Goodreads Giveaway!

Hi all. Just a heads up for Goodreads members. There are 3 autographed copies of Someday Always Comes up for grabs as Goodreads Giveaways. Enter between 3/25/13 – 4/25/13. Eligible countries – USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Belgium & Australia.

If you’re not a Goodreads member but are an avid reader or an author, visit Goodreads & sign up! It’s addicting. Feel free to share this with your friends. Good luck!

What fun!

Eleventh Stack

I would like to say I don’t believe in all that silly horoscope stuff and dream interpretation and signs and omens and whatnot. But my zodiac sign is Pisces and my Chinese zodiac sign is the Snake:


OnlyAstrologyMy all-time favorite astrology book is The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk. I bought my first copy sometime in the early 90s, only to have it stolen by some strumpet my boyfriend was cheating on me with. I’ve long since gotten over him, but I’m still pretty bent about the book. Seriously, you can steal just about anything you want from me, but keep your mitts off of my books!

But I digress.

The Only Astrology Book now comes with an interactive CD that will actually make your birth chart for you. And it is NEATO. Also…

View original post 663 more words

I like this view and think it can apply to many.


First and foremost, I’m quite happy to be an Irishman. The main reason being the hospitality with which people of other nationalities treat you once finding out that you’re Irish (my twitter followers being a perfect example of this). However, it’s on days like March 17th each year that makes me cringe; with both embarrassment and anger.

I suppose you’ll be wanting to know why? Of course you will. Well, here’s why.

View original post 482 more words

Newbies writers…check this out.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Sometimes when I work with new novelists or self-published writers, I wonder (and this is awful to say) if they even really like books.

Why is it that people are drawn to wanting to be writers?  Is the image too glamorized in books, TV, and movies? Is it for the bragging right, so they can say “Yes, I have written a book? It is right there.” Is it because it seems simple to do since we all know how to form a sentence thanks to public education? Has self-publishing companies done too good a job ruining the myth that writing is a skilled craft? What is it that draws people to take on this art, resulting in a congested market and thousands of badly written books finding their way onto amazon each year with badly made covers on photoshop?

I wish I had an answer to all of my questions…

View original post 1,437 more words

Writing Organically


Or “organic writing.” Interesting words, all.

I first read the term organic writing somewhere on Internet a couple months ago. I don’t know how long the term’s been around, or who coined it, or why. I just know it fits me fine.

I’ve never sat down and wrote a synopsis in my life…first. In school, I wrote the paper or essay then made the paragraph or two-long synopsis. I hate outlines too. I hated it when I had to do a science experiment and write a long paper describing every step, turning point, find and assessment. Oh, don’t forget your outline!…said every teacher everywhere.

I know what the teacher expected. She wanted us to think through what we were going to do and make note of the steps first. Not! I didn’t do it then either. I never made the steps. I just threw gasoline on the fire and jumped up and down smiling like a lunatic at the blaze, then wrote a report.

I write my fiction quite like that as well. If you hear me use the term outlining that usually means that I’m making a list of characters, character traits, and all the places they’ll visit. Do they like pizza with or without mushrooms? Outlining might include, or actually be, character mapping. For my “vampire” related series, the vampires and others in the story have family lines and some characters are reincarnates, so I had to do a tree to keep all the peeps or history in order.

In my new release, Someday Always Comes, I did absolutely no outlining, nor did I write a synopsis beforehand. Sorry, I can’t work that way. The most I did with them is a little cataloguing of who they are and their entrances into the story. I did this because there are characters who are mentioned at one point in time, then disappear. I wanted to keep track of these characters so that I could clear up loose ends and tie things together, leaving no strings lying about.

I started a synopsis, for the first time ever, for a story idea I’ve been toying with – a novel called The Ghosts of Willow Marsh. I started it a long, long…long time ago, and the synopsis is at about 1 ½ pages, while the story is much further along. Whenever I pull up the synopsis, I just stare at the blinking cursor. So, se la vie, synopsis.

One of my favorite things is when the synopsis actually turns into the story, as it did with Someday Always Comes. Hey, biotches, you can’t stop the muse. I highly doubt I will ever outline anything…I mean, while being true to the definition of outline anyway.

Currently, I’m dabbling with three or so different writing projects, and they’re all vying for my time and attention. It won’t be long before one of them wins out over the others and I’ll start pecking away diligently at the computer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do work out scenes, and sometimes write them out by hand. In fact, for one of said projects I’m working on now, the very tentatively titled, Rise of the Witch Clan, I have several scenes on paper. Unfortunately none of those scenes are bridged to any other scenes, and collectively make zero sense. Also, I have questions written down, with different ideas or answers. A question about a ring. A question about a book. Yadda. Then I have tentative answers.

I keep an electronic folder for deleted scenes, or scenes I might save to possibly rework into the story, or its sequel. I mean that whole scene about the missing Suri being found, then summoned through a water fountain, gown flowing, hovering there like a goddess…Hell, surely there’s room for that beautiful scene somewhere. Of course, I know it doesn’t sound beautiful to you, but it does in my head, and once the reasoning behind it…the why and who, etc….is accurately revealed, it’ll be lovely to you too when I describe it thoughtfully. You just wait.

But also, I have no real structure to anything I do. I like to plot and plan, but I don’t like to stick to any rigorous schedule. I’m the type of person that would tour a foreign country with a group, stray from the path, slay a few beasts, meet and marry someone who looks like Leo DiCaprio, and wind up living with magical elves in northern Wales…er… or somewhere, for eternity. Never returning home again.

Okay. Back on track. I read an article in March/April 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest called “Go Organic”, by Steven James. Steven James is supposed to be a best-selling author of many things, even some critically acclaimed things. But, I never heard of him, so I had to look him up. Yes, he’s done a lot. For shame, perhaps I should read one of his books.

Geeze, where was I? Oh, Steven James wrote an awesome article called “Go Organic.” Right. We established that. And, guess what? I have the same view points as he does. I write in the same fashion as he does…as far as mechanics goes. I don’t have a best seller, but we’ll see later. I also love that he quoted from one of my favorite books on writing. Yep, “On Writing” by Stephen King. James describes how he “loves Stephen King’s analogy…comparing stories to fossils that we, the story-tellers, are uncovering. To plot out a story is to decide beforehand what kind of dinosaur it is.” He quotes King, “Plot is, I think, the good writer’s last resort, and the dullard’s first choice.”

James goes on to say that the analogy helps him to think of his writing less as something he creates and more of something he uncovers. I like that. That’s how I feel too. Wouldn’t you know it? Me, Steven James, and Stephen King all think alike. Spooky!

With Someday Always Comes, I just wrote it. From start to finished. But each day, I’d go back and read the work from the day before; sometimes from several days before, but always striving for realism and fluidity. Continuity. I didn’t want my characters to say back on Tuesday that they were going somewhere on Sunday, then didn’t go. I didn’t want their personalities changing accidentally. The changes, if any, would be gradual and as a result of some event.

I don’t want to create some roadmap for every story and follow it to the tee. Then what happens when the muse slaps your marbles around and…wham!…story line change. But guess what? We have this outline…the story’s progressed by the outline. We can’t change it!

No, I’m not a fly-by-night writer. Okay, well sometimes I fly around at night. But that’s a whole other blog. I want my stories to have depth. I want strong, natural bridges and scene changes. I want my characters to make their own choices when backed into a corner, when being approached by Big Foot on a road less traveled, or while wondering what to do while staring into the eyes of their true love for the first time in ten years.

Whaat? Who the hell has time for pulling out maps in those situations! Really? When would anyone have time to pull out a map and ask directions while running across desert sands from a man-eating shark with legs while trying to find Amelia Earhart? I’ll tell you who are the only people who could pull that off…that whole…“Stop Mr. Landshark, I know not in which direction we goeth! Please, let me consult the Map of Sultan before we fall into quicksand or some other shit and lose our pants”… the Wayans Brothers. So, I’ll leave that dramatics and comedy in their capable hands.

So, I will remain organic. I am so glad someone invented that really cool term. And guess what all you English teachers of mine, give me an F if you must. But no more forced outline writing for me. How can I write spectacularly that way?

Steven James has a good opinion and idea in his Go Organic article regarding creativity:

“Forget all that rubbish you’ve heard about staying on track and not following rabbit trails. Of course you should follow them. It’s inherent to the creative process….What you first thought was just a rabbit trail leading nowhere in particular might take you to a breathtaking overlook that eclipses everything you previously had in mind.

Without serendipitous discoveries, your story runs the risk of feeling artificial and prepackaged. Give yourself the freedom to explore the terrain of your story…embrace the adventure.”

As I said, it’s a good article. Make sure you grab this copy of Writer’s Digest.

I did some snooping on the internet regarding organic writing. My view is that there are several organic writers out there and many described the roots of organic writing the same, yet they have their own way of going about it. A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. No junk.

I just can’t create any other way. Are you an organic writer too?

Random Thoughts on Self-publishing My First Book


So, I self-published a book. Who gives a rat’s ass! So what? Now what?

I knew how to go about self-publishing. But I did not promote my book very much before it hit the presses. Why? Because up until that very minute I hit the “publish” button on Createspace, I still wasn’t for sure if I really wanted to publish Someday Always Comes.  Even after I conspired with Melissa Stevens (The Illustrated Author) regarding the cover design. Even after I paid her for her time and effort. Nope, still wasn’t sure.

I wanted to publish it though – for people who like to read. It’s the reason, back around April 2012, I first said to some poor victim who didn’t give a crap, “Hey So-and-So, my book will be published soon.” Someday Always Comes bothered me for years and years. Drove me to the brink of depression; insanity even. And surely, why that sounds dramatic, it’s true. I even cried over the hunk-a paper! But, I am the type of person that when I say to you that I will do something; that I will embark on a mission; write something; go somewhere, I do it. I can’t back down once I promise this to someone. Even when said person doesn’t give two hoots and a holler about it. Once I say it out loud to someone other than myself it has to get done, or an earnest attempt must be made. It’s the way I am.

So for Someday Always Comes, there was no book release party. I revealed very little of the chapters with Facebookers and Twitter birds. Most was shared on writer websites in the distant past. Long before I announced I wanted to publish. I did no blog tours, and asked no bloggers or reviewers to read my book before I pressed that magic Createspace button.

She fought me for a decade then went silently to the presses.

For years I wanted to publish, but I hated even the thought of querying agents and editors. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel honored if one reads my query letter then tosses my work aside because they didn’t like a simple letter that has little to do with my work.

Yes, these letters are important, and redundant, especially if the agent, etc., is asking for a synopsis. My idea of a query letter is, “Hi…my name is. Here’s my shit. Read it or don’t,” because query letters are stupid. I can see the query as an introduction to me, and include a small blurb about my book. But I don’t want to be associated with anyone who reads my required 30 pages, or what have you, simply because they liked my query letter. What? And what agent/editor would want to do that is beyond me. I mean, just ‘cause a query letter sucks big ones doesn’t mean the manuscript does. Geeze!

I can only imagine how much time’s been wasted by agents/editors who read the sample pages or started a book hell bent on reading the entire manuscript simply because of a well-written query letter, then sat back somewhere in the middle of the book and chugged down a fifth of vodka just to wash the taste of that bad book right out of their mouths.

Oh, I don’t care if any agents or editors, or mainstream publishers see this blog. Oh, probably one day one, two…or twenty of them will again see a badly written query letter penned by me. And once again, they’ll throw my manuscript to the side because I didn’t get the order of the query paragraphs correct.

I want the readers to tell me if my book is okay or not. I don’t want a rejection letter from an agent or editor telling me my book isn’t their thing when they didn’t even read page one.

I’ll tell you who’s important to an author…self pubbed or not… or should be important: Bloggers/reviewers and, of course, the fans, the readers, clients and customers who spend time and/or money on our book for the penning of a blog review, print review, or for their own reading pleasure.

The readers, my fans, are the ones I write for.

Incidentally, I am only currently searching for reviewers for Someday Always Comes. The book’s been out nearly two months and I only queried for my first review a few days ago. Perhaps there will be blogs about this experience as well.

I don’t mind querying the book reviewer. Even if they don’t want to read the book and offer a review, I still don’t feel like things were a lost cause. I actually look forward to hearing back after a reviewer query. Even though the answer may be that they aren’t interested in my book, genre or story.

When I query the agent, I feel like I’m mailing or emailing my packet off to outer space. I don’t feel this way when asking the blogger/reviewer to read my stuff.

One thing I would like to hit on is the “paid-for review.” Oh, I’ve seen this so much on the self-publishing forums, and many self-pubbed authors go for this. I don’t think they’re totally a bad thing. I do feel that one should really investigate such ideas seriously and consider the negative implications. I know there are popular paid-for review businesses, but for me, even as a self-publisher, I will strive to stay away from paid reviews until the day they might become a necessary evil. I hope that doesn’t happen. Not that they cannot be honest reviews, but I don’t want to pay for a review, get a negative one, then decide I won’t make it public, even after I spent $300+. Yes, I’ve seen the prices of these popular review opportunities. No thanks.

I have better things to do with my money, such as invest in a press release or flyers and bookmarks; purchase gift cards for raffles; even pay for a print ad in my old college newspaper. I’d rather pay for ways to rustle up free reviews, than pay for an actual review. I want to work for it. We all should. I mean, we’ve been busting our boots since the beginning. Why give up now? Besides, I need a little dough to get the next book cover design or two rolling.

That reminds me. Perhaps in another blog, I shall write about book covers. Out of all the people who’ve seen the book cover for Someday Always Comes, I had one bad review of the cover. The person said he couldn’t figure out by looking at the thumbnail on Amazon, what was on the cover. He derisively asked if it was “a planet on fire,” then proceeded to say that the cover has nothing to do with the story. Really? I laughed. (Reminds me of an agent and queries!)

If anyone reads the back cover, one can see the cover might have something to do with the story. I think one should gain some inkling, between back cover blurb and front cover design, what the story might be about. Or they should be inclined to assume the cover elements are in the story. My cover elements are metaphors regarding things in the story. Indeed, if one reads Someday Always Comes, then examines the details of the cover, front and back, one will see the book cover has everything to do with the story.

So, let’s see…what’s important?

Not querying agents.

Not paying for book reviews.

Making sure your book cover design and story are connected…or your planet might catch fire.

That’s my .02 and I’m sticking with it.

Thanks for reading!