Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bob Mayer - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer. He is the award-winning author of the Area 51 series and the Green Beret series.

Author Genre: Science Fiction, Thrillers, Historical Fiction

Website: Bob Mayer
Author's Blog: Write on the River
Twitter: @Bob_Mayer
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
West Point Graduate, former Green Beret and NY Times bestselling author Bob Mayer has had over 50 books published. He has sold over five million books, and is in demand as a team-building, life-changing, and leadership speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins concept.

He's been on bestseller lists in thriller, science fiction, suspense, action, war, historical fiction and is the only male author on the Romance Writers of America Honor Roll.

Born in the Bronx, Bob attended West Point and earned a BA in psychology with honors and then served as an Infantry platoon leader, a battalion scout platoon leader, and a brigade recon platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division. He joined Special Forces and commanded a Green Beret A Team. He served as the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and with Special Operations Command (Special Projects) in Hawaii. Later he taught at the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the course which trains new Green Berets. He lived in Korea where he earned a Black Belt in Martial Arts. He's earned a Masters Degree in Education.

His books have hit the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and numerous other bestseller lists. His book The Jefferson Allegiance, was released independently and reached #2 overall in sales on Nook.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

The next scheduled book is Nightstalkers: The Time Patrol the fourth book in that series. However, I will be releasing several novellas before then.

You have a great following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I’m uncertain how effective social media is at directly selling books. I do believe it gives an author platform and reach. The reality is we don’t know what works and what doesn’t work, so we have to do what we can. However, I also believe in only focusing on a few areas. We can’t do it all.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

My business partner at Cool Gus, Jen Talty, does our covers. The great thing about running our own publishing company is we can change up covers as needed. We do post covers on Facebook for reader feedback during the developmental stage.

It’s a collaborative effort between Jen and I on covers. We talk out a lot of concept and then Jen puts together some mock ups and we work from there. We’ve learned a lot about cover design over the years. An eBook cover is quite different than a print book cover.

Several of you novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience?

I use the ACX system and I really love it. I have 32 titles live through it and they sell well. I think audiobooks is a quickly emerging market. More and more readers are getting hooked on them. In the coming months, Cool Gus is preparing a separate web site just to promote our audiobooks.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called Special Ops. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

It’s to give people a deal. We just bundled my six Atlantis books and it has been selling solidly. With an eBook this is relatively easy to do and you give readers a discount.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I pretty much work all the time. My time is split between writing and running Cool Gus. The most important thing, of course, is the writing.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I find that free has lost its effectiveness. The market is saturated with it. Also, the crossover to sales has diminished. The only positive of free in eBook is an uptick in audio sales for the same title. But we’ve pretty much stopped doing free. The only thing I have free right now is the Bob Mayer Sampler which is an eBook containing excerpts from 42 of my books, covers, blurbs and a note from me about the book. We feel it’s a great way for a reader to get a view into the diverse genres and topics I write about.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

Book launch isn’t as important as it used to be in traditional publishing. We do a cover reveal and some other things. One thing I’m starting to do is post exclusive excerpts from the book I’m currently writing to people who’ve signed up for my email list. This gets readers more involved in the process.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? Tell us how your Blog Subscription works and what other author can expect from that source of information?

My blog does touch on the industry and publishing and writing at times, but I’ve cut back on that. I think there’s too much infighting going on and it’s counter-productive. As Jeff Bezos notes and I just blogged about: Complaining is not a business strategy.

I do Survival Friday posts every Friday to give readers of my blog important information they can use.

I plan on starting Who Dares Wins Wednesday after Survival Friday runs out in July. Giving people useful tips for living.

You do several types of events to help other others. Can you tell us about your Write It Forward Workshop and the Write on the River event you have and how other authors can get involved?

We run Write on the River several times a year. 4 writers come and stay in our house for the weekend. We spend the entire time working on the concept and story for their next book. Everyone finds it a very worthwhile time. It gives writers insight into process, which not many writers focus on. It’s more about teaching a concept of writing than making specific changes.

Author's Book List
The Rift - Area 51: The Nightstalkers, Book Three
Ever since the first Rift opened in Area 51 in 1947, exposing the world to deadly beings of pure energy, only the Nightstalkers have stood between humanity and complete annihilation. But as the decades have gone by, whatever power controls the Rifts seems to be getting smarter, as if refining an ultimate plan...

An old ally alerts the Nightstalkers to a resurgence of Rifts in Tennessee, near one of the team’s first major skirmishes with the seemingly inexhaustible threat. Though still licking their wounds from their latest mission, the Nightstalkers know there’s no one else remotely prepared to battle these intrusions into our world. And this time, they’re intent on closing down the Rifts once and for all. But to do so, they’ll have to finally face the truth behind the Rifts’ origins.

They say that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

But what if the past has already doomed us all?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Gate - Shadow Warriors
What if the Japanese succeeded in their atomic bomb program in World War II? And what if the legacy of that program has sat in a submarine at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge for all the decades since then?

In Manchuria in 1945 a German U-Boat delivers the dying Reich’s processed uranium. As Russian forces close in on the infamous Unit 731 Concentration Camp, the Japanese load one of the two bombs they’ve developed on a submarine bound for the United States. They detonate the other to destroy all evidence.

Present day United States. Lake, a covert operative for the United States government, is on the trail of rogue militia terrorists. He begins to learn that various factions are all searching for something in the San Francisco area. Something powerful. Something that was lost over sixty years ago, but still can be a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.

Battling the Japanese Yakuza, North Korean agents, home-grown terrorists, and betrayal in his own organization, Lake must uncover the history of this threat in order to prevent disaster.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Eternity Base - The Green Beret Series
Maverick federal employee Sammy Pintella, obsessed with uncovering the fate of her MIA father, makes a startling discovery while rifling through some inactive government files. A dozen, faded black and white photos seem to point to the existence of a secret US Military base built in the frozen wastelands of Antarctica during the height of the Cold War.

Aided by Special Forces veteran Dave Riley, she heads for Antarctica. But they aren’t alone. Spies, North Koreans and other shadowy forces are also en route, because deep inside Eternity Base is something people will go to extreme lengths to get: a cache of nuclear warheads.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Omega Sanction - Shadow Warriors
The most frightening weapon ever invented can be unleashed by a single person. And now, they have chosen her. On the border between Croatia and Bosnia, a killer practices his art on UN Peacekeeping troops, leaving handless bodies on display on crosses. In a trailer near Fort Bragg, a hitman targets a computer genius who has uncovered information more explosive than he could ever guess. And in an ancient, abandoned castle in Germany, a teenage girl is plunged into living hell—one that will take her into the heart of a murderous Middle Eastern plot. The only mistake the bad guy’s make, is not taking into account her father is Special Forces. Now only one Special Forces operative can stop two madmen from turning the girl into a devastating biological weapon. In a series of brutal covert operations, Thorpe must battle not only the enemy, but betrayal from his own side to not only stop the weapon, but save the daughter of his best friend.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Z: The Final Countdown - The Green Beret Series
This military action thriller set in the war-torn jungles of Africa, finds SF veteran Riley on the most dangerous mission of his life.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Jefferson Allegiance - The Presidential Series
The 4th of July 1826. As Thomas Jefferson lies dying, he gives his part of his Jefferson Cipher to Edgar Allen Poe, with instructions to take the disks to West Point. In Massachusetts, John Adams entrusts his part of the Cipher to Colonel Thayer, the superintendent of the Military Academy. As Thayer rides away, Adams utters his final words: “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

In the present, Green Beret Paul Ducharme has been recalled from Afghanistan after the ‘accidental’ death of his best friend, the son of one of the Philosophers. While Ducharme is visiting his friend’s gravesite in Arlington, an old man is executed by a member from the Society of Cincinnati know as the Surgeon, who is seeking to gather all the pieces of the cipher. In a nearby restaurant, former CIA and now Curator at Monticello, Evie Tolliver, waits anxiously for her mentor to arrive, but he’s killed by the same assassin at the Zero Milestone. His heart and the Philosopher’s head are displayed as a grisly message on top of the stone, echoing Jefferson’s famous head-heart letter.

Ducharme and Tolliver, the unknowing heirs to become the next generation of caretakers of the Jefferson Allegiance, team up and must battle the Surgeon to assemble the Cipher and find the Jefferson Allegiance, a document that has kept the balance of power in the United States for over two centuries.

The story is a race back through history and the founding of the country. This is the first book in a new series: The Presidential Thrillers, each novel based on a historical puzzle left behind by a President. The Kennedy Endeavor will be released in summer 2012.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Kennedy Endeavor - The Presidential Series
What is the Sword of Damocles that President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev developed in secret during the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

For 13 days in October 1963 the world came the closest to nuclear Armageddon. On 22 November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. On the 25th of November, as Kennedy’s body lay in state at the Rotunda in Washington, Anastas Mikyoan, Khrushchev’s top adviser, presented the Premier’s condolences to Jacqueline Kennedy. She took Mikoyan’s hand in both hers and told him: “I am sure that Chairman Khrushchev and my husband could have been successful in the search for peace, and they were really striving for that. Now the Chairman must continue the agreed upon endeavor and bring it to completion.”

On 12 October 1964, a Washington socialite named Mary Meyer was shot in the back of the head and through the heart at point-blank range. She had been married to a high-ranking CIA agent. More importantly, she had been carrying on an affair with President John F. Kennedy and was one of his most trusted friends, at his side through the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Mary Meyer kept a secret diary.

On 13 October 1964, the day after Mary Meyer’s murder, the Soviet Politburo forced Nikita Khrushchev to resign from power and put him under house arrest.

What was in Mary Meyer’s diary that caused her murder and Khrushchev’s resignation? Why is it even more important today to find and decrypt it?

Today, in the foothills of Mount Ararat an operative makes a chilling discovery: six Jupiter Missiles dating back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. But only three of the nuclear warheads are present. Where are the other three?

Paul Ducharme and Evie Tolliver unveil a Fail Safe type scenario brokered by President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev and race against time before the archaic Sword of Damocles initiates World War III.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Chasing the Lost - The Green Beret Series
Horace Chase arrives on Hilton Head Island to pay his last respects at the Intracoastal Waterway where his late mother’s ashes were spread and to inspect the home his mother left him in her will. He’s been recently forced into retirement, his divorce is officially final, and now he’s standing in the middle of the front yard of his ‘new’ house where a tree has crashed right through the center of it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Within six hours of arriving on Hilton Head, Chase is exchanging gunfire with men who’ve kidnapped a young boy and tried to grab the boy’s mother, Sarah Briggs. Soon he’s waist deep in an extortion plot to funnel a hundred million dollars of Superbowl on-line gambling money into an offshore bank account or else the boy dies.

Dave Riley has long retired from the military and living peacefully on sleepy Dafuskie Island off the coast of South Carolina. Sort of. Actually he’s bored, feeling old, and just a bit cranky running his deceased uncle’s small-time bookie operation.

Horace Chase, meet Dave Riley. Riley-Chase.

Chase and Riley assemble a team of misfits and eccentrics as they take on the powerful Russian mob in the lawless tidal lands of the Low Country to get the boy back.

Meet Erin: Chase’s long-ago summer fling, now a veterinarian and not interested in men any more, at least that way. But her suturing skills and her knowledge of the island bring assets the team needs. Especially after Chase’s first visit with the Russian requires a bit of the former.

Meet Gator: an ex-Ranger, iron-pumping, fire-breathing hulk of a redneck, with a soft spot in his heart for Erin, and steroids burning in his muscles to hurt people. As long as Riley and Chase point him in the right direction, the rest of the populace should be all right.

Meet Kono: a Gullah, descendant of the free slaves who fled to the barrier islands in the 19th century and developed their own culture. He nurses his own pain and secrets, but heeds Chase’s call to renew their childhood friendship. Especially when he learns the target is the Russians.

It adds up to a fiery confrontation to rescue the young boy, and settle some old scores.

But Riley and Chase need to remember a basic tenet from their days in covert operations: Nothing is ever as it appears.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Line - Shadow Warriors
They killed Patton when he opposed them. They’ve cowered Presidents into going to war. For more than half a century, a secret organization of Army officers known as The Line has been covertly manipulating US Policy. Now, in a political climate rife with dissent and unrest, The Line has ordered a pivotal top-secret operation that will let the world know who is really in charge: take out the President on Pearl Harbor Day. But The Line didn’t count on Boomer Watson, a member of the Army’s elite Delta Force and Major Benita Trace, both West Point graduates, staying true to their oath of allegiance and willing to fight The Line with their lives.

From The Ukraine to Pearl Harbor to West Point to the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, it’s a race against time to stop The Line as December 7th looms.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Cut Out - The Green Beret Series
Another great military thriller from NY Times Best-Selling Author, former Green Beret and West Point Graduate, Bob Mayer.

Chief Warrant Officer and Green Beret Dave Riley returns in a contemporary thriller set in the shrouded, secret world of the federal witness protection program, where he discovers once again that no one can be trusted and the stakes are life itself.

Mayer's Green Beret hero, Chief Warrant Officer Dave Riley, returns to take on the mob and corrupt government officials in a well-paced but didactic tale about the compromising of the Federal Witness Protection Program. When Philip Cobb, former mob money launderer and current government informer, is murdered just as he is about the enter the Program, his wife, after calling an emergency Program number only to be nearly gunned down herself, turns for help to her brother, who contacts his old girlfriend, Donna Giannini, now a Chicago cop. Giannini in turn asks her old pal Riley to keep Lisa alive while she finds out what went wrong. The rest of the narrative pits the warrior skills and state-of-the-art special-ops technology of Riley and his men against two groups of professional killers and the heinous federal officials behind one of them. With its maximum quotient of action and violence, this entry should appeal to fans of the series.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Book of Truths - Area 51: The Nightstalkers, Book Two
Building off the world first seen in Bob Mayer’s Area 51 novels, the Nightstalkers series explores a new covert force dedicated to moving unseen in their fight against the unknown.

A little truth is a dangerous thing.

A lot could kill us all.

The Nightstalkers are back, and the world needs them now more than ever.

When a real-life truth serum, an unauthorized military cabal, and the nuclear football—which contains the authorization the President needs to launch the nation’s missiles—all converge, the Nightstalkers suit up for another deadly job. Joining forces with the Cellar, the covert world’s police force, the team might be mankind’s last hope.

With the President infected by an out-of-control pathogen, the Nightstalkers’ primary mission becomes finding a hidden stash of nuclear missiles before a secret group can launch a pre-emptive strike against America’s enemies. Because a rogue general has taken control of the operation center beneath the White House, and all hell’s about to break loose.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Nightstalkers - Area 51: The Nightstalkers, Book One
Staff Sergeant Winthrop Carter has just been drafted into the Nightstalkers—an elite group of soldiers that...

Actually, he’s not quite sure what they do.

Born from the Area 51 initiative, the Nightstalkers defy sanity and decorum and include among their ranks Moms, a Black Ops trainee too extreme for Special Forces; Doc, a scientific crackpot; Roland, the weapons enthusiast; and Mac, a contemporary MacGyver. All of them take their orders from the elusive Ms. Jones, who everyone claims is just a hologram.

Those orders include tracking down and sealing tears in our reality that are releasing interdimensional beings known only as Fireflies—creatures that take control of both living and inanimate matter in order to unleash wanton destruction.

Just as Carter is settling in, a rogue scientist triggers a fresh invasion of Fireflies that swarm a swanky gated community. Now it’s up to Carter and his new teammates to neutralize the threat while figuring out who’s behind the breach.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Section Eight - Shadow Warriors
Section 8: The men and women called upon by The Organization to do the impossible. They are the soldiers who have nothing to lose. They make up a top–secret unit tasked with what others call suicide missions.

The Organization pulled strings long before the founding of the United States. It dates back to the destruction of the Knights Templar and even further in history. As secrets from the Golden Lilly Operation and the infamous Unit 731 from World War II become exposed, you have to wonder who the real enemy is.

Captain Jim Vaughn is an officer in disgrace. Commanding a Special Forces mission to rescue hostages in the Philippines, Vaughn's team is destroyed, and when the smoke clears, he is the one made the scapegoat. Forced into the shadows by the scandal, Vaughn is offered a chance to redeem himself when he is approached by an enigmatic government agent working for The Organization looking for a few desperate men.

Vaughn is shocked to meet his new teammates, a group of men and women outside of the regular chain of command. These are soldiers who have used up all their second chances. These are men and women who have crossed the line one too many times. Drug users. Felons. The terminally ill. These are now the soldiers that Vaughn must trust with his life. Even with a traitor in their ranks. But is the traitor actually the patriot?

This group of misfits has been assembled for two reasons––they are skilled, and they are expendable. These are the kinds of men and women who are needed to attempt missions the government can't acknowledge, the country can't condone, and the team cannot fail. But the deeper Vaughn gets into the unique group, the more he realizes that The Organization may be concealing more than the rap sheets of its most unusual operators. A team of such unique properties is the perfect tool to use against America's enemies...and possibly America itself.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Bodyguard of Lies - The Cellar
West Point Graduate, former Green Beret, and NY Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Bob Mayer

Over four million books sold. Translated into over a dozen languages.

"Heart-racing, non-stop action that is difficult to put down."-Mystery News on Bodyguard of Lies

"Thelma and Louise go clandestine."-Kirkus Reviews on Bodyguard of Lies

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Winston Churchill

Who polices the world of covert operations? Enter the Cellar, the most secret spy organization hiding deep within the United States.

Two women become inextricably involved in a dangerous web of lies, intrigue, and betrayal as they fight for their lives and the safety of their country. Neeley is the lover and protégé of Gant, a Cellar operative, and is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after Gant's death and unveil a mystery that Gant always held close to his chest. Hannah, a housewife, is equally lost after her husband simply disappears. They soon learn that the men in their lives shared a dangerous secret, one some very powerful people would shed blood to protect. Neeley and Hannah's chance meeting sets a decades-old plan into motion and puts their lives at risk.

They couldn't come from more different worlds, but as they try to escape the people who seem determined to kill them, Hannah and Neeley discover they have at least one thing in common: they've both been living a lie.

Crisscrossing the globe, the women find themselves in a deadly game of survival, one that they must win in order to keep the United States safe not only from vicious acts of terror, but from its own powers that be. And if they ever hope to uncover the truth about the lovers they thought they knew, Neeley and Hannah first must learn the truth about themselves. But when the Cellar is involved, there is no such thing as coincidence, and the truth is always protected by a Bodyguard of Lies.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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