The alternative career of Dilkerton Thallawell by Jim Webster #BlogTour #EpicFantasy #ShortStory #Books #FamilyDrama
Welcome everyone. Jim Webster is once again on tour, sharing some tales from Tallis Steelyard. Today's story is The alternative career of Dilkerton Thallawell.
Dilkerton was a member of the great Thallawell legal family. To be fair his life was comparatively conventional, if only because he was somebody who instinctively tried to conform. So he went into the family legal practice, married a nice young lady and they had two delightful daughters. So whilst he worked hard, he made sure that he was home from work early enough to spend time with the family.
Now he wasn’t a great courtroom performer. On the other hand he had a real genius for cutting through to the crux of the case and working out what were the real issues. Indeed the partnership decided that his analytical mind was wasted on courtroom histrionics. Instead he would examine the case when it arrived with the partnership and then, when it was assigned to a partner, he would go through it with them and explain it. Even old Tildus Thallawell, the senior partner, and considered by many to be the finest legal mind in Port Naain, would discuss his cases with young Dilkerton.
This led to Dilkerton being much in demand, and the pressure was on him to work longer hours. He put this off as long as possible, but the girls were older, well into their teens, and his wife pointed out that there were going to be a lot of large expenditures to face soon. Daughters don’t get cheaper to keep as they grow older. So somewhat reluctantly, Dilkerton started working longer hours. To be brutally honest at this point, he did love the work so that side of it was no hardship. Initially he stuck strictly to his days off but his wife pointed out that if he could get money tucked away with his usurer now, once the girls were married and away, then they could relax a bit and spend more time together. This seemed reasonable, indeed it was a goal Dilkerton could work towards. So he threw himself into work. Indeed his wife arranged with the partnership to put up a bed in his office for him and every day somebody came in with a complete set of clean clothes and took away the previous set. Similarly, three times a day a lady arrived with his meals.
He settled down nicely into his new routine, his wife would send him a pleasant note every so often letting him know how things were going, and he set out to put aside enough money. He was lucky in that the partnership had a number of complex but fascinating cases. On the strength of his part in these, the Council of Sinecurists asked him to produce a codification of Port Naain commercial law.
He produced the first volume, ‘The rights, duties and perquisites of the Legal Person in Port Naain law’ in a couple of months. He was helped in this because he’d been prompted to do the research because of the complexities of one of the cases he was working on anyway. The second volume was, ‘The law of Land and Property, including inheritance and the duties and privileges of Landowners, absolute, qualified or possessory. The third volume was, ‘Maritime law, including maintenance and cure, reasonable care of passengers, maritime liens and mortgages, salvage, and piracy’. Legal experts seem to regard this as his magnum opus. Certainly it was immediately accepted within Port Naain. Indeed it was also adopted within a month of publication in Prae Ducis. Apparently well-thumbed and hand-written copies of the piracy sections have been seen being passed around rough bars in Ulwin and Rothturning.
I’m not sure how long this had been going on when he found, in his morning’s post, a letter from his usurer. It was an apologetic missive, it merely informed him that unless he could send funds immediately they would not be able to honour his monthly standing order to the Goldclaw Baths and Laundry. This came as a shock to him as he hadn’t realised he had such a standing order. He questioned the person who brought his clean clothes. Dilkerton had rather assumed that the chap was somebody from his household, sent each day by Dilkerton’s wife. It turned out that he was from the Goldclaw Baths and Laundry. Later that day he discovered that the woman bringing his meals was Madam Balgot, who had quite a nice business providing decent meals for men too busy to leave their desks. After he had finished his lunch he left the building and walked to his usurer’s offices. There he asked to see the ledger of his account. On the input side he could see the money he was earning, pouring into the account like a river. Unfortunately on the other side of the ledger he could see money pouring out like the retreating tide. He looked more carefully at where the money was going. Goldclaw and Madam Balgot were there, being paid their quite reasonable sums. Rather more surprising was the fact that judging by the sums disbursed, he was apparently the sole support for three of the city’s more prestigious ladies’ dress shops. Then to his genuine shock he discovered that he’d also opened an account in the last three months with a gentleman’s outfitter.
It was a remarkably thoughtful Dilkerton Thallawell who made his way home (to his house, not the office). He did wonder whether he would even be able to get into the house, but there appeared to be a ball in progress so he could stroll in unremarked. He found the situation disconcerting. He didn’t recognise the servants, he didn’t recognise the guests, and even the décor was strange to him. He suddenly had an irrational fear that he’d inadvertently slept for a century and was now surrounded entirely by strangers. As unobtrusively as possible he made his way through the house to where there appeared to be dancing.
Standing near the door he watched the dancers. He could see his wife dancing with a rather handsome gentleman. He turned to the man standing next to him. “Who’s the gentleman dancing with Madam Thallawell?”
“Damned if I remember his name, but I think he’s the favourite to be the widow’s next husband.”
A little dryly Dilkerton said, “I hadn’t realised she was a widow.” He thought briefly and asked, “Did she have any children by her first husband?”
“Yes, two daughters, but they both married in the last twelve months.”
Somewhat shocked by what he’d heard, Dilkerton made his way out. He noticed a copy of the Port Naain Intelligencer on the table in the hall, and for perhaps the first time in his life, when he looked at the date, he checked the year first. Much to his relief the paper and he agreed on the day, month and year.
Next morning he left instructions that any income from his codification of the law should be paid to the Order of Illuminated Seditionists. He took leave of absence from work, took his current month’s salary in cash and walked out of the office and headed for the Roskadil Ferry. Eight hours later he was at the home of a client he’d always got on well with.
Next morning he started work. He watches over his employer’s horrocks, for which he gets a cottage and three meals a day. As he watches over his charges, Dilkerton will carve small animals from wood, just as he used to when his daughters were little.
During the evenings he reads a lot. Every so often he will send me a bag of the animals he’s carved and I’ll sell them for him. Then I’ll go to Alen Gaetz’s second-hand book shop. There I’ll buy as many fifty-dreg tales of derring-do and romance set amongst the bandit chieftains of Partann as the carved wooden animals would pay for. He trusted me to do this properly, as I had a list of the books I’d taken to him previously.
His wife I never really knew so cannot really say what happened to her. She wasn’t the sort of person to patronise poets. But Dilkerton didn’t leave her penniless. As a partner there would be his annual share of the profits. Although paid quite some time in arrears, there’d be enough for a lady living quietly in a small house. It might even be enough to pay somebody to come in two or three days a week to do the washing and cleaning.
A message from Jim Webster:
So here I am again with another blog tour. I’ve released two collections of short stories from Tallis and if you’ve enjoyed the one you just read, you’ll almost certainly enjoy these.
So what have Tallis and I got for you?
Well first there’s, ‘Tallis Steelyard. A guide for writers, and other stories.’ The book that all writers who want to know how to promote and sell their books will have to read. Sit at the feet of the master as Tallis passes on the techniques which he has tried and perfected over the years. As well as this you’ll have music and decorum, lessons in the importance of getting home under your own steam, and brass knuckles for a lady. How can you resist, all this for a mere 99p.
Then we have, ‘Tallis Steelyard. Gentlemen behaving badly, and other stories.’ Now is your chance to see Port Naain by starlight and meet ladies of wit and discernment. There are Philosophical societies, amateur dramatics, the modern woman, revenge, and the advantages of a good education.
So come on, treat yourself, because you’re worth it.
Below is a list of other stories and their scheduled dates. If you enjoy reading Epic Fantasy, these will be a real treat all for the price of a few clicks and perhaps a book or two?
A fine residence - July 14, 2019
A man who doesn’t pay his bills never lacks for correspondence - July 15, 2019
Be careful what you pretend to be - July 16, 2019
Call yourself a writer - July 17, 2019
Every last penny - July 18, 2019
It all comes out in the wash - July 19, 2019
Noteworthy - July 20, 2019
Oblige - July 21, 2019
Performance art - July 22, 2019
The automated caricordia of Darset Dweel - July 24, 2019
The dark machinations of Flontwell Direfountain - July 25, 2019
Thoroughly married - July 26, 2019
Water under the bridge - July 27, 2019
It’s not who you know, it’s what you know - July 28, 2019
My compliments to Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster for sharing their time and their stories with us. A "tip of the hat" to my fellow bloggers for their time and shares.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Can be found on Twitter as @LHallbrooks
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This month's theme is Mirth and Mischief which features books that fall in the Humor category, Thriller category, or a combination of both. It's a great deal for readers because the prices start at 99 cents USD. Grab up the books that suit your fancy and then grab more for your friends and family... or simply share this post with them.
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Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew LLC
Upfront stuff: I was provided an advanced copy of The Rescue by Steven Konkoly courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. The book was released to the general public on 1 April 2019. However, anyone who was an Amazon Prime or First Reads member was able to download a Kindle version on 1 March 2019. In fact, within 24 hours, it was number 1 in all categories. Not bad, for the first book of a new series.
Parental note: This book has violence as well as adult language and situations. To be honest some of the scenes may be unnerving for some adults.
Brief synopsis: Ryan Decker, USMC has more questions than answers. For example: Why the heck has everything gone wrong? Why imprisonment for doing his job? Why are people being sent to eliminate him? Harlow Mackenzie, Private Investigator, has some answers. Will they lead to the truth or more questions?
My thoughts about this story as a reader: The men and women of the US military branches are human beings who train hard to do a tough job. That training and willingness to serve others are what I admire most about those who serve honorably. The character, Ryan Decker, has served his country with honor even working for the CIA. After moving on from that, he formed a company to find people who've been taken from their family. While we, the reader, only see Ryan Decker's dark days in this book, we also get a glimpse of the strength that made him a Marine, CIA operator, great husband, and loving father. This made me want to root for him to succeed in his mission... no matter what it took.
My thoughts about this author as a reader: The first book that I ever read by Steven Konkoly was The Jakarta Pandemic. I was drawn in by the medical aspect as well as the military background of the main character. Over the last several years, I've read everything that he has written. I have loved every single one of them. This book, in my opinion, outshines them all. On a personal note as an author, I am inspired by all that Mr. Konkoly has achieved through hard work, dedication, and allowing himself to grow as an author. The result shows in this book. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
If you wish to learn more about Steven Konkoly and where to get his books you can visit his website or follow him on Amazon.
As always, any polite comments are welcomed and appreciated. If you are a Steven Konkoly fan, do you agree this is his best work to date? If you are new to Steven Konkoly's work but have read this book, what do you think of it? Would rather not comment, that's okay.
If you know someone who would love to read this book or learn more about Steven Konkoly, feel free to share this with them.
Happy reading and writing,
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Jim Webster, author of The Port Naain Intelligencer series, is a recent addition to my author friends. We met on Goodreads. I'm most honored to be among the people he trust with this blog tour.
You are welcome to visit the various blogs to see what has been going on or buy the book and read on your eReader at your leisure.
Parts thus far:
1) For want of a knight
2) The eyes have it
3) The miser and the demon
4) Just one more glass
5) Occasionally one has to do the right thing
6) Consummate artistry
7) Something fishy
8)The ethical choice
9) Delicate work
Without further ado, here's the next part in the ongoing story.
10) A cup of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou?
Benor sat drinking coffee with Faldon and went through what he had learned
from the boat yard. The priest sat thoughtfully staring out of the door, his
heavily bandaged ankle propped up on a stool.
Slowly he said, “I keep going back to that note, where it says, ‘The two
lilies will die from salt water.’ Perhaps the intention is to use the boat to kill the Chevaleresse and her daughter, not just as an insurance fraud.”
“It could be. But how would they get the two women on the boat. They’re in
Partann and that boat would never survive the journey.” Benor paused, “The
same note hinted at a son being killed in an accident as well.”
“But do we know where the child is?”
“No.” Benor sighed. “I’m not sure how on earth to find him either. We know
nothing about him except for the fact we’ve deduced his existence from the
desire somebody has to kill him. And then Tallis found a patron who is sure
his mother the Chevaleresse mentioned him in passing.”
Faldon stood up. “I’ve heard nothing, but I was given this. He reached down
and picked up a bundle of old sheet that was on the floor beside him. Slowly
he unwrapped it and revealed a drinking cup. He passed it to Benor.
“Yes Benor, silver. Virtually pure.”
Benor examined the drinking cup carefully. There was no handle but it just
sat nicely in his hand, reassuringly solid without being over heavy.
“It is a nice piece.”
“Look at the engraving, Benor.”
Whilst there were the usual bands of decoration, on one side there was a
running horse. It was beautifully executed. It was so lifelike Benor
wondered if it was the image of a real horse, a much beloved companion
immortalised in silver. Then below the front feet of the horse he noticed
there was a small crouching dragon, and below the rear feet a small stylised
He reluctantly handed the cup back. “I might be able to put a name to the
person who engraved it.”
“A Partannese artist?” Faldon asked.
“Vortac Lilywhite. I’d put money on it.”
Faldon contemplated the cup he was holding. “I got it given.”
“Somebody must have been really pleased with their haircut!”
“In a way, perhaps he was. I won’t mention his name; he’s a jeweller and
‘almost a fence.’”
“I thought you were or you weren’t. Being almost a fence is like being
almost a virgin.”
“I think he mean that he did buy and resell stuff, but he always managed to
convince himself that the person selling the item did genuinely own it. In
this case he couldn’t do that. It was obviously stolen. The woman who
brought it to him merely described it as ‘an heirloom.’ So he tested her. He
offered her a third of what he’d normally offer and she took the money and
“So how is it that you’ve got it?”
“That’s my fault. He heard me talking about honesty and the advantages of a
clear conscience, and he realised that he wasn’t comfortable with what he’d
done. Up until he’d got this cup he’d always managed to convince himself he
was an honest man. Now he couldn’t, he was just another crooked jeweller. So he gave it me and asked me to find a good home for it.”
“Did he say how long he’d had it?”
“Just a couple of months.”
“So what now?”
“Well I thought you could approach your Vortac Lilywhite…..”
Benor interrupted, “It’s Vortac Saltwrack now.”
Faldon continued as if Benor hadn’t spoken, “And show him the cup, ask if he knows anything.”
Benor thought briefly. “I wonder if he knows where his son is.”
“I think you should first ask him if he has a son. After all we’re only
Benor knocked on the house door which was opened by Vortac. The tall man’s face fell. “I wondered when you’d come back for the blackmail?”
Benor held out the cup. “No, I just want to talk to you.”
Vortac took the cup, glanced at it, “Then you’d better come in.”
He led Benor through the house to his workshop and gestured for Benor to sit on the bench.
Benor asked, “So is it yours?”
“My work certainly, but not my cup.”
“So whose is it?”
Vortac seemed to take a long time to collect his thoughts and put them into
words. “I made it for my wife. I gave it to her when our daughter, Natisse,
Vortac held the cup and stared at it as if trying to see into the past. “She
loves horses, and hadn’t dared ride for months. The horse I engraved on the
cup was one of her favourites. I remember her face when I gave her it. She
burst out crying and hugged me.”
He looked up at Benor, “And now she’s given it away.”
“We don’t know that. It could have been stolen by a maid.”
“That’s as might be.” Vortac seemed to have sagged into himself. Somehow he didn’t seem as tall as he had done. His face looked older.
“Well I could write to her, tell her I’ve found a cup, describe it for her
and ask her if she wants to buy it off the current owner.” Improvising as he
went along Benor added, “I’ll ask her how much I should offer for it?”
Vortac still looked almost grief stricken. Benor added, “If she wants it
back enough to pay for it, then the cup must still mean something to her.”
Vortac sat the cup on the bench next to Benor. “Do it, we’ll see.”
“Do you want to keep the cup safe while I do it?”
“No!” Vortac almost shouted the word. Then softly he said, “I do, but not if
she doesn’t want it.”
Benor carefully put the cup back in his bag. “Another thing, do you have a
“Yes.” Vortac seemed surprised. “Young Vortac.” He looked a little
embarrassed. “We’re short of imagination in our family. Every generation a
son is called Vortac.”
Cautiously Benor said, “There might be a conspiracy afoot to kill him. Is
“He’s the heir to a Partannese keep, of course it’s possible.”
“Do you know where he is?”
“Katin and I were going to have him educated in Port Naain. We’d reached an
agreement with a school master up here. Garrent Woolmin. He was going to
attend his school and live in.”
“If I can find him we might have to get him to a place of safety. Could he
“Of course!” There was no hesitation in Vortac’s voice.
“Can you let me have a token from you so he knows he can trust me?”
Vortac slipped off a ring. “It’s not my seal; I left that for Katin when I
disappeared. It’s a ring of mine he loved. He used to sit in my lap and play
with it on my finger. He loved tracing the engraving with his little
Benor produced a piece of cord and hung the ring round his neck. “Right, now we’ll try to find him.”
A Message From The Author Regarding This Blog Tour
I’ve thought long and hard about blog tours. I often wonder how much
somebody reading a book wants to know about the author. After all, I as a
writer have gone to a lot of trouble to produce an interesting world for my
characters to frolic in. Hopefully the characters and their story pull the
reader into the world with them. So does the reader really want me tampering
with the fourth wall to tell them how wonderful I am? Indeed given the
number of film stars and writers who have fallen from grace over the years,
perhaps the less you know about me the better?
Still, ignoring me, you might want to know a bit about the world. Over the
years I’ve written four novels and numerous novellas set in the Land of the
Three Seas, and a lot of the action has happened in the city of Port Naain.
They’re not a series, they’re written to be a collection, so you can read
them in any order, a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories in that regard.
So I had a new novella I wanted to release. ‘Swimming for profit and
pleasure.’ It’s one of the ‘Port Naain Intelligencer’ collection and I
decided I’d like to put together a blog tour to promote it. But what sort of
tour? Then I had a brainwave. I’d get bloggers who know Port Naain to send
me suitable pictures and I’d do a short story about that picture. It would
be an incident in the life of Benor as he gets to know Port Naain.
Except that when the pictures came in it was obvious that they linked
together to form a story in their own right, which is how I ended up writing
one novella to promote another! In simple terms it’s a chapter with each
picture. So you can read the novella by following the blogs in order. There
is an afterword which does appear in the novella that isn’t on the blogs,
but it’s more rounding things off and tying up the lose ends.
Given that the largest number of pictures was provided by a lady of my
acquaintance, I felt I had to credit her in some way.
So the second novella I’m releasing is ‘The plight of the Lady Gingerlily.’
It too is part of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection.
So we have Swimming for profit and pleasure
Benor learns a new craft, joins the second hand book trade, attempts to
rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs
of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.
And we have The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily
No good deed goes unpunished. To help make ends meet, Benor takes on a few small jobs, to find a lost husband, to vet potential suitors for two young
ladies, and to find a tenant for an empty house. He began to feel that
things were getting out of hand when somebody attempted to drown him.
If you’d like to learn more about Jim Webster and his characters, simply visit his Tallis Steelyard blog.
If you've been following the blog tour, here's what's next.
11) An appropriate boy
13) Everything going swimmingly
Polite comments are always welcomed. Many thanks, Jim Webster and fellow bloggers, for allowing me to participate in this event. I hope you've been enjoying the story as much as I have.
Don't forget you can always pick up your copies of Swimming for profit and pleasure as well as The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily whenever you're online.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
I first started reading books by Nicholas Sansbury Smith after Anthony J. Melchiorri and Steve Konkoly recommended his books. That was early 2018 and since then I have personally read his Orbs, Trackers, and Hell Divers series. At the moment, I have the Extinction Cycle series on my eReader ready to go. On the whole, as a reader, I was very impressed with his writing style. I am not alone. In the last few months, I have seen many people “sing his praises”. Perhaps that’s why he is among the top-selling authors in the Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic genre. Fellow authors, please join me as I ask some questions so we can learn a few things about how to be one of the leaders in the industry. Fellow readers, if the author information is not for you, feel free to skip to the end where you can find information on books and where to follow Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
LH: Thank you for visiting with me today. For those just meeting you, please explain what you did before you were an author?
NSS: I worked for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in disaster management and recovery. This work has played a vital role in my stories. Before that, I worked in government, and that also helped me understand how our local, state, and federal government responds and operates during emergencies.
LH: I can certainly tell that your previous work has played well into your stories. I suspect that is what makes them spookily realistic and you such a great writer. What type of author do you consider yourself – Self-published/Indie author, Traditionally published or Hybrid - a mix of Indie and traditional?
NSS: I’m a hybrid, and always have been. Half of my stories are self-published and the other half are with Orbit/Hachette Publishing, as well as, Blackstone Publishing. I had a series with Simon and Schuster but got the rights back and have self-published those books. I’m also almost exclusively with Blackstone for my audio.
LH: You have a lot going on publishing-wise yet it seems to have paid off. I’ve seen your impressive author ranking on Amazon. Many authors would love to be able to obtain that. What do you think helped you attain that level of success?
NSS: Hard work and understanding how to market. For the past six years, I’ve worked pretty much seven days a week on writing and marketing my books. I always strive to release my best work and I think that has helped with the longevity of sales and high ranking. Quality is just as important in self-publishing as it is in traditional.
LH: Quality is important, from what I’ve read of your work, you set high standards. I'm sure that takes extra effort from the start. Would you be kind enough to walk us through your process from outlining to proofreading?
NSS: I always start with an in-depth outline that breaks the book out chapter by chapter, and who the POV (Point of View character) for each chapter is. Then I write the first draft. Go over it three times. Once I’m satisfied it goes to a content/line editor. Two passes are done until the book is in good enough shape to go to a copy editor. Once they finish the proofers and beta readers come in. Usually, my books have had at least 10 people read it before it sees print.
LH: When you finish this rigorous editing/proofreading process what happens next with the book?
NSS: It goes onto formatting and out to trade magazines and other reviewer type sites.
LH: Anthony J. Melchiorri was recently here visiting. I know he works hard on the next book while the previous ones are being edited and so forth. He was kind enough to give his take on working with you. What was that process like from your perspective?
NSS: It was great! He has much more knowledge about science and I have a bit more background in military writing so together I think we made a great team in those regards. We also had a blast outlining and writing and plan on another series together soon.
LH: I’ve enjoyed a few collaborative efforts but you guys make it seem so fun and easy. In my role as a self-published author, I have to wear many hats from marketer to being a financial manager. Do you do everything or do you have a personal assistant?
NSS: I do most everything but I have hired a few people to help me with things like FB ads and editing my newsletters.
LH: That would make life a little easier. Perhaps one day, I’ll get to that point. I’ve learned a lot from working with and reading fellow author’s books. Do you have anything that you would care to share with our fellow authors?
NSS: Never give up. Hard work does pay off. If you’re struggling with sales or marketing reach out to another author that is doing well in those regards and see if they will provide some feedback. Sometimes we can’t see our own flaws and need to count on others to point them out.
LH: Great points. I know that sometimes people make fun of human flaws. There are some movies that were strictly made to be funny. Would you ever consider making a funny Post-Apocalyptic movie? If so, what would the scenario be?
NSS: Probably not to be honest. I don’t think apocalyptic storylines should be funny. I remember getting comments about the second draft of an old novel from my agent and he said there was too much joking and too much smiling in the situation. I agree. It made it seem like it wasn’t very realistic. Now if you’re aim is to make it not realistic that’s another story... I just happen to enjoy writing serious post-apocalyptic stories, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch a funny one. : )
LH: I supposed that's why I have a hard time watching one of those "B" movies even if they have my favorite actor in them. Thank you for being here with us today, where can visitors go to learn more about you and your present as well as future books?
NSS: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me here. You can start with any of these links:
Amazon author page:
Facebook Fan Club:
Facebook Author Page:
You can also sign up for my spam-free newsletter to learn more about future releases, how to claim a book patch, special offers, and bonus content. Subscribers will also receive access to exclusive giveaways. Click this link to learn more (if that doesn't work simply copy and paste this link into your browser): eepurl.com/bggNg9
Nicholas Sansbury Smith is a very busy person yet I know that he has been known to answer questions in his Facebook fan club. Sometimes his fans answer questions as well. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading his stories. I suggest visiting his website. Each book is different in what vendors are available to it. Check out the series, you’d like to know best and start with the first book in the series and go from there. Below is a slideshow of books, I believe I’ve captured the series in the order they came out. All the books link back to Nicholas’s website.
Thanks for stopping by.
Author Reader Cheerleader
Author/founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
During my time as a self-published author, I have watched several authors go from the lowest rung to so high it is hard to keep up. My first guest on my newest blog is Anthony J. Melchiorri. I first met his work as a member of the Reading Deals Review Club when I read Enhancement. I loved how he interwove the medical elements into that story so much that I had to contact him, via his website. From there, we have had a symbiotic relationship. He writes awesome books and I devour every word. Not literally. From time to time we exchange thoughts on writing, books, and medicine. Today, we are going to discuss different aspects of being an author. You, dear visitor, get to be in on it. If you are a fellow author, please remain calm and save your questions and comments for the end. If you are a reader and don't want to read about the author stuff, feel free to scroll to the end for the links to where to find him, his books, not to mention, a cool slideshow I put together.
LH: Please tell our visitors a little about your background and how it led you to be a published author.
AJM: I tried to stick with a career just pursuing science. But I couldn’t do it. Back when I was studying biomedical engineering in college, I picked up a degree in English, too. I remember wandering around the University of Iowa campus dreaming about the writer’s workshop quite frequently. The cozy building and library, that houses the workshop and visiting writers, overlooks the Iowa River. In the winter, snow covers the sloping river bank and I would walk by that building thinking about how cool it would be to stay warm inside that library, writing with the river, ice, and snow as my backdrop. I met so many great writers at Iowa and took some workshops and classes that kicked my butt into gear. And amid all that, one piece of advice sticks out in my memory: Write every day if you want to be a writer. And so I did until I finished my first book. Then, rinse and repeat to get my next.
LH: I love your imagery. I've been known to stare out my window at the mountains for inspiration. Writing every day is a challenge, yet it seems that advice has done well for you. You know I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read of yours. Yet, I noticed there has been a huge difference in your popularity after The Tide and Eternal Frontier series went live. What do you think made the difference between your early works and what you are writing now?
AJM: I really wrote my first few books for me. I combined my love of sci-fi with biomedical science, scientific characters, and a near-future world in some kind of turmoil. However, I didn’t really write those books with an audience other than me in mind. They were quite literally a hard-sell. Once I dug a little more into where existing readers were (post-apocalypse and zombies, space exploration and pew-pew starships), I wrote my stories in packages that would appeal to those readers. And I think that worked. I try to combine my own writing passions with stories and settings that I know will appeal to and please readers out there.
LH: I’d say that proves that education doesn’t stop when you leave school. In my experience all types of authors do lots of research and self-education, what type of author do you consider yourself?
AJM: I’m primarily self-published verging on a hybrid. I’ve liked dealing with traditional publishers for audio, and I’m looking at bringing some new projects to the traditional side, if possible. Most of my work still falls squarely in the self-published realm, though.
LH: You’ve put in a lot of effort thus far into your writing career. I know that you work full time and write part-time. To me, you produce more books than others I know in your position. What would sway you to become a full-time author?
AJM: I’ve spent so long pursuing a career in science that I think it has become part of my identity. It’s hard for me to turn away from the lab bench and research that have been such an integral part of my life’s story so far. Not being able to jump right back into science admittedly scares me a bit. That, and I like having health insurance, which becomes frighteningly expensive to try to get on your own for a family.
LH: That makes total sense. If things were different and you were to become a full-time author, would you seek or accept a publishing contract from someone such as Thomas & Mercer?
AJM: I would certainly accept a publishing contract, so long as it had the right terms. I value the freedom I get self-publishing, so I wouldn’t want a contract to infringe on that. I also have some idea of how much my books are worth now, so the financial agreement would have to be fair, too. But with that in mind, I’m definitely interested in and pursuing some traditional agreements. Anything to get my books out to new readers is welcome by me.
LH: I think you have a firm grasp of your value as an author and your sense of independence. If everything offered fulfills your expectations and you were to take a publishing contract, would you still produce books on your own or be exclusive?
AJM: I would prefer to still be able to produce books on my own. It would take one heck of a great deal to push me to be exclusive.
LH: On to another topic. I know that you sometimes work with Nicholas Sansbury Smith. What is it like to be part of that writing duo?
AJM: Working in a duo is both easier and harder. Easier in that we come up with some fun ideas and push each other with character and plot ideas. When one of us gets stuck, the other usually has a great idea to help. The hard part is making sure that our parts of the stories line up and our characters don’t seem different when we combine our work. I think the more we work together, the better we accomplish this.
LH: From what I've seen you do a pretty great job of blending. Do you have any upcoming books that you can share about at this time?
AJM: Nick and I are working on a spin-off series from his Extinction Cycle world. I’m excited to work on it because Nick enlisted me early on in developing the science for the series. So writing in the actual world for me is a blast. I’ve got the last couple of books in The Tide series that will also be releasing over the next several months. Beyond that, I have a new military sci-fi series in the works that I’m hoping will be a lot of fun.
LH: Speaking of fun. If, in the next few years, mankind was able to go into space and travel long distances safely, would you consider going?
AJM: I would definitely be down. I love traveling, and space would be the ultimate destination. However, being realistic, I probably wouldn’t want to travel from Earth for more than a few months unless we were in one heck of an awesome spaceship with plenty to keep me entertained. And admittedly I would like to see my family every once in a while.
LH: What if you were able to bring your family along?
AJM: I think even if I could bring my family along, I'd prefer to have some ties to Earth. I think I'd miss all the outdoors and greenery!
LH: I think I would miss the outdoors as well. Thanks for being here today with me. Where is the best place for someone to find you and learn about your books?
AJM: Thanks for the great questions! Amazon is the best place to see everything I’ve got out there: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KHDOHBI
LH: Where can they follow you?
AJM: I’m most easily reached and followed via Facebook and my website.
If you are new to Anthony J. Melchiorri's work, you can pick where to start, although I would recommend starting with book one of his series. Because if you don't you'll be like what the heck is going on here. Lots of medical and sometimes military elements mixed in with great action and adventure to round out your science fiction not mention post-apocalyptic reading. Feel free to let the slideshow run to see his books from the earliest days to now.
I hope you enjoyed visiting with Dr. Melchiorri - yes doctor, he has a Ph.D. - as much as I did. He's a busy person but if you have any questions, I'll field what I know. As for those I don't I'll look into it for you...or you could just follow him on Facebook and ask him yourself.
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I'm Lynn Hallbrooks - an author, blogger, cheerleader, founder, proofreader, reader, and reviewer. I have read and reviewed books for Masquerade Crew, NetGalley, and Reading Deals, to name a few. I enjoy reading books by new-to-me authors as well as sharing my love of books with others.
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