Steve Montano Author Interview

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Steve Montano author of the Blood Skies Series among other Dark Fantasy novels. Steve, in my opinion, is a success in Indie writing and an example for all of us Indie writers to emulate when building our own writing dreams.

Thanks for joining me today Steve:

1. I’ve read you bio and know that you’ve been writing for some time. But it really wasn’t until Blood Skies that really put you out there. Tell us about how you came up with the idea and a little about the story that set the whole series in motion.

While BLOOD SKIES is ultimately made up of bits and pieces of a bunch of different ideas I’d had over the years, the real catalyst for writing the novel was a dream I had about a nightmarish forest where a bunch of women were being chased by black unicorns. The dream had quite an emotional impact on me and remained fresh in my mind even weeks later, so eventually I decided I needed to figure out a story to go with it.

2. Indie publishing is extremely hard work. From your viewpoint how has the experience been so far? What made you stay and stick with being an Indie Author as opposed to going the traditional publishing route?

Ultimately it comes down to a love of writing. I tend to be somewhat high-strung in the first place, and rather than continue to fill my time with online gaming and Dungeons & Dragons I decided to try out the Indie Author route. I’ve attempted traditional publishing, which is every bit as frustrating as it’s cracked up to be. When Amazon opened the floodgates for self publishing via the KDP program I decided I really didn’t have anything to lose, and 3 years and a dozen or so releases later I’m still enjoying it.

One of the best parts of being an Indie is the interaction I’ve had with other authors, readers and book bloggers. I’ve met some truly fantastic people and built some great relationships, and though my lack of free time lately has made maintaining some of those ties a bit tough I’m still extremely grateful for all of the people I’ve (virtually) met.

3. I’ve written about ebook pricing and hide no thought that the .99cent and below is setting a standard in pricing that is not helpful to the Indie Author. I feel that .99cent and Free should be for extremely short stories and as a promotional tool only. What is your take?

I was fairly opposed to the notion of ultra cheap books at first, but I’ve had a great deal of success offering the first book of the Blood Skies series for free as a way of inviting readers to check it out. Does it devalue the book? Maybe. Does it just get lost in the free shuffle? Most likely. But it also allows me to take advantage of advertising services like BookBub and I hope shows the readers that I’m willing to make a commitment to them (offering a free product), and if they like it they’re welcome to commit back by leaving reviews, recommending the book, or purchasing more from the series.

So I guess I agree with you, since I use free as a promotional tool…it’s just one I use all the time. ;D

4. Thanks to you I was able to get some fantastic artwork done for my novels by Artist Barry Curry II. For those of you who don’t know Steve turned me on to Barry. How did you find him in the first place? Tell us how you get a cover concept done.

I met Barry through one of my wife’s knitting friends (his wife Paula, who owns a comic book store), and we realized we had a mutual love for comic books, role-playing and weird music. It was only later I learned what a great graphic artist he was, and since he was looking to get into book covers as a way of building his portfolio everything just worked out. I regret not having spent more time with Barry before we moved out of Washington (and it wasn’t from lack of effort on his part, but my continual inability to find free time).

I tend to think in very visual terms; I often have some sort of cover concept in mind before I even start writing a novel, often purloined from bits and pieces of other book covers, movie posters, album covers, etc. Barry and I have a good rapport, with me being able to send him sample images and fairly vague ideas and he being able to turn them into something great.

5. I know you are a family man, work full time, among a ton of other things. How do you keep it all together and manage to put out such detailed and fun novels. Do you get any sleep at all?

Not much. LOL. My writing/editing/blogging productivity has gone down since we moved to Michigan, largely because of an exceedingly demanding work schedule. That being said, the trick for me is to set realistic goals (whether daily, monthly, or whatever) and stick to them no matter what. I usually don’t get more than an hour to actually work on stuff in a day, so I do my best to be as efficient as possible and get as much done as I can in that limited time. That means making sure I have a good place to work, that I set time aside, and that I make sure I have all the tools (like privacy, a good playlist, etc.) to get tasks knocked down. Some days are more productive than others, and sometimes I have to lower my expectations a bit when I need to put in an eleven hour shift, but I try to keep those contingencies in mind when I initially set my goals.

Lastly, tell us what you have coming up next now that Blood Skies is over.
Next up is THE BLACK TOWER, Book 3 of the Skullborn Trilogy, which itself is the first of three epic fantasy trilogies I’m working on. I’m also drafting a paranormal thriller called BLOOD ANGEL RISING as well as COLDER (a mystery novel), both of which I hope to release in 2015.

Once again, Thanks Steve for joining me today and I wish you continued success in the world of Indie Publishing, and more importantly keeping the great art of story telling alive.

Steve’s website is: HERE Be sure to check it out.

If you love Fantasy be sure to check out my novel Dark Moon Shadow! Don’t wait! secure your copy today, and thanks for being a patron of the arts.


Vampire Down by Steve Montano

Today is the release of the final book in the Blood Skies Series titled Vampire Down. If you are into Vampires, but seek a fresh and unique approach to this genre, then Steve Monatano’s Dystopian apocalyptic world will feed your desire for a thrilling Vampire story. Get your copy today! vampire_down_final_rgb (1) AMAZON NOOK SMASHWORDS STEVE MONTANO If you love fantasy as well as Vampires then check out DARK MOON SHADOW by Robert Penner. Plenty of Wizards, Magic, Elves, Gnomes, and fantastic fantasy adventure!

Vampire Down Cover Reveal by Steve Montano

A fitting cover reveal for Friday the 13th!

Steve Montano is a brilliant writer/author of the Blood Skies Series and today he and many others have joined together to reveal his much awaited final cover for Vampire Down. Vampire Down will be released June 27th! Below is some words from Steve:

Who ever knew the end would come so soon?

vampire down final vampire_down_final_rgb (1)Vampire Down by Steve Montano (Cover Reveal)In this final volume of the BLOOD SKIES series, Eric Cross and Danica Black find themselves facing impossible odds in the desolate ruins of the world they once knew. Hunted by the mercenary forces of the newly formed East Claw Coalition and desperate to find the elusive White Mother, the two refugees will be pushed to the limits of their abilities and sanity as they struggle to survive.

Meanwhile, in the near future, the undead hunter called Reaver searches for the lost city of Bloodhollow, the place where humankind will make its final stand, while the undead of New Koth and the rebellious White Children make their push to end the reign of the Ebon Kingdoms once and for all.

As timelines collide and the spider weaves her web, the battle for the fate of the riven world will come to its violent conclusion in the depths of a forgotten city, where unlikely heroes will emerge and hidden evils will finally be revealed…

Available Friday June 27th in Ebook and Print format.

About the Author

Steven Montano was something terrifying in his previous life. Now he’s an accountant, so not much has changed.

An avid hiker, reader, San Antonio Spurs fan, goofball husband and father of two, Steven writes novels (the seven volume Blood Skies series, the Skullborn Trilogy, something black…, and the upcoming thrillers Blood Angel Rising and Colder) and drinks a lot of wine when he isn’t busy pulling his hair out over payroll or trying to balance the company books.

Visit the author’s website and check out the Vampire Down page on Goodreads



Its been a while since I last put out a Pennerstories News update, so I thought today would be good as any to fill you all in on what’s going on. May is nearly over and summer is just beginning. What does this mean for you? Well, nothing actually, it just means it will be extra hot in my “barn” where I do my writing. Not a literal barn folks…I do most of my writing in my backyard. Three weeks have passed since the release of Dark Moon Shadow and sales are slow, but better than I expected. Indie Authors most strenuous work is in the advertising and promotions of their book. I hate it with a passion. I would prefer to be writing than spending precious writing time on promoting, but it’s something that has to be done, or else the book will just sit there unnoticed. I am pleased and grateful for each one who has taken a chance so far and purchased a copy. I know you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t secured a copy yet…“What are you waiting for?” For those of you who have…spread the word!
In other news the next book in the story line titles Tears of Duranthtidal is in the outlining stages. I’ve outlined the first nine chapters so far. I am pleased with the story progression so far and am looking forward to actually making the story come to life. When I get writing I will keep you all updated by the word progress meter located on the site’s side bar.
Lastly, in my belief of Indie Authors and the power we have to make our writing come alive on our own terms, I am always looking for ways to cross promote. If any of you life Dystopian Vampire stories I will be participating in a pre-launch of Indie Author Steven Montano for his final book in his Blood Skies series. The book is called Vampire Down. He is an excellent writer and has given Indie Authors something to be proud of as his success by hard work and great writing has helped “Indie” have a good name. Keep checking back for that. The promotions will begin sometime in June.
In the meantime…get reading Dark Moon Shadow and live the adventure of Magic overcome evil. Purchase your copy today!
Until next time…


Sticks and Stone…Indie Author

I just read a post on Kindle Author by David Wisehart author of Devil’s Lair (a fantastic book) where he interviewed author Lee Goldberg. Although Mr. Goldberg gave good insight about his experience putting up his book on Kindle, the only thing that stood out for me was his disdain for the indie author. To be fair he said not all Indie authors work is bad, but he insinuated that most of all that he has ever downloaded or sampled from Indie authors was pure unintelligent garbage.  He favors the traditional route of publishing over self-publishing and he makes it perfectly clear.  Read the article and see what I mean about the total lack of credit he gives Indie publishing because of poorly edited and terribly structured stories.

Mr. Goldberg has a point to an extent, but that is nothing new when we Indie authors get stereo typed as poor writers. Sure, there is a ton of bad edited work out there, and his point is that buyers, once they get burned by a bad product, will leave the Indie world and in return hurts Indie publishing. OK, point taken. Let’s think about this though; I have sample loaded, downloaded free ebooks, and even purchased some and I have not experienced what Mr. Goldberg says at all. Ebooks by David Wisehart and Steve Montano are excellent works that are Indie (I paid for those). I’ve read great works from Michael Stackpole and Robert Jordan that have had typos within the traditional published paperback. Even the best works have errors. Most patrons that purchase Indie ebooks realize that the books they are buying are not edited by professionals provided by big publishing houses. That is what they are looking for actually. Indie patrons are searching for the hidden story, the adventure of the unknown author and enjoy what we unknowns have to say. They know this and it’s all part of their adventure.  Most of us Indie authors are publishing our work on extremely low budgets and don’t have all the backing for a well-edited piece of work. True, there are those that don’t take special care before they self-publish and it does hurt the rest of us, but to throw us all into a criticism that is so defaming it is egregious at best. Sorry Mr. Goldberg, but it seems to me that there is a little “hater” in you when it come to Indie publishing, and I happen to applaud a commenter who said “stick to your writing instead of criticizing us.”

Mr. Goldberg is entitled to his opinion, but he is influencing potential buyers and steering them away from testing the Indie market by scaring them. Now that is unfair to all of us Indie authors/self publishers.

Take heart Indie authors/publishers and keep up the hard work, put out quality material, and keep writing so the adventurous Indie patrons have a great product that will give them a fantastic fantasy ride as they read.