I must say a VERY big thank you to my wonderful sci-fi cover designer. Even though he has read the first book in the series, Chris has only had a few bits revealed to him as to the content of the upcoming books – scribblers are notoriously reticent when it comes to spoilers. And yet he has come up with the perfect covers for the next three books in the series. So – hail to Chris Graham and all those artists who can see into our dreams and interpret them in the real world. Kudos! I can’t wait to see what he does with the final eleven.
I don’t think that a series is something that you write one book at a time, and just guess at what comes next. I have the entire plot for Shadow People planned right till the end, and most of the books already have quite a lot going on. Books two to four will all be published between now and early 2015. So without further waffle, let me share my gorgeous new covers, and a hearty recommendation should you need cover art, to pop over and have a word with their creator – Chris Graham.
Book Two: The Hunger
After the sudden and dramatic appearance of thousands of alien ships in Earth’s skies, and the attempted infiltration and destruction of the planet by the demonic Nefandus, the rulers of the world are reeling. Natalie returns to Lapillus, and together with the Voxavi and their allies meet up with a previously unknown race of ocean dwellers, with a seemingly dubious agenda. Over the millions of years that Lapillus has lain prey to the Nefandus much has changed and there is much to be learned. Gabe, Brian, Shelty and Naka head off on various expeditions that reveal stunning revelations on Earth, Mars, and the Moon, but what is revealed in the deserts of Libya changes everything. The Gluri reveal more to Natalie, and she begins to search for the truth in the ancient, but seemingly universal, legends of God, angels and the devil himself. The Vimana remain as secretive as ever, but one secret as to their origins is revealed. The Voxavi children grow as warriors, and a new race of genetically engineered dragons begins on Naka’s home planet that will resemble their ancestors very little.
Book Three: The Jewel
The importance of Earth in the final battle of good and evil is slowly revealed. More is learned about the souls of all and the simplicity of time and space. The golden orbs in the seas of Lapillus are finally broached, and strange and wonderful treasures are found within, as well as hints as to the origins and motives of the Gretch. The great megalithic jewels of the planet are found to hold strange powers, and the shifting green sands of Lapillus hold the key to finding the most terrifying entity in the universe. Gabe, Brian, Shelty and Naka undertake a dangerous journey to try and recover the one thing that allowed evil to take precedence over good in the universe.
Book Four: The Keeper
It is discovered that the Gretch never gave up their zoo worlds – they merely hid them. Natalie comes face to face with the greatest evil of all time, and it wants more than anything to change her. Only Sablo can save her, but will she be in time? The home world of the Nefandus, thought to have been destroyed by Natalie and Sablo is found, and only the concerted efforts of all the remaining Vimana can prevent their desperate attempts to leave it. Success is unlikely, and if they fail the demons will infiltrate unmapped portions of the universe. The Atunlaki fall into a trap that could signal the death of all of them. Earth struggles to rise above all those who wish to see evil reign. The machinations of a small elite of the new order who worship the Gretch mean that the push of a button will mean the end of the entire battle.
I have a very special guest in my hut today. None other than friend to readers around the globe, and tireless supporter and mentor to indie authors. Chris Graham is The Story Reading Ape we know and love. For those of you who know Discworld, you might be surprised to hear that his first cousin is the Librarian at the Unseen University – no need run though – our Ape got all the friendly genes.
Mostly for me Chris is a wonderful friend, and not because he has the klout to make my books visible to real readers, but because for the duration of the time that I’ve known him, he’s often blown me away with his acts of generosity to so many of our tribe of often much maligned indie writers. He promotes our work, shares really useful tips on the nuts and bolts of our profession, and often pops up with hilarious bits of fun just to brighten our days. Mostly he hunts down good reads for his furry following of readers and has regular bookworm goodies to share. For those of you who don’t know him yet – what y’all waiting for then? Thank you so much for joining me in my hut dear Ape – it’s much more spacious on the inside as you can see, and don’t worry about the little feathered guys. I’m sure they realise you’re a bit too big to eat…. I think….. I hope….. Over to you that Ape!
Before we start, I’d like to thank my very good friend Jo for inviting me to her lovely home and also to request her to please turn off the spotlights and loosen my restraining straps, I promise not to rampage or frighten the little Birds, they are perfectly safe perched on my ears (providing the one on my left ear stops trying to pull the fur out of it) 🙂
You are very supportive of self published authors, giving so many the opportunity to be seen on your Story Reading Ape website. What inspired you to do this?
When I got my first eReader (a Nook HD) in December 2012, it had an app already on it for Goodreads. Being a curious (oh, all right – NOSY) ape, I clicked on it and signed up. As I was dragging books I had read out of my ancient (extremely dusty and cobweb packed) furry brain cell (I’ve only got the one very hard working brain cell LOL), I joined a few groups and started receiving notifications from them.
Among these were Indie Authors looking for reviewers, telling about their new book releases, discount and free days, etc, but most were pleas for help in advertising the books.
As I got more familiar with Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and the like, I started looking at the authors profiles and was amazed at how sparse the information was, with a few exceptions.
Most authors were so intent in selling their books, they had missed out on, in my opinion, the opportunity to actually CONNECT with the readers and becoming a familiar, friendly household name, the way more famous authors are.
What do I mean by this? Well, look how much information is available about the authors themselves – the books are only part of what interests readers, they like to learn more about the PEOPLE who WRITE them!
That is why I started my blog, to give Indie authors the same opportunities that the famous authors had.
Tell us – who is Chris Graham, the person? What do you love, not like at all, do for fun?
I, me, myself? I’m no-one special, just an ordinary old ape who loves reading and being transported to other times and worlds.
I don’t like flying – not afraid of it, just fed up doing it for so many years, so I avoid it as much as possible now. For fun, apart from reading, I like to get out for long walks in nature, visit historical places, take photographs, many a poor unsuspecting animal, bird, fish, tree and bush have been snapped unawares (but not in embarrassing situations) 🙂
I also enjoy playing on my computer with my 3D and Image Editing programmes.
Take us on a little tour of your The Story Reading Ape site, and show us around your world.
Well, the main blog is all about authors (as people) and their books, plus helpful editing tips from a Professional Editor every Tuesday, plus, any helpful, informative articles for writers from other blogs.
There are, of course, announcements about new / debut books, bargain or free days.
It also spotlights special people I’ve met online and is a talent showcase for published and unpublished writers.
AND LOTS MORE 🙂
Associated with the main blog, are eleven (11) bookcases, sorted by genre, where visitors can browse and even get to the relevant online store to buy them. Visitors can even follow these bookcase blogs, so when books are added, they will get an email about them 🙂
Yours is the only site that I personally know of that showcases such a wide variety of genres. What are your favourite genres to read?
Oh, I like most genres from informative to fantasy, historical fiction to science fiction and even books for kids (being just a big overgrown kid at heart myself LOL
What is your opinion of ebooks for children?
I think they’re great!
Nowadays, some kids would be embarrassed to be seen with a real book, but an eReader is acceptable.
I have a special fondness for informative books for kids and read as many as I can, I’ve learned a LOT about animals and things that way 🙂
Who are your top three favourite authors, and why do you love them?
Sir Terry Pratchett is at the top of the list, it was he who gave inspiration for, and life to, my online persona!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his Sherlock Holmes and non SH books.
Charles Dickens with his entertaining and insightful stories.
I also have favourite Indie Authors, but I’m not going to name them, most have appeared on my blog though and some have yet to visit when they get the time.
Apart from your three top favourites, what books have most influenced you?
Animal Farm and Roots both resonated with me and made me vow not to deliberately oppress anyone or anything, to make amends if I had inadvertently done so and to help those who were being oppressed by others.
I strongly oppose cruelty, bullying, intolerance and terrorism, in ANY form, to ANY creature!
Sorry Jo, I didn’t mean to snap the restraints like that, I’ll just climb back down from your roof and nibble a nice calming banana or three 🙂
Share your best banana recipe. Add a copyright if you’re concerned about any other recipe stealing apes out there.
All apes (and anyone else) are welcome to any banana recipes, but I think it might be better to skip past this question Jo, my furry chin is already dripping wet from the delicious pictures flashing through my braincell LOL
Ha haaa – eeeek! Have you ever written anything yourself, and do you see yourself publishing anything in the future.
Only the odd article on my blog, or other people’s blogs. I can’t say I will never publish, because stranger things have happened 🙂
You are a talented cover art designer, and created the fantastic cover for my Shadow People (I LOVE it!). Tell us about your book art and cover design business.
(Blushes madly – in the furry face you naughty reader!)
It’s still early days Jo, you were kind enough to publish one of my efforts and the late Steve Smy published three covers with my work on them, so my ‘portfolio’ is small, but growing.
At present, the images I show on my Book Covers for Sale blog are just to demonstrate some of the capabilities I have with my software, however, I will be posting an article in January showing much more ‘Book Cover’ like examples, complete with text 🙂
What was the nicest, funniest, or most stand out moment in your online life?
The most stand out moment to date was when the Fourth Grade pupils from Honduras, plus their parents and teachers, visited my blog articles about their interview (by Skype) with two young authors based in the USA.
I was left some lovely comments and they were telling everyone they met that they were famous because they appeared on my blog.
I wish all kids were so enthusiastic and so lucky to have such an inspiring teacher and that all authors, Indie and Established, would take the time that Josh and Jared did to connect with their fans, kids and adults alike.
What is your opinion on self-publishing today, and what do you think readers want from indie writers?
Apart from good entertaining stories, I think better editing and for European authors, better translations from their languages into other languages, not just English.
I know that sometimes books from ‘Established’ authors also contain errors, but not, I have to be frank, to the same extent.
If you suddenly became grand overlord of the planet, and held all the bananas, what would be the first thing you would change about it?
THAT is a TOUGH question Jo and I have to say, there is no easy or simple answer for it.
You can ban and legislate all you want but there will always be someone, somewhere, who will flout it and cause misery, pain or suffering to others.
However, I would make it MANDATORY for ALL politicians to learn a hands on trade and live off its proceeds for a minimum of 15 years before they are allowed to take office, instead of concentrating on Law, Accountancy and Advertising. That way, they may get some insight into the NEEDS of the ‘ordinary person in the street’.
It would be even better if they worked in healthcare for at least 10 years as well, in various parts of the world (poor countries), so they get a grasp of the issues that affect the majority of the world today.
Thank you for taking the time to answer all my questions Chris, you’ve been very patient and resisted diving into the food on the table, so now that we’re finished you can go eat – Where did he go? – Where did all the food go AND my tablecloth – Come back with my tablecloth you big ape!!!!
So, for all you lovers of the written word, find the wonderful Chris Graham below, and make a grand new banana loving Ape friend for life.
Life’s been getting in the way of my writing world lately. It doesn’t look like it’s going to let up either. Whenever I’m not able to go online for a day or three, opening my email on my return generally has me falling off my chair, having multiple simultaneous panic attacks, and rushing off to tremble in the wardrobe for a bit before I gather up the courage to force open an eyeball and get stuck back in to everything. I don’t know if I’m just a whole lot less on the ball than everyone else, or if there are thousands of other scribblers out there regularly falling off their chairs and cowering in terror at the thought of all that they missed. Anyway. I’m out from under the desk now, and attempting to move swiftly on. As well as life insisting on getting all up in my face right now, I’ve broken off a big bit of tooth (extra tough toffee) so I have a toothache, a looming visit to the dentist, and I’ve somehow taken some gluten aboard also. So. I’m a bit of a sour bunny with a bellyache. Never mind. Life would be really boring if it was all just smelling the roses. Blog catch up first.
I must say though, I’m always really impressed with bloggers who produce consistent, daily, professional posts. Especially writers. I know that as self published authors we’re expected to be businesslike and maintain a constant online presence, but sometimes that really isn’t possible. I don’t mind when the authors I
stalk follow disappear for a bit, then resurface with a sorry tale of woe, or huge rant about whatever in the world it was that kept them away. Keeps things interesting. When I’m in the throes of writing a new story or editing, my brain is useless for pretty much all else apart from cheese pancake production or watching dodgy television programmes. I TRULY believe that dodgy TV is the best place to go for inspiration for future scribbles by the way, so I consider it RESEARCH, and not procrastination in any way.
For instance, a while ago I happened to eyeball a series called Extreme Cheapskates that’s definitely got a load of great characters in it. I’m all for living a non-wasteful life, but…. One lady always peed in a bottle and had her boyfriend take it out and toss it on the compost heap – so as to save all that money you waste when flushing the loo. Ha haaa! Ya sexy thing ya! Another one made good use of dumpster dive cake and road-kill to produce squished bunny stew and dessert for her delighted friends and family. Then there was the chap who zoomed from table to table in restaurants bumming peoples leftovers to take home with him. You can’t make that stuff up.
I’m working on the ending for the second Shadow People book – Return to Lapillus, as well as tweaking and getting already published books as polished as they can be before loading them up on Createspace and Lulu. That’s the thing with self-publishing, you learn as you go, so you often have to fix as you go too. These things always take much longer than I think they will though – hence my personal brand and sly marketing tactic of always being late for everything. I really do need to stop with all the self-inflicted deadlines. Anyway. Much more on the ball than I, Chris Graham, my cover designer – yip, got my own cover designer now – has produced the new cover for the first in the Shadow People series, and the book has been updated on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads with its new look. I love it, and can’t wait to see his vision for book two. For those of you guys who have the original version, open up your Manage Your Kindle function and update there if you haven’t set your reader to automatically update.