Tuesday, May 3, 2016

GREAT ADVICE FROM JAY WILBURN



https://dyingdayszombie.com/2015/11/19/guest-post-jay-wilburn-winterofzombie-6/


Winter of Zombie 2015
How to Quit Your Job and Write about Zombies for a Living
by Jay Wilburn

Hit the link above to read a great post by Jay Wilburn. Yes, it came from Winter of Zombie 2015, and yes, it specifies writing about Zombies in the title, but this post is not dated, and it is not limited only to writing about Zombies. Any writer can absorb the wealth of facts that Jay shares with you. If you are considering taking the plunge and writing for a living, this post is for you. Jay is a pro. He took the plunge. Should you? Maybe, maybe not. You'll have a much better grip on the facts after reading his article, believe me.

Blaze McRob

Sunday, May 1, 2016

MY BOOK REVIEW FOR - EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS: PRIDE - BY CHANTAL NOORDELOOS








http://www.amazon.com/Even-Hell-Has-Standards-Pride-ebook/dp/B00JI9OH6M/ref=cm_rdp_product_img

I have a book review I wrote a while back for Even Hell Has Standards: Pride, written by Chantal Noordeloos. Chantal has a wonderful way with words. She brings you into her stories in a most delightful way. Make sure you check out this great book as well as her other tales of horror. They are all great.

Blaze McRob

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Book description:


Sometimes life brings out the worst in a person, but Adolf Zakerny was born for evil. After a life of torment and murder, all in the name of Hell, it’s time for Zakerny to take his place amongst the demons. Will the blood he spilled appease the charismatic Lord of Hell, or will Zakerny’s Pride come to a fall?

‘Pride’ is the first of seven short stories in the ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ series, where Chantal Noordeloos takes the reader through the darker side of human nature, and it’s road to redemption. This is Hell as you’ve never seen it before.

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Believe In Hell? You Will Now!, April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Even Hell Has Standards: Pride (Kindle Edition)
Chantal Noordeloos has come up with the perfect tale for those who do not believe in Hell. Her story is filled with plenty of gore and sadism, but it is the psychological horror which comes to the fore-front. Take one truly evil human, Adolf - even her choice of a name for the antagonist in this romp through the worst of what an entity could possibly foist upon his fellow humans is perfect - add pride which exceeds no known limits, mix well, and wham! We are blessed with a story which will most likely have theologians shaking their heads, wagging fingers, and spouting venom when perhaps they might see that maybe, just maybe, Chantal has hit upon something . . . something which could possibly be.

Am I saying the Gospel According To Chantal Noordeloos is true? Of course not. This is a fiction tale of horror, and the author is not bandying about any new dogma. What she does do, as any great author does, is open the reader's mind to the possibility of truth within the story. By creating a story line which appears to be reasonable, the reader is drawn into its intricate meanderings of what is to happen next to this man Adolf, a man who fears no one and is truly not repentant for his sins.

Does Adolf win? Does Satan win? Or does God win? Oh, me lads and lassies, that is not for me to say. Read this great story and get carried away within conceptual beliefs you may have never heard before. This book pushes the limits, but in the most delightful of ways.

Are you tired of fluff? Do you wish to read a thinking person's story, yet one filled with a telling and hypnotic spell? Chantal Noordeloos has written what you are looking for. Embrace the words of a master at her craft.

Even Hell Has Standards: Pride, will not let you down!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

THE LATEST NEWS FROM WILLIAM MEIKLE


https://williammeikleblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/in-the-pipe-five-by-five/

Hit the link above and find out what's coming up for William Meikle. You'll see he has a lot on his plate. Also, you can look look at some purty pictures of his grand book covers. That's always a pleasure. And scroll down and read some of his past posts and learn more about the man who is Willie.

Blaze McRob


THE WORLD-MART TRILOGY: THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WORLD-MART, AND AFTERMATH - BY LEIGH M. LANE



 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EVRUNMW


 All three books in The World-Mart Trilogy: The Private Sector, World-Mart, and Aftermath, by Leigh M. Lane, are now available in one collection. This is not to be taken lightly. Leigh writes some great tales.

Blaze McRob



Book description:

 Get the full World-Mart dystopian trilogy in one collection!

The Private Sector

The world of corporate greed runs rampant after the government's dissolution has left police, fire, and all other services in the hands of privatized businesses and wealthy investors.

John and Dianne Irwin are doing everything they can to shield their son, Junior, from the world's ever-expanding corruption. Dianne's junkie sister and her cluelessly entitled parents don't help. Even more, Dianne's livelihood as an artist has been deemed obsolete, and the tighter money gets, the closer they find themselves a mere tragedy or illness away from ruin.

With the class divide ever widening, debtor prisons for the lower and middle classes overflowing, disease ravaging the country, and resources running dry, the Irwins must survive the battleground generated by those who would crush the lower classes for their own gain and those who've waged a war against them, against a corrupt system ruled by The Private Sector.

World-Mart

George Irwin remembers a time before the Big Climate Change, back when the airlines were still in business, back when people still drove their own cars and the bulk of humanity had not yet been driven underground.Back when all people were still people despite their eye color or which class they were born into. . . .

The world has changed much over his lifetime, but George still believes in the American Dream. However, when an alleged terrorist act lands his wife in the hospital, George stumbles upon a secret that could mean the end of all civilization.

World-Mart takes place in a not-too-distant future, one in which the collective and all-powerful entity known as "Corporate" owns and controls every aspect of society.

One held in place by complacency and mediocrity.

One that could very easily come to pass . . . very soon.

Aftermath: Beyond World-Mart

When all seems lost, when all the world has crumbled away, what will rise in its place?

Corporate America has fallen, taking the rest of the world down with it, genetic engineering and bioterrorism having come together to wipe out nearly the entire human race. The few survivors have no choice but to rise from society's ashes, but with resources growing scarce and some unable to let go of the past, the future of the human race skates on a razor's edge of uncertainty.

In this highly anticipated conclusion to the World-Mart trilogy, George travels beyond the districts, to the deviant shanty-towns and beyond, to a place he'd nearly forgotten--and to another he never could have imagined existed. And what he finds along the way will change everything he'd thought about the world--and the end of the world--as he knows it.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In the tradition of 1984, Leigh M. Lane delivers a terrifying vision of the future--a horrific future that may not be so distant after all...." ~Lisa Mannetti, Stoker Award-winning author of The Gentling Box and Deathwatch

"The Private Sector is proof positive that horror literature is alive, well and has something to say. Leigh M. Lane has created a cautionary and gripping dystopian tale that exposes the reader to the horrific results of corporate greed run amok. It is a nightmarish vision of the future that is as compelling as it is unsettling. If you enjoy horror fiction with intelligence and profound insights into human nature, then this is a book for you." ~Taylor Grant, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of The Dark at the End of the Tunnel

The Private Sector (World-Mart) is a really interesting tale because of the realism that Leigh M. Lane is able to bring[...]. Lane's description of this greedy and money hungry world is something that I could immediately see. I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to these problems and will suffer with the characters, knowing it's possible that these things could actually happen. I really enjoyed this premise and thought Lane executed it beautifully. It was a very thought provoking story. ~Taylor Wade, Readers' Favorite (5 stars)

"A versatile literary maestro, Lane's characters breathe, her language sings, and her plotting is nothing short of remarkable. You owe it to yourself to give her a read, no matter what kind of fiction you like. You'll love her work. I promise." ~Nightmare Award-winning author Trent Zelazny

"I strongly suggest that you read this novel that really hits close to home." ~Quincy Simpson, the Kindle Book Review (5 stars)

BLACKWATER VAL - BY WILLIAM GORMAN



http://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461857423&sr=1-1&keywords=blackwater+val

 Blackwater Val is William Gorman's first novel. It most certainly will not be his last. Read the free sample on Amazon and you will see what I mean. This is another great tome published by Crystal Lake Publishing and Joe Mynhardt. Officially, this novel comes out tomorrow. I bought one today. It's early. So, I was lucky and got mine for only 99 cents. Wow! Tomorrow it's on sale for 99 cents also, but the next day it's $4.99. Get it now, my friends!

Blaze McRob

Book description:


 Something isn’t quite right in the Val.

Richard Franklin has left his Midwestern roots behind to live on the coast of Maine with his family. But in the autumn of the year 2000, he must return to his Illinois birthplace on a sorrowful journey. His wife Michelle has been killed in New England by a hit-and-run driver who is never found, so back home he comes with her cremated remains, to fulfill a final wish and on her birthday scatter her ashes in the park along the river in Blackwater Valley—simply Blackwater Val to locals—the small town where they both grew up and fell in love.

With him he brings his six-year-old daughter Katie who still grieves for her lost mother: Katie, who can sometimes guess who’s going to be on the phone before it rings. Who can stop all the clocks in the house, and break up clouds in the sky with her mind, and heal sicknesses, and who sometimes sees things that aren’t there . . . people who are no longer alive. All gifts she inherited from her mother.

Only something isn’t quite right in the Val.

Sinkholes are opening up, revealing the plague pits the sleepy hamlet was built over in the 1830s, when malaria and cholera outbreaks ran riot. Mysterious bird and fish die-offs begin to occur, and Katie can see ghosts of the dead gathering all around. But what she can’t see is the charred, centuries-old malevolence which has been waiting for her, and wants her for its very own. Or the pale Sallow Man who haunts the town’s nighttime streets . . . or the river witch—another Blackwater Val, of sorts—each of whom will be drawn one by one into the nightmarish bloodletting about to take place.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IT'S UP TO YOU TO SELL YOUR HORROR BOOKS - PART 3



This is part three of IT'S UP TO YOU TO SELL YOUR HORROR BOOKS. I received some good questions and other responses in the previous posts which I will address tonight. Let me start off with Greg Chapman. These are some comments he sent to my Facebook Page:


Greg Chapman It's getting harder these days to self-promote because sadly the responsibility falls back on the author. Also every other writer is doing the same thing. But that doesn't mean you should stop. I think it's about promoting other authors' works too. Be part of the community by acknowledging that we're all in this together.

 Greg Chapman One of the things I ended up doing was creating a Facebook page promoting new and upcoming releases and reviews to try and get exposure to new authors. I'm happy to share that page if anyone is interested.

https://www.facebook.com/Fresh-Blood-New-Horror-Fiction-515881331907638/?hc_location=ufi 

I am really impressed with the job that Greg is doing to help other authors gain some notoriety. We need more people like him. Greg is absolutely right in what he says. Promoting others sends out a statement that we care about the entire family of authors and not only ourselves. Personally speaking, I never view another author as competition. We're in this together. When one succeeds,we all do. Take a look at Greg's Facebook page and I know you will find some fascinating authors and books.

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From JD Phillips:

 
JD Phillips Writing and publishing ARE easy. It's getting people to buy/read you that's hard. Sharing is great but I find it's usually writers sharing other writers - no readers in sight.

I'm at a loss as to how to truly merge the two. I don't see readers actively seeking lesser known/indie books.


 Robert Nelson Good point, JD Phillips! What Greg Chapman is doing is great. I found some great books there already by some of my favorite authors. I'll be posting more about this later today. There is much we authors can do. And, there are always new things popping up. We need to keep this dialogue going. Authors love writing, but money is good. Bills have to be paid.

More ideas for JD and others:

I am a firm believer in Twitter. I have found many great people there via the retweet route on my friends' pages. Sometimes they retweet me, and sometimes I retweet and follow them because of things they said that I enjoy. I like to send personal tweets when I can as well as retweets. It makes things more personal, I believe. The auto-generating concept is bogus and I don't employ it. 

I like to put links to some of my blog posts up on Twitter, and share them as well on my Facebook Page and my Author Facebook Page. That really gets the word out and doesn't spam anyone.

Use pictures and a lot of eye-grabbing color that pops out at people. Don't post extra long posts. Get your point across without going on and on about things. Short, sweet, and purty!

I have millions of hits on the search engines. Most of those are not because of me pounding my own chest. They come from folks finding out about other authors I talk about. My extended version of Women In Horror Month is a huge success. Not only the Women In Horror like these posts, but their friends do as well. This is along the same lines as what Greg Chapman is doing. We help each other. It's the right thing to do.

Another thing I like to do is to employ different ways to let folks on Facebook know that my books, as well as other authors' books, are available for sale. I don't like to employ the huge groups that have untold thousands of members. It's too easy to get lost in the shuffle. I like the smaller groups, and I don't post on them every day. I spread them around, and even then, I don't spam the groups. Another thing I do is to remark on other author's books. Also, One post might have the book's Amazon Page link with cover and a short, catchy blurb. The next time around, I might use my link to the book trailer. Zips things up. I'm getting ready to use links to free online jigsaw puzzles as well. 

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These are only a few things that I thought I could pass on. There will be plenty more. Also, there will be more questions and responses from me to come. Stay tuned in, my friends.

Blaze McRob


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

IT'S UP TO YOU TO SELL YOUR HORROR BOOKS - PART 2


My last post stressed that it's up to you to sell your horror books. You can read it here.  http://www.blazemcrob.com/2016/04/its-up-to-you-to-sell-your-books.html
For some of you, maybe this article was a gloom and doom sort of thing. Quite the opposite. What I hope it did was to get some authors thinking about what they really need to do to get their books published. In short, it is completely in the hands of the author. If you want to be an author, do it; write a great book; make sure the editing, formatting and cover art are done correctly; and market the hell out out of it. It's a great book, isn't it? If it's not, then make sure it is before it's sent out into the world of readers looking for a new favorite author. No one wants to read shit. Remember that.

William Cook, an author friend of mine, says authors need to treat writing like it's a business. He's right. It is a business. An author needs to plan ahead. There are many decisions to be made along the way. Writing a book is the easy part. Here is a post I put up a while back. There are a few changes I have made to it.


Writing is easy! Publishing is easy!



Writing Is Easy! Publishing is easy! What, you ask? How can writing possibly be easy? Writing is one word after another. That's it. There's nothing difficult about that.

Someone in the back is shaking their head, thinking that I'm an idiot. No problem with that. That's his right. He can even leave the room and I won't care.

Ah, you ask. "What are the words?" Again: simple. Put a picture in your head of the story you want to write. Write about that picture. If you have no story in your mind, forget about writing. Writing is easy, but only if you have a tale to spin. I get one simple thought in my brain, many times a sentence, or even a single word. Wham! Go from there.

As an example: in an upcoming novel, I think about my garage. I sleep in the garage because my wife is a bitch. The start of the picture in the gray matter is forming. Other senses come into play. Mice pitter-patter around and they make me think of rats from 'Nam. A presence forms, cutting off my air supply; a moldy stench surrounds it. This is not the first time this has happened, but this time . . . this time something is different. What? It talks to me this time. It never has before.

See what I mean? One word, garage, got into my mind and horror surrounds me. No build up needed. Pure action from the beginning.

Some people will rebel against what I'm saying next. Do not outline! It kills the flow of your story. Let your tale roll unfettered and free. I never know how my stories will end. That's the fun of writing. Let your story people determine the outcome.

Do not worry about perfection in your first draft. Just write a story that flows. Don't worry about anything else. Hemingway said the first draft of anything is shit. He was right. So concentrate on the story first, and then polish in your next drafts.

Now, your story is done, and a grand tale it is. Except for one thing. It sucks! The story itself is great, but it needs some serious editing. Comma splices abound. There's not enough white space. You have over-used words; you are redundant. Mark in chapter one is Matthew in chapter ten.

Now what? You work on your edits first. Don't annoy your friends and ask them to be beta readers. Do the job yourself. Read your story out loud as you edit. That will help with your commas. Over and over again, do your edits. When you are satisfied you have a good story, send it to an editor. An author is too close to her/his own story to do it justice in the final edits.

Okay, I'm sure many of you have heard the old beta reader thing over and over again from friends. They are not editors. Hire an editor. There are many good ones out there and they will not all gouge you. Many have great rates.

If you are going to self-publish, get a great cover artist. Don't go half-ass here. It is very important. Also, consider doing books with interior art scattered about. It is impressive, and a lot of Publishers are doing it.

Have someone who knows what they are doing, do your formatting. Make certain you check everything out before you publish your tale.

When it comes to Marketing, get outside the box. Push the envelope. Don't be afraid to do things never done before. I have super plans for one book I am publishing with another author. What I plan on doing has never been done before. Obviously, I don't want to mention it yet until the book comes out. At that time we will both be glad to explain our wonkiness. Going on Facebook and saying, "Buy my book," is not Marketing. What it can be is annoying. Many people will consider it to be spam and be turned off. Turn them on, not off.

I'll give you an example of an interesting ploy. Arrange to do book signings in bars. Tell the owner that for every book a patron buys, you will buy that reader a beer. And, include a tip. Why? That bartender will steer buyers to you. Set the price of your book so you make a profit. Let's say your book is from a small Press and you get a discount and pay $7.00 for a $15.00 book. If you sell the book at $15.00, you will make a profit of $4.00 if you pay $3.00 for a beer and $1.00 tip. More than you get from Amazon or B&N. The same thing can be done in coffee shops. In no time at all, you will have a following.

I will have another post explaining eBook marketing. Notice I didn't mention which way you should go with your books. Big Five, Small Press, Cooperative, or Indie, it doesn't matter. That's up to you and what you want to do. I will be posting more of my little tips in the future. Publishing has changed, folks. Be willing to change with it.

Happy writing to everyone!

Blaze McRob
 
                                          *    *    *    *
 
I added this here to give you hope. Do simple, common sense things, and your book will get out there, and you will sell some. Sounds good, huh? 

Okay, I have a few things you need to watch out for. I mentioned that some Presses shut down and more are on the way. That is not all that is going on. Some existing Presses do indeed fuck their authors over. But, they are not breaking the law in many instances. Sure, what they do is unethical, but it is a simple case of author beware. Read the fine print in the contract. Never get published without a contract. Many authors are in such a hurry to get their books published that they fail to notice that a publisher is asking for 5 year rights or more. Wow! That sucks. 
 
Check the royalty rate. If you're receiving royalties based on net profit and not gross profit, you're getting screwed. If you're getting paid by the story, as in the case of anthologies, make certain you believe you're getting a fair shake. 
 
Some of these tings I touched on the last time, but I thought they fit in with this post as well. 
 
Since my last post, there is still more animosity going around by certain factions in the horror community. Pretty sad. Time for some horror professionals to act the part.
 
In my upcoming posts, I will provide some links for information I consider to be essential. Also, I will mention publishers that I respect and have worked with. If there's anything else you want me to talk about, just let me know.

Thanks for reading.

Blaze McRob

Sunday, April 24, 2016

IT'S UP TO YOU TO SELL YOUR BOOKS



This is a most interesting year for those who write and read horror books. There have been a number of Presses closing their doors. Samhain shook the industry when they announced they would be shutting down - not only their horror line, but their other genres as well. Samhain had some well known horror authors with books published by them.

Another Press has not closed down, but it is having difficulties paying royalties and was forced to stop publishing their horror line. And there are many more.

Even a co-owned Press I was involved in closed its doors on March 31st. We ran in the red from day one. I could no longer afford to be the only one to pay all the bills, and the rest of the members, we had twenty, chose not to continue. We did put out some fine books for a while, but this is a tough business. Many authors think that a publisher should give writers their first born sons. Hmm. I think not, especially when many authors do nothing to help market their books. Case in point: my Press had an anthology that was going along pretty good for a while. I personally paid for the marketing, did more on my own, paid for the formatting, art, and more. Then the editor, who had a story in it himself, told the rest of the authors it was not necessary for them to help with the marketing. Nice move on his part. Sales dropped, of course.

So, from my experiences as a publisher, let me just say that there was no money to be made. No more could I do my work for free and pay the bills on top of it. This was a cooperative venture, my friends. The publisher and the authors need to work as a team. If they don't, the venture is doomed. My own work did not get published while other authors' work did at my former Press. No more complaining about that. It was an expensive learning experience, but I met some great people I would not have met otherwise.

What is a person to do? There are a number of choices:

1. Get a Big 5 publisher to publish your book. Good luck on that one. And, even if you do, the advance you received will have to be earned back. If it's not, you're totally screwed. You'll owe your publisher and you'll be black-balled from the Big  5. Not cool. Besides, your royalty rates will suck big-time.

2. You can be published by a small or medium sized press. You probably won't get an advance, but your royalty rate will almost certainly be higher. And you will start getting your money as soon as the the publisher receives the money from Amazon and the rest - based on whether you're receiving quarterly or half-year royalties. This is a far better option. Check around and find out the more reputable publishers.

3. Some publishers pay a pro-rate of five cents a word or more. This is a harder gig to get, but it can be lucrative. One point I need to make here is that I see this discussed in various Facebook groups a lot. Many  authors want to hold out for this sweet deal. It's their choice, of course, but with publishers closing shop, I wouldn't hold my breath. And, to be perfectly honest, a number of these authors need to sharpen their skills at the craft before this will happen.

4. Some publishers will pay $25.00 or more for individual short stories for anthologies. This is not only cash in your pocket from the git-go, but, as a rule, a royalty only anthology nets the authors crap. There are simply too many hands in the pot. If you can get the $25.00, you'll be doing better in most cases.

5. Self-publishing is an option. In my case, this is the path I have chosen. My wife, Terri DelCampo, and I started up our own Press for our works only. We do all the work and reap all the benefits. Blazing Owl Press is our baby all the way. Are we getting rich? No. But we are are selling books. Gotta love that.

As if the closing down of established publishers hasn't made it more difficult for horror authors to sell books, there has been a rather nasty bit of infighting going on in the Horror Writers Association. While this doesn't directly affect sales, this whole debacle is not only a black-eye for the organization, but it gives those who write horror a bad image. Coming this close to the Stoker Convention doesn't make things any better. There are many hard workers at various positions at the HWA. I am friends with many of them and respect many others, but a lot of work will have to be done to clear things up. This started out with one incident and spread to another. I will not go as far as my friend Brian Keene has in regards to this controversy, but he is doing what is best for him and I am doing the same. There might be some benefits that some authors will reap from being a member of the HWA, but I don't see anything they have to offer that I can't do myself. Also, I have never liked the fact that to be an active member, which means you can vote on the Stokers and such, you must provide proof of how much money you made from any of your books. No one sees that information except me and the IRS. All in all, it has always sounded elitist to me.

Not everyone will agree with all the points I presented here. That's fine with me. If you want any more information or links to answer any of your questions, I will be happy to supply them. Just remember that when the shit hits the fan, one must find a way to get out of the blast of defecation hurled at you. No matter what organization you are a member of or who publishes your books, everything depends on you. Make the right decisions. You're the boss. If you fail, it's your fault. You didn't work hard enough. Learn the craft; write a great book; make the right publishing decision; and don't blame anyone else.

Thanks for reading.

Blaze McRob  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

BLAZE MCROB'S NEW MARKETING GENIUS



http://www.amazon.com/Blaze-McRob/e/B006XJ1I94/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

The little guy above is my new marketing genius. He's an enthusiastic little fellow, and he works for peanuts. The link above will take you to my Amazon Author Page where you can find my novels, novellas, short story collections, and stories within anthologies. There will be many more books coming. You can also go to the Blazing Owl Press website http://www.blazingowlpress.com/ and see more of what Terri DelCampo and I have in store for those who love to read about the things hiding within the shadows. We aim to please. Almost all of my upcoming projects will be published by Blazing Owl Press.

That's all for now. My marketing genius needs some lunch.

Blaze McRob