Category Archives: Indie Publishing

Character Interview: War Merchant

An Interview with Dydre Rowyn,War Merchant Protagonist

Character interviews are so much fun. We get to see how authors and their protagonists interact. They can be lighthearted or dead serious. Today, meet Dydre Rowyn, Patrick Parker’s lead in the War Merchant. I wouldn’t turn my back on her! GGC

by Patrick Parker        (Copyright 2016)

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is a suspense-filled novel that crosses the globe in a world of corrupt politics, a ruthless greedy opportunist, terrorists, and a pawn with deadly skills. First a little about Patrick.

Patrick says his goal is to entertain you. He wants you to be thrilled and on the edge of your seat all the time, wondering what is going to happen next.

After retiring from the Army, he worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. Now writing full-time, he draws from his military and corporate experience to write fast-paced, suspense novels. Inspired by authors like Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, John le Carré and, of course Tom Clancy, his books will keep you on the edge of your seat.

His previous title, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, is based on actual events that occurred at the end of World War II.

  • What is life really like in your line of work?

Hmm. That one is a bit hard to explain. I deal with some of the world’s worst people. I want out of this business. It is a bit tense at times and you have to be as tough as woodpecker lips, if you’re going to survive. Other than that, I live on the edge, not knowing sometimes if I’m about to take my last breath or not. I travel all over the world, often at a moment’s notice. Most of the people I deal with would just as soon kill me as look at me; I only meet with them on my terms and from a position of strength—I have something they want. I don’t like doing business with the fanatic Muslims and they don’t like doing business with me. Most of the others I deal with are dictators, thugs, and terrorists. There’s not much difference in any of them, actually. I look forward to a long hot bath after I meet with those slime balls.

  • You’ve given your business title as international business development consultant. I know Zsigmond took you in but how did you wind up doing his dirty work?

I needed some kind of title and that one doesn’t raise eyebrows. It started out very benign. At first, I just made phone calls and ran errands for Clay. That increased to a few simple meetings in low threat environments. Although most of them were in third world countries and the people I met with, you probably wouldn’t invite them to Christmas dinner. It wasn’t long until Clay was quite busy and wanted me to do more. The next thing I knew he was hiring people to train me in weapons, explosives, as well as escape and evasion techniques. I was young and it was a bit of an adventure. The money is damn good. I’m very accomplished in jujitsu, you know. That, in itself, gave me a lot of confidence. I had a lot of instruction in hand-to-hand combat, too. I didn’t realize how dangerous it was until it was too late.

Author Patrick Parker

Author Patrick Parker

  • Do you always wear a disguise? What’s that all about?

Yes, usually.  It’s about staying alive. In school, I was very active in the theatre and learned a lot about makeup and disguise for the stage. I got the idea during one of the escape and evasion classes. Intel agencies around the world use disguises, so I applied the same technique. Early on, when Clay sent me out in the field, I was quite naive but smart enough to conceal my identity. I knew several people who wound up dead because of miss communications, something didn’t go just right, or wanted out. Most of the cockroaches I deal with would track you down and kill you. So, I disguised my appearance and identity. I even kept my house in Italy a secret.

  • Zsigmond kept a dossier on you? Would he really turn it over to Interpol?

Yes. Clay changed after his wife, Johanna, died. I loved her like a mother. I tried to quit and suffered Clay’s wrath. He threatened to kill David, my son, if I tried to leave. He made it very clear to me that if I did manage to break free from him, he would send my dossier to the authorities and hunt me down. He’s crazy. I knew he would.

  • You’ve worked with many notorious and ruthless people. What was the scariest situation you’ve been in?

The scariest? Good one. There were a few. I guess it was when Clay screwed things up with the terrorists and told them I betrayed them when the Ranger devices didn’t work. I had to convince the terrorists I was going to fix the problem. I really thought I was going to die. If I didn’t address the issue, they would come after me. If we didn’t fix those devices, I was dead. Honestly, I didn’t have much faith that we would fix them.

  • Why did you kill Mac? Didn’t you have feelings for him?

Mac. I liked Mac. Ruggedly handsome guy—a professional and no-nonsense. Unfortunately, he was a loose end. He was the only one, outside of Clay, that could tie me to the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda.

  • Ludwig Stäbler set you up. Didn’t you see that coming?

No, I didn’t. I’ve known Ludwig for a long time and he owed me. Besides, he didn’t care for Clay. Looking back, I might have been too focused on getting David. Ludwig is a soldier of fortune, and money talks.

  • Did you sleep with Anthony Mangiano? Are you involved with someone special?
Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss whom I may have slept with. I might ask you if you slept with someone; would you tell me? Next question.

  • Are there any romantic plans in your future?

 

I hope so.  I want to have a family and be like normal people—David, me, and a father for David.

  • You seem fearless. What scares you?

A lot of things. Clay, Muslim fanatics, and, believe it or not, Anthony. He can be cold and is always one-step ahead of me. Silverfish and lima beans, well they don’t scare me, I just don’t like them.

  • What does the future hold for you? Will we see you again?

That is a very good question. I understand a number of people want to see me again. Patrick has talked to me about it several times. It is possible. I do think he likes me.

 

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1izsnBH

Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1pnfAoM

Google+: http://bit.ly/1y8cCI5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pparkerntx

Goodreads Profile page: http://bit.ly/1pnLth0

Blog: http://bit.ly/1tTUjjv

Webpage: http://bit.ly/1ZEoYGu

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Interview: Kristen Elise, PhD, Writer, Editor & Now Publisher

Cancer Fighter by Day; Murder Mistress by Night

Interviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2016)

Kristen had an idea: Invite crime fiction writers from all over the U.S. to take part in an anthology. Big undertaking—and perhaps a bit bigger than she expected. It’s not like she doesn’t have enough to do; important day job, writing books, two websites and her family. But she gently herded 31 writers from every region, slaved over uncooperative technology and voilà, Murder, USA: A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation is a reality. Here’s how she did it.

  1. What possessed you to put together the mystery anthology Murder, U.S.A.?

Book Murder USA FinalI got the idea for Murder, U.S.A. from a few anthologies that I have seen recently. Typically, anthologies are short story collections, and they do a great job of offering a sampling of the work from multiple authors to readers. However, I’m not a short story writer. Never have been, and doubt I ever will be. So it got me to thinking: what if, instead of a short story collection, we created an anthology of sorts that is just snippets from the novels of novelists? It might be a great way to offer that same sampling of work without asking novelists to come up with short stories to tell. And it might be more representative of what those authors really write.

  1. Tell us something about yourself. Was there anything in your experience that prepared you for this undertaking? Also mention Murder Lab. It’s a terrific website.

Thank you for the compliment! Hmmm… well, I’m a “drug hunter” by day. I work for a biotech company, and my job is to look for molecules that will eventually become cancer medicines. It was in this work that I got the idea for The Death Row Complex, which is featured in Murder, U.S.A. Murder Lab is a website (http://www.murderlab.com/) that I put together a few years ago with the goal of uniting authors, readers, and basically anyone with an interest in crime fiction. You can see my experience from my day job in the website as both are basically a series of “experiments” — except that in my day job, I’m running experiments to identify the right molecules, whereas on Murder Lab, I and the Murder Lab community are constantly experimenting in what makes good crime fiction, how to sell crime fiction, and other such questions. Murder, U.S.A. was another experiment, by the way!

  1.  How did you reach out to other writers to participate?

I posted the idea on Murder Lab, reached out to my mailing list, and reached out via Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social networks I’m a part of. There was quite an amazing response! I’m so pleased with the finished product because it’s exactly what I had in mind—a very diverse collection from a wonderful group of authors. There is something in there for everyone. If you like to read mysteries, thrillers, or suspense novels of any breed, please download your free copy! http://amzn.to/1TBcjir  (Also available wherever eBooks are sold.)

  1.  What are some of the issues you experienced in compiling the excerpts and publishing the book?

    Author Kristen Elise, PhD

    Author Kristen Elise, PhD

Haha! Well, I’m not gonna lie—it was much more work than I thought it would be. I had pictured that since the excerpts were all from published works, there would be no editing and it would just be a matter of putting them together and publishing. Not so much. There were actually a lot of technical difficulties I had to overcome, mostly based on the fact that everyone’s excerpts came in a different format, and I’m not skilled enough with software to just make them all magically become uniform. There were also some publishing difficulties since this was the first work I ever offered perma-free. And the first anthology with multiple authors. And the first book that was filled with links throughout the text. Etc. etc. etc. Having said that, it was a labor of love and I’m SO glad I did it! And the authors are all super cool, and I made a lot of new friends. So… worth every minute of effort.

  1.  Why is the book always free?

I wanted this book to be perma-free across all channels so that it can be available to anyone. The real goal of Murder, U.S.A. was never to sell it as an entity of its own, but rather, to expose the authors and their works to as many readers as possible. It’s a marketing tool, not a product in and of itself. It is my hope that the authors will help to get the book out there, and that readers will buy the books they like based on the excerpts. It is for this reason that there are easy buy links for every book featured in Murder, U.S.A., right there at the end of the excerpt.

  1.  Explain how the book cover came to be. Why did you choose Damon Freeman’s cover company Damonza.com?

I have now used Damonza for four books—both of my full-length novels, Murder, U.S.A., and a fourth book I’m doing as a fee-for-service for another author. I keep going back to them because they do excellent work for a reasonable price and they are highly professional. For this cover, we asked them to come up with a few concepts, which they did, and then I basically took a vote among the authors in the anthology. The cover with the most votes won. Simple as that.

  1.  What would you want readers to know?

Blog Murder Lab ButtonI’d like readers to know that if they sign up on my Murder Lab mailing list (just click the icon in the upper left corner of the page), I’ll send them a free copy of a spreadsheet I put together which a lot of authors are finding very useful. In short, I once spent a giant sum of money on just about every paid advertising site I could find, and then I kept track of which sites really led to sales and which didn’t. Readers can just click that link for further details. I’d also like readers to know about my personal author site, www.kristenelisephd.com. This site is a bit different from Murder Lab in that while Murder Lab is geared toward readers and authors of all crime fiction, my author site is dedicated to topics featured in my own novels—which, by the way, are historical and medical mysteries and thrillers. AND, last, I’d like your readers to know that if they sign up on THAT website’s mailing list, which is separate from Murder Lab since they have different focuses, I will send them a free copy of The Vesuvius Isotope.

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Indie Publishers Partner with Amazon, Changing Face of Publishing

We Say We Want a Revolution

by G G Collins

Indie Publishers Fire  Shot Heard Around the World
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There is a revolution going on and it’s changing the world of book publishing. Indie publishers are uniting and uploading their books to the Amazon machine. The days of a half-dozen huge New York book publishers making all the decisions on what the public will read is coming to an end. What has led us to this threshold? Of course technology is part of it, but traditional publishers are partly to blame. Is it a good change or not? Probably both, but like other revolutions, it is a sea change, a wave that cannot be turned back.

Putting Aside Perceptions

The first day I walked into a book publisher as a new employee, I thought that writers (authors after you write a book) would be revered. I would soon know differently as one after another, my beliefs would topple. There was no reverence for the hard work, sweat, tears and talents of writers.

Your book may be your “baby,” but to a publisher, books are merely widgets, products; they either move out of the warehouse and rack up sales, or accumulate dust until the publisher sends them to remainder land.

It became apparent in an office stacked with manuscripts, that writers were a necessary evil and mostly ignored. When a publisher deigns to accept your work and transforms it into a paper book, the promotions department will most likely send out a handful of galleys (now, more often digital) to review media such as Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist. After publication another few copies would be sent to the author’s local newspaper (if still in operation) and a few appropriate specialty review markets.

Our book house was listed in trade publications as accepting queries and manuscripts. Despite this, there came a time when the reams of paper threatened to push us out of the office, the word would come from on high: “Send them all back. If they haven’t included an SASE, trash it.” We didn’t read or evaluate a single query or manuscript. We did include a much copied “rejection” letter explaining it just wasn’t right for our list. This after the writer paid postage both ways and copy costs.

Fed Up

Today, many publishers accept email queries, but instead of a rejection email, writers are virtually ignored. Once after giving an editor an exclusive submission and waiting three months without a word, I sent a follow-up email asking politely if she had received it (email can be lost forever in cyberspace), I received a blast from her that said in effect: Don’t call me, if I’m interested, I’ll call you! Ouch. While I admit there is a wasteland of discourtesy everywhere (including some writers), can’t we stretch the boundaries of decorum enough to be, if not kind, at least not venomous?

After I entered into a business relationship with a literary agent–her telling me this would be my “breakout” book–I thought I was on the road to publication. But again, a few months passed and I received my manuscript  via mail. In it, a note was scratched: “This hasn’t gotten the attention from my office it deserved.” That’s it. At least she was honest.

These are the “good ol’ days” of book publishing. Where writers earned about $2 (USD) on their book, priced at $20 retail. In these days of tree-dependent books, many publishers outsourced the printing of the books to other countries to save greenbacks.

New Kid in Town

So along comes a little start-up called Amazon that dared to discount books while the bricks-and-mortar bookstores continued to sell at suggested retail. The company was established in 1994 and went online as amazon.com a year later. While founder Jeff Bezos didn’t expect an immediate profit, investors were antsy at the lack of return. But in late 2001, Amazon had its first profitable quarter. And the rest is history.

Amazon’s Kindle
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During my tenure with publishers of books, newspapers and magazines there began a faint rumble in the distance skies. People were beginning to talk about a book you would read on a computer. I imagined sitting on a beach, holding a laptop while trying to read through the glare of the sun. But then, Amazon Kindle made its debut. It is now in its fourth incarnation, the Fire. What followed was a surge in tree-free eBooks. Amazon Kindle books out-sell paper and cloth combined.

When Amazon launched Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP, suddenly the doors flew open for those of us who are unconventional to begin with and who really didn’t want to be under the thumb of a conventional book publisher. While the prevailing notion seems to be only bad writers self-publish, perhaps they are good writers whose books were overlooked by mainstream publishing. Honestly, publishers are known far and wide for releasing only the finest literature. Ahem.

Stoking the Revolution

Remember that $2 an author received for her $20 book? At Amazon an indie can receive $2.05 for every $2.99 book she sells. I receive 70% on sales in the US and 35% on sales in other countries. A reader is much more likely to take a chance on a new author with an attractive price such as $ .99 to $3.99.

With this opportunity comes new responsibilities. The writer/publisher does have to design her own cover, or have it designed. Many of us are up to it. We wrote a book, that creativity doesn’t stop at “The End.” And yes, you have to promote and market your book. But remember the handful of review copies the paper publisher would send out? You would be doing this regardless.

Anytime I’ve had a question, which wasn’t often because Amazon’s directions are good, I’ve received a polite and helpful response. This goes double for ordering and returning as a customer. It would benefit businesses, large and small; to approach customer service the way Amazon does it.

Amazon offers a real chance for the indie publisher. It removes the sometimes antagonistic relationship between writer and publisher and allows us the opportunity to control our own destiny. In doing so, we are altering how books are published, marketed and read. The revolution has arrived and we’re turning the book world on its head.

— G G Collins

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