So You Wanna Bank Your Books?

In my first two years as an aspiring author, I can’t count how many times an experienced Indie author told me I should “bank my books” if at all possible. They claimed if they could do it all over again, in other words to start fresh in their Indie careers, this is what they’d do and this is what they recommend we do… that is if we want to work smarter, not harder. Well, I’m not buying it… at least not what they’re trying to sell me. In retrospect, everything appears different. We tend to forget some things. But what Read more…

When Technothriller meets Cozy Mystery…

What happens when technothriller meets the cozy mystery genre? You’ve probably heard of sci-fi, thriller, mystery, and fantasy, but maybe not a technothriller or cozy. Before I delve into an explanation, here’s how I’d define these lesser known genres: Technothriller – A subgenre of suspense fiction that draws from thriller, spy fiction, science fiction, and action and depends heavily on technical descriptions of advanced technology (computers, weapons, Internet, machines, etc) to drive the plot forward. Famous authors include Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy. The genre first became popular during the 1980s and 1990s. Cozy mystery – A subgenre of crime Read more…

2017: A Bug’s-Eye View

Every year, it’s a good habit to set some goals for what you’d like to achieve for your health, lifestyle, career, and lifelong dreams. For 2017, I made a list of goals I wanted to achieve as a writer. And this year, I learned that to set realistic goals for yourself, you need to have a bird’s-eye view. For this, you need to understand how long certain tasks take, how long you require to get them right, and a good idea of the time you’ll need to navigate life’s twists and turns. Without this knowledge, you’re not likely to see Read more…

Adventures in Dragon Dictation

My doctor told me that writing fiction is killing me slowly. Okay, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But she did warn me about the negative impacts of sitting in a chair on my health. After two years of writing fiction, we already see the signs. In case you didn’t know this already, sitting is not good for you. Several studies suggest that sitting slows your metabolism and not just while you’re sitting, but even when you’re active (google it and you’ll find a bunch of informative articles). Wait, what? “Are you telling me that by sitting Read more…

Writing the FBI into Your Fiction Novels—And Getting it Right

A Review of ThrillerFest’s FBI Workshop for Fiction Writers If you’re a fiction author and writing novels in the thriller genre (crime, mystery, suspense, etc.), then you’re likely interested in gaining an intimate understanding of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI serves as our nation’s law enforcement agency at the federal level and the lead government agency for countering terrorism. There’s an adage in the fiction world: “write what you know.” For the most part, I agree with this wisdom, but as fiction authors, we must often write about many things in which we thankfully don’t have actual Read more…

Too Many Fish in the Sea

One of the biggest challenges for new authors is discovery. Readers will not read our novels if they don’t know about them. The Internet has led to the rise of self-publishing, which has democratized the tools of publishing, allowing anyone to to publish a book. It’s great that we don’t need to get through the gatekeepers (agents, publishers) anymore in order to reach our readers. But as unknown authors, we face another daunting challenge: how to we get discovered? The market is flush with an endless supply of new books by authors with different levels of skill and prominence. How Read more…

So, you want to live in a democracy?

All of this politics stuff is stressing me out. Seriously, my anxiety has been running higher than normal for several months. I don’t know if I can continue staying engaged for much longer without burning out.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you’re pretty stressed too. And I bet that you’re sick and tired of all the political rants and articles being posted on Facebook and wish that we could return to pictures of cute kids, puppies and cats. Me too. Life is busy with jobs, bills, mortgages, kids, dogs (and cats I guess), Read more…

Is this Gerry Mandering’s Fault?

How could this happen? How could we take such a big step backwards, away from the values of our country, away from the guarantees found in the U.S. Constitution. I think it might be, at least in part, due to false perceptions of majority versus minority groups facilitated by the practice of gerrymandering. As we enter a dark period in American politics, in which it has become acceptable to speak words of hate at the highest levels of political office, it’s becoming apparent to me that we are going to have to fight for our democracy. It’s not just our Read more…

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

To everyone who is following my blog and my journey to become a fiction writer, thank you for coming along for the ride. It’s about to get exciting, so I hope you strap on your seatbelts and stay tuned. I’m starting  a new annual tradition to write a year in review for 2016 and give you all a preview of what is yet to come in 2017. For many reasons, I am glad to put the year 2016 behind me and to keep stress at a minimum, I’m going to focus on the positive. It’s hard to imagine that I started Read more…

Writing a Marathon

Tomorrow, thousands of runners will set out to finish the Marine Corps Marathon. Let’s be clear. I will likely never run a marathon in my lifetime. If I ever signed up for a 10K, I’d be shocked. There are many reasons including an intense dislike for running, but I’m also sure it would not be the best thing for my knees. I’m just not built for running and prefer speed walking. But I’ve also never aspired to run any sort of race let alone a marathon. So, I don’t think I’ll feel any regret about it when reach the end Read more…