Monday, August 6, 2012

Roxanne Crouse Interview; Last Day for Free eBook Promotion

Author Roxanne Crouse was kind enough to publish an interview with me on her blog / website; the exposure is greatly appreciated.  A link to the interview on her site can be found here.  I reproduce her interview below, but please read it on her website and give her some traffic, if you would; thanks.

Also: today is the last day for the free eBook promotion of "O'Reilly's Sacrifice," so if you haven't downloaded it, please do; tell your friends and family and fellow readers, and as always, honest reviews on are greatly appreciated.  It's done well, sitting solidly at 3# in sports fiction bestsellers, and even spurring some sales of "A Fairy for Bin Laden," but the volume is about half of what it was for "Fairy;" understandable, since the genre is a bit more focused.

Here is the interview Roxanne posted; once again, thanks for the exposure!

1.           Pairing Bin Laden with a Fairy is an odd combination. Where did the idea to pair Bin Laden and a Fairy come from?

A: Two things germinated the story.  I was so sick of the glut of paranormal romance / vampire stories out there–I was determined to bring a different spin to the between-species romance thriller, at least in a short story format.  Two or three years ago, before the CIA ran Bin Laden down, I read a news item on the Bin Laden search and the use of drone aircraft, and the idea of a sci-fi sort of surveillance story popped into my head, followed pretty quickly by the idea of a fairy.  The search at the time was in the hill and cave country out there, and the thought of a fairy trained for black ops seemed like a good weapon for rooting him out.  Bang: CIA fairy romance.  I made a few half-hearted stabs at the project and shelved it.  When Bin Laden was taken down last year, and I read the account of the operation, everything came together and I hammered out the story in a half-dozen sittings.

2.       Did you do any research for A Fairy for Bin Laden?

A: I read all the online news articles on the search timeline and operation, and ultimately the Wikipedia resource for Operation Neptune Spear–the SEAL’s code name for the assault on Bin Laden’s compound–became the structure for the last third of the story.  The news clippings that I used for epigraphs in some parts are true events, and actually took longer to research; I wanted to intersect Belle’s timeline with actual terrorist take-outs by drones in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some of them fit like a glove right into the timelines of the story, but it took me a while to track them down.

3.       What about an outline? Do you map your way through a story or go by the seat of your pants?

A: You caught me.  Normally I’m a meticulous outliner–Act by Act, chapter by chapter, scene by scene.  This story, however, just burst out of me in a linear word-dump.  I woke up at the keyboard, stared at my fingers in wonder, and went right out and bought a PowerBall.

4.       What was the most important thing you learned while writing A fairy for Bin Laden? What have you learned in general?

A: I usually shake my head at most decisions made down there in D.C., but I had to take my hat off to President Obama (who I am not a big fan of), for having the balls to make a very gutsy decision.  I read a lot about the debates behind the scenes on what to do once they thought Bin Laden was in that compound in Pakistan.  He listened to a lot of options and opinions, but he took the burden of the call on himself, and when he did, there was no vacillation.  That operation had a very good chance of going pear-shaped.  (I’m old enough to remember President Carter’s cluster of an attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages in 1979.)  He took responsibility, showed leadership, and made it happen.  Way to lead from the front.  Now, let’s talk about the economy, Barack . . .

5.      Is anything in your story based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

A: Obviously, the terrorist takeouts and Bin Laden search and the assault on the compound are factual.  Major Kincaid was a caricature of  someone I knew in the Navy.  Belle . . . Belle grabbed the keyboard and wrote herself, so it’s difficult to say if she was a product of my imagination or not.  The Navy SEALS . . . well.  I was stationed in the Navy near the major SEAL base in Coronado, CA, and some of my best drinking buds were SEALS, so I know the type and mindset well.  One thing I learned hanging out with them: leave before they did, because whoever looked at them funny in the parking lot when they stumbled out was  . . . unfortunate.  I’m not one to gawk at train wrecks.

6.      Did you try traditional publishing before self-publishing? What happened? What made you decide to self-publish?

A: I went through the circle of the SF / F Writers sanctioned magazines: Clarkesworld, Apex, Bull Spec, etc.  I got pulled from the slush pile and had some serious consideration from a few, but ultimately, it came down to the usual “fit” for the magazine.  I decided my “fit” was with the readers I knew I could connect with.  I knew I had a good story.  ”Fairy” was a dry run on Kindle Direct Publishing in advance of the publication of an epic fantasy that I’ve been working on for a few years.  Needed to get a handle on the process, formatting, marketing, etc.

7.      How do you market A Fairy for Bin Laden? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

A: I took out a Facebook ad, promoted myself through my FB fan page, dropped stuff on some online fan forum boards,, Goodreads, blogged, and reached out to bloggers and reviewers like you to get exposure and build an audience.  No one can quit their day job on the strength of a few novella sales, but I’m interested in getting my name out there, gaining exposure, displaying my chops as a writer.  ”Fairy” (and the second novella I published last month), have been a good experience, and I have a small base now.  I know how wide and deep to go when I launch the big Kahuna in a few months.  I’m ready.

8.      Are there any other self-published authors that have grasped your interest or inspired you to self-publish?

A: J.A. Konrath.  He’s a thriller writer–not my genre or cup of tea–but a huge evangelist for the self-pubbed author.  He turned his back on the Big Six publishing houses (BS) and he’s making a ton of money as an Indie.  I encourage everyone to check out his blogs and go through his archives: he predicted the shift to eBooks and the impact of self-publishing them years before the actual wave broke.

9.       Would you take a publishing deal if you were offered one? Why?

A: Probably not.  Why would I wait 18 months to two years for a limited shelf-space print run, about 17% royalties (vs 35 or 70% on Amazon), and an eternal battle for the rights to the work that I sweated out of my body, when I can push a button and start getting read immediately?  It would have to be a huge offer, and maintaining control of eBook rights would have to be on the table.  (See Konrath’s blog for more on that.)

10.   What new projects are you working on now?

A: My big project is an epic fantasy trilogy in the spirit of Stephen Donaldson’s “Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.”  I’m pushing 100,000 words in the first volume, and it feels about 70% done.  I see myself committing a half-million words to the tale.  I’m still working on the tagline (and title), but: “A wealthy North Carolina aristocrat investigating the mysterious disappearance of his pregnant wife discovers that his family is central to a magical realm’s ancient prophecy.”

11.   Is there anything about writing you find particularly challenging?

A: finding the time.  I steal time on my train ride, lunch time and evenings.  I have challenging full time job, and I teach scuba on weekends.

12.   Who came up with the cover design and where did the art come from?

A: My friend Jerry Branch.  I’ve known him for years from back when he ran the graphics section of the marketing department of a company we both worked for.  Very talented guy, with reasonable friend and family rates.

13.   Did you hire anyone to help you edit? Why?

A: I’m a pretty good (and compulsive) copy editor, and I edited the hell out of “Fairy”, but I will definitely hire one for the longer works.   No one can see all the flaws in his or her own stuff.  I look at it as a necessary investment in my career.

14.   Do you have any advice for other writers?

A: Write, re-write and publish.  There are no more gate keepers.  No excuses not to write.  Find the time or make the time.  Stop reading books and blogs (except Roxanne’s, mine, and Konrath’s) on writing and sit down and write. The Big Six (BS) and their poor judgement no longer stand between you and your audience, so there is no one to crush your dreams when your stuff is ready for publication.  If you write a good story, compose a good blurb, get a catchy cover done, hire an editor, and get your work out there, it will be judged by the only people who matter: readers.

15.   Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

A: I’m here for you.  Reviews are greatly appreciated. I write for myself, and primarily for you.  I’m a reader too; I enjoy a good story, and as an author I want to publish the best story I can.  Read my blog, read my stuff, and above all, give me feedback so I can forge myself into the best writer I can, and I can deliver the kind of story you’ll enjoy.

16.   How can fans who enjoyed A Fairy for Bin Laden find out more about you and what you have coming out in the future?

A: Please Like my Fan Page on Facebook (, and subscribe to my blog:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"O'Reilly's Sacrifice" Now Free on Amazon

Free novella; promotion ends 8/6.  If you like sports fantasy like "Field of Dreams," you'll enjoy this story.  Tell your friends, tell your family, tell anyone who reads.  Please leave an honest Amazon review; that would be greatly appreciated:

The Curse of the Bambino:

In 1919,the Boston Red Sox sold of one of their rising young stars to the New York Yankees. That rising star just happened to be George Herman Ruth. The Babe. The Bambino. Babe Ruth.

You may have heard of him.

After the sale, Ruth went on to star as perhaps the most famous--if not the greatest--ballplayer of all time for the hated rival Yankees, who won championship after championship, while the Red Sox labored under nine decades worth of inexplicable misfortune and frustration; many came to believe the team had fallen under a curse.

It had.

On October 17, 2004, the beleaguered Red Sox were down, three games to none, to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. The team was trailing, late in the game, facing elimination.

But a despairing and determined Red Sox fan decided to take matters into his own hands and lift the Curse -- with a little bit of dark magic, a hostage sportswriter, and the ultimate sacrifice.

"O'Reilly's Sacrifice" is a 7500-word novella: a darkly humorous--but ultimately heartwarming--story
about a fan who truly lived and died with his team.

BONUS MATERIEL:  An except from the author's story, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," a tale about a foot-high pixie who helps the CIA and Army hunt down Osama Bin Laden is included in this purchase.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back on the Grid--and Some New Promotions

I hit the ground running yesterday after returning from a 10-day scuba-diving trip to the Florida Keys.  Our group's mantra is "this is not a vacation; it's a dive trip," so I got absolutely no writing done during the span of the gruelling trip--which is fine; I needed to decompress before the last push to get the novel done.  (My target is to give birth just before the Christmas book-buying and certificate-giving season.)  I checked no email, and stayed completely off the grid.  No news, no social media.  Nada.

OMG: there are Olympic Games going on across the Pond.  Who'da thunk?  (I have no idea how we're doing.)

Now, back to the wheel.

I blasted off 1500 words yesterday, picking up threads without missing a beat.  Good to be back.  Sort of.

I'm launching a few new promotions, encouraged by the success and exposure of the Amazon giveaway of "A Fairy for Bin Laden."

There's an ad running on Best Indie Books to promote "Fairy," and starting tomorrow I'm launching a 5-day free giveaway of  "O'Reilly's Sacrifice" on Amazon for Kindle.

I've been getting some great positive reviews for "Fairy"" on Amazon; very gratifying.  The promotion gave me good exposure; however, I'm still waiting for that to translate to sales.  This whole writing business for an Indie author is a learning experience, and just that: a business, which needs to be run like one, with attention to sales, marketing, etc.  It's a lot a fun, but eats up a lot of time too.  If the traditional publishers weren't such blood-sucking assholes, I'd certainly get in bed with them to do that side of the house.

Now, we return to our regularly-scheduled program . . .