Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reader Interview: Book Blogger/Reviewer Lanie

Reader Profiles is where I'll speak to people about their reading habits. Face it, most authors seem only interested in speaking about writing. That's leaving out a huge portion of the publishing industry...

Lanie is a twenty something year old gal that hails from one of the original thirteen states. She loves all types of animals, cept for those that slither. She's raised and worked with handicapped dogs for most of her life—her parents were all about bringing home pups they found that needed loved. She's obviously a reader, which is why she recently created a blog all bout books. She loves having a blog because she gets to use her witty sense of humor, glittery pictures and dragons (yes, dragons!) to create reviews.

How often do you read? How fast do you read?

I normally read at least every other day, I like to take a break in between books so I can rest my eyes. I hate getting that tired eye feeling, totally detracts from the next book. I can usually knock out a book within a few hours if I like it, but if I dont that sucker will be sitting around for awhile.

Favorite authors?
My absolute favorite all time author is Karen Chance. I also really like Lili St. Crown, Savannah Morgan, Pippa DaCosta, G.A. Aiken, and Jaye Wells.

What are your preferred genres to read for fun? What genres will you NOT read, or dislike reading?

I always love to read Paranormal romances. Yes, I need that crazy monster thrown in to make a romance worth reading, haha. I also enjoy reading Urban Fantasy, and fantasy in general. I hate reading biographies for the most part, but that probably stems from school :). I will not read the horror genre or those that are simply mysteries—I always know what's going to happen next.

What influences your choice of book to read for fun?

Hmm, the biggest influence when it comes to what I'm reading is probably reviews. If I see a book with way too many positive reviews I usually steer clear of it, but at the same time if you've got a ton of bad reviews, I must know why. Crazy right? I have vision issues so I always tend to go for ebooks now, it's so much easier for me to read on my kindle than a hard copy. Serials are a big thing now, but honestly, if I see one I run for the hills. I don't like being strung along with snip its, I need the entire story at once.

What's the best book you've ever read?

About A Dragon by G.A. Aiken, hands down. The crazy females and humor matched with dragons totally works for me.

What's the worst book you've ever read?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I've had more fun watching paint dry than reading that book.

What elements make a good story?

I think this actually varies from story to story, if not genre to genre. In some books, I need a really good mystery with a strong plot to keep me hooked. In other books, I'm just looking for some humor and action. The most important thing though is to always have a solid main character that's likable or at least funny. If your MC is iffy, your story is gonna fail no matter how great it is.

What makes you roll your eyes or groan in a story?

I totally roll my eyes when the good girl falls for the bad guy an they end up living happily ever after. This is so over done and most of the time it's not done well. The other thing is when there's so much description in a story that you forget what your actually reading about that's a groan, huff and skip page moment.

Ever watch movies based on books, or read a book because it's already been made into a movie?

I've watched tons of movies based on book and books based on movies an it's always an interesting experience.

Where do you like to read the most?

I like reading in the car, it's a great way to tune people out.

If you'd like to share your reading preferences, email Troglodad AT Gmail DOT COM for a set of questions or make your based on what you see above.

Come back soon for another interesting reader interview.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reader Interview: Proofreader Donna Courtois

Reader Profiles is where I'll speak to people about their reading habits. Face it, most authors seem only interested in speaking about writing. That's leaving out a huge portion of the publishing industry...

Donna Courtois is a long-time fan of The Destroyer series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. In 2006, she had a story based in the series' universe published in a fan anthology entitled "New Blood". Donna went on to co-author a Destroyer adventure, Number Two,  and today helps proofread works by authors.

When did you start proofreading? Why?
Formally? Not counting finding typos in published books? Gerald Welch had written what would become the first book in his Last Witness series and sent it off to Warren Murphy for a critique. Warren gave his honest opinion (it sucks). But Jerry took Warren's further advice that amateurs quit, but writers keep writing until they improve enough to be worthy of the title. We had been in touch through Destroyerclub, a website Jerry had started back about twelve years ago. He asked if I'd like to read it and tell him what I thought. I asked if he wanted me to proof and edit and Jerry said he'd appreciate anything I wanted to do.

So that's how we got started. I have edited/proofed the first four Last Witness books, plus the prelude.

Then Jim Mullaney decided to take advantage of Amazon's author program to start self publishing his own two series: Crag Banyon Mysteries and The Red Menace. He knew me from Destroyerclub, and I had been taking care of his author site and forum as well. He knew I liked proofreading, so he asked if I would look over his books before they went out. So far I've proofed six Banyons and five Red Menaces. Jim is currently writing his seventh Banyon, Shoot the Moon. I'm looking forward to reading it. That's one of the perks, early access to a good book.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is checking through a manuscript for typos, misspelled words, missing or extra words, duplicate words/sentences. Also grammar and punctuation mistakes.

It differs from editing, which incorporates some proofing, but focuses on larger issues such as the structure and clarity of the work within each paragraph and also overall. And style issues, such as how it flows. Checking for redundant or unnecessary words; also synonyms that don't quite convey what the writer means.

While I consider what I do proofreading, some editing bleeds over into the job, depending on the writer. Jim Mullaney doesn't need editing, though he wants me to mention if anything isn't clear

What are your qualifications or training for proofreading?

Mostly self taught. I was an English major in college, which trained me to analyze works for depth, clarity and meaning.

What are your preferred genres to read for fun? What genres will you NOT read, or dislike reading?

I prefer mysteries, historical or humorous are favorites. Jim's Crag Banyon, Lindsay Davis' mysteries set in first century Rome. The Destroyer of course. I like to reread those. Non fiction -- history and biography mainly.  Urban fantasy -- Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Donald Westlake's Dortmunder books; P.G. Wodehouse; Sherlock Holmes; Preston & Child's Pendergast books; Odd Thomas.

There isn't any genre I won't at least try.

What influences your choice of book to read for fun?

If it intrigues or interests me when I read the back cover and first few pages (in bookstores) or use the "look inside the book" feature on Amazon. I know what I like and can sense a new friend very quickly and I'm seldom wrong.

How fast do you read? How fast do you proofread?

I read at just the right speed, which is slower than I could read if I had to rush. I believe in savoring a book, for words and story. Sometimes I stop to read passages out loud so I can enjoy the feel of the words in my mouth, the sounds of them in my ear. Even if the story is exciting, I'd rather draw out the suspense than rush it.

I try to proofread everything at least twice, preferably three times. The first time I read for fun, for enjoyment, though I also catch some typos, missed words, etc. Then I go back for a second, more intense and slower read. I try to focus on one sentence at a time so I don't start to get lost in the story. And I catch further problems. If there was something confusing me, I can tell if it was something I missed or if there is a piece of info that the author didn't include. Then a third read through, even though by then it's usually only one or two issues.

What's the best book you've ever read?

I couldn't choose amongst my favorites. My first favorite book was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

What's the worst book you've ever read?

I can tell pretty quickly if I'm hooked. Any book I continue past the first chapter isn't going to be something I dislike or is boring.

What elements make a good story?

Interesting characters who step out of the page and take on a life of their own. Good plots that make me want to continue reading.

What makes you roll your eyes or groan in a story?

The opposite: flat characters, plots that go nowhere. Mystery stories where  the whodunnit and the why dunnit is obvious fairly early.

If you'd like to share your reading preferences, email Troglodad AT Gmail DOT COM for a set of questions or make your based on what you see above.

Come back soon for an interview with Book Blogger/Reviewer Lanie of

Monday, January 26, 2015

Reader Profile: Publisher & Editor Devin Murphy

Reader Profiles is where I'll speak to people about their reading habits. Face it, most authors seem only interested in speaking about writing. That's leaving out a huge portion of the publishing industry...

Devin Murphy is the son of New York Times bestselling authors Warren Murphy and Molly Cochran. Devin runs Destroyer Books, which primarily handles the legendary “Destroyer” series created by his father and the late Richard Sapir, which now contains over 150 novels. For more information about the company and their other titles, visit

How many books a year do you publish? Do you consider yourself a small publisher? Medium? Indie? What do you think that means?

We publish a relatively small number of new works — primarily the Legacy series, but we fully expect that number to go up over the next few years. It’s important to have a good foundation if you’re going to build a house, and the same is true here: we had to make sure that the business was capable of ‘handling’ new works before we started producing them. I’ve seen a lot of small publishers fold because they overextended themselves too early. I want to keep that from happening to us.

So what defines a “small publisher”? 

Other than an obvious definition (“a publisher that publishes a small number of new books per year”), I think one key defining quality might be the number of employees dedicated to specific tasks. In other words, if you have an editor, an accountant, a social media liason, a graphic designer, etc., then you’re probably mid-sized or bigger. In a “small” business, there’s often one “chief everything officer,” so to speak, who handles the day-to-day work in a variety of different fields. That’s me. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though, because it forces you to be very focused on every element of a book, from the content (editorial work) to publicity (marketing/social media). That, in turn, makes you really invested in the success of all of your titles, which is something that “big” publishers are known to neglect. I’ve read all the books we’ve published at least twenty times, and also know how much they earn, how effective (or ineffective) our ad campaigns are, and what our plans are for the next book (or series of books). A lot of people in the publishing industry can’t say that, because they’re small cogs in a big machine, rather than being the machine itself. 

What are the differences between your company and a Big Five publisher?

This is such a big question that it’s hard to answer, but I think there are two main differences. First, we actually care immensely about each and every book we release. I’m not saying that the big publishers don’t care about their work, because they certainly do. But there’s a big difference between an assembly-line production model, which you can see in the big 5, and each book being carefully nurtured from beginning to end.

Also, because we’re smaller and don’t have the overhead of big publishing companies (offices in Manhattan, warehouse space for books, etc.), we’re able to be a lot more competitive (some would say “nicer”) than the big 5 in terms of what we offer authors. The traditional model of paying authors — large advance that never earns out, small royalties (if any are ever made) — just doesn’t make sense any more, for a lot of reasons. I think a new business model is better for authors and less risky for publishers — a smaller advance, with a much higher royalty rate.

Do you have any special education, training, etc. to be a publisher?

I read and learn constantly. Just because setting up a publishing account at Amazon is free doesn’t mean that it’s easy. I think it is colossally arrogant to assume that anyone can be a publisher, and it’s the mistake that many self-published authors make. Think of it like running: just because you can physically run does not mean that you’re going to be an Olympic marathon runner without a lot of training, knowledge, and dedication.

What do you do as a publisher?

“What don’t I do?” is perhaps a better question — because I do everything, from writing contracts to editing manuscripts to helping with graphic design. An author writes a draft (don’t call it a “book” yet because it’s not). I edit and offer suggestions and changes and the author sends me another draft. That’s the author’s job. Anything and everything involved with getting that book from Microsoft Word to being on someone’s bookshelf is up to me. 

What are your preferred genres to read for fun? What genres will you NOT read? Which genres do you dislike reading?

When I’m not reading informational books, I like to read classics, mostly because if something is considered “great literature,” I want to know why. Usually “classics” are classic for a reason, and it’s a mistake to ignore them.

What influences your choice of book to read for fun? 

Accessibility and price, honestly, are some of the main reasons I read what I do, even if that seems like a cop-out of an answer. Like most readers, I see a lot of books I’d like to read, but I have to balk when I see a retail price of $30+ for a hardcover or $15 for an ebook. That being said, I’m willing to pay any price if it’s an author I really like. When Gillian Flynn writes a new book, I’ll be buying that the day it comes out, regardless of price. Same with Lawrence Block. I can’t imagine I’m alone in feeling this way, though, so I use a combination of my personal tastes and market research to help decide pricing for new books. 

I know a lot of people love audiobooks, but I have no patience for them — I read too quickly. Why spend 12 hours listening to something when I could read it in 2 hours? Plus, I don’t like listening to things (music, TV, audiobook) when I’m working. I think I’d like audiobooks if I had to spend a lot of time driving, but I don’t.

How fast do you read?

When I’m editing a manuscript, I read very, very slowly. When I’m reading for fun, I read extremely quickly. A lot depends on how dense a book is, but for a fun read, I can usually read at least a page or two pages per minute. 

What's the best book you've ever read?

“Best” in what sense? As a high watermark of literature with a capital “L”? Ulysses (James Joyce), without question. Best book I’ve read in the past year? Gone Girl was gripping, and I don’t know a single writer who could read that book without learning something about crafting characters and plot. A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan) was one of the most audaciously brilliant books I’ve read in a long time, too. It won (and deserved) the Pulitzer Prize — extremely “deep” without being leaden or boring. 

What's the worst book you've ever read?

Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m glad that it made erotica mainstream again — the whole field has been dormant for decades now — but reading it was about as exciting as hammering nails into my eyeballs.

What elements make a good story?

Characters you care about, a plot without tons of holes and unresolved questions, and an element of universality — if you can’t relate in any way to what you’re reading (to the characters, to the plot, to the ideas), then the book isn’t going to resonate with you, and it’s not going to be a successful books. 

What makes you roll your eyes or groan in a story?

Flowery descriptions that are meant to sound “smart” or “writer-ly” that do not advance the story really bug me. This is particularly true of new writers, who desperately want everyone to know how smart they are. I guess if I had to give this sort of writing a label, I’d call it pretentious writing. I also find clichés to be irritating. Though they can occasionally be used well, writers often use clichés because they can’t think of a better description — except that’s what being a writer is all about! Writers out there: when you go back and revise your manuscript (which I hope everyone does), take out the clichés and replace them with words that actually mean something. Don’t say someone is “seeing red”; show the character being angry. This is one of the reasons the Destroyer series is so good: even though the books are short and fun, the writers always gave the books their best work. The series wouldn’t have gotten to 150 books if the books were consistently half-assed. It’s important to give every book your full and undivided attention — readers will know if you don’t. 

Anything else on your mind?

I am actively looking for new writers and new books — particularly in the action-adventure field. There have been some good action books lately — the Jack Reacher series and the Bourne series come to mind — but these are long books. I think the Destroyer series was successful because the books were short. Especially now that everyone has smartphones and other constant distractions, I think shorter books are going to make a comeback. Not everyone has three weeks to invest in reading a 600+ page novel, but a lot of people would like to read a book short enough that they can read it in a weekend. If you’d like to send in a submission or a proposal, please do so — DestroyerBooks at (The email address isn’t hyperlinked in order to cut down on spam). And please get the word out — if you know someone who is looking to get a book published, tell them to email me! 

If you'd like to share your reading preferences, email Troglodad AT Gmail DOT COM for a set of questions or make your based on what you see above.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reader Profile: Author & Artist Glenn Porzig

Reader Profiles is where I'll speak to people about their reading habits. Face it, most authors seem only interested in speaking about writing. That's leaving out a huge portion of the publishing industry...

Glenn Porzig is a long time fan of fiction ranging from Michael Moorcock to Douglas Adams and all points in between. A graphic artists with comic book credits under his belt, Glenn tried his hand at fiction writing in 2014 with a short story in the fan anthology More Blood, based on The Destroyer series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, and his own novella series, Darkness Unbound.

How often do you read? How fast do you read?

These days I'm reading a lot! Pretty much on a daily basis. As a young kid, through high school and into college, I read a lot of comic books. I've read thousands, and I still read some today. When I'm reading, I tend to read pretty fast, but I'm often reading more than one book at a time, so it may take a long time to finish a book.

Favorite authors?

The author I've read the most would be Michael Moorcock. I was a big fan of his Elric series and all of the interconnecting books about the Eternal Champion in different realities and time periods. Moorcock coined the term Multiverse. I've read over thirty of his books. I was lucky enough to meet him a few years back.

The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was very important to me. I was even a big fan of the British TV show. I eagerly read all the books and then the Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency books. I've read just about everything Douglas Adams has written, and even a book written about him. It's a shame he's no longer with us.

A more recent author that I've become a big fan of is James Rollins. His Sigma Force thrillers are a lot of fun. Ancient artifacts, globe spanning conspiracies, high tech gadgets, his books have it all. I looked up some information on him and it turns out he's inspired by the Doc Savage books. I think that explains a lot about why I like him so much.

What are your preferred genres to read for fun? What genres will you NOT read, or dislike reading?

I obviously have read a lot of pulp. Even books I didn't really think were pulp at the time. When I was younger I read a lot of The Shadow paperbacks and listened to a lot of the radio shows as well. I also read a fair amount of Doc Savage and a little of The Avenger and The Spider.

Early on I read the Conan books by Robert E. Howard. That is the stuff I didn't really think of as pulp at the time. Lately my wife has gotten me into reading some H.P. Lovecraft.

Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series is Fantasy, but some of his other books are action adventure with a dash of sci-fi.

I'll read pretty much anything as long as it isn't mundane. I need something paranormal. Give me robots, cyborgs, psychic powers or spies with exotic high tech gadgets.

The only reason I'd ever pick up a non-fiction book is for research for a writing project. Or a guide to help hone your craft as a writer or artist. I've read a few screenplay writing books.

What influences your choice of book to read for fun?

CONCEPT! If I like the idea then I'm all in! I won't really know if it is well executed until I get to read it, but if the concept fires up my imagination then I'm hooked. A cool title is a big help. An epic or clever title that evokes something inside me, sparks memories of other books or shows I like in that genre.

How could you not be interested in Superheroes trying to survive the zombie apocalypse? That's the concept in Peter Clines' EX-Heroes series.

Obviously a nice cover is a big plus. I'm an artist and I appreciate art. I have a collection of art books with paintings from sci-fi and fantasy novels. Good art will always get my attention.

When I'm reading a book I never want it to end. I don't want to leave that universe. So it is probably silly of me to avoid big books. I just don't want to tackle an epic tome like a Stephen King book. I like a lot of genres, and a lot of authors and I want to get on to the next book, so I shy away from 300+ page books.

As an avid viewer of genre TV shows, I am really appreciating the ebook trend of releasing short series, quick reads that are affordable and somewhat episodic. This is what I'm hoping to do with my own series.

What's the best book you've ever read?

(At the time) The Weird of the White Wolf by Michael Moorcock was the best book I'd ever read. I suppose where you are in life matters a lot. The timing of what you read and when you read it sometimes just magically syncs up. When I found it on a paperback shelf at Kmart it didn't matter that it was book two in the saga of Elric of Melnibone, or that I had no idea if/when I'd ever find book one.

That silver border with strange symbols. The gaunt pale hero with his long white hair blowing in the wind. He was clutching a large sword with a black blade engraved with mystical runes, and it drank the souls of his foes granting him superhuman strength... I had to have that book! I later bought two copies of book one so I could have a loaner copy to get others started on the series.

What's the worst book you've ever read?

I've read a lot of the free ebooks and some are surprisingly good. Others are not. While I enjoy B-movies, B grade books aren't quite the same. It's so bad it's good doesn't really work with books. I try to stay positive and will decline from calling out a worst book I've ever read, but I'm sure there are plenty to choose from.

What elements make a good story?

I think a larger than life hero facing a more powerful foe is what I'm drawn to. The classic Good versus Evil from the Saturday afternoon serials and the comic books. The stakes need to be high. Exotic locations are a plus. I like things that a both fresh and familiar at the same time. A thriller needs to have high stakes and keep the pace up.

What makes you roll your eyes or groan in a story?

I'm pretty forgiving, but I want my characters to be in the moment. I don't want someone to break character for the sake of a cheap joke. This is difficult for me as a writer because I'm currently writing Occult Horror. With all of the murders and demonic possession going on there's not a lot of room for humor... but I'd actually like to write a little more humor.

Also, I love foreshadowing. That's a lot of what I do with my writing. So I hate it when something comes out of left field in a story. If I'm reading a mystery, I should have been presented with all of the elements to have a shot at solving it myself.

Ever watch movies based on books, or read a book because it's already been made into a movie?

I'm always interested in seeing a good book that I've read turned into a movie. Now that I've written a book I'd certainly love to see it turned into a movie! I know they are two very different things. There is no budget constraint when you write a scene in a book. And I know they only have so much time to work with when making a movie and lots from the book is likely to be cut out.

I almost never run out to read a book because I hear they are making a movie out of it. And I almost never read a book because I enjoyed the movie. A notable exception would be when I tracked down a copy of I am Legend by Richard Matheson because I enjoyed The Omega Man so much and I heard the book was good but very different.

Where do you like to read the most?

I've always liked to read in bed. That's a lot easier these days with a tablet and the Kindle App than it was back in the day. I used to have a lamp that would swivel out over my pillow that gave decent light for reading a paperback, but I'd always end up banging into the lampshade.

I once read the whole Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in one day, sitting in the bed of a pickup truck, and got a sunburn doing it. Much safer inside, away from all that radiation!

I'm a photojournalist on a news helicopter and I always bring either a paperback or my tablet (sometimes both) when I have a flight in case it is a long flight or I get stuck in an airport somewhere. It's fun to tell an author that I read their whole book while flying around in a helicopter!

What are you reading now?

On my tablet I'm currently reading LEGACY: Trial & Terror by Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch. This is book four of the new reader friendly spin-off series that follows the exploits of the son and daughter of Remo Williams, The Destroyer.

On my phone (often before bed) I'm reading The Compleat Crow by Brian Lumley. This is a collection of short stories featuring Titus Crow set in the Cthulhu Mythos by the author of the Necroscope series.

And occasionally, for research, I'm reading a paperback copy of Occult America: White House séances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz.

What are you writing now?

I'm currently writing Terror of Night, the second book in my Darkness Unbound series that started with Lady in Black. I have a bunch more books plotted out in that series. My wife and I have written some screenplays together and when I find time I plan to do novelizations of them. I also hope to put out some short stories, I'm currently working on one called Endangered.

If you'd like to share your reading preferences, email Troglodad AT Gmail DOT COM for a set of questions or make your based on what you see above.

Come back soon for an interview with Small Press Publisher/Editor Devin Murphy of Destroyerbooks.