Tuesday, January 29, 2013

[Review] The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann + Giveaway ~ We Fancy Books

The Peculiar
by Stefan Bachmann
Series: The Peculiar #1
Published: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Pinoy Book Tours
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk / Middle Grade
Add on Goodreads
Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.
Buy the book from The Book Depository, free deliveryBuy it on Amazon

Book Review: The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich

Evolved Publishing presents a wild journey to a sister planet of Earth, in “The Silver Sphere” by Michael Dadich. [YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi] 
Shelby Pardow never imagined she could kill someone. All she wants to do is hide from her troubled father… when she is teleported to awaiting soldiers on the planet Azimuth. Here she is not a child, but Kin to one of the six Aulic Assembly members whom Malefic Cacoethes has drugged and imprisoned. He seeks to become dictator of this world (and then Earth by proxy).
His father, Biskara, is an evil celestial entity, tracked by the Assembly with an armillary device, The Silver Sphere. With the Assembly now deposed, Biskara directs Malefic and the Nightlanders to their strategic targets. Unless….
Can Shelby find the other Kin, and develop courage and combat skills? Can the Kin reassemble in time to release or replace the Assembly, overthrowing Malefic and restraining Biskara?
This eBook is DRM-Free.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – YA / Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rating – PG
Connect with Michael Dadich on Facebook & Twitter

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Dark Side of Sunset Pointe by Michael Allan Scott

Lance Underphal was devastated by his wife’s death, and now, the down-and-out crime-scene photographer can’t let her go. He wakes up plagued by premonitions. The double shooting of an Arizona real estate developer and his mistress/bookkeeper immerse Underphal in a world of incomprehensible phenomena.

Frank Salmon, the hard-boiled homicide detective on the case, does his best to blow off Underphal’s “visions.” But the murders keep piling up and the visions are all-too real.

Salmon reluctantly pursues Underphal’s twists and turns, leading him from a popular strip club to a failing community bank, adding a blackmailing stripper’s murder to the body count.

Underphal struggles mightily with his psychic curse, teetering on the brink of insanity. His only hope for redemption is the voice in his head, the voice of his dead wife. Stumbling through dark vortexes of murderous intrigue, he comes to realize his visions will either kill him or lead to the capture of a killer-maybe more than one.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery & Thrillers

Rating – R

Connect with Michael Allan Scott on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://michaelallanscott.com/


It started off with a bang not a whimper, this book is action packed which I totally love. If you're looking for a thrill ride you won't get disappointed with this one, the pages just flew by because of the mystery and thrill i'm feeling. I give credit on how Scott wrote this book with such great writing skill. I totally got hooked from start to finish. I can't explain how imaginative the writing is that it's so vivid I can picture out the scenes really happening in my head. I also commend the author for writing such a great character, I totally can relate with Lance's struggles and I fell for him... hard! As the story comes to a close, I felt really attached to the book that I don't want it to end. I was happy yet sad that it's going to end but the conclusion of the story satisfied me in all aspect!


Book Review: The Book of Paul by Richard Long

“Everything you’ve ever believed about yourself…about the description of reality you’ve clung to so stubbornly all your life…all of it…every bit of it…is an illusion.” 

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond all imagining”– an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe–the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

Buy now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Thriller / Dark Fantasy 

Rating – R

Connect with Richard Long on Facebook & Twitter


The Book of Paul introduces a bold and fluid concept. Character wise I think this book has it all, they goes well in the story that is brightly woven with the great writing skills of the author. I can say that I really liked this book very much but I think it got a little bit overboard that I get too excited that I somehow spoiled myself in the process of reading it. Should I remind you that this book is a paranormal thriller and that it thrilled the bones out of me. I was gasping and gripping my seat on every page turn. The author established a great rapport for me as a reader because I was totally engaged on how the story will unfold and what will happen next. The writing and pacing is really perfect that it goes well on the lines and each character. I didn't really have a problem with the story but I guess I was a reader that reads fast that I tend to miss out some points in the story and then suddenly find myself what the hell happened? Overall the story line of this book was more than perfect for those seeking for a good read. I would definitely recommend you to read this book!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Review: What We Saw by Ryan Casey

“Casey’s keen ear and eye for description make for a clean and leisurely read.” - Katherine, Writing Reconsidered

“Powerful… an impressive first novel for Casey – a writer to keep an eye on.” - James, Speaking to the Eyes
If you stumbled upon a shocking mystery as a child, how would you react?

What We Saw tells the story of a young boy, Liam O’Donnell, his cousin, Adam, and their experiences at their grandparents’ caravan site one summer. When the disappearance of their dog leads to a terrifying discovery deep in the nearby woods, Liam and Adam are plunged into a very adult world of morals and decisions, and find themselves trapped in the dark clutches of secrecy and suspicion, far transcending mere mystery.

What We Saw is a touching and thrilling British mystery novel that will have you hooked as the plot hurtles towards a shocking conclusion.

“The writing is clean, the imagery vibrantly descriptive, and the story, though fictional, carries realistic emotion that hits the core of the reader.” - Leanne

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery / Coming of Age

Rating – PG15

Connect with Ryan Casey on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://ryancaseybooks.com/


The mystery will instantly catch up on you! This book is beyond awesome as I can say, I read this in a matter of days and I was just blown away by the details and how great the writing of this book is. Obviously the author caught me off guard with his picturesque writing and detailed depiction of the story. I rarely read mystery books since it tends to bore me wanting to know what will happen next but this one is a straight on read. I didn't suffer from the what-will-happen-next syndrome, I was patiently waiting for the story to develop with the author established at the beginning. I commend Mr. Casey for writing this novel. The characters and mystery has a great mix of balance that you'll just want to read on, plus the fluid writing. I can't say much more, I just love the author could give little hints throughout the book. I was suddenly caught off guard after knowing what happened next!


Orangeberry Book Tours – Beside My Doorstep by Chloe Zola

Another messy and mundane memoir exploring what “normal” means for modern American families. A string of stories that are as bizarre as they are heartwarming, Beside My Doorstep follows Zola and her split-level family as they move from house to house over the course of twenty years. Raw and genuine, Zola illustrates a profound mother-daughter relationship centering on the wild and persistent ghosts of her mother’s past- a deeply-rooted bond that is heavy and brilliant and constantly burning.
Written by a young woman with an extraordinary talent for observation and compassion, Beside My Doorstep paints a picture that is both universal and deeply personal in its dysfunction, humor, tragedy, and discovery- all themes inherent in the storm of growing up. The magic of Beside My Doorstep lies in the way that Chloe sees the world and her ability to show the reader how to do the same.
Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG
More details about the author 
Connect with Chloe Zola on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Chloe Zola – How to Avoid the Rejection Blues?

How to Avoid the Rejection Blues?
by Chloe Zola
In my opinion there is no avoiding the rejection blues, and no one should spend time trying to do this. The rejection blues have been my biggest enemy and my best friend.
You get an email form a prominent agent, they are interested, they want to know your timeline, your vision, your platform. You email them back within the hour, and nothing.
You get a lead, a publisher is interested in printing your book. They are enthusiastic about the work about the style, about your voice. The next day, they have changed their mind.
Another promising agent replies to a query, they love the story, the artistry. Three chapters in- they back off. Don’t know how to market it.
These things are daily, if your lucky. These emails show up in your inbox and your stomach flutters and your face gets tense. You read the message in parts because the whole thing is too much to stomach. Your feeling was right, they aren’t going to pursuit you.
We take rejection to heart because we are human. It makes us better.
Mom whispered in my ear, it will make you stronger, as I cried at another lead gone awry.
There is something to be said about the manic nature of the creative process. About not having a schedule. About being completely and totally unknowing. About being your boss, your creator, your employee, your best friend and your worst critic all at the same time. About hovering back and forth over the line that separates optimism and self-doubt. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
And I have come up with a routine- not to avoid it, but to take it in stride. Cry a little at each rejection, imagine myself crawling underneath the covers for the remainder of my life, realize how small I am, stop crying, come up with a new idea, a new pitch, a new product, drag my ass out of bed, (or jump depending on how well the pep talk went), pee, bake.
I bake new things and I bake family recipes that have weathered a journey across the pond into Ellis Island. And I sift, and whisk, and knead, and roll- engaging my tactile memory to remind myself that all of this- writing and creating, is my most basic instinct, nothing more.
Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Chloe Zola on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Author Interview – Chloe Zola

Tell us what makes this is a multimedia memoir? The multimedia aspect is featured on my website: http://www.chloezola.com/video There you will find a handful of short films that blend narration of the book’s most poignant moments, music, and antique video footage.
Tell us a bit about your family. My family is the most frustrating and beautiful force in my life. This book, and everything else I do is for them and because of them- regardless of how crabby I seem most days.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? My ability to be creative.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? How serious I am. While I am a clown a lot of the time, sometimes to the point of recklessness, I am equally as serious.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? These lyrics from Macklemore’s Ten Thousand Hours:
The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint,
The greats were great cause they paint a lot
I will not be a statistic, Just let me be.
No child left behind, that’s the american scheme.
I make my living off of words, and do what I love for work, and got around 980 on my SATs
Take that system, what did you expect?
Generation of kids choosing love over a desk
Put those hours in and look at what you get
Nothing that you can hold, but everything that it is.
Ten thousand.”
For me, he has perfectly articulated my motivation and justification for doing things a little bit differently.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I am proud of my ability to morph, adjust, and keep going, creatively, regardless of setbacks, opinions, and rejections.
What is your favorite color? I hate this question.
What is your favorite food? Kindergarten: the butter on top of the toast
4th grade: tuna helper and oreos
7th grade: lasagna
10th grade: mashed potatoes
freshman in college: taco bell- bean burrito
now: curried-avocado sandwich
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? It is a toss up between Barbados and the high desert of central mexico (where my family lives and I am writing from now).
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I feel like I am the writer I am because of my upbringing. I have an affinity for childhood. It is probably the most deeply rooted theme in all of my writing. I am almost obsessed with the journey of growing up- how we go from children to adults, how that is defined based on life events, parents, location, opportunity. I like to think I had a very colorful upbringing, one that was constantly forcing me to reevaluate what I thought to be true. Constantly forcing me to take things with a grain of salt. I was lucky to travel to exotic places where we have family, and I feel as though seeing different cultures outside the blur of a cruise ship kept my mind and my heart open. I could go on for days about upbringing. Plain and simple- my upbringing is my writing and my writing is my upbringing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When and why did you begin writing? When did you first know you could be a writer? Honestly, I was never interested in writing until college. My senior year of high school I had to beg my guidance counselor just to be in an advanced english course, because until then I had very little real interest in school. I was a freshman in college, and by a friend’s request, got into a 300-level creative writing course. The first assignment was a creative non-fiction essay. without thinking about it too much, I wrote a story about my sister, her first love, and his recent murder. (The story is in chapter 8 of Beside My Doorstep) I have always been on the private side, have always had to be pried open for information, and I remember the feeling of writing this story- something I had spoken little about, it was the feeling of making sense. My professor pulled me into his office, asked me if I was religious at all, and then flat out said-you are really fucking good at writing. The combination of these things- the discovery of a new release, and the first real academic encouragement I could remember, catapulted me into what is now second nature.
What inspires you to write and why? The people around me- both ones I know deeply as well as people I pass on the street. Anything that breaks my heart a little or catches me sideways triggers sentences in my head
What genre are you most comfortable writing? I am most comfortable writing creative nonfiction but have just begun working with fiction and might be falling in love with it. I have realized that there really is no such thing as flat out fiction. I think that genre is a writer’s way of organizing and coping with all of the people, events, constant happenings in their lives- an unbiased outlet.
What inspired you to write your first book? My family. That’s what it’s about and who it’s for- it is an ode to them, so naturally, they are the inspiration. Oh, and Sue Monk Kidd. The day I finished reading The Secret Life of Bees was the day I started working on Beside My Doorstep. In the back of her book, in an author interview, she was quoted saying “I thinkmany people need, even require, a narrative version of their life.” That sentiment resonated very deeply with me.
What made you want to be a writer? I don’t think I ever wanted to be a writer.  The last time I distinctly wanted to be something was when I was six and I wanted to be Jasmine from Aladdin. It just happened. I feel like a write as a survival technique, a way to organize my mind and my heart.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The most challenging thing about writing, for me, is the patience it requires. I am an immediate satisfaction kind of girl. Patience has never been my strong suit, and writing this book has really put that to the test.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? In our primitive years of schooling we drew houses and stick figures, guitars, and globes, wedding dresses, and astronauts- we created flat pictures on paper of our wildest dreams, but the teacher failed to mention that these things are far off, constantly shifting, and rarely look like the image we had on paper. That they often appear in small doses over long periods of time, and that we will spend most of our time trying very hard to appreciate the process- all of the moments in between.
Writing Beside My Doorstep has shown me this. As I combed through my memory, piecing together stories of my childhood, I built up the image of what it would be like when I was done. How easy it would be to separate myself and my work from every other author doing the exact same thing. I thought my world would change when I put the last period on the last sentence on the last page. And every moment since I put the last period on the last sentence on the last page, has been spent drawing a new picture of my wildest dreams- scratching over what hasn’t worked out, erasing trivial details that once seemed so important, and readjusting expectation. I wrote my childhood into a book and learned what they have always meant by coming of age.
Do you intend to make writing a career? Not at the beginning, but now it only seems natural that I would pursuit one.
Have you developed a specific writing style? I have been told that my writing has a very lyrical, almost poetic feeling about it.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? Observation.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I have learned to do nothing. If I am struggling to get something down on paper I usually walk away and detach completely. This usually solves the problem. The letting go of what/how I am supposed to write allows it to come much more naturally.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? Beside My Doorstep
How did you come up with the title? The title was the first real thing I knew about this book. When I was 18 I got a tattoo of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds on the inside of my wrist. If you read the book, you will know that his music is rooted deeply in the nostalgia of my childhood, and that specific song was my first favorite. Beside My Doorstep, is that song deconstructed slightly. The idea of smiling with the rising sun, three little birds beside the doorstep singing sweet songs…this is a theme, a reminder, through out the book and through out my life. Not to mention the book is broken up into the different houses that I lived in as a child- so the idea of the doorstep is fitting.
How did you develop your plot and characters? They developed themselves over the course of my lifetime. What I chose to include was based on the theme of the story, and how each character’s development contributed to that.
Who designed the cover? I did.

Who is your publisher? Amazon/Me.
Why did you choose to write this particular book? I don’t think I chose to write this book as much as it chose me, as cheesy as that sounds. I never grew up wanting to write, but this book kind of just fell out of me, like it needed to be done- either for me, or my mom, or the rest of my family.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Editing. Enough said.
How do you promote this book? here.
Will you write others in this same genre? I will write more creative nonfiction, but probably not a straightforward memoir…at least not for another twenty years.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Definitely. It is the same message that I wrote the book trying to find. It is that it is okay to be in love with your life even when it is messy.
How much of the book is realistic? All of it.
Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? I was lucky enough to have George Crane, author of Bones of the Master, as a professor/mentor while I studied abroad in Greece two years ago. I consider him largely responsible for opening this can of worms (my memoir). He didn’t take any shit, and above all else, required honesty in writing.
Who is your favorite author and why? Cheryl Strayed, hands down. As far as writing goes, I aspire to honesty. And as far as Cheryl Strayed goes, I think her writing is the epitome of truth. I am a strong believer that there are writers who are dedicated to the craft and who aim to be good writers, then there are writers who write because they were born to do so. In my opinion Cheryl Strayed was born to write and that fact is evident in every true word she puts down. I saw her speak at a bookstore in my hometown, and in the three days that followed I wrote 20,000 words- I appreciate authors who inspire.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yes I have a couple of things in process. I have just completed an illustrated novella, of sorts which I will publish in the next week or so. This is my first real attempt at fiction, so take it with a grain of salt!
Have you started another book yet? I have actually started and almost completed two short books. I have this problem/blessing where I am not happy/content unless I am creating.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I try not to attach myself to an answer of this question, because when I get attached to an idea, it’s not working out crushes me.
But my long-term plan is to travel, buy fixer-upper buildings, restore them to their original beauty, and turn them into creative spaces. So I want to be able to do things like this, all the while writing and creating.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I am wearing out my copy ofTiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. And have just started The Emperor’s Handbook,upon referral by a trusted friend.
What contributes to making a writer successful? I think the answer to that question depends greatly on how one measures success. You could look at Amanda Hocking and boil her success down to capitalizing on a niche market. Or you could look at writers like Lidia Yuknavitch, and see a bare bones memoir that is as honest as it is beautifully written, and say she was successful because of her writerly voice. I think writer’s get out what they put in.
On the other hand, I really  have no idea, because I would not consider myself successful yet. I would think that a large factor is finding one influential person to add to your corner, back your work up, and then it must be a gravy train, right?
Do you have any advice for writers? Write from your core. Nothing else. Writing from any other place is transparent and wasteful.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Embarrassingly, I relax more than I do most things. The most relaxing activity for me is baking. I find an upsetting amount of comfort in warm things that blend lots of butter, sugar, and chocolate.

Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Chloe Zola on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: Untimed by Andy Gavin

Untimed is an action-packed time travel novel by Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream and creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can’t remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously. Still, this isn’t all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there’s this girl… Yvaine… another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine’s got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history — like accidentally let the founding father be killed — they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA / Time Travel & Romance
Rating – PG
Connect with Andy Gavin on Facebook & Twitter
Website http://all-things-andy-gavin.com/


This book is so far one of the most amazing Steampunk book i've read so far! It's one genre that I'm not used to reading but this one nailed it and it makes me want to read more of it. The story is just flawless that I can't help but imagine myself be part of the story. Gavin did an awesome job with the research for this book, i can't just imagine the hard work that comes into writing this epic book. If you love steampunk/science fiction this book is for you. I love it and I think you'll love it as well. The book practically kept me reading all night! It's an amazing read so don't dare miss a chance to read this one! You totally won't regret it!

Book Review: Marching With Ceasar: Civil War

Marching With Caesar: Civil War (Marching With Caesar #2)

Published November 10th 2012 by R.W. Peake

Orangeberry Book Tours – Marching With Caesar: Civil War by RW Peake

In the second book of the critically acclaimed Marching With Caesar series, Titus Pullus and his friends in the 10th Legion are called on to serve as the agents of change as their general, Gaius Julius Caesar singlehandedly changes the Roman Republic to Empire. From Spain and the dusty plains of Pharsalus, to the streets of Rome itself, Titus must survive the battlefield and navigate the treacherous world of Roman politics.
Helping Titus are his surviving tentmates, including his best friend Vibius Domitius, but like the rest of the Republic, their friendship is tested by the strife and fratricide that comes with civil war. At the same time, Titus has to deal with the challenges that have confronted career military members throughout the ages as he tries to balance the demands and heartache created by the long absences from his young family.
Nevertheless, through it all Titus and the men of the 10th Legion continue Marching With Caesar.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG13
Connect with RW Peake on Facebook & Twitter
Blog http://blog.rwpeake.com/

RW Peake – How to Sell Your First Novel

How to Sell Your First Novel 
by RW Peake
I guess it depends on in what context you mean “How to Sell” your first novel. If you’re talking about selling it to an agent or publisher, then I have no idea. But if you’re talking about selling it to readers, all I can pass on is what I’ve learned through trial and error as far as what works and what doesn’t.
Assuming it’s the latter, I took a page out of Ted Turner’s book, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” After a first month where I naively assumed that readers would just come wandering in out of the cold of cyberspace to snatch up my book, I recognized that I had to be more proactive. But the question was how, on a very limited budget, and without any real idea of what I was doing? I decided to give social media a try, and of all the topics in the indie community, I think this one is one of the more contentious. In fact, outside of the question about whether or not to put all one’s eggs in the Amazon basket, I think this one creates more dissension between indies than any other.
Without resorting to the polemics that are such an integral part of this debate, I will instead just give the metrics of how things worked for me. I would point out that I had a “secret weapon” in the form of a really great cover, and I can’t stress enough how important this is to success.
I created an ad on Facebook, but while this is my first book, it’s not my first marketing/promotion rodeo. In fact, I would submit that I cut my teeth learning under the auspices of one of the most recognizable brands, not just in this country but in the world. As a career Marine, I spent 5 years of that career on Recruiting duty, and I was exposed to the power of a brand that, no matter what one’s political persuasions are, most people would admit is a household name. The time period where I was a Recruiter was when the first, and probably most famous commercial came about, simply known as The Sword ad. It was from this ad that I learned the power of the intangible in selling a product, and with my cover I not only had something that was evocative of the story, it conveyed a powerful yet subtle message of the price of war on a young man’s soul.
Focusing my ad on the English-speaking countries, and narrowing it down to anyone who listed interests that pertained to my genre, I didn’t put a link to my book on Amazon. Instead, I just asked them to come to the Facebook page I had set up and Like my page. Once they did, I sent the first 150 people a code for a free book, and in the message I made a simple request, that if they liked the book they pass the word, and if they REALLY liked it, to write a review on Amazon. Because of my budget constraints, I set a limit of $150 dollars total, which turned out to last exactly 2 weeks.
In that two week time period I went from 23 Likes (almost all friends and family) to almost 300. And out of the 150 free codes I gave out, a total of 43 downloaded the book. From those 43 books I garnered a total of 6 reviews, 4 in the U.K. and 2 in the U.S. Most importantly, by the end of May, my second month of publication I had sold more than 600 books, compared to the 45 I did in April. While I can’t empirically prove that this was due to the Facebook ad, it seems pretty clear to me. With that priming of the pump, I traveled the blogosphere, begging, pleading, cajoling, or convincing people to read my book and give it a review. Also, I tried advertising on other sites, like Goodreads, but I didn’t experience near the success I got from Facebook. In short, it was an all-day, every-day job of coming up with ways to get my book in front of as many people as I could.
I think it paid off.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with RW Peake on Facebook & Twitter
Blog http://blog.rwpeake.com/

Author Interview – RW Peake

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with RW Peake on Facebook & Twitter
Blog http://blog.rwpeake.com/
What is your favorite quality about yourself? My sense of humor. I like making people laugh, and I try to see humor in everything, no matter how dark. My daughter says that I’m the second funniest person she knows behind David Sedaris. I’ve sent multiple challenges to Mr. Sedaris for a showdown, but he keeps ducking me. I think that says it all, don’t you?
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? My temper. It’s gotten me in a lot of trouble. And broken a lot of stuff.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? Veni, vidi, vici. Gaius Julius Caesar. What’s not to love about it? It’s one of the most famous quotes of all times. Any quote that’s 2,000 years old and makes it into Ghostbusters has to be the greatest quote of all time.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Stopping a cycle of abuse with me that has been part of my family history for at least 3 generations, probably a lot longer. And I did it on my own, without help.
What is your favorite color? Scarlet and gold, or cardinal and gold. Colors of the U.S. Marines and USC Trojans respectively.
What is your favorite food? Fried shrimps.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Paris. Hands down.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? It made me see the funny in what others might think are really awful situations.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Nope.
When and why did you begin writing? My first true writing project was a novel I began at 10 about the Soviets (I grew up in the Cold War with the duck and cover drills and testing of the air raid siren every Friday at noon) invading our country. Specifically, the entire invasion was focused on my street in Houston. And me and my friends, using WWII-vintage weapons courtesy of a friend’s father who was a gun collector, fought the Godless Commies to a standstill. You’re welcome America.
How long have you been writing? Uh, since I could write?
When did you first know you could be a writer? Hmmm. When did I know, or when was Itold I could be a writer? Because I’ve been pushed to be a writer for almost as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until people started buying my first book that I knew I could do this.
What inspires you to write and why? A good story more than anything.
What genre are you most comfortable writing? Hmmm. Another toughie. Historical fiction will probably always be my macro genre. Obviously, because of the last 4 years that I spent immersed in the subject, Ancient Rome is an area where I’m comfortable. But ironically as much as I know about Rome, my true wheelhouse is the American Civil War. It’s what I studied as my area of focus for my History degree. I have ambitions to cover that era one day.
What inspired you to write your first book? My FIRST first book? That’s the one I wrote when I was 10 about the Soviet invasion. I was inspired to write about scenes of gore and violence, with exploding heads and falling guts. As I recall, there was a lot of that.
But my first adult novel wasn’t Marching With Caesar-Conquest of Gaul. It’s another book set in our times, titled Damning Secrets. But for reasons I won’t go into it won’t be published for a while. I was inspired to write it by a girlfriend who said, “You should write about your life.” So I did, although it’s a fictionalized account. For example, the main character is writing from Death Row shortly before his execution. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began? Louis L’Amour was a huge influence on my writing from the very beginning. In fact, in my Soviet invasion novel, you can track when I was introduced to his Westerns by the sudden shifting of location. My friends and I loaded up our riding lawnmowers (the one thing I knew how to drive at that age) and puttered up to Colorado, where we traded in our modern weaponry for trusty six-shooters and Winchesters and the lawnmowers for horses. We would mosey on into town and slap leather with the Russkies, then ride out hell-bent for leather. Good times.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Finishing it. I can mark the point where I went from “a guy who writes” to “writer” when I sat down and actually finished my first adult novel, the Damning Secrets title that I mentioned. And that’s what I tell other young writers now. If you start something, finish it. Go back and tweak it, revise it, modify it all that other stuff AFTER you finish it. Because until you actually finish a project, you’re just dabbling.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? It taught me to wear socks with my Roman Legionary sandals, even if the Romans didn’t. Our feet are way too soft. It also taught me that the best way to truly understand your character is to try and put yourself as much as possible in their shoes, no pun intended. I wouldn’t suggest going as far as I went, buying the entire kit of a Roman Republican Legionary and going to the remotest park in the continental U.S., Big Bend National Park, and go humping through the desert. But I did learn a lot from it.
Do you intend to make writing a career? Judging from the success I’m having, I would be stupid not to. So yes, it IS my career.
Have you developed a specific writing style? I’m sure I have, but I’ll leave that to others to determine. I write the way I write, and people seem to enjoy it. That’s as far as I’ve gone to analyze it.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? According to my readers, it’s my ability to make a strong connection between the reader and character, particularly when it comes to their physical world and the challenges that come with it. “It’s like I was there” is a pretty common comment in my reviews. So I guess it would be that.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Nope. Never. Not once. Ever. And I don’t know why, but it makes it hard for me to relate to other writers who talk about it. I just don’t have a frame of reference for it.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? Well, I’m kind of in between major projects. The Marching With Caesar series is a four book series, but it’s already written. So right now I split time between polishing what will be the third book before I send it to my editor, adding to a story that I’m telling on my blog, and fleshing out my long-term strategy for what happens after this series is over. Oh, and I “work” at playing video games.
How did you come up with the title? Good question. Originally, the working title was “Under The Standard”, but that was before I found Simon Scarrow’s great Macro and Cato Series, titled “Under The Eagle.” And that was just too close. So I thought about what the central theme of my character’s story was, and it’s about his years spent Marching With Caesar. This works even after the original Caesar dies on the Ides because Augustus took Caesar’s name, and every subsequent emperor was referred to as Caesar.
Can you tell us about your main character? Titus Pullus is an anomaly in many ways, while at the same time he’s a typical Roman. Physically he’s out of the ordinary because he was born very large, and would grow to over six feet tall. When the average Roman of the day was only about 5’4″, he had a natural advantage. In addition, growing up under the circumstances he did, with an alcoholic father who did no work himself, he grew up strong even for his size. And because of the relationship with his father, who hates him because he blames Titus for killing Titus’ mother in childbirth because of his size, Titus is determined to get off the farm. And the way to do that for people of his class was through enlisting in the Legion. But Titus has a further ambition, and that is to elevate himself into the equestrian class. He’s aided by the fact that he’s extremely intelligent, but at the same time hampered because of his lack of education. And it makes him extremely sensitive about his lack of letters, and he overcompensates for that lack with martial prowess. His ambition serves as the fuel for the success he will experience in the Legions as he rises through the ranks.
How did you develop your plot and characters? I’m not sure how well I can explain this, because frankly I’m not sure if other writers work the same way or not. But when I started this story, I had a starting point, and an end point. Titus is one of the lucky few men who survive a 42 year career in the Legions to retire a wealthy man who’s achieved his goal of elevation. The story is how he got there, and most importantly what it cost him. But while I knew how it was going to end, it was the journey there that took a number of twists and turns along the way. And here’s where for all I know I do things differently. Or maybe everyone’s like this. But when I would sit down to start the day (this was a full-time 7 day a week, 8+ hour a day project) everything I was going to write that day was already written……in my head. I think that’s one reason I never have writer’s block, because the actual creation of the words happens in my head so that it’s just a matter of me taking dictation from myself when I start typing. So I don’t have moments where I sit staring at the screen, trying to decide what to do next, because it already has happened. And in that sense, it was as much of an adventure finding out how the story was going to go as it is for the readers now.
Who designed the cover? Marina Shipova, who is an absolutely fabulous artist. The cover of the first book in particular has been my secret weapon in attracting attention, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s going to be my cover artist for all of my books.
Who is your publisher? Me. And I must say, I’m really great to work with. I really listen to what I have to say, and I take input from me very well. I can tell I have my best interests at heart and I’ll be there to help however I need.
Why did you choose to write this particular book? Thank Colleen McCullough, Conn Iggulden and a number of others. While this is a time period that has been covered extensively, it’s exclusively been from the perspective of the movers and shakers. One day as I was driving to my crummy job as a VP of a software company and listening to McCullough’s “Caesar” on tape, I wondered what it would be like to hear the story told from the perspective of the men who did the fighting that made Caesar one of the greatest figures in history.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Maintaining the authenticity, knowing that my audience is very educated about the time period and will be quick to spot things like misplaced tactics or weapons that wouldn’t have shown up in the Republican period. Also, while there’s a lot of historical record for the Roman army of the period about a century before, and even more for the Imperial period immediately following this, there’s a real dearth of sources for the Late Republican period. This is a blade that cuts both ways; as an author it gives me a bit of latitude, but as a historian who wanted to make this as close to nonfiction as one could get, it meant that those things that I did invent, I had to be able to support why I drew these conclusions.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Besides wearing socks with sandals?
How do you promote this book? Every way I can think of. I know there’s a lot of debate in the indie community, for example, about the merits of social media, and I’ve gotten some very…spirited resistance to the idea. All I can say is that for the first book I used Facebook to great effect, helped a great deal by that “secret weapon” of my cover.
I also do things like this, with Orangeberry, and I’ve tried a few other things. Being brutally honest, it’s a learning process and there have been some dry holes along the way. But probably the best promotion is through the readers themselves. In a really short period of time (at least so I’m told), for an unknown, self-published author, in the 8 months that the first book has been out, I’ve garnered more than 100 reviews, and 95 of them have been 4 or 5 stars. The word of mouth has been outstanding, and now that I’m sitting at more than 10,000 copies sold for the first title, and several weeks in the #1 spot in the Ancient Rome genre, I would have to say that the word of mouth promotion has been the most effective.
Will you write others in this same genre? Ah, the 64K question. For some time I’d been wavering about this. I hate it when people use the “But I’m an artist” crap, and yet I found myself saying, “But I want to do more than just write about Rome. I’m an ARTIST.” Thanks to a very loyal, and vocal, group of fans, I’ve seen the error of my ways. Yes, the “Marching With Caesar” will continue, and I’ve already begun creating a “genealogy” that has my character Titus Pullus as the founder, where characters from that family tree will be Marching With Caesar throughout Rome’s history. After the release of the fourth and final book of the Titus Pullus series, in May of 2013, I’ll be announcing what comes next.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Although my first goal is to entertain, the goal of informing is a very, very close second. I wouldn’t be true to my historian roots if I didn’t. But the overriding message I want to impart to readers is to connect them, through Titus and his friends, to the young men and women who are even as I write this, standing in harm’s way somewhere in the world. I don’t get political in my book, outside of the actual politics that took place in the story of Julius Caesar, so I don’t pass judgment on any of the actions of anyone in the book, unless it’s through the eyes of Titus. But Titus, Vibius and all their friends are alive today, sitting in a prefab bunker in Afghanistan, talking about the same things, sharing the same worries, and laughing at the same stuff as their counterparts 2,000 years ago. More than anything else, I want readers to make that connection. And from the reviews, I’ve been successful at that, which makes me very happy.
How much of the book is realistic? As realistic as me wearing the gear of a Roman Legionary, or hanging a (dead) pig from the rafters of my garage to understand what it was like to plunge a sword into flesh can make it. I call it “immersive research”, but I think the clinical term is “crazy.” But I was determined to keep this as authentic as possible.
Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? As I say in my author’s bio, I’ve been the pointy tip of the spear of my nation’s policy, so there is inevitably some commonalities between my story and that of Titus and his friends.
How important do you think villains are in a story? Never given it much thought, to be honest. I think because I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that anyone is pure good or pure evil, so that even the ‘villians’ in my story, like Spurius Didius, will show himself to have redeeming qualities. While my hero Titus does some really dickish stuff to others in his climb to the top.
What are your goals as a writer? Win a Nobel Prize for Literature, become mentioned as one of the great American writers, and have my historical fiction books on Rome become required reading in colleges around the country. You know, nothing big.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Well, the funny thing is that I visited Rome for the first time this past October. I decided that it was probably a good idea to actually, you know, visit the place I’m writing about. I’ve already decided I’m going to be going back. And ideally, when I describe the battles and the terrain, I would have liked to have walked the ground myself. However, thanks to Google Earth, I could do that virtually at least.
What books have most influenced your life? Too many to count. I consider Stephen King’s “The Stand” to be the best book I’ve ever read. Although I will have to say that most recently Plutarch’s Lives, and Caesar’s Commentaries have had a huge impact.
Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? Yes, but he was unwitting in his role, and I didn’t realize it until recently. Ironically, my real area of expertise is the American Civil War. It was what I focused on when pursuing my BA in History. One semester, I needed a history class, but none of the ones I wanted were available. All that was left was an Ancient History class, taught by Dr. Frank Holt of the University of Houston. And he ignited in me an interest that slowly developed into a passion, and it was through his influence and his ability to present the material in a way that I (and a lot of students) completely connected to. So without Dr. Holt, “Marching With Caesar” would never have been written.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yes.
Have you started another book yet? Not yet. As I said, right now I’m polishing the next book, but the writing that I’m doing is focused on my blog, with a story I titled “Caesar Triumphant”. It’s a suppositional history based on a simple premise, that Caesar didn’t get assassinated on the Ides of March. As it was widely known at the time, the very next day he was scheduled to go conquer the Parthians. My story picks up ten years after the Ides, where Caesar not only conquered Parthia as he planned, but in his attempt to outdo Alexander, he just kept going. Now he’s poised to conquer the last lands, an island nation known then as Wa, but what we now call Japan. The idea is based on a simple daydream; if the Legions of Rome were to face the samurai, who would win? Granted, the classical era of the samurai occurred about 14 centuries later, so these people that Caesar’s army faced have the characteristics of the samurai. I’m willing to bend history, but not to the point where time travel is involved. And while this started out as just for fun, it’s kind of taken a life of its own, so I’m toying with turning it into a book before I pick Marching With Caesar back up.
Where do you see yourself in five years? If I’m still alive I’ll be happy. Seriously, I never thought I would live this long. But if I could have a couple books on the bestseller list (whatever that means five years from now), and have a yacht and private jet, I’d be satisfied.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? The ability to publish your own work has altered the landscape and has made it easy for people like me to get my work out. As long as you don’t go into it with the expectations that the masses will come flocking to your work, and as long as you actually have some sort of critical input from people who aren’t related to you by blood or marriage, or who owe you money, the sky’s the limit.
What contributes to making a writer successful? Being good at what they do?Seriously, I don’t know. I see such a wide variance in authors who have experienced success that it’s hard to narrow it down to one or two common factors.
Do you have any advice for writers? It makes me feel pretty presumptuous to give anyone advice, given my relative newness at this, and the fact I haven’t sold a gazillion copies, yet. Again, I think it would be to finish what you start, and then revise, revise, revise.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Thank you for responding to Titus and his story in such an overwhelmingly positive way. It really is humbling to see, and I’m sure that my daughter would tell you I need all the humbling I can get.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Shoot people. On video games.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? One really silly one. When it started to become clear that I would actually be signing books that people wanted me to autograph for them, I fulfilled a dream I had. For a long time I have wanted a Mont Blanc pen. Not a ballpoint, but a Meisterstuck 18K gold-nib pen, because the softer gold of the nib supposedly deforms to the shape of your writing. But when I looked online, I just wasn’t willing to part with that much money. Then when I went to Rome, I told myself that if I walked down a street and came upon a Mont Blanc store, that would be a sign. So now I have my dream pen to sign my name to my books. I don’t know how big a dream that is, but that was mine.
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Wisdom? Let’s see; keep your blade parallel to the ground or it will stick in the ribs of your enemy. Honestly, just to say thank you for liking my stories.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? ”Where’s the girl who peels my grapes? Has the fur-lined sink been installed yet? No, for the thousandth time, I don’t want Channing Tatum playing Titus! Fuel up the jet! We’re going to the apartment in Paris for the weekend!” Or something like that.