Welcome to The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour!
A middle-grade fantasy-adventure by Mikey Brooks.
Don’t forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post
for a chance to WIN a $25 Amazon Gift card and other great prizes!
Interview with Mikey Brooks
Mikey, first I want to start off by thanking you for taking the time to come on over to my blog and do a Q&A with me. It is a privilege to be able to pick you brain. Lol! Let’s get started, shall we?
Can you start by first telling us how you got started as an author? Was there anything instrumental that happened in your life to instigate your writing career?
When I was little I used to play a lot in the thick woods that surrounded our farm house in Missouri. Our nearest neighbor was about a mile away so it was just me, the trees, and my imagination. Those woods allowed me to create many stories and dream of faraway lands filled with magic and wonder. I believe it was then that I became a crafter of stories. Later when I grew up I decided to get my degree in Creative Writing. Ever since that’s what I do.
How long have you been writing for?
I have been writing since I was a young boy. I have been writing professionally for the past couple years.
How does your family feel about you being an Author?
My wife understands me. Or tries to understand me. I live half my life in my head. I am constantly dreaming up stories to tell and the characters in them. She has to be very patient. I do know she is proud to say her husband is an author. She is the first one ever to read my books and I think she likes that privilege. My sister is another great supporter of my work. She has always been there to push me along. My parents both say they’re proud but I’m not sure if they’ve actually read any of my books. They aren’t big readers. Around Christmas time I think my dad said he was up to chapter 2 or 3. He doesn’t know where I got my imagination—certainly not from him. J
Is it difficult for you to find time to write? Do you have a specific time you write each day?
It can be very difficult. I work as a freelance illustrator and cover designer and I am constantly trying to catch up on all the many projects that entails. I also work from home with a roost full of little girls. Thursdays are my writing days. My wife takes the girls to grandma’s house and it is quiet. It is then I get the majority of my writing done. Sometimes I write in the evening when my wife is watching her shows. I’d gladly give up TV to write.
What do you think about writing/critique groups? What advice would you give an author who is trying to pick a group or start one?
I have been in several writing/critique groups. Finding the right one IS the important key. If you write say MG, I believe it is very important to have a group geared toward MG writers. You’ll help see things expected for your genre. I also suggest finding members that take their craft seriously. If they are there for the same goal: make your story better, you’ll get more out of it. I suggest joining the Authors’ Think Tank group on Facebook. We are a family of writers of all genres but we all form little groups of our own. It is nice to have a large body of open minded people to discuss things with and help each other out.
How do you feel about Beta and Alpha readers?
I use mostly my wife, my sister, and my editor to help me in honing my story. I also use my critique group. I have a few beta readers that are actual kids (write MG so that why I use them). They help me see whether I am connecting with them as my target readers. I think everyone should have a trusted few that help them hone their craft. However, make sure those people have the same goal in mind: making your work better. Too many voices on how “they would write the story” is not what an author needs. That just leads to confusion later on.
What do think the most important advice is that you can give to aspiring Authors?
You need to believe in yourself. Believe that you have talent. Thant no one but you can write the story in your heart. There will be times along your journey when you will get discouraged—don’t. Never give up and never give. Only you can write your story. No one else! Believe you can do it and watch as your dreams come to life.
What is the biggest mistake you think Author’s make while trying to get published?
I think they rush things. I know because I have been there. When I finished my first book about 13 years ago I was thrilled. I knew it was going to be the world’s bestselling book and I was going to retire at the age of 25 and relax on my private island in the Caribbean. I sent that book to every publishing house out there. I was crushed when I got rejection after rejection. Somehow I got a few requests but they later declined saying it wasn’t ready. I was disappointed and shelved the book. That’s when I decided to go to school and learn to write. (Note: you don’t have to do that.) 12 years passed and I was then a better writer. I found that manuscript, rewrote it from the beginning to the end and now I’ll be releasing it. Yes, The Stone of Valhalla was the first book I’d ever written. In fact, I’d written four books before I ever published one. Take your time to make your book the best it can be. There is no rush.
What would you say is the most important thing Authors need to do/know when trying to get published?
This depends on what your long term goals are as a writer. If you are just happy to get your books out there for people to read then you might want to think about self-publishing. If you want to make this a career you might want to think about indie publishing or getting an agent. Ah did you see I said both self-publishing and then indie? They are both self-publishing titles but I think the word “indie” implies these authors are serious about their work. It’s not just a hobby or something to share…it’s their livelihood. I always tell an aspiring author to either go BIG (meaning the big publishers which requires agents) or go INDIE (which is becoming a self-published entrepreneur). Both take hard work and determination. So the most important thing: find out what your long term goals are.
So now tell us about your writing. What genre do you write?
I write middle-grade and picture books. I have always had a love for children’s literature and so that is what I have decided to focus my attention on.
How many books do you currently have published? What are they about?
I have several picture books including the Amazon bestselling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures. It’s a concept book about mythical animals and the alphabet. I also have Bean’s Dragons and Trouble with Bernie, both explore imaginary friends and the consequences of our actions. In middle-grade genre I have two books out in The Dream Keeper Chronicles, a story about two teens that have to save the world from a nightmare trying to escape the world of Dreams. The final book comes out this summer. And I just released The Stone of Valhalla!
Did you go through a traditional publisher or self-publish? Why did you decide to pick this particular route?
I was on the fence for a long time exploring both options. I studied both routes for about two years. And I mean I studied. I read every report I could find to know the ins and outs before I did anything. I have to know how deep the water is before I jump. With my picture books I just self-published them. It was easy and I used them as a platform to get more clients for my freelance business. My middle-grade books I was more determined to traditionally publish. I queried for well over a year and got no request from agents. I then decided to try for a smaller press and got to offers. I declined one and accepted the other. However, I want happy with all the rights and restrictions with the contract. I am a huge audiobook fan and wanted one of my book. The publisher wanted my rights but never planned on using them ALWAYS exploit your rights! Use them! I ended up declining the contract (hardest thing so far) and I self-published. I now have my book in eBook, hardback, paperback, AND Audiobook! I couldn’t be happier with my choice. I still desire to be traditionally published. I want to be what is termed as a “hybrid author”. I am currently seeking an agent and I have one manuscript with an agent now.
Your current book The Stone of Valhalla promises to be quite a fun adventure. Tell us about it.
Yes! This is a fun fantasy-adventure about a boy named Aaron who stumbles across an amulet in an old lady’s basement. The amulet whisks him away to another world and he is immediately put on trial for witchcraft, having just appeared in the center of town. Aaron narrowly escapes the fire when goblins attack the village. He then learns this amulet holds great power the goblins will stop at nothing to get. He teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and tries to find his way back home. However Aaron’s fate is tied to the amulet. He was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the price of losing his own. It really is a fun story!
I’m quite excited to read this book with my own children. Is it for all ages? Who would you say your target audience is?
This is appropriate for ages 9 and up. It is one of those Narnian tales that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next. I think adults will love the book just as much as the kiddos. In fact it is already getting raving reviews from adults.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about? Book signings, release dates, ect . . .
Yes! The book is available now and at a discounted price for the length of the blog tour. Just $2.99 for the eBook and $9.99 for the paperback. I also have eBooks of The Dream Keeper Chronicles on sale during this time for just $0.99. That’s about $2 or more off the list price. There will be an online launch party hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook on April 10th and a LIVE release party April 12th at the Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah, from 6pm-9pm. We will be having giveaways including a $25 Amazon gift card AND at the LIVE event we’ll have several guest authors including Chad Morris, J. Scott Savage, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and Lisa Mangum. It should be a super fun event.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me. Good luck with your upcoming book! I’m so excited to read it.
Thank you so much it has been fun!
Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of losing his own.
Breaking into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town...literally. The good news: Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his own?
Check out what these talented authors are saying about it:
“The Stone of Valhalla is one of those books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn't just create a world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will not be able to put down!”
—J.R. Simmons, author of Ragesong: Awakening.
“The Stone of Valhalla drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The Wizard of Oz. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve ever experienced!”
—BBH McChiller, author of The Monster Moon Series.
“The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end. Fantastic!”
—L.R.W. Lee, author of The Andy Smithson series.
Where to Find The Stone of Valhalla:
Exclusive price for the eBook release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)
And only $9.99 for the paperback! (List Price: $12.99)
On April 12th 2014 the price will return to the List Price
Another special offer:
During The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour
Mikey’s other great middle-grade eBooks will also be set to the low price of just $0.99!
The Dream Keeper:
You’re Invited to PARTY!!
The online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm (MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime. The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event: http://goo.gl/Q2Fd3r.
What’s that? Another Party!
That’s right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are the guest authors! Just check out these fabulous names: J. Scott Savage, Chad Morris, Lisa Mangum, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and many more. The Launch Party is: Friday, April 11th from 6-9pm at the Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah. Follow this link for a map: http://goo.gl/dqVc0u
About Mikey Brooks:
Mikey is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons as well as the middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. The Dream Keeper Chronicles His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’. He is also one of
the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/
Enter the giveaway below to be entered to win one of the following prizes:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
The Stone of Valhalla Necklace
Autographed Paperback of The Stone of Valhalla
Autographed 11x17 Poster
You can enter by clicking on the link below.