Author Spotlight- David Beers

David Beers

David Beers is a former pizza delivery guy, a yacht coveter, and a recently debuted author.

He tweetsposts, and updates from Florida.

__________

CMStewart: First, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed your novels “The Devil’s Dream”  and “Dead Religion.” I recommend these novels to horror fans and thriller fans. I’m also a horror writer, and your books inspired me in my own writing. Thank you, David.

David Beers: That just made my entire week! I’m kind of speechless about to say about that, besides thank you for reading! That’s one of best compliments I’ve ever received and I’m smiling so hard right now.

CMS: What genre(s) do you like to read?

DB: I’m a pretty voracious reader. To give you a bit of an idea of what I read, right now I’m reading: The Brain and Buddhism (nonfiction), A Brief History of Nearly Everything (nonfiction comedy), Cholesterol Clarity (nonfiction nutrition), Good Calories, Bad Calories (nonfiction nutrition), and Carrion Comfort (horror).

I generally like anything from fantasy novels to nonfiction science, but I try to stay away from YA.

CMS: So YA is something you avoid. Why is that?

DB: My answer here might seem arrogant, but I promise it’s not meant to. I need a lot of mental stimulation, almost constant. I make sure I meditate early in the morning and that’s because the rest of the day I’m trying to find hard tasks to put my mind against. Young Adult fiction hasn’t been able to supply me with that–to me, they’re kind of like a James Patterson novel, fast but more of a surface skim rather than a deep dive. Again, no knock on people that love YA–my fiancée reads them constantly, and she’s a much better person than I am.

CMS: Religion is a major theme in your novels so far. Was this an intentional decision?

DB: I was brought up in a Christian fundamentalist household, and I think working my way through a lot of things I was taught in order to create my own belief system left a mark on me psychologically. I don’t intentionally ever create themes, but they do recur quite a lot. Religion is one. Loss of a loved one is another. Relationships between siblings is something else that I explore a lot both in my head and I think in my novels. I imagine themes will change as I continue growing as a person, as well.

CMS: Who are your favorite authors?

DB: Stephen King ranks at the top here. In the field of horror, he is the standard bearer.

Robert Pirsig is an absolute genius, and it’s unfortunate that he only published two novels.

George R.R. Martin, as far as I’m concerned, has replaced Tolkien.

I also am excited to see how Joe Hill’s career turns out. So far, I’m wildly impressed.

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Card never reached so high again, but to do it once is more than most people can ask.

CMS: Do you focus on one genre in your writing?

DB: No, not at all. I write stories that I like telling, and they tend to be darker, and can mix elements of horror and science fiction into them. At the same time though, I find myself writing a good bit about love, although not your typical romance novel type love.

However, I never think about genre when I write. I think about characters, and everything else comes from what those characters tell me about themselves.

CMS: When did you first know you wanted to be an author, and what were the circumstances?

DB: I worked in a pizza shop during my undergraduate years, and I remember the exact moment with surprising clarity. My boss was twenty-six, about to graduate college, and I asked him what his plans were once he graduated—because surely no one wanted to get a degree and then manage a pizza parlor.

He looked at me like I was either willfully ignorant or slightly stupid; I imagine he was unsure which. He said, “I’m a writer, man.”

Before that moment, I’d written my entire life and never once thought it could be a profession. That sentence, though, opened my mind to a completely different universe of possibilities.

CMS: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors in general?

DB: I do. Well, for entrepreneurs, but a writer (whether they know it or not), is an entrepreneur.

What you need to be an entrepreneur (in order of importance):

1. Vision. You have to see yourself in the future. This is important because every day is not rainbows and puppies. There are a lot of days where you feel like quitting, even more days where you look at someone with half the talent you possess, and wonder–’just how in the hell is this guy doing it?’ Yeah, that’s jealousy, but so what? Without vision, without seeing where this will end, or at the least, has a possibility to end, YOU’RE GOING TO QUIT. Before you start down the road of opening a business, know exactly where you want to end up. Don’t say, I want to be rich. Don’t say I want to be famous. Your vision needs to be specific and attainable. Some people say put a timeline on it; I don’t subscribe to that, but specific and attainable are necessary.

2. Work. A Lot. A close, close second here. Between this and vision, you’re probably leaving behind 90-95% of the population. Much of the world values their down time as much or more as their productive time. I don’t understand these people, and I’m not going to lie, a part of me thinks they’re wasting their time here. That doesn’t matter for this post though. You have to put in more hours than anyone else. I’m not being facetious; that should be your goal. 70 hours a week, minimum. If you go into this thinking you’re going to work 40 hours and be successful, apply to Enterprise Rent-A- Car, because owning a business isn’t your calling. I wake up at 4 AM weekdays and don’t stop producing until 6 PM. That’s fourteen hours. Plus another thirty minutes to an hour of studying between 8-9:30. So, around a fifteen hour workday. On the weekends, I slack. I probably only work five hours on Saturday and then another five on Sunday.

That’s 85 hours and I feel like I could be doing more.

3. Read Everything. The first two on this list will be absolutely nothing if you don’t follow this. Charlie Munger called Warren Buffett a learning machine. You have to be one too. Each day, the entirety of your day has to be concerned with either producing or learning (both, daily). To learn, you can watch television, but mostly you’re going to get garbage. The real learning comes from reading. I don’t care if it’s blogs, messageboards, books, newspaper articles, fiction, non-fiction, memoir. I don’t care. Just read. Read extensively in your field and extensively out of your field. Right now, a book I picked up on a whim–A Brief History of Nearly Everything has substantially influenced Against the Dark, so much so that the book would have been a completely different novel if I never read that non-fiction novel. Stretch yourself to read until your eyes hurt and you think you can’t find anything else to read. Then read another sentence.

4. Concentrate on Positives. Learn from Negatives. You’re going to have a lot of negative experiences, and the human brain is wired to pay more attention to them. This comes from our hunter-gatherer days, in which a lion looking at you was a lot more important than an apple tree. We put more emphasis on negatives in our lives, and that can change your entire mindset. When something negative occurs, find out the source of that event, and move on. When something positive occurs, spend time–a good bit of time, focusing on that positive event. This will help rewire your brain as well as put you into a better mindset.

5. Customers First. When I’m not crafting a novel, I’m thinking about what I can do for my fans. Have I answered all my fan mail? Have I spent adequate time thinking and coming up with ideas that can delight them besides the novel? When I’m actually writing the novel, I’m constantly thinking of one fan in my mind (I won’t say who), and I’m wondering what he/she will think given this or that. I try to make sure that fan is going to be pleased, because if he/she is, then I’ve done my job well. Your customers are your heart that that keeps blood pumping throughout your body. They’re your core. Treat them well.

6. Build a Network. I ignored this for so long and it has hurt me. I was like, f-it, I’m going to write good stories and the world can find me. That’s a fine attitude to have, I suppose, and it helped me develop into the writer I am, but if that’s the case–don’t be surprised if the world doesn’t find you. When you’re reading, when you’re learning, converse with people about your thoughts. Promote others. Help others. Become their friends and ask them to be your friends. Bill Clinton didn’t become President because he shagged well; he became President because he had the ability to make friends out of anyone he came in contact with. That’s your goal. The more friends you have, the more you can help them, and the more they will help you.

7. Have a Supporting Significant Other. This is number 7, because some people don’t have a significant other. If you do, then this is up there with vision, because if he/ she doesn’t understand your vision, it’s over. All of it. I have probably the best significant other I could ask for. I go to bed at 8 PM, wake up at 4 AM. I spend about an hour to an hour and a half with her on the weekdays, a bit more on weekends. She wakes up at five in the morning to edit my work before she goes to work. She doesn’t complain.

She sees the vision. Could I do this without her? Sure. If she left me for some reason, I could continue doing what I’m doing–however, could I stay with her (which I need) and continue with this if she didn’t see my vision? No. Not at all. Be thankful for your other half, and make sure they know you are.

CMS: Do you have any advice specifically for writerly yacht enthusiasts with a pizza delivery background?

DB: Yeah.

Party hard. Help others. Try to produce something of value every single day. Attend therapy regularly. Meditate. Remember to appreciate those that allow you in their life.

Seek truth. Stay out of needless Facebook debates. Track everything important to you meticulously. Write for the sake of writing, not for the sake of ‘making it’ (I don’t care what Russell Blake says about this).

CMS: What are your long-term goals or ambitions as a career author?

DB: Long term goal? Simple, really, I guess—to be remembered for my work. That’s it.

Short term, as in my life time? To be able to pay back my fiancée—for all of her endless devotion to this start-up I’m building—with massive amounts of shoes and jewelry.

Part of me hates Kanye West with a passion that runs deeper than the Mariana Trench, and the other part of me is like, dude is right. No one wants to say their goals because they sound grandiose, and make you seem arrogant. If I’m being honest though, and indeed that’s what the Good Lord told us to do, I’d have to say my goal is to be known across dark fiction genres as someone who consistently delivers quality prose and compelling stories. People may show that they appreciate this prose and excellent fiction by showering me with money and praise.

CMS: What’s next for David Beers?

DB: Surprisingly, a lot. I actually just hired two people that work exclusively for me, so it’s going to give me a lot more control over what I’m producing.

I have the first part of a 2-3 book series coming out this summer. It’s titled: Against the Dark.

I’m finishing up the sequel to The Devil’s Dream in the next week—should have a summer release date. I’m also working on a serial novel which I’m digging just about as much as anything I’ve ever written. It’s called: A Series of Somewhat, but not Entirely, Sinister Business Proposals. It’ll be at least ten parts, so around 130,000 words.

All in all, I hoping by this time next year I have out an additional 5 books, with five chapters of the serial novel available as well.

CMS: Whoa, that’s a whole lotta writing, and more books for me to read. But I digress . . What’s something your fans don’t know about you?

DB: Oh, man. I’m pretty open and honest about everything—especially to fans that follow me on Facebook.

One thing that they don’t know—my cholesterol numbers are absolutely horrible by traditional medical standards, and I’m not the slightest bit worried about this (see the book Good Calories, Bad Calories above).

CMS: Any final comments?

DB: Just a great big thank you to CM for allowing me to talk a bit about myself as well as reviewing my novels!

Oh yeah, I can’t prove it, but I’m fairly certain that signing up for my mailing list improves your chances of dying from any sort of disease by about 50%.

CMS: Awesome! I’m signed up.

__________

If you wanna read my reviews of Beers’ books, click anywhere on this sentence.

__________

 List o’ Beers’ links:

mailing list AKA free stuff
website
G+
Twitter
Facebook

The Devil's Dream e-book

The first person to a comment will win a free digital copy of “The Devil’s Dream”!

Advertisements

So my computer started a conversation with me…

InvasionRev2

Time for another author interview! This time the author is yours truly, and the occasion the inclusion of my story “NANO NATION” in the debut Theme-Thology anthology INVASION.

This anthology project is a G+ coalition led by “Adjacent Fields” author Charles Barouch. Working as part of a writing coalition has been a surprisingly rewarding exercise in creative collaboration. The 15 stories in this e-book cover a diversity of writing styles and theme interpretations, and the quality of writing is spectacular.

Check out the G+ community, it’s open to everybody – writer, reader, or otherwise: Theme-Thology Community on G+.

For the interview questions, I hopped over to Conversation Starters and grabbed the first 10 queries which popped up. Here’s the resulting interview between my computer, (MC) and myself, (CM):

MC: If you found a $100 what would you do?

CM: I believe you mean, “If you found a $100 bill, what would you do?” But you’re probably just nervous about interviewing a Theme-Thology author, so I’ll let it slide. Anyway, I would get 33 copies of Theme-Thology: INVASION, give them to key members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and keep $1.33 for myself. Maybe put it in my savings, but probably not.

MC: Who is the most famous person you have met?

CM: When I was in grade school I met a YA author, I forget her name now. But I think she was at least locally famous. I asked her for her autograph, and she was quite rude in her refusal. Soon I’ll be an accomplished author, having gotten my start in the Theme-Thology anthologies. And when she comes asking for my autograph, I will simply laugh.

OK I just now tried to find her name online. It’s hard to find a name when you don’t have… the name. Ah well, she probably died long ago of an over-inflated ego, poor thing.

MC: What is a short/long term goal of yours?

CM: My short term goals are pretty much the same as my long term goals. I hope to continue to contribute to the Theme-Thology anthologies, and to publish my own full-length novels. I’ll be participating in my fourth National Novel Writing Month this November, and submitting one of my novels to an indie publisher this fall.

MC: If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

CM: A cocktail of nano-bots, of course. The ‘bots would save me.

MC: What was your favorite subject in school?

CM: In high school, I took a vocabulary class. One day the teacher had an altercation with one of the students. The student slammed her textbooks to the floor and stormed out of the room. Turns out it was a set-up. The teacher explained the set-up and questioned the class about what they had witnessed. An interesting experiment, especially considering it was a vocabulary class. Surely this had something to do with my development as a writer, though I’m not sure what.

MC: Do you play any sports?

CM: Er… I’m an apopudobalia pro, and a novice at eschaton.

MC: What is the best thing that happened to you this week?

CM: Begrudgingly, I would have to say an allergy attack. Allergy season is upon me. Country living + nano-particulates + me = an explosion of sneezing, swelling, and itching. I look forward to the ‘bots. They’ll cure me.

Oh, you said “best”? Sorry, I’m on meds. Zyrtec was the best.

MC: What drink do you usually order with your food?

CM: Ah, the writers are drinkers question. Let’s see… “order”? That would indicate I’m in a restaurant, or my imaginary servants are doting on me. Microbrew or imported beer. I usually prefer organic hefeweizen. If they don’t have my brand, I’ll order wine, I’m not picky. Organic, fair-trade, non-GM, and not too dry.

MC: Do you prefer to take baths or showers?

CM: Seriously? Can we get back on topic? I’m in an anthology. Who takes baths anyway?

MC: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

CM: Yeah, right. Like I would ever divulge that to a computer. How about I tell you the craziest thing my NANO NATION character Rachel has ever done – she let herself be injected with nanobots. She’s usually such a cautious person, and she hesitated at first, but Terrill was quite persuasive. I’d even say he was manipulative. Or maybe it was he that was being manipulated

INVASION-Graphic2

The ebook INVASION is available at Amazon HERE

and at Kobo HERE

and even at B&N HERE

Should you dare to save yourself…

Author Spotlight- Albert Berg

Albert Berg is a mad scientist, freelance zombie apocalypse preparedness consultant, and newly debuted author.

He tweets and updates from Florida.

_____

CMStewart: First, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed your debut, “A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw.” I recommend this short story to zombie fans, dog fans, and to those wanting an unusual point of view. The unabashed dog’s perspective is refreshing, and its unconventionality encourages me in my own unconventional writing style. Thank you, Albert.

Albert Berg: It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

CMS: I know your own dog helped inspire you to write “What the Dog Saw.” But I also noticed a similarity between the perspective of the dog in your story, and the perspective of the dog in the novel “Cujo,” by Stephen King. Was the novel “Cujo” also an influence for your book?

AB: You know, I’ve never read Cujo. I consider myself a fan of Stephen King’s but not so much that I’ve gone back and dug up all his work. The book that I’ve read recently that really reminded me of my own writing in What the Dog Saw, was Room by Emma Donoghue. In that story the narrator’s voice really played an important part of telling who the character was, and there’s also the same kind of contrast between innocence and evil. I read Room after I wrote What the Dog Saw, and it was one of those, “Oh crap, my story has been ruined” moments for me. That is, until I realized that Room didn’t have any zombies, and then it was okay.

CMS: What genre(s) do you like to read?

AB: Generally if a story fits neatly into any genre I don’t read it. For instance I love the Discworld books which could be classified as fantasy, but there’s also a very strong deconstructionist/humor element there. I don’t get into fantasy, mystery, romance, whatever unless there’s something more there, some twist there that makes me sit up and say, “I’ve never read anything quite like this before.”

CMS: Who are your favorite authors?

AB: Well, I’ve already mentioned Stephen King, and Terry Pratchett. To those two I’d add Lisa Lutz and the amazing zaniness that is The Spellman Files books, and Jasper Fforde for just being generally awesome. I hold Jasper Fforde in very high regard as a man who is able to come up with the weirdest stories and somehow convince his publisher to print them. I’d also tack on Mark Z. Danielewski and Douglas Adams. Not necessarily in that order mind you.

CMS: Do you focus on one genre in your writing?

AB: Yes and no. Like I said, I tend not to like stories that can be easily shoehorned into one box or another. However, my stories lately tend to be horror of one flavour or another, mostly because I like to tug on people emotional strings and horror really seems to delve into the heart of all kinds of emotions.

CMS: When did you first know you wanted to be an author, and what were the circumstances?

AB: It was a process really. I’ve been a reader for most of my life, so of course I had those moments where I said to myself, “I can do better than this.” I even sat down to try on one occasion or another, but nothing ever came of it. It wasn’t until I met a woman at my job who was writing rather good Harry Potter fan-fiction that I realized, “If she can write, so can I.”

So I sat down and gave it a go. The first few attempts didn’t go anywhere because I didn’t understand how to make a story work. I didn’t plan, didn’t outline, so of course they meandered around until they came to a dead end that I couldn’t figure my way out of and I’d have to give up and start over. But eventually I got the hang of it. The first full book I wrote was called Ella Eris and the Pirates of Redemption. I wrote most of it while sitting in the library at college during breaks in between classes.

It still wasn’t all that great. In fact, if you’re interested in seeing how an author changes over time, that story is available for free from ManyBooks.net.

But somewhere in all of that I got hooked, and now I can’t stop.

CMS: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors in general?

AB: If I could get just one thing in beginning writers’ heads it would be this: get the idea that published writers are different than you out of your mind. Think of your favourite author, and then tell yourself, “I can be that good.” They don’t have anything you don’t have, except experience. And experience comes through doing. And doing and doing and doing.

CMS: Do you have any advice specifically for aspiring self-published authors?

AB: It’s not a money tree. And I’m not just talking about my own experiences. One self-pub author I know named Joseph Devon has written these incredible stories about a group of supernatural beings called the Testers. I mean I love these stories. In my mind they’re on par with some of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. And yet, from what I can gather, he’s not getting rich off of them. You’d be lucky to meet someone who has even heard of him. Put the same guy in print in bookstores everywhere with the support of a major publisher behind him, and in my opinion he could be a bestseller. But in the self-pub world he’s a pure voice being drowned out by the chorus of croakers all around him.

Also, it’s hard work. You’ve got to get out there, push your book, tweet about it, do blog posts, tell your friends, do interviews, thank people for their support, the list just goes on and on. Don’t get the idea, that I’m whining, but there are only so many hours in a day, and when you’re pushing a book you find that quite few of those hours have been taken up with self-promotion. And somewhere in all of that you’ve got to find time to write another one.

CMS: Are you shopping around for an agent and a publishing house?

AB: I don’t currently have any work that I think an agent would be interested in. Many publishers have minimum wordcount requirements for fiction that none of my recent stories meet. What the Dog Saw was 20,000 words and The Mulch Pile is 40,000 words, both well below standard acceptable limits.

I’ve written longer works mainly in the fantasy genre, but they have all been turned down by every agent I sent them to.

To be honest, that’s part of the reason I decided to go the self-pub route. All those rejections…they weigh on you after a while. I wanted to see for myself what my work could do on its own merit. Maybe I’m a coward for taking the “easy” route. And maybe all I’m doing is proving them right. Maybe after all this time I’m still not ready. Only time will tell.

CMS: It’s my opinion that in general, self-published authors are braver than traditionally published authors. And of course the book marketplace is changing now more than ever before. But moving on, what are your long-term goals or ambitions as a career author?

AB: I want to be able to support myself and my wife comfortably telling the stories that I want to tell. Getting rich would be nice, but I’d settle for having the bills paid with a little left over each month. As it stands now, I’m working full time at Wal-Mart trying to find time to write and do all the other things that need doing.

CMS: What’s next for Albert Berg?

AB: Short term, I’ll be releasing a few short stories on Amazon over the next few months to grow my inventory. I’ve heard that having multiple stories out there is a good way to boost sales. The next one in the queue is called “The Thing in the Shed.” Further out, I’m looking to release my NaNoWriMo novel from two years back called, The Mulch Pile which is a story about a garden mulch pile that comes to life to terrorize a fractured family and test the bonds of brotherhood to their breaking point. If all goes well, you can look for that one sometime around August.

CMS: Around where I live, I’ve seen mulch piles spontaneously combust. So I’d be particularly interested in a mulch pile that actually comes to life! But I digress . . What’s something your fans don’t know about you?

AB: I don’t make a big deal about it on my blog, but my faith actually means quite a bit to me. I read the Bible nearly every day, and I do my best to live according to its precepts. I suppose that sounds strange coming from the guy who’s writing zombie fiction, but it’s true nonetheless.

CMS: Any final comments?

AB: I’d like to say thank you. Both to you and all the others who have in one way or another joined me in helping to promote my book. One thing you don’t realize until you do something like this is how eager the community at large is to support your success. For me the best part of putting this work out there is the chance to see how unselfishly people help to spread the word. So again, to all of you who have helped to contribute to my small venture here, thank you. I look forward to being able to return the favour someday soon.

Leave a comment and be entered into a drawing for a free digital copy of “Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw”! Drawing deadline May 18.

UPDATE: True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 5 Result: 1 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Ellie wins a free copy of “A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw”!
Thanks to all who left a comment; the book is available at Amazon.