Monday, September 12, 2011


1)      Can you tell us something about your book? Warriors of the Four Worlds is an action-adventure tale set in a far off future in a distant part of the universe. Humans are struggling for survival in the face of certain extinction at the hands of a brutally aggressive species. Warriors is narrated from the perspective of a hardened military veteran, Lev Gorlin, who is forced to take up arms once again to confront a new threat. Lev’s methods in defense of humanity are as merciless and aggressive as the enemy he battles.

2)      How did you come up with the idea? Honestly, I don’t remember. I do know that I approached this story as I’ve approached previous and subsequent stories. I wanted to present the best action and adventure that I could muster. I wanted twists and turns and peril aplenty in my story. I wanted to convey noble and perhaps not so noble heroics and the most dastardly, despicable villainy. Basically, I wanted to write a story that I would enjoy reading.

3)      When did you start writing and what inspired you to write? After gorging on a steady diet of Star Wars, Star Trek and all of the TV, film and literary science fiction that I could consume, an idea took form in my head and began flittering around inside my skull like a crazed moth attracted to light. It occurred to me that I don’t just have to watch this stuff, I can write it as well. So one day, back in the late 80s, I grabbed a pen, some paper and started writing.

4)      Why did you pick science fiction? It never occurred to me to write in any other genre. Science fiction was, is and will always be my passion. This isn’t to say that I’ve only read and written science fiction. But as far as fiction is concerned, science fiction has given me the greatest latitude to expand my imagination, to truly envision wondrous, strange and fantastic things.

5)      What do you want readers to come away with after reading your book? I want readers to come away with that pleasant endorphin-generated feeling you get after enjoying a wonderful movie, or a fine piece of chocolate or a great workout. I want my readers to feel good!

6)      Who is your intended audience? Science fiction fans, people who enjoy rip roaring action and adventure in any genre, anyone enamored of compelling story telling. Hopefully my work will attract any and all of the above.

7)      What writers influenced you the most? I’ve enjoyed the works of David Weber. His space operas are very engaging and his world building is truly epic. The same is true of fantasy writer, Imaro-creator, and godfather of Sword and Soul, Charles Saunders. There’s Steven Barnes and a host of other authors whose works I’ve enjoyed over the years.

8)      What are your favorite aspects of writing? I love creating characters and settings and situations. I love taking the raw material of my imagination and refining it into gripping prose.

9)      Do you have any advice for other writers? Write, write, write. Constantly hone your craft. Write regularly, even if you’re not writing something related to your latest novel or short story. If you’re jotting down a to-do list, you’re writing. The more you write the better you get. Read regularly. Reading proficiency is connected to competent writing. And read aplenty in the genre you’re writing in. You’ll pick up a variety of styles from a variety of authors and eventually your individual style will emerge. Lastly, enjoy yourself. The moment writing becomes a chore instead of something you love so much you’d do it for free (which many aspiring writers are doing anyway) then it’s time to reevaluate your craft.

Review by Rage Books

Powerful, intense and unpredictable

Lev Gorlin is a highly decorated military soldier. He is a superb strategist and a war hero in a galaxy where Humans and Zirans protect the genetically docile Vingin through a tripartite alliance. . After a twenty year war with the Tacherins the humans begin a military drawdown, dismantling their lethal weapons that won the war. But in the eye of a promised peace, discord in the alliance breeds treacherous intentions. Lev Gorlin is pulled out of military retirement to lead the human resistance in face of a more aggressive and violent enemy.

Ronald T. Jones delivers a knockout punch with this exciting tale of military might versus strategic cunning. Warriors of the Four Worlds reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Ronald has embodied the action, intrigue and excitement of Clancy’s Red Storm Rising and masterfully wrapped it in a believable science fiction setting. The combat scenes and the military tactics he describes are told like a combat veteran relaying a personal war story. The feelings are raw and the action is fast.

I highly recommend putting this on your “next book to read” list. Definitely five star material here.

This is available for Kindle, which is great, because you will definitely want to take this book with you and steal time to read it at every opportunity until you are done. Then you will want more.

Malcolm “Rage” Petteway
Author of Osguards: Guardians of the Universe
Owner, Rage Books Publishing LLC

Sunday, September 4, 2011

“Bad Reviews: What do you do when it happens to you?”

For a long time I was riding high receiving excellent reviews of my books, especially my first novel, Homecoming. It is the first of a four book military science fiction series called Osguards: Guardians of the Universe. The 2011 Hollywood Book Festival just notified me that Homecoming was recognized with an Honorable Mention Award. In the same week, I was truly delighted to receive a five-star rating from The Midwest Book Review. I was starting to feel very good about my work. However, when I went to to see The Midwest Book Review, I read my first negative review right under it. This review was written by a customer and was a five-paragraph, full-page scathing assessment of my ability as an author. As I read it, I was mortified. My mouth just dropped. My heart stopped beating and the world became silent around me.

I quickly started to respond to the review, but thought better. I walked away from the review and sulked for about an hour and then came back and read it again. This time, I read it without emotion and dissected the words. As I dissected the words, I realized the review was not professional, but a personal attack on me and my wife, who is one of the four editors of my book. I also recognized the reviewer was talking about an earlier version of the book that I self-published in 2001. Since then, I hired an editor and revised the book several times to its present form, which the Hollywood Book Festival and the Midwest Book Review favorably recognized.

I talked to my family and friends about the review. Then, something clicked. The more I talked openly about receiving a negative review the better I felt. Then a couple of days later, I received another national review that was not as positive as the Midwest Book Review. However, it was professional and didn't read like a personal attack. I was more receptive to this review, understanding what in particular this reviewer found needed improvement in my work. I was able to grasp more readily the salient points and store them in my toolkit for future projects. That is what a credible, well thought-out review will do for an author...become a tool to teach, train, hone and push the author to be better. In summary, all reviews are subjective, and depending on the reviewer, they can be mean-spirited or constructive. It is the author’s choice to be discouraged or use it as a learning tool. Remember, one reviewer’s five-star novel may be another reviewer’s one-star reject. So my advice to authors is to judge the veracity of the review. If it’s professional, revise your work if able or use it as a teaching tool. But most of all get as many reviews as possible

In conclusion, after reading these two reviews, rejecting one and learning from the other, I made travel arrangements to California to accept my Honorable Award Recognition from the Hollywood Book Festival for my first novel, Homecoming.