MDBT Guest Post – Mark Carver

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MEGA-DARK BOOK BLOG TOUR: “TAKING A BREAK FROM ALL THE DARK STUFF”

A while back, I read an article that admonished writers to stick to one genre. Of course my initial reaction was, “How dare he tell me what to write!” but I soon realized that the article was largely correct. The most successful authors are those who write in one genre, since their fans know what they want and the authors are happy to give it to them. Of course this isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule, but the fact remains that an author has to establish themselves as a brand and this means carving out one’s niche, rather than diluting their brand by dipping their wick into too many genres.

Mark Carver headshotI’ve come to realize that my primary genre is dark supernatural fiction, and I’m comfortable settling into this genre. But writing is a lot of work, and every author needs a vacation now and then. The question on my mind was: how can I branch out into other genres without throwing my readers for a loop?

As I pondered weak and weary, I came up with a simple solution, which I call “Two On, One Off.” Basically, I will write two books in my primary genre, and then one book in a different genre. By following this schedule, readers can know what to expect and when, and it gives me a chance to stretch my legs and exercise different muscles of my imagination.

My first two books under this plan were The Age of Apollyon and Black Sun, both of which were extremely dark and intense. I definitely needed a break after being submersed in this grim world for nearly a year and a half. Thus, Indelible was born.

While my previous books contained Christian themes and elements, Indelible is a completely secular book. That’s not to say that it’s full of four-letter words or graphic descriptions of sex and violence, but it does contain some mild language, casual sex, partying, drug use, etc. But it’s actually a pretty light and easy read, at least compared to my earlier work. There’s not a single act of violence in the entire story, though there is plenty of tension and drama. I won’t give away any details about the story, but if you’re a fan of tattoos, heavy metal, or fantasy weapons, I guarantee you’ll love Indelible.

Writing this book was an absolute joy, and I had the entire manuscript cleaned and polished in just over three months (half the time it usually takes for me to complete a book). Of course I hope that it will attract a whole new market of readers to my corner, but my main purpose in writing Indelible was just to give my mind a breather.

And it worked. Almost immediately, I launched myself into the final book in The Age of Apollyon Trilogy, entitled Scorn, which I’ve nearly completed. I don’t think I could have written the entire trilogy back-to-back-to-back, and writing Indelible gave my imagination the rest and rejuvenation it needed to finish strong.

Indelible cover

So if you’re looking for something a bit different from my usual fare (or anyone else’s, for that matter), check out Indelible when it releases in just a couple of weeks. I think you’ll be very surprised, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping for.

Guest Post Jen Cudmore

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“He made me do it.”

I enjoy hearing author’s stories of how they got started in their carriers. Mine isn’t all that exciting. Actually, in the beginning, it was mortifying.
My husband found some notes I had scratched out on a piece of paper. What are the odds he’d choose that day of all days to help me sort the family mail basket, which I thought would be a safe place to hide personal notes because he usually makes me handle all the mail? After spending one summer catching up on some novels I’d shelved out of busyness, I discovered some ideas of my own swishing around in my brain, so I wrote one of them down.
And he cornered me, paper in hand. “What’s this?”

I tried to tell him it was nothing and he didn’t believe me. So thanks to my husband (God bless his interfering hide) I started working on a manuscript. He encouraged me to really put the effort into it and even bought me a computer, making no effort to hide the fact that in ten years he expected to retire and spend his days on the golf course while I worked on my fifth best seller.
I owe my beginning to a selfish and greedy husband.

At first I wasn’t serious about it. I just dabbled and had some fun. In school I’d always done a decent job on all my papers, so I figured I had the skills to pull off a decent manuscript. But I was not even close. Once I decided this was really what I was supposed to do, I figured I’d best get involved in some writing groups and take some classes. So I volunteered for the local writers conference committee, which was the best thing I ever could have done. And I kept on writing, editing, and submitting until finally a publishers sent me a contract.

Jen Creek

I don’t know any other author who was forced to write a book by their spouse. (Is ‘forced’ too strong of a verb? Maybe ‘coerced’ is better.) I guess you could say my writing career had a unique beginning. No, my husband wasn’t the inspiration for any of my characters (although that is a good thought for my next villain.) But I couldn’t have done it without his nudging, or his encouragement over the years.

He made me do it. So I felt obligated to dedicate my first book to him. Probably because I have a serious mental condition.

©2013 Jen Cudmore

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Jen was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She first started writing in 2007 and is now a published historical romance author. The first book in the Lawmen of Clayton County was released this summer from Helping Hands Press. www.jencudmore.com

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