Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Releases!

Well, I've just uploaded 3 new stories to Kindle. Two of them are creepy and disturbing short stories: The Grip and The Second Coming. The third is a horror/adventure novella called, Bird of Prey. Now technically it's a novelette not a novella, but I've been calling it a novella quite frankly because novella sounds way way tougher than novelette. Especially considering it's about a group of guys who go into an abandoned steel factory to kill monsters. I mean, it doesn't get a whole lot tougher than that.

These stories, each in their own way, are different, but they all have some important things in common. They're creepy. They're fun as hell and they're cheap. Speaking of cheap, within the next two weeks, Malice will be going up from .99 cents to 2.99$. Not because she's been getting some really nice reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads -- which she has -- and not because I've turned greedy -- which I haven't. I'm simply not comfortable selling short stories, even with all the extra goodies they come with, for .99 cents alongside a novel that took me a while to get just right for the same price. Doesn't seem fair. So if any of you faithful blog followers and any of you snooping in the wings are interested in sampling a Griffin Hayes special, now's your chance to do it for less than a buck.

As far as links to these new stories are concerned, this blog of mine is swarming with links to everthing I've written, so I don't think I need to add insult to injury by adding more. I will give you a hint though. Look to your left. ;-)

Last but not least, please feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think of them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kenneth Hoss on Storm Rising and Hot Pockets

There are two thing about Kenneth Hoss I can say for sure. He's a great writer and a real gentleman. He was nice enough to sit down with me in cyberspace for a few questions on his new book Storm Rising – A Kelli Storm Novel and a backstage peek into the life of a writer. 

Griffin: Tell us about your current release.
Ken: My current novel, Storm Rising – A Kelli Storm Novel, is about an NYPD Detective who after twenty-one year’s catches an unexpected break in her father’s murder case. In addition, she and her new partner catch a case that leads to a Colombian Drug Cartel running out of Mexico.

Griffin: Describe your journey as a writer?
Ken: I began my unofficial writing career when I was in High School. I always had a vivid imagination growing up, and it only seemed natural to write down the stories running around in my head. Of course, reading was a huge part of my childhood, and I would voraciously devour anything by Asimov or Heinlein. Later in life, during my time on active duty in the Navy, I found my ambition again, and wrote several short Sci/Fi stories, though failed to find a publisher.

My “official” career as an author began only three short years ago. After being out of it for so long, my first attempts were less than admirable. It wasn’t until I “discovered” Kelli Storm that I found my real voice.

Griffin: Do you have a daily writing schedule and if so what is it?
Ken: Not really. As a writer, and I believe others can relate to this, I am notorious procrastinator. I have to force myself to sit down and write. However, when I do manage to “force” myself, it’s usually a very prolific session.

Griffin: How much planning, outlining and research goes into each of your books?
Ken: With “Storm Rising” I was very detailed in my outline, though the story ended up taking a different direction after a couple of chapters. I did have notes and knew where I wanted the story to go though. With “Storm Warning”, I’m working off of a skeletal outline. Other than getting some background on my side characters, the process is more a “by the seat of your pants” endeavor.

Griffin: How do you deal with writer's block?
Ken: Take a break, watch a little television, pick up a book I’ve been reading, or just sit back and listen to Jazz.

Griffin: Which of your characters are you the most like and which of your characters are you the least like? Why?
Ken: That’s a tough one. There is a lot of “me” in Kelli, though I can’t say I’m like her. Does that make sense? My characters are taken from people I have known, or just met in passing. As a writer, I like to people watch, it’s how I get my characters.

Griffin: Which of all your characters have you enjoyed writing the most?
Ken: I have to say Kelli. Yes, I know, she’s my MC, and maybe I’m just playing favorites. She is a dynamic personality.

Griffin: Finish this sentence. If I wasn't a writer I'd be...
Ken: Soulless. Writing is my one true passion in life.

Griffin: Any thoughts on the current state of the publishing industry?
Ken: I think the eBook industry will keep growing, and hopefully the “Big” guys come to realize that it’s not a bad thing. My only hope is that it doesn’t mean an end to hard copy books. I still like to feel a book in my hand, smell the paper. At the same time, I love my Kindle too.

Griffin: What authors inspire you?
Ken: There are really too many to mention in this short space. I have to say that John Grisham, Tom Clancy and David Baldacci have all been a source of inspiration.

Griffin: How do you come up with your ideas?
Ken: I wouldn’t say that I really “come up” with them. Ideas hit me all the time. I could be driving along, going to the store for example, see a sign or a person, and wham!

Griffin: What's the best thing about being a writer?
Ken: I get to plot murder and mayhem, and it’s legal.

Griffin: What's the worst thing about being a writer?
Ken: The hours!

Griffin: What's your favorite flavor of Hot Pockets?
Ken: I don’t like Hot Pockets. If I have to “nuke” it, it’s usually leftovers from last nights dinner.

Griffin: If you weren't doing this interview right now, what would you be doing?
Ken: I hope that I would be working on my next book.

Griffin: Thanks so much for stopping by! Any last words?
Ken: Thanks for having me. I would just like to share a little piece of advice someone gave me. If you’re going to be a writer, you have to keep your “butt in chair”.

Griffin: Where can people go to satisfy their Kenneth Hoss itch?
 Ken: You can purchase and download my book at the following online retailers:

Barnes & Noble

You can visit me at the following sites:
My blog
Twitter: @kennhoss
Independent Authors Network

Kenneth Hoss was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1957. Storm Rising - A Kelli Storm Novel is a Police Procedural and is the first book in a three book series. Storm Warning, the next book, has a planned release of Spring 2012.
Kenneth is currently single and lives in Irving, Texas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The whirlwind doth continue

A fun interview and maybe even a free copy of my novel Malice await you here.

I haven't done a whole lot besides interviews and guest blogging lately, but don't worry, I promise I'll be back shortly to share whatever pearls of wisdom I've collected so far on my indie publishing journey. I'm also open to any questions from the audience.

And as for my droves of fans (I know you're out there), I also want to talk about some of the things that interest you, so leave a comment. I'm happy to answer any and all of your questions.

Got to run, I'm late for another interview. ;-)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Malice blog tour

I've started a rather informal blog tour of late. I'd only planned to do an interview or two, but things kind of took on a life of their own. Here's the interview I did for Malice with The Horror Queen From The UK Fiona Dodwell (link). Fiona's got a great new book called Obsessed she's just released so I'll be featuring her on Publishing After the Apocalypse in the coming days.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Guest blogging

I just finished guest blogging on Scott Nicholson's blog. I talked about dreams and some of the other ways I come up with the wacky ideas I have for stories. Feel free to swing by, check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another example of FREE+GREAT=WIN!

Scott Nicholson's short story, THE VAMPIRE SHORTSTOP, just became free on Amazon. Finished reading it a few minutes ago and I really enjoyed it. I also noticed this little story's burning it's way up the Amazon bestseller charts, so if you have a few minutes, swing by, pick it up and let me know what you think.

Note: For all you non-technical types, just click the yellow title I've hyper-linked and it will bring you there.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The new covers for my short stories are in

Once again the great Kit Foster has come through brilliantly. These three stories are currently with my proofreader Diana Cox and afterword will spend a day or two with my formatters, Ted Risk and Lucinda Campbell, so I don't expect them to be up on Kindle for another couple of weeks.

But just in case any of the images have tweaked your interest, I'll include a short summary of each story.

                                  Amazon , B&N, Smashwords

Bird of Prey (Novella) Horror

Nestled in the warm belly of the abandoned Keisel steel works an ancient creature has begun to stir. A one hundred year cycle is drawing to a rapid close and with it the time when the beast must lead her newly hatched young to the feeding grounds.
A handful of the oldest folks in town remember that time well. A time when the sky was clotted with flapping, leathery wings and monsters driven mad by the smell of human blood. They also know of the feeding grounds. They know them as the backyards in which their kids play and the streets of the tiny Alaskan town they call home.
Buck Sanders didn’t know any of this the day he arrived at the steel works to pilfer a length of siding for the roof of his crumbling bar. And neither did his friend Tommy Hodgkins. But they are perhaps the only ones who can stop the curse that has been playing out for centuries. At stake is more than their lives. At stake is everything.

                                   Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

The Grip (short story) Sci-fi/Horror

Lt. Cready and Engineer Andreas Chavez have been selected to man a claustrophobic outpost on the outer edge of the solar system. After a year and a half with no word from Earth, nerves become frayed and tensions mount as Cready begins to suspect that his friend isn't entirely human.

                                 Amazon , B&N, Smashwords

The Second Coming (short story) Horror

Jack Barrow has traveled back in time to save his family from a sadistic killer. Now he just has to convince Dr. Sims at Belleview Heights Mental Institution he isn't crazy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My first 5 star Amazon review

My father passed away a few weeks back and my sisters and I spent the week clearing out his apartment, so I haven't been terribly active on the blog or twitter. I was thrilled to find that a follower/followee (is that even right?) on Twitter had stumbled onto my book and decided to give it a whirl. Several positive tweets and a 5 star review later I have to say I'm thrilled. I've worked long and hard on Malice so it's a very gratifying feeling.

Now as far as the price, against sound and experienced advice I've dropped Malice to 99cents from 2.99$. My goal is to build some momentum for the post-Christmas Kindle rush and spread some word of mouth. If dropping the price for a limited time helps the cause then so be it. Besides, I'm not keeping that low price for longer than a few more days to a week, so if any of you faithful blog readers are somehow still on the fence, catch the bargain wave while you can.

It's been a little over a week now since my experiment in self-publishing began and to date I've sold about 30 copies. I'm not sure if that's any good or not. Especially since I'm only on Amazon at this point. By next week I'll be uploading to Smashwords and a number of additional e-readers.

There's still a lot I have planned in the coming days for publicity too. Blog tours, more social media, reviews on blogs, word of mouth.

I encourage anyone who has read the book or part of it and enjoyed it, to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. It doesn't have to be long. Every little bit helps.

Thanks for stopping by

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How I got here

Malice was born from a nightmare. An old woman with long crooked fingernails was crawling after me on the floor. You'll have to trust me when I say I was relieved to wake up from that one.

When I finally sat down to write the book, I had very little idea what I was getting myself into. I won't get into too much detail here, suffice it to say that writing and editing the book was tough. Stage two was just downright stressful: getting everything in shape for my Amazon launch. Anyone who read my 'Crunch Time' post can attest to that. Stage three: getting the word out, is by far the most difficult, but it's also possibly the most rewarding. With the way the publishing business has been going these last few years, authors were expected to pretty much market their own books anyway. Unless you were one of the top guns, your cut of the advertising budget might get you bus fair into town.

That was one of the reasons I opted for the self-published route with Malice. If I haven't gone over my history with the novel I'll try and do it briefly here. I wrote the novel a few years ago. My memory's a touch foggy on how long it took me to write, but let's just say 6 months to come up with a first draft. I'd written two children's fantasy books previously, so I wasn't a complete babe in the woods, but I wasn't all that far off.

My first draft of Malice was 130 thousand words. Way too long for a commercial paperback horror thriller. There was a ton of fat still waiting to be carved. Over the years I probably brought it through a half dozen edits of one sort or another. Hired a professional editor. Chopped 60,000 words off of it (I followed Elmore Leonard's advice: just leave out the boring parts). Got an agent who loved it. Then found an editor at Tor/Forge who apparently loved it, but who didn't think he could sell it. Why? I never found out. That was about the time the economy was circling the toilet bowl and it wasn't long before my agent and I parted ways.

Malice was an orphan.

I said 'screw it,' and started writing a second book. Incidentally, my grandmother was also an aspiring novelist and spent her entire life kicking around the same book (which was never published). That little jingle was definitely ringing at the back of my mind when I started my next book. That one took about a year to write, in part because I was trying to hold down a full time job, and fulfill the kinds of commitments that seem to snatch away so much of our lives.

I've had my proverbial tit in the ringer for years and I never gave up. Not yet. And with my second book coming out in the new year (along with my short stories and novella) there'll be plenty more Griffin Hayes to go around.
Thanks for stopping by!