The French government is leading the world in nabbing orphans. No, not parentless children, but literary works that are out of print and whose authors can’t be traced.  There are between half and three quarters of a million out of print books in France. About a fifth of these are orphans. A law passed at the end of February means that the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, BnF, can now scan these and make them available for free, whereas other distributors have to charge for them. It’s a five year operation that will be funded by the State, even though times are hard.

But what has shocked people is that as well as orphans, all books that were published in France and out of print before 2001 are to  be subject to the same treatment, unless the author, publisher or other rights holder opts out of having the book sucked into the BnF database. And this applies to books by foreign authors too.

This is a huge rights transfer issue. Even the pro-pirating French Pirate Party  is horrified by it! And France is already working on how to persuade Europe to allow this set-up to take precedence over the forthcoming European proposal on dealing with orphan works.

It seems heavy handed in the extreme. It will be interesting to see how things work out.

Today I welcome author J. A. Beard to my blog as part of his virtual book tour to promote his new work, a young adult urban fantasy The Emerald City. What happens when a lonely, angry orphaned Kansas teenager arrives at a sinister Seattle boarding school and finds she has to battle against not just the bullies, but supernatural forces as well?

J.A. Beard likes to describe himself as a restless soul married to an equally restless soul. His two children are too young yet to discuss whether or not they are restless souls, but he’s betting on it. He likes to call himself the Pie Master, yet is too cowardly to prove his skills in an actual baking competition. So, really, he’s merely a Potential Pie Master!

While writing is one of his great passions, science is another, and when he’s not writing or worrying about baking, he’s working on the completion of his PhD in microbiology.

I was intrigued by this writer’s description of himself as ‘a restless soul’, since I’m one of those myself. (France is the third country I’ve lived in.) I wanted to know more … and here’s the response. Over to J. A. Beard.

 

My Restless Soul

My family is scattered across my home country of the United States. The age of the internet, along with international travel, has allowed me to make friends around the world. When your friends and family are all over, will any particular place feel like home? For me the answer is no.

I’m blessed, of course, with an intelligent, lovely wife and my children by my side. Already, though, even in my children’s short life, we’ve moved half-way across the country. Many of the moves that have defined my life thus far have been the result of practical considerations: employment, work, and military service. Despite that, I find after a few years in a place, even if I like it, I want to move. I could settle anywhere, I suppose, without too much complaint, but there’s always something clawing at my soul and pushing me toward somewhere else. Both the commonality of humanity in different places, allowing me potential comfort anywhere, and the differences, providing for new experiences, help keep this desire to explore the world lit inside of me.

I feel the same way about my writing. Any person with even a thimble-full of marketing or publishing experience knows the value of targeting a niche if an author is interested in commercial success. Targeting a niche with a series is even better. Though I write for creative reasons and not commercial reasons, it’s hard not to worry about money on some level. The more one makes from writing after all, the more time they can devote to it. One does have to pay the rent and buy food for the kids in the end, after all

James Patterson successfully built a personal publishing empire because he delivers a known quantity to readers seeking out that known quantity. J.K. Rowling would not be a wealthy woman today if instead of seven Harry Potter books she delivered seven books in completely different genres. Those two are mega-stars of the fiction world, but there are many other authors, both super-stars and more low-key selling authors, who have found success by not wandering too much.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Most writers produce works in genres they enjoy. I don’t know a huge amount about Patterson’s motivations, but Rowling has spoken at length about how Potter was a labor of love. Indeed, when her first book came out, it was swimming very much against the publishing tide in terms of both content and length for its primary target audience. There was no calculated business plan on her part to turn Potter into some sort of commercial juggernaut. I doubt anyone could have foreseen that one of the most successful authors of our time would be the creator of a story about a British boy wizard. She just wrote a series she loved and, fortunately, it connected with the readers. On the other end of the spectrum, Jonathan Franzen certainly wasn’t going out of his way to make The Corrections something that would scream “best-seller” in a market dominated by commercial mainstream titles. He wrote what he wanted to write. Sure, Oprah helped, but still, he stayed true to himself.

I write because I love it. I write because I must. So many different stories flow through my head. Like my wanderlust, I have a wandering soul when it comes to genre. I’ve always read and enjoyed many different types of stories. My release schedule for this year includes YA urban fantasy, fantasy, and Regency paranormal romance—works that suggest at least some connection in regards to magical elements. Though I’m also researching a non-magical historical fiction thriller and have plans for a totally non-supernatural contemporary cozy mystery series. There are also a few hard YA science fiction books I have in the back of my mind. Is there a true thread that connects adult, young adult, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction?

I do tend to think in series, if only because I doubt most people want to sit down and read a 500,000 word book, but the more I write, the more I find I can’t help myself. I want to continue to explore different genres, just as I want to explore different places to live.

Wanderlust, how both fortunate and unfortunate it can be!

 

J. A. Beard blogs at riftwatcher.blogspot.com and is on Twitter as @jabeard_rf. You can buy The Emerald City in these places:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Emerald-City-ebook/dp/B00761LCTY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330061232&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-emerald-city-ja-beard/1108613536?ean=2940014100717&itm=1&usri=the+emerald+city+beard

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/130023

If you’d like to win a copy of this modern re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz, then please leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen at random on 17th March.

 

 

A lot of people are writing about the recent move by PayPal to censor books that appear on Smashwords. Someone in their ranks doesn’t like people buying books from Smashwords that feature rape, incest and bestiality. Frankly I’m not sure that many readers are after these books anyway, but that’s not the point. PayPal doesn’t like them and so has told Smashwords to remove all books with this type of content. Smashwords in turn has had to contact all involved authors, agents etc and tell them to remove their books by Feb 27th.

However, plenty of this sorts of books are available on Amazon. Here’s just one example. Because Amazon doesn’t rely on PayPal, it can sell whatever it likes. Is anyone out there going to get all uppity with Amazon? I doubt it. (And incidentally, this particular book is free on Amazon at the moment. Smashwords also has many free erotic ebooks that don’t enter into PayPal’s realm in any case, but it seems they all have to go too.)

This move by PayPal is absolutely appalling. What makes this company a moral guardian? Who are they to dictate to others what they can and can’t read or write? What’s going to come next? An author who writes Christian fiction has asked what will happen if another PayPal employee decides it’s wrong to include religion in books? What if someone else has a phobia about spiders and bans books about them? It’s a dangerous slippery slope. PayPal is completely unjustified in making this censorship call. It’s using bully boy power to impose its own values on other people.

Shame on you PayPal.

Paranormal romance is fast emerging as a very popular ebook genre. Some people consider it a subgenre of fantasy and others of romance. However, I think it deserves its own separate niche since it blends elements of not just these two previously distinct genres of fantasy and romance but also often science fiction and even horror. It grew up out of gothic fiction. Probably the most common feature is a romance between humans and ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters or other fantastic creatures. Also, psychic powers often come into play.

So you couldn’t wish for a better introduction to this exciting genre than a book by Hope Welsh. I have just read her book Linked, and it’s a brilliant read. It’s about Lana, a feisty young woman with psychic powers and a sad secret, and shapeshifter Cole, a private detective with special powers. There’s a third crucial character, The Evil One, who poses a terrifying threat and has a connection with Lana. The book is very well written. The hero and heroine are persuasive and likeable, and their relationship is neither predictable nor plastic, as can be the case with the romantic thread of a story sometimes. There are interesting twists and turns in the plot. I ended up reading the book in one go, leaving my youngest son dissolving in the bath (it’s OK, he’s 10 and he was quite happy to have an hour-long bath!) and the bedtime hot chocolate unmade. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book as much as I did. And if you do, then please put up a review in all the usual places. Authors need reviews!

Hope kindly agreed to do an interview for me and so I’ll hand over to her now.

1. What inspired you to write Linked?

Linked was written for a contest, but I liked it so well, I decided to publish it instead. It was offered on by the first publisher that read it, but I decided to self-publish on Amazon instead.

2. Which character from the book are you most like – Lana, Cole or The Evil One?

Hmm… I’d have to say I’m most like Laura, Lana’s mother. Certainly not The Evil One! Unlike Lana, I’d love paranormal abilities.

3. Linked has a great cover. Did you design it yourself?

I knew what I wanted – to show the evil and time running out on the lovers – but my daughter did the design. She did an awesome job, didn’t she?

4. Would you like to be a shapeshifter? What animal would you turn into?

Oh, definitely a panther, I think. Sleek and beautiful. Although, I’m rather partial to tigers…

5. Is there a story behind the book? Why did it demand to be written?

It was a dream. Most of my stories start that way. My daughter worked on it with me, though. SHE did all The Evil One. It was written very fast – less than a month.  I was obsessed and wrote non-stop for days and days.

6. Please tell us a little about your other books, The Storm Within, Forbidden and Once Bitten.

The Storm Within is a romantic suspense. The heroine is running from a boyfriend that’s framed her for murder. I loved writing it – another of those that kind of just took off with a spark of an idea.

Forbidden & Once Bitten are a little more risqué. They are connecting stories with vampires, but not your traditional vampires.  One was a born vampire, and the other was created. I had a blast writing them, though. I can’t wait to get my rights to them back so I can put them up at a more reasonable price – and put up the third story in the series.

7. You’ve created a book review website http://books2lovereviews.blogspot.com. Can you tell us a bit about that please?

As an author, it’s very important to get reviews. As I’ve struggled for my own reviews, I decided to offer a site with honest reviews of books I’ve enjoyed.

8. Does reviewing books help your writing, do you think?

I don’t think reviewing helps my writing – but reading does. I read in many different genres. A good writer has got to be a voracious reader in my opinion. I’m lucky that I’m a very fast reader. I can easily read a book in two hours.

9. Are book reviews important to authors?

Book reviews are imperative for authors. It’s how we know that our work is enjoyed – and how we let others know about our books. They are also helpful in that we can learn; sometimes we just don’t hit the mark and we learn how to improve with future books.

10. Do you have any strange or quirky writing habits?

When I’m on a roll – I write sometimes up to 24 hours non-stop.  I’ve been known not to eat or sleep when I’m really in a story. I also tend to let my characters tell me the story. I rarely have an end in mind when I start. I have never plotted a book – I just write and see where it goes.

11. When did you first realise you wanted to be an author, indie or otherwise?

When I was eight. I wrote a play for school at age eight, and have been hooked ever since. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write.

12. What one snippet of advice would you give to aspiring self-published authors?

Read before you write.  Learn to promote your work and to take constructive criticism – and for goodness sake, please learn to format and edit! I’d also suggest a writer join either a critique group or a writers’ group. Beta Readers are very important as well.

13. OK, enough of the serious stuff. What are your three favourite foods?

Chocolate, Butter Pecan Ice Cream–and steak.  Can I add Diet Coke?  Cannot survive without Diet Coke.

14. And finally, what would you not be seen dead wearing?

Leather – or a bikini, LOL.  My character in Once Bitten is wearing a leather number I affectionately call her “Sluts R Us” outfit in the book.  It’s actually similar to an outfit a friend bought my daughter when she was 18. I was less than enthused – though I must admit she made it look good.

Buy Linked here.

 

Kyle Bell

Operation Bald Eagle is an exciting spy thriller from young author Kyle Bell. It follows the actions of CIA agent Ethan Clark and his assistant Martin Frost as they fight to prevent a cyber-attack on the United States. It’s gritty, fast-moving, worryingly plausible and brilliantly written. Well worth a read.

Kyle Bell is a very interesting guy so this has turned into quite a long interview, but I know you’ll find it fascinating. So here we go.

What inspired you to write Operation Bald Eagle?

I have always been a big fan of the spy genre – everything from James Bond movies to video games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid. More recently I discovered Ian Fleming’s writings out of curiosity for how the movie character differed from the big screen renditions. I’ve drawn inspiration from all of these in order to write Operation Bald Eagle.

 

Which character from the book are you most like – Clark, Frost, Goldberg or Falcon?

I would like to think that I’m closer to Ethan Clark and Martin Frost than the villains! Ethan is level-headed and reasonable. Readers will find his coolness appealing, as well as the fact that he comes across as human. Frost is young and idealistic. He’s less cautious and prone to mistakes. Really, I’m a blend of both characters, although I could never do their job in a million years.

As for the villains, they’re both decidedly evil in their own way. Goldberg’s infatuation with himself would rival that of Narcissus. His delusions of grandeur and power lead him down a dark path. Falcon is a complete sociopath. I don’t identify with either of them, but they’re fun villains to have in the book

 

You describe Operation Bald Eagle as going ‘back to the roots of the spy genre’. What are those roots?

Classic spy films and novels are exciting without being completely ridiculous in plot. They were focused on the conflict between protagonist and villain rather than relying on special effects to thrill the audience. So aside from sticking to the basics, Operation Bald Eagle builds a strong dynamic between Ethan and both of the villains.

 

Operation Bald Eagle has a great cover. Did you design it yourself?

The credit for the cover goes to Angel Cortes. He is a fantastic graphic designer having done most of the covers for my books. His e-mail is [email protected] for those that might need a cover of their own. Highly recommended!

 

You created and own a video gaming website http://gamefreaks365.com. Is it easy to fit your writing around being an entrepreneur?

Several of my books have been compilations of reviews taken from the Game Freaks 365 website, so it is actually quite easy to fit the two together. Operation Bald Eagle is my first full-length work of fiction. It started as part of National Novel Writing Month in November 2011, but I quickly found that it would be exceedingly difficult to reach 50,000 words – especially since I started five days late. Instead it was finished in two months, which is still not bad. I wanted it to be done when it was done rather than stick to an artificial timeline. Surprisingly, I still found enough time to manage Game Freaks 365 at the height of the holiday period – traditionally the busiest in the industry.

 

What’s your current favourite video game?

This is a difficult question. I really don’t have a single favorite game of all time, but in the past year I would say that the game that I enjoyed the most was Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Video games have become a new medium to tell stories. Deus Ex is one of the best to do it so far. The game makes you think about difficult moral dilemmas – bioethics in an age of increased human augmentation, the militarization of police forces that confront civilians, and the increased power of mega-corporations that drown out the masses.

 

Another book you’ve written is The James Bond Movie Guide so I’m guessing you’re a 007 fan. (Me too!) Which is your favourite Bond movie and why?

The first encounter that I had with James Bond was GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64. I’m twenty-three now, but back then I was only about ten. I was obsessed with that game, playing it constantly with friends. My dad rented the movie from Hollywood Video and I fell in love with it immediately. Looking back on it now, it probably wasn’t the best Bond movie (although it would rank high up there). However, it is historically noteworthy since it’s the first Bond movie after the end of the Cold War. It was questionable at the time whether Bond was relevant anymore. Pierce Brosnan proved that he was by introducing the character to a new generation of fans.

 

You describe Ethan Clark as an anti-Bond hero. Is that a good or bad thing?

James Bond is an amazing character with more complexity than he’s often given credit for, especially the literary version. However, for the longest time – especially in the movies – he comes across as a playboy disinterested in world affairs, fumbling around looking for his next lover. This is not how Ethan Clark operates. He’s a professional out to do his job, a no-nonsense type. I don’t view it as either good or bad. Ethan Clark is a distinct character.

 

Deep down, would you like to be a Bond baddie?

Of course! Your own private island, lavish meals, beautiful people all around – who wouldn’t want that? Being the cause of a nuclear disaster is another story, though.

 

Which authors or books are you reading at the moment?

At the moment I’m reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. The movie is coming out this summer – I want to enjoy the book first. I recently read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. I try to mix my book list between novels and non-fiction.

 

You write a political blog at www.kylebell.com, you’re a political science graduate and you’ve written a book about US immigration policy, The Sanctuary Movement. Are we going to see you in government one day?

Unlikely, but never say never. The United States has lost a lot of the respect that we once had in the world due to a number of foreign policy blunders and a lack of moral leadership. I grew up in the 1990s during a time of peace and prosperity only to see that unravel in the past decade. I saw politics as a route to better the world. The past several years of watching the discord in Washington has led me to reconsider how I could most make a difference. There are too many inauthentic politicians beholden to a small group of wealthy interests.

 

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author, indie or otherwise?

If you told me ten years ago that I would release a book in the future – let alone multiple books – I probably would not have believed you. Amusingly, it all dates back to before I could even write a sentence on paper. When I was four or five years old I would dictate stories to my Aunt Mary. Unfortunately none of them are around anymore, but it was the beginning of my interest in writing.

 

Tell us briefly about Ozzy.

Ozzy started off as a project for college. I was in an English class where we used a number of different techniques to tell stories. One of them was narrative collage where we juxtaposed text with images. The fonts, the alignment of the sentences, and the photographs all have a purpose.

Sadly, I lost a number of family members in recent years. Grandma Rose and Grandpa Wayne passed away within a couple years of each other on my father’s side of the family. Ozzy was written in dedication to both of them. It’s an emotional story that was quite difficult to write.

The two main characters are a black Persian cat by the name of Ozzy and his owner (who he refers to simply as “Master”), an old man trying to overcome the death of his beloved wife. The story is told through the perspective of the cat and the old man. It’s a short and sweet read that I hope more people will get a chance to encounter.

 

You wrote a book about the 2008 election in the USA: An Election to Remember: Obama, Clinton and the Never Ending Primary of 2008. Will there be one on this year’s elections?

The Republican primary has seen a number of interesting twists and turns. Nearly all of the candidates have at one point led in national polling. There’s no telling where things might end up. Even with all of the tantalizing nuggets from the campaign trail – the meteoric rise and fall of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann’s craziness, and Herman Cain’s sexual harassment problems, just to name a few – I still don’t plan on writing a book at this point.

The 2008 election was historic in a number of ways. The two most obvious ones: a woman or an African-American man would end up as the Democratic Party’s nominee. President Obama went on to get elected in a country that only roughly fifty years prior was still permitting segregation. It was also the first presidential election since 1952 that neither party had an incumbent president or vice president on the ballot. In other words, it was wide open without an heir apparent. 2008 was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

 

What one snippet of advice would you give to aspiring self-published authors?

Pursue your dreams and don’t give up. Undoubtedly it will be frustrating at times, but the end product is what makes it all worth the effort.

 

OK, enough of the serious stuff. What are your three favourite foods?

Chinese, cheesecake, and pizza

 

And finally, what would you not be seen dead wearing?

Golf pants 🙂

 

I’m taking part in the Assisting Authors Online virtual book tour for the inspiring, self-help book Fulfill Your Threats by Jonathan Wutawunashe.

Jonathan Wutawunashe is a hugely successful musician, songwriter, and record producer and so is well qualified to write a book about fulfilling your potential and achieving more. However, he uses his own experiences in a very low-key way and there’s no brashness or hype in this common sense book. He gives gentle yet persuasive advice throughout and it is well sitting up and taking notice of it.

The formula is easy to follow. There is discussion of a particular idea or point of view, often illustrated by a story of an incident from his own life or that of someone he knows, and then comes a punchy summary in bold type of what we should learn from this lesson.

There are 14 chapters in the book. In the first the author presents his thesis which is that “success is the outcome of a simple process based on deciding, doing and learning”. It sounds so simple. But is it? Wutawunashe’s view is that failure stems from a lack of common sense. He sets out to threaten us in this book, to “cajole, annoy and shock” us into getting off our butts and acting and achieving. The boxing gloves on the cover are a good reflection of this attitude. While I don’t think the book is as aggressive as this might suggest, it is undeniably forceful.

Chapter 2 looks at how the first step is always the hardest. Sometimes it’s easier to turn and run from a problem or a challenge, but that’s what we have to resist. Instead we should seize the opportunity and tackle the challenge to test our skills. We all have courage. We should use it. We have to adjust our perspective to see something as normal and achievable, not impossible. We must take that first step.

Risk is considered in chapter 3. The author looks at real risks and uses these to give us perspective on the perceived risks we conjure up for ourselves. Like farmers, we need to sow in order to reap. Our fear is usually inappropriate and we need to recognise it as such, overcome it and take the plunge.

In chapter 4 we are told to stop talking and start doing, but the following chapter warns us to make sure we know what we’re going to do before we get too over-confidently enthusiastic. Zeal without knowledge is dangerous. We need to have the necessary information at our fingertips before making important decisions. Personal experience counts for a lot here too.

The sixth chapter, Mortgage your Reputation, deals with keeping going, even when times are tough. Sincere effort and development are rarely noticed or praised, but the odd setback has everyone looking and commenting. We have to learn to ignore it and soldier on. If we believe in ourselves and what we’re doing, then that will keep us on track. Grow a thick skin and learn not to be embarrassed over mistakes. Money management is touched on too. Look at the big picture, we’re advised. We might have to give up a few luxuries in order to invest all our energy and money into what is important to us. We can always downscale in certain areas and that will help us in the long term.

Can You Manage opens with the crucial reminder that when we pay money, we must pay attention. Auto-pilot doesn’t work when we’re building an enterprise. We have to focus and concentrate all the time, and be prepared to organise and interfere in every detail. As well as organising how the business is run, it’s important to organise our time. The next chapter suggests how to structure a successful day. Whilst I don’t entirely agree that all goals should be acheived within the first three hours of daily working, I can appreciate the point that is being made – don’t put things off and tackle the big issues when you’re at your best. Spending time purposefully gives us the impetus and energy to keep working at that tempo all day.

Chapter 9, It’s a Goal, is about building up a good working team. This isn’t relevant to everyone of course, and I imagine a lot of sole traders and lone entrepreneurs will read this book, but there is sound advice there. Hire people for their skills and for no other reason.

Money comes back into play in the next chapter with the theme that money matters, whatever we are trying to do. Be careful with it and don’t waste it. Every penny counts. Don’t leave it lying around too conveniently in case it tempts you to spend more than you should. Bank it and budget carefully.

Chapter 11, Less is More, builds on this book’s premise that we, its readers, are not satisfied with what we’ve accomplished in our lives so far. We want to do more. But we must be patient and do the groundwork first. It may not seem that we’re doing much, but we’ll get the better results in the long run. It’s better to “plod steadily” on than rush over the cliff edge.

The next section of the books teaches us how to overcome a fear of falling or failing. The more we start to achieve, the more we can lose, but that shouldn’t stop us. Fear of failure is often “an indication of a willingness to fail”. Trade can be tricky, we should soldier on and confront things, accept new challenges. Test yourself and feel liberated by it.

Be Known for Something exhorts us to recognise and define what we can give and who we are. This will help us build our brand and our business or success. Look for the niche that only we can fill and find something that only we can say to the world. Be different and stand out.

The final chapter is about not feeling along and not seeing it as weakness to ask for help and advice from our peers. We’re never really alone. Other people are always contributing to what we do, however indirectly. We need our customers too and should treat them honestly and with respect, and welcome competitors since they will spur us on to better things.

The epilogue talks of how we all want to leave graffiti – our mark – behind us and the author hopes this book will show us how. He says the principles hold true whether we’re a grocer or a Sunday school teacher. If he can make us move another inch towards achieving a goal then he feels he has fulfilled his threat. It’s up to us now to fulfil ours.

 

Fulfill Your Threats is well worth a read if you feel that you’re not achieving quite as much as you should be, whether in your professtional or personal life. You can buy it here.

Video Review Link

Jonathan’s website is here

Jonathan’s blog

Jonathan’s Facebook page


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m thrilled to host a guest post from talented fantasy author Gary F Vanucci. I’ve been lucky to work with Gary on his latest project, Wothlondia Rising, a series of entertaining and remarkably powerful short stories. (I’ve written about them here.)

Stephanie asked me to write a blog for her and I was at a loss as to what I could say that her readers might find interesting. I figured at first, I’d briefly touch on my experience as a writer up until now. Let me preface the post by saying that I have met some very interesting and unique people through social media that I would never have met otherwise and am very thankful for it.

I met my artist and fellow fantasy author, William Kenney and many more amazingly talented people along the way. Stephanie Dagg was another. Where else but the social media hubs would I be able to meet someone in another country with the talents, similar interests and willingness to meet my demands other than on social media?

I have been writing on and off all of my life. Whether it be stories for games, blog posts, term papers or other writing projects (like a sci-fi series I started and never finished in 1999), I have been perfecting my craft for decades. I have thousands of unpublished pieces of writing under my belt. Alas, this is a tough business in which to attempt to make a living! There are so many other authors which you are in competition with that it really makes your head spin. And some are very good! Those are truly special when you can sift through and find those that write well and care about what they are giving to the consumer. I have decided to pursue my craft regardless of the outcome and let the people decide if my work is worth the purchase.

I thought that my writing was fair or possibly even above average from both the story-telling and grammar perspectives. And I was proud of my works and still am, especially seeing what editors can do for you! So, when I handed the stories to Steph, she not only repaired my grammatical errors, but she was able to take my work to the next level! I am truly pleased with the effort she turned in and with the amount of care that she took to make sure everything was in its proper place. She literally made me sound as if I knew how to express my thoughts with clarity and unbridled enthusiasm! Truly amazing!

I would highly recommend using the talents of this woman who clearly A) understands the business, B) cares about the work she turns out and C) understands the business and financial strains of the independent artist in order to work with them. A more polished editor will not be easy to find!

Steph, thanks for letting me ramble on here and for allowing me the venue in which to share my product with readers and fellow writers!

See you all in Wothlondia… I hope! Cheers!
Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future.

 

I’m very excited to hand my blog over today to an extremely talented author whose books I know you will enjoy reading.

 

Stephanie asked me to submit a guest post to her site and so here it goes. I’m R. Peter Ubtrent, an independent author with seven books in print. The first is titled Eternity’s Handmaiden and is set in the near future where oil has run out, hover-cars rule the skies and every part of your body can be replaced to be like new, all, that is, except for the brain. When someone comes up with a way to transfer a person’s entire brain to a new body, creating pseudo-immortality, everything starts to go wrong. This is an action/mystery/science-fiction novel that takes you from the Earth to the outposts on the moon and mars and to the future.

My other six books are all part of a series entitled the Dark Pilgrim Series. Book one, Dark Pilgrim Rising, which just received a 5 star rating from Reader’s Favorites, is a story set in the far distant future, when humans are in control of vast stretches of the galaxy, battling back and forth with the other indigenous life-forms for control of the lucrative trade routes that connect planetary systems. The Imperium has the formidable navy at its disposal and The Church of the Blessed Prophets has its zeal, faith, and the Confessios to root out heretics. Within this world of brutality, repression and nearly totalitarian control come Ailanthus and Tethys, life-long friends who find themselves in one of the worst penal colonies of the Imperium. Befriending a variety of aliens, the two men fight to escape while the galaxy around them implodes in on itself with greed, avarice and religious zeal. It is a story of friendship and loyalty, both of which are tested severely as Ailanthus and Tethys learn, over the course of the six novels, that they are far more important to the survival of the galaxy and humanity then they had ever thought.

About Peter

Peter has degrees in Astrophysics, History and Secondary Education and a PhD. in Military History. He has been writing since high school, where he wrote his first novel, a combination of The Lord of the Rings, Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and The Book of Swords. When he had finished writing, he realized that there wasn’t much original in the words, just a combination of the other author’s works! That books was scrapped. From that point on, Peter decided to not read fiction anymore but concentrate instead on his history books, so as not to corrupt his writing with what others had already written.

Peter has a two-book series ready for print, called The Sslithax Heresy, an epic tale of time travel and adventure that burrows into the very heart of humanity and its beginnings. He has also written the first of a three-book series entitled Caelus, the first book titled A Requiem for Caelus, in which a vast galactic hegemony attacks planets for their resources and colonization rights, killing the majority of the inhabitants and taking those chosen to serve in either the military or the bed-chambers of the high lords of the Va’Shan Empire. When they attack the planet of Caelus, the seven survivors of the indigenous inhabitants herald the downfall of the mighty empire.

You can view all the books at Peter’s website Ubtrentbooks.com.

Peter currently lives against the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico with his lovely wife.

Review

You can read my review of Dark Pilgrim Rising here.

I’m passing the buck in this post – to myself! I wrote a guest post for the fantasy writer Gary Vanucci  which you’ll find here. Do please head over and have a read. I talk about editing fantasy in general, and Gary’s books in particular. You’ll be delighted to discover an exciting new author and find out about his Wothlondia Rising series.

To find out more about my budget-friendly editing services, check out ebook-ed.it.

According to reports nearly all we ereader owners are busy reading erotica aka porn. OK, not all the time, but at least some of it. And apparently we get an extra thrill from reading them on our Kindles or Nooks when we’re on public transport or during work breaks when other people are around but have no idea what we’re feasting our eyes upon!

What’s more, it’s not just the books that are dirty. There are some shady authors out there in the erotic arena who are shamelessly plagiarising material and masquerading it as their own. There’s an interesting report about it here.

So, erotica sells well. What other genres enjoy consistently good sales? In  a previous blog post I discussed a report that gave the following information about ebook market shares: romance 16%, paranormal 15%, thriller 12%, mystery 12%, fantasy 8%, science fiction 7%, young adult 5%, comedy 4%. There’s no breakdown of how much erotica comes into that romance category!

This site  gives an idea of erotic ebook sales which it summarises as:

Average erotic romance ebook sales as of Dec 8, 2011

  • First month (or quarter): 290 copies
  • Total to date for books out one year or less: 417 copies
  • First year: 845 copies
  • Total to date for books available for more than one year: 1415 copies
  • Total books on record: 258

These averages are based on sales of at least 5 in print books by at least 3 different authors for each press surveyed.

I’d be very interested to find out what sales are for the free erotic books that appear every day in the lists of free Kindle books, and on Smashwords. I’m guessing those are through the roof.

Should we all jump on the bandwagon and churn out hardcore novellas with lots of groans, sighs, throbbing and words starting in ‘cu’? At times it’s tempting when sales seem SO slow on my books. I do have a blovel out there with an adult element in it, shall we say, but it’s contemporary romance rather than erotica, with mystery thrown in. (I use a pseudonym since I’m mainly known as a children’s author and this isn’t something you’d want them reading!) But am I on the top of a slippery slope?

Paranormal is another immensely popular genre, closely followed by thriller. Maybe I should give those a go?

No. I think it’s pretty clear I’m not going make much money as an author, certainly nothing like enough to live on, so my writing remains an enjoyable if time-consuming and occasionally infuriating pastime. I shall carry on writing the rom-com/mystery stories that are swirling around in my head.

And yes. I confess I’ve downloaded some naughty ebooks and enjoyed them, but I’ve downloaded an awful lot more travel memoirs, mysteries, rom-coms, fantasy and chick-lit. Like many ebook readers I imagine.