You Wanted More

Over the past couple of months you have repeatedly asked for more industry interviews, author interviews and rants, on a site with more content.  I took your concerns and have 8 more industry interviews finished, 5 author interviews complete and have a variety of other articles for authors and readers alike.

Even better, they are all on a brand new website.  The new Hobbes End Publishing website is located here: http://hobbesendpublishing.com/ and the new home of the Jairus Reddy Blog is here: http://hobbesendpublishing.com/news/.

Today, an interview with Brent Sampson, CEO of Outskirts Press is posted on the website here: http://hobbesendpublishing.com/taking-the-vanity-out-of-the-vanity-press-2/ and an interview with The Cheap is also available here: http://hobbesendpublishing.com/who-doesnt-love-a-cheap-book/.

Enjoy the website and I look forward to feedback.  Thank you for imploring me to do more of this.

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Happy birthday to a visionary

“Surprising what you can dig out of books if you read long enough, isn’t it?”
Happy birthday Robert Jordan…RIP to a visionary.

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New Websites and Interviews Coming Soon

After seeing the comments the past couple weeks asking for more interviews and content on my blog, I have decided to combine the Jairus Reddy Blog and the Hobbes End Publishing site into one all-inclusive WordPress site. I have ten interviews with industry professionals and ten more author interviews that will be complete by the week’s end, which is when all the new websites and my blog will be ready for posting. It will have much more content, reviews and industry news. For those wanting more products, we are seeking major distribution and have three new novels and one novella that will be released over the coming months as we are expanding Hobbes End Publishing and our reach in the industry. Thank you for following my blog and be ready for the new interactive site.

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Where is the Love?

I have really reached my so-called breaking point with people in the publishing industry. Why you might ask? I am so frustrated with the lack of support shown in all aspects of the publishing industry. I have never seen a group of people who are totally unwilling to support and help each other. This has nothing to do with my company or my writers, but after years of trolling through forums and websites and reading reviews in multiple places, I have noticed a trend that I don’t understand. We are in an industry where we don’t support each other in any way, including authors supporting each other.

As a publisher, I know how impersonal we can be with rejections, if we even send one at all. We don’t typically email you with suggestions to better the book, but just send out a form letter like we do to every other rejection (though I try to give individual feedback). So for independent authors, it must feel like trying uphill in mud that won’t let you move. But that’s not it.

We have reviewers who seem to think it is ok to slam an authors work and their writing skills. I have read so many reviews who call authors things like amateur, or their writing is like a high schoolers, to just plain dumb. I don’t mean to sound like an ass, but if you think a story sucks, feel free to get on your computer and write a better one. Instead you write a review bashing everything from the story to the writer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a bad review that constructively criticizes a book, but reviewers go overboard sometimes. You know what I say, GET A LIFE!

Now about you authors. With all the challenges you already face, I thought that you all would be more supportive of each other. But that’s not the case. You bash each other just as much as the others in the industry. You all should help each other, work with each other to promote and market your product. Offer each other services in which you are experienced. Instead authors seem to get it in their head that they know more about the industry then everyone else, and portray this attitude to fellow authors looking for help. Let me tell you something. I don’t know everything about industry. It changes every day. But get off your high horse and help new authors out. And if I am strolling around websites or forums and see an author bashing another author’s book in way that it not constructive, I will put your name and review on every site I know that authors visit.

We all need to change to make an already cutthroat industry a little easier on authors but that must start with everyone trying to make a little change. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening any time soon. This is not directed at all authors, publishers or reviewers as many do try to offer their help or constructive criticism, but I see far to many who fall into this category.

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Delphine Pontvieux Interview

JR: Today I am here with Delphine Pontvieux, author of Estimated Time of Arrest and someone who has experience in the music and entertainment industry.

JR: Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

DP: My name is Delphine Pontvieux. I was born in Versaillesand grew up in France. I have lived, studied and/or worked in Australia, the USA, Spainand the Netherlandsand traveled to many more countries before I moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1998 where I still live today. As far as my professional career goes, I’ve worked for 10 years in the music industry. Three years ago, I moved on to writing full time and created my book publishing company, called Miss Nyet Publishing, in the summer of 2009. I released ETA in December of ’09 and since then have been the recipient of two awards: the French inChicago community award 2010 in the arts and culture category and the Indie Book Excellence Book Award 2011 in the Thriller category. I am also a scuba diving instructor and I regularly write articles for various diving magazines. I am aChicago reporter for France-Amerique magazine. As far as hobbies and interests go, I love any extreme/outdoors sports such as rock climbing, snow skiing, boating, waterskiing, wake-boarding, long distance swimming, triathlons, skydiving and more. I’m also a cave and technical diver, and an ocean conservation advocate. I love music and the arts. I’m curious about everything I have not had a chance to experience so far. You can also see me on the big screen in the upcoming motion picture Laughing Out Loud, starring Demi Moore, Ashley Greene and Miley Cyrus.

So far, I have only one published novel, ETA-Estimated Time of Arrest. I am working on novel # 2 currently and I have also submitted several short stories for upcoming anthologies about various topics. I invite you all to like my Facebook page in order to find out when they are getting published. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delphine-Pontvieux/138074462922789

My first novel, ETA- Estimated Time of Arrest, takes place in the French Pyrenees and the Basque country. It is a fast-paced action thriller combining politics, romance, suspense, and police drama. The novel’s title is a “double” play on words. Not only it is a variation of the common abbreviation “Estimated Time of Arrival” (I used ‘Arrest’ instead of ‘Arrival’), but also because ETA is the name of the Basque terrorist group that’s been active for over 50 years in the Basque country andSpain. ETA means “Euskadi Ta Askatasuna,” which means “Basque country and freedom” in Euskara, the language of the Basque people.

After participating in a pro-separatist march that turned violent in January of 1992, 21-year-old Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa is wrongly charged with the fatal bombing of a police station inIrunand finds himself on the Spanish Secret Service’s “most wanted” list, branded an active member of the Basque terrorist groupETA. He has no choice but to flee his country. Two years later, Lartaun’s childhood friend, Patxi, offers him the chance to return toEuropeunder a new identity in exchange for a “small favor.” Lartaun seizes the opportunity, yet soon realizes that the favor he owes his friend is not so “small” after all, as Patxi is secretly planning a brutal event that will shake Spanish politics.

JR: What was your inspiration for writing Estimated Time of Arrest?

DP: While I have no roots or family originating from the Basque country, I have always been fascinated by the language, the culture and the social and political history of the Basque people, not to mention that it is a beautiful place with its mountainous landscapes, green pastures and rugged coastline. When I was a teenager in the mid-eighties, the Basque struggle for independence was in full swing. The terrorist group ETA was very active and they often made the news on national television. Looking back today, I guess these times marked me more than I thought they did, because they inspired me to write this book.

JR: Who is your favorite character in the book and how do you identify yourself through your characters?

DP: None of the characters were based on one particular person (public figure or not) I have ever known or read about in my life. They are rather the result of an interesting patchwork of bits and pieces of people’s minds, lives, struggles and beliefs I weaved together inside my head to create each one of these characters. I find there is part of me in all of them, even though their personalities are very different from one another. I feel particularly close to Lartaun, the protagonist, because I can relate to his complex personality which causes him to often be misunderstood by his peers.        

JR: Was there any political point you were trying to make by writing the story, or is this just something that came into your head?

DP: While a work of fiction, the action of my novel is intimately set within the current political situation in Euskal Herria. I strived to keep the story in check and weave it within the actual historical context to give it more substance and credibility. What happens to the characters could indeed have happened in the real world, even though their particular adventures are entirely a product of my imagination. My intentions were to not express my own opinion about the situation, but rather to let the characters expose all sides to the conflict, and to give us a better understanding of their beliefs and actions by being who they are. Each character thus plays an important part by letting the reader know why the Basque conflict is such a complex situation, with no ready answer to end it anytime soon. I tried to put myself in their respective shoes, and to talk their talk and walk their walk the way they would according to their respective beliefs and the events that shaped their lives to become police officers, secret agents, fascists, non-violent activists, disabused militants or even terrorists.

JR: You have quite a resume in the entertainment industry. Why move to books and not stick to music?

DP: Because, in my eyes, life is too short to do only one thing. I loved working in the music industry, but in time I got the chance to branch out and try something else so I did. That’s who I am, I want to experience as many things as possible in life: I’d rather be good at lots of things rather than be an expert at one thing.

JR: What is your overall view of the entertainment industry as a whole?

DP: It would take writing a book to answer this question . . . In a nutshell, I think the entertainment industry is here to stay. People will always read, will always dance and listen to music and watch movies, play games. What is currently happening is that formats and buying habits are changing, and rapidly at that, so it is throwing the industry off. These are chaotic times because it is always hard to accept changes. Those who aren’t flexible enough to adapt will die. That’s evolution and it is happening, whether we want it or not.

JR: What are some of the challenges you see in the publishing industry that aren’t in the music industry?

DP: The challenges are fairly similar between the two industries in the sense that the digital revolution is forcing them to reinvent themselves so they don’t disappear like the dinosaurs did because they could not adapt fast enough to their new environment. In my mind, both industries face the same obstacles: digital content set at a lesser value than a CD or a book, which hurts not only the companies but also the artists. Retail stores going bankrupt, companies more hesitant to sign new artists because returns on investment are lower than they used to be . . . The one advantage musicians have over writers is their live performances. Nothing can replace the emotion and energy of a live show, that’s how most musicians make their money these days, in addition to royalties from record sales. Sadly, we never hear of famous writers, be it Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer, selling out stadiums when they go on a book tour.

JR: What is the ultimate goal you want to achieve in the book business, beyond selling millions of copies?

DP: I would love to see my story made into a movie someday. (but who doesn’t?)

JR: I talk with writers all the time who don’t feel like daily word count goals are important to their writing. Do you set a daily word count goal or just write when you are motivated?

DP: I don’t set a word count, even though I definitely should. I find that when I force myself to write when I don’t feel like it, I am wasting a lot of precious time that could have been spent more wisely elsewhere. But then again, I am a total pantster when it comes to writing. I don’t set any rules because writing is something I do to enjoy myself.

JR: What do you find to be the most difficult task when preparing a manuscript for publication?

DP: To resist the urge to change a comma on page 235 for the umpteenth time, i.e. to tell oneself that the manuscript is as good as it going to get the way it is right now and that it is DONE, for better or for worse.

 JR: What are some of your favorite books/genres?

DP: I love thrillers, horror and the French classics. In non-fiction, I love to read about great people who push their limits to live their dreams and reach their goal, whether it is to climb Everest, explore underwater caves or survive on a raft in the middle of thePacific Ocean.

JR: Your turn to ask me a question. Any question at all.

DP: If you were granted one wish, what would it be?

JR: To die a happy man who lived a fulfilled life with his family. And to die a publisher.

Short Answer

Casey Anthony…Is a story I did not follow at all. I heard what it was about on the news, but that’s about it.

Two baseball fans have fallen or almost fallen over the rail during a game in the last week. Major League Baseball should…Lower the height of the rails??? ;-)

I think authors…Are people who tell about their own lives, those of who they know as well as the lives they wish they could live under the pretense of fiction.

My favorite food is…Cheese (any kind, I love them all), a piece of baguette and a glass of wine. I could live on that all my life. I also like all vegetables. In soups, salads, etc…

I think the government would run smoother if…Lobbies would not have so much power.

If a had a penny for every time someone told me…I would be a millionaire.

Not to swear

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Hobbes End Publishing Book Trailers

Here are two of the Hobbes End Publishing book trailers. The first is for Eldohr Adventures: Search for the Lost Kingdom by T.L. Wood. It is a young readers novel, that has been well reviewed by both children and adults alike.

The second is for a short story called The Hour of the Time by Vincent Hobbes. It is one of 17 short stories included in The Endlands vol. 1. Charlie hates being late to anything, especially to the most important event of his life. Enjoy.

All books are available at www.HobbesEndPublishing.com, Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

 

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Stephen Knight Interview

JR: I am here today with Stephen Knight, author of The Gathering Dead. Tell us a little about yourself and your book.

SK: I’m a native Texan from Corpus Christi who lives in the New York City area—and before anyone makes any George Bush jokes, I’d like to remind them he was born in Connecticut. I was traded out when he moved to the Lone Star state as a kind of balance of terror deal.

The book in question is called The Gathering Dead, which basically takes the reader through the beginning of the zombie apocalypse as it strikesNew York City. In the book, we follow the adventures of a highly-trained Army Special Forces alpha detachment trying to survive as the excrement hits the rotary oscillator.

JR: I am not typically a fan of zombie books, or movies for that matter, but your story is different then many I have read. Are you a fan of zombie books and movies, and if so, what are some of your favorites?

SK: I haven’t read much zombie fiction. I’ve read World War Z, which I thought was excellent. I also read a novel by Brian Keene called The Rising, I believe, which was all right. And that’s literally it for books.

I do like the movies, though—certainly all of Romero’s works, campy as they are. And the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, which certainly amped things up compared to Romero’s original. I liked 28 Days Later…I even watched Zombie Nightmare, because one of my good friends did the makeup effects.

JR: I like movies and books that portray zombies to be fast as I feel I could outrun the typical slow moving zombie. Or at least unload enough artillery to keep them at bay. Do you feel zombies are scarier fast or slow?

SK: I think that individually, faster zombies are a greater threat. But if you’re alone, on foot, with limited ammunition, and you’re out of time and ideas…a shambling horde that draws inexorably closer can be much more horrifying. In The Gathering Dead, there are both: those stenches that are physically in good shape can still move fast, but those that have been degraded tend to stumble and bumble mindlessly…until they see their next meal, then its slow and steady wins the race.

JR: What inspired you to write The Gathering Dead?

SK: I was listening to the score for the film The Haunting by Jerry Goldsmith, and one of the tracks evoked a mental image of a team of soldiers and civilians standing on a midtown skyscraper watching as the city falls to the dead. In the streets below, there are thousands of carnivorous corpses, and they’re looking out over this literal army of the dead and wondering, “Jesus, how the hell are we going to get out of this?” And that’s where I started from.

JR: It’s always fun to think how you would handle certain situations, real or not real. I would sail to a deserted island with a ton of ammunition and hope for the best. How would you survive a zombie apocalypse?

SK: Only two choices I can think of, barring leaving the planet: getting to an area of high elevation and making a stand, or building a bunker somewhere and sitting it out. Of course, if the walking dead take over the planet, either circumstance is likely to provide diminishing returns! If there’s no one to save you, you have to hide and scrounge, but eventually, an enemy as implacable and determined as the dead will probably find you.

JR: I think horror has fallen off since the height of the Stephen King era, but I believe it is making a comeback. How do you feel about the state of the horror genre now and where will it move from here?

SK: I don’t think horror has the same kind of staying power as other genres, such as science fiction or romance. But it has gone through a bit of resurgence as of late. I wouldn’t call it a renaissance or anything like that, but it has spiked a bit, which is certainly good news for a lot of us. I’m not sure what the future holds for horror, as it’s still viewed as something of a “lowbrow” genre, but it’s undeniable that it has some degree of consumer appeal. And even King set the high water mark for the genre; it can be argued that he no longer writes “horror” in the strictest sense.

JR: I have experience with many authors who don’t know how to promote themselves or don’t realize that even with a publisher backing them, they must promote themselves. What advice would you give an author who has no idea how to promote their product?

SK: If you don’t know your audience, you’re dead. Sure, people can and will always find the product they like, but it helps if you know who to go after to buy your work. The usual channels have worked for me: Facebook, Twitter, my blog. Then there are the personal connections through friends and family and, if you have the stomach for it, through your day job if you have one. Make sure you join Goodreads and Author’s Den. And enable sampling for your product—I even allow lending for mine after it’s been purchased. Correspond with your readers or potential readers in the Kindle product forums, but don’t oversell yourself.

But the best thing to do is to really, really, really work hard on your product. Even today, I still get dinged from typos in The Gathering Dead, so you’d better police your work very, very closely before releasing it into the wild. I’m fortunate in that I have only a handful of bum reviews, but people read those as well as part of the buying decision cycle. So ensure you’re not making yourself a soft target by releasing something that isn’t ready.

JR: What is the best way to kill a zombie?

SK: 12-gauge blast to the head seems to have the best results, though I would not discount the efficiency of nuclear weapons. Kind of tough on your fellow survivors, though.

JR: I ask this question to every author I interview. How do you overcome writer’s block? Staring at the screen with no thoughts coming to your head or no motivation to write.

SK: I actually blogged about this a little while ago (shameless plug:https://knightslanding.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/how-it-happens-it-starts-with-music/) where I bloviated about the importance of music to get my creative juices flowing. But even without tunes, I can still write. I have to; it’s what I want to do. A blank page can be either a starting point or an ending point, and the latter is of no value to me. I know lots of would-be writers who can’t get past the enormity of filling up a blank screen with a bunch of words, even if they don’t make any sense. It’s a job, not a dalliance, so sit down and do it. If you don’t, you lose right off the bat. Go dig a ditch or something more productive. It really is just that simple.

And it helps if you have an idea of what kind of story you want to tell. Even if you’ve only figured out the midpoint of your story, start writing so you can get there, and along the way you’ll figure out how to tie it off.

JR: What other projects are you working on and what genres do they fall into?

SK: I have an international thriller called White Tiger that will hopefully be ready for launch at the end of July, which I co-wrote with a Scottish writer named Derek Paterson. I’m about 12,000 words into the sequel to The Gathering Dead, called The Rising Horde. I have another novel called Tribes which has been plotted and developed in a synopsis form—it’s a science fiction adventure story that I’ll finish up in October or so. After that, I have several other projects to choose from, including a piece of commercial fiction set in Hollywood, a police procedural, a detective story, and two hardcore science fiction novels, one of which seems to want to be a space opera. So I am pretty loaded up for the rest of 2011 and at least the first quarter of 2012. (I’m trying to clear my slate just in case the world does end.)

JR: I give all my guests the opportunity to ask me a question. You only get one so choose wisely.

SK: How’s business from the publishing end?

JR: Business is good. I have received more quality submissions in the last year then in my first 5 years combined. But, like many in the industry, I really hate the fact I ignored e-books as long as I did. I thought it would be a fad and die off, but now it looks like hardbacks will become a novelty. Sales are still solid, but marketing and promoting products has changed significantly. Overall, we are ok.

Short Answer

Publishers are…having a tough time.

Authors are typically…unaware that this is a business.

Casey Anthony should…pose nekkid, it’s probably the only job she’ll ever get.

My last meal would consist of…kobebeef.

People always tell me I look like…Bruce Willis. Of course, they’re all fromAsia.

One thing people would be surprised to know about me is…I’m directly related to the man who shot Billy the Kid. So don’t mess with me!

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