Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Hump Day!

I'm still hard at work on RISING FROM THE DARKNESS and have made substantial headway the last couple of weeks.  The cover reveal is coming up soon!

In the meantime, check out the latest review of the second book in the Deepest Darkness series PIERCING THE DARKNESS, once again from Action Girl Books.  Find it by clicking here on the LINK.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sitting Down With A.D. Phillips

It's a cold and dreary day, perfect for sharing an informative and fun interview with you.  He's a male author writing female action heroines in thrilling and pulse-pounding situations.  Characters are no-holds-barred, tough, gritty, and like to kick a little butt (or a lot).  Welcome to the blog, fellow indie author A.D. Phillips.

DAB:  Where do you come up with ideas for your novels?

ADP:    My main hobbies (besides writing of course!) are cinema and computer games. Favourite genres are action, thrillers, and science fiction. I've worked as a research scientist, and hold a PhD in Applied Mathematics (unusual for a fiction author, perhaps). Because of this, it's probably not too surprising that I tend to favour writing action and science fiction.

I often picture scenes playing out in my head as I write them, which gives my work a strong cinematic style. Often my chapters are full of intense action sequences and short, snappy dialogue. Ideas themselves can sometimes just come to me (don't really have a trick or any advice here). I tend to avoid 'being inspired' by something I've recently read/seen, as this can make novels highly derivative.

DAB:  Very much so!  Do you ever have difficulty writing from the point-of-view of a member of the opposite sex?

ADP:    A good question, given I'm a male author and my publishing label is Action Girl Books!

Almost everything I've done features a female in the role of action heroine, villainess, or both. I'm not quite sure what draws me to write female main characters. Perhaps its because they're still relatively rare in the action world and have tended to feature more in romance and mysteries (though that is changing, particularly with the growth in indie publishers and the restrictions that 'writing to the market' can impose).

I don't fret too much about writing/including females. If anything, I sometimes worry that maybe I make mine too tough (and possibly unrealistic). But the genres I write are quite escapist, really. A lot of male heroes perform unrealistic feats, so why should it be any different for women?

One of my recent works - Edith Clayton and the Wisdom of Athena - is written in first person perspective through the eyes of a teenage girl. This was a bit more challenging to do, as you're constantly writing through the eyes/mind of the opposite sex. Thankfully there are quite a few books out now told from female first person in the action/thriller genre, which helped a bit for preparation.

DAB:  And oh, that teenaged angst.  Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?

ADP:    Always the villain(ess), regardless of the novel. Won't give his/her name for this book, as it would rather spoil the mystery! I guess it's similar to actors/actresses who like to play villainous roles and do deeds they would (hopefully) never do in real life. Because it's more fun to be the bad guy/girl!

I especially enjoy writing crafty villains. I always try to avoid overly complex plans that rely on pure chance/luck (can be very annoying to any reader), but carefully laid, thought-out schemes that dupe the main character... I love putting those in. And intelligent adversaries that can match the hero(ine) mentally and physically. Nobody likes a one-sided affair or anticlimax.

DAB:  Two thumbs up from me in that regard.  Villains can be so interesting to write.  What kind of research practices do you utilize for writing?

ADP:    I tend to use the Internet for most things, though I've known people who advise not to. Sometimes it can be frustrating digging up information, but with my research background I enjoy the process. Ideally I would like to spend some time in foreign countries to get a better feel than you can from encyclopaedias and videos, but obviously money's a factor (particularly for an indie publisher!).

For now, I tend to base my scenes around locations I've visited / things I know something about. In any case, I would advise other authors not to worry too much. Having been a scientist, teacher and researcher, I know reality is very different from how it is portrayed in media. If things were written too realistically, they would be dreadfully dull (particularly for the genres I work in). I concentrate on getting the essentials right (where major landmark buildings are, appropriate clothes / speech for characters etc.) and invent most minor details.

For instance, Termination Notice is probably much closer to detective thriller fiction novels / Lifetime TV movies than real life police work. But that's what a lot of readers enjoy, and the tone I'm aiming for.

DAB:  There's the eternal debate whether to outline or not. What is your preference?

ADP:    I did things very differently with my two recent novels. Edith Clayton I just had general ideas for, and went from there. The main plot elements were in my head from the beginning, but as I was writing and researching other details popped into my head.

Termination Notice was based around an unsold / unproduced film script I wrote some time ago. So I already had a lot of dialogue and the main plot developments. There were still some changes (cool bits that came to me when writing), and characters were more fleshed out for the book.

For first time authors out there, I would advise them to finish a book. Even if it's a poor first attempt (and they usually are), the big psychological barrier is that first book. Once you've finished one, the second feels easier - because you know you've done it before.

DAB:  So true.  Write, write, write.  How do you handle negative feedback about your novel(s)?

ADP:    I've managed to avoid negative feedback on my novels so far, but in the past I've written interactive fiction. I imagine most readers of this blog won't know what I'm talking about, so I've put a brief explanation below.

To summarise, they're text-based computer games similar in design to choose your own adventure books, but a lot more complicated. In these you play a character, move through various described locations, input action commands, and get responses back. Think of them as interactive novels with multiple plot branches. I've done five of these and most took many months (essentially book length in terms of text).

Response on these has varied dramatically. One particular game got highlighted by a review site on a list titled 'The Worst of Interactive Fiction' (ouch!). But then another reviewer loved / praised the exact same work! Literature is very subjective, so I don't let bad reviews get me down. So long as they're written constructively and go into some detail about what aspects they didn't like, I don't really regard them as 'bad reviews'. The worst feedback is none at all - that can be very depressing.

I typically strive to improve and take heed of those comments I agree with. And disregard those I don't. You have to accept not everyone will like your work, and it's impossible to please everyone. I've seen a lot of TV series producers attempt to attract new viewers over the years by changing tone/style, and most ended up annoying their core audience. Sometimes you just have to stick to your style and keep working to make your books better.

DAB:  Usually authors are also avid readers - what are you currently reading?

ADP:    I'm currently focused on reading books with female central characters, partly to put them up at my
review/blog site. I'm trying to mix traditionally published and independent works. I've finished the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (think everyone interested in action girl has read those!), and am just about to start on Divergent by Veronica Roth. I'm a bit late getting to these popular books because I've been working on my own stuff. I'm focusing on young adult because of my own Edith Clayton series.

For independent works, I'm on book two of your very own 'Rising' trilogy (and looking forward to the third when it comes out), and am about to start Pentecost by Joanna Penn - another blogger with many helpful tips for indie writers/publishers.

DAB:  Thank you so much for reading.  Of all your novels, which one is your favorite, and why?

ADP:    Edith Clayton and the Wisdom of Athena. It's an idea I've had for a while, and it's also a historical novel (which brought extra challenges) that blends in action and science fiction for good measure.

The book is my longest to date - around 81,000 words. Most of my books tend to be shorter because I absolutely hate filler and cut it out wherever I feel it doesn't advance something - plot or character development.

DAB:  Me too!  What’s the best thing about being an author? The most difficult?

ADP:    Best thing: when you finish something, read it, and enjoy it. I've always believed in writing books you'd want to pick up off a shelf (and not following whatever the current trend happens to be). But finishing a novel feels wonderful. At least until you get around to the rewrites!

Worst thing: when you publish a book, and very few people read it. This is particularly frustrating for those new to the scene. But it's important to remember there's a lot of competition these days, and independent publishing is often a struggle except for the fortunate/talented few. That said, I've endured plenty of form rejections over the years, so it's nice when you actually get positive comments. And having creative control is a wonderful feeling I wouldn't trade away.

DAB:  Amen to that.  What are some things you’ve done to get the word out about your novel(s)?

ADP:    A lot of it has been trial and error so far. I sometimes feel the 'author platform' is overrated, and working on craft is essential. It's very easy to get bogged down by marketing.

I've put myself out on social media, started a blog - the usual. I find Twitter to be much more useful for making contacts than advertising. A lot of people seem to auto-tweet about their books continuously and do little else (a big turn-off for me, and I imagine most others).

So far, most stuff I've tried hasn't worked, but it's a case of experimenting. For instance, through my networking I got this interview with D.A. Bale. Also you have to remember to give and take a little. Reviewing other author's work / helping them gets a lot more respect than simply plugging your own work endlessly.

DAB:  I'm right there with you too.  Now’s your chance – give us the final plug for your novel.

ADP:    Termination Notice is different to a lot of thrillers (indeed books), because it's not written from the viewpoint (heads) of its characters. I imagined watching a film and wrote only what could be seen and heard. This should give it a more original flavour, though I imagine the style I've chosen won't appeal to everyone.

As I've said, I don't like filler so I'm hoping I've put together something with plenty of drama, twists and turns. I do fast-paced thrillers with high body counts, so don't expect too many lulls in the action.

There's a sample over at the Action Girl Books blog ( if people want to try before they buy. It's worth a look for anybody interested in murder mysteries with lots of action, thrills, and scares.

One last word to the blog-runner: thanks very much for the interview opportunity. Sometimes it's easy to forget that people who manage these sites are often writers too (certainly true in D.A. Bale's case), so any time given up to help a fellow author is much appreciated.

And thanks to you too, A.D., for taking time to give us this insight into your writing method and your novels.  I plan to read them someday - but not until finishing the final book in my series.  Until then, dear readers, take a moment and check out A.D.'s novels, available through all eReaders sales channels.  For more information, visit his website

Author Bio:
A.D. Phillips lives in Manchester, UK. The author holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and currently works as an analyst, but has previously been a mathematics teacher and a researcher based at NASA Goddard, USA.

Despite having a non-literary background, A.D. has a passion for creative writing, and is the author of numerous works of fiction, most notably a series of text adventure games (in the style of 80s Infocom works) that are currently available as free downloads from specialist websites.

Most of the author's works feature female protagonists and/or villainesses. Favourite genres are action adventures, thrillers, and science fiction.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


The spotlight shines today on A.D. Phillips' latest release TERMINATION NOTICE.  I really like the cover, how about you?  Check it out if you want something exciting with a kick-butt heroine on this Valentine's Day.  Then stay tuned for a forthcoming interview with this up-and-coming author.

Book Blurb:
A serial strangler. A detective with a conflict of interest. Solving this case could be murder.

When a reclusive musician is strangled with a computer cable, the most promising clue is a contract termination notice from Taurus Studios: a game design company headed by Adrian Pryce, a successful entrepreneur who is the police's number one suspect.

The lead investigator is Lucy Duvall, a career-driven detective whose frosty personality makes her difficult to work with. Her Philadelphia PD colleagues are as shocked as anyone when she shows a more compassionate side, but for Lucy this case is personal. Years ago when they were at college, Adrian saved Lucy's life and they became lovers, but their relationship ended sourly when she found out he'd been sleeping with another woman.

After a second victim is discovered, all the evidence points to Adrian. Suspended for misconduct, Lucy begins to doubt his innocence. As more employees are terminated by the 'Taurus Strangler' - and Lucy narrowly survives an attempt on her own life - she must decide whether to trust the man who betrayed her.

Is Adrian the victim of an elaborate frame-up? Or a scheming, cold-blooded killer?
Buy on:

Author Bio:
A.D. Phillips lives in Manchester, UK. The author holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and currently works
as an analyst, but has previously been a mathematics teacher and a researcher based at NASA Goddard, USA.

Despite having a non-literary background, A.D. has a passion for creative writing, and is the author of numerous works of fiction, most notably a series of text adventure games (in the style of 80s Infocom works) that are currently available as free downloads from specialist websites.

Most of the author's works feature female protagonists and/or villainesses. Favourite genres are action adventures, thrillers, and science fiction.