Thursday, June 27, 2013

Giveaway & guest post by Gail Z. Martin: Promoting Your Book with Podcasts & Trailers

Guest post by Gail Z. Martin

You’ve written a book. Congratulations!  Now you need to let the world know, and attract readers.  That’s the hard part.

Out of the many options you have for promoting your book, many authors choose to make podcasts and trailers part of their marketing plan.  One reason for this popularity is that podcasts and trailers bring sound and visual to the written word, adding excitement and engaging multiple senses.  Another reason is that smart phones, digital cameras and inexpensive software have made podcasts and trailers easy to create.  And the third reason is, they’re fun to produce and fun to consume, making them a great way to reach out to readers and create a bond.

“Podcasts” don’t really require an iPod.  They are audio recordings shared via the Web that can be downloaded to and listened on any device that can play an MP3 or WAV file—iPods, smart phones, computers and a variety of MP3 players—and shared via social media.

“Trailers” are like the previews you see at the movies—short visual commercials that tease the viewer into wanting to know more.  These can be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sites, downloaded to computers, and shared via social media.

What do you talk about on a podcast?  Anything you want.  Some authors interview other authors.  Some podcast hosts record readings from their books, either with a single voice or a cast of characters like old-time radio shows.  Others do a radio show-type of format that includes whatever catches their fancy.  The point is that a podcast is a regular recording you share via social media that provides a way for readers to get to know you in a setting that isn’t specifically promotional.

How do you create a podcast?  Although it’s pretty easy, that’s a little beyond the scope of this article, although you can read “Podcasting for Dummies” by Tee Morris or my own “Launching Your Books Without Losing Your Mind” book for tips and how-to ideas. 

If you’ve been on YouTube or Goodreads, you’ve probably seen book commercials, sometimes called “trailers.”  The simplest book trailers are really a video of a PowerPoint slide show, doing a transition from photo to photo to tease the viewer into wanting to find out more about the book.  More complex trailers use special effects and even live action to create a commercial that brings a book to life.

One author I know who wrote a book with a pirate theme found a local pirate-themed event and went with her camera, taking photos of participants in pirate gear (with their permission) and sequencing the photos into a fun, simple book video.  (If you use photos of people, be sure to get them to sign a simple form authorizing you to use their image.)

You can bring your commercial to life with music. Just be sure to purchase royalty-free tunes from a place like so that you stay on the right side of the law, and always use photos that you’ve either taken yourself or obtained through a royalty-free online service so that you don’t infringe copyright.  You can use the iMovie app (about $5) if you have an iPad, or Windows Movie-Maker (usually a free part of your basic software) if you use PC, or even a program like Camtasia if you want to get fancy.  Or, you can hire a service like Apex Reviews or Circle of Seven (COS) Productions, both of which I’ve used. 

Why bother?  The short answer is, because podcasts and trailers help you sell books.  The long answer is, because a career as an author is all about building a relationship with readers, and that relationship happens over a period of time, utilizing a variety of senses. Podcasts and trailers give prospective readers new ways to meet you, get to know you, and learn about your books without a direct sales pitch.  By engaging readers through sound and visuals, your books come to life before the reader turns the first page.

Still not sure?  Check out the author podcasts and videos on Goodreads, including the ones on my author page.  There are as many styles as there are authors, and you can find something that fits your technology comfort zone, busy schedule and lifestyle.

Give your books a life of their own with podcasts and a book video, and see what happens to your sales!

See the mini-trailer:

The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 21 awesome partner sites around the globe.  For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit

@GailZMartin Book Giveaway on Twitter—Every day from June 21 – June 28 I’ll be choosing someone at random from my Twitter followers to win a free signed book.  Invite your friends to follow me—for every new 200 followers I gain between 6/21 – 6/28, I’ll give away an additional book, up to 20 books!

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Writing the Fight Scene: Your Character is Never Unarmed—and Neither are You

People who are trained to fight –cops, military, martial artist, etc—tend to think differently from most people. I find myself often blinking in amazement at the statements of the untrained or in amazement when they don’t realize something that I saw in less time than one of those blinks. This could sound arrogant, but in truth it comes from the surprise that I have to remind myself of the training and experience I have had is a lot different than they have had. Maybe this is why I enjoy writing about writing fight scenes, for it is my way to share and explore with others this train of thought. Most of the blogs (here or on my old Coffee with David blog site that you can find on my webpage below) contain not only information about writing a fight scene but also elements of self-defense.  This posting is no different.

Think about your character. What clothing do they wear in whatever scene you writing? Do they need a gun or a knife to defend them or are they armed without it. Despite what people generally think, and despite restrictions on weapons that various Government agencies might impose—like for travel or whatever—unless your character (or you) are naked (no jewelry even), you are never unarmed. Before we go down the road of explaining further, let’s redefine the word “weapon.” 

But, before we do that, let us dig a little bit into history. In history, there are often many examples of cultures that have disarmed the masses and restricted arms to certain people. The result of this was that the masses redefined what could be a weapon. Two great examples of this were the cultures of Scotland and Japan:
1. Scotland had been invaded by the English. The English took away (or attempted to) all their swords and other known weapons. So, the Scottish resorted to using stones, long heavy logs, and long poles. From this came the weapons of the caber and the long pike;
2. Japan is perhaps the best example as the weapons that were developed were more prolific. Laws were past to restrict weapons, particularly the sword (or Katana) to the Samurai class. The peasants were limited or not allowed weapons at all. So, what did they do? They took farming and other tools and reworked them to be weapons. Some are even used by modern police today (the tonfa is the basic design that certain modern police sticks are based on). Here is a short list of the weapons that Japanese created based on how they re-defined the word weapon, feel free to explore other sources for more information:
a. Tonfa
b. Sai
c. Jutte
d. Three Piece Staff
e. Rice Paddle (This actually may have been used first as a weapon in China)
f. Mitsubishi. (no , not the car)

Let us now redefine the word “weapon”. A weapon is anything that can be used for one of three things:  attack, defend, or distract.  Please go look in the mirror, look around your surrounding s for a moment and come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

What are you wearing? Do you have shoes? Do you have a belt? Do have rings on? What about a watch? Or a necklace? What about a shirt or a blouse? Are you eating anything? Maybe a stick of gum? Do you have a pen or a pencil in your hand? Do you smoke?  Do you have salt and pepper nearby? Sand? Do you have a wash rag or a towel? How can any of these be a weapon?

Let’s start with clothing, going from your feet to your head:
1.  Shoes. There are many reasons I am glad I am a guy and not a woman, shoes for the purposes of wearing them is one of the reasons. But when it comes to using them as a weapon—heels are something to be jealous of—in fact at the time this is being written, a woman in Texas used her high heel shoe to kill her “abusive” partner (I forget if it was husband or boyfriend). Regardless of the kind of shoe you have, you are wearing clubs. Yes, you read that correctly. You are wearing clubs. What are clubs? As a weapon they are objects that you can use to apply blunt force trauma to an opponent with. Take off your shoes, pick them (or one of them up) and you have a club to use against an attacker. What kind of shoes is your character wearing? What kind of thumping could they do to their opponent?

Another thing about shoes is  they make great distractions and buy you or your character time to run (assuming you are not on a surface that makes running barefooted painful). Just toss it in the attacker’s face. Aim for the eyes! (Throwing it at their chest or anywhere else is not too effective.) They will have to dodge it or (if you are lucky) let themselves be hit with it. Either way, it will give you a head start.

2. It is unlikely that you would want to take off your pants or skirt, but they can be used in the same way as the shirt or blouse which we will discuss in number 4.

3. Are you wearing a belt? If so, you have a whip. You can use this whip in any of two ways. If you want to hold onto the buckle, it may give you (or your character) a good hand hold. Or you can use the belt’s “tongue” and apply the buckle to the body of the opponent. Ouch!
You can also take the belt and wrap it around your knuckles. It won’t be like brass knuckles, but it will add something to your punch. Finally, you can take the belt and use it as a garrote.

4. If you are wearing a shirt, blouse, pants or skirt, you have another whip. No it won’t hurt like the belt. It is a softer whip that can be used to catch the other person or their weapon and end up entangling them. Note, you can also make a rat’s tail out of it quickly if you have the right material.  Also, this can be used as a garrote.

Shirts, etc. are also weapons of distraction. You can toss it in the opponent’s eyes (I don’t care how much it costs, your life is more important) as you run or attack with something else. If it is at their eyes, they can’t see for a moment.  You can also entangle their head in it. There is an old adage in martial arts and war—if they can’t see, they can’t fight.

5. Now let’s go with rings. I don’t tend to wear any, but should you or your character have any on, then you have (at least partial) brass knuckles. 

6. What about a necklace? Then you or your characters have a small whip and another garrote.

7. Do you have change in your pocket? You have a weapon of distraction. Toss the coins in their eyes.

What is in your surroundings?
1. A moment ago I asked if you had salt and pepper. Sounds screwy, right? Excuse the evil laugh, but you have one of the best non-lethal home defense systems. Add cayenne pepper and it makes a fiery mix. You can also add sand, ground glass, or ash. 

How do you hide a mountain? Answer: By putting sand in the eyes of those looking for it.

Remember what I wrote above about not being able to see. The same is true about not being able to breathe. Here’s how it works.  Dump some salt and pepper (and any of the other ingredients) into your hand. The pepper is critical. You can either toss it or blow it into the face of the opponent.  You are really aiming for the nose and the eyes. Even if they have glasses on, the nose is good enough and will take care of the eyes.

When you toss or blow the contents at them, surprise will kick in. What do people do when they are surprised? How do you describe surprise in your writing without saying Johnny was surprised? People react with a sharp inhaled breathe and wide eyes. The pepper (and the cayenne pepper to a degree) will irritate the nose and they will sneeze—a lot. Do you know anyone who can sneeze with their eyes open? It’s very hard to do. When people sneeze, their eyes water. The salt (and here comes the fun of the cayenne pepper should you have used it) will enter the eyes and mix with the water.  While they are sneezing and rubbing their eyes, they are temporarily blinded and have difficulties breathing that you or your character can take advantage of.

Note: If you add ash, sand, and/or ground glass, the opponent will do damage to their eyes when they rub them.

2. Is there a fire extinguisher? Just use your imagination.

3. Do you have a drink (hot or cold)? Throw it in their face. What is a person’s reaction when you do that? How have you described it in your writing? It’s a nice weapon of distraction.

4. What about gum? Yes, it is a weapon—of distraction. You can throw it at their face or lob it into the air in front of them. Their eyes will follow it. There is some kind of evolutionary response in us that watches with a certain grotesque fasciation  things that come out of people’s mouths to be sure the object doesn’t touch us. (Not to mention the question that has to go through the opponent’s mind of “what are you doing with that gum?”)  The distraction works for a short time for you to run or attack with something else.

5. Do you smoke? Don’t blow smoke in the opponent’s face. Second hand smoke doesn’t do much right away. Instead, blow the burning leaves into their face. Also, you can burn other places. Very few people like to be burned at all—even the ones who like pain.

6. I asked if you have a pen or pencil. A few years ago, I (with a fellow Black Belt) gave a self-defense and Writing the Fight Scene lecture where we demonstrated that the pen or pencil can be mightier than the sword. If you place it in your hand right, it can be driven into the opponent and used to just stab them or even kill them (depending on where you strike).

This topic and the use of examples can go on for pages. I hope that you can look at weapons in a different light, realize that you and your character are never unarmed (even if your character doesn’t realize it) and are able to build some uniqueness into any fight scenes than just using the normal knife, gun, broken bottle, baseball bat, or chair.

Finally, I will leave you with a challenge. This is the same challenge I gave to a former martial arts pupil of mine when we discussed the topic of how anything can be used as a weapon. If you think there is something that can’t be used as a weapon, put it in the comments below—give me a reason why you think so. I will respond. Who knows, maybe there is something that can’t be. But I don’t know what.

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Exploring Mistakes Writers Make: Desire versus Starting

The first step to any journey is not the desire to take it, but to put one foot in front of the other and walk it. In all my years of writing, taking classes, and going to writers’ groups I run into this strange creature called a “wannabe.” In all honesty, sometimes I feel like I am in their same boat as I look at the “less than a hill of beans” that I have been able to accomplish. However, there is the difference. Wannabes have not started the journey.

I run into a lot of new writers. They come to a writing group, a lecture, a conference looking to learn the craft and the art. They have started the journey. They may dream about the fairy tale contract and being the next household named author. There isn’t any shame in wanting to be that successful. It is a task where you are either Heracles or Sisyphus. But, they are on the quest.

Wannabes never get started. Sometimes it is because they are afraid or they think they must have everything checked off on some clipboard someplace like an airline pilot must do a pre-flight check before take off. Maybe sometimes they don’t realize just how huge of a task writing a book, a collection of poetry, or a novel is. Science Fiction writer Ben Bova once described the preparation for writing of a novel as preparing to lay siege to a city.  Many wannabes don’t have any concept of what such work entails or they just see in their dreams that they can simply sit and let the words magically flow.  If such magic existed, is there someplace I can buy a bottle, container, or bag of it?

Writing is hard work. That hard work starts with a simple question: Do you want to be a writer or a wannabe? If you want to be a wannabe, that’s fine. You can stop now and live in your fantasies—there’s nothing more you need to do.

If you want to be a writer, then you have everything you need to START your journey. You have the desire to drive you and you have some idea of something you want to write. It doesn’t have to be any good. It doesn’t have to be the next best seller. Just write it. Write. Write. That is how all writers get started.

Yes, the dream you may have once had may fade and be replaced with the fact that you are doing it. You are walking the walk—the journey—the quest to be the author that is within you. There are no certain paths, but if you want certainty, you should never have started this quest.

Welcome to the quest and write!

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

From the Crime Writer’s Library: Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit

Previously in “From the Crime Writer’s Library,” we discussed Journey into Darkness by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. Today, we are going to explore another book by the original FBI “Profiler.”  In my previous entry I raised the question of what are the effects of staring into the abyss of humanity. Mindhunter answers that question and more. Mindhunter is not only an exploration of profiling of some of the most dangerous killers in the modern age, but it is also the personal and professional journey of John Douglas and what his pioneering cost him—including almost his life.
Mindhunter explores Special Agent John Douglas’ twenty-five year career with the Investigative Support Unit. He pursued some of the most notorious and sadistic serial killers of our time:
* The killer who hunted prostitutes in Alaska;
* The Atlanta Child Murdered who almost set Georgia ablaze with race riots; and
* The Seattle's Green River killer—a case that almost cost Douglas his life.
Douglas was the model for Thomas Harris’ Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs.  Douglas has confronted, interviewed, and studied scores of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Ed Gein, who was the inspiration for Hitchcock’s movie Psycho and who dressed himself in his victims' peeled skin. By getting into the mind of both predator and prey, Douglas examines each crime scene, reliving both the killer's and the victim's actions, creating both sets of  profiles, describing their habits, and predicting their next moves based on the behavior of the killer.
If you are writing about serial killers or about any murderer, you will want to read and understand the work of John Douglas. You can learn more about him, follow his and Mark Olshaker’s work at this website:

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

From the Crime Writer’s Library: Obsession: The FBI's Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists, and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back

Over the past few months, “From the Crime Writer’s Library” has focused on the work of John Douglas, the founder of and once head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit. For a crime writing—be  it true crime or fictional crime—the works of John Douglas are a must read into the behavioral science and understanding of the dark side of humanity.

In Obsession: The FBI's Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists, and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Douglas gives an unsugar coated account and profile of the crimes and case histories of serial killers, serial rapists, child molesters, stalkers and others. “Douglas shows how he and his colleagues can assess the different temperaments and motivations at work behind grisly acts. Rapists tend to fall into four basic categories, for example, the "power-reassurance rapist" (driven by feelings of inadequacy), the "exploitive" rapist (impulsive and overtly macho), the "anger" rapist (who uses sex to displace his rage) and, cruelest of all, the "sadistic" rapist, who "simply gets off on hurting people." What stands out in this eye-opening book is how Douglas's compassion for the survivors of violent crimes seems to equal his understanding of the criminals themselves. His description of the work of the countless people who counsel, comfort and fight for the rights of victims serves as a welcome reminder that horrific and isolated acts of darkness and coldness are counterbalanced by a warmhearted and, one hopes, more natural human determination to help.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Douglas and Olshaker do even more as they also give in this book many resources for victims, also a valuable resource for writers of these crimes.  While we, crime writers, walk in the shadows of the darkness that investigators like John Douglas and Mark Safarik found themselves immersed in. Speaking for myself only, the writing of crime stories is not to glorify the crime but to tear it apart, understand it, and help society in general and the victims of the crimes face what has and is happening. Sometimes the only way to shed light on the horrific side of man is to walk into the scary places of his mind and soul.

The next edition of “From the Crime Writer’s Library” will go into another work on profiling. This work is the compellation of the unit Douglas started and provides the tools to dig deeper into crime.

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FREE! 6/22-6/24 in honor of HNS

By T.W. Fendley

Everything happens at once.
Three events I've been anticipating are all happening this week. Two are in Las Vegas--manifestation training offered by Dr. Joe Gallenberger, and the Applied Precognition Project conference. The third is in St. Petersburg, Fla.--the Historical Novel Society conference.
It was a hard decision, but with so many online friends to meet, I couldn't pass on Vegas!
In honor of the HNS conference, I'm offering the two prequels to ZERO TIME--my historical fantasy novel--for free on Kindle this weekend, ending Monday (June 22-24). I'm just sad I can't be in two places at one time (did I mention I'm a Steve Berry fan!).
JAGUAR HOPE, a novelette, tells of the ill-fated journey to Earth’s Age of Crystal. Two black jaguars become the symbol of hope for a race facing extinction when they accompany a dying traveler back to her home planet.
Four-year-old White Heron begins her journey as a master shaman when she arrives in Teotihuacan with her sister Quilla and Mama Couen. Her fledgling skills prove the only defense against a priest of the Lord of Darkness in THE MOTHER SERPENT’S DAUGHTER, a short story.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SLWG Author Series on The Writers' Lens Tumblr Page!

SLWG Author Series on the WL Tumblr Page!

On the third Thursday of every month, St. Louis Writers Guild holds its long-standing lecture series. In May, I interviewed L.S. Murphy author of Reaper and we discussed writing for young adults and her process for creating stories. You can see the interviews on the St. Louis Writers Guild website, and if you’re a member, you can participate online during the interview, but now you can see them on The Writers’ Lens Tumblr page!  

SLWG Author Series Interview with L.S. Murphy author of Reaper!

L. S. Murphy  
L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband and a menagerie of pets. “A Reason to Stay”, a contemporary romance novella, is available as of November 2, 2012. Reaper is her debut young adult novel and is available as of January 7th, 2013.
She is a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild.
Repped by Julia A. Weber of  J. A. Weber Literaturagentur.

To purchase Reaper by L. S. Murphy

L.S. Murphy
REAPER (J. Taylor Publishing)
A REASON TO STAY (Calliope - an imprint of Musa Publishing)

SLWG Author Series
Third Thursday of every month
All on the Same Page Bookstore
11052 Olive Blvd. Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Free and open to the public!

St. Louis Writers Guild has a new format for its long-standing Lecture Series. Like the webinars, the SLWG Author Series is now available online.

There are three ways to view the interview. 
1: Be part of the audience, the discussion continues even when the camera stops. 
2: Watch live online and ask questions via text chat or Twitter. 
3: Watch the recorded lecture after the event.

As a benefit of membership with St. Louis Writers Guild, an email will be sent with a link to the live online broadcast of the interview.

The next SLWG Author Series Event is Thursday, June 20, 2013!
For more information visit 

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit , follow me on Twitter @bradrcook , or my tumblr page Thoughts from Midnight

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Books Made You A Writer?

What Books Made You A Writer?
By Brad R. Cook

Everyone has a top ten list of favorite books. For some it may only be a top three, but for writers and voracious readers, a top ten list of beloved books is a window into the soul. A glimpse at the weave of our universe. This isn’t a top ten list of the year, or even of my favorite novels – I don’t know if I could have only ten, maybe a top 100 – no, I’m talking about the books that inspired you to be a writer.

This post was inspired by an article on the Top Ten Science Fiction Books that people pretend they’ve read. I had read several, but it got me thinking about how books influence us. Some of the books mentioned were fundamental to me becoming a writer. What we read when we are young directly affects how we write, what we write, and is part of the source of our passion for writing.   

Here’s the article – how many have you read?

10 Science Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Actually Read Them) by Charlie Jane Anders for

Today what I am focused on are the books that moved you, help mold the person you are, and made you the writer you are today.

10 books… that molded my life and inspired me to write!

Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
            – Don’t even try to create elvish, it’s been done, but I will never forget when Eowyn rips off her helmet and says, “I am no man.” Best twist ever.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
            – Love language and slang. Give an English teacher something to talk about.

Dune by Frank Herbert
            – Epic is good, very epic is awesome!

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

            – Good stories are timeless.

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
            – My first Sherlock. Remember to slip in a few hidden clues.

The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

            – Kenders teach us that Wanderlust is a good.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hursten
            – Books can move you, fundamentally changing who you are after reading them. Words can paint.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

            – Steampunk has always been cool, and the best stories merge imagination and fact.

Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
            – Books are timeless, and some of the best fantasy was written over 500 years ago.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

            – Follow your dreams.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include plays; it’s where I got my start.

Top 3 Plays or Musicals
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
            – Several could be here like, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or the Tempest but Macbeth is my favorite.
Man of La Mancha (based on the book Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)
            – I think I like the musical better than the book… did I say that out loud?
Noises Off by Michael Frayn
            – Comedy comes in many forms, slapstick, one liners, and more.

And since we are talking about books that formed who we are today, here are a few blasts from my past.

Top 3 Kids Books
The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
            – Think outside the box, or the sandwich as it were.
Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
            – Bond, middle grade Bond.
The Choose Your Own Adventure Books
            – I would reread them out-of-order making up my own stories. They are probably directly responsible for me becoming a writer.

Think about the books that inspired you to write. Knowing where you come from and why you are standing where you are today can be invaluable in helping you move forward. Ten might be too much, so…

What three novels inspired you to be a writer?
List them in the comment section below.

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit , follow me on Twitter @bradrcook , or my tumblr page Thoughts from Midnight