Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Everafter Chronicles: Reign of the Night Creatures - THE AUDIO BOOK!

Great news! We just decided on a producer for the Audio Book version of Reign of the Night Creatures! Her name is Stephanie Robinson, and she will also be the book's narrator. Stephanie gained popularity through the Audio Fanfiction podcast, and is known for her vast array of accents and character voices. Production begins next week. We are hoping for an August release date. YAY!!!

Happy readings,
Casey Sean Harmon

Monday, June 24, 2013

Award-Winning Author Michel Sauret Exclusive Interview

1. Q: Tell me about your new book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?

“Amidst Traffic” is a collection of interconnected short stories. Most recently it won the International Book Awards in its category and placed as a finalist twice in two other major independent publishing book awards.

The stories are darker in tone (you have a woman tattooing scribbles all over her body, a man digging a hole just to escape nightmares and people who hear voices or see visions of the future). In it of themselves, each story is intended to feel a little chaotic and unsettling. But as they come together, the reader can see connections not only in themes but between storylines and characters. The book aims to represent how chaotic and twisted life can seem when we look at it at a microcosmic level (in the moment). But if we had the ability to step back and look at the greater picture, there’s a sense of order and purpose that exists beyond the chaos. Many of the stories intentionally tackle Christian themes, but none of the stories come across as “conversion stories” or “preachy.”

I wrote the stories over a four-plus year span, but I didn’t get the idea of reworking them to have all of the connections form until mid last year.

2. Q: Who is your target audience?

It’s tough to say because the main genre for this collection is definitely literary, so I want to appeal to a college-type audience or readers who aren’t afraid to use stories as an opportunity to think. But at the same time, because of the themes that drive a lot of the stories forward, I could see Christians who consider themselves intellectual really loving this collection.

3. Q: How did you get interested in writing books?

I first wrote one of the stories in this collection when I was 16 years old. Years later, I realized how terrible it was and I practically rewrote the entire thing. I got into writing in high school because we had to do a book report on a chosen author. I picked Stephen King, and I was surprised by how alive his stories are and how believable his characters are. It blew my mind that I could feel such strong emotions over fiction, so I fell in love with the spell of it and I thought that I might give it a shot myself. I wrote my first novel by the time I graduate high school and then published it about a year or two later.

4. Q: What kind of research did you do for this book?

“Amidst Traffic” wasn’t born so much out of research as it was born out of a response to existentialism. In college, we read a lot of contemporary literature that revolved around existential philosophy, and I found the idea to be such a fraud. I found it so ironic that all these brilliant authors wasted portions of their lives to create beautifully-written novels only to reveal a message of meaninglessness. I found that movement so self-destructive. So I wanted to respond with a collection where meaning exists beyond the boundaries of the pages. Meaning exists beyond the presence of a single story. Meaning exists beyond our egotistical selves and our individual experiences. That’s really what Amidst Traffic is about.

5. Q: What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

I usually write in huge chunks, just like I eat my meals. Lately, when I set myself to write a new short story, I explode with 3,000 words almost all in one sitting. Then I walk away. When I set my goal to finish and publish “Amidst Traffic” I could only dedicate one day out of the week to writing, so every Tuesday night I pushed through as much as I could and still finished the book two months ahead of schedule. But my challenge is that I do too many things right now. I work full time for the Army, I have a wife, a two-year-old baby and a photography business. Plus we are moving to Chicago in a few months so writing has been almost non-existent lately. But I’m not afraid because I know myself. I know that once I set myself on schedule again, I’ll persevere and complete my next novel without problems.

6. Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

I really have to be in the midst of writing to think about my story. When I walk away, I have a hard time developing plot ideas or characters or even dialogue. Once in a while, a bit of inspiration will appear out of nowhere while I’m not writing, but usually I have to immerse myself and I become pretty antisocial. I don’t really get bothered by “writer’s block” because I’m always doing something. If I have to take a break from writing because my mind isn’t in it, I’ll find something useful to do instead.

7. Q: What’s the best thing about being an author?

There really isn’t anything good about being an author other than the false allure. We like to pretend we are these clever magicians with mystical power of words and invention, that we can change worlds (or at least create them) … but really we’re just delusional. Think about it. What other profession allows people to create lies, perfect them, believe in them and convince others that they are real. Plus we are constantly looking for attention, praise, justification of our worth. Authors are pretty odd creatures. But we love what we do. We just love it. So even though we are constantly seeking glamour and praise, in reality we start this profession called writing because the desire is inside of us and we want to express it.

8. Q: What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a Christian novel called “Jump.” It’s a bit inspired by John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and written as a desire to explore modern Christianity and man’s perversion of it. We have so many denominations and so many contradictions of practice in today’s Christianity that I wanted to take a novel’s approach to that question and create a character who would go on a journey of faith. This novel scares me because it’s going to force me to do some serious biblical research and soul searching and additionally it’s going to require me to call out “false” Christianity in our modern world. And who am I to do that? I don’t even have a seminary degree. So hopefully if this novel turns into a Goliath, God will provide me with more than a slingshot to bring it down.

9. Q: What advice would you give to aspiring young writers?

Stop. Now. While you’re ahead. Find something else. Don’t do this terrible thing called, “Becoming an Author.” No, no, I’m kidding. I say if you want to be a writer, do it because you have a personal desire. Do it even if you had NOBODY read anything you wrote ever. Do it and pretend like there’s never going to be any money or praise in it at all (which is mostly true). If you still want to write out of internal desire and not out of some false external idea, then push through. Learn quality writing and don’t settle for cheap sentences. Write every sentence like you had to fight an editor for it. Don’t muddle through a scene. And don’t be lazy. There’s nothing wrong than a lazy writer. Man, I’m starting to sound pretty nasty right now. That’s what writing can do for you kids!

10. Q: Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

My favorite short story author is Richard Bausch, though I haven’t read much of his stuff in a few years. I’m trying to explore and discover as many independent authors as possible at this time. My favorite novelist is Cormac McCarthy. He writes so simply and yet every word he puts to paper carries such weight and emotion and complexity. It’s an amazing experience to read his work.

11. Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

In 2008 I deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army public affairs as an Army journalist and got to cover stories of all kinds about Soldiers working overseas to rebuild a country in the midst of war. For that work, I received the Army Journalist of the Year award and received a coin by Honorable Pete Geren, who was the Secretary of the Army at the time.

Telling the stories of Soldiers is always a very emotional and touching subject for me. Every time I see Soldiers being welcomed home or returning to their families after a long deployment, I feel it in my heart. I know how it is, and I feel like I’m reconnecting with my own family, my fellow citizens every time.

To get recognized and awarded as a journalist for telling their stories for a year is always really touching when I think about it.

12. Q: If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Right now I actually have a short memoir out titled “Child, Hold Me” which revisits the loss of a baby my wife and I experienced when we were dating in college. The book is intended to give a male, compassionate perspective to the topic of miscarriage, pregnancy and even abortion. It’s tough to expose your real life events so openly to the world and publish it for people to read. I don’t think I could ever write a full-length memoir about my life. There’s too many sins that I wouldn’t want anyone but God to know about.

I would like to thank Michel for taking the time to do this interview. If you would like to learn more about Michel Sauret and his books, visit his official website, check out his books on Amazon, and follow him on Facebook.

Happy Readings,
Casey Sean Harmon

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let's Play Some Catching Up!

The title says it. A lot of amazing things have happened lately that I think you should know about! :)

1. The Everafter Chronicles: Reign of the Night Creatures is already up to 22 reviews on! Not bad for a book that has only been out for nine days!

2. I just found out that my short story, titled "Susan", will be featured front page on the July 3rd release of Linguistic Erosion Magazine!

3. I have been contracted to write a short thriller for young adults, which will be featured in a collection of stories titled "Epic!" by Tiger Dynasty Publishing. What's even more awesome is the fact that all proceeds will go toward supporting special needs children through The Lili Claire Foundation. We're expecting a late-Fall/early-Winter release.

4. I recently heard from my publicist that the TV commercial for Reign of the Night Creatures will be airing soon! WOOHOO!

5. Would you like a sneak peek at The Tree of Malice (The Everafter Chronicles, Book Two)? Write a review about Reign of the Night Creatures (The Everafter Chronicles, Book One) on before JULY 4th 2013 and I'll send you a free PDF copy of the first three chapters!!!! Don't miss out; you and your kids will want to know how the cliffhanger turns out, and it will probably be at least a year before book two is available to the public! Take advantage of this limited offer. Write a review today!!!

6. ARMY UPDATE: Things are going well! I am currently in the CA Q-Course, doing what I do! Have some field time coming up, which will require me to be away from my computer for a few days...

I would also like to say that I truly appreciate everything that my frinds/fans have done for me over these last few months. I really believe that I am the most blessed author in the world! ;)

Happy Readings,
Casey Sean Harmon

Monday, June 10, 2013

Liebster Award

I was recently nominated for this award by Sharon Ledwith, the author of the wonderful YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, released through Musa Publishing. She is also an awesome online friend and supporter.

BTW – Sharon has a kick-butt blog you should visit!

The rules for the Liebster Award are:

  • Each nominee must answer the 11 questions.
  • Create 11 questions for the next nominees to answer.
  • Link back to who nominated them.
  • Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
  • Go to their page and tell them.
  • No tag backs!

The totally awesome writers that I have nominated are (I’m going to cheat and only tag six):

Q&A time:

Favorite Breakfast?
Waffles topped with peanut butter and syrup. Mmmm sin on a plate!

Beer or Wine?
Wine. And it must be Moscato.
Dog or Cat?
Dog. And I’m not talking about a little dog, either. I’m talking about Clifford.
Coffee or Tea?
Good ol’ southern sweet tea!
Winter or Summer?
Winter. I love snow.
PC or Apple?
What is your goal for 2013?
Market and sell thousands of copies of The Everafter Chronicles: Reign of the Night Creatures. Finish writing The Tree of Malice (The Everafter Chronicles, Book Two.) Make it to numerous best seller’s lists, and be featured on major news networks such as USA Today and Good Morning America.
What makes your day brighter?
Getting to spend time with my wonderful wife and son.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I’m an NCO in the Army, so I have quite a few. My biggest is probably procrastination. I hate it when people put off till tomorrow what can be done today.
How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Claus?
I still believe. :)

What do you write about?
I write MG/YA novels about adventures in alternate universes where mythological creatures exist and the sky is never the limit.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How To Create A Successful Book Launch Party on Facebook in Four Simple Steps!

Planning a successful book launch party on Facebook may be simpler than you think. I recently conducted a launch party for my book The Everafter Chronicles: Reign of the Night Creatures. I ended up having over 270 people RSVP to the event, and my book went from zero to fifteen (15!) 5-star reviews on within a few hours. The Amazon Best Sellers Rank went from over 900,000 to just under 30,000--an indication that a lot of books were selling. How did I do it? I followed these four simple rules.

Step one:

Create the event at least one month before the start date. This will give you optimal time to promote, and it will give your friends plenty of time to join. Also, give your event an interesting title! It needs to stand out from all the other events that your competitors may be holding. I also recommend planning your event for the afternoon (between 7 and 10) during a weekday. This will increase the chances that your guests are at home and not at work or spending the weekend on the beach.

Step two:

Create a buzz by posting the link to your event on Facebook at least once a week. You can also promote your event on Twitter, Google+, your blog and other forms of social media. I recommend posting on Facebook and Twitter at least once a day THE WEEK OF the event; this will boost awareness without overdoing things and it will also get your friends excited about your event! NOTE: It has been proven that more people will read your post if you incorporate a picture with it. Get creative and come up with interesting banners to go with your status updates. Here's a banner I created for my launch party:

Step three: 

Plan a few fun, yet simple, games for your guests to play during the event. Don't make everything about your book! This will quickly get boring and you will start to lose your audience. I recommend doing "Caption This" and "Fill in the Blank" contests every 20-30 minutes. (Maybe more often, depending on how engaged your guests are.) Remember to moderately post things about your book between each contest. This can include your book trailer, an excerpt, and links to sites like Goodreads and Authorgraph. But be careful, because your guests didn't come to your event to have your book shoved down their throats. They came to have fun, show their support and to gradually learn about your book as the party progresses. If they are interested in your book, they will purchase a copy without you having to PUSH them to. It's that simple.

Be sure to have giveaways! During my Everafter Chronicles launch party, I conducted three "Caption This" games and awarded a $5.00 gift card to whoever could come up with the funniest caption for each picture. (This was TONS of fun, by the way! I could not stop laughing!) I also held four author-related quizzes, and awarded a PDF copy of one of the illustrations from my book to each person who could answer the question the quickest. Here are a few screenshots of some of the games from my launch party:

Step four:

Plan a grand finale. After spending hours in front of their computer at your event, your guests will really appreciate the thought and effort that you put into a grand finale. This can be something as simple as holding one last game, and instead of awarding a $5.00 gift card try awarding something bigger, like an autographed copy of your book. For my launch party, I made the grand finale a scavenger hunt. I hid a doubloon somewhere on my website, and challenged my guests to find the doubloon. After they found and clicked on the doubloon, they would automatically be directed to another website which challenged them to solve a riddle. First person to solve the riddle won a $10.00 gift card. It was great fun!

Planning and conducting book launch parties on Facebook can be a lot of fun. There really is no limit to the things that you can do. Use your imagination, and have fun!

Happy readings,
Casey Sean Harmon