Friday, October 29, 2010
His debut novel BLACK RAIN released to international acclaim and quickly hit bestseller. BLACK SUN is following the same ascent. But he's not finished yet. The third member of this trilogy has been contracted for publication by Random House.
The series follows government operative and reluctant hero, Danielle Laidlaw, as she realizes the 2012 doomsday prophecies aren't necessarily set in Mayan stone. Instead, they are a time bomb… one very much alive and ticking. Now she just needs to find it, and figure out what the heck to do with it.
Blessed with Pierce Brosnan good looks, the ability to turn a phrase, and believably chilling plots keeping audiences around the world glued to their chairs to the last page, Graham Brown is soon to be the answer to the question: "Who are you reading?"
Q) What books or stories captured your imagination as a child, and who was it that shared them with you?
A) - My love of reading came from my parents - they read to me and taught me to read before I even went to kindergarten As far as what captured my imagination - it went something like this - Dr. Seuss, (still love Green Eggs and Ham) then a little older it was of course - the Hardy Boys mysteries. It’s no secret to me why young people love reading about young characters - you identify with them more - I saw myself as a Hardy Boy - right down to them getting in trouble with their parents and other adults for trying to solve the mystery. Although I never actually found Wildcat Swamp. I swear I was looking though.
Q) You once said your first fiction story was about a war caused in part by bad mail service. I find the concept intriguing. When did you write it, and is there any chance of our reading that tale in the future?
A) How did you know about this? Yes -this is true. It was before the internet. The Prime Minister was dying and rather than wait for the regular battle of succession - a polit-bureau member sent out secret orders through the mail to instigate a coup. In my imagination the mail with its billions of letters was the one Russian institution that the KGB could not keep complete track of. Problem was the letters only got through to some of the parties and next thing you know Russia was in a civil war - especially as the Prime Minister recovered. It was my 17 yr old mind trying to be Tom Clancy. But you know what - I may have to write that book - there's something in that.
Q) You belonged to an impromptu group of writers dubbed the Maui Inner Circle from which several notable authors have emerged. Do you stay in touch with your old friends?
Q) For your series, even with your aeronautical background, you had to conduct hours and hours of research for the techno-thriller portions of the books. Because you recognize the intelligence of your readers and strive to deliver sound step-by-step action the reader won't hesitate to follow, do those writers who don't conduct sufficient research on a topic ever frustrate you?
A) Not really - I try to suspend dis-belief when I start reading a book. I don't like things that are obviously wrong - in my book or anyone else's - but in general it's fiction. I also think that there are levels of realism in books. With a guy like Michael Crichton the science feels so close to reality you’re left wondering where reality ends and the fantastic begins. I think his was a unique gift.
Q) No doubt, your spare time is decreasing daily. When you find some, what do you like to do to recharge your batteries?
A) In the summer I play golf in 117 degree heat. Its crazy but not as crazy as it sounds - no one else is out there, I can hit as many shots as I want and still lie about my score when I get to the clubhouse. In the winter I love to ski - the mountains of Colorado are unbelievable. There's a great place on top of Vail mountain called Eagle's Nest where you can see for 50 miles or so in every direction. You can't come away from a view like that and not be inspired. Also this time of year I take Sundays off, wear my Eagles gear and shout at the TV all day long - trust me it's not a pretty sight when they lose. But when they win… all is right with the world.
Q) You have described LITTLUNS as a live experience for the reader, as if they are watching a movie. What inspired this amazing book and the concept of creating a visual reading experience?
Q) The Viet Nam draft tore you away from a career at Walt Disney Productions, yet you have remained entrenched in your love of life through animation and family values, and we are so grateful for your perseverance. What first drew you (pun intended) to animation?
A.) I love your pun (DREW) it makes me feel all animated. Picture a bunch of “Littluns’” ears wiggling, and their furry feet jiggling all over the place with all of us shouting “Hootsy-bootsy!” thanking you for your kind words.
When I was seven years old I knew that I wanted to have an animated life (pun intended), although I can be very animated at times. The thought of creating something on a blank sheet of paper from scratch; creating a secondary world than can only come inspired from the imagination, is an art form like no other. Animation has no limitations – if you can think it, you can make it a reality in the hearts and minds of people who want to discover its limitless potentials, and more yet to be discovered.
Q) Your business ventures, patented inventions, entertainment industry obligations, and so much more command your full attention. Why have you now chosen to write and publish LITTLUNS?
A.) Those projects surely did consume all of my time until I walked away from all of that years ago to work full-time on “Littluns.” There was simply no other way but to put everything else on the back burner.
My epiphany experience was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was from this initial encounter and calling that began it all. The why of it all is in a need for truth to be discovered and where we are all headed from the resulting debilitating influences of evil. Mark Twain wrote: “A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its boots.” “Littluns” tells it the way it is in a non-stop a one-of-a-kind adventure and experience like no novel has ever offered before. You can read about us breaking all the rules at http://www.littlunsblog.com The full impact can only be experienced by going on the journey and adventure with “Littluns.”
A Need For An Alternative.
For some time now, many parents, and others, have voiced their concerns about popular books that send the wrong messages to impressionable, unsuspecting minds. Most of these people talk about their concerns, but few have done anything about it and fewer new options exist that have any appeal to both Christian and secular; young adult and grownup readers. Some popular titles with widespread interest have become more a peer issue than anything of substantive value. On the surface these works seem harmless fun, but they have significant dangers where, as one example, some people would have everyone believe that there is good and bad evil and supporting such popular books from the pits of misdirection and deception create a dangerous vulnerability. Evil becomes victorious when good people do nothing, and even they have fallen prey to reading these not to be trusted books. Hopefully most parents can explain the difference, and hopefully young and old alike will discover the alternative, "Littluns."
An Out of Control World In Chaos.
The negativity and chaos around the world has been building for some time now, and left unattended that bubble will eventually burst. At that point it may be too late. I hope that “Littluns” will contribute a little, or (Litt-L-un), to truth, peace, love, hope, joy, and the heart’s desire in people’s lives. The novel, "Littluns: And the Book of Darkness" triggers EVERY emotion. From life and death, to truth, peace, love, hope, joy and foreboding in drama and comic relief, and the heart's desire, to mystery, terror; to friends and family, to extreme good and evil, to our choice in this life for His Light, or that of darkness. "Littluns" is a fantasy that takes readers into reality, and truth. This may be the first animation-like novel for grown-ups that is also family friendly.
Publishing Beyond What Is To What Can Be.
Imagine an independent publisher offering its readers more than any traditional publisher could or would. We did and published with content and quality second to none. See for yourself at http://www.littlunsblog.com click on the TAB at the top of the page “Breaking All The Rules.” The result is “Littluns,” a family friendly animation-like novel for grown-ups of all ages. Not recommended for anyone under ten years of age because as one reviewer wrote, “…you might want to keep more lights on than just the reading lamp.”
I was forced to self-publish when traditional publishers would not print “Littluns” in color; would NOT print in the USA, and insisted on doing (antiquated) business as usual. Because of their overhead and business model, they would have needed to charge much more for such a book. I created a NOVEL that is affordable and a truly very different reading experience that readers have never experienced before, with quality second to none. Now it’s up to readers to decide for themselves if “Littluns” adds value to their lives.
Q) In your article "At What Cost is FREEDOM Worth Fighting For?" you voice concern people have become too complacent about the Internet and its use. Do you believe the vast pool of virtual information could be dipped into to chip away at our freedoms?
A.) Yes, it could and is in many areas. In fact, much of what is happening on the Internet is more a barrage of incomplete information generated for a self-serving, behind the scenes agenda. If that information is not scrutinized and people continue to be intentionally misinformed by fast talkers, the results will be no one’s fault but our own. In many areas our democracy is presented in the guise of a democracy that is really socialism and this has been building for some time, chipping away at our freedoms one item at a time. With a One World Order looming on the horizon, terrorists could become the catalyst for that to happen virtually overnight. The Internet frenzy will continue until the people put their foot down and say enough is enough. Instead of the safety valve it could be, most of what I’ve seen online are opinions; others are manipulations for self-serving purposes and agendas on a much larger intrusive scale. People continue to be fragmented and disorganized with some good ideas and thoughts going nowhere. The special interests are counting on that to continue. It has also become a useless waste of time that could be otherwise constructively used to implement solutions for the greater good. The bottom line is, don’t take anything for granted in the knowledge that trust needs to be earned.
Friday, October 15, 2010
DISCOMBOBULATED, to some, will seem to be Mr. Morgan's debut novel. Far from it.
He's been around the block more than once, honing his craft, developing a following for his work. His stories are raw, just like the streets of Chicago he grew up on.
As Steven's work grows, so will his readership. Fortunately, he won't. The man's 6'5" now.
His love of family – his daughters – includes his favorite book, the Bible.
But don't expect his faith to tone down the edge he implants in every story he writes. That's not real life. And DISCOMBOBULATED doles out the tribulations of life through the main character Ciara Blackwell. Ciara's tale is one of drama, and how sometimes, there is nothing else to look forward to. Still, she asks for nor accepts pity and decides to carve out a life for herself when others turn their backs on her.
Mr. Morgan isn't an author to watch. He's a rolling steam engine you need to jump onboard.
Q) What inspired you to write DISCOMBOBULATED? And where did Ciara's character come from?
A) What inspired me to write DISCOMBOBULATED was a couple arguing in the parking lot of a grocery store, and the story just took off in my head from there. Ciara was developed from just a combination on women that I know or know of.
Q) As a child, what books caught your attention and fueled your own desire to write?
Q) Family is a vital element in all you do. In fact, on occasion you quote family members who have played important roles in your life. Between work and writing, time isn’t a friend. How do you manage to pass your values on to your children?
A) No sleep. I mean, it is something that I can’t get around home. I must spend time with my children and I must write. I usually write late at night because I allow my story to develop in my head and I just release my story at night when the house is quiet, lol. It isn’t easy balancing family and a career, but if you want both of them to work, you will find a way to make it happen.
Q) What's in the works? Can you share what's next from Steven Morgan?
A) Well, I’m currently working on a short story for an anthology and finishing up my next novel (Untitled) , which I hope to release in late spring of 2011. Also, I’m putting the finishing touches to my movie script (Tax Check) a comedy, which I’ll start to film in fall of 2011. I’m always looking for or receiving new projects to venture into. I love writing and I’m working to perfect my craft.
Q) Your road hasn't been easy. At one time, you took your early novels to the streets, selling them hand to hand. What advice do you have for those just getting started?
A) It’s hard work, and don’t expect anyone to put in the work you will. If you’re passionate and serious about becoming the best you can be, the blood, sweat and tears is worth it. Set goals and don’t let anything or anyone stop you.
But Mr. Betcher didn't enter into the risks lightly or foolhardily. With a cum laude English degree and Juris Doctorate, Mr. Betcher is well versed and skilled enough to intelligently make his mark in this world previously controlled by agents and publishers.
His latest novel THE 19th ELEMENT recently went into international distribution.
Reviewers consistently praise his writing, including comparisons to Robert Parker's wit, and Vince Flynn's action.
Mr. Betcher's first book, THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF VOLLEYBALL COACHING, is a far cry from the action packed adventure series featuring charismatic hero James "Beck" Becker, the third installment of which is expected to be released later this year.
Follow Mr. Betcher at http://www.johnbetcher.com/
Q) Why? Why dive headlong into the turbulent waters of self-publication in both formats of ebooks and hard copies? I should mention here, your novels actually have waiting lists in libraries.
A) First of all, I want to say thanks for inviting me to this interview, Dave. I really appreciate it.
To answer your question -- all publication waters are turbulent these days. I chose the route to publication where I held the most control of the boat.
But enough water analogies . . .
As you mentioned, I published a small book on volleyball coaching strategies in May, 2009. I knew the only way I could get that book published was to self-publish it. Oddly enough, most volleyball coaches don't read much about volleyball. Hmm? (One fellow volleyball author told me his book was a "million seller" -- that is, he had a million in his cellar. Lol.) In any case, my VB book had a minuscule audience from the word go, and I knew it. No traditional publisher would have been interested.
So when it came to publishing my suspense/thriller novels this spring and summer, I already had a good chunk of self-publishing experience from the first book under my belt. I knew how to design and layout a book, list it on Amazon and convert it into Kindle format. Those things remained the same from 2009 to 2010. But it was the improvement in Print On Demand (POD) quality and pricing that really made self-publishing an easy decision for me with my current books. Now instead of warehousing and shipping books all over the place, I can accomplish printing and delivery seamlessly through my POD printer, CreateSpace. I never lay eyes on most books I sell.
There have been other changes in the publishing world since 2009 as well. The industry now generates more self-published titles each year than traditionally-published ones. Amazon is selling more eBooks on Kindle than they are of the paper variety. And the public has rushed to adopt eBook readers in general -- Kindle, Nook, eReader and others.
At the same time, traditional publishers are changing how they do business. It's no longer possible for an author to approach a mainstream publisher directly. You have to go through a literary agent.
Agents aren't used to being the gatekeepers of the industry and are unprepared to deal with the hundreds of Query Letters they received via email each day. Who wouldn't be? As a result, it has become more difficult to obtain a literary agent to represent your work. And if you are fortunate enough to snag one, they face a contracting traditional publishing business to whom your book can be sold.
From my perspective, traditional publishing is looking like a less and less attractive avenue. Even if you do get your book published via the traditional route, publishers are now requiring new authors to do almost all of their own marketing and promotion . . . and on the author's own dime, as well.
When it came time for me to make my publishing decision, I knew I could write a book. And I could publish a book. And I was going to have to market the book anyway . . . why not retain creative and strategic control and higher royalties?
Returning to our water analogy -- that, in short, is how I came to take the plunge into the expanding ocean of self-publishing.
A) Just before I penned the volleyball book, Coaching Volleyball Magazine -- a national volleyball coaching publication -- had featured my picture and a recent volleyball article on their cover. It was the April/May, 2009 issue. I like to joke that the USA Olympic Gold-Medal-Winning Men's Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon had to wait until June to get his picture on the same magazine's cover. That statement is true. But it certainly has nothing to do with my story being more important than his. It's just a fun tidbit to tell.
For about eight years before publication of that volleyball article, I had been involved with youth volleyball in my home town. Writing volleyball articles for Coaching Volleyball -- there were three articles in all -- was a natural offshoot of the experiences I was seeing play out before me in the volleyball coaching world. I coached my last year in 2008 - 2009. That spring, my youngest daughter graduated high school.
With her advancement beyond youth sports . . . and a concurrent decrease in my involvement therein . . . I had spare time on my hands.
One night my wife, who loves to read mysteries and thrillers, was lamenting that she was running out of good books to read. She suggested to me that I spend some of my new-found leisure on trying to fix that situation.
I had a few ideas. I was intrigued by a new challenge and all the learning that would accompany it. So I dove in. (Sorry about the water again.) I found I enjoyed both the writing and the learning, and haven't looked back since.
Q) No doubt you've learned, and probably are still learning marketing strategies. Did the pitfalls of marketing come as a surprise, or had you conducted sufficient research early on in order to avoid many of the mistakes novice self-pubbed authors seem to make?
A) Your question poses a false dichotomy. (eg. Did you go to Duluth or by bus?) The pitfalls and challenges of marketing were known to me. And you are correct that I had to do a lot of learning as well. But that doesn't mean I have avoided the mistakes of a novice self-pubber. By and large, I am pleased with my marketing strategy and execution to date. But it is very early in a very long race. There are also a few things I probably wouldn't do again if I had them to do over.
I wouldn't enter so many contests. That gets pretty expensive. And my research has shown that winning recognition in most of those competitions does little for actual book sales. Sure, it makes you feel good. But I wouldn't put my marketing money there again.
And I would certainly develop my web presence and social networking more completely before I released my book. I'm just now getting to where I want to be on Twitter, with 2,000 followers. And my blog at Self-Publishing Central is still in its early stages. My first version of an author website was also a DIY job. I didn't get that fixed until June. I'm satisfied with it right now -- at least at my current scale of operations. I may upgrade again if things really take off.
So I was prepared. And I learned. And I still made mistakes. And I continue learning. If anyone claims to be an expert in the book publishing/marketing biz right now, they're being optimistic about their clairvoyance. The industry is still in flux. Only time will tell which strategies will truly work. Right now, I advise authors to employ as many marketing approaches as possible -- and spending as little money on them as you can manage.
Q) What books or stories first caught your attention and gave you pause to believe you would like to write?
A) I am a huge fan of the late Robert B. Parker . . . particularly his Spenser Detective Series. If anyone is responsible for influencing my writing style, and for giving me hope that I might be able to write fiction, it would be Mr. Parker. His taut prose, enjoyable characters, keen wit, and gift for keeping the plot moving along have inspired me more than I can say.
Q) For those who think they would like to write a book, what advice can you offer?
A) If you would like to write a book . . . give it a try. Expect it to take a very long time.
Sit down at a comfortable location with your computer and begin wherever seems best. Outlining? Plotting? Or just start the story. Then keep writing until you have reached an end. Write whether you feel inspired or not -- you can always fix it later.
When your first draft is done, know that you are just beginning to write that book. Keep working with it until every part of it is the best it can be. No one writes a good book -- they re-write one.
Don't worry about how to publish your book until you've got a finished book in hand. You'll have enough on your plate with just writing until that first book is done.
And once the book is done . . . hey, you've written a book. And don't let anybody take that away from you. If others criticize, you can always ask to see their books. Or you can do as I do and simply say, "I keep trying to get better all the time."
Friday, October 8, 2010
Joan De La Haye is the daughter of diplomats, educated partially in Vienna, fluent in four languages, qualified in hypnotherapy, holder of a degree in Art and Creative design, a devout lover of animals and ecology, co-owner of Rebel ePublishers who tackles Marketing and Operations, this golden-haired woman is also an outstanding, veteran author of… horror. And not your everyday chew-your-fingernails-to-the-elbow horror.
Joan, amongst other works, wrote the incomparable SHADOWS, an intense foray into insanity that leaves the reader wondering, questioning their own grip on reality. If you've ever wondered 'is it me, or is the world crazy?' – SHADOWS will leave you with a most disturbing answer.
Her next novel REQUIEM IN E SHARP (due out early 2011), a battle between a haunted cop and killer in Pretoria, South Africa, promises its own serving of madness and mayhem.
Q) Your mother and grandmother played important roles in your life. I really can't imagine your bedtime stories were tales of the occult and paranormal. What books did catch your attention as a child, and what sparked your interest to immerse yourself in the horror genre?
A) My Grandmother used to read the tales of King Arthur and his knights to me at bedtime and then as I got older I discovered Alexander Dumas and The Three Musketeers. My Father was a huge Dennis Wheatly fan, so I grew up with his books as an introduction to horror, but I must admit I never thought of the Wheatly books as being Horror novels. It was only in my twenties that I discovered Stephen King's Misery and was well and truly hooked on horror. I never looked back.
Q) Why start your own publishing company now when the literary world hasn't settled yet from the explosion of ebooks? Some may view this as risky, but I suspect you and your partners didn't enter into this lightly. I have to add; the quality of books and authors Rebel handles is most impressive.
When Caroline and I had both finished writing our books, we took a look around at the publishing industry and the problems that other publishers were having and decided to take our literary future into our own hands. We were also lucky enough to have Jayne Southern, a wonderful editor, join us on our venture. We started with ebooks and learnt a lot about publishing, we continue to learn something about this complicated industry every day. After a year of cutting our teeth on ebooks we decided to broaden our horizons and branched out into Print on Demand which really opened things up for us. Our books are now available all over the world in both ebook and paperback format. The decision to start our own Publishing company was a risky one, but it was definitely worth it.
Q) A question to satisfy my own curiosity. No doubt, once friends learned you turned to publishing, you had to learn the word 'no.' How did it feel to have to break the news their work wasn't up to Rebel's high standards?
A) Luckily I haven't really had to worry about it. My friends are all incredibly talented and most have contracts with big publishers, so in order for them to send me their manuscripts I'm the one who has to beg and plead. I also think they're waiting to see how Rebel does in the future.
Q) Even though you are besieged with work, you take time to readily communicate with fans you endearingly call "Freaky Darlings." That's an indicator of someone who truly enjoys people. How do you recharge your energy when you need a break?
A) I've never really thought of myself as a workaholic and if you love what you're doing it doesn't matter how busy you are, it doesn't seem like work. I love hearing from fans and aspiring Authors. It always makes me feel very special when someone goes out of their way to tell me how much they loved my book. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. But I will admit that in the middle of the day I sneak away from my laptop and veg out in front of the TV with my lunch to watch Supernatural or Castle and then it's back to work.
Q) How do you juggle publishing and writing without dulling the edge of either one?
A) I try and divide my day up. In the morning I focus on publishing and organising publicity for my Authors. Once I've handled all the emails and queries and whatever else has cropped up I then try and focus on my writing. After I've worked on a chapter or two I go back to publishing and deal with whatever has cropped up while I was working on the book. It seems to be working.
Q) For those who have a story to tell, but have yet to write it, what advice can you offer?
A) Just do it. Get writing! A book doesn't write itself, you have to open up that blank word document and write that first sentence and that first paragraph and keep at it until you have that first finished draft. I would also suggest going on a writing course. The people you meet and the things you learn on a good writing course is invaluable. Also join a writing group, whether it's in person or on-line. You're going to need the support of other writers, they're the only ones who truly understand what you're going through when you're having a problem with a plot twist or a character that has cropped up out of nowhere. And read Stephen King's On Writing. It's a book I read over and over again.