Q&A with author Andrew Q. Gordon

I was contacted recently about hosting a guest post by law-enforcement official and writer Andrew Q. Gordon, author of fantasy and paranormal books like Purpose and Kings of Lore and Legend. Below is a Q&A with Andrew, I hope you take a look and enjoy it as much as I did! I’m filling in a similar Q&A that will be hosted on his website so look out for that in the very near future.

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  1. Welcome Andrew. Since this is your first time to the Steven A. McKay blog, tell the audience a bit about yourself.

You’d think doing this since kindergarten I’d have a pat answer at the ready, but it hasn’t gotten any easier in the decades since. My husband and I have been together 22 years and married for 3. Our daughter is 5. During the day I work in law enforcement (think the suit half of Law and Order.) I love baseball and am trying to teach my daughter the game by taking her to see the minor league team in our area. I’m also a life long soccer fan—I’ve played since I was 8, refereed since I was 25 and more recently started to coach.

Fantasy and sci-fi—books, movies, comics etc.—are my genre of choice, but I do like historical entertainment as well. Wine more than beer, whiskey over scotch, and coffee not tea. I’m a bit of a tech junkie but more of a second follower than a first adopter.

  1. How long have you been writing?

    I started writing in college. I gave it up when I went to law school. Started again by taking a writing course when I got my first job. Gave it up again when my husband and I moved. Took it up again about ten years ago by reconnecting with my writing teacher and have been going strong ever since.

  2. What was the first story you wrote?

    It was a dreadful fantasy story back in high school. After several years of English and writing courses in college, I wrote a much better one for a writing class. It was written on yellow legal pads and took forever to type using a correctible type writer.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Typing “The End.”

Okay, so not really. I enjoy figuring out my characters and what are they like. Sometimes they are Athena, born fully formed from the mind of Zeus, others they are Darwin and take years to evolve. Finding what makes them tick, their quirks, and how they react to things is the fun part of writing. It’s like meeting new people and since I’m immersed in their development and their lives, they take on an almost best friend like quality.

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  1. What is your least favorite part?

I probably should say edits, but that isn’t really true. Rules. Specifically, following them. Use active not passive; don’t use autonomous body parts (I didn’t even know there was such a thing); avoid simultaneous actions; watch out for unintended perspective shifts. Yeah, I get it, doing all that stuff is detrimental to good writing, but why can’t it be easier?

  1. Tell the readers something interesting that isn’t in your bio?

    Not sure if this is interesting or not, but I have a collection of inexpensive yet very old books. My grandfather (for whom I am named after in real life) never went beyond 6th grade. He was the oldest of eight and he had to leave school and go to work in my great grandfather’s bakery to help support them. Despite that, he felt it was very important to keep learning. He used to go to yard sales and buy books so he could read them. He also never threw them out. When he died, he left me his books. Many of them were the equivalent of mass market paperbacks, many are not in good shape, but most are at least a hundred years old. They are in my home office in a hundred year old barrister bookcase.

  2. What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?

    I really like Greenwode, by J Tullos Hennig. It retells the Robin Hood vs. Guy of Gisborne tale with a twist. The old ways – druids and the like – haven’t been entirely stamped out and Robin is the new leader of those who follow the old ways. It’s really a well written and interesting take on the legend.

  3. If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

    Part of me wants to say J. R. R. Tolkein as he was my first favorite author, but I think if I only got one bite, it would be Roger Zelazny. There is a ton of information available on Tolkien, but Zelazny is really only well know among fantasy readers. Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles, specifically the first five that tell Corwin’s story, are wonderful. What I really loved about the entire series is how when they were written affect some of their content. The first five were influenced by the Sixties and Seventies. The second group, that tell Merlin’s story, was started in the Eighties, after the computer age started to take hold. Getting a chance to have coffee or a beer with Roger would be amazing.

  4. What’s a fun – non-writing – day for you?

Spending time with my daughter. It’s a cliché, but kids do grow up fast. Blink and they’ve moved beyond that toy, or phase. I’m trying to create memories for both of us, though I still could do more. I’m sure the day will come soon when she doesn’t want me around so I’m banking my time now to carry me through after she’s become more independent.

  1. Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?

I enjoy watching baseball and soccer. Lately I’ve been more involved in teaching my daughter to play soccer, but I still like going to the games. I live close to a major university so we take her to see the mens and womens soccer matches when we can.

  1. Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.

As geeky as it sounds, I love to talk to other readers about fantasy stories. Which ones they loved or hated. Why they liked or didn’t a particular series. I especially enjoy talking magic. There are as many ‘systems’ as there are readers and its fun to see how different people perceive how magic should work. So feel free to email and we can chat about it if you are so moved.

Thanks for having me today.

Get book one in Andrew’s Champion of the Gods series free here. http://aqgsignups.getresponsepages.com

Andrew’s website – http://www.andrewqgordon.com/

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Footnote – nice little synchronicity I doubt Andrew or his PR people knew about: he has a place called Dumbarten featured in his novels. I grew up in, bought my first house in, and was married in the real, Scottish town, Dumbarton! I even worked as a steward in the castle. 🙂

Blood of the Wolf audio approved!

This morning I have approved all the audio files for the Audible version of Blood of the Wolf and it’s going through the ACX quality control process. All being well it will be available to download within the next couple of weeks!

I proof-listened to it twice, which can be a bit of a chore in a short period of time, but I enjoyed it greatly. Nick Ellsworth really does this final instalment in the Forest Lord series justice with his reading.

I hope you’ll check it out once it hits Audible (I believe it will be on iTunes too) and do let me know what you think of it. If you bought the Kindle version already you will be able to get the audio at a greatly reduced rate so bear that in mind.

 

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Steven A McKay: The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette

A short and sweet review of “The Prisoner” by a histfic expert!

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Robin Hood authorAbout (in his own words)

My name is Steven A. McKay and I’m a writer from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow in Scotland, heavily influenced by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Jackson, Ben Kane et al.

My first book in the Forest Lord series, Wolf’s Head, was set in medieval England and it’s a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. It hit the number 1 spot in the UK “War” chart, reached the overall Kindle top 20 bestsellers list and is available on Kindle, audiobook and paperback from Amazon here:  http://smarturl.it/2636

As I write, in October 2016, I’m just about to publish the fourth and final book in the series, Blood of the Wolf. I think my take on the Robin Hood legend is quite different to anything that’s been done before – check out the reviews to see for yourself.

In total, including my two novellas, Knight of the…

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Blasty – is it any good? Yes!

A few weeks ago I signed up for the new service called Blasty which promised to help authors “blast” websites which were sharing pirated copies of their books. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably searched for those sites and found loads of torrents and such. Trying to get in touch with the site owners is always impossible though, and it’s not like they’d give a flying f**k about some indie author who has no legal clout anyway.

In short, it was easy to find pirated, illegal copies of our books that were being shared around the internet but there was no way to really stop it happening.

Enter Blasty!

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I expect them to start charging for their service soon but I signed up to their beta version which was free and, well, let’s take a look at the results from the past couple of months.

First, how does it work? Click the images to see bigger versions…

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As you can see here, it’s as easy as clicking a button, adding a link from Amazon to your book (and a thumbnail if you like) and that’s it.

 

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Next, just click “Check Google Now” and the Blasty system will find, and analyse, various terms like “X book, X author, PDF, Free, Torrent, Audiobook” etc and bring up the list of possible targets.

 

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You can see from the list that one of the links seems fine to me, so I “whitelisted” it. One of the links is illegal so I’ve already “blasted” it and the system is working to have it removed. The second one in the list WAS sharing an illegal version of Wolf’s Head a few weeks ago but Blasty did their thing and the site has been removed completely from WordPress.

So is it worth it? Well, I never paid anything but the screenshots show I’ve already blasted 305 sites/links that were sharing my books illegally. You try removing just ONE of those links by yourself and it will soon become clear Blasty kicks ass! Let me be clear – you don’t need to check every site Blasty finds yourself. Some of them are clearly torrent sites from their visible address so you just need to hit the “blast” button on those. It is NOT a time consuming process at all. Yes, you need to manually review a few links but it’s not very often.

Presumably Google keeps track of all the people sharing blasted content too.

One disclaimer – I have no idea if any of those sites were really sharing my book or if they were scam sites just looking for people to sign up so they could take them for a ride in some way. Probably a LOT of them were. But I’m quite sure many of the links blasted were sharing torrents with my work for free.

Kindle versions of my books arent expensive at all, ranging from 99p to £2.99 so I’m not sure why anyone who enjoys my work would want to rip me off by taking it for nothing when it’s all cheap anyway. Hell, sign up for my email list and not only do you get a free short story I’ve written just for subscribers (I even paid my usual designers to make up a nice cover for it),

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but you also get regular chances to win signed paperbacks or audiobook downloads! I’ve literally just given away an entire signed collection of my paperbacks to someone as part of a giveaway. So I do try and reward my readers as much as possible. No need to rip me off!

 

Anyway, to sum up, if you’re an author, you need to sign up for Blasty. Do it now while it’s still free because I’m sure they’ll be charging for the service soon and rightly so.

What are you waiting for, do it!

https://www.blasty.co/

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, here’s a wee gift!

Merry Xmas one and all – I hope you’re all having an amazing day with friends and family!

I thought I’d give away my Kindle novella Knight of the Cross as a little gift for TODAY ONLY, worldwide. It’s been number 1 in some of Amazon UK’s charts for near enough the whole of 2016 so it’s not the worst present you’ll ever get. Better than a kick in the nuts from Santa anyway, right? What d’ye mean, “No”?!

Go here to download it to your Kindle for free, enjoy a restful day, and have a fantastic 2017, friends.

To those who find this time of year hard, I understand, honestly. Please just make some time to forget your troubles today, put on some fun party music (like THIS – sing that chorus!), have a few drinks and push reality aside for a while, whether you read my book or not.

—>>>  getBook.at/KotC-Kindle

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Don’t forget Blood of the Wolf is only 99p (usual price £2.99) in Amazon UK’s “12 Days of Christmas” promotion.

12 Days of Christmas promo

Blood of the Wolf is only 99p on Kindle in Amazon UK’s 12 Days of Christmas promotion! Usual price is £2.99 so it’s a great saving if you haven’t already bought it. It’s sitting pretty at number 1 in the “Biographical Fiction” chart right now so I’m really happy in the run up to Christmas day. Thank you if you’ve bought it!

Get it here – getBook.at/BotW

One of my readers just posted this on my Facebook page about the book and it left me speechless. I had to share it!

I thought it was amazing! I really liked what you did with the story and the ending, i don’t think I’ve ever read a novel which ended on such an interesting emotional rollacoaster. I’d honestly put your series up with the likes of Sharpe and James Bond in terms of action adventure novels. In terms of what you did with the Robin Hood legend I think you did a brilliant job of pulling the story apart and rebuilding it in your own image! I think you did a good job of creating a version of the legend thats faithful to the originals in many respects but also totally unlike any I’ve come across before. Good job Sir!”

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Sorry this promotion is only in the UK just now, I don’t have any control over what markets promotions are held in. Maybe if I sell enough books, or get lots of reviews in the USA Amazon will start pushing things over there too! 😉

 

 

Review: The Prisoner – Steven A. McKay

Another great review from a well-respected historical fiction blogger for The Prisoner! 🙂

Speesh Reads


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out of 5 stars

My version:
pdf printout
Historical Fiction 13th Century England
Self Published
2017
Pre-publication copy, ’cause I’m ace!

*May be an idea to read all the ‘proper’ Robin Hood novels by Steven, BEFORE you read this. You have been warned.

The Stapleford Prisoner is a delightfully crafted, deceptively simple, thought-provoking and intriguing little glimpse of life in early 13th Century Sherwood, Forest – with a twist. Or rather, an outcome that, while you may well see coming, will still have you smiling with ‘get in you beauty!’ righteousness.

I’m not going to give the plot, it’s very simple, as I said above and I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment. I’ll just say that it’s a warning maybe, not to pre-judge, to see all sides before you come to a decision there’s no going back on. Even set several years after the first of Steven’s…

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The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette by Steven A. McKay (@SA_McKay) – Review

Fantastic review of The Prisoner!

David's Book Blurg

Title – The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publication – 20th December 2016
Pages – 27 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

When two lawmen – fabled former outlaws themselves – are sent to a snowy English village to arrest a rapist it seems a straightforward task, but is all as it first appears?

England 1325 AD

As Robin Hood and Little John take the criminal into custody they find the people of Stapleford accommodating enough and the terrified victim’s bruises are plainly visible. Inevitably, as they set off on the journey back to Nottingham the lawmen’s disgust at the captive’s crime colours their opinion of him and Little John has to be restrained from brutally assaulting the man.
The harsh winter conditions slow their progress though, and eventually the prisoner’s protestations and desperate violent actions have the lawmen questioning what’s really been…

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A brand new Forest Lord tale published today!

Today sees the publication of “The Prisoner”!

That’s right, a completely new Forest Lord novelette, “The Prisoner” has just been published. This is part of Amazon’s Kindle Singles Program and, for the first time, I didn’t have to pay for a cover! Amazon designed the cover themselves after I gave them some pointers (“How about some snow and a sword?”) and I really like it. They also copy-edited it for me.
Only 99p/99c! It is also FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
If you read and enjoy it, please leave a review!

“The Prisoner”

When two lawmen – fabled former outlaws themselves – are sent to a snowy English village to arrest a rapist it seems a straightforward task, but is all as it first appears?

England 1325 AD

As Robin Hood and Little John take the criminal into custody they find the people of Stapleford accommodating enough, and the terrified victim’s bruises are plainly visible. Inevitably, as they set off on the journey back to Nottingham the lawmen’s disgust at the captive’s crime colours their opinion of him and Little John has to be restrained from brutally assaulting the man.
The harsh winter conditions slow their progress though, and eventually the prisoner’s protestations and desperate, violent actions have the lawmen questioning what’s really been happening in Stapleford…

Can Robin and John complete the mission they’ve been given, or will their own innate sense of justice lead them down an unexpected path?

Fans of the bestselling Forest Lord series will love this exciting new stand-alone tale, set just before Blood of the Wolf, that explores the themes of morality and justice in medieval England.

Buy here, worldwide (tomorrow, or now if you really can’t wait!) —>>> http://getbook.at/ThePrisoner

On a different note, the audio version of Blood of the Wolf is almost finished! Only a couple more chapters to go before it hits Audible, so look out for that if you enjoy the Audible versions.

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I also have the cover art for my Will Scaflock novella The Abbey of Death but I’ll reveal that another day…