Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Coffee chat with Brian Andrews, author of thriller, espionage, science fiction

It's a pleasure to welcome to my virtual café, Brian Andrews.
Brian is a best selling author of military fiction and espionage thrillers, a former US Navy Vet, and Park Leadership Fellow. He has a master’s degree in business from Cornell, and holds a psychology degree from Vanderbilt. He is a husband, father, and advocate of planetary stewardship. He would also like to someday take a walk on Mars.

Welcome Brian,
 
DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you take your coffee (or not as has been the case), and what is your favourite time of the day to partake?
 
BRIAN: Ahhh, coffee… nectar of the gods and quite possibly the single greatest human culinary achievement. I prefer my coffee hot, with steamed milk and a hint of sugar. 


DL: As a Navy vet, has writing Military Thrillers been a therapeutic outlet for you, or is it a case of you feel there should be more believability in this genre and you can deliver these details? 

BRIAN: Great question! The legends of the genre Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn were brilliant authors, but never served in the military. Now, you see a new generation of rising military thriller authors who are veterans with a voice and stories to tell providing a level of authenticity not seen before. As you know, I co-author the best selling TIER ONE series with fellow Navy veteran CDR Jeff Wilson under the name Andrews& Wilson.

For us, the TIER ONE series is both therapeutic and celebratory. What I mean is by writing these characters and telling these stories we are able to honor the brave men and women who serve in the military and find both meaning and purpose for the sacrifices made and lives lost. Jeff and I strive to write novels with a “tick on a hound” perspective—so real and gritty you feel like you are a member of the team on mission while you’re reading.

You can find us online at www.andrews-wilson.com and @BAndrewsJWilson

DL: Your latest book "Reset" has a science fiction element to it. It reminds me of Michael Creighton. Is Sci-Fi Thriller a genre you'd like to write more of? And if so, which Sci-Fi books/authors/TV shows have influenced you?

BRIAN: RESET is the novel I’ve been dreaming about writing my entire life and is packed with every cool idea I’ve ever wanted to toss in a book: Mind Control, Parasitic Organisms, the discovery of Alien Technology, Underground Bunkers, Doomsday Preppers, an Eccentric Conspiracy Theorist, and of course, DARPA.

 
At my core, I’ve always been a Sci-Fi fanboy. If I had been born today instead of forty years ago, I would be first in line to sign up for a ticket to Mars, so yes, this is definitely a genre you’ll see more work from me in the future. Early influences for me were the X-Files television shows, Orson Scott Card’s Ender series, James Rollins Sigma Force novels, and the body of work by writer/director James Cameron. More recently, I’ve been enjoying the work of John Scalzi, Peter Clines, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Dennis E. Taylor, and Amy Rogers.
 
If you like films like War Games or The Terminator, or television series like the X-files or Stranger Things, you’ll love RESET. I should also note, that I was fortunate enough to entice the worlds most talented voice actor, Ray Porter, to narrate the audiobook. I’ve listened to the pre-release recording and it is a masterwork, with Ray voicing over a dozen different characters and bringing them to life in way I could have never imagined. Please check it out on Audible!

DL: You've served on a submarine and you'd like to go to Mars. Both require living in a self-contained, closed-quarter environment with other people. (I reckon I'd cope with the confined space but would smother the snorers within the first week.) What is the one feature of closed-quarter living that most writers of Books/Film/TV get wrong? And what is one feature they're spot on about?


BRIAN: Another intriguing question. What they get right is the amplification of tension in the interpersonal relationships. Self-contained, closed-quarter environments are sort of like human pressure cookers. There’s no where to run, no where to hide, no where to escape your social and professional adversaries. This creates wonderful drama. What authors who haven’t personally experienced living and working in these environments have difficulty expressing and describing is what I call the “man serving the machine” phenomenon.

 
Understand, this is not metaphor. The greatest constraint on the engineers who design submarines and spacecraft is the requirement to make room for the humans. The humans inside the machine—with all their human needs—really throw the proverbial “monkey wrench” into the equation. There were dozens of omnipresent reminders, when I was working on the submarine, that I was not the priority. The machine is the priority. The mission is the priority.
 
You are either a cog in the machine (best case scenario) or you’re luggage (worst case scenario). I worked hard to be a cog :-)  


DL: I love conspiracy theories. The weirder the better for me. Plus they're great fodder for speculative fiction. Many of your books feature covert deeds and conspiracies. Do you have a personal favorite conspiracy theory?

BRIAN: Of course, the Roswell incident and alien visitation lore in general. I think it is ludicrous and outlandishly egocentric to believe that in a cosmos with billions of stars and trillions of planets Earth is the only place harboring life. In fact, I will go on the record now, on your blog, with this feather ruffling statement: People who don’t believe there is alien life beyond our little blue marble are the ones guilty of peddling conspiracy theory!


By the end of the next decade I’m certain we will have discovered evidence of microbial life on Mars, Titan, or Europa. I also predict we’ll discover an exoplanet in the habitable zone of an alien star with an oxygen rich atmosphere and evidence of liquid water. Once that happens, the race to launch the first interplanetary probe will be on…a race I presume Elon will win.
 

DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?

BRIAN: Coffee cake with a cinnamon, sugar, walnut marbled filling.

Thanks for dropping by for a coffee chat. If readers would like to know more about his latest release or follow this author, here are some links.
 
ABOUT THE BOOK



The human mind has always been unhackable… until now.

DARPA wants to study him.
 The Pentagon wants to pretend it never happened.
 And his wife just wants him back.

 But the mysterious object discovered by Army Sergeant Michael Pitcher defies logic and has set in motion a sequence of events that, if left unchecked, will RESET the fate of humanity.



MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
 Brian is a US Navy veteran, nuclear engineer, and former submarine officer. He co-authors the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon best-selling TIER ONE thriller series with Jeffrey Wilson. He is a husband, father, coffee lover and occasional malcontent. His latest stand-alone thriller, RESET, is new for 2018. You can find him online at: www.andrews-wilson.com and @bandrewsjwilson.

 WEBSITE

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE


FOLLOW ON TWITTER
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Stay tuned for more coffee chats commencing June.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Writing and self-publishing a trilogy. Do you do it one by one or all at once?

As I’m nearing the final stages of self-publishing Book 3 of my sci-fi/apocalyptic trilogy, it has occurred to me that there were 2 ways to go about writing a trilogy and I chose one way.

Was it the right way? The two ways to write and publish a trilogy are:

1.       Write the books 1 at a time and publish as they are completed

2.       Write all 3 books and release them a few months apart
 
I chose the Option 1 while writing "Welcome to theApocalypse". My reasons were personal. I suspect other authors choose their way for personal reasons as well.
 


Writing and self-publishing a trilogy Part 1. Write the books 1 at a time and publish as they are completed

My reason for choosing to write and publish as they were completed are this:

I had spent so long writing book 1, it had undergone major re-writes, plus I had written the first drafts to not one, but two other books while waiting for publisher and agents to reply to my pitches. The first manuscript spent 7 months with a publisher only to be turned down. Then I re-wrote it and it then spent a year on the pitching process. Finally, with advice from an editor I did one last re-write and by the time I made the call to self-publish, my publishing history was getting further and further behind me. The last book for adults was released in 2014, and since I’m only completing book 3 now, it would 2018 before I could publish if I chose option 2. I didn’t want to wait that long. As I said, purely personal reasons. But I’ve learned something from publishing them as they’re written instead of publishing them in one batch.

What did I learn from doing it this way?
 
You can shape future books to what readers want.

I received reviews and some were great and some not so great. Some of the not so great were helpful in that I was able to use what they didn’t like and explain it in the next book. Maybe it’s not ideal to use reviewers as beta readers, because you can mess it up and risk sales of follow up books, but I’m not interested in gaining these readers as fans

You can find a really good plot twist you never thought of.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but the truth is that one negative reviewer provided an invaluable plot twist for me. He stated that he couldn’t understand why the players didn’t want to kill everything, after all, wasn’t that the point of the game? Good point. Maybe because I didn’t want to write a senseless violence story, however I was able to use this to explain how a batch of chemicals was weakened so the players couldn’t have gone primal, in order to explain how the increased batch made a bunch of people mutate and become the salvation for humanity. I would never have thought of this wonderful twist in the story arc without this negative review. So take that, bad reviewers, your words cannot hurt me.

You can pace yourself when promoting.

Maybe this is also a bad point, because so many people are enthusiastic at book 1 and this typically wanes by book 3. And many readers simply don’t want to wait 5 months to a year for the follow up book. But I have found that pacing the publications has given me 3 bites at the cherry. Because the books are released minimum 6-12 months apart, placing blog tours so close together could lead to blogger and/or reader fatigue. Besides, with each book’s promotion, I have learned what to do and what NOT to do. So pacing the publication allows me to shift my strategy with each book.

So is it the right way? For me it was. For others, probably not. Other writers may believe that One does not simply slap a cover on it and publish on Amazon.
 

To get the two sides to this story, I will interview an author who has taken the second option with a trilogy to talk about why they chose this option and what they learned from this approach.


 
Coming soon: Writing and self-publishing a trilogy Part 2. Write all 3 books and release them a few months apart.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Goddess Fish Promotions: Blurb Blitz: Welcome to the Apocalypse Trilogy by ...

It's easy to sign up to spread the word about my sci-fi series. Book 3 is out May 9. Why not join in on the fun. You can win a $15 Amazon Gift Card. There's also a prize for your readers too!



I would love it if you could assist by spreading the word for this trilogy. These characters learn through out the series how important family is to them.



Goddess Fish Promotions: Blurb Blitz: Welcome to the Apocalypse Trilogy by ...: Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour for Welcome to the Apocalypse Trilogy by D L Richardson, a Science Ficti...

Thursday, 12 April 2018

My Top 10 scary sounds, movies, books, places and everything else!

To celebrate this Friday the 13th I’ve put together a Top 10 list of things that scare me or fascinate me about the occult.
 
 I also asked readers to tell me what scared them. Scroll to the bottom to read what scares some of my readers.
 
1. Dolls, Clowns, and Creepy Marionettes
 
 
I was about 10 years old when I watched a cop show on TV, and there was a scene with a porcelain doll sitting in the backyard at night. Children playing with dolls are okay. It’s when dolls are sitting there on their own waiting for someone to play with them that they creep me out. Because dolls eventually get fed up with waiting and they come to life and seek to kill us for ignoring them. Clowns and puppets five me the same creep factor, and if you make a clown or creepy doll into a marionette. What on earth is the fascination with crafting creepy clowns into puppets? They were all the craze when I was growing up. Someone in the neighbourhood would spend ages creating clowns that hung from the ceiling. No. Just no.
 
 
2. Ghosts and ghostly photos
Special effects teams have obviously spent many in a round room with donuts to find out exactly what effects work best to chill us. Ghosts with dark eyes, flickering images, pale skin. And how about people who take photos and see images in them.
 How about when people take a photo and imagines appear in the picture?
 
Here's a link to 26 photos with ghostly images.
 
 
3. Haunted houses

 
 
While I would visit a haunted house in the daytime, I’m not sure I’d do at night. But I love the appeal of an abandoned house.
 
Good news Australians! There are plenty of ghosts tours in Australia. Is it weird that while I’d be terrified, I also want to visit these places. What if I held a book launch there?
 
Check out some of these links:


https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephanieanderson/spookstraya?utm_term=.tiJqG41w55#.bd3eM6wpQQ

 On a personal note: I’ve been to Port Arthur in Tasmania and I can attest to the spookiness of the place, and it’s not merely because in recent years of the gun massacre there. That disaster occurred in a good distance from the old jails. They are eerie to walk around. I don’t think I’d go there at night.

 
4. Abandoned amusement parks

There’s something appealing about abandoned amusement parks. This is where fun goes to die. Perhaps I have no inner child left. But I do imagine who might live there now that all the patrons have gone.
 
 
Here’s a few list of the creepiest abandoned amusement parks. I could easily set up a home amongst these ruined parks.
 
 

 
 
5. Scariest movies as a kid
 

The two scary movies that gave me nightmares as a kid were Hell Raiser and Nightmare on Elm Street.
 
 
I saw “Hell Raiser” with school friends and couldn't get the idea of a body being torn apart by hooks out of my head (sorry if that's a spoiler). I watched “Nightmare on Elm Street” with my boyfriend and didn't want to go to sleep.
 
I judge all scary movies based on whether or not I jump into bed to avoid anything under it grabbing me, or avoid going to the bathroom and switching on the light. And yes, I have a shower curtain in my bathtub, so there’s good reason to fear going to the bathroom.
 

  
6. Scariest sound
This one’s easy. Dead children’s voices coming over a radio or TV during a poltergeist invasion, or children’s ghostly giggles in a haunted house. Sends shivers up my spine.
 
Did you know you can download scary sounds. Here's a link to a site that provides free scary sounds. https://www.freesoundeffects.com/free-sounds/scary-and-horror-10085/
 

7. Scary stories
We've all heard of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, yet the scariest stories I've read still have to be fairy tales. Seriously, as a kid I adored reading tales from The Brothers Grimm, but they're full of witches, tricksters, magic, deception, eating children, sleeping beauties, enchantments, stealing children. All the good elements of a scary story.
 
Scary stories are perfect to tell around a campfire. I remember going off to a camp in my early teens and the teacher told us all a ghost story.


 8. Goth Clothes, Fancy Dress, and Fashion
There is something romantic and beautiful about gothic clothing. Fashion is an integral part of horror movies such as "The Crow", "Dracula", "Interview with the Vampire". Frills and lace are the staple of many a gothic dress. Plus there's a lot of boot wearing, and boots are my favourite shoes.


 
9. The dead, the undead, the living, and the mythical 
 


I've put scary characters into four categories. The living, the dead, the undead, and the mythical.
 
The living includes homicidal maniacs and axe-wielding killers, mostly found lurking around  cabins in the woods or school campgrounds where teenagers are bound to hang out. This list also includes witches, Satanists, psychopaths, sociopaths, and just plain evil and/or crazy people.
 
The dead are ghosts or spirits from the afterlife, often found hanging around houses, graveyards, and sometimes possessing cars, houses and people. Bad spirits and demons can be sent back to where they came from.
 
The undead are the zombies and vampires of the world. They were once human but are now the walking dead, therefore they are often found in suburban areas, they're often our neighbours, and they can't die because, well they're already dead.
 
Then there are the mythical characters. This list includes ghouls, goblins, ogres, leprechauns, ogres, shape shifters.
 
 
10. Ouija boards, tarot cards, and crystal balls
 Scary characters require scary tools. The instruments that I find the scariest are Ouija boards. As a teenager a group of friends created one and we had some scary fun one afternoon. Ah, the things teens get up to. No wonder many movies features teens as targets.
 
 
Readers gave examples of what scared them the most:
 
Snakes (Gloria)
I know of some people who are so terrified of snakes, they can't even touch a picture of them.
 
 
Little things with wings... roaches, moths... flying insects (Mark)
I can understand this fear. Though, interesting fact - Supernatural TV show had a bugs episode in the first season and the TV directors said it wouldn't work. turns out these things are scary in real life. Probably also means that people like big monsters.
 
 
Spiders (Debs)
What's so terrifying about this? Plenty if they're in the house with you.
 
 
Razor sharp teeth (Sarah)
This would include alligators, crocodiles, dinosaurs, and of course sharks.
 
 
 Tree branches banging on the window (Frances)
I once was told a story of a woman who'd fallen asleep with one arm slung over her shoulder, and in the middle of the night she jerked in her sleep and she woke up terrified that someone had tapped her on the shoulder. Her window was open. She closed the window, checked the house, but got no more sleep that night. And I stopped sleeping in that position, too.
 
 
Small spaces (Debs)
 Think coffins, shafts, wells, lack of air, hiding in cupboards, hiding in logs, running away from someone or something trying to kill you and you can see why some people are terrified of small spaces.
 
 
Machete wielding maniacs (Debs)
Self-explanatory, but I feel there is a story behind this. Maybe one day it will appear in a one of my "Shivers Novellas"
 
 
Thanks for reading about the scary things that fascinate me as much as scare me. happy Friday the 13th!!!

If you enjoy scary reads, you might like to check out my “Shivers Novellas” collection. There are 3 titles so far and more to come

Released titles:
Vol 1    Poison in the Pond
Vol 2    Evil in the Embers
Vol 3    Danger in the Dirt

http://www.dlrichardson.com/shivers-novellas 
Available at

Amazon  |  KOBO  |   Barnes & Noble   |   Apple   |  Book Depository  |   Indie Bound Books and more
full links here www.dlrichardson.com
 
Proposed titles for 2019:
Vol 4    Mayhem in the Morgue
Vol 5    Demon in the Dark
Vol 6    Wicked in the Wind