Tag Archives: Almost Average

Grabbing 2019 By The…

Happy New Year!

Say good-bye to the old and let’s welcome a new start for 2019.

I don’t remember if I made any resolutions or goals for last year, but I wanted to approach this annual reset with greater determination and focus.

It actually started the day after my 44th birthday when I walked around nearby Lake Murphysboro. As I trudged up and down the hills, the phrase “Before 45” kept repeating in my mind. I decided then to create actionable goals to measure my progress and force me to work harder. My birthday is December 15th, so it’s close enough to the end of the year to make these annual goals (though I do want to achieve them before I turn 45!)

In no particular order, these are my 2019 writer goals:

Publish 8 books

vintage-1148940_640Yeah, I know that sounds ludicrous, but it’s possible and who says I don’t have a few novels in my back pocket already? Quicker releases don’t mean lesser quality. I’ve got a process that works for me and I feel I can scale it up and increase what I’m doing. I’m in mid-trilogy writing now (it may turn into more than three books) and I’ve got a new novel near ready for my pen name. I’ve been working with two other authors on different series, though it’s still in the early stages of the projects. I’m also contracted with a small press to co-write a trilogy due for later this year, so 8 isn’t that crazy of a number.

 

Grow my newsletter list to over 5,000 subscribers

It’s now less than 900 because of serious culling a few months ago, but it needs to grow. No matter what happens, this has to be a priority moving forward. I believe in the power of a vibrant, healthy email list. I’m already putting in steps to achieve this.

 

Earn over $10,000 in book sales

Honestly I’d love this number to be much higher, but using my past performance as a guide, I’ll start here. If I can be transparent with my sales numbers, my hope is that it will help others learn and grow. Look for a post in the coming weeks with a recap of what I’ve earned so far. It’ll be brutal for me but instructive for you.

 

Grow my BookBub followers to over 1,000

BookBub is an amazing service that I’ve yet to fully utilize. Eager readers use BookBub to find new books to read. Why not try and grow my presence there for the future I have planned? They get notified of my new releases and keeps my name in front of the best kind of audience: readers!

 

Launch a book with over 100 pre-orders

Pre-orders are a point of contention amongst the indie author community, but I’d like to make this happen. My highest has been just under 50, so it’s a stretch but I feel quite achievable.

 

Blog once a week

This one will be difficult to maintain, but it’s something I feel is important. It gives me a place to share my journey and is where I found my first readers. You guys are super important to me and I need to honor that. Expect new posts at least once a week, most likely on Tuesday’s.

 

Attend 8 Cons

This one was tough because I considered doing very few, but with 3-4 already scheduled, I think I can make it happen. I’m looking for a few more Horror cons this year as my pen name has been crushing it and I might as well build the readership as much as possible.


There you have my look into the future. These are my measuring sticks. I expect yours might be different and that’s great! We all have different paths up the mountain (That’s a Craig Martelle reference for those who don’t know!) and no one path is the best. All that counts is that it’s your path. We all define success in our own terms.

So what are yours? What are your goals/resolutions for 2019? Feel free to comment with a few so we can all support one another. Onward and upward!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Spotlight: Shakyra Dunn

In the next installment of my ongoing series of Author Spotlights, I present Shakyra Dunn.

Author Spotlight: Shakyra Dunn

shakyraToday I’m fortunate to present Shakyra Dunn, author of The One Left Behind: Magic.

 

Hi Shakyra, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi there! Well, I’m twenty-two years old, I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and I’m currently living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Full time writer and part time night stocker. Wonder which one is more life-consuming.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was about seven, but I took up the mantle of writing officially when I was fourteen, and became published last year.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I used to create stories all the time when I was younger and write them down on paper or my mom’s old desktop. When I started high school, I happened to find my stories tucked away in a box and spontaneously decided to write again. Since then, I’ve become influenced to take up the craft.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I’ve put the sequel to The One Left Behind: Magic on hold and I am currently working on a novel that I started for NaNoWriMo called “FML: The Final Lesson” (name is in progress). It is going to be a part of a separate mini-series centered around the themes of life, morality and understanding, but none of the stories really connect to one another aside from some similarities or cameos here and there. This is going to be the first of the saga that I create.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer to mix genres, but my primary field is fantasy.

 

What authors influenced you?

Lemony Snicket. When I was nine years old, I picked up his first book in “A Series of Unfortunate Event” for a project for class, since we were assigned to read a certain amount in a month. After I finished the first, I started to devour the series until the final book concluded when I was thirteen. I always felt as though the series ended on a bad note, and it inspired me to want to create my own stories and try to tackle my own endings.

 

What are you currently reading?

Reading, uh, now? I’m sadly not reading much due to focusing more on my own works, but I’ve been dabbling on and off with Adelle Yeung’s final book in her series “The Cycle of the Six Moons.”

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

It’s come down to a few days per week solely because my job drains a lot of my motivation and energy. Nights are not fun. Nope.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Always! I listen to instrumentals, and it paints a picture in my head about the scenery that I want to create.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

Well, for one, I’ve gotten heavy development on characters, even if my plots can be a bit mundane or outlandish. There is no in-between with me. My characters from age fourteen were so dull and lifeless, and now that I’ve grown stronger in that aspect, I feel that I can carry a story well.

 

oneleftbehindHow do you create the covers for your books?

For the original cover of The One Left Behind: Magic, I enlisted the help of an artist on Deviantart that did concept art of my main character Frayle. To this day, I still adore the picture. I tend to go to other artists for my book covers.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Definitely music, and I also play a lot of JRPG’s to help fuel my idealism on characters and plot.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Oh man. I have so many, I don’t know what to do with them all.

 

How do you market your books?

I try to promote myself through author takeovers and participating in groups as much as I can. I’ve yet to have any success through online promotion websites such as BookRaider.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure!

The cinders crackled over the singed wood, rising through the midnight’s earthy air. Gusts of wind drifted through the dry oak trees, the shades of early autumn teeming from the branches in the form of cracked leaves. The stars were absent from the sky, yet a faint glimmer hovered above.

The still night of a new moon; such times were hard to fall upon. That made things even more brilliant for such an announcement.

“You feel it, don’t you?” A gravelly voice cut through the silence, catching the attention of the group that surrounded him. “This air is thick. The stigma of wind such as this besieges any and every lost soul, carrying them beyond the boundaries of time.”

“Master Hinju, you always make things more dramatic.”

Any means of a rebuttal were replaced by extended humming in a straight tone before finally, “Now is not the time for remarks.” Copper eyes opened to the sound of distant laughter caught in the indistinct gales, and a single glance at the source drew bitter silence. A stern expression coated his features as he gazed upon the group of fourteen seated around the open fire; no disturbances occurred, and he once more cleared his throat, running his fingers through the curly brown mop on his head.

“I have summoned you here today for your final examination.” For a moment, chatter progressed among the group, some questioning what he meant by a ‘final examination,’ and after a second glance, silence took over again. “Moving on… The fourteen of you have advanced through your courses with ease, rising through the ranks of your respective classes. You were hand-chosen by your mentors to reach this stage in your lives.”

“Master Hinju, what is this final examination?” One student piped up, a stalwart expression coating her pale features. “We’ve had plenty of tests, but this is the first that I’ve heard of this…”

“Curious as always, Leilana,” Hinju replied with a nod. “That is correct—you have had many of these examinations, using your time to study magic and overcome obstacles placed before you.” The man cocked his head to the right and smirked. “But how often have you been sought out by the Headmaster himself for one of them?” Leilana grew silent, tucking a loose strand of her shoulder-length dark hair behind her ear.

“He’s not wrong…” one of the students mumbled.

“I guess this is the first time we’ve had someone like Master Hinju try to teach us…”

“Your examination on the night of emptiness will be a test of your overall skill level and valor.” Hinju rose to a stand, extending his hand up towards the evening sky. “As Maesters and Arcana, you know that under the blessing of an innovative and invisible moon, you will be guided by none other than yourself. I chose this night specifically for you to give your all.” The students turned to one another in silence before continuing to listen to their Headmaster’s words. “Two by two, you will duel one another. The winners of each respective battle will progress towards the title that you each so crave—a chance to grow closer to becoming a Warlord.”

Leilana’s eyes widened at the statement, and she clutched the golden-encrusted grimoire in her arms closer to her chest, the metal vines lining the book pricking her fingers. So, that was the prize of winning a duel. Seemed simple enough.

“Would anyone like to volunteer for the first battle?”

From the group of fourteen, a boy with neck-length dark brown hair tipped his beret and rose to a stand, confidence clear in his amber eyes. “I will.”

“Ah, so the mighty Lancett Lune is our first up for battle.” Hinju nodded in approval. “I expected no less. Do you wish to choose an opponent, or shall I have the stars choose for you?” Lancet briefly turned any signs of contempt on Leilana after looking over all his possible choices at least once, and the girl met his gaze before returning a small smirk. Lancet turned to Hinju once more, a hand on his hip.

“I leave my fate in your hands, Master.”

“Very well.” Hinju closed his eyes and ran his fingers along the silver crystal at the tip of his wooden staff, the jewel illuminating a smoky gloom. The students never averted their eyes from the man, watching as the crystal’s haze began to flow over another boy seated on a log. Once he had caught notice of the beam above him, a grin upturned on his face and he shot up from his spot, his blonde hair bouncing along with him.

“Yes!” he exclaimed gleefully before brandishing what appeared to be a rapier from the sheath at his side, twirling the hilt between his fingers. “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at fighting you, Lancelot! The day has come!”

“Lancelot?” Lancett laughed at the comment before he took hold of the sword at his side, pointing it at his opponent. “Take it easy there, Kindall. I’m not some knight. One day, I’ll be a Warlord. But right now, we’re both just knaves in the field of magic.”

“Begin!” Hinju commenced.

The two boys charged for one another at the call to battle, rapier and sword interlocking, the clashing metal harmoniously in sync. Lancett shoved Kindall back with his hand, causing him to stumble before regaining his stance in time to block an oncoming strike. Kindall thrust his hand out, miniscule shards of ice rushing through his palm, cutting into Lancett’s skin before melting. Lancett’s body became shrouded in a douse of flames faster than Kindall could process, the heat and cinders hazing his vision.

Kindall leaped from the line of fire and swung his rapier, sharper icicles accelerating from the tip of the blade. Lancett cut through the shards with his sword as he boosted himself forward off his right foot, ducking under another shard before slamming his sword onto the ground. Kindall barely had the time to react when a cataclysm of earth sent him off his feet and up into the air. He gripped to a tree branch and pulled himself up, bouncing on his right then left foot in an anxious manner.

“The hell is he doing?” one of the male students exhaled. Leilana’s eyes narrowed as she kept her focus on the noble battle before her. Something about the method that the boys seemed to be taking was a little profound, as if they were slowly beginning to seep into a fractured state of bloodlust.

Kindall held up his rapier with both hands and cast down a streak of lightning at Lancett. Lancett cringed, the narrow impact sending quivers down his back. Once he had found an opportunity to strike, Kindall swung from the branch and pierced through Lancett’s defenses, knocking him to the ground. He quickly regained his footing afterwards and extended his sword forward as Kindall was rushing to him again, a swell of dark energy ensnaring the boy and locking him in place, hovering above the ground in a magenta-shaded bubble.

“Hey!” Kindall tried to slice through the bubble, to no avail. When that failed, he attempted to kick and punch it, and when his efforts came to nothing, he groaned and decided to just take a seat inside of his solitary confinement, arms crossed in a huff. “Damn! I was so close!”

Lancett sighed of relief, falling on the ground, hand over his pounding heart. “That was close… I was afraid I was gonna run out of stamina…”

“Excellent work, Maester Lune. Victory is yours,” Hinju stated, laying a hand on Lancett’s shoulder. Within seconds, the torn flesh on his face and body began to mend and close once more, as if the marks were never there.

“Thank you, Master,” Lancett replied, grinning.

“That was awesome, Lance!” One of the girls piped up, now on her feet, both hands curled into confident fists. “You’re so strong!”

“That was impressive,” Leilana agreed.

Kindall grit his teeth, anxiously rocking his right leg up and down. “There he goes again, winning the hearts of all the girls… why can’t I ever get that lucky…? I’m handsome enough, I’m strong, and I’m fun and I’m confident too, just like him… maybe I should just dye my hair or something…”

Hinju stepped up towards Kindall’s little prison and patted it a few times with his staff, the bubble bursting and causing the boy to hit the ground face-first. Kindall sat up, nearly glaring at the man before tapping his finger against the dirt, his free hand still pressed against the ground.

“Vanity does not win hearts. Nor does it appeal to those that you do seek out for guidance—it shows that you have some weakness in yourself.” He rested a hand atop the boy’s head, and a warm light washed over Kindall’s body, healing the wounds that he sustained during his duel. “But those flaws about yourself do improve your perception on what you want to improve on.” Hinju extended a hand to the boy and once Kindall had a solid grip, he pulled him to his feet. “You did admirably yourself, Mr. Mandrison. Do not take this as a loss, rather as an experience.”

“T-Thank you, Master. I will, definitely.”

“That goes for all of you,” Master Hinju continued, “When in battle, or throughout your lives, certain obstacles that you must face are not to be taken with a heavy heart. Every step forward is something that you are meant to grow from. Now, who would like to go next?”

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

My current book can be found on Amazon and NOOK! The Final Lesson is, I’m hoping, set to be released in late summer!

https://www.amazon.com/One-Left-Behind-Magic/dp/1533690448

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-one-left-behind-shakyra-dunn/1123913689?ean=9781533690449

 

Where can we find you online?

My Website: http://shakyradunnauthor.wixsite.com/seerofwords

My Review Page: http://burningmasses.shakyradunn.com

My Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SeerofWords

My Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/shakyradunn

My Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15350089.Shakyra_Dunn

My Amazon Author Account: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01H1BAPWS

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

Part of it was a lack of patience in wanting to pursue traditional publishing, and the other was fear of rejection at the time. But now that I’ve spent six months in self-publishing, I feel that I would do better in the traditional field. It’s got to be worth one try.

 

Any parting words for writers?

It may sound cliché, but never stop doing what you love. Your dream is yours alone, and once it is set in your mind, don’t stop fighting for it.

Author Spotlight: J.A. Bennett

In my ongoing “Author Spotlight” series I present to you author J.A. Bennett.


Author Spotlight: J.A. Bennett

familyToday I’m fortunate to present J. A. Bennett author of Music and the Tree Who Loved Her.

 

Hi Jaymee, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and grew up in Australia, the child of eccentric parents who loved to travel and hated school. We never had much money. I have three brothers and two sisters, but my parents were very creative when it came to stretching what little we had. We travelled around in a painted bus called the Cosmic Cruiser, and carved totem poles, really big beautiful ones. Sitting under these, with my dad watching the sunset, I developed a love of the still, quiet majesty of nature. Those days will always live within me, the clarity of the blue as it turns to gold, the soft, pink blush on the horizon, searching always for the first star to make my wish.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing as long as I’ve been reading. It all started when my parents decided to buy the entire stock of a second-hand bookshop. Helping to carry thousands of books into the house, we had to stack them on the noggins of the walls. You see, my dad built the house as best he could, and didn’t want to waste money on inside cladding. It is so hot in Australia, there was no need for it outside of convention. Therefore, the beams in our walls were visible. These proved the perfect place to store all our new books until my parents found a shop to rent. I will never forget walking from room to room, and reading the spines of so many books. Ten at the time, I would pretend to read the big ones, but it wasn’t until I really read Magician by Raymond E. Fiest that I fell in love with writing.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

Apart from Orson Scott Card and Raymond E. Fiest, I owe my writing career to poetry, not mine, but rather certain poems I stole, and recited to my parents as my own. I will never forget how proud they were that I was such a good poet, they would tell everyone. When I saw how affected by my words they were, I started to write my own. My greatest success in poetry came when I presented an original poem to my grade school teacher and she said “So, which book did you steal this from?” It was all she said, and the first time she revealed that she had known all along my poems weren’t my own. Except, this one was my poem. To this day, I still remember it:

“Silky black spiders dwell on top of the bathroom beam,

Glossy black coats all ready for Halloween,

My nightmares and flowing, constantly going, this night of Halloween.”

I’m not saying it was a good poem, but it was mine and wonderful, erudite Mrs. Crawly thought it wasn’t!

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

Music and the Tree Who Loved Her is my debut novel. It’s a standalone speculative epic fantasy novel of 100k words. Green was a seedling as proud as any conqueror … so begins the magnificent tale of the indomitable spirit of one tree, who after losing everything, finds himself in the middle of a deep, intricate and wondrous adventure.

Prince Green is a Prince of the Forest no longer. Living alone on the prairie, ignored and shunned by his own kind, he finds comfort in the gossip of the savanna grasses, and company in the stars at night.

He doesn’t realize that the ache under his bark comes from loneliness until he saves his mortal enemy’s child – a newborn dragon maiden – whose sweet kisses have the power to rebuild a shattered world, or destroy it.

Music and the Tree Who Loved Her is a fairy tale for adults which shares the story of the living world of Symphony, where mountains, trees and rivers are all heroes, combating love and hate, to restore music to their silent world.

I have two other novels in the pipeline, retellings of my two favorite fairy tales, The Little Mermaid and The Twelve Swan Princes.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

Literacy and speculative epic fantasy.

 

What authors influenced you?

Raymond E. Fiest and Orson Scott Card as I mention before, but also Anne Mcaffrey and her Ship Who Sang series, and Tolkien just to name a few. I spent ten years reading – from ages ten to twenty, all the books from my parent’s secondhand book shop. My sisters and I would often snuggle up in the loft of our enormous barn, and read together. Passing the book on to the next, before its pages could even get cold. Sometimes even sharing the same book and fighting over who lost the other’s place.

 

What are you currently reading?

I am reading books by indie authors such as myself. Notably, The Cosmic Dentist by Andras Skinboy, Collective Retribution by S. Edwards, and They Move Below by Karl Drinkwater, all great writers that deserve a break.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Yes, I write every day, at least two thousand words. Writing is a muscle, and you must work it.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Actually, I don’t because, as you say, it influences the tone of my words. When I write I really am not on planet earth anymore, writing as much as reading, transports me to into these worlds.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

My lyrical style has remained, but, overtime, I have hewed my grammatical and punctuation skills. This is something that you can’t wing and you must learn and practice; things like how to use speech marks, proper use of capitals etc. I still tend to leaved -ed off words, so that’s something I must proof read for. We all have our quirks. I was homeschooled by eccentric parents, so I never had formal study to teach me these things, so I still get it wrong, but less often.

 

music-and-the-treewho-loved-her-5How do you create the covers for your books?

As I have limited money, I am a stay at home mum, I create them myself, but I do think professional covers are the way to go as they sell books and hope to have one of my own soon.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc.)?

I am a movie and T.V buff. If I wasn’t reading as a kid, I was watching videos. We lived in the middle of nowhere with no reception, so every week my dad would take us to the video store and we would rent fifty or so movies for 1$ each. We never had the money for new releases so I have pretty much seen every B-grade movie ever made. I saw and loved, Westworld the movie, long before it was a T.V Series. I think my love of film is reflected in the cinematic style of my writing.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

The Ship Who Sang by Anne Mcaffery. I never read anything so beautiful as that little ship braving her feelings and learning to love and live. It is why my characters are not human either.

 

How do you market your books?

Facebook, twitter, and I am now starting to advertise via amazon. Self-promotion is a learning curve and I am still very wet behind the ears.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Green was jealous of their Windguise, he had none of his own. He was stuck under his bark by the dove’s corruption. If he went anywhere, he walked. To date, not very far, but that was okay, he liked the savanna – the stars shone bright here and the grass wasn’t too prejudiced. And of course, there was Cephisus, who brought him extra water in the dry season, and shared Greenworld gossip against the rules.

I feel this excerpt captures the tone and style of the story very well.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I shopped Music and the Tree Who Loved Her to every agent on the planet (who repped my genre), after a year of rejection, I decided to self-publish. It really is a unique story, outside of any trend, so I understand why they turned me down. Agents want originality if there is a preexisting box to stick you in. I will endeavor to fit in a box with my next novel, but no promises! I don’t suggest anyone else create a novel where the heroes are talking trees, ambulant mountains, or sassy little rivers, if they want to make any money!

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

Music and the Tree Who Loved her is exclusive to Amazon and Kindle. I priced it at .99 cents in the hopes of reaching the largest audience as possible. Here is the link to amazon.com: Music and the Tree Who Loved Her. I will be releasing a print copy in the weeks to come.

 

Where can we find you online?

Here for Facebook.

Here for Twitter.

Here for GoodReads.

family-halloween

Any parting words for writers?

I gave up on Music and the Tree Who Loved Her, even unpublished it, until one day I googled the name of the book and discovered that someone had not only read Music, but had been so inspired by it, she had drawn the characters and posted them on DeviantArt. What was most amazing was she had depicted them as I saw them. Her sadness, that the book had been taken down, and her recreation of the characters that lived in my mind, renewed my faith. So, I republished and here I am. I believe in, Music and the Tree Who Loved Her, seeing how much someone else did as well changed everything for me. So, don’t give up, you never know when your writing will change someone’s lives, or that someone will change yours.

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

Author Spotlight: Patrick French

Throughout 2017, I will be showcasing two authors per month. These will be interviews with the author including info about their current work and ways to follow them on social media. My hope is to bring new voices and talents for you to enjoy and get to know.

In the first of an ongoing series of Author Spotlights, I present to you author Patrick French.


Author Spotlight: Patrick French

img_74824360308305Today I’m fortunate to present Patrick French author of “Fire at My Feet.”

 

Hi Patrick, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for the opportunity. Not the easiest question but here we go. I have had a few different career paths all interesting and educational in their own respective ways and all related to sales. Currently I am a sales executive for a very prestigious motor dealer on the lower south coast of South Africa. With a family to provide for I currently don’t have the luxury or time to concentrate only on writing, although I am aiming for that to change. I was born in Johannesburg in 1985 and have two siblings. At age ten my life changed completely as my parents divorced. My mother who is originally from England, went back along with my siblings and me. I won’t go too much into that. I did my schooling in the UK and travelled between the UK and South Africa a few times while finding my place in the world, some sense of belonging. Which thanks to my beautiful wife Rebecca and our amazing children I have found peace and purpose.

 

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was ten, I have these books which I have kept over the years which are full of lyrics and short stories. I have always loved the ability writing gives you, the ability to dive into a world that you have imagined and created.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

After my parents divorced I needed an escape. I found that putting my feelings down on paper helped, like a diary of sorts. In turn that grew into something much larger.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

It is a novel and yes it’s part of a series. The title of my current project is Fire at My feet. It’s a story of redemption and the road leading up to it, although the descent into redemption is much more fitting. It is the story of two brothers, Peter and Michael. After an accident involving Peters wife and child caused by his brother Michael, life changes for the worst. Peter can no longer live with what has happened at the hand of his brother and takes his own life. While Michael sleeps he has these visions of hell, with his brother’s soul trapped for the rest of eternity. Michael believes that he can change that, with no known evidence that hell does exist he still does what he can to get there to save his brothers soul.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I honestly don’t have any preferred genre, I like to write what comes into my mind and what I believe will work and have a solid story, whether it’s love, war or deception. It all depends on the feelings I have and what direction I want that specific story to go in.

 

What authors influenced you?

I can’t really pin point any authors out, that wouldn’t be fair. From the top of my head, I thoroughly enjoy Stephen Kings work, who doesn’t. I also enjoy Robert Ludlum and Wilbur Smith, those are just a few of many.

 

What are you currently reading?

Fire at My feet. Nothing at the moment. I am currently planning the second book of the Fire series.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Currently only when I get the opportunity. A few days a week sounds about right.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Actually yes but only on certain chapters. It all depends on the direction that particular chapter will be heading.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

It has definitely improved. As I have grown so has my experience with life and everything it involves, same as the next person. With everything I have learnt and continue to learn, it enables me for the better, which then gets scattered like words on a page.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

15095077_951849084920529_8659489120682004202_nMy covers must have feeling. The cover for Fire at My feet for example is the story itself in a picture, in a way.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

I don’t have a single favourite book. I have many. It’s all on the story and characters of each individual tale. I enjoy the Dark Tower series and Dreamcatcher by Stephen King, Then I enjoy Wilbur Smiths Triumph of the son.

 

How do you market your books?

The only way at the moment is on social media, there is a Facebook page for Fire at My feet which I share, thank you for liking it by the way. I share a lot on Facebook groups and Twitter.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

As I gather the energy to pull my eyes open I look down. It is very difficult to see; my feet are just a faint outline. I look back up with the smell of fire and brimstone burning the inside of my nostrils, consuming my every breath, making my eyes water which impairs my vision further. I must push on.

I begin a steady pace forward. I can feel a burning wind pushing me back, as though trying to block my way. I turn my head and catch a glimpse of what looks like wings on my shoulders, burning away with the searing wind. The wings feel normal. They actually make me feel comfortable as though they have always been there. I can hear what sounds like the weeping of children, perhaps the gnashing of teeth; the sounds seem to echo all around me sending shivers down my spine.

In the distance I see something that brightens up the darkness. The light it emits resembles that of my brother’s old lava lamp as it lit the walls red, with the wax changing the way the light hit against them. It also reminds me of the nights when Peter and I were kids. We used to stay up telling each other ghost stories, just to see whose was the scariest, or who would have nightmares. Those are great memories, but memories that fill me with a great sadness. I can feel a tear fall from my eye, as it reaches my cheek, it dries up as though it never was.

I carry on toward the light and feel the heat coming from it. I have never felt a heat like this. Suddenly the air around me gets very thin and I begin having difficulty trying to catch my breath. Relax and control your breathing.

I manage to pull myself together, but it still feels like something is pressing against my chest. I drop to my knees and feel as though I have failed. I have come all this way just to fail. No! I shout to myself, I will push forward.

I push myself to my feet and hear screaming and shouting. I recognise it; I remember it. I continue forward and the light makes way for what look like pits of darkness from which the smoke of the tormented seems to bellow. As I get closer it feels like a fiery oven with what seems to contain an unquenchable eternal fire, with a thirst hell-bent on nothing but destruction.

I come to a ledge from where the light and screaming originates. I look over; he is here. I have found him. His screams are going through me, screams of pain, but he is not moving. I am confused and move in closer. As I do I hear a deep trembling voice shouting. The screams seem to be coming from the flames that surround him.

“HALT!” the voice echo’s, so loudly the other noises become but a faint whisper. His head starts to lift, his eyes are as black as the darkest night, yet at peace.

“This is your doing,” he says, but now he is speaking in his own voice.

“Why, brother?”

“I’m so sorry Pete,” I weep.

“Why did you let them burn!” he screeches.

The sound resonates all around me as my lungs and eyes are consumed by darkness.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I definitely am an indie author, in the sense of being the creative director of my stories/books, from the very first inkling of an idea to conception then completion and beyond. I must be very hands on with my work. I like to ensure it is happening and being done as the story should be.

 

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Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

Fire at My feet is currently free, I really want to get feedback on the story and the characters, I’m really looking for collected reviews on the site where it is available.

 

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on the Fire at My feet Facebook page which has my email on the page https://www.facebook.com/PFrenchFAMF/ and Twitter @Author_PFrench

 

Any parting words for writers?

Thank you for the opportunity and your time. Go ahead and check out Fire at My feet. You can find it at www.inkitt.com, just search for Patrick French or Fire at My feet. Like the Facebook page which you can find at https://www.facebook.com/PFrenchFAMF/ for more information and any upcoming news on the Fire series.

Changes To Come

It’s been an amazing couple of years and now it’s time to revisit the blog. I’d like to offer more engaging content in the coming year and hope to keep you coming back for more!

I’ve been posting about three times a month and that’s going to increase. Every Monday morning a new blog post will be published in 2017. Some weeks more posts might be published but we’ll see how it goes. But for now dear reader, I commit to you new posts every week on Monday.

I also intend on presenting a new author every month in the (Almost) Average Author Spotlight. These writers might not be someone you know but that’s the point–to introduce a new author to my audience and hope you find new and interesting books to read.

Another feature I’d like to include is reviews, especially of indie authors however it will include traditionally published authors as well. I don’t read as much or as fast as I’d like so these might be an irregular element of the blog in 2017.

And finally, I’d like to include more guest posts. There’s never enough exposure for writers and I’d love to use this platform as a way to help. Hopefully we’ll all get to meet new writers and maybe by the end of the year, we’ll have met our new favorite author!

These are most of the changes I intend on implementing in the coming year. Stick around, there’s gonna be a lot to discover!

Release Day!

Normally I’d offer a new story on the 15th however the story this month will be in a couple days. Today is release day! My first collection of stories is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and on iBooks. The 16 stories in the collection include 14 previously published here on the blog that were revised and edited and I feel much stronger than their original versions along with 2 unreleased stories.

It was not a spur of the moment decision to create the anthology but something I spent a lot of time considering. I don’t want to release something unworthy of your time. I believe what I’ve put together is an excellent representation of my work and I hope you’ll agree.

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It’s available on all e-readers and is only $1.99. If you decide to buy a copy I respectfully ask that you leave an honest review. Good or bad I’d love to hear your comments. Thanks!

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