Guest Author: John Marco

John MarcoFor the first time at Literary Escapism…I would like to welcome author John Marco, who has graciously agreed to share with us his own experiences with book review bloggers and his foray into the realm of fantasy.


First off, I’d like to thank Jackie for inviting me to blog here. I’m grateful to her for the chance to speak to you all. Literary Escapism—isn’t that the perfect phrase to describe what so many of us look for in books? Even before I could read I looked to books to escape. I remember scanning the covers of science fiction and fantasy books as a boy, imagining myself in those fantastic worlds. I remember getting down on the floor at my old, dusty library (I can still smell it!), just so I could see the books on the lowest shelf. Somehow I knew, even then, that I wanted to tell stories of my own.

That was a whole bunch of years ago, admittedly, and things have changed a lot. Ten years ago, when I first started writing professionally, even the internet wasn’t what it is today. Back then many writers worried about how computers and the web might change things, but I don’t think any of us foresaw the enormous opportunities it would afford us. I’ve spoken about this occasionally at my own blog, but it’s particularly worthy of mentioning here—blogs and websites like Literary Escapism have made it much easier for authors to reach out and connect. Instead of “big media” organizations, they’re run by regular people who care about books and are generous with their time. I no longer find out about interesting books through the newspaper, as I did years ago. Now I—and all of us—have a feast of sources available, where we can interact directly instead of writing a “letter to the editor.”

My own path to becoming an author is probably typical of many writers. I tend to think that authors are born, not made, because the desire was so strong in me as a child. I’m sure some writers come to it later in life, but most of the authors I know can trace the need to write and tell stories back to their childhoods. For me, it was always fantasy. There’s an adage for writers that I’m sure many of you have heard—“write what you know.” For years I thought that meant I had to write about things I directly understood. But of course, I’ve never seen a mermaid or a dragon, so what good was such advice? Now I see that adage differently. Now I say, “write what you’re passionate about.” If it’s thrillers or science fiction or romance or whatever, great. If you love it, you’ll be better at it.

I’m lucky to be busy enough as an author to write full time, which had been my dream for years. I’m not a well known author or as popular as many others, but I have wonderful readers who’ve supported my books enough for me to make a living at it. I like telling folks that I don’t have the most readers—just the best ones. Fantasy fans are fiercely loyal to the genre and defend it whenever necessary. Maybe we’re geeks, but we don’t care. We know that some of the greatest titles in the history of literature are fantasy, as varied as Beowulf and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Right now, my passions are focused in two distinct worlds. The first belongs to the Skylords, a world something like our own at the start of the previous century, where mankind is just learning to fly, and the magical creatures that share their world don’t like that very much. The first book of the series is called Starfinder, and will be published in May.

Frankly, it’s tough for me to wait for my book to come out, but while I wait I’m hard at work on another project, this one revisiting a favorite character from a previous series—Lukien, the Bronze Knight. Imagine a tragic knight-errant, a sort of mix between Don Quixote and Elric of Melnibone, and you’ll have a pretty good picture of Lukien. I’ve done three previous books about him, and hadn’t planned to do another. But some characters are so compelling to an author that he just has to let them out of the box again, and so now I’m writing his next adventure, The Forever Knight.

I used to worry that I’d run out of stories to tell, but after six books—with more on the way—I see now that the world is full of stories, and that I’ll never get to tell them all. Just like I’ll never get to read all the books I want to, either. See? A feast.

Thanks, everyone, for reading.


Thank you John! You can find out more about John at his website or at the Bastion where he blogs about all of his adventures while he writes.

We can’t have an author visit us without giving away a few of their books, now can we?  John has been wonderful and is offering up a complete autographed set of his Lukien trilogy – Sword of Angels, The Devil’s Armor, and The Eyes of God.

In order to enter this contest, you must answer the following question:  Where do you get the majority of your book recommendations?  Do you still use the old sources of newsprint and widespread media or do you count on the many of us book review bloggers?  What are your favorite sources for book recommendations?

As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.

The contest will run until midnight on Oct. 21st.  I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer.

About Jackie 3274 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Thank, John for giving us a peek into your writer’s world.

    Many of the books I discover come from reading other blog sites especially those of the paranormal/fantasy/sf variety. Another major source for me is Locus magazine. It covers everything of interest to sf/fantasy reader, writers, editors, and publishers!

  2. Where do you get the majority of your book recommendations?

    I don’t really look for recommendations per se, but when something catches my eye, be it a book in the library (how I discovered John Marco’s work), an intriguing short story, or an author’s published recommendation (much as Roger Zelazny introduced me to Steven Brust), I tend to give it considerable weight. Much more so than a paragraph emanating from a publisher.

    Do you still use the old sources of newsprint and widespread media or do you count on the many of us book review bloggers?

    I look at both regularly, but would weigh book review bloggers more heavily in making a decision.

    What are your favorite sources for book recommendations?

    Ultimately, I most enjoy it when authors introduce others, much as John Marco’s site has introduced me to a number of fascinating authors through guest posts.

  3. I do weigh blogger opinions quite heavily, but also enjoy Bookmarks magazine. Its has great reviews and book lists. Also, my mother in law gives me a copy of everything she reads, and is a great source for reading material.

  4. Great blog. I got hooked on John Marco’s books because of him directly. Most of the time, though I simply go to the bookstore and browse. Sometimes my friend Dana will thrust a book at me and insist I read it, so I do the same to her. Other times I get recommendations from authors that I like.

  5. Thanks for a great post here today! Very interesting. Of course I too cut my teeth on fantasy which paved the way for my addiction to paranormal fiction. Though I still enjoy a great fantasy read or even a cross over.

    I have found out about most of my books through sites like or and the friends I met there. Next I find other titles through review sites such as yours or any of the myriad of others out there. I have other ways I find books, but they are far and few between. :) Of course we get tons of books to be reviewed at the site each week, so that helps. But, all of this is driven by the internet. I never ever buy the newspaper.

    Thanks again for being here today!

  6. I get a lot of book recommendations from the Romantic Times magazine. I also work at a public library, so I share recommendations with my patrons and they do the same with me.


  7. I get most of my recommendations online, because I’m online every day. I do still read book reviews in any magazine or newspapers that I happen to read. I usually happen on to book recommendations in articles or blogs like Patrick Rothfuss’ blog here , then compare reviews at Amazon. I’m always adding book review sites to book folder of my bookmarks and check back with them frequently to see what’s new. I like my email newsletters from John Marcos’ The Bastion, GoodReads, and librarything.

  8. I actually use word of mouth as my best way of getting the good word on a book and I use that word of mouth to keep getting my own friends hook into those same series of books. In the end, I suppose it could be the archaic form of blogging but instead of getting a computer and logging in, I just take the book and bash my friends over the head with it until they read it… you know, old school style.

    And I am a John Marco regular over at his blog, but I will check in at this place to see what it is all about. Usually I go off of my own gut feeling about an author but it is good to get back up opinions about it.

  9. I get the majority of my book recommendations from book review blogs. Plus, I work at a library, so I also get a lot from there. Word of mouth from friends and co-workers help, as well. :0) A few of my favorite sources are:

    Fantasy Book Critic:
    Un-Mainstream Mom Reads:
    Darque Reviews:

    And, here, of course. :0)


  10. To be honest, I don’t really get many recommendations via the internet. I just tend to go to the bookstore and if something catches my eye, either by artwork, size (because the longer the work the more I like it usually), or title, I pick it up read the summary on the back and that’s how I get my “recommendations” if you will. Sometimes, word of mouth, from friends. Sometimes by recommendations in the back of other books. Anyways, thanks for the opportunity to get a chance to win the set of books. Maybe I’ll get lucky. :) ~david

  11. I enjoyed reading this interview with John.

    As far as recommendations go, I get the majority of mine on-line from my favorite authors web-sites, bloggers, review sites, etc.

    Please enter me to win John’s Lukien trilogy.

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