Tag Archives: Books

Meet the Author… R.H. Hale

Rebecca H. Hale is one cool chick! I asked her for an interview and she said yes immediately… in July. And then her email slipped the net. My bad. Instead of bombarding me with emails asking what’s happening, or getting stroppy and giving me the cold shoulder when I asked her the other day when I could expect her answer, she just went with the flow. I like people like that.

R.H. Hale

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Biography

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, R.H. Hale’s interests range from reading and writing, to science and the arts, including theatre. After receiving a BSc (Hons) in Natural History from Kingston University in Surrey, she returned to Edinburgh where she joined a ghost tour company to pay the bills – and became hooked, terrifying innocent tourists on a daily basis in the city’s underground vaults. Not long after being clinically diagnosed with autism, in 2014 Hale began work on her first novel, Church Mouse (Book 1): Memoir of a vampire’s servant. Its sequel, Church Mouse (Book 2): The Change, is completed and due for release in 2019.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

That’s a tie between two. When I was eleven years old I attended a festival in the town of Wick in Caithness, Scotland, where I had the pleasure of meeting the late, great Scottish poet Norman MacCaig. He was a delightful old gentleman, very calm and patient. If I’d had any idea at the time how famous he was, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to read him a poem I’d recently written for class at school. I did read it to him however, and he seemed very impressed by it.

Far more recently, last year I met Dacre Stoker, the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, at the Edinburgh Horror Festival. Fortunately, I’m close friends with the event organisers, so I took him and his assistant on a short tour around The Banshee Labyrinth, the reputedly haunted pub where he was giving a talk about his latest book and his research. He is fantastic company, a joy to speak with and very generously asked me about my debut novel, so I felt honoured to have had the chance to discuss it with him.

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

It may sound cliché, but in truth my biggest surprise has been that people are liking the book! Every writer understands how scary it is releasing a debut; it’s like having one of those dreams where you find yourself haplessly walking around in public in your birthday suit.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

R.H.Hale_ChurchMouse1I think it depends on who you’re asking. For many including me, writing is also a way of exorcising demons, a silent scream if you like. I think it can be both, since it’s lovely to be told you have a gift and makes it all worthwhile if your work touches people and takes them on the journey you intended. But it comes with a price: you may’ve had to live through (or be living through) hell to create the worlds, scenes, characters and descriptions you did. The greatest reward is getting good reviews, so combined it can be negative feedback loop.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Often pen since you can never know where you’ll be when ideas strike. Computer later, though ideas churn out on both. I haven’t used a typewriter since I was child just before computers kicked in everywhere and frankly I don’t intend on revisiting them; the stress of corrections and Tippex would give me a heart attack.

Do you write alone or in public?

Definitely alone for me. To many distractions in public. I even have to pause grumpily if I hear my poor housemate crossing the hallway to visit the bathroom!

What is your favorite place to write?

My room at home, sitting in bed, propped up by the pillows. Though in an ideal world I’d love a secluded Victorian study with a massive bay window and fireplace, me curled up in a gigantic leather armchair with cushions, hemmed in by a small portable table for my laptop and another table by the armrest for my coffee and ashtray. Maybe a grandfather clock ticking away in the corner…

Is your ‘being an author’ a goal achieved or an accident?

I never expected this to happen. I’d always had ideas for stories, screenplays, written dozens of poems and started many things throughout my lifetime, but I never originally set out to be an author. I thought I was going to be a scientist or maybe an actress. One day I just had some scenes in my head so solid they were baying for release and I had to get them down on paper. The rest grew from there.

Do you try to be original in your storytelling or to deliver to readers what they want?

Some people may disagree with me here, but to be honest I don’t understand this concept of ‘giving an audience what they want’. How are audiences supposed to discover anything new otherwise? If art of any sort teaches, shocks, surprises or inspires, it makes an imprint or mark, and to me that should be the whole idea. In fact, ‘what they want’ may have been exactly that to begin with – something original they weren’t expecting; before it got re-used again and again. I know that realistically there’s hardly any such thing as new ideas, and no matter how hard any writer works, it’s impossible to please everyone, but long as you’re driven by the desire to create, that’s what counts. Putting original ideas out there always carries a risk, and in many art forms, the powers that be like to “play it safe” by sticking with whatever made them money last time, but to me there’s something dishonest – maybe even mercenary – about ‘giving readers what they want’. Not all audiences know what they want until they’ve seen it. Besides, if I tried writing from only that perspective, I’d never get anything done. My head and heart do the dictating, otherwise what’s the point? That said, it really isn’t for me to tell anyone how to write, and if some readers prefer authors that give them what they want, fair enough, it’s their personal choice.

Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

V0017193 Still life with a skull and medical book. Oil painting by anIn Church Mouse (Book 1), there’s a scene involving an old Victorian surgeon’s medical case, bound in leather, containing the top half of a human skull. That was inspired by a completely true story. When I worked at the ghost tour company in Edinburgh, one of the vaults was run by a group of Wiccans, led by George Cameron. One day he entered the office, showed me the medical bag with the top part of the skull inside and I was fascinated. My other colleague present at the time was not quite so enthralled and turned green on the spot, so I tortured him by chasing him around the office wearing the skull on top of my head like cap. Out of respect though I did apologise to the human remains in advance. I don’t know if this is true, but Cameron told us that apparently the skull came from a cadaver stolen from Greyfriars Cemetery in the early-1800s, possibly by an ambitious medical student, as cadavers at that time were in relatively short supply. The crude chisel marks of the surgeon’s blade were clearly visible around the bone. The above details are mentioned in the novel.

What motivated you to become an indie/published author? How did you break into publishing?

I decided being an indie author was the only way, chiefly because of word count. No literary agent is going to take a chance on the printing costs for a newbie if it’s over 100k words. My editor also works for Help For Writers: not a traditional publishing house, but they convert authors’ work into e-format, publish and distribute for a fee; the author keeps all the royalties.

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, Rebecca. I feel very privileged that I actually have that perfect writing spot that you talk about. The windows are still a bit draughty, so I don’t sit in front of them, but yeah, all the other bits are there. If you’re ever in Aberdeenshire, do look me up!

Where can we find you online? 

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Amazon Author page

R.H. Hale’s book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Goodreads, Blackwells, and other online bookstores


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 🙂 .

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.

A FANTASTIC BOOK SIGNING OFFER!

I have an amazing offer for my UK readers! It’s a FREE ticket to the DARKER SIDE OF FICTION author signing! This ticket will give you a WHOLE DAY FREE ENTRY to the event which will be held on the 6th of October 2018 at The Bull Hotel in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

I only have one FREE ticket to hand out, so first come, first served. Click here to find out more info on the event. Send me an email (jackydahlhaus@gmail.com) with the heading ‘Darker Side Ticket’ if you want a shot at the offer BEFORE 1 September!

If you’re from abroad and happen to be in the UK at the time, you’re, of course, also welcome to take up the offer!

Hope to see you soon!

Jacky D.

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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!

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

BookFunnel Giveaway!

Women of Urban Fantasy.png

Searching for a new Kick A** Heroine to love?

Look no further! These authors have teamed up to help you discover your next Urban Fantasy obsession. Nearly 50 FREE books with new heroines to root for!

You can find them here, but only till the 31st of July…

Meet the Author… Mark L. Fowler

Blue Murder Blog Tour

Welcome to Mark L. Fowler’s Blog Tour! As mentioned in my interview with him last March, I’ve known Mark L. Fowler for a few years now. We both joined One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Group (on Facebook) when it only had a few members. Of course I said ‘yes!’ when Mark asked me to be a beta reader for his new book, Blue Murder, book 2 of the Tyler and Mills series. As I’m part of his blog tour, I’d love to give him another boost 🙂 .

Mark L. Fowler

Mark_Fowler

Biography

Mark L. Fowler has five published novels under his belt, and he recently contributed one of his many short stories to the Dark Minds charity collection. Mark’s most recent book, Blue Murder, is the second in a police detective series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills. The first book to feature the detectives, Red Is The Colour, was published by Bloodhound Books last year and shortlisted for the 2018 Arnold Bennett Book Prize. Mark is also the author of The Man Upstairs, featuring hard-boiled detective Frank Miller, and Silver, a psychological thriller. His first book, Coffin Maker, continues to defy any attempts to categorize it. All of his books can be read as stand-alone works.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Peter James. I met him at the Winchester Annual Writers’ conference many years ago. I attended his workshop and was lucky enough to have a one: one session with him, during which he looked over the opening chapter of my first novel and gave me some sound advice.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love setting off on new adventures, not always certain of where they will take me. I love exploring new characters, watching them develop as I work on them, and finding what makes them tick.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Mark_Fowler_RedIsTheColourFor me, being a writer is absolutely a gift. Yes, it is hard work, yes there are frustrations getting your books out there, but the creative part of the job, the putting pen to paper, developing storylines, creating settings, sharpening dialogue – I just love the whole business of writing.

Do you outline or just write?

A little of both. I like to have a strong idea of my main characters, and a vivid sense of place, of where the story is happening, before I begin writing. I will usually have a clear idea of the primary situation or conflict that will need to be resolved before the story can reach its ending. But detailed plotting is not something that I like to do before beginning the writing. If I had too much plot before I started the book, I would feel constrained and my characters would not have sufficient room to develop. I know writers who plot intricately before they begin a book, leaving little or nothing to chance, while others just go for it. It is whatever works for the individual writer. I’m somewhere in between.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I read more crime fiction than any other genre, and my writing has increasingly moved that way too. I have always loved detective stories, both on the page and on screen. Most of my published work so far has been in the detective genre, one way or another, most clearly in my Tyler and Mills books and The Man Upstairs. Whilst Silver is more a psychological thriller than a classic detective novel, the main character, the writer and journalist Nick Slater, is effectively playing the role of detective, trying to get to the heart of a baffling and intriguing mystery.

What genre do you consider your latest book and have you considered writing in another genre?

Blue Murder, like its predecessor Red Is The Colour, is a British police detective novel. But the books are also historic crime, set in 2002-2003. Part of my reason for doing this was my interest in a style of policing that is a little less dependent on technology, and more about detectives going door to door, face to face. The action takes place on the streets of a North Staffordshire city, not in forensic laboratories and on computer screens. I have also written in other genres, Coffin Maker being a good example. It’s just that no-one, including the author, can quite nail the elusive genre that can define it! A lot of people really love that about the book.

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

Mark_Fowler_Blue_MurderThe sub-title of Blue Murder is: Fame. Fortune. Murder. And here lies the first clue to what the book is about. Johnny and the Swamp Seeds are a local band on the cusp of success when the singer Johnny Richards goes missing. Then the body of a young man is found in the local canal. The detectives, DCI Tyler and DS Danny Mills, not only find themselves trying to solve a baffling mystery, but at the same time their efforts appear to be doing nothing more than catapulting a now singer-less band to fame and fortune. What a lot of people most enjoyed about Red Is The Colour was the relationship, strained at times, between Tyler and Mills, and in Blue Murder I have worked hard to develop these two characters further. So the book is as much about the detectives, and also about the city in which they live and work, as it is about finding out what happened to Johnny Richards.

What gave you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for Blue Murder? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

I suppose that the inspiration for Blue Murder initially came from being in a band many years ago, though I have been careful to write a work of fiction and not an autobiography. I had the initial idea about the singer going missing at the point at which he and his band were about to break into the big time. Then I began to ask questions about why this might happen, and who might stand to gain. But once I had the basic ingredients, I didn’t want to plot any further. I wanted my detectives to do the work for me. I wanted Tyler and Mills, rather than the author, to dig into the mystery and find the truth. As far as possible, I handed the investigation over to them. After all – they are the detectives!

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I wouldn’t say ‘hijack’ exactly. While giving the story over to my detectives, in one sense, I still retain the last word. This is why I like to have some idea of the shape of the story from the outset, and why theme is important – to stop the book from veering off course. Some plot developments would seem inappropriate to the story I want to tell, and this comes through experience. The more I write about Tyler and Mills, for example, the more I know when I’m on track. If characters start to act in bizarre ways that give no meaning to the story and for no good reason – if their behaviour ceases to support the theme of the book – then I know I’m getting off-track and need to pull things back. For me this would be one of the dangers of just writing a book completely from scratch, without first getting to know my characters a little bit, and where they come from and where they are heading.

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

Mark_Fowler_SilverI have at least half a dozen completed, unpublished novels and quite a number of partially completed books too. In some cases I am simply still not satisfied with the books, and need to return to them afresh to bring them to publication. Others may never see the light of day for one reason or another. In some cases I may have set off writing them too early, without thinking about the characters, the locations and/or the basic plot sufficiently, and then getting into more of a mess than I know how to get out of. It’s all experience though, and I have learned a lot from writing some books that I know may never be read. But these days I would rather set off on my writing adventures with the knowledge that I have enough to get me through to a satisfactory ending. As a writer you never stop learning.

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

Publishing my books has made me think differently about the whole writing process. I am more aware these days of writing for a readership, an audience. It has made me more disciplined in my approach, asking more questions at an earlier stage in the development of an idea, and a lot less self-indulgent. When I began writing short stories, a long time ago, I used to just let my imagination soar. These days I only allow that once I have a solid base beneath. I do the groundwork first and then allow the imagination of my characters to soar. And on good days they always seem to do just that. Bless them.

Thanks again, Mark, for sharing more about your writing with us. I loved reading Blue Murder and can thoroughly recommend it to anybody looking for a good crime story to read during the holidays!

For those of you who’d like to know more about Mark L. Fowler, you can follow him via:

UK Amazon Author Page

US Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


Blog Tour: Mark L. Fowler – Blue Murder

Mark L. Fowler with his new book Blue Murder

Mark L. Fowler with his new book Blue Murder

Today is the day that the Blog Tour of Mark Fowler starts, promoting his new book Blue Murder, second in the DCI Tyler and DS Mills series (but can be read as a standalone)! Check it out, follow Mark on Twitter (@MFowlerAuthor), and drop in if you can on the 30th of July 😀 .

Blue Murder Blog Tour.jpg

The Darker Side of Fiction Takeover!

Guess what? Jo Curtis and Rachel Brightley are doing a takeover on my Facebook page (Jacky Dahlhaus – Author) on Monday evening, the 11th of June!

Come and join us for some fun and learn more about this awesome book signing which will be held on Saturday the 6th of October in Peterborough.

There’ll be fun and games, and I will be giving away a FREE all-day ticket to the event. It’s also an opportunity to ask me anything about my writing.

I hope to see you on Monday evening, 8:30pm at my Facebook Page! 😀