Tag Archives: print book

Here Come the Classics!


finally finished the book that I was reading and will now begin my venture into reading the classics that I didn’t read in school.

First on the list – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I will be sure to post even more to give my thoughts as I read through each of these renowned books. Hopefully you all won’t test me on my knowledge like Ms. Helgeson did!

Reading Challenge


Writers Read.

In writer-friend Marsha Blevins’ recent blog, she briefly reminisces on school days, and all the homework she avoided – specifically, all the classic reads that were not effectively read.

I feel challenged. I have read many of the classics. One of my favorite books of all times is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is what got me interested in paranormal fiction. Still, there are many that escaped me.

Shall I commit to reading them? When do I have the time, especially when I’m supposed to be writing? Nevertheless, as the quote on her post reads, “If you’re a writer who doesn’t read, ooh, holy shitkittens, you’re super-mega-ultra-wrong.”  –Chuck Wendig http://terribleminds.com/ramble/

Or as the popular Stephen King quote goes, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I will begin reading these classics. May the literary journey feed my mind and awaken my muse.

To Print or Not to Print


I posted this on my Facebook page, but thought it would be a good message for the blog, too.

I have struggled with something over the past couple of weeks. Now that I’ve made a decision, I wanted to share it with you all.

“Mining the Dark” will (initially) only be available in digital format. This was a very hard decision because I would rather that anyone who wants to read the book have choices. The unfortunate reality is that print books don’t make a lot of money.

I know, I know – it’s not like I’m having to front the cost since I self-publish. What I do have to provide is my time and effort. When you self-publish books, depending on which services you use, you will likely have to format your manuscript in a different way. For example, what works in digital self-publishing doesn’t necessarily work in print self-publishing. Right now in this industry you usually have to have one version of the manuscript formatted for digital and one for print – and this doesn’t even include cover imaging which typically have to be different and just because there’s a copyright on the digital image doesn’t mean it’s on the print image.

I went ahead and did this for “The Source” and set the price HIGHER for print than what I wanted because I personally don’t feel that people should have to pay a lot for a little mental vacation. Even with the price that I set for the print version, I only make $0.78 every time a copy sells because of the overhead costs of the paper, binding, print ink, etc.

Right now, at this point in my career, the time and effort outweighs the benefits…which actually does upset me because one of the biggest benefits is that readers can enjoy (or hate) the book in whichever format they choose.

After thinking through all of this and getting feedback from many of you over which format you read “The Source,” I have decided that when “Mining the Dark” is released, it will only be in digital format.

I wanted to post this so I could be honest with y’all and didn’t want anyone to have certain expectations only to be disappointed.

Character Spotlight – Mr. Robert Caulfield


Mr. Robert Caulfied – director of the Federal Office for Human and Vampire Administration, a department of the US government that is spearheading the attempt to address social concerns that have arisen now that vampires are open and accepted as citizens.

If the US government were a company, Caulfield would be a company man. He has an unwavering commitment to the work that FOHVA is doing and commands respect in his position as director. Even Rick gives him the same respect that he gives others who have PhDs, by always addressing Caulfield with the title Mr. Rick’s use of the title tells a lot about how he views Caulfield – compare this to how Emma will address one of the archivists as Ms. Montgomery, but Rick simply calls her Sarah. But not with Caulfield…he seemingly deserves the title and respect.

Why does Caulfield deserve so much respect? Further, why does Rick think that he does? Does Rick know more about him than he’s letting on? Maybe the respect is because of Caulfield’s position…his confidence…his commanding presence….or maybe in regards to the work that he’s tasked with doing. Specifically in “The Source,” Caulfield is managing an entire project to find a way to deal with violent vampire criminals – for the protection of humans and law-abiding vampires alike. It’s a huge undertaking with even bigger implications given the growing political climate of anti-vampirism.

Does he do it because it’s his job or because he feels that strongly about vampire rights? It’s hard to tell because Caulfield is truly a man of mystery to the point that the only person who might know is his assistant Allison – and maybe not even her. Or maybe Rick knows and is just not telling.

One thing that surprised me with FOHVA is that although they’re a government department, there appears to be a seamless partnership with the military. This of course could be because normal law enforcement agents – like with the FBI, DEA, etc – are not equipped or trained to deal with the vampire threat. That fact is part of the reason why FOHVA exists in the first place. Still, close military involvement is enough to make some people slightly nervous and question many things regarding Caulfield’s involvement.

Mr. Robert Caulfield is a figurehead; he represents the overall, decisive effort to maintain order – the question is what is the definition of order and who is doing the defining? Is Caulfield the one doing the defining, trusted with bringing ultimate social peace between humans and vampires? Or is he just taking orders?

He will play a bigger role in the plot of upcoming books in the series. It will be interesting to see – even for me – if there is anyone who will be able to breach his stoic demeanor and gain some insight about his motivations.

Character Spotlight – Dr. Rick Allstedt


As some of my readers already know, I’m going to spend some time doing a spotlight on each of the characters from my novel The Source. This will help all of us – including me – to get to know each one better. Not to mention how much fun I’m going to have doing it!

On January 23rd I posed the question on my Facebook page – “I’m going to start spotlighting the characters from The Source. Who would you like to see spotlighted first?” The first comment requested that we focus on Rick, so he will be our esteemed first spotlight.

Ah, Rick – tall, dark hair, lavender-looking eyes and kissable lips…a vampire.

Yet there are so many layers to Rick. You will notice that I entitled this blog entry “Character Spotlight – DR. Rick Allsetdt.” Rick is proud of what he’s been able to do with his education. Rick was so involved in his time at university that he didn’t socialize much. The advances in science took up most of his thoughts to the point that he didn’t even think much about women. When he was turned into a vampire and had to go into hiding, he was faced with the reality that his academic career was over. This side of being a vampire had a HUGE impact on him. His scientific work and academic success was such a large part of his identity, when he turned, it really was like he was a completely different person. He struggled early on in his life as a vampire because he could not get over the loss of something that was the central part of his life. This is indicative of a certain way that Rick views himself in the world – he was more concerned about not being able to finish his degree more than the loss of his own life.

When vampires went public, it was something that Rick fully supported in part because as long as vampires could peacefully get along with their non-vampire brothers and sisters, Rick could finish his education and obtain his PhD – and that’s exactly what he did. The loss of his education, along with its miraculous return, is the main reason why Rick takes so much pride in what he’s been able to accomplish. You might recognize in The Source that many times when Rick introduces himself – or someone else who has a PhD – he makes sure to use the title Doctor. This is not something that Rick takes lightly and he can be very insistent on it, which unfortunately has the added effect of him coming off as arrogant, an intellectual elitist. Closer examination of Rick will show that part of this aspect of his personality is more about giving respect where respect is due. He undoubtedly thinks that anyone who has done that much academic work to attain the Doctor title should be respected by being called Doctor. He even extends this same courtesy to others of position by always addressing Caulfield with “Mister.”

Using a person’s title is not just a recognition of their position of esteem with Rick – not using them usually means one of two things…either a slight to that person OR Rick’s acknowledgment of a certain level of intimacy in the relationship, such as with Emma. Rick has a great deal of respect for Emma and when they meet new people on the project he introduces her as Dr. Emma Burcham (in contrast, Emma doesn’t focus on titles that much and tells people to just call her Emma). At first glance this almost seem chauvinistic because it’s as if Rick is taking on the standard male role of controlling a situation in being the one to always introduce Emma. The truth is that he wants to make sure that everyone recognizes Emma’s position, even if she does have a simpler “know-all-about-your-neighbors-by-name” Appalachian approach.

This is not the only controlling aspect of Rick’s personality. He will often use his vampire abilities to protect those around him, regardless of how creepy that may appear. As part of his acceptance of being a vampire, Rick felt a sense of duty to use his abilities to be almost like a warrior, a protector of those who cannot usually protect themselves – mostly non-vampires. In his early experiences as a vampire, Rick became even more aware of the vulnerability of most of the people of the world – the ones often referred to as humans, the ones who aren’t vampires (this is a sticking point with Rick because he still very much considers himself human, just of the vampire variety). Because of a non-vampire’s rather quick mortality, Rick not only had a sense of protecting the ones he cared for, but he quickly learned that they could be snatched away within the span of a moment. Now that vampires are accepted in society he has a somewhat tenuous relationship with them. He has a strong desire to protect them when he can, but won’t allow himself to get TOO close because he’s abundantly aware that regardless of his vampire abilities, he cannot prevent the inevitable – death.

This is the paradox of Rick – he cares deeply, but forces himself not to get too close. This is a huge driving force in his relationship with Emma and unfortunately, she often takes it as something different…on the one hand he takes such liberties as having a talk with Tucker but at the same time will emotionally shut down if the conversation comes too close to matters of the heart. Emma can get very frustrated by this because all she has to go on – aside from Rick’s great looks and intelligent mind – is the fact that he won’t get too close to her and often does things (like talking to Tucker) that make it seem like he doesn’t trust her own decisions, that she’s socially incompetent, particularly when it comes to men. Until Emma is really able to understand why he does the things he does – which will require Rick actually opening up a lot more than he has – she will continue to guess at his intentions. This actually causes a paradox within Emma, too, because she thinks he’s super hot, has had some meaningful conversations with him, but has also had her mind twisted with the frustration of his “I’m-close-but-not-too-close” actions with her.

Anyone who has read The Source recognizes that Emma has her own issues to work through – but so does Rick. Only time will tell if they will be able to work through them together.

Another Mountain State Vampire Giveaway!


To show my appreciation for everyone who has bought “The Source” – even if it was a download during a free promotion – I’m giving away another signed physical copy.

Here’s the deets – between now and the end of February, post a review on Amazon and e-mail a link to the review to stilwell.jb@gmail.com. That’s it! I will take all of the submissions and randomly pick (with the help of Maya) a winner from the proverbial hat. Whoever wins – I will contact you to make arrangements to mail (at no cost to you) a signed copy of “The Source.”

Good luck and fang on! v–v

Support for Megan – Battling Childhood Leukemia


Megan is sick and has hives from this round of chemo treatment. Prayers, good thoughts, healing energy is all appreciated.

Please show your support for this strong little girl – join Megan’s Musketeers on Facebook, register to be a bone marrow donor or even buy “The Source” – at this point, even if you don’t read it and think I’m a terrible writer, buy it and 80% of those proceeds goes to this family to help cover expenses. At a time like this, every little bit helps!

$2.99 on Amazon Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Source-Mountain-State-Vampire-ebook/dp/B008XDNVXY/

$8.99 for print on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/The-Source-Mountain-Vampire-Volume/dp/1478276592/

$2.99 on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/254580

$2.99 on Barnes & Noble Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-source-jb-stilwell/1113786761?ean=2940015847178&itm=1&usri=the+source+j.b.+stilwell

And if you want to help more directly rather than buying a book, get more information about fundraisers from Megan’s Musketeers on Facebook!

Friends, please share this post in all social media to get the word out! This is the second time Megan has battled AML leukemia and the family could use all of the prayers and financial help possible!