What the f@#k have you been doing???

If you’re one of those kind readers who pop in on this site from time to time, my guess is that might be the question you’d ask me. Well, the answer is, I hope, one you’ll be pleased to hear.


The Wrath of Heroes, Book Two of A Requiem for Heroes, is closing in on completion. I’m over 100,000 words and the end is in sight. Another couple of chapters for each POV character and we should be done. I’ve been doing heavy edits as well, so once I reach the end of the story the turnaround time for publishing should be brief.

Frankly, I have to say I feel it is a strong story. Lots of action, a few big twists, and my beta readers have been quite pleased. I feel–I hope–that it does not suffer from the usual “blah” one sees with middle books in fantasy trilogies.

Wanna see the cover? Check back soon and I’ll show you. And I’ll keep the updates a little more regular now that we’re getting toward the end of the book.



An (overdue) update.

Happy Sunday everyone. I just wanted to check in and give a quick update to anyone planning on picking up Book Two, the dreaded middle child in A Requiem for Heroes.

The book is coming along quite well now after hitting a few snags that slowed progress. I’m well beyond the 2/3s mark and pushing hard for a fall release. I’m in the midst of writing some interesting twists now and am excited to get through the final chapters I have planned.

More news soon, so watch this space!



Fancy a listen?

I’ve found most who’ve read my book never realized there was an audio version available. Who are these philistines, you ask? My reaction, precisely. Then I did a little digging and found Audible has continued to miscategorize the book as a horror novel despite several requests and temporary corrections. The problem is being remedied, and soon their site will indicate that What Remains of Heroes is, indeed, epic fantasy.

So, to reiterate: What Remains of Heroes is available as an audiobook!!! And it is epic fantasy!!! And the narrator, Andrew Tell, did an amazing job!!! And it’s available HERE!!!

Fancy a listen? Even a FREE Audible download? If so, drop your name and email address in the Comments section and I’ll forward a download code to the first three folks requesting. Don’t worry, I will not publish the comment so your privacy is secure.

Enjoy the sweet sounds of epic fantasy!



Interview with Barbara Webb

StoryBundle currently has a heck of a deal available. For one low price you can grab all ten of the books selected as finalists in Mark Lawrence’s first SPFBO competition. Click HERE for details.

All Covers Large

One of my fellow finalists, Barbara Webb, was kind enough to stop by for an interview. Barbara’s City of Burning Shadows was placed into the finals by Elitist Book Reviews, and named contest favorite by them as well.

David Benem: Congrats on your performance in the SPFBO finals and selection to the SPFBO StoryBundle! City of Burning Shadows scored consistently well with the bloggers. What do you feel are the biggest strengths of your book, both in terms of your writing and your story?

Barbara Webb: Most of the reviewers called out both the setting and the story itself–the way the mystery played out–as strengths of the book. Those are definitely two of the elements I put the most work into when I was writing. Shadows is urban fantasy, which traces its roots back to noir, so I wanted to make sure I did justice to the mystery element.

I like keeping people guessing. I like surprising the reader. And my goal is always to build a story that will reward on the second read as well as the first–making sure there are details and decisions that gain a whole new context when you’re rereading with the knowledge of what’s actually happening. These are the fun parts of writing for me, and I would like to think those are elements I successfully built into Shadows.

DB: Ash is an interesting character, bitter and sarcastic and hiding from his past. Yet, he possesses a resolve to save his dying world. What was your inspiration for him, and for the setting?

BW: As a reader and as a writer, I love stories about how we deal with loss. As a writer, I love stripping away everything a character has and seeing what’s left, what pushes them forward despite everything. Ash was definitely that character for me, and he needed to be in a world where he was in danger of losing everything.

I also love the notion of a soft apocalypse–a world that’s winding down, where things have gone wrong in a way that can’t be fixed, but people haven’t broken all they down to the Mad Max place yet. So these were the two shiny toys I was playing with when I started outlining this book.

DB: Many who’ve reviewed City of Burning Shadows make particular note of your world-building. What was your process for that? How did the world develop in your head and on the page?

BW: So…confession time. I’m a gamer. Like, old-school hardcore gamer. I came by it honestly. My parents played D&D with their friends, and some of my earliest memories are of watching them all sitting around a table throwing dice.

So world-building for me is an interactive process. When I come up with a world, when I start to have an inkling of the sort of story I want to tell, I run it as a game. (My friends are all aware of and supportive of this process that makes them guinea pigs.)

The great thing about running a game before I write the book is that generally, the players have a lot of the same questions readers have. As I answer their questions, as I fill out the world as they move through it, it gives me all kinds of useful building blocks for when I sit down to write the book. It forces me to think about the world in a three dimensional way. It’s a handy trick. I recommend it for any writer.

DB: Elitist Book Reviews selected your novel as their favorite of the SPFBO, stating there was no reason it couldn’t be traditionally published right now. What led you to indie publication, and to enter your title in the SPFBO? How would you describe your experience with indie publishing?

BW: One of the things I like best about indie publishing is knowing that I will stay in control of the story. No matter how well or poorly they do, I’ll be able to finish Ash’s story. That was important to me. There’s a freedom to indie publishing that’s appealing. I’m enjoying it so far.

I’m not saying if a publisher came to me with a contract that I’d turn them down out of hand, but one of the things indie publishing had done for authors is give us choices. In the old days, if you didn’t like the terms of a contract and you didn’t have enough clout to change it, your choices were either to deal with the bad terms or accept your book was never going to see the light of day. Now, if I don’t like the terms of a deal, I can walk away and publish the book myself. It gives writers more power to negotiate a favorable career, and that’s amazing.

Which is why experiences like the SPFBO are so critical, to writers, to readers, to the industry as a whole. The more people can see that yes, there are excellent self-published books to be found, the more people are willing to trust indie books as a reading experience, the more freedom writers will have to pursue the career path that works best for them.

DB: You’ve just published What Dreams Shadows Cast, the sequel to City of Burning Shadows. Congratulations! Do you feel your writing evolved from City of Burning Shadows, and, if so, how? Did the reviews from the SPFBO change your approach to writing in any way?

BW: It’s hard to judge, really. There are writing elements I think I handled better in What Dreams Shadows Cast. Ideally, we all improve over time with practice. But there’s a lot I love about Shadows, still.

Mainly what I got from the SPFBO reviews was a sense of relief! For the most part, the reviewers seemed to be reading the book I meant to write. They got what I wanted them to get out of the book. Which I think is the best thing a writer can hope for. Personal taste is always a thing, and some people will like the book and other people won’t, but the best case is they like or dislike it based on the book as you meant it to be, and not because of a failure of communication.

DB: What can readers expect from What Dreams Shadows Cast?

BW: What Dreams Shadows Cast finds Ash and his friends having to figure out their next steps. The immediate crisis of Shadows is over, but the gods are still missing in action and the world is still falling apart. In Dreams, readers will get to see more of Ash’s world as Ash digs into secrets that it turns out even the gods had wanted to stay buried. Also, we get to meet new people and take a field trip out into the desert! What could be easier or more fun?


Thanks to Barbara for the thoughtful answers! Her Amazon author page is HERE if you’d like to check out City of Burning Shadows and its sequel, What Dreams Shadows Cast.



Bundles and Bundles!!!

What Remains of Heroes is presently included in an indie fantasy book bundle through StoryBundle! The deal is you can get ten great indie fantasy titles–books selected as the 10 best books out of nearly 300 entrants in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO contest–for one reasonable price. You can also do some good and select some of your payment to go to charity, as well. Win, win.

Details here: GREAT BOOK DEAL!!!!

I’ll blog about this again, and will be interviewing another of the bundle authors, Barbara Webb, in a few days.

Go get yourself some good books!



Trad v. Indie Pub Slap Fighting

I don’t usually get too serious on here, but today was one of those days.  Especially after reading this article on The Guardian: Ros Barber’s Supercilious Meltdown (ok I made up that title).

At first I worried Ms. Ros Barber’s unquestioned genius was being both under-appreciated and underpaid. Then I thought it through a little more.

I take exception to a great many of Ms. Barber’s assertions on the business, quality, and ambitions of self-publishing. Much of her proffered “evidence” is anecdotal at best, arbitrarily contrived at worst. In either case, her positions are misleading to anyone considering self-publishing as a possible avenue for getting their book to market. They also insult indie authors with the implicit accusation that we don’t care about the quality of our work. I disagree. We write because we love it.

Ms. Barber contends self-published authors spend 90% of their time promoting. This “fact” comes from some anonymous someone who posted on her blog. I’m sure the experience is different for everyone (a position not seemingly shared by Ms. Barber), but I spend hardly any time promoting. I post the occasional tweet. At present, Ms. Barber’s “pinned” tweet, from April 5, is her promo for her book “Devotion.” I write an occasional post on my blog. The header on Ms. Barber’s blog is presently, again, a promo for her book “Devotion.” There’s simply not much of a difference in the effort, but one thing that’s clear is that Ms. Barber finds value in time spent promoting herself and her works. I presume she wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. Neither would a lot of other authors, traditional and indie alike.

Ms. Barber also contends that indie authors don’t make money. In support, she offers the anecdote of a writer who wrote seven books and made money (less than 100 pounds) on only one, and concludes that “70% of nothing is nothing.” While her math is correct, her facts are not. Sweeping accusations and gross generalizations about a publication path that has given us the likes of Michael J. Sullivan, Anthony Ryan, and Hugh Howey simply don’t work. There are plenty of self-published authors who make money doing it. Heck, I do–my book earned enough in a month and a half to qualify me for membership in the SFWA. Am I quitting my day job because of it? No, but the vast majority of traditionally published authors aren’t doing that, either. Including Ms. Barber. We write because we love it.

Most of Ms. Barber’s remaining points are various forms of insult, claiming those who self-publish haven’t spent time learning how to write, don’t take writing seriously, or are mysteriously compelled to act like twitchy tweet monkeys on social media. I know several self-published authors, and a few traditionally published authors as well. These points apply to none of them. Rather, the arguments are specious and one wonders if they serve any purpose other than elevating Ms Barber’s ego.

We write because we love it. We care about our words, we care about our stories and the worlds we create. We put our books on the market because we hope others will be moved or entertained. For people who care truly about their work–who take it seriously–it doesn’t matter if the work gets to market by indie or traditional means. And it doesn’t matter if the work makes millions or wins the Man Booker.

We write because we love it.



A Few Good Weeks

What Remains of Heroes has had a very nice run of late, and I am honored. Shortly after finishing as a finalist in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO, the book was named a top 25 indie fantasy book in two separate lists. Indeed, Best Fantasy Books placed it in their top 5 (Lookie here!) and had some very nice things to say about it.

So, while I continue plugging away on Book 2 (about two-thirds there–I promise!!), please consider grabbing a copy of What Remains of Heroes over on Amazon. If you’ve already grabbed a copy, you can of course grab another.  Here’s the link:




Uh, is anybody still there?

Sorry for the prolonged absence and lack of updates to the site. I have a long list of tired excuses but you don’t want to hear those. What you DO want to hear (I hope, at least) is when you can get your grubby mitts on book two!!!

I’ve been hard at work on writing–and re-writing–and things are moving along nicely. That’s the good news. The bad news is that one of the story arcs (Lannick’s, incidentally) didn’t feel like I needed it to and that required a major overhaul. But that’s been done and now we’re at about the 2/3 to 3/4 mark. The release date may need to be pushed a bit from late spring, but hopefully not too far. I’ll be in touch with my cover artist soon so hopefully I can reveal that in the not-too-distant future.

In other news, What Remains of Heroes fared well in the Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off, having made the top ten (out of 270 or so entrants) and being named the favorite book of the contest by both Fantasy Book Review and Beauty in Ruins. I can’t give enough thanks to Mark Lawrence (who organized and relentlessly promoted the contes) and the reviewers (who committed to reading a LOT of books). It was a fun ride and well worth it. In addition to some great publicity, I was also able to connect with some great authors and reviewers. Head over to Twitter and check out the #SPFBO–you’ll find some excellent reads you may not have otherwise heard about.

Anyways, time for me to get to writing. I’ll have an update soon. Promise.

The Stabby Awards

Happy New Year, indeed! I was very pleased to discover that What Remains of Heroes has been nominated for a Stabby award over on reddit.com, in the category of best self/indie pubbed fantasy of 2015! Voting is underway now through January 6, so if you’ve not done so already please consider taking a moment to cast your lot for your favorite(s). Plenty of other interesting categories to peruse as well.

Here’s the link:



Happy Holidays to All (and a giveaway!)

It’s been a busy few weeks for me between trying to get ready for Christmas and dealing with everyday life. Oh, and trying to squeeze in a fair bit of writing, as well.

Book Two is coming along nicely, and at present I am writing a riveting (to me, anyway) scene with Lannick and the Necrists. I won’t give much away, other than to say there is some rather grotesque imagery which made my dear wife cringe while giving the scene a read-through. My work is done, then!

Bale’s storyline in particular has taken shape very well. He’s teamed up now with another character from What Remains of Heroes, is well into his journey, and has been quite entertaining to write. I’m hoping the readers will enjoy it.

Karnag is, well, Karnag, and there are dark times afoot in his and Fencress’s storyline. I’ll leave it at that.

Anyway, just a reminder that the Audiobook–excellently narrated by veteran performer Andrew Tell–of What Remains of Heroes is available. If you have an Audible account (or have been wanting to sign up) and would like a copy, leave a comment/request here and I’ll pass along a promo code to the first ten to politely ask for it. Make sure to leave your email address.

The newly revised (corrected what few typos were in the first printing) paperback makes an excellent holiday gift as well.

Happy Holidays to one and all. Read thee well!