Monday, July 7, 2014

Author Insights with L.J. Bonham

Author Insights: Your books are often filled with action and adventure, what recommendations do you have for aspiring authors to improve their writing in this area?

L. J. Bonham: Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. Action scenes and books, whether detective noir, tech-thriller, war, science fiction, or fantasy must have a basis in reality, regardless if the author’s world is modern, historical, or pure invention.

AI: Could you elaborate?

LJB: Every world, no matter how farfetched, has to have rules that govern how things happen. Soldiers, spies, guerrillas, and cops all do things in certain ways and have unique cultures. They are archetypes in their own right. Stories that work well set the character’s actions in a believable framework. “Starship Troopers,” by Robert Heinlein, for example, immerses the reader in a future world that is still familiar in its texture. The Mobile Infantry depicted in the book feel real because they think, talk, and act like soldiers have since organized conflict began.

AI: So where does an author learn about military life, espionage, and law enforcement?

LJB: I just ran across a great new book on the subject called, “The Writer’s Guide to Adventurous Professions,” by Clayton Callahan and Lee Roberts.


AI: That sounds perfect.

LJB: It’s a fantastic resource book. The authors are combat veterans and police officers. Mr. Callahan in particular has worked in Army intelligence. The book is fun and a quick read, but authors will want to keep it handy for reference. If you want your action scenes to have impact, you should get this book.

New Books



Owl Dance is a Weird Western steampunk novel. The year is 1876. Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico, meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi, who is looking to make a new start after escaping the oppression of her homeland. When an ancient life form called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon's fast draw and Fatemeh's uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when airships from Czarist Russia invade the United States?


The Puppet Master.
In an alternate time line, technology has advanced civilization where within a few years the world is several centuries ahead. Even though advanced, crime still happens, only now criminals have new ways to cover their tracks. Private eye Martti Seppanen tracks crooks in a Los Angeles that noir detectives would hardly recognize.

What happens when the murderer is someone who can control other people mentally? When the murder weapon is a bioengineered disease? And what if the victim is someone whose existence is a government secret and isn't quite considered human?
''An outstanding writer.'' —C. J. Cherryh


Lightning Wolves.
It's 1877 and Russians forces occupy the Pacific Northwest. They are advancing into California. New weapons have proven ineffective or dangerously unstable. The one man who can help has disappeared into Apache Country, hunting ghosts. A healer and a former sheriff lead a band into the heart of the invasion to determine what makes the Russian forces so unstoppable while a young inventor attempts to unleash the power of the lightning wolves.






The Writer's Guide to Adventurous Professions


Action, adventure, war!  How the heck do you write such stuff if you have no practical experience in the military, law enforcement, or espionage?  The Writer’s Guide to Adventurous Professions will give you the important information you need to produce hard hitting adventure stories that are accurate, believable, and compelling.  Written by two combat veterans, who are now police officers and writers, this fun, fast paced book takes you deep into the special world of soldiers, cops, and spies.
 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Top 11 Pinterest Tools for Blogs and Businesses (via http://paulschaecker.blogspot.nl)
By Tina Courtney-Brown in Blogs & Podcasts Business Featured Pinterest In just a few short years, social network dynamo Pinterest has taken over the art of visual shares. Many still hold the opinion that Pinterest only attracts a limited (mostly female…

Latest and Greatest

Wow!  We've been busy at Sky Warrior Books.  Check out our fantastic new releases by your favorite authors, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Daughters of Suralia, by the award-winning author of The Marann, Christie Meierz.

Three women, two planets, and a whale...

For Marianne Woolsey, linguist and tutor, being empathically bonded to the leader of the Tolari turns out to be a bed of roses - complete with thorns. Especially thorns.

With diplomatic relations severed and humans kicked out of Tolari space, the Earth Fleet ship Alexander is gone ... for now ... but Earth Central Command hasn't given up trying to get Marianne back. As she struggles with surprises, nightmares, and a bond-partner who can't be tamed, she just wants to figure out where she fits in a society that isn't quite human.

Laura Howard, the Admiral's widow, only desires to be left in peace to gather the fragments of a shattered heart, but Central Command has plans for her, too.

Meanwhile, the Sural's apothecary is a serene and gifted healer who knows what - and who - she wants. Circumstances have conspired to deny her the man she's always loved, but in the pursuit of his heart, she finds an unexpected ally.

Daughters of Suralia is a non-erotic scifi romance.

 Redemption, by James K. Burk

Captain Li Wing Hua has been a prisoner of an alien race for nearly four years, freed at last after the war. So when he’s finally made captain of another space ship, he’s eager to return to space. But when he discovers an observation outpost wrecked and the crew tortured to death, Hua has reason to suspect the same alien race that tortured and held him captive those four long years. But can he unravel the mystery before it causes an interstellar incident?






 The Lion of Farside,  Vol. 1 & Vol. 2., by John Dalmas

The Macurdies had been farmers for generations, and Curtis Macurdy would have been content to spend his life with his exotically beautiful wife Varia, earning a living by tilling his plot of land in the American Midwest. Varia was from Yuulith, a magical world separated from Earth by only a dimensional barrier that could sometimes be broached.





 The Burden, by Valorie Hein

Growing up can be tough for anyone, but Erica Mathews' life is about to take a turn for the worse as she discovers that the world she has known to exist was the true fantasy. The world is far more dangerous than she imagined; filled with magic, vampires, and shapechangers. While trying to hang onto a "normal life" she unravels the true mystery of who...or what...she is, only to be faced with the ultimate of sacrifices.




The Mask of God, by S.A. Bolich

On a planet long forgotten by Earth, two royal brothers are drawn into a war
sparked by human ambition, but it is the artificial gods of Ariel whose
strange power ensnares them in a greater conflict whose stakes only Fate
understands. One human life is the key-only Alarion Aravon does not take
kindly to being a pawn.





 Cybermage, Book Three of Worldweavers, by Alma Alexander

Thea returns to the Wandless Academy only to discover her friends are as out of sorts as she is. It’s only when she discovers that she is an elemental mage—a mage so rare that only four other wizards in history had similar talents—that the pieces start falling in place.

Now Thea is called on by the Federal Bureau of Magic to unlock a mysterious white cube that may hold the secrets of more than just one elemental mage. However, the Alphiri are naturally curious and are looking to steal an elemental mage from the pages of history that could upset the balance between humans and Alphiri. The great Nicholas Tessla, a quad-elemental mage, has somehow survived death itself and both the Alphiri and the Federal Bureau of Magic are searching for him. But can Thea bring her friends together one more time to save Nicholas Tessla from being made a slave to the scheming Alphiri?

 Coup de Grace, by Frog and Esther Jones

And they all lived happily…oh, never mind!

You’d think that saving the world from demons is supposed to come with justly earned desserts or at least flaky pastries. For Grace Moore, covert summoner/full-time foodie, saving the City of Spokane and earning a promotion is anything but. Her days are now full of paperwork and Grove politics, and her navigation of the new political waters is like a brick in scuba gear.

Then, there’s Grace’s eighteen-year-old apprentice, Robert Lorents. Robert is the most powerful untrained summoner Grace has ever seen, but her promotion means he’s left high and dry to clean up Spokane while she goes to Las Vegas on Grove matters. Robert is understandably annoyed. Yeah, saving the city was okay. Avoiding becoming a giant demon raccoon’s snack and the demon Cythymau’s new battery pack was even better. But he screwed up and failed to save a girl who was trapped in Cythymau’s clutches.
Grace seemed to have forgotten that little problem. And Robert isn’t willing to get to it “sometime.” Besides, what else does an annoyed, mostly-bored, foster kid in Spokane have to do anyway?

 The Lost Enforcer, by Irene Radford and Bob Brown

From a galaxy torn by civil war to a sleepy planet on the edge of the known universe, Enforcer Jakai del Quint pursues the failed Warlord Dorno Ban Sant to final showdown leaving Jakai alone and stranded on a planet called Earth far from the civilization he fought to protect.

More than a hundred years later Jakai awakes, freed from his hibernation by a curious hiker. Together, hunted by Earth’s most powerful governments, fleeing from covert alien “observers,” they join together to pursue Jakai’s need to bring long delayed justice to the vicious warlord now using his advanced technology to dominate Earth.

With only the belief in his mission and the support of a woman with nothing to lose, Jakai crosses the world only to be caught in the web of violence that blankets the Middle East.

In a sprint to a final confrontation, Jakai faces not only his past, but his future, and the future of Earth itself as he challenges the hidden forces of the Galactic core and those who would make Earth nothing more than stepping stone to a renewed cycle of galactic war.

 Owl Dance, by David Lee Summers

Owl Dance is a Weird Western steampunk novel. The year is 1876. Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico, meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi, who is looking to make a new start after escaping the oppression of her homeland. When an ancient life form called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon's fast draw and Fatemeh's uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when airships from Czarist Russia invade the United States?

 Gears and Levers 3, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford

Adventure and romance awaits in worlds that never were but should have been. Magic and science blend together as Gears and Levers explores the quest for all that makes up humanity. Battle pirates, walk with ghosts, fly in dirigibles, explore the wonders of the world, and walk with automatons in fourteen amazing tales set in Steampunk lands by masterful storytellers such as David Boop, Irene Radford, Nancy Jane Moore, Renee Stern, Bob Brown, George S. Walker, and Rhiannon Louve.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

March(ing) Forward!

Wow! Sales are up for March 2014, we're on a roll!

Here are the top five authors last month.
1. Irene "Phyl" Radford
2. Bob Brown
3 and 4. John Dalmas and Gary Jonas (tied)
5. Christie Meierz

Fantastic job everyone.  Several authors just missed the top five, so keep working hard to promote your books, it does pay off.  Remember, promotion gets sales and sales gets royalties, so promote, promote, promote!  If you want your name on the list, ask yourself, "Have I done everything possible to attract attention to my work?"  If the answer is an honest yes, then keep doing it over and over again.  It's critical to keep your name and titles in front of people.  Even exposure for a few, fleeting seconds leaves an imprint on your prospect's mind.  Why do think companies pay big bucks to plaster their brands on anything and everything?  Because it works.  If it didn't, they wouldn't spend the money.

Generate buzz for your books.  Politely suggest to your friends and regular readers that they review your books on websites such as Goodreads.  If you have writer friends, offer to trade reviews with them.  Cultivate relationships with people in your local print and broadcast media.  They're always looking for local color stories and what's more colorful than a home grown author?  Saturate social media.  Keep people up to date on your latest projects and remind them of your back list.  Ask any preacher and they'll tell you the key to success is constant repetition of your message in clear, concise language; tell the folks, tell 'em again, and then tell 'em some more.  Never give up, never shut up.  Remember, sell what you know, and no one knows you better than you.  Let's make April even better than March.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

If you send that rough draft to Mongo, you'll just make him mad

Today I was talking to Mongo, AKA our Acquisition's Editor.  Over the past several weeks, we've
received some pretty rough manuscripts by people who should know better.  People who have talked to me, have heard me speak at cons, and who are professionals.

Before my current authors panic, know that I'm not talking about you.  Yes, our current authors have good days and bad days; they turn stuff in with mistakes sometimes. Overall though, I can hand their work to an editor and not get a flaming manuscript hurled at me.  (Not an easy accomplishment given the distances between us!)

What Is Currently Annoying Mongo 

 

My point is lately Mongo has been getting drafts that are so rough you could file your nails with them.  We're talking basic spelling and grammar problems in the first paragraph, let alone the first page.  I sadly shake my head when I hear that happen.  Mongo isn't as picky as I am.  Which means the errors are glaring.

I'm sure this happens to other publishers all the time.  Despite our submission guidelines, despite the whining I make when talking about good manuscripts versus bad manuscripts, and despite submitting to a publisher, the writer has made the decision to send crap instead of a polished and professional manuscript.  I asked Mongo about manuscript format and he just blinked.  He wished there wasn't much wrong with the writing to the point that he had to worry about manuscript format.  Yep, that was closer to item 10 on "things wrong with this novel."

What You Can Do to Make Mongo Happy

 

First of all, just because you know me doesn't give you a pass for spelling and grammar.  Mongo doesn't know you, and even if he did, he wouldn't choose a bad manuscript.  You may feel you have written the next bestseller, but until you have polished it the best you can, you shouldn't be sending it to any publisher.

Here are some suggestions to make sure your manuscript is the best you can make it:

  1. Join a writing critique group and have your work gone over.  There are good groups and bad groups, so look for a group who will give you honest advice.  If you can't find one near you, join an online one like critters.org.
  2. Use the methodology in The 10% Solution by Ken Rand to edit your book.
  3. While spellcheckers are not your friend, knowing how and when to use them is a good idea.
  4. Can't edit your book?  Pay a real editor to edit it properly.  There are many good editors (and not so good) who can edit your book.  Ask around.  Get references.
  5. Read your book aloud to yourself and listen to it.  You'll catch a lot that way.
 My point to this post is that if you haven't done any of what I've recommended, or you think your work is above editing, it's not.  I'm not saying that professional authors don't make mistakes too, but they do work hard at sending in a polished manuscript.  And it shows.

Surprise Mongo and send him a great draft.  Just don't make him mad.





Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Write a Blurb

This is the best post I've seen on writing blurbs.  Since I often ask my writers to write a quick blurb on their books, I'm asking you to check it out HERE.
Getting new readers with StumbleUpon (via ePublish a Book)
Getting new readers with StumbleUpon   Writers looking for an additional way to market their book should consider leveraging StumbleUpon’s potential. Though not specifically geared to writers, this popular website can be used for everything from…

It's Not Luck: 7 Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople

I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker for students because we all know someone is out there copying us...  
 
Believe it or not, you're the best person to sell your books.  You know your books better than anyone else -- and you want to see your books do better more than anyone else.  So, check out the 7 habits of highly successful salespeople and start making a plan.

READ MORE  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Top December 2013 Authors

December was a good month, which is why we're posting our top five December 2013 authors!  Check them out!  You may be surprised who made the list.

  1. Gary Jonas
  2. John Dalmas
  3. Christie Meierz
  4. Alma Alexander
  5. Deby Fredericks
Gary Jonas did an awesome job and we're proud of him in the #1 spot.  He's closely followed by John Dalmas and Christie Meierz.  Rounding out the top five is Alma Alexander and Deby Fredericks.

Congrats folks!  You've done a terrific job!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting new readers with StumbleUpon (via ePublish a Book)
Getting new readers with StumbleUpon   Writers looking for an additional way to market their book should consider leveraging StumbleUpon’s potential. Though not specifically geared to writers, this popular website can be used for everything from…