Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Michael O'Gara - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Michael O'Gara. Michael is a Mystery & Thriller Writer. He is noted for his Millie Mystery Series and the Cassandra Crossing Assignment thriller series.





Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Historical Fiction

Website: Michael O'Gara Author
Author's Blog: Michael O'Gara - Books that Entertain
Blog: Book Blogs
Twitter: @ogarabooks
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest


Author Description:
I'm a full time novelist and I write mainly mysteries, thrillers and historical action adventure fiction. I think I must be a bit of a romantic because my stories all contain some romance. I live in Missouri with my wife Ronda; no I didn't spell her name wrong that's the way it's spelled. We are graduates of Fontbonne University in St. Louis and have degrees in fine arts. We have that "creativity thing" going on. Ronda took most of the photographs used on my book covers.

Before I met my wife I lived in the Canadian sub-arctic and even went to the arctic circle. There aren't a lot of people who can claim that. I now prefer more moderate climates; that is warmer ones. What was I thinking living in the far north? Hey a story idea just came to me; perhaps one day I'll write a novel set in the sub arctic about the Mounties (Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). Maybe not. We writers are a fickle lot.

Anyway, good reading and enjoy.

To contact Michael direct follow this LINK.


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have several books on the horizon. Can you tell us the timeline for their release and give us a little tease?

I have four new books finished that I expect to release in 2013. One is “The Caring Sheriff” which is the 7 county is facing an invasion of binge drinking riotous college students. As bad as this is, what comes next is much worse. The naked body of a young woman is found beside a rural road. Millie’s team soon finds the crime is one of a string of serial murders no one has yet connected. The investigation points to a larger evil of the worst kind. Events in Millie’s own life are causing her to take the case personally. She knows this is a case only her team will solve because she is the one who cares the most.

“Generational Sin” is a mystery in which Ken Jerome is the main character. Ken leads a normal and somewhat mundane life until he faces a crisis which does not come suddenly as most do. It comes rather as a slow uncovering of the realities of his life to which he has been blind or has blocked from memory. Ken uncovers family skeletons which have not only psychologically and emotionally damaged him, but are mortally dangerous. Ken learns about his family’s generational sin and that leads him to a dark mystery that he must solve to survive. Little do his enemies know that Ken has secrets too and what they don’t know can hurt them?

“Sinister Intent” is a thriller mystery. Assistant District Attorney Vince Jerome is at the top of his game; a game which is about to change. He is assigned to a case which seems relatively routine. It is anything but and will set in motion events that will push him into life he thought he had left behind. The safety of his country, friends and family are threatened as events spiral out of control. Vince will end up being the one that will have to solve the mystery and put the lid on the imminent threat or more people will die; a lot more. By the time Vince has figured out the extent of the danger the clock is ticking down and time is short. Vince has no choice but to turn to his contacts from his past life; one he had rather forget. He needs them and with no choice Vince is drawn back into his previous life and that makes him a very dangerous opponent. The perpetrators will regret the day they crossed paths with Vince.

I have also finished my first romance novel. I haven’t decided on a title yet, so I haven’t sent it to the U.S. Copyright Office for registration nor do I yet have the cover designed. I expect it will also be published later this year.

How important have your social media relationships been? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I think social media relationships are very important to an author. It is an ongoing process for me and it is a challenge to strike a balance between the time spent writing and interacting with others. I didn’t start publishing until about two years ago so social media has always been a part of my book launch process and I’m still working at finding the optimal blend. One positive of the process is that I’ve been able to interact with people from all over the world that in an earlier time would not have been possible.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

If you mean public book signings and appearances, I haven’t done any. For me it’s a business decision based on cost vs. benefit. I have concentrated on internet or newspaper interviews.

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you for the compliment. It’s all hands-on. For better or worse I have to take full responsibility for the covers. I have designed them all with some help from my wife. I am satisfied with all but one of them that I would change if I had it to do over again. I use mainly photos my wife has taken then use two software packages to create the covers. One of the photos was donated by a “daughter”.

What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I attended a local authors’ group but I didn’t continue. Time is so precious and I tend to be very pragmatic about how much an activity contributes to my goals. I now stay in contact with other authors and do research using the internet and social media.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I do most of my work Monday through Thursday though I sometimes work weekends and evenings. How I spend my work time depends on my mood. On an annual basis I probably average forty hours a week on the writing business including book writing, blogging and marketing. Often I write in large blocks of time because I’m “on a roll.” This year I plan to work less hours.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

No. I sell a lot more eBooks than print books though.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I don’t give my work away to the public because I believe it has value. If you follow the shared experiences of authors it seems to me the practice of mass giveaways is relatively fruitless. It seems a lot of indie authors are using eBook giveaways of their work in the hope of building an audience. I think this is a big mistake. Indie authors should be smart about eBook giveaways using them only as promotional tools that are part of a marketing plan. This means only sending free copies to reviewers / bloggers etc. They should be used to expand visibility.

I do send “freebies” to reviewers and bloggers for their honest feedback. I also run contests for print copies on Goodreads because that exposes my book to a lot of readers without devaluing my brand. In reality though it is a form of promotion that has a real cost; the printing of the book and the shipping. That is using giveaways as marketing tools. According to blogger feedback I've received, contests for eBooks gain little interest. I think it's because there are so many eBook giveaways available. This indicates the value of eBooks is perceived as lower.

I’ve written a blog article on this and the full article posted May 5 read at http://www.michael-ogara.com/blog/


Along with that, when do you start the marketing process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.

I’ll start the process weeks before the release. The process is: broadcast the upcoming release, post it on all my sites, twitter about it, do interviews, advertise, and run contests.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal?

The purpose of my blog is to establish relationships and expand my brand visibility. My website focus is on my books.

I have to ask this question being from the Midwest myself. How big a Cardinal fan are you?

How embarrassing !!!! I don’t follow baseball. Football is another matter though. I don’t believe in being a fair weather fan so no Rams jokes please.



Author's Book List
Ambassador Death - The Cassandra Crossing Assignments
Cassandra Crossing is beginning to feel like the bishop on the President’s chess board. She is moved around to keep the country’s enemies at bay. Cassandra is no longer an unknown intelligence operative. Now she's a celebrity and hero after a very public assignment protecting the southern border. This time Cassandra is being assigned to foreign soil and to a very dangerous job. She will be a very public target for those who would sabotage her vital mission to help keep a continent at peace. It is a job she is uniquely qualified for by heritage, experience and training. To complete her mission the first order of business will be survival. She will also unexpectedly have to deal with something new; a serious romantic interest. It is an assignment that will require the balance of a tight rope walker, the Wisdom of Solomon, the courage of a hero, and unusual diplomacy. It is a unique challenge for an unusual woman. Formats Amazon Price New from Used from Kindle Edition $2.99 -- -- Paperback $12.95 $12.95 -- Image Looking for the Audiobook Edition? Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Book Description Publication Date: February 21, 2013 | Series: The Cassandra Crossing Assignments Cassandra Crossing is beginning to feel like the bishop on the President’s chess board. She is moved around to keep the country’s enemies at bay. Cassandra is no longer an unknown intelligence operative. Now she's a celebrity and hero after a very public assignment protecting the southern border. This time Cassandra is being assigned to foreign soil and to a very dangerous job. She will be a very public target for those who would sabotage her vital mission to help keep a continent at peace. It is a job she is uniquely qualified for by heritage, experience and training. To complete her mission the first order of business will be survival. She will also unexpectedly have to deal with something new; a serious romantic interest. It is an assignment that will require the balance of a tight rope walker, the Wisdom of Solomon, the courage of a hero, and unusual diplomacy. It is a unique challenge for an unusual woman.


Order the Book From: Amazon
The Deliberate Sheriff - The Millie Mystery Series - Volume 2
Millie's Life Lesson #2 - Success can sometimes channel you in a direction you don?t want to go but where you are needed. City Marshal Millie’s status as a folk hero is pushing her in a direction she doesn’t really want to go; running for election as County Sheriff. The County sure could use some help from Millie because the Sheriff's Department is an awful mess and about as useful as mud-flaps on a turtle. Millie realizes the challenges of rebuilding the Department but not the mystery, murder, danger, and conspiracy that await her if she’s elected.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Crossing Cassandra - The Cassandra Crossing Assignments
BORDER CRISIS! TERRORISM! ASSASSINS! What is an outed spy with political connections to do? Cassandra Crossing did not expect it to happen so suddenly; her days as an undercover operative have ended. Cassandra expected her career would come to an end because of her father seeking higher political office. That would have certainly brought her into the public eye; a career ending event. Before this can happen, Cassandra kills the head of an international crime organization during an operation. This results in her cover being blown and her photo released. She is now known to intelligence services throughout South America and who knows where else. Cassandra returns home as events along the border with Mexico approach crisis stage. These are the kinds of dangerous events she had predicted in her reports. Mexico is on the verge of civil war and terrorists are entering the U.S. from the south. They are causing chaos. As the ferocity and number of attacks increase, the President chooses Cassandra to deal with the threat. The attacks create a political will to act and Cassandra faces a very dangerous situation. The fate of the country, her life, and her father’s long term political ambitions may depend on her success. She must protect the border. Now the nation’s enemies have become her enemies and her new public assignment makes her a very visible target. The stakes are high as her enemies offer a large bounty for her murder. They will find out there is a price to pay for Crossing Cassandra.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Happenstance Marshal - The Millie Mystery Series
Millie’s Life Lesson #1 - When life gives you lemons set out to save a town and get the badge and a gun you’ve always wanted. Millie’s life presently sucks but she has not let things beat her down and they are about to change. It’s bad enough Millie is subjected to prejudice but then she loses her job and her best friend. Given the economic problems of the City of Safe Haven Harbor, Millie’s prospects don’t look good. The City is broke, business is bad, and everyone’s struggling but a new reform Council has been elected to get to the bottom of the mess. They’ve hired a real hunk as the new city manager and if Millie thinks her life is complicated now she has no idea what’s around the corner. Millie will be thrown into the midst of mystery, sexual temptation, adventure and misadventure, as well as life threatening danger. Through it all she will learn she has a natural talent that will change her life and open the door to her dreams.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Mentor Sheriff - The Millie Mystery Series
Sheriff Millie has been awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by the President of the United States. Now she will need the bravery she displayed in winning the nation’s highest police valor medal.

Millie has to meet her fiancée’s family and that will just be one of the challenges she will face. She returns home to find a new scourge has come to Mountain County. The person behind the criminal enterprise is sheltered in neighboring River County where the Sheriff is either inept or corrupt and Millie thinks it’s the latter. The Sheriff there is feared by everyone in that County and there has been no one brave enough to challenge him. Millie finds an unlikely candidate whom she must mentor in order to challenge the corruption spilling over into her County. Not only must the current Sheriff of River County be unseated but the mystery of who is pulling the Sheriff’s strings and running the criminal enterprise must be solved. All the while Millie must continue to direct her successful business interests and balance her unusual personal life.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Sword, Cross and Crown
Aelle at thirteen is already considering how to avoid death at sixteen. He is heir to his maternal grandfather's realm and the only legitimate heir to his father's land. When he turns sixteen his half brothers may challenge him to mortal combat. His father is using that threat from his older bastard warrior half brothers to intimidate him into the priesthood of his mother's Christian religion.

If Aelle enters the priesthood to stay alive he will have to take a vow of poverty and yield his maternal inheritance to this father. His father is working to ensure Aelle does not know how to fight.

Aelle however is not your typical thirteen year old. He has a brilliant mind which he keeps secret and is creative enough he may just have figured out a way to thwart his father's ambitions. It is dangerous and there will be hardships as well as intrigue but his plan just might work. Well it will work in theory if he can stay alive long enough.

There are two things Aelle needs to make his plan work. He must find a warrior to train him in secret and a way to accumulate warrior allies. Achieving either of these will be no small feat but Aelle has no choice. For him the priesthood is a fate worse than death and he is smart enough to know neither is it a guarantee against assassination.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Windfall Sheriff - The Millie Mysteries
Millie Boyd is up for re-election as Sheriff of the beautiful resort area Mountain County. It seems there will be some shuffling in the leadership of the small City police departments come election time and Millie is deeply involved. At the same time, it seems her re-election is a near certain thing. She is after all a folk hero, two times State Police Chief of the Year, and is known and respected by everyone in the County. Yes, she seems a shoe in. Then just before the election, a series of murders of well known residents occur.

The murders seem to be random, brutal and without motive. The murders are big news and questions are raised as to whether the Sheriff still has what it takes to solve these serial murder cases. The talk has resulted in a challenger stepping forward to run against Millie. The question becomes will Millie solve the murders in time to save her re-election. Millie as she always has faces the challenges both political and investigative head on. She does it with the tenacity of a political bulldog and the nose of an investigative blood hound. The mystery of the murders must be solved and fast.

Little does Millie know that is the least of the challenges she will face. There is a foul wind coming her way.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Persistent Sheriff - The Millie Mystery Series
Millie’s Life Lesson #3 - Just when you think you’ve got in made in the shade, life will throw you a curve ball so you might as well hit it out of the park. It is election time in the beautiful resort area of Mountain County but it seems no one is willing to run against Sheriff Millie Boyd as she stands for re-election as county sheriff. It is no surprise to the residents. Sheriff Millie is after all a modern folk hero who is generally respected and loved by the voters of Mountain County. She is two time state Police Chief of the Year because of her knack for solving mysteries and her ability to build and manage outstanding law enforcement teams. Just when Millie thinks that a few Friday night rowdy tourists at the local bars will be her biggest problem an unidentified murder victim’s body is found floating in the lake. In order to get to the bottom of the crime Millie must find out who the victim is. To complicate matters a notorious motor cycle gang shows up in Mountain County and Millie must deal with that threat while balancing a new romantic interest as well as her real estate development business. Millie certainly has her hands full and her continued success will depend on how many things she can juggle at the same time without dropping something. She has no idea the challenges she will face are more far reaching and more dangerous than it would first appear.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Mogul Sheriff - The Millie Mysteries
Mountain County Sheriff Millie is working through many personal, professional, and business challenges in the aftermath of the tornadoes that ravaged the area. One of the Tornadoes ripped a band of destruction through the lakefront community of Save Haven Harbor where Millie lives. It caused the death of fifty three people including some people Millie loved dearly.

Millie hardly has time to grieve when she is faced with more difficulty. She is suddenly confronted by a dangerous and evil enemy from her past. It's a chance and violent encounter with the one fugitive who ever escaped Millie's reach. Millie must now find out why having successfully escaped the wanted felon is back in Mountain County.

While in pursuit of capturing the elusive criminal, Millie uncovers a sinister plot that reaches far beyond Mountain County. Now Millie has a mystery on her hands she must solve. At the same time she must put her life back together.

As if her life is not complicated enough, an old romantic interest comes back to town. Will he be a blessing or a curse? Will Millie be up to dealing with all of opportunities and challenges she is facing? Millie's life has never been boring and that seems to be the one thing that will not change.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Author Recommended by: Amy Metz
Amy Metz is a Author of Mystery & Thrillers as well as a blogger and book editor.
Check out Amy's Author's Spotlight.

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