Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Asshackery: A Good ol' Publishing Industry Rant

Well, Snooki done got herself a book deal and proclaims that she's only read two books in her life. When I saw that, I figured it was some low-level indie press trying to get some cheap publicity, but then I saw the deal was with Simon & Schuster, one of the major corporate publishers. CBS owns S&S and I don't even know if that's connected to Snooki, since I don't have a television, but this is the line in the sand over which I give no more weight to publishers' claims that they are vanguards of the written word, steeped in literary tradition, and embracing a role as the gatekeeper of quality and taste. And, incidentally, charging at least five times more for an e-book than most authors would. So that's done.
Me can do this!

I have never relished anyone's pending doom but the hubris and arrogance of plenty of people in publishing--from shareholders who demand ever-higher dividends to the agents who don't reply at all to query letters--has guaranteed I will shed not a single tear when the Manhattan offices are full of cobwebs and left-behind slush piles. I've known some wonderful people in the business, and I've always been treated fairly (though I certainly made some bad decisions), but it's a world in which I can no longer relate on any level. Even the simple joy of good books seems to be lost in the numbers game.

Coincidentally, I just discovered the world of Tucker Max, who takes asshackery to its extremes. I actually read a couple of his entries, frat-boy misogyny gone celebrity to the point of sociopathy. The piece I read on him actually had some great points about book marketing, namely give lots of stuff away for free. I'm not going to link to his site because I can't support him, but hey, at least there's finally a book out there for guys who don't like to read. At least Max has the presence of mind to realize the price he is willing to pay for fame and wealth.

All this makes me feel much better about my life. I told the Left-Handed Puppeteer this morning, "Sure, I'd love to sell more books, but I am damned lucky to have a chance to meet even one reader and make a little bonus income, because without the digital age it could very well be close to zero." And if these two are the modern examples of literary success, I am happy to take an alternate path where it's a little quieter and just maybe somebody can think beneath the noise.

But, Mr. Asshackery has inspired me to start putting up a lot more free stuff. I just won't give venereal diseases to any midgets in the process.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing with the Web cam

The Next Step in the Indie Revolution

That squee you hear today is book bloggers, authors, SOME publishers, and tech geeks, as well as discerning ebook readers, waking to the news that Amazon has really upped the stakes in the indie book game.

That sigh you hear today is a lot of bookstore owners and those who work in publishing-support industries wondering what they will be doing for a job in three years.

Amazon has announced a Kinde for Web program that allows more interactivity for book browsers, but the critical component is the addition of affiliate sales for ebook purchases. What this means is anyone with a blog can run an e-bookstore. Sure, Amazon already has affiliate stores for paper books and all manner of products, but e-books are uniquely appropriate for one-click purchasing because you get the product instantly. Ebooks were made for impulse sales in a way that only Internet sex or gambling could rival...and it's legal in most states (sales tax laws vary). Want to run your own bookstore and make money off all those wonderful Scott Nicholson books?

Let me know if you want to feature me and I will give you bonus content! This development may seem a small ripple but it contributes to the growing wave by taking away yet another advantage of corporate publishing--the stranglehold on deciding what books are deemed "worthy" of being read. Now, more than ever, readers can easily decide for themselves.


Monday, September 27, 2010

My Reading Room

Day 27 on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour is:

And a Red Church review at

It's going to be a cool week...stay tuned for some big announcements on more free Kindles and new books.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Writing Jorney

Today's post "The Writing Journey" is at

Comment to enter for the Kindle Giveaway. And please write a review for The Red Church at Amazon, because it will be the Oct. 2 "Scary Short" from Kindle Nation Daily, going out to 10,000 subscribers and Kindle owners. It has a good chance to make a run for the Top 100 and trigger an extra Kindle 3 giveaway.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Digger rules

Today's post on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour is about building a paranormal investigation team (a fictional one, that is):

If you're into Digger, why not  buy the 72-page complete Digger collection in paperback, with bonus sketches, script, a short story, and two original stories not in the previous two comics. Only $4.95 plus $2 shipping. You can also order digital comics on the Dirt page

Friday, September 24, 2010

Drummer Boy/Linville Caverns

In conjunction with my post at Megalith Books about Drummer Boy and the legends that inspired the novel, here are some pictures of the actual caverns.The coloring is caused by minerals.

Today's stop on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour is at Curling Up By The Fire


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Your opinion on our cover?

Hey, we are working on the cover for our children's book and seeking input on covers. Here are three options we have right now. It's probable we'll use a mix of suggestions so please help us out by commenting. The fourth one here is an amalgamation of suggestions so far (some of you had already commented before I posted it)

Today's stop on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour is at Bad A** Bookie


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Numbers Game

JA Konrath has only sold 100,000 ebooks. As usual, he makes a good case for the wisdom of controlling content. I spent a good part of the first half of the year pinballing around and learning, taking on the publishing industry, analyzing numbers, trying to inspire indie writers to quality, and it's just a big explosion of everything. It feels like the 1960s music scene must have, lots of everything of all levels and genres, all getting out there in a vibrant mix.

Time sorts it all out. And the publishing industry is wonderful if you can get in it and are smart. But you have to be smart no matter what, and you're smarter than I am. So I will be doing less and less of that kind of analysis, and focusing more on my own stories.

In the meantime, if you want to get started publishing your own work, I'd recommend Blood Red Pencil for finding an editor, Stephen James Price to do your page layout, Neil Jackson for cover art (if you want a "thriller" look), and Dellaster Design for e-book layout.

Today's stop on the Kindle Giveaway tour is Crazy For Books. Last day to comment at Bookhounds. Tell a friend!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pandora's Box for Halloween

Day #21 on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour: Megalith Books

Bewitched Bookworms likes Speed Dating with the Dead (the book, not the dating)

Don't forget to Twitter "hauntedcomputer" to be eligible for the Pandora's Box giveaway and free ebooks from MJ Rose, Violetta Marmalade Spirit, Kiki Howell, Jason Halstead, Steve Hawk, Adolfo Pena, and 100 more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September Zombie event

Velvet at VVB is running a zombie event for the end of September-- I'll be giving away a Murdermouth copy and doing some other things. Looks like some cool bloggers involved so give them some love.

Also the Pandora's Box is over 100 e-books now, sow make sure you follow me on Twitter to be eligible!

Working on a four-way novella with Steve Lockley, Steven Savile, and William Meikle, it is definitely interesting and a little different, especially since they are all Brits! They'll have ot fix my slang.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day of rest

Just got in the paper copies of Speed Dating with the Dead, so if you are into "real books," come to my web site and get your signed copy (cheaper than you can get it anywhere else). You can also order it through bookstores, libraries, Amazon, and Internet booksellers. In other words, pretty much any place, but you probably won't see it on store shelves. So ask for it by name. I don't think any other books use that title!

Also have the Dirt trade paperback graphic novel and the paper version of Forever Never Ends rolling through the pipeline, so save your pennies! Also, if you are into the self-pub thing, my recent installment is up at Blood Red Pencil.

Today's stop on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour is at so come by, say hello, and enter!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kindle Giveaway Tour one-sixth done

With today's post at Candace's Book Blog, I've passed the halfway point of the first month. People have asked "How can you keep it fresh for 90 days?" That is a good question that once in a while gives me pause. Can I do five or six Q & A's and answer honestly but different each time? How much can I write about the same topic, such as the ever-popular use of ghost hunting as used in Speed Dating with the Dead? Can I go that long without breaking into a writing-related rant, or examination of the publishing industry that few care about?

When I step back, here's how I can easily do it. I think I will have 15 books out during the tour. I can feature one title at individual stops (there's 15!) I have a few video stops to make where I visit sites from my novels, so I can double-dip on those books. I have some UK and Australian stops where I can talk about e-books as relatively new discoveries. And a few posts on the indie era and the changing nature of books, Appalachian legends, and future projects, as well as my comic books, screenplays, and side interests (Saturday's post will be about my film-acting experiences) and I should be able to keep it fresh even for people who make every single stop.

I haven't seen a huge surge of sales, but this is more about laying a foundation for readers, bloggers, and writers to meet around the digital/virtual world. I haven't even tried to quantify the tour on success/failure measurements, because it's improvisational and a moving experiment. The goal is to stay a few days ahead on the posts, stay involved with you who are commenting, and present the spectrum of all I do, and maybe show a little about the "real me," since I've mostly been just a name on a book to a lot of people.

The tour was originally called "90 Days of Nightmares." It's barely two months since I first got the idea and still not a single nightmare. So all in all I am rather pleased. I know some people are watching to see if I can make it. Hello! I'm still here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rest in Peace, Johanna Stapleton

If you read my blog and follow my adventures, you might have heard me talk about the translated editions of my books and that I had a team of translators. Johanna Stapleton was actually one of the first I worked with. I can't even remember how we "met" online, but she was living in France at the time and had just received a degree in translating. She translated a French edition of the Dirt #1 comic and did a couple of chapters of The Red Church, which we'd sent with a publisher before deciding to simply release an e-book version.

I'd dropped her an email to check on her progress and got a note from her parents, letting me know she had died suddenly and quite unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism. I am not sure of her age but I had the impression she was in her upper 20s. Very sad. She was actually moving with her husband about two hours away and there was the chance we could meet in person to work on the books. She was a vibrant, literate person excited about the future and her loss makes the world a lesser place. Johanna, I hope you are now in the biggest, most joyful story of all.


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Red Church on sale for 99 cents

Okay, The Red Church is on sale under the Overly Dramatic Push For Top 100 so I can give away a Kindle. In some ways, this was one of my bars for the success of the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour--to create a buzz for one book. So, this one, probably my best book so far, is lowered to 99 cents for a limited time. How limited? Until I stop.

So please help these poor starving children eat a Kindle--ah, heck, give the money to charity instead. But if you want a cool, cheap read, go to Amazon right here and get it for Kindle. The way the rankings work is by measuring sales over a window of time, updated hourly, so a consistent push means every little bit helps.

If you like paper, you can get signed copies straight from me cheaper than anywhere else.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Debbi Mack-- Stumbling into Indie Publishing

(Debbi has been one of the bright spots of my indie journey, both for her mystery fiction and her professional comportment. While she's here, I am over at her Midlist Life blog, making wildly speculative predictions about the future of publishing and giving away three digital comics as well as Kindle giveaway entries. If you're on Twitter today, follow the "#pubfuture" meme for even wilder guesses!)

Debbi Mack is the author of Identity Crisis, a hardboiled mystery novel in which Maryland attorney Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae gets in over her head while investigating murder and identity theft in one of her cases. Five Uneasy Pieces is her first short story collection. It includes her Derringer Award nominated story "The Right to Remain Silent," as well as stories she's had published in two of the Chesapeake Crimes anthologies. The collection also includes an excerpt from Least Wanted, the next Sam McRae mystery.

A "recovering attorney" who practiced law for nine years, Debbi has also worked as a journalist, librarian and freelance writer/researcher. Her Web site is and she blogs about her adventures in authorship.
Stumbling Into Indie Author Publishing

I'd like to thank Scott for letting me post here today. I've been a big fan of his work since I read THE SKULL RING and DRUMMER BOY. Since Scott's focus is on indie authorship, I thought I'd share my story about how I ended up taking the indie path to publishing.

I'd like to say it was part of a big plan, but it wasn't. It wasn't planned, it wasn't a big political statement and I wasn't thumbing my nose at the traditional publishing world. It just seemed like a sensible thing to do at the time.

I started off about 13 years ago, after finishing my first novel, looking for an agent. The mantra back then was "Don't self-publish! It'll kill your career." So I queried and got rejections, multiple times. I got a few nibbles from agents who wanted to see the manuscript, but ultimately the answer was no.

So, instead of continuing to send that manuscript out, I worked on another story with the same protagonist. This novel was titled IDENTITY CRISIS and I thought it was better than the first one. So I queried agents and got nothing but rejections this time. Not even nibbles.

As I was going through all this, I had the opportunity to submit a short story as a blind submission for the anthology CHESAPEAKE CRIMES. My story was accepted and I was thrilled. My first actual fiction publishing credit. So I managed to stumble into getting my first fiction published by being in the right place at the right time.

Then, I submitted IDENTITY CRISIS to the publisher who issued the anthology. It was accepted and I was even more thrilled. I signed a three-book contract to do a series of Sam McRae novels. The novel was released in June 2005. During the (ever too brief) time it was in print, it got some great online reviews and reader reviews. My joy, however, was short lived as the publisher that released it failed to pay its authors royalties about nine months after the book was released. It was clear that the situation was bad, so I requested my rights back. Thus, my novel went out of print. And the small press soon went out of business.

In any case, since I'd been revising the first novel to make it the next in the series, I finished working on that and began a third Sam McRae novel (called LEAST WANTED). The third novel ended up being better than the first one, too. Hold that thought and I'll get back to it, in a moment.

As I went through the process of querying and sometimes talking to agents, I kept hearing them say, "We're not interested in a dead series. Write a stand alone." They didn't use those words exactly, but that's what I was hearing between the lines. That seemed weird, because I'd always thought that mystery readers liked series books. Well, anyway ... as I was looking for another agent or small publisher (who'd take submissions directly from authors), I went ahead and wrote a stand alone novel. A crime caper.

Meanwhile, the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES anthology (which was published by that same small press that went under -- remember?) was reissued through I figured why not reissue my own novel through Lulu, since I thought it deserved another chance. So I did. Shortly before I actually published the book in July 2009, I heard about publishing ebooks for Kindle through Joe Konrath's blog. That seemed like a really good idea, given the incredible growth in the ebook market. I'd been keeping track of these things. So, again, I stumbled across the right resource at the right time and knew it was good idea to act based on having the right information.

I figured I'd market and promote my first novel and try to build a readership. Meanwhile, I continued to query agents and small publishers. I had two novels to pitch and I was working on a fifth novel -- an unusual thriller. I figured I'd put Sam McRae stories on the back burner until I found an agent or publisher. I was getting a few more nibbles this time. Agents were asking to see partial or full manuscripts. And I was getting the loveliest rejections. Things like, "You are a really talented writer. Your characters are interesting, the plot is well-paced and well thought out. And you have a really distinctive voice. But ..." No matter how lovely the rejection, there was always a "but" followed by "I'm just not in love with it" or "it's just not quite what I'm looking for" or ... well, fill in the blank.

At some point, it occurred to me that it might take years to find an agent or publisher (assuming I ever did). Marketing and promoting IDENTITY CRISIS would only take me so far. Sure there have been one-hit wonder authors, but I wasn't Harper Lee and my book wasn't TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. It seemed important to keep new work coming out. So, when I could, I worked on short stories. I sort of stumbled into writing those just to keep my name out there. And I managed to get two more of those published through MWA-approved publishers.

However, I still couldn't find an interested buyer for LEAST WANTED or the crime caper. So, I gave it some thought, and when I looked at my ebook sales and considered the possibilities for marketing those and even my print book online, I realized something. I asked myself, "Why am putting so much energy and time into querying agents and publishers who may or may not like my work? Isn't the whole point to appeal to readers? And why can't I do that through grass roots marketing?"

I'd run two businesses already -- a law office and a freelance writing business -- so I knew something about marketing and promotion from that.

Okay, so I wouldn't get big bookstore distribution. I knew traditionally published authors whose books weren't showing up routinely (or at all) at Barnes & Noble or Borders. And as for marketing and promotion, most Big Six authors get very little support from their publishers. I knew this from talking to other authors who'd been completely let down by their publishers. As their sales numbers dwindled, their publishers became even less interested in them.

So, even though I knew it would be difficult, I decided to take the plunge and become an indie author. And I decided to publish LEAST WANTED (the better of my two other Sam McRae stories) as the sequel to IDENTITY CRISIS.

Oh, and since I'd written all those short stories, I recently stumbled into publishing a collection of them as an ebook called FIVE UNEASY PIECES. The collection includes two stories from the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES anthologies and one that was nominated for a Derringer Award this year. Talk about feeling validated! :)

I had absolutely no idea at the time I reissued IDENTITY CRISIS that the ebook version would go on to become the #1 hardboiled mystery on Amazon and sustain that rank for quite a stretch of time. I had no idea that I'd sell more than 8,300 downloads of the book in a year and three months. I had no idea at the time of the possibilities for indie authors. But I do now.


As part of today's guest posting gig, Debbi will be giving away a free autographed copy of IDENTITY CRISIS to a randomly drawn winner who leaves a comment here. The winner will be announced on her blog, My Life on the Mid-List at this coming Saturday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

William Meikle--Thoughts on Re-reading Lord of the Rings

(One of the joys of the new era is getting to discover writers who have been around a while but flying under the radar. William Meikle is a Scottish native who falls into the esteemed category of "campfire storyteller." Whether you like pulp fiction, horror, science fiction, mystery, dark fantasy or plain old weird fiction, chances are Meikle has written it and written it well. Now he's not so secret, as his B-movie sci-fi novel The Invasion is currently ranked #244 on the Kindle bestseller list and #1 in a couple of categories. I am unabashedly trying to ride his coattails with my own alien-invasion release, Forever Never Ends, a revised edition of my 2003 paperback The Harvest. Welcome, William and his revisiting of favored lore. William is also giving away a free PDF of Crustaceans to the best horror joke posted in the comments. His choice, winner picked in seven days. You''ll want Crustaceans. Billed as "Giant Crabs Take Manhattan." Period.)

Lord of the Rings
By William Meikle

This book changed my life. Before it I was a spotty 14-year-old hooked on my science studies. Then I read LOTR, and, at the same time, discovered women existed and...but that's enough of that. You want to hear about the book.

By now there are few people who haven't at least heard of LOTR, and most of them have an opinion. There are the fans, almost fanatics, and there are the people who have read fifty pages or so, sometimes five or six times, but just can't get it, and don't understand what the fuss is about. I might have been one of them, if it hadn't been for an accident.

I asked my local librarian to recommend a book for me as I had read all the Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov works they had. She pointed me at LOTR, and handed me what she said was book 1 of 3. It was only when I got home I found I had book 2: The Two Towers. I arrived in the story just at the point where the first film ends - The Fellowship is broken and Frodo and Sam are heading for Mordor.

I think that is what made me keep reading -I had started at a point of crisis and I needed to know what happened next. Of course I had a lot of blanks to fill in, but I managed to pick up most of them as I went along , and I caught up with the first book as soon as I'd finished the third. (I bought the big all-in-one paperback, the one with the yellow cover. If you were a student in the seventies, it was obligatory to have one lying about, all battered and torn to show that it had been read several times. You used to see backpackers in their hundreds on the trains going south through Europe, all with this version of LOTR falling apart in their hands.)

As for starting at the beginning, I believe the reason a lot of people give up is that they are expecting heroes, wizards, and high magic. What they get is, in great detail, the rural goings-on of a bunch of small hairy creatures who eat and drink a lot and seem to live in an idealised version of the Home Counties. Anyone who has read "The Hobbit" will know that there is more to the Hobbits than that, but newcomers often feel cheated and give up.

They don't know what they're missing.

The story only picks up AFTER Bilbo's birthday party, and after the passing of his ring of invisibility to Frodo. Gandalf, a wizard, discovers the true nature of the ring. It is a magic item of great power, belonging to Sauron himself, a dark god intent on taking dominion over the world.

Gandalf tells Frodo that the ring must be taken to a place of safety, to Rivendell, where the high-elves hold out against Sauron.

And so the great journey starts, with Frodo and his friends, Sam, Merry and Pippin, taking the road to Rivendell. On the way they have many adventures, and the mood begins to darken with the appearance of the dark riders, servants of Sauron intent on finding the ring.

The traveling band is befriended by Strider, a ranger of the north, and he helps them get to Rivendell, but not before Frodo is wounded by the dark riders, and starts to understand the power of the ring.

At Rivendell, many things are revealed; the history of the ring is told, Strider is shown to be Aragon, the rightful heir to the kingdom of Middle-Earth, and a fellowship is forged, of wizards, elves, dwarves, men and hobbits. They form a band of nine who will try to take the ring to Mount Doom, a volcano where the ring was forged, and which is the only place where it can be destroyed.

And so the adventure truly begins. From here on we have battles in deep mountain mines, the loss of one of the Fellowship, encounters with elves in enchanted forests, treachery and betrayal leading to the breaking of the fellowship - and we're still in Book 1!

Books 2 and 3 deal with the fight for middle-Earth, with Aragon and his allies taking the battle to Sauron and his minions and Frodo and Sam trying to reach Mount Doom to destroy the ring. There are huge, stirring, battle scenes, moments of humour (especially when the younger hobbits meet the Ents), spectacular feats of high magic when the White Rider enters the battle scenes, and moments of great friendship and tenderness - I defy anyone to have a dry eye when Sam and Frodo are parted at Shelob's lair.

It all builds up to a terrific climax, and the story comes full circle back at Hobbitton where we see the effect the war has had on the rural life of the Hobbits.

And that is why the beginning is important--you might not see it till right at the end, but it is teaching us a lesson about the value of the simpler things in life--respect them and fight for them... or lose them.

Tolkein's genius lies in melding these simple aspects with world-shattering events, showing how even the "little people" have their part to play in the fight against the darkness.

And he also knows that the best villain is a mysterious one....Sauron hardly appears at all in the books, but his dark presence stretches over everything, and he's always there, his evil eye seeing everything.

I used to have nightmares about that large, red-rimmed eye, but that was before I discovered women, grew my hair, developed a liking for Hawkwind and Led Zeppelin, and started to write fantasy fiction. I've never been the same since... but that's another long story.

William Meikle has published 10 novels and more than 130 stories, appearing in 12 countries and eight different languages. Other e-books include Crustaceans, The Valley, Road Hole Bunker Mystery, Island Life, and more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Safe Play

The Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour Day #3 is now a post at Joe Konrath's blog so go over and enter for the Kindles. While you are here, take a chance to sniff some ink and paper.

I was thinking this morning about playing it safe, partly because of some peripheral things in my personal life and partly because of some good comments over at A.P. Fuchs's blog regarding self-publishing. What he says makes sense: if you are just a generic genre writer, you probably won't be able to stand out in any environment, whether in NY or out in the world of readers. I made my original launch of the tour with The Skull Ring, a fairly well-crafted suspense thriller with a few good twists. Satisfying, but nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering, nothing that would have you closing the book and thinking about it for weeks.

Even back when I wrote it, it was more with the idea of writing a popular book, and it has sold pretty well, but perhaps its most damning feature is that everyone likes it. At Amazon, it has nothing but four- or five-star reviews. It's the best reviewed of all my books, and I believe it has the most number of reviews. I don't generally read my reviews though I occasionally check a couple just to see if people are pointing out the same things, which may indicate a problem I can learn from. This book just doesn't make people angry. It doesn't make them want to throw it (or their Kindle) across the room.

I have this novel Disintegration that is bleak, written at a really dark time for me, and I have never done much with it, partly because I am not sure I want that message in the world. The Left-Handed Puppeteer tells me somebody out there might need that message. But I was planning to revise it, to make one or two characters more redeeming or virtuous and have some hope of a happy ending for someone. In fact, I left the original ending--those final five pages--unwritten for months because I knew what had to happen, and I hated to write it. It nearly made me physically ill (and, no, not because it's gross, but just because it felt that intense and irredeemable.)

Changing it would have been artistically dishonest. Sure, change for plot clarity, change for coherence, change for consistency. But never change to please. Because I knew the original ending would enrage a certain portion of the readership. But I've learned over the years that it is better to enrage than have someone close the book and not remember a thing about it, as has happened to me with some commercial bestsellers. So Disintegration will be out in Full Scotty, the way it was meant to be. I still have a final revision pass to make and some beta readers to knock it around a little, but it doesn't need surgery just because someone might not like the size of Frankenstein's monster's ears. Look for it in October.

At times I have tweeted or posted something and lost a follower or two, and I review what I might have said to offend someone. But then I get two or four followers in their place, and I realize what is actually happening is I am losing the people who don't share the message and finding people who do share the message, meeting people on common ground. And I also am a better receiver of their messages, too, because we're talking the same language. We are the people who choose to spend time with one another.

This tour is meant to be The Full Scotty. No hiding, no more playing it safe. It's not even about selling books, though that is always nice. It's about sticking with a vision and being who you are. I've hidden a lot, especially in my personal life, though they say it's all buried in the stories if you know where to look. The writers I admire, and the people I admire, do just that--keep the faith. They lose a few people along the way but were those people really on their side in the first place?

Okay, while we get the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour back on track, let's do a random giveaway here of a limited edition hardcover copy of Brimstone Turnpike from Cemetery Dance. Features novellas from Thomas F. Monteleone, Mike Oliveri, Harry Shannon, and Tim Waggoner, edited by Kealan Patrick Burke. Also contains my novella "Burial to Follow," which is also available as a 99 cent e-book. Signed by all contributors, I believe the market value is $40. Only 600 copies made, but this is a "PC," a personal copy, which is even rarer. If all contributors got four like I did, that means there are only 24 in the world.

EBay here we come. But please, wait until we are dead. Value will increase.

Simply comment below with your email address and I will randomly select a winner in seven days. Good luck!

(P.S. If you ARE into the whole PUSH FOR TOP 100 thing, then tomorrow may be a good day to ask your friends to buy Speed Dating with the Dead for Kindle. That's a hint, not a command!)


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Zoe Who? It's Zoe Winters, of course

(Scott: Zoe and I have sort of played a little "Good cop, bad cop" on message boards, discussing the publishing industry. She is a firm believer in controlling everything, while I am willing to concede a lot for one big fat check. Her energy is exhilarating or exhausting, depending on your caffeine level, but she is never dull. Check out the "Zoe Who?" video series. She's also a gifted paranormal romance author who knows how to push the right buttons in an intimate scene. And meeting people like her is one of the real joys of the indie era. I'm off at her blog today, and since we're both giving away Kindles, hit us both!)

Stealing From Smart People (and Giveaway)

Scott and I are house swapping today. He's blogging over at my place, and I'm blogging at his. I'm in the middle of a week-long book blitz and blog tour to promote my latest release, "Blood Lust". And I'm giving away an Amazon Kindle (possibly two).

That possibly two part is the stealing from smart people thing. See, Scott is doing a big blitz, too (As I'm sure you've noticed). The difference is that his is a marathon and mine is a sprint. He's going to be doing this for 90 days. I don't have the stress-tolerance for 90 days of this craziness. About a week of crazy is all I can handle at a time.

So he asked me early on about doing a guest blog at my place and said I could do one at his. And I mentioned I was doing a blitz as well for my book. When I got the contest details of his Kindle giveaway, I saw that he was giving a second Kindle if he got into the top 100 of the overall Amazon Kindle store. And I thought... dude, that's smart! What more incentive can you give people to buy the book on Kindle than offering to double their odds of winning the grand prize?

So of course I swiped the idea for myself. As an indie, I'm always watching people around me. What they're doing. What's working for them. What isn't. What doesn't work for someone else might work for me. Or what works for someone else might not work for me. But I'll totally steal a great marketing idea from a smart person like Scott and try it to find out.

So I thought about the second Kindle giveaway idea. I wanted to make it a high enough goal that if I didn't get there, I could console myself with the fact that I only had to buy one Kindle prize, but that if I DID get there, I wouldn't care that I had to buy another one, lol. So I picked "top 25 in the overall Kindle store."

That's the first page of overall Kindle bestsellers. Getting there, even for an hour or two to me was worth a second Kindle giveaway.

Bestseller lists on Kindle aren't about vanity or being able to say: "Hey, look how awesome I am." It's about more exposure and visibility. The goal is first to get as high in sales ranking as possible, then to see how long you can stay there, then keep repeating that. Each time hopefully you'll spike a little higher briefly, as well as stay a little higher, longer.

So that's what I'm doing this week. If you'd like a chance to win a free Kindle, check out my blog for contest details. There are multiple ways you can enter. And some of the options allow you to enter multiple times.

I'll also be giving away a signed print copy of Blood Lust to a commenter in the comments section here.

And now the obligatory Blood Lust description...

It’s all about the blood...

Comprised of three novellas, Blood Lust gives readers a snapshot look at the world of the Preternaturals Series. (Future installments of the series will be novels.)


As a cat therian (shifter), Greta's blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.


For a vampire, Anthony isn't a picky eater, but he's drawn to Charlee's blood more than any other. Like a fine wine saved for a special occasion, he's denied himself this pleasure. But one night, high from the potent magical blood of another, he claims his prize and loses control. Ashamed of almost killing the one woman who means anything to him, he wipes her memory of the event. When Charlee awakens with complete amnesia, Anthony is the only one who can clean up the mess he's made.


Because of the vampiric blood that has run through her veins since birth, Jane has been a target for vampires who resent a human being "kindred." She's forced to disguise herself as a vampire groupie to appease them and safeguard her life. When she's abruptly given to Cole, the leader of the werewolf pack, to satisfy a gambling debt, she discovers the blood running through her veins has a far greater impact on her destiny than she ever imagined.

Print and ebook copies are available at and (other retailers coming soon.)

Buy links are available from my blog (The top stickied Amazon contest post.)

You can find me here:

Author Website
Author Blog


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catching The Trade Winds with Vicki Tyley

(Vicki Tyley is one of the Kindle success stories and I'm friends with her agent, so we've struck up a correspondence and she was kind enough to blurb The Skull Ring. I haven't read her new mystery Sleight Malice yet, but if it is anything like Thin Blood, you can expect taut, intimate drama with high command of language--and, hey, Australian isn't that different from English. I'm off on the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour, schedule in the sidebar. Welcome, Vicky, and thanks!)

Catching the Trade Winds

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Eight years ago, I threw off my bowlines and set sail for unknown literary shores. It’s been one hell of a journey but is that land I can see? I’m sure that island wasn’t charted when I set out. Technology is changing /has changed our world, and that includes the publishing world.

When I started writing, my dream – like most new writers’ – was to be a “published author.” I didn’t expect it to take so long. I was naive, but in hindsight I don’t think that’s a bad attribute to have when you start out. If I’d known that I’d write two novels, only to consign them to the bottom drawer, would I have even started? I don’t know. Would I have given up everything to write if I’d known that my third novel, Thin Blood, even though agented, would fail to sell in large part because most of the publishers refused to even look at the book? (“Americans don't want to read Australian mysteries,” my agent was told.) I don’t know.

But “would haves” don’t matter. It’s what I did that’s important. I just kept writing and my agent kept pitching my work to publishers. Six novels later, Thin Blood, the novel rejected by publishing house after publishing house, has sold in excess of 25,000 digital copies, peaking at #1 Mystery in the Kindle Store (#6 All Paid Kindle Books). Another novel, Sleight Malice, has just been released on Amazon and Smashwords and is selling well. None of which would’ve been possible without digital publishing.

With the rapid rate of technology innovation, who knows what tomorrow’s trade winds will bring. Are your sails up?