Monday, March 19, 2018

How readers have helped shape my books


I absolutely listen to my readers, they’re the people I work for, and so I’ve always taken the time to contemplate their comments, but cautiously. Never mind the critics, I filter out the highs and the lows, and focus on the comments that I tend to hear over and over. In the early years, I heard how much readers appreciated the fact that I rarely use profanity in my novels. It was an early choice and a good one. I’ll use a few misdemeanor swear words here and there, but over eight novels there isn’t a single f-bomb, and there never will be. Thanks to readers, I’ve also been able to zero in on what they value most about my books. The pacing, the realistic relationships, the global geographical settings, and as a result, as I craft my rough draft, I take extra care to make sure I’ve done everything possible to enhance these elements. Readers matter, they’re smart, and my books benefit from their observations.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Speed the Dawn launch day!

Hello all--

Speed the Dawn has officially been launched and I couldn't be happier.  I wanted share a short interview I did with ITW, the International Thriller Writers. I hope everyone gets a chance to read the latest Donovan Nash thriller.  By all means let me know what you think. 

Bestselling author Philip Donlay discussed his latest thriller, SPEED THE DAWN, with The Big Thrill and this is what he had to say:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they are thoroughly entertained, and that the have a new respect and admiration for the possibilities that the book outlines–and the people who will have to save us all.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
Education through adventure.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I got to make a fire tornado in a lab.I was also pleasantly surprised when I concocted a subplot that instantly had powerful and lasting repercussions for the entire series. Surprises abound in this book.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Though the story only covers less than a day, there’s a deeper and more personal arc for most of the main characters.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
I have a section on my website about this exact question:

Hardy Boys, Franklin W. Dixon. (Dixon is not a real person, initial series of books were written by several authors.) These were probably some of the first books I read as a boy. I truly loved the formula. Frank, Joe, their father, their best friend Chet and the smallest thread the boys would pull until an entire mystery unraveled and the criminals were exposed. Each new book was like settling down with old friends. I read them over and over. I feel like there’s a little Frank and Joe in almost every mystery/thriller written.

When the Lion Feeds, Wilbur Smith. I can still remember reading this book as a teenager. The riveting opening scene set up decades of conflict between the main characters. Smith took me on a journey through Africa that was filled with wonder, tragedy, adversity and triumph. I think what I took away from Smith, and his flawed but compelling characters, the Courtney family, is that despite great adversity, hope never dies.

Illusions, Richard Bach. A small book filled with expansive thinking. The messiah quit his day job and was barnstorming his way across rural America. It’s a hell of a hook, and Bach delivered. I read this book every now and then and some of the passages still resonate today.
Raise the Titanic, Clive Cussler. If Cussler taught me anything as a writer, it’s to either go big or go home. Cussler pulled me into his story and kept me entranced well into the night. I followed Dirk Pitt and his entourage, and together we raised the Titanic. (At the time this book was written, the location of the Titanic was still a mystery.) Cussler showed me that if you know your stuff, and write in a way that is educational, yet make the technology part of the suspense, a writer can make anything believable. He was right.

Hostage to Fortune, Ernest K Gann. This book changed my life. I was already a licensed pilot, and my first magazine article had been published. I was still a young man, a rookie in every sense of the word, and Ernest K Gann was the master. Hostage to Fortune was his autobiography. It was his story of being a professional pilot and writing fiction about those heady days of flying when modern commercial aviation was new. He took me inside his life, and showed me a world I knew very little about. Yet from those pages, I took away the rough blueprint for my life. Fly, then write, repeat as necessary. Thanks, Ernie.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Amazon is shipping books!!

Hello all--

After months of writing, and even more months of waiting, Speed the Dawn is now out in the hands of the readers.  By all means let me know what you think of this one, or better yet, tell the world with a review.  I could go on and on about how much I loved writing this one, but I'll let these people:

“This is a story so energetic and realistically portrayed that smoke seems to drift from the book’s pages. With whirlwind, high-tension action, Speed the Dawn is a quintessential disaster novel and a high-concept thriller.” ―Foreword Reviews

“This action-packed narrative will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, turning page after page. This novel… is constantly in motion, and thriller fans will be delighted.” ―InD’Tale Magazine

“Powerful, unrelenting action drives Donlay’s eighth adventure novel… few thriller fans will be able to resist the breakneck pace.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Nonstop action with a scientific base from the reliably readable Donlay.” ―Booklist

“If you want to experience terror, this is where to get it. Donlay is a fantastic writer… so emotional and vibrant with his words. [Donovan Nash] is one character who continues to get better and better as time moves forward.” ―Suspense Magazine



Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Giveaway!

Hello all--

My publisher has given me 15 Advanced Review Copies of the yet to be released Speed the Dawn. I want to give them away!! The winners will get a chance to read this book a month before anyone else.

To enter this drawing, type book giveaway in the subject line, and email:
All entries must be recieved by January 31st. Winners will be contacted on February 1st.


Monday, January 8, 2018

On your mark, get set...

Hello Readers--

It's early 2018, and after a much deserved hiatus, I'm ready to get on with what usually ends up being my favorite time of the year.  Book Release!

March 6th, Speed the Dawn, the eighth in the best-selling Donovan Nash series will hit the shelves.  The early reviews are promising and the hardcover is available for pre-order.

“Powerful, unrelenting action drives Donlay’s eighth adventure novel… few thriller fans will be able to resist the breakneck pace.”—Publishers Weekly
This is a story so energetic and realistically portrayed that smoke seems to drift from the book’s pages. With whirlwind, high-tension action, Speed the Dawn is a quintessential disaster novel and a high-concept thriller.” —Foreword Reviews

 “This action-packed narrative will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, turning page after page, the tension palpable.  Thriller fans will be delighted.”  –InD’Tale Magazine
In other news, Suspense Magazine named Seconds to Midnight as one of the best Suspense Thrillers of 2017.  High praise from people who know what they're talking about.  Seconds to Midnight, along with two other titles: Category Five and Zero Separation are all on sale for the Kindle platform.  Also, Aftershock will be released in paperback February 22nd.  Have fun reading and as always, let me know what you think.    


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summer Book Deal!

Hello All--

For the entire month of June, both Category Five, and Pegasus Down, are Amazon Kindle specials priced at 99 cents.  Load up those readers and read a thriller at the beach.  Of course with Category Five, pick your beach wisely.  Spread the word, and reviews are always much appreciated.

In other news, Speed the Dawn is well on its way for a March 6th 2018 release.   The cover art and synopsis are below.  Preorders are being taken, which both authors and publishers love.

Best-selling author Philip Donlay climbs to a new height of terror in his 8th Donovan Nash thriller.

Hundreds of white-hot meteor fragments plunge toward Earth near Monterey Bay, California. Huge fires ignite the tinder-dry landscape and, as the sun sets, the power grid collapses and the fires grow, illuminating a nightmare created in hell itself. Donovan Nash realizes he is trapped.

Injured and growing desperate, his options dwindling, Donovan fights to keep himself and a small band of survivors alive until dawn when they can make one last attempt to escape the inferno.
Meanwhile, Donovan's wife, Dr. Lauren McKenna, arrives on the scene. Working with the Pentagon as well as the Forest Service, she envisions a bold idea to try to stop the fire from spreading all the way to the Bay Area and the seven million residents living there. She's terrified that if not executed perfectly, her plan could cause the death of thousands of people―including Donovan.

Monday, April 17, 2017

TJ Turner and Abraham Lincoln

Hello all--

After a very hectic six weeks since Seconds to Midnight was released, I'm taking a bit of a break.  I have a round of edits to complete for next years book, and I also have a story I want to share. 

In 2007, my second novel, Code Black was released into silence.  I was still flying then, and it seemed like the universe was conspiring to repeatedly send me out of the country so I couldn't do much of anything to promote my novel.  Duty called, but I clearly remember the frustration as my visions of writing novels seemed to dissolve as I sat helplessly and watched Code Black flounder.  I recovered, eventually, but the frustration is still etched in my mind.

Fast forward to 2017, and a friend of mine, award winning novelist, TJ Turner is currently stationed in Afghanistan. His second novel, Land of Wolves, is being released May 2nd without him present,  and my plan is to make some well deserved noise for this book.  I first met TJ several years ago in San Diego, at a Veterans Day book event, and he instantly hooked me with a brief synopsis of his debut novel, Lincoln's Bodyguard.   I loved his story, and as early as I could, I got an advanced copy of his second book, Land of Wolves, and it's perhaps even better than his first.  Land of Wolves has kept me thinking about the story weeks after I finished the last page.

I'm happy for TJ's success, and I'm hoping he returns home soon so he can tell you his story himself.  I've already ordered a hardcover copy for the shelf where my favorites sit, and I urge you to do the same. It's the beginning of what I hope is a long-lived series.  Way to go TJ.

Wherever books are sold.