The Ministry Blog Tour

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TheGrayTowerTrilogy

I am excited to be able to participate in The Ministry Blog Tour in celebration of the completion of the final book in Alesha Escobar‘s Gray Tower Trilogy, Circadian Circle. Congratulations Alesha! It’s phenomenal to be able to rub shoulders with such smart productive indie authors. It inspires me to work harder and to believe in my writing. Thanks Alesha for being an inspiration and for producing a quality piece of fantasy literature.

The Gray Tower Trilogy is a mash-up of magic and espionage, set in an alternate WWII era where the Nazis join with warlocks and vampires to gain the upper-hand, and the Allies employ wizards to stand in their way. The trilogy follows the exploits of Isabella George, an alchemist trained by the Gray Tower and hired as a spy by British intelligence. After losing friends and colleagues to the horrors of war, she’s ready to retire. However, a vampiric warlock stalking her, and a deadly secret from her past, only draw her further into a world of danger and deception.

If that doesn’t sound like a fun and interesting story line check out what others have to say about it:

“In addition to the variety of allies and enemies Isabella George encounters in the first book, an array of new characters and situations await a reader in Dark Rift. Some of the characters are warm while others are of a most sinister and evil nature. I even found myself having some difficulty falling asleep at night after one particular encounter. While I will not disclose any of the major plot elements, I will reveal that there are several plot twists for which there is little or no warning. While there might be extremely subtle hints, Alesha keeps her secrets well hidden.” (Goodreads Review)

“This is a fantastic finale to a series of espionage and fantasy woven into a complex plot with well-developed characters and intriguing story line. I could not put this book down! There was tension, suspense, magic, love, mystery, and more over an exciting conclusion. Circadian Circle gripped me to the very end.” (Samantha LaFantasie, Made To Forget)

Go for a chance to win some loot by signing up for the Ministry Raffle. Come on, you  know you want to! Have fun! And congrats again Alesha!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The-Towers-Alchemist-Kindle-cover-600x800-72dpi1The Tower’s Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1)

Dark-Rift-Cover-low-rez-singleDark Rift (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #2)

Circadian-Circle-CoverCircadian Circle (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #3)

Awesome Sauce, Zombies, and Self Publishing Dos and Don’ts

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I’m excited to welcome Matt (Awesome Sauce) Williams back to my site. For those of you who don’t know, he is an ubber productive author and blogger whose taste for topics knows no bounds. He recently published a zombie novel entitled Whiskey Delta which he first serialized on his blog. Today he’s here to tell us about Whiskey Delta and his most recent foray into self publishing. Pull up a chair, you just might learn something. Talk to us, Awesome Sauce.

1. For those who don’t know, give a brief run down of WD. What was the inspiration? When did you publish?

Whiskey Delta is basically my take on the zombie apocalypse. After reading and watching numerous franchises on the subject, mainly for the sake of research into what makes the genre work, I realized they all had something in common beyond undead creatures. Without exception, they all focused on the lives of your average citizens, or on a motley crew of people who were thrown together by necessity. Always these people were unprepared, untrained to deal with their circumstances, and had to improvise and struggle to stay alive. Frankly, I wanted to see a story where the people fighting the undead were trained, prepared, and knew how to deal with it, even if they still had a hell of time doing it.

Naturally, I was inspired by the recent upsurge in popularity that zombie franchises have seen in recent years. 28 Days Later was a big one, as wasThe Walking Dead, the miniseries and the comics. I also gained a lot of knowledge from the miniseries Generation Kill, which chronicled the 1st Recon Battalion’s exploits during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Between all that, I had a strong desire to write about zombie killers who know their trade, warts and all!

I began publishing it chapter for chapter in the spring of 2012, and finished it just shy of the summer. I took the plunge and decided to make it available to the public one year later, in April of 2013. While I still wanted to finish up work on its sequels and edit it before release, an unexpected shout out from Max Brooks kind of forced my hand and I uploaded it to Kindle without serious edits. The result was pretty rough, but still contained the story I had created without alteration or distortion.

2. WD is self-pubbed, which I think, aside from being brave, is the smart thing to do these days as it leaves control in the hands of the author. That said there are pros and cons. Tell us what they are in your experience.

Self-publishing means cutting out the middle man – or the gate-keeper, depending on how you view publishers – and being able to take your work directly to the public, which is a big plus. This is especially useful considering that traditional publishing is losing money on a daily basis due to the expansion in social media, direct publishing and print-on-demand houses. As a result, they are taking less chances on new authors. Lucky for us, the source of the problem also presents a solution.

On the downside, there’s the issue of being completely responsible for your own success. As an indie, you are responsible for all of your own editing, publicity and promotion. As such, you really have to commit to a long, hard slog and hold out while people realize you exist and see the merits in your work. You also have to contend with the perception that indie works are substandard, amateurish works that aren’t worth people’s time or money. Overcoming this is not easy, but hopefully with time, you’ll establish a readership and distinguish yourself from the herd.

3. You’ve discussed the good and not as good news about WD on your site since self-pubbing it. Tell us what you feel you’ve done right/wrong. What would you change if you could?

Well, one should always be happy that reviewers are finding nice things to say about your work. And every review has said that they liked the story, but were bothered by the quality of editing. Naturally, I feel like I was wrong to publish it so soon and worry that these reviews which call into question the quality of the work will affect long-term sales. So even if I do release a 2nd edition that’s error-free, the damage has been done.

However, I remember quite clearly why I put the book up when I did. I knew that a nod from Max Brooks might trigger interest in my book and send some people over to Google to look for it. And I knew that interest would quickly fade if people couldn’t find it. I have since come to the conclusion that the fact that it falls under the heading of zombie fiction is what is attracting readers, but at the time, I was convinced word of mouth promotion from an established author would make all the difference.

So really, barring some kind of prescient foresight on my part – which would have told me to just wait until it was editing before publishing, or drop the sequels and focus on the original – I can’t imagine having done things differently at this point. Live and learn, I guess!

4. What advice would you offer other self-pubbed authors?

Best advice I could give was the advice that was given to me over the years. I kept it in point form for the sake of simplicity:

  1. Do what you love, the rest will take care of itself with time.
  2. In the meantime, keep your day job. Until such time as you’re making enough money to support yourself, you’ll need that steady income!
  3. Don’t wait to be discovered. Use the tools that are at your disposal to promote yourself and make things happen.
  4. Do your homework. Before you can put your idea into proper written form, you need to do your homework and learn what works best for you.

5. Which of the characters in WD would you most want to befriend in real life? Why?

Tough question, but I think the Mage would be a very good person to meet in real life. He’s enigmatic, even to me, and I know for a fact that he’s the kind of person who’s had some very interesting experiences. Not only that, but he keeps you guessing. You’re never quite sure how much he knows, or whether or not he’s a good guy…

You can catch Matthew Williams here:

Stories by Williams

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NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop

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What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them.  I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to three other authors you can explore!

Epcot - 30th Celebration FinaleI send my thanks, admiration and gratitude to fellow indie authors Melanie Edmonds and Matthew Williams for inviting me to participate in this event.  I found Melanie online a few years ago when I stumbled upon her serial called Starwalker.  I was immediately impressed by the quality of her writing and her very presence.  I’m still impressed.  Since then she and I have become great colleagues and co-contributors of Yuva, an anthology about space travel and colonization that Matthew Williams and I conceived of several months ago.

Matthew “Awesome Sauce” Williams is the most wickedly prolific author/bloggers I’ve ever known.  I envy his verve and talent.  He is an absolute inspiration and the the person I look to when I need a little push to keep writing.  We are currently co-editors and co-contributors of the Yuva Anthology.  More to come on that later.

In this blog hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek).  We’ve also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write: the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book? 

My novel is entitled An Unproductive Woman.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

You know what?  I don’t know the answer to that.  At the time that I wrote An Unproductive Woman I’d been watching a lot of Nigerian dramas most of which (at the time) typically centered very dramatically around family and marriage matters.

3. What genre does your book come under?

Hmm.  I can think of three that fit An Unproductive Woman perfectly: Women’s Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, and Contemporary Fiction.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I love that question and it is very difficult to answer.  Let’s see… hmm… well…

I see Adam, the man most people hate but end up rooting for by the end, played by maybe Keith David or Delroy Lindo.

Asabe, is a bit more difficult.  Perhaps Theresa Randall (15 years younger) or Sharon Leal.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One man’s failed faith and secret quest to right old wrongs threatens to destroy his life but instead brings him full circle.

Sheesh, I’m out of breath saying that.  How about you?

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

An Unproductive Woman is self published and is currently available through Amazon or CreateSpace.  For the record, starting today and for the next two weeks you can sign up to win a signed copy of An Unproductive Woman over at Good reads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

An Unproductive Woman by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

An Unproductive Woman

by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Giveaway ends April 17, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m not certain how long it took me to write the first draft, it being so long ago, but from start to finish including editing it took me about two years.  Then after about a year of trying to get a publisher, An Unproductive Woman sat in a box for about ten years before I finally decided to do something with it.

Am I aging myself?

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Honestly I can’t make any good comparisons, but I have found my book on this list on Goodreads.  I am in the company of some great cultural reads such as Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Khaled Housseni’s The Kite Runner and another of his books, A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I’ve read Housseini and I think he is a genius.  I’d never compare myself to him, but I am definitely honored to be on that list among some literary heavy hitters.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

What I can say for certain is that at the time when I wrote An Unproductive Woman I was working out a lot of internal demons in terms of my family and also spiritually.  Writing An Unproductive Woman was cathartic and odd as it may sound, I gleaned a lot of strength from the titular character Asabe, and I learned loads about forgiveness by taking Adam through the paces.  I was emotionally invested in each of the characters even when they were behaving badly.

10: Are you writing anything else that people might be interested in?

I’ve hinted that I wrote An Unproductive Woman several years ago, at least fifteen.  While I feel that the story is timeless, I’m not.  Ha!  Today I am working on a project called The Hinterland Chronicles.  I am  unsure how many installments there will be, but I am planning on at least three short novels (about 75,000 words each) all taking place in the same “world”.  The Hinterland Chronicles, or some version of it has been with me for at least five years and has come to me in disconnected bits and pieces here and there.  Only recently did any of it make sense to me and I recently stated committing words to paper.  Drop back by here sometime to check out the progress meter over in the right hand margin.  I also plan to post shorts from this WIP on occasion to keep appetites whet.  The Hinterland Chronicles will be an entirely different genre than An Unproductive Woman and is best characterized at this time as dystopian SF.

Who’s next on the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP?

So glad you asked! Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on Works in Progress and New Releases! Happy writing and reading!

Alesha Escobar – She is the talented author of the Gray Tower Trilogy.  The Tower’s Alchemist, which is the first book in the trilogy is currently available for free on Amazon.  Check it out if you like fun, adventure and historical fantasy.

Courtney Worth Young – She writes YA paranormal fantasy, is a coffee aficionado, geek, and voice actress.  Hmm.  Voice actress.  Her novel After the Woods will debut in May 2013, so keep your eyes wide open and mark your calendars.

Nadine Ducca – She went from medical translation to writing.  That makes sense to me.  And it’s a good thing.  Nadine is the author of Serving Time which will soon be available.  The cover reveal was just a few days ago so hop on over to her site to see what it looks like.  Should be exciting, yeah?

Sallie Lundy-Frommer – Sallie is a co-poetess and author of the paranormal romance Yesterday’s Daughter.  Check her out if you dare.