Sunday, August 28, 2016

D.J. Bodden on Writing Black Fall, Volume One of the Black Year Vampire Saga

D.J. Bodden talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Black Fall, Volume One of the Black Year Vampire Saga.

“If you have this perfect line, say it, and if you have this perfect action, do it.” ~D.J. Bodden

D.J. had a very varied childhood, being born in the Cayman Islands and then spending his childhood in Monte Carlo and being educated in the French educational system. It was when he was seventeen that he realized that he didn’t particularly take well to the thought of the career track that he foresaw being laid out for him with that system, as he was a storyteller at heart. Being a Marine veteran, D.J. remarked that military veterans had a lot of stories to tell, even those they didn’t tell anyone else, and was attracted to the stories behind the boxes full of “neat things” that they had. He spent thirteen years in the military, which he was able to do as he held both British and American passports, and it was while he was in the naval academy that one of his professors suggested that he major in literature.

It was towards the end of his final deployment in Afghanistan that he wrote his first book, one which, he admits, was “horrible.” He then worked with editor Michael Garrett, Stephen King’s first editor, who gave him a great deal of constructive advice. D.J. then spent the next two years after that researching and working on his craft as a writer, as well as becoming an editor, helping other writers. It was while he was doing that when he met with writer Joe Cleveland, who came to him with a concept which D.J. became invested in, to the point that he began altering the story, with Joe Cleveland’s assent, and made it more his own. Joe ultimately didn’t like the direction the story was taking, so when Joe offered to essentially sell the rights to D.J. for a particular sum, D.J. took the offer; and it was thus that Black Fall came into being.

D.J. was familiar with the classic stories of vampires, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Vampire Lestat, so he found the kind of vampires in such stories as Twilight somewhat funny. For him, vampires are intellectual creatures that are outliers of human society, and through the book, he explored what it would be like to have such creatures exist in the practical, everyday world we all live in. He also.notes that various literary movements become popular because people, at the time these movements are popular, wrestle with questions about certain sectors of society which are reflected in these movements, and it is in this context that D.J. writes about vampires.

D.J. took six weeks, after buying Joe out, revising it so that it would be the start of a book series, which is designed to follow the lead character, Jonas Black, from adolescence to his sixties, through literally world-changing events that also change him. The characters in the final version of the book aren’t as originally conceptualized by Joe Cleveland, in conformance with the change in the concept of the story. He filled out the characters’ back stories in particular, such as the one for Doris, to make them more three-dimensional than they had originally been, noting that he spent “thousands of hours” doing research and re-imagining the characters. He hated the kind of style that focused on setting, which he experienced while learning French literature, and so focuses on a more visual style of description, keeping the descriptions of setting at a minimum.

D.J. believes that a reader should never be bored, and points out that people buy the books in the series one day after the other; and it is for the reason of “trying not to get people bored” that he cuts out any scene that he gets bored with. D.J. also remarks that he learned something new every single day when he was writing the book, admitting that he is obsessed about the characters and the story when he is working on them, and that some of the most important story points came while he was just walking around.

D.J. advises that people approach everything, particularly things which they have assumed to be true all their lives, as if they were approaching it for the first time, without any preconceived notions, and that, once one has figured out what one needs to do, then one should do it, as one might never get the chance again.

You can find Black Fall on D.J.’s website,

Purchase on Amazon: Black Fall by D.J. Bodden

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hiroshi Yaita: Getting into The Heart of Work by Ryuho Okawa

Hiroshi "Henry" Yaita talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about Master Ryuho Okawa’s latest book, The Heart of Work: 10 Keys to Living Your Calling.

“Try to follow the ten keys in this book. You will see your workplace in a different way.” ~Hiroshi "Henry" Yaita

Happy Science was founded in Japan by Master Okawa in 1986, with the intention to enable people all over the world to find happiness in their lives. Since then, it has expanded to several countries in Europe and Asia, in the United States and in Russia, and is presently expanding into education and politics.

Henry himself was with a company that traded in metals some thirty years ago and wasn’t very happy with it, because he had some conflicts with his superiors when his mother loaned him a book by Master Okawa, and after applying those teachings his attitude towards work changed. He then joined Happy Science as a member and became a full-time staff member in 1994, as he was excited by the possibilities of spreading, throughout the world, the concepts that had changed his life.

Master Okawa attained enlightenment and, according to Henry, has written 2,100 books in Japanese based on what he learned, particularly after 1991, when he was finally able to converse with spiritual beings and was convinced that spirituality was needed as a foundation for human happiness. Master Okawa himself used to work in a trading company in Japan and was assigned to New York to work there, thus gaining knowledge of Western business practices as well as Japanese business practices, and as such, wrote the book so that people all over the world, be they ones who follow Japanese or Western work ethics, can be helped by the ideas within.

The Heart of Work was originally intended for up-and-coming young businessmen who wanted to achieve success, but it is actually intended for everyone, be they employees, housewives or entrepreneurs. According to Henry, the book is based on a deep understanding of humans as beings who come from the spiritual world and who have an objective to fulfill while they’re on the Earth, based on a life plan that we created before coming to this physical plane, and recognizes that we, as humans, seek out work as a fundamental aspect of being human. Henry also notes that, perhaps the most important key noted in the book is the one where work and love are related (Chapter 5 in the book), as, according to Master Okawa, work and love are the same, and that love should be the basis of all relationships with other humans, particularly since no one can do their work or achieve their objectives alone, and creating and maintaining relationships thus essential to one’s success.

One’s calling is what one intends to achieve in one’s lifetime, and Henry remarks that one can determine what one’s calling is based on one’s own interests and skills. He also mentions that one can know what one’s calling is by figuring out which activities give one pleasure through experience, such as going through several jobs, and that one needs to find one’s inner desires and strengths through inner reflection. To those who are dissatisfied with their work and their lives, Henry points out that people think about what they can get from their workplace, such as praised and promotions, but this isn’t the way to achieve happiness and success. Focusing on other people’s needs and serving these from the standpoint of wanting other people happy, however, enables one to find pleasure, happiness and gratitude. He also emphasizes that the work we do is a blessing from God, who wishes us to find the pleasure of creation through work, and that jobs aren’t punishment but ways by which we could attain this pleasure of creation.

Translating Master Okawa’s books is the main thrust outside Japan, and according to Henry, five such translated works will be published this year, such as a book on justice and two others on meditation and enlightenment.

Master Okawa’s book can be found on and at

Purchase on Amazon: The Heart of Work: 10 Keys to Living Your Calling by Master Ryuho Okawa

Friday, August 5, 2016

Rory Flynn on His 2nd Eddy Harkness Detective Novel, Dark Horse

Rory Flynn talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his latest book, Dark Horse, an Eddy Harkness detective novel.

“All good writing is just bad writing that’s been edited.” ~Rory Flynn

Rory likes to write dark fiction generally in the category of crime, but he has been writing short stories since he was child, and he having read the works of such authors as Agatha Christie and Georges Simenon. He was a crime reporter for a few years and thus got a bit of an insight into police work, and he released his first novel in 1992; Dark Horse is actually his seventh book (the first five were released under his real name), and the second in a planned ongoing series.

Rory, along with several others, founded Concord Free Press, which is a publishing house that has a unique approach to book distribution. It is based on the concept of a gift economy, and authors publish their original works and give these away for free through the press, while still retaining the rights to their stories. The paperbacks are delivered free to the book’s buyer, even free of shipping charges, and in exchange, the buyer of the book is encouraged to donate to a worthy charity or do some act of active generosity. The Press has been very successful, as Rory remarks that millions of dollars have been raised for various charities, such as the rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, with one of the most successful ones written by Gregory Maguire, who wrote the novel Wicked, on which the play was based. His book proved to be so popular that the press needed to allocate particular times to handle the volume of requests.

The series of which Dark Horse is the second book for revolves around the work of the lead character Eddy Harkness, and Rory intends that all of titles in that book are those of fictional illegal drugs. His characters are all quirky in their own particular ways and also have their own particular mannerisms, and Rory just loves putting them together in a scene to let them just go. He also notes that drafts enable him to figure out just how much the characters will show up, and that writing enables him, as with all writers, to explore the various aspects of human character and relationships, both bad and good.

Rory notes that the drugs featured in his books are fictional ones, and also notes that drugs are part and parcel of American life unfortunately, with a lot of Americans under the age of 14 already abusing one form or another. Corruption, Rory remarks, is found all over the world, and while his experience as a crime reporter gave him an insight into how police operate, he admits he only wants to get the details plausible, rather than get bogged down in the details and minutiae of policing. He admits that the cops in his books would not be found in the real world as his creative license makes them too different and that Eddy Harkness, if he were real, would likely get fired for his actions in the book.

For Rory, writing a book is second nature, with each one being an evolution from an idea to exploration and to the final product, and while he realizes that the job of the writer is to engage others. He also tells young writers that, just because a topic is interesting to them, it may not be interesting to others and challenges them to constantly ask the question, "Who would care?" where the topic is concerned. Where Rory is concerned, the world is "endlessly fascinating," so if he gets interested in a topic, he might get a story from it, although he does want to make sure that the story hasn’t been written before and wants to make sure that others would be interested in it.

Rory Flynn’s website for his book, Dark Horse, is

Purchase on Amazon: Dark Horse an Eddy Harkness Novel by Rory Flynn