What inspired you to become a writer?
Actually, a college classmate of mine, Richard Burns, we went to USNY Regents College, Albany, NY, (class of ’98), together, was having some success and everybody, and I DO mean everybody, has a book in them. So I thought I would try my hand in it. I had a novella that I had written on request of somebody else, so I did some revisions and sent it off to a publisher and it was accepted! Imagine that! Yeah, I’m as stunned as anybody.
How did you decide to write in this genre?
Well, so far, the genre seems to have picked me, because I have a certain knack, or talent if you will for my descriptive abilities too. Just like Richard Burns, I think the detail makes a good story, an even better story. I think that’s my way of making the readers either love or hate my characters. By giving these glimpses into their inner psyche. Allowing the reader to see and hear their inner thoughts, allowing them to see when their confidence wanes, when they are emboldened. I also try to do what you are doing here, too. By giving them some background information, show how their lives were shaped into whom and what they are now. I mean, we all got to where we are somehow…
I’m a former military man and former Police Officer, and all throughout my life, I have always had moments of self doubt and internal arguments. But once I decide on a course of action, I follow it. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes regret it, and I think those moments come out well in my stories.
After a particularly stressful day whether it’s spent feverishly typing away at your latest book or hard at work on some other project how do you unwind?
Music is incredibly powerful to me. Very provocative in so many ways. I always loved the show, “Cold Case,” on CBS, strictly because that show had the most powerful use of music that I have ever seen on TV. The way that a song will immediately transport you back in time, to an event a place and a moment. It’s just so powerful. I was standing at a subway platform once in Chicago, with a beautiful young woman also waiting on the bus, we looked at each other, smiled and nodded, acknowledged the other’s existence and proceeded to wait.
Somebody had a radio playing a tune by Macy Gray, and almost as if on queue, we both started swaying to the music, tapping our feet, we looked at each other again and smiled slightly. You could tell we were both caught up in the moment’s romance, two people, lonely in a crowd, not dancing and certainly not with each other, but at the same time, so together. Now, Macy Gray takes me back to that moment, instantly.
How would you describe a perfect evening?
I love the way my wife smiles at me. The way she smiles with her eyes, and the way she pulls me close to her when she puts an arm around me while walking. Yeah, there could be some fireplaces, maybe a beach front setting. But all of that is really nothing more than scenery. The substance is in your arms. You know who I’m talking about too! It’s the person you hold hands with at the movies!
I mean think about it: When you are really and truly, with that person, how much are you really looking at the scenery? Isn’t it really more about the company you keep?
Who are you currently reading?
I actually just finished “One Shot,” by Lee Child, which is the book they made into the movie, “Jack Reacher.” A very good movie and an exceptional book! This is a man who truly thinks outside the box. His character, Reacher is a very un-conventional thinker. And it’s easy to see why somebody like him didn’t stay in the Army for the full 30 years.
I also just picked up Brad Thor’s “Black List,” and since Vince Flynn has left us, God rest his soul, I’m told Thor could be a good candidate to replace him, if anybody really can. I’ve also just put Stephen Coots on my self. I think he’ll be next. But like most authors, I suspect, I do more writing than reading.
Some writers have certain practices for warming up or getting their head in the game. Are there certain things you do to “get in the writing mode?” And if so, what are they?
Actually, when I was first trying to start a project, I used certain exercises that were in a book my youngest daughter gave me, many different springboards for writing. Several illustrations, or examples too, of how a writer can improve his story. Another writer friend of mine, Kathleen Troutman, likes to use the example, “…is the writer telling me she’s beautiful, or is he showing me she’s beautiful…?”
Do you write with music or background noise or do you prefer silence? If you write with music or noise, what’s your preference?
I’ve come to learn to write thru anything. Although, music might help my flow and my rythum. But only to a point. There is that point of negative return, when I find that I’ve stopped to listen to a song, or my mind is reeling so fast that my fingers can’t type fast enough. And I can type at around 100 wpm! So I have to go back and do a LOT of re-writing! I typically strike the keys so hard that I’ve been known to send a few of them flying, when I’m on a roll.
Tell us a bit about your formative years. Where’d you grow up? Did you have siblings, two parents in your home, pets?
I became a cop in Chicago in my early 20’s and some of those experiences are going to play out in my next book, “The Newsman Chronicles: Violent Crimes.” Yes, obviously, it’s going to be a series of books. BIG Catholic family, EXPENSIVE Catholic Education, and I became a hardcore Catholic Drunk! No, that’s not the Church’s fault. Its kind of the way I introduce myself at AA meetings, “Hi, I’m Mark and I’m a recovering Catholic.” Always followed by a cheery, “Hi Mark.”
But I became a cop on the South side and saw plenty. Hopefully, I have enough of an insider’s knowledge that I can combine a Crime Drama with some intense romance, that will make people want to read my stuff. Especially those women or men who don’t typically, “read those sort of books…” That deal with…all that sexy stuff…
Sex is a part of life, it’s a part of who we are, what type of person we are. It seems to me like a perfect time to let somebody’s true or natural colors shine through. So yeah, there will be a fair amount of sex involved. However sex without romance, or some end game, is all just cheap and superficial. It’s so much more than just a simple biological function.
Now, I have a Short Story that launches in December, titled “Auld Lang Syne,” that deals with a long lost High School love and their re-acquaintance. It’s a very racy, yet romantic love story with a nice Holiday theme. It turns out not to go so smoothly, lots of problems and pitfalls, but all of them very understandable, given the passage of time.
I’ve also submitted another Christmas theme story that is still pending acceptance, but that one probably won’t launch before Christmas, 2014. That one I’m particularly proud of because my Grandmother had two brothers who joined the US Navy December 26, 1939, and were both assigned to the USS California, a Battleship. That’s all fine & good, until December 7, 1941 and they are on Battleship row. After Pearl Harbor, the Navy split the two up. Bill went to the USS Essex, and aircraft carrier and Ken went to the USS Astoria, a heavy cruiser. Ken was reported Missing In Action on August 9, 1944, when the Astoria went down.
This story was my way of trying to give him a romance, a Life and a Love that he did not get to have in reality. Now, it’s my hope that he’ll live forever in the pages of fiction. That one is entitled, “The Merriest Christmas Ever!” and I’ll attach a short excerpt here today, also.
We’ve often heard people say, “youth is wasted on the young” and “if I could go back, oh, what I’d do.” What do you think? Would you go back and if you could, what age would you go back to?
I really don’t waste much time on this thought line. I’ve come to a realization in life that ‘things happen for a reason.’ If I could go back, I might change a few things I did in the Army, but not much. I might behave differently with some girls, either be more aggressive or lose them quicker, now having a better understanding of the games they play. Actually, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change much at all. Yes, I’m not as young as I used to be, but I AM as OLD as I want to be!
Name your favorite season and what you love about it.
It’s going to be a dead heat between Fall & Winter. One of my favorite holidays as a kid was Halloween! It was right behind Christmas. One of my favorite memories as a kids was my older sister & I sitting up late on Saturday nights, to watch “Creature Features,” on WGN, huddled up under a blanket, scaring the living shit out of ourselves! Naturally, this is always best when the trees are bare, and there is nothing out the window but naked knar led branches, hanging and swinging against a bright full moon. We scared ourselves silly!
Here is an excerpt from my book Awakenings: Cozumel, Mexico. Enjoy!
It was about ninety minutes later when I heard them knock at the door. I had already removed my bikini and was wearing one of the resort’s robes from my bathroom. I allowed them both in and saw that Daniel was in quite a state. He was filthy from head to toe. His hair and clothes were filled with sawdust, bits of bark and dirt. His shirt was soaked through with sweat, and as filthy as he was, there was a very new, additional sexy quality about him.
Denise ushered him in and then made a beeline for the bathroom where I heard the shower start up. Daniel was in the process of thanking me for the hospitality when Denise stepped from the bathroom completely tanned, gorgeous and naked, and announced, “Daniel, Mysti and I thought that we should help you clean yourself. You are such a dirty young man.”
I chimed in, “So dirty you are.”
He asked, “If I am so dirty as you say, what does that make you both?”
“Benevolently naughty,” I said. The word ‘benevolent’ was lost on him, but he understood ‘naughty’. With that, I pulled his shirt over his head, and he raised his arms in assistance and surrender.
As Denise walked across the room to join me in the stripping of Daniel, I realized that the blinds for the sliding glass doors to the beach were all still open, and that it was broad daylight out there.
Who cares, leave them be. You are not a prude anymore. In fact, make sure the bathroom blinds are open, too.
Denise came from behind him and began unbuckling his shorts, and she poked her head from behind his back and we shared a soft sensuous kiss. I enjoyed the sweet taste of her delicate, tiny tongue and I reintroduced it to mine. With Daniel sandwiched in between us both, I heard him hiss at the sight of us and then I felt his hands slide to the inside of my robe and take my breasts. I allowed him several seconds of breast play, then I slid my hands around his waist until I found Denise still holding the waistband to his shorts and underwear. We both yanked them down and his hands left my breasts. Already his fantastic cock was at full mast. I stayed down near the floor and lowered myself to my knees and I saw Denise do likewise…
An excerpt from The Merriest Christmas Ever!
By Mark Casigh, Launch date; TBD
Friday, December 21, 1945: Main Branch, Cedar Rapids Public Library, 2d Avenue & 3rd Street, South-East, Cedar Rapids, Iowa:
Car headlights blared into the darkness, in blatant defiance of any blackouts or curfews. The street lights, brightly decorated for Christmas in festive tinsel and wrapped with evergreen garland, was just another reminder that the war was over.
Signalman Petty Officer, 2d Class Ken Casey was a Sailor, just coming home for the first time in years. He left the train station just a block back, but after spending all day on the train from the Great Lakes Naval Hospital near Chicago, he was glad to be back on his feet. Walking in the cold night’s air felt good. He knew exactly where he was going. He had been there once before, the day after Christmas, 1939.
He and his brother Bill had joined the Navy and left for boot camp that day and, had subsequently survived the focus of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Battleship Row, and had worked tirelessly after the fight to free so many of the sailors trapped below decks banging against the hulls, of the USS Oklahoma, the Nevada and the West Virginia. Virtually non-stop for the next three weeks, they worked doing whatever they could, filling in wherever was needed a hand. Then, they were both standing on the hull of the West Virginia, listening as a sailor, trapped on the other side of the steel, tapped on the bulkhead with a hammer. The faceless and nameless sailor had been tapping for 18 days and then stopped, never to be heard from again. That was Christmas day, 1941.
And Christmas had never been the same since. Even now, four years later, it still choked him up to think about it.
Despite the cold, he was still warm and sweating slightly beneath the heavy blue wool uniform and the heavy pea coat. With his Cracker Jack hat curled and pitched perfectly to the jaunty angle of a sea faring sailor, his sea bag slung over his left shoulder, he was the perfect vision of the fighting man returned home from the war.
But things were different now… Unstable. Uncertain, and uncharted. Sailors are used to navigating on a large percentage of faith, for traveling over waters with no fixed points or terrain features, one has to trust in his knowledge and experience. Sailors always looked to the stars to for their reference points. As oceans and waters moved beneath them, they looked to the stars for their comfort. Their stability.
He stopped outside the Library and looked through the window. Could that be her…? She looks the same… No, she looks so different… The last he had heard, she had gotten a war effort job working at the Firestone Tire plant in Akron, Ohio. His mother told him yesterday that she’d come home and gotten this job.
He looked down the street, and it was Norman Rockwell, picture post card perfect. He took his eyes away and looked to find the North Star. He breathed in that comfort, deeply. His eyes then followed the path to the jagged edges sharp angles to the Big Dipper. Perhaps this Christmas will be different… Perhaps not! Perhaps the sharp edges of the Big Dipper are an omen of what is to come. Oh well, who wants to sail on smooth seas all the time…? He looked at his watch, it was five minutes to six, and it was now or never.
The side walk was fixed and firm. But he knew, here on earth, nothing ever stops moving, not the oceans and not us. As his best friend used to say, “There’s only one direction: Forward.”
Ken still stared at the stars for certainty; however, the only thing that is certain, is that for everyday that we are on this side of the dirt, our destiny becomes closer still. You’re over thinking this. Just go in, see what happens… he told himself, then glanced to the North Star once more, pulled the door open and stepped inside. He was about to travel uncharted waters, and an uncertain future.
At the sound of the door, the Librarian, Brandi Elliot never bothered to look up, instead looking to the clock then said, “We’re closing in five minutes,” and returned to the stack of returned books on the counter.
Ken stood silently while he drank in her beauty and splendor. She’s just as pretty as the day I left… No, even more beautiful… If that’s possible. Her dark brown wavy hair was bobby-pinned close to her scalp, then pulled and pinned into a bun on the back of her head. Her incredibly smooth, alabaster skin was clear with a radiating complexion, her large sensuous lips were still one of her most striking features. She wore a white cotton blouse, ribbed on the front, laced at the collar and cuffs, buttoned up to the neck and closed with a cameo and a black ribbon, a black vest with gold Christmas decorations and a matching long skirt. She was fairly short but the three inch heels gave her a new look. Neither the skirt, nor blouse, were capable of hiding the phenomenal body beneath. But her most attractive feature, no doubt, still those blue eyes, that were oh so big and bright.
Mass attracts mass. Bodies moving towards each other in space will speed up as they get closer. He had no understanding of the physics of such things, what I’ll call the “Human Physics Dynamic”. He preferred to think it was only emotional. But the gravitational pull between two bodies becomes stronger, making their convergence, inevitable. What he, what we, are heading toward and what the outcome of the convergence will be, is impossible to know.
He stood staring for a moment. Eventually Brandi looked up to him and said again, “We’re closing now,” with the slightest edge to her voice. The sailor looked away when she looked at him. Bashful? Shy? A Sailor? No way, she thought to herself. She stood, rooted in place, watching as he finally shuffled forward and lifted his face to engage her eyes. There’s something very familiar about him. He reminds me of Kenny Casey… but he’s gone now… isn’t he…?
He finally spoke for himself, “I know, but I’m here on official business. It would appear that I have an overdue book.” As soon as she heard his voice, It is him!
Before he could finish his sentence, “Ken!” She cried dropping the book in her hands and reaching over the counter to hug him. She then realized the futility of it, so she ran from behind the desk and launched herself into his arms.
“Kenny, I can’t believe it's you… Oh.. I’ve missed you so much!” she muttered into his neck. Then she covered his mouth with hers. They continued to kiss for at least a full minute, the kiss of old lovers long gone and unfulfilled. Ken could smell her hair, her soap, she smelled so… clean. He could feel the softness of her body, the soft arch of her back, the sweeping curve of her hips under his arms wrapped around her waist, the curve that lead down to her beautifully well rounded posterior. She felt and smelled every bit like a real full grown woman. Ken began to feel his body respond.
She had a thousand questions, “What happened to you? I was there when your parents were told that you were Missing in Action? Where have you been all this time? What happened to you? Why didn’t you write? I heard your ship was sunk, how did you survive?” She paused, then bit her lip and said quietly, “You look…well…” The last sentence was a bit of a lie. He looked like hell. Nearly gaunt.
He was much taller, at least four inches, but still under six feet. His dark hair was thin and cut short and she ran her fingers through it, and paused when she came across a large scar on the side of his head. She looked at it, but kept silent, her fingers moving beyond it. He would tell her about it in time. It was hard to believe that he was only twenty-two years old.
She considered him, No, Ken Casey could be a shy sailor. She remembered how shy he’d been back in school. She remembered going by his farm when they were growing up in Waukon, less than an hour from Cedar Rapids….
Now an excerpt from my short story, launching in time for Christmas, Auld Lang Syne, another story of long lost and unfulfilled love… Oh! And another Librarian story…
… Don’t be bashful! Being timid brings you nothing but loneliness! He brought his hand up from her ankles, along her calf and up behind her knee. Mike then released her leg and came around and climbed the stairs, affording him much better access to her.
She felt his weight on the stairway as he climbed, his steps were slow, measured and in control. He wasn’t in frenzy and he wasn’t even overly aggressive. But his hand felt heavenly up her…the somewhat abrasive texture of his calloused hands on the softness of her skin, the gentleness of his touch did little to conceal the eagerness of his want. His hands raised up the length of her thighs, taking copious handfuls, squeezing, caressing…yes, all those, but it felt like so much more…
There was an unmistakable hunger in his touch. No, perhaps starvation was a better word… she thought and on the trail of that thought, she realized just how deep her breathing had become and how moist her skin now was with sweat. Not to mention how saturated her center had become. She was suddenly worried that he’d seen the wet spot in her panties.
He climbed the stairs another step and his hands roamed all over her hips, both front and back and he allowed his fingers a long slow sweep of that damp line in her thong. Oh my God! He touched my clit! His hands feel wonderful on me! Now he’s standing close enough for me to smell his scent! This means he can smell me! My arousal!
Don’t give it up just yet! Make him wait, make him earn it! I’d better stop him now…
“Ohhhhhh…” did I really just moan out loud? She snapped out of her reverie, “Ohh…Mike, could you please hand me the next few books on the cart…?” Immediately, he stopped his caresses and turned to the cart for the requested books, in a soft whisper, as though they’d be caught by the librarian, he whispered, “Sure, hold on…” as he climbed back down the stairs, retrieved another stack of books then walked them up the stairs to her.
He saw that when she put a book on the shelf, she always arched her back during the reach and this forced her magnificent chest forward. Mike doubted it was deliberate, just a matter of physical dynamics, but the effect was the same. He now had strong memories of her in High School, as she was developing into such a beautiful and well built young woman. Doing the same thing, putting books back on the shelves in the library, or straining to see onto the shelf of her locker in the hall. He silently laughed to himself, The more things change, the more they stay the same. He stood there holding the heavy books for her while she stacked them back into place.
He wanted to get his hands back on to her skin, but he realized that his sequence was amiss. Although the fact that she had allowed him to touch her, boded well for him, he had started from the bottom and needed to get back to the top. He reminded himself, it’s the journey, not the destination! Kiss her. You need to kiss her! Does she want you to kiss her? Of course! Why would she lock the two of you in the Library, if she didn’t?
Being six feet tall, his head was level with her shoulders as she faced the bookcase putting a book in place, facing away from him. He stepped up to the landing with her and reached around her to place the two he held, back in place. As she turned back around, she found herself in his arms, once again, and she draped her arm around his neck and placed her other hand on his shoulder. He brought his face down towards hers in a fraction of a second, before their lips made contact, he could see a clouded look of lust in her eyes.
In that fraction of a second, before she closed them, before she brought her lips to his, she knew, He’s mine. All mine.
Instantly, they both felt that amazing electric current flowing through their entire bodies, as she felt his slightly chapped lips, once again, yielding beneath the rose petal softness of hers. After a several seconds of uninterrupted kissing, she opened her mouth, and their tongues met, and danced and twined, faces quickly growing wet, twisting and pressing against the other, mashing their mouths as their hands began clutching at each other, pulling at shoulders, tugging at clothes, straining seams briefly before pulling and desperately seeking something... something that would last… well, forever.
Her legs are nice, perfect even, but it’s those breasts I want to get my hands on! Finally, his hands found their way to her breasts, Ohhh… They’re fantastic! So soft…
In the next second, he felt Sheila’s hand press against the full grown and enraged organ in the front of his pants, and wrap her fingers around it’s considerable girth, then tug it while she squeezed. Jesus! This thing is fucking huge! I don’t think I’ve ever had anything quite this big… It’s so hard!
Well, that’s no accident. She knows what she’s doing and that means I must be doing something right. His fingers began working at her buttons feverishly until her blouse was completely open and he stopped, then took a step back, breaking their kiss. Sheila however, kept her hand on her new favorite play toy.
He was never very smooth at undoing a woman’s bra. So he broke the kiss so he could see what his fingers were doing.
“Is something wrong?” She asked at the broken kiss.
Shaking his head no, he tried to cover his clumsy fingers with a little honesty, “No, I’ve just dreamed of a day where I may see your breasts, and now…”
She smiled, “As one of my very best friends recently said to me, ‘Well, that day is finally here…’”
He smiled back, and then he glimpsed the matching ivory laced bra that was cut so perfectly as to allow a very nice view of the top of her breasts, and it opens in the front!
PLEASE LOOK FOR MY STORY, “AULD LANG SYNE,” AVAILABLE CHRISTMAS TIME & FEEL FREE TO E-MAIL ME AT MarkCasigh@yahoo.com!!! I want to hear from ALL OF YOU!!! You can always find my books at: