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

Goodreads

Face­book

Twit­ter

Google+

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.