The Best (and Worst) Things About Being a Writer

Originally posted on She Writes With Love:

I realized something this weekend. Being a writer (better yet, a published author) is kind of like being an alien in a room full of normal humans. You kind of want to be asked about life on your home planet, but then again, maybe it’ll just weird everyone out and the conversation will get super awkward and you’ll never want to open your mouth again. You want to be proud that you’re different (because hey, writing a book is hard work!) but some part of you longs to not have all the pressures that come with being in the limelight. If writing a book is hard, talking about said book is sometimes even harder. But at the same time, our books are our babies and we love them, so we deal with the hard, awkward moments in order to savor the best ones. Here’s my list of the best and…

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My Thoughts on ‘The Raging One’ by Lexy Wolfe

Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows I don’t post a lot of book reviews. I share other’s books when they have a release day or cover reveal, but that’s it for the most part.

But on occasion, I so love a book that I just have to share. This is the case with The Raging One, first book in the Sundered Lands Saga by Lexy Wolfe. I finished it the night before last and still find myself thinking of the characters. Lexy has a deft talent for creating great characters and placing them in a rich world. The interactions between the characters are believable and interesting. The story moved at the perfect pace. There was humor, sadness, prejudice, happiness, and sacrifice. There were characters I loved and those I hated, just as the author intended.

Truly, if you are looking for a great fantasy series, The Sundered Lands Saga is one you shouldn’t miss.  Find it on AMAZON and enjoy being immersed into another world.

The Raging One

New Release Spotlight: Here Be Dragons by Hannah Steenbock

Originally posted on Blue Harvest Creative:

We’re very pleased to present our cover and interior design for “Here Be Dragons” by award-winning and BHC Author Hannah Steenbock—a collection of eight short stories.

Available now on Amazon in both print and eBook—click HERE to purchase. 


Print and eBook Front Cover Design


Full Print Wrap Design


Story Title Page Design


Interior Print Design Showing Chapter Graphic And Drop Cap


Interior Design Showing Text Divider


Matching eBook Design Shown on a Kindle Tablet


We always add extras to our books for BHC Authors—like this ad promoting Hannah Steenbock’s award-winning “Sequoia”—featured at the back of the print and eBook designs. Ad is designed in color for tablets with that capability and in grayscale for print and other devices.

Click HEREto see the entire design sample and to read the first story in “Here Be Dragons” 

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If Human History Were TV Show

I found a funny but interesting meme on Facebook and shared it to my author page there. One of my author friends then posted a link to someone who wrote a tongue in cheek blog post about TV and World War II and how unbelievable it would be if it were a fictional show (or even book).

Here is the meme (and the rest is below)



And here is a couple of quotes from the blog:

“Let’s start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn’t look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn’t get his way, check.”

“Not that the good guys are much better. Their leader, Churchill, appeared in a grand total of one episode before, where he was a bumbling general who suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Ottomans of all people in the Battle of Gallipoli. Now, all of a sudden, he’s not only Prime Minister, he’s not only a brilliant military commander, he’s not only the greatest orator of the twentieth century who can convince the British to keep going against all odds, he’s also a natural wit who is able to pull out hilarious one-liners practically on demand. I know he’s supposed to be the hero, but it’s not realistic unless you keep the guy at least vaguely human.”

“So it’s pretty standard “shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong” versus “evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide” stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics.”

The rest can be read HERE


In reality, the bad guys are rarely sympathetic. Oh yes, there are occasions when they are, when they have a good reason for being bad, but even with those reasons, they’re still a bad person. Someone we hope is stopped somehow. Whether its the leader of a nation on a psychotic rampage, the person who is going around robbing convenience stores and shooting all the clerks in the face, or the twisted serial killer that takes pleasure in torturing his victims before he kills them. They are all bad guys and any situation from their past that makes them what they are still makes their acts unforgivable.

In reality, sometimes, the good guys really are the good guys. From the man who’s public speakings  help keep a nation from falling into despair during a time of war, to the fireman who wades into the flaming building in search of people (and sometimes pets), to the average guy who happens to know CPR and performs it while waiting for the EMT’s to arrive. For first guy, yeah he has a motive. If his nation doesn’t keep heart and hold strong, he’s likely to die with the rest of them. But for the other two, what is there to gain personally other than the satisfaction of helping another person? Those last two especially are the ones in real life who are really good.

Just as there have been plenty of people throughout history who were very, very bad. There have been those who have been the exact opposite.

And the fiction worlds of  a lot of older TV shows and books tended to follow that history. The bad guys were clearly bad, the good guys were clearly good.

The lines between those two in modern times have been blurred and muddled. Bad guys do good things on occasion, the good guys are selfish and whining and only do what they do because they have to, and half the time people end up rooting for the bad guy, or at the very least feeling very sympathetic towards him.

In Lord of the Rings, the good guys were clearly good. Even the dwarf and elf were able to get along and eventually become friends. While the bad guys, were so very, very bad.

In the original Superman movie, Superman was very, very good and pretty dang selfless in his quest to protect humanity. While Lex Luther was very, very bad and had no redeeming qualities.

In the modern Thor, Loki is a selfish, backstabbing, lying, murderer and yet people love him. People are entranced with the bad guy that occasionally does something good (usually with ulterior motives) and had has a repertoire of funny and snarky comments and one liners to accompany his actions.

Is there a point to all of this? Not particularly other than I find it fascinating.  Is it a sign that people aren’t really sure what is good and what is bad anymore? Or is it a sign that the people want to see the bad guy redeem himself somehow in the hopes that whatever darkness they carry withing themselves can be redeemed? Do they want to see the good guys as more a gray area because they see so little good around themselves that they can’t believe anyone could be that good? Or perhaps as a way to justify any selfish motives within themselves or those around them who they feel are basically good people? Or do people just feel the blurred lines are closer to reality? And if so, why ever are they searched for in fiction? The place most people go to take a break from reality.


Amazon Not My Best Friend?

Well, duh! Of course they aren’t my best friend. Amazon is a business. It’s a retailer that sells my books (and many other things). Why on earth would they be my best friend? Guess what, bookstores aren’t my best friends either. I may find books within them that will become my friends, but the store itself is, well…a store. And I’m not in the habit of making friends with buildings. Oh sure, walls are great listeners and they don’t interrupt. Well, I supposed if one fell on me while I was talking it could be construed as an interruption, however I’m sure that’s pretty rare. I don’t know the actual statistics for walls falling  on people though I’m sure somewhere, someone has put a number to it. But I digress.


One lady thought she needed to point that out while going on a rant about Amazon, self-publishers and arguing on the side of higher e-book prices. You can read the article HERE 


These are the things that stood out to me and my rebuttal to her.


“Anyone who has followed the coverage of the ongoing Amazon-Hachette dispute knows that some of the most impassioned voices on the pro-Amazon side of the argument come from self-published writers. It’s easy to understand their impulse to defend Amazon’s e-book publishing programs, given that many had tried in vain to publish their books with traditional houses before opting for, say, Kindle Direct Publishing.”

She is either incredibly misinformed and deliberately ignorant. Myself and 99% of the indie/self published authors I know (and I know a lot of them) never even tried the legacy route. Why? Because we had no interest in book contracts. We like having all of the control over our books. We like being able to set our own prices, run our own sales, etc.


“One reason for the crossed wires here is that most self-published authors really, really, really hate traditional publishing, which has either rejected them or (in the case of authors who use Amazon to make their out-of-print titles available once more), let them down.”

I don’t know any self-published authors who hate legacy publishers. We may shake our heads when we read about the contracts they’re shoveling at new authors. We may roll our eyes at the derogatory way the legacy publishers tend to treat self-published authors. We may feel saddened when we hear from legacy authors who were promised the moon and then given a tiny, fake rock. But for the most part, we don’t even think about legacy publishers. If the legacy publishers think we hate them, then they have serious ego problems because we are indifferent to them. They exist to us in the way other mundane things do. We pass them by without noticing or even acknowledging them. Hate takes up a lot of time and energy on the part of the hater. We don’t have time to hate them because many of us are far too busy writing, networking with other authors, reaching out to readers, and very often making a living with our writing (or on the verge of it).


“Even the science fiction novelist Hugh Howey, a talented writer who has made an established success of self-publishing, does not charge more than $5.99 for any of his titles, compared to the $9.99 a reader must pay for Andy Weir’s bestselling “The Martian,” published earlier this year.”

Um…and that’s a bad thing that his books are more reasonably priced? Especially in this economy?


“That’s why it’s in the best interest of self-published authors that traditionally published books retain their higher prices.”

Yes, sure. Let the legacy publishers continue trying to rip people off. That will boost their sales.



“Five-plus years into the self-publishing boom, many readers express wariness about self-published books…”

Actually, from many of the things I’ve read across the internet as well as the numbers of self-published writers either able to live off the income from their royalties or add a significant amount to their income, numbers that continue to grow, people are becoming more accepting of self-published books. In fact, many are purposely searching them out because they love the wide range of diversity among indie books. They enjoy reading about topics the Big 5 won’t touch or think have no commercial value.


“But publishing a book is always a gamble of sorts, and a traditional publisher has ponied up… From the perspective of many readers, this is a meaningful testimonial.” 

Yes, there are people who will only read whatever is on the NYT Bestseller list. Or that were written by certain big names.  However, the majority of people I’ve seen commenting on this, or that I’ve spoken too, or that are chatting on Goodreads and various forums, either never pay attention to who published the book or they actively seek out indies. I’ve heard from so many readers that they are sick of the cookie cutter books churned out by the Big 5. I’ve seen numerous complaints about the poor quality editing and story development coming out of the legacy world.


“At present, the author of, say, a self-published thriller available as an e-book for $5 or less does not have to compete with Janet Evanovich, Alafair Burke, David Baldacci and John Sandford on even ground; the big-name authors’ books are typically twice as expensive. There are already more thrillers being cranked out by traditional presses than most people have time to read, and if those titles were all the same price as their self-published brethren, there would be much less incentive to try out the offerings from self-publishers. Self-published authors would feel pressure to reduce their prices even further.”

First she goes on and on about how buyers are more than willing to pay higher prices for legacy e-books, and then turns around and claims that well, self-pubs aren’t really competing with legacy authors because their lower price draws people who won’t pay the higher price. So… are they perfectly happy to pay the higher price for the “meaningful testimonial” of legacy publishing or aren’t they?


“As irksome as it may be for self-published authors to acknowledge, it’s in their best interests that traditional publishers like Hachette be allowed keep the prices of their e-books high. That’s on top of the uncomfortable reality that the emergence of a viable self-publishing community has been — contrary to what many self-published authors assert — a great thing for traditional publishers. It provides a minor-league system where they can track the emergence of popular writers without having to risk any of their own resources in developing new authors’ careers. “

Hahahahaha… oh wait, she’s serious. I’m sorry, but why on earth would I work my tail off developing my writing, pay out of my own pocket for editing, design, and formatting, spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort to reach fans, build a platform, and get noticed just so I could turn around and hand it all over to a publisher so they could take most of the money, hand me a pittance and then sit on their rears while they reap the rewards of all of my hard work?  I can’t think of a single reason. I had no need of a legacy publishers validation when I started out and I certainly have no need of it now.  I find it extremely presumptuous of legacy houses to assume that those of us who indie publish are their personal slush piles and that we will just fall to the ground and kiss their feet if they suddenly decide to notice us.  *rolls eyes* Quite frankly, I can’t think of anything a legacy publisher could offer that would tempt me.

And if they are sifting through that trying to find successful indies so that they don’t have to risk any of their own resources, then how is it they have “ponied up?” How does that contribute to, “meaningful testimonial” if they haven’t had to risk anything?


“While there’s not much self-publishers can do to influence the outcome of the Hachette-Amazon dispute…”

Guess what? Indie authors don’t care one way or the other. We have more important things to occupy our time than worrying about some legacy publisher and their dispute with Amazon.


And now I’m off to more interesting pursuits, like finding the statistics on walls that have fallen on people.


Signed Dragon’s Call Bundle And Swag Giveaway!

As those of you who have followed me for while know, today was supposed to be the release day for Ashes and Spirits. Due to some struggles with the story in the beginning, a computer crash that held my files hostage, and an extremely busy spring with my small-town-urban-farm, obviously the release date has arrived without the book being ready.
For that, I sincerely apologize.

I am working diligently (minus the past few days of ickiness) to bring Ashes and Spirits to shelves as soon as possible. The end is in sight. I can say that there have been a few surprises along the way that I wasn’t expecting to happen. And one thing that I have fought against the whole way only to find out it will happen anyway no matter what I do. The story and the characters have decreed it.

I will do my best to keep your waiting to minimum.


Because waiting sucks and in celebration of Friday the 13th in conjunction with a full moon, I’m offering a giveaway.

Win a signed copy of Embers at Galdrilene, Tears of War, A New Beginning, matching key chains and magnets for all three books, and post cards and bookmarks!




Giveaway is Finished. Congratulations to Venus Glover!!!


Edited to add: due to Rafflecopter acting wonky and not wanting to send people to the page on my website where the newsletter sign up page is (probably because instead of paying to have a newsletter option as an entry I chose to go with the ‘create your own custom entry’ in order to make that as one of the options), I changed the link. It will now take you to the home page of my website and the newsletter button is on the left side of the page in the menu. Sorry for any inconvenience. Had I realized it would end up being somewhat convoluted, I would have paid the 50.00 to have the simple option through rafflecopter.


Follow the link to win!