Author Interview: David Holley

This is a little late, but I always say ‘Better late then never’. I have the benefit, as a reviewer and author, of understanding that life is busy and I’m thankful that Mr. Holley was able to answer my questions about his novel, EDEN. I will say I enjoyed the interview very much and am happy to share this interview with our readers.

1.) What was your inspiration for this book? 
The adage, “necessity breeds invention” certainly applies here. Prior to writing this book I had worked as an artist across several different mediums. From fine art to street art to graphic design and film making I had pursued several creative endeavors personally and professionally. When I decided to write Eden I was at an impasse creatively. I felt burned out and needed something that challenged me in a way that I had never considered. During this same time I was always an avid reader and when I came to the point when I wanted to read a particular story but couldn’t find it I decided to create it myself. And that is how EDEN was born.
2.) Characterization in Eden was amazing and some characters I loved and there were some I really didn’t enjoy, like Josette, who was your favorite character? Psst… mine were Eve and Noah. I loved them and would be friends with them in a heartbeat. 
Most of the characters are derived from real people who I have known or admired in some way over the years. For example, Noah is loosely based off the real life hero Archie Kalepa. If you aren’t familiar with him I highly recommend looking him up. As a writer I was frustrated by the criticisms that a person like Noah doesn’t exist. I can tell you for fact that people like Noah do exist and they live in almost complete anonymity every day. Other characters like Noah’s father, Jackson, was inspired by my own father who I had lost a long time ago. He was a larger than life character and someday I plan to write an autobiography of his life. The character Mia Sinclair is reminiscent of my own daughter Mia who was 18 at the time I wrote EDEN Book 1. Other characters like Maaka and Pango are channeled through my colorful family of bikers and ex-cons to which I have had the pleasure to grow up with.
My favorite characters are Hiroshi, Mia, Max, Pango and Maaka. Over the course of the next few books Inspector Mason Harris and Randall Wellington will be on a lot of people’s love or loathe list.
3.) Eden’s plot definitely kept me guessing, will readers ever get to know the real reason for all the insanity? 
Of course. I’m no sadist. The story of EDEN was always to be told in a series and because of that not all loops will be closed after each installment. But I can tell you it will be worth the wait and when you find out the whole story I believe it will blow your socks off. All I will say at this point is that there is a plausible explanation for everything and all answers will be provided in due time. Stay tuned!
4.) There’s lots of disasters, technology and some serious information on basic survival tactics. What kind of research did you have to do for this story? 
I spent hundreds of hours online and watching survival programming to learn all the basic necessities. In addition I joined a survivalist group to learn all I could about preparation and the mentality it takes to survive in the wild. I found all of it to be very interesting to say the least. These people are passionate and as much as they hope it never happens you can’t help but think in the back of their minds they kind of wish it does. It’s fascinating.
5.) There were times during the reading I thought the characters were a little too lucky, especially since they had such a talented group of people. Did you give them too many advantages or do you think it’s an equal balance? 
You could look at both ways I suppose. Sure there are several individuals who posses a wide array of talents and skill sets, but even still it doesn’t quite seem to matter in their quest. Every step closer to civilization seems to take them further away from ever really finding what they really want. Which is home.

Purchase a copy of EDEN at:

Amazon

Author Bio:

EDEN is the first novel by emerging author David Holley. After a career in advertising spanning two decades, David found himself burned out and desperately in need of a change. Over the years he worked across several mediums in the art world. Beyond his commercial work he was also known for his street and grafitti art that spanned from New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France. Eventually his street art evolved into fine art and he showcased that work in solo shows in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. It was soon after that period David decided to devote his talents to the written word.
David currently resides in Philadelphia with his daughter Mia, his girlfriend Abby, and his loyal bulldog The Mighty El Toro Diablo.

 

Guest Blog – Lois Winston

 Does Anyone Really Enjoy Social Media? 

mosaic_v003_x1000I’m both traditionally published and indie published, but because I’m not a household name and pulling down huge advances for my traditionally published books, I’ve had to do just as much promotion for them as for my indie books. Promotion eats up a lot of an author’s time, time that should be spent writing the next book, and I often wonder if it really works.

I’m not a salesperson. The three weeks I spent one summer pedaling Fuller Brush door-to-door (yes, I’m dating myself) were three of the most excruciating weeks of my life. Most writers are introverts by nature, and introverts don’t do well when it comes to trying to talk people into parting with their money.

But unless you promote your books, no one will know they exist, especially if you’re indie publishing. Those indie books aren’t sitting on bookstore shelves where they might attract the attention of browsing customers. And that’s where social media comes in. Readers can learn about our books via Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever the social media du jour will be next week. Some authors choose to concentrate their promo efforts on one or two social media site; others embrace them all. But does social media really help authors sell books?

Several weeks ago I released Mosaic Mayhem, the second novelette in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery series. These books are e-only companion works to my traditionally published Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series which has received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist as well as having been nominated for a Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. Crewel Intentions, the first Mini-Mystery, was released the end of November and had sold 225 copies through the first week in August. Mosaic Mayhem, was uploaded to Kindle, Nook, and Kobo early Saturday morning August 3rd. It went live on Amazon later that afternoon. By the next day it was also up on Kobo. Barnes & Noble took nearly 48 hours to make it available for Nook. Apple dragged their heels for a week and a half before it went live on iTunes.

Both of the mini-mysteries sell for $1.99. The full length novels sell for $14.99 as trade paperbacks and anywhere from $7-15 for the ebooks, depending on the title and vendor. The mini-mysteries are quite a deal in comparison.

By Monday morning Mosaic Mayhem was #7 on Amazon’s list of Kindle Craft & Hobby Cozy Mysteries. On Tuesday it was #2 under Hot New Releases. Sounds pretty spectacular, doesn’t it? But here’s the catch: at that point I’d sold all of 12 books on Amazon. 12 BOOKS!

That Wednesday I composed a tweet with both the Kindle and Nook URLs included. I’m not one of those people who constantly sends out “buy my book” tweets. Most of my tweets are about the interesting articles and guests who appear on my blog or retweets of interesting things I read on other tweets. I don’t like to hit people over the head with promo. Remember, I’m an introvert by nature. However, I went on the various Yahoo groups I belong to and asked people to retreet for me. I added @anasleuth, my Twitter handle, at the end of the tweet so I’d be able to track the numbers. Twenty-four hours after the first retweet went out I’d had my tweet retweeted to 146,791 people. At thirty-six hours that number had increased to 160,591. Again, sounds pretty impressive, right?

When I was first out of college, I worked in advertising. I remember a statistic concerning direct mail marketing that claimed result of 1-3%. In other words, for every 100 sales brochures sent out, you could expect that 1-3 people would buy your product. Using that stat, I should have sold a minimum of 1,467-1,605 copies of Mosaic Mayhem, although I would have been happy with 1/10th of 1% (146-160 books.)

Care to guess how many additional books I sold within that 24 hour period? Three on Amazon and two on Barnes & Noble. Pretty dismal, right? And yet at that point Amazon still had Mosaic Mayhem ranked #17 on the Kindle Craft & Hobby Cozy Mystery list. Obviously, the paradigm no longer applies in the new cyberworld order.

So what’s the takeaway here? I’m not convinced social media is worth all the effort authors put into it. Does it work for some authors? Probably. Does it work for most author? Probably not. I will continue to tweet about my books occasionally and ask people to retweet my tweets because you just never know, but wouldn’t it be nice if all authors had to do was concentrate on writing the next book?

Mosaic Mayhem

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery

The second novelette to the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series.

So much for a romantic getaway…When cash-strapped mom and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack is offered an all-expense paid three-day trip to Barcelona, her only worries are whether her passport is still valid and arranging care for her semi-invalid mother-in-law during her absence. However, within hours of landing in Europe, she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun and needing to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve got the wrong person. Why do people on both sides of the Atlantic keep trying to kill this pear-shaped, middle-aged single mom, and magazine crafts editor?

 

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EBA7EVI/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EBA7EVI&linkCode=as2&tag=loiswins-20

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mosaic-mayhem-lois-winston/1116307100?ean=2940148651550&itm=1&usri=2940148651550

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=mosaic+mayhem

 

About Lois:

lois-winston-low-res-fileAward-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack which Kirkus Reviews dubbed, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Twitter @anasleuth.

Lois Winston – My Author Journey

Today, we have award-winning author Lois Winston joining us and sharing her journey,

Love_Lies_eBook_Cover_v04_x1000What did you want to be when you grew up? I think at one point I may have wanted to be Annie Oakley. I don’t really remember, but I’ve seen pictures of my four-year-old self dressed in a red skirt and vest with white fringe, cowgirl hat perched on my head and a six-shooter strapped to my waist. Did I ask for the outfit, or was it someone else’s idea? I have no idea, and there’s no one left to ask.

The first time I remember consciously thinking about my adult life was during NASA’s Mercury Project. I remember standing outside, searching the skies for a glimpse of Alan Shepherd and John Glenn. I decided I wanted to be the first female astronaut—until my parents burst my balloon by reminding me of my propensity for motion sickness. NASA wasn’t interested in astronauts who couldn’t keep from tossing their cookies, they told me.

I’ve always loved musical theater and in sixth grade decided I wanted a Broadway career. My elementary school was planning a talent show. I tried out. Major embarrassment! I was laughed off the stage for not being able to carry a tune. Goodbye, Broadway.

What I never thought about doing was becoming an author. I wasn’t one of those kids who sat around penning stories. I spent my free time drawing and painting. So eighteen years ago when a story popped into my head, and I decided to sit down to write it out, no one was more surprised than I. The next thing I knew, I’d written a 50,000 word romance.

So what do you do after you write a book? You try to get it published. I set about submitting my novel to literary agents and very soon learned I had not written the Great American Novel. One after the other, the rejection letters rolled in. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book.

What I had discovered, though, was that I enjoyed the process. So I set about learning how to write.

Newer_Gertie_Cover_v001_x1000

Ten years, almost to the day that I first sat down to write that story, I sold my first novel, Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous book about a mother and daughter dealing with life-altering experiences. One year and countless rewrites later, I sold that first 50,000 word romance after turning it into Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, a 74,000 word emotional romantic suspense novel.

 

 

I was on my way. Or so I thought. I didn’t expect that my New York publisher would begin having financial problems. The publisher stopped sending out royalty statements and checks. Eventually, the publishing house folded, owing hundreds of authors hundreds of thousands of dollars.year and countless rewrites later, I sold that first 50,000 word romance after turning it into Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, a 74,000 word emotional romantic suspense novel.Gertie to Me, a humorous book about a mother and daughter dealing with life-altering experiences. One

 

I kept writing. In 2009 I was offered a 3-book contract for a humorous amateur sleuth series I’d created. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series debuted to critical acclaim in 2011. Death by Killer Mop Doll followed in 2012, and Revenge of the Crafty Corpse in 2013. I was a very happy camper.

Until I wasn’t.

As much as I wanted to continue to write the series for the publisher, we couldn’t resolve certain issues with the new contract. I made the difficult decision to walk away. I’m currently looking for a new home for the series, but in the meantime, other opportunities have arisen.

Indie publishing has offered authors a chance to take more control over their writing and their careers. If I don’t find another publisher to pick up my mystery series, I can publish it myself. The stigma of self-publishing no longer exists. Many well-respected authors are publishing their backlists and also new work. Fabulous books that were turned down by established publishers are finding a home and an audience.

While I make a decision regarding the future of my series, I’ve indie published two mini-mysteries, Crewel Intentions and Mosaic Mayhem. These are novelettes that take my amateur sleuth on side adventures. I’ve also published my backlist and five novels under my Emma Carlyle pen name.

It’s good to have choices.

About Lois:

lois-winston-low-res-fileAward-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack which Kirkus Reviews dubbed, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Twitter @anasleuth.

 

Review: Eden – Landra’s Take

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: Maybe

It’s 2022, there’s still war and natural disasters and disease have taken its toll on the world. A group of people find themselves the sole survivors of a plan crash. They are shoved into situations that require quick thinking, tsunamis, volcanoes, lack of food and water, dangerous mountain treks, and much more. The amazing part is the majority of them survive thanks to the survival-trained, ex-special forces Noah, his WHO doctor wife, Evelyn, and several other characters including a young woman with startling psychic abilities.

What I liked: The characters were interesting. Different talents, different histories and Holley gives readers a chance to get to know most of them really well. Histories, methodologies, and core beliefs are shared. I was invested in Noah and Evelyn’s future 100%. I found characters to love and some to hate to love. I loved the suspense of not really knowing what challenge would come next. Every time I thought things would go a certain way they went the opposite, which was a pleasant surprise. The science and futuristic ideas of Earth in 2022, these elements were cool and I enjoyed Holley’s developed history, including the technologies available to us.

What I didn’t like: There was a lot of flashbacks, info-dump, and telling that slowed the pacing of the story down. Yes, I did get more tidbits about the characters themselves, but I would’ve been able to stay connected to the story better without as many. My only other huge complaint would be the editing job, tense jumping was a bit too frequent and jarring; causing me to re-read sentences in an attempt to understand who’s POV I was living in. Also, I didn’t like the end of the story. I won’t say why because it’s a personal thing, nothing against the writing or story at all.

Overall, this is one of those books that readers need to make their own decision on. I’m invested in the characters so I’m definitely up for reading the next book, and though I had a few issues with this story other readers may not have the same problem.

Purchase a copy at:

Amazon

This Week’s Read: Eden by David Holley

eden_cover updated final for smashwordsAfter enduring a horrific plane crash, a small group of survivors must work together in order to withstand the harshest conditions imaginable in the remote wilderness of New Zealand’s South Island.
 
The year is 2022, and their epic journey, fraught with danger and mystery, will alter the course of human history forever.
 
Led by charismatic Special Forces captain Noah Lockheart and his wife Evelyn, an accomplished scientist, the band of weary travelers must battle the elements along with their fears, as they race toward civilization, and their hope for rescue.
 
Among the survivors is Mia Sinclair, an extraordinary girl who can glimpse the future.  Through their trials, the Lockhearts begin to uncover the girl’s ability in spite of her best efforts to keep it hidden. But even as Mia proves to be an invaluable ally, her gift comes at an unbearable cost.  
 
Each step brings them closer to salvation– and to unraveling the mystery of their abandonment. But just when they think they are saved, they realize that they have never been farther from home.

Eden is a bold, heart-pounding page-turner, told through the seamlessly shifting perspectives of the eccentric band of survivors. As the thriller unfolds, so do the survivors’ inextricable links to one another in a plot rife with twists and turns, till the very end.

Author Interview: HS Stone

InTheHandsOfChildrenToday I’m delighted to have In the Hands of Children author HS Stone join me for a little one-on-one. After reading his book, I had a few questions.

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite getting a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. Numbers Plus Four, a collection of short stories, was H.S. Stone’s first publication. He followed that with his first novel, George and the Galactic Games, and two additional books. H.S. Stone lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

What prompted the idea for In the Hands of Children? It seems like tough subject matter to tackle.
Like with many stories I write, the original idea from which this story sprung was different from how it eventually turned out. My inspiration for writing the story came from my concerns about how much we rely on technology today and how specialized everyone’s knowledge is. We live in a society that relies on other people to provide most of the things we need – even food and electricity. And God forbid if the Internet ever went down! I wanted to explore what it might be like if the people who have the knowledge to run the world were suddenly gone, and those who survive have to re-learn how to live with what’s left behind.

I really appreciated Kyle’s character, and actually he might’ve been my favorite (though I loved Amy quite a bit, too). Did you intend for him to be a heroic character, or was that something that came out through the writing?

I’m a sucker for heroes who save the day and happy endings in stories, so Kyle was always going to be a hero in my mind. He’s also the type of hero that I enjoy reading about — one who doesn’t know that he is and never intended to be a hero but becomes one because something inside drives him to do good when the situation demands it.

Hannah is a fantastic character, very strong and protective of her little sister. What went through your mind as you were writing her part of the story?

I have two kids of my own, and when I wrote about Hannah and Amy, I tried to imagine what it would be like for them if my wife and I succumbed to a pandemic and left them alone. It’s a horrible thought and a scenario that I hope never occurs, but some of the things that Hannah did for Amy are what I hope my son would do to protect his sister.

Your book has kind of a cinematic feel to it. Is that an aspect of your writing, or did that come through the story itself?

That’s an interesting question. Certainly, the story itself lends a cinematic quality in the way that it was told, but I’m not sure if that’s also part of my natural writing style. It’s not something I consciously decided to do. Now I’ll have to keep an eye out for it in my other books!

What can you tell us about future plans?

Since In the Hands of Children, I published my third book, Beyond New Eden. I’m currently working on my fourth novel, which is an as yet untitled YA sci-fi twist on alien invasions. I’ve always wanted to write an alien invasion story, and I hope this one will be different from any you’ve read or seen in movies before. The plan is to release the book by January of 2014.
Sounds fantastic!
In the Hands of Children is available at
Amazon
Smashwords

Review: In the Hands of Children – Cate’s Take

Genre: MG/YA science fiction

Rating: Yay

InTheHandsOfChildrenIn HS Stone’s In the Hands of Children we’re treated to a near-future, almost apocalyptic tale with real possibilities. The H5N1 virus has struck, leaving the globe devoid of adults, and only prepubescent children are left alive to pick up the pieces. It’s a harrowing tale of loss and the need to keep going. Hope, death, life, and sorrow intermingle throughout.

Stone does a great job in getting us to care about the struggles of the children in this new world by introducing us to them pre-virus, and we witness small characteristics that end up making a huge difference once the virus strikes. Kyle, Hannah, and her nine-year-old sister Amy embark on a journey that takes them from their disparate hometowns to San Francisco, where hope survives in the form of Youth Centers designed to maintain civilization however they can. The biggest problem the trio finds is that the boys in charge of the youth center are little more than bullies who maintain control through fear and threats. This doesn’t sit well with Kyle, who abhors bullying, but in the interest in keeping his new friends safe, he does nothing.

The book has a Lord of the Flies feel to it, and I think it’s fair, given that children are trying to be adults while still thinking like children. The bullies of the San Francisco youth center try to act for the greater good, but in the end, they reveal themselves to be power-hungry sociopaths, likely overwhelmed by their status in the new world. There’s a lot of emotion contained in Stone’s book, and it’s one that I think fans of post-apocalyptic tales and heroic children will enjoy.

In the Hands of Children is available at:

Amazon

Smashwords

Previous Older Entries