Book Review of Sedulity by David Forsyth

81k2I0oXNzL._SL1500_I try to avoid reading books in the same genre as my work-in-progress, for a number of reasons I won’t explain—you’d end up scratching your head and concluding that I’m a bit “touched in the head.” You might think that already. When I finished (for now) The Perseid Collapse series, I treated myself to a novel I have been watching for several months, SEDULITY.  David Forsyth’s book burned up the Amazon charts when it launched in March, and is still making waves…I’m playing with words related to the asteroid strike in his book. It’s early, and coffee has not been delivered to my office. My family takes the day off from catering to me on Saturday. I’m not a completely evil overlord. Anyway, aside from having a completely cool last name (Frederick Forsyth is one of my favorite authors), David wrote an incredible disaster tale. We both incorporate asteroids in our latest series, but tell a completely different story following  the impact…not to mention that David’s asteroid is way bigger than mine. I know—Asteroid envy—not a healthy sentiment. Check out my review of SEDULITY and grab a copy for $2.99.

 

 

“Like the Rogue asteroid in Forsyth’s blistering tale of a modern apocalypse, Sedulity took me by complete surprise when I started reading…and didn’t let go until I had devoured the entire novel—in short order!

Sedulity, named after the luxury cruise liner at the center of Forsyth’s novel, is a masterfully complex apocalyptic tale, combining every element I find essential to the genre. Strong character development, intense action sequences, and big picture connections.

In the beginning, we are introduced to a variety of characters, from different walks of life. The ship’s captain and wife, a normal couple on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise with their daughter, a self-absorbed Texan-oil baron and a humble ship’s bartender…the perfect kaleidoscope to view the soon to arrive disaster—Rogue, a one mile wide asteroid, described in chilling detail by Forsyth as it races toward the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I loved the juxtaposition of personal character driven sequences with the matter-of-fact description of the asteroid’s effects. On one hand you are thrust into chaotic, high-octane survival scenes testing the limits of the characters’ endurance, on the other, you are shown the inevitable and brutally effective nature of the disaster’s impact on the natural environment. I kept thinking “this isn’t personal,” but Forsyth jars you out of this reverie and slams you back into a seat on the Sedulity, where the catastrophe feels 100% realistic and very personal.

Action sequences are intense, perfectly described and not for the faint of heart…not over the top gory, just realistic and impactful. Forsyth injects an appropriate amount of dry humor at times, which I greatly appreciated in the absolute chaos unfolding on the ship. The author leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the effects of the asteroid strike. I knew a wave would hit the ship…the rest was completely and pleasantly unexpected, which brings me to the final genre element that I love. 

This isn’t simply a story about the trials and tribulations of the crew and passengers of the Sedulity. Forsyth’s vision extends far beyond my simple assumption, and promises to deliver an incredible post-apocalyptic series on par with Lucifer’s Hammer. I eagerly await the second installment.”

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My name is Steven Konkoly—

And I have Amazon Infatuation Syndrome.

It started nearly four years ago, when I decided to forego sending query letters to agents, after reading Joe Konrath’s blog from top to bottom.

I independently uploaded my first novel to Amazon’s various retail platforms and sold 5,000 copies (with minimal marketing) within 6 months. I quickly decided that self-publishing through Amazon presented a viable path to becoming a full-time writer. I published my second book (in a completely different genre) one year after my Amazon debut, selling 8,000 copies in six months. A new book followed every six month—all while I worked a lucrative day job and dreamed about the day I would resign to pursue full-time writing. Each book brought me closer, until I finally developed enough sales and readership velocity to escape the gravity of an easy, six figure salary job. Amazon didn’t write my books, but they played a more than nominal role in my quiet success. For that, I’m a little infatuated with Amazon.

Nate Hoelfelder at The Digital Reader thinks I’m deluded because I’m happy with Amazon. Read his article. His blog post is the latest reaction to the ongoing corporate negotiation battle between Amazon and Hachette Publishing. In essence, he says that corporations only care about the bottom line and cannot be your friend. Friend? How about business partner? How about EXCELLENT business partner? Then, he goes on to say that Amazon’s words are meaningless, because they are a corporation spewing PR desperation that should be taken for face value.

I understand the concept of “acta non verba,” which is why I judge my friends and business partners by their actions more than their words.

Here’s a run down of the actions Amazon has taken to earn my trust and friendship.

- They promptly (every month) and transparently  pay 70% royalties on my titles. I can see my sales figures and calculated royalties through an always-accessible, near real-time sales report system).

- They allow me to control pricing, so I can optimize product performance based on market conditions. They also provide me with real-time analytics to decide the best price point. 

- They don’t require onerous contracts or knee-capping non-compete clauses. I can terminate my contract at any time. The most “draconian” non-compete measure implemented by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program requires 90 days of exclusivity, in exchange for enhanced marketing tools. Kindle exclusivity has netted me over $35,000 since its inception in late 2012. I’m feeling dewy-eyed.

-I retain the necessary rights to expand in all media, like audiobooks, foreign sales, movie/TV rights. I earn a significant portion of my income from these media, and plan to expand my presence further.

-Friendly and responsive customer service across all platforms. They’ve quickly resolved nearly every issue I’ve brought to their attention

-They’ve provided marketing opportunities that have allowed me to grow readership drastically.

-They market my book every second of every day through customer emails, matching preferences on related books’ sales pages, and search algorithms. I didn’t sell 5,000 copies of my first book in six months through any genius marketing plan of my own.

-I’ve sold 55,000 books over the past 12 months, all through Amazon.

-They’re nice! I’ve personally met everyone directly involved with the different Amazon platforms. No evil smiles. This crew genuinely cares about authors, and we all share a common vision. To sell more books! As an author, if you’re suspicious of that sentiment, you have a serious problem on your hands.

BUT I DON’T JUST LIKE THEM AS AN AUTHOR!

As a customer:

-They shipped a basket ball stand (60lbs at least) for free because I paid roughly $80 to be a member of Amazon Prime. I recoup at least five times the cost of membership in free shipping every year.

-They provide hassle free returns on nearly every product I’ve purchased. I don’t hesitate to order an item. If I don’t like it, I print a return label, tape up the same box and get a refund immediately. I’m lazy like that. Beautiful!

-The only items I can’t find on Amazon are ammunition, guns, cigarettes, booze, and pornography. Apparently Hachette’s parent company, Lagardere, had a tough first quarter this year due to the loss of cigarette sales in Hungary. Now that’s a company to be proud of! Sorry, that’s my AIS shining through. Forgot my meds.

If supporting Amazon as an author and customer means I suffer from Amazon Infatuation Syndrome, then so be it. I’m infatuated.

To read more about this curious syndrome label, and how it is utterly preposterous, please check out Hugh Howey’s most recent post and David Gaughram’s guest post at Words with JAM.

 

 

and Amazon qualifies as a good friend. Will that change?

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Point of Crisis Arrives

1114 Steve Konkoly ebook POINT OF CRISIS_4_Lon thousands of Kindles across North America and the UK! Yes, I did have nearly 50 pre-orders from eager readers across the pond. Paper versions will ship today and the audiobook should be available in late August or early September.

If you haven’t purchased a copy, may I direct your attention to this link? Purchase Point of Crisis

Don’t forget to join my mailing list. I just uploaded an exclusive Black Flagged short story, available for download to members of the mailing list. Other perks include exclusive sneak peeks at upcoming work and exclusive discounts. Sign up here!

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PRACTICAL PREPPING: NO APOCALYPSE REQUIRED arrives in August!

1165 Steven Konkoly ebook PRACTICAL PREPPING

UPDATE 7/30: Jeroen ten Berge has graciously stepped in and designed a most fitting cover for PRACTICAL PREPPING. Once again, I’m simply blown away by his work. Thank you, Jeroen!

PRACTICAL PREPPING: NO APOCALYPSE REQUIRED, is a light-hearted, instructional look at the basic steps ANYONE can take to prepare for a disaster. From a foreign invasion to the zombie apocalypse—just kidding. We included No Apocalypse Required in the title for a good reason. This isn’t a book about ditching the suburbs for a heavily defended, self-sufficient compound in rural Minnesota. We explore real-life concepts and solutions to REAL-LIFE problems.

Disclaimer: This is not a “HOW TO” manual for every scenario. Sure, you’ll find a few lists, and a number of highlighted suggestions, but the bulk of our book focuses on practical readiness steps you can take or tactical concepts you can embrace, without interrupting your life or breaking the bank. Randy and I offer a layered, foundational approach that can be tailored to YOUR circumstances and motivation level. Let’s face it, few people want to spend an inordinate amount of time, effort and money preparing for something that may not happen. ME INCLUDED. We’ll discuss what you can do to prepare for what will likely happen. I think you’ll be surprised by how little time, effort and hard-earned cash you’ll need to put into PRACTICAL PREPPING.

You’re probably curious how we’ll pull this off. Will it be a didactic lecture, broken into boring chapters? NO. We decided specifically to avoid that format. Randy and I have identified roughly 20 topics worth addressing, from obvious stuff like FOOD, WATER, and FIRST AID to harder topics like HOMESTEADING, COMMUNICATIONS and POWER. Each chapter will contain an excerpt from one of my books that relates to the topic, followed by two essays (one written by each of us). Randy and I share the same philosophy, but we may have a different approach. That’s what will be unique about PRACTICAL PREPPING…if I’m boring, you can switch to Randy’s essay and learn from a real expert!

Who is Randy? Randall S. Powers of Practical Tactical, a personal readiness consulting business based out of Georgia. Randy has been a consultant to The Perseid Collapse series from the start, reviewing my prepper/survival based concepts and keeping me somewhat in line with reality. I considered starting most of my essays with “Whatever Randy just said.”

With that said, I’ll leave you with a sample chapter from the book. Keep in mind that his is un-edited. The typo police have not paid this manuscript a visit. Chapter 4 contains a few great examples of the foundational elements applied throughout the book. ENJOY!

Sample Chapter (Word)

Sample Chapter (PDF)

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The Black Flagged Series gets a facelift by Jeroen ten Berge

Published nearly three years ago, Black Flagged’s cover has morphed to reflect the ever changing Technothriller market. Check out the evolution of Black Flagged’s cover, followed by Jeroen ten Berge’s latest design concept. I’m beyond thrilled to share these.

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2014 Redesign:

1142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_21142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_REDUX_21144 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_APEX_51149 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_VEKTOR_2

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Eight Tips for New Writers…of any age

This post is dedicated to a young gentleman named Noah (10 years old), who is writing a science fiction story about the future of mankind. His father, an avid reader and fan of my books, asked if I had any tips for his son. I decided to compile a short list of advice that might inspire and guide a young writer, realizing halfway through— that this is the same basic advice I would give to a new writer oftyping-test any age.

Good luck, Noah, and all of the new writers out there!

1. Eat lots of vegetables and don’t talk to strangers…sorry kids, a few parents paid me to put this here! By the way, this advice applies to adults more than children.

2. Keep a notebook for ideas and spontaneous writing.  If an idea or scenario strikes, starting writing—even if you have no idea where this story will go. If the story doesn’t progress beyond a page of notebook scribbles—no worries—it might be the seed of a great story later. As a writer, the junk drawer doesn’t exist. 

3. Write every day. Just a little. OR a lot! If you don’t feel like writing “in a story,” create a character, or draw a character or scene. Continuously create!

4. Do a little research into your story. Feel like a professional…under supervision. Lots of wrong turns to take on the internet…even for adults.

5. Let everyone know you’re writing a story. Seriously. Bottling up or hiding your work is the best way to ensure that it never sees the light of day. People like to read, and they like to read stories. The more people who know you’re a writer, the better! You’ll build an audience of supporters early.

6. When you find a story that you continue to write, it’s time for a plan. Nothing fancy or complicated, just a quick spin beyond what you’ve written. Where do you see the story headed? How do you think it will end? Who are the characters? Can you create a timeline or progression of the story or world you’ve created? This shouldn’t feel like work…even when it’s your job (like mine).

7. Take one series you’ve seen on TV/Movies and read the books. Compare the two in an essay. What did each do better? Worse? As a writer, you want the reading experience to be the better experience.

8. Read as much as you can. This isn’t original advice, but I can’t understate the importance of reading. Novels, essays, novellas or short stories. Exposure to the written word is an essential building block for a writer. Did that sound too obvious? Here’s the thing—I had no idea this was true until I started writing in my late 30’s. When you read, you absorb without studying. You casually examine story telling styles, grammar, sentence construction, plotting…all without spending a second in the classroom. I’ve taken one writing class in my life, a semester of Creative Writing (at the U.S. Naval Academy), but I’ve studied writing, without knowing it, for my entire lifetime.

9.) Always Remember—there are worse ways to make a living! 

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Pre-Order Point of Crisis today for July 30th release!

LINK TO PREORDER!

Check out THIS POST to see the cover and detailed description.

Thank you!

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Cover reveal and blurb for Point of Crisis: Book Three in the Perseid Collapse Series

Getting close to the end now. With a launch date set for July 20th, I thought it was time to reveal what I’ve been slaving over for three-month, in between boat work, garden prep, yard prep, spring school festivities, dance recitals, book revisions…a little sleep here and there. Poor me, right? Not really.  Take a look at Jeroen ten Berge’s knock out design for the third, and possibly the last installment to The Perseid Collapse series. I haven’t decided if this is the last Fletcher adventure. Truly, that’s up to you—the reader. I will return to the Black Flagged books next, no matter what you say. I promised, and I keep my promises. A teaser blurb follows the cover, so keep scrolling. I’m extremely excited about this story.

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“In the aftermath of the brutal attack on his family compound, Alex Fletcher embraces his rapidly expanding role within the New England Regional Recovery Zone (RRZ). Fueled by a limitless drive to protect his family and a rekindled sense of duty, he enlists the reluctant aid of a local militia commander—to help ease the public’s fears of a federal government takeover and maintain civil order within the Security Area (SA).

As Captain Fletcher digs deeper into the government’s plans, he starts to question the federal government’s intentions—and capability to stabilize the situation in New England. With the region’s major port facilities destroyed and the nation’s electrical grid crippled, Alex can’t envision how the government can supply the camps throughout the winter. He predicts a human cataclysm, with several hundred thousand desperate refugees marching north—into Maine.

At the same time, Alex learns that Eli Russell has started to rebuild his militia. Obsessed with finding and eliminating the psychopath that attacked his family, Alex scours the back roads to find him before he can destabilize the tenuous security situation in southern Maine—unaware that Eli’s plans are far more personal.

With the world swiftly unraveling around him, Alex will face his most difficult decisions ever…”

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Doubleshot Reviews take on Event Horizon

1051 Steve Konkoly ebook EVENT HORIZON_3_LA special thanks to Heather Faville for putting the time and detail into an incredible review. I figured she would enjoy the novel, but you never really know with Heather—or any reader. I change up just enough in each novel—even closely tied series—that the experience isn’t the same. The last thing I want is for readers to feel like they’re digging through the same book they just finished.

Doubleshot Review of Event Horizon.

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Polar Bear Protection Instructor Duty

Polar bear 4A welcome break from writing, and an interesting morning in my fourth office (Scarborough Fish and Game Association). Author and magazine writer Tim Queeney chronicles my efforts to help a couple choose an effective, but manageable firearm for their sailing trip through the Northwest Passage. The catch? They’ve never touched a firearm before, and their choices are limited by Canadian and Greenland federal laws, which requires them to carry a shotgun or big game rifle to protect themselves from polar bears. Not exactly beginner firearms. Check out Tim’s recap of our morning at the gun range.

Polar Bear Protection 

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