniture Corporation’s shelving factory was running at peak capacity. Circular saw stations sliced particleboard sheets into shelf planks, and glue machines immediately applied veneer from giant espresso-brown rolls. The multi-head drill robot bored pilot holes in acceptably precise positions along the edges. On a parallel conveyor line, the hardware manifold filled bags with screws, washers, brackets, and plugs before sending them to the REPI machine. Stephanie smiled—that was her idea. There were always enough parts, but the Random Extra Part Inserter made sure there were a few left over just to confuse the customer. Every cartoon, blog post, late night joke, and standup comedy bit about how hard it was to assemble AAHFC shelving was good publicity. Sales were booming.

Then she thought about MTW and stopped smiling. Shelves only sell if there’s something to stack on them. She’d realized a long time ago that hardcover books took up the most space, and only the popular authors went hardcover first. Grisham, Connelly, Child, Evanovich—all of them were good for business. Hell, the last four David McCullough bios had goosed shelf sales 2 percent all by themselves.

She turned from the window. These new authors were coming out in paperback and—she shuddered—e-books. Practically zero shelf space required.

Mystery Thriller Week was indeed a huge threat. Once fans discovered a great new author, or two, or even—she shuddered again—a half dozen, it was all over. Stephanie could only hope no one would hear about it.

She sighed, walked to the EB-48 executive bar, and poured herself a tall Scotch.


Our thanks to MTW author Dave Agans for providing this look into the power of the MTW.

DAVE AGANS, corrupted by Mad Magazine and Get Smart at an early age, began writing spy spoofs in the sixth grade. He has since written the musical comedy Hot Buttons, dozens of comic stage monologues, the popular, humorous technical book Debugging, and the conspiracy thriller satire The Urban Legion. Dave can be recognized on New Hampshire golf courses by his flawed swing and on the roads by his AMUSED license plate.


Want to contact Dave or locate The Urban Legion?

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