Category Archives: Books

Author Interview: Monroe Todd

Where do you find your inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration in other stories, across all media. I used to write fanfiction as my start and AUs (alternate universes) were a big thing. What if the Avengers all lived in an apartment complex together, and all of their issues played out there? I watch movies and wonder what would have happened if Rose had scooched over and let the boy get on the door. I may not write that story, but it will spark another idea, perhaps about a couple abandoning a space shuttle but the escape pods are only meant for one of them.

I get ideas from books, like Megan Whalen Turner or Dianna Wynn Jones and Neil Gaiman. Stories spark more stories.

Tell me more about the book you have planned for release next year.

Which one? I actively go between two or five stories to work on. Does this take me longer to finish a book? Yes, yes, it does. Is this multitasking style the best way to write a book? Probably not, but it’s what I do, and I haven’t been able to break myself of the habit.

Out of all the ones I’m working on, I want The Howling Waste (working title) to be the one published in 2018 – of course I would love to get them all out and done this year too!

Can you share an excerpt with us?

Love to.

Topher walked into the study and collapsed into one of the overstuffed chairs. He clutched at his shirt and forced himself to take deep, even breaths.

“Elmore, come out of that bowl and stand like a man,” he said.

The toad croaked and hopped up on its hind legs, its forelegs on the glass. With a powerful leap, he cleared the rim of the glass bowl. At the arc of his jump, his limbs stretched like puddy and his torso broadened and his head grew like child’s balloon all at once.

The toad stood upright as a man, in form and mostly manner. He still possessed a hint of green to his clammy skin, and a wide gaze. It was rather difficult to tell whether the toad was a man or the man was a toad. Elmore Clark cleared his throat as was his habit and shook his head, as if clearing water from his ears.

“You sounded like a loon,” Clark said.

“Better than sounding like a suspect and having him seriously question me,” Topher said. “Houghton, get in here!” he shouted again.

“Are you sure he’s gone?” Jessop Houghton asked. The dark young man slipped into the room, glancing around as if he expected the inspector to descend from the ceiling and seize them all.

“I put the wards back in place,” Topher said. “We’ll have a fair warning if he arrives.”

“I don’t know if my nerves could take that,” Houghton said.

“Your nerves? I’m the one who had to distract him long enough for you two to put everything away. He knows my bloody name now!”

Houghton winced. He sat on the edge of a chair then was immediately up again. “Do you really think they can smell lies?”

“Taste, hear, smell, whichever. Do you really think I wanted to test him?”

“I think,” Clark said in a reedy voice, “We need a plan for when he does come back, and the good mistress still isn’t back. Lady Reginald has left us in an awkward position.”

“Of course she’s coming back,” Houghton said.

Clark made a derisive noise. Houghton looked to Topher for reassurance, but Topher dropped his gaze.

“How could you think that?” Houghton asked. “She wouldn’t simply abandon us.”

“Perhaps not,” Topher said. “But perhaps she can’t come back now.”

“Of course. She would only be gone so long if something were wrong. We have to help her.”

Houghton nodded and paced the room. Topher watched him and Elmore from where he lounged in the chair, one leg thrown over the arm. He’d only sit like that if he were certain Lady Reginald was very far away, and not near enough to box his ears. Still, he glanced over his shoulder from force of habit.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Recently, I’ve been binge-watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Doc Martin on Netflix. Or trying to. The episodes are very long, but I love it so it’s fine. I am also spending a lot more time planning using traveler’s notebooks. If you don’t know what those are, look up Chic Sparrow or Ali Brown on Youtube.

Fair warning: they’re addictive.

What’s your favorite book?

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I have to say this not just because I adore that book and Gen, but also because after I read that book, I determined that I would be an author.

Favorite authors?

Megan Whalen Turner, Ted Dekker, Dianna Wynn Jones, and Neil Gaiman.

Where’s your favorite place to write?  What’s your writing process like?

I prefer writing at home, in my bedroom, at my desk or on my bed with the door closed and earphones in. however, my personal laptop does not function properly, and my writing process now is using my computer at work in between customers and hovering bosses. So that’s lovely.

Real books or e-readers?

Physical paper in hand books, please. I will read e-books on my phone or tablet but I don’t own an e-reader.

How long have you been writing?

I’m not sure, what year is it? Eight years, I think. I didn’t start writing stories outside of school until 2010. Yes, the match checks out.

Do you have any other books in the works?

Yes, about twenty. No, I’m working on twenty at the same time, but when I get one idea, that usually sparks three more. They’re all fantasy and sci-fi. One book is a short of fantasy retellings, then there’s the YA space opera series, a series of epic fantasy loosely based off of Rumpelstiltskin – and I mean, very loose — another series is a weird western with angels, dragons, shapeshifters, and a witch. Oh, and the Greek inspired portal fantasy. I told you, stories spark stories.

Where can we find your book?

It’s not ready yet! But once it is, you can find it exclusively on Amazon in e-book or paperback. Maybe audiobook too, down the line.

How can everyone reach you? (Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.)

You can reach me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and my website. I’m not quite everywhere.

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*Now Available* – In a Sky Full of Stars

I’m so happy to let you know that my latest story, In a Sky Full of Stars, is officially available on Amazon!  This story encompasses dragons, eclipses, and the difficulty of being human.  It’s just a short one this time, but it’s one that I’m really in love with.

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Why is that Indie Book so Expensive?

Upon the release of my most recent book, I was once again forced to face the issue of price point.  If I charge too little, I won’t make anything.  If I charge too much, nobody will be interested in buying it.  With the numerous ebooks available for free, some folks don’t even want to pay $.99.

I get it.  I don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around.  And most people don’t see the same kind of value in an ebook that they see in a paperback.  After all, you can’t feel the weight of it in your hands, smell the ink on the paper, hear the flip of the pages, or have it signed by the author (at least, not in the same way).

What they don’t think about it that they are paying for so much more than the paper a book is printed on.  There are numerous hours put into creating the plot, writing, rewriting (usually more than once), several rounds of editing, formatting, and cover design.  Not all authors are capable of completing this entire process alone and must hire other professionals to help them.  This means that on top of all their blood, sweat, tears, and late nights beating their heads against the desks, they’ve also put a few hundred dollars into it.

Okay, so after all that is done and the book is available for$2.99 on Amazon, the author starts making almost $3 back for each copy, right?  Nope.  The author can choose from either a 35% or 70% royalty rate, so Amazon immediately gets some off the top.  Which royalty rate you choose depends on the price point of your book, where it’s available, and how big it is.  But the money drain doesn’t stop there.  There are also delivery fees and taxes, not to mention any advertisements, promotions, and giveaways that the author may have done to generate sales.

Let’s apply this to real life.  If I sell a book for $.99, I get $.35 minus a few cents in delivery costs depending on the size of the book.  I would make better money with a guitar case on the street, and I don’t know how to play.

Of course, there are some who say that if you write for the money then you will never be successful.  I those people are just ticked off that their books aren’t selling.  And I will readily admit that my freelance work is what pays the bills, not my books.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe authors should get some sort of acknowledgement for what they have done.  Writing isn’t an easy job, and it can be disheartening to have a quarter thrown at you for your months of hard labor.  Support the authors you love by buying their books, sharing their posts on Facebook or Twitter, and leaving honest reviews.

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Filed under Books, On Writing, Uncategorized

Insecure About Your Writing? I Don’t Doubt It.

I always like making new writing and blogging friends.  In a recent conversation with a new acquaintance, he asked me if you ever get over the “debilitating self-doubt” that comes with writing.

Nope.

I knew that was the answer, but I discovered just how true that was as I prepared to launch my latest book.

Although I’m an indie author, most of my writing happens on the freelance scene.  I have consistent work creating blogs and ghostwriting, and this means that I usually spend a lot more time doing the projects that make me a little cash than the ones that are simply for my own creative pleasure.  I do have quite a few stories waiting to be written, though, so I took the day off from my “regular” work to get my book finished up and ready for release.

By the time I release a book on the world, I’m absolutely sick of it.  I have read this current book so many times that I just can’t stand it any more, and that’s how I know I’m done.  There is nothing more that I can do to change it or make it better.  It is as complete as a book can be.

Even though I knew the book was done, that knowledge didn’t stop a shocking amount of fear and anxiety from creeping up on me as I created a Facebook event and sketched out my marketing ideas.  I thought at first that I was just frustrated; it’s difficult to know what the “right” thing is to do when it comes to promoting your work.  I had a couple of close friends that attempted to help me, but they just couldn’t.  I was an absolute mess.

Eventually, I calmed down and got over it.  I got past the mental block that my anxiety had caused and was able to think creatively again.  I’m good now.

But I want everyone out there who doubts their skill as a writer to understand that you aren’t alone.  Writing is a job that not only takes a lot of hard work but also a lot of bravery.  It’s impossible to write without putting a little bit of yourself into that book, and you’re opening it up for everyone to see it.

It’s tough, but you can do it.

 

Feel free to come drop a like on my Facebook page!

 

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Come Join My Book Release Party!

t’s been almost two years since I released The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, and it’s finally time for the sequel!  Come join my release party for giveaways, the cover reveal,  and other fun!  The best part is that you can do it all in the comfort of your home.

Fun dragon

 

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Let’s Pretend I Got a Movie Deal

The movie is never as good as The Book.  The Book is special and must be treated as such.  The evil movie producers should never stray from anything as small as a line of dialogue in The Book.  They shall scour the Earth to find the one person who looks EXACTLY as the author described the main character, or else we The Readers shall rebel.

Really, we get so upset over these things, myself included.

I was on this nice little fantastical train of thought the other day where The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping was being made into a movie.  Of course, I would be highly involved in the production process and the movie would be wildly successful.  (Hey, I said it was a fantasy, right?)

Anyway, I started to think:  If these really talented Hollywood types who are experts at telling a visual story make recommendations and changes to the original story, would I be so selfish with my book as to not let it happen?  Would I tell them, “Oh, hell no.  My readers expect that wooden box to be square, not rectangular.  I don’t care what your props department thinks; have them carve another one.”

No.

I just started watching the Outlander series on Starz.  I have read and absolutely adored the books.  Even though it’s been several years since I read the first book, I can already tell that the series is not an exact reflection of the book.  But I do know that Diana Gabaldon was highly involved, and she has said on her own Facebook page that “the book is the book, and the show is the show.”  She understands that some changes have to be made to convert the story into one that can be told visually.  And the thing is, it’s still a good story.  Yes, I am usually a staunch supporter of The Book.  But I’m beginning to realize that just because it’s a little bit different in film format doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or bad.

You can all feel free to remind me of this when I do get a movie deal, and I’m yelling at the actors. 🙂

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…Because Who Doesn’t Love the Smell of a Book?

Sometime last year, I was involved in a discussion about whether the “packaging” that a book comes in is important or not.  More specifically, this meant was a book any better for being printed on paper instead of being produced in ebook format?

My answer, if I was listening to the logical angel on one shoulder, was no.  A good story is a good story.  It doesn’t matter if it has a great cover, or lots of marketing, or what it might or might not be printed on.  These factors affect how well the book sells and who buys it, but they don’t change anything about the story itself.

The passionate angel on the other shoulder thoroughly disagreed.  Sure, ebooks are convenient, good for the environment, cheaper, blah blah blah.  But you don’t get the same sensation of holding the book.  You don’t hear that beautiful scrapey noise of the pages turning.  You don’t get the sweet, comforting sensation of reading words that are permanently imprinted on paper.  Most of all, you don’t get that smell.  It doesn’t matter if they’re new or old, books smell amazing.

I’m thinking about this right now because I just requested the cover edits for my upcoming book.  Like always, I’ll release it in both formats.  Like always, I’ll be excited to see the listing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and various other platforms with my name and a thumbnail picture of the book.  But I will be absolutely thrilled to actually feel the hard copy of it in my hand and to smell the fresh ink on those crisp, white pages.

What do you think?  Is there a difference to you in how the book you’re reading is packaged?  I’d love to know!

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