Tuesday, January 30, 2018

C.R. Richards On "Being Indie"

On "Being Indie" is a blog series that introduces us to a wide variety of small press authors and publishers as they discuss what being indie means to them.

A huge lover of horror and dark fantasy stories, C. R. Richards enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Having began writing as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper, Richards has worn several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. She has now published a handful of novels, including Phantom Harvest - book one in The Mutant Casebook Series - which took home the EPIC eBook Award for Fantasy in 2014.  

Her most recent literary projects include the horror short story, Lost Man's Parish and the newly-released dark fantasy thriller, Pariah. She is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Horror Writers Association.

In November, Richards released her epic dark fantasy novel The Obsidian Gates, the second installment in the Heart of the Warrior series. 

Answers to The Top Three Questions I Get from New Authors

Teaching writing workshops and participating on panels are a few “published author perks.” Public speaking is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet my readers as well as hopeful creatives pursuing their dreams. Writers’ conferences, library talks and Denver Comic Con. The faces are different, but the hope burning in each eye is the same. Being an unrepentant mentor at heart, I enjoy the opportunity to encourage these dreamers.

I’ve listed the top three questions I’m asked at my public speaking engagements. These answers are written in the spirit of mentorship. I hope they both inform and encourage.

Should I traditionally publish first before I try Indie Publishing?
My first book (co-author) and my first solo book where traditionally published by a small press. I’m grateful for the experience. Small presses are more likely to give first time authors a chance. They’re much more patient with inexperienced newbies as the manuscripts move through the publishing process. This special care, however, doesn’t follow you into the marketing phase once your book is out. Small presses have limited money to spend on publicity. Unfortunately, they can also be unstable. I’ve known many authors who find themselves out in the cold after their small press has shut down.

Back to the question: Despite the limited marketing funds and shaky fiscal ground, I would still recommend trying a small press first. A successful Indie Author must understand the publishing process. Working with a small press gives you some experience if your brand new to the publishing world.

Situations in which you might try Indie Publishing first:

·         You already know your way around the publishing world
·         You have experience managing a business
·         You have a nonfiction niche book which might be hard to sell to a publisher (Example: Fun Hobbies for Microbiologists)

What is the most expensive part of Indie Publishing?
Editing. Good editors aren’t cheap. They earn every penny and can make the difference between your book’s success or it’s fiery crash. If you’re serious about Indie Publishing, hire the best editor you can afford. Check their references. A bad editor means a bad book. Resist the impulse to go cheap. Getting your “friend’s mother’s cousin who reads a lot” to edit your book may not give you a good product.

My answer usually surprises the majority of workshop attendees. Most people think the book cover and design costs the most. New authors are still starry eyed about seeing their name on the book cover. Don’t get me wrong. It never gets old.

Why did you become an Indie Author if you’ve been traditionally published?
I learned one of life’s harshest lessons after my first solo book was published by a small press. They’d been very encouraging during the publishing process, but their interest level dramatically dropped once the book was out the door. The small press wasn’t prepared to pay one dime toward publicity or make any effort to send it out on blog tours. I’d naively assumed they would since it won a “Best Fantasy” award.

The harsh lesson: Nobody cares as much about your books as you do.

This particular small press had also tied my hands when it came to publicity and marketing. I was restricted to certain “pre-approved” groups and had no ability to put my book on sale for promotional purposes. The book didn’t sell well.

Frustrated and very disappointed, I decided to drive my own success. I self-published a short book and experimented with various types of marketing. After all, the book was completely mine. I could do whatever I wanted now. This little book sold more in the first few months than my traditionally published book has in its lifetime (even to date). It was all the proof I needed. I could be a successful Indie Publisher. Three books later, I’m still driving my own success.

Final Thought – Being an Indie Author comes with risks: money, time and reputation. It’s all on your shoulders. Take the time to learn the business, make good financial decisions and you’ll reap all the rewards. Now go and create!

One Last Thing – The Indie community is full of dedicated writers, musicians, film makers, artists and other creatives. Each of these mavericks lovingly create their art for all of us to enjoy. Give them a try. Support your local Indie Community!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Excerpt from The Full Vermonty

Readers, I think you know I've managed to steer clear from taking any sort of political stance on this blog over the years. Mostly because TNBBC focuses on literary fiction, but also because I feel book blogs should be safe spaces that don't push political or religious agendas at their followers. They should be places you and I turn to when real-life craziness threatens our sanities. 

Today, though, I am going to temporarily break my own rule and share a cartoon excerpt from The Full Vermonty, which released back in September with Green Writers Press, a Vermont-based, global publisher whose mission is to spread a message of hope and renewal. My good friend Ben Tanzer is the publicist for this title and I'm thrilled to be able to help him spread the word!

Readers, be warned.. if you are Trump supporter, you may wish to skip this post. Just sayin'.

Here we go....


What was America thinking? Donald Trump as our president? You’re kidding, right? No, a nightmare is upon us. But take heart. Vermont will fight back. Life in Vermont is already “great.” We’ll be damned if we’re going to let a man who dyes his hair, cheats workers and has his products made in China, dictate to us how life should be.

The Full Vermonty is a collection of essays and cartoons from journalist Bill Mares and cartoonist Jeff Danziger, and leading progressive writers from across the state, all focused on trying to answer the following question: "What the hell do we do now?"

With the help of a score of Vermont writers and artists, their original literary duet became a chorus of intelligence, wit and passion. In addition,  the book has quizzes, relevant quotations from Vermont history, escape literature, a Vermont tool box, and more. Indeed, this book has all things necessary to flesh out a thump to The Trump!

Check out a cartoon excerpt:

“Most Vermonters heat a portion of the house or the year with wood. We treasure the old cast iron stoves which, although more inefficient than the new models, are still a link to the past. They generally look prettier. Heating with wood is renewable, local, organic and dual function in that they are a good place to dispose newspapers and cardboard, and old books. Except for this one.”

The Full Vermonty: Vermont in the Age of Trump Cartoonist, Jeff Danziger


Raised in Texas, educated at Harvard, Bill Mares has been a journalist, a high school teacher and a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. He has authored or co-authored 15 books on subjects ranging from the Marine Corps to workplace democracy to Presidential fishing, plus four books of humor with Prof. Frank Bryan, including the best-seller, Real Vermonters Don't Milk Goats. He lives in Burlington, Vermont with his wife of 45 years, Chris Hadsel. They have two sons.

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the NY Times Syndicate. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Steph Post's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's got a fun, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios.

Steph Post's
Would You Rather

Would you rather start every sentence in your book with ‘And’ or end every sentence with ‘but’?
‘And.’ I love starting sentences with this word anyway! It adds a cadence that really clicks with my brain for some reason. And (notice, I just used it there) I tend to hold to the school of thinking that everything said after the word ‘but’ is bullshit.

Would you rather write in an isolated cabin that was infested with spiders or in a noisy coffee shop with bad musak?
These are pretty much two of the worst places I could possibly imagine to be, let alone write in. If forced to choose, I suppose I’d have to go with the coffee shop. I do like coffee, at least.

Would you rather think in a language you could understand but write in one you couldn’t read, or think in a language you couldn’t understand but write in one you could read?
Jesus, who comes up with these questions? Thinking about it, the second choice sounds pretty interesting. I think it would be fascinating to not understand your thoughts at all until they had been written down. It would really add some gravity to the power of the written word.

Would you rather write the best book of your career and never publish it or publish a bunch of books that leave you feeling unsatisfied?
Both of these seem like pretty depressing options, but, in the end, it’s always about the writing. I’d much rather write something that truly satisfied me and told the story I wanted or needed to tell, even if I knew it would never be published. I don’t think I could live with myself if I knowingly published work that I would find unsatisfying. I’m my own worst critic, but I’m also my own best reader.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
A voice narrating everything in my head. Hell, I feel like I do this half the time already when I’m alone.

Would you rather your books be bound and covered with human skin or made out of tissue paper?
I think a book made of tissue paper would be rather pretty, actually. And the human skin thing freaked me out just thinking about it.

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

I’ve had no one show up to a reading (or almost no one, that is) and it’s not so bad. I think that to pull off reading in front of packed room while naked, you would have to be very serious. And I’m never very serious at my own readings, so it would just be an awful, awkward mess.

Would you rather your book incite the world’s largest riot or be used as tinder in everyone’s fireplace?
Incite a riot. Definitely.

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
I could not imagine not being able to write with pen or paper. I write longhand far more than I use the computer.

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

Actually, getting the entire text of The English Patient tattooed on my body doesn’t sound like a bad idea…

Would you rather meet your favorite author and have them turn out to be a total jerkwad or hate a book written by an author you are really close to?
I’d rather hate the book of someone I’m close to. They can always write more books. An asshole is an asshole.

Would you rather your book have an awesome title with a really ugly cover or an awesome cover with a really bad title?
This is a tough one. I’m such a visual person, so I’m tempted to go with the awesome cover. But then, the title comes from me, from the story itself and is so much more personal than the cover, which can often come from a publisher. I think an author can be forgiven for a bad cover, but not a bad title. So I’m going with awesome title-ugly cover.

Would you rather write beautiful prose with no point or write the perfect story badly?
If I wrote the perfect story, but wrote it badly, it would drive me crazy for the rest of my life. And sometimes beautiful prose with no point can make terrific poetry.

Would you rather write only embarrassingly truthful essays or write nothing at all?
If I couldn’t write, I couldn’t breathe. So that’s that.

Would you rather your book become an instant best seller that burns out quickly and is forgotten forever or be met with mediocre criticism but continue to sell well after you’re gone?
I think a lot of the books we call Classics, that still sell and are still in print, were considered mediocre (or even terrible) when they first came out. Their authors never had a hint of success and died starving. And look where those books are now. I would hate to be forgotten forever.


Steph Post is the author of the novels Walk in the Fire, Lightwood and A Tree Born Crooked. She graduated from Davidson College as a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship for creative writing and a winner of the Vereen Bell writing award for fiction. She holds a Master’s degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her short fiction and poetry have most recently appeared in in Haunted Waters: From the Depths, Foliate Oak, Kentucky Review, Vending Machine Press, Nonbinary Review and the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She is a regular contributor to LitReactor and has published numerous book reviews and author interviews. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Website: www.stephpostfiction.com; Twitter: @stephpostauthor
Instagram: stephpostauthor; Facebook: stpostvegas

Monday, January 1, 2018

Our 2018 RWTFYW Reading Challenge

Happy 2018 everyone! 

Instead of creating another painstakingly gorgeous-in-theory-but-ultimately-unachievable reading list, this year I thought it would be all kinds of fun to just read whatever the fuck we want whenever the fuck we want to and enjoy every fucking minute of it. 

But I couldn't exactly name the reading challenge Read Whatever The Fuck You Want Whenever The Fuck You Want To and Enjoy Every Fucking Minute Of It, so I decided to shorten it. 

Thus, RWTFYW!!!

The rules are as ridiculously simple or as frustratingly difficult as you want them to be. You set your goals, or go goaless! You set your reading parameters, or say screw parameters! 

It's whatever the fuck you want to make it!!!

If you want us to follow you along on your RWTFYW reading challenge, create a new topic for your challenge in this folder, and let us know what and how you'll be reading, and we promise to cheer you on every step of the way!!!

GO, readers GO!!!! 

(I think this is my most brilliant reading challenge ever, mwahahaha!)