Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Authors Show - Part III

Here it is, the interview with The Author’s Show.  It’s available for only 24 hours.  Should there be more demand, I’ll look into buying the interview for further review.

It came off exactly as I was advised, very professional sounding.  It’s about fifteen minutes long, and all the “umms,” and “uhhs” and silences were removed.


Proves once again that I have a voice made for newsprint!

Enter To Win!

Is there anything better than free!?
Free, to a good home—Enter to win a copy of TEARS OF HEAVEN today!  Click here for details!

A child of angels and humans, Del is a sarcastic, fast-talking, dangerous, and unpredictable demon hunter. She and her partner Marrin take their orders directly from the angel Ahadiel. They obey, or they’ll be destroyed. It’s not the job Del wants, but it’s the job she has.

Normally, banishing a rogue demon back to Hell wouldn’t be a problem. Del and Marrin have a few centuries of experience. It’s all part of the job description. But when Ahadiel orders them to take down three demons at the once the job goes from bad to worse. The demons, with supernatural powers and their own agenda, have kidnapped children for their own nefarious ends.

With angels breathing down her neck, children to save, and demons gunning for her blood, Del is running out of time.

That’s exactly where she wants to be.

Book 1 of the Flames of Perdition series.


You can also buy TEARS OF HEAVEN from any fine book or ebook retailer including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Author Interview - Matthew Williams

The Cronin Incident by Matthew Williams
Describe your hero, or heroes.

For starters, Elon Musk. His ability to commit to ambitious plans and then make them happen has never ceased to amaze me. Jeff Bezos is another, since he too is a major innovator who is making change happen, especially where it counts (i.e. space exploration!) Last, but definitely not least, there’s Chris Hadfield. There is a man who really has done it all. In addition to being a pilot and the first Canadian to command an ISS mission, he has gone on to become an inspirational speaker and science communicator.

Tell us about your main character.

The main character of my story in Jeremiah Ward. He is a former, disgraced investigator whose struggles with addiction led to the tragic deaths of two witnesses. For his failure, he is now a convict laborer serving out a lengthy sentence on Mercury’s mining colony. He grew up on Mars, in an era characterized by post-scarcity, transhumanism, augmentation, and no limitations. After years of chasing down human traffickers, smugglers and assorted scum, he turned to the designer-drug Glo as a means of escape. What he craves now, however, is a shot at redemption.

What type of setting did you place your story in?

The story takes place in the late 23rd century, where humanity has colonized the Solar System. From Mercury to the Kuiper Belt, settlements exist on every planet, moons, major asteroid, and in rotating cylinders around the Sun’s Lagrange Points. But between the Inner Worlds of Venus, Earth and Mars and the Outer World (the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus), a divide exists. Whereas the Inner Worlds are bastions of development and post-Singularity technology, life in the Outer Worlds is much more rugged and modest. There are those who fear that the line that exists between the “Extros” (highly-advanced people) and “Retros” (traditional people) could someday lead to open conflict.

What inspired your story?

The idea was largely inspired by my writing for Universe Today. After writing extensively about the Solar System, I began to contemplate what life on its various planets, moons and bodies would be like. At the same time, I had been thinking of writing a story about what human colonization efforts would look like, and what kinds of forces would drive it. In the end, I brought these two sources of inspiration together and The Cronian Incident was born!

Is your story a part of a broader work or series?

The novel is part of a planned trilogy which is named the Formist Series. The name refers to the faction in the story (the Formists) who are dedicated to terraforming Mars. As you may imagine, they are at the center of many intrigues in this series.

In four lines, tell us about your story.

Jeremiah Ward was just another convict serving out his sentence on the mining colony of Mercury. But when a member of a high-profile Martian faction goes missing on Saturn’s moon Titan, the disgraced investigator gets an offer he can’t refuse. In exchange for looking into the disappearance of this man, his sentence will be commuted and he will get a second shot at life. But the deeper Ward digs, the more he realizes that this is not just a missing’s person case. What he finds is a conspiracy that was centuries in the making, and a shot at redemption that could end up costing him his life.

More than four lines, sorry. That is the shortest description I could give ;)


Who is your favorite author or book series?

1984, by George Orwell
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Rainbow’s End, by Vernor Vinge
Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond
A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright
Rendezvous with Rama and 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
The Sprawl Trilogy, by Williams Gibson
The Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov
Accelerando and Halting State, by Charles Stross
The Dune series, by Frank Herbert
The Revelation Space series, by Alastair Reynolds

What are you working on now?


At the moment, I am busy working on the sequel to The Cronian Incident. Titled The Jovian Manifesto, this book picks up where the first left off and should be available in the near future!

Matthew Williams
About the Author
Matthew S Williams is a professional writer and former educator who lives on Vancouver Island with his wife and family. His articles have been featured in Universe Today, HeroX, Popular Mechanics, Business Insider, Gizmodo and IO9, with topics ranging from astronomy and Earth sciences to technological innovation and environmental issues.

Follow Williams at:

storiesbywilliams.com
castrumpress.com

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Read Chapter 1 from TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER

Why aren't you buying Rob's books?
You may or may not be aware, but right now you can preview the first chapter for both Tears of Heaven and the sequel Hell Becomes Her from my website.

If you prefer direct links, here they are:


A preview chapter of Company of the Damned should be available sometime in September.  Also, a reminder of some dates:

Now—Listen to the interview on The Authors Stories Podcast
Next week, Tuesday, August 22ndThe Authors Show Broadcast (available 24 hours only)
Next month, Friday, September 15thHell Becomes Her RELEASES!
Later 2017/Early 2018—Company of the Damned, the final chapter for Del will release!


Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or hear in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teaser for HELL BECOMES HER

In honor of the cover release today for Hell Becomes Her, here’s a little teaser text from Chapter 5—Directing:

It can’t end like this, Del thought as the men took up their positions.

She knew they’d lost. It was only in Hollywood that a hero with two guns could take down a room of bad guys armed with automatic weapons. In the really real world, even with Marrin as her back-up, they might get off a few shots, she might even be able to follow through on her threat to shoot Freyja, but a moment later, there would be a couple hundred bullets tearing through the two Nephilim and they’d be dead. Del tried to keep her hands still on the SIGs.

Jordan needs me, she thought, there has to be something.

She glanced from Freyja to the two men in front of her. Their guns were shouldered, pointed at her and Marrin, and didn’t move or waver. Their gazes were hard and fixed. For all their Western-wear, they were decidedly professional now, and she and Marrin were stuck.

There has to be something, Del told herself again. There has to be a better way.

Del wanted to look behind her and see if the kicked chair had actually evened the odds a little. If it hadn’t, that meant six men total, one with a handgun, five armed with high-quality automatic weapons. The two in front kept them in place where they knelt. Everyone was at least an arm’s distance away from Del and Marrin, the result of experience and smart training. The two Nephilim were fast, faster than any mortals and perhaps faster than the Dokkalfar, but not faster than bullets, and certainly not faster than automatic weapons’ fire. The four behind them might be overkill, but they’d get the job done.

Dead was still dead.

There had to be a better way.


Also, here’s the full layout, back and front covers, for Hell Becomes Her!


HELL BECOMES HER - Cover Reveal!

I somewhat proudly present the new cover for Hell Becomes Her!  Big, big thanks goes out to Jennifer Givner of Acapella Book Cover Design.  Jennifer was incredibly easy to work with, and a very nice person of impeccable character!  You can also see the very nice things that Joe Clifford had to say about Hell Becomes Her.  Joe is an amazing author and you should all go buy one of his books!


Finally, if you want to read the first chapter of Hell Becomes Her it’s totally available.  Click here and enjoy!


Monday, August 14, 2017

More Dates and The Authors Show

Here’s some additional dates for you to remember:

Tomorrow, August 15thHell Becomes Her cover reveal!
Next week, August 22nd—The Authors Show broadcast (available only 24 hours)
Next month, Friday, September 15thHell Becomes Her RELEASES!


Here’s your teaser for the cover:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Andre Polk Memorial Anthology

That's a fantastic cover!
Earlier this year, the Space Opera: Writers Facebook group lost one of our most enthusiastic members.  Andre Polk was that rare, motivated, friendly, interesting, interested kind of person that lifts everyone up just by being.  He was working on his first novel, and if it was anything like Andre, it would have been wonderful.  Tragically, he passed away, and the loss was felt by the entire group.

On of Andre’s points for discussion was his Question of the Day (QOTD).  The QOTD posts, as they were known in the group, always made you stop, think, and consider—exactly the kind that prompt lengthy discussions, pushing for deeper thought and consideration.

The members of Space Opera: Writers joined forces to honor Andre with a collection of short stories and poetry to pay homage to our fallen friend—Question of the Day: The Andre Polk Memorial Anthology.  All the proceeds from this anthology will go to his family. The book should release in September, including my own short-story submission: Visions of ARES.


More information will be provided when it is available.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Hell Becomes Her - Cover Blurb

Locked, Loaded and Ready!
Cover blurb for Hell Becomes Her!  Enjoy!

IT’S NOT THE JOB SHE WANTS . . .

For centuries, Del has been responsible for banishing demons back to Hell.  These days she takes her orders, does her job, and goes home to kiss her daughter Jordan goodnight.

But when Jordan is kidnapped, Del learns the world is even more dangerous than she believed.

Lost in the deserts of Northern Nevada, confronted with myths and legends hungry for blood, Del may have to fight an entire army to get her daughter back.

It’s all in a day’s work for a half-angel.

. . . IT’S THE JOB SHE HAS


Hell Becomes Her will re-release Friday, September 15th, 2017!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Covers and Books and Dates—Hell Becomes Her Re-Release

Well, here we go again!

Things are moving fast and faster.  Working with a great set of people can have that effect sometimes.  So, here are some dates that you can mark on your calendar and start counting down:

New cover art for Hell Becomes Her will release August 15th.

The re-release of Hell Becomes Her will happen late September 15th.


Here’s your little sample:


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Interview With David Ellis

Card key . . . but why?
For tonight’s interview with yet another fantastic author in the ongoing Author Interviews series, I’m ecstatic to be introducing you all to RobRoy McCandless and his fabulous fantasy fiction world.
Enjoy the show and have a relaxing one folks 

Hi there Rob, thank you for joining us to chat about your written works and helping us to get to know you a little better, along with sharing your writing passions and influences.

Thanks David. I really appreciate your time and the opportunity.

Let’s start with your urban fantasy debut novel “TEARS OF HEAVEN”, which you just recently re-released last month. Please tell us more about the paranormal themes behind your novel, the background behind your lead characters and what conflicts they will face across the course of their adventures.

People think they want to meet an angel, but they really don’t. The awful truth is that meeting an angel would be the scariest, most life-altering moment of any mortal’s short existence. How much worse, then, would it be to be a half-angel, Nephilim, and have to interact with angels on a regular basis. According to Biblical myths, the Nephilim were great, terrible heroes who proved too strong, and too ambitious. TEARS OF HEAVEN explores what happens after the Nephilim, specifically Del and her partner Marrin are taken in hand, and given the task of keeping the world safe from demons.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Authors Show - Part II

Memories of a simpler time!
Early last month, I was contacted by The Authors Show.  This article is Part II of that experience.  It appears there will likely be a Part III as well, so stay tuned.

This isn’t my first rodeo, so I went into this one with eyes wide open.  The early communications mention that this is wholly a marketing experience, rather than a podcast or vlog interview.  That translates into, “You’ll be spending money, and it won’t be the $2 menu at Denny’s!”

The old rule of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” generally applies to most of these kinds of “marketing opportunities”.  Other groups will contact authors, and provide lengthy emails laying out all the reasons I should market—but no list of services or price list—and a statement saying that if interested, respond again.  This is most likely to determine if the email is real, add you to their email marketing list, and continue to wear you down with all the reasons you should invest with them.

The idea is that if they have so much background, then CLEARLY, they’re good and you’ll see results.  UNFORTUNATELY, if something seems too good to be true, it likely is—you’re being fleeced.  A bit of research indicates mixed reviews for such email solicitors, and most follow ups end with prices that are so outrageous (for indie/small press authors) and little to no guarantee, that it wasn’t worth my time to send the first email.

The follow-up contact and interview with Don McCauley, the Host of The Authors Show was very interesting.  I was sent a list of questions to complete and return, and then asked to supply ten to fifteen of my own questions to be asked during the interview.  The questions Don provided were fascinating and well worth answering yourself, even if you never do this kind of interview in the future:
My brand?  Being awesome!

1. What is your branding statement?
(If you do not have a branding statement, see this short video: http://bit.ly/2kzHosQ)

2. What is the PRIMARY benefit, above all others, that your potential reader will gain from reading this book?
(Be very specific. Please do not answer with 'good read' or 'page turner' or some other worn out, overused phrase. Be concise and avoid generalization.)

3. If you had to compare this book to any other book out there, which book would it be?
(Remember: The audience does not yet know you. It is very important that you reference something they might be familiar with to effectively and powerfully communicate what your work is about. You are NOT saying you are 'better than' or 'just like' this comparative, but are somewhat the same in a very general sense, to give the listener a point of reference.)

4. Hundreds of thousands of books come out every year. Why should someone buy THIS book?
(What is it that sets THIS book apart from ALL those other books in the same genre or category? What will the buyer get from you and ONLY you that simply cannot be found elsewhere?)

5. Who is your target audience?
(Be very specific. Gender? Age range? Geographic area? Primary interests? What benefits does the reader hope to gain from buying a book like this book?)

6. What are your marketing goal(s)?

7. In regards to this book in particular, what have you found to be your biggest marketing challenge?

I spoke with Don directly, and mostly it was him telling me what to expect, what I needed to have ready, etc.  Don is very professional, and it’s clear he’s not only been to the rodeo before, he organizes and puts on a helluva a performance.

And now to get some of that marketing goodness!
On the assigned day, I had some technical difficulties with my computer, which delayed the interview while I sorted them.  Don was professional the entire time, although it’s clear I was the amateur here.  Once we got going, Don laid out a lot of guidelines that might be overwhelming.  The actual, finished interview product is only about 15 minutes—but the interview itself takes as long as it’s going to take.  You can pause, “umm” and “uhh” all you want, stumble over responses, or even give responses a second or third attempt.  I did more than my fair share of tripping over my own tongue, but everything came together in the end.

After we were done, Don walked me through the next steps which included watching the website for my show to come up, so I can market it appropriately (it will only be available for 24 hours, and then they’re “archived”.  If you don’t pay for one of the plans, then your interview is essentially deleted.  You DO NOT receive a copy.  However, there are “affordable” options:

Bronze Plan $129: This includes an MP3 copy and 3 featured broadcasts.
Silver Plan $299: 6 months archiving + featured rebroadcast, 6 months daily marketing outreach & weekly publicity, and the MP3
Gold Plan $399: 12 months dedicated web page, 12 months archiving + featured rebroadcast, 12 months daily marketing outreach & weekly publicity, and the mp3

Then we come to the top, the Gold24 Plan at $499.  This gives you 24 months of everything above, the MP3 copy, and a “video” over the interview, which is your book cover and headshot and 5 additional images of your choice.  They also promote via a larger social media platform for the 24 months.

All in all, I don’t feel like they’re trying to cheat or rip anyone off.  The Authors Show
Now and forever!
is providing a product (a professionally edited 15-minute interview) and depending on how an author is marketing (and, of course, what your marketing budget is) this can work out pretty well.

I DO NOT recommend this for brand new authors trying to get their name out there.  It’s not that kind of service.  This isn’t the place to blow your entire marketing budget and hope you’re going to earn it back.  For more advanced indie/small press authors who have been around the block a few times, you know best what level you’re going to be able to afford, the potential return on investment, and how to push your stuff.


I enjoyed the interview process, and certainly The Authors Show gave me some additional things to think about in terms of marketing.  I’m not certain if I’m going to invest further.  I’ll wait to hear how I actually turn out in the interview first.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hank Garner Podcast Interview

Hey!  You know this guy!
There aren’t enough good words to say about Hank Garner and The Author Stories Podcast.  We’ll have to borrow some from Lewis Carroll.  The interview that I did with Garner was a thoroughly enjoyable maxome experience.  He’s been doing this for some time now, and you can see form his site that he’s nabbed some incredibly frumious names in the industry.  Garner looks like a former Marine, the kind of uffish cigar-chewing hard-nose you’d expect to look at a wound and say, “I ain’t got time to bleed.”

And the wound would obediently close up and give him no more trouble.

In contrast, Garner has a frabjous voice that makes angels jealous—as the angelpunk author, I can assure you this is true.  I did the math.

So, give Hank (and me) a bit of your time to listen to this excellent discussion of reading, writing, inspiration, perspiration and, of course, Tears of Heaven.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Books Go Social Interview

Well, that's what I heard!
Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
Most people see something of a nerdy-guy, which I certainly am. They’re always shocked to find that I have tattoos.

How did you get into writing?
Tolkien’s The Hobbit was given to me as a gift and really opened the castle gates of fantasy to me. Suddenly, there was a whole world of swords, magic and fantastical creatures to meet. Immediately after I finished, I took all the money I had and biked down to the bookstore to buy everything else Tolkien had written. I had no idea I was getting the seminal fantasy series: The Lord of the Rings.
I’m compelled by any world where dragons can make an appearance. They don’t have to show up, but the idea that they can? Please and thank you. I also like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger that most of the men around. Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else. So my preferred genre is fantasy, but I’ll take urban fantasy, science fiction and even historic fiction off the shelves for those reasons.

What are your top 3 books of all time?
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, A Different Light by Elizabeth Lynn, The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?
Straight from the Bible. I was doing some research on demons for a demon-hunter series I was thinking about, when I stumbled on a passage from the Genesis that talked about Nephilim—the children of angels and humans. They were described as giants among the mortals, and there was quite a bit about them that I hadn’t realized was in the Bible, as well as a few of the non-canonical books, like Enoch. From there, it was a short run to a back history of an immortal, doomed from her birth, and forced to work for the highest power there is.

How long did it take you to write this book?
TEARSOF HEAVEN started all the way back in 2000. I finished it and had it ready for publishing in 2012.


The Dragon Test—Building a Compelling World

What this story needs is more dragon!
Dragons are awesome, awe-inspiring, and absolutely alliteratively artistic.

They’re also impossible.

That’s what the Dragon Test helps you understand.  Think about your story, your world, or the story you want to write and the world it takes place in.  If you don’t have one, think of your favorite book, that universe, and its rules.  Ready?  Let’s take the test!

Can this world contain a dragon?

That’s it!  No right or wrong answer here.  Yes or no suffices as 100% A++plus.

Now, let’s explain the results.

Unless you pull a Peter Dickinson Flight of Dragons or an S. Andrew Swann Dragons of the Cuyahoga, it’s really difficult to explain how dragons can overcome the physics, not to mention, the evolution necessary to create all the elements that make up a traditional dragon.  Not just the giant, scaly creatures, but also fire-breathing, flying (which usually means six-limbs instead of four), extreme age, and (in some legends) the ability to speak.  These are all so improbable as to be rendered nearly impossible.


Hence, no dragons in our world.
Cowboys?  In space?  How'd they get there!?

And there lies the conundrum for any world-building in genre fiction.  Dragons can, and should, cross genre, just as Swann’s Dragons of the Cuyahoga straddles urban fantasy and science fiction dystopia.  Fantasy has the strongest market on dragons, with epics like The Hobbit right up through Harry Potter.  But science fiction has its own, like Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern, and even an episode of “Doctor Who.”  Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy took a left-turn with his “draccus” stripping away the cool elements in favor of a more realistic creature around which myth has grown.

All of these authors answered “Yes” to the Dragon Test, and built a world that could sustain and support their dragons.

By contrast, there are no dragons in To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby Dick, Pride & Prejudice, Around the World in 80 Days, Frankenstein or Dracula.  In these cases, the author answered “No” and crafted the world accordingly.

This is what every author should do.

World-building is such a heady, vast, incredibly difficult task that it seems impossible from the start.  The Dragon Test establishes the possibility or the impossibility of dragons—or faster-than-light travel, or magic, or interstellar portals, or wish-granting genies, or alien invaders, or lightsabers—in your world, which tells you where your focus needs to be in world building.

Consider the dragons (and magic) in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones if you’re watching the television version).  Martin establishes early that dragons were a thing—past tense—but that they’ve long since passed from the world and into legend.  Ok, cool.  He goes further, by showing how they diminished over time into memories and nothingness.  The world Martin built already housed dragons, so it could easily manage them again, and their imminent return is hardly surprising.

By contrast, Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law Trilogy is a much more gritty, bloody, dark and
Flame on!
dismal place—but no dragons.  However, magic does.  It’s a visceral, dark, even scary kind of magic that is far more likely to kill the user, and everyone around, than it is to help.  Learning magic is difficult at best, and using it takes a visible, solid toll even on the most experienced.  Abercrombie has created a world where dragons don’t exist, but magic does, and his world sustains a realistic view of that magic.

The argument for a gray-area is certainly allowed, but the world starts to become wishy-washy and is subject to Mary Sues, Marty Stus, and deus ex machina.  The author must handwave away the realities of their world to make room for a plot-driven device so that everything fits.  These elements tend to be unsatisfying to the reader, taking away from the plot and the characters, as if the struggles and efforts weren’t necessary.  So, take the Dragon Test as the first step to crafting your believable world.  And keep in mind how the presence or lack of dragons (or any other fictional/fantastical tools) impact your history, your legends, your geography, your socioeconomics, etc. 


The moment you start writing, you are world-building, even if you don’t know it.  The Dragon Test helps give you a direction.  If your readers know, because you told them through your world, that dragons either can show up, because they’re legitimate, or they can’t, because they aren’t—you’ve done it right.