Category Archives: Novels

These are the novels that I’ve written.

My books are in print!

But I still wasn’t happy with them… Why? Three reasons:

  1. I forgot to put in a gutter in all my files which means the text inside is awfully close to the spine. You almost have to press the book open with an iron to be able to read it properly. That doesn’t do much for your reading pleasure (which it is all about).
  2. The titles on the spine are centered between my name and the Suckers logo, but because they are all of different length, it looks higgledypiggledy. I don’t like it. I didn’t realize this until I had all four books in my hands. I suppose it would be okay if the titles were all of a different length, but the title of Book 1 is long and the other two are short but still of a different length. I can’t live with that.
  3. The text of the blurb on the back cover is set extremely high on the cover. It looks unprofessional. When you are putting it on the page on InDesign, you have the typeset safety margin and the bleed around it, so it doesn’t look that bad.

Consequences:

  1. I had to put in a gutter in all of my text documents.
  2. This meant all the text was squeezed in a bit and all the documents became longer, with more pages.
  3. This, in turn, meant that all the covers had bigger spines, and I had to download new cover templets for them and re-do the layout for each one of them. This was okay, as I had to re-do them anyway, but it was still annoying that I had to start from scratch instead of just lowering the text on the backs of the covers.

So, forgetting something as simple as a gutter affected not only my content file, but also my cover. I should’ve followed my own formatting file more closely! Now I need to pay £25 for every file I need to change, i.e. costing me £200! But, and this is a big but, the books will be of professional quality, and I will be happy to promote them 🙂 .

My Interview with Angelina Kalahari is live!

If my day couldn’t get any better, I just got word from Angelina that her interview with me is live on her website and YouTube!

Have a listen to the interview with her. She’s a wonderful lady, and I so hope to be able to meet her at the London Fair next year!

Thanks for having me on your podcast, Angelina! xx

 

My interview with Dr DJ JoN will be airing soon!

Remember I mentioned I was interviewed by Dr DJ JoN last week? Well, I just got the heads up that the interview will be aired on Flobcast Radio within the next hour! Don’t worry if you’ll miss it as it will be repeated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week a during the 1-3pm (EST) timeslot (early in the slot).

The website to go to is:

Flobcast

You only have to click on the play button on the website to hear the radio station.

I haven’t heard it yet, so I’m going to listen too!

Meet the Author… Mistress Joanna Noor

Joanna is a writer of naughty stories and has some really beautiful book covers on her novels. I commented on them via Twitter, we got chatting… and here’s the interview with Joanna. After a string of male authors, I thought it was time for a female writer again. And what a treat!

Mistress Joanna Noor

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Biography

Hi, I’m Joanna Noor, and when I’m not penning naughty epic fantasy stories, I am also an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer, and editor. Unfortunately I can’t divulge my real identity, because I have a successful alternate career as a YA author and children’s picture book artist. However, everything you need to know about me personally can be summed up in one description: I am a cat. Sweet, friendly, mischievous, sometimes scratchy and fierce, a little bit lazy, but very patient and determined when I need to be! I also enjoy having my back scratched.

Tell us something about you not many people know

I love to surf, but not on water. On land. On a skateboard. In the biggest concrete bowls I can find. This is unusual for a person whose livelihood depends on them being able to wield a pen deftly with their fingers, but I don’t care. The thrill of carving a nice pool and finding new lines far outweighs the pain of the bumps when I occasionally fall.

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

Joanna_Noor_KockRiderofKhymeeraClearly. It was something by Richard Scary, and it had a mouse driving a little car, and it has informed my drawing style and whimsical sense of humor ever since. But the first prose stories to really impact me were C. S. Lewis’s Narnia Books. I spent most of my early life searching for that magic wardrobe which would transport me to another world. I finally found it in the form of a MacBook Pro using Scrivener and Microsoft Word.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Once when I was a little, a Ku Klux Klansman gave me a business card to take to my mother. We had recently arrived in a small Georgia town and it was his way of seeing how she responded—to discern whether she was one of the “good folk,” i.e. racist. My mother took one look at it, saw the writing, and recoiled as if it were a rattlesnake. I saw then how powerful words could be.

What made you want to become a writer?

Fame and fortune. But when real life quickly disabused me of those silly ideas, it was the satisfaction of entertaining people and connecting with them emotionally.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

Joanna_Noor_SuccubusofKhymeeraNo one is waiting to read your great masterpiece. My first book made a little splash, then sank like a stone, where it remained on the bottom of the literary ocean like pirate treasure waiting to be discovered. Yours probably will too, but don’t be discouraged—you’ll have to fetch it, polish it, and show it off to get attention. But that’s part of being a self-published author.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I LOVE immersing myself in another world and getting caught up in my characters’ adventures. I’m a very visual, very emotional person, and it almost becomes real for me at times. I feel things very acutely.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

My avatar is the one you see: Catwoman. And though our resemblance is more intellectual than physical, I look enough like her (without the mask) for it to be a passable picture.

What do your friends and family think of your writing? Do they support your career as a writer?

I am fortunate to be blessed with very supportive and encouraging friends and family. But only two people know about my naughty side-hustle as Joanna Noor, purveyor of kinky Epic Fantasy.

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

Joanna_Noor_StormingtheBarbariansGatesFor someone who self-identifies as a feline, I’m actually very disciplined. I rise early, write as much as I can before I have to turn my attention to other work, then I sometimes edit at night. But often, like a cat, I have frenetic bouts of effort punctuated by sleepy stretches where I do very little.

Do you outline or just write?

I create a detailed outline/roadmap which I happily deviate from, but also use to find my way back to the essential story when I get lost. When I start a story, I know who the main characters are, what their objectives are, and most of the challenges they will face along the way. The rest I just pull from a magician’s hat, like an endless rope of knotted handkerchiefs.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

Fantasy and sci-fi, and most definitely fantasy and sci-fi combined with erotica. As for why—well, it appeals to the anarchic, anything goes side of my personality. The part that happily navigates around a concrete bowl at high speed on a thin piece of wood attached to a few bits of metal and rubber, with tiny little wheels.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? 

I would be a professional skateboarder and cultural anthropologist.

If you had to write yourself as a heroine, what kind of heroine would you be? What would you be named?

Her name would be Karli Talbo, and she would be a Kock Rider for the city of Hungri’La on Khymeera.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?

I plan to write as many wildly entertaining novels as I can, for as long as I am able to consume coffee and turn caffeine into stories. Many of these books will be about the wonderfully wicked world of Khymeera. Others will not.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Joanna_Noor_DildorRampageKock Rider of Khymeera follows the adventures of a transgender heroine named Karli Talbo, who is transported from Earth to another world by mysterious celestial beings called the Pu’ussy Kings, where she becomes a pawn in their unfathomable games. It’s fast-paced, thrilling, funny, at times heartbreaking, and downright staggering in its erotic scope. Man, woman, or whatever—if you like your fantasy kinky, then I guarantee this book has something that will appeal to you.

What gives you inspiration for your book(s)? How did you come up with the idea for Kock Rider of Khymeera? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

It started as a John Norman/Gor-inspired joke, to be honest. I wanted to write a smutty parody of all the Golden Age sci-fi/fantasy books I loved as a teenager. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with my characters and their plight, and then I had to take it seriously. When they started to make me laugh and cry, I had to give them some respect. I typically brainstorm ideas by placing my hapless characters in dreadful situations, then let them figure out how to escape, before I torture them again.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Learning how to tell an exciting story.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Joanna_Noor_TheWizardsMagicalWoodMy Khymeera novels and stories do stand on their own, but you’ll enjoy them more if you start with Kock Rider of Khymeera and go from there. The terminology won’t be confusing later, and all the rich connections between the characters will make more sense. I hide Easter eggs everywhere!

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Karli Talbo, my transgender heroine of Kock Rider, is my favorite. I adore her because her journey to accepting, loving herself, and finding her place in the world is such a thrilling, funny, and poignant story. With her, I wanted to completely defy readers’ expectations, and I also wanted to empower people who feel marginalized by their sexuality, whatever that may be.

Are you working on another book? What are your current projects? Can you give us a small teaser?

Yes indeed I am, and the first part has already been published! But it’s under another pen name, and I won’t give you any clues except this: Death dies.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. Write that big, messy first draft without fear or censorship, then whip it into shape later. And plan beforehand if that makes things easier.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment as a writer?

Joanna_Noor_TheBigBlackKockSeeing projects to completion, connecting with people emotionally, and entertaining people for a while when they have so many other options.

Thank you, Joanna, for your funny and your honest answers. It’s good to see people embrace their sexuality!

For people who love Joanna’s writing after this interview, Joanna has four stories (27-47 pages) and two full-length novels (with the beautiful covers) for sale on Amazon. You can contact her via the following social media:

Email: mistressjoannanoor@gmail.com

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page




Only 6 weeks to go!

Only 6 weeks to go until the Darker Side of Fiction Book Signing at The Bull Hotel, Peterborough, Saturday 6 October!

Still time to get you tickets to come and meet 30 amazing authors who have published Thrillers, Crime, Horror, Mystery, Apocalyptic Fantasy, Sci-fi, Paranormal books in a beautiful city center venue.

This author event will have a relaxed and intimate feel; plus a chance to dine & party with authors & friends in the evening! Tickets will be sold via Eventbrite at a cost per ticket plus an Eventbrite booking fee. Doors open at 10 am – event finishes at 5pm ~ Evening party from 7pm, supporting The Samaritans Ticket link.

You could, of course, email me for a FREE ticket! I still have one to give away which will only last 5 more days…

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An Apropos Interview with Dr DJ JoN

I had a great time chatting with DJ JoN via Skype yesterday. As you may have noticed, I did a shout out to book bloggers to join me in my October blog tour. Dr DJ JoN was the first to contact me and asked if I wanted to talk on his show about it. Of course, after the great advice of my fellow author Wendy H. Jones, I said, ‘Yes!’ It’s my second interview this past week, the first with Angelina Kalahari which will air sometime this coming week (but more about this later!), and I was thrilled.

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Originally, we planned the interview to happen on Saturday, but as we checked our connection with Skype, I mentioned we could do the interview now if he had the time. I’m afraid I put DJ a bit on the spot, but he grabbed the moment, set up his microphone and everything, and we started chatting. He wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t prepared, and I’m afraid my answers are all over the place, but I hope the listeners can make sense out of my ramblings!

Not only does DJ look like Santa, he also gives new artists a chance to get heard, mainly musical artists, but he, and I quote, “loves to give every artist an opportunity to be heard.” He has a real nice, warm-timbered voice, and it’s very pleasant to listen to. He made me feel at ease (yes, I shiver out of nerves when interviewed), and after the interview ended, we chatted for another hour about all sorts. DJ has great stories to tell as he’s been around and has met many great people. I wished there were more hours in a day so I could hear all of them, but the clock struck twelve and DJ was called for dinner while I was slowly turning into a pumpkin (there’s a five-hour difference between us). We called it a day, and I went to sleep with a smile.

After DJ has edited the track, he’ll send it to me for approval, and hopefully he’ll be able to air in before Halloween. I’ll let you all know when it’s airing on Flobcast Radio (also on Facebook)!

Thanks again for the opportunity, DJ! I hope your dream of fishing naked on a Costa Rica beach comes true!

Meet the Author… Craig Wainwright

I met Craig Wainwright on Twitter (where I meet most of the authors I interview). He was talking about a big reveal and ramped the suspension up enough to peak my interest. I was dying to find out what he was talking about! His first book, The Lost Titan, launched yesterday, and Craig’s going to reveal his big secret in this interview, so quickly continue reading…

Craig Wainwright

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Biography

I’m normally a reserved, middle of the road, kind of  guy, whose always been geeky about Sci-Fi. When I got married, I warned Diane, my long suffering wife, that there would be three people in our relationship: me, her and the Doctor (big Doctor Who fan you see). Nowadays, the Doctor and Diane often pop out and leave me busily tapping away on the keyboard, only to return before I miss them – it’s a time travelling thing, I’ve been told…

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)
Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)

Terrance Dicks, by a long way. To date he is still the longest serving Doctor Who script editor there’s been (1969 – 1974), wrote some cracking stories for the TV series and then topped that by writing the lion’s share of the Doctor Who range of Target books. What a guy.

Of course, being a cheeky Doctor Who fan when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to invite him round to my house when meeting him at a signing. To my amazement he agreed. At the time I was a member of the local Doctor Who group and so I quickly organised a sponsored “Stay Awake” event for the visit. Terrance got the proceedings going, with an auction and stayed for a couple of hours afterwards to chat with us.

Then I asked the typical fan question: ‘What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?’ His answer was the obvious one, but it stuck in my mind because he’s such a lovely bloke. ‘Just write it,’ he said. Succinct, concise and to the point. The answer hit home.

We raised £600 for Cancer Research that day, and am proud of the fact.

What made you want to become a writer?

An urge to tell stories about characters which have lived with me since I was 10. I’ve needed to do this for a number of years and have had various failed attempts since 1989 to get the job done. The thought of dying before I’d managed to let everyone know about these wonderful characters and the situations they find themselves in, mortified me. Morbid I know, but it’s true, and since I’m not getting any younger, I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later to have any chance of getting book 5 written.

What do you love most about the writing process?

via GIPHY

That moment when a character says something and you think that they have suddenly just come alive during that moment. It’s a magical time. Then, as the book takes its course, these people go on their journey. You see them grow and, by the end of the book, after all the twists and turns in the plot, they come out different people – as anyone would. With my style of writing, with the plot driving things forward and not the characters, this development does add an extra dynamic which can enhance the story.

On the flip side, I hate writing the first draft. I find the whole process painful and really hard work. But after that hurt, building on the original draft, the process suddenly becomes enjoyable because it then becomes a time of discovery. This happened with Book 1, were several things happened in the first five chapters and by the tenth I thought, ‘There have to be some consequences here’, and so the court scene was born. One of my beta readers loved that scene, as I do, because the hero shows he’s not just a physically powerful individual, but also a clever one as well. A fact which will become more important as the series progresses.

What genre do you consider your book(s) to be? Have you considered writing in another genre?

The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright
The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright

That’s an interesting question because this series is multi genre: Book 1, The Last Titan, is Sci-Fi with a strong super hero facet to it, bringing in the fantastical element. Because I plan to the nth degree, I know Book 2, The Last Titan: Titan’s Quest, will leave Sci-Fi behind and become purely Fantasy, with large dollops of horror towards the end. Book 3 leans more towards Horror with Fantasy elements embedded within it. I see this as being a very dark book and only hope I can pull it off as Horror isn’t my genre of choice. Strangely, and having just said that, these books cry out for the darker writing to add to the growing menace. Book 4 will return to straight Fantasy again. That’s just series 1. Series 2 will be different again in structure and feel, but that’s a long way off…

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

These books are about ten races of people who need one another to survive, for them racial tension never existed until one man brought with him intolerance and hate. With his coming terrible acts of violence followed. When such a scenario enters a society which seems utopian, we would often find a very fertile breeding ground for the evil to grow.

The motto, I suppose. is that we need to spot this type of person when they get into power and deal with them quickly. We don’t want another Hitler and we definitely don’t want another world war.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

That’s easy. This was for Book 2, which I’m writing now, and it’s the melting point of Quartz. It starts melting at around 600c, if you’re interested.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The overall process of research for the book has been mainly passive, since I’m quite well read when it comes to the history and literature of Ancient Greece. I spent a few nights researching the Chernobyl accident and got an understanding of how it happened and how the reactor was designed. It turned out in the end most of that research wasn’t used in the book. I also did quite a bit of research on Mauy Thai, since the hero is a an expert in the martial art. I checked out a few websites and bought a couple of VHS (yes VHS) tapes and sat down and watched them, taking a few notes.

Regarding much lighter research I spent a bit of time finding the right stars which might have Hellas orbiting them. They ended up being in Ursa Major and they’re a true binary system called Gliese 412. These stars are red dwarfs and one is much smaller than the other. However, every now and again this smaller star becomes much brighter than its neighbour, which fits beatifully with one of the background Mythos I’ve already written. I won’t say any more because I plan to bring the Mythos out as anthologies eventually. Maybe even bringing the first one out before The Last Titan 2.

What did you edit out of this book?

via GIPHY

Loads of stuff. The bulk of it centred around a narrator and two children who would ask him questions about the action in the preceding chapters. These guys discussed pertinent points which I felt needed further explanation but couldn’t fitted in the story any other way. This allowed me to bring in several background stories (one of which tied in with the end of the book beautifully). When I later looked at these sections, I had to admit they had become somewhat redundant as I grasped the mechanics of writing a novel and the need to save space added further reasons to chop these sections anyway.

Interestingly, there was also an alternative chapter 8 which introduced the character of Jimmy (a tramp) and it described Omicron (the female villain) conducting horrific experiments on his two friends. This was made redundant when Jimmy informs a character later on what he saw, and rather than taking fifteen pages to get this across it took three paragraphs to explain it instead. The chapter also had a very different version of Jimmy; he was a more crotchety character. I prefer the character he’s evolved into because he’s a much more approachable, comical character – to the betterment of the whole series I think. 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I like to leave little markers which might hint at what’s be coming: a little comment here, somebody saying something there. That sort of thing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think some writers maybe tend to accept their lot and don’t try to push for the best they deserve. My advice is to be ambitious and adventurous in your plans, be cheeky and ask the questions to get what you want when it comes to publishing and publicity. You don’t get unless you ask in this world, unfortunately.

From the above you can tell that I’m very ambitious, maybe more than my talent deserves, but I’ve known what I want from the start and I’ve pushed to get it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, then other times it does and I’ve ended up doing business with some wonderful people who wanted me to succeed because they saw my drive and determination. Chris Grant (the voice over artist for the ad) put in an email to me: “So, go get’em Giant Killer.” A comment which sums up what I’m trying to achieve with this first book – break through and get established quickly. I dearly want these characters to be remembered and loved even. If I fail, well, at least I tried. If I succeed, then book 8 would most definitely be on the cards

The only other thing I can say is love your subject matter and let it draw you in. Some writers are mechanical in their execution of prose. Get involved with it. I’ve had a love affair with my characters since I was a kid and they’re so clear in my head now, they’ve become like old friends. If you are detached from the work, it’ll reflect in it and your characters will end up being distant at best and uninteresting at worst. Get into their heads, understand them, and the characters will write themselves.

So… what’s your big reveal?

As mentioned earlier, I have a book trailer/ad. Apart from promoting the book via an interview and review in Starburst (a British Science Fiction Magazine), followed by the ad in SFX (a British Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine) and Starburst for three months and a small ad on Doctor Who Online, it is also going to be… on TV! The book trailer will be shown on Sky1 and Syfy from August the 23rd for two weeks!

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Wow! That is so awesome! I bet every writer is incredibly jealous now. I certainly am. You do dream big, and I applaud you for it! I wish you all the best with your launch, Craig, and hope your book sales sky-rocket!

Craig Wainwright’s book is available NOW on Amazon, and you can watch the trailer on his website. You can contact Craig through Twitter.

Meet the Author… P.M. Carron

I met P.M. (I know his first name, but it’s a secret between the two of us) on Twitter. I was intrigued by his ZZ Top-looking outfit (they’re one of my favorite bands) and entertained by his regular tweets. I had to find out more about him. Read on about this mysterious yet outgoing person.

P.M. Carron

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Biography

A native Vermonter born in 1965, I was raised in Burlington, Vermont along the shores of Lake Champlain and surrounded by the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Some twenty years ago, I moved with my wife and daughter to Concord, New Hampshire, where I still reside. Over the last three decades, I owned and ran a hobby shop with my wife and partner, was an accountant, and eventually became an attorney. With four stories published on Amazon, my career as an indie author is well underway. I hope the readers of my flights of fantasy enjoy my stories as much as I basked in the delight of writing them.

Have you ever read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Yes. My mother gave me the 1967 version of the Thorndike Barnhardt Comprehensive Dictionary when I was five or six. I read that tome from cover to cover at least thrice after she gave it to me, and although it shows its age, I still have it in my collection of reference materials. I thought it more interesting reading than Dr. Seuss or other children’s authors I thought too childish. I liked adult things with adult themes like Gunsmoke and monster movies like Frankenstein. With the exception of Loony Tunes, I had no interest in cartoons and shows like Sesame Street. By giving me that dictionary, my mother gave me a golden ticket to the adult world. With that tome, I could figure the meaning of any word, which meant I could read any book and come away with a semblance of understanding.

PM_Carron_DateWithDestiny.pngWhen I was growing up in the seventies, mail-order book clubs were the thing. My mother was a member of one of them book clubs. She had what seemed like a ton of books all neatly stacked on homemade bookshelves that decorated the walls of our apartment. I got to reading some of those books when I was seven or eight. That was my first brush with fiction that was not childish and meant for children. I entered into the fictional worlds of Agatha Christie, Katherine Anne Porter, and Charles Dickens. Those authors became my point of entry into adult fiction, and I was enamored with their fictional worlds.

When I was eight or nine, I noticed a new book on my mother’s wonderful shelves. It was a Reader’s Digest condensed version of excerpts from the works of a bunch of famous philosophers. I didn’t know what to make of it, but pulled it from the shelf and trundled back to my bed. I opened the book and Plato’s Allegory of The Cave caught my attention. It just blew my little mind. Over the next few days, I read that excerpt ten or twelve times. Each time, I understood a little more, and had to look fewer words up in my dictionary. Plato changed how I viewed fact and fiction. It caused my imagination to fire in multiple directions. I’ve been reading philosophy ever since. Take any idea from any philosopher and add a fantasy gloss to it and oh boy, what you have is something from across The Cosmos!

What do you love most about the writing process?

That first thrill of getting a series of ideas from my head onto the page and watching it grow with each word. I love the act of putting pen to paper and not knowing where it will take me. I guess the real answer is:  PURE CREATIVITY. No other profession has this quality, which is why writing was what I was meant to do. It just took me fifty years to figure that out.  

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

PM_Carron_RudeAwakening.pngI wake up an hour or two before dusk. Dusk to dawn is my preferred span of time to be awake. Sunlight saps my energy and makes me less creative. Most days, my preference for the shadows is obtainable, but there are those days when life’s obligations get in the way of the way it oughta be. In any event, once awake, I do whatever task I need to accomplish for my day job, greet my wife when she gets home from work (she is unlucky enough to have to go to the proverbial salt mines, and I love her for doing that so I can have the flexibility needed for my writing career), have supper, hang with my wife, and when she goes to bed somewhere around 10 P.M., I get to my main purpose for living, down to the business of writing.

I sit on my porch, click on one of my music mixes that are saved on my cellphone, open a bottle of soda, light a cigar, take a few puffs, and then I’m in the zone and ready to write until dawn. I try to write three or four hours every day. If I’m lucky, I clock in seven or eight hours. The first light of day, brings me back to reality. Most nights, as I’m heading to bed, my wife is going off to work. 

What are your books about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must read?

I write dark, fantasy stories that intertwine around one another. My plan is to write one hundred-fifty stories, centered on ten trilogies. This project is more epic than any attempted before by any author. Each story is written from the first person point of view and have elements of high fantasy, science fiction, and horror. At root, my tales are adventures.   

Literally, thousands of thoughts and concepts thunder across my mind every minute of every day, whether I’m awake or fast asleep. I call them my Thought Trains, and they take me for rides to fascinating and fantastical places. My stories are my attempt to bring those ideas to anyone who wants to experience fantasy from a fresh perspective without the traditional definitions and limitations of genres put into place before any of us were born or reading, creating and writing. I pay homage to the great writers without becoming a slave to their process. For me, art is about being fresh and novel, and I do view my work as an art form.

My most recent book is The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III. It is the first book of the first of ten trilogies, and will be published sometime between the end of August and the middle of September. The book is in the final stages of formatting and will be sold on Amazon as an E-Book like my other four stories.

The Shade’s Tale is written from the point of view of a shade named Count Darkly Vandercoot. The story tracks Darkly’s rise in power as a mortal born of shadow. The reader has an intimate, front row seat to Darkly taking his place as the leader of The Cause, the rebellion against the tyranny of The Gods. The story begins with Darkly telling his tale from a prison cell. Nothing about this tale is ordinary or predictable, but it is the beginning of something really epic. My first four stories lit the fuse. Now, The Shade’s Tale is the explosion that no reader of fantasy will want to miss.    

What gives you inspiration for your books? How did you come up with the idea for Lady Luck Has Left The Building?

PM_Carron_LadyLuck.pngFifty-three years of living life to the fullest gives me the inspiration I need to write my books. Wherever I go, I pay attention to the smallest of details as those bits reveal themselves to me and unfold around me. I wake up every single day and expect it to be the best day of my life. I don’t just wish for happiness, I expect and demand it. Most days are far from perfect, but more often than not, something happens that makes the day special. Those remarkable occurrences are the seeds from which my stories grow.

Lady Luck Has Left The Building began with a conversation I had with my sister about fear. She told me her greatest fear was to be locked in the trunk of a car. I thought long and hard about my sister’s strange idea of terror and Lady Luck sprang to life. Beginning a story with a gambler zip-tied in the trunk of a hovercraft on his way to a shallow grave seemed like an interesting way to begin a science fiction story that transforms into a tale of horror.

How long does it on average take you to write a book?

It depends would be the obvious and honest answer. On average, I’d say six to nine weeks. My first story, A Rude Awakening, was finished in a week. It just came together. I breathed life into my fourth tale, Lady Luck Has Left The Building, in six writing sessions over two and a half weeks. Another quickie. My newest book, The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III, took over a year to come to fruition. Since The Shade’s Tale is a trilogy, I had to write all three of the books as a unit. Yea, six to nine weeks seems like a good, overall average. 

How many unpublished and unfinished books do you have? Have you written any other books that are not published?

Well, let me think about that for a minute. I have four published works, four stories are finished but as of yet unpublished, and six tales are in various states of completion. 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I’m always adjusting my process to make it easier for myself and my team of three editors. My first story, A Rude Awakening, made me aware of the annoyance of formatting for publication. After thinking about how to mitigate that hassle, I changed the format I use for my first drafts to make the backend more efficient.

What do you find to be the best way to market your books?

PM_Carron_ThirdTour.pngI’m always looking for the better mousetrap that is more fun for me, my fans, and ultimately, for my readers. With that in mind, I use Twitter as a platform to feed or direct my fans and readers to my website, my Amazon Author Page, and my Patreon Creator Page. Through the years, I’ve found focusing works best and is more fun.

The internet is a big place and authors need to decide where their people are and focus their energy there. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and artists must conserve and direct their energy and enthusiasm for the long haul. Patience and persistence are two qualities I feel are integral to the creation process as a whole, and particularly useful when it comes to marketing. Unlike some of my fellow authors, I look for the fun in marketing my art, rather than the drudgery of it. A positive attitude gets you further than a negative anything.

What motivated you to become an indie/published author?

At heart, I am an entrepreneur. That means I make for a terrible employee, and am not good at taking direction, following, and carrying out someone else’s vision. Since the age of twelve, I have been starting and running businesses. My writing business, Cosmik Winds Publishing, is just another in a long line of my startups. I have worked for myself for more years of my life than those spent working for somebody else.

I have my own vision and know where I want to take it. As an artist, I encourage and look forward to criticism of my work. That’s the only way to improve. As an entrepreneur, selling my works of art, I know my vision is breaking new ground. That’s the exhilarating part!

I just don’t have the patience for business naysayers who look in rearview mirrors when they should be gazing into the darkness of the future to see the possibilities. I have no interest in being the last buggy whip maker. I want to make something nobody has brought into this world. For all of those reasons, indie publishing made sense to me. I write because I must, and I am an indie author for the same reason.    

Here’s where you can find me online.

Website

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Patreon Creator Page

Email: pmcarron4242@gmail.com

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, P.M.! I am even more curious and want to find out more about your writing, and for the price of $0.99 for each of the first three short stories, there is no excuse. Grab yourselves a copy of each, folks!

Frustration… deep, dark frustration…

I’ve had the back-set just over a week ago when I wanted to upload my Book 1 cover file on IngramSpark that something went wrong, and it didn’t get through. I contacted the helpful people of IngramSpark and they said it would take a few days to sort. So, I went on holiday. This was already planned, of course, but I had hoped to have uploaded the files for all my books before I went on holiday. Hell, I planned to have them uploaded in May. Not to worry, I thought, I’ll just continue where I left of when I come back and have all my files uploaded in one or two days.

Now I’m back and found out that I saved the cover file of Book 1, the one with the lady with the wispy hair that took me ages to get right, that I saved that file in a single layer. Yup, that’s right. I haven’t got a single, separate layer of that file. It would have been okay as I was happy with that file, but InDesign wants the original layers, and because it can’t find them, it displays the front cover extremely pixelated. And, you guessed it, I’ve got to start ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

You have no idea how frustrated I feel at the moment…

Frustration.jpg

PS: I hope you understand I won’t be online for a while. Not until I get these bloody files uploaded…

Meet the Author… Ken Stark

I’ve yet to read Ken Stark’s books, but I know I will… one day. Their blurbs stir something primal that makes you want to read them, to find out if the protagonists are going to survive or not. I’m pretty sure not all of them will… Meet Ken Stark, author of two zombie novels, a novelette about unspeakable horrors, and his new horror novel Arcadia Falls.

Ken Stark

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Biography

Ken Stark lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he worked in the armoured car industry for far too long before finally committing full-time to his one true passion. Ken’s writing tends toward the dark, yet through it all he remains an optimist, seeing a ray of hope in even the most dire of circumstances.

And yes, he once gave his lunch to a rat, but in his defense, the scruffy little thing looked hungry.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

Ken_Stark_Stage3So many things! But the top two would have to be:

a) Get out and experience everything life has to offer, and

b) It’s perfectly alright to be disappointed, but don’t get discouraged. Good or bad, every experience a writer has adds more color to the palette, and every disappointment brings us one step closer to success.

But younger me probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. He was kind of a know-it-all.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

When the time came to dedicate myself completely to writing, I knew I would love it, but I was surprised at how much I loved it. I expected it to be like satisfying an itch I was never quite able to scratch, but it was more like breathing freely for the first time.

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

I actually have nothing like a typical writing day. I might write for 10 minutes or 10 hours, depending on my mood and whatever else I have going on. I punched a clock for so many years that I never want to think of writing as a job. It’s my passion, and passion doesn’t stick to a schedule.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Ken_Stark_AlphaI would be completely lost without my computer. My brain seems to work at the exact same speed as my ham-fisted typing, so the words have a way of flowing in a very natural rhythm. And of course, a computer makes editing a breeze. It’s hard enough chopping out all of those fine words without having to rely on erasers and White-Out.

Do you write alone or in public?

I’m always alone when I write. I’m sure I could get along just fine in a crowded room, but only if no one was allowed to peek over my shoulder. Tuning out the distractions is one thing, someone reading an unpolished work is another thing else entirely.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I’ll read just about anything, but when I write, I prefer a good scary tale. Fear is the most fundamental of emotions, after all. Say what you will about love and compassion and caring, it was fear that kept our primitive ancestors alive in a violent world and let us to survive as a species. Whether you shy away from scary things or face them head-on to get that rush of adrenaline, we are all hard-wired to feel fear, and if I can tap into that most primitive of emotions for even an instant, it’s as if I’m kicking up a few million years of genetic memory. That’s a pretty awesome superpower to have.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Ken_Stark_Arcadia FallsMy latest release is a break from the zombie apocalypse, setting the horror on a much smaller stage. Arcadia Falls is a town with a secret. People are going missing and no one seems to care, until one young man and his little band of misfits start to look into what evil thing might be preying on their town. I won’t tell you what they discover, but you know it ain’t Care Bears!

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

It’s not so much a moral as an observation. As dark as my works are, the common threads running through them all are the simple act of hope and that ridiculously powerful force known as friendship. There’s never a time when all hope is lost, and a good friend in your corner can make all the difference in the world.

How did you come up with the idea for Arcadia Falls?

One day, I happened to ask my best friend’s teenaged daughter what kind of books she liked to read. Her response was, “Something scary, with a monster, and some kind of mystery.” From that barest of outlines came Arcadia Falls. It’s being marketed as YA because I kept the language cleaner than my usual, but that’s the only concession I made. And really, I did that more for the parents of younger readers rather the young readers themselves.

What has been the best compliment?

Ken_Stark_JittersI met a man named Chris Roy on the Deadman’s Tome podcast a while back. He is a writer, currently serving a life sentence in prison. He was interested in my books, so I sent him a few and he shared them around the cell block. Much to my amazement, several of those men took the time and effort to write a review by hand, photograph the piece of paper, and have Chris send me the pix. Understand that these are the kinds of guys who won’t hold back what they really think, and not only did they like the books, but they actually went through the trouble to tell me in those handwritten notes. That response simply blew my mind, and those reviews will always be very special to me.

Where can we find you online?

website,

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page

iTunes book page(s)

Ken’s books are also on sale at:

Barnes & Noble

Audible