My Guest and Author of the Amazon Bestseller, Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie 2

In a press release, Amazon referred to Martin Crosbie as one of their success stories of 2012. His self-publishing journey has been chronicled in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. Martin’s debut novel, My Temporary Life, has been downloaded over one hundred and fifty thousand times and became an Amazon bestseller. He is also the author of the Amazon bestsellers:

My Name Is Hardly-Book Two of the My Temporary Life Trilogy

Lies I Never Told-A Collection of Short Stories

How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle-An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook

Believing Again: A Tale of Two Christmases

Martin was born in the Highlands of Scotland and currently makes his home on the west coast of Canada. The third book in the My Temporary Life Trilogy is due for release in 2014.

Stephanie: I would like to welcome back Author Martin Crosbie. I consider Martin on of the gurus of self-publishing.

Hello Martin! I’m glad to have you visit Layered Pages again. It is always a pleasure to talk with you. You work tirelessly in the self-publishing community and that is much respected by many. I would like to say thank you for all you do and I would like to know how you find the time to do it all?

Martin: Hi Stephanie, thanks for having me back. It’s always fun to talk to you.

I realized some time ago that I had to change my ratio of writing/marketing. I’m proud to say that currently I’m sitting at about 50/50 and I’m pretty happy with that. I made a commitment three months ago to write a minimum one thousand new words every day and so far I’ve stuck with it. So, my priority every day is writing. Everything else has moved down the list.

Stephanie: That is fantastic and I have been cheering for you ever since you told me about your challenge.

Please tell me about the workshops you teach and give lectures at?

Martin: I teach a self-publishing weekend workshop. In a weekend my partner and I try to show authors how to produce a professional product without breaking the bank. We call it the Secrets of the Bestsellers Weekend.

Stephanie: Do you have another one coming up? Tell me about it.

Martin: The next Bestsellers Weekend is in November but I have a number of other events between now and then.

I’m teaching a free self-publishing workshop that the local library is sponsoring in May. Here’s the link: Surrey Libraries

I have two others in the coming months. I’m teaching at a writers retreat in Northern British Columbia. We’re in lockdown at a remote (not-so-secret) location and we’re going to write and talk about writing for four days. Rural Writers

And, I’m very proud to be opening the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival in October. I’ll be facilitating a one day workshop for attendees. The Vicious Circle

Stephanie: Was there a moment when you were giving a lecture that impacted in you some way or should I say, what has been your most profound moment in these speaking engagements?

Martin: During the past workshop that I taught in March, by the middle of the second day the tide turned. The authors attending were quoting phrases and facts that I’d given them on the first day and were nodding and buying into my philosophy. They were talking about making sure their manuscript was polished before publishing and hiring professional cover designers and most importantly, editors too. It felt really good to be in a roomful of writers who were all on the same page.

Stephanie: What are some of the compliments you have received from these lectures?

Martin: I guess the biggest compliment is that some of the authors come back. Several folks who attended my first workshop have come to others too. The greatest compliment though is seeing the success that writers are having once they publish. I see their books zipping up the rankings on Amazon and often overtaking my own work and hitting bestseller status.

As I’ve traveled to writers groups giving information on my workshops I’ve made a startling discovery. There are some very, very good books out there that are just waiting to be published. The quality of writing and creativity of the stories has blown my mind. I often tell writers to please alert me once their books are out and they probably think I’m saying it to be polite.

I’m not! I can’t wait to read some of their books once they go live.

Stephanie: What is the number one advice you give to a writer who is getting started and wants to self-publish?

Martin: Have patience and don’t publish until the work is ready. There’s no excuse for releasing sub-standard material. There are writers groups and beta-readers galore just waiting to help us. I have requests from readers asking about the third book in my trilogy all the time. I had a draft partially written last year but I stopped and started over. It’s my name on the cover and I won’t release a book until I know it’s the best I can produce. You’ll never regret waiting until you know that your work is the best you can produce.

Stephanie: Has there been any bumps along the way in your publishing career and was there a moment you wanted to through in the towel?

Martin: No. I’m doing what I always wanted to do – writing, connecting with readers and being paid for it every month. I’m very lucky.

Stephanie: What are some of the mistakes a self-publishing writer can avoid when using social media?

Martin: Treat your followers and Facebook friends as though they were your real-life, actual, dear friends. In other words, forget that you’re online. I wouldn’t walk up to one of my friends and say “buy my book”. Social networks have changed the way we interact but we don’t have to let them change the way communicate. Treating each other with respect is still the key to maintaining relationships – virtual and actual.

Stephanie: Where do you see this industry in five to ten years?

Martin: Right now, when I publish a book and upload it I feel as though my readers are just around the corner from me. They’re that close. Within a few years it’s going to feel as though they’re in the same room. I don’t what form that will take but the relationship between reader and writer is changing and the two are becoming closer. The escapism that we provide readers will always be there but the actual relationship has changed and that’s a good thing. It’s helped me and others get our work to our audience.

In terms of where the publishing industry will be that’s difficult to say. The only constant will be change. Things will continue to change and we’re going to be here enjoying every peak and valley along the way.

Stephanie: Before you go, is there a message you would like to give to your audience about your own work?

Martin: I’m very proud of my novels and I’d love for your readers to check them out but my bestselling book is currently my self-publishing guidebook. I keep the e-book pricing at $4.99, so it’s quite affordable. The key with this book is that it keeps changing. I released it in September and already have revised it once and will revise it again this summer and again at the end of the year. Each revision contains updated sites where you can promote your work, find editors, places to find free photos and images, and much more. Plus, I update some of the content in terms of what’s working and what isn’t too. So, if you purchase the book and I update the content Amazon will actually advise you that it’s been revised and direct you to the area where you can download the newer version for free. My goal is to have the most current self-publishing guidebook on the market all the time.

I’d love for your readers to check it out Self-Publishing Guidebook

Thank you, Martin!

Places you can find Martin:

Twitter

Facebook

Martin’s Website

email

Amazon Author Page

Martin’s self-publishing journey has been documented here:

Publisher’s Weekly Apr/2012

Globe and Mail Newspaper Apr/2012

Forbes Online Aug/2012

Here are just a few samples of many things people are saying about Martin’s books.

What readers are saying about Lies I Never Told-A Collection of Short Stories:

Lies I never told

Could not put this book down. I am amazed at the depth of feeling and emotion in his words. All of the stories are so different yet so connected at the emotional level. My only disappointment is that the stories were not longer. I really hope that this book is just a prelude of the novels to come. Martin grabs me from the first line and takes me on an emotional journey with all his characters.

Debbie Dore-Amazon review

Where Martin Crosbie found his voice is a mystery. His ability to create stories (here very brief ones) that explore the psyche of his chosen stand-in trope in such a way that within a few sentences you are so aware of the character’s life and feelings that he seems to be sitting beside you, in conversation with only you.

Grady Harp (Hall of Fame reviewer)-Goodreads review

What readers are saying about How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle-An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook:

How I sold....

Yes, I was skeptical because I’ve read one or two of these books, and their suggestions are… let’s just say not that good. Last night, I skipped the intro and jumped right to the meat of the book. Chapter One was better, much better, than I had expected. But it was when he said, DON’T go out on Twitter and FB and shout “read my book” a thousand times a day that he convinced me that he was honest and knew what he was talking about. For anyone at the publishing stage or who wants to get there, so far 🙂 [I will always be a hardcore skeptic] this is a good reference on what to do, on how to build relationships instead of walls. If you’re not yet at the publishing stage, start now to build an audience and support group. And Martin C practices what he preaches, especially the part about supporting other authors. He followed me back on Twitter and friended me on FB.

NSW-Amazon Review

If you are a new writer this book is a must. I wish I had it when I first started writing. It is filled with easy to read and easy to understand information. However, even if you are an already published writer this book will offer you new information you might not have known. I found it helpful in so many ways. There are also links to various other sites that offer valuable info that is very difficult to find. Basically, “How I Sold 30,000 Ebooks on Amazon Kindle,” takes a lot of the guessing and hard work out of self publishing.

Roberta Kagan-Amazon Review

What readers are saying about My Name Is Hardly:

My name is hardly

Martin Crosbie’s remarkable storytelling talent is apparent throughout his most recent novel, “My Name Is Hardly.” The story seized me from the first paragraph and held me relentlessly until I’d come to the novel’s thoughtful and moving conclusion.

Kathleen Lourde-Amazon review

I have no doubt that when the last piece is in place, Crosbie’s work will stand tall as exemplary literary fiction, and a reproach to those who mourn the decline of the “gatekeepers” of commercial publishing. Any gate too small to let in Martin Crosbie should have been blown up a long time ago.

Steven Hart-Goodreads review

Review: Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore

Picture two

I am delighted to bring back old reviews that I have written on my old blogspot. Each month, I will be posting one in hopes to find new readers who will enjoy these books as much as I have. Equlibrium is one that I reviewed for the Historical Novel Society sometime back.

Published August 6th 2012 by allonymbooks

Equlibrium is an evocative tale of two sisters-Epiphany and Martha-who are mediums performing on stage in a theater in London, England in the early 1900’s. A Lady Adelia Lyward sees the performance and wants Epiphany to give her a private reading. She wanted to learn the truth of her brother’s death not knowing the sisters have a connection to her household. Martha was a housemaid to the Lyward’s two years previous and fell pregnant by Adelia’s husband, Lord Rafe Lyward. In disgrace Martha left the Lyward’s household, gave her child away and attempted suicide in the River Thames, she survived… But there is more to the Lyward’s household than meets the eye.

The beginning of the story starts slowly but I was pleasantly surprised as I read on to discover how the mystery surrounding Adelia’s brothers death is revealed. However, I would have liked to have seen the historical elements to be stronger and expanded further on-such as the social changes in England during this period and I wanted to have a clearer picture on the details as to why Adelia’s brother went to South Africa during the Boer War then what was told.

Overall this story is rich in complex characters with remarkable depth despite their shortcomings. Epiphany’s voice gave- what I believe- a comfort to those she was interacting with at times and I thought she gave the story a calmness and a delicate reality to this tragic and harsh story that was unfolding. I recommend Equilibrium to readers who enjoys historical fiction with spiritualism influences.

~Stephanie
Layered Pages

Interview with Author Elle Thalheimer

Ellee_Author_Photo

Ellee Thalheimer is an accomplished freelance travel writer, public speaker, and bicycle tourism proponent who believes there are few better ways to travel and transform than by bike. She co-founded the Portland Society, a nonprofit business alliance that connects professional women who are passionate about cycling; authored Lonely Planet’s Cycling Italy; and is a zealous lover of the Pacific Northwest. As the owner of Into Action Publications, her most recent projects include authoring Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-day Tours in Oregon and co-authoring Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike.

Stephanie: Hello, Ellee! Thank you for chatting with me today. Please tell me about your book, Cycling Sojourner.

Ellee: As the second title in my cycle touring guidebook series, Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington reveals hard-to-find information about exploring Washington by bike. The book gives advice on how to tour the state’s remotest ribbons of road in the Okanagan, bikeable berry stands in the San Juan Islands, Walla Walla wine country tasting rooms best reached by bicycle, and routes across the Cascade Mountains that I hope will convert folks into helpless lovers of the Pacific Northwest.

Like a cycle touring concierge of sorts, Cycling Sojourner takes care of the logistics and removes obstacles between riders and two-wheeled adventures. I want cyclists to be able to just grab their bikes and go. Each of the book’s nine tours lays out nuts-and-bolts details, including cue sheets, maps, and information about weather, difficulty levels, camping and lodging options, and the various ways of getting to and from the ride’s start and end points.

But the soul of the book lies in the authors’ voices, which use storytelling, local history, and humor to elevate the text beyond just an everyday guidebook. The jovial, casual tone sets this series apart. I really wanted this book to be an inspirational muse that draws out the inner adventurer.

cycling

Stephanie: What inspired you to write a guide on cycle-touring?

Ellee: I used to work as a guidebook author for Lonely Planet and was hired as the single author on the Cycling Italy title. That was an experience of a lifetime. Before that, I was a cycling guide for Woman Tours. I had a unique skillset to be able to write my own guidebooks. When I realized that Oregon didn’t have any appreciable source of cycle touring information, despite the popularity, I decided to create Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Oregon. And then I ended up making another one for Portland: Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike. And because Washington also has world-class cycle touring, I was inspired to make another guidebook for it. When I started writing the Oregon book, I never imagined that I would become a publisher and continue producing titles like an addict.

Stephanie: Do you cycle yourself? Is this guide based on your own experiences?

Elle: I’ve been cycling for two decades. I’m an avid commuter, mountain biker, road cyclist, cycle tourist, and I even raced cyclo-cross one year (never again, ouch). I hope to get into fat biking and family biking with my new daughter, Ruby, this summer.

Every mile of this guide was ridden by me or by one of the other authors. In the case of many cycling guidebooks, because of budget and time restrictions, publishers have authors drive some routes. When that happens, the quality of the coverage suffers. Books in the Cycling Sojourner series are dedicated to giving information from firsthand experience, as if a good friend, who happened to be an expert, was giving you advice.

Stephanie: Was there anything challenging about writing a guidebook?

Elle: Where shall I start? People like to say, “Wow! You’re job is to tootle around on a bike. Lucky!”

And I am very lucky. This is great work. However, the actual riding is a small percentage of the overall work put into the book. Every nit-picky detail has to be meticulously researched. You have to master the art of word economy and balance inspiration and practicality. Plus, when you are researching on the ground, your day doesn’t end with the beer after your ride. You have to sit at your tiny laptop and produce content and create descriptions while experiencing physical exhaustion.

Stephanie: What is the number one advice you would give when cycling?

Elle: When cycle touring, if your goal is to have fun, the key is to start the tour prepared, then be flexible no matter what comes your way. The beauty of a bike tour is that it’s not a packaged vacation. You may end up meeting people, doing things, or sleeping in places you did not expect. Wrenches get thrown into tours by weather, road closures, flat tires, or an unexpectedly fabulous town where you have to stay an extra night. If you aren’t rigid about how things should unfold, you’ll enjoy yourself much more.

Stephanie: Have you written any other guides? Will there be more?

Elle: I’ve contributed to a number of Lonely Planet guidebooks and was the single author on their Cycling Italy title. For Into Action Publications, my own imprint, I wrote Cycling Sojourner Oregon, co-authored Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike, and was the main author on Cycling Sojourner Washington (I had a number of contributing authors for this last title).

As far as the Cycling Sojourner series goes, there are many potential titles I’m mulling over for the future.

Stephanie: What do you like most about writing?

Elle: Writing helps me process my experiences in the world, so when I emerge from my Writing Hole, I have a more dynamic understanding. Also, there is nothing as satisfying as creating a muscular description that zings or cutting the fat out of a paragraph, even if you love the individual bits you’re cutting.

Stephanie: Are there pictures in your guidebook and did you take them yourself?

Elle: The photos were taken by me, the other authors, and friends of the book.

Stephanie: When will this book be available and where can readers purchase it?

Elle: You can buy the book on my website at cyclingsojourner.com and also follow my blog about cycle touring. In addition, readers can purchase this book where books are sold, as well as REI. The book will be available from my website in April and from other vendors in May.

The Cycling Sojourner Site

Amazon

A Pound of Flesh by Stuart S. Laing

A Pound of Flesh

Edinburgh 1745.

Deep beneath the rain soaked and wind scoured streets of the city a foul crime committed in the dark of night leaves two men lying dead in a dank cellar. A bankrupt young nobleman with an addiction to the twin vices of gambling and loose women stands accused of the horrific double murder and all the evidence seems to point towards his guilt. In desperation his lawyer turns to the one man in Edinburgh who can save him from the hangman’s noose.

Robert Young of Newbiggin.

He is a young man who has earned a reputation amongst the city’s legal fraternity for being the one person who can root out the truth by venturing into the capital’s criminal underbelly. His investigation leads from the elegant drawing rooms of Edinburgh’s high society to the city’s most infamous brothel and into the grim hovels of the lowest alehouses on the Cowgate.

But as more bodies are discovered Robert Young is forced to confront the possibility that his client may actually be guilty!

330 pages

Published February 18th 2012 by KDP

Available on Amazon

About Stuart’s latest book,  Major Weir’s Dark Legacy  here

Guest Post with D. Grant Fitter

D. Grant Fitter

Stephanie: My guest today in Layered Pages is D. Grant Fitter and he is here to talk about his book, City of Promise and how the period in which the book is set in and his research.

D. Grant: Spanning eight years of the 1940s, City of Promises is set primarily in Mexico City, relies heavily on the flavor of Veracruz on the gulf coast, introduces the budding new playground of Acapulco on the Pacific and it was lots of fun to write.

Fun to write works aren’t really work at all and are almost always a product of inspiration.

People often describe the period and setting of my novel such things as surprising, unusual and unique. It is true that very little fiction has been written about life in Mexico City in the 1940s and I am not aware of anything done in English. By saying that is not to say the decade is not well captured and recorded through an abundance of other media. There is an absolute avalanche of living film, recorded music and historical archives to be gleefully buried in research.

Inspiration and fun really do go hand in hand.

Having that valuable bank of research is important to historical fiction writers, particularly if they are not writing a formulaic theme, enjoy doing research and if they strive to keep their characters, setting and storyline meticulously true to events of the time, as I have done with City of Promises. That backup also helps to keep the words flying from the mind as fast as the fingers can key them in. In my own case it also helped that I spent many years working and living in Mexico City, roaming the streets, admiring architecture, feeling the tremendous pulse of that city, developing a healthy appetite for participating in and understanding the culture and even having the experience of being held bargaining chip hostage by a very politically influential businessman. Such things helped me understand my true-life character’s lives and the life of my protagonist and his two supporting actors who are a conglomerate of many personalities I might have known.

What I am talking about here is closely connected to something learned over six semesters instructing adult creative writing courses.  Understanding our limits and concentrating on our strengths.

Understanding our limits and concentrating on our strengths may at first seem a little too obvious or superficial, but it isn’t. In my six semesters instructing adult creative writing courses, the most common reason given by students for paying their tuition for the course was that they had an idea for a novel eating away at them, but they were in need of a push to either get started or they were bogged down and in need of some inspiration to keep going. The same holds true for authors who join writing clubs and online forums. I see that discussion all the time. All too often it is apparent that many talented, aspiring authors are trying to force a story into a mold they do not know enough about. They weren’t writing to their strengths.

So yes, City of Promises is the natural result of my attraction to historical fiction, but loving historical fiction is not enough. I went to work writing to my strengths. I went to work on a very broad subject that I have come to know very well; that being my fascination with the Mexican culture which is so distant from our own, a curiosity to understand it, and story that I feel illuminates it.

 City of Promise

Publication Date: January 22, 2013 CreateSpace Formats: Paperback, eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

Is there an economic value of one’s soul? “By divine good fortune I live in the most glamorous era of a famously enticing city. By obscene misfortune I’m shut out by its ruling elite.” Daring ways to make it big are on offer in Mexico City in the 1940s, but best watch your back! If Arturo Fuentes barters virtue to maneuver in on the action, will the consequence of his choices be too much to bear?

The rebirth of one of the world’s most colorful cities forms the rich backdrop for this historically discerning tale of treachery, intrigue and political corruption.

“My entire family was stuck for generations in that isolated village south of Veracruz where I was born. When you’re fourteen, know you are a dreamer and learn to be a schemer, you can’t stay and so you start planning for the day.”

In 1941, 21-year-old Arturo Fuentes followed the beat to Mexico City.

“There was so much going on!”

Bottles of rum in smoke filled bars, sultry women and impassioned conversation, music and bright show lights calling. Murder and corruption.

“A man moving up meets all kinds of people in that seductive city. Powerful men to boost your business prospects or a real dish who will change your life. Without women, life is without drama.”

“Arturo has goodness in his heart. I could tell in an instant. He was so easy to love. Arturo couldn’t sense the warning signs like a woman does. That pack of important politicos sucked him in! You can’t play their games and expect to walk away.”

“She was right! Each day my reasons for quitting got bigger and the ways out got smaller. I had to do what I had to do to save my soul.”

Praise for City of Promises

“… beautifully merging together historical fact with inspired fiction, this remarkable story is enlightening, illuminating and thoroughly compelling…” -Goodreads

“… a dazzling story of an eager young industrialist drawn to a myriad of big city temptations yielding experiences of tragedy, corruption, misfortune and prosperity …” – el Popular

“Fitter has efficiently dealt with time and place that makes the story come alive in the imaginations of the readers.” – Bookpleasures

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble (Nook) Smashwords

About the Author

D. Grant Fitter is a citizen of North America. Born in Ontario, Canada and educated in Colorado, USA, he is convinced he was Mexican in his previous life. How else to explain such a strong attraction to Mexico and all things Mexican, including his wife.

His business career includes long stints of work in Mexico before yielding to a pesky urge to pursue freelance journalism for seventeen years. Meanwhile, Fitter’s Mexican roots continued to call. City of Promises is the product of his curiosity to understand why the culture of our close neighbors is so distant from our own.

He lives in Toronto and whenever possible, in a sunny hillside casita in the colonial town of Taxco, Guerrero.

Author Links

Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 16 Review at Book Nerd

Friday, April 18 Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, April 21 Spotlight & Giveaway at The Bookworm

Wednesday, April 23 Guest Post at Layered Pages

Thursday, April 24 Interview at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, May 1 Review at Book Journey

Monday, May 5 Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover

Wednesday, May 7 Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 8 Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, May 9 Review at Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, May 12 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 15 Review at Reviews by Molly

City of Promises_Tour Banner_FINAL

 

Interview with Author Rebecca Lochlann

Rebecca

Rebecca Lochlann began envisioning the epic tale that has become The Child of the Erinyes series at a very early age. Getting it into the world has become her life’s work, although she didn’t exactly intend it to be that way. Her goal for the series is to create a new myth: one that offers the same flavor and unique magic as the Greek classics, yet which will interest modern readers. She has always believed that deities will sometimes speak to us through dreams and visions, gently prompting us to tell their lost stories.

Stephanie: Hello, Rebecca! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Please tell me a little about your book, The Year-God’s Daughter.

Rebecca: Gladly, Stephanie, and let me thank you for this opportunity. I was over the moon to be awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. What an honor! The Year-god’s Daughter kicks off my Child of the Erinyes series, a story that begins in the Bronze Age, on Crete and the Greek mainland, and ends in the near future. It follows the lives of the three main protagonists, along with their supporting characters, through time, as they experience history—not as queens, kings, and other VIPs, but common people like most of us, doing their best to survive and thrive with history happening around them.

In book one, the reader is introduced to Aridela, a younger princess on Crete, living a life of luxury in the great Knossos palace. We also meet two men from Mycenae who are seeking a way to overthrow this wealthy culture. All three think they know how their lives will unfold. They think they can manipulate the future to their own ends. They are very wrong.

Stephanie: How fascinating! I don’t believe I have read a story that takes place in Crete. Although I have always been interested in the Greek, Roman and Egypt history but not sure I would be able to write about them….their society, gods, traditions are so complex with such a wide range. However, I highly respect those who do. Were there any challenges and when did you first become interested in the Greeks?

Rebecca: Long ago, in elementary school, I found a children’s book in the library called D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Entranced by these delightful, imaginative tales, I read it many times, cover to cover. I might even say with some assurance that not only did this book get me interested in Greek myths, but it was the initial inspiration prompting me to write. From my very first reading, the stories in this book made me want to make up stories too.

There were indeed many challenges. Real, concrete knowledge about this time period is sketchy, often argued over by different factions of historians and archaeologists. That’s why I label the series “historical fantasy,” because I had to extrapolate and take liberties. Additionally, I was inspired as much by myth as historical documentation.

From the date and effects of the eruption of the Thera volcano, to what food the Cretans ate and how they dressed, to what their belief system might be, is all conjecture. Often, facts change with more advanced technology. I’m happy to say that so far, my research holds up to what is currently believed.

Stephanie: I’m one for finding inspiration in all things. My mind never shuts down….what was yours for this book?

Rebecca: Besides D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, I was also inspired by many other books, notably Moon, Moon (Anne Kent Rush) and Robert Graves’ Book of Greek Myths. Both sent my mind racing down new paths of imagination. In Graves’ book, I first learned that the famed “Ariadne,” of the well-known Cretan myth involving Theseus and the Minotaur, was originally called “Aridela,” and may have been considered a goddess rather than a mere mortal. What an amazing idea! I wondered why she was transformed (if indeed this is true). Carl Kerényi, another treasured author, theorizes that she was too powerful, too magnificent, and as time went by, she was deliberately diminished to suit a changing society who wanted their male gods to hold the most power. There is some evidence that this same diminishment was carried out on Athene, Hera, and other goddesses.

TYGD Layered Pages

Stephanie: What can you tell me about the period of time your story takes place in? Something that has really impacted you.

Rebecca: The fact that Crete was so sophisticated is fairly well accepted. Whether it was matriarchal or not is still debated, but that possibility inspired me. Many historians believe that women were very important in this society, whether rulers or not. It seemed to me this could be true, as Crete, being an island, was a bit removed from the other Mediterranean cultures. There’s evidence that Crete was far-reaching, and had outposts on Thera (Santorini), as well as other places, and may have traded regularly with ancient Britain. What impacted me the most was imagining what our present day world might be like right now, if Crete hadn’t been so damaged by outside events—the volcanic eruption and subsequent environmental disasters. These catastrophes made them vulnerable to attack and a complete overturn in power, and eventually, their culture was lost, lost to history, lost in every way, until relatively recently. Right now, much of western society is considered a product of ancient Athens, but what would things be like today if Crete had been the major influence? Athens was a tiny, inconsequential village when the society on Crete was enjoying its heyday, with sprawling palaces, enormous wealth, and widespread power. What if it was matriarchal, and the societies of today were influenced by that? As a woman, I find that intriguing with a capital “I.”

Stephanie: I noticed in your bio you joined with Erinyes Press to publish and distribute The Child of the Erinyes series, mythic fiction beginning in the Bronze Age. What an amazing project! Can you tell me a little about that?

Rebecca: I’m a control freak, I admit it. The advance of indie publishing was a perfect fit for me. For a long time I thought I’d missed the boat by spending so many years writing, then finding myself struggling with publishing houses who were cutting back, and unwilling to take chances on new authors. Now I believe Fate or Destiny was merely holding off for this indie movement. For one thing, my books are thoroughly entwined with each other: even in the first book, The Year-god’s Daughter, there are hints of future books, and vice-versa. It would be very difficult for editors and in-house marketing groups to know what to do with these books, taken on a one-by-one basis. Erinyes Press was the right answer. I, as the author, chief editor, and publisher, have all the control I have always desired.

Stephanie: When did you first begin to write and who are your influences?

Rebecca: My first story, a sci-fi fantasy, was written when I was seven. As an adult I’ve encountered many authors who began their career at age seven. What is it about the age of seven, I wonder?

So many influences! For historical fiction to be successful, it must find a way to combine research with writing that creates images and emotion in the reader’s mind, and characters the reader can root for. But I think it also requires an imagination that is formed by paying attention to modern life, so that the stories are relevant to today’s readers. My influences stretch clear back to when I first learned how to read and listen, so I will scratch the surface: pertaining to research and myth, Robert Graves, Jacquetta Hawkes, Barbara G. Walker, Carl Kerényi, and Charles Pellegrino, to name but a few. In the area of the kind of glorious writing I aspire to, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Patricia A. McKillip, Anita Diamant, Peter S. Beagle, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and the unpublished work of Annia Lekka. I hope the series resonates with ordinary women just trying to survive and thrive as history happens around them, and perhaps offers new ways of seeing the female as a gender. I owe a great debt to the women who have shaped my outlook. Margaret Atwood, Anne Kent Rush, Maggie Smith, Carol P. Christ, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marija Gimbutas, and many others.

Stephanie: Have you written anything outside this genre?

Rebecca: The final books of the series take place in the future, so the “historical” label doesn’t apply. The final book in the series is more literary, with elements of magical realism.

Stephanie: Please tell me a little about your writing process?

Rebecca: I start early, with a quick perusal of social sites to see what’s going on in my online worlds, then I usually work (except when extremely tired or blocked) 12 to 14 hours a day. A lot of that time is taken up with research, and since all the books in the series are written, albeit in rough draft, my work is mostly slicing, polishing, changing and fleshing out. Marketing and promotion also takes its time. I work every day in one manner or another until my spouse grumbles enough. Then I put aside the computer and go reacquaint myself with life, (This occasionally includes a noxious interlude with a vacuum.)

Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?

My author contacts are like moonbeams. They are many, varied, bright and generous. I am or have been a member of several writing groups, and when someone discovers a fantastic opportunity like indieBRAG, he or she always shares! Indie authors for the most part are a universe of wonderful give-and-take and support. Several members of my group, the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative (HFAC), an international group of authors joined together to offer readers a selection of high-quality historical fiction, have been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion!

Stephanie: Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?

Rebecca: I am humbled, honored, and grateful to those who have taken a chance on my story, who have taken time out of their lives to read my work. It’s a lifelong dream to put this tale out into the world: sharing it with others is amazing! Then to actually win awards, like the B.R.A.G. Medallion, has truly been one of the high points of my life. We authors invest more than can be imagined in our goals. I constantly work on this series, whether I’m at the computer or not. It consumes me. I can’t remember my last “vacation” from it. All that effort becomes worthwhile when even just one person appreciates what I’m trying to do.

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

Rebecca: The series so far is available at every Amazon site across the world.

It’s also listed at Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

And here’s my website, which has handy links and lots of info on myth and research, Rebecca Lochlann

Thank you, Rebecca!

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Rebecca Lochlann, who is the author of The Year-God’s Daughter, one of our medallion at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, The Year-God’s Daughter merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

 

 

Interview with Author Joe Perrone Jr.

Broken Promises

When the body of Maggie McFarland, an 86-year old widow, is found among the rubble of the once-famous, landmark Artemis Hotel, leveled by fire nearly seventy years ago, residents of Roscoe are shocked. However, it is not the location where Maggie is found, but rather the manner of her demise that has everyone puzzled. For it isn’t a heart attack that has felled her; nor has she suffered a stroke, or taken a fatal fall from a porch. Her life has not ended so uneventfully. Maggie has been killed by a bullet to the heart, fired from a pistol at close range. Who would possibly want to kill this kind, gentle woman, known throughout the area as one of the best trout fly tiers within a hundred miles of the famed Beaverkill River? That is the mystery that confronts Matt Davis in Broken Promises, one of the most baffling cases of his career.

Stephanie: Hello, Joe! Thank you for chatting with me today and welcome. I’m am so delighted to hear that you have won the B.R.A.G. Medallion for a second time. Your story, Broken Promises sounds thrilling and I do love a good mystery. How did you decide on your victim to be an 86-year old widow and how she would be killed?

Joe: Oh, my, that’s a doozy. Well, I hate to admit it but the original idea for the story came to me after repeatedly observing an old abandoned house over many years in the area where I generally fish. Then, in 2012, while attending the Two-Headed Trout dinner in Roscoe, I happened to find out that one of the town’s oldest and most respected fly tyers had been born there. The woman was in her 80s, and I decided to use her as the inspiration for Maggie. As far as how she was killed, well, that probably came to me in my sleep—as most of my “brilliant” ideas usually do.

Stephanie: How neat that the abandoned house you observed turned out to be where fly tyers were born. What a perfect setting and idea for a story.

Does your story take place in a small town and who are some of the people close to Maggie? And can you tell me a little about them?

Joe: The bulk of the story takes place in the little upstate New York town of Roscoe, which is a real place with about 500 permanent residents. It is known affectionately as Trout Town USA. The “real” Roscoe does not have a chief of police, nor does it have its own police force. Those were created by yours truly. However, I do have one repeating character, Frank Kuttner, who is a real local celebrity of sorts. He owns Kuttner’s Fly Shop in the nearby town of Livingston Manor. It is to him that Matt often goes for some common sense insight and advice.

The only person really close to Maggie is her granddaughter, with whom she lives. She’s known casually by all the local townspeople and the fly fishermen who purchase flies from her.

Stephanie: How fascinating and I have always wanted to visit upstate New York and you make it sound even more interesting than I originally thought.

Tell me about Matt Davis. Does he live in the same town? And how many cases has he worked on?

Joe: Matt Davis began his career in law enforcement as a homicide detective in New York City. When he was nearly killed on his last case in As the Twig is Bent, he decided to take early retirement and was offered the job of chief of police of Roscoe, where he used to go to fish the Beaverkill River. As part of his compensation package, he was given the use of a lovely cottage in town. He is married to Valerie, his second wife, who is a school nurse in the nearby town of Walton. Matt is a soft-spoken kind of man, sensitive to his wife’s needs, and inclined to live and let live. He is not particularly savvy when it comes to technology, and relies upon his intuition and “people smarts” to solve most of his cases. When you ask how many cases he has worked on, I am assuming you mean those that have been the subject of the four books to date, so I guess the answer would be four.

Stephanie: You say in your book description that this case is most baffling to Matt. Is it because of how Maggie died? Or because he knows the widow and can’t understand why anyone would want to harm her?

Joe: Probably a bit of both. After all, it’s not every day that an old woman is found shot through the heart—especially since she was well liked and had no apparent enemies. Generally, with most murder cases, there are some clues, some identifiable probable suspects. But in this case, there is nothing at all to go on.

Stephanie: How do you come up with and create your characters? Do they often surprise you or do things you don’t expect them to do?

Joe: Usually, the first thing I come up with is a germ of an idea for the story. Often I will be inspired by a news article, or perhaps a book that I have read. Then, it kind of sits there in my mind, until once day it just bubbles to the surface as a complete plot. Since we’re talking about a series, many of the characters are already in existence, except for those directly connected to the new crime. I get a lot of “writing” done in my sleep, and will often wake up at three or four in the morning and hurry into the kitchen to write down everything I can before I forget it.

Once I have the characters in my mind, the first thing I do is come up with a title. Then, I design the cover (I design all my own book covers). Finally, I design the paperback book in terms of selecting a font and laying out the page. And then, it’s off to the races. Even though I have a general idea for how the story should unfold, my characters often dictate “precisely” where it ends up. They most definitely do surprise me on occasion.

Stephanie: You definitely have the creative mind. Writers never stop thinking, our minds do not shut down.

Are there any challenges to writing mystery? How did you learn to or did it just come to you?

The biggest challenge for me is the plot, and maintaining a level of tension so the reader will want to continue to turn the pages. It definitely did not come naturally to me, but is something that I have worked very hard at, learning my craft with each successive book. I read every article I can about writing mysteries, and try to learn from them.

Stephanie: How long did it take you to work on Broken Promise?

Joe: Broken Promises took the better part of a year to write.

Stephanie: Will there be another Mat Davis mystery?

Joe: Most definitely yes, although I am giving Matt a bit of a rest right now while I work on a stand-alone thriller called Getting Even!. I expect to publish that in 2015. I already have the plot for the next Matt Davis mystery and a working title that I will announce after I publish Getting Even! I anticipate publishing the next Matt Davis mystery in 2016.

Stephanie: Ooo….tell me a little about, Getting Even. If you don’t mind.

Joe: Horace Whittaker is a recently widowed FBI Special Agent, facing mandatory retirement. Only months away from leaving the Bureau, he is assigned to a case involving a serial killer who is roaming the Interstate highway system. The relationship becomes personal after a while, and a cat and mouse contest ensues. I am consulting with both an active and a retired FBI agent on technical aspects of this book.

Stephanie: I noticed in your bio you are an avid fisherman. Can you please tell me about that?

Joe: I am an avid fly fisherman! I have been fly fishing for over 40 years, and have been tying my own flies for most of that time. In addition to fly fishing for trout (my true passion), I have, at times, also fished in saltwater for bluefish and striped bass, and in freshwater for largemouth bass. Since moving to North Carolina nearly 15 years ago, my opportunities for saltwater and lake fishing have been minimal. At one time, for nearly 10 years, I was a professional fly-fishing guide on the Beaverkill River in and around Roscoe. Because I have been going there for nearly 40 years, it was only natural that I chose Roscoe as the setting for my series. One of the biggest honors of my life occurred in spring of 2012, when the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of my series, invited me to be its “celebrity first caster” on the opening day of trout season.

Stephanie: Where in your home do you like to write and who are your influences?

Joe: I do all my writing in an office area, which is situated in the finished basement of my home. I share the space with my two cats, Cassie and Callie, whose litter boxes are located within “smelling distance” of my computer. Alongside and at right angles to my computer hutch is a roll-top desk, which is where I tie my trout flies. There is an exterior door with a multi-paned window that provides lot of natural light during the daylight hours. Between my writing and working on promotion and my publishing consulting business, I probably spend at least 12 hours a day at my computer.

I can’t really say that I’ve been “influenced” by any other writers in particular, with the one possible exception of the late William G. Tapply, whose Brady Coyne character was a lawyer, as well as an avid fly fisherman. I also learned a great deal from his book, The Elements of Mystery Fiction: Writing the Modern Whodunit. My wife, Becky, probably has had the most input into my work, and it is she who is my muse. Without her encouragement, help with plots, and constructive criticism, it is doubtful that I would ever have published one book, let alone the seven I have written to date.

Stephanie: What is the number one best thing about writing mystery?

Joe: I think the number one thing for me is actually two things: credible, natural-sounding dialogue; and realistic, universal characters whom readers can identify with.

Stephanie: Agreed on every score.

Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?

Joe: I wish that more readers would take the time to write and post reviews on Amazon.com and other websites—especially if they really enjoy the books. Naturally, I would hope that they would keep in mind the old adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Also, I can’t speak for other authors, but I love to hear from my readers. I have “email me” buttons throughout my website, and I always respond to correspondence. I write a blog, and nothing pleases me more than when my subject matter engenders comments from readers. My blog address is http://www.joetheauthor.wordpress.com, and my email address is: joetheauthor@joeperronejr.com. Readers can find me on Twitter @authorjoep.

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

Joe: All four Matt Davis Mysteries, As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and, of course, Broken Promises are available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.com. A few are also available for Nook from Barnes & Noble. As the Twig is Bent and Opening Day are also in audiobook from Audible.com, and Twice Bitten and Broken Promises are currently in production and should be available this summer.

Thank you, Joe!

Joe P Jr

Joe Perrone Jr is an author whose diverse background includes time spent as a sportswriter for a prominent New Jersey newspaper, the Passaic-Clifton Herald News, and also as a freelance advertising copywriter. In addition, he has had numerous short stories published in the Mid-Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. From 1989-1999, Joe was a professional fly fishing guide on the historic Beaverkill River, located in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York State. The nearby town of Roscoe, dubbed Trout Town USA, serves as the setting for three of Joe’s four Matt Davis mysteries: Opening Day (a 2012 Indie BRAG medallion recipient), Twice Bitten, and now Broken Promises (the first in the series was As the Twig is Bent, published in early 2009). In addition to the Matt Davis mysteries, Joe also authored a fifth novel, Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, a hilarious yet poignant look at coming of age in the tumultuous Sixties. His non-fiction works are: A “Real” Man’s Guide to Divorce (First, you bend over and…) and Gone Fishin’ with Kids (How to Take Your Kid Fishing and Still be Friends), which was co-authored with friend Manny Luftglass.

When not writing, blogging, or working with clients as part of his publishing consulting business, Escarpment Press, Joe enjoys fly fishing, fly tying, cooking (and eating), and listening to music (anything but rap or hip hop). Presently, Joe lives with his wife of 32 years, Becky, and the couple’s two cats, Cassie and Callie, in the mountains of western North Carolina.

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Joe Perrone Jr., who is the author ofBroken Promises, one of our medallion at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Broken Promises merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.