New Year, Same Me!

It’s that time of year when everyone seems to be making new year resolutions – and then posting about it. So, what are my resolutions?

Honestly, I don’t generally do that whole resolution thing. Not since I was a kid anyway. I quickly learned that making a promise to myself that I wasn’t sure I could keep was a good way to do nothing but end up feeling bad about myself and adding stress to my life that I just don’t need.

The saying “New Year, New Me” sounds inspirational on the surface of it. However, for myself, that just doesn’t work. I know myself well enough to know that changing what year I (forget to) write on checks doesn’t change who I am. Besides, I kinda like the person I was in 2013. I think I’ll keep him around for a while.

However, a new year is a new beginning of a sort. It’s a good time to think about what we can do better. I think the new year resolution thing has gotten a little out of hand for some folks. When we look back on the year just ended, we should look at what we did right as well as what we could have done better. We should certainly note those areas we were lacking in, and try to improve ourselves, as we should always try to do throughout the year.

In other words, don’t resolve to scrap the person you have been. Resolve to improve that person. You don’t need a new you, you just need to be honest with yourself (about both the good and the bad) and continually work to be a better person today than you were yesterday.

For myself, one of the shortcomings I have often discussed, particularly on Facebook and Twitter, is my difficulty with staying motivated. With the new year, I’ve taken a new look at how I set goals, and how I manage my writing time.

To begin with, I had suspected that I might be a morning writer. That’s weird, I know, because who wants to do anything in the morning? However, I’ve experimented with writing first thing in the morning and so far it seems to be paying off! In fact, I’ve been using my wife’s laptop, which she keeps by the bed. I’ve done a lot of writing in the past few days simply by waking up, grabbing her laptop, and cranking out a thousand words before I ever get out from beneath the blankets. Whatever works, right?

Another thing I’m doing is trying to be realistic with my writing goals. In the past, I have had some truly epic days. The first night I worked on the first draft of Frostwalker, I cranked out over 12,000 words in one sitting. But that isn’t what’s normal for me. I have to be honest with myself about how much time I can realistically devote to writing on any given day, and how much energy and enthusiasm I can maintain.

I know that I can’t write every day. Between running a business, having a part time job, family life, and all the other things that make demands on my time, there are simply going to be days when I can’t (or won’t) write. Beyond that, when I do write, I know that I can’t consistently do 1,000 words every day. Some days are just going to be less productive than others.

So, I’ve decided not to have a daily goal. Instead, my goal is for a daily average. If I can average 500 words per day, that’s good for me. So, if I write 3,500 words on Monday, I’m good for a week. Of course, writing 3,500 on Monday doesn’t mean I don’t try to write on Tuesday. But, if I can’t write on Tuesday, either due to work commitments or just sheer lack of energy or motivation, I’m covered. This gives me some wiggle room. At the end of the year, if I meet my goal, I’ll have written a total of 182,500 words, which is a couple of average novels worth of content.

Of course, 500 words per day isn’t great. However, that’s not a limit (I can and do write more), it’s just a realistic (for me) goal. It is very important in any endeavor to set goals. Without goals, you can’t have direction for your energy and you end up wasting energy for little or no gain. But, you’ll find nothing but frustration and despair if your goals aren’t realistic. I have to be honest with myself, and that means that 500 words per day on average is a reasonable, reachable goal. Setting a goal of 1,000 words per day, and then getting 800 per day, means I’m failing. Setting a goal of 500 words per day, and writing 800 per day, means I’m meeting my goal and then some.

One interesting side effect of this has been that I’ve actually done much better than expected. I have, in fact, written over 1,000 words per day since putting this goal in place January 1st. However, today I took a day off to get caught up on work that had to be taken care of. I could have written this morning, but I knew that doing so would have made it that much harder to do the work that pays the bills tonight. Counting today’s zero word count, my average output per day since January 1st (inclusive) is 1,004 words per day – twice what I’ve set out to achieve.

I don’t know if I’ll keep up that pace, but that’s what I have so far. If I don’t keep up that pace, it doesn’t matter. My goal isn’t to average 1,000 words per day, but to average 500. I’m ok with this. I have accepted that I’m not going to be that guy who writes 2,000 words per day. Not at this point in my life, and quite possibly not even if I end up writing full time. I’m me, and I’m ok with who I am. I work to make the most of that person, not to frustrate myself.

For the record, what I’ve been working on is A Man With A Gun. I’m still not sure where this story is going, or what it might end up as. It’s a departure from my usual work, but nothing truly worthwhile comes out of staying in your comfort zone. It may be that the project will be a full length novel, or maybe a novella. It’s getting a bit lengthy to be a short story, having passed 15,000 words. It may also be that it will fizzle and die. That happens too, sometimes. But, wherever it goes, I intend to follow it to the end.

In any case, here’s to a productive and successful 2014!

Cover Reveal – Circus Of Lost Souls, by Riley J. Ford and Rebecca Hamilton


horror ebookCirque du Lune is killing off teenagers, but it’s all part of the act.

Or is it?
As the body count rises with each performance, one girl at this infamous theater-based summer finds herself contemplating what’s real and what’s not.
What if it’s not just a horror show, but a live snuff performance? What if the murders . . . are real?
* * *
Sign Up For Release Notification — When you do, you are automatically entered to win a free copy of the book, and you will also have an opportunity to purchase the book at the new release discounted price. We will only email you once for these purposes, and your email from this list will not be used for any other reason at any other time.

Frostwalker Sell Sheet

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post here about what I’ve been up to. Aside from cover reveals and such for fellow authors, I’ve been kind of quiet. However, I’ve not been entirely idle!

For one thing, work continues on A Man With A Gun. It’s been an unusual experience, as it’s been really difficult to stay on task. I’m 10,000 words into the story and I’m still not sure exactly where it’s going. I still think it’s going to finish up as a beefy short story or possibly a novella, but it keeps surprising me.

Aside from that, another project I’ve been working on for quite some time is the media kit for Frostwalker. I think I may have that nearly wrapped up. One of the more difficult tasks involved in building the media kit was creating the sell sheet for the book. For those who don’t know, a sell sheet is kind of a poster or flyer with information about the book. While it can be used to promote the book to potential readers, a sell sheet is typically directed at book retailers and distributors.

Those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may have already seen this. But, given my lack of graphic design skills, I’m rather happy with what I’ve managed to create, so I’m going to show it off here as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – take a look! (You can click the image to see it full size – it’s rather huge, as it’s intended to be used for both digital and print purposes.)

Do feel free to share the image with your friends!

Frostwalker Sell Sheet

Frostwalker Sell Sheet

Cover Reveal – The Li5t of Five, by J. Scott Sharp

My friend and fellow author J. Scott Sharp is just about to release his next work! This new novella is set to be a real page-turner and I can’t wait to read it myself! I’m very happy to take part in the cover reveal for this new story. Jason is an excellent friend, and a terrific writer. Come take a look!

Cover Reveal – I Am Forever, by Wynne Channing



A special treat for you today! The cover reveal for Wynne Channing’s upcoming novel I Am Forever, the Sequel to her best-selling What Kills Me! Check it out!

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Cover Reveal And A Giveaway – Daughter of Chaos, by Jen McConnel

I’m very happy to play host for the cover reveal of Jen McConnel’s upcoming new book, Daughter of Chaos! Take a look and enjoy! Also, be sure to scroll to the bottom and enter the giveaway as well!

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The Summer 2013 Blogger Book Fair Is Coming Soon!

Check in to the Blogger Book Fair,
and book your trip to far away places!

July 22-26, 2013

Authors and Book Bloggers,

Sign ups for the July 2013 Blogger Book Fair will close on June 15 at midnight central time, so get your registrations in to participate!

As of 5/31/2013, we have:

Authors: 89
Books: 233
Bloggers: 14

If you haven’t yet registered, you can find all of the information on the Blogger Book Fair page.

  1. Check out the Code of Conduct
  2. Fill out either the Author Sign Up form or the Blogger Sign Up form (Deadline June 15)
  3. Kayla will match everyone with hosts and send out this information to you after sign-ups close
  4. Check out the events–all authors are eligible to participate in the events, and if you have an event you’d like to host, just fill out the simple Event Sign Up Form–all of this information can be found on the Events! page (Deadline July 8).
  5. If you’re interested in hosting a giveaway to drive traffic to your site, sign up via the Giveaway Sign Up form (Deadline July 15).
  6. And if your book will be FREE or $0.99 for the duration of the Fair, you can sign up on the Free and $.99 Book Sign Up Forms (Deadline July 15).


as of 5/31/2013

Art Fiction Gala hosted by Lucie Smoker

Does your fiction promote the visual arts–through featuring an artist, painting, sculpture, performance art, etc? Then, consider entering Lucie’s Art Fiction Gala.
The Art Fiction Gala is a virtual celebration of fiction that highlights the visual arts. Dress up in your finest, pick up some friends–a bottle of wine–and sample mind-blowing fiction that crosses the line between literary and visual art. Plus a gallery of art featuring reading.
More information & entry instructions

Three Wishes hosted by Kirstin Pulioff

Introduce your characters to the world.
Kirstin Pulioff invites you to ask your main character, “If you found a magic genie lamp, what would be your three choices?
More information & entry instructions

Flash Fiction Challenge II hosted by Thomas Winship

Get ready to exercise your flash fiction muscles.
For the Flash Fiction Challenge II, Thomas Winship will provide an opening line.
From there, entrants will craft a flash fiction piece of approx 500 words. Entries will be displayed on Thomas’ blog Vaempires during the BBF, spread out evenly across the five days, in order of receipt.
More information & entry instructions

Snapshot Synopsis Contest hosted by Fel at The Peasants Revolt

Challenge: chisel your synopsis down to 50 words or less.
Voting will be open throughout the fair for visitors to vote on their favorite Snapshot Synopsis.
More information & entry instructions

Reader’s Choice Awards hosted by Sherri at Shut Up & Read

All books registered for the Blogger Book Fair are automatically entered into the running for the Reader’s Choice Awards. Voting will be open from July 22 to July 25.
More information

Indie Soap Box Files hosted by Shah Wharton

Take a turn on the Soap Box.
Shah invites speculative fiction writers to write a guest post about being an indie (or hybrid) writer.
More information & entry instructions
Restrictions: Speculative fiction writers only

Monster Menagerie hosted by Noree at Trip the Eclipse

What’s your favorite monster or supernatural creature?
Feature your creature in a flash fiction piece (500-800) words to be featured on Trip the Eclipse. Visitors will vote on their favorite piece.
More information & entry instructions

Ways to Help:

Blogger Book FairDonate to the Blogger Book Fair via the BBF Donation Fund. To help get the word out about BBF, we would like to place ads on Facebook, Goodreads and other places, but to do, so we need a little help. We’d also like to have some BBF sponsored giveaways, so money donated would also go toward prizes. NO MONEY WILL BE KEPT BY ANY ORGANIZER OR PARTICIPANT.

Spread the word! Share the Fair on your social media accounts and show off the Blogger Book Fair logo in your blog’s sidebar.

Join us on:

Latest News On Frostwalker – And A Giveaway!

Frostwalker Cover Art

Well, it’s been about nine days since Frostwalker was released. So far, the book has been well received and I offer my sincere thanks to each and every one of you who have been kind enough to purchase a copy either in ebook or paperback. Your support is greatly appreciated!

For now, I wanted to do a quick post to mention a few things about the book. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, you may have already heard about some of this, but it doesn’t hurt to mention these bits of info again!

First, I’d like to invite you all to enter the Goodreads giveaway that is going on right now and will end on June 15th. To enter, you just pop on over to the Goodreads Frostwalker Giveaway page, and sign up. If you don’t have a Goodreads account, it’s quick, easy, and free to create one – and you’ll probably love the site! I’m giving away three paperback copies, so you have three chances to win!

Second, I want to offer a special thanks to book blogger Laura Thomas who was kind enough to do a review of Frostwalker on her blog, FUONLYKNEW, as well as inviting me for a very fun interview! She has high standards, so I was very happy to see that Frostwalker got five stars from her! She has also done a review of two of my short pieces, Out After Dark and The Card. You can see those reviews on her blog as well!

Lastly, I want to mention that while the paperback edition of Frostwalker is still only available through CreateSpace and their parent company Amazon, the various ebook versions are popping up at lots of different sites. So far, the ebook is available at the following retailers:

Smashwords | Amazon | Kobo | Sony | Diesel | Versent | iTunes

As I’ve mentioned before, you can read the first third of the book for free at Smashwords.

Thanks again to those who have purchased the book. I hope you enjoy it immensely! Please feel free to give me your thoughts on the book, good or bad, by either leaving a review where you purchased it, or on Goodreads, or by dropping me a line using the form on my Contact page here on my blog.

Thank You!


Frostwalker Is LIVE!

Frostwalker is now available for sale!


The book is available in both paperback and ebook formats. Here’s where you can get it:

Paperback (240 pages) – $7.99:

CreateSpace | Amazon

Ebook/Kindle – $3.99:

Smashwords | Amazon | Kobo | Sony |  Diesel | Versent | iTunes

More retailers will be added as the book filters out into the distribution system.

To learn more about the book and to read excerpts, visit the Frostwalker page here on my blog. Also, if you’d like to read the first third of the book for free, visit the Smashwords link above to view the sample.

Frostwalker Excerpt – Deputy Fallon Gets Busy

Front Cover Art Mock-UpWork continues on the preparations to release Frostwalker! Presently, the primary formatting for ebook and paperback is finished. Now we’re on to the check-and-double-check-everything-neurotically stage. So, to keep teasing you while we sweat the details, here is another excerpt from the book! This will quite possibly be the final excerpt posted before the book is released.

Speaking of how close the release is, if you haven’t gotten your free copy of The Card yet, but are interested in doing so, you can still sign up for the Frostwalker Release Notification and get it. Obviously, once Frostwalker is released, that offer will be ended – get it while you can! Free reading material is almost always a good thing, right? To sign up and get your free copy of The Card, just pop over to the Frostwalker page here on my blog and sign up at the bottom of the page!


Deputy Mike Fallon was bored. Presently, he was lounging on an avocado green vinyl couch in what the Roderick County Sheriff’s Office referred to as their “bull pen”. Little more than an open room full of desks, Fallon had the room to himself.

He was trying to alleviate his boredom with a dog-eared copy of a Louis L’Amour western. Usually, the graveyard shift at the Sheriff’s Office was as silent as a tomb. However, tonight, Deputy Fallon was having trouble concentrating on his book due to the amount of background noise.

One disturbance was the occasional frustrated grumblings coming from Sheriff Breslin’s personal office. The door was closed, and the sheriff was catching up on paperwork. The past few days, the search for Daniel Tucker had been all Breslin had worked on. Apparently, filling out the paperwork involved a great deal of swearing.

However, the worst distraction came from the hallway in the back of the office. Along one side of this hallway stood the three cells, normally empty, used for detainees. Tonight, the center cell was occupied by Angus Sommerset, aged fifty-seven, who snored loudly while sleeping off his public drunkenness charge. Angus was a bit of a fixture in the Sheriff’s Office, and the deputies often called him Angry Otis when he was out of earshot. Unlike Mayberry’s lovable tosspot, Angus had the temper his Scottish ancestors were famous for.

Suddenly, Deputy Mike Fallon had plenty to occupy him. First, the radio crackled to life. Dropping his book on the couch, he wove his way between the desks to answer the call. It seemed that a house was burning in the Briar Creek development. From the sound of it, it might have been arson. The reporting deputy mentioned an apparent fistfight ongoing in the yard of the next house down.

The Wynn Volunteer Fire Department had a small station down the street. Mostly, it was a large garage which held their two trucks and a smallish barracks area in back where those on overnight duty slept. While he began relaying the call on a handheld radio unit, the phone rang.

Snatching up the phone with his free hand, Deputy Fallon said, “Sheriff’s Office,” into the receiver, dividing his attention between the phone and the static-filled response coming from the radio in his other hand.

The voice on the phone was a woman, clearly in hysterics. She was screaming into the phone, and shouting could be heard in the background, as well as the growls and snarls of a dog that sounded enraged.

“He’s killing Earl!” she screamed into the phone, and Fallon yanked the phone from his ear in reaction to the volume of her cry.

“Ma’am, who’s killing him?” he asked.

Glancing at the screen of the computer that served as Wynn’s 911 emergency call center, he saw that the call was coming from the residence of Earl and Edna Cox of Thunderbush Lane. A small map had popped up, highlighting the location of the calling number and listing any pertinent information.

“I don’t know! The man just broke in our house! Please hurry!” she screamed.

Fallon keyed the microphone on the handheld radio, quickly giving the address of the fire and informing them that he was taking another call. Ignoring the reply, he said into the phone, “Okay, ma’am, we’re sending a car out there right now. Help is on the way. Just stay on the line with me, okay?”

“Please hurry!” she wailed again. The dog had stopped barking.

Picking up the microphone for the Sheriff’s Office radio, Fallon began calling out the situation. Immediately, a deputy on patrol responded. Though the roads were foul and growing worse, they had chained their tires and continued to run their routes as best they could. The deputy said he would head that way, estimating his arrival in ten minutes. This sounds like it’ll be over long before then, Fallon thought, but didn’t say. He knew wishing it so wouldn’t get anyone there any sooner.

Turning back to the phone, he said, “Ma’am, a deputy is on his way now. He’ll be there as soon as possible, okay?”

There was no answer. The line was still open, and he could hear faint shuffling sounds, like something brushing against the mouthpiece of Earl and Edna Cox’s phone.

“Ma’am?” Fallon said into the phone.

There was no response.

“Ma’am?” he asked again, again getting no reply. “Shit! Shit! Shit!” he raged as he grabbed the microphone for the radio again.

Changing frequencies, he began to notify the local rescue squad. They would be busy, with both a fire and an apparent assault to deal with.

Deputy Fallon didn’t know just how busy things were going to get.