Yes, I Really Want You to Support Your Author Friend

I posted another author’s blog on the idea of helping your friends who are authors. Here is the blog from E. A. Copen, author of the Judah Black novels and Fairchild Chronicles. She makes some great suggestions for people who have friends who are authors. Check it out.

How to Support an Author Friend

Let’s say you have this author friend and you’d really like to help her out, but you’re not sure what you can do or where to start. Well then, my friend, this post is for you. Yes, even if you have absolutely zero dollars to your name, no free time, and don’t read in the genre they write, YOU CAN HELP. Here’s how.

The first thing you should do is buy their books. That’s the #1 thing all authors want you to do. When you buy our books, feel free to post selfies with them all over social media. This spreads the word and tells potential new readers that you are friends with an author. How cool is that?

Click on the link in the Title to read the rest. It’s good stuff!

The Journey Inward – Chapter 3 ARC

The Journey Inward – Chapter 3 ARC

The following is copyrighted material. It is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy which is an uncorrected proof and not representative of the final – published version) If you like this chapter, please support the eventual release of this book. Please feel free to make constructive suggestions in the comments or in a personal message to the author. (email at the end of the selection)

The Journey Inward

The Journey Series

Bob James

Copyright Bob James 2017

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the eventual publisher of this book. 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales entirely coincidental. 

 

This is Chapter 3 of my book. If you have not read Chapter 1, may I suggest that you read that chapter first. CHAPTER 1  If you haven’t read Chapter 2, you will want to read CHAPTER 2 before this chapter.

Chapter 3

Termes was highly honored in the Qu’evahn community. They marveled at the way he led in the Qu’ruship assembly. Most knew of his obvious pain. Few knew his history nor how lowly he held himself for the failure with his son.  Were it not for Cyret, his amazing wife, he might not have been able to maintain the calm demeanor to lead that he displayed. If Termes had sought political leadership amongst the Qu’evah he could have easily been elected to any office he sought. In spite of all he had done, he felt unworthy as a leader and so served as he could in the Qu’ruship assembly.

Today Termes felt like his failure was being rubbed in his face. Cyret was having great difficulty helping Termes contain his anger. The holo-visioner had talked about the gruesome murder behind the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill and the pictures in the background showed Seppe and Aiden working in the background. “It’s no wonder he never has time for us,” he fumed. “He’s trying to be some big shot police detective! He could help his people by being honest, but he thinks he has to hide who he is. I should disown him! No son of mine should be ashamed of the Qu’evah! If it weren’t for the fact that….”

Cyret interrupted him, something no other among the Qu’evah would do, “If it weren’t for the fact that you love him so much, you would probably disown him… yes dear, I understand.” She stared at him with her hazel eyes mocking him. Her quivering tendrils revealed the depth of her passion for him.

Termes looked at her with eyes blazing, “Woman! Do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that you know me too well!” He laughed a bit as he finished. He couldn’t stay angry long when Cyret shared her wisdom. Termes often told his friends that he would be in great trouble without his wife. Few realized that he was not just trying to be humble. Tears welled up as he resumed speaking, “What shall we do about Seppe? How shall we draw him back into the family? Or even the tribe?”

Cyret looked at her husband firmly. She wondered often about this well respected man. Very few realized that she was a major source of his strength. “If you believe that all things are in the Maker’s hands can you not accept that He might have some plan that you don’t know about? Do you not remember the story of Ertrey?”

Termes looked at her in a dumbfounded way. Of course he remembered that story. Ertrey had wandered from the tribe just before they became lost in the desert. The Maker had come to him, wooing him back to the tribe just in time to lead them from the brink of starvation into the land the Qu’evah now lived in. He had saved them from starvation in the desert and helped them settle in this land they now shared with the Wesdanian and other tribes. Termes had never thought to associate that story with Seppe. He wondered if Seppe might be leading them out of the bitterness of past and into a new era. Someone had to help the old folks like him understand this new technology! He narrowed his eyes and looked at Cyret with even more respect than normal. “You,” he said, wagging his finger, “you are a wise woman! If only people believed me when I tell them that you are more than my inspiration; that you are the brains of the team. They would compel you to be Grand Angana.”

“Oh hush,” she laughed. “It’s a good thing that none in  the assembly know what a foolish man you are! You’d lose your place of honor and they wouldn’t serve you dessert at the common meals.” She knew when to be silly herself and often broke the tension when Termes was taking things too seriously; especially when it concerned Seppe.

“You are so right, my little honey bee. It is a good thing that you don’t sting,” Termes said with a smile.

“Oh, but I can if I need to!” Cyret said. Her face reminded him of the times that she had stung.

“How well I know,” Termes said. He gulped, the laughed a little as he repeated “How well I know.” Then he looked at her sadly, “And how do we help the Maker to persuade Seppe to return to the family? How do we help Seppe to see the light? How do we get him to return for even one assembly?”

“We don’t my love,” she said with a bit of sternness. “We lay our desires for Seppe to return before the Maker and offer our sacrifices and invocations. Then we trust Him.”

“I guess there is nothing better we can do,” Termes said. He sighed with resignation. He shuffled over to the household shrine and bowed before it three times before putting on his prayer shawl. Cyret followed him and followed the same ritual. Together they took a small spoonful of the prayer scent powder and placed it on the prayer candle. They lit the prayer candle together and offered their invocations while the scent powder burned. The prayer candle flared up as it reached the end of the scent powder and then burned itself out. Cyret took her prayer shawl off and bowed three times as she backed away from the altar; Termes did the same.

When they moved back to the table where they sat finishing their bitter morning drink, Termes looked at Cyret and smiled sheepishly. “I must confess. I asked the Maker to give me a sign that He would answer our prayer.”

Cyret smiled back, “I am not surprised, old fool. Remember, trust and never doubt. The Maker will never fail you. Even if His answer is to not answer your invocation, He is looking out for the good of His people. Even old fools like you and me.”

Termes bowed as he looked at his wife, “You are, of course, right my dear. I shall to remember that.” He turned and walked towards his woodshop to finish the book case he was making for the Grand Angana. When he thought he was out of earshot he muttered, “But I still would like to see a sign!”


Seppe rolled over in the bed and tried to get back to sleep. It wouldn’t happen. His eyes were wide open and too many thoughts were running through his mind. He had vivid dreams last night and they all pointed to one thing: he was going to have to contact his patron. He had no doubt that someone had used the ritual torture of the Qu’epic to kill Grenoj. When he discovered one at the crime scene he knew that he would have to search among the Qu’evah for a suspect. The fact that this troubled him, troubled him. He owed no allegiance to the Qu’evah. While he had been raised among them and his patron was a leader in the assembly, he, Seppe, had freed himself of all allegiance to the Qu’evah. So why did it bother him that a Qu’evah was a possible killer? Why did it bother him that Aiden thought all Qu’evahn women were immoral?

Seppe got up and meandered towards the cleansing station. He stepped in and the sonic waves disintegrated the dirt and sweat that had built up since yesterday. He felt invigorated. By the time he was finished he almost felt alive and ready to face the dreadful task ahead of him. He absent-mindedly turned on the holo-visioner and caught the end of a news story about last night’s murder. He winced when he heard his name mentioned as one of the detectives. He didn’t like anyone seeing him or hearing about him on the holo-visioner. He was afraid other members of the tribe who knew him in his previous life would try to contact him and reveal his Qu’evah roots. He didn’t know what would happen if Aiden found out, let alone the police department. That would be very dangerous now, especially since they were trying to downsize given the absence of criminal activity until last night.

He snarled and turned away from the holo-visioner as he moved towards his kitchen, really a kitchenette. He pulled a couple of granck eggs from the refrigerator and laid them down while he pulled out his fry pan. He preferred the granck eggs because they had a slight nutty flavor that warconk eggs didn’t have. While the eggs were frying he kept wrestling with the thought of how to communicate with his patron. He knew that patron would try to pull him back into the workings of the tribe. Seppe wondered why his patron couldn’t just let him live his own life. “Oh well,” he sighed to himself, “I’m going to have to put up with his attempts so I can solve this case.” He ate his eggs silently and put the dishes on the counter. He was going to need to clean some dishes tonight in the sonic sanitizer he realized when he saw that he was running out of clean dishes. “OK,” he thought. “I might as well get this over with and contact patron to see if we can get together.”

He walked reluctantly to the communicator, put it on voice mode and told the communicator to establish contact with patron. The connection was made and Seppe heard his patron’s voice: “Hello? Who is this?”


Termes stopped walking to the woodshop as his communicator beeped. He looked at Cyret and joked, “I told you I wanted a sign!”

Cyret swatted at him as he walked by and sighed. “What am I going to do with you, you old coot? It’s probably Myung from the assembly. She’ll want to confer with you about the next assembly.”

Termes pushed the two-way communication button and said, “Hello? Who is this?”

Seppe laughed. His patron, gracious as he was normally, still had problems showing that graciousness on a communicator. He answered, “Patron, it is I, Seppe. I need to find a time to meet with you.”

Termes did a double take, and then pushed the speaker button on his communicator. “I’m sorry, that was a bit garbled. Who did you say you are?”

Seppe knew what was happening and all he could do was laugh to himself quietly. Patron was putting the call on speaker so that Matron would be able to listen to their conversation. “I said, ‘Patron, it is I, Seppe. I need to find a time to meet with you.’”

Termes smiled smugly at Cyret. She looked at him and shook her head. Sometimes she wished that the Maker also had a wife who would keep Him from doing things like this. She smiled wryly and held her arms up in surrender. She understood that Termes was sure that this was a sign.

“Seppe, my son!” he exclaimed, “You’re always welcome here. All you need to do is say the word and we’ll welcome you with our arms opened wide.”

“Thank you, patron,” Seppe said stiffly. He was not enjoying this call. “When would be good for you?”

“Two more sunrises and it shall be the day of assembly, my son,” Termes said. “If you come for assembly, then we can talk after.”

Seppe sighed. He knew that his patron would make that suggestion. “That would be acceptable patron. I will see you in two more sunrises.”

If Termes had noted the extreme lack of enthusiasm in Seppe’s response, he was smart enough not to point it out. “I’m grateful my son. Any visit from you is like a drink of cold water on a hot day.”

“Thank you, patron,” Seppe responded. “I will see you in two sunrises.” He clicked off the communicator before Termes could respond and shook his head. He sighed. He really didn’t want to have to see his patron, but…. He pulled the Qu’epic from his pocket and stared at it through the evidence baglet. “If only you could talk, Qu’epic. You could tell me stories and I wouldn’t need to see patron. He sighed again, more audibly, and then started getting dressed. He and Aiden had a long day ahead of them that included a trip to the Ca’suisse zone. He wasn’t worried about the trip, though. He had already taken care of the most unpleasant task of the day.


If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to bobjamesthree@gmail.com

Unleashing the Dragon! (A Review of Grave Measures)

I can’t imagine anything worse than waking up dead. Well, ok, you could wake up dead in a mental hospital. Want it worse? You could wake up dead in a mental hospital, in a strait jacket, and find out that one of the patients is someone who worked with you in the past…and that’s the reason she’s in the hospital. Yep, the wise-cracking Vincent Graves is in trouble again.

Grave Measures is the second book in The Grave Report series and R. R. Virdi outdoes himself in this tale. Patients are dying without explanation and Vincent Graves comes back as one of the dead patients. (Can you imagine the confusion for the staff and the other patients who knew that Charles had died. Who would they tell without someone thinking they were crazy?) At least this time it didn’t take Vincent too long to learn something about his body. And when he runs into the mysterious Church, he’s given 44 hours to solve the paranormal crime.

Helped once again by Agent Ortiz who had didn’t realize she had worked with Graves before, you know, the new body thing, she puts Vincent in a class of guys with tattoos on their arms. They pick up a child who converses with ghosts, especially her own sister, and embark on a case that involves many trips into Virdi’s fantasy world: the Neravene. The “extra time” Graves gets to solve this case is needed because Neravene time does not run at the same level as our time. Well that, and the story gets complicated.

Graves and friends race against time knowing that anyone of them could be the next victim. They chase the killer down through long forgotten passage ways of the hospital trying to save the little girl before it’s too late. As appears to be the case with Vincent Graves, cleaning up the mess creates an even bigger mess before it’s all over. The action is hot and heavy in this story so get yourself a nice, cool glass of ice water, sit back, and enjoy the book. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Grave Measures was nominated for a Dragon Award!

Life of an Indie Author

J. S. Bailey is an Indie author that I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with from time to time. She writes speculative fiction from a Christian perspective. I wouldn’t call speculative fiction one of my favorite genres, but I have enjoyed her writing. She wrote a blog post talking about the life of an Indie Author. I love her spirit. I hope you check her out on Amazon.

By this point in time, I have published four novels (one currently out of print) and sixteen short stories. It has been a wonderful journey, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
But here’s the reality of being an indie author:
In 2016, I drove 4,927.2 miles to and from events promoting my books.
I had $4,560.41 in sales from my books.
I spent $5,317.47 on inventory purchases, editing, formatting, advertising, Square fees, shipping, and other book-related expenses.
Read the rest of her blog post here

 

 

The Good Samaritan – a Modern re-telling

I wrote this as an addendum to my regular devotional writing on my devotional blog: Daily Enduring Truth. I decided to share this here because I think the story, while simple, has an important message.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29)

In reply, Jesus said to him, “A certain man was going down to Washington, D.C. to petition his congressman, when he was pistol-whipped and mugged. They stripped him of his clothes, his money, and his credit cards. They left him for dead and went on their way. A Libertarian drove up and looked at the half dead man. “Everyone knows this is a bad neighborhood. He should have made better choices. We’re all responsible for our own choices.” He shook his head and then went on his way. Then a Republican came along and looked at the man who was beginning to stir. “You know you could have prevented this,” he said as he patted his chest. “If you had just gotten your concealed carry license you wouldn’t be having these problems.” Then he drove away also smiling and patting his chest. Then along came a Democrat. When he saw the man he immediately got out of his car and made sure that man was breathing. He pulled out his first aid kit and bandaged the wounds. Then he put the man in his own car and drove him to the nearest hospital. When the nurse asked about the man’s insurance, he couldn’t reply, since he was still out of it, so the Democrat looked at her and said, “I’ll pay for everything, Just take care of him.” He pulled out his American Express® card to let her know that he was serious.

Jesus then said, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

We live in a world that is so politically charged that many will read this story wrong. Still, Jesus probably had some of the same problem. So, before you misinterpret this story, let me point out that I am an Independent Conservative, not a Democrat. That is why a Democrat is the hero of the story. If you are a Democrat, or even a liberal who doesn’t identify with the Democrat party, you need to have a Republican as the hero of the story. Switch the order and have the Democrat say something like, “Oh, that’s terrible. Someone ought to help him,” and then drive away while the Republican cares for him. The key is understanding the message of Jesus about loving our neighbor. We are called to be neighbors to all people: Republican or Democrat – even Libertarians, citizen or immigrant, Christian or non-Christian. Being a neighbor doesn’t mean thinking good things of the people around you; being a neighbor means being the kind of person who helps people in need without worrying about how they got there. Our job is to show mercy.

Interview with Madeline Dyer – Author of Untamed

Madeline Dyer just re-released her breakthrough novel, Untamed, this week and I thought it would be interesting to get to know this remarkable lady. She signed her contract for Untamed at the age of 19. She released her second book in the Untamed Series, Fragmented, in 2016 (with a coming re-release with her new publisher soon), and will be releasing her third novel in the series, Divided, in July of this year. Do not be fooled by her young age. She is wise in the ways of this business and has some great help for people like me. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.

Hello Madeline! It’s so great to have this chance to get to know you. Tell me about yourself. What do I need to know about you as a person and as an author?

Hi! So, I’m Madeline, and I live in the southwest of England. I have a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and I own so many books that I’m slightly worried my floor is going to give way. (But you can never have too many books, right?). I’ve got an Honours degree in English from the University of Exeter, and I now write full-time.

Full time! Wow! That’s amazing. Tell me about your writing. What genre do you prefer? What books or stories have you published, or are about to publish? Tell me about your series that you’re working on now.

I’m a speculative fiction writer, and my work has been published by several small presses. My favourite genre within speculative fiction probably has to be dystopian fiction…though I do love fantasy—my Untamed Series (originally published by Prizm Books, and most released by Ineja Press) is a genre blend of dystopian and fantasy elements, and I’d say those books represent me as a writer pretty well.

But I’m also drawn to really dark stories…

I’m currently working on a secret new manuscript and Divided, the third book in the Untamed Series. Divided is scheduled for a July 11th, 2017 release, and at the moment I’m addressing beta-reader feedback. Soon it’ll be off to my editor.

Wow! I’m impressed. I ‘m still dreaming of that day for me. But as a full time writer, you can’t just sit back and enjoy that feeling for too long. It’s time to begin your next novel. Give me an outline of your work process from the beginning of the idea, to the research you may do before (and during) the creative process, the actual writing, the editing, the rewriting up until the day the manuscript is ready for a publisher.

Wow! What a question!

So, for me, I tend to start the whole ‘write a novel’ process as soon as a spark of an idea captures me. I don’t sit on ideas for weeks to let them germinate; I just grab a pen (or my laptop), and go. It’s only when I start writing that I get to know and explore an idea, and so writing a messy first draft is essential for me to actually discover the story and the characters. I literally write everything that comes into my head, and at this point I don’t let myself edit it. I might make a few notes separately, but for me the important thing is actually finishing the first draft. And I usually don’t know the characters truly—or the world they live in—until I’ve written an ending for that first draft.

And then I’m left with a very messy first draft that doesn’t make sense, and that’s full of holes. But this is where my rewriting begins—and frankly, the rewriting is my favourite part of it all. It’s taking my messy draft and making it into something readable. By this stage, I know my characters well—or If I don’t, I do loads of character work on them—and I can also see the manuscript as a whole, rather than just a chain of events that makes up the plot. I can see how things feed into each other, and where the pacing is off, or parts that lack tension.

So, I typically do a huge rewrite looking at structure and all the big issues. It’s here where I nearly always use Blake Snyder’s beat sheet, found in Save the Cat, to help with the structure and to make sure I’ve got all the necessary components. The other thing I look carefully at when rewriting is my main character. His or her voice needs to start coming through now, and the MC (main character) needs to be realistic and believable, needs to have flaws…but the protagonist also needs to be active (and not just reactive). He or she has to make the stuff happen, particularly in the latter part of the manuscript. The MC needs to take charge and make sure she meets her goal.

And that brings me to the MC’s goal… I typically do another rewrite to ensure that my protagonist has a clear goal or something that he or she wants to achieve, and that readers know what will happen if they doesn’t achieve it…what the stakes are. That sort of thing. This then becomes my characterization rewrite where I look really carefully at all my characters and their individual goals and backgrounds—and I make sure that my antagonist’s reasoning for his/her actions is also clear and logical in their head (as the antagonist is also the hero of his/her own story).

By this point, I usually find that my plot is changing a lot and my new draft is vastly different to that messy first draft. It’s more balanced and structured (and any scenes that don’t either move the plot forward or reveal something important about a character are taken out).

Next up, I concentrate on worldbuilding and really making sure that I know every single detail about the world I’m writing, and that readers know enough to understand the world I’m asking them to (temporarily) live in. And this also becomes the editorial round where I do loads of research. Alongside my earlier rewrites, I would’ve made many notes and questions about stuff I need to look up, so here is where I do it.

After this, the manuscript is usually in pretty good shape and once I’m really happy with it, I send it to my beta-readers and critique partners. About four to eight weeks later, I get their feedback and comments, often with loads of suggestions and highlighted parts that they didn’t understand. I then spend the next month or so addressing their comments in a new round of edits and really making sure the manuscript is as best it can be.

Before I query it with acquisitions editors at publishers, I also give it another read for grammar and spelling, and final checks. (But by no means will a manuscript be done, even now—after contracting, I expect to do at least three more rounds of edits with an in-house editor. But at this stage, it’s the best that I can make it.)

Every once in a while, I run into people seem to think that an author just has to write down a bunch of words and put it into a book. Thank you so much for all the details on all the work you do. That’s amazing. To be honest, I’m exhausted just reading what you do. It’s hard to imagine doing that. Seriously, though, I saw that you are involved with the “Lift 4 Autism” project for this year. How did you get involved with this project? Why is it important for you, or any other author, to be involved in projects like this?

I saw a call for submissions for a fantasy anthology raising money for Lift 4 Autism and I signed up to find out more info. I had to give quite a bit of info about myself as an author and my writing credentials—as well as links to my traditionally published works—and a few weeks later I found out that I’d been selected to write for the anthology. My novella, “The Curse of the Winged Wight”, is a gothic fairy tale retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, and the whole anthology releases on April 1st 2017.

Writing shorter fiction is always something I find challenging (I’m used to writing novels that are around 100,000 words) and I think it’s important for writers to regularly step out of their comfort zones, so that’s why I wanted to be involved. Plus, it’s for charity, and it’s a really good cause. I’ve also become good friends with a few of the other authors involved in the anthology, and it’s always great meeting other authors.

That is a great cause and I want to thank you for being involved in it! Let’s get back to your books. You’ve done all that hard work. The book is published. The reader buys your book. When the reader finishes reading your book, what do you want to happen?

For him or her to buy the next in the series! And for the reader to have liked the book—that’s important! I want my writing to mean something to its readers. And it’s even better if the readers keep thinking about the deeper messages in the novel after they’ve finished the book—dystopian fiction is great for this as so often these fictitious societies interact and engage with today’s world on so many levels.

You’ve probably gotten lots of advice as a writer. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten about writing?

Write with your biggest fan in mind, and don’t read your reviews. If you come across a negative review, you’ll pay way more attention to it than you do all your positive reviews together, and it’ll disrupt your writing for days.

That review advice is awesome. I’m afraid I would be very tempted to read those reviews and would let bad ones bother me. So now it’s your time to dispense some advice. Right now, a thirteen-year-old girl who wants to be an author is reading this interview. What do you tell her to inspire her to follow her dream?

To keep writing! Write every day and get into the habit of writing. Even if it’s just a couple hundred words each day, it’ll add up. And no one can tell you that you’re not a writer. You ARE.

There’ll also be some criticism from others when they hear you want to be a writer. But don’t let that put you off. I was told I should be a carpet-fitter by a teacher (yeah, I know!), and that young people never get book deals. But I was 19 when I signed my first book deal with a traditional publisher, so I guess I proved her wrong…

The other thing is, when the time comes to look into publishing routes, research each publisher thoroughly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there. In short, if someone says you’ve got to pay them to get published (even if they say that you’d be paying for editing or cover art), then run. A legitimate publisher never asks their authors to pay anything, and a publisher should invest their own money in the author’s work.

Great advice! And obviously, there is a lot that an old man like me can get from that too. Writing isn’t easy, you’ve shown us that. What challenges do you face as an author?

I think the unpredictability of a writer’s career is the biggest challenge I face most of the time. You can’t really predict how your earnings will be in a year’s time, and so there’s the constant need to bring out new books. Luckily, I have this burning desire in me to write and I want to write…and write as much as I can. But I often feel like I can’t write fast enough and that I have too many stories inside me that are just waiting patiently in line.

Obviously, you are a full time writer, so selling your books is one joy you get as an author. There are others, I’m sure. What joys do you experience as an author?

My favourite moments are when I get emails from readers who’ve just finished one of my books and they tell me how much they loved a certain character, or what one of the novels meant to them.

So that any readers can tell you these things, what’s the best way for someone to contact you?

You can email me at Madeline [at] MadelineDyer.co.uk or find me @MadelineDyerUK on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/MadelineDyerAuthor

Let’s get back to the process. I just realized we left your book at the level of the best you can do. You’re ready for the publisher. Tell me the process you went through to get published, once you finished writing. 

Okay. So, Untamed was my debut novel, but it was the fourth manuscript that I completed. (Writing the others before it really shaped me as a writer, and if I hadn’t stuck to it and written them, I couldn’t have written the manuscript that became my debut. Lots of authors, including me, also believe that you should never publish the first manuscript you write.).

So, when I had completed Untamed, I sent queries off to many agents and acquisitions editors. Quite a few then requested the full manuscript, and at that stage, I got an offer from a publisher. However, at the same time, another publisher offered me an R&R (revise and resubmit) with detailed feedback about how they thought I could improve the book further and make it more gripping and slightly darker. After thinking long and hard, I decided to go with the R&R over the offer, and did another editorial round. Developing the darkness in the book was something that I really loved and I could tell immediately that it had made it better.

When I’d finished the R&R edits, I sent the manuscript back to the acquisitions editor. Ultimately, she decided not to offer on it then as it still wasn’t quite right for her house, even though she loved it (and she wanted to know which publisher it ended up with). But at this point, I had a much stronger manuscript. I started querying again, and within a few months, I had three more offers from publishers who all really wanted Untamed now that it was darker in tone.

And so, aged nineteen, I signed my first book deal and felt really confident in my manuscript.

I would assume that you are getting better in your skills. What do you do to improve your writing craftsmanship?

Read! I’m a firm believer that all writers should keep reading continuously to improve their craft, whether they read fiction or books on the craft. I tend to read more fiction (after all, knowing the current market and what’s popular is important), but I also have a core group of writing craft books that I regularly read alongside when I’m drafting a new manuscript.

Talking to other writers is also important, and I regularly swap passages of manuscripts with other authors. Critiquing each other’s work is so valuable, not only for the one getting the feedback, but also the writer assessing it and making the comments.

Last question. I promise. You began with traditional publishing. Now, because of circumstances, you are moving to independent publishing. Based on what you’ve experienced so far, what are the differences? Would you prefer to stay in a traditional publishing model or are you enjoying the Indie model?

Yes, the publisher for my Untamed Series closed, and when rights reverted to me, I decided to self-publish new editions of the titles to keep the books in print.

I couldn’t keep the formatting, covers, or ISBNs (as these were my publisher’s), but I still wanted my books to look as professional as they can, and so I made a list of all the things that I couldn’t do and that I’d need to outsource, such as cover art, interior design, and formatting.  With my first two novels, they’d already been professionally edited by an in-house editor, so I didn’t have to worry about editing costs–though, I’ll be releasing book three in my series independently right from the start, and I’ve already booked the same editor who edited my first two books in-house to work with me on this, as she now does freelance editing too.

The main difference between traditional and self-publishing is whose money is being invested. With traditional publishing, the publisher is investing their money in the production costs, whereas as an indie, it’s your own money. And so if you’re self-publishing (and if you’re writing for a living) you’ve got to be confident that you can break even (at least) with your books, and early on. That isn’t to say that you should only write for money—I’m a firm believer that you need to love writing (readers can tell if you don’t). But to make it into a career, you also have to see it as a business and understand the market you’re writing for.

So far, I’m really enjoying how much control I get with self-publishing. My cover artist, Molly Phipps, is amazing, and she’s also done the interior design for the ebook and paperback editions, as well as the formatting. I like knowing exactly what’s happening, and setting my own deadlines and release dates. I’ve also decided to set up my own independent self-publishing imprint, Ineja Press, for my Untamed Series, and I’ve bought my own ISBNs rather than use the free ones provided to self-publishing authors via distributor sites. My main reason for doing this is that I still want bookstores to be able to order copies of my books in, and some won’t look at a self-published book if CreateSpace owns the ISBN.

But I’m not ruling out traditional publishing, as both models have their advantages. Some books are better suited to the traditional route, and I’m working on a manuscript now that I’ll be querying soon. For me, starting to independently publish my work doesn’t mean that I’m only going to self-publish from now on. I like what both routes offer, and each can help me reach new readers. And if people are reading my books, then I’m happy.

Madeline, thank you so much for talking with me. You are a great role model for other writers. I have learned a lot and hope that I can use what I’ve learned to do a better job as I prepare for publication myself. Interestingly enough, the book I am working on right now is the fourth manuscript I’ve written. So, we have that in common. Good luck on this new release and for your new projects, including your secret manuscript. That intrigues me. Thank you.

Thank you.


Watch for Fragmented later this month and Divided in July. And don’t forget the Lift 4 Autism project releasing in April of this year.

Here is Madeline’s official Bio and a summary of Untamed (along with links to buy this great book.)

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and holds a BA honours degree in English from the University of Exeter. She has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, Untamed (first published by Prizm Books in 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. Her second novel, Fragmented, released in September 2016, and will be followed by Divided in July 2017.

About UNTAMED

A fantastic dystopian tale. Highly recommended for fans of strong heroines and intriguing sci-fi worlds.
Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of the Forget Tomorrow series

As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides–because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.

But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.

Yet, as one of the most powerful Seers that the Untamed and Enhanced have ever known, Seven quickly discovers that she alone holds the key to the survival of only one race. But things aren’t clear-cut anymore, and with Seven now questioning the very beliefs she was raised on, she knows she has an important choice to make. One that has two very different outcomes.

Seven must choose wisely whose side she joins, for the War of Humanity is underway, and Death never takes kindly to traitors.

Buy UNTAMED on Amazon (and it’s $1.99/£1.99 until the end of January 2017!) https://www.amazon.com/Untamed-Book-1-Madeline-Dyer-ebook/dp/B01MS5264O/

Other retailers:  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Click here for the full list of retailers

Untamed Re-Release!

Today’s the day!

The new-look edition of Untamed by Madeline Dyer is now out in the world! And, to celebrate, the ebook is only $1.99 on all platforms! Grab it now!

About UNTAMED:

A fantastic dystopian tale. Highly recommended for fans of strong heroines and intriguing sci-fi worlds.
Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author

As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides–because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.

But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.

Yet, as one of the most powerful Seers that the Untamed and Enhanced have ever known, Seven quickly discovers that she alone holds the key to the survival of only one race. But things aren’t clear-cut anymore, and with Seven now questioning the very beliefs she was raised on, she knows she has an important choice to make. One that has two very different outcomes.

Seven must choose wisely whose side she joins, for the War of Humanity is underway, and Death never takes kindly to traitors.

Published by: Ineja Press (January 2017)
Genre: YA dystopian/fantasy/science fiction
Word count: 97,000 words
Print ISBN: 978-0-9957191-0-1
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9957191-1-8

This new edition features a brand new cover designed by Molly Phipps, and all-new interior design… take a look at this little preview of the Nook ebook to see the new design inside:

Plus, you can read Chapter One here!

Intrigued? Want to know what other people have said about Untamed?

Find Untamed at your favorite retailer now for $1.99!

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Click here for a full list of retailers

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Click here for a full list of retailers

Paperbacks of the new edition should be in stock soon! Sign up to Madeline’s newsletter to be the first to hear about their availability.

Add Untamed on Goodreads

About the Author

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, Me (and Bluebell)!and holds a BA Honors degree in English from the University of Exeter. She has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, Untamed examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. Her second novel, Fragmented, released in September 2016, and will be followed by Divided in July 2017.