Thursday, February 29, 2024

Writing a novel for fun!

Writing a novel for fun can be a great creative outlet and a rewarding experience. When starting to write a novel, it's important to first come up with a compelling idea or concept that excites you. This could be a unique plot, interesting characters, or a specific setting that you find intriguing.

Once you have your idea, it's helpful to outline your novel to give yourself a roadmap to follow as you write. This can include creating character profiles, plotting out key events, and establishing the overall structure of your story.

When it comes to actually writing your novel, consistency is key. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to work on your manuscript, even if it's just for a short period. This will help you stay focused and make progress on your novel.

Don't be afraid to let your creativity flow and explore different ideas as you write. Writing a novel for fun should be an enjoyable experience, so allow yourself to experiment and take risks with your storytelling.

Remember, writing a novel is a process, and it's okay to make mistakes along the way. Editing and revising your work is an important part of the writing process, so don't be afraid to go back and make changes to improve your story.

Overall, writing a novel for fun is a wonderful way to express yourself and unleash your imagination. Enjoy the journey, and have fun bringing your story to life!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tuesday Tips: Getting started.

First off, don't worry about anything else until your book is written. 

The hardest part for new authors to finish their first book can vary from person to person. Some common challenges include finding the time and motivation to write consistently and overcoming self-doubt.

Perfectionism has killed many a good story. Navigating the complexities of storytelling and plot development is a skill that can only be learned by practice. 

Additionally, many new authors struggle with finding their unique voice and style, as well as dealing with writer's block and the fear of failure. I personally don't believe writer's block is a thing. Bad discipline and planning are what stop writers.

New authors just need to persevere and seek support from fellow writers or writing communities to overcome these challenges.

--Good luck. Finish things.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Kindle Unlimited!

Do you have Kindle Unlimited? It's like Netflix for Books! It lets you check out my books for free! All my novels and short stories are available on KU!

--- Check them out!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Author Snacks: More important than you think...

Many authors find that light and easy-to-eat snacks are ideal, as they don't require much effort or distract from the writing process. 

Some common choices include fresh fruit like grapes or berries, nuts such as almonds or cashews, or even a small bowl of popcorn. Ultimately, the best snack for an author may vary depending on their personal taste and dietary preferences.

My best snack is chocolate-covered, roasted, coffee beans...

Click the image to get yours now...

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Soon: Spring Writer Retreat

I will be heading out for a twelve-day Writer Retreat later this month. In those twelve days, I will write the first draft of an entire novel. I will average 5,000 to 10,000 words a day. But to do that, I will need to do some prep work:

  • Write a detailed outline. 20-30 pages. Scene-by-scene bullets.
  • Character sheets for all the main characters.
  • Plot location planning with maps.
  • A playlist that sets the tone.
  • No distractions. No internet except my phone.
  • Great food and drink for all 12 days, so I need not go anywhere.
  • Lots of DVDs to watch in the evenings.
  • Put the Outline into Scrivener before you go.

For this retreat, I will be in a mountain cabin in West Virginia. I go places by myself to remove the distractions of my daily life. Mostly because I LOVE my favorite distractions. My wife, my pets, my ultra high-speed Internet, and every streaming service available. I love all of that. 

Plus, it doesn't hurt that this cabin has a hot tub...

Friday, February 16, 2024

6 Years ago today!

 Today, six years ago, was my last day at work. It's been a fast, glorious six years.

I think I will take my wife out to lunch to celebrate! 2,190 days of freedom!

I still don't know why I wake up at 6am every day...

Thursday, February 15, 2024

I started outlining my next novel today...

I will be using the Nine Act Structure. 

In the Nine Act structure, the story is divided into nine acts, each with its own purpose and focus. These acts are:

1. Act 1:
Introduction - This act introduces the main characters, setting, and conflict of the story. It sets the stage for the events to come.

2. Act 2: Rising Action - This act builds upon the introduction and develops the conflict further. It introduces obstacles and complications that the characters must overcome.

3. Act 3: Midpoint - This act marks the halfway point of the story and often contains a major turning point or revelation. It can change the direction of the plot or reveal new information.

4. Act 4: Rising Action - This act continues to build upon the conflict and raises the stakes for the characters. It introduces new challenges and obstacles.

5. Act 5: Climax - This act is the highest point of tension and conflict in the story. It is the moment of greatest intensity and often leads to a resolution or change in the story.

6. Act 6: Falling Action - This act follows the climax and begins to resolve the conflict. It ties up loose ends and starts to bring the story towards its conclusion.

7. Act 7: Resolution - This act brings the story to a close and provides a resolution for the main conflict. It ties up any remaining loose ends and provides closure for the characters and the reader.

8. Act 8: Epilogue - This act is optional and provides a glimpse into the future of the characters or the world of the story. It can offer additional closure or leave room for interpretation.

9. Act 9: Aftermath - This act reflects on the events of the story and explores the consequences and aftermath of the conflict. It allows the reader to reflect on the story and its impact.

The Nine Act structure provides a clear roadmap for writers to follow, ensuring that their story is well-paced and engaging. It helps to create a sense of progression and development, keeping the reader hooked from beginning to end. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Advice if you are just getting started

One of the best tips is to read extensively in the genre you want to write in. 

This will help you understand the conventions, styles, and techniques used by successful authors in that genre.

Additionally, it's important to establish a writing routine and set aside dedicated time for writing. Consistency and discipline are key! 

Another tip is to write freely without worrying too much about perfection in the first draft. Just let your ideas flow and revise later. 

Finally, don't be afraid to seek feedback from others, whether it's through writing groups, workshops, or beta readers. Constructive criticism can greatly improve your writing skills.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Casting: Revenge of the Render

Yesterday, I mentioned the character sheets that I use. Here is a quick glimpse into the method of my writing madness for Revenge of the Render. I create a cast of the main characters in all my novels. Here is an example:

--Emma Stone as Jade Church! Emma, contact me for movie options! I'll give you a good deal!

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Character Sheets

I am currently preparing for my 10-day writer retreat that begins later this month. Part of the prep is creating a detailed outline of the book I will write and character sheets for the main characters. My next book is titled: Revenge of the Render. I have created character sheets for the entire cast.
Here is what I include in my character sheets:
  • Character Name: Jade Church
    Emma Stone as Jade Church

  • Age: 25
  • Gender: Female
  • Species/Race: Human
  • Physical Description: Red hair, fit, 
  • Personality Traits: Insecure, sheltered, naive
  • Background/History: Raised on a remote farm planet
  • Skills/Abilities: spoilers
  • Weaknesses/Limitations: spoilers
  • Motivations/Goals: spoilers
  • Relationships/Friendships: spoilers
  • Conflict/Obstacles: spoilers
  • Character Arc/Development: spoilers
  • Casting Photo: See attached
I really enjoy fleshing out the characters this way. It makes it way easier to crank the writing machine! These character sheets are also very useful to the Audio Edition Narrators.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Quotes of the Week

"A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds." 
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." 
- Karl Kraus

"The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth." 
- Jean Cocteau

"A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses." 
- Jean Cocteau

"A writer is a world trapped in a person." 
- Victor Hugo 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Tuesday Tips: Various Kinds of Editors...

If you are just starting out, you should know that there are a lot of different kinds of Editors.

1. Developmental Editors: These editors focus on the big-picture elements of your manuscript, such as plot, character development, pacing, and overall structure. They provide feedback and suggestions to help you strengthen your story.

2. Copy Editors: Copy editors focus on the technical aspects of your writing, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style. They ensure your manuscript is error-free and polished, making it ready for publication.

3. Line Editors: Line editors work on a sentence level, focusing on improving the flow, clarity, and coherence of your writing. They help refine your prose, making it more engaging and readable.

4. Proofreaders: Proofreaders have a keen eye for detail and focus on catching any remaining errors or typos in your manuscript. They ensure your work is flawless before it goes to print or gets published.

5. Content Editors: Content editors specialize in specific genres or subject matters. They provide expertise and guidance in shaping your content to appeal to your target audience. They can help you with genre-specific elements, such as world-building in fantasy or historical accuracy in historical fiction.

Remember, the type of editor you choose will depend on your specific needs and goals as an indie author. It's always a good idea to research and find an editor who specializes in your genre or has experience working with indie authors.

Monday, February 5, 2024

On Sale now!

 Available in Kindle, Paperback, Hardback, and AUDIO editions!

--Here is a sneak peek into the Audio Edition:  Piper's Run

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Reading habits are changing.

When I published my first novel, Science Fiction was the second most popular genre with regard to sales. It was not a conscious decision to write them based on popularity. I just wrote what I like to read.

Every now and then I look at the trends in sales. Indie authors are becoming way more mainstream. Also notable is that Mystery/Thrillers has become the #1 genre.

In terms of fiction book sales, the most popular genres currently are: 

  1. mystery/thriller, 
  2. romance, 
  3. science fiction/fantasy, 
  4. young adult. 
These genres have a wide readership and consistently perform well in terms of sales. However, it's important to note that popularity can vary depending on factors such as region and individual preferences. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Quotes of the Week

 “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” 
-Stephen King

“Writing is an act of discovering what you think and what you believe.” 
-Dan Pink

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” 
-Thomas Mann

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” 
-W. Somerset Maugham

“In short, you may actually be writing only two or three hours a day, but your mind, in one way or another, is working on it twenty-four hours a day — yes, while you sleep — but only if some sort of draft or earlier version exists. Until it exists, writing has not really begun.” 
-John McPhee

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” 
-E. L. Doctorow

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” 
-Elmore Leonard

“Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.” 
-Austin Kleon

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” 
-André Gide

“Reading good nonfiction is an opportunity “to watch somebody reasonably bright, but also reasonably average, pay far closer attention and think at far more length about all sorts of different stuff than most of us have a chance to in our daily lives.” 
-David Foster Wallace

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

It's Book Blurbin Time!

I just sent my latest novel to the editor, and my next task is to write the book blurb.  

Hook the Reader: Start with a captivating opening line that grabs the reader's attention and makes them want to know more.

Highlight the Main Character(s): Introduce the main characters and give a glimpse into their personalities or motivations. This helps the reader connect with the story.

Convey the Conflict: Clearly convey the central conflict or dilemma of the story. This creates intrigue and makes the reader want to find out how it is resolved.

Keep it concise: Keep the blurb short and to the point, focusing on the most important aspects of the story. Avoid giving away too much information or spoilers.


By following these tips, I hope to create a compelling book blurb that entices readers to pick up my book and dive into the world I have created.

Friday, January 26, 2024

5 Sci-Fi Tropes readers love but are done badly over and over...

I submit these tropes that I have read in books and seen in movies. We LOVE them if done well but HATE them when they are not done well.

  • Alien Invasions: While alien invasions can provide thrilling storylines, they have become a predictable and overused trope in science fiction. It's time to explore new and original ideas beyond the one-dimensional invasion narrative.
  • Time Travel Paradoxes: Time travel is a fascinating concept, but its portrayal in science fiction often leads to confusing and convoluted plotlines. Avoiding the cliché of time travel paradoxes can allow for more coherent and engaging storytelling. Done right, they can be my favorite.
  • Mad Scientists: The character of the mad scientist has been portrayed countless times in science fiction, creating a repetitive and stereotypical image. It's time to move away from this trope and explore more nuanced and diverse representations of scientific minds.
  • Dystopian Futures: While dystopian futures have been a staple of science fiction, they have become overused and predictable. Exploring different futures and more optimistic and utopian visions of the future can bring freshness to the genre.
  • Artificial Intelligence Takeovers: The idea of artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence and taking control has been explored extensively in science fiction. While it can be thought-provoking, it has become a two-dimensional trope that lacks originality. Exploring alternative narratives of human-AI cooperation can provide new perspectives.

--What is your favorite or least favorite Trope?

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Best Free Marketing Ideas for Indie Authors

Are you an indie author looking to promote your book without breaking the bank?  In this blog post, I will share some of the best free marketing ideas that will help you increase your book's visibility and reach a wider audience. 

I will begin by saying, the best marketing is to write a book that doesn't suck. Have a great cover and great blurb. Then repeat. A lot!

1. Leverage the Power of Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest ,and even LinkedIn offer a great opportunity to connect with readers and promote your book for free. Create author profiles on these platforms and share engaging content related to your book, such as teasers, behind-the-scenes insights, and snippets. Use relevant hashtags to reach a broader audience.

2. Start a Blog (like this one!)

Starting a blog is an excellent way to showcase your writing skills and connect with readers. Create a blog and write engaging posts related to your book's genre or themes. You can also share updates about your writing process, book release dates, and upcoming events. Engage with your readers by responding to comments and encourage them to share your blog posts.

3. Collaborate with Book Bloggers

Reach out to book bloggers and ask them to review your book or feature it on their blog. Many book bloggers are happy to promote indie authors and provide honest reviews. This can help generate buzz and attract new readers to your book.

4. Utilize Email Marketing

Building an email list is crucial for indie authors. Offer readers a free chapter or a short story in exchange for their email addresses. Send regular newsletters to your subscribers, sharing updates, book recommendations, and exclusive content. ConvertKit and Mailchimp are popular email marketing tools that offer free plans for beginners.

5. Participate in Online Communities

Join online communities and forums related to your book's genre to connect with potential readers.

This is just fore starters.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Quotes of the Week

William Gibson
"The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." 
- William Gibson

"Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself." 
- Ray Bradbury

"The story-maker proves a successful 'sub-creator'. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is 'true': it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside." 
- J.R.R. Tolkien

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" 
- Isaac Asimov

"Science fiction is the literature of ideas that change the world." 
- Arthur C. Clarke

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." 
- Arthur C. Clarke

"A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return."
 - Ursula K. Le Guin

"The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space." 
- Carl Sagan

"The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it." 
- Frank Herbert

"Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it." 
- Lloyd Alexander

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Author Photos, Get a good one!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for authors, it could be worth even more. In the digital age where personal branding is paramount, having a captivating and professional author photo is no longer a mere accessory—it's a strategic tool that can enhance your credibility, connect with readers, and leave a lasting impression. So, let's dive into the importance of a remarkable author photo and why it's a must-have in your literary arsenal.

In the age of digital bookshelves and ever-expanding author platforms, an exceptional author photo is no longer an optional extra—it's a vital tool for success. It conveys trust, authenticity, and professionalism, leaving a lasting impression on readers. I know readers who will not buy a book based solely on the author's photo. So, take the time to invest in a remarkable author photo that reflects your brand, engages your audience, and sets you apart from the crowd. Remember, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but in the world of authorship, it has the power to inspire millions of readers to embark on a literary adventure with you.

--The photo is even more important when you are as ugly as me!

Saturday, January 20, 2024

SciFi Movie of the Week!

So much nostalgia is wrapped around this movie for me. 1977 was the Year of Star Wars and DAMNATION ALLEY!

--"All the dead are dead - and the living are dying."

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Hilarious Struggles of Penning Sci-Fi Masterpieces


Greetings, humans! Today, we gather to embark on a journey into the whimsical and sometimes bewildering world of science fiction writing. As a self-proclaimed expert on all things hilariously challenging, I'm here to share the absolute rollercoaster ride that is crafting mind-bending tales set in galaxies far, far away. So buckle up, grab your warp drives, and let's dive into the cosmic comedy of writing sci-fi!

1. Naming Conundrums:

Ah, the joy of naming characters, planets, and spaceships in the vast expanse of the universe! As a sci-fi writer, you find yourself concocting names that sound convincingly futuristic yet don't resemble a cat randomly walking across a keyboard. You may have characters like Zxyr'klorp or planets like Xultron-9. Just remember, readers should be able to pronounce them without sounding like they're choking on a fishbone! I, on the other hand, tend to use names like Dave, Cobb, Barcus, Jimbo, Jade, and Tom. 

2. The Technobabble:

Science fiction wouldn't be complete without a healthy dose of technobabble information dumps. It's a language only sci-fi readers truly understand. Who hasn't struggled to explain complex concepts like quantum entanglement, wormhole navigation, artificial gravity, AI, or the intricacies of a hyperdrive? And let's not forget the obligatory "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" line, which solves everything. Just pray that your readers don't actually start believing you're a quantum physicist.

3. Time Travel Troubles:

Ah, the time travel paradoxes! I have a Time Travel novel planned this year. Writing about time travel inevitably leads to brain-melting confusion. Do your characters alter the past or create alternate timelines? Can they meet their past selves or will that cause a rift in the space-time continuum? And how do you explain it all in a way that doesn't make readers question their sanity? Time travel is like trying to untangle earphones after they've been in your pocket for ten minutes—frustratingly impossible.

4. Alien Encounters:

This one I have not Published. Yet. Watch for an upcoming anthology titled: FOREVER HOUSE. Creating extraterrestrial species is an otherworldly experience in itself. You can go the classic route with green-skinned humanoids or get wild with beings that communicate through interpretive dance. But be warned: writing alien dialogue can be as tricky as learning a new language. Can you imagine trying to decipher "Klaatu Verada Nicto!" without a universal translator? It's a linguistic puzzle that may leave you feeling more lost than an astronaut floating through the void.

5. Creative Worldbuilding:

Building an immersive sci-fi world is a delicate balance between scientific plausibility and artistic imagination. You want to create a universe that captivates readers without making them question the laws of physics. But hey, who needs realism when you can have floating cities, artificial-gravity sushi bars, and talking all-terrain-vehicles? As long as you have a consistent set of rules, you're free to let your imagination soar like a rocket ship fueled by pure quirkiness.


So there you have it, intrepid writers and sci-fi enthusiasts! The challenges of writing science fiction are as vast as the universe itself, but they come with a side-splitting dose of laughter as you write. Even if you kill millions of people on the first page of your first book (yes, I did that.) From navigating the treacherous seas of technobabble to tackling time travel paradoxes, every step in creating a sci-fi masterpiece is an adventure filled with joy, confusion and a whole lot of "what in the multiverse did I just write?"

So, my fellow cosmic readers and writers, keep your pens charged, your ideas flowing, and your sense of humor intact as you journey through the vibrant cosmos of sci-fi storytelling. The universe eagerly awaits your tales of wonder, absurdity, and the occasional alien stand-up routine. Happy writing, and may the force of laughter be with you! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

WAM - Weekly Accountability Meetings

The Writers Group I am a member of all read the book: The 12 Week Year.

Amazon Description:

Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a 12-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking. This book redefines your "year" to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn't enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff gets done and the impact on results is profound.

  • Explains how to leverage the power of a 12-week year to drive improved results in any area of your life
  • Offers a how-to book for both individuals and organizations seeking to improve their execution

One of the parts of this book I like best is the Weekly Accountability Meeting (WAM). This is a scheduled gathering where individuals or teams come together to review progress, set goals, and hold each other accountable. We have found that Zoom is perfect for this. 

The purpose of a WAM is to provide a structured platform for discussing achievements, challenges, and action plans for the week ahead. Participants typically share updates on their tasks, projects, or personal goals, highlighting what they have accomplished and any obstacles they may have encountered. WAMs foster a sense of responsibility and commitment, as participants are encouraged to support and motivate one another. By regularly discussing progress and sharing goals, WAMs help individuals stay focused, track their performance, and make necessary adjustments to achieve desired outcomes. 

--I'll talk about my use of the 12-Week-Year in a  future post!

Friday, January 12, 2024

Friday, January 5, 2024


Blood Heretics is now on sale in Kindle, Hardback, Paperback, and Audio editions!

Tons of people have already purchased copies! Thank You!

Please take a minute and leave an honest review on Amazon. Even just a rating helps. Reviews activate the Amazon Algorithm! Reviews help with sales! It's a great thing you can do for an Indie Author!

Did I mention how great you look today?