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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Artists: Does a lack of organization come naturally to us?

I am a naturally disorganized person. It can be frustrating because, when I was growing up, I admired people who could keep everything they needed to do in its proper order.

As an artist, I tend to let things pile up instead of dealing with them in an orderly fashion. "Why?" is the question I've always asked myself. But I think I know the answer, at least part of the answer.

Whether you're a writer or an illustrator, you're an artist, and your art is very important to you. You nurture your art, mature it, then present it to the world. I am a homebody. I like to be left alone, for the most part, left to my writing. I bury myself in the story worlds I'm crafting.

In order to create, I bring together a lot of elements. Those elements are sometimes rough and unrefined. I sketch characters and creatures, and jot down character and plot ideas. Some ideas I toss aside for future reference or use, while others I expand upon. It takes a lot of material to create even one finished novel.

But the process to that finished product is . . . well . . . messy!

My mind is almost always working on story ideas. This post ties in, somewhat, to my previous post, because one of my solutions has ended up being the iPad. It serves as my alarm clock, sends me notifications of appointments, and allows me to add events to my calendars instantly. I highly recommend for those artists out there who struggle to keep organized, think creatively on how to take advantage of today's technology to better organize your writing life.

It has helped me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

iPad2: an empowering writer's tool!

I bought myself an iPad2 a few months ago. It was hard to fork over the $500 plus but now I can say, beyond a doubt, it was a worthwhile investment. It runs flawlessly, which has sold me on Apple products. It is so well built that when I accidentally dropped it on the floor, the screen didn't even flash. Oh, and I love the 10-hour batter life! Fantastic!
As time goes on, I'm sure I'll discover many other uses for this wonderful tool, but for now it has:
  1. Simplified the process of updating my social networking pages
  2. Enabled me to build story ideas on-the-go with apps like Writers App (pictured above)
  3. Placed a library at my fingertips with iBooks. I am now reading more than I have in years.
  4. Allows me to take video and photo wherever I am. This has been very useful for book signing events because I used to always forget to bring my camera.
  5. Allows me to display covers and art for my current and upcoming book releases at book stores and schools.
The iPad2 has put everything at my fingertips, freeing me up to write more often and it has simplified my point-of-sale conversations.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Schools (day 3) and BN signing

What an amazing day I had today! First I returned to Wawasee Middle School and sold 38 books. Then off to Milford Middle School where I spoke to a couple hundred students and sold 26 books. Finally I went off to Barnes & Noble and had another successful signing. Although I didn't get the exact count, I think I sold 23 books. Not a bad day's work! Praise God!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wawasee Middle School (day 2)

I had an awesome day at the middle school today. This time I gave seven presentations... that was a whole lot of talking! The students are very receptive and I greatly enjoyed my time there. The best part of the day? I sold 42 books! Adding in yesterday (16 sold) I've sold 58 so far, and tomorrow I'm returning for an hour just to hold a signing for students who still want to buy!

I don't think I have enough books for this trip... I'm going to have to have more shipped out here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wawasee Middle School visit Day 1

I sold 16 books today, spoke five times, and will be returning tomorrow, to Wawasee Middle School. The picture is of me with a student; a fan who said I am his favorite author. It is an amazing feeling whenever someone tells me that.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bender's Parable Store -sold out!

We're in Indiana now. The Christmas tour began on Friday!
First I had a couple of signings in New York. I sold 28 books at Bender's Parable Christian Store yesterday. I sold out the books they'd ordered, then had to bring in some from my car to keep the event rolling! This location was great, with an especially large selection of good books. After wrapping up my signing at Bender's, we drove to Indiana. Most of my signing events are booked in the northern part of this state. I have several public schools, as well as Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian locations.
The drive here was eight hours (a long trip after signing books for five hours). Along the way I stopped at a gas station to fill my tires, but instead of filling the tire with air, the thing took some out!
Tomorrow I'll be at a middle school.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Upcoming Christmas events!

I've had a lot of people ask me where they can buy signed books during the month of December. If you live in northern Indiana, or in Connecticut, you'll have multiple opportunities!
For a list of my events in Indiana (as well as a couple in New York) you can reference my Events on my facebook page. If you don't have facebook, I've listed the events on the right column of this blog.

For those who live in Connecticut, meet me at these Henny Penny gas stations in the week leading up to Christmas!
  • Henny Penny in Madison CT, 12-6pm December 21st
  • Henny Penny in Southington CT, 12-6pm December 22nd
  • Henny Penny in Niantic CT, 12-6pm December 23rd
  • Henny Penny in Uncasville CT, 12-3pm December 24th

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why don't I offer Christmas specials on my books?

As Christmas nears, I've noticed several of my fellow authors are offering special deals. These deals go something along the lines of this: Purchase title "X" for only $5... and have it signed by the author!

I'm not posting this to discourage my fellow authors, or to put them down for choosing to offer these deals, but I've often been asked to share my sales techniques. So here is my take on why doing those deals is a bad idea.

Retailers give my books shelf space and exposure to new readers every day. I can either reward them by encouraging people to purchase only through the retailers, or I can make a higher profit margin per book by selling directly to readers. 1) Sales made through the retailers show up on my royalty checks, which impresses the publisher, which in turn translates to future contracts. 2) Sales through retailers help keep the stores in business, which in turn means that we authors have more opportunities for the all important book signing events. 3) Beating the price of retailers who sell my books, puts me in competition with them, rather than a partnership.

An important part of wise salesmanship, is developing and then maintaining good relationships with your retailers. These points are invalid for an author who decides to go 100% e-books, or focuses on driving Amazon sales, but for a career author publishing through traditional houses, my advice is: Do not put yourself in competition with the retailers! They can be your best friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What would you like to read more about on this blog?

In a recent post on Michael Hyatt's blog, he listed advice on what topics novelists should blog about. Quite honestly, I have not been as consistent with my blogging as I'd like to be. In fact, most of the time my posts seem rather random and all over the place.

So I am asking you to give me feedback. I want as many of my blog readers as possible to tell me what you like, what you don't, what draws you in, and what disinterests you. I have been seriously considering revamping my online marketing strategy to center around my blog. A blog can be a lot more versatile and reach many more people than I have, so I need to give it better focus.

This is your opportunity to weigh in. Do you want more advice/tips on writing? Interviews with publishing professionals? Insights into my writing days? More details on how I am marketing/selling my books?

What strategies have you found successful with your own blog?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Star Wars: Revan ...the novel

I am not much of a video gamer, but since I was a kid I've been a big fan of Star Wars. And I played both of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games on my PC. The character of Revan was ingenious, truly an original icon in the SW universe.

When I heard they were coming out with a Revan novel I was very excited. I pre-ordered it and received it two days ago. 3 o'clock this morning I finished it!

This is a well-crafted novel. The characters are believable and the concepts are fascinating. It felt a lot more epic than some of the recent SW novels I've read. Also the ending was completely unexpected; it leaves you wanting to know more. This book is really about Revan, a sith named Scourge, and another jedi (who SW gamers will know as the Exile). I highly recommend this book. I may even re-read it. The insights to the ancient emperor were startling. I have listened to a couple of the other SW Old Republic novels on audio book, and they were equally good. But this one is definitely my favorite!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Amazon and the Changing Face of Book Publishing?

Back in October the New York Times had a most interesting article. You can read the article here. After you read the article, I'm sure you will draw your own conclusions, but it puts me in mind of all the speculation out there.

What does the near-future of the book publishing industry look like? I think Amazon is overestimating its ability to monopolize the market. They have a lot of clout on the retailing market, but do they have the trust of the consumer? Traditional publishing houses have succeeded by creating brands that readers trust or follow. Yes, Amazon can sell a whole lot of product, but that is not the issue. Traditional houses create art, and art is what people want. Amazon wants to position itself as publisher, retailer, monopolizer. But if everything was grown on the same branch of monetary return, books could not be as diverse or unique.

The above mentioned article in the New York Times states rather accurately that Amazon is trying to position itself as a direct competitor to the major publishing houses. But I think they miss the point, or rather Amazon is overestimating their pull. Is it possible that the big publishers will start pulling away from Amazon, placing their high-demand products with other vendors? I'm not saying it will happen, but it only takes the right situation--just one step too far--If Amazon were cutting out, or perceived to be cutting out the major houses, that could force their hand. Anyway, I'm merely speculating...

Certainly the industry is changing, but not as much as we think. There are new faces in the market. New, smaller publishing houses meeting niche markets. The recent acquisition of Thomas Nelson sent waves through the Christian publishing industry. I myself am curious how all these changes will change the market and the industry, yet I'm eager to watch.

...Now I have to sit down and write. I have a novel to finish! (-:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

HowlSage: a review

I met Brock Eastman at the International Christian Retail Show this year, and was aware that he had a few books coming out. He asked me to consider writing an endorsement and sent me his book HowlSage.

Being a particular reader, especially when it comes to fiction, I warned Brock that the content of the book didn't sound like something up my alley. The story follows a youth in his earthly battle against demons coming out of Hell... literally. It sounded too dark for me and, as I began to read it, the opening of the book was slow.

However, after the first few chapters the story began to roll. I began to enjoy the characters and the developing plot, which moves along at a nearly-perfect pace. Not so much action that I felt exhausted, but enough to pull me to the next page, and the next.

I heartily endorse HowlSage. It is original and, though the themes are very dark, the light of redemption in this story is just as bright!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Identifiable Characters

Powerful story-telling requires identifiable characters. The reader needs to relate to the experiences and/or reactions of the protagonist(s), and they need to find themselves repelled by the antagonist(s). For an author this can be tricky, but I think one key to identifiable characters is focusing on the character's life experiences.
You could say that I place a lot of emphasis on history; in this case, fictional history; those background details which provide character motivation and enhance the story-world. In life, our experiences shape us. But, depending on our reaction to them, they can improve, strengthen, weaken, mold us. Or, if we are a steady individual of pure logic, such as Spock, our experiences will leave an impression but change us little.
In my recently-released novel, The Sword of the Dragon: Offspring, I had a lot of fun with the characters. In particular, I enjoyed Caritha, Rose'el, Specter, and Ilfedo. I have come to know those characters better and thus their stories are proving easier to tell. Again, characterization, the best kind, is all about history!
The sketch above was original artwork by Amber Hill for Offspring. It beautifully conveys the friendship of Oganna and Vectra (who you'll read about in Offspring)!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 1: Fort Wayne, IN

Today was a very quiet signing at Family Christian Store in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I only sold four books, but I feel that the sales I made were valuable ones because I really connected with a couple of people. The young man pictured above with me and my son, was one of the few purchasers. But he reminded me of a couple of good friends of mine, and, as I always say: Even if I sell only one book and make one new fan, that trip was worth it!

The store manager was very friendly and we discussed a Christmas tour idea that I am very excited about. More to come on that later.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Off to Northern Indiana (again)!

Sorry, dear blog readers, I have neglected to update you in a long while! But that is because I've been busy finishing up a long series of signings at gas stations, and, more recently, setting up my Fall book tour. Signings at the gas stations went very well. I sold a lot of books.

But with my second novel shipping from the printer October 10th, it is time to really get the ball rolling on promotions. There is something to be said for the fact that I lost momentum when I signed my book to AMG because of the time-gap until its re-release, and that I had really nothing to sell in the meantime. But there will be no more breaks like that.

Take a glance at the list of signing events I have lined up thus far for the next couple months. (You can locate the events' list either on the sidebar in this blog, or on my facebook fanpage). I ordered a banner for an upcoming library signing (pictured above). It turned out really nice. Also, I created a new bookmark that I'm sending out to the bookstores ahead of my events (pictured below with By Sword By Right copies). Various Barnes & Noble locations, as well as Family Christian bookstores, and a couple independents, are slipping these bookmarks into customers' bags in the days leading up to my signings. It is my hope that this will increase foot traffic into the stores, customers looking specifically for my books.

This weekend I'm heading to northern Indiana, again. It is a real hot spot for my books, with more opportunities I still need to take advantage of at a later date.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


My publisher has provided me with the final cover for my second The Sword of the Dragon novel, Offspring! If you have already ordered this book, you should receive it sometime toward the end of this month.

Also, I am almost finished writing the first The Sword of the Dragon novella, titled Daughter of the Eiderveis! The story is turning out great. I think my readers will really enjoy it, especially the insights I give into the origins of the battle between Albino and Hermenuedis. This novel fits comfortably after The Sword of the Dragon-book three-Key of Living Fire. You can keep track of my word-count progress on the right hand side of this blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New author at Flaming Pen Press

A lot of people have asked me what will be the next book that I will publish with my company Flaming Pen Press. Well, here it is, Out of Darkness Rising! This is a novella, an allegorical one. Gillian Adams is the author and she captivated me with a unique story that follows the rise and fall of the Deceiver, or from the Fall to the Resurrection.

My policy is to publish only books that inspire me. The story has to hook me, and this one did.

The artwork for this cover was done earlier this year by Jared Sloger.

As to my own books, don't worry! I'll be updating everyone soon on the continuations in The Sword of the Dragon series. AMG Publishers is going to release Offspring sometime in September.

In the mean time, pop on over to Gillian Adams' blog and congratulate her please!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Artwork for "Offspring"

Due to the objections (of a couple buyers) to the original cover art for The Sword of the Dragon: Offspring, this new piece was created. The artist is, as before, Kerem Beyit, and I think he has outdone himself. I actually like it better than the original.

This artwork issue was the only thing keeping Offspring from hitting the market. Now that it is ready I am praying the publication process will be timely. Many readers are eagerly anticipating this book and I'm eager for them to read it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Swords of the Six available on Kindle

I just found this on Amazon and a lot of people have been asking me, "When is your book coming out on Kindle?" Well, it appears to be available now so go check it out (-:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pre-readers speak up!

My second novel should hit bookstores sometime in August. Due to the cover art changes its former publication date in July was cancelled. But, in the meantime, here is what pre-readers are saying:

"The Sword of the Dragon series just got better! The suspense and mystery that ended Swords of the Six builds to new heights in Offspring as the daughter of Dantress takes the reins of the story. Offspring explored more of this brilliant fantasy world, reminding me again of the incredible world-building skills of its author. The characters latched onto my heart and didn't let go, mystery reigned, the battles built with intensity, and I definitely choked up at the end. Seriously. The book propelled me toward its ending and didn't disappoint. Fantastic. Truly original in every character, species, and plot element, Appleton's pen submerged me in a new world, driving out all memory of my own, and when I returned, left me scrambling for book three. If you like a story that makes you think, a story that submerges you into a real world, you will love The Sword of the Dragon series." -Nathan Petrie (Kentucky)

“I was swept away by Scott Appleton’s engaging tale. He has achieved the rare feat of creating strong, unique characters who follow their own path instead of trying to recreate old legends. Many books claim to be ‘in the tradition of Lewis and Tolkien,’ but Appleton has earned that distinction by blazing his own path in modern fantasy. I look forward to more books by this original author.” –Julie Dick (Wisconsin)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Boyscouts' sleepover @ Dodd Stadium

There wasn't a huge crowd at Dodd Stadium for tonight's game, but I had a whole lot of fun signing books there. I sold 26... not bad at all! Great actually!
I met a couple fans who are eagerly waiting for my second novel, having already read the first one. It is exciting to see the anticipation and energy building around my books. God is blessing!
I am way in the background in this photo with a bunch of my family and the Tigers baseball team mascot. He wandered from spot to spot among the bleachers and the suites shooting his super-soaker at whomever he chose! So much fun (-:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Borders is liquidating

It is official, unfortunately and catastrophically: Borders bookstores will be closing their doors. It looks like this will be happening in the next couple months.

I was so sad to hear this. I grew up shopping there and for a year I enjoyed great success selling books to their customers (my novel) at signings.

Goodbye, Borders. ...Now I only wonder how long Barnes & Noble can survive. Or, will they sink too?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ICRS 2011 in Atlanta (part 2)

The show ended today. I am tired! But it was such a great experience. I made new contacts and met people who I'd previously only known online. I think I signed around 150 books.

I have two bits of news that are awesome, and one that is disappointing:
  1. Swords of the Six is selling very well! So well, in fact, that it is right behind Bryan Davis's two new novels and ahead of all their other fiction. Praise God! ...I'll give more details later as I discover them.
  2. AMG Publishers wants to sign me on for the rest of The Sword of the Dragon series. They are very happy with how it has been received and I feel honored to write for them.
  3. Now the other bit of news isn't calamitous, but it does sock me a financial blow that is hard to swallow at this time. A few book buyers have complained that they find the cover for my second novel to be offensive. I don't see it, but in order to keep those buyers happy I am commissioning a different piece of art to be used on the cover. Hopefully it will turn out as good or better than the first one. But this sets back the release of the novel, so don't expect it before August.
Tomorrow morning my wife and I are driving back to North Carolina, and from there we'll head home. It has been a wonderful trip. I feel that I know the people at AMG a whole lot better now and understand better how to work with them.
I signed a lot of books. They were free, so as long as people lined up they received copies. I handed out lots of business cards ahead of time and it paid off. There were a lot of book buyers and store managers in the lines.

This last picture is of me and the designer of my original novel cover, Kirk DouPonce. It was really one of those moments when I felt I had met a new friend. Some people in the industry are a great to know, others leave an impression... He is such a great guy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

ICRS 2011 in Atlanta (part 1)

Wow has this been an exciting couple of days! So far I've met a lot of other authors, spoken to book buyers, and received a lot of Free books (totally something that I didn't expect). I am pictured above with Jenny L. Cote, and below with Ted Dekker.
Since I was young I've enjoyed episodes of the tv series Touched by an Angel, and my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Roma Downey!
Ah, yes, and here is proof that I finally met Wayne Thomas Batson! ....I'll have more news later. Right now I need to get upstairs and spend some time with our wonderful hosts here in Atlanta, GA.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Henny Penny in Saybrook, CT

I finished a book signing today at the Henny Penny gas station in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. This weekend, I sold 34 books! My average sales at the gas stations have been right around that number and I'm very happy with the results. The Saybrook store is one of the 'tighter' locations. I had to put the banner behind my little display in order to fit, and I frequently had to dive to the side to let customers and employees pass. But the advantage to that was the customers couldn't miss me! The picture below will gives a better angle of the store's interior (as you can see, it is rather narrow).Next weekend I'll be heading to Atlanta for the International Christian Retail Show . . . I can't wait! But in the mean time, I have to finish edits for The Sword of the Dragon-book 2-Offspring.

Monday, June 27, 2011

First Fruits of my Endeavors!

June has been a full month. Every weekend I've had a couple book signing, with most being at Henny Penny gas stations. Through the gas stations alone over 300 copies of Swords of the Six have sold, and that number continues to climb!

I am starting to see the fruits of all my marketing push. A lot of people have heard about my book because they saw it somewhere (most often at the gas stations) or because someone told them about it. So far since the book's release March 1st I have handed out over 2,000 business cards. These cards have my book cover on the face, with the website, my email, and book teaser on the reverse. They are super cheap to print (because I order 10,000 at a time) and are very effective in getting the word out.

Next month I will be at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT. They are expecting over 2,500 people for the boyscouts sleepover and I will be holding a book signing there. More on this later.

Also, I'm really enjoying the occasional review of my novel. Today AMG sent me this link to a review by a Christian teacher in Oregon. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Challenge of Making a Living as a Writer

Only a few thousand fiction writers in the US make their entire income off of their writing. The rest, like me, have a day or night job. I have been doing the math and have come to the conclusion that I average only 50 cents per book sold through my publisher. In contrast to that, when I self-published Swords of the Six, I made a few dollars off each copy sold.
Digital books (such as Kindle) offer the opportunity for authors to make more money off each copy sold. I can make 70% on a Kindle book. So even if I sell it for only a few dollars I make good return. This is exciting!
So does this mean that I should throw out the traditional publishing market? After all, many authors are now talking about self-publishing their books instead of continuing with their traditional publishing houses. But these authors already have an established market; people know to look for their books because the traditional houses have already spread word to their markets.
My plan is to do both. I am going to continue writing for traditional publishing houses to grow my readership, and I'm going to self-publish other titles on the side. Hopefully between the two I can bring my writing income to where it needs to be, sooner rather than later.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May trip to Indiana and New Hampshire

This week I made a trip to northern Indiana to speak to middle school students. Pictured above, I stand with the students at Lakeview Middle School in Warsaw, IN. The newspaper did an interview, which article here:
This last picture is after a successful signing at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, NH. My wife and I (and my son) had a crazy week. We went to a middle school in Indiana on Friday morning, then drove about 16 hours to make it in time for my booksigning at the store on Saturday. The store had 40 books in stock and I sold 36 of them! Praise God!
But today I am relieved to be back at home. The trip was good, but I'm ready to run a bit slower for a little while.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The trick to combining speech tags with action beats

Speech tags and action beats are a sometimes hotly debated subject. I know that in my personal experience I go back and forth on how to best utilize them.

Recently something happened that spotlighted this issue for me:
I was driving back from a book signing in New York. I was tired and a bored, so I stopped at a Barnes & Noble in Albany. There I purchased a mocha and the Star Wars: Deceived audiobook. The first thing that stuck out as I listened to the phenomenal read-aloud was the numerous instances where the author used speech tags, and often combined them with his action beats. I thought at first "This is distracting" but the more I listened the more I realized how well this worked. The writing was strong even with the numerous speech tags, stronger perhaps than it would have been without them. When I arrived home and returned to writing my novel, I let my mind flow freely, as if I was verbally telling the story. This worked extremely well. At least, I am happy with the results.
Below are a couple instances from my 2012 novel The Key of Living Fire (AMG Publishers):

Action beat only:
Cromlin laughed and the sound of it chilled Specter’s bones. “The power of living fire resides here, doesn’t it?” The creature slowly turned its massive head and gazed at Specter. “Were you attempting to stop this man from escaping with the Key [spoiler removed]?”

Action beat with speech tag:
The dragon was silent for a long while, then he angled his boney head downward and said, " I believe our beloved Specter followed the traitorous Auron into... [spoiler removed]"

Q4U: What is your opinion on this? Do you prefer no speech tags, few, or do you like them? Do you enjoy the combination of speech tag and action beat?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Looking ahead Writing Projects

Today marks a landmark in my third The Sword of the Dragon novel. I passed 100,000-words! The novel is coming along beautifully with new insights into characters such as Ilfedo and Specter. The story is a bit daunting, from a writing perspective, but that is due to the loads of great story still to tell.
This novel will have been finished by the end of May and I have been seriously considering what project to accomplish next. So I have reached the conclusion that I will finish an offshoot novel to The Sword of the Dragon series. My plan is to publish The It'ren On Eiderveis River as a full-length novel this Fall. I will make it available in paperback and on Kindle.
Also, since I am planning to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September, I'm hoping to finish my science-fiction political thriller Starmist.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back from New York

My trip to Johnson City, NY was very productive. My wife wasn't able to accompany me on this trip, as she had a previous commitment singing in our church cantata.

I sold 40 books and met a lot of great people. The staff were particularly friendly. I've been to this store once before when I met Bryan Davis at a signing he held at this location. They have a great selection of books and gifts; a very diverse and thorough inventory.

The manager wants to arrange a follow-up event, probably end of Summer when my second novel has come out.

Now I need to simplify my schedule for the next few weeks. I need a breather and I need to finish my third novel. This has been a hectic time but a very rewarding one, too. ....So now I'm off to prioritize my to-do list.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My trip to Peoria, Illinois

Last week my wife and I (and Andrew of course) were in Indiana and Illinois. One of my fans, Nichole (pictured above on the right) spread the word that I was coming to Peoria, IL. I started off with a signing at the Hoerr's Berean Christian bookstore on Thursday night. I anticipated ahead of time that a signing on that particular day was not going to be crazy busy but I still sold 7 books.
Next I had a booth at APACHE Homeschoolers Convention. The event was not very busy but we still sold around 50 books. The best part of the trip was meeting Nichole and her family (who were extremely hospitable). We stayed with Nichole's cousin, Evie (who was very friendly but with whom we hardly had time to visit) and at some point soon I hope to return there and visit some middle schools.

I also got to meet Jay Wile (pictured with me above). He wrote the high school Biology course that I took and I just think his work is fantastic. I was thrilled to meet him.

These last two pictures were taken by Nichole during the Convention.

Friday, April 8, 2011

E. Lyme Middle School in CT -success!

I spent the last three days giving ten presentations to middle schoolers in East Lyme. Of course I was aiming to sell books, too! And boy did it sell; the kids bought 92-copies of Swords of the Six! Next week I'll be in Illinois for a short tour.

per school request, faces not shown

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Barnes & Noble in Hadley, MA -Sold Out!

The drive to Hadley, Massachusetts was almost two hours. Lots of time to listen to my music CDs. The terrain up there is quite beautiful; rather mountainous, and the weather was beautiful. The store had 15 copies of Swords of the Six in stock, and a steady flow of customers allowed me to sell and sign every last copy in just over 2 hours. Even with all the driving time I got back home just after 3 o'clock with time for some writing. Praise God for a great day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book 2 Cover Reveal!

I hope this is a feast for your eyes... I love this cover! There may be slight alterations before it goes to press, such as the title text, but I think this is just a fantastic cover. At my recent book signing I had a lot of fun telling people to look for my second book to come out July 15th. This book turned out so well, I can't wait for everyone to read it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Morning Star in Warwick, RI -Success!

Morning Star Christian Bookstore in Warwick, RI first signing event for the AMG Publishers edition of Swords of the Six! The store hasn't had success with book signing events... until today.
The store manager, Joe, was very friendly (in fact the employees were really great). I will be returning to this store in the Fall to a do a follow-up event and introduce readers to my second novel.
They had 25-copies of my book in stock and Kelley and I sold 17... a figure I was thrilled with as the first part of the day was fairly quiet. Andrew (my son) contributed with smiles for every customer (-:
Store manager Joe, myself, and Andrew

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Criticism We Learn From

A recent encounter with an unusually critical book reviewer brought on the longest thread of discussion on my facebook fan page, to date. A few people commented that I, as the author, should walk away having learned from the reviewer’s criticism.

That is an interesting discussion and a question authors should ponder: Whose criticism should we listen to? And from whose criticism can we learn?

The answer to that is twofold (in my opinion) and here is why:

  • · Listen to fans’ criticism
    Some of you might disagree with me on this point because often readers disagree with the professional critics. However, I write for my readers and I am growing a following, so it is for this audience that I write. If you know your audience and, more importantly, are creating your own following, the stories you write are the kind of stories they will read. Ultimately it is your readers who decide if your book sells or fails.
  • · Learn from Peers’ criticism
    This includes editors, and published authors whose work has sold successfully. A good editor knows how to judge a manuscript because he/she has seen what works in writing, and what does not. Published authors have a working knowledge of writing. They’ve jumped through the proper hoops and been judged, and now their work is on the market.

On another vein, is there any criticism that we can not learn from, or that we should take with a grain of salt?

  • · Unpublished writers
    I was sitting in a class under Steven James and he advised aspiring authors not to join a critique group, unless that critique group was led by a published author. He also advised people to avoid taking college fiction writing courses, unless the course was taught by a published author. That was some of the best advice I ever heard given. How can you learn from someone who has not passed under the publishing industry’s scope? That would be like a guitarist learning from John Smith. “If you want to perform in Nashville you need to do this, this, and this…” when in fact John Smith has never made it to Nashville. If, on the other hand, you take advice from Johnny Cash (yes, I know he is dead, but I like his music so he’s my example) you will be on track to learn from his success.
  • · Blog book reviewers
    There are so many book reviewers out there today, most of them on blogs. Some are professional, some are amateurs. Don’t misunderstand me, I have found many good blog reviewers who have never been published. But these are not industry professionals and, as such, we should not take their harsh criticism to heart.

The most valued criticism comes from those who place great importance on reviewing in a charitable manner. If it is a Christian reviewer, I expect them to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. If they don’t like a book they should say so with honesty, but it should be in a spirit of encouragement and not a tearing down of that author’s style and craft.

I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks on my thoughts!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jill Williamson reviews "Swords of the Six"

Here is a new review of my first novel posted by Jill Williamson, Christy Award-Winning author of By Darkness Hid. I really enjoyed this particular review because Jill was honest and didn't spoil any of the plot.
Anyway, check it out everyone: Novel Teen Swords of the Six review
Thanks to Jill for the review!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The adventures begin!

Swords of the Six is finally available from AMG Publishers! I received my author copies last week and I've already begun selling copies. From this point on I need to focus again on my writing and promoting my books. I am well situated to live inexpensively while still holding a decent hourly job, and writing and selling my books. My third novel in The Sword of the Dragon series is coming along now. I passed 85,000-words and I'm aiming for it to be a bit longer than my second Sword of the Dragon novel (which is coming out July 15th).

I'm looking into writers' conferences and am strongly leaning toward attending the ACFW conference in St. Louis this year. My objective would be to connect with other authors, primarily, and meet some of the editors that interest me.

I went door-to-door in a local neighborhood and handed out a letter to folks, informing them of my book and asking them to check it out on Amazon and at stores. Out of 30 homes, I sold one book immediately and several more said they will check it out online. I think the trip was worth it (about and hour-and-a-half). I'm planning to do it again but this time visit a couple hundred houses.

Good night everyone! Let the adventures begin!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Swords of the Six -reader review

AMG Publishers sent Swords of the Six to press last week, and my editor tells me it will be in stock at their warehouse the first week of March. In preparation for the release, I'd like to share this review from a reader (who read the self-published edition):

"I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Many people try to write a novel like Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and really they don't succeed. While I know that wasn't the inspiration from it there is the same feeling to this book. Appleton has a lot of talent. He writes so elegantly that it really surprised me how much I was into the story. While this is considered "religious fantasy" I really think with the exception of a few areas that it really doesn't have. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Many people try to write a novel like Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and really they don't succeed. While I know that wasn't the inspiration from it there is the same feeling to this book. Appleton has a lot of talent. He writes so elegantly that it really surprised me how much I was into the story. While this is considered "religious fantasy" I really think with the exception of a few areas that it really doesn't have that feeling. It's not pushing the whole religion on you. As I said it reminds me of how some people assume the LLW is religious fantasy. There are some areas that seemed a little wordy and draggy but overall I enjoyed the characters; they weren't too developed but I think it was the whole developing a great story that made you feel good and think. It was a nice change of pace from the heavy fantasy that I read and there were a few surprises and good feelings. I'd read more of Appleton given the chance. Swords of Six is a great start to what might be a wonderful series." -Cindy

Monday, January 31, 2011

Swords of the Six (AMG Publishers)

Are you ready for it? Have you drooled over the forthcoming The Sword of the Dragon series?
Book 1 Swords of the Six is just four weeks away from store shelves, and Book 2 Offspring will be on its heels in July.
Some readers have told me that (SOTS) this was the best book they ever read, others have numbered it as one of their favorites.
The cover image is presented in this post. It turned out awesome! I will be hitting stores and schools, as I did before, to push this series to success. The time is almost here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Writing Dilemmas

For every season of life there is an end; a time to take that next step in the direction God would have you go. I am soon coming to that point... again. The year before last I quit a full-time hourly job and hit the road, selling my novel. Some people thought, many believed, that I was either careless or crazy. But I knew that it was in my best interest, and in God's will, to move on... and that meant taking a risk.

Now I am stuck between two hourly jobs, both demanding time I would prefer to spend writing my next novel. I really enjoy one of them, because it involves writing, but with my brain scattering to the four winds I am a bit frazzled. Next month the fruit of the risk I took in going on that book tour, will be realized; my first novel will release from AMG Publishers on February 11th. Soon thereafter, within months of the first, the second novel will release. I am full of anticipation and, for a little while dread filled me, too. Questions of "What if it doesn't sell well?" "How am I going to devote the time needed to promoting it?" "How do I balance providing for my young family and traveling?" I have finally smacked myself across the side of the head. "Wake up! God is in control and this is what he has brought you to." In a very real sense it is time to smell the roses.

I don't believe in chance successes. I believe hard work bears fruit, and perseverance and patience wields a mighty sword of success. So, beginning today, I am going to start booking a tour of schools in New England. It has taken seven years to get to this point, from that omniscient POV manuscript I wrote. I want to write and promote full-time, again! Well, it won't happen by itself, so... time to get down to business!


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.