Augum, Bridget and Leera news; audiobook news; and an interview with AC Cobble.

Items in this update:

1. Augum, Bridget and Leera news.
2. Audiobook contract signed for Fury of a Rising Dragon series.
3. I interview AC Cobble, author of the bestselling fantasy series Benjamin Ashwood.

Item 1: Augum, Bridget and Leera news.

I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking when Honor’s Price (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book two) will be ready. Well, I finally have some news on that front. I finished the first draft of the book and the first edit round. It’s now entered the deeper editing stages, which will be compromised of approximately six more additional rounds of editing before it will be ready. So we’re looking a late summer-ish launch.

It’s a big book, almost as big as Legend (The Arinthian Line, book five), and is packed full of action, drama and plot. Augum, Bridget and Leera discover ancient secrets about Arcaners while facing a Canterran cult, assassins, and the Von Edgeworth line. There’s a turning-sixteen womanhood ceremony for a certain someone, numerous personal trials for the trio, a frank encounter between Augum and Jez, new spells, and loads more.

Item 2: I signed an audiobook contract with Tantor for the Fury of a Rising Dragon series.

I’m excited to announce that Fury of a Rising Dragon will become an audiobook series! I’ll announce who the narrator will be on my author Facebook page shortly. As to The Arinthian Line, I’m in talks with Grammy winner Stefan Rudnicki to finish the series, so keep your fingers crossed (Audiobooks are notoriously expensive projects and I write long books, so no guarantees yet).

Item 3: I’m trying something different: an interview with an author some of you may have already heard about :) Away we go!

I’d like to welcome AC Cobble, the author of Benjamin Ashwood, to this edition of “Milk Crate Interviews with Sever Bronny.” AC, there’s your milk crate (mind the dust and piles of half-read books) and I’ll take my seat on mine after this awkward pause.

(Awkward pause)

All right, isn’t this fun? My wife works with me in my author career and is super supportive (she set up the milk crates for this interview. You might find her lurking about the place munching on granola bars, Kindle in hand). I also have a cat named Buddha. She’s a small loaf with big eyes and likes to wander about the place like a princess. Any pets, kids, dolphins on your end? Wife? Husband?

Hi Sever, thanks for having me! I’m married to a wonderful wife who … well … initially said no to me becoming a full-time author. She came around though! She has an open mind, if not an initial faith in my ability to tell a good yarn. To be fair to her, my last creative endeavor was painting. It ended in a lot of brainstorming and a still-blank canvass, which she’d bought me for my birthday 6 years ago (someday, someday). We have three children, all boys, ages 8 months to 5 years. Now that I work from home, taking time out of the day to deal with the fighting, crying, and people yelling for food is a wonderful reminder of what my corporate life used to be like. It’s like I never left! My wife has a dog, which after 10 years of dating and marriage has still not accepted me. Maybe the nightly battle where the dog “forgets” she has her own bed in our room and doesn’t need to be in my spot is just a friendly joke? Every night I get a look from the dog that says, “I would prefer it if you died”. Ah, what else? I’m from Tennessee originally but live in Houston, TX now. I love to travel but have very few hobbies outside of writing and the family.

You mentioned you lived a “corporate life.” What exactly does that mean? Any parts of that life you miss? What do you love most about being a fulltime author?

Before making the jump to the book business, I worked for a massive, global corporation (think top 5 in the world). My days were filled with the normal things at any place like that – meetings & e-mail. There were plenty of the stereotypical people and politics that you can imagine going on, which I don’t miss a second of. But there were also some really awesome people who I keep in touch with still (had a few over for dinner this weekend!). I also really enjoyed my final role at the company. I was something like an internal consultant. I traveled about 25% of the time, worked from home 74%, and went to my local office 1%… That was pretty cool – and helps explain how I held a full-time job and wrote a couple of novels. I role allowed me to travel all over the world. I worked in 8 different countries. I saw some really amazing places that I never would have seen otherwise, and a lot of those influences made it into my books.

What’s best about being a full-time author? Freedom. You’re the captain and crew of your own ship, and you can sail where ever you please. I imagine many people who own their own businesses feel the same way, but as Authors, we don’t keep a storefront, we don’t have hours we’re open, we don’t have clients we go visit. What we do, is entirely up to us. That is an amazing feeling.

You’ve written a story in the same genre as me which makes me feel like we’re kindred spirits (come here, buddy! *awkward hug*). What made you so badly want to write coming of age fantasy? What initially inspired Benjamin Ashwood?

Nothing better than meeting another author and doing the handshake, fist-bump, hug dance! Somehow, that always ends up with me gently punching people. I’m ready for the union to proscribe a standard greeting we can use when we emerge, pale faced and blinking, from the writing caves.

Oh, you asked a question…

I was inspired by the books I grew up reading. Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien, David Eddings, those guys. I love the way all of their stories start, and that’s how I started my tale. A young boy leaves his small village on an adventure. It really spoke to a younger me, and it still does today. It’s the sense that you don’t know what will happen next, but anything is possible. It’s one of the times a fantasy trope connects really solidly with my real life experience. Sometimes, I feel like I hewed too close to those books in the beginning of Benjamin Ashwood, but it’s intended as an homage to the stories I love. As you read deeper in my series, the themes and plots diverge wildly from the books I grew up with. I started on the shoulders of those giants, but the core of the story takes the expectation from those tales and turns it on its head. In real life, I don’t think heroes are Chosen Ones, and I wanted to write a story about that.

What challenges you these days?

In addition to writing my Benjamin Ashwood series, I’ve started a small press called Cobble Publishing. I have 3 other authors under my banner and we’re in production with several of their books! Juggling that along with my own work is a logistical nightmare, but it’s the kind of challenge I really enjoy. At heart, I’m still the business guy I was before I began writing, and I love that part of publishing.

In the creative space, one thing that is tough for me is keeping it fresh. I’m writing my 5th Benjamin Ashwood book, and like the others, there are fights, magic, and all of that great stuff. How is a fight in Book 5 different and more exciting than one in Book 1? That’s the challenge. I want to keep raising the bar for myself and delivering ever more exciting scenes to my readers. It has really pushed me to innovate and expand my writing. I mean, how many ways can you hit a guy with a sword? We’ll find out…

What’s coming up next for you that you’re excited about?

You ready for this? I just released a Boxset for my first 3 Benjamin Ashwood books. On April 17th, I have a debut YA Fantasy from one of my authors, Tanya Schofield, titled “Awaken: Melody’s Song Book 1”. On May 8th, another author, Thomas Webb, has a Steampunk Alternate history called “Stalemate: Clockwerk Thriller Book 1”. I’ll sneak a small collection of Benjamin Ashwood short stories out there sometime in May as well, then on June 5th, “Burning Tower: Benjamin Ashwood Book 5” hits the shelves! Oh, did I mention that there’s a German language version of Benjamin Ashwood Book 1 in the works, hopefully arriving in June? July, we’ll release a currently untitled epic fantasy from author Mark E Lacy. That covers the next 4 months…

Whew. I told you there were some logistics involved!

Finally, I’m doing some early groundwork for a brand new series that I hope to unveil in late 2019. The amount of world building and character development I’m doing is far more than I’ve done before, but if this works, it will really pay off for readers (um, I hope).

That’s a lot on your plate, are you not worried it will take away from your writing energy?

I’ve found that having something else going on really helps keep the creative juices flowing. This began as a hobby for me, a way to relax from the stress of the job, new kids, etc. Writing is my down time, and it relaxes me. When I’ve tried to ramp up and go full bore, I burn out pretty quickly. Very rarely have I been able to sit down and write for a full day. When I have managed it, I needed several days off to recover. So, maybe because it’s how I got my start, I tend to write in bursts of 2-3 hours then switch gears and focus on something else. The great thing about starting a small press is that “something else” keeps me engaged in the industry. I love books, being around books, writers, and every aspect of this process. It’s all fun to me, and it keeps me busy while those creative juices recharge.

You and I are extremely lucky to do what we do full-time. I occasionally dole out advice to budding writers who dream of becoming full-time authors. What advice would you give to those who wish to make this a full-time living?

I completely agree – we are extremely lucky. I tell people that being a writer is exactly as awesome as you imagine it to be. Being an Author (caps) is an easier job for me than Every Other Job I’ve Ever Had. It pays better, too. Seriously. There cannot be a better job than this! But, as Cypress Hill once said, “It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job.”
Yes, you get to do all of the awesome creative stuff. And yes, you are your own boss. It’s completely true, you can work anywhere in the world, at any time. Literally everyone you meet will be jealous. You make up stuff and write it down for a living! But, you also have to do the icky parts of the job. This is your business – you should treat it like a business. You have to market, you have to do book keeping, you have to negotiate, you have to invest in your product, and you have to hold yourself accountable for getting it done! More so than anything else, like a business, you have to serve your customer. Everyone telling you to “write only for yourself” is, in my mind, doing you a huge disservice. It’s not to say you can’t write what you love – see earlier about my influences – but if you want to sell what you’ve written, someone has to want to read it. At the end of the day, the job of the writer is pleasing the reader, not themselves.

They’ve made you walk the plank. What was your crime, and any parting final words for humanity?

Ha, I love this question! Because it’s easy for me to answer… I’ve been in the rum barrel.

In fact, the rum barrel is now more like – just a barrel. So, the rest of you scurvy scallywags are going to be high and dry for the rest of this Caribbean cruise. Up until this exact moment, my trip was quite pleasant. Now, let me raise my tankard with the last of the grog, and share a little wisdom with you:

“In life, with few exceptions, you only achieve what you strive to accomplish. No one wins the lottery without buying a ticket. No one becomes a rock star without putting in countless hours of practice. No one writes a book without pounding out the words. Life isn’t always fair. When you try your best, you still may not reach your goal. But I’m willing to bet everything I have – you’ll never get there until you do try. Study, effort, work – those are your lottery tickets. Being a full-time author (and rum thief), it feels like I hit the lottery. The truth is, I put in the work. I earned it. I DID IT. Whatever your dream, DO IT. Start. That is the only way you can get there.”

Now, I’ll turn up the grog, scream to the heavens, “I regret nothing!”, slip, bang my head on the plank, and fall limply into the water where I’m brutally consumed by vicious sharks and mutant sea turtles. Let’s be honest, there are worse ways to go…

Thank you, AC Cobble and my readers have brought you up a few times, so it’s been a real pleasure getting to know you both here and behind the scenes :)

AC Cobble is the Amazon bestselling fantasy action & adventure author of the Benjamin Ashwood series.

Sever

I was interviewed on a Fantasy podcast

How was everyone’s new year? Let’s kick things off on my end with something new–my first public podcast interview! Aldus Baker celebrates his 50th Fantasy podcast by interviewing me.

Enjoy :)

UPDATE ON BOOK 4:

Book 4 of The Arinthian Line has just undergone another major edit, and is on track to be released within about a month’s time. I wanted to sincerely thank each and everyone of you for your kind patience.

And for the Advance Reader Team: you’ll be receiving an email from me soon, hang in there! :)

I could have updated you guys more, but I’ve been very busy with book 4. It’s the largest one yet, completely packed with story and adventure. It has quite the emotional ending, leading nicely into book 5, which I’ll be starting next ASAP. I’m very proud of this work, and can’t wait for you to read it!

All my love to you and yours,

Sever

An interview with the accomplished Chris Fox, author of the amazon kindle besteller No Such Thing As Werewolves

All right, Chris, the mic is in your face, the camera lights are on, and you have one sentence to introduce yourself to an audience of gazillions. What’s the quick version of your story, man?

I ended up on the back of a milk carton at age 8. A year ago I developed an iPhone application that was used to scope Stephen Colbert’s ear. I’ve also published a novel called No Such Thing As Werewolves. You’re probably expecting me to say ‘one of these things is a lie’. Nope, all true. I’ve led a very interesting life.

If you became very rich, what would a typical day look like for you?

Very similar to what it looks like today. I wake up, work out and then write. When I’m finished I go to work at a startup called CellScope, developing the aforementioned app. Eventually CellScope will get acquired, after which my day will look largely the same. The locale might change though. There’s a lot of travel I want to do, from Cairo to Lima. I’m fortunate that both my passions can be done from anywhere in the world.

What’s been your greatest challenge in life?

Limiting beliefs. When I was a kid I decided I wasn’t a good athlete, and that I’d never be a good dancer. So I didn’t even try. A few years back I picked up a book called Talent is Overrated, which reversed my outlook overnight. I enrolled in a dance class and am a pretty good dancer now. I also became a power lifter, which never would have crossed my mind before. I was a self-avowed geek and just assumed I could never be good at those things. Imagine my surprise when I found out practice really does make perfect.

In 2010 I joined Toastmasters and became an accomplished speaker. I set the bar a little higher and taught myself iPhone development. At the time I was working in a dead end collections job, so that was quite a step up. Especially since I’m a JC dropout. My next challenge is writing and *crosses fingers* so far so good.

I just finished reading No Such Thing As Werewolves and was struck by how much of a fun cross it is between Tomb Raider, Stargate, and Predator. What was the inspiration behind it?

I’m totally going to cheat. I wrote this blog post  about the inspiration. For those who want a shorter answer I wanted to re-invent werewolves. To do that I took a Sci-Fi approach, which is unusual as most werewolves are fantasy. It required me to explain things like how it’s possible genetically for them to change, why moonlight affects them and how the disease spreads.

Anthropology and Egyptology are also huge passions of mine, and I’ve long wondered if there were cultures that predated recorded history. What if they were far more advanced than we are? No Such Thing As Werewolves answers that question. It’s my attempt to make werewolves not just scary, but also logical and understandable.

How would you describe your book to a new reader in the genre?

It’s like Indiana Jones went through the Stargate and ended up in Aliens Versus Predator.

What type of person is NOT going to enjoy your book?

People who don’t enjoy intricate plots with multiple points of view. There are a fair number of characters, and more science than you’ll find in your average fantasy novel.

How much of you is in Ahiga, that bad-ass werewolf?

You might call him a reflection of me. He’s sacrificed everything to secure the future of our species, only to see it all wasted when he makes a single mistake. His name is from the Navajo language, and I spent a little time on a reservation as a child. I drew on those experiences as well.

What do you hate most about the publishing process?

Editing. I love the writing and sometimes the re-writing is fun, but the endless editing and proofing really wears on you after you’ve been working on a book for five months.

What do you love about indie publishing?

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was six. My mother still has the first short story I wrote on that very day. As an adult I went the traditional publishing route and it took years to get my first short story out there. Once it was published I never even knew if anyone read it, much less liked it. With Indie publishing I put my own novel up with no gatekeeper to stop me. I’m able to see fan reviews, and even get the occasional fan mail. It’s surreal. So I guess the short answer is I love that indie publishing made it possible for anyone to become a novelist.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of publishing their book independently?

Read. Write. Publish. Repeat. Then sign up for the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast. Lastly, sign up for Kboards. Those three resources will give you a solid foundation in indie publishing, and you’ll be miles ahead of someone just tossing their book up and wondering why it isn’t selling.

What are you going to to do after you’ve won your second pulitzer?

Take Lisa on a cruise to Alaska while we still have glaciers.

Punchable face. Name one. Explanation optional.

Justin Bieber. No explanation needed.

As a Canadian, sorry. Our petitions to have him extradited failed. No one wanted him.
So What’s next for you?

I’ll be publishing Deathless Book 2: No Mere Zombie in late April. I still cannot believe I’ll have two novels and a novella out.

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By day Chris Fox is an iPhone developer architecting the app used to scope Stephen Colbert’s ear. By night he is Batman. Ok maybe not. He can dream though, right? Chris has been writing since he was six years old and started inflicting his work on others at age 18. By age 24 people stopped running away when he approached them with a new story and shortly thereafter he published my first one in the Rifter.  Check out his fiction at Chris Fox Writes.

No Such Thing As Werewolves on Amazon

No Such Thing As Werewolves on Goodreads

Interview with C.N. Crawford on indie marketing

I was recently interviewed by author C.N. Crawford on her blog. We talked about marketing, indie publishing, and Harry Potter.

I’ll be interviewing fellow authors soon; hoping to do one a week.