9.24.15 – 7 Minutes With . . . Lee Mossel

By JT Ellison

Hello there! I hope everyone has been doing well whilst I was away. I’m super excited about today’s guest. Lee Mossel is a personal favorite of mine. We met through my dad, with whom Lee plays golf. Knowing we had a love of literature, we were paired for a match several years ago, and a friendship was kindled. But Lee isn’t just a writer: he’s a standup comedian, and anyone who’s tried to play golf with him happily rides along to the dulcet tones of some seriously funny (and sometimes off-color) jokes. Lee’s a geologist by trade and came to writing as a second career. (He’s also father to the wonderful Eric Mossel, who you will see thanked in the credits of WHAT LIES BEHIND – I owe all the Mossels drinks the next time I’m in Colorado.) He’s been tearing it up in the indie world, and I highly recommend you check him out. (See what I did there, Lee? Check him out??? Hahahahaha!)

Yeah. I’m not a comedian. But maybe Lee will leave us a funny in the comments today. Please welcome my buddy to the blog!


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

Following your instructions, I hit shuffle (from Pandora) and am greeted with “My Brother Works for the CIA” by progressive blue grass band, Trampled By Turtles. I have totally eclectic tastes in music: 40’s Big Band; 50’s rock and roll; Classic Country; easy listening, etc.

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

Today, and for the foreseeable future (ha, ha), I’m working on the rewrite of BED OF THORNS. Following two exhaustive editorial reviews, I’ve decided maybe, just maybe, my editors make some good points. As ego-deflating as it might be, editing is going to make this book!

What’s your latest book about?

In a departure from my Cortlandt Scott crime thriller series, BED OF THORNS is a standalone novel about a turn-of-the-(20th)-century woman who makes bad choices in love and life. Although fiction, there are some elements of this book that may relate to my paternal grandmother who died in 1936 . . . woman of apparently “questionable repute.” The book plays out from Ohio and Kentucky to Montana and features hard times, hard people, and hard choices.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I write at a desktop computer in my office in our home in Parker, Colorado. Our house backs up to open space and a 70-acre regional park, so I have continual “interruptions” for wildlife sightings. Deer, foxes, coyotes, rabbits, hawks, and (best of all) a family of Great Horned Owls provide year around “moments of nature.”

I use Microsoft Word; a ROGET’S THESAURUS; and A WRITER’S REFERENCE. Since I’m self-published, I use Createspace.com (an Amazon.com company) for print books and Smashwords.com for e-books.

What was your favorite book as a child?

As a child? Hmm, probably HUCKLEBERRY FINN.

What’s your secret talent?

I’m a fair hand in the kitchen and at the grill. Although mostly simple “man fare” (steaks, lamb chops, pork tenderloins), I like to prepare and cook things like veal piccata and spaghetti with meat sauce. My real specialty is pork green chile, which is simmering even as I write this.

Hopefully, it isn’t/wasn’t a secret, but I had a successful, 35-year career as a petroleum geologist. I discovered and developed oil and gas reserves in nine states, plus Canada.

What book are you reading now?

PAST REASON HATED by Peter Robinson

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was a “late in life” decision. While reading a particularly bad novel, I said, “I can write a better book than this.” But talk is cheap . . . when you say something like that, you’d better back it up. I found it’s harder than it looks, but I’ve published one book per year since 2012.

Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?

I have several writing “idols” including Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke, Elizabeth George, TJ Box, Larry McMurtry, P.D. James, Stephen White, and, of course, JT!

Of these, I’ve only met JT. After fawning at her feet and offering gifts of wine and books, we played 18 holes at awe-inspiring Perry Park CC in Larkspur, Colorado.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Listen to your editors . . . they really are trying to help!

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

Primal scream therapy! Actually, I usually read something . . . whatever book I’m currently reading, the newspaper, or a magazine. Often, a good night’s sleep helps; I usually wake up early with lots of new ideas for characters and plots. Recently, I’ve discovered working on two books at once can be beneficial if they are different genres. When I’m stuck on one, I’ll try writing a few pages on the other and it seems to help. I haven’t tried working on two books of a series; that seems difficult.

Are you creatively satisfied?

An emphatic “YES!” During the “finishing stages” of each book, I’m already thinking about the next one. My books have been favorably reviewed and my last, MORE THAN 100% DEAD, was a finalist in genre fiction for the Colorado Authors’ League book awards.

(I’m not sure if it falls under the heading of being “creatively satisfied,” but I’m somewhat frustrated in not being able to attract an agent or publisher.)

What would you like to be remembered for?

Being a good companion and friend; I would love people to remember me as a modern day “Renaissance Man” — someone who could tell a good story, recommend a good wine, cook a good meal, and carry on a good conversation on virtually any subject.

Alright, now for the really important questions:

  • Beach or mountains? Mountains!
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee
  • Skydive or bungee jump? You’ve got to be kidding! Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane? And, although I might wish to be somewhat taller, I wouldn’t try bungee jumping to stretch my legs!
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
  • Winter or summer? Summer(actually, Fall)
  • Cake or pie? Pie
  • Cats or dogs? Love dogs…own cats; go figure?
  • Pens or pencils? Pens
  • Truth or dare? Truth
  • Print or ebook? Print!!


Lee Mossel was born in Eugene, Oregon, and raised in the small logging and mill town of Noti about twenty miles west.

Lee Mossel

He attended the University of Oregon, graduating with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in geology, and spent thirty-five years as a petroleum geologist in Denver, Colorado, working for several oil companies. He co-founded and managed two independent petroleum exploration companies.

Since retiring, he has served on various boards of directors, written numerous op-ed pieces and newspaper columns, given talks on the oil and gas business, and generally enjoyed life.

Beginning with THE MURDER PROSPECT in 2012; THE TALUS SCOPE in 2013, and MORE THAN 100% DEAD in 2014, Lee writes and self-publishes crime thrillers and mysteries inspired by the rough-and-tumble Denver oil and gas business. MORE THAN 100% DEAD was a finalist in the genre fiction category for the Colorado Authors’ League 2014 Book Awards.

He enjoys world travel, sports, fine wines, good food, and golf . . . not necessarily in that order. He lives in Parker, Colorado, a place featured in the Cort Scott series, with his wife, Jan, and two rather entertaining cats, Kosmo and Gracie.

And here’s a little more about Lee’s latest novel, BED OF THORNS!

A novel about bad decisions, tough times, and hard choices.

Cincinnati in 1896: Rose Schirrack is pregnant, unmarried, and abandoned. Having already made at least one bad choice, will she compound her problems with more? BED OF THORNS plays out across Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Montana in the tumultuous times at the turn of the 20th century. The Spanish-American War, the First World War, and America’s changing racial and ethnic attitudes all play roles. In a rapidly evolving societal mosaic of farmers and townspeople, soldiers and immigrants, brothels and saloons, cowboys and Indians, and horses and automobiles, will Rose’s choices continue to take her toward the fringes of society . . . or over the edge?

BED OF THORNS will be available in late 2015.

The Cortlandt Scott Series




Lee Mossel’s Cortlandt Scott series is available on Amazon.com and through Smashwords.com.

Via: JT Ellison


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