As an Independent Author one of the many hats I wear is that of a marketing genius. Now that’s not to say that I am one, only that that is what I hope to be. In the Indie world there are a few tried and tested avenues for successful marketing but then there are a lot of new avenues popping up every day and its always a good thing to keep on top of new trends.

One of the things that recently caught my eye as I geared up for my final quarter marketing was Amazon’s KDP marketing campaigns. A couple of the things I liked about it was that you could pull out of the ads at any time during the campaign and that it was a set your own pay per click amount. I did some research and read a few good things about it, and a few who said it wasnt so great, but I thought I would give it a try. I figured the worst thing that would happen was that I could use a few of my marketing dollars make a few extra sales and that I could at least pass along my experiences to others in my network.

I decided to go with the first book in my romantic suspense series as my test case, being that it was a newer series for me and that I have the second due out shortly. I filled out their campaign request form and waited their acceptance of my campaign.

I had to laugh a few hours later when I received the following email back from them:

Thank you for submitting your ad campaign "Allison's Account 10/07/2015" for review. Unfortunately, we are unable to approve your ad as yourbook cover violates one of our ad guideline policies i.e Bare skin. Asa result, your campaign will not be served.
Please visit http://www.amazon.com/b/?&node=7354330011 to check our adguideline policy. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us athttps://kdp.amazon.com/contact-us?topicId=kdpSelect&subtopicId=advertising.
The Amazon Marketing Services Team

Thinking that it was some sort of automated algorithm that had flagged the bare skin I decided to email them back. I was laughing as I wrote the following back because it all seemed to silly to be anything more than that;

Really? Its a SHOULDER and ARM of a man? See below for your email rejecting my ad campaign.... the book itself can be found here ----> http://amzn.to/1GpBApS

I had a few words with other independent authors and we all agreed that it had to be some sort of automated thing, that wiser heads would prevail and it would quickly be cleared up. My amusement quickly turned to frustration when I recieved the following response;

I understand your concern regarding the ad campaign rejection.

I've checked with our Ad campaign moderators on the reason of rejection.
They have replied saying it is a "Provocative Image" i.e Bare Skin andsuggested you to to change the book cover which complies with our ad policy guidelines and create a new campaign if you're interested to runa ad campaign.
If you'd like to resubmit this campaign, please update anything in it that would violate the Amazon Creative Acceptance Policies or the Amazon Ad Policy for Books:

Thanks for using KDP.

Wait what? Change my cover? Seriously? Just to be able to run an advertisement? And what about the others out there that run ads all the time on Amazon? So I pushed a little further, trying to understand why they had come up with the decision they had.

So am I to understand that no Historical Romance novels are allowed to have an ad with you either? Given that 90% of their covers contain bare skin...generally women's shoulders and arms as was the style of dress from the period that they were written?
Please advise.

I figured at this point they would be able to see that this was somehow a mistake and they weren’t putting everything into the proper perspective. Its a guy holding a shirt over his shoulder. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Thanks for taking the time to contact Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) back. I hope this email finds you well!
I would like first to apologize for the inconvenience this situation has caused. Every cover is analyzed individually, and besides the bare skin, our moderators consider the image as a whole, and its intended meaning.
Historical romance novels may be allowed if for example they show a girl with her shoulders bare, but sitting in the prairie alone, maybe holding a flower, rather than being kissed by a man: this is why our moderators mean by "the image's intended meaning." Nevertheless, the final decision is made by our moderators.
I hope this information helps. Thanks for your understanding, and for using Amazon KDP.

This is now the third person who has written back to me (fourth if you count the initial email) and I am sorry to say it went from being a logical conversation to being a bit on the silly side. I can tell you right here right now that there are plenty of historical romance books with the hero sweeping the heroine up into his arms for a deep kiss, almost guarantee that there is some bare skin on either male or female or both and I can bet my marketing dollars on them being advertised well. Not many that I can think of where a girl is sitting in the middle of a prairie holding a flower, but that’s just me.

As for intended meaning, that is highly arbitrary. It is a shirtless guy holding his shirt over his shoulder. I could open any male fashion magazine and I would easily be able to pick out men holding jackets, sweaters and shirts in a very similar stance as the model on my cover. It means nothing and everything, depending on who you are speaking to.

I can tell you right now my initial thought was to fire back an email that said “If I switched the shirt for a flower would you let it me have my campaign.?”  It honestly seems ridiculous to me, and to anyone in the industry that I’ve spoken to about the situation. I mean Amazon has nothing to lose. They would not only get my marketing dollars, but because I publish through KDP they would also get a cut off of every book I sell. To me that screams easy money. So what gives.

Rather than coming across as rude with my off the cuff response I decided to take the rest of the day to think about a logical response and I figured I would do some research just to be sure I wasn’t talking without a leg to stand on. Friday morning I sent this off to them:

Hi Again KDP Rep,
Sorry it took so long to respond. I am also sorry that this is still continuing and you are the one ending up having to deal with the situation today. However I am back to further this discussion. Please see attached copies of ads on YOUR site with varying degrees of bare skin and clearly "implied meaning". 
Please advise.

I included five different screen shots of ads I found around Amazon where there was bare skin, both male and female, I was also able to find a few ads where the couple was leaning in for a kiss and more than one of them had clearly implied meanings in their ads. I could have added more, as lets face it well designed covers sell the goods that are in between the pages, but I figured I had enough to prove my point.

Apparently I had gotten their attention this time as I got the following response from now a fifth person;

Hello Allison,

Thanks for writing back with the screenshots.

I've forwarded your concern to our Ad moderators again. We'll need a little time to look into the appeal.

I'll follow up on the case and contact you with an update within 3-5 business days.

Thanks for your patience.

Three to five business days to get back to me. In the meantime I am left to wonder what the actual criteria is for their decisions. Is it based on personal feeling or is there an actual guideline for the moderators to base their decisions on?  Even with the guidelines and criteria there is bound to be some sort of natural human feelings that go into making the call. If that call isn’t a fair or valid call what can authors or publicists do to appeal the decision?

So far it has taken four different people for me to get a response that didn’t include justification for their decision that doesn’t match other decisions or suggestions that I change my cover. I am not sure what they will respond at this point as their responses seem to be all over the place or if their “3-5 business days” is in the hopes that I will move on and forget about the conversation.

I do hope that they will do the right thing. I do hope there is an actual appeal process and wiser heads on the other end of it. But really given everything they haven’t done in the last few days, I’m not holding my breath.

BLOG TOUR: 50 Shades of Truth by Josef



About the author: The author is a man who has lived two lives; one ordinary and the other extraordinary. It has not been fabricated, exaggerated, or embellished in any way. It’s the raw truth and he is not really sure why he wrote it, but his therapist thought it was a good idea. Writing down his life’s story might simply be a part of the healing process, so he can finally move on with his life and live it like a normal person. It has been written in a way that tries to depict how the author felt at the time and how he feels now, and he can only use words or terms that make that possible.

Editors Summary (dustcover):
This is a wonderfully entertaining, sometimes humorous, sometimes shocking, sometimes challenging, but always entertaining account of this man’s life. It is the true autobiographical story of a real life Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde. This man has lived a double life, secret to all who knew him. Many other men can only fantasize about what he has experienced. Could the variety and extent of his sexual world really belong to one man? How did he keep this side of his life secret? What trigger-­points in his life can explain his behaviour?

There was a leather armchair in the corner across from me, and next to it some kind of apparatus against the wall. I wasn’t sure what it was but it looked like something you could use to restrain someone. It might be my first time here, but I knew where I was and had some idea of what went on. Or at least, I thought I did. It was like a large “X” shape and had small metal eye hooks attached at various points. It had a foreboding look, but at the same time I was excited and intrigued looking at it. I would later learn that it’s called a St Andrews Cross, and I would come to love the view from it, with my arms and legs spread, and my naked body shackled against it. But that would all come later, as I dived headlong into the exciting world of BDSM. For now I felt like a country rube that had been dropped into the middle of Times Square.

There were other various loose items around the room, on shelves and hanging from the walls. There were masks, whips and dildos. Lots of leather. I smiled to myself through my inebriated haze, ‘lots of leather, what did I expect?’ Even without visiting a dungeon, everyone who thinks about it has the stereotypical images of a mistress. Tall, dressed in tight leather outfits, long leather boots, and the mandatory leather whip. But in the end, mistresses come in all shapes and sizes and dress in all kinds of ways, although always sexily. They are such delicious creatures.

After a while I heard footsteps approach the door. It opened quietly and the receptionist came into the room with my drink.

“Here you are,” she said, handing me the glass. “The mistresses won’t be long now. Make yourself comfortable.”

I thanked her as she left the room, and drank my scotch, syphoning it through the ice she had put in the glass and drained it in a gulp. I remember thinking it was way too much ice, and made a mental note to pass on the coke next time. I placed the glass on the table and stood up, wondering where I’d be most comfortable, and whether I should be sitting or standing when the mistresses came in. I decided to sit, and went to the other side of the room and sat in the armchair, next to the St Andrews cross. The armchair was facing the door directly, and diagonally opposite. I sat and waited. My mind was numb with anticipation……and what the fuck was taking so long! It was like time had gone into slow motion. I couldn’t think anymore, wondering what was going to happen, and what it would be like, so I tried to sit quietly, and waited.

More footsteps; finally!

This time when the door opened I got my first look at a Mistress.


Grab your copy on Amazon!!

Q&A with Izzy Szyn


What were you like at school?

Believe it or not I was quiet.  I spent a lot of time helping my mom with brothers and sisters while she worked.

Were you good at English?

Yep one of my favorite subjects

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To get better with every book

Which writers inspire you?

Mina Carter not only is one of my favorites, but she is very supportive. Every newbie writer needs a Mina Carter. Cynthia Sax, Lori Foster, Jayne Ann Krentz, Eden Bradley.

So, what have you written?

I have so far published 4, my fifth one comes out Aug 11.

The first one I published was The Anniversary Present.

For several months Carly Adams has worked at Bennett Services. She loves her job but rumor has it that the more popular assistants do more than file, or errands. When Carly gets the opportunity step in for someone at work, she meets Parker and Amber. They need someone to assist them for the upcoming game convention in Las Vegas.

But this is also their anniversary and Parker always gets Amber what she wants for their anniversary. This year her present is Carly.

Sexual Chemistry: Love, Sex, Rock and Roll

Chelsea Davidson has no idea what her next step in life was going to be until she runs into who she thinks is a lookalike for her favorite band lead singer Jacki Knight in her building. When the elevator breaks down and she is finds out it is really Sexual Chemistry lead singer Jacki and she offers her the biggest fantasy she has ever had. Jacki and Sam Knight live in a open marriage. They often have Men or Women in their bed, But with the scandal over sex slaves in the news they are trying to keep a low profile. Chelsea is a want they can’t resist and after one kiss they can’t keep away from her. Their one night turns into more. How will the rest of Sexual Chemistry react to Chelsea?

Smexy Phantasies

Rachel Nichols works at the switchboard with her best friend Lisa Farmer for a local television station. Lisa and Rachel have been best friends since the second grade and have done almost everything together. The one thing they never admitted, though, is that they are attracted to each other. Money is tight for both of them, Lisa’s mom was in a bad car accident and has a bunch of medical bills and Rachel’s mom has a gambling problem. Lisa recently started a second job to help with the bills. The job? She works at Smexy Studios making sex videos with people who have fantasies. When her shoot is canceled, she gets Rachel to come and shoot the video with her. Justin Abernathy and Steve Westmoreland, like Rachel and Lisa, have been best friends since elementary school. Justin is the quarterback and Steve the running back for the same professional football team and they are secretly lovers. When rumors start to circulate about their relationship, Justin and Steve enlist the help of Rachel and Lisa to pretend that they are lovers. They decide to make a video that will be “leaked” to the media.

Sexual Chemistry Too: Jasmine’s Seduction

It’s the follow-up to Sexual Chemistry.

Jasmine has always wanted Troy. She knows Troy has a secret.

Troy has always wanted Jasmine. He doesn’t think she would be able to accept his secret.

But when his secret is waiting when they get home from a tour, he has an offer neither one of them can resist.

Bridget’s Phantasies (Coming Aug 11)

Bridget Parker has worked for Scott Davis’ company Davis Industries for the past six months. Her life up until now has not been an easy one. Her mother was a drug addict that always chose men and drugs over her daughter. Bridget is summoned to Scott’s office unexpectedly. When she arrives she is in for a shock when she sees her mother sitting in the office.

Her mother had used Bridget’s credentials to log in and embezzle funds from Scott’s business accounts. She offers Bridget’s services in exchange for them dropping the charges.

Scott and his head of security Nick have more than a working relationship. They also like to share women. It was well known around the company that women came and went very quickly. Most of them tried to go after Scott and his money.

Bridget had seen them in the elevator and wanted them ever since. She even had named her favorite vibrators after them. When her mother embezzles from Scott’s company she knows that her fantasy of being with them will never happen. But Nick and Scott are not going to let her go that easily.

Where can we buy or see them?


Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

I think that with my characters they tend to have to overcome objections by other people.

What are you working on at the minute?

Bite Thy Neighbor it’s my first paranormal.

What’s it about?

Nikki Shea has feelings for Carter Simmons. She knows he is a vampire, just when she is about to give up on him he declares she is his mate.

But there is something about Nikki that she isn’t even aware of.

What genre are your books?

Erotic romance

What draws you to this genre?

I love to read them.

How much research do you do?

Google is my friend.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not yet. I wouldn’t say no.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I was dared by Iris Pross. Before I started writing I was perfectly happy doing promotional stuff. I moderate writer chats at Writerspace and someone was talking about their book. Iris saw it and said that she bets that I could write. So she convinced me to give it a try.

Why do you write?

Cause the characters don’t shut up.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Iris threatened me. Plus she kept sending me links for people looking for submissions.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Part time. I work a full time job. I want to write full time though

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I work in a call center and write in between calls. I also write on my days off.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I try to write a little every day

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write longhand when at work and type the info in the computer when I get home. On my days off I write on computer

Where do the your ideas come from?

Talking to customers, watching television, I like thinking what if? But the stories themselves come to me at 3am which is inconvenient when I have to be at work the next morning.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think, or hope that my writing has gotten better.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding time to do it when stuff gets in the way

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Not being easily distracted

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Once I’m in the zone, I can type quick.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A couple months

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I either work on something else, or will read through what I have written so far. It sometimes helps.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

Bridget is supposed to be the 3rd book in series. But the first book in the series Phantasy House was supposed to be out in May, but the publisher folded. It is now at Hot Ink Press and will be out in November.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I didn’t intend to write a series but other characters started talking and wanting their story told.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

Not as much as I used to with writing. The same authors that inspire me are my favorites.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I don’t have a preference

What book/s are you reading at present?

Dangerously Broken by Eden Bradley

Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?

Sexual Chemistry Too is self-published. I hired Megahan McCarthy who is the daughter of one of my favorite writers Erin McCarthy. She is really good and very reasonable.

In Bridget Karmin Dahl edited it, she works for Hot Ink Press.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

The first two covers were designed by the awesome Mina Carter, Smexy Phantasies and Bridget’s Phantasies were designed by Rue Volley. Sexual Chemistry Too was done by Iris Pross.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Main advantage you have total control. Disadvantage is paying for stuff like covers, editing.

How do you market your books?

All over Facebook and blog tours

Why did you choose this route?

Because social media is the best way to market them,

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Find a group of people who have your back. Make sure they will promote your books. I am slowly building a good street team. The main thing is to find people who will promote you.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

I have a group of friends I have trust, but am open to anyone who will review.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Good/bad reviews is part of the writing process. Even a bad review you can learn something from it.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Do not flood social media with your post so that other books are pushed to the bottom.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?

I would love to but not that creative. There is a friend though who is talented enough to make them

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I don’t think it works that much that’s why I don’t give many away.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. Don’t let others tell you what you want to write won’t sell.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Indie market will get bigger. More and more traditional writers are going indie. There is more freedom.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

I think you are cute. (Aww thanks Iz!)


Thanks Izzy for joining us this week and for sharing your experiences with us!

Be sure to follow Izzy:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IzzySzyn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/izzySzyn

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Izzy-Szyn/e/B00XKHESO4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13836241.Izzy_Szyn

Q&A with Mistral Dawn


Please give a warm welcome to Mistral Dawn this week on the blog!


TakenbytheHuntsman AmazonWhat were you like at school?

I was the math/science nerd.  I did okay at English, but it didn’t interest me

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would love to be able to make a living being an author.

So, what have you written?

I’ve written two full-length novels, Taken By The Huntsman and Bound By The Summer Prince, and a novella in the same series, Intrigue In The Summer Court.

What genre are your books?

Fantasy romance/paranormal romance/erotic romance

Where do the your ideas come from?

The idea for my first novel, Taken By The Huntsman, came to me in a dream. The ideas for the subsequent stories in the series came to me as I was writing. Characters just seemed to be jumping up and down screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” so I did. ;-) I’ve also got an idea for a cyberpunk series that I haven’t started working on yet that came to me while I was watching a really boring movie. I wasn’t paying attention, and something happened on screen that I misunderstood at first. That misunderstanding started the hamsters in my brain running, and it just sort of took off. Another series I have ideas for is the result of a comment made by a politician during an interview. I’ve come to the conclusion that ideas are everywhere. ;-)

When did you decide to become a writer?

I just started writing fiction in June 2014. That was when I decided to write down the stories that were floating around in my head.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I am very fortunate to know two amazing people, Gabe Wright and Michaela Goebel, who are wonderfully kind and have helped me edit my stories.

Who designed your book cover/s?

Erin Dameron-Hill designed the covers for Taken By The Huntsman and Bound By The Summer Prince, and Julie Nicholls designed the cover for Intrigue In The Summer Court. Both ladies are amazingly talented!

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?BoundByTheSummerPrince Amazon2

Someone contacted me on Twitter and asked where Fairie is located. Figuring that they were joking, I answered that it lies between Neverland and the Land of Oz. Wow, yeah, they weren’t joking and got really mad at me!

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?

I think it’s mostly that people don’t know about them. It’s really hard for indie authors to get their work in front of people, because we don’t have the marketing apparatus of the big publishing companies.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s? 

I do have a trailer!


Thank you Mistral for hanging out with us and answering a few questions for us!

Be sure to follow Mistral:

Blog: http://mistralkdawn.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MistralKDawn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MistralKDawn

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mistral-Dawn/e/B00NGXETSM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MistralDawn

Book Links:

Taken By The Huntsman: http://www.amazon.com/Taken-The-Huntsman-Mistral-Dawn-ebook/dp/B00NGANG5C/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1S7KHWPRMFQ78EMFART7 Bound By The Summer Prince: http://www.amazon.com/Bound-By-The-Summer-Prince-ebook/dp/B00U1QFOWC/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15CJ3TKAH2JYM35R9DZB

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8549061.Mistral_Dawn

Teaser Tuesday with Mistral Dawn


Here to share her latest release ‘Intrigue In The Summer Court’, is the ever lovely Mistral Dawn!


alternate cover testing“‘To the bold go the fair,’ Baby. You’ll have to prove your worth,” she breathed.

 “Ha,” he laughed scornfully as he carried her into the bedroom, “and you believe you’re ‘fair’?”  He dropped her, seated, on the end of the bed, her feet dangling at least a foot above the floor.

“Why don’t you tell me?” she asked, a challenge in her eyes as she looked up at him.

Taking both of her hands in one of his, he kept his grip as she tugged lightly against him. Gently pulling her up to her knees on the bed, he held his Anamchara’s wrists against the carved post of the bed.  The carving’s depiction of a chain of leaves gave him inspiration, and he brought the picture to life, binding her to the pillar with a magical garland.  Moving his hands to her shoulders, he took hold of her shirt and bra and, with one jerk, ripped them from her body.

Studying the expanse of creamy flesh that had been revealed, he reached out with one hand and lightly trailed a finger from her shoulder and over the mound of one breast to circle her nipple.  The sensitive bud drew up and tightened with his gentle exploration and he mumbled, “Oh yes. Stunning.”


Grab your copy on Amazon!

Q&A with Dylan Madeley


As promised Dylan is back today to answer some questions for us! Please give him a warm welcome!


10941522_10155605558495467_6483674554290516225_nWhat were you like at school?

I was the very strange person, not the way I was dressed as we had a uniform and dress code at my high school, but just wandering the halls a lot and constantly plugged into whatever very loud music CD I had loaded into the Discman. I did have people I got along with well but I had trouble settling down with any one group, I just felt like I had to keep moving.

Were you good at English?

Interestingly, in my last years of high school, I couldn’t crack an A in English, but could score 98% in Writer’s Craft. English encompasses many other skills, and in my case I had more of a problem with motivation and giving school projects their due.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would like to do this all the time, make at least thirty thousand dollars a year, and not have to work any other job. So far, as a self-pub, I’ve learned that the first book is more of an investment than an earner, and I haven’t quit any of the various freelance jobs (transcribing, editing) which put together don’t really earn my goal amount.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

It took a couple of tries. My educational background did involve shorter stories, but nothing about how to write novels, so this is something I had as a goal for many years but needed to fail at (and learn from) for a couple of years, in lieu of any other novelizing education. The supportive group environment of National Novel Writing Month motivated me to get a first draft of a minimum 50K length, even though it would take me six years to get that first project to become my debut, The Gift-Knight’s Quest.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I am a computer man. I write with a keyboard. Preferably a portable computer such as a laptop, but it must have a keyboard. Caught between an early childhood education where handwriting was the trendy thing, and a junior/high school education where I managed to learn how to print but never quickly or particularly well… I find that keyboards get my ideas on to some media at a satisfying speed and reading clarity, and it takes longer for my hands to cramp up as they’re much more used to typing than to handwriting. That said, I buy some notebooks for their covers, and occasionally take one out per year for some contrived use (this time, taking notes from the first 11 chapters of a sequel manuscript before I actually did any rewriting/revision of the digital copy).

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I work best when I have some form of “starter’s outline”, but don’t feel chained to it. If I get a better idea/visual along the way and it feels right, I bend and sometimes break the outline. Whatever’s best for the story is more important than strictly adhering to a prescribed process. The outline does get some credit because it contains notes and ideas that I can easily forget; in that sense, it’s more like a map to consult only when needed.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?giftknight

My first book was published self-edited. The outcome was okay, but I do open it up and find a couple of “ou” inconsistencies (honor/honour); while Canadian English often uses these alternate spellings interchangeably, it’s probably a good idea to pick one and stick with it for the duration of the book. I do get beta readers to search for logical inconsistencies, and only the most glaring anachronisms.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I left The Gift-Knight’s Quest to stew for over a year, which is one key reason why my revision process took six years; you can’t finish the process that you don’t start. I admit to being afraid that the story could never be good, or else that I couldn’t fix its problems despite my commitment to do so. It was also too short, and there was too much that I didn’t know about the world and the plot. In the end, I learned what I needed to know by writing the sequels, and only then could I go back for confident revision.

Who designed your book cover/s?

My good friend Rona Dijkhuis, a webcomic artist I met on Keenspace/Comicgenesis/SquareOne (lots of change during those past years). The work of hers I most remember is American Gothic Daily. When I decided to self-publish, I knew I would need lots of help, and she happily offered me a few pieces of artwork—the cover, and some other caterpillar life cycle drawings we didn’t end up using for the campaign itself.

How are you publishing this book and why?

I have published this work through Matador Books, which is the self-publishing imprint of Troubador. I paid for the services they provide. It was just about the top recommended self-publishing service in the English-speaking world that I could find through Google (when looking at services that include/go beyond Amazon as a platform). They’ve been helpful in setting up my ebook sales on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, the Kobo Store, and Amazon (US, UK, Canada). The UK is also one of the biggest English language markets for paperbacks because there’s still a vast preference to hard copies over ebooks there, and so I had a good shot at shelf space in high street bookstores there. However, my first efforts were always aimed at traditional publishers and agents; what I’m doing now is making as much of a name for myself as I can, because letters which read “Breaking out a new writer is difficult, you’re an unknown” get dull. My current efforts are to persuade publishers to take a smart risk on this work, with the renewed confidence that comes from a 4.5/5 star average and knowing that the vast majority of readers are happy with this book. I hope it’s easier to convince them this book is worth it, now that I believe it myself.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?

I have two trailers, one for each main character. Each is under a minute in length. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2pmynBirXA (Trailer 1 / Derek Wancyek) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijbjkukQTL8 (Trailer 2 / Chandra Kenderley)

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Dylan, I think some part of you already knows that not all of a writer’s development comes from within, or at least not in your case. The people and the world that you like to hide from are actually going to provide the experiences you need to get better at what you want to do. The need for those experiences is not going to make them less scary, because you have an undiagnosed psychiatric difficulty. There are people who can help you, but be careful of getting discouraged when the first people you go to for help are the opposite of helpful.


Thanks so much Dylan for taking the time to answer our questions and share ‘The Gift-Knight’s Quest’ with us! Be sure to follow Dylan:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegiftknightsquest

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spacedylansays

Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=9038935&trk

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00YIX70GM

Book Links: http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=3174

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25413493-the-gift-knight-s-quest

And stay tuned next week as we welcome Mistral Dawn to the blog!

WIP Wednesdays ~ BodyGuard, Den of Thieves #2


You may or may not know but I’m just a month an a half away from the release of the second book in my new romantic suspense series, Den of Thieves, as a present to my faithful readers I am going to treat you to excerpts from it in the weeks leading up to its release. So until then faithful readers, enjoy!


The sun was shining and the birds were chirping. Olivia was having brunch at her local cafe just like she did every Saturday morning. She liked sitting on the patio in the warmer months, watching the people come and go. It was a nice break from her hectic everyday as a county prosecutor.

She took a sip of her coffee just as tires screeched. Olivia’s head snapped up in the direction of the sound. A dark black sedan had just finished turning the corner at the end of her street.

It picked up speed as it shot down the road toward where she was sitting on her front porch.

Then just as suddenly as it had started racing toward her, it started slowing down.

The next few seconds happened in slow motion. The passenger window rolled down and the muzzle of a gun appeared.

The next few seconds passed by as if they were hours. In nightmarish slow motion she watched the flash of gun going off, heard the pop-pop as it fired a second time and felt the air whoosh by as the bullets passed by her.

Someone was shooting at her!

Olivia’s breath caught in her chest as she dove off of her chair to the ground as the pop-pop continued.

The bullets whizzed by her head striking the chair where she sat. They didn’t stop. They just kept coming.



The last one found its target. Her left shoulder felt like she had been punched. She gasped in the air that had been knocked out of her and screamed.

The fire engulfed her shoulder and shot down the side of her body. She lay down as close to the ground as she could and whimpered. She could hear sirens in the background.

One of the men yelled something to the other and the car suddenly picked up speed and shot off down the road.

She didn’t move. She couldn’t. The pain in her shoulder was so bad she could barely catch a breath. She lay there on the ground watching the pool of blood slowly growing beside her.

She listened to the sirens getting closer and prayed they would make it in time. She didn’t want to die. Not like this. It hurt too much.

Bright lights flashed. Red and Blue. She closed her eyes. She was tired and the pain was getting to be too much.

“Over here! We have one down!” a woman’s voice called out.

She could feel hands on her. She was so tired.

She closed her eyes.

“Stay with me. Stay with me.” She could hear the woman’s voice but it sounded so far away.

She tried to open her eyes. They were so heavy she didn’t have the strength.

“Ma’am? Can you hear me? Ma’am–” the bodiless voice got further and further away with each word.

Then her world faded to black.