1. What inspired you to write this book?

About twenty years ago, I was chatting with a
student who was enamored with writing. At the time, she was taking an advanced
writing class at school, and, from the wealth of information she had gleaned
from the class, she challenged me during the course of the conversation that a
writer can’t write a book without an outline. Seizing the challenge in both
hands, I went home that night and wrote five chapters of a story that have
subsequently spanned the first two books in the Issachon Series. Over the intervening
years, far too many distractions have waylaid my efforts to finish any of my
writing projects, but every time my work was shipwrecked, someone would come
along and read the unfinished chapters and say, “This is great!
You need to finish this!” I would dutifully comply and return to the
effort. The ongoing inspiration is that I love the characters
and I so vigorously want to see how they are going to resolve their endless
string of growing predicaments. There are chapters that give me goose bumps
every time I read them.

2. What exactly is it about and who is
it written for?

I have always been fascinated by the
unpredictability of magic and the required precision of technology. Throw magic
and technology into the pot with the ultimate struggle of good versus evil and
you have a recipe for a fun and chaotic story. Dark Ascensions is
about Alystra, a woman who was struck by an out-of-control magic spell that
transformed her into the Issachon, a primal being and the enraged
embodiment of evil. We pick up the story 12 years after the transformation
after she has spent more than a decade trying to discover the source of the
spell so she can be free of the evil presence within. In an out-of-the-blue
encounter she meets the first of many unexpected allies who join her on a
journey that continually spins out of control and leads them in unexpected
directions. In sum, swords, spaceships, magic, and wonder. Cool!

I started reading fantasy and science fiction
when I was about 12, having been exposed to the surrealistic space fantasy by
Arthur C. Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although Dark
 leans more toward fantasy than science fiction, I would
make the case that any person who likes either genre will be intrigued by Dark

3. What do you hope readers will get out of
reading your book?

Enjoyment! Entertainment! Dark
 is a wild ride with unexpected twists and turns,
interesting characters, and clever wordplay. This is not a heavy and ponderous
book, nor is it overly dark and brooding. And finally, it is decidedly not preachy
or filled with controversial issues. Relax and escape! If I had to pinpoint one
specific goal, I would say that I want my readers to fall in love with the
characters and deeply care about their well being in the face of the danger
before them. It is interesting to me that different readers I have heard from
seem to latch on to different characters. But I am not giving
away any names. M**** S***** is my personal favorite, because she is kinda like
my wife.

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and
cover design?

LOL and Ugh. The title is a painful topic.
Darkness is associated to the evil within Alystra, and ascension is both
thematic, and tied to something in the story. The book almost named itself.
More on this in the next question. The cover had to be black.
I wanted Alystra, in some form, against a background of stars to capture the
cosmic playground of the story. Outside of that, I needed Alystra to be showing
some magic. Above all, I know the artist and like his work.

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have
for fellow writers – other than run!?

Never give up. Read constantly. Write every
day.  Read Steven King’s book on writing – he will give you more useful
tidbits than I can here. Read a lot. If you aren’t already 99.98% proficient
with spelling and grammar, get a good book to master it. Read day in and day
out. Read books that challenge your vocabulary. Read the classics. Learn from
the masters, and read them again and again. Their books are classics
because they know how to turn a phrase that brings the magic of books to life

If you want to self-publish, get good advice
from someone who has done it. I probably read a hundred web pages on different
sites, and there were a few things that were consistent with all of the
websites I encountered that you need to remember. They are not there
to help you. They are there to make money. And not one web site described
every step an independent author needs to know in order to publish. Piecing the
process together took me months, and I had to go back, figure out what nobody
had mentioned, undo mistakes that nobody had described. It took me more than
two weeks to publish my first book on Amazon and Ingram Spark and the next time
I publish, I will be able to do all of the steps in one relaxing day.

Finally, and most importantly, before you choose
your title, create your cover art, and commit to copyright and an ISBN, do a
Google search of your title. I didn’t do this and have
discovered that Dark Ascension (without the S on the end) is the title of a
famous book series, a dozen other books, and a card set in the
fabulously popular Magic: The Gathering card game. If my
entire career as a writer fails it will be largely because my pretty awesome
book is hidden behind the massive walls of other already famous products. Alas.

6. What trends in the book world do you see —
and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?

The publishing industry is always going to be
monolithic and impenetrable on the big publishing house end and painstaking on
the independent publisher end. However, the fact that an independent author can
publish a book in a day and have copies available on Amazon for people to buy
provides an option that doesn’t involve hundreds of rejection letters. What I
hope to see is an ever-growing community of writers, readers, and facilitators
who create networks to make the flow of good books to interested readers a
smooth pathway. Much of social networking is superficial, but the connectivity
it affords can be a boon for the book industry. As an unknown author, I sure
hope it works that way. 😉

7. Were there experiences in your
personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book?

From first grade through graduate school and
then a bunch of decades as a teacher, and now as a writer for my current
employer, I have been exposed to the required rigor of precise writing for
about 50 years of my life. The academic world not only encourages reading in an
environment where books are all around, but the discipline of writing is a
constant. Being surrounded by other teachers, many of whom were famous authors,
provided me with an environment that maintained high writing standards. On the
other hand, I have had about 50 different jobs in my life. This level of
diverse experience does not help to pay the bills or to save
for retirement, but it is a great source of ideas.

8. How would you describe your writing style?
Which writers or books is your writing similar to?

I didn’t know this until I read his book on
writing, but my writing method is what Steven King follows –
start with an idea, and see where it takes you. Numerous times as I was
writing Dark Ascensions, a character would say something unexpected
and the plot would veer off in a direction that eradicated my original plan.
Many times when this happened, I wrote whole chapters or even whole story arcs
over many chapters that I would later remove as a really cool idea that might
be used later. As I relate this method, I feel obliged to present the following
encouragement and warning: Although relinquishing control of the narrative to
the characters generates really cool plot twists that are natural, and feel
genuine, it makes it much harder to reach your overall plot destination.
Writing this way is a ton of fun, but I ended up needing to turn one book into
two, and it has taken (and will take) a lot of work to get back to the final
ending. And, who knows, maybe one of my characters will change the ending too.

People who have read Dark Ascensions have
told me that my writing reminds them of Roger Zelazny. This makes sense since
he is one of my favorite authors. Buy Zelazny’s Amber series
and enjoy all ten books. After you buy Dark Ascensions, that is.

9. What challenges did you overcome in the
writing of this book?

The most frustrating roadblock to my writing has
been the need to work full time doing other stuff in order to pay the bills.
The way I hurdled this obstacle was to schedule time every weekend, wake up at
4:00 AM countless mornings, or skip family movie time (and a hundred other
sacrifices). This is a challenge that I will continue to face.

Writing for me has been tremendously lonely. The
student I mentioned above, who told me that nobody can write a book without an
outline, was a tremendous source of encouragement for a couple of years, but
then we lost touch. I joined a writing group which was comprised of a bunch of
people who couldn’t place an interesting sentence on a piece of paper. They
were fun people with whom I enjoyed some great meals and from whom I learned
little. I yearn for a crew of folks with whom I could enjoy inspiration and
accountability. By mentioning this, I am not looking for pity. I would suggest
two observations. First, writing is a lonely task. Ultimately the author needs
to type or write every word required, with or without encouragement or input
from others. Second, if you can find some people with whom you
can find support, seize the opportunity.

10. If people can buy or read one book this week
or month, why should it be yours?

Reading Dark
 will get you through that week or month with a newfound
hope that there is still great literature being written in the 21st century.
The story is fresh and different. The plot is surprising and the characters are
people you would want to invite over for dinner, fencing practice, or to help
fold the laundry. (There is one magical character who is sarcastic and smells
pretty bad, you might want to keep him outside.) Nevertheless, as one reviewer
astutely proffered, “Buy this- you won’t regret it.” I don’t think
that I could have said it better.


About The Author: CMour B is a former teacher with experience
spanning 7th grade to graduate school and topics as diverse as literature,
astronomy, photography, math, and history. He brings this odd cacophony of
masteries together in Dark Ascensions where characters tumble
through a story with unexpected twists as they wage a complicated war of good
versus the ultimate evil. Please for more information:


PR Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning
blog, with 3.6 million page views, can be reached at 
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About Brian

Brian Feinblum should be
followed on
www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. This is
copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2024. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now
resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue
dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The
Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This
award-winning blog has generated over 3.6 million pageviews. With 4,800+ posts
over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by
http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018
as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by
www.WinningWriters.com as a “best resource.” For the past three decades,
including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book
publicity firm, and director of publicity positions at two independent presses,
Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres,
right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark
Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay,
Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan
RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He
hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America several years ago, and
has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence
College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association,
Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, Morgan James Publishing, and
Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have
been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY
Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News
(Westchester) and The Washington
. His first published book was The Florida homeowner, Condo, &
Co-Op Association Handbook
.  It was featured
in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.