Friday 17 October 2014


Leaving the Institute for the Homeless, Andiriel longs for excitement. Befriended by a knight of the illustrious Sovereign Order, she enters the Order's auxiliary services and finds herself on a strange mission leading to a challenging future in a job she hardly expects.

GOLD AND GLORY The second volume of the Mercenaries series After a long winter of training and reorganization, the Pelicans Mercenary Regiment marches out of obscure Ironport to look for a contract, its inexperienced commander wondering if she is up to the job for which she was so unexpectedly chosen. There is indeed work available for sharp halberds and accurate bows, and not just locally, as the slowly-approaching storm takes more definite shape. 

The third volume in the Mercenaries series The storm arrives: the Calamian Islands are invaded by powerful forces of an alien civilization abetted by suborned mercenaries. The Pelicans Mercenary Regiment, part of the outnumbered troops available to resist the onslaught, must try to stem the tide until the New Empire can intervene-if, indeed, the Empire itself is not overrun. 


The Free Lands
And Gladly Teach


What is your name, where were you born, and where do you live now?
I’m Brian Libby, born in Maine but living and teaching in southern Minnesota for several decades. I’m 65.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?
I have always enjoyed writing but I did not consider writing as a career.  My love of the past impelled me to earn a doctorate in History and to teach it for a living. My main fields are European military and diplomatic history and modern Germany.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes, and you can read the whole long and somewhat depressing story on my blog (“A Cautionary Tale,” May 2012). (I ended by self-publishing after my agent did not sell the book.)

Do you work at another job?
I have taught European history at a prep school for over thirty-five years, but I have been part-time since 2000.

What is the name of your latest book? please summarize it in less than twenty words?
Hodgepodge, just 110 pages, is a collection of humorous and satirical essays on many topics, including education and films.

What can we expect in the future?
Although I would like to add two more volumes to the Mercenaries series, I am going to concentrate on marketing for a while. I will probably add essays to my blog, though.

What genre are your books in?
The Mercenary series—four books—is military adventure fantasy set in a late Medieval world. And Gladly Teach and Hodgepodge are humor/satire.

Do you read all the reviews?
Oh yes. There aren’t many—one of the chief problems with self-published works is getting them reviewed. The ones that have appeared have been encouraging.

What was the toughest/best review?
The Writer’s Digest self-published contest judge said of Storm Approaching, “I’m surprised this didn’t find an outlet at a larger house”. A Library Thing reviewer said of And Gladly Teach, “There were times I burst out laughing uncontrollably in the doctor’s waiting room or at the laundromat”. One reader told me he wanted to marry Andiriel, the main character in the Mercenaries series.

How do you come up with the titles and  cover designs? Who designed the covers?
One of the few advantages of self-publishing is that you get the title and cover you want. Titles suggest themselves from the contents. I decided on a heraldic theme for the Mercenaries covers because I think heraldry has a universal appeal and I did not want any people on the covers for fear it would fix in readers’ minds the appearance of characters whom readers should form a mental image of.  I designed my covers and paid artists to draw them.

Do you basic plot/plan… or do you let the writing flow?
Definitely the latter. When I started Storm Approaching I had exactly two characters ready. All the rest appeared and developed—or faded away—on their own. Meeting them has been very enjoyable. Of course, I do have an overall plot line in mind.

How do you market/promote your books?
I am still working on finding an effective way to do this. Online reviewers help; Facebook helps; word of mouth should help. My ‘marketing budget’ is small.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Although I take writing very seriously it qualifies as a relaxing hobby for me. I enjoy classical music, films, some computer games, and of course reading.

Are there any hidden messages or morals in your books?
An anecdote about my favorite composer goes this way:  After a performance of Messiah, a nobleman praised the oratorio and called it “a splendid entertainment”. Handel replied, “I should be sorry if I only entertained them, my lord. I wished to make them better.”
I try to keep this in mind when I write—not in any overtly didactic or preachy way, but as a general intention. It is a good theory of art.

Which format of books do you prefer?
I prefer print, although electronic books are increasingly important. I find print preferable both in convenience  and for tactile reasons. (I write most of my stuff with a pen before I type it up.)

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write! When you have a project, do something almost every day. Do not dawdle, do not make excuses, do not complain of ‘writer’s block’. Write. (And get started young, because it may take a long time to find a publisher. See the third question question above.)

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