First Time Novelist Takes Q's, Kicks A's

Storm Chaser has had its first official review:
Who knows? Maybe I'll even report on the first bad review. But probably not. Meanwhile, I'm not above making fun of myself:


            Some people will be surprised to learn that my first novel, Storm Chaser, is already out and available, and has been for two weeks. It turns out that the Think Method of using mental energy to get things done doesn’t work with publicity.         
   I envisioned a big coming-out in which I hold a press conference, followed by a semi dropping off forklifts of book copies with that fresh novel smell, followed by a signing, followed by a dinner with Stephen King (what does Stephen King eat, anyway?), followed by an announcement that I’ve hit number one on both and the New York Times Bestseller List, followed by a seven figure, three book deal offer from a Big Publisher.
            All in one day.
            The problem is, there was no big day, and I think my subconscious is still holding out for one. The book went up for sale a few days late on the Whiskey Creek Press website. (That’s the name of the publisher, not a place I wanted to look for after my run of publication stresses. Okay, that too.)
            But it still isn’t up on bookseller sites like You can see why I was considering drinking deeply from the nearest Whiskey Creek.
            So the whole thing still doesn’t quite seem real, and I’m trying to muddle through until some jump-in-the-air, screaming out loud, kissing perfect strangers moment when I suddenly realize Today I Am An Author. In advance of (and to keep my mind off) that moment, I asked people to contact me with any questions they might have about the book or the writing business in general, and I thought I’d share those questions with you:
            What the heck is the book about, anyway?
            Oops. Sorry:
            Disaster photographer Allie Craine rescues Indiana State Trooper Chance Hamlin from an approaching tornado – and he promptly arrests her, in the mistaken belief that she’s a runaway. Chance doesn’t like photographers, especially when Allie decides to stay around his home town of Hurricane for awhile. He decides to drive her away out of sheer boredom, but that proves impossible when someone begins causing various catastrophes around the area. That someone might be Allie, who has plans of her own ...
            So it’s a romantic comedy?
            Unless you don’t like romantic comedies. In that case, there are fires, car crashes, and of course a tornado or two. Also a couple of rather racy scenes, for you guys who are secretly into that.
            Where can I find Storm Chaser?
            It’s for sale as a print version, or as an e-book in PDF and HTML formats, at You’ll be able to buy a copy at the Albion New Era, and I hope to get them shelved at some other local bookstores and businesses. They won’t be at any chain stores that don’t have a ‘local authors’ section, but just come and knock on my door – I might be in fuzzy slippers and pajama pants, but I’ll get you a copy and sign it too, if I’m awake enough for my hand to function. Consider yourself lucky I put the pants on.
I’ll get a supply of print copies soon, and when I do people will start hiding in terror whenever they see me approach with a stack in my hands.
            But when will it be available for the Kindle or Nook?
            It already is. Just download the PDF file from Whiskey Creek Press and either use Kindle-for-PC, or transfer it to your e-reader; both Nook and Kindle accept PDF format, and the book will look the same. It will hopefully be in the Kindle and Nook online stores soon, but if you can’t wait to read it, it takes five minutes to sync your device or transfer with a USB cable.
            Who owns actual rights to the book? You or the publisher?
            I own the rights to the book, and the publisher owns the right to print the book. In my case, they own the right to print it for three years, unless it flops and they tell me I can just have it back. I also own the individual characters, and have written an anthology of short stories featuring them … which I’ve already sold to Whiskey Creek Press. It’s the circle of publishing life.
            Was it hard to get your works published?
            It took me thirty years. That pretty much says it all.
            Do you have an agent who helps with that?
            Do you know one? Um, I mean, no. Probably would have saved time.
            How was your awareness of climate and weather heightened by your research? And did that awareness last?
            Oh, excellent question: Research is all important when you’re writing, even if the story’s fictional. For instance, even though I work with police officers, I researched their job before writing Chance’s character. Then I took a certain dramatic license with how State Troopers actually work, in the interest of story. Once word gets around, I’ll have blue and white police cars lying in wait for me at every intersection, loaded with angry men and women armed with big guns …
            Maybe I should have thought that through.
            Anyway, while I did heavy research into meteorology while writing Allie, I’ve always been fascinated by the weather, and will continue to be. The Weather Channel’s probably one of the top five places I go to on television. I’m that boring.
            Do you still have hair? Did you take up nail biting?
            Hey, what kind of – oh, you mean the waiting? No, and yes.
            Did you get advance reviews for the book? If so, did you publisher arrange those?
            My fiancĂ©e LOVED it.
The publisher sends out review copies, but since about 400,000 books are published – every year – just in the US and UK – a not-surprisingly large number slip by reviewers. By the way, 93% of those books sell less than a thousand copies, so no; I’m not giving you a loan against royalties.
            Okay, final question. Anyone?
            When will Storm Chaser come out on Amazon?

            Editor’s note: On June 16, Mark opened the door to discover his shipment of Storm Chaser print copies had arrived. Minutes later he was arrested for running into the street and kissing perfect strangers.
            Another Editor’s Note: A few hours after Mark submitted this column on June 19, Storm Chaser was made available on Protestors are requested to move their picket line to Barnes and Noble.


  1. "Protestors are requested to move their picket line to Barnes and Noble."

    Chapters on this side of the border, of course...

  2. I'm wishing B&N was a little more "Canadian" friendly...but, since it isn't, I'm glad Amazon is Canadian friendly, and I'm glad that I bought your book...I very much enjoyed it.

  3. Oh yes, on this side of the border -- we're still picketing Amazon Canada, which doesn't carry my book even though UK and Germany does. And I've got a better ranking in UK than in America!

    But I don't know how that works, honestly. Beth, did you get my book through Amazon US? If it's easy to get that way, maybe WCP doesn't bother to put books up on the Canadian site.

  4. I loved this blog. Great questions. So creative too

  5. Well, the questions weren't mine, after all! Although they were some of the same questions I would have asked.

  6. Nice interview and review. Good luck with everything and be careful when you go to the book least wear the pajama pants.

  7. I'm really enjoying the book. I'm about three quarters through, so I'm waiting till I'm done before I read the glowing reviews. I don't want any spoilers.

  8. Right, pajama pants ... *takes notes*

    Hopefully there won't be too many spoilers in the reviews, Karla!

  9. Congrats! Love your answers to the questions. Very realistic and funny. Good luck with your sales, and try not to stalk your Amazon ranking. That's something I'm struggling with. It will drive you nuts.

  10. You don't have to tell me about that -- my fiancee has already lectured me a few times about Amazon stalking!

  11. Watching those rank numbers on Amazon has stressed out many a first time writers.

  12. Yes, I've heard ... just a minute, I'll be back.


    Yes, I've heard that.