mbc@writteninsomnia.com

Stranger Still

  

Your sins are Legion…

… and now you belong to him.

***

 

Legion is a teacher. An avenging angel. A murderer.

A madman.

 

“This is the kind of story that once you start it will not release you until it is ready.” – The Genre Minx

 

Born in the blood of a dying mother, raised in the underground lair of an insane father, he travels the world looking for those who keep secrets and sins. He finds those who have fallen short, and teaches them the lessons they need to leave their mistakes behind.

 

Even if he has to kill them to do it. Because sometimes murder is the only way to teach a proper lesson.

 

“I see [Collings’] name and I grab the book… now that I have met Legion, I have to know more about him.” – Fundinmental Book Reviews

 

So when he sees a man kidnap two people on the side of the road, Legion knows it is time to teach again.

 

Soon he finds himself caught in the crossfire of a coup in a Russian crime syndicate. He is captured, beaten, bleeding, in chains; cut off and alone.

 

It’s just the way he likes it.

Legion has found his students. And for them, life is about to beome frightening and so much… stranger.

 

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

  

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Action, Books, Horror, Monsters & Madmen, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller

Scavenger Hunt

 

“I already know all your names.

As for me… you can call me Mr. Do-Good.”

 

Five strangers have woken up in a white room. A room with no doors, no windows.

 

A room with no hope.

 

“5 stars!” Sci-Fi & Scary

Because these strangers have been kidnapped, drugged… and brought here as the newest contestants in the world’s most high-stakes scavenger hunt.

 

A GREAT story that kept me guessing until the end… it will not be a story that you will want to put down!” – The Genre Minx

 

Run by a madman named Mr. Do-Good, the game offers only two options: win or die.

 

“Unputdownable!” – Fundinmental book reviews

 

All they have to do to survive is…

 

complete every task…
on time…
and not break any of Do-Good’s rules.

 

“An entertaining, action-packed read.” – Morbidly Beautiful Reviews

 

Playing the game will bring the players to their breaking point and beyond. But play they will, because Do-Good has plans for these strangers, and their only chance to live through the night is to discover what’s really behind his Scavenger Hunt.

“If you want excitement, don’t miss this one.” – Monster Librarian

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Action, Books, Horror, Monsters & Madmen, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller

Darkling Smiles

A “chilling collection of eight tales… as scary as they are satisfying…” (Publisher’s Weekly)

 

A family that wins tablet computers at a deal to good to be believed…

A man who is sent across the universe, only to discover the most dangerous world in existence…

A hitman who realizes that his greatest contract is going to be himself…

A man whose child has been targeted by a cult, and must decide what he is willing to do to save those he loves…

Michaelbrent Collings brings you eight tales of people whose lives — and sometimes deaths — have fallen into decay.

Tales of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the outrageous and the banal. Tales of lives bright, lives dim.

Stories of a universe fallen, where every happiness has its opposite, and every smile will be inevitably darkled

 

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Action, Books, Fantasy, Horror, Monsters & Madmen, Mystery, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Suspense/Thriller

For Love of the Brave

 

Your sins are Legion…
… and now you belong to him.

***

Legion is a teacher. An avenging angel. A murderer.

A madman.

 

"This is the kind of story that once you start it will not release you until it is ready." - The Genre Minx

 

Born in the blood of a dying mother, raised in the underground lair of an insane father, he travels the world looking for those who keep secrets and sins. He finds those who have fallen short, and teaches them the lessons they need to leave their mistakes behind.

 

Even if he has to kill them to do it. Because sometimes murder is the only way to teach a proper lesson.

 

"I see [Collings'] name and I grab the book... now that I have met Legion, I have to know more about him." - Fundinmental Book Reviews

 

So when he sees a man kidnap two people on the side of the road, Legion knows it is time to teach again.

 

Soon he finds himself caught in the crossfire of a coup in a Russian crime syndicate. He is captured, beaten, bleeding, in chains; cut off and alone.

 

It’s just the way he likes it.

Legion has found his students. And for them, life is about to beome frightening and so much... stranger.

 

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Angelica Hart, Baxter Homestead, Books, Romance, Western Romance

Why is Little Timmy’s Face on Fire? (aka how to write a good book description)

One of a potential reader’s biggest “sell” points is your book description. Sadly, it’s also one of the things that I most often see get mangled by authors. But fear no more! I’m going to give you a quick rundown on the elements you need for great cover copy.

 

 

To establish my bona fides: I’m an internationally-bestselling author in everything from horror to science fiction and fantasy to (I kid you not) Western Romance. I’ve sold tens of thousands of eBooks on the strength of my back cover copy. I have literally had Hollywood producers call me with variations on this conversation:

 

 

Producer: Hey, are the rights for [cool Michaelbrent book title here] available?

Me (in needy tones, because Author): You bet. Did you like the book? My mom liked it and she says I’m handsome and talented and –

Producer: What, you think I’ve read it? [Sharp, barking laughter.] No, I just read the description. That’d make a great movie tagline! So is it available or not? Answer quick, ‘cause I have to go for a swim in my McDuck-style pool of ducats.

 

 

This should clue you in on how critical back cover copy is.

 

 

But too many authors don’t know how to do it. In fact, when I go to comic cons and writing conferences one of the first things I notice is that few authors know how to sell a book. They know how to tell their story, but guess what (and this is important): no one cares about your story. Not yet.

 

 

Your story is the equivalent of baby photos by that obnoxious coworker you barely know. Sure, they’re kids. Sure, they probably have some level of worth. But you don’t know them. You don’t care about them. You have no stake, and just want the microwave burrito calling your name in the break room.

 

 

But what if that same coworker sidles up to you and says, “So Little Timmy’s face spontaneously caught on fire yesterday.”

 

 

Now you’re in. The coworker can say, “The story starts with Little Timmy in his mother’s fallopian tube,” and go through every day of Little Timmy’s life in agonizing detail and you will hang on every word because HOW DID LITTLE TIMMY’S FACE CATCH FIRE?!

 

 

Note that the thing that worked wasn’t the story. It was a) the hook, and b) the emotional attachment that created.

 

 

That’s good back cover copy, which does three things:

 

 

1) Establish what the hook of the book is – that thing that makes your story utterly unique.

2) Provide an emotional(not cerebral) response.

3) Show that you know how to write, because holy crap look how invested I am in this back cover copy and if you know how to do that in 100 words, then I. AM. SO. IN.

 

 

A quick example:

 

 

You wake up in the morning to discover that you have been sealed into your home.

The doors are locked, the windows are barred.

THERE’S NO WAY OUT.

A madman is playing a deadly game with you and your family.

A game with no rules, only consequences.

 

 

So what do you do? Do you run? Do you hide?

OR DO YOU DIE?

The above is the entirety of the description to my novel, Strangers. It immediately shows what the hook is – a family that’s been sealed in their home with a killer. It draws in the reader emotionally, both by providing a quick snapshot of the stakes (“DO YOU DIE”) and also, in this case, by the sneaky, underhanded author making the story about the reader (not only is Little Timmy’s face on fire, but it turns out Little Timmy is your secret love child! Oh no, poor baby! Poor me!).

 

 

62 words, and I’ve got ‘em.

 

 

A lot of authors don’t want to reveal their hook, because they’re “giving away the coolest thing.” But that just means you need to retool your book/story, because your hook should not be the only – or even the most important – twist and turn in your story.

 

 

With Strangers I’ve told you the most basic part of the first hundred pages of the novel. But you don’t know the mechanics of how the killer got in, or why he chose this particular family, or whether they get out, or, or, or, or…

 

 

Your hook isn’t the story. What it is, is the thing that tells your reader that there’s something in it for them. That they can plunk over five bucks and get a good value, because in here is something they’ve never seen (or never seen done this way).

 

 

Then you set that hook good and tight by making them feel. You don’t have to write the story as actually happening to them to do this. The tried-and-true way is to describe the characters in a way that makes them important/sympathetic/relateable to the reader. Another example, this time from my book Predators:

 

 

She is one of the only animals
who can chase a lion from its kill …

Evie Childs hoped the all-expense-paid trip to Africa would give her a chance at adventure. Maybe it would even let her forget a past that haunts her, and find safety from a husband who abuses her.

Her jaws can crush bone to powder…

But when a group of “freedom fighters” kidnaps her safari tour group, intent on holding them for ransom, the adventure turns to nightmare.

She knows no mercy, only hunger…

Now, Evie and the rest of the survivors must travel across miles of the harshest, most dangerous environment on Earth. No food. No water. No communications.

And they’re being hunted.

She is the only animal alive
who laughs as she hunts…

A pack of Africa’s top predators have smelled the blood of the survivors, and will not stop until they have fed. Because in this place, you can be either one of the prey, or one of the…

… PREDATORS

 

 

Again, it’s short (167 words). Again, it sets a hook (“What kinda scary animal can chase away a lion?”), then invests the reader emotionally (a woman with an abusive husband and secrets from her past, we’re already torn between rooting for her and being curious). It then sets the hook even tighter (“You mean they got kidnapped and then things got bad?”), and gets us further invested when it talks about Evie and “the survivors” (a phrase we are hard-wired to root for and you bet I used it on purpose!).

 

 

Too many authors resist “giving away the good parts” without telling the whole story. So at those comic cons and conventions that I mention, I’ve run through descriptions – a quick hook, a brush stroke of the characters and stakes – of all forty or so of my books before the author at the next table has gotten through chapter one.

 

 

Who do you think gets the sale?

 

 

I’m not boring them with baby pictures. I’m quietly setting Little Timmy’s face on fire, then pointing out the blaze.

 

 

Set the hook. Make it matter to the reader.

 

 

And sell that book.

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Writing Advice

Terminal

Michaelbrent Collings brings you one of the “Best Reads of 2019” (Horror After Dark); a “Top 10 Read of 2019” (Sci-fi & Scary)…

 ***

All passengers, please prepare for departure…

An employee, a cop, and six passengers; a prisoner, a stowaway, and a madman.

These are the people waiting at the Lawton bus terminal.

 Mostly late-night travelers who want nothing more than to get to their destinations, and employees who want nothing more than to get through the graveyard shift.

But when a strange, otherworldly fog rolls in, the night changes to nightmare. Because something hides in the fog. Something powerful. Something strange. Something… inhuman.

Soon, those in the terminal have been cut off from the rest of the world. No phones, no computers. Just ten strangers in the terminal… and The Other.

The Other is the force in the mist. The Other is the thing that has captured them. And The Other wants to play a game.

The rules are simple:

  1. The people in the terminal must choose a single person from among them. That person will live. The rest will die.
  2. Anyone who attempts to leave the terminal before the final vote will die.
  3. The final vote… must be unanimous. 

A nightmare. And getting worse, because the best way to make a vote unanimous… is to kill the other voters. 

Welcome to the Terminal.

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com
The Lawman’s Love

The Lawman’s Love

  
Miracles are what happen when you have nothing left to lose…
  
Nicolette Carpenter owns the Good Comfort Hotel in King’s Mill… or what’s left of it. Since her parents died and left her the hotel, business has been more of a bust than a boom. In fact, the bank is going to foreclose in only a matter of days, and there’s nothing she can do about it. So when a handsome lawman named Malachi comes to the town of King’s Mill looking for a place to stay, there’s plenty of room in the nearly-empty hotel.
  
Not that his staying will change the inevitable. She’s going to lose the hotel. She’ll lose her parents’ legacy.
  
She’ll lose herself.
  
But fate has a strange way of giving back what has been taken. And as Malachi searches for the villain who brought him to King’s Mill, Nicolette finds herself drawn to the lawman… just as he is drawn to her.
  
Together, the two will embark on an adventure that will change their lives, that will change the face of King’s Mill… and that will result in criminals captured and hearts bound forever. Because in a harsh, changing world, Nicolette is about to find that the one thing she can always count on… is The Lawman’s Love.
  

Buy now on…
  

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Angelica Hart, Baxter Homestead, Western Romance
Found in Flight

Found in Flight

  
Only a woman with a broken heart can show a broken man how to love.
  
Tilly Carver is a woman on the run. After a lifetime under the control of her cruel father, she has finally fled. But running does not mean you leave all your problems behind.
  
After being saved from a gruesome death while on the run, she accompanies the young Clayton Baxter to his family’s home: the Baxter Homestead. But Tilly’s troubles are far from over. As Clayton begins to show his true colors as a cowardly, conniving villain, Tilly finds herself thrust deeper and deeper into intrigue and even danger.
  
Luckily, though, there are people looking out for her. Mrs. Baxter – Clayton’s mother and a tornado of a woman – has adopted her as one of the family. Clayton’s brother, Adam, loves her like a sister.
  
And then there is Paul.
  
A man of mystery, who showed up at the homestead not long after Tilly, he is always there… watching her, protecting her, perhaps even… loving her? She does not know. No one knows who Paul really is, or where he came from. She only knows that he is the strongest man she has ever known, and the only man with whom she has ever felt safe.
  
She only knows that Paul understands her, because he also is on the run from a past he only wants to forget.
  
But the past is never really gone. And as Tilly’s and Paul’s past lives reach out to threaten them once more, they both realize that they can only find safety with each other. They can only find happiness in the arms of someone who understands what they have gone through, and what they have done.
  
They can only find love if they stop running, and face what is coming… together.
  
Buy now on…
  

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Angelica Hart, Baxter Homestead, Western Romance
Not All Cowboys Are Cruel

Not All Cowboys Are Cruel

When life has taken all you have, will there be enough left over to love?

Grace Isabella Lee is a woman on the run – from the past, from the lies, and from the ever-growing sense that she just ain’t good enough to love. Matthew is a cowboy with a secret, who knows without doubt that anyone he loves will be taken from him, just as was his wife.

When Grace falls upon ruffians intent on defiling her, she all but gives up. But Matthew is her guardian angel, and soon becomes much more. Working together on the Baxter homestead, they will discover new truths – about themselves, about each other, and about the world itself.

Together, they reignite the fires of once-banked loves. Together, Grace and Matthew will find their way to safety, to happiness, and to love.

Grace will teach him that he is more of a man than he ever thought, and Matthew will teach her that she CAN love again… because Not All Cowboys Are Cruel.

Buy now on…

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Angelica Hart, Baxter Homestead, Western Romance
Check out my TEDx talk!

Check out my TEDx talk!

I did a TEDx talk, titled “Confessions of a Super-villain: The Psychosis of Lies.” You can check it out by clicking here.

 

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Life Advice, MbC Must-read