I’m not much of a TikToker, but I’m trying to be one

If you haven’t already noticed in my social media links, I now have a TikTok account. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not very good at it and I doubt the Chinese have any interest in the metadata of a independent author of fantasy and steampunk novels. It was the next logical step in further promotion and marketing as an author. I am nowhere near the expertise and zaniness of some of the people on TikTok. I primarily use it to promote my books, events, special announcements, and even some personal holiday fun. Beyond that, it’s difficult to wrap my head around this social media giant.

It’s so much easier in Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to just post a photo and write-up. With TikTok, I have to create a video, add music, stickers, effects, and text. It’s such a process to post a simple thirty second video. I think why I am struggling with TikTok. It’s too much work for one simple person. I mean, I use Hootsuite to publish to my other social media sites (highly recommend it to burgeoning indie authors). It’s FREE for up to three social media accounts and you can schedule up to ten times. There is a paid version but the free works well enough for me to stay ahead of the game.

TikTok, on the other hand, takes time and patience. There are a lot of great people that are fun to watch and they make it look so easy. Maybe its the old man in me. I am nearly 60 but I’ve stayed up on technology since I first typed on a TRS-80 (look it up if you don’t know what one is). I just can’t get into the videos of repeating voice overs of comics or famous movie and television scenes. Even the weird filters aren’t me. I just want to talk about my books, show videos from the events I attend, and that’s it.

There are a lot of great connections on TikTok. I met Teri Schnaubelt (@terischnaubelt on TikTok) a voice over artist who read a section of my book The River of Souls. It was great having a professional do something like that for FREE to hear my words come to life. Pop over to her TikTok page to hear more great books being read by a true professional and great lady. The other authors on there are supportive as well, promoting your books to readers and even giving ideas. Someone posted a video of using mini-candy bars as giveaways by wrapping them in book covers to look like little books. I did that and they came out great. You can really find a lot of good ideas on TikTok.

So, if you are on TikTok, come find me, follow and I will follow back, and hopefully I can get the hang of this new social media and make some fun and interesting content. I’m always open to suggestions.

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Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

Congratulations to THE RIVER OF SOULS and THE LAST MAGUS on their recent book awards

The River of Souls from Curious Corvid Publishing, Speak-Up Talk Radio 2022 Firebird Book Award winner.

I love getting good news . . . and I love sharing it even more! My fantasy novella The River of Souls won two awards in the 3rd Quarter of 2022 from Speak-Up Talk Radio Firebird Book Awards: 1st Place for Novella and 2nd Place for Fiction Book Cover. I want to thank Ravven White and Curious Corvid Publishing for their support of me and my writing, Ashley Valitutto for contributing her beautiful poetry to my story, and Mark Alexander McLish for the cover. He took my ideas for the front cover and brought them to fruition. This novella was a great collaboration, so I accept these awards as a team effort.

The Firebird Book Awards are unique in two ways. They are judged year round to give authors a chance to submit their novels into more than a hundred different genre categories. Lastly the entire entry fee is a donation that supports the women and children’s shelter renovation and transformation project, in conjunction with Enchanted Makeovers 501(c)3. They send handmade one-of-a-kind fun and colorful pillowcases and children’s books to homeless shelters – naming the author as the donor.

The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart from lulu.com, multiple award winning steampunk fantasy in 2022!

I received more good news just last night as my steampunk fantasy, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, won 3rd place for Fantasy – Magic, Myths, and Legends from The BookFest book awards for Fall 2022. This is the third award for The Last Magus, and I can’t tell you how great it feels to be recognized by your peers.

The BookFest Awards honors authors who create outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction. Books are judged in categories based on genre, theme, and aesthetics.  Entries will be vetted by an initial team, then the final places will be determined by an elite group of experts in the literary and entertainment world. The awards can be viewed on The BookFest YouTube channel.

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Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

One question I get a lot . . . What is Steampunk?

One question I get at a lot at all the events I attend is “What is Steampunk?” It is a defined genre but to me, it’s much more than that. There are two definitions of steampunk. One states, “a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology” while the others says, “a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.”

I always consider Jules Verne and H.G. Wells the godfathers of the steampunk genre. The created a modern view of technology using 19th century views. We steampunk authors use their influence to create our wild and fantastic visions bringing the future into the past.

Steamboy (2004) Japanese animated film

To me, one of the best movies to understand steampunk is the 2004 anime classic Steamboy. “England of the 1860s receives a technological remake in this animated adventure. Ray Steam is a brilliant young inventor who follows in the footsteps of his father, Eddie, and his grandfather, Lloyd Steam. After his grandfather sends him a mysterious mechanical ball that contains revolutionary power, Ray finds his world turning upside down. It seems a lot of people want that power, and not all of them have good intentions.” It has an all star cast (Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina, and Sir Patrick Stewart) and a cast of historical characters including Robert Louis Stevenson, the inventor of the steam engine. This movie is quintessential steampunk in every aspect of the vision it presents. There is also anime like Arcane on Netflix and The Mortal Engines movie are great examples of steampunk.

Airships, trains, mechanical beings powered by steam are the vision of tomorrow to a steampunk enthusiast. Goggles, backpacks, Victorian-era corsets with top hats and long coats are all part of the unique style of steampunk. It can be seen at conventions and festivals around the world and in books, television, and movies. Gears, open mechanics, copper pipes, leather, and Edison bulbs all represent the idea of fashion when it comes to steampunk.

A Clockwork Heart by Dennis Saputra

Although most things considered steampunk revolves around steam power, I also like to include it in magic-powered machines. In my novel The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, I combined magic with machines in this futuristic dystopia. This includes trains running on Magius engines, automail armor, and a clockwork heart. I also did a little of this in my novella The River of Souls, where I created a land cycle powered by an engine that pulled in ether from the air for fuel. Magic and machines are a fun way to take the steampunk genre in a new direction. Technology has a way of migrating into fantasy stories of one caliber or another. I would also include a bit of alchemy mixed in to make it even more interesting to include it in fantasy story writing.

However, steampunk is primarily a historical fiction genre, and my next novel explores into just that realm. Corsair and the Sky Pirates is coming out in January 2023 from Curious Corvid Publishing. Imagine if Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla met and collaborated. What kind of world would come from it? That’s the premise of my new steampunk historical fiction as the war between Tesla and Thomas Edison takes to the skies. Corsair and his sky pirates believe in Tesla’s vision for the future—a world where the people are free to use technology without bowing to their corporate masters in ERP (Edison Röntgen Parsons). Edison has plans for world domination and its up to Corsair and his merry band to discover the secrets of the master inventor. Take to the skies on the airship Galeru, from the ancient ruins of Egypt to the English Channel, the New York City skyline and the American Southwest.

You can find steampunk at various junctures around the world. If you want to dine in steampunk style, try The Edison restaurant in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Or if your travelling internationally, The Abyss Pub in Italy was inspired by the Kraken, or visit the Les Machines de l’Île Nantes, which is in the city of Nantes, France is an amazing artistic and creative steampunk wonderful. Mechanical animals roam, which is in the city of Nantes, France, is an amazing artistic and creative steampunk wonder as mechanical animals roam the streets. Here in the USA, there are plenty of steampunk festivals to catch your interest. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

July is going to be hot in more ways than one

Sorry to be AWOL for a while, but its been a busy start to my summer, and its not over yet. I traveled from Virginia to Manchester, Connecticut, for the Book Fiends Readers Festival, June 25. It was a long weekend but I met so many wonderful steampunk writers, artists, crafters and performers. It was a great experience (thank you Oddball Newt)!

Now, we’re in July and I have two new events coming up for this award-winning steampunk fantasy author. If you are in the area, please stop by and pick up some great books to take to the beach or read in bed during a stormy night. Either way, I’d be honored to be included on your bookshelf.

Every second Sunday, from July through December, you’ll find me at 2nd Sundays Williamsburg Arts and Music Festival on North Boundary Street in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. My first one is this Sunday, July 10, from 11am to 5pm. Williamsburg, Virginia’s only ALMOST Year ‘Round Arts & Street Festival! This Street Fair of over 115 unique artisans, musicians, street performers and food vendors in six blocks along N Boundary Street from Richmond Rd to Lafayette Street, along Scotland from Armistead to N. Henry and in the 400 block of Prince George Street in Williamsburg, VA, on the 2nd Sunday of each month. This festival is a great time for family and friends alike so I hope you’ll stop by! Visit 2ndSundayswilliamsburg.com for more information.

Next, I’ll be at the Historic Moravian Book Shop in “the Christmas City” of Bethlehem, PA, signing copies of my novels The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series on Sunday, July 17, from 1-3pm. Founded in 1745, the Moravian Book Shop is the oldest bookstore in America, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world and home to the Moravian University student bookstore. For nearly three centuries, booklovers near and far have looked to the Moravian Book Shop for its curated selection of books and iconic Moravian- and Bethlehem-themed gifts. This is my second visit to the Moravian Book Store and I appreciate their continued support for independent, self-published authors like me.

The River of Souls by Mark Piggott, poetry by Ashley Valitutto, from Curious Corvid Publishing.

I also want to mention my upcoming release from Curious Corvid Publishing. The River of Souls is my first PUBLISHED novel (not self-published) through my new publisher, coming out on August 21! Across the River of Souls, the boundless cosmic lifestream that connects all worlds, a young man lay dying underneath a crumpled automobile. He hears a voice, crying out for help, begging not to be left alone. Desperate to make something of his life, he offers himself to God to cross the River of Souls to be there for her. Now begins their new life together in a world filled with distrust, bigotry, and hatred between races. Can two people from different worlds find love and peace to show what truly lies beyond THE RIVER OF SOULS. This fantasy novella includes poetry by Ashley Valitutto, a great collaboration between author and poet. I hope you pick up my new fantasy read on AUGUST 21 from Curious Corvid Publishing.

Stay tuned here at authormarkpiggott.com (make note of the NEW website address) for more information on upcoming events and releases. I will be at 2nd Sundays for the rest of the year ( August 14, September 11, October 9, and November 13) and I have two major book signing events in October. More to come!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available as a paperback/ebook at iUniverse Publishing,  Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series, is available as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid Publishing along with the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky PiratesThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of his current fantasy book series, plus so much more coming soon.

Come out to pick up some great reads at the Book Fiends Readers Festival in Manchester

One thing I realized after attending my first steampunk festival last month is how much they love to read. When you consider classic authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are considered the Godfathers of Steampunk as we know it today, this much true. The steampunk genre revolves around everything from science fiction to romance, historical fiction to fantasy. But for some, its an obsession, and as an author, I want to encourage that type of obsessive behavior in people.

One of those groups is the Silk City Steampunk and Oddball Newt from Manchester, CT. They are hosting their third annual Book Fiends Readers Festival on Saturday, June 25, from 11am to 5pm at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT. It is a celebration of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, supernatural, paranormal, and poetry authors. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Besides meeting some great authors (including yours truly) and artists, there will be sword fighting demonstrations, food trucks, author panels, and BYOTC (Bring Your Own Tea Cup) for the Tea Cup contest. There will be a VIP meet & greet after the festival from 5pm to 7pm (tickets $10 per person). Visit Oddball Newt Productions for more information and for future steampunk events in Connecticut.

Events like these are great opportunities for you, the readers, to meet the authors of your future favorite books and pick up some great bargains to add to your summer reading list or to your bookshelf. Let’s help each other out in this endeavor. If you’re in the New York/New England area, I hope you take the time to come to the festival. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available as a paperback/ebook at iUniverse Publishing,  Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series, is available as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid Publishing along with the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky PiratesThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of his current fantasy book series, plus so much more coming soon.

Something happened on the way to publishing…

So, got some bad news last week, something entirely unexpected. I was excited at the prospect of my first full-on steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, being published this year by Revolutionary Press. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anymore. In an email I received, Revolutionary Press decided, “Our previous focus has been more oriented towards for-profit purposes, and this is a goal that we no longer find sustainable. Effectively, we are shuttering all for-profit operations. Unfortunately, we cannot continue work on your book concerning the previous contract.”

The original cover of Forever Avalon from 2009, published by James A. Rock Publishing.

So, what’s an independent author to do now? This is not the first time this has happened to me. In 2009, I signed with James A. Rock Publishing to publish my first book, Forever Avalon. It was a small publishing house, originally from Rockville, Md., until they moved to Florence, S.C. It was a “vanity publisher,” but I didn’t know any better as a new author. Things were fine until, unfortunately, the publisher passed away. His wife tried to continue with the business but to no avail. They closed down, and my book was no longer available for sale. So, I took my manuscript, reformatted it, got a new cover and interior art, and republished it via Amazon. It was easy to do and get it back on the market. It even allowed me to keep the ISBN and reviews from the first publication. I still have James A. Rock listed as the publisher on the inside page of the book to honor his memory and remind me of who gave me my first chance at being a published author. That’s something I learned from my time in the U.S. Navy . . . Remember where you came from!

So the question is, now what? What do I do? Do I try to get another publisher to pick up Corsair, or do I go it alone and self-publish? Fortunately, to quote the great John “Hannibal” King of the A-Team . . . “I love it when a plan comes together!” And by a plan, I mean a murder of crows circling overhead, picking at the carcass of my former publisher to feast on the bones and bring the dead back to life.

Sorry for that graphic description, but you’ll soon understand the reason for my over-the-top metaphor. My current publisher, Curious Corvid Publishing, is a gothic press based in Ohio. They took me under their wing (literally) after picking up a novella I wrote, The River of Souls, that will be published in August 2022. And, as our CEO and publisher Ravven White said at our first meeting, “I am your publisher now.” There was no doubt what I would do, and when I talked to them about it, Ravven never hesitated. She said they would gladly add it to their calendar for publication.

That’s what I love about finally being with a publisher. I still consider myself an independent author, and I always will be. The difference is that, even though Curious Corvid is a small publisher, they are still a publisher. My books will be available in everything from online bookstores to “brick-and-mortar” stores. They are just getting their footing and having tons of success to build on with many talented authors and poets. I am grateful to be a part of that future. I will build on it with novels like Corsair and the Sky Pirates, the next installment of The Last Magus series, Dragonfire and Steel, and the fourth book in the Forever Avalon series, The Prometheus Engine. These, along with any other crazy stories that pop into my head, will be coming your way through Curious Corvid Publishing.

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid Publishing along with the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky PiratesThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

I love being back with readers and fans alike!

I first wanted to send a big THANK YOU shoutout to the Watch City Steampunk Festival! It was my first time both at a steampunk festival and with my books in Massachusetts. Steampunk fans are, without a doubt, brilliant, imaginative, and a lot of fun. The creative spark generated by everyone at this event kept back the rain and cold all day long. I met a wonderful, eclectic group of fellow authors and readers at this festival. It was so exciting to mix it up with people again. This festival had been postponed for two years, and it felt so good to be out surrounded by people with similar interests as your own. I made a few connections for future events that I will definitely be posting more about in the days to come. I can say, without a doubt, I will be back next year!

For now, I have another event coming up next weekend in Washington, D.C. The Imaginarium Fantasy Book Festival will be held at the National Press Club in our nation’s capital on Saturday, May 21, from 11am to 4pm. This event is FREE, and tickets are available at www.imaginariumbookfestival.com.

Founded in 2018, the Imaginarium Book Festival was the idea of two authors who sought to spotlight books and writers in the science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and paranormal genres — all realms and genres of escapism. The Imaginarium Book Festival welcomes readers of all kinds to join in celebrating fantastical storytelling. Again, it has been a long two years, but we can finally have a LIVE event in such a prestigious place as the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. I am blown away by the fact that a self-published, independent author like me can be in such esteem company and talk about my fantasy books with fans of my genre. It will be a great day, right in my own backyard. I encourage any avid bookworm (or book dragon in this case) to come out for the festival.

I’ll also add here that I’ve added another book signing event for the summer. I will be returning to the historic Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA, on Sunday, July 17, from 1pm to 3pm. I love the opportunity to visit the Lehigh Valley, the area I consider part of my hometown growing up. The Moravian Book Shop is the oldest bookstore in America, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world and home to the Moravian University student bookstore. For nearly three centuries, booklovers near and far have looked to the Moravian Book Shop for its curated selection of books and iconic Moravian- and Bethlehem-themed gifts.

For any self-published, independent author, events like these help with recognition and reaching out to people who appreciate finding new reads. So please, whenever you find yourself at a convention, festival, or any event where authors have a table set up, support them. Think of us as small businesses looking to grow. Every book sale and review (especially the reviews) helps!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Watch City Steampunk Festival will turn gears and heads in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 7

With the Easter holiday weekend, I’m postponing the next installment of my Log Horizon fan fiction to let you know about an upcoming book signing event. I’ll be in Waltham, Mass., for the Watch City Steampunk Festival on Saturday, May 7, from 10am to 5pm on Waltham Commons, next to Waltham City Hall at 610 Main Street. The event is FREE and open to the public, rain or shine.

“Steampunk” is a literary and artistic movement that combines elements of Industrial-Revolution-era history and fashion with modern technology, science fiction, and whimsy. “What did the Victorians think the future would look like, and what if that’s the future that happened? What if everything that H.G Wells and Jules Verne wrote about came true?” said the Festival’s lead organizer, Melissa Honig.

This year’s event will feature multiple stages with music and performances; childrens’ activities; historical presentations; food trucks; and over 60 vendors bringing unique wares to Waltham the day before Mother’s Day. The Festival’s finale will feature rock band Celtica Nova. Just listen to them—bagpipes, violins, and rock n’ roll—they are amazing!

I’ll be there with my 2021 Firebird Book Award winner for Steampunk, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, as well as my books in the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. If you’re in the New England area, please stop by and say hello, buy a book, and be transported to a world of magic and machines. It’ll be a great time for all!

And just a little programming note, I will have the next chapter of my Log Horizon fan fiction next week. In the meantime, you can catch up on the story in its entirety on my fan fiction page!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

I am in editing Hell and I don’t know how to escape

So, what happens when you write four books during a pandemic? I can tell you . . . You slowly descend into madness as you read, reread, and edit all four of them. Two sit on the back burner while you’re working diligently to get the other two edited to the conscriptions of the editors hounding your email inbox. At the same time, you mind swirls with stories that you’ve been writing (and want to continue writing) but had to stop to go into edit mode. Like I said . . . Hell!

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me but I am a dazed and frazzled man. I am staring at a computer for nearly 16 hours a day, half at my regular job and half at the job I want to do full time. At the same time, my wife starts me off on a new diet. Yes, I’ve lost weight (10 pounds in a week) but I’m on edge from the lack of sugar and pasta in my life. Celery sticks and sugar free popsicles to not satisfy the burgeoning mind of an author.

It’s hard to focus, especially since I want to make sure everything is right. It’s hard to do when you have multiple projects crossing over . . . different storylines, characters, even genres. I am an idiot for doing this to myself, but I didn’t expect everything to be overlapping like they are. Things happened so fast that I am scrambling to make sure all my bases are covered.

I think this is giving me a reason to retire and go writing full time. I wish that was possible but I’m still a young 58 (59 in August) so I’m at the edge but not there yet. Maybe if I win the lottery or come into some money, but that is not very likely. The idea is to just “pull up my bootstraps” and “buckle up” for a long few months.

I know I should slow down and focus on one thing at a time, but when the mind goes in twenty different directions, you have to go with it. When an idea pops into my head, it rolls around there, over and over again, until I start writing it down. It won’t let me go! If I don’t do something with it, it can be quite maddening.

Follow that up with my recent successes by signing with Revolutionary Press and Curious Corvid Publishing. I’m not complaining, believe me, this was the best thing to happen to me in the pandemic. It’s just the added responsibility to live up to the expectations of the publishers. You want to show them that by picking you, to be one of their published authors, it was worth their time and energy.

So, once again, sorry for the rant, but this is an author’s blog, so its to be expected. Just remember, for all you blossoming and budding independent authors out there, remember to make better time management a priority when it comes to editing. Don’t let the projects overlap. Learn from MY mistakes and you’ll do just fine. If not, prepare for the worst!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Con or not to Con? That is the question for independent authors everywhere

This weekend, I attended Katsucon 2022 at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. I picked it because (a) it was close to home, and (b) fantasy is a big part of anime. I figured I would fit right in with my fantasy books . . . I was wrong. It seems people who cosplay as elves, knights, and wizards don’t really want to read about them in books.

First off, my sales barely covered the cost of my booth fee, parking, and food costs for the weekend. I took a loss for something I thought would be a major convention. Second, my location in the vendor hall really sucked. My booth was not in the artists alley, as promised, but between an earring and toy vendor, just two spots down from the Hentai booth affectionately known as the “Smut Hut” (their words, not mine!) Not a good place to be. I was told they wanted to “sprinkle” the authors amongst the rest of the vendors. Hide us was more like it.

On the positive side, I met and spoke with a lot of great people. I love attending events like this where people are excited about all things fantasy, steampunk, and sci-fi, and Katsucon was no exception. I mean, a lot of the younger people just walked by, more interested in anime plushies, statues, and posters, but there were several who bought my books or just picked up a bookmark or postcard with my website and other social media on it. I will have to wait and see if the convention translates to other online sales in ebooks or audiobooks. It’s still great when somebody stands at your table and keeps repeating “Wow! Wow!” as they read the synopsis on the back cover.

I think multiple day conventions like Katsucon are not for authors. I’ve been to more single day events and sold more books at those events than during my three days at a big convention like Katsucon. I need to focus on conventions and festivals specific to my genre and/or books in general. I know many people from my generation who are fans of anime, comic books, and movies are also avid readers. I think that gets a little lost with some, not all, of the younger generation. They are more visual with their books, like comic books, graphic novels, and manga.

I will stick to my upcoming steampunk festivals (Watch City in Waltham, MA) and the Imaginarium Fantasy Book Festival in Washington, D.C. My fellow fantasy authors also turned me on to a Facebook Group, Author Events Around the World, for various book festivals supportive of independent authors. This group is a great resource for various book events across the country.

So, word of advice to self-published independent authors looking for venues to sign and sell their books… Pick and choose your events carefully. Not all conventions are made alike and, before you pay for that booth, make sure your know all the details. I know that these things cost an independent author, and maybe it will result in more attention to your books or social media. Only time will tell…

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.