Advance Reader Copy Giveaway

What’s an advance reader copy (or, commonly known as ARC)? An ARC is a copy of a book released by the publisher before the book has gone to press for a complete printing. Many times the ARCs do not have the final dust jacket or paper cover, formatting or binding of the finished product; and the text of an ARC might also differ slightly from that of the final published book if the book is edited after the ARC is produced (usually for widows, typos, or to add pages of reviews and front matter). ARCs are normally distributed to reviewers, bookstores, magazines, and (in some cases) libraries between two and six months before the book is officially released.

Low Man, by T.J. Vargo
Genre: horror
Release Date: October 13, 2008



Robbed at gunpoint while working the nightshift at a convenience store, Benny Assissi takes stock of his life. His good-paying factory job is gone—outsourced overseas. His wife sits in a hospital emergency room with his dying son. And there’s a gun under the counter, one he never saw until now.

Determined to gain control over his life, he grabs the gun and runs after the thief. One bullet later, he finds out how precious life is and how far he must go to keep it, even if it means walking straight through Hell.

In the fog of death, he discovers that life isn’t about what you have, but how much you love—and how far you’ll go to see your love again.


“Vargo introduces the reader to tangible characters in the presence of ancient and impure evil. A must read, preferably during the day in a well-lit room.” —T.M. Gray, Author of GHOSTS OF MAINE

“Vargo is a writer who’s not afraid to take chances, a writer who understands how to craft characters with whom a reader can relate, a writer to watch very, very carefully.”—Brian A. Hopkins, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author

“Vargo is a voice with a certain place in the future of horror.” —David Whitman, Author of DEADFELLAS

“Vargo writes some of the most vividly detailed scenes I’ve read in years. The characters are as real as anyone you’ll meet on the street (and a few you’ll hope you never meet.) Fans of dark fantasy and suspense should rejoice and welcome Vargo with open arms.” —Brandon Massey, author of VICIOUS and THE OTHER BROTHER

We will randomly pick three entrants to receive ARC copies of the novel. Free of charge. Winners don’t pay tax, shipping, zip.

Simply post a comment on this post with your email address by midnight PST on August 22, 2008. That’s it. We will randomly pick three winners, and will contact them by email. If we cannot reach you within 48 hours after the contest ends, we will move on and pick someone else.

–You can only enter once. We employ highly-trained email spies. They will know if you’re cheating.
–You must post your email address. Otherwise we won’t know how to send you the book.
–If chosen, you must respond back within 48 hours or you lose it.
–If chosen, you promise to read the entire novel, and then write a short and honest review about what you thought of the novel, and then email it to us as well as post on The review must be completely honest. If you love the book, please, rant about it. If you don’t, then say so. Honesty is the key here. And there’s no length minimum/max for your review–just…please do a little more than “Love it!” or “This book sucked.”

Again, the deadline is August 22,2008. AND YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO ENTER!!! Good luck!

Contest winner

While I was a little disappointed that there were so few entries, I wasn’t with the outcome. So, to make this quick and sweet, the contest goes to:


NearlyMello. (And, by the way NM, though we’ve chatted on several occasions, I don’t have your email. You’ll need to contact me to claim your prize)

Why? Well, because NM’s character description – though written in an almost bulleted outline compared to the other’s snippets from stories – gave the best overall picture of the character. Not only were we able to see the character, but we could just imagine his personality quirks, his daily habits, as well as a clear image of the friends and surroundings he places himself in.

What really stood out about NM’s character sketch were the specific – if sometimes unexpected – details that were added behind basic listed traits. For example:

He has worn the same pair of black tennis shoes every day for the past three years. They reek.

Not only did this give an image of what the shoes look like, it also gives hints to the characters personality. From the fact that he’s worn them for three years and they reek, show either he doesn’t care about the smell, doesn’t give a damn what others think, or has a mild case of Asperger Syndrome and refuses change.

Another example is his proffession. In an earlier bullet, NM describes his character as:

He is annoyed by people who make extremely particular requests, bad traffic, road signs, and most things having to do with weddings.

Yet, despite his dislike for “anything wedding,”

His most recent job is working as a delivery guy for an upscale local bakery. He’s absolutely thrilled to be delivering wedding cakes on a regular basis… Yeah, right.

The fact that the character is short with others around himself when he’s upset or annoyed really plays up on the fact that he’s unhappy with himself and what’s going on with his life (ie, Cystic Fibrosis) and though for the most part lives a fairly normal life despite the oddities of his personality, the descriptions of his habits and lifestyle show there is a deeper fear of what lies ahead (a possible untimely and “unhealthy” death) and is very aware of it and projects his fear and spite onto others in order to deflect from himself.

Several of the few things that should have been expanded on were his relationship and actions towards friends – other than what he does when he’s annoyed, what kinds of activities he did outside of work and medical checkups (besides visiting friends at their workplaces), and any other little “tidbits” that simply show personality quirks that set that particular character apart from every other character, and would therefore make that character memorable and unique.

Overall, it was a wonderful character description, which left almost nothing to be wanted at the end of reading it, by giving a clear impression of the character and his life. Congratulations, and well done.

There will be a follow up article in the next day or so, detailing the how’s, what’s and why’s of writing character descriptions and creating usable character profiles for novels, as well as how to condense that information when writing a short story.

A Contest of Character

Hi everyone, today is the first day in a little contest I’ve decided to run, and yes, there is a point to all of this. So please, read on –

The Contest

I am looking for the most well-written and best overall character description out there. I am not going to go into details of what I’m looking for or how I want you to write it, I’m leaving it up to you. Nor will I list the required format or style in which you need to write your description, whether it be a few paragraphs or simply a list. Whatever works for you. It’s not the look of it – it’s the content I’m interested in.

The Rules

1. Character descriptions must be posted on this blog as a comment to this post. No emails – I’ll just delete them.

2. Descriptions can be no more than 750 words. And yes, I’ll check.

3. You may only enter once. If I catch you cheating all your entries will be disqualified.

4. You must enter your real email address in the form when adding your comment to the blog. I’ll need a way to get in touch with you should you win.

5. If you win, I’ll need your real name, address, and phone number so that I can send you your prize. And no, you don’t need to post that. We’ll do all of that privately via email.

6. You may not post questions regarding the contest on this post. If you have questions you may post them on the Editor Chat page. Whether I answer them is another thing…

And finally, the contest is open from now until this Friday (3/21) Midnight Pacific Standard Time. PST. And yes *sigh* your posts are time stamped, so no late entries will be accepted. Leucrota Press editors will go through all of the descriptions over the weekend, and we’ll announce the winner as well as the why’s early the next week.

The prize

I have a brand-spankin’ new (and shrink wrapped, too) copy of the Writer’s Character Traits Companion that’s up for grabs. It’s a nifty little notebook that you can carry around with you to keep notes on your observations to help you create more believable and well-rounded characters. The book is divided up into multiple little tabs that include things like physical characteristics, personality traits, interesting notes, etc. It’s to help manage your thoughts and raise questions about your characters you might not have thought of before. Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering it’s black and silver and spiral bound….

The Why

Well, I’m doing this as an exercise for you (and everyone else that doesn’t want to enter but is interested in what the hell I’m doing) to really try to deepen your characters and learn how to write thorough descriptions of them.

So please remember that we are NOT judging this contest on how cool or how unique your alien concept is – we are judging on the writing of the profile itself; what is included, what kind of information was given, and what was left out. We are NOT basing our judgement on the character itself, but rather the description of the character. Make sense?

Why don’t I just post instructions on the “how’s” and “what’s” to writing a character profile?

Well, because I thought this would be more fun than just a single post. I do plan on writing a nice article on the who, what, and why of character descriptions, but I’m going to hold off until this little contest closes before I give my opinion on how to write the “ultimate” character description. This way, it’s a little more of an… interactive way of learning by letting you answer the questions first, and will hopefully spark some later conversations after I respond with my own versions.

Good luck.