Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pheaturing Suzi Albracht

Hello, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. I don't know what the weather is like where you live but here in Clermont, Florida it sucks. So. Much. Rain. Today is Rosh Hashanah. So, happy Rosh Hashanah to the Jewish people who know more about the iPhone 6s than about Rosh Hashanah. May the Jewish New Year bring you many joyful events to complain about.  So, a jewelry store asked a very controversial question for a promotion. Asking about "Friday" instead of the date would've sufficed. A Zales in Omaha, Nebraska, decided to have a sale on the one day a year you can't have a sale and then promote it with the worst sign in history.

This is some next level tastelessness. I'm surprised they didn't offer wine tasting flights along with the question "ask us about flight 93!" or maybe "sales so hot they'll melt steel." The store manager told the "NY Daily News" that the promotion was a corporate idea. Who knows how high this thing goes; the diamond industry is already full of shadowy international business practices. The bad news for Zales is that just like diamonds, the Internet is forever.  Subway received one very serious complaint and it wasn't about stale bread. Seems like one you might want to follow-up on. Subway has completed an internal investigation and said it received one serious complaint about Jared Fogle in 2011 from journalist Rochelle Herman-Walrond. She happens to be the same reporter who helped the FBI build a case against Jared for four years which resulted in him pleading guilty to charges this summer. She made the complaint after Fogle told her that "middle school girls are hot." Subway spokeswoman Kristen McMahon said the complaint was serious but "nothing that implied anything about sexual behavior or criminal activity involving Mr. Fogle." Technically she's right: it is not a crime to tell a reporter that middle school girls are hot. It's also technically stupid not to have a closer look at your spokesman when he casually says such things to reporters. Let us close the book on this stupidity contest for good.  Here's a nice story... The last living 9/11 rescue dog returned to New York to be treated to the best day of her life. Bretagne (pronounced Brittany) and her owner/handler Denise Corliss are part of Texas Task Force One, a federal team that works under FEMA's national search and rescue program. They mainly work in the state of Texas, but can be deployed elsewhere. Basically, they're those people you see rappelling from helicopters like total badasses and saving people from disasters. In order to honor their work and celebrate Bretagne's 16th birthday, BarkBox (a subscription-based delivery service for dog treats and toys) teamed up with various New York City organizations to treat Bretagne, Denise, and Denise's husband Randy to a day on the town. They checked in at a fancy hotel, visited Times Square (where Bretagne is displayed on a big LCD monitor), and were given the "bone to the city" at Hudson River dog park. It's all pretty bittersweet that will instantly make you a dog person.  Have you heard the story of a girlfriend who repo's her cheating boyfriend's "Batmobile” and puts it up for sale? This guy is just like Batman, if Batman wasn't rich and cool, but instead got his car by having one girlfriend buy it for him and then another girlfriend trick it out. Amy Estrada was dating Batman. Not the cool Batman who lives the double life of Bruce Wayne and superhero, but the shitty Batman who lives the double life of dating Estrada while secretly also seeing another woman. This Shitty Batman decided to get his Nitro SUV tricked out to look, as "Fox 2 Detroit" puts it, "just like the Batmobile," which is a pretty inaccurate phrase for a car that has a shape nothing like the real Batmobile. Plus, I'm pretty sure Batman doesn't have bumper stickers of himself on his car. Anyway, the bigger problem is that, according to Estrada, the car she purchased for Shitty Batman was in her name, and he got another woman to pay to add all the awesome kind-of-pathetic Batman additions. So, since Estrada's owns the car, she decided to sell it on Craigslist. If you're in the market for a new car, this is the perfect vehicle for anyone who wants to look like a jerk, but doesn't want to make the effort to customize their current vehicle.  Miley Cyrus wants to get surgery that will make her constantly horny. Miley is bored with being naked all the time and would like to have silicone devil horns surgically added to her head. A "friend" told "In Touch" that "she's leaning toward" this idea. Most of the prominent hosting gigs like the VMAs go to stars without devil horns these days, but perhaps she knows something we don't. Or perhaps her "friend" got tired of donating plasma and is leaking fake stories for money now. Here's some quick knowledge on extreme body modification of the horn variety: If they're implanted below the skin, they look more like nubs or pinballs in your forehead. For actual horns growing out of your skull, the process requires anchors or bases added to your head, and then you screw the horns on. Perhaps she should just get another tattoo, or somehow find a way to get more naked on the Internet.  Most kids ae back at school now, so I thought I would show you this real school sign. I think I showed it before, but if not, here it is...

Okay, I'm not Catholic, but I think the Pope is a pretty cool guy. Here's proof, kids.

Haha. The Pope is a boob man.  You know I love music, right? Well, I saw this great ad for a really good deal that I need to jump on.

Thirteen records for a dollar!  Well, I just found out today is Grandparents Day. All my grandparents have passed away. So, I thought a grandparent embarrassing their family on social media is the best way to celebrate Grandparents Day.

I dunno, Carla seems up for whatever, a cool chick who can hang. Okay, I'll show you another one.

Grandpa, you remind me of Herschel. Haha. Okay, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Overheard At Kim Davis' Release From Prison
5. Almost half of this crowd is made up of her ex-husbands!
4. She's the Nelson Mandela of bureaucratic homophobia!
3. She's so brave! Not for her stance against gays, but for standing nest to that Huckabee weasel!
2. Mrs. Davis, will you compromise and issue gay hunting and fishing licenses?
And the number one thing overheard at Davis' release from prison...
1. I hear when this is turned into a movie, she'll be played by Jack Black!

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. And now, for some sad news...

Judy Carne 
April 27th, 1939 — September 7th, 2015
Consider yourself socked.

Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional football team known as "America's Team" despite having the most money they still are consistently mediocre.

Okay, today's guest is an author whose book "Death Most Wicked" is the 39th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Suzi Albracht.

Me: Hello, Suzi, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Suzi: Hi, thanks for having me. I have to say that the last few weeks have been fantastic for me so I am doing great! My APA pool teams won first place in both 8 and 9 ball for the session. Plus I published my latest book and I started on my new book. Exciting, exciting, exciting.

Me: Your book "Death Most Wicked" is now in the Phile's Book Club. Are you excited?

Suzi: Absolutely, it’s an honor. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Me: I first discovered you through Jeff's and Jeremy's Two Dudes, Brews and Books Facebook page. Both of those guys I used to work with and both have been on the Phile. How did you first learn of those two and their website? Did they approach you or vice versa?

Suzi: Actually, I met Jeremy back in January of this year through a book group we both belonged to. He offered to read one of my books, and I offered to read his. And it turned out, we became fans of each other’s work and have now read each other a couple of times. Jeremy and I have exchanged ideas on book cover concepts and other writing related issues. I believe I learned of Two Dudes through Jeremy. It’s a cool site and has interesting posts. I like posting my books there.

Me: Suzi, where are you from and where do you live now?

Suzi: I’ve lived in a number of places. As a child, I was born in Iowa but shortly after my birth, my mother moved, with me in tow, to Illinois. After that, we alternated between living in Illinois and Arizona. It seems strange since those two states are so different from each other but it was normal to me and I will always have fond ties to Arizona. As an adult, I lived in New Jersey for about 4 years where my then-husband worked in the World Trade Center. We were there for the car bombing but left before 9/11. Then we moved to Maryland so my husband could work the Presidential detail (Secret Service). I still live in Maryland, not far from Annapolis but the ex-husband is gone (yay).

Me: Do your books take place in places that you know?

Suzi: Yes. All three books in "The Devil’s Due Collection" take place in the Annapolis/Washington D.C./Baltimore area. The new book is based out of Washington D.C. as well. I really like the familiarity that comes from including places I know. I’m sure I’ll venture out and write in other places eventually but for now, this works perfectly for my story lines. Plus this area is a treasure trove full of all kinds of interesting people and places. We also have urban areas, suburban, mountains, the ocean, there so much I couldn’t list it all.

Me: Okay, so, "Death Most Wicked" is part of the "The Devil's Due Collection," am I right?

Suzi: That’s correct. At present, there are three books in the collection... "Death Most Wicked," "The Devil’s Lieutenant" and "Scorn Kills."

Me: "Death Most Wicked" is your most recent book, right?

Suzi: Yes, "Death Most Wicked" is the prequel to "The Devil’s Lieutenant."

Me: How many books have you written, Suzi?

Suzi: Three that I have published. Others are sitting on the shelves of my closet. I also wrote screenplays for a number of years.

Me: Did you always wanna be a writer growing up?

Suzi: Yes. Always. As soon as I could walk to the library alone, I would go there and spend hours curled up in a corner, reading everything the librarian didn’t snatch away. In school, I devoured books and scribbled little stories that I never showed anyone. I was always in Honors English classes and had requests for my writing but it wasn’t until I got divorced that I wrote my first “real” book. I got an agent who showered me with praise and promises. He was the one who talked me into writing screenplays. That was exciting. I had several Hollywood producers who called me at home and requested to read everything I wrote. But as we know Hollywood is fickle and I never wanted to live there... so I was not successful. I did have one screenplay that was sold for three weeks before the money people fell out. I decided then I wanted to go back to writing books. That was so much more satisfying and pleasurable. In the last year, I have finished and published those three books and started another. Ironically, that book comes from the screenplay that almost became a movie.

Me: Your books are in the horror genre... I am not a big horror fan, I don't like to be scared. I take it you are into horror though, am I right?

Suzi: I am but not creature feature horror or Nightmare on Elm Street horror. I am heavily influenced by Stephen King. I don’t imitate him but my style is similar. In my books, however, I have values like loyalty and sacrifice for others. I don’t just slash people just for the thrill factor. There is more of a human face to my characters and story line. At the same time, my next book, before I go back to writing Book 2 of the collection, is a political crime thriller. If I had to give a name to what I do, I would say I was a thriller writer, not just a horror writer.

Me: Did you grow up reading and watching horror stuff?

Suzi: Yes, my mother was into horror. I read everything she left lying around, and there was a lot, and she took me to horror movies from the moment I stopped whining in the theatre.

Me: So, who are your favorite authors?

Suzi: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and William Faulkner are my all time favorites.

Me: Did you know Stephen King's book "Night Shift" was named after the Foghat album "Night Shift"? Do you know who Foghat is?

Suzi: Haha. Of course, I know who Foghat is. Hey, someone told me your dad is Dave Peverett. How rocking awesome is that? I can imagine having someone like that in the family would influence you to become creative. I know that Stephen King played in his own band too but I was never lucky enough to see him in person.

Me: So, how long does it take you to write one novel, Suzi?

Suzi: For the longer ones, 8 or 9 months. Then editing takes a month to 6 weeks. I love every little piece of the process (well except marketing and that is hell on earth). Even the editing is fun because I often find that I left out a crucial story piece so I get to do some writing as I edit.

Me: You must pretty much write all day. Do you have a family? What do they think of your writing?

Suzi: I have a boyfriend I live with. He doesn’t read much but he has read my books. Very slowly, LOL. He is someone who doesn’t talk a lot unless it’s about cars, pool or drums. But he has gotten others at his work to read me so I would say he is very supportive. What he doesn’t understand is the time it takes to produce one book or how much marketing you have to do. And what really is a mystery to him is why it is so hard to get your name out there. He thinks that because my books are great (in his opinion) they should be selling like wild fire. Let me tell you a funny story about the beginning of our relationship and his introduction into my dark world. I used to drag him to bookstores before Amazon came along so I could buy paperbacks. I never bought one book at a time, it was always at least eight books... all horror and true crime. One of the last times, we were getting ready to go on long beach vacation so I needed a new stack of books for at home and at the beach One particular day, we went to Borders Book Store and I picked out about 15 books. The guy who rang me up was a little nerdish. First, he looked at the front and back of each and every book, which was weird. Then he stared at me for a long minute before turning to my boyfriend. He said to him, “I’d watch my back if I were you. She’s scary.” I laughed because I knew he was referring to the books. My boyfriend frowned because he wasn’t paying any attention to what I was buying and had no idea what the guy was talking about. Then the clerk got a little indignant. He said, “Guess I’ll know who killed you when they talk about finding your body.”

Me: Haha. Okay, so, how many books will be in this "Devil's Due Collection"?

Suzi: That has not been determined. There are so many possibilities that I have decided to write it until all their stories have been told. At this point, I don’t see an ending for a long time. Along the way, I’ll write other things so when I go back, all is fresh again. New adventures to be had, new villains to be blended into the mix, and new heroes to watch emerge.

Me: "Death Most Wicked" is the prequel to the series, you said, right?

Suzi: Yes. When the character of Mikael comes into "The Devil’s Lieutenant," he’s a pretty wounded man. I felt I had to tell his story and show the world that at one time, he was just like you and I. His backstory is so important to understanding just how an intelligent person could end up like he does so I decided to go back and write his story.

Me: Tell the readers what the book is about, Suzi.

Suzi: For this question, I’m going to use my Amazon blurb because I feel it is an intimate view of "Death Most Wicked." The thing Evil craves most is innocence. When small children disappear, you can be assured that Evil has crawled out of its dirty corner. And when those children turn up dead, Evil has clawed its mark on humanity. What if you were a homicide detective and little girls were suddenly being kidnapped and murdered by a devious pedophile? And what if that pedophile left no evidence behind except for the broken bodies? What would you sacrifice to save just one innocent child? Would any sacrifice be too great? What if it cost you someone you loved? What if, by saving that child, you unleash a horrific monster into your own life? Mikael Ruskoff was living his dream. He was a highly successful, homicide detective working a career he loved. He had a mother who adored him, a son he took skateboarding, and a wife he loved more than words could express. He played a mean drum set every Thursday night with his best friend on guitar. His life was comfortable and pleasurable. Then he caught a case that would change his life forever.

Me: Are anybody in the book based on people you know?

Suzi: No. I guess I’m a little bit of a snob when it comes to my characters. Like most writers, I people watch. So I may see something that stirs an idea within me for a novel but I haven’t met anyone yet that I wanted to write about. Usually when a character comes to me, I know immediately who they are. Then I spend some time getting to know them... what they like, what embarrasses them, their dreams/goals, who drives them nuts, who they desire and why. I can even tell you what toothpaste they prefer. However, when I put them into a book, they always end up surprising me. For instance, there is a character... Carl Royce who has appeared in all 3 books in the collection. In "Death Most Wicked," I was surprised to discover some really unique qualities about him that made him the way he is today. Carl, or as he likes to be known... Thumbs, is a ruthless killer who lusts after getting even, but, low and behold, I found out that there is a side that he hides. One that is vulnerable and shockingly tender. Before that book, I could have sworn he never had a soft moment in his life. I’ve had experiences in my life that will always remain just for me. For instance, one of our former president’s gave me a back rub once. It was all on the up and up. We were at Kennebunkport, ME, at the Bush compound. I was introduce to President Bush by my husband and the next thing I knew, the President was rubbing my shoulders and upper back. There was nothing nefarious, just a nice guy being friendly. That’s how the Bush's are. I will never put that in a book.

Me: Ummm... okay. So, where did you come up with the character name Mikael Ruskoff. It's Russian, right?

Suzi: Yes, it is Russian. I’ve always loved the name Michael but for some reason, it never felt right for any other character. When Jake, in "The Devil’s Lieutenant," needed a mentor to come to his aid, I wanted that person to be different from Jake. To me, there was something mysterious, exotic and romantic, in a rough sort of way, in the name Mikael. I don’t know if the name Mikael even exists, I made it up. Of course, he had to have a last name so I just google searched some Russian names. The moment I saw Ruskoff, I knew it was meant to be. From there, Mikael Ruskoff was birthed. I also made up the name Ivanovitch. It originally was the name of a vampire in a story I wrote.

Me: So, if Hollywood approached you and wanted to make a movie based on your books, what would you say? I guess that's a stupid question. Haha.

Suzi: That’s a tough question. Since I’ve dealt with Hollywood producers before I know how they are. You have to be ready and willing to change everything. But the writer is the last person allowed to have an ego, so come to think of it I suppose I might not like it at all.

Me: Who would you want to play some of your characters? Anybody in mind?

Suzi: No. Not yet anyway. So far, all my female characters are in the background. In upcoming books, they will be stronger and more present. I’m really excited about some battles they’ll be fighting in the war against evil. I do have a strong female character in the book I’m working on now but she is evil, evil, evil. Hey, maybe I would like to play her.

Me: So, you currently are working on a new novel?

Suzi: Yes, as I mentioned a little bit ago, the new book is based on my screenplay that almost was a movie. For that novel, there will be some experiences from my real life that I will twist and turn until they are unrecognizable before I include them. That novel is a story of betrayal and involves a pair of Secret Service Agents.

Me: Is it hard for you to come up with titles for your books, Suzi?

Suzi: Not at all. I usually have a working title that may or may not evolve as the story unfolds. "The Devil’s Lieutenant" had the same name from beginning to end, as did "Scorn Kills."  "Death Most Wicked" was originally "Pretty Little Dead Girls." I changed that one because it suddenly occurred to me that the story wasn’t about the girls, it was about Mikael’s change/sacrifice. But the truth is, I probably would have changed it anyway even if it did fit because I found that there was a book by that name on Amazon. I’m not a fan of using titles that are already out there. I always want to be unique. For my new book, there is a book by its name on Amazon but it is only in print form and is fifteen years old, so I feel safe in using it. However, the original screenplay had a different title that I may use. I haven’t gotten into the writing enough to feel confident either way.

Me: Did you design the covers as well for the books?

Suzi: Yes. I like the impact of a single image to convey the novel itself. Busy covers don’t do it for me. To be honest, all those covers with people all over them look alike to me, they may be pretty but none of them truly stand out. But if you look at any of my books, there is a POW factor. I’ve also created some tweet shots to do the same thing. I enjoy working on my covers but truthfully, I’m all about the writing.

Me: Okay, tell the readers where they can purchase the book and your others.

Suzi: I’m on Amazon. All my books are in Kindle form and paperback. The best link to use is my Amazon author page where you can find all my books...

Me: Thanks so much for being here, please come back again and continued success. I hope this was fun.

Suzi: It’s been my pleasure. I like your interview style... great questions, fascinating pacing. I think you have captured the essence of me and what I write. Thank you for the interview.

Me: No prob, and thank you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile, kids. Thanks to Suzi for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with musician and professor Laszlo Gardony. What a great bloody name. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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