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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Where we're at

I never realized it could pass so quick. I've been at this just over 2 years now and with the latest release - Last Man Standing (Matt Drake 8) on Kindle in July - have published twelve full length novels and 2 short stories. In that time I've sold over 250,000 copies, quit work to be a full-time author, and worked harder than at any other time in my life to sustain my dream.

I started writing when I was 15; gained success at 46. That's a long time to wait so whilst it's here I intend to fight hard. With that in mind I have another novel - Chosen 2 Guardians - due September 3rd and am currently writing the new Drake spin-off for an early December release. After that it's straight into Drake 9 and 10, both of which will be available before June next year. A lot of work but it's good, fulfilling work.

The Kindle world sometimes seems to change weekly. No sooner do you think you know what you're doing than everything changes around you. A book performing well for say six straight weeks in a row or, in the case of America, a series performing well for 8 months in a row, can suddenly plummet thousands of places and lose all visibility overnight. New incentives are introduced. Old ones are devalued. It's all about moving with the changes, I guess. And Marketing, branding, advertising. And professionalism in everything you do - nothing beats that.

In particular, it's all about maintaining your visibility. This becomes harder every day as new books are published and new ideas implemented. But the fight is worthwhile and necessarily tough - if you have the will and the drive and work damn hard to rise to the top end of the pile you will.

I've set myself more milestones, harder achievements, tough deadlines. The future for my readers will be a rollercoaster driven by our collective imagination. If we all survive who know's where we'll be next year, or in another two years time?
www.david leadbeater.com

Friday, 1 August 2014

New release - LAST MAN STANDING (Matt Drake 8)

Last Man Standing (Matt Drake 8) picks up where Blood Vengeance left off, with most of the book taking place over a twenty-four hour span. Drake, Mai, Dahl and Alicia find themselves pitted against eight of the deadliest assassins on the planet - forced into an extreme tournament where just one can make it out alive.

Only Matt Drake's greatest nemesis - Coyote - knows all the rules, and nothing will stop her from destroying everything he loves. Not the destruction of the unwitting town that hosts the tournament, not the demolition in combat of its biggest hotel, not the battle that rages on the edge of town. Amidst the annihilation of the Ninth Division and the emergence of the Pythians as a significant enemy, Drake and the team must fight for their lives against not only their deadliest foe, but an army of mercenaries and each other, to determine who will be. . .

. . .the Last Man Standing.

UK - Click here USA - click here

See www.davidleadbeater.com

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

This weeks Guest Spot belongs to Karen Perkins, bestselling author of Dead Reckoning and Thore's Cross, and owner of Lionheart Galleries. If you enjoy Karen's interview check out her work here:

1. When did you start writing and was there any particular event that drew you to the pen?
In about 2005 I picked up a pen and just started writing. I had injured myself sailing ten years before, which had pretty much brought my life to a standstill. When I filled the first notebook I bought another, and when I'd filled that I realised I was writing a book – I had the bug and it was terminal, I cannot imagine not writing now. I'd always been a bookworm, apparently I was a very easy child as I spent all my time curled up with a book, yet it had never occurred to me that I would be able to write one until I actually did. That first book took a lot of rewrites and a lot of learning before it was fit to be published, in 2012, as Dead Reckoning and even then I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to publish without the encouragement and support of my partner, Peter Mutanda, also a writer and theatre director. We established LionheART Publishing House together (www.lionheartgalleries.co.uk) to publish our own titles (now numbering twelve between us) and also offering publishing services to other authors – copy editing, proof reading and formatting. Writing and books have given me a new future, and I'm very excited about travelling this new road.

2. Do you have a favourite character from another author’s book?
A difficult question – there are so many! After much deliberation, I think I have to go with two. Charlie Fox – Zoe Sharp's independent, stubborn and extremely capable body guarding heroine and Stephen King's Carrie – I felt so sorry for her when I first read the book aged fourteen, and still do.
3. Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a take-it-as-it-comes writer?
I'm a planner. If I don't plan I have to do a dozen rewrites, which can take years. I'll think about a book for a year or two, jotting down ideas as they come, then, as I get closer to putting pen to paper, I'll do an overall plan covering the main plot points. Then I'll plan out the first part in more detail, then each chapter. Of course, no matter how much I plan, my characters often have different ideas, sometimes taking me completely by surprise and the plan goes out the window . . .
4. Where does your inspiration comes from? What motivates you?
People. Writing novels is my attempt at trying to work out motivations, why we do what we do, and also to make sense of some of the horrendous things people do to each other. I'm on my fourth novel now, and have no answers, I suspect the search will take a lifetime.
5. Do you have a set schedule to write to or do you grab the time as it comes?
A bit of both. I try to be disciplined and write at least a chapter a day, and make a detailed plan of the next chapter for tomorrow. However, if the words won't come, the words won't come, and forcing it doesn't help me – forced chapters just end up deleted after having caused nothing but frustration. The times I do have a break of a few days, it usually turns out there's a reason – usually the next event in my plan doesn't work and I've needed to relax and think about it some more. Once I've worked it out, I usually embark on a bit of a writing frenzy and catch up on the lost time naturally.
6. How do you take writing interruptions?
Temperamentally. If I'm struggling with a chapter, I'm grateful for the interruption and the opportunity to blame my slow progress on the interrupter. If the words are flowing well and I'm lost in my fictional world, I can lash out. I often write in cafes and coffee shops and once came very close to burying my pen in another customer's eye after one to many 'excuse me, can you pass me the . . .' Well, ok, I just imagined burying my pen in his eye (the character I was writing was a ruthless, bloodthirsty pirate who wouldn't have thought twice about maiming someone, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it), but something must have shown on my face – he didn't interrupt again.
7. What do you enjoy and what do you hate about writing?
I love that moment when inspiration strikes, a new idea, a new character. I love starting a new book, the possibilities and potential of all those blank pages. I love each chapter, finding out what happens (despite my neurotic planning, I still enjoy those moments why my characters surprise me). I love finishing the book, knowing I now have some spare brain space ready to be filled with the next one. The one part I don't enjoy is the first read through – spotting all those holes and inconsistencies, but then I love filling them, fixing them and polishing until the book is as good as I can make it. I love publishing the book, seeing it there on amazon, the first sale (and all the subsequent ones), the first review (and all the subsequent ones), well, you get the picture.
8. Mostly for our other authors out there, what’s your advice as to how to handle a bad review?
Keep perspective – there is no book out there which is liked by every single reader. Think seriously about what the reviewer has said – is this an opportunity to improve as a writer? If not, ignore it; everybody is entitled to their opinion, and to be honest, books are more interesting when there is a mix of published reviews – I often buy to see who I agree with. Whatever you do, don't engage into a defensive tit for tat, it will only get worse, and can easily get out of hand – and in that case, the only loser is the author.
9. What other projects do you have on the boil? Are there any more books in the Valkyrie series to come?
I have a number of projects on the go at the moment. I'm currently writing the next two books in the Valkyrie Series (pirates, love and adventure), Look Sharpe! and Ready About!, both of which focus on one of the secondary characters in the first two books, An Ill Wind and Dead Reckoning. Henry Sharpe piqued my curiosity as I wrote the first two, and I wanted to know more about him. I've since had emails and messages from readers too asking about him. I had only meant to write his story in one book, but he's very vocal and is insisting on two!
I'm also at the planning stage of Cultural Exile, which I'm writing with my partner, Peter Mutanda (a true test of any relationship!). It is about a Zimbabwean family forced to emigrate to the UK and the challenges they face. We take so much about our own cultures for granted, but different cultures often clash in all sorts of unexpected ways. Then perspectives change, people change, and relationships change, and it all has fallout.
I've also been so overwhelmed with the way my historical ghost story, Thores-Cross, has been received, I'm thinking about another one in the same vein. A dual timeline with the past impacting on the present. No matter how hard we try to leave the past behind, it is sometimes unwilling to stay there.
10.  Do you have any advice to offer other Indie authors about self-publishing?
Go for it. There has never been a better time to self-publish and there are some great advantages, not least control over every aspect of your book. But it is hard work, especially the promoting and marketing side. It's also difficult to be objective about your own work and many authors publish too soon – if you're not sure, get an editor – there are good ones out there who do not charge the earth. Also have at least two or three friends and/or fellow writers read your manuscript and give you honest feedback. And I do mean honest – be as prepared to hear what doesn't work in their opinion as what does. Lastly, listen to your peers; the majority of Indie authors I have been in contact with over the last year have been extremely supportive and genuinely helpful, and I have learned so much from them.
11. Does any particular strategy work for you to boost sales?
I think my main strategy is cross-sales. I have regular promos offering the first book in the Valkyrie Series, An Ill Wind, for free, not much of a risk for a potential reader to try out a new author. If they like it, they will buy my other books. If they don't, they won't.
In my opinion, it is extremely important to not only write a good story, but also to make your book as professional as possible – no spelling or grammatical errors, consistency, clear and simple formatting (a must for eReaders). I do my best to make the reading experience as pleasurable as possible for the reader; I don’t want them to notice the words, the sentence construction, the formatting; I want them to get lost in my story, visit my world, meet my characters, and want to stay a little bit longer . . .
12. Does social networking improve your sales?
It's difficult to know for sure, but I think Twitter and Goodreads have been the most helpful – of course anything (within reason!) to raise your profile and put you in contact with potential readers is good – not only twitter and facebook, but podcasts, interviews, reviews by book blogging sites, giveaways, competitions etc.


Twitter: @ValkyrieSeries  @LionheartG

Email: publishing@lionheartgalleries.co.uk

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Holidays in Action and 2014!

After last year's eye-opening December when all my titles dropped drastically down the charts but sales remained the same, then recovered their positions in January, I decided to try to retain at least a little visibility against the onslaught of 'big publishers' and their advertising campaigns by trying that solid old staple - the Christmas sale.

The new Drake - The Swords of Babylon - is still in the top thirty in the UK, and the sale titles - The Bones of Odin and The Blood King Conspiracy - have jumped about thirty or forty places into the top forty as I write. The US fares similar. Who knows what the next couple of weeks will bring as the publishers increase their spending but at least it's a case of 'so far so good'.

A milestone was passed this year. Over 200,000 copies of my books have been sold since March 2012 and I'd like to take a minute to thanks all the readers who have parted with their cash, all the fellow authors who have offered and shown support, and everyone else who has helped in any way. I hope I repay my readers with more escapist adventure in 2014 and my fellow authors with even more support.

The Drake series, following numbers 7 and 8, which deal with the Blood King and Coyote respectively, will continue in a new direction. Yup, there are hints to where we're heading in Drake 7, but I feel constantly moving forwards is what helps keep a series fresh and fun, and will endeavour to do just that.

To that end I have recently offered a FREE short story through my website. It's called THE NINTH DIVISION, and tells the story of how Matt Drake first met Alicia Myles whilst fighting a militant army in Africa. If you would like a copy go to my website and send me an e-mail.


In the new year my first release will be the much anticipated Blood Vengeance. Around January 14th, you will be able to see just what the Blood King has in store for Drake's team, the President of the US, and Washington DC. Who lives and who dies? Well, as Alicia Myles would say - live it like you'll never live it twice.

After that it's Disavowed 2 and Chosen 2 (at last!) and then Drake 8 - all hopefully released by July 2014 unless my fingers drop off from too much typing!

So happy holidays to all. It's been a great year in the Leadbeater household with my oldest daughter starting school and my youngest starting to talk. The word 'magic' does not do it justice.

Cheers all. The new cover for Blood Vengeance will be revealed soon!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Available Tuesday 17 September:

The New Release - The Swords of Babylon (Matt Drake 6)

A last stand is coming – a battle of battles.

Matt Drake and the SPEAR team return in a brand new action-packed adventure!

When Drake is captured and sent to a remote Russian prison, little does he know that the last remaining member of the Shadow Elite has already set in motion a reckless, uncompromising plan to control or destroy all life on Earth.

The battle for the survival of the human race begins in ancient Babylon, where Alexander the Great discovered and warned of a second way to activate Odin’s doomsday device. His solution was to forge seven swords of Babylon and connect them to the Tower of Babel. Drake's team enter a deadly race to find and discover how to use these swords to combat the catastrophically powerful weapon of the gods before it's too late. If they fail and the doomsday device is activated, the world will burn.

Through high camaraderie, betrayal, and endless twists and turns, the team launch a rescue attempt for Drake, then face skirmishes in Russia’s Red Square, and fights among the ruins of Babylon until they come to a final desperate battle where all three tombs and the darkest black hole in existence – the ancient Pit of Babylon – have to be assaulted simultaneously.

The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Guest Author - Terry Tyler

This weeks Guest Spot belongs to Terry Tyler, bestselling author of Nobody's Fault and You Wish. If you enjoy Terry's interview check out her work here:

  1. When did you start writing and was there any particular event that drew you to the pen?
I seem to remember that I wrote stories as a child, and I remember writing a fair few in my twenties, but there wasn’t a moment at which I thought, I want to be a writer.  Writing my first novel, which I did in 1993, was just the natural progression from the short stories, I suppose, and started when I happened to have a lot of time on my hands.

  1. Do you have a favourite character from another author’s book?
Impossible to pick just one, but here are a few.  Gino Santangelo in various Jackie Collins novels.  Mr Wopsle in Great Expectations.  John Godwin in Susan Howatch’s The Wheel of Fortune.  Tyrion Lannister in GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Oh, too, too many.  If I start thinking of all the characters I’ve loved in books I would be here all day!  Those are the first that sprang to mind, though, particularly Gino. 

3. Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a take-it-as-it-comes writer?
My novels are always planned out first.  I don’t start writing until I know the whole story and have a chapter plan written out, at least for the first six chapters or so.  I need to do this for the continuity, as my books are very character driven, and I hate the sloppy continuity that you see in some books, where people behave out of character just to get the plot to the place the author wants it to be.  All my stories have ends that need to tie up for the last chapter, so I have to work out the time lines very carefully before I start.  I do tend to deviate as I go along, though, and think of better twists or new sub-plots.

4. Do you have set schedule to write to or do you grab the time as it comes?
I don’t go out to work, so writing is the focal point of my day.  It’s my priority, too, aside from family commitments.   I fit other things around writing, rather than the other way round. 

 5. How do you take writing interruptions?
Depends what they are!  I don’t get many.  The people who are likely to interrupt me know to ask if it’s a good time to talk.  But I don’t start chucking my toys out of the pram if someone interrupts me, even if it’s not particularly welcome.  It’s not the end of the world.

6. What do you enjoy and what do you hate about writing?
I love everything about it.  If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t do it.  I don’t know why I love it.  There’s nothing I hate about it.  One of my favourite bits is writing ‘the end’ at the end of a first draft – I love the fact that the whole story is now THERE, and my job is now to improve upon it.  I really, really enjoy the re-writing/editing. 

 7. What’s your advice as to how to handle a bad review?
Oh, I’ve written so much about this – a whole blog post, and more!  For a start off, you have to expect them, and they don’t really matter, because we all have different tastes.  The only time I think they DO matter is if you get several saying, for instance, that the punctuation and grammar is bad, or that it needs a good proofread/edit.  Then you know that it isn’t just personal taste, and you need to give the book serious reconsideration.  Happily I have never had very many, I’ve only got about six bad ones out of the over 3 or 400 reviews I have scattered over various sites.  Some of the negative comments I agree with.  I imagine most people who don’t like one of my books just stop reading it, the same as I do if I’m not enjoying something.  The first bad review irked me a lot, but you have to get sensible about them.  The way I look at is is this: do you honestly think that everyone is going to love everything you do?  Are you so insecure that you can’t handle a bit of criticism?  I think the best way to handle them is to read them, take in what they’ve said, and move on!

8. What other projects do you have on the boil?
Oh, lots!  I’ve recently finished novel number 6 for Amazon, which I hope to have out there by mid September.  I am currently putting the final touches to a short story collection, which I hope to publish in about November.  This will be free on publication, for the first 3/5 days – I haven’t done a free promotion for nearly a year, and thought I’d give it a whirl!  I’ve got the plan for the next novel, which I am DYING to start – I don’t usually start a project until one is finished, but I just had to write the first two paragraphs of this new one, because I have never been so excited about beginning a new book before! 
This week I have finished a short story which will be in a collection with proceeds going to an animal charity.  In the autumn I will also be busy with my twice weekly pieces on entertainment site The BizzNiz (I’m going to be commenting on Strictly Come Dancing!), and I have lots of book recommendation posts lined up (in my head) for my weekly blog on the UK Arts Directory.  Then there’s my own blog…. thank goodness I have an understanding husband and no children!

 9. Do you have any advice to offer other Indie authors about self-publishing?
Far, far too much to put in an answer to an interview question.  I’ve often thought, who am I to give advice?  But I am coming to realise that I do now have a fair bit of experience I can pass on.  In my blog on the UK Arts Directory I am, at the moment, writing a series of posts entitled ‘The truth about self-publishing’, in which I’m aiming to tell people stuff they really need to know, that they probably won’t read anywhere else.  Candid observations, if you like!  But far from all negative.  I’ll put the link at the end of this interview.

10. Does any particular strategy work for you to boost sales?
Not one single one, no.  It’s a combination of everything I do – the tweeting, the blogging, the Facebook page posts.  Sometimes I’ll do a 77p offer for a weekend; these have varying success.  I don’t know if people buy my books as a response to some post I’ve made, on the recommendation of a friend, or through finding them on Amazon – I expect it’s equally spread over all three.

 11. Does social networking improve your sales?
Without them there would be no sales.  End of story!
 12. Ever thought about branching out into a different genre? If so which one?
I don’t think about genres, I just write the story I want to write, then try to decide what genre it is when I put it on Amazon!  Although my books are all contemporary fiction, they’re all slightly different genres; for instance, Nobody’s Fault is a family drama, whereas Dream On is light-hearted rock fiction.  However, the one that I shall be starting soon – yes, the one that I am GAGGING to start! – will be different again.  It will span a period of about 40 years, and has elements of historical fiction, too, but I don’t want to say more at the moment because it’s the best idea I’ve ever had!!!

13. And to finish - how about giving us a few of your favourite songs, past and present?
Present?  I haven’t known about modern music for years!  I remember Alexei Sayle saying that a scientist had isolated a gene in the human body that made you go off pop music at the age of 37….!  I have to say that when I hear pop music now I think it all sounds the same – ooh, Daddy, you didn’t used to say that to me, did you??!  But my all time old favourites – too, too many to mention, I couldn’t say one without thinking of ten more, and wanting to include them all.  But I love most things by the following: Aerosmith, Free & Bad Company, Al Green, Steely Dan, Thunder, Kate Bush, David Grey, AC/DC…. I also love some old Motown (Roadrunner by Junior Walker & The Allstars is one of my all time favourites), Miles Davis, Will Young, Oasis, some early 70s ska, Deep Purple, mid 80s pop, some old 60s stuff like Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell and Windmills of Your Mind by Noel Harrison, some punk, Debussy, The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams – look, I told you I could go on forever, didn’t I?  If I had to choose one type of music it would be rock, but I like so much different stuff.  There’s even one song I really like by Olly Murrs, but that’s about as modern pop as I get!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Guest Author - Micheal Rivers

     This weeks Guest Spot belongs to Micheal Rivers, bestselling Paranormal Thriller author of The Black Witch and Verliege among others. Micheal is also a paranormal investigator. If you're reading this with the lights down low, now's the time to turn them all the way up! If you enjoy Micheal's interview check out his work here:

1.   When did you start writing and was there any particular event that drew you to the pen?

A: I have been writing most of my life. There was always something about seeing the words written in books that held a certain fascination for me. I was like a lot of other children of my time and thought how great it would be to see a book with my name on it.
A pen is like a magnet to me, always has been. I guess you could say there was too much inside of my head to just leave it there. 

2.   Do you have a favorite character from another author’s book?

A: Alexander Dumas’s characters are excellent. I would say his characters among a host of others have a natural draw to me. I really can’t say one character in particular could be called my favorite.

3.   Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a take-it-as-it-comes writer?

A: Good question, but a bit complicated. I would have to say the stories as well as the characters plan for themselves and I figure out how to place them correctly into the stories. The way my mind works sometimes I wonder who is controlling who. It comes to thoughts of everyday living and how that particular character or characters would handle what is happening with them.

4.   Where does your inspiration comes from? What motivates you?

A: My inspiration comes from every breath I take. Motivation is a powerful tool, but I would have to say the world itself motivates me in more ways than I care to contend with at times. Look at the world, its history of mankind, and the wonders and mysteries we cannot explain away in a single breath. Therein lays all the motivation you could ever ask for.

5.   Do you have set schedule to write to or do you grab the time as it comes?

A: I write whenever possible. There are times when I have to get away from it just to be able to collect my own thoughts in lieu of passing on the thoughts and stories of all there is around us. I guess you could say I take small vacations from it to visit with myself.

6.   How do you take writing interruptions?

A: The reactions vary. For trivial things I ignore them while with others I ignore them also if I am deep into something. At times I will get a little peeved because I don’t want to derail my train of thought and lose something I feel is important. Make a note concerning it. That is not the same as the flow of what is happening at the time. There are times when you tie an emotion to what you are writing and don’t want it to change until you are finished.

7.   What do you enjoy and what do you hate about writing?

A: I love everything about writing. I can write on walls, trains, the neighbor’s cat, makes no difference. I do have some qualms concerning peripheral elements of writing but it is a necessary evil we all have to contend with.

8.   What’s your advice as to how to handle a bad review?

A: Ignore it unless it is good advice. What you write is not going to be for everybody so face the judge with a smile.

9.   What other projects do you have on the boil? How about a brief line or two about the sequel to The Black Witch? And can you give us an insight into the brand new action/adventure novel you are currently writing?

A: I have four manuscripts on the burner at this time. I am writing one out of my genre based on an actual person, fiction of course. This will be a series. It is action adventure and a host of other deviltry thrown in for good measure. It involves world travel, intrigue, and world politics.
The Black Witch has a sequel in the works and it involves the grandson and his wife from the original characters of the book. This one seems a bit tricky but it is coming along nicely. My favorite of the other two is titled Scratch. Prepare to sleep with the lights on. 

      10. Does social networking improve your sales?

 A: Social networking is very important for more reasons than just sales. It is a very good way to be            connected with your readers and well as other authors. In answer to your question, yes it does help with your  sales.

11. Please tell us one of your interesting stories about your role as a paranormal investigator.

A: I enjoy investigating the paranormal as much as I possibly have time for. I had a friend come to my house asking me to repair a toy teddy bear that belonged to her son. The bear was not unusual in the way of toys in any form. It was small and held a flashlight in its left hand. It was a comfort for a child in the dark who is trying to fall asleep and keep the boogeyman at bay. If you pushed the button attached to the bear it would speak and give the child a thrill knowing it talked to him. The bear had stopped working entirely.
I have a lot of knowledge concerning things like this because of building and working on animatronics for an amusement park. So I checked it out and found it could not be repaired without a great deal more than the toy was valued at. I removed the batteries and told her the sad news. She had already replaced the bear with another, but she had not given it to him as of yet.
I placed the bear in the corner of the living room and continued our visit. Later that night we decided to hold a session trying to see if any spirits were in the neighborhood who wanted to connect with us, hoping to get some useful information. We got more than we bargained for. My home had a lot of paranormal activity on a regular basis and that night did not disappoint us. As we started to ask questions my equipment showed absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. But, with each question the flashlight in the toy bear’s hand would light on and off in answer.
Keep in mind the bear was broken beyond repair with no batteries to conduct electricity and any other means to make the flashlight work. The entity who was operating the toy bear was a female child whose father also was in the room. His name was Clyde. We could never get the child to tell us her name.

Thanks David for having me on your blog, wishing you much success with your future endeavors.