Author Spotlight: Brent A. Harris

Today I’m crazy excited to present Brent A. Harris, author of A Time of Need: A Dark Eagle Novel. Brent and I met over Twitter (along with the Inklings Press team) close to two years ago and I couldn’t be more happy for him with his recent release.

 

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

Thanks Jason! I appreciate you having me. I’m a writer of alternate history. For those of you not familiar with the genre, it’s when you take a detail from our past and change it to produce a different world than the one we know today. So far, my writings in the genre have earned me a Sidewise Award nomination for my short story Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon. And a pretty amazing review for my novel A Time of Need, from Amazing Stories.

 

How long have you been writing?

My daughter recently uncovered a story I’d written in grade school. She laughed at me.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

Can’t say for sure. I supposed it’s because I buried myself in books. Because I read a lot, I found that I expressed myself better with the written word.

 

A Time of Need Front CoverTell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

A Time of Need is the first book in the Dark Eagle series. As an alternate history novel, it asks, “What if George Washington had fought for the British?” What we see is an altered path for the young nation. A land where George Washington isn’t the father of our country. In fact, the very idea of the colonists’ winning their independence hangs in the balance. You’ll have to read the book to see if those rebellious Yanks can still win.

 

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

I love science fiction and alternate history. But I’ve written steampunk, horror, and fantasy.

 

What authors influenced you?

Too many to list them all. Highlights include: Bradbury, Brackett (most known for penning the first draft of Empire Strikes Back), D.C. Fontana (she wrote some of my favorite Star Trek episodes), Harry Turtledove, Michael Crichton, Hemingway, Joan Didion, and so very many more.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading this one book but we’re not serious. I’m reading a few others too. So long as I don’t shelve them all next to each other, I should be fine.

 

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

I typically write every day. Lately, that hasn’t happened because I had no idea how much work goes into marketing your book. I want it to be successful, I want it to sell, and that means getting out there every day and engaging with people, talking with them and making sure they know who I am. I’ve been told readers don’t read books, they read authors. Maybe the readers of your blog can tell me if that’s true or not. I’d like to think that is. I’m adorable.

 

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

I MUST listen to music as I write. It affects the story, it affects my mood. It’s inspiration. I listen to Lindsey Stirling. Movie Scores. Classic Rock. 90’s Grunge. It depends on the piece I’m writing. I once wrote a story listening to Oingo Boingo’s Insanity on infinite loop. It hit the perfect chord.

 

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

I’m a Masters student of Creative Writing. I enrolled in order to strengthen my writing and to meet other writers. I think we can always get better. Always improve.

 

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

A Time of Need is available online wherever books are sold: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million. Here’s a handy link: www.mybook.to/ATimeofNeed

My other short stories are available through Inklings Press, Rhetoric Askew, and Quantum Soul. My Amazon author page will take you straight to them (be sure to Follow me!): www.Amazon.com/author/BrentAHarris

 

Where can we find you online?

My website: www.brentaharris.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Authorbrentaharris

Twitter: @BrentAHarris1

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Jurassic Park is my favorite book. In an alternate world, I was eaten by a dinosaur, I’m sure.

 

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

You can read the first few chapters for free through Amazon’s Look Inside feature.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Read. Read. Read some more. Read with an eye for improving your writing. Read for fun. Read for self-enrichment. Always be reading.

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Author Spotlight: Drew Cordell

Today I’m fortunate to present Drew Cordell, author of Absolute Knowledge and Absolute Zero.


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

Hey Jason, I’m a new science fiction author, and my first novel, Absolute Knowledge was published on January 2nd, 2017. I enjoy PC and board gaming, and cycling in addition to writing and reading. I’m currently finishing up my undergrad degree in business with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing in one form or another my whole life. I started writing seriously, with the hope of completing an actual novel in late 2013.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I found myself drawn to the same set of books over and over again when I read. I thought, why am I drawn to the same books that I’ve read multiple times when I’ve got a backlog of new books to read? I tried to identify the elements in those books that always keeps me coming back, and incorporate those into my work. I wanted to create a book that others would enjoy as much as I enjoyed writing.

 

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

Absolute Knowledge is the first of a cyberpunk trilogy which takes place in a dark, futuristic New York City set in 2146. The country of New York is divided into three physical tiers and the faceless Government is working to establish Absolute Knowledge.

Working as Thinkers, the citizens of the Slums are paid for their thoughts and given vouchers needed to sustain their cost of living. Since the Government controls almost everything, most citizens are forced to either work as Thinkers or turn to a life of disconnect from society under the harshest of conditions.

Book two, Absolute Zero, was published in May of this year.

 

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

Science fiction, and science fantasy. My favorite genre to write in is a blend of hard science fiction (a focus on scientific accuracy and technical detail throughout the work) and cyberpunk which is a dark future with high tech and low life. I’ve also recently tried my hand at science fantasy, a blend of science fiction and fantasy elements that incorporate magic that wouldn’t be possible scientifically. It may seem like a big contradiction from hard science fiction, which I love, but it’s fun to write about magic that’s infused with technological innovations.

 

What authors influenced you?

I was heavily influenced by Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, Ernest Cline, and Andy Weir. I love reading science fiction, horror, and fantasy.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather, Linear Shift by Paul B Kohler, and finishing up some beta reading/editing for a couple of other author friends.

 

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

I try to write every day. Whether it’s working on a short story, my novel, or a new blog post to entice readers on my blog. I always try to do something to advance my writing or connect with new authors or readers.

 

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

Absolutely! I listen to a lot of metalcore and djent which is super heavy and energetic. I’ve listened to metal almost exclusively for ten years now, and it always helps me write.

 

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

I’ve definitely improved since I first started. My writing used to be clunky and my characters were inorganic. I’ve tightened my prose, world-building, and have worked to get rid of bad writing habits that held me back. Practice and a lot of coffee are great for the aspiring author.

 

Absolute Knowledge CoverHow do you create the covers for your books?

I hired Steven McCorry to do the cover for my novel, Absolute Knowledge. Steven was also the vocalists of one of my favorite bands (Exotype) so it was a great experience to get to work with him on the design from start to finish. I’d highly recommend him for any design project. He also designed the cover for the second book of my trilogy, Absolute Zero. You can check his portfolio out at stevenmccorrydesign.com Tell him I sent you, and he’ll give you a discount.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing?

I listen to a lot of metalcore and djent when I write. It’s heavy, energetic stuff. My main writing playlist has a dash of electronica in it as well (good for writing cyberpunk scifi after all). Of course, movies and TV shows that I’ve seen also have influence. I remember the magic of seeing Star Wars for the first time as a kid, and that magic has undoubtedly influenced my work in one way or another.

Here’s a link to my writing playlist \M/ : https://open.spotify.com/user/emperion6/playlist/5O7csf71kxwke8Y1UWofzH

 

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

My books Absolute Knowledge, Absolute Zero, and their prequel novella, Paragon.EXE, can be purchased on Amazon in print and digital format right here: https://www.amazon.com/Drew-Cordell/e/B01NBIQ7CG/

 

Where can we find you online?

You can connect with me on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter:

http://drewcordell.com

https://www.facebook.com/DrewCordellAuthor/

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What is your favorite book and why?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, with 11/22/63 by Stephen King as a close second. Both books are absolutely fantastic in different ways and I’ve read each of them four times already.

 

How do you market your books?

I’ve tried a variety of methods including both paid and free options. I’ve found the best way to sell books is to connect with others and forge lasting relationships and offer value to them through my blog post, advice, or help on their projects without expecting anything in return.

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

Sure!

“I continued to fire at the man, whose armor continued to hold, but he kept his focus on Caeldra. He was swinging the axe with precision and agility despite his massive size. I watched with horror as the axe connected with Caeldra’s stomach and she was flung several feet back. There was no blood, no sickly sinking sound as the axe cut through her stomach, just the distinct sound of metal on metal and an explosion of blue sparks.

“I’m alright. Keep shooting, Jake!” she screamed through the earpiece as she struggled to gain her feet. The man continued toward her as I continued to shoot at his back and head. I was shocked at the amount of energy his armor had absorbed. After loading a new magazine, I started advancing.” – Excerpt from Absolute Knowledge.

 

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

Publishing as an Indie author was an easy choice. I didn’t have to wait around for agents, and had unlimited flexibility in every aspect of my publishing. In the end, the crowd still votes on the best-selling books with their hard-earned dollars, and no one is going to promote your work as hard as you do. Besides, if you self-publish, you still have the opportunity to be picked up by a publisher down the line if you choose to go that route.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Be persistent, and don’t give up! I’ve got several unfinished novels that I’ll probably never touch again, but when you have a great idea, don’t let anyone stop you, work hard, and you’ll have a great book when you’re done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, and be prepared to pay for editing and a great cover.

 

Last Free Day

Happy Labor Day everyone!

If you live in the United States, many businesses are closed today in observance of this holiday. I hope you get to enjoy it. Maybe by reading a few good books?

I wanted to remind you about the free ebook deals I’m running which expire today.

You can get all 3 of my books for nothing but you gotta hurry because the free deal ends today.

Grab the books at the links below and feel free to share with others who might enjoy my dark short stories or my young adult scifi novel.


2  (Almost) Average Anthology

 

516qlpryx7l  Moments of Darkness

 

Print  The Selection


Even if you don’t read them right away, get the books while they’re free so when you have some time, they’ll be there ready to go.

Thanks so much for all your support. It’s because of readers like you I get to do what I do.

“The Selection” – Chapter 1 Preview

PrintMy book The Selection has received some amazing reviews and I’m so pleased readers are connecting with the story. If you’ve not had a chance to read what earned me a nomination (and win!) for best SciFi Author in the Reality Bites Book Awards, here’s the entire first chapter to test drive my fast paced, action-filled story. I hope you enjoy it!


 

Mina giggled. Eron ran across the playground. “Mina, I love you! Will you be my girl? You’re so beautiful–” He tripped on a rock and face planted on the red soil. When he stood, Mina had fallen over with laughter.

“Aw, come on Mina, that’s not funny!”

“Yeah it is! Look at you!” She pointed at his shirt, stained red.

“Yeah, whatever,” he said.

They were on morning recess, expending boundless energy while teachers relaxed. The children were more excited than usual at the long siren blast indicating the Selection was underway.

“Ten years from now when you turn eighteen, it’s gonna be your turn at the Selection,” Mina said. She held out her hands with fingers splayed. “Ten!” she said.

“Yeah? So what? It’s how we become men,” Eron replied. He puffed out his chest and Mina giggled again.

“Don’t kill anyone, though, ’cause that’s bad.”

Eron cocked his head. “Why would I do that?”

Mina’s grin faded. “‘Cause that’s what you gotta do. I don’t want you to, though.” She approached him, her red curls bouncing with each step. “I kinda like you, too, Eron,” she whispered in his ear as she kept walking. His face turned as red as the Anastasian sun. The bell rang and the children ran for the school doors.

At the afternoon recess, Mina gathered with a group of her friends, all girls. Eron considered joining the group, but so many girls together at once intimidated him. Instead, he sat by himself and watched the other students playing. There were more boys than girls in his school. After the Selection, however, he knew that would change. Afterwards there were always more adult females than males.

“Why aren’t you with Mina?” a voice behind Eron called. It was Bello. He liked the larger boy, even though he tended to be mean.

“Oh, hey Bello. I don’t know. She’s with her friends. I don’t wanna bother her.”

Bello sat next to him, his large frame casting a shadow over Eron. “So what? Are you scared? Don’t be a baby.”

“Shut up, Bello! Just drop it, ok?”

“I heard you tell her you loved her. Oooh, you love her, don’t ya, Eron?” Bello stood. “Hey Mina,” he called. Mina and her friends looked over. Eron shoved his face in his hands. “Mina, did you know Eron loves you? He loooooves you!”

Mina’s friends laughed.

“Be quiet, Bello! Don’t say anything!” Eron said.

“Eron loves Mina! Eron loves Mina!” Bello sang. Mina’s friends laughed, and others on the playground joined in.

“Come on now, stop laughing. Bello, please stop. You’re embarrassing him,” Mina said. Bello laughed harder.

“No, I’m not. Look,” he said, pointing at Eron. Eron shook, veins pulsing on his forehead.

“You’re not embarrassed, are you?” Bello asked. Eron looked up, his eyes red and glistening. He opened his mouth to reply, then stopped.

“Seriously, Mina, he loves you!” Bello said.

Eron faced Bello, the larger boy standing a head taller than him. “Shut. Up.”

“But it’s the truth.”

Eron clenched his fists.

“What, are you gonna hit me?”

“Eron, please. No violence. You don’t need to do anything. It’s ok,” Mina said, her calm voice soothing to Eron.

“Yeah, you don’t need to do anything,” Bello said, mocking her. Eron turned and walked calmly away.

“That’s it, Eron, walk away like a coward,” Bello said.

Eron ignored his taunts and left the playground, Mina trailing after him.

“Hey,” she said. He’d made it to the school doors and stopped.

“What?” he replied.

“Don’t worry about Bello. He’s just a bully. No one thinks bad about you. Promise.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Eron, I do like you. Don’t let him get to you.”

The boy paused, then grasped the door handle and left her standing outside.

That was the last time he spoke with her during grade school. Other than an occasional smile and a hi, he couldn’t muster enough courage to talk to her.

Bello’s taunts continued and intensified. They were separated several times on the playground, Bello nearly beating up the smaller boy each time. Mina tried to intervene, but her actions seemed to make it worse. Whatever she said to Bello didn’t help Eron.

By the time they reached high school, Eron’s crush on Mina deepened.

“Why don’t you just try talking to her?” his close friend Connor asked. He’d known Connor since they were little, but they didn’t begin to hang out until eighth grade. As freshmen, they’d become best friends.

They sat in Eron’s room playing chess.

“I can’t, Connor. Not now.”

“Why not? She’s just a person like me. You talk to me. Why not her?”

Eron shrugged. “It’s different. She’s a girl and you’re not.” Connor sighed.

A loud siren blared.

The Selection had begun.

Eron jumped. “Timo!” he said. His older brother Timo was now eighteen, old enough for inclusion in the Selection. He’d been anxious about the event, and now the sirens called him to action.

Eron and Connor raced from the room, nearly slamming into Timo.

“Timo, it’s time,” Eron said. His brother looked at him with wide eyes, a blank expression on his face.

“Yeah, I guess it is. Goodbye, Eron. I’ll see you when you get there.”

Their mom hugged her older son. “Goodbye, son. Be safe. Do what you must. You can do this. Don’t forget your knife.” She kissed his cheek and he nodded.

Timo marched out the door and fell in line with the rest of the boys.

“Sorry, Connor, I gotta go,” Eron said. He sprinted after his brother.

“Timo! Wait! Wait up!”

His brother didn’t turn around. Eron followed as far as he could until the soldiers in gray uniforms forced him back, telling him to go home.


 

You can get The Selection on Amazon for only .99 through the end of August. Get your copy today!

AugSaleBlack

 

Reality Bites Book Awards: Final Round

The Reality Bites Book Awards has come to its final round and I’m still in it! I’m in the category for favorite “SciFi Author,” a category I was nominated in because of my book The Selection.

If you have a Facebook account, would you please consider adding your vote? My fans, friends, and family have been awesome in their support in getting me this far. One more week of voting, can you get me to the finish line?

It’s been overwhelming seeing all the help I’ve received. I’ve started nicknaming my amazing support team “The Nuge Brigade” because it sounds pretty cool and they’re encouragement has been awesome!

If you can spare a moment, please add your vote through the link below. I humbly thank you for your help.

Reality Bites Book Awards: Final Round – SciFi Author (If for some reason the link only takes you to the Event page, scroll down until you see the “SciFi Author category”)

Thank you again for the massive amount of support. It’s because of you I am where I am.

Author Spotlight: Greg Alldredge

Welcome to another installment of my ongoing “Author Spotlight” series where I bring new and talented authors to your attention. Today’s guest is author Greg Alldredge.


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

The other day I had a professor tell me I had a unique way of reinventing myself every few years. I like the sound of that and I might steal it. Writing is my fifth career. Before that I was a teacher, an actor, a plant manager for a medical manufacturing company, and a sailor for twenty years. At one time or another I sold insurance, appliances, paint, and delivered pizzas all since I was eighteen. I would like to think I’m a well-rounded person, pun intended. Though I have lost some weight and I am not nearly as round as I once was.

 

How long have you been writing?

Since the early 80s. “Lights in the Night” is the first novel I have completed, but I have been writing in one form or another since the early 80s. It just took me a long time to finish something.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

When I started in the early 80s it was for school or work. There was nothing fun or exciting about that writing. Now, I think for everyone there is a time when something motivates you to do something else. I had an idea that just couldn’t not be written down.

 

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

The only book I currently have for sale, I like to call a proper novel. That’s how I explain it to my friends so they don’t think I wrote a pamphlet. When I originally thought of the idea it was a standalone book, but the deeper I got into the story the more I enjoyed writing it and I wasn’t finished with the story after one book. That’s how it became Book One of the Ostinato Series. I am currently halfway finished with Book Two but other obligations have sidetracked me specifically writing a couple of short stories for upcoming anthologies.

 

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

I prefer Science Fiction. I believe in science fiction you can write with a flavor of the other genres. Though I am going to write a straight suspense, horror, and I have an idea for a Western. I know I should pick a genre and stick to it, but right now I’m writing to please myself and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, there are plenty of people in the world willing to do that for me.

 

What authors influenced you?

So many, but I think Douglas Adams, William Gibson, and Parke Godwin. I’m also a theatre teacher so I must add Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, and Samuel Beckett.

 

What are you currently reading?

“Man of Two Planets” by Judith Rook.

 

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

I still work full-time as a teacher, so I write every day just not on my novels. Normally I think about writing more than I write. That sounds like I procrastinate a lot, and I guess I do, but normally when I sit down to write a book I have the story mapped out, including much of the dialogue. This way I can do a couple thousand words at a sitting. This last summer I completed my last year towards my Master of Theatre Education degree. That had me writing a lot, just not the kind I wanted to be writing.

 

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

Yes, depending on the scene I’m writing, is the music I will choose to listen to. I feel the rhythm and tempo of the music help guide me when I’m writing the words for certain scenes.

 

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

I finish things now. Over the decades I started a couple of novels and for one reason or another life’s distractions caused me to look away and never finish. Now I am motivated to finish what I start. Maybe it’s an age thing, I don’t know, I just feel ready to finish my novels.

 

Cover2smallHow do you create the covers for your books?

I use online software and royalty-free images off the Internet.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing?

I think everything influences my writing. I think my theatre studies and being an actor helps me to tell the story I want to tell. I think learning about history and the styles of writing before the modern era also influences my writing. I also feel traveling enriches the soul, plus it gives me great ideas for stories.

 

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

For now I only sell on Amazon though I am looking at the other platforms to increase my reach. Here is the link for the kindle version: http://amzn.to/2fyvxuA

 

Where can we find you online?

Amazon Author Page

www.greg-alldredge.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

What is your favorite book and why?

“Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” I love the writing style. There are other books I have read but that one matched my sense of humour.

 

How do you market your books?

Some might say not well enough. Mostly through social media and a few advertisers. I do suck as a salesman, I probably need to find someone to help me sell my books and pay them a percentage.

 

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

Not at the moment, they are still in rough draft and everything I’m working on needs work.

 

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

I wanted to get my work out there. My first book I honestly didn’t even think about sending it to a publisher I wanted to make a name for myself and control my own work. For the second book, I’m considering sending it to publishers but I’m still thinking that over.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Sure, don’t expect friends or family to buy your book. Don’t expect people you think care about you, to understand what and why your writing. It may sound cynical, but you cannot control the actions of others, if you don’t expect them to do something, you can never be disappointed when they fail to do it. Peace out!

 

Reality Bites Book Awards

Hey everyone, this is gonna be a shameless self-promo style of a post.

RealityBitesI was recently nominated in four different categories for the Reality Bites Book Awards! I’m nominated in “Best Horror Book” for my collection of dark tales Moments of Darkness as well as “Best Horror Author.” I’m also nominated for “Best SciFi Book” for my novel The Selection for which I’m also nominated for “Best SciFi Author.”

I’m excited to see that others have found my work worthy of nomination. I’m up against some serious competition too!

If you’ve got a moment and a Facebook account (all the polls are on Facebook unfortunately) could you please consider voting for me? You can vote for more than one author per category so if you feel others deserve a vote as well, please vote for them.

I have the links below. Please consider supporting me and voting for me. If you can share this post with others for their support I’d sure appreciate it. Voting ends Saturday August 12th.

Thanks!


Reality Bites Book Awards Polls

Best Horror Book

Best Horror Author

Best SciFi Book

Best SciFi Author