The New Boy! Welcome Nick Wale!



Roberts HIT

Nick Wale turned “Reprisal: The Eagle Rises” into a hit overnight.

Interview undertaken by interviewer  Alex Laybourne and reblogged on several sites including

Ever hear the song “Hungry Like The Wolf”? Well, this guy is hungry for the hits. It becomes a struggle when you have written a book—a good book, no less! What do you do? You can hire some PR guy or girl who takes thousands off you and does nothing. You can pretend you wrote the book for your family. You can say that “there’s no money to be made in writing.” You can be the art writer with a chip on your shoulder.

You should meet the “Hitmaker.” He has just sailed into the top twenty on Amazon, again, with “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises.” The writer is Cliff Roberts, and the PR is Nick Wale. I caught him for an interview! What sells? Let’s get some free advice from a guy near the top of the pile.

Q) Hi, Nick, how are you taking to being the “Hitmaker”?

A) Hola! Who the hell came up with that? I thought that was an album by Burt Bacharach. I like it though. The “Hitmaker” is doing just fine… Just getting by, I guess.

Q) Modest? You are currently in the top twenty again? Is that just getting by?

A) No, Cliff Roberts is in the top twenty. Nick Wale, Hitmaker, or whatever you call him is still the dude who promotes books.

Q) Let me ask you—how do you take to all the stuff you’ve been called? You were “King of the Author Interviews,” then you were “Winner Wale,” and now you get called the “Hitmaker.”

A) I don’t really take it. It just is. I don’t let that stuff get out of proportion. If people believed half the hype in the world, we would all be driving Gremlins.

Q) So, what is a hit book?

A) A hit book sells. It sells because it has something about it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly edited, it doesn’t have to be THAT commercial. It just has to have that IT factor. It catches on. The trick for a PR is to identify WHAT will make it sell, and then exploit that. For Roberts, it’s the fact that he writes excellent stories. For Chris Keys, it was an eye for detail. Terry Irving has a unique way of writing. It’s different for everybody. All books aren’t born equal. A good PR realises that each book will have weaknesses, and people will pick on that. You just have to work hard to make sure the good stuff gets to the majority of people.

Q) What do you do that other PR services don’t do?

A) Nothing. I just do it with class, and I don’t make people take out mortgages to hire me. I don’t tell them that they will sell a million copies, either. I do what I can, and when the magic elves help me—it clicks! Don’t believe the hype when a PR agency tells you that if you spend ten thousand dollars you will have a hit. You probably won’t. A hit shouldn’t cost any more than time, patience, hard work and working with a professional who will charge you professional prices. The problem with the majority of PR services is simple—they don’t get hired that much—so the person who DOES hire them has to pay them a lot of money to make up for it.

Q) How often are you hired?

A) All the time! Results, a good eye for clients, a good list of authors, strong candidates for hit novels keep me in that magic thing called work. A good reputation helps. I think the biggest factor is that I just bring in the results—be it sales, strong interviews, opportunities, chart placings—whatever. I just bring them in.

Q) What should people look for in a PR?

A) Someone new, someone who doesn’t give you a spiel about how rich and successful they are. I was told by a great friend of mine, Jacob Singer, who is a top stock market analyst, “If you are told by someone that they have the tips to make you a million dollars—ask yourself—why aren’t they using them themselves?” That has always stuck with me. If someone is telling you how successful they are, question it. Look for evidence. I always try to tell my clients that anyone promising a number one tomorrow is lying through their teeth. Number ones take time.

Q) You are a conservative guy by nature, aren’t you?

A) Totally. I never rush into anything because that’s a good way to end up broke. I don’t rush, I don’t take people’s word for anything. I look at what they have done. I look at what they have achieved and where they are headed. I try to follow the example of a writer and businessman named Tom Blubaugh. Tom is a genius, but he never rushes into anything. He makes good decisions, and he makes them after giving them a lot of thought. I try to do the same. I ask myself, “Is this good for my business?” “Is this good for me?” and most importantly “Do I need this stress?”

Q) Did you get coached in the art of business?

A) No, not really. I just copied off successful people I know. I tried to see what worked for them. I worked for a writer called Mike Trahan, he was another guy who never rushed into anything. You had to explain things through and through. No funny business. Guess what? I took that to heart, and now I ask more questions than my clients. You can’t leave anything to chance.

Q) So, I guess you made mistakes, too?

A) Sure! I have passed up some great manuscripts. I have lost business through making mistakes. I have screwed up interviews. The important thing is that I got back up and tried again and again. I learnt from my mistakes, and that is what’s important. If something doesn’t work with your promotion—give it another shot! Try something else! Do anything, but don’t sit on your fanny wondering where it all went!

Q) How should people begin their promotional efforts?

A) Look at a budget. Look at what you can afford, and then look at what will sell your book best. Will it be a Facebook ad that will get you a new audience? Will you spend advertising money on your Facebook page? Will you buy an auto-tweeting client? Will you hire a PR? What will your budget allow you to do? Then look at where the market is… Are thrillers selling? Are memoirs? What is number one on Amazon? What does your book has that makes it stand out? Who are you? Do you havepersonality? What are your past experiences? Were you in the Service? You need to look at every angle. I will explain why.

The reason you need to look at every angle is simple. You need to know what groups you can join, military writers groups—for example. If you join one of these groups to promote your book—you will be more likely to be accepted if you have a military-themed book or background. You need to look at who you are and what you have to offer.

Q) What would you do with Joe Bloggs aged twenty-six with no job, a loan to pay for your services and a book about skateboarding?

A) I would get Joe on the youth groups, skateboarding groups. I would have him on webinars talking about skateboarding. He would be promoting his book the old fashioned way—with personality to an audience that wants to hear about his work. Not just spammed links all over the Internet. Joe would also be running a sample book; he would have professional interviews and double interviews with relevant people. Joe would be busy—too busy to remember that he has no job.

Q) Do you really think “spamming” is a bad idea?

A) Yes. It’s a bad idea all around because it ruins your reputation. You only get one reputation—bestselling writer or spammer? Your choice.

Q) How can you account for the success of “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises”?

A) I can’t. The readers can. Cliff Roberts and I have no idea why it took—we just did the right things. We promoted it the old fashioned wayand now it’s roaming around the top echelon of Amazon. Why did it hit? Where to flies go in winter? What happened to perms? Nobody knows, and frankly, nobody cares. You just have to do the right things to make the hits happen. Seriously, analyse yourself, your book and look where it will sell. Get yourself professional interviews, professional representation and exploit your books strengths. That’s how the magic happens. It worked for Lloyd Tackitt. I helped move 2900 of his books in one month. It happened for J.W. Northrup when his short stories went wild with sales. It happened for Cliff Roberts when he broke the top twenty on Amazon. It happened for Carol Bond. It can happen for you.

Q) Last question—where can people contact you?

A) Get to me via email at Nicholas.Wale (@) or you can write to me at Nick (@) You can also find me at my website . It will be a lot of fun meeting you!


A Michael Haden Blog Tour?

(Taken from

During a recent webinar, I let slip that I would be working with Michael Haden in the near future. Today, I woke up to a bunch of reader emails asking in what capacity. Now, I think it’s about time I let you all in on the secret…

The secret is… Michael will be touring blogs very soon to promote his book “A Deal With God”. The tour will kick off on Novel Ideas and move over to several other blogs, including an appearance on the Angie Harris show and culminate with a premiere Google hangout show that will be hosted by yours truly. I know this comes only a few days after I announced a similar tour with Lloyd Tackitt., but you have to grab the bestsellers when you can.


Watch this space. You will be seeing more of the very talented Michael Haden on Novel Ideas.




“A Deal With God – The Power of One is a unique love story inspired by a true story and real events. Author Michael Haden, delivers an entertaining and delightful fictional novel that is full of romance, real-life drama and intrigue. A true testament to the love and grace of God, revealing the power of perseverance and the power of one, this novel exemplifies absolute trust and faith in God.


Follow Deana Murphy, a promising young woman with a bright future ahead, abruptly cut short when she was hit head on by a drunk driver. Upon her death she begged God for another chance. He gave her that chance, but in the form of a mandate. Her mission-to leave the familiar, forsaking the past and to fully commit herself and her future to a man of God’s choosing. This will require complete trust and dedication, a forsaking of one’s own will to fulfill the call of God, in the pursuit of saving others.


Be introduced to Leon and Rebecca Samuels who were college sweethearts. Due to an unexpected pregnancy Rebecca found herself reluctantly getting married before she could finish her college degree. Leon was a good man, but didn’t understand why Rebecca was always so unhappy. Time passes, more children are bornand things can suddenly change.


As unexpectedly as Leon’s life changed, Deana Murphy came into Leon’s life. She was a God send-literally. Escape to a romantic call to family, love and the enduring power of God’s saving grace, this book is captivating and a page-turner. You’ll fall in love with Deana and root her on as this tenacious young woman takes on the challenge presented to her by none other than Almighty God.


Entertaining, sweet and romantic this book will delight the reader and is a fun, fast-paced read. You’ll not want to put this book down once you begin, so get comfortable. Author Michael Haden’s writing style is captivating and engaging, one chapter at a time.


A highly-recommend, quality book that is well-written, engaging, romantic and encouraging with a surprising twist ending that delivers an unforgettable journey of the human spirit while promoting commitment to faith, family and love revealing that inner strength and healing is available, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles.”~ CBM Book Reviews


Catch an interview with Mike here!




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Bestselling Author Jack Singer Won’t Be Returning to South Africa

For a writer who built his literary career on the history of South Africa, it is something he is rarely asked about. I was talking to Jack socially one night, I wanted to ask him about his life growing up in one of the most volatile countries in the world. I asked him point blank:

“Why has nobody interviewed you about your life in South Africa”? Jack didn’t know, and neither do I. So, I wanted to do that. This interview is about a world we know little about. The racism, the unfair equality and the way normal South Africans dealt with the disgraceful treatment of their countrymen. Guys like Jack fought back at the Apartheid without ever picking up a gun.


Q) Great to have you on my site, Jack! I wanted to start off this interview by asking what it was like growing up in South Africa? I think many readers would be interested to see the family side of a country people know so little about.

A) As a child, growing up in South Africa, especially Potchefstroom were I lived was wonderful. One could walk the streets safely, without fear, from a young age. Walking to school from the age of six years old, walking to the municipal swimming pool or walking to the local movie theatre (bioscope) was the norm. The few Africans that worked in the town were respectful and always very helpful. The African maid in your house, that raised you from a baby, was your surrogate mother. You loved her, and she loved you.

Q) How about school? Didn’t you ever wonder why that same African maid’s children were not at your school?

A) You never queried that there were no Africans in your school, or at the municipal swimming pool or bioscope. This was the norm…the way of life and as a young person, you accepted it as the norm, and never queried it.

Q) What about the “Afrikaans” language? Is that widespread in Africa?

A) Because I was English speaking and went to an English speaking school, one was inclined to steer clear of and not associate with Afrikaans speaking children.

It was only when I grew older and went to University that I started to realize and question the abnormalities in South Africa, where children had to attend a school where the language had to be the same as the language one spoke at home. Where one asked, “Why are there no Africans at University and why were they forced to live in the squalor of locations. Why is the Indian community restricted to living in a township confined to Indians only, and why were they not allowed to live in the Province of the Orange Free State?  Why did the Afrikaans community that ruled the country after WWII, enforce apartheid on the country?  Why did Africans have to carry a pass book with them all the time, arrested by the police if they did not have one with them, and why much later on were we Europeans also forced to have an identity book that identified us as of European origin, English/Afrikaans speaking and many other things and why did we not have to carry the book with them all the time, whereas the African had to?

Q) Why did you leave SA to move to London? What was the draw?

A) My father had studied Pharmacy at Chelsea Polytechnic in London, England. I decided that rather than attend a University in South Africa, I would like to see the world and study Pharmacy in London. After passing Matric when I was seventeen years old, I had to serve a three month stint as a ballottee with the South African navy. In those three months, I lost my puppy fat and became a person who wanted to see the world. I asked my father how much he was prepared to give me every month to live on, and surprised him and my mother when I told them I was going to London, England to complete my studies. I must add that my monthly salary paid my University fees, board and lodging and fed me, but the fourth week of every month, I lived on bread and water. Three years later, after qualifying from Chelsea School of Pharmacy and doing my apprenticeship at the London Hospital in Whitechapel, I earned four times the amount my parents gave me, but the fourth week of every month I still lived on bread and water. There was simply so much to see and do in London.

Q) Some of the greatest writers come from the very romantic city called London. Whilst you were there, did you have any inkling that you would become a writer, or did the writing take place when you returned home to work?

A) Returning to South Africa, I practiced Pharmacy and worked as a Chemist and Druggist. It was only after a friend of mine, Bernard Gamsu, passed away before the age of sixty that I started to write. I had retired from Pharmacy, selling my business, and was feeling bored at home. I felt that I had to tell Bernard’s storyand the part he played in my life.

Once I had finished his story, I decided to write the story of my grandfather on my father’s side, so that my children would know him and all about him. From then on, it simply became stories I had heard from friends and customers. They were stories that I felt needed to be told, and so the book BRAKENSTROOM was born. All the stories in it are true, but in a few of the stories I have combined two into one.

The story of Tzippie, remarkable as it is, truly happened. My uncle, Dr. Barney Singer, was the doctor at the mental institution, Witrand, who found Tzippe there and returned her to her family. He had recently become Superintendent of the institution when he retired as Superintendent of the Potchefstroom Hospital. One publisher, when he returned the book to me, refused to publish it because as she wrote, ‘this story cannot be true.’ Yet it was. It was a case of truth is stranger than fiction. The story of Hettie told the story of poor whites who lived in Potchefstroom, another true story as strange as it is.

Q) What was the most remarkable thing that ever happened to you that hasn’t yet made it into a book?

A) In my Pharmacy, to spoil my customers and staff, I bought a coffee machine. I put it in the front shop, and all staff and customers could help themselves to a cup of coffee or tea whenever they felt like it. The first winter, I addedsoup as an alternative. After a few weeks, I noticed a young school girl and her small sister coming into the shop on their way home from school. They would each draw a paper cup, sometimes two, of soup, and then sit on the pavement in front of the shop and enjoy it. I started putting slices of bread outand they would help themselves.

Years later, a very beautiful woman pulled up in front of the shop in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz. She walked into the shop and asked for me. She was beautifully dressed. She handed me a cheque for R1000.00 with the words, ‘Mr. Singer, as a child you fed me and my sister every day with soup and bread. Please take this money and donate it to a worthy cause.’ Before I could say a word, she leaned forward, kissed me on the cheek and left the shop. This is a story I have yet to write. I never found out who she was, because the Mercedes drove away with her after I had recovered from the shock and before I reacted.

Q) So, returning to our earlier line of questioning, let me ask you, how did your adventures as a young man influence your writing?

A) As a young man, at the municipal swimming pool I met the girl I have called ‘Marla’ in my story. When I sunbathed, I would always burn very dark in the hot sun. Marla’s skin was however always darker than mine. When we went to bioscope, by lifting my shirt, I could always prove that I was a European, because I would look for a piece of white skin on my body that the hot sun had not burned. Marla could not find a piece of white skin on her body. My father had to eventually phone the manager before Marla was allowed to attend. We regarded it as a joke, not taking it seriously.

In the Navy, years later, I thought I saw a Coloured woman that look like Marla’s mother at a station. I forgot about the incident until I started writing my stories.

There are so many people I have met all with a story to tell, and there is so much more that I can write. One day, perhaps I will.

Q) Why would one read “Brakenstroom” and “The Vase with the Many Coloured Marbles”?

A) A reader should read the short stories in Brakenstroom so that they can learn how we lived in South Africa. How in Brakenstroom (Potchefstroom) people lived and why the town was regarded by the police as the largest illegal diamond trading centre in the world.

They should read “The Vase….” so that they can learn how Apartheid (as practised by the National Party who ruled the country) destroyed the lives of many. How so many non-Europeans managed to jump the racial barrier and establish remarkable lives for themselves throughout the country and the world. They were helped by many that lived in the country who fought surreptitiously against the government’s hateful policies.

Q) You took self-publishing a step further and created your own publishing company. Do you think the modern publishing world is too harsh? Too competitive?

A) I have self published both my books. The book Brakenstroom was published by a company I formed in the year 2000, Regnis Publishing after being rejected by many publishers. Any advertising I did was only in Vancouver, Canada, and the book has sold extremely well in Vancouver. With my second book, The VASE with the MANY COLOURED MARBLES, self published through Outskirts Press in September 2011, sales have been very slow because I find that with the advent of the eBook industry, publishers are scared to publish unknown authors. Reviews received, where the book was sent gratis to various readers, have been excellent; but no agent or publisher has taken up the book.

In today’s eBook world, readers can buy a book for 99c. So many authors are even offering their books for free to attract readers. I find that I cannot do that. I will offer a few chapters for free, to attract readers, but I cannot offer a book I personally have read four times, and enjoyed every read, wondering how the hell I could have written such a beautiful book. It took me 4 years to write and 1 year to edit.

Q) You are by trade a successful stockbroker now. Do you think there’s more luck involved when working with the markets or when working in the publishing world?

A) There is more luck involved in the writing trade. With the stock market, you can analyse a company fundamentally and with technical analysis then buy the stock. If you have erred in your analysis, a trailing stop loss can take you out of the stock with a minimum of loss. In today’s world, the writing industry is in a rebirth. With the introduction of the ebook, and with authors writing and self publishing on the Internet at virtually no cost, ebooks can be offered to the readers free of charge. Readers then have the option of determining the ‘writability’ of the author, and if they do not like their writing style, or the book does not interest them, it is ‘bye-bye’ and at no cost. For a new writer to break into that reading ‘audience’, it has therefore become a gamble. Reviews offered on Googleand other web pages are suspect. The multitude of blogs introducing the writer to the reader has also become too much to read, many being passed to the ‘spam’  folder. Publishers today are scared to publish an unknown author. It has become too much of a gamble for them.

An author who has spent numerous years writing, editing and publishing a book is therefore hoping that what they have written is acceptable to Readers. This is why I believe that trading the stock market is less of a risk. You personally control your risk. With a book that you have written, you have no control and rely purely on the decision of a third party, but mainly on luck.

Q) Can you apply your talent for seeing trends on the stock market to the writing world?

A) Unfortunately, no. With the stock market you are analysing facts and past history of an investment. With the writing industry, you are relying on a third party to decide whether you, the author, have written a winner or a piece of slush.

The publishing industry today is in a state of flux. Printed books are becoming obsolete. Yes, there will always be those readers who will tell you that they prefer to hold a paper printed book in their hands above that of an eReader, but eReaders are evolving and will soon take over the industry.

Q) As a financial expert have you found it easier or harder to make money from the writing world? Do you have to have high expectations to achieve anything from publishing?

A) Writing a book is the easy part. It is costly, yes, in time and in money, especially when you have the book edited beautifully. It is also costly to self publish, with many publishers being vanity publishers, publishing anything and everything out there to earnincome. POD Publishing (Print on Demand) is becoming the norm, and anyone with a decent printer can start a POD company. The Publishing Industry, as it was, had an editor who read the book submitted to them and decided whether they should print it or not. With my first book, BRAKENSTROOM, I had so many publishers over the years inform me that they had placed the book on their short list, because they enjoyed the read, then as the year ended I would receive a letter stating that the Publisher had decided to print only ‘x’ amount of books that year, and because my book was… etc etc it would not be published that year.

Q) Now, I wanted to ask this– the way you ran your chemist shops was almost unique in a way. Can you explain more about the racial equality YOU implemented during the height of racist SA?

A) South Africa was a racist country. The government, under the Apartheid regime, deliberately undereducated the Africans so that they would always remain as servants and not achieve. The town of Potchefstroom, where I lived, was a very conservative town.  Louis le Grange, who was a friend and a member of the National Party became a member of Parliament on his personal popularity. He eventually became Minister of Police.  I asked him, “Louis, how can you become Minister of Police. It is a terrible job?” One must never forget the Steve Biko murder and the number of Africans imprisoned or murdered under previous ministers. Louis’ answer to me, “Jack, less people are and will be killed.”

When the Democratic Party (DMA) was formed in Potchefstroom, I asked them not to oppose Louis’ bid for re-election. I told them that they would split the vote, allowing the Conservative party to win the seat. Louis, who was Speaker of the House at that time, did not believe me. The DMA, however, listened to what I said. They did not submit a candidate. Louis was re-elected. Two years later Louis died. In the re-election, the DMA put forward their candidate, and they split the vote allowing the Conservative Party to win the seat.

That was my political attitude in Potchefstroom. To directly oppose the National Party would achieve nothing. Direct confrontation was not the way to go, yet years later, when the Potchefstroom University told me that unless I gave them a monthly donation, they would make sure that the Professors and students would not support me, I thumbed my nose at Potchefstroom and in my shop, dressed an African lady in the same uniform as the European girls and had her serve clients in the front shop. I asked two Indian ladies, one a Muslim and the other a Hindu, to come to work in their traditional dresses and serve in the front shop. I also put an African lady on the cash register. Yes, I lost a large number of customers, but with my direct confrontation,  I also made a large number of new ones.

I had made a R10,000 donation to the African school in their township, Ikageng. They used the money to build a school hall. They put up a placard thanking the Mooi River Pharmacy for the donation.

Q) You left SA because you felt there would be a “violent” revolution. Do you think there would have been anger aimed at you, simply because you were white?

A) South Africa was fighting a war on the Angolan border with the ANC who were supported by East Germany. The world had put sanctions in place against South Africa, and it was only a matter of time before the country would run out of money. We knew that the ANC would eventually take over the country, and we all expected a violent revolution. When Nelson Mandela did eventually take over in a peaceful revolution, all South Africans, even the world was surprised.

My wife and I, with our family had left South Africa for Canada a few years earlier because we were threatened by the Security Police under the National Party Government. Yes, we were scared of South Africa’s future under African rule, but it was the National Party Government that made us leave the country.

Get your copy of “The Vase With The Many Coloured Marbles” right NOW!

One Mistake? Using Amazon?

You write the book. It’s a good book… Maybe your best? The reviews are great and your BETA readers tell you that they loved your work…

It goes off to be published.

It looks great!

You have it listed on Amazon…

Then the problems start…

Your reviews don’t show up…

My latest book is called “One Mistake” and the reviews have been excellent. You just won’t see them on the Amazon listing….


Because Amazon failed to make the majority of them go live…


A man called Tyler Stone has discovered that his wife is cheating on him. He decides that he needs to kill her before she divorces him and takes his whole life away…. Tyler creates the perfect murder….

Will he succeed?

Read it and find out! It is currently $1.99 and I really hope you like it!


Part One of a Conversation with: John McLemore regarding writing and his new book, ‘The Old Royal’.

Q: In a previous interview with Nick Wale of Novel Ideas, you spoke about your original motivation for becoming an author was to make piles of cash, is that still your motivation?



A: Heck no! I had a healthy dose of reality years ago. If that was still my motivation, then I’m doing something wrong. My motivation for continuing to write is knowing that I can write whatever I want. Unlike successful traditional authors, who are beholden to the whims of their publishers and confined to the genres that’ve made them successful, I don’t have to endure those restrictions. If I want to wait two years and publish a book about cats traveling to colonize Europa, I can. Or, if I change my mind and decide, instead, to write a book about B-movie horror creatures solving crimes at Universal Studios, I can do that, too. I can turn on a dime, man! As a writer yourself, I know you’ve heard the old adage “write what you like to read”. Well, I never adhered to that bit of advice before. I was too worried about writing what I thought might be more popular. If traditional authors were successful writing crime fiction, then that’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I started reading more widely that I realized I loved many different genres and wanted to write in them all. [I think I’m running astray of the original question, here. Let me try to bring it back on course.] I like writing something that intrigues me. If I can do that, then everything’s okay. But, what’s best, is when readers talk to you about your writing. For me, talking about something that I created with someone else who really enjoyed it is better than the money. [I see you looking at me out of the corner of your eyes with your eyebrows cocked.] Seriously.



Q: Also in the Nick Wale interview you spoke about how Steven King was a big inspiration to you. Steven talks about how in order to write you have to read and read a lot. Do you agree with that statement and if so who else do you read and what has drawn you to their work?



A: Oh, yes. I agree with a lot of things Stephen King has said. Not everything, of course, but most of it. His advice to writers about reading a lot is quite sound, in my opinion, and very vital. In addition to that, I’d like to add to it by saying, not only should writers read a lot, but they should read outside of their favorite genres. I know there are writers out there who only read mystery because that’s what they love to read and, so, that’s what they choose to write. The same is true for every other genre out there. I’ve heard the excuse that they don’t want to rehash the same old stories, so they’re looking for something fresh by reading everything they can within that genre. Okay, that’s a noble excuse, but I think it limits those writers, too. In answer to your question, I started out by reading only Stephen King. I enjoyed horror and only wanted to write horror. However, at the advice of my wife, I ventured outside that genre to read a crime fiction story. I found that I absolutely loved it, so I got more. Later, I returned to some classic fiction that I neglected to read in school and found that I had really missed the boat on some great storytelling because I was close-minded. Since then, I’ve learned some great techniques for ways to tells stories and plot devices that I wouldn’t have gained had I stuck to only one genre to read. There are many, many authors out there we can learn from if we’ll just venture outside our comfort zones and give them a try. Some of the authors I’ve enjoyed have been: Christopher Moore, Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, Joe R. Lansdale, and Robert B. Parker, to name but just a few. There’s so many more I could list, but, hey, the list is so long!



Q: In that same interview you spoke about how self publishing was a great experience and I’m assuming like myself you’re a self published author. Have you tried to get picked up by a traditional publisher? What was your experience in regards to that?



A: Early in my writing career, I was dead-set on going the traditional route. Of course, back then, self-publishing had bad stigma and was viewed as a desperate writer’s last resort. I think things have changed now, especially with how the publishing industry is changing. More and more writers are migrating over from the traditional world to self-publish because of the freedom to do what they want and because they have more creative control. Starting out, I shopped around short stories to magazines, trying to build up my portfolio. It was difficult because I was still learning my craft, so I accumulated my share of rejections, and that was just with small magazines! Imagine how much harder it is with the big publishers. Eventually, I received some acceptance letters. My first came from the editor of Shroud Magazine; a guy named Tim Deal. He published my short story, Hush, Hush, My Love, which is also featured in my collection An Adverse Anthology. Anyway, my first major break came from Tim. I still have that printed email hanging on my cubicle wall at work. Since then, I’ve had a change of heart about how I wanted to go about being published, who controls how and what I write, and, I wanted more creative design over the entire process. I have my hand in every step of the process (from writing, editing, designing the cover, to laying out the interior design) aside from the actual printing (if it’s a physical copy) and I love it. When I order proofs of my paperbacks and hold them in my hand, I take pride in the fact that I created every bit of it. I don’t think I’ll ever try going the traditional route. If I do, it’s because some big publishing house has offered me a boatload of money to publish one of my books. I don’t think that’s going to happen.



Q: What was your inspiration for writing The Old Royal?



A: You’re probably going to laugh when I tell you. I started this story back in 2009 after looking at several short stories I had that were unfinished or not exciting enough to publish by themselves. I hated the idea of letting them languish in obscurity after writing them. The best thing I could think to do with them was incorporate them into a book. But, how? I knew the main character would be a writer and these would be stories he had written, but that didn’t make for a good story. After a few more days of turning over that premise, an idea struck me: I’d use those stories as a vehicle to introduce the typewriter, and thus the means for my character to travel in time. From there, the pieces started coming together to make the bigger picture. I’d always wanted to write a time-travel story and the fact that I was able to incorporate those story fragments made it more fun.



Q: I too love the old, early 1900 typewriters, I own a 1926 Underwood Number 3-12” that I found at an auction. The old typewriters have such character and looked like works of art in my opinion. Do you actually own an Old Royal?



A: No. Unfortunately, I don’t own an old Royal typewriter, or any typewriter, as a matter of fact. However, my mother had a baby-blue Royal typewriter that was given to her in the 60s. I remember using it quite a bit when I was younger to type papers for school reports, or just for fun. While writing The Old Royal I did think it would be nice to have an antique typewriter, just for the novelty of having it.



Q: Would you like to use an old style typewriter to write a novel?



A: [Attempts his best Gary Coleman impression] What’choo talkin’ bout, Chris? [Laughs] Absolutely not! Like I said, I remember using my mom’s Royal typewriter as a kid to write school reports. The nostalgia is nice, but I’m hooked on the luxuries word processors afford us now. Could you imagine writing the better part of a novel only to realize you confused two character’s names half way through? With a word processor, you can easily fix that by doing a search and replace. On the other hand, with a typewriter, you’d have to retype each of those pages. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t have to retype each one. I suppose you could go through with White Out and change them, but talk about tedious. As if writing a novel isn’t hard enough. Just for the sheer difficulty, you’ve got to respect those older writer who had no choice decades ago.



Q: What would you say was your main characters motivation for writing?



A: Probably visions of grandeur. I’m sure Anthony’s primary motivation was believing that he had it in himself to become rich and famous like his idol. I think that’s the reason most new authors get started writing. I mean, who doesn’t like to fantasize about being your own boss, working from home, and becoming independently wealthy just by writing stories? After all, writing stories is so easy, right? See, you and I know that that’s a huge misconception. Writing, like a lot of other things in life, lure people in with its flashy glamour. Except, once you’re knee-deep into it, you realize that glamour was a mirage caused by the vapors rising from the cesspool. Did that sound bitter? I didn’t really mean to sound bitter; just trying to dispel that misconception with a dose of reality. For one, writing isn’t easy and should not be approached so lightly. Fame and riches are the wrong reasons for getting into writing.



Q: Were you trying to make a social statement of any kind with this story?



A: You know, I don’t normally approach any story I write with the intention of delivering some heady social commentary. I think that sort of stuff is for smarter writers than myself. My goal, first and foremost, is to deliver the best and most entertaining story I can create. During the last iterations of the editing phase is when I’ll look for symbolism, theme, or morals and that’s where I’ll try to polish them so that they show through. I never try to hit my readers over the head with speeches from my soapbox. I try to keep my own personal beliefs out of the story. But, since you asked, I do think The Old Royal has a strong message, which is: be careful what you wish for. In addition, I think it’s a fine example of that old saying “the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side”. That’s all; no Da Vinci Code here.



Q: While I read the story I couldn’t helpbut draw comparisons to my own life as a writer, did you intend to have the book be somewhat auto biographical?



A: I’m glad to hear you say that. I’m hoping it will resonate with writers in that way. No, that wasn’t my intention, but I think every story is somewhat autobiographical to some extent because I usually put a piece of myself into every story, some more than others. Since this main character was an average-guy-writer, I probably put more of myself into him that I anticipated. Of course, now that I’ve said that, I hope he doesn’t strike any readers as a bad guy.



Q: I thought you did an excellent job depicting the writing process through the thoughts of your main character. Do you write in a similar manner or do you approach writing from more regimented structure?



A: Oh yes! The writing process that Anthony uses in the story is very much how I write. Over the years, I tried various writing techniques: from verbose outlines and character sketches to writing spontaneously, using no notes or outlines. I wouldn’t say I’m a very regimented writer, but I do have a certain way I approach my writing these days. I like to create a lot of text files on my storage device to hold any important story notes, character traits, research links, etc. Each of these text files sit in a folder for their appropriate story and I might open them frequently to check something as I’m writing. For the most part, I familiarize myself with the part of the story I’m sitting down to write and visualize it in my mind like a movie or television show. As it unfolds, I let my fingers fly, disregarding my internal editor so I can get those words onto the blank page while the action is happening. My internal editor only comes back on duty when I hit the editing process. Although, when I sit down to write, I sometimes re-read the story where I left off previously and do a little bit of editing.



Q: Did writing ‘The Old Royal’ require you to do a lot of research? What kind?



A: I did some research while writing The Old Royal. Most of it was to find out what life was really like in the early 70s because I was just a baby then. I used that fact for Anthony in the story, originally making him a baby in 1973, and since I couldn’t rely on my memory, I had to take to the web to do plenty of research to determine what prices were, what was playing on television and in theaters. Here’s a little anecdote about my research. One of my colleagues at work read The Old Royal just after I wrote it and reached the part where Anthony finds the TV Guide on his sofa. My friend Googled that to see if it was real or something I made up. When he found that it was real (that I had actually done the research), he located that issue on eBay, bought it, and gave it to me at work. That really made my day.



Q: What was your biggest challenge in writing, The Old Royal?



A: My biggest challenge was overcoming self-doubt. As a matter of fact, this story hit a snag and stalled out for about a year when my main character found himself in the past. I realized I still had to write about half the book and didn’t know where to take the story once my character went back to 1973. According to the plot outline in my head, I knew I had to get Anthony more than 30 years into the future, but was unsure how to do that without boring the reader to tears. After doing a year of “research” (read: procrastination) I mentioned the premise of this story to some guys I work with and one of them said, “I’d buy that book!”. That was all the motivation I needed to resurrect this story from the dead-idea drawer. After some thought about how to get the plot moving again, it occurred to me to just summarize Anthony’s successes as I jumped ahead in the timeline. Showing glimpses of Roger’s life during this time, I think, reinforced the contrast between both characters’ lives. Once I was over that hurdle, the rest of the story was pretty easy to write.



Q: How would you describe your book? Is it horror story or a super natural story? What?



A: I had the darnedest time with trying to categorize this book. I think I finally went with general fiction because that seemed safer. The time travel element is very important, but I didn’t want to explain the process in too much detail, so it has that fantasy element. Also, there is a crime that takes place. (I won’t mention what or where it occurs for obvious reasons.) Also, there are embedded stories of various genres, so that also makes it difficult to categorize. I still think general fiction is the safest bet, but I’m not sure if that will cause readers of certain genres to pass it over. I guess time will tell. Also, it’d be cool to hear what category they think this book should belong to.



Q: How has your writing affected your relationships with friends and family? How has it affected your choice in which books you’ll take the time away from your writing to read?



A: Writing hasn’t really affected my personal relationships with anyone, that I know of. My writing takes a backseat to friends and family, although, I do tend to pester them from time to time to read my stories and give me feedback. And, oh boy, watch out if you get me talking about books and writing! I’m hard to shut up. During the writing of one of my books, if I’m not actually behind my laptop writing, the story is still churning in my mind. I’m usually trying to see further down the story line to know where I’m going with it, or I’m trying to puzzle out a tricky plot hole, something like that. Books I read during this time don’t ever take away from my writing. I try to do most all of my reading in bed, just before I turn the lights off. I always read an hour (sometimes longer if it’s a weekend) before turning off the bedside lamp. If I’m working on a particular theme, say time-travel, for instance, I’ll try to read other books in that same vein. It’s always good to see how others handled situations before you encounter them. Most of all, when I pick up a book to read, it’s almost always for pure entertainment.



Q: Do you follow any self published authors work? And if so, are there any writers like yourself, self published, that you’d recommend to your fans?



A: There’s only a couple of self-published authors I’ve read. I’d recommend Hugh Howey’s Wool series–he’s got great writing talent. Also, there was a book called Blabbermouth that I picked up from author Joel Travis, which was really good. A friend of mine, Todd York, self-published a science fiction novel called A Long Way Home, which I thought was written well, and I’m not a big science fiction fan. Well, usually not that kind of sci-fi. But, most of the stuff I read, I pick up from Barnes & Noble when I meet up there with one of my good friend’s every weekend to discuss books, writing, and a whole host of other things. I have read some other self-published authors, one who is very well known, but, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend his books to anyone because I think his writing is sub-par. I’m baffled by his success; I guess his covers, which look great, and his notoriety are what get people to buy his books.



Q: Besides writing novels and short stories, do you write other things like, essays, news articles, editorials, quotes, screen plays etc.?



A: Not really, no. There was a time, early on, when I wanted validation as a writer. I wrote reviews and copy for electronic products and devices using a website called TextBroker. I think they’re still around. Anyone who wants to do that kind of writing can create an account and choose from the available categories and write this stuff. Clients post the listings, stating what they are looking for and how much they are willing to pay per word. I made a few bucks doing that, and I think it’s a great service for writers, but I got tired of that kind of writing; it’s not what I really want to do. Instead, I prefer creating imaginary worlds where my characters can do whatever I want them to do. I like writing to entertain.



Q: Where can readers find your great books and what are the links to your web and fan pages?



A: Well, my website is and I have a blog at where I talk about my books, current releases, what I’m working on, my silicone mask making, photography, learning math, and well, pretty much anything I’m interested in. On both of those sites, I link to where my books are available, but for readers who want to go directly to them, I am on Amazon (, Barnes & Noble (, and Smashwords ( And, please, if you happen over to my blog, feel free to comment or hit me up on Facebook ( We writers get pretty lonely and it’s great to hear from readers.




Thanks for having me, Chris. It was a real pleasure.


The Pleasure was all mine John, Good luck and we’ll see you on the Best Seller List!-Chris





Turn The Key To See Into The Mind Of Chris Keys….

I was asked the other day how I came up with the idea for One Mistake and to be honest the idea of a guy digging a hole in which to bury someone was the idea I had originally. Like most of my stories I start out writing about just a small part of the story and my imagination builds on it from there. I thought about why a guy was digging the hole, then what kind of hole was it, big/little. Then it went to how I would dig a hole to bury a body. I mean why else dig a hole?

It then morphed into a normal guy is pushed to his breaking point and so believing he has no choice, he plots out the perfect murder. Murder is a drastic step that gets a lot lip service in the heat of the moment, but is actually seldom committed. Yeah sure there are thousands murdered every year in America. But there are billions of people, so in contrast, the number of murders, though horrific all, are really quite small in the grand scheme. That’s probably why it intrigues us so much.

Tyler Stone is the neighbor you say hi to as you come back home from work or on the weekend while mowing the lawn. He’s the guy you play softball with or hang out at the bowling alley with. He’s not a monster, but he’s feeling trapped, and the acceptable solution in society’s eyes is simply too much for him. If he goes along with getting divorced it will strip him of his identity and everything he’s worked for. That’s something he can’t deal with.

I then thought about how he’d have to justify to himself, the killing of his wife and after lying convincingly to himself working up the courage to follow through, he finally accepts it’s wrong to do it. Only to justify it by believing its only wrong if he gets caught. Maybe he is a monster deep down inside, maybe we all are to some extent.

So Tyler, who obviously saw the divorce coming, long before the wife actually started acting out, begins planning for the perfect murder. He reads books, lots of books about murder and studies them to learn exactly what the murderer did that gave away the fact that he had killed someone.

Tyler plans the burial site, the cleanup, hunts for and finds the perfect murder weapon, prepares the murder scene, and sets the stage to commit the crime so that his alibi will shield him from suspicion. But even the best laid plans seldom survive the first minute of battle. It is one of the first lessons officer candidates learn at our nation’s military academies. Your enemy will never follow your battle plan. You have to be fluid and reactive, and never give up the initiative, but you will always have to make adjustments on the fly.

Tyler despite thinking he’d planned for nearly everything, discovers he hadn’t planned for hardly anything and is forced from the moment he initiates his plan to reevaluate and rethink everything. The one thing you cannot plan for, in its entirety, is what other people will do. Tyler finds this out the hard way and finds himself battling through one unplanned for challenge after another, all created by others. You’ll find yourself almost rooting for him to get away with it.

I found myself struggling along with Tyler to keep the mistakes to a minimum and keep the story believable. It was challenging thinking up what could possibly go wrong next, without turning it into a comedy.

Once I figured out Tyler would kill his wife, I then had to discover how he‘d avoid making that One Mistake that would get him caught. So when it came to the ending, I simply…Oh wait…I think maybe it would be best if you read that part for yourself. That way I’ll avoid the Mistake of giving it away and that would be truly tragic for me.

My NEW E-book! One Mistake Has Arrived…

Hi there,

I want to tell you all about my latest release “One Mistake.”

Tyler Stone chooses murder over divorcing his two timing, money grubbing wife. He plans the perfect murder down to the smallest detail only to find himself, staggering through and astonishing array of challenges all in the effort to avoid making that One Mistake that would reveal his involvement to the authorities.  Every murderer makes at least One Mistake It only takes One Mistake to get caught and everybody makes at least one. Tyler Stone had made several, but the biggest one was having committed the crime in the first place.


I think it was always on the cards that Chris would write something that would stick. If he has a chance of gaining a worldwide bestseller, it is with this one.

Tyler Stone is a man possessed as he deals with the reality of an impending divorce. He knows he will lose everything in the end. He knows that he has ONE chance. He needs to kill her and he needs to create the perfect murder.

He can’t afford to make ONE mistake…

Every crime is solved with the help of one criminal oversight- whether it be Columbo finding the all important cigar butt shaped piece of evidence or Kojak seeing a reflection of the murderer on his shiny, bald head. There is always one major clue that leads the cops, PI or inquisitive niece to the real murderer.

Tyler researches, he plans, plots and finally he has the perfect murder.

The only question now is… Will it go to plan? Will he succeed? Will he rid himself of a wife who wants nothing more than to destroy him?

Chris Keys kept me on the edge of my seat with this one. He kept me rolling around turning pages and glued to his words. I didn’t know what would happen next. The plot twists, it turns, the way he drives the narrative to keep the reader right on top of the story is masterful. You feel like Chris is telling you the story over a bar with a beer. His words have a warmth seldom seen in a book. He makes you feel like his secret companion, the one he needs to tell the story to before he dies.

Now, on the downside, this is the first book that truly shows a side to Chris Keys that really makes him stand out. His earlier books, interesting as they were, did not have the same feel. This one feels like something that you would read again and again and again. It has a sticky feel it to. An addictive feel. I don’t think anyone could accuse him of being anything less than original with this one. If you read his earlier work you will be disappointed because this one is really the peak. It’s the one that will define the work of Chris Keys.

The book comes out early next week and you would be crazy to miss it. Absolutely crazy! Don’t make even ONE mistake…

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