Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chuck Barrett - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Best-Selling Author Chuck Barrett. He is the author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Chuck Barrett
Author's Blog: Chuck Barrett
Twitter: @Chuck_Barrett
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Chuck Barrett is the bestselling author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series. Breach of Power--Winner of the 2013 Indie Excellence Award Political Thriller category and Finalist in the 2013 International Book Awards Thriller/Adventure category, The Toymaker--Finalist in the 2013 International Book Awards Thriller/Adventure & Mystery/Suspense categories, and The Savannah Project--Finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards Thriller/Adventure category, Second Place in the 2011 Reviewers Choice Awards Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Horror category, and Honorable Mention in the 2011 ForeWord Reviews Book-Of-The-Year Awards Thriller/Suspense category.

Barrett is a Florida native and a graduate of Auburn University. He is a retired air traffic controller with over 26 years experience and veteran commercial pilot & flight instructor spanning over three decades of flight experience.

Chuck also holds Dive Master and Rescue Diver certifications. He enjoys hiking in the Rockies with his wife, Debi and currently resides in Northeast Florida.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

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

The timeline for my next release date is still pending but now I’m anticipating a release date somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I have an exact date, I will announce it via newsletter, blog, Facebook, and Twitter—so the whole world will know! As far as a tease...hmmm, I have no log line yet but I can tell you that it involves a witness protection detail gone wrong where a witness’s identity has been breached and my main character gets unexpectedly and reluctantly involved and in the course of saving the witness from certain death, he becomes a target too.

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 started with the Facebook page and Twitter about 4 or 5 years ago...before my first book was released. In the early years I found that my Twitter following and book sales were definitely connected. It isn’t as easy to draw that same nexus these days, although my Twitter following does continue to grow. I still use the same methodology now for book releases as I always have and that’s a media blast across the board—social media, press, radio, television. I send out personal invitations to book launches either via social media outlets or snail mail...I pound the streets and put ads in newspaper and magazines. If something new comes along, I’ll try it too.

You do a lot of book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I try to get as much face time as I can. I think it’s important to connect with the reader, not to mention fun. All of my appearances are posted on my websites under ‘EVENTS’—here is the link: I also encourage people to sign up for my newsletter which I only send out 2 or 3 times a year. You’ll only see a newsletter when something exciting is upcoming…like the release of my new book. Sign up for my newsletter here:

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?

After the book is finished, I sit down with my graphics designer...usually at a restaurant...and we discuss the book and any ideas or thoughts I might have for the cover. She and I will exchange several emails before the process is complete. Sometimes my ideas and her ideas collide, but she has such a good eye for details (and clutter) that I generally yield to her better judgment. The only exception was BREACH OF POWER. I had an idea and presented it to her a lunch...she drew it out on a napkin, and we both loved. Best cover yet in my opinion, although I do get many favorable comments about THE TOYMAKER 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? Do you recommend new authors going this route to get more exposure?

Audible approached me last year about turning my novels into audiobooks, something I’d thought about but never took any steps in that direction. Within a few weeks, we (Audible and myself) had reached an agreement and signed a contract for all three Jake Pendleton novels. And to top it off, the narrator Audible used was the incomparable Scott Brick. I have been delighted and honored to have him narrate my books. Audible has been good at promoting my audiobooks, including giving me promotional codes for giveaways. It has helped my ebook and print book sales as well. I think new authors should let their best judgment guide them on audiobooks. Before an investment is made in audiobooks, I think a new author needs to see some success with print and ebook sales first. When the time is right, do it.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I don’t really belong to any writers groups except the local one where I live and one where I vacation in Colorado. I have a core group of readers, some who also happen to be writers and subject matter experts who get first crack at reading and critiquing. These are people I trust to give my honest, unbiased input. I value each one’s input. Marketing and publishing are handling in another manner.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, getting the book to your readers and the relationship with your readers and fans?

Ebooks has changed the volume of books I sell, not how I write the books. I don’t write FOR any particular format, I write the story for ALL formats. The boom of ebooks certainly helped with exposure and increased my readership exponentially above print format alone. The overwhelming majority of book I sell are ebooks and that popularity and success has connected me with so many wonderful people.

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 see free giveaways of print books as a goodwill and promotional outlet. I do them with each book, but not many. Print books aren’t cheap and it can get costly very fast. Free ebook giveaways are a gamble these days. 3 years ago, I could do a giveaway and then for the next month or so, my ebook sales would be out of sight. These promotional tactics aren’t the boondoggle they used to be, but they still have an impact. They still increase sales. Typically I run 99¢ ebook promotions for a few days or weeks and then return the ebook price to normal. Advertising has become expensive so promotions need to be strategically planned and executed or they will show dismal results.

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? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

It’s funny you say that about my blog because I feel like I’m one of the worst at keeping my blog up to date. I do like to reach out to authors who are struggling with the writing process or the publishing process. I strive to provide them with a little insight to help them through their crunch...whatever that might be. No one really showed or told me what to do, so I had to figure it out as I went along. I want to offer to spare others that same strife. Social media became a time hog until I was able to streamline my process. It used to consume 3 or 4 hours of every day. I’ve whittled that down to about 30 or 40 minutes a day. That frees most of my day for writing and editing. (yuk)

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

With my first book, I spent a fortune sending off books trying to get reviews...sometimes I got them and most times I didn’t. Now I let my readers supply them. My faithful followers will always leave a review and I pick up new readers with each new book. I ask for reviews in social media and newsletters but I don’t hound readers for them—if they like a book and want to leave a review then I’ll leave it up to them. BUT, I always encourage readers to leave reviews for every book they books as well as other authors...because the more reviews a book gets, the better—unless they’re all bad. :-(

Author's Book List
Publishing Unchained - An Off-Beat Guide to Independent Publishing
Chuck Barrett, bestselling author of his award-winning books Breach of Power, The Toymaker, & The Savannah Project, shares his experiences with Independent Publishing and offers his advice for writers in this no-fluff, offbeat, and candid guide.

Publishing Unchained offers a glimpse at the options available for those authors wishing to self-publish or those who wish to take publishing to the next step: independent publishing. This book guides you through the benefits and pitfalls of print and eBook publishing, printing options, selecting a printing company, and more. It shows you how to treat publishing as a business and do it in a manner that aims you toward success.

Publishing Unchained is a must for those grappling with the decisions about how to break into the publishing world.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Breach of Power - Jake Pendleton series
A hiker finds a journal lost during World War II deep inside a glacier. On its frozen pages are etched the secret locations of treasures lost since the 1940s. But something more ominous is scribed in the journal, something that threatens the Presidency of the United States. Jake Pendleton and his new partner, Francesca Catanzaro, work for an "off the books" intelligence firm and are summoned to the White House where they are instructed to locate and acquire the book. Jake soon realizes there are others on a quest to find it as well.

Order the Book From: Amazon - KOBO
The Toymaker - Jake Pendleton series
Former NTSB Investigator Jake Pendleton faces a dilemma as the line blurs between right and wrong. After his judgment comes into question, Jake is entrusted to his new mentor, an eccentric old man who sees beyond Jake’s flaws. A man who makes ‘toys for spies.’

A man known as The Toymaker.

Jake’s first assignment reunites him with Gregg Kaplan in a daredevil mission to rescue a fellow agent held captive in Yemen. He risks his life to stop the first attack of an al Qaeda mastermind. But now, with no one to trust but himself, can Jake stop the terrorist from destroying what is most precious to the free world?

Unfortunately, more trouble comes his way as a killer from his past threatens something more important to Jake than his own life, leaving him to make the hardest decision any man ever has to make—

Who to sacrifice.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Savannah Project - Jake Pendleton series
The truth can be a dangerous thing.

Terrorism, duty, and personal safety collide when Jake Pendleton, an investigator for the NTSB, is called to investigate an aircraft accident in Savannah, Georgia during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The accident, which at first appears to be quite run-of-the-mill, turns out to be anything but. Since Jake is not willing to pretend there are no suspicious circumstances and more than the usual share of rather unlikely “coincidences,” he sets off a veritable avalanche of secrets, violence and treachery. Aided by an unlikely partner, Gregg Kaplan, the air traffic controller who was the last person in contact with the airplane that crashed, Jake sets out to untangle the webs of deceit and to find a vicious killer.

Nothing is as it seems, nobody is who you thought them to be.
Nothing is sacred.
Nobody is safe.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Laurel A. Rockefeller - Catherine de Valois - The Legendary Women of World History is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

How available from AMAZON for $ 0.99

Catherine de Valois

The Legendary Women of World History Book 2

Author: Laurel A. Rockefeller


Shakespeare was wrong!

In 1401, Catherine de Valois seemed like just another daughter to King Charles VI of France and his wife, Queen Isabeau of Bavaria, doomed to live forever in obscurity. That is until she became the excuse King Henry V of England needed in order to declare war with France.

Caught between her father's mental illness and both a civil war at home and war with England, Catherine found the eyes of the Christian world fixed upon her.

Shakespeare would tell her story in his grand history play "Henry V," concealing the real woman she was.

Discover the real Catherine and how this young woman of courage, conviction, and peace changed not just her 15th century world, but the lives of every British and American woman and man born since.

Excerpt from Chapter One.

“Must we do this, Mother?” asked Catherine, pacing furiously.

“What choice do we have, Catherine? The blood of the women and children of Rouen cry out for action. We must meet with King Henry this day or risk further slaughter,” conceded Queen Isabeau, her heart equally furious and grieved at the same time at Henry’s atrocities in Rouen.

“I do not want to meet him! I hate him! I have never heard of any living man being so vile and disgusting to me.”

“It is said that he is otherwise to his own English people, that he governs them kindly and with great skill.”

“But what about the Welsh, Mother? Was he kind to them when he slaughtered them while his father reigned?” countered Catherine. “I know it is my duty as your daughter – but you know how I hate violence, especially against the innocent. How are the Welsh any different than us? All they wanted was to not be slaves to this conqueror. We of all people understand this!”

Before Isabeau could respond, the door opened. Jacques de Heilly entered with a bow, “Your Majesty, Your Highness may I introduce you to Henry, by God’s grace King of England.”

As Montjoie stepped aside to take his traditional place one pace behind the queen, King Henry emerged into the room, his eyes immediately fixing themselves on the beautiful Catherine in her embroidered cotehardie and fur-edged side-less surcoat, the royal fleur-de-lys glistening in gold thread on her gown. For a moment, Henry found himself so moved by Catherine’s beauty that he could not speak. Finally after two minutes, the king took a chivalrous bow, “Good ladies, we meet at last!”

Coolly, Catherine curtsied politely, “Your Majesty.”

Henry, normally so confident and proud stammered, “Y-y-you are more beautiful than I ever dreamed! Truly a vision of all that flowers in France.”

“If you value the beauty of the flowers of France, perhaps you should not have killed so many along the way,” countered Catherine, her rage flaming from her eyes.

Chided, Henry turned to Queen Isabeau, “Your Majesty, you permit your daughter to speak to me like this?”

“Catherine speaks her mind. In that, she is quite her mother’s daughter – and a Bavarian,” smirked Isabeau proudly. “That you slaughtered our people, we concede. That we wish to end this war, we fully declare. But do not think you can force the mind and heart of my daughter in any matter. Though you may, through the brutality that brings us here together, compel a measure of outward obedience, if it is affection of the mind or heart you desire, you would be well to put aside all savage warrior ways and behave yourself like a gentleman.”

Henry blinked in shock. No woman had dared to speak to him so boldly – or venomously. Rather, he was accustomed to fearful pandering – not the confidence of a woman seeing herself as his equal, “I – I do not know what to say. I was not born a prince, though certainly I wear the crown more easily than my father. I,” Henry paused, his pride hurt even as his desire to possess Catherine grew. Marrying Catherine was his birth right; since the death of Princess Isabella, Catherine’s sister and widow to Richard II, all talk had been across his life of his marrying Catherine. Was it not his destiny to marry Catherine? Did she not see it the same way? As his thoughts grew more confused by Catherine’s obvious spite, the rhythm and confidence of his speech waivered, “I have wanted this alliance for many years. I cannot imagine myself with anyone else. Yet do I dream of love, of your love, Catherine. Will you not be my wife?”

“Not out of love, England, for you are my enemy. What am I to you but a trophy to your murders?” burned Catherine.

“If I swear on my very soul to end this campaign this very day and never again kill, will you not agree to marry me?”

“If you never kill again – yes – but there are many things you must agree to in order to make this treaty one and whole,” bargained Catherine confidently.


“God will hold you to your vow, Henry of England,” warned Queen Isabeau. “If you acknowledge this and still so swear, then shall we both draw up the formal terms to be signed once they are ready.”

“God hold me to my vow and strike me down in death if ever my hand spills French blood again!” vowed Henry fiercely.

Author Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery

Website: The Peers of Beinan Series
Blog: IAN - Author Page
Twitter: @laurelworlds
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: Laurel A. Rockefeller was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska where she received her bachelor of arts from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

In August, 2012 Laurel launched the Peers of Beinan medieval science fiction Series with book one, "The Great Succession Crisis," book one of the Anlei's Legacy trilogy. In March, 2014 in honor of Women's History Month, she launched the Legendary Women of World History Series of biographical novellas for children, teens, and adults. She is also a regular contributor to Yahoo Voices.

Laurel currently lives in Pennsylvania where she is working on book three, "Princess Anyu Returns."

Laurel donates 10% of her earnings as an author to environmental charities focusing on planting trees, conserving wildlife, and ending animal abuse.

Author's Book List
The Poisoned Ground - The Peers of Beinan
Tyranny and plague! When a sudden plague of mysterious cancers strikes the southwestern city of Nan-li, it falls to Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar to investigate, entangling her in a royal trap that may cost her life. A Peers of Beinan Series novella.

Interactive: click on hypertext links to discover more about planet Beinan and Beinarian society.

social issues: rape culture, government corruption, pollution, domestic violence, abuse of power, corporate greed, environment, poverty, re-forestation.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Boudicca: Britain's Queen of the Iceni - The Legendary Women of World History
In 43 CE Roman conquest of Britannia seems all but certain -- until a chance meeting between King Prasutagus of the Iceni and a runaway slave of royal decent from the Aedui tribe in Gaul changes the fate of the British islands forever.

Based on the accounts of Roman historian Tacitus and supplemented with archaeology presented by the BBC.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Lost Tales of the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy
Deleted and forgotten stories, songs, and tales from the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy, books one through three of the Peers of Beinan series: The Great Succession Crisis, the Ghosts of the Past, and Princess Anyu Returns. Presented uncut and unedited in their original forms, these stories not only entertain, but offer a unique window into the world building process. Social issues: rape culture, government corruption, domestic violence, abuse of power, corporate greed, environment, poverty.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Ghosts of the Past - The Peers of Beinan Book 2
Terror across Beinan!

Three generations after The Great Succession Crisis, terror ravages Beinarian cities as healing centers planet-wide fall to unseen assailants. Orphaned by two separate terrorist attacks, it falls to Lord Knight Elendir of house Ten-Ar to find the truth and stop the terrorists before they kill everyone he loves and the Gurun dynasty falls.

Book two of the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy.

For teens and adults.

Book Trailer: The Ghosts of the Past
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Great Succession Crisis - Extended Edition - The Peers of Beinan Book 1
Power play!

Dangerous enemies threaten to destroy the Gurun dynasty when Princess Anlei is suddenly forced into the heart of a game of thrones. Will love -- or politics -- shape Anlei's fate in this classic coming-of-age tale?

For teens and adults age 13 and up.

Interactive: hypertext linked to multi-media content including graphics, videos, and integrated data file entries.

Book one of the Peers of Beinan series. Part one of the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy.

Book Trailer: The Great Succession Crisis
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
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.