Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an ex-military guy who only ever wanted to be a published author. The demands of military life required that I shelved my dream–it’s difficult to write when you work long weeks, are constantly deployed and/or moving, and have little stability in your life. So, once I left the service, I dove back into fiction. After a few years of writing absolutely horrible stuff, practice made ‘better’ (I will never be a perfect writer).
After publishing my first book (a suspense adapted from one of my audio drama–fiction–podcasts) in 2018, I’ve published nine other works.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My upcoming release is called Bitter Aries, and it represents a seminal moment in my author career, because it is a dramatic shift.
Up until now, fans of my books and podcast have known me as a thriller/horror/suspense writer. I gave them a heads up in 2019 that I would be moving toward my first love–fantasy. Thankfully, they have been understanding and supportive.
And I’m kicking off this new course in my author journey with this book, which is the first in a much longer series. The entire project is new for me. I’ve never written in a series or published in fantasy, and now that is happening (Bitter Aries is book 1 of The Zodiac series). The first four books in the series will be published, one each month, starting in July 2020.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Aren’t all authors ‘unusual’ in some respect? 🙂
Actually, I’m very structured. I write at the same spot in my house, at the same time, every day.
I do have to have my coffee warmer (all writers need one of these!) and I also place a cool knick-knack my wife bought me in front of my screen when I’m editing a novel (the knick knack is a porcelain that says “Write without fear. Edit without mercy.”).
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Clive Barker, Sue Grafton, Jim Butcher, Stephen King, George RR Martin, Piers Anthony, and Christopher Moore come immediately to mind.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on getting ahead of my publishing calendar (finally) by working on the audio books for the first four novels in The Zodiac series.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Using my Audio Fiction with Paul Sating podcast. It’s my loss-leader. Yes, I use perma-free novellas to find readers, along with ad services, but I’ve had a number of fans find me after first discovering my podcast.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
First, determine your writing goals. Not everyone aims for the same thing. Establishing that first will help you focus, reduce stress and wasted effort, and help you understand where you need to invest your energy, time, and money.
The reason we see arguments amongst writers on social media is not because ‘the other’ is a jerk; it’s because we all have different goals which require different actions.
I cannot stress this enough; figure out WHAT your writing future looks like and then, and only then, start figuring out what you need to do to get there.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Hemingway said to always stop your writing session at a “good spot.”
Don’t write all the way through the scene or the chapter to stop for the day. Stop at a good, juicy, exciting spot in the story.
It makes picking up the next day so easy–it really, truly does.
Think about it, you stopped at the end of the chapter. You walk away from the computer and then try to pick up the next day or three days later. You’re in a fresh spot in the story. Your brain goes a thousand miles an hour to figure out how/where to start again.
Compare that to this:
“Gene looked at the man she hated more than anyone in the world. He lunged for her, but not before she brought the gun up and”
And you stop there, right at the word “and.”
Do you feel that?
Yeah, that’s your imagination fully engaged. You’re thinking about all sorts of possibilities and it’s not even your story! Imagine when it is.
Always stop every writing session in one of those “good” spots.
What are you reading now?
Jim Butcher’s “Blood Rites” and Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”
What’s next for you as a writer?
As soon as the first four books in The Zodiac are completely packaged to be published (ebook, paperback, and audio), I’ll be outlining a fantasy trilogy that is a mix of The Witcher and Conan.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”
Christopher Moore’s “Lamb”
Stephen King’s “IT”
Robert Jordan’s “The Eye of the World”