I love it when an author makes an unscheduled return visit to Fiction Books. I like to think that they will always find a warm welcome and even if an organised review is not an option, I can always find the time to offer some promotional posts, as a grateful ‘Thank You’ for their continued and valued support.
Mike Phillips last visited with the publication of his first book in the ‘Chronicles Of The Goblin King’ series, ‘The World Below’. (Clicking on the book image will show more detail)
At that time, I did let him know that Urban/Dark Fantasy, were not genres which I generally read, although we did agree that I would publish a promotional post to any of Fiction Books followers who had an interest in this particular niche. Mike also provided a short guest post to accompany the book feature and I was delighted at just how much interest and enthusiasm there was. You can refresh your memory about this engaging post, here …
Mike marks his return with the publication of book two in the ‘Chronicles Of The Goblin King’ series, ‘Hazard Of Shadows’ and a great new, personal guest post, to accompany his introduction …
This is ‘HAZARD OF SHADOWS’
The enchanted creatures of legend still exist, hidden away in the secret places of the world. They take refuge from an age of camera phones and government labs, from people who won’t let them live in peace. One of these last places of safety is known as the World Below.
Ancient powers are at work. The Lords of Faerie seek to revenge the death of Baron Finkbeiner and recover the mysterious Blade of Caro. Hidden in the shadows, they await a chance to strike. The chance arises when an old enemy escapes the splinter realm in which he is imprisoned. Anxious to settle the debt, the Faerie Lords send him to finish the Lady Elizabeth and her Champion once and for all.
After leading the revolution against the despotic ruler of the World Below, Mitch Hardy has taken the throne. He never wanted to be king. The whole idea of a government by right of combat sits poorly with him. Growing evermore uneasy with his new position, he begins laying the framework for self-rule. The enchanted peoples have known nothing but kings, but are adapting quickly to this new idea of governing their own affairs. It goes well, but Mitch’s plans are interrupted by the arrival of old enemies. Soon he is fighting for his life against a hellish enemy, the likes of which he never imagined.
First Lines …
The woman was tall and lean, her body built for power and speed. Each stride was smooth and confident, causing less jarring to her knees than a wheel turning on a roadway. Her arms pumped in rhythm with her steps, driving her forward, as integral a part of the activity as breathing. She was a runner, but she moved with a grace few dancers ever achieved.
Teaser Lines …
Going from one reality to the next was surprisingly insignificant. Beene felt the familiar gooseflesh tingle on his skin. Someone told him that the sensation was someone walking on his grave. He wasn’t ready for the grave. To the contrary, he was ready to start living again. In a flash, he was on the other side. He was in a church. The architecture of the stone walls and pillars was unmistakable. A nearby window held stained glass. As he looked aound, he recognized the place. It was Notre Dame. Paris. People were singing. Beene thought he heard a communion hymn, but the tranquility of the mass was unexpectedly interrupted.
This is me …. MIKE PHILLIPS
Hello everyone, and thank you for reading my guest post. My name is Mike Phillips and my new book is ‘Hazard of Shadows’. I was asked to talk a little about my experiences as a writer, so I thought I’d start at the beginning.
I was raised on a small farm in west Michigan. As a child, my family and I grew our own fruits, vegetables and meat. We heated our house with wood. We even made most of our own furniture. During the summer, my father turned off “The Idiot Box” and took us to the library. When not pulling weeds, repairing fences, tending livestock, or just goofing off, I spent my time reading. That’s where my love of a good story came from.
My journey into writing is not what you might expect. Most writers go to college to learn their craft. They earn degrees in English or literature or journalism. They set themselves on a certain course in life, writing as a career being the focus of those efforts. With me, that wasn’t the case. Though I have always loved to read, I pursued advanced degrees in math and science. I never had a thought of writing professionally, no less becoming a novelist.
Eventually, my studies brought me into Industrial Safety and Toxicology. Though I love my work and I get to help people doing it, I found that my creative side needed an outlet. At first, making up short stories was a way to occupy my mind while travelling. Soon enough, the stories would take on a life of their own, strange as it may sound. Like any reader, I wanted to know what happened next. The stories would always be on my mind, bothering me until I finished them. The only way to get a story out of my head was to write it down.
The more I worked, the more I found I enjoyed writing. I started to amass a collection of short stories. Many of them were fantasy and horror, my favorites, but I wrote across all genres because I was doing it solely for my own enjoyment. Then I got the crazy idea to write a novel.
Writing something of that length is a huge undertaking. The typical short story is somewhere around five thousand words, where most novels are over a hundred thousand. Keeping the details of characters, setting and plot straight boggle the mind. It was a challenge I was totally unprepared for. Well, I loved every minute of it. That novel turned out to be long enough for two. It was a crime novel and, unfortunately, not very good. Forever will it remain hidden in the dark recesses of my hard drive, but I learned a lot in the process. The idea for Reign of the Nightmare Prince was already taking shape. This project, I knew, was something special.
Publishing, however, isn’t what most people expect. Working as a safety engineer, my professional contacts are other engineers and business people working in heavy industry. They aren’t writers. None of them have a convenient “in” with a major publisher. Like so many outsiders, my work was often times rejected without even being read. My luck was about the same with agents. Unless you know someone or have some other connection in the publishing business, it’s nearly impossible to get noticed.
So you have to have a thick skin. You have to accept rejection as part of the deal. At times, you wish they wouldn’t have bothered commenting on your work. Editors have written me pages about how bad my writing is. It makes me wonder why. Can my writing possibly be bad enough to end the world as we know it? By some of the comments I’ve received, you might think so. My advice is to ignore the negative comments and believe in what you are doing. Some people are plain mean. Or maybe, you are doing something exceptional and they either don’t understand it or don’t like it for reasons that have nothing at all to do with your writing.
After many disappointments, Reign of the Nightmare Prince was accepted by a respectable boutique publisher. Before we could get it launched, however, they went out of business. That happened two more times before the book finally was published. The book didn’t do very well from a financial standpoint. I fault myself for lack of savvy when it comes to getting my work in front of people. It’s a great story, but I failed to connect with an audience, I failed to get sales.
During all this time I was writing. My work was getting better and better. I came up with my Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal characters and found great success in getting both series of short stories published in various outlets. By then, I probably had fifty credits to my name.
The book now entitled Dawn of Ages was ready to go, but was rejected by my publisher. Shortly thereafter, my third novel, The World Below was rejected also. I got the message. So I started looking for publishers again. After a month of trying, a publisher called Damnation Press and its sister Eternal Press offered to publish both. The World Below was released first and is doing very well. My next novel was Dawn of Ages. With my fourth book, Hazard of Shadows, I’m finally confident enough to totally invest my time with a series and hope to have a third Goblin King book out very soon.
Perseverance may be the most important attribute for writers in the modern age. With Amazon and eBooks competition is fierce. In some ways it’s harder than ever to find with an audience. Unless you somehow get lucky with a runaway hit, you are going to have to do more work promoting your book than writing it. But that can be fun too. Touring with blogs, I’ve met a lot of great people. Readers from all over the world have contacted me about my work. I feel lucky to have gotten to know some of them.
When it comes to writing, people say to write what you know or what interests you the most. That is certainly good advice. The fact of the matter is that material rewards for the majority of writers are few. There are only a handful of writers that support themselves in a reasonably comfortable fashion through their work. Personally, I like material comforts too much to embrace the life of a starving artist. Making money isn’t really the point for me. I enjoy the work. An increasing number of people like what I do. If I can do something I love and that makes other people happy too, well, then that’s really all I can hope for. Like everything else worth doing, writing takes time and hard work. My journey in some ways is just starting to get interesting. Stick with me, dear reader, and let’s see what happens next.
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