Happy Halloween and My 100th Post!

Pumpkin100That’s pretty crazy, right? I only started this thing back in late June and I’ve already eclipsed the 100 posts mark (slow for some perhaps, but fast for me). I’d say that’s pretty good. Right? Quiet voice from back of room: “Sure dude! Whatever!” 😉 So, I really wasn’t sure what to do with blog post 100, so I’m just going to throw some bloggy stats out.

Total views: 2304

Total visitors: 1469

Total comments: 197

Followers: 164

Views from search engines: 189

Top post (aside from homepage): Wow… BookBub… Wow

Most clicks: Amazon.com

Best month: September 734

Best week: September 1 (154 visitors, 268 views)

Top 5 Countries that visit my site: US, Brazil, UK. Germany, Canada

Spam blocked: 4,068

Alrighty then! Onward and upward! Use this info as you will. Maybe as a barometer for the success of your own site? I hope you’ve enjoyed hanging out with me for these first 100 posts.

The “Should I Self-Publish?” Checklist



Let’s get something straight; self publishing is not the easy way out. It is 10x more difficult than going through a traditional publisher. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort, the rewards can be that much better. Let’s take a look at some key points of self publishing to see if it’s the path you should take.

Do you want control over every single aspect of your writing and book design?

This is one of the biggest reasons why folks self publish. By self publishing, you answer to no one but yourself. This also means that you are the one responsible for everything and some folks don’t want all that responsibility. If you’re ready to be the end-all/be-all, then feel free to jump in.

Are you prepared to do the work necessary to publish the most polished novel you possibly can?

Self publishing isn’t about cranking out 70,000 words, uploading a Word file to KDP with a slapped-together cover, and clicking “Publish.” It’s about putting out the best darn book you possibly can without having to give up a huge chunk of royalties and a lifetime of rights. This means having the book professionally edited, paying to have a cover created, wrangling beta readers, and maybe even paying to have the insides formatted. If you’re not willing to make an effort to get these services, I recommend traditionally publishing. Honestly. Otherwise, you may be wasting your time and tarnishing your potential reputation. You might not have the money to do these sorts of things and I understand that, but then you’re going to be producing a mediocre product that neither you, nor your readers, will be happy with. Your goal should be to put out a book that rivals those found in any bookstore. If you can’t come close to that, then you should reconsider traditional publishing.

Are you willing to do the marketing necessary for your book to be successful?

This holds true whether you’re self published or a traditionally published midlist author: You’re going to have to do most of your own marketing. Marketing comes in many forms. Some cost money. Some don’t. But, no one is going to hand you a prize as soon as you self publish. In fact, unless your circle of family and friends is extraordinary (and they’re all willing to buy your book), immediate success is rare. It’s often a constant struggle to keep your book in front of readers. This doesn’t mean you need to devote your life to promoting your book (you should really be working on your next book as soon as your first one is published). But, promotion can take time and energy.

Can you handle criticism from strangers and friends in a professional manner?

Self-publishing is still a 4-letter-word to some people. It’s climbing its way out in certain crowds, but there are some who hear it and automatically assume “vanity publishing” and “most likely crap that no one else would publish.” Is your skin thick enough to be on the front lines? You will get negative reviews that target you because you are self published. You will get strange looks from people when you tell them you self published. You will get haughty disdain when you explain in clear terms why you self published. You will be faced with a type of segregation that, at times, will bar you from participation because of your chosen method of publication. You need to be able to take all of the criticism and doubt with your head held high and

Can you live without “publishing industry” validation?

This is a biggie. Do you need the established gatekeepers of traditional publishing to tip their cap your way in order to be proud of your writing? If so, turn back now. The chances of having that happen after self publishing are slim to none. Yes, it’s happened. Hugh Howey got a sweet paper-only contract after his self-published novel, Wool, took off. Recently, cover artist (he did the cover for Danny Dirks!) and author Jason Gurley published his epic, Eleanor, and had it picked up several months later by Crown Publishing (and recently in the UK by HarperCollins). Congrats to him. It’s so rare though. You can pretty much guarantee being shunned by any sort of traditional press once you’ve self published, unless you happen to sell a ridiculous amount of books out of the gate. $ attracts $.

If you answered “Yes” to all of these, congratulations on thinking you’re ready to be a self-published author. 😉 I can tell you, from 3+ years of personal experience, it has its moments, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m proud of my mistakes and my successes because they are all mine.

What do you think? Anything I missed? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 10/27



Been a while since I’ve posted this feature, so figured I’d dust it off with a fresh look. These are some of the more interesting things I’ve shared over on Twitter in the last week. Enjoy!


As always, you can get these links first hand by following me over on Twitter. 🙂

Me? On TV?! Sure, Why Not! – Writers2Writers Show 101 Teaser

So, this is a small sample clip of me pretending to know what I’m talking about with regard to publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing. 😉 While we still don’t have a debut date set, the producer has created some teasers. If you haven’t followed along with the Me? On TV? Sure, Why Not? series, feel free to peruse the older posts (Take 1, Take 2, Take 3 Take 4). Be sure to follow the YouTube channel to see the full episode when it finally airs! Heck, you might learn a thing or two. The show is hosted by Jennifer Sneed and Keith Fritz (friend and fellow author K. Edwin Fritz).

Thanks for stopping by! 😀

Dream Movie Casting

Don’t deny it. All authors do it. You’ve got your dream cast members for the roles in the movie of your book. Well, so do I. So, I had a little fun today and, for Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon, here’s my dream cast. The only character I couldn’t find an actor for was Ollie Cline. They just don’t have a lot of teenage man-child actors. 😉

Grayson Russell

Grayson Russell – Danny Dirks

Terence Stamp

Terence Stamp – Edward Pendrake (Danny’s Grandfather)


Kevin McKidd – Ted Dirks (Danny’s Father)



Saoirse Ronan – Kara Brennan (Danny’s next door neighbor)

Iain Glen

Iain Glen – Bob Brennan (Kara’s Father)

Rade Serbedzija

Rade Serbedzija – Maximilian Brennan (Kara’s Uncle)          


Mackenzie Foy – Katie Dirks (Danny’s Sister)

Terry Crews

Terry Crews – Marcus Donovan (Danny’s mentor)































So, who’d play the lead in your book’s movie? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀

Let the NaNoWriMo Madness Begin!


When I was a boy… Ok, I’m kidding. But, when I started writing this post, it occurred to me that it was that kind of story. Anyway, back when I first heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated) in 2006, it was still in its fledgling state (launched in 1999, it was still fairly small back then). I heard about it and jumped on board with a ton of enthusiasm, as most do at first. Then I realized just how hard the task is. 1666 words a day for 30 days during the month of November. Yeah. It’s no small task. I won once… and that was working at breakneck speed to crank out 20,000 words in the last week alone.

Nowadays, NaNo has grown in notoriety. This year, according to the website, more than 400,000 writers will participate. And, with the enthusiasm comes the naysayers.

“You shouldn’t be trying to write a novel that quickly.”

“What good can it be in that short a time?”

“It’s a gimmick and real writers would never participate.”

I disagree for the most part with all of the naysayers. Anything that gets people to write is a good thing in my book (pun intended). Is this a pace you should keep up? Sure! If you can! I’d love to be able to crank out 1666 a day! Especially at the first-draft stage, which is what NaNo is really all about. You’re goal isn’t to write a polished/finished novel in a month. You’re cranking out 50,000 words of a first draft. You’re putting words to paper with the expectation that what you’re creating will need significant revisions… in December… and January… and February. First drafts are supposed to be crap! But, how great will it be to have a completed (or near completed) first draft at the end of the month!?

So, if you’re taking part, good luck. Have fun. Bond with your fellow WriMos. Learn as much as you can about your writing and the writing process. Crank out the best crappy first draft you possibly can. Keep your expectations low. Put words on the page and don’t worry about revising. There’ll be plenty of time for that.

Not taking part? Do your writer friends who are participating a favor. Don’t mock their intentions. Cheer them on! Let their milestones fuel your own writing endeavors. Be happy that they are writing! Will their NaNoWriMo book become a novel? Who knows? In today’s age of self-publishing, I’d never dare to say no. With the right editing, anyone can publish their work. Don’t rain on anyone’s parade.

As a last point, rushing to write a novel may be fun, but it shouldn’t make you think that you can rush the important parts. Revision, editing, proofing, beta reading, more revision, etc. Use NaNo to get the foundation, but don’t slap up paper walls and call it a house. 😉

Have you done NaNoWriMo in the past? What’s you best advice for finishing? Let us know in the comments section and thanks for stopping by.

I’m Exhausted


This post is really about nothing. It’s essentially me whining, so feel free to move on to other more substantial posts. ;-D

Frequent visitors may remember my post from a few weeks ago about how my job circumstances were forcing requiring me to commute into NYC three days a week. Well, nearly 3 weeks later, I’m adjusting to my new situation and trying to roll with it, in hopes that it’ll come full circle and I’ll recover my blessed 10 minute commute again. I’m not normally an optimist, but when it comes to work, I tend to become a rose-colored glasses kind of guy.

Anyway, I’ve been exhausted. I drop my son off at the bus, haul my butt over to the train station, buy my ticket, take a seat, and hope that whoever sits next to me today (because the train is often full by the time we reach Penn Station) is a normal/healthy human being. It’s never a cute girl. Why don’t the cute girls want to sit next to me? It’s always some suit who smells like he’s already worked a full day at 8:30 am. Then, it’s an hour to the city (on the express), up into Penn Station, through the crowds, and down to the subway to catch a downtown train to 14th Street, where I come up onto 16th and walk over from 8th Ave to 9th. Finally, I walk into Chelsea Market, up a flight of stairs, and into the office, where I take my seat in a department that isn’t even mine (they’re at capacity and ran out of room in the copy department).

My work day is no different from my old work day. I put in my 8 hours (if I’m lucky) and head home. Then it’s the morning commute in reverse, except if I’m late for the train. Then it’s like I’m Snake Plissken (1000 points to Gryffindor or the house of your choice if you get that reference). Last week, my usual train was cancelled, which meant that everyone who was going to be on that train got on the next train. I stood, between cars no less, for and hour and fifteen minutes. I love the smell of burning brake dust in the evening. It smells like life.*

*This is a lie.

So, I’ve been forced to move my beddy-by time up. 10:00 PM guarantees I get my 8 hours in. Anything less and I’m dragging my butt out of bed the next morning. It’s certainly put a kink in my available writing time. I get home around 7:15 PM, eat dinner, relax a little, and then I’m looking at the clock. Last night, I was in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10. I still didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off at 6:30 and I’m sure the torrential rain outside didn’t help. Better rain than snow, I guess!

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble about my first-world problems. Having a job is a rough life. 😉

Even My 8-year-old Suffers From Writer’s Block


I got an email the other day from my son’s teacher. My initial reaction was “Uh-oh.” He’s a generally sweet boy and he’s super smart, so it’s rare that I get notes home. But, being a smart kid means that when he does get in “trouble,” it can be a doozie. So, it was a bit surprising and strangely relieving that this was in response to an academic issue. He, along with the rest of the class, had been given a writing prompt and asked to write for 30 minutes about a favorite memory. After 30 minutes, my son had written absolutely nothing.

While my son is like me in many ways, writing has never been one of his strong suits, especially under pressure. He’s got a fair imagination and can tell a pretty good story when he wants to, but putting words on the page has been an issue we’ve had to deal with in the past. The teacher was mainly concerned because this was a pre-test for the real thing, which was being administered for the state. So, yeah… kinda important. When I picked him up that evening, I asked him about it, which caused instant anxiety (another one of his father’s traits he, unfortunately, inherited). I tried to calm him by letting him know that I wasn’t angry. In fact, I knew exactly what he was going through. But, the fact remained that, next time, he had to show effort.

“You couldn’t think of a favorite memory?”

“I didn’t have enough time!”

“You had as much time as the other kids.”


“Didn’t we just go to Disney? You couldn’t write about that?”

“I could have, but I just didn’t know how to start!”

And there it was. My son had just landed on the same problem millions of writers face every day. He didn’t know what words to put on the page, got upset by the fact that he couldn’t put words on the page, which then made it even harder to put words on the page.

“So, what are you going to do next time?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re going to write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Whatever it is. Just write it down. Then follow that with some more words. Just make an effort, ok? You have to show that you tried.”

And, it is both that easy and that hard, right? We come up with a ton of excuses to not write, but often the solution is just writing down what’s on our mind. What part of the story is teasing you? Write it down! Don’t worry about how you’re going to get there, just write down the part that’s in your head at this very moment. Make that effort every day and the story will eventually come out. You’ll figure out the bits in between. Whether you’re writing 100 or 1000 words a day, at least you’re trying and moving forward.

Have writer’s block? Have a great solution for writer’s block? Let us know in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by!