Volume 1 Number 5 - July 2017.
News, Giveaway and Sale, Contests, Apprentice Series, Fantasy Book Blast
View this email in your browser


New Book Cover Reveal

I am very pleased to announce the new cover for my first Hell Holes book by  Ellie Kay Bockert Augsburger from Creative Digital Studios. She will also be redoing the cover of Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton and creating the new cover for the coming Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. The large circular object behind the words Hell Holes is character Aileen O'Shannon's magic amulet, consisting of the red devilstone mounted in a gold ring engraved with the name of her secret order. It was fun to see so many authors, and my only regret was that the new cover of Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below was not available in time.

Book Updates

Based on recommendations from my producer, Michael Chamoy, I have [SPOILER ALERT!] made the following two significant changes/updates to my Hell Holes series:
  1. Consistent with Clarke's Third Law (Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.), all paranormal magic is now implemented by advanced alien/demon technology. This change caused me to replace all magic wands with magic amulets.
  2. I have added a chief antagonist in the form of the demons' Supreme Leader, Empress of 144 Worlds.
New versions of book one and book two incorporating these changes are now available from online book sellers.

Movie Script Outline

On July 5th, Producer Michael Chamoy (above) and Screenwriter Leland Anderson are scheduled to deliver their detailed outline of the script for the feature film to be based on my Hell Holes trilogy. I can hardly wait to see what they come up with.



June Contest - Winners

Congratulations to Susan Klack, last month's grand prize winner of the autographed copy of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton.

Congratulations also to the runner-up winners: Anne Murphy, Tara Copsy, Brian Miller, Jost Krieger, and Tony Roof, who will receive a free download of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton.

July Contest - Fan Art

This contest is for the best fan art related to Hell Holes: What Lurks Below or Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton. It can be any kind of drawing of a scene, character(s), or demon(s) from the books. It can be anything from a simple pencil sketch to a full-color painting.

One (1) Grand Prize: An autographed copy of each book, inclusion of your art in the Fan Art webpage of my official website, and potentially even inclusion in future editions of the books as an illustration.
Start Date: 1 August 2017
End Date: Ongoing

If you lack artistic talent but know someone who does, please forward this newsletter to them. The winner will be announced in the May 1st edition of the newsletter.  Good luck "And may the odds be ever in your favor.”

July Contest - Random Drawing

This will be a random drawing from this newsletter's subscriber list on 31 July 2017, so if you are not yet subscribed, then you should subscribe here.

One (1) Grand Prize: Autographed copy of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton
Five (5) Runners Up: Free download of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton
Start Date: 1 July 2017
End Date: 31 July 2017

Owen Tyler's Apprentice - Author Spotlight and Interview, Book Spotlights, and Reviews


Owen Tyler was born in 1976 and grew up in Billings, Montana. Owen considers self publishing to be a great opportunity. He has always enjoyed fantasy novels, which is why he chose to write in that genre. Owen grew up visiting the mountains where he enjoyed picturesque landscapes of epic proportion. He hopes to mimic some of that in his writing. He is currently working on a series of books that will continue the tale of Teslanar and his adventures in the world of Tahlia.

Author Interview

  • Question: How long have you been writing?
    Answer:  I’ve been writing for about two and a half years.
  • Question: What is the best thing about being an author? What is the worst thing?
    Answer: If you enjoy reading, then imagine getting to be the first one to read a story. Its an amazing feeling. Also, when I picture things they come to life in an amazing way. It is up to me to put the right words on the paper so that my readers can see it too. When you read someone else's story, you have to work at suspending disbelief. When it comes to my own writing, I see it as if it really happened. A few years ago, I never would have thought that I would become a fiction writer. Now, I can't fathom a life without writing fiction.
  • Question: How can people find out more about you and your books? What is your official author website? What are your social media author web pages?
    Answer: My author website is:
    My Facebook page is:
    and my Twitter Account is:
  • Question: Who are your favorite authors and why?
    Answer: Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. Initially, it was because I really enjoyed his writing. Then I found out about the things that he contributes to society free of charge. I still haven’t finished his YouTube series that is a recording of his college class that he teaches at BYU. Another favorite author of mine is Terry Goodkind. I wasn’t that happy with where the series went after book five or so, but I loved the sword fights and magical parts of that world early on. I loved the concept of Wizard’s First Rule that was a lesson learned by all wizards, but one that was taught by life instead of in a classroom.
  • Question: Are you a full-time author? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time author if you could?
    Answer: I am not a full-time author. I think I would have to be pretty successful before I was comfortable with doing it full-time. I have a family of five and I am the main bread and butter for them. It is rewarding to be in that position even though I have to give up things. It would be great to spend time with my kids full-time, but then I guess I wouldn’t be a full-time author. Would I love to get paid to live in my fantasy world? Absolutely! However, just like any business there are the things that have to get done to be successful, too.
  • Question: What are your hobbies?
    Answer: I love to play video games. When I was in elementary school, my grandma bought our family an Apple IIc. I would play chess on there constantly. It is probably easy to guess that chess is another major hobby of mine. I really enjoy role playing games. I think that there is a place where video games can tell a story in a way that isn’t possible with movies or books. Choose your own adventure books hint at it by adding interactive mechanics to a book. Movie makers usually don’t understand video games and just convert their movies into interactive ones. However, game series’ like Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls are getting closer to finding that unexplored unique quality that only video games can have. I also like to draw as some of my fans know. My inner critic is even more judgmental with my art than it is with my writing, but we won’t get into that.
Your Books
  • Question: What are the genre(s) of the books you write and why?
    Answer: I write in the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy genre. Later I might branch out into other sub-genres, but I have quite a few books that I would like to write for my current series. I have always thought that it would be fun to move things with magic. Whenever I play video games, I get a lot of enjoyment out of being the wizard. I used to play a MUD (multi-user dungeon) online where the player could earn enough experience points to cast a fireball. It helped me visualize what it would be like for Teslanar to wrestle with learning the fireball as his first elemental spell. In Becoming An Apprentice, he wrestles with several things in his life, all while trying to graduate from the college of magic.
  • Question: What is the title of your next book and what will it be about?
    Answer: Dark Ascendancy is my current work in progress. After my two short stories, Becoming an Apprentice and Apprentice Mistake, Teslanar is finally out on his own crafting magic spells to help out the local community. It is not nearly as exciting as he would like, but he is still focused on furthering his education. Little does he know that his world is about to get turned upside down. Life will send him down a path he never would have expected. I’m really excited to finish it. I’ve written 120 pages of the 400 that I’m aiming for. I wish that I had a better idea of when I will have the first book completed. My own life tends to throw me curve balls frequently enough that I don’t really have the chance to have a regular schedule. I am progressing much better than I used to, though. I keep updating my social media pages to let my fans know how much closer I am to being done.
  • Question: What formats are your books in (e.g., paperback, hardback, ebook – Kindle, epub)?
    Answer: I've released everything I've written on Amazon Kindle. I recently finished the book cover for Apprentice Mistake to be available in paperback. It was really fun to have someone ask me for an autograph with it for the first time. I am hoping to finish the paperback version of the cover for Becoming an Apprentice within the next couple of weeks. I've been mainly focused on Amazon from the beginning, but I plan to branch out more in the near future.
  • Question: How do you deal with writer’s block?
    Answer:  Sometimes for me, writer’s block comes from lack of pieces to the puzzle. My brain can't put the pieces together if they aren't all there. I start asking myself questions like, “Do I know what each character's arc is in the story?” Do I know what places look like in my fantasy world? Sometimes if I change my technique for writing (dictating instead of typing, etc.) it helps me break through and get more of the story out of my head and into the real world. I love Scrivener for organizing my manuscript. I love autocrit for editing my manuscript. Sometimes, though, my muse just needs a blank page. Otherwise my logical side of my brain starts arguing where that section of the story should go. It is like having a brainstorming session where the other people in the room keep trying to change your ideas or organize them for you. It can end up being very counter-productive. Another way to cure writer’s block is to have fun with something for a little bit. The one thing I struggle the most with, is enjoying myself. I've heard and experienced scenarios where I let myself have fun for a bit and then my creative juices just start to flow. I wonder if starving myself of fun actually improves my logical thinking. Unfortunately, the opposite seems true with the creative side of the brain. Also, looking at art on Pinterest helps inspire me about what to write. In any case, I've learned to try different things to help get myself in the groove. Just like sleep, interruptions can prevent you from getting back in the groove in the immediate future. Good luck. I hope this information helps. As you can tell, with my current schedule I constantly battle writer’s block.
  • Question: How are your books published? (For example, are you an indie author? Do you use a small press publishing house? Does a major publishing company publish your books?) Why did you choose this way of publishing?
    Answer: I am an independently published author. One of the things I enjoy most about my writing is that I have full control over the world and characters as I build them. I wouldn’t want to lose control of that. I wouldn't want to make a certain character do certain things just because it's the latest fad. Also, while traditional publishing seems to help with polishing up your book before it is released, I have heard of traditionally published authors becoming their own editor because the publisher’s editor wasn’t good enough. I think that both sides of the publishing industry don’t live up to the ideals authors create for them. For me, indie publishing just feels right. The grass can always seem greener on the other side, but I’m too entrenched in the way I’m currently doing things.
  • Question: What are you doing to market your book?
    Answer: Anything I am capable of doing to market my books, I’m doing it. However, there is a constant learning curve associated with marketing in the highly competitive market we are in right now. Some would argue that it is impossible to saturate the book market, but I feel we are pretty close to a saturated market if not already. The days are gone when you could just publish a book and make a ton of money. Books that are very high quality are getting overlooked because they don’t have enough reviews, yet. There are exceptions to that rule. Some indie authors have had their books turned into movies, which is amazing. The entertainment market has been starving for good stories for a long time, but nowadays the audience has to sift through the slush piles that agents used to plow through. Things are still better than when traditionally published was the only choice, but readers have a backlog of to-read books and they are starting to expect better quality. After spending years trying to understand marketing, I’m starting to realize that focusing on the long term is the best approach. I’ve come a long ways in the last two years. I now understand the difference between what is a change that will benefit sales over the long term versus the changes that only benefit sales in the short term. Although it takes longer to see the long term results, the short term marketing requires constant attention.
Words of Wisdom
  • Question: What advice do you have for beginning authors?
    Answer: Learn to get in the habit of writing, first. Enjoy it. Surround yourself with the world you’ve created. Later, when you’re scrambling to accomplish the other things involved with being an author (editing, publishing, or marketing) you’ll have your habit to fall back on.

  Buy Link

Teslanar has the gift of magic, but doesn't know how to use it, yet. He's been accepted into the Grayhearth College of Magic, but it will take more than enrollment for him to fulfill his dreams. Wizards don't just start throwing magic around, they need to be taught magical theory and what not. Until a magic user casts his first spell, a wizard won't even acknowledge their existence let alone teach them.

Will Teslanar succeed and become a wizard's apprentice? Or will life force him down another path?

My Review - TBD

     Buy Link

Teslanar, having just finished college at a magical school, has acquired an apprenticeship to the head sorceress of the college he attended. Things are looking good for Teslanar. After a few more years he can finally fulfill his life long dream of becoming a wizard.

Given his first chance to relax for an afternoon, Teslanar decided to take a stroll through the courtyard.  He has no idea that his afternoon will test him more than any teacher ever could.

Download Apprentice Mistake to find out what happens when Teslanar tries to save an old man and ends up trapped in a secret passage.

My Review - An Unexpected Encounter (3 Stars)
Recommended Audience: 10 to 15-year-old fans of Harry Potter

Teslanar, a curious young apprentice wizard, discovers a huge secret behind a hidden door. Although a young audience is likely to enjoy this engaging little story, the adult reader will probably find the writing a tad too simplistic, with a style that makes you feel like you are reading a detailed description of the story rather than the story itself. The story is also marred by several inconsistencies (e.g., being trapped in a hiding place by falling stalactites and then suddenly free with no explanation) and plot holes (e.g., an unexplained explosion and the head sorceress overlooking rips in the lead character's robes). Still, the story shows potential, could be significantly improved with just a little editing and rewriting, and has an ending that brings a smile.
Fantasy Book Blast

MYTHS & MAGIC sends you on a wild ride across universes where a safe return cannot be guaranteed.

Abolished magic returns to Earth. The Minotaur and Achilles clash. Telekinetic sorcerers, witches, and fairies discover their powers. Humans become cyborgs. Dragons prowl the depths of Iceland's volcanoes.

All this and more is packed inside one boxed set overflowing with stories from today's hottest USA Today and International Bestselling authors!

From dystopian thrillers to steampunk romance, from gothic fantasies to paranormal adventures, come journey with unlikely heroes, valiant shifters, rogue vampires, and even a sensual brujo. Dabble in scientific espionage, thwart scheming sorcerers, and challenge hordes of vengeful demons. And maybe fall in love...

If you're ready for 21 exclusive full-length novels and novellas, including some BRAND NEW material, in a boxed set where vampires, shifters, ghosts, demons, and even Djinn haunt the pages, then fall into MYTHS & MAGIC, a collection of science fiction, fantasy, and a dash of paranormal romance that will take you to the edge of your imagination.

Buy Link

Copyright © 2017 Donald Firesmith, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
20 Bradford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15205 USA

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Donald Firesmith · 20 Bradford Avenue · Pittsburgh, Pa 15213 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp