Coming Home From Vacation

Two weeks ago I released my first self published book onto the world.

Then I went on vacation. Well, despite a complete lack of any effort at marketing on my part, I have still managed to sell nearly a dozen copies or my book. That’s a lot more than I thought I would have. None of the people who bought the book have left a review yet either so I would imagine that sales will increase a little once I start getting reviews.

It’s been a great vacation, but now it’s time to go back home, go back to my day job, work on getting the brewery running again and work on trying to sell a few more copies of this novel. I hope to do a fair amount of guest blogs in order to get things going. I also would like to do a few more podcasts. I had fun being a guest on the podcast I did with 5 seconds in the paint and I have a feeling that stuff like that will be really helpful to get the word out.

I also plan on doing the formatting to get a print on demand paperback version ready through CreateSpace. I didn’t have the time to get the formatting done before I went on vacation so I just put that off until I came back home. I am hoping that will help a good bit since a large number of people don’t own ereaders.

I also want to do a good amount of research on marketing overseas and in India. Have any of you successfully marketed your book overseas? Do any of you run a podcast about writing in India and would be willing to have me on? I would imagine the best place to advertise in these areas would be where people from those areas look to decide what they want to read, but I am having a terribly hard time finding out where those areas are. I doubt there are any people that follow my blog who live in India, but on the odd chance that there is somebody that stumbles upon my blog who reads fantasy and lives in India, I would love to know where you look to decide what you want to read and what draws your attention to a book. Any information and advice you might have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Well, tomorrow we fly back and then Monday it is back to work. I should also be posting more frequently on my blog once I get back home. I have greatly neglected everything social media wise while I’ve been on vacation.


Introduction to The Final Requiem

Last night I self published my novel The Final Requiem to Amazon for Kindle. It is the first book I’ve ever published. I’m both excited and terrified to see what people are going to think about it. I thought it would be best to do a blog post as a brief introduction to my story so people can get an idea of whether or not they want to read it before they buy it.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an eReader. You can download a Kindle app that will let you read the book at this site.

You can buy the book itself at this site.

Here is the description of the book.

Michael is a normal guy that has been thrust into an overwhelming situation. An eternal war is being waged between Angels and Demons. The Angels have assigned Michael the task of going on a treacherous journey to close the gates Demons use to travel between Hell and Earth. Somehow, even though Angels have been visiting him in his dreams since childhood to tell him something was coming, Michael finds himself unprepared, and in the middle of it all.

One way or another, everything will change.

and here is the prologue and first chapter…


His legs quivered and shook as if incapable of holding his weight. A dark figure loomed in the distance. As the figure drew closer, quivering turned to trembling, which turned to something very closely resembling convulsions. The boys legs’ finally succumbed to the pressure and he crashed backwards onto the cold, unforgiving ground. He began to sob uncontrollably. The room felt very cold, harsh, and distant to his plight. He looked all over to find reassurance, but the figure in the distance was the only thing noticeable and it was getting closer with each foreboding step.

It was not long before the figure was standing directly over the crying boy. The boy looked through squinted eyes at the man standing over him and began to sob even more violently. Dressed in a fine white button down shirt, black dress slacks, and brown Italian loafers, there did not seem to be anything unusual about the man. Striking red hair flowed from the man’s head, across the pale, nearly translucent skin of his face and down to his shoulders. The man ran his long, almost claw-like fingers across the side of the boy’s face as he picked it up and held it in his arms. Desperately the child craved warmth and comfort, but all the embrace had to offer was a harsh, cold chill that spread to the depths of his bones.

​“Michael, Michael, Michael, even in your dreams you lack the strength to stand on your own. I would think by now that you would not react so strongly to my visits.”

The air became cold and vacant as the adult Michael looked upon the childhood image of himself. Every night during youth he was visited the same way; however, the dark figure had not visited his dreams for well over ten years. He could remember those dreams as if watching them through a window.

The dreams had never changed. They were the same as they had been when he was a child and they would always be the same. Something always drew him back to relive that interaction. He mouthed the words, knowing word for word everything that was going to be said. A long claw-like finger came from behind him and brushed his cheek, sending chills down to his very core.

“How sweet of you to remember our times together Michael.”

​“What do you want?”

​“What do I want? What do…I…want? Why the need to be so short and abrupt? It has been such a long time. I would think you would want to spend some time catching up on the good old days.”

​“There were no good days Azrael, we both know that. You have not come to visit in fifteen years; why are you here to visit me now? We both know I am too old to be within the scope of your corruption.”

“That is true Michael,” An evil grin crept across the face of Azrael like a crack spreads across ice. “You are beyond my reach of influence. Oh, how deliciously gratifying this is going to be for me! Gabriel and all his fellow angels reveled in their glorious might when they kept me from corrupting your immortal soul.” A loud bustling laughter erupted from the belly of Azrael.

“I have news for you, Michael. You never were the target. We wanted Gabriel and the rest of the archangels to believe that you were the target. It is too late now. Our plan has been set into motion. The last protector of the one we truly seek has fallen. Our time is now!” Azrael disappeared, and Michael woke up with nothing but questions on his mind.

Chapter 1 – The Collapse of Antonius

The veil of light crested and flickered on the crystal blue water. Antonia Borresca lived in a small area of Venice and had long been a respected member of the community. Her unexpected death sent shock waves throughout the city. The entire gathering had retreated to the chapel dining area for a brief after-funeral celebration of her life.

Antonius, her son and only surviving kin, was weeping and crumpled into a ball next to the grave site. Antonia had been his everything, his very reason for living. Antonius, having very little memory of his father, had moved with Antonia to the big city of Venice when he was very young. She comforted him when he had nightmares, when dark things came to talk to him in his sleep. However, Antonia was a very busy business woman and was often not around. Her absence led to many nights that Antonius would spend alone.

The mind of man is a strong and resilient thing, but even the sturdiest of minds has its breaking point. Antonius’ mind and will had been tested throughout every turn of his life and the only things that had been constant were Antonia and the figures that visited him in his dreams. Over the years, the figures began to have increasing control of his thoughts.

The day quickly turned dark as clouds came out of nowhere and blocked out the sun. Thunder rolled like menacing laughter, and the sky threatened rain, but there was none. The cloud cover offered no respite from the unbearable heat of the summer’s day. Sensing the pending rain, the outside help started putting things away.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of putting up chairs, rolling up carpet, and taking down flowers, Antonius continued to lie there motionlessly. He hoped that he would wake up to find that the whole thing had been a dream. There was no way that could happen. He knew he did not have dreams like that. The only dreams he had were the ones where the figures would come and tell him what he was to become.

The dreams always worried him, but his mother possessed the ability to ease his mind whenever she was around. That was not the case anymore. Had the figures been telling him the truth when telling him what his role was to be? Antonia would no longer be around to tell him otherwise. He knew the figure would visit him in his dreams that night. Then he would be able to talk to the figure about his destiny.

A short man timidly walked up to Antonius and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry son; we need to lower the casket. Maybe you should go inside and spend some time with the rest of the people. Talking to the others about the good things that happened during your mother’s life might make you feel better.”

“No, there is nothing that could make me feel better right now! This should not be happening! She should still be alive.”

“I’m sorry son. There’s nothing we can do. We have to lower the casket now.”

“No!” Anger started to rise through Antonius like he had never felt before. It began as a mild irritation, but it was not long before he was completely infuriated. Who were all these people? Where had they been all of his life? Where were they when he had no company other than the figures in his dreams?

No, none of the people knew him. They had all met his mother during her many business travels. They were clients, coworkers, and bosses. None of them knew or even cared about his lot in life. None of them approached him to express their condolences. They were all there for the perceived obligation that walks hand in hand with the passing of a colleague.

He knew his purpose. He had no doubts about the way he felt. Clarity enveloped his mind. He stood up and pushed the small man to the ground.

The smug looks on the faces of the attendants burned in his mind like a wound being exposed to acrid water. The sudden impact against the cobble stone path rendered the small man unconscious. Antonius stepped over the body and walked towards the dining area. Several other workers tried to subdue Antonius, but he had developed an unnatural sense of purpose. He sidestepped them and threw them out of his way.

The chapel dining hall was a shining beacon of everything that the city of Venice had to offer. A large building, it loomed over the rest of the town. One set of doors served as the only means of entering and exiting the building. Modern safety codes had not existed hundreds of years ago when the building had originally been erected.

A single phrase echoed through his mind as he approached the door. “No way out, there will be no way out. There will be no way out. This structure shall be cleansed with the fires of righteous damnation. There will be no way out.” No one paid any attention as he approached the dining hall. They were too busy tending to the men lying unconscious on the ground.

Antonius stood in front of the door, and an inkling of doubt began to creep through his mind. The entrance was composed of two heavy, white wooden doors. Each door arched upwards and had a small silver cross perched at the upmost tip. There were heavy stone benches and columns with various assortments of flowers set to either side of the doors.

The benches and columns had been placed on rollers so they could be moved easily. The benches weighed several hundred pounds each. Each column weighed nearly a hundred pounds. The people inside were oblivious to what was going on as he pushed the benches and columns in front of the doors.

Soon, one of the people in the building realized what was happening. They gently tried to push the door open. The door grazed against the hard, unrelenting bench, but it did not budge. Casual attempts to open the door turned to frantic and frenzied ramming of the door. It was not long before other people in the building began to notice what was going on. Mass hysteria spread from person to person.

Every scream, every shout, every pound on the door out of sheer desperation made the flame in his eye seem to gleam brighter. A fire doesn’t start without a spark. The spark had been created the moment the figures started talking to him and had grown to a roaring fire inside his soul. There was nothing left to do but to release that fire upon the world. Without hesitation, he grabbed a lighter from his pocket, lit the door on fire, and walked away.

There could be no looking back now. He had made his decision. There could be no changing it. He knew there would be no going back. There could be no getting out. The world would need to be cleansed by the fires of righteous damnation. He was near his flat when the sound of sirens became audible throughout the city. He could not help but let a sick, sadistic smile cross his face. Part of him felt horrified while another part of him thought that it was hilarious.

It wouldn’t take long for word to travel. He needed to find a place to stay. The building he lived in was unusually quiet. Being almost in the middle of the city, all traffic went through the area in one way or another. It was a flat that anybody in the city would have given vast amounts of money to live in, and normally he would not have been able to afford it, but his mother had bought it for him as soon as he was old enough to move out on his own.

A lady his mom worked with lived across town. She had been at the funeral. He took a sick bit of satisfaction in knowing that she would not need her place that night. He decided to sneak across town and find a way in. He would stay there until he could come up with a plan.

The journey across town didn’t take as long as he thought it would. It was no surprise to see that the city had returned to normal. It was as though the occurrences of the morning had never happened. He knew the city wouldn’t be in mourning, but seeing everybody so happy and joyous made him sick to his stomach. It started with a simple knot in his stomach and evolved to the point that he felt violently nauseous.

The world started spinning, and everything turned red. Each heart beat pounded and resounded with his foot steps. Thud thud, thud thud, thud thud…it was no longer his own personal actions carrying him. Pure inertia and gravity were moving him towards his destination. He arrived at the building seemingly without anybody noticing that he was there.

Luckily for him, but not for the lady that owned the flat, the day of the funeral had been an unusually hot day, and she had left her back window open. The fire escape led directly to her window. That gave him a perfect way of being able to get in. He would be able to stay there long enough to make contact with the figures in his dreams.

It was not far into the night, but Antonius only had one thing on his mind. He wanted to sleep. He closed his eyes, and darkness enveloped his line of vision, but he wanted it too much. Was it necessarily that he was not tired? That did not make sense. It had been a long and exhausting day.

Thoughts swirled around his head. He recounted the actions of the day. He had gone from being at the lowest point in his life to the newfound resolve and purpose that he now had. Sleep, however, would not come. What could be done? The level of activity circling through his brain would make it impossible for him to achieve any level of rest.

The flat was a sizable one. There would have to be something in it that would make it easier for him to sleep. Every thought and every memory rang in his head like a loud reverberating chorus that refused to be quiet. It seemed to grow louder and louder with every moment he continued to be awake. The conductor in his head was on the podium. The orchestra was primed, and they were crescendoing and surging to a level where any ability to think had ceased to exist.

Fumbling, reaching, searching, he looked through the flat for alcohol or sleeping medication or something that would help; something that would bring silence to his mind. A bottle of sleeping pills seemed to be the only sign of possible solace. He grasped it, held it tightly, cracked it open, tossed a couple pills in his mouth and washed them down with a nice healthy gulp of red wine.

“Hello Antonius.” A man wearing a white button down shirt, black dress pants, and brown Italian loafers walked up to Antonius. “You have done well. You have done very well. I am glad to see you have finally decided to accept your role. We knew that you eventually would.”

“There was nothing to hold me back.”

“There never really was anything to hold you back Antonius, other than your own self conceived personal boundaries. Boundaries are a false concept created by the limitations of the human mind. The more the human mind is developed, the further the boundaries of possibility are removed. I am sure that you have plenty of questions for me. I will answer your questions in due time, but that time is not now. A war is coming, and there is much that needs to be done to prepare for it.”

“I am not safe here. They will eventually find me.”

“It is very true that you are not safe in your current location. Even as we speak, there are people looking for you. There were people that noticed you on your way here. If we had not already had a plan, you would have been found by the morning.”

“You already have a plan?”

“Oh Antonius, Antonius, Antonius, we have had all of this planned out well before you were even born. These times have been prophesied for several millennia. The angels do not know the role you have to play. We have kept that carefully masked from them. They are too busy tending to what they think is their chosen one to pay any attention to what we have been cultivating in you. You are being taken care of as we speak. You will wake up in the custody of some; well I guess you could call them friends. They will explain what is going on, and tomorrow night I will answer any questions that you might have.”

“They are already handling me? I will wake up in their custody? What does any of this mean? You have been visiting me in my dreams for so long, but I don’t even know your name.”

“You have so many questions. I knew you would, so I do not fault you for that. This is a large amount of information for any mortal to absorb. Trust me. You are being handled by people who are amenable to our cause. They will have many of the answers that you seek. Ah, but there is one question I am able to answer. I am mostly known by the name Azrael.”

I hope you like what you’ve read so far. You can get the book to read the rest at this site.

Battle Results

As I get closer to being ready to self publish my novel, I thought it would be a good idea to make a post that has a list of the guest blogs I have been doing to promote the book. I have to say that I’ve had a lot of fun doing these guest blogs so far. Azrael has such a vastly different personality than I so it is very interesting to try to write things from his point of view and think the way that he would think. I still have several more to write and get out there and hopefully I’ll have even more to do after that. Here are the ones that have been posted so far and I am going to try to keep this updated and edit it as more guest blogs are posted.

CJ Davis Blog with Azrael Discussing the Afterlife
5 seconds in the paint, Azrael interviews me
Troy Jackson blog with Azrael discussing the book
Cult of Me, Azrael discusses the horror genre
Scottish Bookworm in Quebec, Azrael discusses the book

I also did a podcast with 5 seconds in the paint that you can check out here.

If I did a guest blog on your site and did not put it here then feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I will make sure I edit this post and get it up here. I should have another 1 or 2 posted on other sites by the end of the week. If you have a blog and like what I’ve done with these guest blogs then feel free to let me know and maybe I could do something for your blog. I really like doing the guest blogs where it is geared towards whatever you typically blog about. So it doesn’t matter if you blog about cupcakes or painting or your favorite thing to eat on Wednesday, if you want me to do a guest blog for you then I’m sure we can find a way to make it work. The more guest blogs I get out there the more exposure I will eventually get for my novel. It doesn’t matter if 99% of the post is about your site, having the post be from the point of view of a character from my novel will hopefully make the reader of that post want to learn a little more about the character and in turn want to learn a little more about the novel. Make sure to keep watching this post. Hopefully there will be many more entertaining guest blog posts to link here in the future.

*** Update: added a link to the new guest blog at Scottish Bookworm in Quebec ***

Joe Donahue Blog Invasion

Wow wow wow wow!! Being nearly ready to self publish my novel, hopefully sometime in the next few weeks, I have been doing vast amounts of research on the avenues of marketing available to indie publishers. There is so much out there! It’s almost a little too much for one single person to try to soak in.

I could see why somebody would want to go the traditional route of publishing in order to have somebody dedicated to marketing your book. I, however, don’t really think that there is anybody that could market my work with the ferocity or passion that I would. The other benefit of going through a traditional publisher is having a professional editor work with you on it, but I really don’t know if that outweighs the pains of going through the process of getting a traditional publisher to notice you.

The main thing I have noticed while doing my research is that you cannot constantly shove your book down the throat of people through social media outlets and expect them to want to read it, or even more so, pay to read it. You have to get a little creative. You wouldn’t think it would be hard enough for people who are creative enough to write a novel to also be creative enough to come up with ways of marketing that novel other than “BUY MY BOOK, please,” but I guess that isn’t always the case.

I have decided to focus on four things in my marketing campaign and I honestly don’t know if there’s even going to be enough of me to adequately address these four things.

Twitter – This is an obvious marketing technique and is actually probably going to be one of my least used. I plan on mainly using it to network. The more followers I get on Twitter the more people will see when I post a blog since my blogs are linked on Twitter the second I post them. I also plan on using it as an avenue for reader of my book to contact me if they wish.

Facebook – I’m essentially going to use it the same way as Twitter.

Goodreads – This is an excellent community that I have just recently stumbled upon. I wish I found it earlier. I absolutely refuse to push my novel down the throat of people though. I haven’t been researching this long, but I can tell that’s not the way to do it. I plan on mentioning my novel in the forum topics where it is allowed though. The other way I plan on doing it is just joining a handful of the groups on Goodreads and getting my name out there. People want to connect with you on a personal level instead of just having you tell them to buy your book. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to focus on this, but I definitely plan on working on it more once I get my novel out there and self published. Right now I’m still having to do a lot of work on getting my novel ready to publish.

My Blog – This is where I plan on doing a large majority of my work towards marketing. If you come here to read about my beer then I’m sorry, because over the next few months this space is pretty much going to be filled by post about the progress on my novel and guest blogs about whatever people want to guest blog about. That brings me to the topic of this blog and what I really wanted to focus on.

Yeah, you read it right. I want to go beyond doing a blog tour. I want to do a blog invasion. I’ve already started working on it and I honestly think it is going to be the best way to get the word out about what I’m doing. I’m going to make it fun though. Who would want to participate if it wasn’t going to be fun?

How am I going to make it fun? All of these guest blogs are going to be done from the POV of a character from my novel. They are going to be done from the POV of the archdemon Azrael. I’ve already written several of these and had a lot of fun writing them so I hope people enjoy reading them. I’m mainly focusing on writing/fantasy themed blogs at first but I’m not limiting it to that. I will post a guest blog to anybody that will have me. Alyssa Vaughan (@LyssaPearl) runs a custom nail polish company and I have written a possible guest blog for her where Azrael discusses nail polish. Like I said, I don’t want to do a guest blog tour, I want to do a full guest blog invasion. So if you’re interested then it doesn’t matter what you typically blog about. I’ll write up a guest blog from the POV of Azrael and we’ll have some fun. Who knows? It could be a way to spice up your blog and get you some new readers.



I love writing! I detest editing my writing! I wish I could write it perfectly the first time and never have to work on it again. I’m not that good of a writer though. I don’t think there are many writers that write everything perfectly on the first try. The picture above is me working on my third revision of my current work in progress.

I’m about a quarter of the way through this revision and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is gradually starting to become a product that I think I would be happy sending out into the world and self publishing. I joined a very awesome critique community at and I think I will use them completely for everything I write in the future, but I’m antsy to get my current work in progress out there for people to be able to buy, ermm…I mean for people to be able to read, and Scribophile moves just a little too slow for my taste. You do get some excellent reviews there and I definitely do plan on putting my future writings there. I plan on approaching it kind of like you approach test driven code in programming. I’ll write a chapter and then I’ll post a chapter for a critique. That’s the plan at least, but I need to get this novel out of the way first.

I’ve realized that my editing abilities are very limited. I’m decent enough at reading through my manuscript and editing sentences to make them flow better and fixing typos and the sort, but I really struggle with looking outside the confines of the structure of what I’ve written and noticing things that need to be added. I’ve been struggling with that throughout the entire editing process and I hope this short fall doesn’t keep me from adequately portraying the images that I have in my head.

I’ve considered using a freelance professional editor, but realistically the things they would be helping me with are the things that I am pretty sure I can fix on my own. There aren’t many editors that would would say, “OK, he’s sitting in a red leather chair by a brick fireplace, but what does the fire smell like? What is he wearing? What does he like to eat every Tuesday for lunch?” I know those are some pretty obscure questions and don’t really have anything to do with setting up a scene like that, but I think you get the point.

I like to think that I have set up the scenes and visual imagery pretty well throughout the novel, but I also have the imagery in my head and it’s hard to shake that. It is hard to cast aside the pre conceived images you have in your brain and focus on nothing but the images that are drawn by your words. I’ve tried to get several people to read through my novel and give me their impression on it, but they are all very busy people. One person has been able to finish reading it, and she gave a favorable review of it, but she said that it still needed some rewrites. I honestly already knew it still needed some rewrites so that wasn’t an “on no! You just slapped my baby!” moment.

I hope to have the editing done and be ready to publish sometime between the end of August and the middle of September. I’m making good progress and I think that is a somewhat reasonable goal. I guess we shall see. I just hope people enjoy reading my novel as much as I enjoyed writing it…minus the copious amount of time spent working on edits 😉