Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Traveling to a New Home

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

***Going forward, I will be posting from my new Wordpress site: This post will also be the first post on that new site, so feel free to leave a comment on either one (they will basically be the same).***

The year has gone by so fast and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. I had a nice and quiet Thanksgiving holiday, but even with it being quiet, the long weekend seems like a blur. I haven’t gotten as much done as I had hoped, which seems to be the complaint of every holiday season. All I can do is take what baby steps I can to keep moving forward.

As far as the Lorne Family Vault series is concerned, the revised editions of the first three books are available now on Amazon: Provex City, Le7el, and SUSY Asylum. I’m also giving away the first two books for signing up to my mailing list. The fourth book, Doria Falls, will be released on December 11th. I don’t have a release date yet for the final book in the series, Archanum Manor, but it will most likely be early February.

With the Lorne Family Vault series practically finished, I had wanted to start writing my new novel this week, but I don’t feel confident enough in the outline I have thus far. It’s coming along, but not at the place I’d hoped it would be at this point. The main resources I’m using for outlining and pre-production are: Write Better Faster, Story Engineering, The Story Grid, and the Dan Wells 7-Point Story Structure videos. I read through twice as many books on story structure and outlining, but the above mentioned books (and videos) are the ones I got the most out of. The structures are similar and easy to adapt and combine to make the story you want to tell the best it can be. Hopefully, the rest of my planning will come together soon so I can start writing in the next few weeks.

As I mentioned above, this will be last post for this site as I transition over to the new site HERE. It’s been a great learning experience on the Blogger platform. I still don’t feel fully comfortable using Wordpress, but I’m sure all will be fine with time. So this isn’t goodbye, but the start to a new chapter—one I’m very excited to write.

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of fun and fantastic food. Christmas is only a few blinks away. My family and I put up our Christmas decorations over the weekend and I bought my first eggnog latte of the season. I love this time of year now that I don’t work in retail anymore. I have a lot of writing goals on my list, but enjoying this time with friends and family is equally (if not more) important. Find your story, find your balance, and find your Christmas cheer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: New Releases & Learning the Art of the Facebook Ad

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

The new editions of Provex City, Le7el, and SUSY Asylum are finally up on Amazon. Today I just finished fixing up the fourth book in the Lorne family Vault series, Doria Falls. I plan to get it to the ebook formatter by the end of the week while I'm working through my final read through of Archanum Manor. I'm planning to release Doria Falls in early December and Archanum Manor in late January (or early February).

I've also started thinking about and planning my next project. Organization and productivity is key moving forward. If I want to get to a point where I can write full time, one book or less a year will not cut it. I need more content, preferably in different worlds, to gain potential readers. My next project will be planned as a seven-book series. I will be more careful with cliff hangers this time, but the books will build off each other. So this will also be a series to read in order. I'm setting myself up for quite the challenge, but I'm excited to dive into a new universe. This series will be YA contemporary distopian (if there is such a thing), which will transition to NA by the end (it will follow the protagonist from 14 to 21 years old).

I had wanted to submit a short story to the IWSG short story contest. Not doing so was my major fail for the month. I had the story planned and everything; I just needed to write it. At some point, I'll just have to write it for myself. I'm sure there will be a lot of fantastic entries. Best of luck to everyone fighting for a spot in the anthology. I'll be sure to pick up a copy when it come out.

I signed up for Mark Dawson’s course on Facebook Ads, which I think closed yesterday. I've gone through two thirds of the modules so far: the basics and ads for building a mailing list. Ads for building a mailing list is where I need to start since I don't have much to sell at this point. When I get my box sets out, then I'll start testing out sales ads. The importance of building a mailing list is emphasized on every podcast I listen to, including countless interviews with successful indie authors. It makes sense. The online retailers continually update and change their platforms which affect author sales (look at how the introduction of Kindle Unlimited and the change to the subscription service this summer has affected author earnings). Facebook can change their rules at any time (like how the reach of using Facebook author pages was greatly reduced this year, so you're now lucky if 5-10% of your fans see your posts). There is so much uncertainty when relying on these other companies for the health of your author business. But if you're focused on growing your mailing list, then you own those email addresses. You have a better chance of getting information to your fans, especially if you're focused on building trust, confidence, and engagement through your emails and exclusive offers. So that's my plan, to build my email list. I've already set up my exclusive offers for signing up (free copies of Provex City and Le7el). Now I'm putting the finishing touches on my welcome automation email sequence. By the end of the week, I want to have those pieces fully in place and start building my first Facebook ads following all of Mark's advice. I'm a little nervous, but looking forward to the experimentation process.

I've recently started listening to The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. They've been around for the past decade, with a few songs occasionally on the radio. I'd heard the name before, but never paid much attention to them. From a recommendation, I gave them a real listen and now I've gotten hooked on two of their albums: Don't You Fake It and Am I the Enemy. I guess I would consider them Christian emo. I'm usually turned off by Christan bands, but RJA's songs are more subtle than most. And they have so many catchy songs. I'm not one to judge based on a category (or genre); good music is good music (like books). The song I've included here is You Get Me High, a bonus track on the Am I the Enemy album. Enjoy the song and happy writing!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Coming Together

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I’m happy to report that this is finally the month where things are coming together. I should have the new editions of Provex City, Le7el, and SUSY Asylum released in the next few weeks. And with the release of these books, I’ll start promoting and building my mailing list and introduce my new website. The new website won’t be anything fancy, but it will be clean and functional until I decide to spend extra time and money to spruce it up.

 I recently discovered an issue with numbering volumes of a series within the Amazon series function on the KDP dashboard. Amazon only allows you to enter whole numbers in the volume box. So I could not include Le7el, Book 1.5, in the series boxes because the volume box would not recognize 1.5. So I had two options. I could not use Amazon’s new series function and put the series name and volume number in the title box. Or I could renumber the books in my series. I have decided to renumber the books in my series so I can take advantage of the series function. I figured this was the best course of action because I didn’t know if I’d have similar issues with other online retailers. I know not many authors plan for series with decimals in one or more of their volumes, but Amazon’s current series function may cause you to reconsider.

Next up, I need to do my final edit of Archanum Manor. Then I’ll start writing a short story for the IWSG short story contest. I recently finished plotting it, so it’s about time to get those pesky words on the page. The story will be in the universe of my Lorne Family Vault series, though not dependent on the story within the series. Then I need to start outlining my next book so I can start the draft next month…and hopefully finish a first draft by the start of 2016. I have a lot to accomplish before year’s end. Oh, and I’ll have to fit in some marketing in there somewhere. I do plan on taking Mark Dawson’s course on Facebook Ads, which opens up again on October 23rd. I expect the course to have practical and powerful marketing information. I’ll share my impressions on it next month.

As I’ve been doing recently, I’ll leave you with some new music that provides me with inspiration, motivation, and much needed mood for my writing. About a week and a half ago, Silversun Pickups' new album, Better Nature, was released. Silversun Pickups never disappoints and this album is as strong as all their others. The album doesn't sound as mainstream, but it's filled with sweeping soundscapes that makes for great writing music. Enjoy and happy writing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: The Next Dream

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

The months keep creeping by and I'm getting that much closer to releasing the first few books in the series. I just finished my edits for Doria Falls and I'm on my final read through of Provex City. My proofreader sent back Le7el today and I forwarded her SUSY Asylum. So there you have it. That's where I'm at in the process of getting the Lorne Family Vault out to the world. 

About a week ago, I got all the finishing touches put on the new book covers and received the cover for Le7el. I'm very happy with the way it came out and want to again thank Karri Klawiter for all of her hard work and providing me with such awesome covers.

Editing gets quite tedious at times. So it's time to finally start planning for my next novel. I've learned a lot from my first series and I want to avoid many of the mistakes I've made with the writing and publishing of these books. In an effort to be more productive and efficient for this next venture, I've downloaded a few books for increasing writing speed and outlining. I need to make the most out of my limited writing sessions. I've also purchased the newest edition of Dragon NaturallySpeaking to experiment with dictation again. I actually did dictate most of my first book, Provex City, but at the time I did so more out of necessity than efficiency. Now I want to use it as a tool to increase writing speed (I'm quite the slow typist).

The newest song I'm obsessed with is Dreams by Beck. I've always respected Beck as an artist, but have never been much of a fan. This song has made me a fan. I'm adding it to the soundtrack for my next book. Put on some headphones, crank up the volume, and let the sonic layers and sweet melodies take you away. Happy writing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: In the Editing Cave

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I finished editing Provex City and sent it off to my proofreader. I expect to get it back over the next week. I've also finished editing Le7el and SUSY Asylum. The next items on my agenda is to get all my covers finalized. They all need blurb rewrites and spine adjustments. I also need a cover for Le7el, which should be completed by the end of the month.

I'm excited to have finished my edits of Provex City, Le7el, and SUSY Asylum because I made quite a few tweaks and changes to match up with the last two books. There were a few scenes and details I'd forgotten about in the early books that never went anywhere. I specifically targeted those types of scenes and details to make the stories as tight and fast-paced as possible. I had been nervous about splitting Le7el and SUSY Asylum since I had to completely rearrange the stories. Now that they're both done, I'm happy and more than a little relieved. This is the great thing about ebooks and self publishing--the ability to easily change stories that have already been released.

I feel like I've accomplished a lot over the past month, but I still have a long way to got to get this series fully released. But I can see the end of the end of the tunnel, which is encouraging. I'm itching to start a new story, but I have to stay focused and get this series released before moving on. It drives me to work that much harder.

My biggest insecurity right now is what will happen once the entire series is released--an insecurity that grows with each passing month, the closer I get to finally releasing the last books. I'm not worried about negative reception, but of not reaching an audience with the ever-growing ocean of new releases. Discoverability isn't getting any easier. But I'll get back to focusing on the tasks at hand and let future Mike worry about that.

A new band I've gotten into over the past two weeks is X Ambassadors. I've liked the song Renegades since I first heard it on the radio, but didn't look into the band until recently. And I'm sorry I waited so long because they are amazing. X Ambassadors sounds like a fusion between Imagine Dragons and The Fray, but I like X Ambassadors much better than the other two bands. It was hard choosing a song to post here. I'm typically a sucker for acoustic versions of songs, so I finally decided on a live acoustic version of Unsteady. As an aside, their beautifully emotional song Litost was on The Host soundtrack (another writing song I'd highly recommend). Who knew?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Finding Your Voice

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

June flew by way too fast. I wish I had more to report, but I'm still just wading through revisions. Archanum Manor is now in the hands of my editor and I'm excited to receive feedback over the next couple of weeks. I've been in contact with my proofreader and scheduled to start sending her manuscripts by the end of the month. I still have a lot of work to polish up Provex City, so hopefully I can make some good progress over the holiday weekend.

It's interesting, but after writing four books in Oliver's voice, I think I finally found it. Five years ago, with only Provex City committed to the page, I thought that Oliver's voice was authentic. But I've now realized that I didn't truly find his voice until Archanum Manor. He's grown throughout the books and I've grown as a writer. I spent so much time on Provex City compared to the other books (well over a year writing and rewriting), and I thought it was my most polished story. Now I feel it's the least and needs the most work. It's interesting looking back at it now. I still love the story, but the writing's different. It doesn't feel as natural as its successors. So I'll be working hard to remedy that over the next few weeks.

Oh and from last month, there were a few questions on how to pronounce the title of my new novella, Le7el. I think it looks cool spelled that way (to me it has a NIN vibe), but it's simply pronounced Level 7. So simple it's probably underwhelming. Sorry, but I still like it.

Another great writing album that came out last month was Of Monsters and Men's Beneath the Skin. So far, Empire is my favorite song from the album, and like many of my favorite songs, I can listen to it on repeat for an hour or more (which I've been doing for the writing of this post).

If you're in the U.S., then have a safe and happy 4th of July. If you reside elsewhere in this shrinking world, then I'm sure you can find some reason to celebrate. Do you really need a reason to spend time with friends and family and have a few drinks? I think not. And once your head clears from one too many drinks, then it's time to get your butt back in the chair and write. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Introducing Le7el

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I am elbows deep in revisions. I have more work than I originally thought, but I'm excited for the final products. An idea came to me a few weeks ago and I'm running with it. I had been concerned that SUSY Asylum was so much longer than the other books in the series. I had thought of splitting it into two books for a while, but didn't know how...until I explored the idea of splitting it into one novel and one novella. I didn't know if it would work until I began reorganizing the story and I think it's working quite nicely. Now I'm  not so worried about cutting. I'm actually having to write a few more chapters to fill in some newly created gaps.

So the new novella will be titled Le7el, Book 1.5 in the Lorne Family Vault. I don't want to deceive people that have already read the first edition of SUSY Asylum, but since I didn't promote it much, I don't believe it was read by many people. So I'm not worried about angering a whole lot of readers. Ultimately, I think this is a good decision for the series. It's creating more work for me right now, but I think it'll be worth it in the end.

As I get back to work, I want to share what I've been listening to while writing this post. Florence + The Machine's new album came out today (still Tuesday as I'm writing), "How Big How Blue How Beautiful." Their albums create such great mood music for my writing. I'm not too familiar with this new album yet, but the song Delilah caught my attention immediately. Florence + The Machine never disappoints. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blood, Boobs & Carnage Blogfest

Hosted by

Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh & Heather Gardner

I just finished watching Season 5, Episode 6 "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken," and it's funny, because it's probably one of the only episodes that doesn't fully fit with the theme of this blogfest. But almost every other episode epitomizes the the theme of "Blood, Boobs & Carnage."

The HBO original series, Game of Thrones, as with the book series it is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, are the first things I thought of when I learned about this blogfest. Martin created an expansive, brutal world and HBO vividly brought it to life. It combines the violence of The Walking Dead, the sex and dysfunctional shock value of Californication, and the superb acting and production value of Breaking Bad. What more could anyone possibly want?

The show is so awesome it that it has the best opening credits (which doesn't have any blood, boobs, or carnage, but it's still Star Wars caliber awesome) of any show out there. I typically fast forward through opening credits, but not for Game of Thrones.

There are so many twists and turns, so many secondary characters, so much detail put into the world, the history, and the storyline that you need to watch it numerous times (and even then, you won't catch everything). It's easy to get distracted by the blood and boobs, but you need to concentrate if you want to keep up with the multiple interwoven storylines. And don't expect the good guys to prevail. All men must die.

Below is the Honest Trailer of Games of Thrones and shows exactly why it is perfect for this blogfest. But be warned, it does include spoilers from seasons 1-3. If you don't mind the spoilers, the trailer is pretty hilarious, especially for people that know exactly what the narrator's talking about. Enjoy!

Thank you to Alex and Heather for setting this up and use the list of links below to visit other people participating in this blogfest.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Precipice (Backworlds, Book 6) Release Today!

Today is the official release date of M. Pax's sixth book in the Backworlds series, Precipice. Please join me in congratulating Mary on her newest release and go check it out on all the major online retailers at the links below. If you haven't yet started the series, the first book in the series, The Backworlds, is free to download on Amazon.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.
The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.
The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.
The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.

Buy links: Amazon / B&N / iBook / Googleplay / Smashwords / Kobo / Other

About M. Pax:

Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, and one of her cats has a crush on Mr. Spock. You can find out more by visiting her website:

One question interview with Craze:

The main character in the Backworlds series is a bartender named Craze. What is the most expensive drink in the Backworlds?
Craze:  Hot chocolate. A tiny bar of chocolate can buy you a spaceship in the Backworlds. Not a top of the line deal, but a working spaceship all the same.

Excerpt 1

Commander Hunninger tapped an icon on her tab and jabbed it in Craze’s face. “You really want to say no to this?”

The screen was too close. He grabbed the device from her manly fingers and brought the image into focus. A brand new, state-of-the-art, mini city docking facility. Pardeep Station had never seen finer and probably never would. Better protection from the dust storms was a necessity, and folks had to get out of the cold. Craze tired of the stench of the sick. “How much is it goin’ to cost? Everyone on this moon barely has three chips to jangle in their holey pockets.”

“No chips.” She smiled. Her wide mouth contained a lot of very white teeth.

Three good sucks on his air hose and Craze knew he wasn’t dreaming. He narrowed his eyes. “There’s still a price.”

Excerpt 2

Until he knew for certain whether he dealt with one genocidal alien or two, Lepsi couldn’t think right. His thoughts refused to stand still, stuttering and churning.

The hatch slid fully open. He sprang off the cargo ejector, sailing two kilometers into the ether. He tumbled in the black for precisely twenty-three seconds then engaged his thrusters to journey the remaining twenty kilometers over to a spacecraft-sized mass of debris. The bits clumped together forming a weird metallic planetoid.

He traced along the char marks and the mangled pieces of hull. The answers he needed wouldn’t be found in this trash, yet he was closer to them here than anywhere else, unless he joined up with the horrid alien again. His limbs shuddered and his lungs struggled for breath. He never wanted to see the cloud-like ship again. He couldn’t. He’d crack into a billion unrecoverable pieces. Just like the rubble of the Fo’wo ship around him.

Excerpt 3

Engaging the thrusters on the jetpack strapped to her back, Rainly steered herself through space. Its vastness terrified her. Her skin prickled. The man in the white robe jabbering in her head overwhelmed her, blocking out all until she found herself back on the Sequi opening the box she had retrieved. She had hoped answering the man’s summons would end her blackouts.

“I don’t want to know what I did,” she whispered, her teeth chattering and limbs quaking. She couldn’t take much more of this.

The size and dimensions of a coffin, the box was also a ship. One more sophisticated than the Sequi. Using a control paddle, Rainly maneuvered a dolly under the box, then she wheeled it into the living quarters. Her sister had moved the couches, creating ample space.

Her hands clapping, her sister beamed. “Let’s meet our master.”

Together they pried open the chamber per instructions pulsing in Rainly’s head. The flood of data had to be making a clamor in her sister’s mind too, because she moved in the same ways.

Inside the box lay a brain in a sac of goo. Nothing like Rainly expected. “Is it a Fo’wo?” she asked her sister.

“Not yet. We have to reboot him first.”

Rainly had to wonder whether she and her sister had gone insane.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: The New Face of the Lorne Family Vault

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

April has been a blur. I'm sure quite a few of you can relate, especially those of you who participated in the A to Z Challenge. I am in the deep waters of editing. Right now I'm trying to finish my initial rounds of editing Archanum Manor so I can hand it over to my editor and he can sand down all the rough edges.

And now that the first draft of my final manuscript in the Lorne Family Vault series is complete, I'm finally ready to reveal my new covers. I will be re-releasing Provex City and SUSY Asylum before finally releasing Doria Falls and Archanum Manor. I've been sitting on these covers for a few months now and I'm so excited to finally share them with you. All four covers were created by Karri Klawiter. She did a great job of capturing the visual essence and tone of my novels and she was so easy to work with every step of the way. Also, her prices are very reasonable. If you're looking for a cover designer, then check out her website and see the many other beautiful covers she's created HERE.

Now, I should get back to editing so I can get these books finished and published...and begin a new project.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The End is Here! & Indie ReCon

I know many of you are in the middle of the April A to Z challenge, so I'll keep this short.

Just a quick update on my novel progress--I finished Archanum Manor! I wrote "the end" last week and the final installment to the Lorne Family Vault clocked in at 81,000 words. I also finished my first read through two days ago, so it's on its way to the first round of beta readers. But there's no time to rest. I'm now plunging back into editing Doria Falls.

So it's back to work, but before I go, I wanted to share that the virtual indie author conference, Indie ReCon, will be taking place April 15th - 17th (that's right, it starts today). This is the conference's third year and should be packed with the latest self publishing information. Find out what the best-of-the-best are doing right now and what changes are taking place in the constantly evolving self publishing landscape. Click the icon below to be taken to their official website. Be ready to take notes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: The End in Sight

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

As I said in my previous IWSG post, this past month would be an important one, and it was. I just passed 74,000 words, which is a number I'm quite proud of. I have two chapters left in Archanum Manor. The first one is huge because it's right in the middle of the climax. The second, will be a short resolution and wrap up. I can finally see the end and I'm pushing to finish by this coming weekend.

I know many of you are starting the April A to Z Challange, which is a huge commitment. So I'll keep this short and just update you on my progress. Once I finish this first draft and do a full read through, I'll go back and edit the third book, Doria Falls. During that time, Archanum Manor will be sent to a few beta readers. When I finish the Doria Falls edits, I'll have the distance I need to dive back into Archanum Manor and clean it up. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but it doesn't feel much like work anymore.

I'd like to leave you with another song I recently added to my Archanum Manor playlist, one I've listened to a lot this month while writing. But I've been listening to the album version and ran across this beautifully haunting acoustic version by accident. But as Mr. Gordon would say, accidents don't just happen. I was meant to find this song tonight. It fits the tone of the book so very perfectly. Take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy the sublimely melodic duet. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cover Reveal: A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford

Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction
Release Date: May 25th 2015

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.


Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog or on Goodreads or Twitter.

Preorder Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cover Reveal: A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander

Today I'm excited to share the cover of A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander, the second book in the Bakeshop Mystery series. This book releases June 30, 2015 by St. Martins Press.

Welcome to Torte--a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…

It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon--'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered--death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

Don't miss out on book one, Meet Your Baker, available now!

About the Author:

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

Find her on Twitter | Facebook

Triple chocolate brownie mix
Oregon Chai tea
Custom handmade coasters and napkins
Signed copy of Meet Your Baker
Signed Advanced Reader copy of A Batter of Life and Death 
Open to US only
Ends April 9, 2015

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Crossing the River

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

Another month has flown by and I'm taking a moment away from my writing cave to give an update on my current manuscript. I just passed 50,000 words in Archanum Manor, which feels substantial, but it's obviously taking longer than I had hoped. So I actually averaged 500 words a day this past month, not the 1000 I was pushing for. The important thing is just to keep writing, so I won't come down on myself too hard.

One reason for my lower than expected word count was hitting a major snag in the story. I came to the edge of a river that was quite difficult to cross. I could see the opposite river bank with no idea how to get there. Building the bridge cost me time with writer's block and rewrites. But it did finally get built. I've been writing that bridge for the past week and a half, and I can successfully say that I've reached the other side of the river and ready to continue down road leading to Archanum Manor.

Now I'm getting close to the biggest scenes in the book, which is both exciting and terrifying. I need these scenes to live up to the key scenes in previous books, with the hope of actually surpassing them. This will be an important month as I bring the series to a close. I don't expect to be done by next month's IWSG's post, but I expect to be close. Here's hoping.

I'd like to leave you with a song I just added to my Archanum Manor playlist, one I've been obsessed with over the past week, listening to it repeatedly while writing the interactions between Oliver and Desiree. It has the beautifully sad tone of an Elliott Smith song. Sit back, turn down the lights, close your eyes, and let Joshua Radin pull at your heart strings for three minutes while I get back to work. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Writing, Covers, and Soundtracks

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I just received a rough draft of my fourth and final cover for the Lorne Family Vault series, and I’m excited with how well it fits with the others. It feels great to have them all nearly done, one more thing I can cross of my list for releasing (and rereleasing) all of the books. My biggest complaint with my current (and previous) covers is the visibility (and readability) of the titles, especially viewing them as small cover icons on Amazon. This was another live and learn experience for me since these issues with the titles were my fault. I wanted title graphics that were uniquely stylized. But the results were also hard to read. I know not to ask for that anymore. Now, I’ve asked for a bold title font that stands out even as a small icon—and my new designer fully delivered.

I’m still plugging away at the manuscript for Archanum Manor and just passed the halfway point. As I’ve previously written, I’ve been writing without an outline for most of this first half, but I’m now getting nervous. I want to bring this series home with a strong ending and that pressure is building into more frequent writer’s block. I haven’t written in a few days and I need to get myself back on track this evening because days of non-writing can be a slippery slope of losing momentum.

I enjoy creating soundtracks to my books for brainstorming and writing, and I finished the one for Archanum Manor last week (as an iTunes playlist). For Provex City, the songs I chose fit with specific scenes in the book, but now I create a soundtrack mainly for expressing the tone of the story (though some songs in the other soundtracks still coincide with certain key scenes). The difference is that for Provex City I created the soundtrack after the book was written and fit the songs accordingly. Now my soundtracks are WIPs before and while I’m writing until they feel complete.

And now I’d like to leave you with the teaser of a first song from the Archanum Manor soundtrack for your listening pleasure while I get back to writing.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Off the Cuff

I just passed the 30,000 word milestone in Archanum Manor, 19,000 of those words penned in January so far. My goal has been to do 1000 words a day, and while I haven't quite kept that average this year, I'm only 4000 words off, which isn't too bad. Even though I still have a lot to write, it feels good to be back in the swing of things. I have written at least a few new words nearly every day, which fuels my momentum to the finish line.

I had posted a few months back that I would thoroughly outline this book to maximize my writing efficiency. I've known for awhile now that I need to write faster and I wanted to experiment with comprehensive outlining to accomplish that. It was interesting how my outlining sessions became my most unproductive writing and idea producing days--turned to weeks--ever. I don't know if it was fear of digging into this final book in the series holding me back or simple distractions of the upcoming holidays, but I just had to pick a date to start writing, with or without an outline.

So Archanum Manor is my first book being written with absolutely no outline. I started with a general idea of what was going to happen, a couple major plot points, and a climax scene I dreamt up while writing SUSY Asylum. But that's it. I've been writing daily, plotting the next thousand words during my long work commutes. If I have the next thousand words figured out, then at least I can sit down at my computer each night without simply staring at the screen for extended periods of time (though some nights involve more staring than others).

The cool thing about working without a clear path to the end is coming up with ideas you weren't expecting. I came up with an idea last week that changes the whole ending of what I had planned for the series, which excited me almost as much as getting to the end. A part of me believes that if I'd written my comprehensive outline, I might not have been as open and accepting of this curve ball because it would have deviated from the plan. So maybe this was the reason my outlining wasn't working--it left me open to more possibilities. I like that idea and sounds like something Mr. Gordon would say.

I will attempt to outline my next book, but right now, writing off the cuff is rather exciting. I still have about 40,000 words to go. Who knows what other ideas will manifest just to shake things up. Anything's possible.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: The Start to a Great Year

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I’m excited for 2015. I began this writing journey at the end of 2008 with an idea for a young adult series, and this will be the year I finally finish. I hope to have all four books released sometime this summer, hopefully early summer, but everything seems to take longer than anticipated. I won’t beat myself up over a couple of months. Mark my words: it will get done this year!

This week I received the cover for the third book, Doria Falls, and I’m very happy with how well it came out. So now there’s just one cover to go. The covers are visual representations of finished books for me, so they’ll light the necessary New Year’s fire to get this final book done. I’ve put off all promotion with the writing of these last two books just because that would have prolonged the writing process even longer, which was too hard to accept. These books are my training wheels, and at this stage in the game, it’s much more important to focus on bettering the craft than selling books. When I’m more competent and confident, I can find the more appropriate balance.

There are quite a few things that these books in the currently evolving publishing environment have taught me. Here is a short sampling of what I’ve learned:

  • Long books are not my friend: When I started writing, I was inspired by the Harry Potter books. There was something cool about having 700 page hard covers. With most books for self-published authors being sold as ebooks, that coolness factor becomes irrelevant. For me as a self-published author (and at the pace of which I write), it is better to have two shorter books available than one longer book. SUSY Asylum clocked in at 120,000 words, which is quite a bit longer than the other books in the series. Going forward, 60,000 – 70,000 words is a more appropriate length, which in turn will help me add more titles to my backlog.
  • Don’t end on cliffhangers: I will no longer write books that end on cliffhangers because I don’t write fast enough to keep readers happy (or at least I won’t while I still work fulltime). I actually like cliffhangers, but they don’t currently work for my writing. With the books in my current series having cliffhangers, I felt like I had to finish the series before moving onto something new. If I decide to write a serial at some point, then I’ll most likely use cliffhangers (but that’s another discussion entirely).
  • Don’t create a new Createspace file for a reissue: When you create a new Createspace file/page for a reissue it creates a new Amazon page for that book. I did that with Provex City. What I didn’t know at the time was I couldn’t delete the old page. So now I have one Provex City paperback Amazon page that simply says “currently unavailable.” Also, if I unlink that page from other formats of the book, I lose all the reviews originally written on that page. Amazon will not move reviews from one page to another even though they’re for the same book (just different formats). This was a frustrating lesson.
  • Don’t pay for ISBNs: This one goes along with the bullet point above. I created a new Createspace page (which in turn creates a new Amazon page) for the reissue of Provex City to give it a custom ISBN number. I wanted the option that if Provex City ever made it into libraries, then it wouldn’t need a new ISBN number. This is just a waste of money. If my future self published books make it into libraries one day, they’ll just need to be reassigned a new ISBN number. Why worry about that now (and pay $99 for it).
  • Try new genres: The digital bookstore of ebooks make an author’s expansion into multiple genres easier than ever. Why not intentionally try to reach more readers? Some genres may sell better than others for you. You may write some genres better than others. You may enjoy writing some genres better than others (which may not be the genre you started with). So why deprive yourself? Sample all the flavors.
Those are enough of my mistakes for one post, but I am thankful for the learning experiences. Though the day I stop messing up is most likely the day I quit--it's all part of the process, the journey, the adventure. Give yourself permission to screw up because at least you're trying. 2015 can be the greatest year ever or it can be a year that passes by without incident. You get to decide.
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