Welcome to Donny Swords
Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Puyallup, Washington. I currently live in Glendale Arizona.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I like swords and sorcery. A lot of my stories fall in that category- except I love horror, therefore all my books have a dark fantasy/thriller/horror feel to them. I try to write in a way that provokes emotion, and I “don’t pull punches” as Seth Lindberg put it. I do not write gore for the sake of gore, or violence for the sake of violence, but it’s in there and it can get frightfully dark. When you read my novels expect it- I like to take the reader on a ride when I can, like a roller coaster, emotionally speaking. I want them to see what I see, feel what I feel. If it’s funny I attempt to convey humour in an accessible manner. If its horror, I want them to lose sleep.
Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. The crazy life I’ve lived…
Do you have a favourite character? (The Vampire Faus)- star of my yet to be released novel Dragon Stone.
If so why? She has everything. She is smart, but makes foolish errors. She is tactful, but often abrasive as well. She is compassionate, but she can be as tough as nails if it is required of her. She cares. She does what is right- She is a vampire- who possesses more humanity than mortals do.
Oh and she can really prevail- think Conan- with teeth, but mystical.
Do you have a character you dislike? Stefan, from my novel Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song
If so why? Stefan is a vampire lord with the ability to compel his subjects to the point that they have no wills of their own. His “Empire” is a loathsome, despicable place where humans are separated into three groups- breeders- workers- and guards. Deaths are dealt daily in Savishelm. I could go on, but I won’t…
Are your characters based on real people? Yeah- mostly myself- distorted by lies and fiction. In my story “Boots” from The Indie Collaboration’s collection, Summer Shorts- that character is decidedly me, and that story is less fictional than one might think…
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No. Though I use traits I despise to build my foulest characters and then I kill them off.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? For the Vampire Faus, I did a ton of research on Carthage and the Second Punic War, most of which was left unused, but it helped me get the feel for 200 B.C. so that I could then twist it to suit me. I did a ton of research for a book I wrote 15 years before Fallen Song, but that typed manuscript met with the fire pit, via an angry ex-girlfriend.
Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do, but I’d rather wing it. The resources depend on the research, the internet, the library- speaking with the right people- movies…
Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Yes. Shadows are stretching out over society and we need heroes to bring us light. Of course, heroes come in all forms.
Do you feel this is important in a book? No. Engaging the reader is most important.
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Uh. That’s the order. I like deep characters. In any Ways of the Stygia novel, a character might end up in several realms, seven actually- Quantanost, Havendell, Purgatory, the Barrens, the Fringe, the Underworld, or Earth. So the characters have to be malleable to their environments…
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Print and eBooks. I am planning an audio release of The Bitter Ends series.
Do you self-edit? It’s 50-50. I have an editor, Jennifer Herring, who is doing my books for now on. She’s the editor for The Bitter Ends- and Ways of the Stygia- Banner.
If so why is that the case? Because I operate on a tight budget and Both Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song, and my Sept 19, 2014 release, Cult of Morgod have huge word counts.
Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Fallen Song didn’t- the rough- mistake filled first eBook sold a ton of copies- the more polished revision I slaved over for three months did less. A book suffers if the writer’s prose is rough- or weak. If the plot and characters fail to entice the reader… A mistake is not the end of the world.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Yes.
Why do you think this might be? Because everyone thinks they can write- but I digress. You cannot write if you haven’t lived. Because quality is up and down across the board. Some do it as a hobby, and others shouldn’t at all. It’s a shame that the good ones sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Do you read work by self-published authors? Quite often. Some of them really resonate with me- You (A.L. Butcher) are one of them, I really want to read Shane Porteous’ novel and I was just stunned by Jesse Duckworth’s story in Nine Heroes. When I get done researching the Hell series, I want to read these authors more.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? Don’t- unless it is to say thank you.
How important are reviews? More important for the sake of website algorithms and from a marketing standpoint than they used to be. So, very. But they are harder to get than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
When buying a book do you read the reviews? No. I buy what interests me. I read the samples though.
What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I do it. It helps, though some of them are quite disingenuous. I don’t care who you are, read the whole book, then post a review. Don’t read less than 10% and bag on somebody’s hard work. If it sucks that bad- stop reading, but let the artist be. On the other hand post an honest review. Have some integrity, and treat the work fairly. I have read a few books this year that I genuinely did not care for, but I look for merit where I can find it and focus on that. If it’s a 3 star or less book, I don’t bother posting a review. I have too little time to finish reading the book, let alone review it.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? You get to hear the characters thoughts, there’s an intimacy involved in this that cannot be conveyed properly in other mediums- except perhaps in audiobook. The Sacred Band is an example of the powers of top-notch literature expressed through voice… I wish I could do what Chris Morris did there, but my pronunciation is not up to par.
What advice would you give to new writers? Read. Keep writing. Edit yourself. Get feedback. Don’t buy into trends, write for real. Read more.
What are your best marketing/networking tips? Keep going- don’t give up.
What are your worst? Don’t talk smack on social media posts- although I have done this, it isn’t endearing.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Heroic Fantasy’s Nine Heroes. (My review)
Did you enjoy it? Loved it.
Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? This is a tie between Robert E. Howard and Clive Barker.
And your favourite indie/self-published author? Hmmn… I’m going to have to say you, even though I am just at the halfway mark of the Light Beyond the Shadows Chronicles. I have enjoyed all the stories you put into our Indie Collaboration books.
What are your views on authors offering free books? Sure, go ahead, knock yourselves out. However, I don’t think any of my free stuff is really helping me get sales or reviews.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I first shaved my head to get into a Seattle Mariners game free on “Jay Buhner” day. I looked in the mirror and thought, I’m keeping it this way. I’ve never grown my hair out since.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
All things Donny Swords
The Indie Collaboration (web)
Novels & Links:
The Bitter Ends
Somewhere in the Bible Belt Gateway has gone insane. Who knew what would come? Thrust into the end of times, Gateway’s citizens attempt to outrun the zombie outbreak…
Discover 12 unique stories, and see how Gateway’s main cast fares against the deadheads. See how they live. Watch lives expire and people become heroes or villains. The Bitter Ends is more than just a book about zombies. It is about the characters, like Anna. It is seeing what ordinary people might do in a zombie apocalypse and unordinary ones too.
Will any of them survive? Or Will They All Meet Their Bitter Ends?
Ways of the Stygia (Facebook)
Ways of the Stygia- Cult of Morgod (Book 1) Releases September 19th 2014
Destruction. To see something destroyed, gone. None can deny its appeal. To the abyss, nothing is forever. To the World-Eater creation is flawed… Flesh is weak. Souls are fodder- fuel. Power is endless. The Stygia grants unlimited strength to the daring… Slavery and death are a means to an end… For Morgod , everything must burn. Ruination must reign immaculate.
Heroes come in many forms. For who is truly evil? There are shades of light and dark. Left with two choices, survival or total annihilation, the cosmos displays signs of harmony…
They face a common foe.
Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song (Book 2)
Thomas Van Pelt lived a normal life. On one dreary raining evening that all changed. His work as a CSI investigator had led him to yet another crime scene, and there, prompted by his primal senses he discovered the ancient artifact that would that day forward alter his own life and the fate of the universe itself. The ancient weapon Fallen Song summons Thomas, and reawakens his forgotten past. He embarks on his new calling- bringing justice to the guilty, the ones who would otherwise remain free to perpetrate their vile acts on the unsuspecting.
Thomas is reunited with past allies and embarks on an epic adventure involving demons, necromancers, deities, vampires, sorcerers and the terrorists of Purgatory itself, the night stalker. Get pulled away to new lands, terrible enough to cost you sleep and see what ends Thomas will go to in his quest to bring a new era of light to an ailing universe. Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song is intended for mature audiences. (Facebook) (.99 Nook) (B&N) ( Amazon) (.99 Kobo)
Ways of the Stygia- Banner (Character Novella 1) In Purgatory, there is one law. It is damnation. The abyss plots as the gods use its powers to suit themselves. Born of the void, to the hostile landscapes of Purgatory, not as a child, and not as a man, Banner must overcome his roots. The realm of Purgatory does not forgive so easily, suffering is ceaseless. It is a realm where death grants rebirth so suffering can begin anew. Those of his race are bred killers, evil, and cold to their marrows. Banner, a night stalker set apart from his peers in extremity faces an uncertain future as he attempts to leave Purgatory and the nightmares behind.
He cannot do it alone… (B&N) (Amazon)
All books by the Indie Collaboration are Free on Smashwords across all e-reader platforms.
The Indie Collaboration Presents:
Snips, Snails, & Puppy Dog Tales
(The Wacky Adventures of Bob & Dill, Case of the Missing Ghost & Barracuda Blast by D. Swords)
(Boots by Donny Swords)
(Sparks by Donny Swords)
Tales from Darker Places
Releases October 25th, 2013
3 stories by Donny Swords
Ways of the Stygia – Cult of Morgod- Street date September 19, 2014
The Bitter Ends – Other Side of Town- Tentative street date Oct 25th, 2014
7 Slices – November 2014