Tag Archives: Giveaway

It’s Giveaway Time!

Everyone loves giveaways, and I have a fondness for giving things away.

I do have a Rafflecopter linked below (WordPress STILL doesn’t allow them to be integrated on sites), however, I want to do something a bit more fun than that.

After careful deliberation and crawling through Google, we’ve come up with:


Comment with one (or two) quotes from a novel, which, without context are seemingly inappropriate/absurd.

(Click here for some examples)

You can of course comment with more than two if you so desire, but you’ll only get bonus entries for the first two. They’re worth +2 entries each.

At random, one grand-prize winner will be selected, as will five others.


Not pictured (still in the mail):  Jim Butcher bookplates 2 Sam Sykes bookplates

Not pictured (still in the mail):
Jim Butcher bookplates
2 Sam Sykes bookplates

  • 5 signed Brandon Sanderson bookplates
  • 3 signed Jim Butcher bookplates
  • 3 signed David Anthony Durham bookplates
  • 3 signed Sam Sykes bookplates
  • 2 signed Brian McClellan bookplate
  • 2 signed The Rithmatist bookmarks
  • (many) Tai’Shar Manetheren bumper stickers
  • 4 Wheel of Time info booklet
  • 3 Signed Larry Dixon art prints

The grand-prize winner will receive one of each available prize, provided they respond within 48 hours of being contacted. The five other winners will be able to pick a prize of their choice, subject to availability, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

As mentioned earlier, there’s also a rafflecopter live on our Facebook page right now. Head over to check it out. The winners will be chosen from both the comments and there.

The contest is open worldwide, and ends November 13th, 11:58pm. EST; winners will be contacted no later than November 15th.

Good luck!

Author Bio and Giveaway: Tracey Smith, author of A Summer Romance

author photo

A Summer Romance E-Book Cover

I grew up in Southern California, but as a teenager moved with my family to a small town in Arkansas. It was there that I met my husband, who had also recently moved to the state. Fate brought us both to that same small town and into each other’s lives and it is where we remain today raising our two children and living out our happily ever after. As you can probably tell I’m a hopeless romantic.

I began my writing career in 2009 with the publication of my first novel Love’s Fate, which quickly grew into a romantic series. Since that first day that I sat down to write I haven’t been able to stop. Writing is my passion and has become a necessary part of my life. Sometimes there are stories that just beg to be told.

A Summer Romance Facebook Cover Art

A giveaway for A Summer Romance will be happening from the 19th to the 23rd, with five free copies up for grabs! WordPress won’t let us post Rafflecoptors, but follow this link to enter the giveaway!


Guest Post: Interview with a Vampire: About Vampires


An Interview with a Vampire about Vampires

A guest post by Lee and Gary Jordan, the author team Phoenix

On an early evening in October, we caught up with Victor Bainbridge, a vampire who

is very British but lives in a splendid home in Spain. It was obvious from his palatial home that

being a vampire was not hurting his earning capabilities.

As the authors of Leon’s Lair, in which he is a major character, we were shown into his

study by his majordomo. The study walls were lined from floor to ceiling with books, many

leather bound and obviously quite old. Victor sat in a leather high-backed chair with a small

crystal glass on a side table, a volumous report in his lap and his right leg crossed at the knee.

Dressed in soft chinos, Italian shoes (no sox) and a black cashmere pullover, he looked self-
assured and comfortable with our visit.

He rose to greet us with a smile and offered us a chair opposite him. After a few

pleasantries and an offer of a drink. we began. We were both little nervous about accepting a

drink as we surmised what he was drinking was a dark red, viscous drink that clung to the sides

of the crystal and wasn’t the kind of refreshment we wanted.

GARY: Well, Victor, I must say you have a beautiful home. It seems being a vampire

has been a rewarding way of life. Can you tell our readers a little about how you became a

vampire and where it all started?

VICTOR: Well, Gary, there are a lot of misconceptions about vampires, many old tales

that have survived down through the ages.

Vampires have been around since the dawn of time. We are a different but similar race

to Homo sapiens. Unfortunately, over the centuries there have been efforts by Homo sapiens to

eradicate us. I think you would call it genocide or ethnic cleansing. As a result, there are fewer of

us than you.

Vampirism was first recorded in Persia. According to an ancient Hebrew text Adam’s

first wife, Lilith was a vampire. She left Adam due to his lack of sexual prowess and became

queen of the underworld. She established the race.

There are recorded archives of vampires from China in the 6th century B.C., and more

legends throughout the world, including India, Malaysia, Polynesia, and the lands of the Aztecs

and Eskimos. However, it is in Europe where our main population flourished for many centuries.

The main beginnings occurred in ancient Greece and spread up through areas known today as the

Balkans, then west and into England.

I originated the old fashioned way, coitus, pregnancy, and birth.

LEE: That’s pretty astounding. The common story goes; you have to be normal and then

bitten by a vampire, and some say you must drink a vampire’s blood. Is this just legend?

VICTOR: Absolutely not. That is the way to become newly “born,” but I am a vampire

because my mother was a vampire. She was a really sexy women and was until she died –

always looked young. Vampires can be created from Homo sapiens as you described, though

normally it is not forced but assented. It is a secondary way to keep the race alive.

LEE: She died? I thought vampires live forever.

VICTOR: Absolutely not. Mother was almost 300 years old, but she finally went to a

vampire rest home and passed on. That is just another of the myths that scare Homo sapiens into

atrocities against vampires.

GARY: Okay, but you have to admit that vampires draining people of their blood is

pretty brutal.

VICTOR: That has happened, I admit, but it is no worse than Homo sapiens decapitating

a vampire, pounding stakes through the heart or burning us to death without a trial, just on the

ranting of some fear-deranged human. How would you react to a mob pounding down your door

with hate and fear?

Victor’s eyes had become red and his cool self-confidence melted as he gripped the

arms of his chair and leaned forward in a menacing pose. We felt more than concerned at his

apparent anger.

No, I think you need to reassess your race’s actions before you accuse us of brutality.

Victor seemed to regain his calm and sat back in his chair and his eyes suddenly returned

to the deep brown they had been.

Since, the year 400 A.D, we organized with other magical and supernatural races. The

International Association of Paranormal Beings made strict rules and one was never harm a

human in anyway. We drink the blood of animals.

Granted there have been vampires with a blood-lust for humans such as Count Dracula,

whose real name was Valad Tepes Dracula, Prince of Wallachia. His slaughter of many probably

incited much of the inaccurate views people have of vampires. Of course Bram Stoker’s fictional

tale of Dracula stereotyped vampires to this day. Dracula was a tyrant, but he also liberated his

country from the Ottoman invaders. You know, he was a national hero.

GARY: I see. that is very interesting. Tell me Victor, why should humans change their

view of vampires?

VICTOR: Without going into detail, vampires have actually saved the human race

from near extinction. The Dark Ages had set man upon a course of clear apocalyptic self –

extinguishment. International Association of Paranormal Beings literally sowed the seeds that

raised human’s interest in survival and interest in science and the arts to a level high enough to

pull them out of the apathy and degradation which had caused death and destruction throughout

the hitherto civilized world. Those acts alone saved millions upon millions of lives.

LEE: That’s quite a pronouncement Victor. Would you care to elaborate?

VICTOR: Well, your readers can read more about us in your book Leon’s Lair. Victor

elegantly rose from his chair as he finished his glass of red liquid. I have matters to attend

to now, and I hope I have given you enough to create an article that your readers will find

interesting and informative.

Victor’s majordomo appeared in the room as if by magic and held the door open for us to


GARY: Thank you, Victor, for your time and very enlightening information.


Leon's Lair

What would you do if your vacation cruise ship was being attacked and you were

certain you would to be killed?

Would you fight? Would you hide? Would you try to escape?

This international thriller/contemporary fantasy is a nail-biting ride that is grisly but

somewhat tongue-in-cheek, a brutal tale of horror and the occult that doesn’t take itself too

seriously. It includes romance, continental adventure, action, suspense, and dozens of vivid

characters from around the world.

The adventure starts with The Jakarta, an elegant cruise ship sailing the exotic seas

in Indonesia with a passenger list of ninety, unsuspecting people. Jane and her best friend,

Remy, are just getting know the rest of the small group of young twenty-somethings when the

ship is attacked by pirates. However, Leon and his band are not your usual pirates – they want

something else.

Jane and two male companions escape the horror, fleeing in a lifeboat. In their flight to

escape Leon and his men, they become lost at sea for weeks, are out of water, and have nearly

lost hope of ever finding rescue when they finally catch sight of land, a dangerous rain-forested

island that seems deserted. However, their fight for survival has only just begun.

They are not alone.

Fate is cruel.

They thought they had escaped, only to find they are caught in Leon’s Lair.

Rafflecopter and Giveaway info:

Vampires Need Love Too Raffle. Raffle dates – October 28 through November 10.

Here is the Rafflecopter link – sorry, WordPress doesn’t let us embed it:



One $50 Amazon Gift Certificate

One Healing Spa Bath And Body Products Therapy Gift Basket by Furniture

Creations Open this wicker treasure chest to discover a wealth of spa delights! Spoil

yourself with soothing skin-care enriched with the goodness of olive oil, avocado and


One California Delicious Starbucks Sampler Coffee Gift Basket

by California Delicious Slow down for a cup of soul-soothing Starbucks coffee:

breakfast blend, house blend, caffe Verona or Sumatra, complimented with a

sweet bite of biscotti.

One T-Shirt with “Vampires Need Love, Too,” your choice of size and color

Five copies of Leon’s Lair 6 x 9 paperback – autographed specially to you.

Four Leon’s Lair Coffee Cup with the book cover on it and it says “Vampires Need

Love, Too.”

Twenty Two Leon’s Lair Special Bookmarks


Hello. We are Lee and Gary Jordan and we are THE PHOENIX, a multi-genre author

team. As passionate readers, loving many different genres, we don’t intend to go with custom and

stick to one. We have several novels in the works.

We enjoy getting to know readers and other authors via the Internet, love movies, and

sitting outside to soak up the Southern California sun. We live in Hollywood with our crabby

tomcat, Snickers.

Lee wrote A Whisper from Eden, A Historical Fantasy. She loves research, but is not

always content with the way things are explained. She likes to turn it all inside out and wonder

what if? Gary is a third generation Californian, born and raised in Anaheim. He has always

had an insatiable curiosity about everything. As a writing team, they wrote Leon’s Lair, an

International Thriller/Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy.

LEON’S LAIR is available in Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon

US- http://amzn.to/163AcH8


Leon’s Lair video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca0PqFNCzFoo

Like Leon’s Lair on Facebook- http://on.fb.me/HeVMQl

Leon’s Lair on Goodreads-http://bit.ly/1a7kii9

Follow Leon’s Lair on Twitter- https://twitter.com/PhoenixRead

Book spotlight: Wolgast Castle, by Linda Bell Brighton



Page Length: 270 pages

Publisher: EIE Publisher, Inc. (July 27, 2013)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English


Genre: Historical Fantasy

Format: Digital

Linda Bell Brighton writes Renaissance fantasy for adventure seekers who want to dive

into worlds where magic and mythical beings thrive alongside the mundane world.


What if witches really existed during the Burning Times?

Forced to attend the Regent’s celebration at Wolgast Castle, 1560 Germany, Sidonia von Bork,

fears her magical abilities will be discovered and she’ll be burned alive as a witch. When she

discovers she is actually a member of an ancient shape-shifting race and the prophesied Golden

One, she must face her destiny: To save the multiverse from the daemons determined to destroy

all humans and to stay alive in the process.

Wolgast Castle: Book One of the Sidonia the Sorceress Series has received 5-stars from Amazon


“Based on actual characters and events, but written from the main character’s point of view, one

sees the compassion and motivation in Sidonia’s heart, whereas other accounts by other writers

have always bombasted her actions due to their own limited facts. This is a page-turner with a

fascinating, thrilling enlightening story. The author’s website has lots of information about the

time period as well.” — Charles H. Desimone

ABOUT Wolgast Castle, Book One of the Sidonia The Sorceress Series by Linda Bell


Forced to attend Princess Maria regent’s celebration at Wolgast Castle, 1560 Germany,

Sidonia von Bork, fears her magical abilities will be discovered and she’ll be burned alive as a

witch. When she discovers she is actually a member of an ancient shape-shifting race and the

prophesied Golden One, she must face her destiny: to save the multiverse from the daemons

determined to destroy all humans, and stay alive in the process.

Giveaway Info

Linda is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND

three Grand Prize Giveaway of one Travel Mug, one T-Shirt and one Custom Jumbo Tote Bag

with your choice of fan art, chosen from here: http://www.zazzle.com/sidonia_the_sorceres ,

shipped to anywhere in the world!

1) To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure

to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky

winner. This giveaway ends seven days after the post goes live.

2) To win the Travel Mug or the T-Shirt or the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with

Linda’s fan art of your choice, click the link to go to Linda’s website here http://

www.lindabellbrighton.com/ and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. The

three lucky winners will be selected by October 7, 2013.

(Link to Rafflecopter is here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2a406b9/ — sorry, WordPress doesn’t allow them to be embedded.)

Linda Bell Brighton’s Bio:

Linda Bell Brighton fell in love with myths, magic, and monsters at an early age. On a thunderstorming day in the Keys, her father—in his bass reading voice—brought The Hound of the

Baskerville to too-vivid-life. From that day forward, Greek and Roman myths merged with

Wonder Woman and Super girl. After studying medieval and Renaissance literature in college,

she now combines her loves by writing an alternate history of the Witch Burning Times that she

calls magpunk: real history with myths, magic, monsters—and daemons, too.


Linda Bell Brighton’s website: http://www.lindabellbrighton.com/

Linda Bell Brighton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaBellWriter

Linda Bell Brighton’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lindabell.brighton

Wolgast Castle, Book One of the Sidonia The Sorceress Series Facebook Page: https://


Wolgast Castle, Book One of the Sidonia The Sorceress Series on Amazon: http://amzn.to/


A Never After Giveaway


Most people are well aware that I don’t read YA novels on a regular basis (or rather, almost never; except if published by a friend). However, this past weekend at the Toronto ComiCon, I met with Lesley Livingston, author of the Wondrous Strange trilogy while she was doing a signing of her two most recent books, Every Never After and Once Every Never.


While YA books aren’t exactly my cup of tea, I picked up a (signed!) copy of each book with you guys in mind. This contest is going to be a bit different than my usual ones; I’m not going to require you to follow me on Twitter, like the Facebook page or any of that (though, it would be much appreciated if you do! And if you share a link to this so your friends can enter as well).

Simply, leave a comment — saying whatever, though spam will be deleted (and ensure you include your email address), and the winner will be randomly selected on Saturday March 16th at noon.

Winner will receive both books, and will have 24 hours to respond to the email with their contact information before it’s passed on to someone else.

Contest is open only to residents of US & Canada.

Edit: Winner chosen 16/03/2013, Monique Koevoets

Bookplate Contest Winners

This past week we had a giveaway running for bookplates and a signed copy of The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett.

Selected winners are listed below, winners have 48 hours to email me (or message on Facebook) with their address before their prize is forfeit to someone else.


Signed copy of The Warded Man:

  1. Shannon Jones

Bookplate Winners

  1. Vinay Thukral
  2. Andy “Ebookwyrm” Angel
  3. Amer Hassounah
  4. Paul Neale
  5. Roger Bellini
  6. Axel

Thank you to everyone who entered! There are more giveaways planned for the future. Follow us, or “Like” us on Facebook for updates on new posts, and announcements.

Interview and Giveaway with Peter V. Brett

Last week, Peter V. Brett, author of The Demon Cycle braved Toronto’s chilly winter to sign his newest novel, The Daylight War (my review for which can be found here). Before his signing, he was kind enough to sit down for a fairly lengthy chat about his novels, writing, and zombies. I don’t think there’s are any spoilers really … but we do discuss some things which touch on The Daylight War, so just a slight warning about that.

As usual, for convenience P = Peter V. Brett, and R = Rebecca (myself).

R: Hi Peter! Thank you for joining us. Would you mind saying a little bit about yourself for people who aren’t entirely familiar with your works?

P: Sure. Hi, I’m Peter V. Brett, author of The Demon Cycle series from Del Rey Books. The first book is The Warded Man, followed by The Desert Spear, and as of a couple of days ago, The Daylight War. Which is the third in a five book series. It’s rooted in epic fantasy, although I try to break some of the genre rules in that. I’m not a big believer in hard classifying things as one type of fantasy or another.

I’m currently doing my first book tour, this is my first stop, here in Toronto. The beginning of about 6 weeks of non-stop touring which has me both super excited and a little terrified.

R: Alright, thank you! What was your favourite part in The Daylight War to write?

P: To write? There are a couple of parts which I really enjoyed. There are several weddings in the book, but there’s one big wedding scene that I think anyone who has read the book will immediately recognize was surprisingly touching.

Normally as an author, I can separate myself emotionally from what’s going on with the characters. However, when I went back to that one scene and read it, I got a little bit choked up.

There was that, and there was also a big confrontation between two of the main protagonists, Arlen and Jardir, which has been building for some time now and I was very excited to write it.

I deliberately wrote the book in chronological order and did not write it until it was time, but I already choreographed the whole thing in my head by the time I did that. So that probably took as long to write as it did to read.

But this book took me three years to write, and there were parts of it which were a pleasure to write and there were parts of it that were absolutely miserable to work on. But when I look back at what I’ve done, I’m so incredibly proud of how it came out. It really is exactly how I wanted it to be.

R: Yeah, I think it may be my favourite of the series so far, I’m still debating whether I liked this one or The Warded Man better.

P: Well, they’re very different books. And they’re meant to be. There are a lot of writers – very successful ones – who use the same formula over and over again with each of their books, they do that because they found a formula that works, and that people love, but I very much did not want to do that. So each book is its own animal, and represents where I was in my life and in my writing at the time, and I love all of them equally. It’s hard for me to say which one is my favourite, but I put out the best book that I can put out and that’s all I can ask for.

R: They are all good reads. And as you mentioned before, there are going to be two more books in The Demon Cycle, but do you have anything planned for after those? Or will there be more spin-offs like Brayan’s Gold?

P: I’m contracted for three more books, and it’s kind of complicated, the way this worked out. I had originally planned out a five book series, and the fourth book in that series was going to be a sort of “Now for something completely different” book, meaning that at the end of The Daylight War I was going to shift focus entirely to Tibbet’s Brook, which is the small town where two of the main protagonists grew up. I was going to tell a story completely from there, and then get back to the main story – which excuse my language – was kind of a dick move, but it really amused me to do that at the time.

But then The Daylight War grew so big that I couldn’t fit everything into one book. So I ended up cutting it in half and moving that section into what would have been book 4, and taking that fourth book and making it a standalone sixth book.

So, I’m contracted for three more books. There will be two more in this main series, closing off this story line for all these characters, and then there will be that sixth standalone book set in Tibbet’s Brook.

I don’t want people to think that this means The Daylight War is half a book. It is not by any means. This isn’t George R.R. Martin’s Feast for Crows where you’re only getting half the story, I basically had multiple climaxes in one story and when I went to write it out, it was just too much to put into one book. But this means I’ve got a nice big head start on the next one which should make some people happy.

R: I think so, not having to wait a few years for the next one would make quite a few readers happy. So is there anything outside of The Demon Cycle that you’re working on, or have plans for?

P: I have some notes for other stories, that date back a while now. But I’ve been deliberately not giving much thought to them. I’m afraid that if I start thinking about it too much, I’ll get excited about another project, and not be focused on what I should be working on; which is finishing off this series. My head needs to stay here.

With each successive book, when you’re writing stories, especially big epic fantasies like this one, each book has to keep canon with everything that has gone before, and you have this ongoing soap-opera between all the characters which grows with each story. You have to remember who did what to who, who slept with who, and who killed who and every time characters interact with each other.

It’s gotten particularly difficult with these books because I have a whole other generation growing up. One of the protagonists – Jardir – has dozens upon dozens of children, many of whom are becoming characters in their own right. And all of them are interconnected through family or other things with a bunch of other characters, and keeping all of that straight is so much, that if I start focusing on another project, I’m going to lose something. So, I’m trying very hard to keep steady on this until it’s done.

R: Fair enough, and this question is a bit more specific about an aspect in the books, but the Corelings are attracted to large masses of people, so how is it that they’re always able to find lone messengers, and travellers, when it’s a single person and not a group?

P: Well, they’re not exactly attracted to large groups of people, they are attracted to places where there are signs that people have been there. So, if there’s a city that has been destroyed, Corelings will see the remnants of a human city and they’ll think that people might come back. So, there’ll be some demons that just haunt that place. Whereas others will move around and hunt for whatever they can.

Demons thrive on killing, and will happily kill animals and other things if they don’t have humans around. So, during their few hours on the surface each night, they’ll hunt and rove as far as they can. And if they encounter signs of life somewhere else, they’ll move on in stages.

Messengers travel along very specific roads because most of the land has become completely overgrown now, and so the demons can see the well-travelled areas and know that those are places which are likely to have the kind of prey they’re after. And so they’ll tend to roam those areas a little bit more frequently.

R: Alright, thanks. That’s just something I was wondering while doing my reread. Another question regarding the Corelings, and this is something you’ve done a bit more in this last book, but how do you bring back the sense of fear in a story when characters like Jardir and Arlen are becoming so invulnerable and omnipotent?

P: That’s the escalation problem, and every writer has to deal with that when they have a story where the story has characters that start out weak, and starts with a low-magic setting, and they get more powerful over time. You need to have things that continue to challenge them. It’s the same in video games, movies, and anything else. I very carefully — before I even finished writing the first book, planned out how these five books were going to play out, and how I was going to layer in more magic, more super powers, items, and such throughout the series in a way that was believable and kept challenging the characters.

To a normal person, Arlen and Jardin have become like messiahs, they can see into the heart’s of people, they can do all sorts of magical things, like leap 30 feet in a single bound, and whatever. Though when the new moon comes and they face the Demon Princes, they realize that they’re up against creatures that have had these same powers and more for thousands of years, while they’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what they can do with those powers. Whereas the real demons – the powerful demon lords, know that stuff so well, so Arlen and Jardir are still pretty well out-matched.

And they also have to protect huge groups of people who don’t have these powers, whereas the demons don’t have such compunctions. This is something that becomes a real threat because when you need to protect a populace, you don’t just need to protect the people, you need to protect their food. And so, protecting farmland, water supplies and things like that… Suddenly those great powers which are so amazing on a one-on-one basis, you realize they can’t do everything and that they need help just as much as anyone. That’s a lot of what this story is about; them admitting that they can’t do everything and that they need the people around them to rise up beside them, and help to save themselves.

R: Okay, and I know you were asked a couple of days ago on Twitter to confirm that you’ve read a Game of Thrones by @Master_Pastry… He and I were discussing this, and we’ve noticed many similarities between Abban and Varys; how they weave webs around them, and while they have a low rank on a societal scale, they’re amongst the most powerful. We were wondering if there was any inspiration for Abban from Varys, or if this was entirely coincidental.

P: That is entirely coincidental. I never even thought about that until you mentioned it. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that it’s a stereotype, but there are certainly a lot of characters throughout literature, and fantasy in particular who are physically weak, or maimed, or are unable to compete with warriors on a physical level or whoever but are just as powerful in their own way.

I think this is why Abban is such a fascinating character, because he comes from a culture that completely reveres physical strength and fighting prowess, and he has none of that, and yet he manages to not only survive in that culture, but to thrive and make himself so essential that people can’t just discount him. He’s really one of my favourite characters, I love writing him.

R: And he’s fun to read. That’s just something we were talking about a couple of days ago. Now, my next question is not so much about the series itself, but on writing in general. But how do you find the time to write? You’re quite active on social media – Twitter, Facebook, and the like, and with your daughter and family. So how do you balance all of that with your writing?

P: It’s been particularly hard, with this last book because for the majority of it, my daughter wasn’t in school full-time. Now, she’s in school during the day and I find those hours go by really fast. For the most part, you just have to make time when you can. And I’ve somehow managed to find a way to be creative on command.

And so, when my daughter is in bed, I’ll do a bit of writing, when she’s at school, I’ll do a bit of writing; if I’m on the train, I’ll do a bit of writing. I try to do a certain amount each day, but my schedule is so chaotic and hectic that where I steal the time each day changes. I’m hoping now — she’s starting kindergarten this year — I’m hoping for the next book I’ll have much more consistent schedule and I’ll be able to focus a bit better on my writing time.

At the same time, my writing career is growing in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. That brings a lot of clerical work and other things that nobody tells you when you’re looking to be a writer, that writing suddenly becomes a very small portion of your overall job.

I do have a great assistant, Meg, who helps me tremendously, and between that and my daughter going to school, I think I’m going to try and have a much more balanced writing schedule for this next book, which I have plotted out already. So, it’s just a matter of focusing, and layering prose, chapter by chapter.

If I can make a schedule, I’m hoping to do this one faster than the one before.

R: Alright, thank you. And I know some authors — and you’ve mentioned this recently as well — have issues with Amazon’s book reviewing policies. How people can write a fake reviews, or negative ones just based on the pricing. If you were able to make changes to their policy for things like that, what would you do?

P: Well, this is a difficult situation, and I don’t entirely blame Amazon for it. They’re kind of damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. They want people to review books, because that’s an enormous sales-driver and validator for themselves as a company, and shows their power and is a great tool to help people decide what to read. In a world where book stores are becoming more and more rare, the showroom of being able to walk into a book store and flip through books is disappearing and people need to find a way to find new things.

So having reading reviews on Amazon is a huge help for that. So Amazon wants to keep their hands out of it as much as possible. However, there are a lot of authors who have some shady practises to try to promote themselves, some of them have managed to do this quite successfully. By straight-up lying, or hiring people to write fake reviews for them… Using programs to auto-generate reviews, or trashing their competition.

I understand Amazon’s desire to limit that, but I think that they don’t have the capacity to do it on a case-by-case basis, and so they took a broad hammer sweep of just saying “Well, if you’re an author, you are therefore bias by nature and can’t review at all.” I think that was a really bad decision. Personally, I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of books in my life, and I have all sorts of opinions about them, and I continue to do so. And I consider myself to be a very honest reviewer.

It frustrates me to have my integrity called into question just because I’m a professional in the industry. At the same time, and I’m sure this is part of the question because it came up yesterday, my new book came out yesterday and the first few reviews were all one-star reviews that basically said “I didn’t read this book, but I’m mad about the ebook price… and because of that I’m going to give it a one-star rating.” And when you’re an author whose new book has just come out, and it’s received a bunch of ratings and they’re all that low…. That was three years of my life, three years where I poured so much into this book making it the best I possibly could, and to have people come out and blatantly admit that they didn’t even read it, but they’re going to trash it any ways is infuriating.

Amazon has not been as diligent as I would like in dealing with that. They’re quick to say “Well, if you’re an author, you’re bias and we’re not going to accept your review.” But not as quick to say when someone says in a review “I did not read this book.” to allow them to review it anyway seems kind of ridiculous. You’d think they could write a program to search out those reviews and get rid of them. I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, and was very fortunate that a lot of my readers — the ones who tend to take a book and read it all in one sitting overnight — came out and wrote reviews or complained about those one-star reviews. Or even commented on them point out that they’re not hurting the publisher, or Amazon, but instead the author they claim to love. And the author does not set the price.

Another frustrating thing was a comparison some of them were making, the cost of the paperback edition vs the ebook. The paperback edition doesn’t even come back for another year, so they’re saying the ebook cost is higher than an edition of the book which doesn’t exist yet.

It’s an aggravating situation on multiple levels. As I said, I don’t entirely know how to fix it as there are millions of reviews that go up on Amazon, and if they try to get down into the trenches and read each review and decide which are real and which aren’t, that’s just a money pit that’s not going to get them anywhere. It’s a tough situation and it’s one of many that as we adapt to the digital age and ebooks, and online retailing being a dominate force, we’re going to have to come up with ways to solve those problems. But there are no simple answers, people keep trying to make it simple, but it’s not.

R: Yeah, one of the things that really annoys me about things like that, is those are the same people who will spend just as much on a a couple hours of entertaining at a movie theatre whereas the book gives you days.

P: I completely agree. I can’t think of anything that gives you as many hours of entertainment per dollar as a good novel, and that’s something people seem to forget. There are so many authors, and publishers, who are so desperate to get their names out that they’re dropping prices to these ridiculously low prices just to get attention. But what they’re doing is devaluing a product to the point where people don’t realize it’s actually worth something, or that someone worked really hard on that, and needs to recoup that.

I spent three years working on The Daylight War, I wouldn’t have done that if I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent or support my family on it. So to have someone who hasn’t read the book tell me that it’s not worth $9.99 or whatever it is they’re charging, is frustrating.

R: Yeah, it’s not a position most people get rich on unless they get picked up by HBO or made into a movie. It frustrates me when people complain about books being too expensive, or when there are books that are 99c, and they comment saying it should just be free.

P:  This is another thing that some of the sales techniques that people applied early on are going to hurt them in the long run. Because they’ve convinced people that that’s what their work is worth. It’s going to evolve into what it’s going to evolve into. There’s not too much that can be done about it at this point.

Though, I had a publisher who wanted to do a promotion to give away the first book really cheaply, and my agent and I talked about that and decided it wasn’t the right choice. We didn’t agree that that’s what people should think that that’s all we thought it was worth. We’re selling the books at a very reasonable price, and I also give away books all the time on my website, and try very hard to give something back to my readers. So, I don’t think there’s anything wrong, or to be ashamed of in asking for a fair price for your book.

R: That’s true, and entirely reasonable. On another note, if you could write a collaborative work with any author — living or dead — who would it be and what would you write about?

P: I don’t really know. I don’t think I play well with others when it comes to writing. I think that I’m doing that a little bit with comic books where I have to work with artists, but those are two completely different skill sets. I think that I became an author because I’m such a control freak that I want to have control over every aspect of the story to the point where I’ve gotten shy of having beta readers. With each successive book I’ve let less people read it as I’m working on it as I like having that control. There are a lot of other authors whose work I respect and love, but I don’t know that I would collaborate with another author.

Unless it was something where we created a world together, and then separately wrote stories based in that world, and the stories were sort of related to one another; I might consider doing something like that where the nuts and bolts of the world building I could do with someone else. Then we could each be free to tell our own stories, and there are any number of authors with whom I’d be willing to do stuff like that with.

R: Fair enough, and you mentioned comics… You had a Red Sonja comic released today as well, did you not?

P: Yeah. Red Sonja: Unchained came out today. This is a follow-up to a one shot I did about two years ago called Red Sonja: Blue. Red Sonja was a book I read when I was younger and was a big fan of. Everyone knows Red Sonja as the stereotypical woman in a chainmail bikini fantasy character, but when I was young and reading the books, it was written by a woman named Louise Simonson, and drawn by Mary Wilshire. They had taken Sonja out of the bikini she had worn in the seventies and put her into a blue fur tunic, to make her more reminiscent of Conan who used to strut around in a fur loin cloth.

That was the Sonja I knew, growing up. I had read all the other books, and when Dynamite books re-licensed and relaunched it, they put her back in the chainmail bikini. From an iconic and a marketing standpoint, that was a good decision and worked very well for them.

When I met them though, and mentioned I read Red Sonja they asked me to write the book. I agreed only if I could put her back into the outfit I knew her in. Also, with the intention of trying to draw in some readers who might not normally read that sort of book. The chainmail bikini – for as many people it attracts – turns some people off. So, I’ve tried to maintain the character as bawdy, and keeping that barbarian aspect; keeping it a fun and sexy book but in a way that’s not as blatantly “cheesecake” as the flagship book is.

R: Cool! Good luck with that and I hope it goes well for you. Switching topics again, do you have any advice for people who want to start writing fantasy?

P: Well, it’s not an exciting answer, but: practise. Practise and accept that your writing needs to get better, and that it takes a long time, and takes a lot of work. I wrote four novels, prior to The Warded Man, that have never seen print, will never see print and that I don’t want to see print. They were just not good enough. But I don’t regret writing them one bit because I would not have developed the skills I needed to write a saleable manuscript if I hadn’t done that.

So when people lament that their writing isn’t good, there’s no solution other than to keep practising. People talk a lot about talent, and say things like “You have a talent for writing.” but I’m not convinced talent exists. When you love doing something, you’re willing to put in the practise to get better at it. So if talent is anything, it’s enjoying something enough to put in that hard work,

Everyone I know who works on a professional level, and has something they’re proud of has worked hard and diligently, writing a lot of stuff that no one will ever see to get up to that level. So, there’s nothing for it but to practise and practise, continuing to challenge yourself and not accepting  that something is good enough. Keep trying to make it better.

R: Sounds good, thank you. For the last question, something a bit sillier. Do you have a zombie survival plan?

P:  Yes, I do, actually. I have a warded spear that was given to me as a gift when I published my first book by my friend, and author Myke Cole. He has a history in armour making. He used to work for the royal armouries in London. He hired an armourer to make a battle-ready steel spear — sharp. I have it hanging in my office. As well, in my younger days I amassed a bit of a sword collection, so both at my office and at home I have things that won’t run out of bullets, ready for the day the zombies arrive.

R: Alright! I think that’s it. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this. It was a pleasure to finally meet you.

P: Thank you so much Rebecca!

Be sure to check out Peter’s Demon Cycle! He will also have a short story in the Unfettered anthology.

And as promised, a giveaway! Rafflecopter unfortunately doesn’t work with wordpress websites, however, click the link below to be taken to it for a chance to win one of six signed bookplates. Contest is open internationally.

Click here for the giveaway

Updates, random thoughts, and something special

  • What to expect in the near future.
  • Examining the fun/odd search terms people find this site from.
  • Thank you

Examining the Future

This year has been an eventful one, I’ve attended many conventions, I’ve met some great people and have had the opportunity to meet and interview some wonderful authors, and of course — read some great books. We’ve grown a fair bit as a website, with a lot more reviews, readers, articles/thoughts, and interviews. And I hope that in the coming year, and for years to come we’re able to do all this and so much more.

Some things have changed for me as well in the past couple of months. Which, some of you that follow me on Facebook will already know about, but my reviews on here may slow down a bit. I’ve been approached by few other outlets (which I will not saying the names of quite yet) that are interested in having me review for them. One of which requests/requires that those reviews be exclusive to them.

Depending on how much I do with them, that could have a bit of an impact on the quantity of my reviews here as I have to sort out my schedule to find the time to read more, and write the reviews, I don’t see this having any long-term changes, just while I’m readjusting I won’t be able to be as active on here. However, with these new opportunities, I see this as a way to improve myself, my writing and the overall quality of my reviews, all of which would have an effect on here as well.

Also.. In the next week or so there’ll be book reviews up for The Cupid WarLuna for the Lunies! (both *very* different from what I typically read), an interview, and something… Different. Of course, there may be other posts from my co-blogger as well.

Search Terms

Ever since I started this site, back in August 2011, I’ve been interested in seeing how people are finding out about my website. I suppose it could be called a bit egotistical — frequently checking to see how many views/where they’re from/if they were referred from other sites (or my favourite — their search engine terms). It’s interesting, and at times a bit unexpected.

There are the obvious referrers/search terms, such as from places where I post links to content, or search terms for book reviews that I’ve done. And then you get the unusual ones. For a while now, I’ve been tempted to do a monthly digest of the odd search terms people have found me from, (if there’s any interest in this, I can do so). Until then though, here are some of the oddest/my favourites.

1) There are a sad number of people who find my website when they were in fact looking for things about arched doorways. I always feel kind of bad when those search terms come up. Those are to be expected though, but occasionally there are some really odd ones. “Paranormal arch doorways”… I know there’s a few authors that read occasionally read my updates, anyone want to take that? ATTACK OF THE ARCH DOORWAYS. An alternative is apparently “Suicide arch doorways”… Friends, to be sure to take care around your neighbourly arched doorways, they’re sensitive creatures. Be sure to compliment them once in a while. May we please have a moment of silence for the arched doorways which have taken their lives?

2) “Bible lovrz”… What? Please do show me a reference to the bible on my website — other than in this post, or any sort of reference to the mash-up of letters, “lovrz”. (Though, oddly enough this point will be null in a few days… at least in reference to the bible.)

3) “Petrol remote control cars”… Not just once, or twice… Three times! I honestly do not get it.

4) Searches for negative reviews. Makes sense, to try to get the good and bad side of different books, though. One of the search terms “Negative hate review of Eye of the world” not sure if anyone has seen my review of that, or if they’ve ever heard me talk about the Wheel of Time (Which — heads up, you’ll be getting a LONG post about in January, potentially). But that’s my favourite series. The Eye of the World being one of my favourite books… Sorry friend, no negative hate reviews of that here.

5) Torrents. Downloads. Ahh… Yes, the unending search for eBook torrents. Here’s a tip of friendly advice, to all you torrent searchers, and seekers of free books. I don’t blame you, I love free books — Heck, I even get my fair share of them. There’s a proper way to do it though. If you’re going to spend hours reading and enjoying that novel, the least you can do is give back to that author… Hundreds, if not thousands of hours go into the production of a book, from the first draft, to the editorial parts, to production, to marketing, to… everything. Write reviews, give feedback, and spread the word about the book. That’s what I do, and do you know what it’s gotten me? Well, look through my site… Feel free to chat with me. I’ve met a lot of great authors, and have had the chance to interview them; I’ve made a lot of friendships and have discovered a lot of amazing books. I get ARC copies as well. “Free books” are out there, but if you’re going to invest the time in trying to find them, and then to read them… Does it hurt to spend a half-hour of your time giving feedback and writing a review, helping that author who has just given you entertainment? I could go on about it, but I suggest reading an article I’ve wrote about The Cost of Books, or check to see any of the other non-reviews I’ve done… Or search elsewhere on the internet. Give back to the people who have spent hours upon hours writing these books, creating these worlds, characters and experiences for our enjoyment.

Thank You

This is probably the most important part of this post (to me at least), rather than my other ramblings and just silliness. I really want to say thank you to everyone who has read my reviews, sharing links, and even commenting occasionally. It really makes a difference, and without you guys I probably wouldn’t have done this at all in the past few months. In the last couple months, I’ve especially just been astonished by how much things have changed since this time last year.

My view-count has always been quite low; there were a couple of months this year where it was under 100. However, between August and now? Well, to give you an idea of how much it has changed, between
August 2011, and July 2012, this site got about 1350 views… Between August and December 5th, we’ve seen over 1500 views. Almost half of those were just in November alone.

I’m fully aware that it’s due to the author interviews I was lucky enough to conduct last month (and one last weekend — which will be posted shortly), and not for any content I wrote, or even my reviews, but honestly, I love that people are looking for these interviews, and that I was able to offer them an outlet to hear more from the authors that they love… And that Heifer International/Worldbuilders charity have gotten a couple dozen views from people finding them through my interview with Patrick Rothfuss (totally not dropping names…) Or people who check my website regularly discovering authors that they never heard of before and going out to find their books. It kind of just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling know that I was able to — in some way — help out a bit and that you came here instead of going elsewhere. So, thank you… and I hope I’m able to continue providing content that you will want to read.

On that note, I do want to add that the “Request a Review” page isn’t just for authors. It’s for anyone. While I cannot guarantee that I’ll be able to fulfil your request, I will do my best. You are the readers. You are the ones who can make all the difference in the world.

So — continuing the thank you, and as it is the season of giving (and possibly as a “Congratulations for making it through that lengthy and extraneous posting”) I have a giveaway for you! This will be the first of about four that we’ll be hosting this month.

(Unfortunately, because we are hosted on WordPress.com, javascript doesn’t work on here. Please head over to our Facebook page here to enter in the give-away.)

Thank you. :)
-Rebecca Lovatt

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