Reading Getaway’s February Author Spotlight – Rick Reed by E. M. Duesel

In rural Indiana, the underground mines that once held coal and iron ore have become killing grounds. In two counties, five corpses have been discovered. Their deaths appear accidental, from drowning or suffocating in flooded and abandoned mines. But local authorities, including Chief Shaunda Lynch, have uncovered evidence suggesting they’ve all been murdered.
Assigned to the case as Federal Agents, Detectives Jack Murphy and Liddell Blanchard take charge of the investigation. Shaunda’s proven herself more than capable of policing her jurisdiction and resents the intrusion of male authority figures. As Jack digs deep into the case, he discovers the victims have checkered pasts. But no matter who believes the killings are justified, someone still has to pay for the crime . . .

Rick Reed has always been a reader, and loves Nelson DeMille, John Sanford, John Grisham and, of course, Stephen King. By this admission alone I detected a writer with an understanding of mystery and intrigue, but also an appreciation of detail and a sense of the importance to gauge a human emotional response from his readers. He says that he lets his characters write the story. Rick describes his approach, “If a scene makes me start to tear up, I know it will make my readers almost cry. If it makes me angry, I know it will convey the same.”

His writing career started out as an I wonder kind of journey. Still working as a policeman, he sat down and began to write a novel. There was no intention of getting it published; he just wanted to see if he could write one. By the end of three months he had written three hundred pages. In his estimation they were all bad, but he had tasted the thrill of writing and had completed his first book. This led to his very first published novel which he co-wrote with Steven Walker. Blood Trail is a true crime book about a serial killer that Rick had apprehended as a police officer. It was picked up and published by Kensington Books and they offered him a contract to continue to write true crimes. However, he had worked closely with not only the victims’ families, but the families of the suspects as well and did not want to drag up their personal pain in his novels. Kensington later signed him for his crime novels.

Although Rick has two master’s degrees, one in Public Administration and the other in Criminal Justice, his real policing background has given him experience which in turn shows through in his novels. Although his police career provides endless background, the most horrifying experience in his life has influenced the depth of his writing. In 2011, he was in an accident that left him with broken bones but also a concussion with a brain injury. In addition, the accident left him with a form of PTSD, where he relived the accident whenever he closed his eyes, or even if he witnessed someone falling or getting hurt. He feared his life as a mystery writer might be over.

Bike riding each morning to a coffee shop, he forced himself to type and to write. It was painful and tedious, but even though the writing didn’t meet his standards, he gradually returned to normal. The true turning point came when he wrote his brain injury into a character in a novel. This led to his third book. Nine years later he has completed nine fiction novels.

Writing comes from an author’s essence. It may seem to some that it is having a proper grasp of sentence structure and grammar, but it must come from the soul of life experience. Many have said that an artist must suffer before they can truly express something great. If this is so, Rick Reed is the example. He didn’t give up, and he continues to believe in his characters.

Rick offers the following words to those thinking about writing. “Just a word of advice to beginning and first-time authors. Write what you like. If you like it someone else will. Don’t worry about reviews. Readers can be wrong or just nasty. Don’t let anyone tell you how to write. You have to do this for yourself. Your style. Your words. Your voice.” He also went on to advise about spousal interference, but I will happily leave that in your capable hands.

If you are interested in all of Rick Reed’s books, you may visit his website at

Happy reading everyone, and thanks for joining us at Reading Getaway.

Reading Getaway’s First Podcast!

Hello Everyone! I’m gathering information to discuss on my first Reading Getaway Podcast! I hope to answer questions about my books, discuss Independent authorship, or even your favorite book or author. As we become more proficient we hope to have authors available for you to talk to. You can give your input in the comment section of this website or you may email me at I would love your input ASAP!

Reading Getaway’s Author Spotlight for January – D. J Swykert’s The Poolboy’s Beatitude, by E. M. Duesel

Jack Joseph understands physics. He understands the nature of quarks, leptons, dark matter and the desire to find the God particle. What Jack doesn’t understand is Jack. He has a Masters degree in particle physics, an ex-wife, a sugar mama into spanking, a passion for cooking and chronic dependencies he needs to feed. He cleans pools to maintain this chaotic lifestyle. Spinning about in a Large Hadron Collider of his own making, facing a jail term, the particle known as Jack is about to collide with a particle known as Sarah.

The Pool Boy’s Beatitude convincingly portrays a life of romance, addiction and entropy filled with drink, drugs and sex, broken with the miseries of ruined relationships and balanced on a needle of false hope. Somehow through it all the story is hopeful, positive, humorous and oddly enticing. The question is not so much will Jack survive as how will he survive, because surely, behind all this science, there has to be a truth worth living for. A thinking reader’s romance novel, the Pool Boy’s Beatitude creates a character you long to hate and makes you love him.

In preparation for a spotlight, I start by asking an author to tell me something about themselves and how they drifted into writing. D. J. Swykert, from the very first contact, was upbeat and fun and I had a sense that his novels would follow suit. But even more enjoyable was learning about his path to becoming a published novelist. He started as a young man working in law enforcement as a 911 operator. He seemed to have no trouble using those oh so necessary powers of observation and found it easy to fit into an author’s lifestyle. By that I mean that he has allowed himself the room to explore life with all its trappings and foibles and uses those experiences to mold his stories and characters.

D. J. began with writing poetry to impress a young woman. This in itself reveals a delicious romantic side and a whimsey for life that most people covet. His observations have produced both adventure and mystery novels which is no surprise for a person who raised two wolf cubs while living on the Keweenaw Peninsula and now resides with a feral cat named Mister. He believes in directness in his writing, a trait he adapted from his favorite author, Ernest Hemingway, but because of his demeanor I note a detour towards pure joy and surrender to life’s most ironic intervals.

Although his prior work leaned towards adventure and mystery, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude appears to be a deep examination of life, addiction, and a general introspection of how mere existence can become so very complicated.

D. J. Swykert’s novels include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, For the Love of Wolves, Sweat Street, The Death of Anyone, Three-fingered Jack Davis and The Pool Boy’s Beatitude.  For more information on where to purchase his novels visit his website:

Reading Getaway’s December Author Spotlight – Victor Swatsek by E. M. Duesel

Victor Swatsek immigrated to the United States from Australia when he was seven years old. As a child he was attracted to mechanical drafting which morphed into a love for technical illustration. Just as Victor’s career was taking off, it was interrupted to perform his duty as a soldier in the United States Army. As most authors draw from their life experiences, Victor retained unique information from his experiences in the service and has incorporated them into stories for his books.

After the army, he went back to work as a technical illustrator and then a consultant for different aerospace companies. During his time as a technical illustrator he picked up a knack for writing. When he left his career of thirty-three years, he decided to use his gift of imagination and try his hand at writing action thrillers. Every author has a book they used as a chew toy, and Victor says that he wasn’t happy with his first two novels and chose to rewrite them. Writing is all about practice as well as reading authors who inspire you. His favorite authors are John McDonald, John Grissom, and Robert Ludlum.

Victor is a prolific writer and plans to write twenty-five books in his series. The result is a string of sixteen books, with the sixteenth book, The Paris Vendetta, coming out in early 2020. They all contain specific characters that reappear depending upon the story line. He uses the skills learned as an illustrator to map out an organizational chart to track the ages and businesses of each one. As an author his strength lies with his ability to organize his plots. If you are interested in a single, Victor does have one novel that has no ties to the series entitled The Last Crusader. You can find all of Victor Swatsek’s books on and you may visit his site at

Until next time, happy reading and Happy Holidays from Reading Getaway.

Reading Getaway’s November Author Spotlight – Sharon Hart-Green by E. M. Duesel

COME BACK FOR ME tells the story of two young Jewish characters. One is a Hungarian Holocaust survivor Artur Mandelkorn who’s on a desperate quest to find his beloved sister, Manya, after they become separated during the war. Artur’s journey takes him to Israel where he falls in love with Fanny, a young woman who still bears the scars of her own tragic past. Intersecting Artur’s tale is that of Suzy Kohn, a Toronto teenager whose seemingly tranquil life is shattered by her uncle’s sudden death. As she struggles with her aunt’s growing depression and her parents’ collective secrecy, Suzy gropes for answers to her unanswered questions. As Suzy’s coming of age story reaches a climax, Artur’s quest for his sister leads to a shocking discovery.  Their stories come together in Israel following the Six-Day War, when the reader travels through time and place to arrive, ultimately, to the connections between generations.

       Encouraged by an English teacher at a young age, Sharon Hart-Green never forgot her love of writing. As she pursued her doctorate degree in Hebrew Literature, she published two academic texts, but her natural instincts for creative writing persisted and she missed the freedom “to write in a way that was more intuitive–to seek words and images that were drawn from the deepest regions of my unconscious mind.” While keeping a close eye on the historical facts, she joined the ranks of fiction writers who understand and tirelessly pour out their hearts writing stories depicting the souls of their characters.

       In Come Back for Me, Sharon connects between two narratives, a challenge which required hours of rewrites, editing, and purging; the kind that burden an author until it is just right. But the writing is only the first task in introducing a work to the world. Landing a contract with an agent is a complicated and daunting chore, which some authors never want or realize. Refusals and denials abound. But Sharon chose to take all of her worthwhile rejections and turn them into constructive criticism causing major revisions to her book – a testament to the significance of keeping an open mind as a creative. By “letting down my pride and paying close attention to the criticisms” she weathered the harshest pathway to authorship and found an agent and a publisher to promote her work.

       Read more about Sharon Hart-Green and her award-winning novel, Come Back for Me, at You may purchase the book on in both Kindle and paperback format.

You Kicked Over My Sandcastle

We met in a sand covered land.

The water washed up onto an unknown shore.

Isolated together through happenstance,

but the land was ours to explore.

So, we began this unknown journey

that was foreign to both our souls.

A castle built of sand

which would last until we were old.

It wasn’t built on fairy tales.

It wasn’t built on romance.

It was built upon a sacred vow

and friendship upheld by chance.

Behind the back of the other,

another life was being led.

One that lurked outside the boundaries.

An omission of words unsaid.

We built a solid base

that reached three stories high.

Up to the sturdy curtain wall

to protect us from the night.

I mixed the sand with stones,

to craft the battlement with power and might,

But you removed those stones of strength

and replaced them with shale at night.

In the streaming sunlight

our castle continued to grow.

Steps laboriously sculpted to reach the bailey

where our children ran to and fro.

A moat dug deep around this dynasty

to embrace the dreams inside.

But alas the drawbridge didn’t suffice,

the inner enemy those dreams decried.

The final stage was upon us.

The keep seemed stalwart and fine.

But one soul of the castle was vulnerable

to his own cowardice and crime.

His other life took over

without any shame or remorse.

His boots began to crush the sand.

The lives he bludgeoned with force.

The aftermath was gruesome.

Our souls shredded with pain.

That the other so filled with betrayal

felt nothing but disdain.

You kicked over my sandcastle,

that I lovingly created with trust

to shield my children from brutality,

but you squashed it all to dust.

Why should I be so surprised

when the foundation was not true?

A sandcastle built on sand

Can be nothing but black and blue.       ~ Anna Moreland