Happy (Belated) Birthday…. (And a little bit of news!)

…to my novel, Read Me Dead!  On April 25, 2012, she was released out into the world.  We’ve gotten some good reviews.  Some bad.  (But with the good comes the bad.  You can’t please everyone.)  And I’m thrilled to say that I’ve mostly been happy with it!

I’ve been an Indie author for two years now, back in February would have been my two year mark, and Piercing Through the Darkness‘ two year birthday.

It’s been an incredible, crazy journey.  I’ve made so many new friends, actually been called an expert (which I’m still denying), and apparently have gained some notoriety according to some (which I’m also denying).

In all seriousness, I’m just so happy with the way things have been going for me lately.  Of course, I’m not COMPLETELY happy, so that’s why I’m announcing that my new novel, Knight’s Academy, is almost finished.  BUT, for the time being, I AM NOT going to go Indie.  I will be searching for agents and publishers.

Why? You ask.  Well, the answer is simple.  I want to try something new.  I’m tired of being Indie.  Don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing bad about it.  I just simply want to try the traditional route, and if that fails, I’ll go back to Indie.  I’m counting on it to not fail though. 😉

Anyway, now that that has been announced.  I have a special treat for you!  Enjoy this chapter told in Landon’s Point of View from Read Me Dead!  The entire novel is first person in Alexia’s Point of View, so I wanted to try something a little different.  Here it is!  Stay turned for some Christian points of view for the belated birthday celebration!

Chapter Nineteen – Landon

“Landon, please.  This is a huge opportunity for me and Christian to mend our friendship,” Alex says.

I watch her riffle through her closet, searching for clothes to wear when she goes out with Christian and his dad.  Deep down, I know what Christian’s doing.  He’s trying to win Alex back, and it just might work.  She’s excited to go out with them.  I can see it in her eyes.

“His dad is a horrible person, Alex,” I say, making sure that she knows she’s making a mistake.

“What if he’s changed?” she asks, continuing to look through her clothes.

“Do you believe he has?”

She pauses, pulls out a blue jean skirt, and says, “I hope so.”

A nervous feeling rises in the pit of my stomach.  Hoping isn’t good enough.  She’s in danger if she goes out with him.  I just know it, but she doesn’t.  And she’s blinded because she wants to continue being friends with Christian, and although I can’t blame her, I hate it.  So very much.

She tosses a skirt onto the bed beside me.  I watch her closely, and after staring at me for a second, she turns back around and continues searching for clothes.

“Alex,” I say.

“He needs me,” she answers with a finality.

So do I, I think, but I don’t speak it.  Instead, I say, “Why you?”

She doesn’t answer me but instead holds up a pink tank top and a thin black sweater to wear over it.  “What do you think?”

“You’ll look beautiful in it.”

Like she always does but frustration rises up inside of me, and I want to scream and yell and let her know how much I hate this.

Alex walks towards me, wrapping her arms around my neck, and whispers in my ear, “Please don’t worry.”

“How can I not?” I ask, and my voice cracks.  This is torture.  The girl I love is putting herself in danger because of an ex-boyfriend who says he needs her.

Before I can speak, she kisses me, and I lose myself in her touch, in her kiss, praying to feel some kind of reassurance.  I pull her closer to me, eager to feel her touch.  I move my hands to her hips and kiss her more urgently.  She reciprocates the kiss, and I pray that God will let her stay with me and not go out with Christian.

We lean our foreheads against each other, and I struggle to catch my breath.  I open my mouth to beg her to stay, but I don’t.  She won’t stay anyway.

I kiss her quickly and say, “Guess you need to change.  It’s getting about time.”

She stands up straight, grabs her clothes, and walks into the bathroom.  I sit there staring at nothing in particular, my mind racing with thoughts of losing her.  I won’t let that happen.  I will fight for her, and if Christian doesn’t think that’s the case, he’s sorely mistaken.

I pull out my phone, warring with myself about sending Christian a text, telling him to call this off.  But I don’t.  If Alex finds out, she’ll be hurt and angry.  I can’t do that to her, no matter how I feel.

Alex walks back into the room. She’s braided her hair to the side, and the outfit she wears hugs her body in ways that drive me wild.

“You look amazing,” I say, my breath catching in my lungs.

“You think?” she asks, smiling and twirling around.  Despite the odd circumstances, I can’t help but smile at her.  She hasn’t been happy since she was a kid, and to see a smile on her face now makes me want to work harder to keep it there.

“I know,” I say, standing off of the bed and pulling her against me.  I need her warmth and happiness to spread through me.  I need to be reassured that she’s mine and not running away to Christian.

“What shoes should I wear?” she asks.

I laugh and say, “Whatever you want.”

She’s smiling up at me, and I feel my lips, tugging up at the corners in return.  She pulls away from me and searches her closet for shoes.  She slips on a pair of black shoes with bows on them, and I’m still smiling at her.

“What?” she asks shyly, twirling the tip of her braid.

“Nothing,” I say, but I can’t help thinking how gorgeous she is and how much I want to run my hands over her body, feeling every single curve that girl has.

She turns away, still fiddling with the tip of her braid.  I reach out to touch her arm, and she faces me.

“Promise me that you’ll call me if you need me,” I beg her.

“I promise,” she says.

I nod slowly, unsure of her promise, and she wraps her arms around me as a means of comfort.  I gladly accept the comfort she’s offering.

The doorbell rings, and my body tenses.

“Don’t worry,” she says.

That won’t be happening, but I nod in response.

Alex lets go of me and gathers her belongings.  I follow her into the living room where Marion is in the foyer talking to Christian.  She gives him the same instructions she does me whenever I take Alex out except she looks more nervous.  As nervous as I am.

Christian looks over Marion’s shoulder and a huge smile comes over his face.  The same smile I always saw when he was with her before they broke up.  Why on earth was I in the middle of this?  I couldn’t win.  There was no way that I could live up to their past relationship.

Christian gaze wanders over me, hatred brewing in his eyes.  I reach over and take Alex’s hand in mine possessively.  I know I’m acting like a rash fool, but I don’t want her to leave me for him.  I don’t think I could bear that pain.

Mrs. Marion turns around and stares at all of us.  She walks to Alex and hugs her tightly.  I can tell that she doesn’t want her to go, but if she forbids it, Alex will just sneak out and go anyway.

I let go of Alex’s hand, so she can hug her aunt.

“Please be safe,” Marion whispers.

“I will,” Alex says uncertainly.

“You ready to go?” Christian asks as soon as Marion lets go of Alex.

“Yeah,” she tells him.

Alex follows him outside after Marion tells her goodbye.  I take her hand and lead her to Christian’s truck.

The sun has already set, and I feel a dark, gloom settling over me.  I’m handing Alex off to Christian who is having dinner with a man who used to beat him.  This couldn’t be good for her.

Christian watches us with squinted eyes, his disdain for this relationship evident.  He enters his truck though, leaving us alone for a minute.

“Don’t forget,” I say.

“I won’t.”

I stare at her, unsure what to say.

“I’ll be fine,” she asserts.

I force a smile on my face and kiss her quickly.  She enters the car, and I shut the door when she’s settled in.  She stares out the window, smiling at me, when Christian’s truck roars to life.  He leaves in a hurry, leaving me staring after them, praying for Alex’s safety.

I walk back inside to hang out with Matt while waiting for her to get back.  In the living room, Marion and Dave are discussing how big of a mistake it was to send Alex out with Christian to meet Clay.  It sounds like they know something about Clay Miller, and I can’t help but wonder what that is.  It doesn’t help ease my nerves.

I walk past them and into the kitchen where Matt is pouring some coke into a glass.

“Want something, bro?” he asks when he sees me.

“Nah.  I’m good.”

I take a seat at the table and stare at my hands.  Matt sits across from me and says, “You know she’ll be fine.”

“I don’t know that for sure.”

“Christian won’t let anything happen to her.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” I say.

Matt laughs.  “What’s the deal with my sister?  You two shouldn’t be fighting over her, you know?”

He’s probably right.  What chance do I have against Christian?

“Why are you angry with her?” I ask, trying to forget about Christian and Alex for the time being.

“She didn’t tell me she knew who the guy was.”

“She doesn’t know who he is.  She doesn’t even really know what he looks like.  She was only a kid.”

“I know.  But she kept this from me, Landon.  Imagine your sister keeping something like this from you.  How would you react?”

I think about what he said.  I don’t know if I could forgive Becca if something like that happened to us.  I like to think I can, but I can’t be certain if I were in those shoes.

“Exactly,” Matt says, taking his silence as agreement.

I don’t say anything in the contrary, and my mind wanders back to Alex.  What were they doing?  It had only been five minutes since she left, and they were probably already at the diner.

Matt stands and says, “Come on. Let’s go race or something.  Get your mind off of them.”

I nod and follow Matt into the living room.  Marion and Dave look up at us and stop talking about Alex.  I wish I could’ve been listening to what they had to say, as curiosity overcomes me.  What’s with Clay Miller that they don’t like?  Aside from the obvious?

“Mind if we borrow the TV?” Matt asks.

“Go ahead,” Dave says.  Marion smiles at them, but it feels strained.  What is going on?

Matt turns on the TV and gets the game ready to go.  We sit and race, but my mind isn’t on winning.  In fact, I lose so badly Matt says, “Dude, get your mind back on the game.  You’re killing me here.”


I set the controller down and pull out my phone.  Alex hasn’t texted me yet, and I can’t take the suspense anymore.  I send her a text, asking her how she’s doing.

I hold the phone, waiting impatiently for her reply.  Time seems to stop.  What if she doesn’t answer?  Does that mean something’s wrong?

My phone goes off, and I read the text.  Everything’s fine.  But I know it isn’t.

What’s going on?  I reply, hoping she’ll tell me the truth.

It’s just weird.  I’m feeling uncomfortable with him, she replies.

I stand.  Without thinking about it any further, I tell them bye and leave.  Marion asks me if Alex is okay, and I tell her that she is.  I just don’t like this.  They try to stop me, but I don’t listen.  I jump in my car and speed towards the diner, telling her that I’ll be there soon.

She doesn’t answer, and I drive faster, hoping there aren’t any cops around to stop me.  It takes me less than five minutes to get there.  I pull into a parking place, in front of a bench on Main Street.

Alex is sitting there, looking around wildly.  Something has happened.  I jump out of the car and run to her, pulling her into my arms and holding her tightly.  I vow then and there to protect her.  Even if it comes to my death.

Interview with Author Russell Blake

I recently had an opportunity to talk with thriller author Russell Blake, and pose a set of questions that seek to dig into his process and opinions on writing and self-publishing. The answers may surprise, as some fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but you have to admit that he seems to be doing something right. 

Welcome, Russell!

You recently posted a series of blogs on book promotions that have worked for you on Amazon, including one that cites some pretty amazing sales figures. Ten thousand sales a month? What gives?

The blogs are intended to give other indie authors a window into my world, and share what’s working, and what isn’t. Trust me, the sales figures amaze me as well. I really started my journey as an author when I released my first thriller, Fatal Exchange, in late June, 2011. That’s not that long ago. That sales have ramped that quickly and the work’s been received with such enthusiasm surpasses all my expectations. I tend to orient my blog for other authors, because many of my Twitter followers are authors, and that’s my field of interest. And I want to send the message to my fellow scribes that incredible things are possible, even without an agent or publisher.

Why are your books selling like that? Price? Genre? Promotions?

I wish I knew. It’s certainly not price. I have my titles priced between $2.99 and $5.99, with special promo pricing on a few at $3.47 or $3.77. But I have avoided the .99 cent route. That always smacked to me of undervaluing the work, and I think it set an expectation in people’s minds that your work’s crap. I give away a couple of books for free – Night of the Assassin, and The Delphi Chronicle, Book 1. I’d rather give them away then try to hawk them for .99. I think that sends the wrong message, and it’s last year’s tactic to generate a splash. Only when everyone’s doing it, the splash value goes away. It’s probably a combination of having released a slew of titles so having a decent backlist, the genre I’m in (adventure/conspiracy thrillers), and luck. A lot of this is luck, unfortunately. Nobody wants to say that, but it is.


I find it hard to believe it’s all luck. You released, what, 12 titles in 2011? That’s not luck.

Agreed, that part isn’t. I write 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, when I’m in a book, and spend another 3 or so hours a day on social media and promotions, so it’s a grueling workload. I like to think I’m the literary James Brown – the hardest working man in publishing.  But 2012 is the last year I’ll be keeping up that pace. While it’s been good for the author career, it eliminates pretty much everything else from my life, and that’s not healthy long term.

Let’s talk about your latest book, The Voynich Cypher. You say it’s a departure for you. In what way?  

I typically write conspiracy thrillers that are in the Robert Ludlum and Frederick Forsyth vein. But I had this idea stewing to try my hand at a Dan Brown/Raiders of the Lost Ark style pure adventure thriller that incorporated a treasure hunt element. After writing The Geronimo Breach, I outlined what I thought was a compelling plot for a book that used an ancient manuscript written in code as the basis of its story. Fortunately for me, such a document actually exists – The Voynich Manuscript. I crafted an intricate series of hunts within hunts using that document, and the protag from my Wall St. trilogy, Zero Sum, who must decrypt the most enigmatic document in history while being chased by secret societies and megalomaniacal billionaires, who will stop at nothing to protect or possess its secrets. I’m very happy with the way the book turned out, and think fans of the Da Vinci Code and Sahara will find it compelling.

How was writing that different than your other books such as King of Swords or The Delphi Chronicle?

Research. Months of it. Arcane books on the authorship of the Voynich, on its cypher and illustrations, on cryptography, on medieval history and secret societies, on the history of the Catholic Church, on European and Middle Eastern geography… hundreds of hours of research. It’s difficult writing that kind of a book, is what I discovered. Although I hope the end result is worth the effort. So far, advance reviews and feedback have been glowing, so I’m hopeful.

What’s next for you? Anything in the works?

I’m finishing my polish on the sequel to King of Swords, titled Revenge of the Assassin. Then I’ll take a couple of weeks off, and plot out my next one, which will either be a sequel to Revenge, a sequel to Fatal Exchange, or a sequel to Delphi. My goal is to release seven to eight novels this year, so I have to stay busy. But I’ve already got two in the can, so I’m on schedule. Voynich launches March 17, and Revenge will go live end of April, so my readers will never be more than six weeks away from another book in 2012.

Thanks for joining me today! 

You can pick up your copy of The Voynich Cypher here.


More on Russell:

Russell Blake is the acclaimed author of thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, Night of the Assassin, King of Swords, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, and his latest, The Voynich Cypher – a Dan Brown/Raiders of the Lost Ark style adventure thriller based on a real-life fifteenth century manuscript written entirely in unbreakable code. He has also penned the non-fiction tomes An Angel With Fur, and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated). Views expressed are solely those of the author.

Read Me Dead

Hi, guys!  If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I’m working on a novel that is due out this Spring!  (Technically, April around the middle of…if all goes according to plan.)  I’m happy to announce that I have a cover now!   I also have a “Coming Soon” video trailer I played around with.

What I don’t have is a tagline…. Nor do I have a blurb I’m completely happy with.

But, without further adieu, meet the cover of Read Me Dead.

A huge thanks goes out to Natasha Brown.  (Check out her website for other work she’s done!)


Alexia “Alex” Wheaton wants to be a normal teenager, worrying about what dress to wear to homecoming and which handsome boy to date, but as the sole witness to her parents’ horrific murder, she can never be normal.

For seven years, Alex has lived with this secret that haunts her memories.  And when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued by the fear that her parents’ murderer will soon find himself another victim – her.

As she follows her heart, the murderer follows her.  Normal is out of the question.   Alex’s life is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents’ murderer to justice.

And for your viewing pleasure:

You’ll be the Interviewer I’ll be the Interviewee

So, Milda Harris, Writer Girl in LA, had me on her blog today for a fun interview! 

What mythological creature would I want to have as a pet?

What would I do with loads of money?

What type of salad dressing I would be? 

Which Indie author did I pay it forward to?

I answer these questions for your entertainment!  Check it out here!


Trick or Treat: Tell a Scary Tale around a Campfire

Welcome to Halloween week on my Dreaming Awake Blog! 

Paranormal author and reviewer, Emma Meade - http://www.emmameade.com

Today, I’m happy to feature Emma Meade.  She reviews supernatural books, films and shows on her blog.  She’s currently working on self-publishing through Smashwords and Kindle, and she hopes to have a book out soon!  Yay for fellow Indie Authors!  She reads and writes paranormal fiction and is addicted to shows like Buffy, The X-Files, True Blood and more recently The Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries.  I could get along with her well, especially on the Vampire Diaries and True Blood front.  (Although, I’m not too addicted to the Vampire Diaries books.  The show is MUCH better.)

Anyway, Emma is the author of this ficticious ghost story she’s gladly sharing on the blog today!  Enjoy!  And thanks for sharing, Emma. 

Their footsteps echoed loudly off the pavement.  Jessica wrapped her jacket more tightly around her against the frigid cold of the winter night.  Her best friend Michelle, mom and grandmother strolled along beside her, each one pleasantly numbed from the glasses of lager consumed at their local pub.

Conversation had led to the eerie, tragic story of the local haunted house, where a young man had perished in a fire many years ago.  It now stood silent and derelict, yet people often claimed a shadowy figure could be seen frequenting the front facing bedroom window, the very room where a man had died.

But why hadn’t he jumped?  This was the question Jessica had harped on about back at the pub.  He hadn’t far to fall, so had the smoke gotten to him before he awoke?  And where had his lover been that night?

“Leave it be,” her grandmother had said.  “It’s in the past and that poor man should be allowed to rest.”

“But,” Jessica had begun again.

“That’s enough,” her grandmother announced firmly and so the subject was dropped.

Jessica and Michelle parted from the older women and made their way to a friend’s home.  The haunted house was on the same route.  The sad story was fresh in both girls’ minds, as was the buzz from the liquor.  Michelle stopped suddenly and turned to Jessica with a cunning smile.

“Let’s go see it,” she said excitedly.  “Come on, it’ll be a laugh.”

Jessica shook her head.  “I’m not that drunk Michelle.”

“It will be a great story to tell.  Let’s just take one look inside and then we’ll go.  I’m dying to see the place after all this talk.”

Jessica didn’t reply.  She wrapped her arms more tightly around herself against the cold night’s breeze.  Michelle took her silence for agreement and linking her arm, she led them both forward.

Within minutes the abandoned, dilapidated house stood before them and hesitantly they raised their eyes to the bedroom window and with relief saw that it was empty.  Defying her rising fear, Jessica pushed the rusting gate inwards and headed for the side of the house, looking for a way in.  Michelle was right behind her.

Using the light from her mobile phone she found a broken window and climbed inside, landing softly in a dingy kitchen, all appliances long since stolen. Michelle followed. The walls were grimy and peeling and pieces of wood were strewn across the dirty floor.  Jessica, aware that the comforting haze in her mind was lifting, left the room and glided up the stairs towards the bedroom, drawn forward by an unidentifiable urge within.

“Are you coming?” she called to her friend.

“I’m having a look downstairs,” Michelle answered.

Propelled forward by an invisible force, most likely a mixture of the booze and curiosity, Jessica rationalised, she arrived at the bedroom.  Most of the wood on the door was rotten and she pushed it open expecting a sinister creaking, yet it swung inwards noiselessly.

At first glance, the spacious room was empty.  What had once been a bed was now nothing more than a crooked headboard and planks of wood.  A trickle of light seeped through the moth eaten blinds of the window and Jessica found herself standing in a pool of moonlight.  Shadows draped across the room, deepening in one corner over an old, decaying chair.  That particularly black shadow shifted suddenly and a surprised squeak escaped Jessica.

She froze inside the threshold of the room and could only stare helplessly at the ghostly figure in the corner.  It was him.  Her mind registered this with a certain degree of calm acceptance but her body remained rooted to the spot with terror.  And when the being beckoned her, she was only able to vaguely shake her head.  It came to her instead.

Jessica found herself standing a mere inch from him, a young man, like any other but with loneliness, guilt and new hope brewing in his dark eyes.  He reached out a hand and before Jessica could step back, she felt it, contact, connection between this life and an age many years ago.

The room, the figure and her time disappeared in a blinding flash.  Jessica was now no more than a spectator in a scene that had taken place in another era.  She witnessed that fateful night in precise, vivid and frightening detail.  He was there, in that kitchen, lit now by glaring lights and so was Jessica, or what looked like an extremely similar version of her.  Dawning realisation crept up on Jessica and she understood that she was looking at her grandmother when she was a younger woman.  They were arguing and it was vicious, hurtful and final.

“How can you go?  You promised yourself,” he was shouting amid the tears that were streaking his anguished face.

“We’re not meant to be together,” Jessica’s then young grandmother retaliated, snapping her teeth in her anger.

“So you’ll go to him.  Leave me for him?” he asked bitterly.

“I love him,” was her simple reply and the other could say no more. He was utterly defeated.

Jessica saw the awful scenes rip by her like bullet shots, hard, fast and deadly.  Her grandmother leaving with her bags, her old lover running wildly through the house turning off lights, disappearing into the closet beneath the stairs and emerging with three liquor bottles.  He spilled their contents down the stairs and threw the match, landing exactly on the lethal liquid and a fire was ignited.

He barricaded himself in the bedroom, calmly awaiting the smoke that would crawl in under the door.  A cry escaped Jessica and she was released from the terrible vision back into the bedroom of the present time.

She was now standing by the chair in the corner, looking down at the man sitting in it and smiling up at her, stroking her hand.

“You came back,” he whispered and Jessica nodded helplessly.  Pity threatened to overwhelm her.

“We forgive?” he asked softly and tears dropped from his eyes to his cheeks and the ghost seemed to breathe a sigh of final peace.

“Can I go now?”

Jessica smiled.  “Yes,” she whispered hoarsely.

And he faded away, so gradually and so quietly that Jessica questioned the reality of the whole incident.  Her hand now held nothing but air.  It was time to leave.

Slowly she made her way down the stairs and met Michelle before the boarded up front door.

“Anything up there?” Michelle asked.

Jessica shook her head. “Not anymore.  Let’s go.”

They left the house the same way they entered it, with Michelle chattering on about what a good story this was going to be.  Jessica remained silent and closed the gate after them, and one last time looked up at the window, now empty as it always would be.

Being Handcuffed by the Cops – Writer Cops That Is

Castle and the Detectives (Sourced from Google Images)

Have any of you seen Castle?  If you have, you know what an awesome show it is.  If you haven’t, rent the seasons from Netflix and start watching!

There’s an episode that was in, I believe, the second season.  Someone was murdered and on her face was written a message, “psycho, the rapist, your out of time.” Castle said, “Whoever killed her also murdered the English language.”

Richard Castle is a writer I’d love to know!  (I wouldn’t mind knowing Nathan Fillion either though. ;))  Anyway, Castle is a witty character with a sympathetic side.  He’s awesome.  He is also a best-selling author following around Detective Kate Beckett for his Nikki Heat series.  (You can buy the books as well.)

Anyway, I was discussing NaNoWriMo with someone on G+ about a month ago discussing our projects.  My project was going to originally be a re-write of my very first [finished] novel.  When I told him that, I said, “Hope that’s okay. ;)”

In return he said, “It’s not like the NaNo cops will be knocking down your door.”

I had a funny image of Richard Castle busting down the door with a NaNoWriMo badge yelling, “Set the laptop aside.  Down on the ground! DOWN ON THE GROUND!”

Okay.  Realistically this isn’t going to happen.  But wouldn’t it be funny if it did?

Now, to the point.  I’ve never had an editor, but I do have a wonderful group of people who help me edit.  They’re my personal “writing cops.”  Although my dad has a habit of laughing at my mistakes.  Love that man though!  Admittedly, some of the mistakes are quite hilarious!

But, this is why editing is so important.  Even accidentally, we murder the English language.  Sometimes we forget the small things. (And big things.)  What if we accidentally wrote “hear” for “here.”  Or forgot the ‘h’ in “where.”  Any misplaced commas, quotations, apostrophes, etc.  Or “your” for “you’re.”  It can happen, although that is one of my biggest pet peeves!  If I make that mistake I beat myself up.  Anyway…

If you read my last post about guest posting on Karen Baney’s blog about Indie Authors, you’ll know that we self-pubbed authors don’t exactly have the biggest fan base.  However, Tamara Paulin made a good comment about that.

I’m not too worried about trying to change people’s minds about self-publishing in general. I really won’t mind if, years from now, people still say they dislike self-pubbed books, BUT they do love authors X, Y, and Z. I am trying to be Author Z.

I think self-pubbing has already gained a lot of acceptance, as have low-budget indie movies.

However, she also said “Self-pubbers are permitted zero typos!”

It’s true.  We are permitted zero typos.  That’s why it’s important to find someone to look at our work with fresh eyes.  Eyes that aren’t all lovey-dovey for our work.  We’re blinded.  They aren’t.

In my financial state, aka starving artist, I can honestly say, I can’t afford an editor right now.  So, I have to rely on my beta readers.  They make good cops.  Especially betas who are writers!

When I first started writing, I was scared to death of feedback.  Now, I crave it!  I can’t get enough.  Really.  I’m still scared of feedback.  It makes me nervous, but I do appreciate it very much.   Feedback furthers our writing.  We learn from our own mistakes.  Hopefully.

So, don’t take feedback for granted.  Welcome the “cops” into your life.  They’re only trying to help.  Let them handcuff ya and book you for murdering the English language.  But don’t worry.  They’ll let you off for good behavior given you correct your mistakes.

R.S. Guthrie Discusses Twitter and Being Part of the Writers’ Community

R.S. Guthrie

I am pleased to feature a fellow writer and the author of Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel.  I had the pleasure of meeting Rob in the group of authors brought together by Melissa Foster for her Come Back to Me book launch party.  Rob graciously accepted my offer to write a guest post.  Here he is discussing Twitter and his followers: writers.  Don’t forget to comment and show Rob some love.


When I first signed up for Twitter a couple months ago, I had no idea how to gain followers and who those tweeps might be. I suppose in the mind of Famous Author—he’s one of the multiple bards who occupy my skull at any given point of the creative and/or marketing process—it would eventually turn out to include legions of doting fans, eager for my next major release.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a HUGE follower base for writers is, well, other writers

(I have to be honest: when I informed Famous Author of this new development, he coughed terribly and spewed burnt tobacco from his pipe in a plume, ruining that nasty tweed jacket he wears—you know, the one with the patches on the elbow.)

It was pretty shocking to me, too. I remember thinking “isn’t this a little like Burger King following McDonalds? The hens following the fox? Enron following…

Ah, never mind. You get it. I was perplexed. How the heck was I to gain any traction in the world of writing by hanging out with a bunch of writers?

In answer to my own question, I’ve got one very special word for you:


See, you can’t think “fox and hens”—more like foxholes. Because the relationships are better compared to those between soldiers at war. Yes, the three helmet-heads hunkered down in the trench might be fierce competitors back home. In the face of a common enemy, however, they are brothers and sisters.

They protect. They have each others’ backs.

Particularly indie authors, who you find a lot of in the Twitterverse.

We’re all eating the same soup sandwiches.

As Bill Murray’s character said in Stripes: “We’re the wretched refuse.”

And we are.

The chosen authors, with their sleek, satin book covers, huge multi-novel contracts, movie deals, and product trailers starring Willem Dafoe or Zooey Deschanel, well, they gaze down on us from atop towers constructed of blue steel, mirrored glass, and the perfume of success.

Honestly, so many of the authors I have met (and follow) are hard-working, talented writers who have yet to see their big break. And that, dear readers, is what draws us together into a tribe. We aren’t exactly the Island of Misfit Toys, but we’ve seen our share of black eyes from agents, editors, publishers, and even successful bloggers.

Our fans may love us, but for many, the mainstream has yet to learn our names.

So we help each other. Authors for authors. Writers for the tribe. And guess what?


I think most of us (at least those who have guzzled the Kool-Aid) believe there are enough readers out there to support all the good writers (and, judging by some of the slop I’ve read recently, even a large number of bad ones). And that understanding gives us a common goal that transcends competition:

We all need exposure.

We need Amazon algorithms. We need Likes. We need Followers. We need Friends. We need widespread tweeting and retweets that spread like wild fires. We need to be VIRAL.

And so, we need each other.

It is for this reason, as well as the wondrous hearts, spirited souls, and reams of talent I’ve found in this virtual social strata, that I have come to feel my writer community is more than just a collection, a clique, or even a tribe.

We’re family.

Or at least a platoon.

And yes, we most certainly have each others’ backs.

More about R.S. Guthrie:

R.S. Guthrie grew up in Northeastern Iowa and Northwestern Wyoming. Growing up in the Heartland and the Rocky Mountains, and alongside the good people who populate these beautiful areas of the United States, the author learned (among other things) one core principle of a great culture: people helping each other.

“Read a Book, Make a Difference”  is the author’s vision. After losing their two month-old son, Brody, to SIDS in 2008, Guthrie and his wife began supporting the local SIDS non-profit.  When the author released his first book, “Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel”, in 2011, he knew he wanted to do something special with part of the proceeds.

Thus, “Read a Book, Make a Difference” was born.

“Black Beast” is the first in a series of “Clan of MacAulay” books featuring Denver Detective Bobby Macaulay.

The author currently lives in Colorado with his beautiful wife, three young Australian Shepherds, and a rambunctious Chihuahua who thinks she is a 40 pound Aussie!

Follow him:

Author Website: http://www.rsguthrie.com
Author Blog: http://robonwriting.com
Author RABMAD Page: http://RABMAD.com
Author FB page: http://www.facebook.com/rsguthriebooks
Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rsguthrie

Join Rob and 35 other authors for the 99 Cent Book Event, in celebration of the release of award winning, bestselling author Melissa Foster’s COME BACK TO ME, Tues., Nov. 1 – Thurs., Nov 3. ALL BOOKS 99 CENTS, ebook giveaways, and more! www.womensliterarycafe.com