Dämoren is Back, Podcast, and Redemptor News

I’m very happy to say that Dämoren has been re-edited and released by Crossroad Press.  It’s cleaner, tighter, and ready to entertain.

You should check it out 🙂 It’s on Amazon HERE.

Hounacier and Ibenus will be coming back soon once they’ve gone through their own round of fresh edits.

Next, I’m over at the Archivos Podcast talking about writing, gaming, YouTube, and all sorts of other stuff.

You can find it HERE.


Finally, I’m happy to officially announce that R.C. Bray has returned to the microphone to lend his golden voice to Redemptor. After Dämoren and Hounacier both made the Audie Award finalist lists, hopefully we can pull it off on our newest collaboration.  The Audible edition will release in late January 2018.

That’s all for now.  Hope to have some new updates soon.


Publishing Announcement: Valducan and Black Raven Return

I’m very excited to announce that Crossroad Press has picked up my Valducan Series and Tales of the Black Raven.

Currently, I’m finishing up the remainder of my 90-day separation from my previous publisher, which means ebooks aren’t available and they are still selling off the remaining inventory of printed books. Audio is still available. Crossroad Press will be running the titles through a fresh round of edits and then putting them back out there for readers to enjoy.

Future Valducan and Black Raven titles will be published through Crossroads as well.

Established in 2009, Crossroad’s authors include Clive Barker, Joe Lansdale, C.T. Phipps, and even the Stargate novels. I’m extremely honored to be among them.

Re-release dates are not set yet. We still have a month left before we can even release, but it should be soon.

Thank you, everyone. I look forward to getting them back out there.


Moving On

After three years and five books, I’ve decided to end my relationship with Ragnarok Publications.

I won’t lie. This wasn’t easy. But it had to happen.

I’m not going to go into much detail here. There’s several reasons, some big, some small, but the short of it comes down to business.  Writing is a business. Publishing is a business. And Ragnarok hasn’t paid me what they owe me.  How much? I wish I knew.

This isn’t a new problem. Other authors have left over the past year for the same reason and more.  It sucks. But business is business.

I’m not interested in trash-talk. So don’t expect that. I will always be grateful for Ragnarok being the first publisher to take the risk on me. I’ve made a lot of good friends there and many special memories.

So what does this mean?

Well, it’ll take a few months for the transition to take effect and all rights to return to me on the books already in publication.  So, I have until then to figure it out.  Hopefully, I will find a new publisher with a solid reputation who wants my Valducan Series (anyone know a good agent?).

What about Redemptor?

Well, Redemptor (Valducan #4) is completely back in my hands. Technically, it never left. Due to a merger and some other reasons, Ragnarok never sent me a contract (Crazy. I know.) So as of this moment, I have the full rights to it.

However, this also means that it will not be releasing this November. I’m terribly sorry for that.

Hopefully Redemptor will find a new home soon.

This isn’t a post I wanted to make. I wanted to post about how Redemptor is coming soon and about how Ashes of Onyx is nearly complete. But business is business.  Sometimes it isn’t fun.


A Tale of Three Review Platforms or: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Audible

We all know that reviews are important for authors. If you didn’t know that, then allow me to tell you that reviews are important for authors. For many new and lesser-known authors (like me) they can be the lifeline to new readers and to sales.  That means that authors spend way more time than they should worrying about and analyzing reviews.  There’s many platforms that people use to rate and review books, but three of them (at least for me) stand head and shoulders above the rest.  So today I’m going to discuss the Big Three sites as well as their strengths and weaknesses.


No big surprise there. Amazon is the largest bookseller in the world and for most indy and self-published authors is the main platform used to sell their books. Amazon reviews are critical for authors there.  Amazon uses the classic 5-star system and requires that every rating be accompanies by a written review. These can range from page-long in-depth reviews, to short “It Sucked” or “Great Book”.  Obviously some are more helpful than others. Amazon also requires that each review have a title, which some reviewers find a bit stressful trying to come up with something “punchy”.

Currently, my debut novel Dämoren has 121 Amazon reviews.

Amazon flags reviews from people that purchased the book on Amazon with a nifty “Amazon Verified Purchase” tag next to them.  These are great for potential readers to assess if the reviews are from actual customers.  However, since Amazon still permits non-verified purchased reviews, it allows professional reviewers that receives ARCs (Advanced Reviewer Copies) to leave their opinions as well.

However, the Amazon review system is very lacking.  The ratings/reviews do not allow a person to easily gauge the reason for the rating.  If they are rating it poorly because of the shopping experience versus the book itself, the rating is lumped in with all the others, either raising or lowering the total average accordingly. It also doesn’t differentiate which version is being rated (Kindle, hardback, audio, etc.) which means that someone rating it based off of an audio performance they did or didn’t like, or a buggy Kindle version, skews the overall rating.  Another thing that I’ve noticed is that if a title is purchased off of Audible (an Amazon company) a review on Amazon does not get the “Verified Purchase” tag, even if the sale was directly linked through Amazon.


Again, no big surprise. Goodreads is a massive and highly popular database for readers to find and rate books.  Readers are not forced to leave written reviews as to why they like or disliked a book, so it allows more people to simply leave a 1-5 star rating and move on.  Also, it doesn’t differentiate whether the book was purchased new, used, borrowed, or pirated.  This allows a much wider snapshot of reader demographics.

While Goodreads still uses the simple 5-star system, it is considered by many to be the main judge of a book’s popularity.  I’ve been told that a book is considered “obscure” by many readers until it breaks the 5,000 rating mark. Some readers will delay even looking at a book until it meets their personal minimum number of ratings.

Dämoren has 654 Goodreads ratings.

You can easily see that while the number of ratings is much higher than on Amazon , because Goodreads doesn’t require users to leave a written review for each rating, then number of reviews (a.k.a. What I liked and didn’t like) is lower. 79 vs 121.

Users can break it down to which version of the book they read, however the user interface to select editions is poor at best and most Goodreads users don’t bother.  But at least there is the option. Users are also not forced to title their reviews. Reviews are a simple blank box to write in with zero prompts.


I’m a massive audio book fan. Over 90% of my reading now is audio and Audible has been great platform for me to find and purchase audio books. With the ease of streaming and downloading, audio books have evolved from the giant folders of tapes or CD’s that contained a highly abridged version that we once knew.  In fact, abridged audio books are almost non-existent now. All of this has opened the fastest growing market of readers, and amazingly they’re almost completely independent from conventional readers.

My Audible edition, which was released four months after the other editions, currently has 667 rating.

You’ll notice that unlike Amazon and Goodreads, Audible uses three tiers to rate a book, breaking it down to Overall, Story, and Performance. This gives potential customers an immediate way to gauge if the book might be right for them.  Furthermore, in order to rate a book, it MUST be a purchase from Audible. That means that 100% of the ratings are from paying customers.

Like with Goodreads, Audible does not require users to leave a review, which encourages more people to rate a book. However, unlike the other platforms, Audible provides optional prompts to encourage reviewers. Prompts include: “What made the experience of reading _X_ the most enjoyable?” “What did you like best about the story?” “What about the narrator’s performance did you like?” and “Who was your favorite character and why?”  Of course many reviewers skip the questions, but because Audible tries to encourage reviews, they’re very helpful for people to explain why they liked or didn’t like a book instead simply stating “I loved it”.

Because Audible is very good at not only encouraging reviews, but also good in using reviews to recommend new books to customers, more customers are using Audible than the other two platforms.  So even though my Audible edition has been around for less time than the other versions, it has more ratings on Audible than it has on Goodreads (which theoretically should have the most because Goodreads includes all platforms and has had four months longer to accumulate ratings).

Here are some other examples of novels with more Audible ratings than Goodreads and Amazon.

ROS The Rules of Supervillainy: The Supervillany Saga Volume 1

Written by: C.T. Phipps

Amazon Ratings:  86

Goodreads Ratings:  763

Audible Ratings:  1,471





NoSuchThing No Such Thing as Werewolves: Deathless Book 1

Written by: Chris Fox

Amazon Ratings:  202

Goodreads Ratings:  413

Audible Ratings:  660





DoD The Dragons of Dorcastle: The Pillars of Reality Book 1

Written by:  Jack Campbell

Amazon Ratings:  88

Goodreads Ratings:  1,652

Audible Ratings:  4,714




Of course this isn’t always the case. Most novels appear to follow the classic trend of more Goodreads ratings than any other type. So as they say, “Results may vary.”

Even then, self or indy published authors should strongly consider releasing Audible editions of their books in order to find a completely new niche of potential readers.


Writing Update: Edits and Pre-Orders

I’ve been quiet on my writing updates recently. Time to correct that.

Ibenus has completed its first found of edits.  We’ll be making a few more passes to get it all nice and polished. I will say that reading it for the first time in months was a fun experience. I really like this one and I look forward to hearing reader responses. Release date is still set for September 2016. Paperback pre-order is available on Amazon.

Layout by Shawn King

Dämoren is going through its final revisions as well for the new version.  Some pesky typos are going away and the layout is getting a nice face-lift.  I can’t wait to hold the finished product. IPG should begin distributing the new versions, as well as my other Ragnarok titles, in the next few weeks.  I’ll update once I have more.

In the meantime, Brilliance Audio will be releasing MP3 CDs for my audiobooks so that libraries can carry them.  Mountain of Daggers will release 5/24/2016, Dämoren 6/7/2016, and Hounacier 8/2/2016. All of which are currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

My fourth Valducan novel, Redemptor, is coming along nicely.  I’m 8 chapters in, and while I can’t give a good estimate for when it’ll be completed, I’m shooting for the end of this year. Without revealing too much about it, I can tell you that it is set in South America, Matt is one of the principal characters, and the working tagline is, “Monsters Aren’t Born, They’re Forged.”

That’s all I have for now.  I hope to have another update soon on some other topics, but it’s a little early to go into those yet.






Ibenus Cover Reveal and a New Look

ODamoren covern December 27th, 2013, Joe Martin with Ragnarok Publications sent me a message saying, “Something for you to look at.” It accompanied my very first glimpse of Dämoren’s cover. It was still a bit rough. I hadn’t secured my blurb from Elizabeth Bear yet, the gun had a couple tweaks left to do, but it was the cover. It was MY cover, and it was amazing. After a few more weeks, we had the finished product.

I love this cover. 

It graces my business cards, even my mouse pad. As I type this, it hangs on the wall behind my desk inside a shadow box with an engraved bullet.  The bloody background became the wallpaper for my website. The image of my very first book plastered my Facebook feed so many times over the months leading to and just after my release that I’m sure many of my friends were so sick of it that they Ignored me.

Hounacier CoverBut I made no apologies.  My wife and I refer to Dämoren as our first child, and like any new parent, I wanted to share its pictures with the world.

A year later, Joe sent me my first peek at Hounacier

Its a perfect companion to Dämoren. I love the symbols, the skull, the blood-splattered blade. It looks wonderful.  

Again, my friends and family endured months of seeing that image every time they opened their Facebook.  But, as is the case with many second children, it was just a little less than it had been with the first.  

Once I received my first copy it immediately went into a shadowbox beside its older sibling.  


I cherish these covers. They represent years of dreams, hard work, frustrations, and joy. 

However, all things change. With the growth of Ragnarok Publications, their distribution deal with IGP, and the success of the Valducan Series, it was decided that Dämoren and Hounacier will no longer wear those cherished skins. 

But don’t worry, my friends.  The books themselves are not going away. They are evolving into something more to welcome their newest sibling, Ibenus, into the world.  We’re cleaning them up, removing typos, polishing the insides, and giving them a brand new coat of paint.

So in honor of Ibenus’ upcoming release and Ragnarok’s growth, I’m thrilled to present you with this…

Damoren 2

Hounacier 2

My children are growing up.

When Dämoren was first released my good friend Charles got his paperback signed and informed me that he had no intention of ever reading that copy because he knew that one day a first edition would be collectible.  I laughed and told him that I didn’t expect multiple editions. I must now admit that he was right. So for all of you out there that own the original red and bloody covers, congratulations.  You’ll soon be able to say, “I read Skorkowsky back when, and I have the old books to prove it.” Now, it’ll be a couple months before the change, so if you want to pick up the original covers, you still have some time. I’m told it will probably be March when these versions come available.

So about now I assume that my readers are thinking, “OK, Seth, that’s pretty awesome. Those covers look great and all, and thank you for sharing your emotional journey and blah, blah, blah. But you led us here under the promise that you were going to show us Ibenus’ cover. Did you lie to us? Where is Ibenus? Show us the goods!”

All right, all right. Sheesh, I was just getting to that.

So without any further dramatic buildup, I’m proud to present Ibenus.


Joe Martin and Shawn King have done an amazing job.  I’m thrilled to see Ibenus for the first time and I can’t wait to hold it and its newly re-vamped brothers in my greedy little hands. As far as release date, I’ll let you know once we have it.

Thank you, everyone. This wouldn’t have been possible without you and getting the word out on my books.  Because of your support for a fledgling author from a small indie press, we’ve grown into the next level.

And to my Facebook friends and family, I apologize in advance.  You’re about to see these beautiful covers many, many more times.




2015 in Review


This year has been incredible. In the 10 years since my first sale, 2015 was the first time I openly referred to myself as an author. Before that, it felt sort of weird, like I was some wanna-be pretending I was something that I wasn’t.  Even after Dämoren released in 2014, I was apprehensive about throwing that title out because I remembered some opinion piece that said to be called an author, one must have two published book.  It’s silly, I know, but I was never able to really put my chin up high, walk up to a total stranger and say, “I’m an author,” until this year.

Hounacier was released in March with a wonderful reception. I’d been very nervous about it because it was so drastically different than Dämoren. But for the most part, readers have loved the sequel.

After years of close calls and false starts, the Black Raven made his literary return with Mountain of Daggers in March and Sea of Quills in September.  Reception has been mixed, but most readers appear to enjoy it.  We always knew it was going to be a niche-market, but Black Raven is my baby.  They’re my popcorn adventure fiction and I couldn’t be more proud to have him out there.

RC. BrayDämoren was an Audie Finalist for Best Paranormal Audiobook.  It was my first major award nomination and while we lost to M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts, I’m honored that my little debut got to rub elbows with so many great works. I got to go to my first award ceremony and meet R.C. Bray in person.  He’s now narrated four of my books, and I’m terribly proud to get to work with a narrator of his caliber, and he’s also a great guy, which makes it even better.

My first anthology release in five years happened with The Serpent’s Army.  I have two more coming in 2016.TCC

I gave my first Guest Author presentation at All-Con 2015, soon followed by FenCon 2015 and the TCC Library.  Evidently those went very well because I was contacted by the DFW Witers Conference and asked to come speak as a Guest Author for 2016.  It’s a huge honor. The last time I attended the conference I was an unpublished author desperate to sell Dämoren. 

I enjoyed many great books this year. In fact, I read more in 2015 than in any other year.  My favorites include:

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I loved this series so much that I have a blog about it.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey. After losing the Audie to it, I had to check it out.  Great book.  It’s also the only book told in Present Tense that I didn’t find distracting or awkward. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Fantastic and fun book. The audiobook was read by Wil Wheaton, who not only gave a perfect performance, but was beautifully appropriate as the narrator of the greatest nerd-culture book I’ve ever found.

The Martian by Andy Weir.  Absolutely lived up to the hype.  And while my opinion of R.C. Bray might seem biased, believe me when I say that he absolutely killed it with this performance. Awesome audio book.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.  I listened to the audiobook read by the late, great Frank Muller.  Muller was hands-down my favorite narrator ever and I picked this book up just as much for him as I did in my interest in the novel itself.  As someone who has seen the movie-version uncounted times, I was amazed to see how wonderful the source material was.  Highly recommend it.

In addition to book releases and a ton of reading, I wrote Ibenus.  While we’ll have a lot of editing and polishing to do, it feels so good to finally have that story out of my head.

With one novel release, two short story releases (and a likely third that I’m just waiting on the contract for), and Ragnarok’s recent distribution deal, 2016 is poised to be another great year.

Thank you, everyone, for you support.  May you all have a healthy and prosperous New Year.


The Serpent’s Army is Out

NYAMAThe first of my Valducan Archive Adventures is out.  Set twenty years before Dämoren, The Serpent’s Army follows knights Clay Mercer and Max Schmidt as they hunt a lamia outside of Dallas Texas. I thought it would be fun to show them when they were young, capable hunters, and wanted to try a “buddy cop” sort of feel with it. I’ve touched on lamia in both Dämoren and Hounacier, but never had a good opportunity to really show them off until now. Also… biker gang.

I enjoyed writing Schmidt so much that because of this story he will have a much more active role in Ibenus*.

I want to thank Bloodshot Books, and editor Peter Kahle, for including me in their anthology. The Not Your Average Monster Anthology: A Besitary of Horrors is available at Amazon and includes 21 other stories as well. It’s a monster book (haha get it?) at over 350 pages. So once you’re done getting your Valducan fix, you have a lot of great fiction to keep you entertained.

* Ibenus Update:  I hope to finish the first draft in the next month. Currently it’s at over 90,000 words and looks to be the longest of the Valducan series so-far.

Story Acceptance – Hungry Eyes

SNAFU HuntersI’m very happy to announce that my short story Hungry Eyes has been accepted by Cohesion Press for their upcoming SNAFU: Hunters anthology. 

Set in 2009, this will be part of my Valducan Archive Adventures. It follows Malcolm, Colin, and Nick as they explore the Paris catacombs in search of a demon. I had a lot of fun with this one since Colin was one of the characters in Dämoren that I just didn’t have enough time to really expand on. Nick has been referred to several times, but we never got to meet him. So now we’ll get to see why the Valducans remember him so fondly.

In other news, Sea of Quills is set to release next week and I am pumped to see it out there, finally.  In honor of the occasion, I had an interview with the United Federation of Charles where we discuss Black Raven as well as Ibenus.

Also, my long-time friend, and fellow author, Clay Sanger has begun a series of blog posts counting down to Sea of Quills’ release. This first one (Here) goes over Dämoren, as well as some personal anecdotes from back when I was first chatting and bouncing ideas off him about the novel several years before I started writing it. His help back in those early days was instrumental in how Dämoren came out. It’s no accident that Matt’s mentor was also named Clay.

Finally, this coming weekend I’ll be a guest author at FenCon XII.  I’ll be on a couple panels as well as reading Dämoren.  FenCon is a very special place for me because the Writers Workshop there was where I decided to put down my old practice novel and finally write Dämoren (which Clay and I had been talking about for a couple of years at that point).  If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come by. My event schedule is Here.

As you can see, everything has been busy. I’ve been writing some guest blogs that should be going live soon in honor of next week’s big release, so I’ll be posting links to those as they come.



Interview at the RoundTable Podcast

RTPThe fine folks over at the RoundTable Podcast interviewed me for their “20 Minutes With…” series.  We discuss pulp fantasy, conflict characters, Dungeons & Dragons, travel, Star Trek, and much more.  I had a lot of fun talking the craft and shooting the breeze with co-hosts Dave Robison and Alasdair Stuart. 

You can check the podcast HERE.  Don’t be fooled by the 20 minutes name. We run for 44 minutes and I could have enjoyed chatting with them for hours longer.

Next week I’ll be back for a writing workshop episode.