Today's Guest Post is Sue Dent, author of the Thirsting for Blood horror fantasy series. Enjoy.
In 2005, I enrolled my now 20-year-old son in kindergarten and sent my now 26-year-old daughter on her way to the seventh grade. It seemed the perfect time to pursue publishing my stories so that others could enjoy them as much as I did. Perhaps they would enjoy them enough for me to make a living off of writing. I had several stories to choose from, but I wanted to start with something fresh. I decided on vampires. I grew up with Dark Shadows and never lost my love for Barnabus and Quentin Collins. Therefore, with my new free time, I scribed my first vampire/werewolf novel but struggled with a title for it. I ventured out to a nearby mall at one point to think about this. Upon entering, I spied a banner stretched from one side of the ceiling to the other, that read; “Never Cease” . . . something, something, something. Ceese was one of the main characters in my story, and so the title was born. I did so enjoy the comments by some potential readers, “Why should I read this book? The author can’t even spell.” And this was after receiving reviews from the likes of Eric Wilson of “Fireproof” fame.
Though I had a relatively complete MS for Never Ceese, I felt something about it was missing when I read through it. I decided to find someone who might help me figure out what that “something” might be. I searched for and found “professional” editor Arlene W. Robertson. Together she and I whipped Never Ceese into shape. At the end of it all, I had an MS with a guaranteed less than 2 percent error rate and a chunk of change now invested in my debut novel. It paid off, though. I got picked up by a “traditional” publisher because they knew they didn’t have to invest in an edit. They paid me an advance against royalties, (that never came) and printed 5000 hard copies with dust covers of Never Ceese and took me to Book Expo America in 2006 to sign 500 copies to give away to libraries and visitors. I even had someone offer to make my never-read-by-anyone book into a movie. I left the BEA wondering what the heck just happened.
I spent the bulk of my time at the BEA hanging out with Captain Jack Sparrow. Who wouldn’t? Yes, I spent the day with Johnny! Johnny O’Kelly, that is, an impeccable Capt. Jack Sparrow and my obsession.
During the time I was with this publisher, I (not my publisher) submitted Never Ceese to be considered for a Bram Stoker award. It ended up making the Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in a First Novel the year Jonothan Mayberry won in that category with Ghost Road Blues.
When I shared this information with my publisher, they responded with, “let us know when you win.” Because of making the preliminary ballot (I’m guessing) The British Fantasy Society contacted me and wanted to know if they could review “Never Ceese.” They have asked to review every book I’ve written since then. Forever Richard even made the 2009 BFS Long List.
Shortly after all of this happened, my first publisher went under and sold all my books to a liquidator. I was picked up by a second “traditional” publisher who helped me get Forever Richard out before they too fell to the dreaded return policy set up between big publishers and bookstores during the depression to help bookstores survive. (I won’t get into that here, but I do so love to talk about it if you ever want to hit me up for a nice long chat.)
Mr. Nicholas “Halloween” Grabowsky (author of Halloween IV and reviewer of Never Ceese) offered to help me with his publishing company, Black Bed Sheet Books, which enabled me to get onto my own self-publishing feet with S D Enterprises where I do it all! Book covers, formatting, my website, you name it — all but the editing. I still get help with that as I want to appeal to as many readers as possible.
I have a new goal for my writing now, though, and it isn’t to make a living with it. My new goal is to make back all of the money I’ve invested thus far. After that, shoot, I’ll give my books away or at least only charge what it costs to print them and ship them.
Thirsting For Blood Book 1
by Sue Dent
Genre: Horror Fantasy
Publisher: S D Enterprises
Publication Date: July 25, 2018
What happens when a determined werewolf and a skeptical vampire join forces at the request of an aging friend?
Will they succeed in finding a way to rid themselves of their respective curses in spite of their natural hatred for each other or will they suffer at the hands of a radical and evil stem cell researcher who wants the fame and immortality he believes their blood will give him?
Thirsting For Blood Book 2
Publication Date: July 28, 2018
A new vampire inhabiting Richard's castle, a stranger with the alleged knife of the Akedah, a malevolent werewolf stalking Ceese, and the impossible-to-kill Dr. Henderson.
Now mortal once again, Richard and Ceese thought their troubles were behind them. What will they do when they learn that isn't true? And how will they survive the new evil that threatens to destroy them all?
Cyn No More
Thirsting For Blood Book 3
Publication Date: September 4, 2019
A vampire dead set on reclaiming what it lost. A father determined to save his son from the evil that stalks him and an ancient good. Can Richard be saved from Cyn? Vampires, Werewolves and the Daoine Maithe.
Penny For Your Thoughts
Thirsting For Blood Book 4
The saga continues. Cassie's boyfriend Darrell arrives with proof that her mother is still alive in spite of what Grandmother Penny told her.
Rodney struggles with emotions he can't believe he's having for Ceese and an old flame pushes the boundaries of Penny and Richard's new-found relationship. Will Professor Henderson finally succeed in changing Ceese back into a werewolf for his own diabolical purposes?
Sue Dent hails from Mississippi and is the author of Never Ceese and Forever Richard the first two installments in her Thirsting for Blood Series. Her debut novel Never Ceese appeared on the 2007 preliminary ballot for a Bram Stoker Award. Her second book in her Thirsting for Blood Series, Forever Richard, made the 2010 long-list at the British Fantasy Society.
Both Never Ceese and Forever Richard made the 2009 Pluto Award long-list with Never Ceese moving onto the top three books short-listed. Never Ceese was also Book Club Choice of the month at the American Christian Fiction Writers Association in May of 2007 when Sue was a member. Sue no longer pays to be a member due to the fact that the ACFW is a writer's group designed to help author's find homes with CBA niche market publishers. Sue is currently a member of HWA, Horror Writer's of America.
Dent’s stories continue to appeal to general market readers with surprise appeal to the denominationally discriminative (niche market CBA member publisher's serve. Ms. Dent likes to point out that though her work appeals to readers of this niche market, she does not write specifically for that market which is why you won't find her work in CBA member bookstores or rather on any shelf at any Christian Retailer or even listed on-line at member on-line bookstores such as Christianbook.com.
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