Thursday, November 28, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with James D. Bell, Author of 'Maximilian's Treasure'

Name: James D. Bell
Book Title: Maximilian’s Treasure 
Genre: Legal Thriller, Adventure, Romance      
Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
James:  I fell in love with the quest for justice the moment I first stepped into a courtroom. I lived real life drama hundreds of times in interview rooms, in the field investigating cases, and in courtrooms.  I had a passion to write about my experiences, but for decades I lacked the proper motivation.  Every book and every movie used to have a purpose, a “moral to the story.”  I feel that we have lost that purpose with some of today’s entertainment.  I am motivated to bring back the moral to the story.  That is why I write.  Maximilian’s Treasure is packed with hidden treasures for the reader to discover.  I drew upon my actual experiences to bring life to Maximilian’s Treasure.  I participated in many of the conversations, I dove the reefs, crossed the river, travelled the roads, climbed the cliffs, hung by my fingernails over the precipice, entered the cave behind the waterfall, just as described in the book. Ultimately, I found my Maximilian’s Treasure.  If you persevere, you will too.

Is this your first book?
James:  Maximilian’s Treasure is my second novel.  The characters were introduced in my first novel, Vampire Defense.  Both books are stand-alone novels.  The legal team that handled the murder trial of a man who claimed the person he killed was a vampire steps immediately into their next great adventure involving arson, kidnapping, murder and a legendary treasure.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
James:  I used a small press, Sartoris Literary Group.  I took a course at Millsaps College on “How to Sell What You Write.”  The class was taught by a publisher, James Dickerson, who presented a structured plan designed to increase the odds of 1) creating a sellable work, and 2) selling the work in an ultra-competitive market.  I followed the plan.  The publisher who taught the class offered to publish my first book!  He later told me that Vampire Defense became his best-selling novel.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
James:  I covered high school sports for the local daily newspaper when I was a teenager.  I wanted to be an author, so I wrote a couple of short stories and sent them to magazines, but I only received rejections.  I had a couple of professional works published, a law review in the 80’s and the Circuit Judges Bench Book, published in the 90’s.  My wife and I write our yearly goals on New Year’s Eve.  She pointed out that I had been talking about writing a legal thriller for years, and she urged me to put it on the list.  With her encouragement, I finished the first novel that year.  The next New Year’s Eve she urged me to put selling the book on our list of goals.  We were able to get it published within the year.  That was followed by a short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, published in Dog Stories for the Soul alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris, and others.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
James:  There must be a million books published every year.  You’ve got to find a way to make your book stand out.  You pour tremendous effort into giving birth to your story, but just like raising a child, your work is not done when the book is finished.  The real work is just beginning.  You’ve got to sell your story and you must sell yourself to the publisher.  The publisher wants assurance that you will invest as much time and effort as necessary to create interest in your work.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
James:  No one way is best for everyone.  I developed a relationship with my publisher.  He is loyal to me and I am loyal to him.  We want to succeed together.  I can recommend that to anyone.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
James:  You have stories in your mind that need to be told.  Pick one that could be a best seller.  Don’t be intimidated by a blank page or blank computer screen.  Be intentional.  Set aside time to write and follow through.  Don’t quit.  Finish the story and start the next one.  Dream great dreams and do great deeds.


Genre: Romantic Adventure 
Author: James D. Bell
Find out more on Amazon       

About the Book:

Rumors of a legendary treasure fuel a battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm.  Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm.  Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family.  The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped.  At the same time clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm.  Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues from a Caribbean reef to the Chiapas jungle.  John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm.  His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love.  Though there is great distance between them, their adventures are intertwined as they rush toward a triple climax that could shake the world.  Join the adventure and discover your Maximilian’s Treasure.

About the Author:

James D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Mardi Allen’s collection, Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live near Jackson, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell returned to law practice but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments.

Find out more: 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with YA Author Leonard Basse

Writer-actor-singer Leonard Bassed was born in the town of Middleburg, Mpumalanga and raised in Johannesburg.  He started taking vocal lessons at age eight and studied drama throughout his high school years.  A mentor encouraged him to pursue an acting career.  Leonard went on to complete acting classes in both South Africa and later Los Angeles.  Currently, when not writing or singing, Leonard continues to study acting techniques with the renowned Margie Haber Studio in Hollywood. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading and movie going.


Facebook page for author:
Twitter page for author:


Leonard Bassed had no plan to write a novel titled THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME when he set out to create a movie script with a similar name.  “I had written the pilot script first and I kept the same ending for the novel…everything from the script I wrote found its way into the finished book
version of ‘The Witch Port Video Game,’ said writer-singer-actor Leonard Bassed.  “I was able to spend more time developing the characters and their world…the whole thing was just such an organic experience and extremely enjoyable, creative for me.”

THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME tells the story through the lives of three ordinary teens who live in the fictional town of Cradle Creek, USA – a small town they hope to one day escape, attracted by the bright lights and promise of the Big City.  All three are students at a prestigious performing art school with hopes of one day making names for themselves in the entertainment world.

Mr. Bassed continued about his story, “A chance encounter the three have with a girl named Bianca Morris threatens to derail their plans. Bianca introduces them to an enticing video game, ‘The Witch Port Video Game’.  This encounter, coupled with the arrival of the MacQuoid brothers sets in motion a series of bizarre events that spins their lives into chaos and disarray as the three head into a world of sorcery with an ultimate fight for survival.”

As a young boy growing up in South Africa, Leonard dreamed one day of working in the arts.  He wanted to write, to act, to sing.  While drawn to acting and song writing, he was also a good story teller.  “The auditions I would go out for as an actor were never reflective of the kinds of roles I was after to play. It was this realization that led me to writing the pilot script which I planned to pitch to TV and movie producers.  But, once I finished the script I’d grown too attached to the characters and the wonders of their world that ultimately led the script into the shape of a full novel,” he went on to say.

“While the book’s final moments leave us with a rather sudden, enigmatic ending, an end note does indicate a sequel Witch Port Igniting the Coven on the horizon. For those who enjoy the entertaining literary chemistry that results from inquisitive teens and their foray into the mysterious world of sorcery, Bassed’s venture should prove an intriguing reveal.”

–Pacific Book Review
“Filled with cheeky references to famous pop-culture stories of sorcery and mixed with some classic teenage angst, this book is a fast-paced, suspenseful story. The novel’s premise that some teenagers gain special powers through a video game is an updated, modern take on magic and suits the story quite well for a 21st-century setting. The author sets up the story mechanisms so that everything that happens through the students’ video game play also happens in real life. The author states that this novel was originally a screenplay, and those elements shine through, from the descriptive settings to the fast pace in which the action occurs on the page. It will be interesting to see how the protagonists grow with their powers in the sequel.”
–The U.S. Review of Books

Book can be purchased at the author’s web site at

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Leonard: Initially I wrote The Witch Port Video Game pilot script in June of 2014 after returning home from a trip I made to Los Angeles, California in the USA. Upon its completion I had grown to attached to the world and characters this ultimately led my script into the shape of the finished novel, the first installment in the series.
Is this your first book?
Leonard: The Witch Port Video Game, is my first published work but I have other things that I’ve written. Some of which I hope to share some day but for the time being I’m pretty content working on this project.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Leonard: Being that this is my debut novel I chose to self-published my book, wanting to maintain complete creative control of the project. I was worried that had I gone the traditional route I wouldn’t have had as much input as I wanted.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Leonard: I have definitely faced my fair share of challenges but ultimately each one has been a major growth point for me. I have learnt to really trust each step of the process. The experience was really rewarding and empowering. The three major cons to my publishing journey were: 1) You don’t know what you don’t know, so you need to do your homework. 2) The buck stops with you, so you really need to be on the ball. 3) There is definitely still a stigma attached to getting self-published, this makes certain people reluctant to read your book, and its generally harder getting your book into stores.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Leonard: You get out of it what you put into it. I believe in letting one’s work speak for itself.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Leonard: I don’t have any regrets, but I don’t think self-publishing is for everyone. It’s a lot of work and you really need to be very self-motivated to produce really great work because no one is going to push you or insist that you are thorough, that has to come from you.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Leonard: There is honestly no time like the present, its not a race it’s a marathon. It’s about incremental progress that takes you closer to your dreams. Develop a system of work that you enjoy. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with Brooks Eason, Author of 'Fortunate Son - the Story of Baby Boy Francis'

Name: Brooks Eason
Book Title: Fortunate Son - the Story of Baby Boy Francis
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: WordCrafts Press, Nashville, TN
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I've always loved to write, from inappropriate limericks to short stories to my two books. I got serious about it when I wrote my first book, Travels with Bobby - Hiking in the Mountains of the American West. It's about hiking trips with my best friend and was published by Lulu Press in 2015. It's available from Lulu, Amazon, and other sites.
As for this book, fifteen years ago, on the eve of the birth of my first grandchild, a fascinating story fell into my lap. I was adopted as an infant, had wonderful parents, never searched for my birth mother, and never would have, but I was found as a result of litigation in four courts in two states because I was a potential heir to a fortune from my birth mother's very wealthy grandfather. My granddaughter and I were born under almost identical circumstances. My birth mother got pregnant when she was a freshman in college, my daughter when she was a sophomore. The circumstances were the same, but the times were very different, and my daughter got to keep her child, who has grown into an extraordinary young lady. I learned my name was Scott Francis for the first year of my life on the day she was born. It was too good of a story not to write.
Is this your first book?
Author: This is my second.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I chose a small independent publisher that was recommended to me by an author friend. I self-published my first book and that was fine, but it created limitations. I also didn't have the patience to try to find an agent to pitch my book to a major press.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: The journey was short. I did some internet research and got some advice and decided a small, independent publisher was a good option. An author friend recommended WordCrafts, I completed the submission a few days later, Mike Parker, the head guy, emailed the next day and said he would love to publish my book, and we signed a contract the day after. I've been very pleased.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Things are constantly changing, and new options are appearing all the time. One thing I learned, and one of the reasons I chose a small, independent publisher, is that an author who's not yet famous will have primary responsibility for marketing the book no matter who publishes it. Nobody else is going to do it unless you hire a publicist. I did nothing to market my first book, and the sales volume reflected it. All five-star reviews on Amazon, just not many of them. I'm doing more this time.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Definitely
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Write for the love of it, not for the money, and choose a subject matter that really interests you and you really want to write about and explore. You'll be successful if you do your best work and it's fulfilling and readers appreciate it. You probably won't get rich doing it, but bully for you if you do.


AuthorBrooks Eason             
Publisher: WordCrafts Press, Nashville, TN
Find out more:
On the eve of the birth of his first grandchild, Mississippi lawyer Brooks Eason learned the truth about a mystery he’d lived with for nearly fifty years: the story of his birth and his birth mother’s identity.  Perhaps even more surprising was how the story was finally revealed:  It turned out that Eason was a potential heir to an enormous fortune from his birth mother’s family.  His original identity finally saw the light of day only as result of litigation in four courts in two states, initiated in an effort to identify and find the heir.  Eason, who was raised in Tupelo by loving parents, found out on the day his granddaughter was born that he began his life as Scott Francis, which remained his legal name for the first year of his life.  Fortunate Son – The Story of Baby Boy Francis is the story of how he learned the story. 
And what a story it is.
A truth-is-stranger-than-fiction memoir that unfolds in the Deep South, Fortunate Son is a deeply personal and deeply moving story about families, secrets, and choices.  Resplendent with intrigue, drama, and mystery—all the hallmarks of a blockbuster novel—Fortunate Son is a true story, unembellished, unpretentious, and at times almost unbelievable.  Eason, a gifted storyteller with an incredible story to tell, delivers a gripping, satisfying, meaningful memoir.  Told with candor, wit, and honesty, Fortunate Son is a thoughtful and thought-provoking first person narrative that will have readers turning pages. 
Though Eason was ultimately not the beneficiary of the fortune, he is quick to point out that he received a different kind of wealth:  knowing the truth and finally being able to dive headfirst into the story of his origin, uncovering fascinating blood relatives and stories along the way. 
Much more than a memoir about birth and adoption, Fortunate Son is a long love letter from the author to the parents who raised him, a heartfelt thank you to the birth mother who gave him the whole world when she gave him away, and a moving tribute to his beloved daughter who faced circumstances similar to those his birth mother faced and bravely chose to keep her baby.  A tale of two stories that unfolded in different times, Fortunate Son is an extraordinary story extraordinarily well-told. 


Brooks Eason loves stories, reading and writing them, hearing and telling them. He also loves music, dogs, and campfires as well as his family and friends. His latest book is Fortunate Son – the Story of Baby Boy Francis, an amazing memoir about his adoption, discovery of the identity of his birth mother, and much more.

Eason has practiced law in Jackson for more than 35 years but has resolved to trade in writing briefs for writing books.  He lives with his wife Carrie and their two elderly rescue dogs, Buster and Maddie, and an adopted stray cat named Count Rostov for the central character in A Gentleman in Moscow, the novel by Amor Towles.  In their spare time, the Easons host house concerts, grow tomatoes, and dance in the kitchen.  Eason, who has three children and four grandchildren, is also the author of Travels with Bobby – Hiking in the Mountains of the American West about hiking trips with his best friendVisit Brooks online at  WordCrafts Press is an independent publishing company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit WordCrafts online at


It was a Tuesday morning in June 2004. The day had started like any other. I walked the dogs, ate breakfast while reading the paper, then drove downtown to work. I was in my office on the 14th floor of the Trustmark Bank Building when my phone rang. It was my father, Paul Eason. He rarely called me at work but had just listened to an intriguing voicemail. He was calling to tell me about it.
Daddy was 82 and lived by himself in Tupelo, Mississippi, in the home where I grew up. It was the only home he and my mother Margaret ever owned. She had died five years earlier in the bedroom they shared for more than forty years. I lived three hours south of Tupelo in Jackson, where I had practiced law for two decades. 
The message was from a woman in New Orleans, also a lawyer. She said her firm was conducting a nationwide, court-ordered search for Paul Eason, age 46. I go by my middle name, but my first name is Paul and I was about to turn 47. I told Daddy I would return the call. 
Why a court in New Orleans would order someone to search the entire country for me was a mystery. A theory occurred to me, but after all these years it didn’t seem possible. Because I didn’t know the reason for the call, I decided not to identify myself as the Paul Eason the lawyer was trying to find. I would just say I was Brooks Eason and was returning the call she had placed to my father. But when she came to the phone, she already knew who I was.
“I can’t believe we found you.” 
“What is this about?”
“An inheritance.”
“Tell me more.”
*        *        *
That was the day I began to learn the story that had been a mystery to me all my life, the story of my birth and second family. In the days that followed, I found out that my name was Scott Francis – or rather that it had been – for the first year of my life. I was nearly fifty years old, but until then I didn’t know I had started life with a different name, much less what it was. My name, as well as the rest of the story, had been a secret. This is the story of how I learned the secret. But this story is about more than that. It is also about the wonderful life my parents gave me, about my exceptional daughter and granddaughter, who was born just days after Daddy received the voicemail. and about how times and attitudes changed from when I was born until she was born.