Category Archives: Goodreads

Results of the two day sale and Goodreads giveaway

split book banner

And the numbers are in!

My two day 99 cent sale, I only advertised through one website, I also made two Facebook posts, a few Tweets, and of course this blog.

So the results of this little mini-sale? 61 sales. Not bad, especially since the two weeks prior there had been zero sales, zip.

I did this promotion for two reasons: one, I wanted to check out the website and see how well they did just on their own. The only cost to me was 25% of the profits, which I thought was highly reasonable. Second, I wanted to boost my Amazon ranking in preparation for the release of my second novel. It looks better when you’re other full length novel isn’t languishing somewhere around 600,000.

That worked spectacularly well. From a dismal 750,000, it went as high as top 4366 Paid in the Kindle Store, broke the top 100 in Epic Fantasy, #44 in Sword and Sorcery, and #10 in juvenile literature Fantasy and Magic/Sword and Sorcery. (Obviously this last mini-genre is several layers deep and small.) This morning after the sale the book still stands at a respectable 11,000 overall. With this higher rating, hopefully I’ll also garner some sales at regular price.

So I highly recommend Ereadernewstoday for those who’d like a little boost and don’t care to do Kindle Select or a freebie promotion. This book is not in Kindle Select. One of the sales came from Barnes and Noble.

And then on the Goodreads Giveaway for Journey To Landaran–I don’t consider giveaways a good way to get reviews. I gave away three copies of Heart of the Witch shortly after it came out. I received on review–a glowing 5 star one, but only on Goodreads. Then the person left Goodreads, deleting their profile and the review. Le sigh. So I don’t really expect much in the way of reviews.

But what floored me on this time around was the number of people who added the book to their “To Read” list, and the number of entries to the giveaway. It ended up with 1252 entries. When it passed 1000 yesterday, it just looked so cool on page 4 of the “most popular” giveaways, alongside Big 6 published novels. And whereas the cover reveal encouraged about 200 people to add the book to their Goodreads “To Read” pile, the giveaway has now increased that by another 500.

Why is that important? Because the more active a book’s page is on Goodreads, the more they will include the book in your Explore, Genre recommendations. When I go into “Explore”, “Genre” and then “Fantasy” it shows me the “movers and shakers”–books with a lot of additions and reviews. There’s a book there that actually has nearly the same levels of ratings and “To Read” additions as mine–Remember, by Shannon Dermott, who appears to either be another indie writer or small press. Only difference is her book isn’t coming out until Dec. 2014 and it already has this much attention. But if you can get a book onto that page? Free marketing!

But wait, there’s more! This page is only updated monthly, it appears, but in the next update, it looks like my book will be in the top 150 at least: This is the under “Explore”, “Most popular”, “March, 2014”. It lists the most popular books by number of additions to the “To Read” list.

So this is why I think Goodreads Giveaways are beneficial, even if you don’t get any reviews. It gets your book name out there. For those who know marking, they know that the average buyer needs to see something several times before they actually go to check it out and buy it.


Author Interview: Martin Hill

And the giveaway is over! Candace will be sending me the winners’ names and emails and I’ll be contacting them to send out the prizes. Thanks for all your support!

This week I’m interviewing Martin Hill, who specializes in military and mystery fiction. (Which I like–see my review of First to Kill.) He has a very interesting background working for the Navy. You can find more about him on Goodreads here:


1. What led you first to writing?

When I was in high school, I had an English teacher who thought my book reports were well written. She encouraged me to explore different writers and to try writing fiction myself. I started writing short stories and joined the school newspaper staff. After high school and a stint in the service, I studied journalism in college. I worked my way through college with a variety of writing jobs. After graduating, I spent a couple of decades as a newspaper police reporter, magazine investigative journalist, and newspaper editor before switching careers and becoming a military analyst. During that time I wrote many short stories, most of which never saw print – probably rightly so.

2. I see that you have a combination of novels and short stories. Which do you like writing more? Why?

It’s not a matter of liking one over the other. It’s a matter of which is more difficult. Novels take longer to write, but you can expand on a number of thoughts and premises. Writing a true short story is much more restrictive and, in my opinion, much more difficult.

3. You write thrillers and military fiction. How does your background influence you in these genres?

I believe my experiences in the military and as a police reporter greatly influenced my writing. Obviously, military themes can lend themselves to action scenes, though not always. Look at James Jones’ From Here to Eternity. There are no battle scenes in that story line. The same is true about the short stories in my first book, DUTY. Though there’s some suspense and mystery – and violence ¬– in the stories, the continuing theme through the book is about service and what it means and does to people who serve. Having served in the reserves of three branches of the service myself, I think, helps me bring a little more realism to my military fiction.

Of course, as a former police reporter, I’ve seen crime and its victims up close and personal. I’ve drawn on that many times in my fiction writing. In fact, my next novel, Empty Places, draws very heavily on my years covering cop shops. I also spent several years on the local sheriff’s search and rescue reserve detail, and I draw on that for my writing, too.

4. Tell me about your latest book.

The Killing Depths takes place on the USS Encinitas, the first American killer submarine to be crewed by both men and women. When, while on patrol, one of the female crew members is found dead of an apparent suicide, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent Linus Schag is sent onboard to investigate. Schag quickly realizes the death was not suicide but the work of a serial killer who has left a trail of bodies ashore. At the same time, the Encinitas is ordered on a covert mission to seek out and destroy a renegade Iranian submarine equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles. While the crew of the Encinitas fights the Iranian sub, Schag must struggle to uncover the identity of the serial killer who now is threatening to destroy the American sub from within.

5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

It’s hard for me to say I have a single favorite writer. I’ve enjoyed so many. Certainly, Hemingway had a large impact on my development as a writer. So did H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe. I still read their works. Among more modern writers, I’ve read everything that Patrick O’Brien and Tony Hillerman wrote. Current authors I read regularly include Nevada Barr, David Morrell, Douglas Preston, Whitley Streiber¬—and Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs series is incredible. You can see my reading tastes are eclectic.

6. What are you working on next?

I hope to have my next novel, Empty Places, out by the end of this year. It’s a murder mystery that takes place in the California desert in the 1980s. War correspondent Peter Brandt returns to the States after his ex-wife is killed, and becomes involved in the search for her killers. In the process, he discovers a murky world of murderous anti-communists, smugglers, and repugnant pornographers.

I’m also working on the third draft of a sci-fi novella called Eden. A group of American soldiers in Iraq stumble onto an ancient secret that could destroy the fabric of society. That should be out next year sometime. And I am in the plotting stages of another Linus Schag mystery thriller.

7. How important is research in your writing? What kind of research do you do?

Research is everything. Without research everything you write will lack verisimilitude. While writing The Killing Depths, I read numerous books about submarines and submarine warfare. I acquired and studied the schematics for the Los Angeles-class attack sub. I even managed to convince the Navy to give me a tour of a L.A.-class sub. I asked questions of serving and retired submariners, and had a retired submariner read an early draft of the book and recommend changes. Certainly, I took literary license with some details in writing the book. It is fiction, after all, and if I hadn’t, it would have been a pretty dull read.

8. What advice do you have for writers?

Just keep working at it. Write, write, write, and when you’re tired of writing, write some more. It’s been said that the art in writing fiction is not in the writing, but the rewriting.

Author Interview: Martyn Stanley

Just a reminder! I’m offering a Giveaway for a $20 Amazon Gift Card and ARCs of my upcoming novel, Journey to Landaran. Check out the cover reveal and details here:

And it’s Thursday, and once again I’m interviewing an indie author. Today I have Martyn Stanley, a fantasy writer with a series about dragons. Psst, and by the way, I was lucky enough to see a couple of the new cover designs he’s considering for the series. They’re looking really good.

Find out more about Martyn here:


1. What first motivated you to write?

I’ve always loved writing and making up stories. I think it comes from a love of playing video games, I’ve always loved reading and watching films too, but the magic of a good game is that you control the destiny of the protagonist. I some games, you have an incredible degree of freedom over what happens to your protagonist, but you still have to stay within the confines of the game mechanics. Writing was a way to be creative without any constraints. Of course that was the theory, what I’ve found since is that yes, if you’re writing fantasy, you don’t have any rules except those which you make yourself. Of course if you DO make rules you have to make sure you stick to them. You still can’t ‘god-mode’ as we used to call it on the Star Wars Exodus Roleplaying forum. The way your characters deal with adversity has to be plausible. People don’t like god-like characters either, the only possible exception is when you’ve taken a long time, to explain ‘how’ they became the powerful characters they are, and the challenges and trials they’ve faced to get there.

2. So you like dragons, it seems. What about them appeal to you?

Dragons are fascinating characters. You have a great deal of flexibility with dragons, they can be benevolent, savage, sentient, good, evil, whatever you want. What I didn’t want to do was to write dragons as being the friendly helpful, creatures some fantasy authors choose to portray them as. Not because this is wrong, but because in my rather dark fantasy world I need them to express realistically what dragons might be like. The anatomy and size of dragons, compared to calorie intake required and the fact that they breath fire means they need to be supernatural in nature, so my dragons are essentially living, breathing magic. Why would beings so powerful really want to help humans? Or elves for that matter? If you look at any cases historically of powerful creatures or cultures meeting weak ones, the weak tend to be subdued. I also have a special reason for using dragons, and that reason is the main villain which I introduce at the end of book three. I won’t spoil it, but I like to think big. When I was writing on the Star Wars Exodus RP forum, I wrote a several thousand year old vampiric Sith Lord with a star ship that was forty kilometres long. My Sith Lord travelled to other dimensions, murdered people from the far side of the galaxy with a thought and on one occasion force-threw an entire planet… I think I’ve calmed down a bit since then though – the wisdom of age is catching up with me!

3. The blurb for your first book sounds like pretty standard fantasy fare. What makes it different?

When I started writing it, that’s literally all that it was. A fairly token, off the shelf fantasy adventure. A single character really changed the book though, Brael of House Krazic. He’s a dark elf wizard, warrior who has a reputation for being incredibly good at magic. When we meet him in book one he is cursed though, so he can neither access magic, nor talk about ‘the truth’. This might be a bit of a spoiler, so stop reading now if you don’t like spoilers, but ‘the truth’ is really what the series became about. It all boils down to essentially prior to Brael Truthseeker’s revelations, all Toreans more or less considered the religions of Torea to be true and the afterlife which they keep talking about being real. Brael has almost accidentally proven that there are no gods and no afterlife. Which is why he was cursed and banished, because of the social and political unrest this caused. When the truth finally gets revealed, none of the characters accept it easily, nor do they cope with it. It forces them to re-evaluate their world-view and moral compass. They find coping with loss a lot harder once ‘the truth’ has been laid bare. No longer can they relax and think their fallen comrades are feasting with Ishar in Kirkfell, they find reality very harsh and they start to feel bitter about having their faith taken from them.

4. Tell me about your latest book.

My latest book is ‘Deathsworn Arc 3 : The Temple of the Mad God’. I’m really excited about this book, I’ve introduced some really interesting new characters, and started to allow the companions to gel as a group more, bound together by ‘the truth’ and the terrible ordeals they go through in the first two books. It’s also the book where I finally introduce the main villain of the series, ironically, considering the series is very atheist in nature, the main villain is similar to a god, but again – if there really was a being with god-like power in charge, would this being be benevolent? It’s an interesting philosophical question, and when you read about the horrific punishments some of the main stream religion’s gods have doled out to humanity according to their relevant holy books, it’s very hard to believe that a god would be a loving benevolent being, rather an a vengeful, proud, almost vain god who demanded worship and sacrifice, under the threat of either death or eternal torment in a lake of fire.

5. Who is your favorite writer and why?

Terry Pratchett is a firm favourite. His ability to blend real-world culture and history with folklore and satire is incredible. I really admire him as a person too, his fight against early on-set Alzheimer’s and his determination to carry on working and to raising awareness and support for fellow sufferers is inspiring. I’m also fond of several others, but I’ve read more Pratchett than anyone, and if he releases a Discworld novel, I tend to read it cover to cover in about two days.

6. What are you working on next?

My next project is ‘Deathsworn Arc 4 : Emergence’. I have it largely planned out, but it’s going to be harder to get right than any of the previous books as I have to split the protagonists up. I have some great scenes ready for it though, I plan to visit Maerun, Eldenizar – the main city of the elves, and Durth Orza the capital city of the dark elves as well as the ‘Deathsworn Shrine’ itself, though I have talked about what ‘deathsworn’ means in book 3. I am very, very excited about book four, but I still don’t quite know how it ends.

7. What have you learned so far about publishing?

Publishing is easy. It’s so easy a child could do it. Writing good, solid work is easy. Getting a mainstream publisher to pick it up is as hard as ever. I still think the main reason a person can have to write is purely for the passion of it. If you have a story to tell, write it for yourself. You can’t pick a popular genre that sells well adn churn out cookie-cutter stories in the hope of making it as an author. You have to write for YOU, write what YOU want to write and have a strong idea, a point, something which you feel strongly about. You can’t guarantee you’ll sell a single copy, so don’t try to please anyone but yourself. That doesn’t mean ignore quality. I really wish I felt my writing was up to the grand task I’ve set myself of writing this series, I don’t mind admitting I can get better, no I need to get better. Of course like all things, the only way to get good at writing is to write more and more and ask for criticism, then take it on board, swallow your pride and try to improve, then write more.

8. Any tips for other writers?

Nothing more than what I’ve already said. It’s a harsh game the literary world, there are more title on the virtual shelf now than ever. Don’t write to make money, write for yourself. It’s better to be loved by a few than liked by many. I would never have written ‘The Deathsworn Arc’ if I wanted to please everyone, as fundamentalist believers of any religion could take offence at it. I’m an atheist, and I believe the world can be a better place without religion. However I also acknowledge that a loss of religion would leave a gap in society which at the moment there is nothing else to fill it with. Losing our faith is also hard, accepting that there is no afterlife is not an easy option or cop-out, or a ‘smug’ thing to do. It is hard, not just for you, I couldn’t care less what happens to me, but I look at my children and hate the fact that their lives are finite. I can only hope they’ll be long and fulfilled lives and that they’ll both have children themselves one day. This sounds like a rather bleak view, and it is, but not accepting this reality, having spent a long time studying comparative religion and all disciplines of science, I cannot accept the existence of a creator god, I feel to do so would be compromising my intellectual integrity.

I should also suggest Terry Pratchett is partly responsible for my interest in science and atheism. His ‘Science of the
Discworld’ series is one of the reasons I ended up reading Dawkins and starting a degree in science! So Terry Pratchett has a lot to answer for!

Author Interview: F.F. McCulligan

First I want to do a tiny self-promotion and announce that the ARCs (advanced reader copies) of my soon to be published novel Journey to Landaran are now available!  I would love to send out copies in your choice of e-format for feedback. Look for a full cover reveal coming in a couple weeks, courtesy of .

And second, it’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another of my indie author interviews! This week I have F.F. McCulligan, fantasy writer out with his first book. You can find more about him on Goodreads here:


1. What led to your writing a fantasy novel?

I think when you make a mixture of (1)plenty of solitude, (2) a staggering life
experience and (3) too much time on your hands, you usually wind up with a
fantasy novel, don’t you? I did. Maybe it’s not as common of a problem as I
thought… My whole life led to me writing my book, though. The bedtime stories
I had growing up, the influences of my brother and my childhood friends, my
experiences in the wilderness and at college, my time spent teaching youths and
most of all getting fired from a job ultimately led to me writing this
sentence: “The worst part about living in Darkwell was the smoke.” It
turned out to be the first sentence of a 452 page manuscript which two and a
half years later I published as The
Cost of Haven: Book 1 of The Great Cities.
I was unemployed, devastated
about losing my job, and had a lot of tumultuous thoughts, one of the
healthiest ways to work through it was to write.

2. The description of the book sounds like sword and sorcery. Would you
categorize the book this way?

Yes and no. I would categorize it more as just Sword. One critique I often have
of fantasy is that the prevalence of magic leads to plot holes and
inconsistencies. For example, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is
trained extensively and at great expense to Voldemort to be able to win the
tri-wizard tournament only so that when he touches the cup at the end of the
labyrinth he will be transported to the graveyard where Voldemort and the Death
Eaters plan to kill him. If Voldemort can turn an object into a portkey and
teleport Harry against his will by having him touch it, why not make his
doorknob into a portkey and skip the whole tournament debacle? So I take issue
with sorcery, especially when it lacks any apparent limitations. Another
critique of overpowered magic is that it has the potential to de-emphasize the
importance of the human spirit, sacrifice, friendship and physical prowess. If
there is a magical solution to every problem, then why send in the swordsman?
This is problematic in a book about a swordsman.

3. Tell me the juicy details about your first book.

The Cost of Haven is fast-paced and gritty, in a world of bleak desperation
where humanity is at the brink of collapse.


Deagan Wingrat: “I’ve bled on his majesty’s
battlefields. I’ve slept out in his majesty’s rain.”

Deagan is a battle-hardened knight from the squalid city of Darkwell who is
unbelted and disgraced. That which he used to fight for: his honor and his oath
are lost, so he must question his entire life as he learns to stand under a new
banner: one of love, friendship, and revenge.

Kellen Wayfield:“Well I don’t know how to do
this, Rory, it’s just that… it seems the old well has dried up so to

Kellen is a miscreant and a former thief with hints of a background in piracy,
but his friendship with Deagan and Rory is utterly pure. Due to the encroaching
forces of evil, Kellen’s merchant caravans have become very limited in where
they can travel and he goes out of business. When opportunity knocks, Kellen
does not hesitate to profit from it as he swindles and complains his way
through a dangerous adventure to save a neighboring city.

Rory, Kellen’s Butler:
“No you don’t
understand!” he took a step forward. “I am a butler.”

Rory is devoted to his identity and lifestyle as a butler even though his
constant physical training has given him the physique of a spartan warrior. He
is humble and modest and devoted to serving Kellen, even though his master’s
coffers are empty and he will no longer be paid. Rory has to dig deep to find
that he is more than a mere serving man, he is a hero.

Royal Guard Androth:
Androth’s black mask
turned to stare into the other man’s face… the muscles under that armor were
poised to draw a weapon and kill him.

Androth is a mysterious black armored knight, a master of arms, and sworn to
silence. The Royal Guards of Haven are secretive and deadly. Read the book to
find out what lies behind the black mask…

DEATH WORLD: the death world is a crucial element to the story. In this world,
death is not the ending, and events taking place in the death world during the
climax of the story greatly effect its outcome.

DRAGONS: My dragons are intelligent and can breathe fire. They come in many
colors and sizes, but are mostly four legged, two winged, long necked,
crocodile headed lizards. There are dragon riders, but there are only a few of
them left. Dragons are not all powerful or invincible. They are well armored
and hard to beat for sure, but they have no magic or godlike powers. They are
similar to wolves in social structure and they have their own language which is
all but incomprehensible to humans while they can understand human speech quite
well. They need to be trained like horses or dogs and they form strong bonds with
their riders. In Cost of Haven, we don’t meet any wild dragon packs… but they
may be out there.

SARCOPHS: The undead are called sarcophs by the learned, Dead Men by the
masses, and Rotters by those who have faced them in battle. They are risen corpses
that have various levels of mobility and prowess depending on the state of the
corpse when it rose. They do eat human flesh. If you come back as a sarcoph, it
is game over for you in the death world. No second chances at an afterlife.

4. Who is your favorite writer and why?

This is a weird question because I would assume every single person would say
J.R.R. Tolkien.

5. What are you working on next?

I’m writing the sequel to the Cost of Haven of course! I hope to get it out
there sometime next year.

6. What efforts have you made to get reviews of notice for your book?

One of my main efforts has been just simply writing in public with a little
sign next to me and a few copies of my book for sale. Here is a link to my blog post about it
called Street Writer.

7. What was your greatest challenge?

After writing the book, I had no idea what to do next.

8. What advice do you have for other writers?

Writing a book is an artistic venture, but publishing a book is a business
venture. Don’t publish something you don’t love or don’t believe in.

Author Interview: Laurie Y. Elrod

Happy Halloween! Today I’m going as a steampunk demon hunter. Yeah, don’t ask. It turned out pretty well, however.


Meanwhile, it’s Interview Thursday today on my blog, and today I’m interviewing Laurie Y. Elrod, fantasy writer. Born in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge mountains, she’s always had an interest in fantasy. Learn more about Laurie at Goodreads here:

1. So you have in your bio that growing up, you enjoyed fantasy but never expected to write one. So how did writing a book come about?

Well, I always kicked around writing a book one day, and had a few ideas pop into my head, but none stood out enough to put on paper. So, it wasn’t until I had a very distinct dream involving a magician and two teens that I decided to jump in and write one. In the dream, the magician is mortally wounded and I become him, feeling him slowly die to his last breath. When I awoke I was disappointed that that the dream stopped there, wishing I knew more about the people and the world in which they lived. A tiny voice told me to write it down. And, no, I don’t really hear voices, but I did want to write the dream down which I intended to do in sort of an outline fashion like, this is what happened first, then this next and so forth, but when I sat down at my computer, the first thing I wrote was a line of dialogue. I stopped there and then, staring at that first sentence wondering why I had written it down that way. Then I thought, why not, let’s see where this takes me. And that is how book one of The So’ladiun Series came about, and how I found out I had a passion for creating my own adventures that I could share with others.

2. What about the fantasy genre appeals to you?

In the realm of fantasy the sky is not the limit. There are so many possibilities for authors to explore inside this genre, and I enjoy immersing myself in worlds that are so different and unique–where magic is possible and outlandish creatures exist. Just for a little while, a reader can be whisked away from the realities of our own world and be a part of something fun and exciting that can be found nowhere else. And I love being able to create my own worlds, from the layout of the land to the physics of what is real for my character’s environments.

3. Tell me about your book.

Blackridge, Book One of the So’ladiun is about a young teenage girl who grows up in a small village, leading a simple and fairly sheltered life. But after her instructor of magic is killed by a host of strange man-like beasts, her world turns upside down, and she faces a fate she never saw coming–a fate that could destroy her country and, possibly, the human race.

Despite the doubts and fears–and lack of faith in her own abilities–she must choose to believe in herself and have the courage to follow her destiny or else her country will fall. With the support of her younger brother, her late mentor’s widow, and a small group of seasoned warriors, she embarks on a journey that is not only dangerous and physically exhausting, but spiritually fatiguing, as well.

4. What makes the world of your book unique?

Anderan and surrounding countries could be any place on Earth before the industrial age and the invention of electricity. What makes the world unique is the characters and their abilities, and the fact that two gods, who have been given care of the world by their father The Creator, are actively at war with each other. Unable to fight directly with one another or else destroy the world that they both love, they are forced to use other means to hurt the other.

This is where the So’ladiun come in. They are a rare and small group of warriors possessing unique magical powers and who are hand-picked by the God of Light, Solisius, long before they are born. The So’ladiun are Solisius’ Defenders of Light, charged to maintain the balance between good and evil, and peace and destruction against the evil his brother Obsudius lets loose in the world.Their counterparts, the N’gethwyn, serve Obsudius, doing all that they can to please their god’s bloodthirsty desire to conquer the world.

5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

Good question. The best answer to this for me is, I don’t have any one favorite author, I have many. Just to name a few: J. R. R. Tolkein because he introduced me to the amazing adventures found within the pages of books which created a passion for reading that will last a lifetime. Diana Gabaldon because she paints a vivid picture with her writing that can easily play out as a movie reel within one’s own mind. Stephen King because, well, he is an imagination genius. And, last (but certainly not the last in my list), J. K. Rowling because she hit the nail on the head with Harry Potter, an amazing and fun read that never gets old no matter how many times you pick her books up.

6. What are you working on next?

Right now, I am in the editing process of book two in the So’ladiun Series. I am also working on the artwork for the book cover, and I am kicking around a few ideas for short stories. I kind of have a desire to write a ghost story. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s because Halloween is coming soon. Who knows?

7. Is Lexogan a small publisher, or do you indie publish? Why made you decide, either way?

I am an indie publisher and Lexogan Publishing is my personal imprint. I decided to publish on my own after thinking long and hard about the pros and cons between publishing traditionally and indie publishing. I also read many, many stories of other indie authors who shared their journeys through this process, their successes and failures, and the advice they offered. Based on all the information I gathered about both routes, and after long agonizing debates washing back and forth between the two, I finally came to the conclusion that, personally, I would rather publish myself than go through all the hassle that traditional publishing puts a writer through. Right or wrong, this is the path that I am following for now, and only God knows where I will end up.

8. What advice do you have for other writers?

I suppose as a new writer the best advice I can offer is, never stop learning, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and keep on pushing ahead. Do not give up, especially if you are new to the writing scene. It is a hard, uphill climb for everyone, but remember how much you love your characters, and there is no doubt someone out there will love them too. Everyone–EVERYONE–has at least one fan.

Author Interview Thursday: John Reinhard Dizon

Today’s interview is with John Reinhard Dizon a suspense/thriller writer talking about himself and his debut novel. You can find out more about John at Goodreads here:


  1. So what made you want to write a book?     I started out writing dialogue for my stick-figure cartoons when I was five, and never looked back. I wrote my first novella in sixth grade, a train wreck called Enemy Ace about a WWII German pilot turned British agent. I had over a dozen manuscripts on the shelf until Publish America printed Tiara in 2003. As you can see, it’s been a lifelong pursuit. I have visions to share and ideas to convey, and writing is my way of expressing them.

    2. I see that you write suspense/thriller. What drew you to this genre?

    People are fascinated by action/adventure tales, and I make sure that mine have a moral to the story. Audiences love a fast-paced story, and you want to focus your storyline on a contemporary topic and create a sympathetic protagonist to lead them through the discussion. Going all the way back to Aesop’s Fables, people love to be entertained while learning a valuable lesson on life.

    3. Tell me about your recently released book, The Standard.

    Here’s the blurb:

    The Standard is an action-adventure novel centered around discussions by an international economic coalition on returning to a monetary gold standard. A criminal network of drug cartels and financial speculators are plotting to convert their holdings into bullion before launching attacks against major gold depositories in three countries to give them a monopoly in the new market. MI6 assigns William Shanahan to disrupt Operation Blackout with the help of Jack Gawain, a Ulster Defense Association volunteer serving a life sentence in Northern Ireland. Their target, Enrique Chupacabra, is an assassin for the Medellin cartel who is coordinating a nuclear attack on the American mainland.

    The morality theme resonates throughout the novel as Shanahan struggles with the complexity of legal and moral issues presented by the mission. It gives place to the action/adventure main event pitting the UK and the USA against the criminal enterprise. The team must foil Operation Blackout lest the cartel gains control over the global economy by destroying the Anglo-Americans’ financial infrastructure.

    Here’s some rave reviews on Amazon:

    4. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

    As a postmodernist writer, it’s Franz Kafka. For suspense/thrillers, it’s Ian Fleming. I discovered Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian series and found a whole new spin on action/adventure.

    5. What are you working on next?

    The closest one to completion is The Test. It’s a cross-genre speculative fiction/YA/Christian novel about four strangers occupying an abandoned church along the outskirts of a biker-protected commune near Truth or Consequences, NM. The kids at the commune are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world after an attack by nuclear terrorists. Moral issues abound as the kids ask whether God has truly forsaken the earth.

    6. How did you decide to publish, and why?

    If it wasn’t for the Internet, it probably would’ve never happened. It provided me the chance to mass market, and once I was able to see past Publish America, I was able to bring my stories to readers as never before. It’s all about sharing your vision with the rest of the world.

    7. Going into publishing, what were your greatest challenges?

    Getting paid was the worst part. I had five books published by Publish America and never saw a dime. I’ve got contracts with six new companies and three under consideration. If I can’t score at this late stage of my life, I’ll accept the fact that the writing is on the wall.

    8. What advice do you have for other writers?

    Write, write, write, and query, query, query! You should take any open call on any topic as a fresh challenge to your writing skills. I kept seeing agents and publishers looking for steampunk, and I didn’t have a clue. I did some research, took a shot, and sold the manuscript weeks later. Querying is a never-ending process. If you don’t find a publisher, your      book will never go big-time. If you find an agent, you may be on your way to stardom. I’ve actually turned it into a hobby of sorts, which is the mindframe you need to keep an arduous task from turning into drudgery.

Author Interview: Sara Bain

Today I’m interviewing Sara Bain, a new fantasy writer from London. Her first book, The Sleeping Warrior, recently came out in September. You can find more about Sara Bain at Goodreads here:


1. What made you want to become a writer? How
difficult do you find it so far?

I am a former newspaper journalist and editor of legal text books, so writing
has been part of my day job for most part of my career. I took voluntary
redundancy from the newspaper last October to become a full-time publisher and

Writing is the easy part of creating a book. I now understand why most authors
are so desperate to get published along the traditional route. For the past
month or so, I have found myself battling it out in the ring with Amazon,
CreateSpace, FeedARead and Smashwords. I have also designed and created my
cover, edited a thousand times and sent it across the world to be converted
into eBook and printed. I am now calculating the width of the spine for my own
printers to have copies ready for my book launch, which date I haven’t had time
to set!

Over the past few days, I have been researching ways in which to bring the book
to the notice of readers and this step has required the most effort from me.

The internet is a vast, lonely place and authors can often get drowned in the
incessant tide of new books surging daily on to Amazon. I’m learning to swim,
however, and know that I will take a few months, or more, to establish the

The good coming out of this is experience and hindsight, both of which I can do
nothing but benefit from.

2. When I saw the description for your book and saw “Vampire Killers”
I thought oh no, not more vampires! But it seems you’re taking an interesting
twist, more into paranormal thriller. What made you decide to write in this

The Sleeping Warrior is really a crime thriller with a subtle fantasy element
woven into the narrative. I am a fantasy author and my stories don’t tend to
fit into the neat categories and all their associated subgenres that publishers
require to promote authors.

My problem is that I don’t write to formulas and now, with Amazon causing
hysteria amongst the traditional publishing industry, readers also refuse to be
herded towards what publishers say they should read.

In an act of defiance, I decided to write a contemporary novel that crossed the
genres of fiction; contained a few of the cliché antiheroes of modern society;
and weave them all together in a crime scene around the pivotal force of a
fantasy character. To my surprise, it worked really well.

It’s possible that true fans of crime or fantasy may find it frustrating but
nothing in the story is as it seems: this is one of the underlying themes of
the book.

I personally like vampires (although I would never want to meet one), but I
don’t believe in them. I can’t write about things that I can’t personally
justify as being real: I like to leave that to the imagination of the reader.

3. Tell me about the book.

The story centres around an ambitious young lawyer called Libby Butler. It
picks up just after she has experienced a terrifying encounter with a serial
killer who is stalking women in south east London. Libby is cynical and
sharp-tongued with a few emotional problems caused by her self-indulgent

After she meets Gabriel, an enigmatic stranger, in a custody suite one night in
her role as duty solicitor, her life takes a turn for the worse.

Danger appears to follow Gabriel or perhaps it follows her.

Interwoven into the plot is a Scotland Yard detective chief inspector who is
following leads on the elusive killer; a gangland boss who is anxious to get
hold of the former employee who can implicate him in a lifetime of criminal
activity; a violent secret cult; and a woman who kills people for a living.

All these characters collide at a point in the story and each one is exposed to
the man called Gabriel who influences them in ways that they would never

There are a few underlying themes to the story, but the most obvious is that of
the Sleeping Warrior – a famous view of the Arran mountains from the Ayrshire
coast; the stranger who is called Gabriel; and the dormant warrior spirit
within us all.

This may all sound very stern and academic, but the book doesn’t take itself
very seriously and there is plenty of humour in it to alleviate some of the

4. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

I don’t really have a personal favourite but really appreciate quality in
writing. I love the classics, Shakespeare and the 19th century English poets.
I’m also a fan of Robert Burns. I admire Anne Rice’s passion for words and her
heady, descriptive prose, and Joe Hill for his ability to terrorise his

5. It looks like you’re being published by a small press. How did that come
about, and how has your experience been?

The press actually belongs to me. It is called Ivy Moon Press and I am its very
first author.

There is still a lot of stigma attached to self-published authors, so much so
that many call themselves indie authors for fear of being rejected even by
reviewers. I think this is misleading and unnecessary. Indie authors are really
those published by small, independent presses. Self-published authors are just
that, whether they publish under an imprint or not.

I am just fortunate to have the experience of having worked in the publishing
industry, be a writer and a graphic designer – a one woman band, so to speak.
Above all, I understand the need for quality in order to be taken seriously and
that is what I strive for.

I am really proud to be self-published. I am equally proud to be a good

I can say ‘I wrote that and I published it too.’ It is a very satisfying

6. What are you working on next?

As I said, I am a fantasy writer and have been writing an epic on and off for a
good few years now. The first book episode is called Dark Dawn, it is book one
of series entitled The Scrolls of Deyesto and, fingers crossed, will be out in

7. What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I tried to be a roller skating waitress once. The problem was I had never
waitressed before and couldn’t even skate. I was fired after my first order for
serving tables 2, 4, 7, 9 11 and 16 all at the same time before crashing
through the front door and landing on the road. On a positive note, I still
held the tray in my hand but, regrettably, none of its contents!

8. What advice do you have for other writers?

Write well and seek out other authors. They will guide you, support you and
share their experiences with you. There is a lot to be said about company when
you’re a writer. Shutting yourself off from the rest of the world to write can
lead to a very lonely existence, but it doesn’t always have to be.