Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Oktoberfest Giveaway for Enoch’s Device!

The 180th Oktoberfest celebration is currently underway, and while Irish monks never celebrated this German holiday, they did brew great beer! So in honor of Oktoberfest (and I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of great German beer), I’ll be running a three day giveaway for Enoch’s Device on Amazon from September 25 through September 27! You can pick it up *free* on Amazon here.
Irish monks would have loved Oktoberfest!
In other news, Enoch’s Device recently received a 5-star review on Compulsionreads! You can read the entire review here, but here are some excerpts after this image of the book’s cover:

Enoch’s Device is a historical fiction novel that combines action, adventure, romance and fantasy elements to create an epic tale. The reader is instantly pulled into the life of a monk in 998 A.D. when political unrest and the battle for power between church and state created a chaotic climate where one wrong look could lead you onto a pyre.
My hat goes off to author Joseph Finley for all of the time he invested into researching not only the habits of monks thousands of years ago, but also other religions of that time and historical events which allowed him to create an authentic story line. Finley was so careful with his efforts to stay true to the social mores that even his metaphors and slang reflected the time period.
There are a lot of strong themes in this book, but one of my favorite themes was destiny. While it’s common in quest style stories for the hero to accept his fate, Finley allowed his characters to choose to go down their destined path. The reader gets to watch as the characters battle with their choices and accept the consequences of their decisions. These scenes added to realism of the story and allowed me to connect more deeply with the characters.
Enoch’s Device has a little something for everyone, making it a great book for book clubs or to just share amongst friends. Either way, I would encourage you to join the adventure.
A monk double-fisting beer and wine, all in the spirit of Oktoberfest!
I also did an author interview for the site. The full interview is re-posted below:
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I love historical fiction set in the Middle Ages, and I also adore stories with religious mysteries that need to be solved. But my primary inspiration had to be Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. It led me to wonder what might have happened if the apocalyptic clues the main characters encountered were signs of the actual apocalypse instead of evidence left by some mortal killer? And what if by solving the mystery, the monks could prevent the End of Days? Over time, those questions evolved into the premise of Enoch’s Device.
Who is your favorite character in this book and why? How did you come up with this character?
It has to be Brother Dónall mac Taidg. He’s a gruff, older monk with a fiery temper and a scholarly mind. But he’s also an enlightened thinker with a big heart. His backstory is central to one of the book’s early mysteries and it reveals Dónall’s need to exorcise some of the demons from his past.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Were there any specific scenes, characters or plot points that you really struggled with?
Without a doubt, it was the research. There’s not a lot of material readily available about the late Tenth Century, let alone what places like Poitiers or Derry were like back then. So I had to spend a ton of time in the medieval section of my university library to hunt down many of the details that made it into the book.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Enoch is a reference to the biblical Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. He is also the alleged author of the Book of Enoch, an apocryphal text that features prominently in the novel. The Book of Enoch was well known to first-century Jews, but then it all but disappeared for more than a thousand years until it was rediscovered in 1773 by the Scottish explorer James Bruce during his travels in Abyssinia. Incidentally, a copy of the Book of Enoch was also discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it happens to mention a great and glorious “device” at the ends of the earth. This mysterious object helped inspire Enoch’s Device.
What’s next for you? Are you working on a follow-up or a new book? If so, can you tell us a little bit of what it’s about?
I’m working on the sequel right now, which will pick up where the first book ends. It will also take the characters and the reader on another journey, this time to England, where the Vikings were a huge problem, and ultimately to medieval Rome.
You can also read the interview here at Compulsionreads!
* Monk images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Viking Humor

Time for blogging remains scarce, so this week I’ll make due with a little Viking humor, thanks again to the good folks at Horrible Histories!

(You can watch it here too)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My DIY Cover Art!

This week I found a few free hours in my hectic work schedule to try my hand at some do-it-yourself cover art. The cover is for a short story called Mava’s Echo, which was originally published in Mindflights in 2010 and which I’m planning on republishing, perhaps on Wattpad. I have to say, it turned out better than I imagined, and it was far easier than I ever expected.
My DIY Cover Art for Mava's Echo!
I created the cover using PowerPoint 2013, but I never could have done it without two invaluable articles I found on the web. The first is from author William King and it was the single most helpful tutorial I encountered. Almost every element of my design – as well as how to use PowerPoint for this purpose – came courtesy of Mr. King. I highly recommend his post! The second was an article about Kindle cover formatting from author Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott, and it provided the final pieces of advice that really made this cover shine (especially the recommendation to use a 600 x 900 pixel dimension for the cover instead of the 600 x 800, which is a bit too square-shaped for my taste).

Now, I’m not going to replace the professional cover designer I used for Enoch’s Device any time soon, but for a *free* short story, I must say that Mr. King’s and Ms. Parrott’s advice was invaluable. And, if I can do it, anyone can. But I’d love to hear from you – what do you think of my first attempt at DIY cover art?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Medieval Humor

Work has kept me super busy this week, but thanks to the folks at Horrible Histories, I found this amusing video to share about sieging a medieval castle. It’s one of my favorites!

(You can view it here too)