Monday, 18 March 2013

One big happy family


This is the first time I've hosted a guest post on my blog and I'm delighted to have Michael Brookes as my very first contributor. 

Michael is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and he considers himself fortunate to be able to indulge them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping. Which is good as apparently that's where many good ideas come from.

He's touring the Internet this month with his 'Conversations in the Abyss' show! So now, without further ado, let me hand over to Michael.
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First, let me thank Ken for inviting me to his blog as part of my month long blog tour in support of my latest novel release. We’ll get to that later. I first encountered Ken on the Kindle Users Forum, one of many communities that actively support indie writers. Soon after setting my own blog I started conducting author interviews, one of those was with Ken.

Why did I start these interviews? From the moment I released my first novel I discovered a wonderful thing – other indie authors. Indie authors are a friendly and helpful bunch. In communities like KUF and Goodreads they provide advice and assistance to other authors.

As a recipient of this help it seemed only reasonable that I return the favour, so I started conducting the interviews. At first I posted one a week, but quickly became ever more popular, so I expanded to two posts a week and recently to three.

Indie authors face a number of challenges. The first is writing a good story. That challenge is the same for any author, published or not. It’s the next step that differs. With a decent publisher then they will provide the required support for the book’s release. This includes a number of specialism’s, such as editing, proofreading and marketing.

Indie authors have to find these services for themselves and that’s where I thought I could help in some small way. Hence the author interviews. Doing so also provided another benefit. I’ve now interviewed dozens of authors, interesting characters in their own right, all with great stories to tell.
And now Ken is doing the same favour for me and allowing me to tell you about my new book. All because indie authors help each out. Thanks Ken!
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‘Conversations in the Abyss’ is the sequel to the 5 star rated supernatural thriller ‘The Cult of Me’
Stealing Lazarus’s miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.

There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.

Buy now from Amazon:
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BCP08JU/
US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BCP08JU/

A few of Michael Brookes' other books


For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by. With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn't even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act.

There he discovers that he's not as unique as he once thought.


A quartet of dark short stories (10,000 words) to thrill and chill.


A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Seasonal Drabbles

For the last few months I've been writing drabbles in my spare time. A drabble is a story which is exactly 100 words long, excluding the title. The stories have been posted on the kindleusersforum and subsequently used on the Indie Book Bargains site.

I thought I'd share a couple of my seasonal efforts.


Peace on Earth, good will to all trees

The big fir stood tall, watching over his siblings; mere saplings really. Heaven.

Then the men with chainsaws arrived; cutting a swathe though the forest. Soon it was his turn. The harsh metal teeth ripped into his bark. They tore through his trunk. He fell; felled. He screamed silently for his mother; Mother Nature.

He was tossed unceremoniously onto a truck with other fallen comrades.

***

Then he was standing again, but the sky was gone. No wind. No friends. His roots amputated. Glittery foreign objects weighed heavy on his branches. This was hell on earth.

“Please let me die.”


Not just for Christmas

He dropped the puppy and a big stone into the sack.

“You said you’d look after him. I’m off to the canal.”

Sarah wailed and pleaded, but he was gone.

He parked just around the corner and opened the bag.

“Sorry pup, but she has to learn.”

The puppy bit him and escaped.

No-one believed his story. He was jailed for animal cruelty once the Tetanus had healed. Sarah never forgave him. At fifteen she left home, got herself pregnant and developed a chronic alcohol problem.

And the puppy? He bought some boots, ran off to London and became mayor.


And I got a badge for my efforts!

Indie Book Bargains Drabblist

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

nobooko - a new place to hang out

I still think that the Kindle is the eReader of choice for an awful lot of people, particularly here in the UK. That's why my favourite forum at the moment is the KindleUsersForum (KUF). It is one of the friendliest places on the net for authors and readers alike. The only problem is that you can spend all day there if you're not careful.

And things might be about to get a whole lot worse! With the popularity of the Nook and Kobo rising, a sister forum of KUF is emerging.



The nobooko forum is new and it looks great. It does, however give me a couple of new problems... I need to buy some more technology and I need to get by books onto these exciting new platforms.

Maybe I'll stop going to bed, who needs sleep anyway?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

I've been tagged... I'm 'it'.


Last week Michael Brookes tagged me in a post on his CultofMe blog. Please have a look at it… it's a really interesting place!

What does being tagged mean? Well, put simply, I answer the same questions he did, but mine are about my latest book. I also tag three more authors and they'll post their answers in a week's time. Here are the authors I'm tagging, they're all worth checking out.
Paul Vincent
Kate Aaron
Charlotte Henley Babb 
A big 'thank you' to Michael for tagging me... it gives me a neat excuse to talk about me and my latest book! Here we go…

What is the title of your latest book?

My new book is called The Black Conspiracy. It’s a funny, contemporary fantasy which is the sequel to Dark Tidings. Both books help answer the question ‘what happens when ancient magic meets the Internet?’

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As I said, The Black Conspiracy is the Dark Tidings sequel. t begins exactly where Dark Tidings left off and follows the same three heroes as they try and repair the damage they've done to civilisation.

What genre does your book fall under?

Humorous contemporary fantasy.

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

I’d cast Ed Westwick as Michael, the technology whizz kid. Mitchel Musso would make a fantastic Tung, the inept thief with a heart of gold (the gold was probably stolen). Johnny Depp would be Madrick, the rather eccentric, disgraced wizard. Jennifer Lawrence would be Faith, Michael’s love interest... and interesting she is!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ancient magic has infected the Internet... is this the end for civilisation? 

Is your book self-published?

No. Both my books are with an Independent UK publisher called Ragged Cover Publishing.

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

Once I had the plot storyboarded, the first draft took about three months.

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

One reviewer described the book as a cross between Terry Pratchett and Dan Brown. I’m more than happy with that description.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

It probably makes more sense to say what started me writing, many years ago. I put it down to playing early computer adventure games combined with reading Terry Pratchett’s first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. I got a taste for fantasy, humour, magic and wizards, I just wish I had finished Dark Tidings sooner… before JK Rowling stole my limelight!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

As well as giving the reader a laugh while the world comes to an end, The Black Conspiracy explains global warming and why the rich are getting richer while the ordinary man gets poorer. What more could you ask from a book.

For a bit more information, please have a look at my Author Page.


Friday, 31 August 2012

The Black Conspiracy

The Dark Tidings sequel has been published. It's been a lot of hard work, but I think it was well worth it. It's called The Black Conspiracy and it follows on from where Dark Tidings left off. Civilisation is broken and it needs some urgent attention if it's going to survive the impending catastrophe. Here's a little bit more about The Black Conspiracy... it's available now for the Kindle.

Ancient magic has infected the Internet… is this the end for civilisation?
Amazon.com link 
Amazon.co.uk link

Previously - Ancient magic has transported Tung, a young thief, and Madrick, a has-been wizard, across a millennium. The powerful magic they brought with them was unwittingly spread over the Internet by Michael, a hacker whose good intentions far outstripped his common sense.

Problem - Civilisation simply can’t handle the unforeseen consequences of the magic and the only people who can prevent the ensuing catastrophe are the same three who created the mess in the first place.

Now - To make matters even worse, evil wizards have followed Tung and Madrick through time. They’re determined to hunt down and destroy the pair, and with them, our modern way of life. Saving the world has just got a whole lot harder.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

50 word Beer Bet

A few months ago, I had a bet with a friend... who can write a better story in exactly 50 words (the title doesn't add to the word count). But how on earth would we judge the winner? Easy, we asked members on a couple of forums to vote.

Here are the two stories...

THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM

I’d heard that, given typewriters and enough time, monkeys would eventually produce Hamlet... verbatim.

To prove it, I got a government grant and twenty thousand monkeys.

After nineteen years, one did it, but with ‘Help Me’ as the title. Close, but I’ll keep trying until one gets it totally right.

TEXAS DEATH ROOM

I leave this.

Life brought me here and here will take my life.

They follow a procedure that allows two elements of choice. A last meal. Any last words on earth. I’ve declined both. No appetite or desire to perform.

These words will do.

I’m sorry. I’m paying my dues.


They are very different types of story, but the members accepted the challenge and voted! My story was THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM... it lost! My friend got his beer, but I enjoyed the experience.

PS Comments left here in the form of votes may be taken into account... if they vote for me!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

10 Reasons to buy a book



It is not easy for an author to know what will make his or her book a bestseller. The hope is that it will mainly be down to the fantastically well written story, the thrilling plot and the marvellous characters. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more than that.

While I was wandering through various posts, forums and blogs, I collected a selection of reasons why readers buy books. I thought it would be interesting to place ten of them in a poll and see which one came out on top. I reckoned it would be a great help to authors, and me, if they could check if they hit the spot with their respective books.

The polls ran on a UK forum and on one which is mainly inhabited by American readers. Here are the results of the poll. Interestingly, the top four points in the UK and US are the same, albeit in a slightly different order

   US                                       UK
 Blurb                                                Read others by the author
 Genre                                               Blurb
 Read others by the author      Recommendations
 Recommendations                     Genre
 Cover design                                 First few paragraphs
 Price                                                 Price not included in poll
 Independent reviews                 Forum buzz
 First few paragraphs                  Independent reviews
 Title                                                  Cover design
 Forum buzz                                    Title
 Advertising                                    Advertising

There are a number of points worth noting, for example, Cover Design seems to be more important in the US. Also, readers don't rate advertising and title turned out to be a lot less important than i had imagined.

What do you think?