Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a book shelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. WE get personal! Because when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!
Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, member, MICHAEL LYNES! Mike is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of November and we have been celebrating him all month long. This week, he gets to sit on the shelf with me!
NJ: Mike, before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf? We’ve made it more comfortable in 2017, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, and we also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf? So, comfy?
Mike: Hi NJ! The RRBC book shelf has always been more like a pedestal than a shelf. It’s an honor to be placed upon it and I will strive to live up to the standard set by my predecessors.
NJ: Well, OK, you smooth talker!!! You’re starting this party off right! Don’t wanna take any chances, do ya? Well, I don’t blame you, Mike. Sometimes, this place is downright dangerous! Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?
Mike: My birth name is Michael Lynes.
NJ: Tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?
Mike: I was born and raised in Madison, New Jersey, USA – originally grew up in the suburbs but Margaret and I have lived in Sussex County NJ, the New Jersey Skylands region, for the last 30 years.
NJ: Awesome! Married or single?
NJ: Ok, good, good. I assume to Margaret, correct? OK, moving along before she pops up and we’ve just no room for extra-hineys today. So, Mike, do you and Margaret have any kids? If so, what kind?
Mike: We have four sons, Ian, Christopher, Devon and Caelan.
NJ: OK, and if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?
Mike: Well, that’s a disconcerting question!
NJ: I know, Mike, but it’s what we have to look forward to….a pat on the head every now and again. Yep, I hear they don’t even allow tricks at that age, either. It’s a hard knock life, I tell ya!
Mike: LOL! I would say that we have a great relationship with all our guys. I am (crosses fingers) going to say that we’ll be welcome with any of them, but our oldest son lives closest to us right now. (No pressure ‘E’….)
NJ: No pressure? Hahaha, E is changing his phone and address right now…you just wait. So, Mike, any pets? What kind?
Mike: One crazy tortoise-shell cat named LEET, right now. She is a loveable PITA and makes sure to jump in my lap whenever she determines I’ve spent enough time writing and need a ‘pet’ break.
NJ: Hmmm, yea, Mike, we don’t talk much about cats up on this shelf. Please, the peanut gallery is begging you not to mention LEET again.
What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and then forego breakfast just to get to it?
Mike: Well, I’d have to say one of my favorite dishes is chicken aroz-caldo – Philippine style. Not sure it’s a ‘forego breakfast’ kind of deal – I almost never eat breakfast and only rarely eat lunch. One meal a day is plenty for me…
NJ: Mike, as a Certified Personal Trainer AND A Fitness Nutrition Specialist, I can truthfully tell you that one meal a day is not plenty for you, but I digress. So, tell us, what’s your favorite color?
NJ: OK. How about your favorite sport?
Mike: I love to play tennis. I’ve not been playing lately but it’s my favorite sport for sure.
NJ: I love tennis, too. I don’t play it much, but it’s definitely a fave to watch. Any favorite TV shows?
Mike: Currently ‘Forged in Fire’ on the History channel. It’s a great show – wonderful in that there is a real chance of someone losing a thumb at almost any instant… Love it! Also love watching SYTYCD and The Voice. Some of those dancers and singers have amazing talent!
NJ: Favorite Actress/Actor?
Mike: John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn – also a Bogie and Bacall fan for sure.
NJ: Any who might still be alive banking a paycheck or acting gig? Never mind. Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?
Mike: I like to stay fit, not to say that I couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds, but I am an active type, never sit still.
NJ: Good for you, Mike! What’s the biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails? (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads. Hey, just being honest. It’s the only way I roll).
Mike: My pet peeve from the author POV is poorly written prose or inconsistent plotting. Nothing makes me want to stop reading a story more than seeing a misplaced metaphor, or an ill used word, or tortured sentence construction. From an overall life POV…crazy drivers that weave in and out of traffic annoy the heck out of me!
NJ: WOW! Finally, another soul who understands that those things can mess up a story…and fast! So, Mike, are you neat or messy?
Mike: I believe in organized chaos.
NJ: (People, I do know that means you’re messy) Facebook or Twitter?
Mike: Both. I have a very active twitter presence and multiple Facebook pages for my personal, business and two books.
NJ: We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships. Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?
Mike: I have a few authors to whom I’ve connected to online and whom I would consider friends. Chatting with folks with whom I share common interests and whom I’ve never met personally has become so familiar and common place that I hardly give it a second thought anymore. The power of social media is amazing, really life changing, compared to only a couple of decades ago.
NJ: We all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not. In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place? You can be honest here, too.
Mike: Well, Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero in a fictional world and NJ is a real-life whirlwind of positive energy so there is really no comparison! I would have to come down on the side of NJ here…
NJ: That was kind of you to say. Thank you, Mike 🙂 Now, please name one favorite INDIE book that you’ve read by an RRBC member.
Mike: “Mercy’s Prince” by Katy Huth Jones.
NJ: After you read books, do you post reviews?
Mike: Yes, almost always.
NJ: Good for you, Mike! What do you think readers should base their reviews on?
Mike: Their honest opinion of the story…story-craft, appeal, emotional impact etc. A good review should be fair, positive and spoiler free.
NJ: I agree on all points, except when you say that all reviews should be positive reviews. There’s no way that you can always be honest and also always giving positive reviews. Now, if you mean they shouldn’t tear the author down or rip the book apart, figuratively speaking, then I agree. But, otherwise, we have to be careful when we say that all reviews should be positive, as some might take that to mean they should all be rated favorably (3 to 5 star). OK, Mike, Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?
Mike: I always give my honest opinion. I will not trash an author’s work but I have only rarely given a two star or one star review. If a story is poorly written I will generally not finish it and give no review. If I finish a story and feel that it needs a low review I will post it. Constructive criticism is as important as praise.
NJ: There again, we agree on constructive critiques! Read any poorly written books lately?
Mike: Lots…usually just the sample chapters are enough to convince me to not go further.
NJ: Now I know you really are my twin! That’s it for me, too! You never get a second chance to make a great first impression and the beginning of books, definitely serve as that first “Hello.” Mike, how many poorly written books have you read that you gave a high mark to in your review, when you knew it was horrible? Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here publicly.
Mike: I don’t do that. It’s a disservice to the author and to myself.
NJ: Mike, are you an author? Are you a good one? C’mon, we love honesty here.
Mike: My books have been very well received, over 100 reviews for There Is A Reaper (4.9/5.0) and The Fat Man collection is also doing well and winning awards. I would say that there is always room to grow and improve. I look at the stuff I wrote a year or two ago and see that I’ve gotten better with my prose and story-craft since that time. The best answer is ‘I am always striving to improve my author skills’ and leave it at that.
NJ: Mike, you’re impressing me more and more by the minute! How long have you been writing?
Mike: All my life really…specifically, ‘There Is a Reaper’ since 2010, and ‘The Fat Man’ since April 2016.
NJ: Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?
NJ: Name two books that you’ve written?
NJ: Which one do you think is the best?
Mike: I don’t have a favorite between the two. I like them both for different reasons.
NJ: Do you have a blog or website? I love GREAT blogs/websites, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?
Mike: M Lynes Author is my website. I do have a blog there but I’m not sure if meets the NJ level for excellence.
NJ: I’ll just have to drop by to see for myself! Mike, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?
Mike: Probably the exposure with social media, twitter and Facebook, has helped the most. Next, being able to take advantage of programs and promotions on Amazon, and other large ebook sites. Not the least of course would be the authors and friends I’ve met on RRBC!
NJ: How were you helped by them?
Mike: Twitter for promotion and presence. Facebook as a contacts and exposure resource. Amazon to sell and promote my books, and other ebook sites to help sell and advertise. And, clubs like RRBC to connect with authors and friends for information, shared interests and reviews.
NJ: Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?
Mike: A very good resource for connecting with other authors, sharing information, getting reviews and promoting oneself. The value received is far greater than the cost of membership!
NJ: I so agree with you, Mike. Authors don’t realize the value of this amazing club until they really sink their teeth into it, or until they leave, and then actually feel the loss of what they had here. For many, this is the ONLY place their books are being purchased, read and reviewed, and many are smart enough to stay here for that reason alone. Mike, have you come across any other online entities like it?
Mike: There are other online organizations – many are less effective than RRBC. I have found a lot of folks who are just in the business to sell you some ad packages. RRBC cares about its members and it is focused on integrity. I’ve not found another online club like it.
NJ: Thank you, Mike. I could not have said it any better than that. Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?
Mike: Yes – but more importantly to other authors.
NJ: That’s right, Mike. But, readers are just as important here as writers. We want them all and that’s why we always should introduce RRBC to our family and friends, so that our catalog is where they do they book shopping. What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC? (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)
Mike: I would say the Block Parties are the most fun. I also like reading the BWCU and catching up on everything that is happening at RRBC in one convenient place.
NJ: They’re all faves of mine, but I totally agree on those block parties! And, our WC&BE is starting to blow all out of the water! Mike, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words for our guests today?
Mike: Just to say thank you for the honor and all of the great work that you and your team do to keep RRBC rolling along. I’m sure at times it must seem to be a thankless task, and a mountain of work, but your efforts are appreciated and I will take the opportunity to publicly thank you NJ for the great work that you do. Thank you!
NJ: Mike, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today! And, thanks for being an awesome member! This has definitely been one of my all-time favorite interviews…and I mean that sincerely. Not once did you come close to having an accident! Because of that, we’d love to have you back again some time. We mean that!
To my guests, please pick up a copy of one of Mike’s books or both of them.
Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet? Well, here’s your chance! And, since Mike was on the “SHELF” today, tell them he sent you. Make it a great day, my friends…or not. The choice is all yours! This is my final interview for 2017. But, we’ll see you bright and early in January, 2018, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!