Thursday, 12 July 2018

Coffee chat with Mark Gillespie, indie author of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction

Welcome to my virtual coffee room, author of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, Mark Gillespie. Marks is a former musician from Glasgow, Scotland who now resides in Melbourne Australia. With 18 books on his Goodreads list, I thought it was about time I put the spotlight on this prolific indie author. 

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?
author photo 
MARK: I'm not a coffee drinker! Living in Melbourne, this makes me kind of a freak but that's okay - I celebrate being different 😊
Hot beverage of choice is green tea - not the trendy hipster kind that has all the added flavourings like lemon, coconut or whatever put in. No way. I drink my green tea straight, like a man! 😆
Best time of day to partake would be first thing in the morning. Helps to melt the brain cobwebs. If not green tea, a cold beer is always welcome.
DL: How did you end up living in Australia? Do you base any of your books here?
MARK: We came over to Australia from Scotland in 2015. My wife is a vet and she scored an ECC (Emergency and Critical Care) residency placement here with the University of Melbourne. After a ten year career as a musician, I'd just graduated from the University of Strathclyde (in Glasgow) as mature student, studying English and History, and was shifting towards writing. So the Aussie thing felt like good timing. Time for a fresh start and all that.
I haven't based any books in Australia yet. Which is kind of strange as I write post-apocalyptic fiction and for me, Australia is the post-apocalyptic capital of the world, certainly in terms of film at least. Mad Max 2 is the daddy of the genre - so much of what has followed in PA fiction has been influenced by that one film. So yes I should write something based here. In fact, I'll have to make a point of it.
 DL: I'm a former musician myself. And a former bass player! What was the deciding factor for you to give up music and turn to writing? And do you regret it and/or miss it?
MARK: Nice one, we should jam! Oh wait, we both play bass. Do you know your way around a drum kit? Making a living as a musician was a real grind. I certainly wasn't a rock star, I was what you'd call a working musician, touring and doing session work when it came my way. Or rather when I dragged it my way. Nothing comes easy in the music game. But it was hard to stay afloat after ten years of that sort of existence.
I fell out of love, not with music, but with the business of being a musician. It was a great ride while it lasted but around 2010 I felt it was time to leave the party. Try something new. I definitely don't regret leaving it behind. It was the right call and there are so many fond memories I've taken with me. It was a wonderful way to spend my twenties and early thirties. I travelled a lot and gathered some lifelong friends along the way. In fact I met my wife at a gig in Galway so great things happened because of that decision to go with the heart and play music. I'm very thankful for the experience.
 DL: I read on your website that you chose to self publish after being disappointed with traditional publishers. Commercial success versus total creative control is something that many artists wrestle with. Once we get the control we often like it and don't want to give it up. do you still feel the same, or would you consider a traditional publishing deal even if it meant taking away all of your control?
MARK: I've never submitted to a traditional publisher. I don't like begging people for a break when I can be out there doing something about it myself. Even if an author wants a traditional deal I think their best bet is to indie publish first and gather some momentum that way. I think publishers are more reluctant to invest in unknowns than ever. You can't blame them - it's a wasted investment if it all goes wrong. But from the writer's perspective, who wants to have their work sitting in an electronic slush pile stagnating when they can be actively building their platform, fan base or whatever you want to call it?
Everyone is different of course. I'm not knocking anyone's decision to go either way. Other authors really want that traditional deal in the bag and good luck to them. The great thing is we have options these days as authors. Indie publishing is the real deal and I love it. Having said that, I certainly wouldn't say no to a traditional deal that was stacked to my advantage but I'd be very reluctant to give up my digital rights. Very reluctant. Digital is mine, all mine! Traditional publishers still have control over print and bookstores however, so I'd never say never in terms of print. I'm certainly not sitting around waiting for them to knock on my door though. As you say, having complete control over our work is addictive!
DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?
MARK: I'm more of a biscuit person. I've been scoffing an obscene amount of these dairy-free chocolate chip cookies that I've discovered lately. Sugar is gasoline when you don't drink coffee. So grab what you need. As John Lennon once said, 'whatever gets you through the night.'
Please say a big thanks to Mark for stopping by.
Book 3 of his latest series "The Exterminators Trilogy" is due out this month. Meanwhile, here's a look at Book 1.
 Black Storm 
These are the last days…
The Black Storm – a permanent state of darkness has engulfed the Earth.
The world is going mad without sunlight.
Ex-movie star, Cody MacLeod will do anything to protect his daughter Rachel from the Black Widow – a mysterious ghostly figure who has emerged from the Black Storm.
And he’s got a plan.
A plane is taking off at San Antonio Airport in a few hours. To get there, Cody and Rachel must risk everything. They must drive through the darkness together.
But the road is a dangerous place. Civilization is crumbling. Desperate people are lurking in wait with bad intentions. A breathtaking race to the finish line awaits. Will Cody and Rachel get to the airport in time? Or will they succumb to the Black Storm?
Black Storm is a post-apocalyptic survival thriller about a desperate father trying to save his daughter from the end of the world.
Get it now if you like fast-paced apocalyptic, dystopian, horror and supernatural thrillers.
Want to follow Mark Gillespie?
It's easy

Friday, 6 July 2018

Catch up with Aussie steampunk and fantasy author Felicity Banks

It's always great to catch up with authors who have dropped by my virtual café for a coffee chat. Today I caught up with Felicity Banks, who writes steam punk, fantasy, and cozy murder mysteries. Here is a quick update on her writing and what's in store for the rest of 2018.

DL: What have you been up to since our last coffee chat? Read coffee chat here

Felicity: I have three releases this year. Right now is the perfect time for my kids' pirate fantasy series Book 1 "The Monster Apprentice".

DL: "The Monster Apprentice" was released in February and the momentum has been building. What else is coming?

Felicity: The third book in my steampunk trilogy will be released in late August, and I'll also be running an art exhibition/launch for "Murder in the Mail: A Bloody Birthday" which is a cozy murder mystery told through letters, objects and artworks physically mailed to the reader over 8 weeks in late August/early September.

All of Felicity's books are sold through the online store set up via her blog:

About "The Monster Apprentice"
The only weapon Dance has is her name. when pirates threaten the tiny hidden island f Luar, Dance knows her home has only one hope of survival: the magical monsters that killed her twin sister.
Dance loses her friends one by one as she attempts to prepare her strange apprentices for the showdown between monsters and pirates. Can she do it alone?
What readers are saying:
"The Monster Apprentice is a powerful story of looking at the world differently and finding an answer in an unexpected place."
"An addictive, one-sitting read, impossible to put down" - Sandy Fussell, author of the Samurai Kids series.

You can find out more about Felicity Banks on her website

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The importance of sticking to one genre

As a writer, my brain isn't limited by the notion of genre. Ideas pop into my head and I think "I can turn that into a novel." Yeah, but that idea is romance or murder mystery, my other brain says, and you write speculative fiction.

Speculative fiction, in itself, is a broad term. It encompasses horror, scif-fi, fantasy, paranormal and all its sub-genres. Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopian etc.

I must be in control of my muse, not the other way round.

When my first novel was published, it was a young adult title about guardian angels and the afterlife. I went on to publish 2 more young adult titles in a similar theme; my second was about teens who take on the memories of their organ donor host; and my third YA novel was a love story featuring magic and ghosts. Still in the same realm of speculative fiction, but I told my editor this book was a crossover into paranormal romance. I recall her telling me to stick the same genre to avoid confusing readers.

 I didn't want to believe it at the time. Neither did my brain. The ideas kept coming. I have story ideas for thrillers, romance, science fiction, horror, contemporary. Why shouldn't I write what I please?

Nothing stopping me from writing these ideas and even turning them into stories, but I'm finally having to admit that every minute spent out from under the umbrella of speculative fiction means that I only end up swallowing a lot of water.

I can't do everything. Simple. None of us can and it's not healthy to pretend otherwise. I have first drafts of a thriller and two romance novels that could be tweaked and published, and I'm dying to get them out there. What's stopping me is the brand building.

It's tough enough building my current brand let alone adding two more - one for romance, another for the thriller (and I even have the perfect pen name!).

I think I also wanted to stretch myself because my husband is a fisherman, and he will put out as many lures as he can to attract the fish. That's what I thought I'd do with my writing, put out as many types of books and see what I attract.

But here's the catch (pun intended). Fishermen don't put deep-diving lures in shallow water (at least not on purpose). They don't target freshwater fish in the ocean and vice versa. Of course they try new techniques versus tried-and-true techniques, and writers do the same.

And this is what's come down to: If targeting a fish in the wrong water is a waste of time and money, why am I doing it? It really is like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo, and while it can be done, it's a lot of effort that could be better spent elsewhere.

On that note, I have decided to aside my burning desire to finish that romance novel (for now and yeah that's two puns in one post) and I'll put the effort into my next sci-fi series. More to be revealed soon. But think "The Expanse" played out on Earth and with aliens.

Cover reveal coming soon. Did you want to sign up to my newsletter to keep updated with this new sci-fi series? You can sign up here

Friday, 8 June 2018

Supanova Sydney - here I come - June15-17 2018

I'm almost packed and ready for Supanova this June 15-17, Homebush Bay, Sydney. I'Il be in artist alley so be sure to check the map to find me. STALL 58 with Mirren Hogan. I can't wait to see new and familiar faces. All books are bundled for a Supanova special price so be sure to stop by and top up your collection.
On sale will be books, t-shirts, artwork, book bags, signed photos. You can also stop by and collect free bookmarks and postcards.




Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Grab each book of the sci-fi trilogy for 99c. Ends June 30

I live in Australia, so we're dragging out the scarves and beanies for winter, while the northern hemisphere is dragging out their hats and bikinis. Whether its summer or winter, it's a great time to catch up on your reading.
To celebrate the release of the final book in the "Welcome to the Apocalypse" trilogy, I'm putting books 1 and 2 on sale.
 For all of May and June
Grab books 1 and 2 of the "Welcome to the Apocalypse" trilogy
for 99c through Smashwords
Book 3 is 99 everywhere.

Use these coupon codes
Welcome to the Apocalypse Book 1
Promotional price: $0.99
Coupon Code: BD86R
Expires: June 30, 2018

Welcome to the Apocalypse Book 2
Promotional price: $0.99
Coupon Code: XC29Q
Expires: June 30, 2018

That's 3 full length e-books for  less than $3
(all prices quoted are USD)

Friday, 25 May 2018

Writing and self-publishing a trilogy - one at time or all at once Part 2

A month ago I wrote about writing and publishing a trilogy as the books were written, which is what I did for Welcome to the Apocalypse trilogy. You might like to read that post here.

I mentioned in my post that are basically two ways to self-publish a trilogy. One book at a time or in what is called a rapid release approach - each book in the trilogy is published about a month apart. I invited Mirren Hogan to talk about writing and publishing a series in rapid fire.
Mirren: My reason for choosing to write and publish a few months apart:

I did it for a few reasons. Firstly because I wanted to have all the books written before I edited anything. I had the momentum, and wanted to work with the trilogy as a whole. Anything changed in book 1, might impact book 2 and 3, so it made sense to me.

In addition, many readers these days like to read like they watch TV. They don't want to wait a year for book 2. They like to binge.

Mirren: What did I learn from doing it this way?

Apart from editing 3 books back to back is exhausting? Lol. I learnt that I need to have the books fully ready before I plan release dates. Cover artists, editors and proofreaders have lives too (strange but true).

Mirren: Would I do it again?

Yes. I probably won't do it any other way, but that's if I can stick to one series long enough to finish another one. I'm currently in the middle of 2. 3 if you count a series of urban fantasy books I'm co-authoring with Stephanie Barr.

Mirren: What might I do differently?

As I said above, I'd have the books fully finished. I'd probably start doing more advertising of book 1 and have 2 and 3 on pre-order. I didn't do much in the way of paid ads until book 3 was out.
Book One: Kaida rides one of the great dragons of Dargyn, but being draakin isn't what it once was. After the end of the Dragonwar a hundred years ago, their role in defeating the army of Tarlu Rosharias has been all but forgotten.
Book Two: Devastated at the disappearance of her son Daven, Kaida vows not to let Dashka, a young woman with magical ability, fall into the hands of the reasoners. Instead, she helps her bond Nehko, a dragon whose rider has died.
Book Three: Having seen her son Daven in the custody of the reasoners, draakin Kaida is determined to free him, whatever the price. She and her dragon Risper travel to Paryos, to confront General Russkan Zand. With the help of an old friend, can they bring down the reasoners and end their reign of tyranny? Or will Brish, former bard, now apprentice reasoner, do it first?
Mirren Hogan lives in NSW Australia with one partner, two daughters, dog, cat, rabbits and countless birds. Mirren has a Bachelor of Arts (English/ history), a Graduate Diploma of Arts (writing) and a couple of degrees in education. Mirren writes fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction, as well as historical fiction.

May sci-fi & fantasy sci-fi bonanza 99c ebook MAY 21-27 ONLY HURRY!!

Stockpile for your summer/winter reads

This year has been incredibly busy. I'm looking forward to July when I hope things slow down and I can catch up on my growing reading pile. But at least I'm stocked up for winter (yes, the chill is coming to Australia). I'm participating in a sci-fi & fantasy bonanza sale.

You too can stock pile for your summer or winter reads (depending on which part of the hemisphere you live in) with some amazing science fiction and fantasy titles reduced to 99c

MAY 21 -27 ONLY so hurry!!
Be sure to check all titles first to make sure they're 99c at time of purchase.
All links are for Kindle books, please check other sites for price at time of purchase.

Choose from

Go to Action & Adventure | Go to Space Opera | Go to Hard SF | Go to Military SF
Go to Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic | Go to Cyberpunk & Steampunk | Go to SF Romance
Go to Epic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery | Go to Urban Fantasy | Go to Horror
Go to Fables & Mythology | Go to Fantasy & Paranormal Romance
Go to Science Fantasy | Go to Humour SFF | Go to Young Adult | Go to Kids

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus virtual book blast

It's my absolute pleasure to take part in Rachel's virtual book tour. Please extend a warm welcome and be sure to read through to the end.

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate? That’s the question my heroine, May Gold must answer in this time travel love story. And she has to answer it in three short weeks, on a tour of Italy. A college adjunct teacher, she often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis—17th century sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies, she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man whose passionate art invented the Baroque style. But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend. She considers herself a precocious failure and yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit. May finds she has to choose: stay in a safe but stagnant existence or take a risk.

Read an Excerpt:

May Gives Him Up for His Sake

Opening her notebook to a blank page, she took up the pen, a pen that felt lucky because it reminded her of the first time Gianlorenzo had kissed her. She wrote her memory of that meeting in her book.

His glance was like warm light. My shoulders were barer than they have ever been as I posed for him. My breath fluttered like a bird in a cage.

A briny scent from the water wafted to her and made her pause. She watched the diamonds rippling in the dark surface that reflected slivers of the moon. Gianlorenzo had been making a portrait of her as Truth Unveiled. She shivered. A bird’s cry echoed over the lagoon. What kind of bird called out at night? A bird that had lost its mate.

He touched me the way warm sun touches the fields of Umbria and makes lavender burst open with aroma. As Apollo, he held the sun in his hand. That sun was my heart. He pulled it out of me and now it’s consumed. I’m ash, I’m terrified. How much I want to simply burn for love of him and vanish like a paper going up in flame.

She had to do something for him before she lost him for good and then went home. Beginning the letter to Bonarelli, she had no idea if a few strokes could erase the actual Costanza from Bernini’s life, but if they could, she had to. The irony was that no one would ever know, not even Gianlorenzo. She liked the idea of helping him without his knowing.

About the Author:
Rachel Dacus is the author of The Renaissance Club, a novel called “Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time.” Dacus’ book Gods of Water and Air is a collection of poetry, prose, and drama. Her other poetry collections are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, The Pedestal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her fourth poetry collection, Arabesque, is forthcoming in August 2018 from FutureCycle Press. Read more on her website: Follow on Twitter: @Rachel_Dacus.

Buy links:

Barnes and Noble:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour for more chances to win, the more you comment, the more entries you receive:

May 14: Andi's Book Reviews
May 14: Let me tell you a story
May 15: Romance Novel Giveaways
May 15: According to Braelynne
May 16: Edgar's Books
May 16: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
May 17: D L Richardson writes
May 17: J. Lynn Rowan ~ Author of Romance and Historical Fiction
May 18: Sharing Links and Wisdom
May 18: BooksChatter
May 21: Fabulous and Brunette
May 21: The Avid Reader
May 22: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
May 22: Long and Short Reviews
May 23: Christine Young
May 23: Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
May 24: Kit 'N Kabookle
May 24: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin'
May 24: T's Stuff
May 25: Two Ends of the Pen
May 25: Punya Reviews...