Rave Review Book Club

“SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour: Craig Boyack

Craig author picToday I’m happy to host the Rave Reviews Book Club “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour for Craig Boyack. Enjoy and support this fantasy author!

S. Boyack has a new book out called “The Cock of the South.” This is his first attempt at writing fantasy. It involves a group of conquered peoples banding together to ensure they have a place in the world. It is set in a Greco Roman environment, rife with everything fans of those stories might expect.

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My choice to try independent publishing wasn’t an easy one. I collected an electronic file of rejection slips for several years. Oddly enough, this may have helped me in the long run.

After being rejected, I tried to make my stories better. In my mind, I did make them better. My subsequent projects are better every time out. I never got over the idea that stories would be resigned to some musty old corner of cyberspace and forgotten. Someone out there would enjoy these stories, but there had to be a way to distribute them.

I got lucky, in that I had some decent older stories when I finally decided to self publish. My 2014 goal was to put out one book per quarter, until I got caught up. All four of the older tales are on Amazon right now. I also have a new one finished, and another one half finished.

I thought the world would flock to my door, and admit to some naive thinking. My first book sold a few copies, then stagnated. I played with a giveaway and made it into the top twenty science fiction books for a nano second. Still, the reviews never came.

Being self published requires some effort. I needed to learn some things, and there is still much to learn. The most important thing is finding friends. Reviewers are out there, but an author has to find them. I’m like a creature of the night, you have to invite me inside. This is fatal thinking.

The Rave Reviews Book Club has been my most powerful move. This is a group of fellow authors who are all in the same boat. We all need and want the same things. There’s power in numbers, and we work together to promote each others’ books. Each member is required to read and review one member book per quarter. Some of my earliest reviews came from this group. They taught me about Twitter pushing, and how the power of re-tweets can place our product in over a million accounts.

Self publishing is a hard road. You’ll make your sales one at a time. I use my blog to build goodwill among my followers, and many of them have picked up one, or more, of my books. I’m a big believer that forever is a long time. My books are available for as long as I choose. It might take a year before one of them takes off. Readers are generally loyal people. If they like one, they are very likely to buy another. I expect to see growth in sales throughout 2015.

My biggest task is to keep writing. I still want to learn more about promotion and expanding my circle of friends. I’ll have less output in 2015, and this will allow me to work on marketing and expanding my influence. It’s going to take some work, but anything worthwhile does.

Cockof the southThe Cock of the South is my first foray into epic fantasy. It involves fantastic creatures trying to find their way in a Greco Roman setting. I had a great time writing The Cock of the South, and hope you’ll enjoy reading it just as much.

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How writers go about producing a story is always an interesting topic. I love reading about the process of others. Rather than just lurk, I decided to talk about my own machinations as I wrote The Cock of the South.

I keep quick notes in an app on my phone. These are just a line or two to remind me of stray thoughts. When I keep dwelling on an idea I take out a notebook and fountain pen and expand the idea a bit. If it really sticks with me I start a storyboard.

This is my first fantasy story. Being true to the genre was important to me. I actually did mountains of research into mythology to spark my imagination. I didn’t want to rewrite one of those tales, so I stole bits and pieces to weave into my stories. I made small piles of index cards. These didn’t all get used, but I like to have notes to refresh my imagination.

It was equally important to me that I was true to the setting. Ancient Rome and Greek mythology are something readers are used to, and I wanted to use this to ground the story. I find that building fences with plot and setting serve as a governor to my imagination. The imagination flows and focuses in a different direction. My storyboard was covered with sticky notes to include more marble columns and bath houses at one point.

When it comes to characters I try to be a bit different. Hercules might be the best hero, but what if someone less qualified had to solve all the problems? I found a lost member of the Southern Dwarves who was raised by humans. His dwarven heritage has been hidden from him, and he lives as a short broad human. Because of his physical makeup the people around him nicknamed him Cobby.

I also wanted the freedom to vary some of the historical parts of the story. I stewed on this for a long time, but in fantasy the world ought to be different. It was a delicate balance to preserve the setting and believably change some elements. I dug deep into mythology and decided that Remus killed Romulus. Rome never got built and the nation of Remus took its place. This allowed me to modify weapons, change trade routes, and still keep some familiarity in the story.

I always try to challenge myself to try something new with each story. This isn’t obvious to the reader, but it’s important for my growth. In The Cock of the South I wanted to use fairytale structure. This is a great way of telling a story, but casual readers might not pick up on everything.

Since this post is likely to be read by as many authors as readers here are some things I included. Cobby is the outsider of three brothers. Each brother represents one facet of the father. Cobby will have to master all three of these elements before he can succeed. There is a scene involving magical gifts from a friend. If you pay very careful attention, there are even seven dwarves together on one adventure. I included more elements, but this is a blog post and you’ll have to watch for others as you read the story.

I love this story, but readers will be the ultimate judge. I hope you’ll give The Cock of the South a chance. I had a great time writing it, and hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

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You can follow Craig at the following places:

His blog, Entertaining Stories. http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

On Twitter.  https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

You can pick up a copy of The Cock of the South at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P4H37WC

Thanks for reading about Craig Boyack’s new novel. This kind of author support is what we do with Rave Reviews Book Club so take a look at membership as a reader or an author. You can also connect with me over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email.

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Book Release: Elemental Earth by Harmony Kent

3D-Book cover Elemental EarthToday is the fourth stop of the exciting blog tour week for the release of “Elemental Earth” by Harmony Kent. Take it away Harmony!

HARMONY KENT

On the first and second days of this blog tour, I shared my journey with you, and how I overcame trauma and life-changing injury to become the writer I am today.

On the third day of the tour, I showed some of my writing process, and how my first book ‘The Battle for Brisingamen’ was born.

In today’s post, I would like to continue the insight into my writing journey with an inside look at ‘The Glade’ and how I grew as a writer.

For links to my other blog stops, please check out my author page at 4Wills Author Page.

It took me eight months to write and publish ‘The Battle for Brisingamen’, and six months to write and publish ‘The Glade’. It was then a further eight months until my third, and latest, book was published: Elemental Earth, which happens to be my first Young Adult book.

As I said in yesterday’s post, the ideas for ‘The Glade’ were waiting to pounce on me and hijack my brain as soon as I’d finished ‘The Battle for Brisingamen’. It was in researching geographical information on the Forest of Dean, in the UK, that I came across stories about the ‘Standing Stone’. This immediately caught my imagination, and became the focal point of the whole book. I also found myself researching ley lines and other ‘mystical’ things along the way.

march14 altI did take some liberties with the truth, as anybody who knows the forest will tell you. The Standing Stone is actually situated right next to a busy road, which cuts through the forest. That’s the great thing about making things up for a living: I can get away with murder! (Literally!) In ‘The Glade’, I moved the stone to a secluded area of the forest, away from civilisation. I also linked a ley line ‘cross’ to the spot where the stone stood.

This book is a classic Good versus Evil scenario, with a few twists. I particularly enjoyed writing about one of the female antagonists, who has been described as ‘a memorable villain’, which delighted me. I can’t give her name here, as that would give too much away!

I like to listen to music when I write, usually soundtrack scores (without lyrics). I wrote ‘The Battle for Brisingamen’ listening to The Twilight scores. ‘The Glade’ and ‘Elemental Earth’ were both written to a mix of The Twilight, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones scores. My best time of day for writing is the evening, or the early hours—when I should be in bed sleeping!

During the writing of all three books, I have had many other things to deal with, both medical and personal. I believe that being able to sit and create helped keep me sane. It also gave me a purpose. If you’re interested in finding out more, please come and find me on tomorrow’s blog stop.

You can find links to my other blog stops here: 4Wills Author Page.

For more on my books, see below:

The Glade Front Cover with BRAG MedallionThe Glade

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.

You are being arrested for the murder of your husband …You have a secret you can’t tell …The evil is gathering …

The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth and happiness. But then it all begins to fall apart. Helen is arrested for murder, yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes mysteriously missing and tensions are running high. Helen finds herself surrounded and yet alone: not knowing who she can trust or how she can tell her enemies from her friends. Helen has to work through her self-doubts and fears, in order to know whether her suspicions and misgivings are valid or simply products of an overwrought mind. There are those who would like to encourage her confusion, and those who would help her – but how to know one from the other? And then there are those who actively mean her harm. Meanwhile, malignant forces in the forest are gathering power, ready for a final assault. Helen finds herself in a battle of life and death, and faces having to lose everything in her attempts to thwart the evil that has insinuated itself into her very existence – but is she ready to make the ultimate sacrifice?

This sensational second novel by acclaimed author Harmony Kent will have you alternately laughing, crying and gripping the edge of your seat as this roller coaster ride of a plot unfolds. It will keep you guessing through its many twists and turns, and hijack your attention right up until you turn the final page. This book has it all: murder, intrigue, the supernatural, a broken marriage, a love affair, courage against impossible odds, suspense, and high drama.

The Glade is an IndieB.R.A.G.Medallion honoree!

New Cover with new AIA badgeThe Battle for Brisingamen

Fantasy Fiction

There is a World not too Far Away …

Beneath the north sea a land of magic lies undetected. The lives of many are drawn inexorably closer together in a race against time, as both energy companies and evil beings attempt to destroy the magic which is protecting not just this land but all worlds. The unwitting protagonists have no idea of how suddenly and irrevocably their lives are about to change.

It is a race against time to try and recover the lost necklace, Brisingamen, which holds the ancient power of the Goddess Freya, and to prevent the undersea drilling from taking place. Are Aart, Matthias, Gemma and Dirck up to the challenges they now must face?

Here there be Dragons, and all manner of Creatures …

Elemental Earth (Book 1 of The Mysteries)

Young Adult Fantasy Fiction

“You turned the god of gnomes into a garden ornament?”

Sarah looked closely, but couldn’t tell if her dad was annoyed or amused—perhaps he was both …

Whilst 15 year old Sarah may be struggling to regain her feet, after being ripped from her everyday mundane life and ending up in a whole new dimension, she still knows how to have a bit of fun along the way. The Earth Elemental isn’t the only one whose feathers she manages to ruffle, and it’s only been four days. Meanwhile, her best friend is missing, and big trouble is brewing. She soon has a lot more to worry about than what happened to her phone or iPod, or even how much of an idiot Caleb obviously thinks she is.

Elemental Earth is the first book in The Mysteries series, and is aimed at Young Adults. Even if you’ve already reached an age where the young ones might call you ‘old enough’, if you’re still young at heart then you’re bound to enjoy these books just as much as the next—err—younger adult.

Age aside, perhaps we should be more worried about what further havoc Sarah’s antics might be about to wreak on the universe as we know it? We’d probably all be sleeping a lot more soundly if she’d only stuck to applied maths and the odd pillow fight. But no, sadly the lure of the proverbial rabbit hole proved just a tad too much. And now she’s taken the plunge, there’s no turning back.

Look out for tweets @harmony_kent, and follow my blog: http://harmonykent.co.uk to keep up to date with new book releases, promos, cover reveals and sneak peeks. Feel free to connect—I’d love to hear from you.

Find out more at: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk

Twitter: @harmony_kent

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

4Wills Author Page: http://4willspublishing.wordpress.com/our-authors/author-harmony-kent/