Writing for Profit or Pleasure – Magazines & eZines

As a freelancer, seeing your name in major print publications and on top eZines is a major thrill. And many freelance writers want to know how to get their work in the spotlight.

My list of publications is fairly long and is available on the About Me page of this blog, so I won’t take up your time with crowing about it here.  As a freelance journalist, newspaperman/author for 30+ years seeing my name in print is nothing new – but is still a thrill (I’m easily entertained). But when a friend or colleague runs across my name in a magazine they often react with awe.

assortment of magazines

“How do you do that?” some ask, as if there were some magic incantation that lets me create bylines with the wave of my hand. Continue reading Writing for Profit or Pleasure – Magazines & eZines

How to Start a Publishing Company

printing, publication, press, publisher, printing pressThere has been a fair bit of discussion in the forums lately about authors who open a publishing company to self-publish their work.  Much of that discussion centers on whether that practice is ethical: is this author trying to deceive the readers into thinking a publishing house picked them up or simply doing business in a business-like manner.  I contend the latter.  I make furniture, no one questions my decision to sell my furniture as a woodworking business.  Similarly, as an author who produces and sells books I see nothing wrong with my doing business with book retailers under a publishing business name.  Some distributors demand this: they will not deal with the author as the publisher. Continue reading How to Start a Publishing Company

Avoiding Self-Publishing Scams

The recent class action lawsuit filed against Publish America is just one more reminder that Indie authors need to be careful about whom they do business with in the process of publishing their books.  What follows is a list of red flags that may indicate caution is required if they pop up in your dealings with a so-called “publisher”.

Many so called self-publishing houses are what are referred to as “vanity publishers” because they offer to get the author’s books in print for a fee.  These often advertise that they “need” or are “seeking” new authors.  If you’ve ever tried dealing with a reputable publishing house you know that rejection is the normal order of things; they will put their imprint on and marketing efforts behind only those books that meet their standards.  Vanity publishers accept anyone and charge unsuspecting authors to publish their work, often producing books that are poorly written, have not been edited, have awful covers, and are (for all intents and purposes) virtually worthless in the commercial book market.  Worthless, to everyone except the vanity publisher, who makes thousands of dollars from the author.  Beware of these signs: Continue reading Avoiding Self-Publishing Scams

The Firefly Connection

Today, Dear Reader, I have the extreme pleasure of playing host to one of my most favorite Indie Sci-Fi authors: Mary Pax.  Her short stories, which include Plant Girl, Translations, and Small Graces hooked me with her dynamic writing style.  When she came out with the novella Semper Audacia my infatuation with her work only deepened.  And now that she’s launching her first full length novel, which will be the first novel of a series I’m practically salivating with anticipation.  Especially since I learned that her inspiration for The Backworlds was the TV series FireflyFirefly was and still is my most favorite TV series; I have the series and it’s spin-off movie Serenity on DVD and re-watch them frequently.  In today’s guest post, Mary explains how Firefly influenced and inspired her new book, The Backworlds.

One of the biggest influences on my creation of The Backworlds was Firefly and the fact I still mourn its demise. Continue reading The Firefly Connection

Review Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything: a Social Media Minibook.

author, platform, marketing, promotion, sales, networkingBuilding an Author Platform that can Launch Anything: a Social Media Minibook, by Toby Neal, is a concise yet information packed mini-book that gives straight-forward advice for authors on how to build an author platform (writer-speak for a system of marketing and promotional tools) that will build readership and excitement for both the author and their book.  The end result: sales!

Book Description:

Effective steps to building an author platform that can take advantage of free programs and launch any book into visibility and better sales.

Self published or not, today’s authors have to develop their own “platform” for reaching book buyers. This power-packed booklet contains tips based on author Toby Neal’s sales and psychology background and experience with her bestselling crime novel, Blood Orchids. These secrets maximize social media to build an author platform that can bring fast, wide-ranging visibility and increased sales to any book.   Continue reading Review Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything: a Social Media Minibook.

Paraprosdokian Phrases

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax.

Paraprosdokian Phrases

Ø   Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Ø   The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list. Continue reading Paraprosdokian Phrases

Wander, Putter, and Create!

Today I am delighted to have as my guest, best-selling novelist Toby Neal.  In this guest-post she shares some thoughts and insights on the creative process and we introduce her latest book.  Please make her welcome…

clouds, dreaming, createWhat is the creative process?

Different for everyone, sure. For me, it’s connected to daydreaming, and then making and doing stuff.

Yeah, real scientific.

Mulling, wandering, chewing a bit of grass as I kick a pebble on my walk with my (small/fuzzy/ridiculous) dogs, I think of a new scene.

Tilting my head to spot a flamenco dancer in the shape of a cloud. I take an Istagram pic of it (find me at tobyneal0)!

Chasing the aforementioned dogs away from a mysterious dirt patch in the middle of the ball field just the size of a body, I see a future crime scene for my novel. Continue reading Wander, Putter, and Create!

Book Review: Sullivan’s War, All Good Men Serve the Devil

Sullivan’s War 1: The Story

book review, Sullivans War, Michael K Rose
Cover art,

Rick Sullivan is an idealist, bent on ending a corrupt government’s strangle hold on his home planet of Edaline.  Sullivan is the bad-guy and not above killing people to accomplish his goal.

Frank Allen is an investigator in the equivalent of a galaxy-spanning FBI.  Someone killed a planetary assemblyman, Frank is part of the team sent to investigate.  This quickly pits him against Sullivan in a planet hopping game of hide and seek that comes to involve an assembly of colorful and often loathsome characters.  There is little regard for The Law among the fringe planets and Allen and his team meet with opposition even from among their own side. Continue reading Book Review: Sullivan’s War, All Good Men Serve the Devil

Be Nice To Nerds Who Don’t Fear Failure

What would you attempt to do if you were guaranteed that you would not fail?

The biggest reason most of do not attempt to do amazing things is that we fear failure.

Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, now with Google, gave this TEDTalk on failure. Her observations about fear of failure and scientific advancement are inspiring, but she also shows new video of some of DARPA’s most ambitious projects and that alone makes it worth watching.  She also reminds us that nearly all major scientific advances are created by nerds.  So, you should be nice to nerds.

What would you attempt to create if you could refuse to fear failure?


(If this does not play for you: View it on YouTube)

As a fan (and hopeful author) of speculative fiction, it is encouraging to me to know that humankind has not stopped testing the limits of possibility.  Although, perhaps “encouraging” is not the best word, as some of what we’re looking at is worrisome, as the interview at the end of the video suggests.  Still, when we open our minds and envision new and wondrous places, machines and societies, we are not engaging in mere fancy, we are pioneering the future.