Meet Mark Brownless

Mark Brownless is an up-and-coming author. I am pleased to introduce his first book entitled The Hand of an Angel. At present, it is available in Kindle and mark-brownless-hand-of-an-angelpaperback formats. I came across Mark Brownless’ book on Twitter. So, don’t let anyone tell you that Twitter does not sell books. I noticed the title first and then the cover. They both caught my eye. Since my reading of the book, and yes, leaving a five-star review, Mr. Brownless has changed the cover. I must say, I like it.

Mark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales in the UK. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances. He is fascinated by unexplained phenomena and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction, and horror.
You can find out more about Mark Brownless at his website  http://www.hyperurl.co/handofanangel  Like Mark Brownless on Facebook Follow Mark Brownless on Twitter @MarkBrownless

 

I have a few questions for this author. I want to get to know him better and I am sure you would like to also. So, let’s get started.

1. Brigitta: Mark, this is your first published novel. What was the inspiration for your story?

Mark: I’d just written some fan fiction, as really the first fiction I’d ever written, so I felt like I was on a bit of a roll creatively. The Hand of an Angel started out as some dialogue between two characters, who became cardiologist Tom Boyand, and psychologist, Bob Wauberg. They were discussing Tom’s feelings of déjà vu, and him seeing things after his near-death experience. I just developed the story around it from there. Despite numerous drafts, a good part of that conversation appears in the finished novel, just before the finale.

2.  Brigitta: Are your characters complete products of imagination or do they possess qualities of real people you are acquainted with?

Mark: My mother-in-law said she was glad Tom and Sarah’s kids are both boys, not a boy and a girl, because otherwise, she would swear that those two characters were my wife and I! That isn’t the case, though, and yes my characters are completely imaginary – although, I don’t think it’s possible to go through life and not pick up on things that people say and do, and they may well find themselves incorporated into the personalities of my characters.

3. Brigitta: The ending of the book was really good. Thinking back on when you were writing your first draft, did you already have the ending in sight, or did the ending happen as you were writing?

Mark: As I mentioned earlier, the first chapter I wrote was the conversation between Tom and Bob, the next one was the ending (it wasn’t the most structured of writing processes!). I did add to it, building it into a bigger event, but the essential structure and the very end itself have stayed pretty much unchanged since then. I’d tried to write some fiction a few years ago and the project had stalled because I could never think of an ending. The day after I finished writing the first draft of The Hand of an Angel, I went for a run and whilst I was out there I wrote the ending to my long-gestating story!

Brigitta: Yes, I understand that completely.  I am sure many other authors have struggled with a scene, a beginning, the first sentence, or an ending. But, these struggles turn into wonderful entertainment between the pages of a novel for the reader.

4. Brigitta: Will you give us a little insight into the day you clicked the publish button after all the writing and rewriting? Was it scary?

Mark: I’d written my third draft based on the recommendations of my editor, Jackie Bates, and I was really pleased with the finished work. I decided to do one last proof-read as a final check, over a couple of nights. When I was getting towards the end, it was really late – maybe 1a.m. – and I thought that this would be the last time that these characters would be just ‘mine’, that I was going to be sending them out there for everyone else to get to know and to share this story with. So, as a culmination of two-years work, it actually became quite an emotional moment for me, and pressing ‘send’ seemed to draw a line underneath it. The scary bit comes when people tell me that they’re reading my book – just like you did – and I almost have to stop myself from nervously pacing the floor, waiting to see if they like it or not!

Brigitta: Thank you for sharing this with us. I am a reader as well as an author, and I have never stopped to think about the bond between author and characters. I am very happy that you shared your characters with us, the readers.

5. Brigitta: I absolutely enjoyed The Hand of an Angel. I noticed that it has a new cover. What prompted the change?

Mark: Yes, I’ve re-done the cover. So, the version that’s just launched is now the second edition of the book. The first cover, and a lot of my online presence, was using some brilliant artwork that I’d found online. I think it makes perfect sense if you’ve read the book and how it fits in. If you aren’t familiar with the book and see the first cover as an Amazon thumbnail, however, it says more hard sci-fi than a psychological medical thriller. I’ve recently been working with a marketing expert, Sam Missingham. We tested a series of cover options on various forums, narrowing the finished cover and blurb down to this new version. As much as I’ve got a really soft spot for the first cover and it was quite a personal thing to produce, I love the new edition, and it feels a lot less homemade. So I hope everyone likes it!

Brigitta: I have to say, I like them both.

6. Brigitta: We are in an elevator together. We are three floors from my stop. What will you say to me about The Hand of an Angel that will send me straight to Amazon?

Mark: What if you could see into the afterlife? What if you could look beyond the threshold of death and come back to tell the tale? That’s the obsession of cardiologist, Tom Boyand. But, when he creates an experiment to stop his heart, to experience this for himself, he doesn’t come back alone.

Brigitta: Nailed it. I’m sold. He doesn’t come back alone. Wow. I believe the hardest thing to do is to come up with the elevator pitch.

7. Brigitta: What is your favorite novel?

Mark: I like a wide variety of fiction. I love Tolkien. I really like historical fiction and am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell. But, I also like thrillers and horror. I love Stephen King and one of the best things I’ve read for a long time was CJ Tudor’s The Chalk Man earlier this year. She’s clearly a fan of the likes of It, and her novel is like a British Stephen King story.

Brigitta: I don’t know her. You have given me another author to add to my growing TBR shelf.

8. Brigitta: What type of music do you like?

Mark: Music in our house tends to be a little more tribal. So, when my daughter was small, as a family we were into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I remember her singing By The Way to me when she was a toddler, which was amazing. Moving on some years, when my son was at about the same age, he would sing My Hero by the Foo Fighters. Mark Knopfler once said that people live their lives to a band’s music, and even down to what you think the lyrics are, and not necessarily what they are actually singing. So, like everybody else, music isn’t just about the tune per se, but what it’s meant to us as a unit over the years.

I also like Kasabian and some Metallica, and my wife and I are big fans of Tom Petty so it was very sad when he passed away last year. So, I guess it’s rock music in some form or another all the way in our house.

9. Brigitta: What would you consider as a good day for you?

Mark: A good day for me would probably be a Sunday, spent at home with my wife and kids, where in the winter we might cook a big Sunday roast, then all sit around the fire watching a movie together. Or in the summer we might barbecue and spend the whole day together outside.

10. Brigitta: What is the most important thing in Mark Brownless’ life?

Mark: You’ll probably guess from my previous couple of answers, but it’s my family. They shape what I am, rib me mercilessly, and give me the best times.

There you have it, friends. Up and coming author and family man.

The Hand of an Angel can be purchased on Amazon.

Click the book to start reading now. 

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Meet Ericka Whitfield

Ericka Whitfield is an up-and-coming author. I am pleased to introduce her first book entitled JUMP: Journey Unlocking and Unleashing More Possibilities. At present, it is ericka-whitfield-authoravailable on Kindle. She assures me that the paperback is coming. Not only that, she plans to add additional months to the collection in the future.

Ericka Whitfield earned her Associates in Church Leadership and Ministry at Champions Centre College in 2011. She also earned her Masters in Business Administration focusing on Management and Strategy at Western Governor’s University in 2013. Ericka and her husband Robert reside in Tacoma, Washington with their daughter, Shayla.

I have a few questions for this author. I want to get to know her better.

  1. Brigitta: My most pressing question is, how does it feel to press the publish button for the first time? I did it years ago and can not remember the feeling.

Ericka: Before I pressed the button, I wondered what else I needed to do, other than press the button. Not a single thing came to mind. I could not think of anything I needed to do except to press the button. I felt scared and relieved pressing the publish button.

2. Brigitta: What is your favorite type of music?

Ericka: I like jazz and gospel music.

3. Brigitta: What would you consider a good day?

Ericka: A good day? Hmm, that is one to think about. Accomplishing my to-do list makes a good day for me. It lets me know that I am being productive and taking care of things that matter to me.

4.  Brigitta: Who is your favorite author?

Ericka: Joyce Meyer.

5. Brigitta: When all is said and done, what is the most important thing in Ericka Whitfield’s life?

Ericka: Family. My hope is for each of my family members to “JUMP” and find his or her niche in life. Live the life God desires for them.

Ericka Whitfield’s Devotional Journal can be purchased on Amazon.
Ericka Whitfield

 Start reading now

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KindleScout – The Pros and Cons

I have had a few inquiries about my experience, so as promised, here is my experience with Kindlescout. I have to warn you that I am not happy with them, not because my book was not selected, but because of the treatment of the authors who spend time, money, and heart to participate. if you don’t win, you don’t count as a person or an author.
The cons:
1. The secrecy. They claim it is to keep the playing field even. How will it uneven the field to let an author know if their book is shortlisted? Because they won’t tell you if a book has been shortlisted you have to wait and see if you get the promised editorial feedback. Some authors have said they have received it a week after getting the decline email. So, If you don’t receive it after a week I guess it is safe to assume it won’t be coming. Unfair and unkind.
2. The waiting. Most of the losing books will wait almost fifteen days to receive the decline email. I have had one author say the email of acceptance was received eight days after the campaign ended. After watching the activity for sixty days I have seen the accepted books get notified quickly, within two days. My problem is I think it is unfair and unkind to make an author wait that long to receive an email of decline when it has been known all along that the book was not going to be accepted. Some authors disagree with me saying maybe the book was on the fence and it took that long to make a decision. I don’t agree. I have seen two books get declined within twenty-four hours. My thought was, that book must have really been horrible. So, it is a no-win situation. You wait and get declined or you get declined overnight. They both feel awful.
3. The Begging. The author has to get page views and votes. The sad truth is no matter how many votes and page views you get it will not win you a contract. A book can be Hot and Trending for the entire 720 hours and not win. The author will only know how many page views they received and how many hours their book spends in Hot and Trending. They will never know the number of votes. Secrecy. The author spends time asking everyone they can think of to vote for their book. They spend money on advertising to get exposure which will hopefully lead to votes. They put their hearts into the campaign. If a contract was won based on votes and page views we will never know. Secrecy. My belief; a contract is won based on if the employee who reads the book liked it. Maybe it just was not in the genre he or she liked.
4. Hot and Trending. People love to compete. They love to win. Amazon hit the jackpot with this one. For thirty days the author can think of nothing else except Hot and Trending. Their minds will work out all sorts of ways to keep their book Hot. For Amazon this equal more customers. To vote for a book you must be an Amazon customer. You will have to make an account. There are twenty spots on the coveted Hot and Trending list. These authors work hard to get there and stay there. This equates to them working hard to get more customers for Amazon. This was my second time around, so I decided I was going to let it ride and see what happened. Nothing. But, then I coveted the Hot and Trending. I began the vote begging. and advertising. I reached the list and hung on until I decided it was taking over my life. If I stopped begging and advertising my book dropped down the list. I upped my game. One day I tired of the begging. I stopped and my book died. Is this really the way to a publishing contract? Hot and Trending? The average person doesn’t even read the excerpt. They vote because the author asked. Take a look at my stats below. You can see where I ignored the contest in the beginning, where I stepped up my game, and where I let it die. The final day is a day when the ending books get more page vies just because they are in the category of last day.
5. The Decline Email. Everyone who voted for an author’s book receives an email letting them know the book was declined. Humiliating huh? Well, it is a two-edged sword. Some say it is great advertising. If you had a thousand votes, now you have a thousand potential sales; or is it a thousand potential people thinking the book must have really sucked, especially if the book was declined quickly.
The Pros
1. My Thoughts. You may think I am a bit salty. Not really. I’m a lot salty. I think the program can be a great experience for an author if they are treated better. There is nothing wrong with showing respect and empathy for the participants. Why treat someone who has worked hard for thirty days getting page views, votes, and new customers to Amazon with such little respect and care? As for the Decline Email, the author should be given a choice as to whether or not they want it delivered.
2. Voters. You can vote for books/authors. If they win you get the book for free. Here is what that really means. You get a free book in hopes that you will review it so the book launches with reviews which will equal more visibility and sales. This benefits the author and Amazon.
3.Would I do it again? Honestly, I don’t know. I had planned to add my third book in my Marston Series. If I add it, I won’t beg for votes. It will be one announcement on Twitter and Facebook. It will be thirty days of letting it ride on its own. A contract should be won on the content of the book, not how many votes I can beg up.
4. Because I don’t know the feeling of winning nor the benefits first hand I will refer you to a post from a winner. Read it. It is a great post. DOES KINDLE SCOUT SUCK???
5. I hope this post is helpful. I know I did a lot of web surfing for information about Kindlescout.
I am adding some eye candy for the visual readers.
The acceptance email for the thirty days of voting.
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The Decline Email to the Author
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The Decline Emai sent to voters
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The Accepted Email to the voter
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The Marston Series

Marston is a fictional town set in Maryland. It was rated one of the safest towns until now. Things are beginning to happen. The trusted football coached turned out to be unworthy in book one. Book two has a serial killer on the loose. What will book three offer? Follow the blog. Keep coming back to find out.

Click the books and begin reading now.

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