Entertaining (and Short) Heather Graham Interview!

Entertaining (and Short) Heather Graham Interview!

Good friend of mine and author-superstar Heather Graham just did a HuffPost interview about herself as a writer and her new book. It’s quite entertaining. She’s also a ridiculously talented and successful author for y’all who don’t know her!

Heather Graham Huffington Post Interview.

 

Some quick hitters:

  • She’s published over 150 (WHAT?) books.
  • She wrote her first novel on a typewriter that didn’t have an “E” key. I would’ve thrown up.
  • Her choice of 5 people alive or dead for a dinner party is…unconventional lol.

Alright, have a good weekend everyone!

-Evan Pickering

 

The Search for More…

The Search for More…

There’s something inherently human about wanting more, about always looking towards the next goal.

It might just be wired into how we think. It’s the reason why billionaires still want more money, and why many famous people still feel unsatisfied enough to have breakdowns despite what others might see as “achieving success.”

So last week I just got my first Bookbub for HOOD on May 11th. For those of you who don’t know, Bookbub is like the Starship Enterprise of book promotions–and the next closest promotion might be a Hyundai Sonata in comparison.

In short, it’s a very big deal for authors, they’re very hard to get, and it’s been one of the top goals of mine since I launched the book.

When I booked it, I was doing all kinds of shouting and fistpumping and bouncing off the walls of my apartment.

And yet, something funny happens. And it happens to us all.

Mere days later I was looking ahead to what the next steps were. I got the Bookbub I so lustily desired, and now I was booking other promos. I was thinking ahead to when I can have Book 3 done, and maybe having some new covers made, etc.

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The point is, we always chase the next thing ahead of us. Even in the face of great success. Make no mistake, booking this Promo was a huge coup for me. And yet so quickly I push on to the next goal. In many ways, this is a positive thing. Stay Hungry, as they say, and drive yourself to do more and find your own greatness.

But there is a problem with this. We need to enjoy, celebrate and revel in our successes. Our wins in life must feel like wins. Because our losses certainly can feel cruel and horrible, sometimes cripplingly so, can’t they?

If we do not take time to appreciate what we have done, what we have overcome, and bask in the sunlight in the positive things we’ve created in our own lives, whatever they may be, then we are driving our one and only car ragged down the empty road of the wastelands until it breaks down.

It is good and noble to strive for more, to better ourselves, to be in search of our better selves.

But we must not strive aimlessly like an addict in the dark. When we find pieces of our better selves, we must stop to appreciate them.

Maybe–I don’t know–but maybe there’s a point where we need not strive anymore at all?

-Evan Pickering

 

 

Fellow Author Shoutout-Craig Martelle

Fellow Author Shoutout-Craig Martelle

Just chatted with my fellow author buddy Craig Martelle today. He started publishing books around the same time I did last year. We started chatting as fellow burgeoning authors and I could tell he was a pretty cool guy.

What I didn’t know, is that he was a writing machine.

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I published two books last year. Pretty good for my standards and writing speeds.

Craig published 20 since then. TWENTY!? I am in awe. Seriously, that is incredible. Want to make a name for yourself self publishing? This is how you do it kids. You write. and write. and write. and write. and write more.

I won’t lie. I’m jealous of that production! Congrats Craig that’s awesome. I’m my dreams I’m that prolific 😀

-Evan Pickering

 

Excerpt from BOOK 3!!!

Excerpt from BOOK 3!!!

So, I know this is probably a bit hasty, but…

I’ve decided to share that which is most vulnerable and nerve-wracking for a writer. The dreaded FIRST DRAFT!

That is to say, just a small excerpt from Chapter 1 of BOOK 3, American Rebirth.

So, needless to say, this may change before all is said and done, but by in large I’m actually pretty happy with it. Book 3 is still a ways away, if only I had more time to write it. But I must make do with what I got and write like a maniac with what time I have!

All that said, pardon me if the writing is a bit raw. Enjoy this small taste!

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend! Please let me know what you think of the excerpt if you feel so inclined.

-Evan

 


***WARNING! IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED BOOK 2, THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS!***


 

 

Pine Bluff Forest, Territory of the Federation of Texas, Formerly Arkansas

The soldier shoved Hood towards the campfire without warning. Hood twisted his body enough to land on his side, stirring up a cloud of dirt and ash as he thumped against the earth with a dull pain in his shoulder. The sky above him was dark, but growing bluer with the predawn light. Robin’s wrists burned from the rough rope binding them, hands tied behind his back. The campfire beside him crackled and hissed, radiating heat, the comforting smell of burning wood, cooking meat and fresh pine washing over him in the cool air.
“Jesus, was that really necessary? I’m already bound up. What the hell am I gonna do, kick you all to death?” Robin said, turning to face the soldier that shoved him.
“Get up, heretic. Use his name in vain again and I’ll gut you right here.” The man standing above him said. His voice and stature was that of someone in command. Probably a Templar of the Church of the Redemption. The light from the campfire danced on his tan, recently shaved face. He was older, with sharp, accusing eyes and a relaxed brow.
“I think if Jesus could weigh in, he’d think that’s a bit of an extreme response,” Robin said, managing to get to his feet. The man swung a hard backhand at him. Robin turned his head, but pain exploded through the whole right side of his face. He squeezed his eyes shut, working his jaw.
Okay, this guy definitely is lacking in the sense of humor category. Gotta find another way.
“So uh, why am I here?” Hood asked.
The tired-faced soldier who captured Robin handed his backpack, crossbow, knife and pistol to the officer. The officer smirked, inspecting Robin’s gear before setting it aside.
“You think I don’t know who you are, heretic?”
Robin smacked his dry lips. “Before you launch into any long, pointless sermons, you think I can have some of that beer you guys have? That was actually what I was out here looking for.”
The man looked over at the two barrels of beer they had confiscated. Pinned to his loose military jacket was a narrow metal cross in the shape of a key. A Templar. So I was right. The church is up to something serious out here. All of the soldiers around the campfire had filled their canteens with the newly acquisitioned beer, smug laughter on their faces as they taunted Hood. They wore the satisfied looks of soldiers who got the rare chance to enjoy themselves on duty for once. The Templar might be an asshole, but he’s smart enough to know happy soldiers are loyal ones. Most of these guys are a small step above mercenaries. The officer moved calmly to the casks, pouring a mug and walking back to Robin. He drank deep from the mug before pouring half of it over Robin’s head.
“Come on, what the hell?” Robin spluttered, shaking the beer of his face. “You don’t have to be a dick about it!”
“You can’t fool me with this nonsense. You’re Hood. I’ve seen your face on bounty lists for the Sons of Liberty and the Church of the Redemption alike. Murderer of kings and godly men. Your Dead Hand faction murdered King Richard of the Sons of Liberty, and still your rebellion fell apart. Now you’re reduced to nothing but a common thief. How much does it sting, knowing your war was for nothing?”
Hood smiled, the beer dripping off his face. Yeah, go ahead. Feels good tearing someone down, doesn’t it? You don’t know a damn thing, Templar. You don’t know a damn thing about what really happened. “War? That’s a fool’s cause. I’ve never wanted war. War has never changed a damn thing. At this point, I’m happy just robbing self-righteous assholes like you.”
The Templar wore a deep smile, clearly enjoying this view of Robin as a delusional has-been. You love the high ground, don’t you? Everyone who stands against you are evil men. Certainly makes life easier, doesn’t it?
“Whatever you have planned, you will not escape the Church’s justice. This land is ours. I know you came to us alone. We’ve been tracking you. We’re not going back to the Cathedral in Dallas where some of your thief friends can ambush us on the road. We’re going to wait here for our reinforcements. You’ll answer to the Cardinals for all of your crimes against the Church.”
Hood’s face remained stoic, but his breathing started to quicken. Well, shit, you guys have thought of everything haven’t you?
“My thief friends are a lot more godly than your church will ever be.”
Hood readied himself for another blow, but Vargas just stared at him. He didn’t expect Hood to say anything like that. He was searching for intent. He seemed to be analyzing Hood, wondering if he meant the words or if they were just another ploy. I mean it, holy man. You don’t see things the way they really are.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

So, I’ve pulled the trigger.

whiskey-cover-final-green

After a goodly bit of deliberating, talking to my readers, some hand-wringing and objective analysis, I’ve decided to change BOOK 2 of the American Rebirth Series.

The changes are as follows:

  • New Title: LEGENDS
  • New Cover
  • Added Content: Prologue – Survivors

It wasn’t easy deciding to make these changes, but they are decidedly the right ones, in my mind.

Truth is, I’m still learning as an author/publisher. As much as I loved WHISKEY as a title and the cover, I don’t think it was doing my story due service.

Truth #2, it’s not sexy to think about, but things like Cover, Title and Blurb are just marketing tools. They are the 9mm, salted meat and purified water to the wasteland survivor that is my series. The story itself, that’s the heart of the survivor. That’s where the good stuff is.

So, my job is to make those things as effective as I can. Here’s why I made the changes I made:

  1. WHISKEY is a title I love, and a character close to my heart. But the story is about much, much more than just Whiskey. If someone who reads HOOD loves Whiskey, they’ll read book 2. If they are lukewarm or worse about him as a character, they certainly won’t buy a book that seems like it’s all about him.
  2. When thinking about the big picture in terms of the title of Book 3 and beyond, I want to have more inter-connectivity between my titles. Choosing only character names hems me in a goodly bit. It can also confuse the shit out of prospective readers who haven’t read any of them.
  3. BOOK 2 is a story that truly continues the Legends of HOOD. The cover and title then need to convey that this book truly is a spiritual successor to Book 1, and not a giant left turn that follows a different character from now on.
  4. Making thematic-color commonalities between books seems to be a pretty good way of making sure readers recognize your sequels when they see them. Hence the color change on the Cover.

So that’s it.

I really appreciate the feedback from everyone who I talked to. To those who loved WHISKEY as a title and cover, I hope what I’ve said above makes sense as to why I changed it. I really appreciate everyone’s support.

So if you have an old copy of WHISKEY, well, now you have a vintage/collector’s item. 😀 LUCKY YOU!

Happy holidays everyone,

-Evan Pickering

 

 

Mulling over Title/Cover Change…

Mulling over Title/Cover Change…

So I’m considering changing the title and cover for WHISKEY.

Truth be told, I like the cover and the title as it is… but I’m concerned it isn’t “connected” enough to HOOD so that the casual observer who sees it will recognize that it’s the sequel.

Maybe I’m overthinking things. But I’ve been toying around with covers to satisfy my meandering mind. Arguably, I’m not a digital design artist so my skills are pretty damn limited…

But I need some input from you, the reader/casual observer. Please let me know your thoughts on this matter…

Here’s the original cover:

whiskey-cover-final-42

And here’s the new one I’ve been playing with:

whiskey-cover-final-green

So, what do you think? Do you prefer the old one or the new one? Perhaps a mix of both? What do you think of the potential title change? Or the change of coloration to be more like HOOD?

Truth be told, things like title, cover art… these are just marketing tools. And I want BOOK 2 to feel as much like a spiritual successor to HOOD as possible.

 

Thanks peeps,

Evan Pickering

Here it comes… HOOD sale – WHISKEY release!

Here it comes… HOOD sale – WHISKEY release!

HERE IT COMES.

The gun has fired, the birds are in the air, the seeds have been planted, the dog is off the leash, the metaphor is getting the point across.

I’ve submitted WHISKEY, BOOK 2 of the American Rebirth Series in time for the scheduled Oct 27th release.

GET HYPED.

I know I am, lol. I can’t wait to get it out there, and I can’t wait to hear what people think. It’s been a long time coming (in my mind anyway). Pre-order is pretty interesting because you don’t see any of the sales until release day, so I’m sitting here all curious to see what that number is going to be like when the 27th rolls around.

ALSO…

I’ve scheduled promos for Oct 19th-Oct 26th… HOOD, BOOK 1 of the American Rebirth Series will be on sale for $0.99 for that week!

So basically, my plan is to sell a shitload of discounted books so that way when voracious readers want more, Book 2 will be there patiently waiting for them 🙂

BRILLIANT. CLEARLY NO ONE HAS EVER THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE. I AM A GENIUS. NOBEL PRIZE, PLEASE.

If you can’t tell, I’m excited. I’ll enjoy this for about five minutes before I start stressing about finding the time to write Book 3. ❤

-Evan Pickering