A while back, I posted a first installment of a story experiment called Big Boy Burgundy. It was a lot of fun, as I hadn’t written anything in that spy-action genre before.
Recently, Breakwater Harbor Books compiled an anthology called Gateways which featured works by their authors; shorts that were a gateway to the worlds of their creations. So, I submitted part three of the Burgundy serial called Blind Alley. You can read an excerpt here, or buy the anthology for a dollar here. Oh, and thanks to my sister, Amy Hands, for the banging cover. Whoot!
I met Scott Toney years ago while a member of the online writing platform, Authonomy, and I remember really liking his book, Eden Legacy. So, when I bumped into Scott a few months ago and found out he was up for an interview, I was really excited. Please stick around and meet Scott, musician, and faith-based author.
Welcome, Scott! Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I am a family man first and a dedicated friend. Those things and God are the most important things in my life. I am also a co-founder of the Independent Author Imprint, Breakwater Harbor Books (which I am very proud of), I have a degree in Journalism and Public Relations and am great lover of singing and the written word.
What’s your writing background?
I was trained in Journalism in college and also took courses in novel writing. I write in many different genres, including Christian, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romantic Suspense and Poetry.
When it comes to reviews, do you have a thick skin? How do you handle negative feedback?
I am definitely thick skinned. Sometimes it is those harsh reviews that you learn the most from. You need to have your eyes open to criticism and also realize that sometimes people are just wrong but that we all have the right to our own opinions. I ask for honest criticism from my peers.
What inspires your stories? What draws you to your preferred genre?
The one Genre that runs through all of my books is Faith. In a book there is always the issue of something going wrong… and in that moment I always turn to faith and find that my characters do as well. Even when I begin writing without faith in mind, I find that by the end of the novel faith plays a crucial role.
Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?
Ooooo, so many books. I’ll give you The Ark of Humanity’s pitch:
God flooded the earth to annihilate humanity’s sins. What if that sinful race didn’t die when floodwaters covered them but instead adapted to breathe water?
Under the depths of the ocean one boy has raised himself, until the day when he meets a dark-skinned man with news that will change the lives of his civilization forever.
Now he must save his people from another empire of water dwellers bent on enslaving the oceans and torturing his peaceful realm.
Yet another question is posed as he learns that his people are descended from humans that lived on the land above the ocean; a people that were destroyed by floods made by the rage of God.
If they have to, in order to escape, will they be able to breathe air and join whatever is left of the world above the waters?
What would they find there? Is the mythological Noah still alive?
Very interesting premise indeed!
I’ll be publishing the second novel in my Nova Trilogy in June, NovaSiege.
Can you tell us one (or two) quirky thing about yourself? Other hobbies besides writing?
I’ve taken opera lessons, love leaving quarters in gumball machines for kids to find and am like a 90 year old retiree who is a kid at heart, or so my wife tells me.
Did you go traditional or self-publish?
Self Published, though I was approached two years ago by a traditional publisher to publish The Ark of Humanity with them and declined because I wanted to keep the novel with Breakwater Harbor Books.
Advice to those looking to break into your genre? On marketing and selling?
Write from your soul and be true to your mind and heart. I don’t know that your profits will rise with that strategy, but it is fulfilling. That and try many different strategies until you find the marketing strategy that works for you. Don’t get discouraged. If you throw enough bricks at a wall eventually one will break through.
How can readers get into contact with you?
Email me at poeticliscence.com or find me at Facebook
It’s been great having you on, Scott! All the best as you pursue your writing goals. Readers, please check out Scott’s links and books, as well as those affiliated with Breakwater Harbor Books! Have a great week, everyone!
After Emily Ethan is gone, Jason is left with too many questions unanswered. Betrayed by the one he loved and yet hurting after losing her, Jason is eager to find out what actually happened to Emily.
When he least expects it, the Darksighted return to New York City, but they are not after Jason. They seek to destroy those who may know something about where Emily can be.
The more Jason gets to know the world of Energy and Sight, the harder it is for him to belong in this world. He can’t enter the Sight when there are too many people around. And then Emily comes to his dreams and gives him clues of where to look for the answers.
The question is: should he believe her, or is it just another attempt to get him killed?
The novel, Path of the Heretic, begins a few months after book one, The Beholder. At this point, Jason, the main character, is dealing with a major loss, some unexplained limitations to his powers, the betrayal of a friend, as well as intensified attacks from the enemy. And more importantly, we get inside the head of Pariah. Bonus!
What I enjoyed the most about the novel were the following: 1) as in the first book, the pacing was good. There was rarely a dull moment, as the reader is exposed to the good and bad guys, the points of view of different characters, the developing conflict and the rising stakes, travel to various worldwide locations, and coolest of all, we get to witness how a dark one is recruited. Once again, there is rarely a dull moment. 2) I appreciated that this time, we got to see more of the baddies. We see much more of Pariah and his origins, more of his relationship with his minions, and learn Tyler’s history. Fleshing out the villains this way made them seem credible and more of a threat.
As in the first book, I struggled with some things: 1) I found certain details and description vague. For example, I found the flow of events during major fight scenes difficult to follow, and at times I couldn’t tell what was happening, where characters were, or how they got there. And, details about the structure/hierarchy of the Lightsighted was missing. In contrast, we have a very clear understanding of rank on the Darksighted side. And I wanted to know HOW the Lightsighted managed to fight of a major attack while sustaining the lives of a whole city for days on end. The concept was so cool that I wanted to be able to better envision the events. 2) Again, I found the rules about Energy unclear. At one point Jason says he isn’t the Beholder but everyone says he is. Why? And, the heretic wasn’t all that clear for me, as in why is he in hiding when he has the power to influence the course of events? Is he stronger than Jason, just as strong, less so? Is he limited somehow and therefore can’t participate in the conflict? Why is he called the heretic, anyway? For me, struggling with these points affected the story’s cohesion and comprehension.
That said, the ideas presented in the novel are still as interesting and creative as book 1, and Amberlake writes with an energy and zeal that is sure to attract readers. Clearly, he enjoys the story he is building as well as weaving his characters into each and every scenario. Readers of urban fantasy, speculative fiction, and those looking for something that has the feel of a comic book or graphic novel should enjoy this series very much.
Many thanks to Mr. Amberlake for providing me with a review copy of his novel.