The Loyal Nine (Book One in The Boston Brahmin Series)

HAS ARRIVED!

1286 Konkoly & AKART_ebook THE LOYAL NINE_LLate last night, The Loyal Nine was delivered to Kindles around the world. Bobby Akart and I are like patriotic Santa Clauses, delivering books on Flag Day. Or something like that. I make this stuff up as I go.

I don’t know what else to say, other than…please download this epic conspiracy thriller. The premise is eye-opening, the action is intense and the conspiracy is earth shattering.

GRAB YOUR KINDLE COPY NOW! Readers outside of the US, CLICK HERE. 

NOT a fan of those newfangled e-reader things? GRAB A PAPER COPY!

Do you prefer to have a story read to you? You’ll have to wait until late July for the audiobook. It’ll be worth the wait.

THANK YOU! for helping to make this the best release to date.

Want to hang out (virtual world) with the authors? Join us tonight on Facebook, and if you’re more technologically inclined, hang out with us live on Google. Both events will happen simultaneously! CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO FACEBOOK…Google Hangout details can be found there.

Here’s what Bobby has to say about the party…IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PRIZES. Keep the selfies decent, or send them to Bobby if they aren’t. I have kids watching this. ;)

“Hi everyone and thanks for your interest in The Loyal Nine Launch Party. Steve Konkoly and Bobby Akart would like to announce some of the FREE PRIZES we plan on giving away. Here are the details:

Everyone who takes a selfie showing them with their downloaded copy of The Loyal Nine on their Kindle / iPad can be a winner. Simply post the selfie to your timeline and tag The Boston Brahmin, Steve Konkoly or Bobby Akart. You are an automatic winner! We will print your photo and autograph it. You will be contacted via Facebook Message to make arrangements to mail your autographed photo. But there is more.

By random draw, we will also give away 5 personalized, autographed copies of The Loyal Nine. This is our way of saying thanks for trying our new series.

The contest will run from Sunday through Tuesday evening at midnight EDT.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Launch

Countdown to The Loyal Nine

boston-brahmin-invite

 

We’re almost there! But first, you’re probably wondering…

WHAT IS A BOSTON BRAHMIN? 

Funny I should ask for you. Bobby Akart, my co-writer for the series (and brains behind the Boston Brahmin concept) explains it best in his most recent blog post.

JOHN ADAMS MORGAN: Head of the Boston Brahmin

In a nutshell, they are world power brokers descended from the nation’s founding fathers—specifically the rich and influential families of early New England. They even have their own accent, which continues to this date!

BOSTON BRAHMIN ACCENT on YouTube

JUNE 14th (FLAG DAY-No Coincidence) is the big RELEASE day, and we’re throwing a few parties to celebrate.

Facebook Launch Party from 6-8 PM EST with prizes and both Bobby and I interacting with fans and readers.

Live Google Hangout at the same time!  Bobby will post the specifics for that on the Facebook Launch Party platform. You can brave the Google waters and see us live. I’ll be in my new Indiana office, maybe I’ll be out on the screen porch—probably not…don’t want to ruin my reputation in the neighborhood yet.

While you’re waiting anxiously for the big day :) check out The Boston Brahmin Website. We’ve put up a ton of material related to the book and the process of creating this series. I know you’ll enjoy the historically based material that formed the basis for the series.

See you on Sunday!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Launch

Secret Project Revealed

LoyalNinePreorderDiscountI have been collaborating with fellow author, Bobby Akart, on a sweeping, conspiracy oriented series called, The Boston Brahmin. The series will combine political suspense, Black Flagged style action and dystopian chaos.

The first book in the series is called THE LOYAL NINE, and will be available on June 14th—Flag Day (for a reason). PREORDER TODAY!

 

Bobby and I hope you check out the new series. It promises to be an insanely entertaining read. Conspiracy theory enthusiasts, black ops fans, political thriller readers, preppers…the BOSTON BRAHMIN SERIES fires on all of these cylinders.

Check out the BOSTON BRAHMIN WEBSITE

2 Comments

Filed under Book Launch, Uncategorized

Interview with Alex Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Interview Series

International man of mystery, ex-pat, author and father: Alex Shaw

Alex ShawThe Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview series is back, and there’s no better author to mark its return than Alex Shaw. A U.K. native and international business consultant, Alex is uniquely suited to writing the world-spanning thrillers offered in his Aidan Snow novels—he’s either resided in or extensively visited most of the locations detailed in books. I can neither confirm nor deny whether he’s been to Maine, the setting for Black Line, his Kindle Worlds novella, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his travels have brought him to the Maine coast. Without further delay, let’s have a chat with Sir Alex Shaw. I couldn’t resist that.

91hSmTvBwBL._SL1500_How did you link Black Line to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?

I linked my story by having it happen at the same time as the Perseid Collapse, but futher up the coast in Camden. None of the original characters appear in the first novella for the simple reason that I wanted to have as much freedom as possible with the story and characters.

And I presume you’ll deny colluding with Murray McDonald (another infamous denizen of the U.K.) to single handedly destroy another American city? I’m noticing a trend with the U.K. authors. ;)

I think you’ve capitalized on a unique feature of The Perseid Collapse Kindle World, by keeping the original characters out of your story. Stories can center on the collapse, and not my characters or specific events. This has the added benefit of widening the scope of writers that will feel comfortable writing in the world. The Perseid Collapse World isn’t reserved for post-apocalyptic writers.

That’s what attracted me to the concept. My story is very much a thriller, as this is what I generally write, and am most comfortable with.

As you know, I have a special place in my heart for covert operations thrillers—another reason I was “thrilled” to hear you were interested in writing for the world.

What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

The themes of Russian aggression and terrorism are present in my novels, which are partly set in Ukraine (Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East). These two themes are also present in Black Line, however the terrorism now emanates from China.

I heard a rumor that the Russians might be involved Black Line too. Sorry, small spoiler.

Let’s talk about your main character for a minute. I think readers will like Jack Tate. What can you tell us about him?

Jack Tate is a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS), who has been seconded to a new unit within the British Intelligence Service (SIS). He has been posted to the US, and is on vacation before starting his new role. I think readers will like Tate, as he sees the US from a foreigner’s point of view, and is not as jaded by any political, class or racial views. He is almost like one of King Arthur’s nights in his quest to protect the innocent, but he doesn’t ride a horse.

Are you saying Americans have strong views on politics? I’m not sure where you got that idea? ;) Tate is a fantastic character. I particularly appreciate his no nonsense approach and response to American customs and procedures. It’s a fascinating view through a unique set of eyes.

I couldn’t help notice that you like to write about SAS operatives—a trend that extends through your other novels. I’m sure readers that enjoy Black Line will want to know about your core series.

81UJKCNbSiL._SL1500_ 81r00-i5SbL._SL1500_ 81pxJGZ0e3L._SL1500_I wrote a series of thrillers with an ex-SAS character Aidan Snow: Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East. These deal more with Islamic terror and Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East. In Black Line, Jack Tate is a way for me to explore what would happen if a character with the same training as Aidan Snow found himself in the US during a catastrophic, EMP induced collapse. Despite the similarity in character backgrounds, Tate is significantly different than Aidan Snow.

I also wrote the first, in what will be a series, of Military vampire books: Delta Force Vampire: Insurgency

Now I’m very intrigued. Maine has hosted its share of vampires in fiction. Most notably Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot. This may sound crazy, but I think you could have brought your special operations vampires to Maine, and felt right at home. It would have been a Perseid Collapse first…not that I’m pressuring you. ;)

Speaking of pressure as a writer, most authors contributing to the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

I found Black Line faster to write than my novels, as the pace was faster and the story required less research. Jack Tate is a tourist, and like me, he is seeing things for the first time.

Let’s shift to your background. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

When I had the idea to start writing I was living in Ukraine and reading a lot of SAS thriller genre books, what these showed me was that although the authors, many former SAS members, knew their military and operational stuff, they did not know much about some of the locations they were using. One book mentioned Ukraine, briefly. As no one else was writing about Ukraine (the largest European country) I decided that I would. 

It took me 12 years to finish my first novel, I was writing on and off, and sometimes the off lasted a year at a time. I, like all aspiring writers, didn’t know if I could write so wanted to prove to myself that I could. I then took a year trying to get an agent or publisher and failed, before discovering CreateSpace and later KDP. When Kindle launched in the UK I suddenly started to sell quite a few copies. It wasn’t until five years later that, after having written two more books and some novellas, that I decided to approach publishers again. I approached five and got two offers. I now have a contract with Endeavour Press to publish my first three novels. 

That’s a fantastic success story. The world of writing and publishing has certainly changed, and you appear to embody the best of those changes. Do you have a background related to your writing? Interests?

I lived in Ukraine, and still visit when I can (my wife’s side of the family are in Kyiv), which is why I write about the place and the life of ex-pats, as I used to be one. I travelled extensively with my work in the past, so I generally try to write about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. This is most noticeable in my second novel, Cold Black, when I write about Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Moscow and Kyiv. I wasn’t in the military or the Secret Intelligence Service, but have friends who have been in both, who are a great help to me. I’m interested in world affairs, which probably is apparent in my writing…and I tend to attempt to be funny.

I’d say your attempts at humor hit the mark. Conversing back and forth with you is always a pleasure.

This may seem like a silly question to you, but your answer will be informative for American readers. Are you a prepper or homesteader? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

We don’t tend to have preppers or homesteaders in the UK, but I do have a few spare tins in the cupboard. When I was kid I was fascinated by a fact I heard (it may have been nonsense) that in Sweden all new houses had to be built with nuclear fall-out shelters underneath. My Nan had an old WW2 underground shelter in her back garden which had been filled in and I used to daydream about what it would be like to use it. I suppose the Walking Dead really rekindled my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction but what also annoyed me (and made me want to write for the Perseid Collapse Kindle World) was that they only showed a very small part of the picture in the US. I wanted to know what happened in the UK, or in the Caribbean or on a military submarine base or in the Artic. Could, would and did it also happen there?

I think the Cold War and the nuclear threat stoked the post-apocalyptic fires around the world…not to mention The Walking Dead. Would it be fair to say that you still see nuclear weapons as the most likely threat today?

At the moment I think the biggest threat to world stability is the possibility of an idiot detonating a nuclear weapon. Be it the Islamic State, Putin or the fat baby in charge of North Korea.

The skinny, underfed Generals surrounding Kim Jong Un wouldn’t agree with you. In their eyes, he’s svelte!

What are you working on next, aside from a vampire installment to The Perseid Collapse Series World?

My third Aidan Snow novel, COLD EAST, was published a few weeks ago. It follows the storyline of a missing suitcase nuke that has been found by al-Qaeda. But being a thriller, it’s not that simple. The question quickly becomes: who really has the nuke and what is the target?

Ah, the good ole’ days of twists and turns. I wrote more of those than I care to admit in the Black Flagged books.

Beyond my latest release, I have three works in progress, which will hopefully appear later in the year. One is my second military vampire novel, the second is a crime novel and the third is an offshoot of the Aidan Snow books.

Sounds like you’ll be busier than ever this year, which is a good feeling!

Check out Alex Shaw’s website at http://www.alexwshaw.com, where you can find news and links to all of his works.

Of course, don’t forget to check out Black Line, Alex’s novella for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

Leave a comment

Filed under author interview

The Pine Cones Writers Den is on fire…

with awards, new releases and milestones reached.

522283_10151748673325131_947222965_n

What is the Pine Cones Writers Den? PCWD is a robust writers group based out of the Portland, Maine area. Comprised of ten members, spanning just about every genre you can imagine, each monthly meeting takes on a life of its own, as thriller writers critique memoir and chic lit writers critique post-apocalyptic tales. Without a doubt, the depth and variety of critique has led to vast improvements in my writing over the years, pushing me in directions that I likely wouldn’t have considered if I sat around, high-fiving with other thriller writers all the time. Not that I don’t like hanging out with other thriller writers!

The group is always busy; submitting to agents,  publishing on their own and striking deals to expand their author footprints. Each meeting brings exciting news and new manuscript samples to the table. There’s never a dull moment. With that said, I’d like to highlight a few of the most recent accomplishments/releases.

Tim QueeneyFirst up, Tim Queeney, with his second release in two months! Seriously, that’s impressive. Starting with his Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds release, The Borealis Incident, in February, he follows up with book 3 in his Perry Helion thriller-adventure series, The Ceres Plague. I just finished a review for The Ceres Plague, which sounds something like this:

A1BejJmuU2L._SL1500_“The Ceres Plague, Tim Queeney’s follow up to The Atlas Fracture, takes the Perry Helion series to the next level. The action is more intense, the plot is deeper and the scope is wider. Carrying elements from The Atlas Fracture forward, Queeney continues Dr. Randall Crandee’s diabolical plan to manufacture a genetically programmed virus to “save” humanity in the most unexpected way imaginable, landing Helion and his reluctant partners in the middle of a deadly international conspiracy.

The story starts with agent Perry Helion, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencey) agent, caught in the crossfire of a doomed salvage diving expedition. Never satisfied with the obvious, circumstances surrounding the diving operation lead Helion to dig deeper. What he uncovers sends shockwaves through the U.S. intelligence community, pointing to a shadowy international cabal with a reach so vast, Helion may no longer be able to trust the very people he’s relied upon for years. Cautious at every turn, he begins to assemble the devastating truth about the Paracelsus Group, and their burning obsession with Dr. Randall Crandee’s work.  

Queeney’s vision for the series expands throughout The Ceres Plague, briefly exposing the demons and exterior motivations that drive the enigmatic DARPA agent’s actions—clearly opening a channel for future exploration. Supporting characters are further developed, and the story’s antagonist—the twisted, but insanely rational Dr. Crandee—is delivered with a stunningly, devilish brilliance.

The author has a penchant for cold, desolate settings, because the reader is once again taken to the end of the earth—Alaska and the Bering Strait—the perfect backdrop to hatch an apocalyptic plot. With a surplus of abandoned Cold War bases spread among hundreds of islands of Alaska’s coast, Queeney couldn’t have chosen a better backdrop for the type of scientific research Dr. Crandee has in mind. I couldn’t help imagine the types of nefarious activities that could be conducted today on these islands, never to be discovered. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For now, Tim Queeney has cornered that market. I can’t wait for the next installment in the Perry Helion series.”

61fMsCBfW0L._UX250_Next up, Joseph Souza, award winning author and prolific writer. Joe’s most recent novel, Unpaved Surfaces, was selected by the prestigious Kindle Scout program for a publishing deal with Amazon imprint publisher, Amazon Press. Unpaved Surfaces is a bit of a departure from Joe’s recent reign of terror, which includes three zombie/undead novels and two post-apocalyptic plague thrillers (one is on the way). Unpaved Surfaces is vintage Joseph Souza, tapping into the core writing node that launched his career. Not that he can’t write a mean undead thriller…HE CAN. Trust me.

Check out my review of Unpaved Surfaces:

814JpmlQayL._SL1500_“Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces, is a hauntingly beautiful story of loss, redemption and reconciliation. Set in Portland, Maine, Unpaved Surfaces weaves an unforgettable tapestry of sorrow, guilt and struggle around Keith, the father of a young boy who disappeared one year earlier. With his life derailed in more ways than one, Keith is starting to come unglued. Surreal visions of his missing son, Auggie, start to fill this void, creating a tempest of doubt and renewed vigor to uncover his son’s fate. Keith’s story is just one of several told by Souza, in a tightly wrapped suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

Souza explores sach family member’s private journey through the aftermath of Auggie’s disappearance, masterfully putting the reader inside a family on the verge of falling apart. The experience is both heart-wrenching and rewarding—heavy and uplifting. Souza takes his considerable talents to the next level in Unpaved Surfaces, delivering an emotionally charged, exquisitely tuned suspense story.”

1414094820407Last but not least, Bryan WigginsBryan has hosted PCWD from the start, graciously opening his home to the group once a month. When he’s not writing, he’s a creative/graphic designer…the PCWD logo at the beginning of this post is Bryan’s creation. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His graphic designs have become iconic Maine business logos.

Bryan recently finished Autumn Imago, a brilliantly constructed, exquisitely written literary fiction novel. Bryan delivers a powerful, emotionally charged story about loss, love and redemption set mostly in Baxter State Park, a raw, often chaotic wilderness in the shadows of Mount Katahdin—at the northern most tip of the Appalachian Trail. The setting, vividly and beautifully described by Bryan, is just as powerful as the narrative itself.

Bryan’s journey is about to take a serious leap forward…I can’t wait to see where he lands.

1 Comment

Filed under author, Book Review

The Women of The Perseid Collapse series Kindle World

AR shaw

A.R. Shaw

Tim Queeney

Tim Queeney

Two contributing authors to The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World talk about the female lead roles they created for the post-apocalyptic world that unfolds in the series.

Make sure you check out their novellas, Deception on Durham Road and The Borealis Incident.

A.R. Shaw and Tim Queeney, you have the stage:

“Steve Konkoly’s The Perseid Collapse Kindle World launched in February 2015 with nine novellas. Two of those original Perseid Collapse novellas had female lead characters: The Borealis Incident by Tim Queeney and Deception on Durham Road by A.R. Shaw. In this joint blog post, A.R. Shaw and I talk about those female characters and how they fit in The Perseid Collapse world and the even right here in the real world.

Tim Queeney: Going back even just a few decades, it’s hard to imagine a female deputy commander of a U. S. Air Force Base. Yet today, writing a woman lead character like Lt. Colonel Dana Wright in my Perseid Collapse novella, The Borealis Incident, is not something that requires a great leap of faith from readers. Woman have made huge strides in the military, with female pilots and ship drivers not an unusual occurrence. The biggest issue Dana has to face in Borealis is that the base security officer doesn’t want her driving alone to the missile warning radar site 13 miles across the Greenland tundra from the base itself. Perhaps he’s concerned because Dana is a woman, but maybe he’d be just as uneasy with the practice if the deputy commander was a man.

A.R. Shaw’s Deception on Durham Road also has a female lead, Jamie Michaud. But instead of a military officer, Jaime is a mom working to protect her two daughters…”

Read the rest on Tim Queeney’s blog

Leave a comment

Filed under Kindle Worlds

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

shutterstock_76904563Instead of TIDE, a better word is WAVE, since The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds launch has been been an incredible tsunami (pun intended) of co-promotion, cooperation and buzz surrounding all of the novellas in the series. I couldn’t be happier with the level of participation, encouragement and sharing by all of the authors involved…not to mention the readers and fans that have multiplied our efforts. The whole thing has been awe-inspiring.

One of my sincerest hopes from the start, was that The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World would Lift All Boats, helping to cross-expose readerships. My readers would check out other authors’ novellas and novels…their readers would check out mine. I know this has been Sean T. Smithhappening, but the extent of the impact didn’t sink in until recently. I received a message from Sean T. Smith, author of the novella Sunshine Patriots and The Wrath Series, which blew me away.

Rather than recap what Sean relayed, I’m going to turn this into a guest post. Take it away, Sean!

“When Steven Konkoly invited me to write a novella for his newly minted PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World, I jumped at the chance. I didn’t know much about Kindle Worlds, but I figured that since Steven was writing killer books in a similar vein to what I write and actually selling lots of them, it was a no-brainer.

My first novel, OBJECTS OF WRATH was published by Permuted Press last year, and I had absurd expectations about what my sales were going to be like. The novel is the first in a trilogy, and the second book released in August of 2014. The final book came out on February 2, the same day as the PERSEID COLLAPSE world launched.

My publisher is primarily known for zombie books, although that’s something which has been slowly changing. But my books aren’t horror in any way, and I struggled to find readers. I’ve had good reviews, but not nearly enough of them. It was a let-down for me, watching the slow slide into oblivion that my books were taking.

But…

After the launch of the PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World, several things happened. First, I got to see a nice Amazon ranking for the first time; SUNSHINE PATRIOTS, the novella I wrote for Steve, made it up to number three in Kindle Worlds for thrillers and mysteries, and it’s still at number 9 last I checked for top-rated thriller/mysteries.

The other authors, Bobby, Steven, and AR Shaw in particular, did a fantastic job at cross promotion, all across social media. Steven blogged and tweeted to his fan base, and the other authors did the same. I tried to pitch in, but my reach is still rather limited. Over the period of the last month and a half, I’ve seen my blog outreach increase, my Twitter following grow, and my sales rank spike dramatically. And it didn’t just go up for SUNSHINE PATRIOTS, all of my books saw nice jumps.

The increase in sales for my other novels led to my first book being approved for a Book Bub promotion, which is happening today and tomorrow. I should see another spike in sales beyond what I’ve already experienced, and find new readers. In particular, I think my books are getting in front of the RIGHT readers for the first time, and that’s a vital thing for an emerging author.

Not to share my dirty laundry, but here’s a screen shot from this morning. The long, consistent tail over the last month is a direct result of participating in the PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World. Obviously, I’d like to see my author rank and my sales get a whole lot better, but the difference thus far has been dramatic.”

This makes me smile. Congratulations, Sean. I can’t wait to read the continuation of The Sunshine Patriots series.

SeanT

5 Comments

Filed under Kindle Worlds

Author Spotlight: Angery American

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: A. American

917Z35X27zL._UX250_When most readers think of modern survivalist/prepper fiction, A. American’s Survivalist Series is at the very top of their list. I’m honored and excited to have such a brand name in the genre join the team of writers contributing to The Perseid Collapse Series world.

A. American got his start by posting the first story in his Survivalist series on a forum, where it exploded with popularity. Before long, he’d signed a series deal with 9145x8VvIbL._SL1500_Penguin Group…the rest is history. His novella for the Perseid Collapse Series signals his return to self-publishing, where he plans to hang his hat for now. I have no doubt he will find the change refreshing and liberating. Best of all, readers will get his books quicker, and from what I’ve read, they’re in for a real treat.

Angery is the real deal, and it shines in his work. He truly talks the talk and walks the walk so to say…makes me feel like a personal readiness weekend warrior. While you wait for his novella, please check out the Survivalist Series and his comprehensive website, Angery American News. There’s a ton of good stuff in both.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Kindle Worlds

Interview with Ross Elder

The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Interview Series

Combat Veteran, author, columnist and conspiracy theory debunker: Ross Elder

Ross Elder918qveHQWPL._UX250_To say that Ross Elder jumped into writing for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World would be an understatement. He figuratively dove headfirst into the project, and absolutely nailed it, which came as no surprise. As a professional writer and author, Ross is no stranger to telling stories, fiction and non-fiction. His dedication to a diverse range of writing, on top of an equally interesting (and wide-ranging) life story shined in Scavenger, the first book in the Scavenger Series. Ross is hard at work on Book 2, Defender, and plans to jump right into Book 3, Avenger, after that. I keep telling Ross he can take a break…when he’s finished. ;)

When we first spoke about the project, I knew this would be right up his alley. Having followed Ross on Facebook for a while, I knew his interests directly intersected with The Perseid Collapse World. Ross steals the show during this interview, so I won’t spend any more time with possible spoilers. Let’s jump right into Scavenger and your involvement in Kindle Worlds.

Ross ElderScavenger is linked to the Perseid event, but follows it by about two weeks. Being based in a Midwest location, I made some assumptions that the total collapse of society would take a bit longer to take hold here, since there were no direct impacts, tsunami, etc. What we have in Scavenger is a rapid decline of civilization due to food shortages and a lack of government services. So the rioting and looting that takes place within the cities spills out into the more rural areas as people seek out the resources needed for survival. There are no interactions with original characters due to the location being used for the storyline.

This is a classic set up for The Perseid Collapse World. Taking an area the author knows well and developing a story based around the Perseid event. You definitely take the road less travelled with your character and initial setup. Scavenger is the perfect name for the novella.

Obviously, your novel is post-apocalyptic. Does it fall under any other genres?

I think psychological thriller could also apply due to the nature of the main character’s mental state and life.

Right. The main character is on his own, under extreme duress…in an exceptionally unusual situation. I don’t think there’s any way for you to avoid digging into the psychological thriller realm, which you handle perfectly. His background also plays a big role in this development.

Writers always talk about themes, but frankly, I don’t sit down with a list of themes to incorporate into my novels. How did you approach this in Scavenger? Is this something readers will find in your other work?

I think the theme behind this story is not only preparedness but the need for people to cooperate and help each other when possible. Yes, it is a theme I use in many of my books. In The Fireman Saga, the main character, Jack, is beginning to learn about creating a preparedness plan, geocaching, and other things along those lines. Of course, his is a different motivation. He is planning for the potential need to disappear and go on the run. (He’s a vigilante) But many of the principals are the same.

Let’s talk about the main character in Scavenger. I alluded to the fact that he is unique in the genre.

Zack Morris, who was born Zack Williams, was orphaned at a young age and is eventually adopted by a retired couple who were both medical professionals. Coming from an abusive childhood, Zack knew what it was like to be hungry and not have a parental figure to care for him so, at a young age, he learned to take care of himself, more or less. Especially when it comes to food. Zack feared not having anything to eat so he followed a predictable pattern for abused children and began hiding food in his bedroom just in case he found himself hungry. For these traits of the character I enlisted the aid of a professional who has spent most of her career working with abused and neglected children. Allyson Blake, an attorney, provided much of the background for the character and helps me keep the character realistic by guiding his actions and memories. These are all based on real-life children with whom she has worked over the years.

Reading the novella, I was haunted by Zack’s background. It felt real to me, described in amazing detail. I wondered whether this was based on some kind of real experience, but was afraid to ask! I’m glad to hear that this was not your personal experience. It’s quite a traumatic, overcoming the odds background, unique…but perfectly suited for the crisis thrust upon him.

I mentioned that you are already deep into writing Book Two. I’ll be honest, you’re another writer in Kindle Worlds that makes me feel like a slacker. The Perseid Collapse Kindle World seems to create writing monsters. What’s the secret? I would like to finish my next novel at a much faster pace than it’s progressing.

I did experience a surge in productivity. I think it was inspirational to delve into a story that was so different from my previous work. Often times, as writers, we get stuck in a rut and we need a muse, so to speak. In this case, it was the ability to create something completely new and to do so within a world that had very few rules. My other writing takes place in a world most people already understand so there are restrictions and boundaries within which I have to work. In Perseid, I can wipe that slate clean and allow my mind to go beyond its normal restrictions for both character development and what might occur within the world. So it is pretty exciting to have those restrictions lifted and just create.

I think you captured the essence of what many of the writers have experienced. No restrictions and boundaries in a new writing world. Even the authors who have written post-apocalyptic novels found it liberating to play in someone else’s sandbox, with very few rules.

Let’s talk about your own writing sandbox.

61+yIVlDAUL._SL1041_71CNzxbn36L._SL1500_81fZm5GgT4L._SL1500_My other books are primarily related to The Fireman Saga series. In that world, I created an angry father who sees the world around him in a new light following an incident with his daughter. Driven by guidance in the form of advice from his late father, Jack decides to do his part in regards to cleaning up the neighborhood and eradicating some pesky criminals. It is good, old-fashioned, vigilante justice with a military twist because he surrounds himself with professionals who help train him within the tactical world. He has no military or law enforcement experience so the entire series is a training ground for him as he learns this new skill.

I can’t imagine a more emotional topic than capturing the fear and helplessness of a parent, and turning that around on the world responsible—from the ground up.

I know you’re a freelance writer and columnist for several magazines. Can you shed more light on how you got the point where you are writing fiction and non-fiction?

Wow, my story? Okay. I started writing many years ago. It was pretty bad too. (haha) When I was a young soldier stationed overseas during the Cold War, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I read constantly and eventually thought I could write a compelling story of my own. I tried. Several times. I think I still have those unfinished manuscripts somewhere in a box in the attic. Although I never finished those first few attempts, I kept writing. I began writing for a local newspaper doing community related stories on a weekly basis and wrote for a few online outlets over the years. Nothing that would make me famous or make me any money. Eventually I started writing Op-Ed pieces. Surprisingly, people liked them so I kept doing it. When I deployed to Afghanistan, my friends over at Soldier of Fortune magazine, for whom I had written a few things over the years, suggested I become a columnist during my time overseas. I’ve been writing for them regularly since that time. I tend to write a lot so it couldn’t all be contained by what was printed in SOF or posted online at places like SOFREP or LoadOutRoom, so I created my own website so those little nuggets of brilliance weren’t lost. Haha (sarcasm) Much of my professional writing now is the review of firearms and other equipment. Testing and Evaluation stuff.

Reviewing firearms and tactical equipment? Sounds terrible. Who’d want to do that? I’m drooling right now, in case readers are curious.

You no doubt have a background related to your writing, which lends to the authenticity of your stories and characters. Has anything in particular influenced your interest in writing post-apocalyptic stories? You dove into the Perseid project with more gusto than I ever anticpated.

Where to start. I’ve seen the aftermath of hurricanes, flooding, extreme winters, and drought. I even rode out a hurricane once in Gulfport, Mississippi. Aside from terrorism, which I don’t believe would affect a wide region of the country for any length of time – it would be more isolated – I think natural disasters are our greatest threat. I think you could add mismanagement by mankind to that equation. Look at what is happening in California, my birthplace. They are running out of water at a pretty steady pace and it has been happening since I was a kid. They could have addressed it correctly 40 years ago but chose not to do so. The state, which provides a lot of agriculture, could eventually become useless as a producer of anything except bad films and liberal politicians. We have enough of those. A collapse of the water system there could throw that entire region into chaos. So, I think those types of threats are greater than say a foreign invasion or civil war.

I might be five thousand words into an entire series, based around the state you referenced. ;) Hey, I liked Avatar!!! I’m waiting for Avatar 2—which would probably signal the end of the world.

I see you posting in some of the prepper related groups on Facebook. Is it fair to say you’re a “prepper?” Personally responsible for your readiness?

I think it is safe to say that I am a prepper, yes. I am not a homesteader, yet, but someday I think I would like to give that a try. My friends out at The Valhalla Project in Arkansas have a great educational program for combat veterans teaching them how to do homesteading, animal husbandry, permaculture, and all sorts of other things. Someday I hope to get back out there and really learn how to do those things so I can settle my own little slice of prepper heaven. For now, ensuring I have enough critical supplies to get my family through a disaster or a breakdown of society is more than a hobby for me. My father taught me many things about being prepared and he himself was a bit of a prepper. His insights and guidance can be seen in Scavenger as well as the Fireman Saga.

It’s really cool to hear that your father had an influence on your writing, not to mention such an important aspect of your family life.

The Valhalla Project is a fantastic Veteran’s related cause, if anyone is interested in…you know, helping out veterans. I highly recommend readers check them out and consider HELPING.

What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? ;) Hey, agreeing to do one novella is like inviting a vampire inside your house.

Tell me about it! I am approximately halfway through the next installment of The Fireman Saga and hope to have that completed in draft form by summer. Other than that, you can still get your frequent dose of all things Ross at my website, Ross-Elder.com, and in Soldier of Fortune magazine. This year I am going to do something completely different. I am going to attempt to produce a documentary film. I have no experience with such things or any idea how to go about doing it but I’m going to try anyway.

I suggest a documentary about the plight of The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds authors. Actually, scrap that idea. I won’t go on record about the work conditions at Camp Kindle Worlds. Seriously, that sounds like an amazing venture. We’ll have to stay tuned at Ross-Elder.com for news on the film project. Until then, check out Ross’s Fireman Saga, available at Amazon.

81pSOxOD6UL._SL1500_I forgot to mention his Conspiracy Debunking Tool/Novella—JUST STOP. Scathingly hilarious and sadly accurate. A must read for the conspiracy based mind, OR anyone wanting to debunk any of the thousands of conspiracies bombarding us daily.

Leave a comment

Filed under author, author interview, Kindle Worlds

Interview with Steven Bird

The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series

Post-apocalyptic novelist and commercial airline pilot: Steven Bird 

61zu9rp7zcL._UY200_I have been looking forward to this interview, given Steve’s choice of storyline for Edge of Civility, his novella for The Perseid Collapse Kindle World. On top of that, Steve’s an interesting guy, having served in the Navy for two decades before taking a job as a commercial airline pilot. Like me, you’ve probably assumed that he was a pilot in the Navy—and you’d be wrong. Steve learned how to fly on his own time and dime, which makes his background even more impressive.

where_is_tennessee_locatedSteve is the third member of the Tennessee Triad, a group of writers and friends that I’ve come to know over the past few years, who reside in…you guessed it, Tennessee. I told you the quiz would be easy. Can you guess what each member of the Triad has in common, outside of writing? Sorry, the quiz just got harder. Answer? They have all embraced a homesteading/readiness equipped lifestyle, well out of the social and public fray many of us consider home. If the SHTF, I know where I’ll be headed—assuming I’m invited. ;)

Given Steve’s interest in self-reliant living, it should come as no surprise that he’s written a bestselling series of books exploring life after a “collapse.” With his New Homefront Series taking the prepper-themed, post-apocalyptic genre by storm, I was very excited to learn that he would contribute to The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World. I expected a prepper based story, in the same vein as the New Homefront books, but Steve took a different approach—and I couldn’t be happier or more impressed with his vision and originality. I don’t want to steal too much of his thunder, but let me say this ahead of the interview. If you’re a fan of The Jakarta Pandemic, you’re going to love Edge of Civility. All right. I should shut up and let Steve do the talking.

Steve, can you tell everyone why I’m so excited about your story?

Steven Bird Coming Soon

I’m really glad you’re excited, Steve. Edge of Civility is a prequel, or an introduction to the character “Manson,” as Alex Fletcher called him, in The Jakarta Pandemic, as well as his family members and the other occupants of the infamous Volvo wagon. The setting and timeline follow the development of the Jakarta Flu, just as it affects the Fletchers.

The infamous Volvo station wagon. I remember the scene bringing the Volvo to Durham Road very vividly. Alex Fletcher and his friends knew it spelled trouble immediately. Unlike the rest of the “refugees” fleeing the Boston area seeking food and refuge, Manson and his crew didn’t take NO for an answer.

I mentioned that you took an unexpected path with this story. You explored the prepper-themed genre from a different perspective.

Unlike most prepper fiction, where highly prepared individuals face an event that calls upon their knowledge and preparations in order to survive, this story shows how the unprepared and ill-equipped may face such a scenario, and how it may challenge their notions of civility and humanity.

1057 Steve Konkoly ebook JAKARTA PANDEMIC_update_2_LThis is one of the primary reasons I think readers of The Jakarta Pandemic will REALLY enjoy this story. It’s the “path less chosen” when it comes to prepper-themed fiction, and it perfectly complements the other perspective. In fact, readers naïve to my novels could easily start with Edge of Civility, reading The Jakarta Pandemic second. I’d really be interested in hearing what they think after reading about Manson’s plight first, then Alex Fletcher’s view of events. I seriously wonder how their view of my novel’s characters might change.

The main character in your story is most definitely an underdog. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. He’s the kind of person many of us would cross the street to avoid—without knowing a thing about him. What can you tell us about him?

It all started early on in life, when a bully had stolen Manson’s toy panda, refusing to give it back.

Manson, which is how Alex Fletcher referred to Jake Turner, started life off on the wrong path, surrounded by neglect, abuse, drugs, and violence. After almost destroying his life early on, he was attempting to set himself straight for the sake of his family, when the pandemic swept across the United States and the world.

In the Jakarta Pandemic, Manson was a cold-blooded thug of a character that was easy to hate. This story however paints the complete picture and fills the reader in on how exactly he found himself in a bloodthirsty competition for the critical resources of Durham Road.

I swore I wouldn’t feel sorry for Manson when I read your story. I knew what he did on Durham Road, and Alex Fletcher’s black and white mind, nothing could excuse Manson’s actions—but you succeeded in garnering “sympathy for the devil.” Succeeded brilliantly.

Is this a theme you explore in The New Homefront Series? Competition for critical resources forcing people to take drastic, if not terrible steps to survive?

Not everyone comes from an ideal background to prepare them to face a cataclysmic event. We aren’t all ex-special forces operators with hardened and equipped underground bunkers, stocked with a year’s supply of food and water. In fact, many people live a life molded and shaped by unfortunate events and less than desirable circumstances, leading them to poor choices when times are the good, much less when facing what appears to be insurmountable odds. Desperation can motivate people to abandon civility, especially when that desperation is driven by hunger and the inability to feed one’s own children.

912ca+W0CpL._SL1500_ A1kBr2SaCJL._SL1500_ 91KrGvqsoYL._SL1500_This theme develops throughout The New Homefront series, where people who once lived an average life in an abundant society are now forced to fend for themselves and are ill-equipped to do so.

As the main characters in The New Homefront come to terms with their new world, and begin to carve a new niche for themselves, they begin to see even in those who would attempt to loot and rob them as people who could have been a good neighbor in a world without hunger. Unfortunately, many people became much to dependent on the safety net of society always being there for them, and were unable to provide for themselves without resorting to desperate measures, setting their civility aside.

Many readers thought Alex Fletcher had abandoned his civility by refusing to help many of his unprepared neighbors. I think this theme can surface in many ways, and always yields a fascinating, controversial moral dilemma. How far would you go to protect your loved ones? The possibilities are unlimited, along with the answers.

Your experience writing Edge of Civility was different than most writers in The Perseid Collapse Kindle World. While others reported doubling their writing productivity, I get the sense that this wasn’t your experience.

Actually, I found the opposite to be true, at least for my scenario. I believe most writers were going off in a direction of their own, using the Perseid World as a launching point. I however had to reverse engineer a story, starting with the ending that already existed in The Jakarta Pandemic, matching it to an existing rigid timeline and set of characters that had many aspects undefined.

If I was just blasting off on my own tangent of the story without a rigid structure to follow, I would have probably had a pretty high output. But then again, with two toddlers and a ridiculous ‘day job,’ I’ve pretty much already mastered the art of doing a lot with just a little time.

I don’t suggest typing and flying with toddlers. ;)

Beyond the theme we mentioned above, how are your other books similar to your novella.

Humanity is both beautiful, and ugly. My three other books that encompass The New Homefront series: The Last Layover, The Guardians, and The Blue Ridge Resistance are just that. There are ugly and gritty parts, just like in the real world, but there are also moments of beauty, love, kindness, and compassion. The good guys in the real world don’t always win, and they don’t always make the right decisions, and that’s how I like to portray things in my books. I want to paint a picture where the reader can see themselves as an average person, struggling along side our friends in the book, in a realistic and human way.

The dichotomy between humanity’s best and worst behavior can be quite stark. It’s even more interesting when explored in the same character, instead of painting black and white battle lines. This was brilliantly portrayed in Edge of Civility with Manson-Jake Turner’s character.

You’ve very recently started writing in the grand scheme of Indie publishing, publishing your first novel in March 2014. What got you started?

I was flying over New York City, looking down and the intense concentration of people and the vast urban sprawl, when I looked over to my co-pilot and said, “That’s the last place I would want to be when S Hits The Fan. Especially to be in our situation where we travel with very limited resources, everything being confined to a carry on bag.” I then said, “Hey, that would make a good book.”

Being a like-minded individual, he replied, “Yes it would… You should write it.”

With that, I pulled out my Android phone, opened my word processor app, and The Last Layover was born. I literally wrote a majority of the book with my phone.

That’s incredible. I’m trying to juxtapose the picture of you typing on your phone in the cockpit of an airliner, with Stephen King sitting perched on a stool in his laundry room pecking away at an old fashioned typewriter. It all starts somewhere.

Speaking of NYC, I have the same feeling every time I fly into La Guardia. Looking down, I can honestly say that’s the last place I’d want to be in ANY kind of crisis. Don’t get me wrong, I find big cities alluring on many levels. The energy, diversity and the sheer defiance that keeps them together against all odds. Unfortunately, those same forces will be their undoing in a SHTF scenario, and it won’t take much of a disruption to initiate a serious problem. I’ll take the suburbs, or better yet, something a little more rural. I’m not ready to join the Tennessee Triad, but the concept is sounding better and better.

This might be a silly question, but are you more of a homesteader than a prepper? Worrier?

Yes, yes, and yes. More of a hobby farmer than a homesteader. I guess you could say a wanna be off the grid homesteader who’s still on the grid. I’m also a firearms enthusiast to an extreme level. I’m pretty sure that’s evident in my writing.

Never met a firearm you didn’t like? I might know a few other people that fall into this category. ;)

Does The New Homefront Series reflect your greatest fears about a potential crisis?

Yes. I’m worried about the potential for social upheaval due to an economic collapse, either engineered or due to dereliction of governmental duties for personal political gain.

I wish I could say that your outlook is unrealistic. Let’s hope it remains fiction long enough to finish plans on the homestead. What are you working on next?

There is a high demand for The New Homefront, Volume 4, so that’s on the way. Also, a dystopian book with a different twist tentatively titled Erebus.

Indeed there is a demand for book 4, so don’t let me stand in your way. A dystopian book? Excellent. I’m in the midst of writing my next series, which is more dystopian than post-apocalyptic, so we should definitely compare notes over beers…if the weather cooperates.

Check out Steven’s novella, Edge of Civility, and head over to his website to take a look at his New Homefront Series.

Leave a comment

Filed under author, author interview, Kindle Worlds