ASHES OF THE UNSPEAKABLE Is Here

After a summer of writing, editing, and the other mechanics of publication, ASHES OF THE UNSPEAKABLE is finally available.  The paperback and ebook came out yesterday on Amazon.  The audible.com review process takes a little longer now than it did last time so even though Kevin Pierce and I finalized the audiobook on October 1, it still hasn’t been approve for release.  Hopefully by next week those of you who enjoy audiobooks will be able to start reading it.

I’ve enjoyed hearing from those of you who had to read it the first day it was available, including the friend who stayed up all night after it materialized from pre-order onto her kindle and the other friend who took the day off work yesterday to read it.  So far reaction has been good.  I felt like this was a stronger book than the first and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Will there be a third book in this series?

Absolutely.

Updating THE BORROWED WORLD Paperback

On October 9th, I’ll be releasing the sequel to THE BORROWED WORLD.  In preparation for that, we’ve redone the cover of the original book.  The ebook cover has been changed on Amazon already, but the paperback cover is a slightly more complicated process.  The cover has to be reviewed, during which time the book is not available for purchase.  So as of now the paperback version of THE BORROWED WORLD is unavailable while being reviewed.  It bothered me to have two different covers floating around out there so I wanted to get this done before the release date for ASHES OF THE UNSPEAKABLE.

And just an FYI — everything on the ebook is finalized.  The paperback should be finalized this week, so I can request a proof and review that.  Kevin Pierce is plugging away on the audiobook version.  Hopefully, everything will be done around the same time.  I appreciate the comments.  Thanks for reading.

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Labor Day Update

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It’s Labor Day and I spent some of it revising the manuscript for the second book in THE BORROWED WORLD series.  It was in the editor’s lap for a week before she tossed it back to me.  Now it’s my turn to review her suggestions and toss the draft back at her.  There were no major problems so I think this will be an easy turnaround.  Everything is happening a little ahead of schedule, which is a great thing.  We should be perfectly on track for an October release.

Deranged Doctor Design has worked diligently on the cover and I think we may be ready to reveal the cover and title this week if all goes well.  I’m also working to prepare the book for pre-order.  There’s still a few things that have to be done to get the book out, but all those things are happening and I think you’ll be pleased with the result.

It’s difficult for me to predict the reaction of readers, but my opinion is that this book will be better than the first.  I hope this month moves quickly and that the book is in your hands by this time next month.

Book Two!

I’m getting a lot of questions about the timing of the second book.  I’ve mentioned this on Facebook and Twitter, but can’t remember if it’s easily available in the blog or not.  So here’s the scoop.

The first draft of Book Two is complete and I’m halfway through the second revision of the draft.  The way my process works, I’ll give it a third revision before I pass it to other hands.  All of those revisions will take place this month.  I’m getting tired of referring to is as Book Two.  You may even be tired of hearing it referred to that way.  By the end of this month I will reveal the title.

Editing and cover design will take place in September, as will formatting and proofreading.

Then in October, the ebook will emerge.  Paperback should follow within a week or so.  The audiobook will be just a little behind that, but I plan on using the prolific and hard-working Kevin Pierce for that and I know he’ll have things completed in no time.

If I can get everything completed on schedule I anticipate making the ebook available for pre-order.  By pre-ordering, you can purchase it during the pre-order period and have it delivered to your device immediately as it becomes available.

Thanks for your interest.

Books, Brews, and Boos

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The folks at Red Vein Army have invited me to participate in their Books, Brews and Boos event in Richmond, VA, on August 14th at 8 pm.  The event will take place at Strangeways Brewing.  It will be my privilege to add a touch of Post-Apocalyptic flair to their horror event.  There will be seven horror authors, including myself. 

At first, I wasn’t sure if my book fit or not but I have to admit that I have a lot of people telling me that my book either gave them nightmares or at least kept them up at night.  That’s horror of the frightfully realistic kind.  And we all know that sometimes its the human monsters that can be the scariest.

But Richmond…

The city is special to me because that’s where the journey of my characters in THE BORROWED WORLD starts.  Their business trip to Richmond quickly becomes the trip from hell.

Richmond is also special to me because I’m a VCU grad and had some great times there in that city.  I have great memories of living in the Fan district and Oregon Hill.  Hanging at the James River before they cleaned it all up.  Wandering Hollywood Cemetery.  Eating my first Fried Provolone Sandwich at The VIllage Café.  Going to Main Street Thrift.  Seeing GWAR and the Butthole Surfers perform together.  Seeing shows at Rockitz.  Wandering Grace Street when you could see anything in the world there, even things you couldn’t un-see no matter how much you tried.

Anyway, I appreciate their invitation and am looking forward to the event.  If you’re in the neighborhood and it sounds like your cup of tea, stop by to say hello, have a beer, and enjoy what promises to be some entertaining conversation.

If you’re interested, check out their interview with me for the Pretty & Putrid Blog at http://prettynputrid.blogspot.com/2015/08/meet-franklin-horton.html

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Some of my favorite Post-Apocalyptic / Prepper Novels

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As a writer of books that some classify as Post-Apocalyptic or Prepper Fiction, I frequently get emails from people saying that they liked my book and want to know if I could recommend any similar books.  Some of those folks, with brains wired like mine, write more urgently saying that they are obsessed with this category of fiction and cannot stop reading it.  They want more.  So I want to share a few of the titles that I’ve really enjoyed in this category.

First, I have loved Post-Apocalyptic fiction since I was a kid and read Steven King’s THE STAND. I still love that story, but it’s not on my list. Though I enjoyed it, it didn’t really contribute any of the kind of information that I hope to absorb when reading better P-A/Prepper books.

Why do I love this category of fiction?

Because I love stories of survival and resourcefulness. I love stories where a person’s ability to improvise, innovate, and adapt helps them survive even in situations that they were not prepared for.
Why should you read PA/Prepper fiction?

Because there are tons of websites, TV Shows, Youtube channels, and forums out there that tell you how to be prepared and how to survive in disaster/emergency/collapse situations. There are also websites out there to that tell you what you should have in your Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag and what items should be in your EDC (Every Day Carry).

The problem is that all of these instructional websites with their lists and suggestions do not always show you how to apply the survival tools and techniques to real-life situations. It’s not their fault. They are a tremendous resource. There are just too many different scenarios and situations for these informational and educational resources to present them all.

That’s where P-A/Prepper fiction comes in.

It shows you situations and how certain gear and techniques can be used in those particular situations. The value is that if you read enough of this type of fiction, you begin to see patterns in what people carry and certain preparations they make at home. If you see any particular item used in enough books you begin to realize that this may be a valuable item for you to acquire because you’ve seen (through fiction) this item used several different times in several different ways.

This field is growing tremendously and there’s a lot of information out there, some better than others. As a critical thinker it’s up to you to decide what information is helpful to you. Prepper fiction is an area where this can help. Seeing ideas play out in a fictional sense sometimes makes it easier for you to personalize the scenarios and apply them to your life. This process of personalizing and adapting your emergency planning and emergency gear to your own situation is of utmost importance and we’ll talk about that some in another post.

For now, we’ll move on to those books I was talking about. This list is not comprehensive but let’s just consider it my introductory reading list in the topic. I’m sure I’ll have to update it as I find new books that I enjoy.  Here are some of my favorite works of Post-Apocalyptic / Prepper fiction, not in any particular order.

  1. ONE SECOND AFTER by William Forstchen. An EMP-based disaster story, this book taught me a lot about post-collapse social dynamics and how a year without power can decimate a population. On top of that it’s an extremely engaging and well-researched story.
  2. PATRIOTS by James Wesley Rawles. This is a divisive book in some circles. In my opinion, Rawles is not much of a story-teller but he does include a tremendous amount of information in this book, though much of it is on the extreme end of preparation. I sadly cannot recommend any of the follow-up books he wrote. Those were highly anticipated but fall flat.
  3. 299 DAYS by Glen Tate. There are a lot of books in this series and I think I’ve read them all. The first book in particular is extremely informative as a case study of how a man had an epiphany and realized where the country was going. He also understood that he was not at all prepared for that coming collapse. This is the story about how he became prepared. While his story might not be your story, there is still a lot of useful information in this book. If you like the story, this is a series I can recommend you following.
  4. THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC by Steven Konkoly. I love this book. While some books present a scenario that seems so unlikely you have difficulty putting placing yourself there, this was NOT the case with this book. I could imagine myself in this situation with everything unfolding exactly as Steven laid out. It’s an incredibly realistic book. What this book taught me is that you don’t have to be Super-Prepper with an AR on your keychain to survive. Even a few basic preparations will put you ahead of the curve on outlasting a disaster situation.
  5. GOING HOME by Angery American. No, I didn’t misspell his name. That’s how you’ll find the books. This is another series that I highly enjoyed. The characters are believable, the flow of events seems natural, and it’s a logical book. An added plus is that if you like this series there are several more books in it. I’ve read all of them and it is one of my favorites.
  6. LUCIFER’s HAMMER by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. This book came out over thirty years ago, when post-apocalyptic novels were relegated strictly to the science fiction shelves. This is a “comet impact” story and is entertaining, but does not contain the wealth of embedded survival tips that many modern novels do.
  7. ALAS, BABYLON by Pat Frank. This book came out in 1959 so it does not read like modern popular fiction. It’s a novel about a nuclear attack and how a small town in Florida deals with it. Much like William Forstchen, the author of this book sought to influence politics with his work. As with some of the others, this is a good story if you enjoy these novels but does not include much in the way of practical preparations. The psychological impact of disaster on these characters is something that would probably be experienced in a similar manner today. As I dealt with in my novel, one of the toughest hurdles for many people to accept is that a disaster really is unfolding around you. Face it.
  8. THE PERSEID COLLAPSE by Steven Konkoly. Okay, I’ve already mentioned Steven above as the author of THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC, however, a few years after that novel he re-entered the world of those characters. This book launched a new series in that same world. It’s nothing short of fantastic and carries through several different volumes, so if you like it there’s more.

You know, I feel like I’m leaving people out because this is a vibrant category and there are a lot of good folks writing here now. Readers react differently to different writers and different stories. These were all writers who spoke to me and I’d encourage you to give them a try and see if they speak to you, as well.

The Audiobook Lives

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I love audiobooks because they allow me to experience more books than I can read in the conventional manner.  I can only sit and read so long each day, but if I expand my “reading” time to include driving, mowing, bicycling, walking, and any other task I can do while wearing an iPod, then I can cover way more books.

For this very reason I am very excited that the audiobook of THE BORROWED WORLD is now available.  Kevin Pierce did an absolutely incredible job of capturing the tone of the book and the nuance of the dialogue.  He completely “got it” – he knew where I was going and he took the audio there.  If any of you have listened to Glen Tate’s 299 DAYS series, you’ll immediately recognize Kevin Pierce’s narration.

It’s available on Amazon, you can get it through audible.com if that’s your venue of choice, and if you can download it through iTunes.

Thanks for reading and continue to stay tuned for the next installment.  Cover design will be starting soon and I’ll unveil that here as we get closer.

Franklin Horton

A Cool Email

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I’ve been getting a lot of cool email and I really appreciate that.  It helps me know that I’m on the right track with this series of books. I’ve been out of town for a few days.  That’s my “smiling” face up there at the top taken while I was kayak fishing at Douthat State Park in Virginia.  While I was gone, I got a nice email that I have shared below.  It came from CW, but the name won’t be shared so don’t feel like you can’t contact me without risk of being outed as a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction.

Thanks for emailing and thanks for reading.  If you liked the book, tell your friends.

Franklin Horton

Mr. Horton:

I just finished “A Borrowed World” and had to write. I’ve read a LOT of apocalyptic fiction over the years because I enjoy it. My life’s work has been in the medical profession in emergency and disaster care so the genre feels natural.

Your book was excellent; far and away better than most I’ve read, especially for someone who is just starting with their publishing. (And yes, indie publishing is fantastic!) Your plot was crisp and clear, your main characters engaging, yet strong, and the sad description of what will happen to those who fail to fully grasp the signs of the times was, well, sad.

The assumption of what will happen is probably more accurate than most have depicted. The 72 hour window that many see as when society will start to devolve is going to catch too many people unaware. It was refreshing to read someone who thought through this a little more accurately.

I can’t wait to read your next installment, and look forward to finding out what happens from the threads you left at the end – excellent idea, by the way…drives the adrenalin right back up!

Best of luck to you, and keep thinking and writing!

Another Update

I just wanted to post a quick update and let you know of some of the latest developments around The Borrowed World.  I continue to receive a lot of feedback and I appreciate your comments.  I’m glad to know that so many of you have enjoyed the book and are looking forward to the next installment.

The Borrowed World on Audio

The last few days I’ve been listening to Kevin Pierce’s excellent narration of the book.  It’s been great hearing my book read in a voice other than my own.  I think his narration is gripping and brings a whole new element to the book.  If you’re an audiobook fan, it should be available in July.  I’ll be posting updates as the release date is finalized.

The Next Book

The most common question I’m getting is about the release of the second book in the series.  I have to admit that promotion and getting the audiobook off the ground has taken some time away from writing but the draft of Book 2 is about halfway complete.  I’ve got a title in mind and I’ll release that a little later.  The projected release of Book 2 is early October.

Thanks

A lot of hands go into the production of a book.  At some point I will post more information about my journey as a writer, but suffice is to say that the journey of all writers involves a lot of frustration.  Ten years ago I completely washed my hands of the system and vowed never to write anything else ever again.  Yeah, I was pouting.

But as some point I gave up pouting and started writing again.  Part of that was due to the encouraging information shared on the websites of authors Steve Konkoly and J.A. Konrath.  They made me realize that there were now huge opportunities available to independent authors willing to publish outside of the big publishing house system.  It was impressive to me that both of these authors were willing to take their time and share information that would help other writers.  I have thanked Steve for this before and will continue to thank him.  J. A. Konrath — if you read this — thank you, too.

The First Month of Sales

I released The Borrowed World at the beginning of May.  It took a couple of days to get word out so there were really no sales that first week.  By May 7th I’d sold about ten copies and was ecstatic to be out of the single digits.  Yesterday marked the end of the first month of sales and I was excited to see where the numbers fell.

In regular Amazon sales, I sold 2664 copies of the ebook this first month.  For the Kindle Unlimited program there were 2146 downloads for the month through that program.  Kindle Unlimited allows a customer to pay a monthly fee which allows them to download participating books for free.  The author receives a payment for that download which is less than a sale, but at this stage increases exposure for the book.  That makes 4810 total paid sales of the ebook for the month of May.  I sold 161 paperbacks, too, for a total of 4971 books sold in May 2015.  I am excited to see what the next month holds.

I appreciate those of you who have read the book and shared your comments with me.  Emails of support are pouring in from English-speaking countries around the globe with everyone asking the same question:  When is Book 2 coming out?

At this point, it looks like the beginning of October.  The storylines for Book 2 and Book 3 are coming together nicely.  Book 2 is well underway and I think it will answer a lot of the questions that I’m receiving about what happened to Alice and Rebecca.

Stay tuned for updates on the audiobook and the progress of Book 2.

Thanks.

Franklin Horton