Saturday, March 25, 2017

Free on Kindle! The Witches' Journal - Book 1 of the Witchwood Estates Collectables.

The Witches' Journal (Witchwood Estate Collectables Book 1) by [Roberts, Patti]

What better way to connect with your inner witch than to download Patti Roberts' first book in the Witchwood Estates Collectables series! Are you curious about Paganism or Wicca? Do you just want an introduction to the Craft? This book is a good first step in learning about this particular form of spirituality.

Here are some of the many topics to explore: Recipes, spells, birthstones, witchcraft terminology, candles, flowers, poetry, broom history, animal familiars, tea leaf reading, and more.

In fairy-tales of long ago, witches dressed in flowing black gowns, wore pointy hats, and flew around on broomsticks at night. By the light of the silvery moon, they would steal little children from their beds... 
I’m sure some still do, but know this – not all witches have pointy noses, warts and eat small children. Some are just ordinary people, men, and women, who happen to believe there is magic in this world. 

Download it here: http://amzn.to/2nhB7B2

Curious about the author?
https://www.amazon.com/Patti-Roberts/e/B004RXY0OI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Touch Stone for Play - Book 1 in The Story of Us Trilogy - Free on Kindle!





And WOW! What a storyline!

Charismatic and sexy Ayden Stone is a multi-talented media mogul by day and playboy by night, seducing and discarding women, seeking only sexual pleasure without commitment. He is looking for the love of his life, but is settling for stand-ins—then Fate intervenes.

A chance meeting with shy school teacher Elizabeth Parker triggers a passionate reaction in him that he cannot explain. Unable to help himself, he is drawn to her by a kind of gravitational force. Up close, he recognises her charm and beauty and is consumed by the idea that they have met before.

Unschooled in the art of seduction, Elizabeth begins her journey of sexual awakening, allowing Ayden to steer her towards deep and dangerous waters, unaware of their fateful connection. 

With great passion comes heartbreak, threatening their relationship and testing its limits. A dangerous figure from Elizabeth’s past returns, desperate to take back what is 'his'. 

Elizabeth Parker is about to be found, but will she be bound by her destiny or by her demon… 

The Story of Us is an epic story of love, loss and redemption. A modern day fairy-tale full of passion, unspeakable secrets and suspense.

Note: These books have been written by an English author and, as such, some spellings and some grammatical structures may seem unusual or incorrect to American readers. 

148,000 words of seduction and suspense.

And who can resist a steamy romance written by a lady Brit, anyway?
So, are you looking for the link to download it? Here it is: http://amzn.to/2mDLUDF

And for more about the author, click here: http://www.sydneyjamesson.com/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

There's always something eye-catching at Best Books - 2 Thumbs up!


So, what's your pleasure? A well-crafted detective novel? A set of Geek romances? Love in the Sixties? Alicia Huxtable's book review page has it all. Kind of like going to a candy store.

Here is the link - See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2mpS9uR

Monday, March 6, 2017

No Cost Marketing that Works: Basic P.R. on Social Media by Henry Roi.

Image result for images for crime wave press

I read this article and got inspired. I Tweeted about my ebook under the pen name of Liz Meegan - Recycled Prisoners http://amzn.to/2m8yZep . I thought my original marketing blitz was over, but I got some good replies.

Book marketing articles tend to be a little dry, but this one is an engaging read.

Basic PR on Social Media for Authors: no-cost marketing that works

by Henry Roi

Here's the deal: You have a published book and you need to get sales. And you're full of questions.

What's the best way to promote a book? Do I need to hire a social media marketer or spend a lot of money advertising? How do I get book reviews and author interviews? Where do I start?

Finishing a book is a momentous event. All that work, the research and brainstorming, the writing and rewriting… and rewriting. The edits and queries and simultaneous submissions and rejection letters… and more rejection letters. Then, ding ding ding, you hit the Literary Lottery and sign the coveted Publisher’s Contract. Or, after the first couple of rejection letters, you completely freaked out and embarked on a different venture, studying every article and pro tip you can find on the very excellent alternative: self-publishing.

However you achieved it, you are done, and with a glance can walk past your bookshelf and snatch a taste of euphoria like a chocolate lover doing drivebys on a bottomless jar of M&Ms.

You can kick back, relax, enjoy the accolades and plan to spend your royalties in a place where your fame won't interfere with your privacy.

So, yeah. That's a bunch of (BLEEP). I'm glad you caught on. Since you're still rooted in reality (or recently returned…) let's get out our note pads and discuss a few things that will help you get yourself rocking - and your book rolling! - out there in the brutally competitive book market.

The best way to sell your book is by promoting yourself. A well-written, professionally edited book with a sharp cover graphic is important, of course. But no matter how good you write or how attention grabbing your book design is, if you aren't likable or don’t put in the work to make yourself available, your target audience will never discover you. You won't make sales. Your publisher won't, either.

Making you, the Author, marketable, is vital.

Let's say you aren't the type to go on book tours or can't afford it. You don't have an agent or anyone familiar with the business to pitch for you. You have social media accounts, though you aren't sure how to best use them. And even if you were an expert FB user, you have no idea how to sell yourself.

Shouldn’t I let the publisher handle all the PR?

No. You have to make yourself available to readers and genre fans. To do that you have to create content and get it circulating on social media, blogs, and in the search engines where your audience goes to hunt books. You want them to give a flip about another book (yours) in a market bursting with them.

Your publisher will appreciate the help. I've yet to hear of a publisher denying one of its authors marketing content. Always use their graphics and digital files, except when sharing your work from blogs or Amazon. Any posts, tweets, interviews, etc., your publisher has generated can be recycled. Keep a document for logging down the links and periodically re-publish them. If you are self-published, you can create high-res graphics on free-to-use websites. My favorite is:


Another good source is:

Shop there for royalty-free, high-res graphics.

Don't ever use low-res graphics for promotions.

If you don't already have an Amazon Author Page, have a look at some from bestselling authors as references and set up your own. A polished bio no more than three paragraphs, a sharp, punchy book description, and upload your author photo. Just the one. No cars, siblings, spouses or pets. This is about you. Be sure to update the events section and share updates on your Facebook Author Page and Twitter account.

Yep. You need those, too. New ones. Again, have a look at the bestselling authors, see how their FB and Twitter accounts look before you do yours. Add your Amazon Author Page link in the caption of your cover banners. When someone clicks to view it, they'll see your link. It's also a rich spot for search engine indexes.

Let's assume you have the basic social media accounts ready for business. Now that you have them, when will you have time to work on them? Take a breath. Developing a search-and-share routine is the key to running multiple sites without ruining your eyes from screen time.

Stay off Facebook! You won't sell very many books there. You have to establish a daily routine, though, right? That takes time. Once you get faster, have your search-and-share spots mapped out, and know where to find friends lists to request-bomb, get through your routine and leave. Ignore all the fun stuff until you finish working.

Post daily. At least one post (don't spam your Author Page) about you, your personal interests - arts, hobbies, inspirations, etc. - excerpts from your book, and, of course, book reviews and author interviews. Don't use hashtags on FB book/author posts. Keep those clean with double spaced paragraphs and no typos.

Whoever likes or shares your posts or Page, reciprocate. Go to their Page or personal account and like or share something. Doing so will put your content - your future book promotions - in their news feed. Respond to all comments you receive. At least the bare minimum. If someone shares your post, say thank you or share one of theirs. Cultivate share/tag partnerships with as many as fifty friends, preferably ones that get a lot of traffic on their accounts. Tag them when you post promotions. They tag you in their promos. Quid pro quo.

A couple times a week invite friends to like your Author Page. On your personal FB account, begin growing your friends list so you have people to invite to your Author Page. Avoid porn accounts and unstable people. Drama is fine for your fictional characters, though has a tendency to run off readers and bloggers, and sales and your reputation poof on their unfollow buttons. Find reputable people such as known authors and bloggers and scan  their friends lists. Friend request away.

Join Facebook Groups that cover your genre. At least twenty. Share your book promotion posts in your Groups a few times a week. Find popular authors in the groups by looking for posts with numerous likes and comments. Like, then share those on your personal account. Everyone that liked or commented on that post will receive a notification with your name on it. Getting your name out there is pointless if you don't maintain the circulation; old content gets buried under a mass of news and becomes irrelevant.

It sounds like a lot, and is at first. You're doing all this to build your friends list, get your posts in their feeds, and invite them to your Author Page. Keep it rolling and you'll have thousands of people on your list who read books.

So, why do all that work if there's no sales? Even with five thousand friends, your posts would only reach a few hundred. Reciprocate likes and shares to increase the numbers reached. On your Author Page, let's say you've been established a few years and have tallied up two thousand followers. That doesn't mean your posts will be seen by all two thousand. FB limits reach to only a small percentage of your followers. You have to pay FB to “boost” posts if you want more reach.

Don't pay them. You won't sell enough to get your money back. If you boost a post, it should be a newsletter (you should research reasons for having a newsletter) signup post, and don't spend more than $1/day. Stay away from China, Mexico and the Philippines when selecting countries to reach.

Then what's the point of establishing myself on FB?

Authors need to start thinking of themselves and their works as one package, a brand that needs a public face in a central hub of resources. There’s no better platform for that than FB.

Okay. I'll quit screwing with you and tell you why you just went through all that tedious mess to establish a search-and-share routine and missed all the cat videos and SNL parodies of the president. The reason: to build a list of book reviewers.

Out of your (eventual)  thousands of friends, only a small percentage will accept your invite to like or follow your Page. Reciprocate, then send them a private message and offer them a free digital copy (PDF or Mobi) in exchange for a review on Amazon.

Write and polish a brief form letter you can send to everyone that follows you or likes or comments on your posts (well, not everyone. Most everyone). Start your letter by thanking them for their interest, and say you would like to include them in a special offer: a free copy of your book. Ask them to show their support of indie, self-published, etc., authors by leaving a review on Amazon. Provide your email address (a new, author/book stuff only one) and ask them to contact you when they post the review so you can share it on social media. If they agree, get their email address and send them the digital book.

[The form letter I send to new Crime Wave Press followers is included at the end of this post. Read it.  The special offer stands good for anyone on The Creative Writer's Boost]

It's important to keep the reviewers’ names and email addresses. A spreadsheet or docx works fine. Over time you will grow a list of emails you can send promotions to.

So all that for Amazon reviews?

Absolutely. Imagine seeing your book on Amazon with forty reviews. Not bad for your first year out, right? It appears to be selling. If it only had five reviews, well, guess what? Customers shopping for books in your genre will pass your book over, searching for a higher number of reviews. In marketing, it's called “social proof”: If everyone is doing it, then it must be the thing to do. Amazon kicks everyone’s ass in book sales. Higher number of sales gets your book ranked higher in the category your book is listed in. Do customers buy books ranked in the two hundred thousands? Hell no. They buy the books with the best rankings.

More reviews = more sales = higher rankings. Once you have fifty reviews, Amazon will automatically include your title in their promotional catalogs that are seen by shoppers everywhere. Every few months, schedule a book giveaway or $0.99 sale. Not for royalties. To generate sales and climb the rankings in your category.

Several websites offer free hosting of giveaways and $0.99 sales. Utilize them. Schedule a sale, list it everywhere, and hope you push a couple hundred or more in forty-eight hours. Keep an eye on your ranking. A hundred or more sales in two days will jump you way up there. But only briefly. During that time shoppers of the high rankings will finally see you, and you can share screenshots of your category ranking on social media, showing everyone that Amazon ranked your book in the Top 5, next to the BestSellers. Take full advantage of the attention.

Twitter should be used for the same purpose: adding to your reviewer list. Although, you can actually sell books on Twitter; they don’t limit the reach of tweets or require you to pay them. Google search for a list of hashtags used specifically for selling books. Don't use more than two, sometimes three, hashtags per tweet. Use full sentences when possible. Find catchy lines in your Amazon reviews to quote on book tweets.  Using graphics with tweets gets more responses. Gifs work great, too, and there are plenty book related Gifs.

Find reputable people on Twitter and look at the people they follow, not who are following them. Go crazy with the + button. People will follow you back. Send your form letter to new followers if they look like potential reviewers.

Doing author interviews are the most effective way to sell books. The only expense is the effort to answer questions. And author interviews are generally hosted by bloggers with followings of serious readers. Your reviews on Amazon will be seen by millions of shoppers. Your author interviews will be seen by hundreds (or even thousands)  of readers, people who visit and follow book blogs to read reviews, interviews and other features published by  bloggers they trust.

You can find listings of book blogs that cover your genre. Contact the blogger directly with your form letter, though customize it for each blog. Do they only do book reviews? Offer a freebie for a review on their blog. Do they host interviews or guest posts? Those are what to shoot for. Pitch your work but let it speak for itself. Read author interviews. A lot of them. Familiarize yourself with the type of info bloggers want to learn about you and your book. Then pitch yourself.

Keep all contact info and links to your book reviews and interviews on your spreadsheet. That will be a single source you can work from to post on social media. Utilize apps like Buffer to schedule tweets, and schedule posts for your Author Page on FB, too. If you aren’t able to be on FB and Twitter daily, you can schedule content publication for a couple days or more at a time.

Some days I don’t have an hour or two for search-and-share. What should I do? It's one or the other, not all.

Don't sweat it. Spend a little time searching for good book blogs to send your pitch to. That is far more important than Facebook or Twitter. The reviews bloggers publish on their sites are usually posted on Amazon (request it specifically in your pitch) and Goodreads. And interviews that get sales usually result in reviews on Amazon.

What if my book is listed in Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and other stores? Should I use links from those stores in promotions?

No. Forget about those. Direct all traffic to Amazon. Don't even share from your publisher's book page. Always share from Amazon. Sales elsewhere take away from your category ranking.

Here's the bottom line: you have to get Amazon reviews. Use FB and Twitter to get them. Getting reviews on blogs (hopefully) earns sales and Amazon reviews. On blogs, author interviews get more hits than book reviews. The quality of the blog and the number of followers is the deciding factor. Radio blogs that host authors are a great way to reach large audiences. I recommend Authors on the Air:



Set up a Google Plus account. It operates like Facebook, though you don't have to worry about growing a following and cultivating share buddies. The sole reason is to post your book and author content in a place where it’ll be indexed in Google’s search engine. This is where you go hashtag crazy. Tag everything - author name, book, genre, sub genres, and anything else you want.

That should get you started. And you didn't even have to hire a  PR person for assistance.

Henry Roi
PR Manager, Crime Wave Press

Follow us on Twitter:

@crimewavepress
  

We are currently expanding our list of reviewers and we'd like to know if you are interested in being part of the Crime Wave Press review family.

Reviewers can get free review copies (mobi or pdf) of any of our titles they like to review. Furthermore we will contact our reviewers offering pre-release review copies of new titles when they become available.

We have just published 4 new books and we are hoping you'd like to review one or more of these titles:

Brace yourself for HEIST, the sequel to our prison escape thriller SHANK, written by Roy Harper, who gained nationwide notoriety for two highly publicized prison escapes, HEIST is the second novel in a two-part series that centres around David "Tool" Roney, a dangerous man who is doing life for armed robbery and consumed by only one thing – escape.

SAIGON DARK by Elka Ray is the gripping, frightening story of a mother who loses her child and picks up a street kid in its place. A decade later she receives a note: 'I know what you did'.

Benedict J Jones, author of Skewered and other London Cruelties and Pennies for Charon, both featuring anti-hero with a heart Charlie Bars is back in THE DEVIL’S BREW. Expect horse mutilation, dog fighting and a family of maniacs in the bleak Northumbrian countryside.

Tom Vater republishes his second acclaimed Detective Maier thriller with Crime Wave Press. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN MIND takes the former conflict journalist turned detective to Laos, against the backdrop of the CIA’s secret war in the country in the 1960s and 1970s.

Thank you for your interest. Do let us know if you’d like to review any of our titles (new or old) and we will be pleased to send you the relevant file(s).

Please contact:



Or you can check out the titles at: http://www.crimewavepress.com

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Of prison and boxing - Shocking Circumstances.

Pulp Fiction writer Chris Roy talks about creating action scenes and his trilogy Shocking Circumstances.

Action scenes are intrinsic to the Shocking Circumstances trilogy. Without the innumerable mental and physical lessons instilled in him by his boxing coach, Fred Williams, Chris wouldn’t have the knowledge to pen his exciting fight scenes.

Below is a true account from the author about how a chance meeting in the MDOC developed into Chris' passion for weaving inspiration into action.

***

"The protagonists in Shocking Circumstances and Sharp as a Razor possess their own unique talents and learned abilities. The one thing they all possess, though, is world-class boxing skills.

"Feedback from test readers and reviewers have been very positive. Encouraging. Some of the most memorable scenes, I’m told, are the chaotic, knock-down-drag-out fist frenzies, where the only thing in control are disciplined minds and perfectly thrown punches.

"Readers will experience scenes in Shocking Circumstances with Clarice teaching the fundamentals of the jab and straight-right.
In Sharp as a Razor, she teaches mental lessons of the Sweet Science. Just as she drills those lessons into other characters (and hopefully readers will get up and try them, as well), my coach drilled them into me.

"I was 19 then. It’s been a lifetime since, but I’ll never forget how I met that old, rude SOB.

“ 'Hey. Uh… When you have time, will you teach me a few things?' I said something like that to Fred not long after learning who he was.

“ 'No. Go bother somebody else,' he replied from his seat at the dayroom table. He ignored me, working on a newspaper crossword puzzle.

"The jail’s administration had just let me back into general population after over a month in lockdown for attempted escape (I managed to cut four bars on a skylight before the snitches wrote the major. One guy was awarded a bond). I felt fortunate to land on a zone with a world-renowned boxing trainer. I had years of experience in Tae Kwon Do and some in Kickboxing, and each of those disciplines contain a fair amount of boxing, but I had yet to experience training from a bonafide pugilist guru.

“ 'I’ll catch you another time, then,' I said.

“ 'The answer will still be no.' He adjusted his glasses. Didn’t even look at me.

"I learned right away that Fred wasn’t easily impressed. Living with twenty guys in an area designed for eight, it was hard not to know what everyone else was doing. So everyone knew about the grueling, high-intensity workouts I did every day. Several participated. This, along with my enthusiasm and persistence, impressed Fred enough to give me my first lesson.

“ 'Put your hands up,' he said.

"I did.

"He thumped the air next to my face. Then, he thumped my forehead.

"I rubbed it, confused.

“ 'Which one did you like better?'

“ 'That one.' I thumped the air next to me.

“ 'That’s your first lesson.'

“ 'Thanks.'

"It was a lesson I gave others many many times since.

"Punch mitts, hand wraps, heavy bags, jump ropes – basic boxing gear is easy to make. We used doubled up shower shoes for mitts, rolled up foam mattresses for bags, and strips of sheet for wraps and to braid jump ropes. Every morning I got up and did a 50-minute cardio routine as a warm-up. Then came the real workout.

"Endless punch drills to program muscle memory, while listening to him growl about the physics of movements, were a staple of my training in fundamentals. He always combined mental lessons with the physical. Everything was a challenge. Even talking about non-boxing topics – conversations with him were verbal jousting. Still are, although I can hold my own now; in the beginning I used to get so mad because I didn’t have the wit to keep up.

"For seven months we trained. Punishing routines inside, running drills on the yard, and mental and life lessons in the evening in our cell that sometimes carried on until breakfast. He was relentless. Repetition is the key. He would make me do everything over and over, telling me my errors… over and over until I would get mad.

“ 'If you quit on me, we’re done,' he told me.

“ 'I’m not going to quit.'

“ 'Good. Once a fighter quits the first time, it just makes it that much easier to quit again later. If one of my fighters quits just once, I tell them to find themselves another trainer and stop wasting my time.'

"He tried to make me quit. In the numerous gyms he’s opened in Mississippi, and in dozens more around the world, he intentionally tried to run off the guys he trained. I asked him why.

“ 'Because the ones who stay are gonna be champions,' he said.

"He certainly has the credentials to back up this method. He’s had more state champs than any coach in Mississippi, had several national champs and a world amateur champion before coaching Team USA with Roy Jones Sr… then he went to the pros.

"Donald 'Tiger' Stokes is who Fred is known for training in Mississippi, though has worked with everybody, everywhere. The list of training camps he worked on feature boxing superstars such as Thomas 'the Hitman' Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Evander 'Real Deal' Holifield, Oscar de la Hoya, Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, Lennox Lewis… So, yeah, he wasn’t easily impressed.

“ 'Look at me, boy,' he told me one day on the yard. I was out of gas from a hard run and he wanted me to punch the mitts.

"I looked. I didn’t want to do anything but rest.

“ 'If you don’t want to be a world champion, then quit right now because you’re wasting my time!'

"After that training got harder; every day he’d run me out of gas, and right before I squatted or flopped down to rest, he’d up the mitts and say, 'Uh-uh. That’s right where I want you.'

"I recalled offering to pay him somehow, one day, for training me.

“ 'I ought to slap you, boy,' he said. 'You insulting me? You don’t have enough money to pay me to train you. You’ll probably never have enough money to pay me. I’m training you because I want to. Don’t insult me again.'

"Eddy, Clarice’s coach in Shocking Circumstances, is a character I created based on Fred. I couldn’t possibly have Eddy teach Shocker all the boxing and life lessons Fred taught me – that could be a book all on its own – though I tried to weave in enough to show readers what it takes to become a champion."

- Chris Roy

***
 Grab your copy of Book I of the "Shocking Circumstances" trilogy on Amazon by following the link below. Tell your friends, and please support the author by leaving a review.
https://www.amazon.com/Shocking-Circumstances-1-ChrisRoy/dp/1945734078/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

About the Author:

Chris Roy was raised in a south Mississippi trailerhood in the midst of ugly Gulf Coast beaches and spectacular muddy bayous, roaming the towns and wilds of the rich and poor, thieving and thinking without a curfew.

Until 1999, Chris lived comfortably with the modest criminal ventures of his youth. But a fistfight ended tragically, his opponent died, resulting in a life sentence for Chris, which he started serving in the Mississippi Department of Corrections from January 2000.

Hard knocks are the best teachers - the author learned this almost too late, though he did rid himself of drugs and violence. Chris' institutional record hasn't been marred by a single fight or involvement in drugs - an incredible feat, considering the brutally challenging prison environment he lives in.

Nowadays he lives his life of crime vicariously, through the edgy characters and fast-paced stories he pens, hoping to entertain readers. When he isn't writing, he's reading, drawing or looking for prospects to train in boxing.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Denise Carnihan shares her heart with Africa!


Little did Kiwi woman Denise Carnihan know that what started as her son’s school project on ‘family origins’ would result in visiting her newly discovered family in South Africa in 2009, and lead her and her family on a completely different life journey, culminating in building a fully functioning school in a poor region of Kenya in 2011.

Inspired by her initial adventure, Denise decided to do a volunteer stint at an orphanage in Kenya and after witnessing the poverty and squalor first hand, she understood the enormous importance placed on education in this developing country.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could build a little school in a big slum for say 50 kids”…was the random comment she made to her husband, Chris when they both returned to Kenya the following year.   Incredibly, this became the reality for Denise and Chris Carnihan from a small coastal town in New Zealand. 

They then literally “stumbled” head first into building and establishing their very own primary school - in a large slum, opening with not 50 children as planned … but 117.   Within 18 months the roll had grown to 380+ children and 12 staff.

Isnt' that amazing? Surely you want to read more about it. Click here to do so: 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I interview Tom Vater of Crime Wave Press who lives a life of adventure.

Image result for crime wave press logo

Journalist, Crime Fiction writer and screenwriter Tom Vater lives a life most of us only daydream about. It his been my pleasure to interview him.
  • How did you come up with your book idea? 
Vater: I co-wrote the screenplay to a documentary called The Most Secret Place on Earth (video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNwi90uUNDA), about the CIA’s covert war in Laos in the 1960s. I spent some years researching the film and once it was done and broadcast, I felt that I wanted to do something else with the material. The Man with the Golden Mind is the result.
  • What are your publishing credits?

Vater: I have authored or co-authored some twenty plus books (non-fiction, fiction and guidebooks), several hundred articles, three screenplays that have been made into feature docs, and I have published 32 crime novels of other writers with Hans Kemp at Crime Wave Press.

  • What are your plans for the future?

Vater: I will continue to do what I have been doing for the past 25 years – write about the subjects I love – Asia, politics, history, youth culture, counterculture.
  • What is your day job?
Vater: I have been making a living from writing since 1998. I am currently a correspondent for a German travel publishing company in SE Asia and I freelance for many clients including at present The Daily Telegraph, The Nikkei Asian Review etc. I have written for The Times, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Penthouse, Geographical, The South China Morning Post, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Asia Wall Street Journal and many more publications. I write mostly in English and I am usually overworked. But I can’t make a living from just writing in any one industry. I earn my money from writing long feature stories, travel journalism, fiction, non-fiction books on history and culture, and screenplays.
  • What is your preferred genre to write?
Vater: Crime fiction.
  • How did you become a writer?
Vater: I studied publishing and literature but after graduating I pursued a brief and half-assed career playing in RocknRoll bands. After some years of touring round Europe I drifted to Asia - I was lucky to receive a modest British Library grant at the time to record and research traditional music in Asia which gave me focus and helped me discover that I had some talent putting words in a row.
I was living in a cheap guest house in Kathmandu in the mid 90s when I met a couple from Europe who had cycled to Nepal. They were trying to write about their experiences but their English was not great so I helped them edit their work. I accompanied them to the local newspaper where they sold their stories. I asked the editor, if I give you an interesting story, will you give me money?
He asked me what I was thinking about. I told him I could write about Nepali music. He said ok. A month later I was back with text and photos and the editor gave me a double spread in the weekend edition. And some money. I never looked back. Six months after that I was working for Rough Guides in Thailand and had started my first novel, The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu.
  • Are you a planner, complete with detailed outlines, or do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing?
Vater: Both when it comes to writing fiction. My first novel I write with lots of prep, the second started off the top of my head, but even on that project I did create detailed outlines, character studies, time lines etc at some point, because the text became too unwieldy to keep in mind all the time.
  • What is the best writing advice that you have ever been given?
Vater: I have never had a writer-mentor. But I have read a lot about how other writers work, especially Graham Greene, Peter Matthiessen, William Burroughs, etc., etc. My editors, both at magazines/papers and publishing houses have helped me enormously over the years by tightening up my work and opening my mind to new possibilities.
  • What advice would you give a new writer?
Vater: One becomes a writer over time, I suppose. Burroughs said, write a million words and then you are a writer. Fiction is a craft, like any craft, you need to work at it for years and go through endless repetitions and mistakes until you have something others want to read. Journalism is quite a different craft that I partly learned at college and partly from editors I worked with.
The publishing industry is in an awful state at present, partly because most books that are being promoted in a meaningful way are published by one of the five big publishing conglomerates who expect instant sales and are risk averse, and smaller imprints who either sell out or die, and partly because Amazon has such a terrible monopoly on ebooks and books in general.
But I would leave all that to one side. I certainly didn’t care when I started writing. Do something creative with your life. Don’t work for a boss in an office all your life. Don’t fall into consumerist trappings. Don’t get a mortgage if it means having to earn money day and night to make payments. Stay free enough so you have time to write. Once you have to make time, it all gets very difficult. Contribute something to the community. Don’t expect to be financially secure. If that is a priority for you, do something else. Oh, and it’s a pretty solitary activity.
  • What other projects do you have in the works at the moment?
Vater: I am just finishing a series of articles creating a history of India seen through the prism of tattoos with writer Laure Siegel for a French magazine. I also am involved in http://thedevilsroad.com/, a photo-blog that published a photo a day to keep the fuckers at bay.

  • What surprises can we expect from you in the future?

Vater: Survival, revolution.
  • If you could journey into any of your books, interacting with the characters, which would it be and why?
Vater: I have lived so much of what is in my books, both the three published crime novels and some of my non-fiction titles. As I mentioned, I spent a long time researching the CIA in Laos. I travelled to America to talk to former agents, pilots, rebel proxies and whistleblowers. I travelled around SE Asia to talk to other players in the covert war.
I spent a year in the sacred tattoo scene in Thailand to be able to co-author Sacred Skin –Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos (www.sacredskinthailand.com), which remains my non-fiction bestseller to date.
My first novel The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu was about the 70s hippy trail between London and South Asia. I spent a lot of time with people who did that journey at the time and I also travelled from Asia to Europe overland in 1998. Especially at the beginning of my fiction career, I was very careful to draw as much as possible on real life experiences. Strangely that has not made my fiction necessarily more believable.
I have been on the road for more than twenty years. I live in hotels for months every year, researching books and stories, doing editorial assignments. My work as a journalist, fiction writer and publisher in South and Southeast Asia has opened countless doors that I stepped through to get a story. So the journey and the writing have been and are inseparable.
  • What public appearances do you have planned in the future?
Vater: I do readings and literary festivals from time to time, but right now I am working on new material. Here’s a recent radio show, Noir on the Radio (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2017/01/15/crime-fiction-author-tom-vater-on-noir-on-the-radio).
  • Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fans? 
Vater: Keep reading books, switch off your phones, do your own thing. The deck is stacked against you, but to my mind a life well lived and reflected upon, if you are privileged or determined enough to pull it off, is what it is all about.


Thank you very much for your interest in my work and for having me on your blog, Liz. 

And here is the link for Crime Wave Press: http://www.crimewavepress.com/