Monday, July 21, 2014

Hide and Create Writing Podcast


I've recorded a couple of podcasts with the peole over at Hide and Create, and as I've not embarrassed myself (too much) they are going to have me as a regular contributor. Hide and Create is kinda like eavesdropping on a conference panel without having to travel or pay the fees.  It has panelists offering some diversity so that multiple perspectives are covered.  For interest hosts represent New York Time Best seller, tie-in writers, editors, small press published and self-published. Here is a bit about the current roster.


Jordan Ellinger has been called a “standout” in a starred review in Publishers Weekly. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), is a first place winner of Writers of the Future, a graduate of the prestigious Clarion West writers workshop, an award-winning screenplay writer, and author of more than twenty works of fiction, including popular series and media tie-ins (i.e., “Warhammer” and “Star Citizen”). He has collaborated with internationally best-selling authors like Mike Resnick and Steven Savile (with whom he co-authored “Martyrs,” a military thriller). He is a professional editor, having worked as Executive Editor at Every Day Publishing and on the Animism Transmedia Campaign. His film, “Tender Threads,” won the jury prize at Bloodshots Canada and was screened by master of horror, George A. Romero. He is experienced both in programming and writing games (including RPG’s) with focus on Artificial Intelligence systems, and has shipped games for publishers such as THQ and EA.
Portrait of Joshua EssoeJoshua Essoe is a full-time, freelance editor. He’s been editing and writing for twenty years in one form or another, but has focused on speculative fiction since 2009. He’s done work for David Farland, Dean Lorey, Moses Siregar and numerous Writers of the Future authors and winners, as well as many top-notch independents. Joshua describes his editing style and approach in a guest article written for Fictorians.com.

Debbie Viguie
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen novels including the Wicked series and the new Crusade series co-authored with Nancy Holder. Much of Debbie’s writing has a dark edge to it, including her retold fairy tales, her latest being Violet Eyes, a retelling of The Princess and the Pea. In addition to her epic dark fantasy work Debbie also writes thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries and the upcoming Kiss trilogy. When Debbie isn’t busy writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks. They live in Florida with their cat, Schrödinger.
Moses Siregar
Moses Siregar III is the author of the award-winning indie fantasy novel The Black God’s War and the forthcoming Splendor and Ruin trilogy. He is a producer and co-host of the Parsec Award-winning Adventures in Scifi Publishing podcast. He blogs occasionally at Moses and Dionysus Walk Into a Bar …but you’re more likely to find him sharing the lulz via Facebook and TwitterCheck out Moses’ debut novel “The Black God’s War” on Amazon.com

Moses is going to be leaving the show (he needs to focus on his writing and has a new baby coming - congrats Moses!)  and I'll be taking his place as kinda the "self-publishing" expert.  The first podcast I did was: How to get Reviews for Your Book and Get Noticed just click the link to listen in. The most recent podcast was: Facebook for Writers which I'm not on - which just might be an even bigger reason to listen to it ;-) 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Presenting at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference



In just a few weeks I'll be speaking at the 2014 Writer's Digest Annual Conference. I'm honored to be included with some amazing industry experts and best-selling authors. This will be a great educational and networking opportunity which will include:
  • Seven New York Times bestselling authors:  Kimberla Lawson Robey, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Dani Shapiro, Cheryl St. John, Dan Hampton, Barry Lyga and Harlan Coben!
  • Four dedicated tracks of instruction: Getting Published, Platform and Promotion, Craft and Self-Publishing
  • The Pitch Slam, the Conference's signature event, with more than 50 agents and editors slated to be on hand scouting new talent. 

I should also note there are actually two events:
  • Writer's Digest Pro (Friday) which is an all day event with one track designed for advanced writers with a more intimate knowledge of how the publishing and self-publishing industries work – sessions like advanced social media and promotion techniques, author branding, hybrid authorship, contract negotiations, and much more.  Writer's Digest Pro can be added onto any registration type for an additional $99.
  • Main Conference (Sat - Sunday) generally has four simultaneous tracks on a wide range of subjects. You can delve deeper into your craft and hone your skills or learn more about the complexities of contemporary publishing. 
As to my own schedule I'll be presenting in both conferences:
  • Author Branding (Pro: Fri at 11:10) - Words such as marketing, branding, or author platform cause many authors to break into hives, but in today’s publishing landscape building an audience is just as important to an author’s career as the writing itself. Branding is often misunderstood, frequently done poorly, or ignored altogether. In this session, successful hybrid author Michael J. Sullivan will demystify branding and illustrate five important tools you need to develop a persona that will organically attract the people most interested in the types of books you write. 
  • Panel: Marketing Strategies for Independent Authors: (Main: Sat at 11:10) - The biggest challenge facing an independent author is getting the effectively promoting your work and motivating the public to buy it. There are a number of strategies for doing this right and making the best use of your time. But what if you haven’t got time? What if you don’t like or understand social media? Is it worth investing time and effort into setting up book signings? Are online retailers the key to success? Are specialty markets worth pursuing? Should you hire a freelance publicist and, if so, what should your expectations be? You’ll learn all of this and more, plus have an opportunity to ask your own questions at this invaluable session.
     
  • Goodreads: The Platform That Can Make Your Career (Main: Sat at 2:40 pm) - In a recent Forbes’ article, Patrick Brown, the Director for Author Marketing at Goodreads, was asked to cite one of the most effective authors, he named Michael J. Sullivan “without hesitation.” Goodreads is an exceptional environment for audience building, but if done poorly, it can have disastrous results. Michael will share the techniques he uses and provide more than a dozen helpful strategies such as how to maximize book giveaways, creating “secret-private" groups, and how to maximize author discoverability.
I'll be speaking more next week about some of the other presenters and sessions that are going on, but if you think you want to come see me then I can get you $50 off your admission. Just use the code WDSPEAKER when you register.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Unfettered on sale for just $2.99


Cover Art by Todd Lockwood

One of the anthologies I'm most proud of participating in is Unfettered. For those who don't know, it's a work where none of the authors made a dime even though it has sold incredibly well.  It wasn't meant to make us any money...its sole purpose was to help pay off the medical bills of Shawn Speakman who amassed hundreds of thousands during his fight (and win) against cancer. We met our goal, Shawn is medical debt free, has put aside a nice nest egg for future insurance, and now is using the excess to help other authors who have medical bills that are overwhelming them.

I got an email from Shawn that he has put the US version of Unfettered on sale (the UK version is licensed to Orbit and Shawn doesn't control that price...but he is working with the publisher to try and get it reduced as well) Unfettered was a no-brainer at $9.99, at $2.99 it's a steal.  Just look at who has contributed stories:

  • Terry Brooks
  • Patrick Rothfuss
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Kevin Hearne
  • Mark Lawrence
  • Lev Grossman
  • Tad Williams
  • Jacqueline Carey
  • Daniel Abraham
  • Peter V. Brett
  • Robert VS Redick
  • Peter Orullian
  • RA Salvatore
  • Naomi Novik
  • Todd Lockwood
  • Carrie Vaughn
  • Blake Charlton
  • David Anthony Durham
  • Jennifer Bosworth
  • Eldon Thompson
  • Shawn Speakman
For my own part, I submitted The Jester, a Royce and Hadrian short story. Here's a bit about it:

WHO WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find.
I hope you'll get your hands on Unfettered during the sale, even if you've read my story (I've given away quite a few copies for free) you'll certainly find others to enjoy. Here are some links to help you buy: Amazon Kindle •  Barnes & Noble Nook  •  Kobo

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

International Authors' Day Giveaway



I was honored to receive an email from Jenn at Book Reviews and Giveaways that not only was I her "favorite author" but that she wanted to feature me for a blog hop for International Authors' Day.  Part of the hop involves free giveaways of the work the bloggers love the most, and I was more than happy to participate.

For those who aren't familiar with blog hops...it's when a bunch of bloggers get together to feature a particular event or theme.  This one is organized by Lynn Thompson and will run from July 14th - July 18th. Here are a small sampling of participating blogs:

There are many more, and I wish I could list them all, but the list is just too long. But let's focus on Jenn's entry.  Here is part of what she had to say for her post:
My favorite genre is Fantasy. My first taste was playing games based on Dungeons & Dragons and I fell in love. I’ve read quite a lot in this genre, with several series or authors I really like. My favorite author has to be Michael J. Sullivan. His writing always feels like you are right there with the characters. You can feel what they are going through and you connect with them on so many levels. You find yourself caring what happens and experiencing emotions as though they were your closest friends. The descriptions are perfect. Never too much, never too little. You can visualize what he describes like it is being painted right before your eyes. I love how he can take so many plot threads along with the main plot and weave them expertly through more than just one book. You can’t help but stay up late just to read another chapter.
Jenn is running a "raffle copter" to giveaway one of my stories, but I was so thrilled to be part of this that I'm offering three of my short stories, not just to a single winner - but for anyone who signs up. Here is what I'm providing from this link.

Jester  
WHO WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

NOTE: This short story was originally published in the Unfettered Anthology edited by Shawn Speakman.

Thieves  
THEY ATTACKED TWO RIDERS. THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EASY. THEY WERE WRONG.
A band of thieves set upon two lonely riders in the middle of the night. They had a larger party. They had the element of surprise. There was no reason to be concerned, but they didn’t realize who they were dealing with.

NOTE: This was originally published as the first chapter of Theft of Swords (Book #1 and Book #2 of The Riyria Revelations), so for those who have that book...you already have this story.

Viscount  
WILL ROYCE TEACH HADRIAN OR BE SCHOOLED HIMSELF?
Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief decides to teach his idealist swordsman partner that no good deed goes unpunished. But who is really the student and who is the master?

NOTE: This short story was the seed that became The Riyria Chronicles, it eventually found it's way in Chapter 2 of The Rose and the Thorn.

I know that people on my site have probably already read these shorts, in one format or another...but I thought I should mention it in case you have friends/family that you want to introduce to Royce and Hadrian for free.

Thanks Jenn, and all the bloggers participating on the blog hop.  It's so nice to have a day (or three) devoted to authors and I'm honored to be included.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stretch Goal Reached

Marc Simonetti's Coverama Crowd funding project hit it's next stretch goal ($30,000) so there will be five additional signed prints sent with all the books. I'm not sure if this is going to be one of them or not, but I do hope so.  At the very least, it will be included in the book.  There are still three days left to get in on this exceptional coffee table book.  You can get your copy here.



One of the cool thing about this picture, is that Marc painted it while recording through Livestream, and he has included his commentary as he worked on it, which will be a great help to other artists. It's amazing to see him go from nothing to a finished picture and you can watch along as he does.

Here is the first installment:

http://new.livestream.com/itsartmag/events/2933746/videos/52382492

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Crowd Funding Marc Simonetti's Art Book


I'm pretty public about my love for Marc Simonetti's artwork.  Not only has he done beautiful work for my Riyria French covers:


And provided an incredible illustration to bring to life Hollow World:


But he has also done amazing work for Pat Rothfuss's King Killer Chronicles, George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, Terry Prachett's Disc World, and the list just goes on and on.

My reason for posting today is Marc an It's Art are crowd funding a coffee table book of his art. You can learn all about it here.

The project has already funded...(currently at 278% in fact), but I wanted people to know about it as there are still 5 days left and if another $2,000 plus change is raised the $30,000 stretch goal will be hit which means backers will get another 5 signed prints!  As someone who has already backed this great project - I would love for this to have this added bonus.

As with everything that Marc does, this is an incredibly professional and amazing project. Just look at some of these pictures I've taken from the funding page:





How amazing are those? Almost 400 people have backed the project and Marc has a wide range of funding options available. He's already made these stretch goals:
  • $14,000 - Book expand to 256 pages
  • $20,000 - Signed copies of "The Wall" 


And the best part...Marc has done a new piece of original art for my Riyria series.  If you've read Heir of Novron and wondered what the capital city of Percepliquis looked like just before it was destroyed by Esrahaddon, well you'll get to see that as well. I've been working with Marc over the last few months while he produced the piece and I'm thrilled with the results.  Marc has even hinted that he might do a companion versions showing the city after the fall.  How cool would that be?



In any case, no matter what pictures are ultimately selected for the final book, I can't see how anyone will be disappointed.  I'm very excited about this project an hope that by posting here, a few others will be excited to.

The project will close July 15th, 2014, so there are only a few more days left.  Please pledge your support and get your hands on this wonderful, limited edition work of art.  Again the link is here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wattpad Featured Author



I'm pleased to announce that the fine people at wattpad are featuring one of my stories.




This is the short story that planted the seed which would eventually grow into Hollow World. My intention for this particular piece, was to have a "Twilight Zone" ending.  Where the main character isn't a very nice guy and gets "just what he deserves."  While there are many similarities:
  • Both Dan Sturges and Ellis Rogers build a time machine and go to the future because they are dying.
  • In both "futures" the people are genetically identical and live underground due to advance technology, leaving the "surface" in a pristine, natural state.
But that's really where the similarities end. Dan was written to be unlikable, and for a full-length novel I needed someone more sympathetic.  Also he is pretty much a card-board stereotype. In this short story it's not about growth of a character (which is pretty hard in a short story as they exist for just a few reading minute), it was more about showing that an inability to adjust to one's environment could lead to disastrous results. It also demonstrates the old, be careful what you wish for theme.

Also, the people in Hollow World would never do to Dan what Dan's future versions do. I don't want to say too much, as it might spoil the story.  But let's just say the people he run into have almost 180 degree different view on how people should be treated.

For those who aren't familiar with wattpad, it's an online community were writers can post stories, poems, or just about anything else.  Most people read these stories via their smart phones and they are voracious readers.  Here are some stats (as of April 2014)
  • 85 percent of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices
  • 25 million unique visitors per month
  • over 1,000 story uploads per day
I've uploaded a number of short stories (and previews) on that site including:
  • Greener Grass (dystopian science fiction short story)
  • Burning Alexandria (dystopian science fiction short story)
  • The Jester (a Riyria short story - originally published in Unfettered)
  • The Thieves (a Riyria short story - also the first chapter of Theft of Swords)
  • The Viscount  (a Riyria short story - also the second chapter of The Rose and the Thorn)
  • Hollow World, Extended Preview (first 4 chapters of the full-length novel)
If you want to checkout my stories, click here.