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

Burden’s Edge officially launches!

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Burden’s Edge (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book 1)

When a young man chooses a forbidden calling, he must prove his worth
. . . or watch his kingdom fall.

KINDLE | PAPERBACK

Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5) RELEASED!

fantasy coming of age dragon quest prince castle spell sword and sorcery magic witch wizard warlock hero action adventure thriller war undead love fun epic mystery saga series like myth hero ages story mage strong male lead youth teen teenage ya young adult childrens kids ten eleven twelve thirteen year old boys girls about paperback novel 10 11 12 13 14 15

Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5)

Are you ready for Augum, Bridget and Leera’s grand finale? I hope so, because Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5) has officially released! Wow, I simply cannot believe I finally get to say that. I’ve been positively giddy with excitement in anticipation of this day.

The Arinthian Line spans almost a million words, has been years in the making, became an Amazon bestseller, and was the most challenging and rewarding undertaking of my life.

But this victory is not just mine—it is yours as well. You supported and encouraged me, and it meant a lot, more than you know.

“So where is it already?” I hear you asking. Legend can be found HERE on Amazon.

ADDITIONAL NEWS: Arcane (The Arinthian Line, book 1) will be on sale for only 99 cents until January 20th, so if you know anyone you think would enjoy the series, give them a heads up. :)

As to the paperback for Legend

all_five

…it should be up any time now on Amazon (if it’s not, you can order the paperback direct from the printer HERE). Sometimes it takes a few days for it to show up on on Amazon, so hang in there. :)

The book is so big (it’s 243,000 words, 20% longer than Clash) that it barely squeaked by the max of 740 paperback pages in length!

The official Arinthian house cat wondering what all the fuss is about:
cat_all_five.jpg

I cannot thank you enough for joining me on this epic journey. I’ll get to work on a new series as soon as possible (hints on that can be found in Legend). In the meantime, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and enjoy the book!

—Sever

all-five

I interview the gun-toting, root’n & toot’n, bestselling action and adventure author Wayne Stinnett

Thought I’d switch it up. Was intending on interviewing only sci-fi fantasy authors, but instead (insert pointless reasons). It’s my blog, and I do what I want to, dooo what I want to, you would do it too if it happened toooo yoooouuuu.

Ok, enough nonsense. At attention, folks, because we have a bona fide marine in the house, and he’s brought his guns along, making the crew nervous (my cat). Wayne Stinnett is the author of the bestselling action & adventure Jesse McDermitt series, and he’s about to undertake the toughest assignment given to man—answering my stupid questions.

Thanks for being here, Wayne. Have a seat on the, uh, vinyl cushion there. Sorry for the rips and stains. I promise I don’t have bed bugs. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how commanding is your presence when you walk into a room? Do you make people nervous with a thousand yard stare?

Thanks, Sever. Though I write action/adventure for a living, I’m a long time sci-fi fan. Was really saddened to hear about Leonard Nimoy yesterday. Know how you can tell which one in the Enterprise landing party is gonna get killed? It’s the guy in the red shirt. First off it’s Marine, not marine. One is a title, that once earned can never be taken away. The other is anything in sea water, which a lot of times can be Marines. I’m not a very big guy, so my physical presence is often ignored. If I need to get their attention, though, I have my ways.

If I were to trespass onto your property, how quickly would I get gunned down? Describe the encounter.

The perimeter is booby trapped, you won’t get on the property. If, however, you manage to slip past the claymores, punji pits and bouncing Bettys, you’d be silently greeted by a 110 pound wolf/chow hybrid. My scope is zeroed at two hundred meters and the bang stick under it is accurate to eight hundred. Trust me, there’s nothing here worth the effort.

*Takes careful notes.* All right, cancelling operation free-the-chicken-coop. You hunt rabbit and deer. Explain yourself to the tree-huggers in the crowd.

Rabbits are a waste of ammo, not enough meat and ammo is expensive. Imagine the deer population if there weren’t any hunters. They’d thrive and reproduce like crazy right? Until they reach the tipping point, when the food supply can’t support the population. Then only the strongest would survive, while the weaker ones die a slow death of starvation. Not very pretty. Hunters are our first line of conservationists. We have bag limits which are governed by current population and strictly enforced. Now, if I really want to piss off the tree-huggers, I’ll show up at their rallies in my gas guzzling pickup with a 460 cubic inch engine that gets 9 miles per gallon. Hey, if their Prius breaks down, I can put it in the bed. I’d just have to put the deer carcass in their trunk though.
 
Ever surreptitiously slip your kill into them pesky vegetarian dinners?

That would necessitate my dining with them. I’ve met one or two, pasty skinned, weak vegetarians, smelling of patchouli. No room at my table.
 
What’s your favorite weapon? Is it under your pillow?

Hmmm, that’s difficult to answer. Each has its own place. For long range shooting, I like the Remington 700, it’s a real nail driver. Under my shirt is a Sig Sauer P226 semi-auto for personal protection. For home protection, you can’t do better than a pump action shotgun. The sound of a shell being chambered will usually clear the house of home invaders. When the zombie apocalypse (that’s what I call a government takeover) happens, my AR15 with multiple 30 round magazines will always be close by. By far, the most deadly weapon in my arsenal rests on TOP of my pillow.
 
Let’s get serious for a moment. What are you proud of?

All kidding aside? Okay. Gotcha. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I’m proud of a lot of things, but my family ranks at the very top. My wife and I have four great kids and four of the cutest grand-kids. Without their support, I never would have published my first book, let alone six. I’m also very proud of having served in the greatest military the world has ever known. The camaraderie shared between warriors isn’t akin to anything else. When a man says, “I got your back” it really means something. He’s saying he’ll lay down his life if need be.
 
Is there anything in life you’d like to do over again?

Everyone has regrets. I often catch myself wishing I’d stayed in the Corps for a full thirty year ride. But if I had, odds are I wouldn’t have my kids today. One thing for certain, if I could change just one thing, I’d go back to ’88 and tell the younger me, “Don’t you dare quit writing!” It took me twenty-five years to try again and now I’m living what I call a dream. For 13 years, I was gone most of the time, hauling freight all over the country and talking to my family over the phone. Now, I can kneel by my daughter’s bed and pray with her, take her to school and pick her up every day, and sleep in my own bed with my wife.
 
How would you describe the Jesse McDermitt series to a new reader in the genre?

I wish they’d break up action/adventure into two separate genres. The complaint I most often receive comes from action junkies, saying that my books don’t have enough action. I call my books Caribbean Adventure sea stories. True, there’s not cover to cover action. What I try to convey to the reader is the essence of living, working, laughing and loving in what most would call paradise, the Florida Keys. My books are full of every day stuff that folks in the Keys both suffer and enjoy. Plenty of water, a few laughs and some romance, but mostly it’s the Conch spirit I try to convey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Conch. That’s a birthright that only those born in Monroe County, Florida can claim. I’m a waterman and have lived and worked in the Keys, as well as Mexico, the Bahamas and the Lesser Antilles. I’ve earned a living from the sea. I spent a year in Jamaica one weekend, but that’s a whole different story.
 
What type of person is NOT going to enjoy your books? How do you stop them from reading? With a cattle prod?

The aforementioned action junkies, primarily. There’s a very laid back, island lifestyle in what I write, but in the end there will be guns and explosions. Oh, and in the case of the last two books, an exotically beautiful and hypersexual woman. Sorry, had to throw that in there. I’ve had romance fans read my books and like them. Same with mystery and thriller fans. One salty old retired Marine Sergeant Major wrote to me and said he finished Fallen Palm while sitting in a tree stand with a high powered rifle across his lap, but had to climb down because his eyes were sweating too much to see down the shooting lane. Marines don’t cry, our eyeballs sweat. Greatest compliment I ever had, right there.
 
Why did you start writing? Was it a dare?

Actually, it was boredom. In the late eighties I was working as an estimator for a construction company. I wrote a few computer programs to speed up the process and wound up with more time than work. Since I was salaried, I was required to stay the whole day, so I started making up stories and typing them up on the company computer, storing them on a floppy disk. I thought they were great, but judging from the 47 rejection letters from publishers and agents, I was in the minority. A few years ago, my wife found a hand written part of a manuscript and told me it was good. She encouraged me to take up that long dormant dream of being a writer and try again. So I dug out the floppies and searched the internet for an antique computer I could bring the stories up on. With her encouragement I started writing again. She’s been a wealth of inspiration and motivation. And quite a few ideas, as well.
 
You’ve been around the publishing block. Give us blundering noobs the top four mistakes new authors make.

Not everyone is going to like your work, you’re going to get some one stars. Accept it before you hit that publish button.
Your first book’s not going to be a million seller. Sure it’s happened, but the odds are so astronomical as to be zero. Don’t dwell on it, keep writing.
Don’t waste time, money and energy trying to get people to read that first book. Your friends and family will, but the reading public want more. See #2.
Creative minds don’t like numbers. They’re restricting. Learn how. Once you have a couple or three books published you’re going to have to market them. No way around it. Learn how to advertise and market your work, start a mailing list before the first one’s published. That’s the single best marketing tool you’ll have.
 
What do you think the next year in publishing will look like?

If I knew the answer to that one, it’s a sure bet that I wouldn’t share it. I really think more and more traditionally published authors will regain the rights to their books and self-publish. They’ll still be able to charge more, being household names, but they’ll keep a lot more themselves.
 
Name one publishing argument you’re sick of hearing.

Self-published books lack quality. I’m so sick of hearing that I could punch a wall. Sure, since anyone can upload their stuff and publish it, there are quite a lot of low quality works out there. It doesn’t mean that every indie’s books are crap. There are a lot of very fine writers who look at traditional publishing and then look at doing it themselves and they see that they can make just as much per book as the big guys, but keep the price so much lower for their readers. There’s a lot of traditionally published work out there that isn’t worth a crap too.
 
Punchable face. Name one. Explanation optional.

Michael Koslowski. I mean, have you seen this guys face? And the venomous spew that comes out of it? At first I was angry over some of the things he said. Sure I read his blog, so do you, I bet. But, you know what? That blog is his only claim to fame. I looked on Amazon for his work and he has written a few books. I think his highest ranked book is in the 200,000 range. He’s nothing more than a hack who couldn’t cut it as a traditional author and rather than get off his butt and do it himself, he ridicules those that do. Loser!
 

What’s next for you?

One of my favorite south Florida writers is about to release his 22nd novel in a very successful traditionally published series and not long ago he released his first book in a spinoff series. It’s a great story and he’s now followed it up with two more equally awesome books. I want to do that. My dad always told me, “Look at what successful people do and do that.” So, in writing my last book, I set the stage for one of four characters to be the main character in a new series. I finally decided on which one last week. While I’m writing the 7th book in the Jesse McDermitt Caribbean Adventure Series, I’m slowly developing the first book in the Charity Styles series. Charity is a minor character in four of my six books and in this new series she will become a covert assassin, responsible only to her own moral convictions and controlled (somewhat) by a very highly placed American government official. I’ve actually finished the first chapter. While I’m putting all my efforts into the new McDermitt book, as you well know, you can get burnt out pretty easy. So, I switch over and write a couple hundred words to the other book, in essence writing two at the same time. I figure that by the time “Fallen Honor” comes out in June, I’ll be more than halfway through “Merciless Charity”. How’s that for a juxtapositional title? I hope to finish Merciless Charity in July. Then I’ll be taking a couple of months off to move and start building a new house near the ocean. The old man is returning to the sea.

Semper Fi,

Wayne Stinnett
Author of the Jesse McDermitt series
www.waynestinnett.com

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