Giving Back

Advice from other writers is always something to take carefully. We all have our way of doing things and we all come to success in our own way (I’m still trying to find mine!)

I enjoy encouraging other writers or would-be writers. I know what it’s like to dream of being a writer. I know how it felt when I started and I was clueless to much of the process. I know what it’s like to fret because no one knows who I am or has read my work. It sucks.

I’ve had several writers extend a hand or helpful words of wisdom and that’s been awesome.

Whenever I get the chance to help someone else out I jump on it. Who knows where the next major talent is? In this world of indie publishing where the market is oversaturated with works from misguided “writers” to super-talented authors, I want to encourage and lift up those that need a voice, that need an audience because they’re so talented and others need to know.

Have you heard of Aaron Hamilton, Thomas Gunther, Pamela Morris, Ray Wenck, Brent Harris, or Christa Yelich-Koth? Maybe, but it’s more likely you haven’t. They’re all super talented authors of scifi and/or horror (Or in Ray’s case, thrillers). I love sharing these types of writers with others because we can all use a hand once in a while. We may write by ourselves, but we need a team to share the word about our work.

One of the things I enjoy most about selling at Cons is meeting new authors/writers that are unsure what to do with their work or how to get started. I am as transparent as possible. Indie publishing is not a guarded secret, though many who haven’t tried it are as lost as I was when I started. I share my experience with anyone that asks, encouraging them to work hard at their craft and what pitfalls to watch out for. Not that I have “best-selling author” advice, but I’m more than willing to share my experience in hopes that it will inspire them to take their own journey.

Their voice, like those of the authors listed above, might be what we need next.

I hope when I meet new writers seeking advice they seek additional voices. The more information they can gather, the better informed they’ll be and maybe, just maybe, they’ll break through and be the next major indie sensation. Or maybe not. They may simply be fulfilling a lifelong goal, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Reality Bites Book Awards: Final Round

The Reality Bites Book Awards has come to its final round and I’m still in it! I’m in the category for favorite “SciFi Author,” a category I was nominated in because of my book The Selection.

If you have a Facebook account, would you please consider adding your vote? My fans, friends, and family have been awesome in their support in getting me this far. One more week of voting, can you get me to the finish line?

It’s been overwhelming seeing all the help I’ve received. I’ve started nicknaming my amazing support team “The Nuge Brigade” because it sounds pretty cool and they’re encouragement has been awesome!

If you can spare a moment, please add your vote through the link below. I humbly thank you for your help.

Reality Bites Book Awards: Final Round – SciFi Author (If for some reason the link only takes you to the Event page, scroll down until you see the “SciFi Author category”)

Thank you again for the massive amount of support. It’s because of you I am where I am.

10 Things Learned Since I Started Writing

When I started this writing journey, I was naive to the complexities of it all. I guess in it’s most basic state, writing is just me and the words on the screen or paper. It’s when I started sharing those words that things changed. Here are ten things I learned since I started (in no particular order).


Editing is your best friend. I didn’t understand the serious need for revision and editing. I knew those things were important, but as I progress in my career, it’s abundantly clear how vital good editing is to my work. And I can’t do it on my own.

Sometimes the first draft is hard to finish. The moment I start revising parts of the first draft before it’s finished, I bog myself down and the pace of my writing slows to a crawl. That’s not good. I need to get that draft out, warts and all, as quickly as possible so I can jump in and fix it after it’s done.

I’ll never please everyone with my work. As much as I love what I write, not everyone will see it that way. It’s ok. Art is never universally accepted. There will be some who it doesn’t work for and that’s fine.

articulated-male-818202_960_720Writing is not a solitary endeavor. Contrary to popular belief, writing is not an individual act. Sure, the writer creates and physically writes the story on their own. However, to make it work, we need other sets of eyes to help us tighten our prose. And once that’s done and you want to share it with the world, you need others to spread the love. It takes a team of dedicated individuals to make that happen. I find it best not to piss off those that can help.

Family and friends don’t always support you. I gotta start by saying I have a tremendous amount of support from a lot of my family and friends. They might not agree with the subject of my stories, but they’re super supportive of my work. Then there are those that can care less. Yeah I spent a ton of time working on perfecting my stories, only to have it fall on deaf ears. Just because they are family or friends doesn’t mean they’ll automatically help or buy the book or leave a review. And thats ok. They are under no obligation to do so. If they sell Mary Kay cosmetics does that mean I have to buy them? No. Same with my writing. It’s cool.

Rejection isn’t personal. Let me restate that: rejection isn’t personal. It’s not an indictment of you as an individual. For whatever reason, the story didn’t work for that person. Cool. Move on. Try someone else. Revisit your story to see where the holes are. Send it out again. And again. And again. Maybe try a different market. Whatever the case, remember rejection isn’t personal.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. You hear so many uplifting stories about people leaving their day jobs to become full-time authors. I would love to have that kind of financial success from my writing. However, unless your book goes viral and everyone under the sun suddenly wants to read it, this takes time and patience. Lots of it. Don’t be discouraged. Keep at it. If you have a passion for your craft and continually seek to improve, your chances of this happening are better, but not guaranteed.

work-1627703_960_720Everybody has advice. Take it at your own peril. Many people mean well, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. Maybe they do. Talk to fifty different authors and you’ll get fifty different answers. Sift through this massive trove of opinions carefully. Try different things, but always be wary of the advice given. How to find the best and most trustworthy advice? I don’t have an answer. I take in a lot of suggestions and sometimes I’ll try them, sometimes not. It’s a personal thing I guess. Just be careful with what “rules” you follow given to you by others.

Self publishing is easy, getting noticed is not. I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy it was to get my stories uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. It literally was a click or two and *poof* done. That’s it. But that’s also why indie authors are slammed by critics and readers. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I spent a lot of time revising and editing my first collection of stories to leave the best impression I could with potential readers. I still had a few errors in my work. Then when it came to earning eyes on my stories, that was (and still is) a difficult process. I’m basically asking someone to use their hard earned cash to buy a book from an author they don’t know and invest their time with me. That’s a big ask. I better deliver with my work or they won’t come back.

You will have to sacrifice if you want to succeed. When I started writing, I played a lot of video games. One day I came to the realization that the time spent playing games on the Xbox was time spent not writing. How could I hope to grow as a writer and create new work if I spent my time playing games? I stopped cold turkey. I didn’t join my friends on our weekly game night anymore. I didn’t spend hours on a Saturday morning hunting achievements. Instead, I used that time to write more and read more. I’ve whittled down my gaming to two mobile games, that’s it. I miss those gaming sessions, but if I wanted to be serious about my craft, I had to make concessions somewhere.


There you have it, my ten things learned since I started as a writer. As you start your journey or are knee deep in it, how do these compare to your experiences?

Feel free to like, share, and comment. Thanks!

Author Spotlight: Greg Alldredge

Welcome to another installment of my ongoing “Author Spotlight” series where I bring new and talented authors to your attention. Today’s guest is author Greg Alldredge.


Hi Greg, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

The other day I had a professor tell me I had a unique way of reinventing myself every few years. I like the sound of that and I might steal it. Writing is my fifth career. Before that I was a teacher, an actor, a plant manager for a medical manufacturing company, and a sailor for twenty years. At one time or another I sold insurance, appliances, paint, and delivered pizzas all since I was eighteen. I would like to think I’m a well-rounded person, pun intended. Though I have lost some weight and I am not nearly as round as I once was.

 

How long have you been writing?

Since the early 80s. “Lights in the Night” is the first novel I have completed, but I have been writing in one form or another since the early 80s. It just took me a long time to finish something.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

When I started in the early 80s it was for school or work. There was nothing fun or exciting about that writing. Now, I think for everyone there is a time when something motivates you to do something else. I had an idea that just couldn’t not be written down.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

The only book I currently have for sale, I like to call a proper novel. That’s how I explain it to my friends so they don’t think I wrote a pamphlet. When I originally thought of the idea it was a standalone book, but the deeper I got into the story the more I enjoyed writing it and I wasn’t finished with the story after one book. That’s how it became Book One of the Ostinato Series. I am currently halfway finished with Book Two but other obligations have sidetracked me specifically writing a couple of short stories for upcoming anthologies.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer Science Fiction. I believe in science fiction you can write with a flavor of the other genres. Though I am going to write a straight suspense, horror, and I have an idea for a Western. I know I should pick a genre and stick to it, but right now I’m writing to please myself and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, there are plenty of people in the world willing to do that for me.

 

What authors influenced you?

So many, but I think Douglas Adams, William Gibson, and Parke Godwin. I’m also a theatre teacher so I must add Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, and Samuel Beckett.

 

What are you currently reading?

“Man of Two Planets” by Judith Rook.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I still work full-time as a teacher, so I write every day just not on my novels. Normally I think about writing more than I write. That sounds like I procrastinate a lot, and I guess I do, but normally when I sit down to write a book I have the story mapped out, including much of the dialogue. This way I can do a couple thousand words at a sitting. This last summer I completed my last year towards my Master of Theatre Education degree. That had me writing a lot, just not the kind I wanted to be writing.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Yes, depending on the scene I’m writing, is the music I will choose to listen to. I feel the rhythm and tempo of the music help guide me when I’m writing the words for certain scenes.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I finish things now. Over the decades I started a couple of novels and for one reason or another life’s distractions caused me to look away and never finish. Now I am motivated to finish what I start. Maybe it’s an age thing, I don’t know, I just feel ready to finish my novels.

 

Cover2smallHow do you create the covers for your books?

I use online software and royalty-free images off the Internet.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing?

I think everything influences my writing. I think my theatre studies and being an actor helps me to tell the story I want to tell. I think learning about history and the styles of writing before the modern era also influences my writing. I also feel traveling enriches the soul, plus it gives me great ideas for stories.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

For now I only sell on Amazon though I am looking at the other platforms to increase my reach. Here is the link for the kindle version: http://amzn.to/2fyvxuA

 

Where can we find you online?

Amazon Author Page

www.greg-alldredge.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

What is your favorite book and why?

“Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” I love the writing style. There are other books I have read but that one matched my sense of humour.

 

How do you market your books?

Some might say not well enough. Mostly through social media and a few advertisers. I do suck as a salesman, I probably need to find someone to help me sell my books and pay them a percentage.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Not at the moment, they are still in rough draft and everything I’m working on needs work.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I wanted to get my work out there. My first book I honestly didn’t even think about sending it to a publisher I wanted to make a name for myself and control my own work. For the second book, I’m considering sending it to publishers but I’m still thinking that over.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Sure, don’t expect friends or family to buy your book. Don’t expect people you think care about you, to understand what and why your writing. It may sound cynical, but you cannot control the actions of others, if you don’t expect them to do something, you can never be disappointed when they fail to do it. Peace out!

 

Flash Fiction: “Zombie Says”

This short story first appeared in my collection Moments of Darkness. It was inspired by a mis-interpreted phrase from the song Twin Dummy from the band Voivod.


Zombie Says

 

Zombie says: “Get me more.”

Damn Zombie. I hate that thing. It never shuts up. It’s always asking for more. It’s loud. It’s demanding.

 

Zombie says: “Hurry, get it now.”

Stupid Zombie. It doesn’t know me. It thinks it does, but it can’t possibly understand who I am or what I want. It’s too consumed with a gnawing desire for more. Always more.

 

Zombie says: “If you don’t get more I’ll take it from you.”

Zombie is always threatening me. It’s always promising some kind of action. It tries to bully me to act on its behalf. I’m not afraid.

 

Zombie says: “Be a good little girl and do as I say. Behave and nothing will happen to you.”

Zombie caught me-once. I tried to trick it. I thought I’d had it fooled but it was smarter than I gave it credit for. Zombie bit me. It took my little finger. I don’t care. I’m still alive. Zombie isn’t.

 

Zombie says: “I’m tired of games. I want more than this.”

Zombie can’t leave the house. Zombie gets wild when someone knocks on the door. Zombie thrashes and shambles around the house when someone unexpectedly shows up. I try to calm it, but it senses the blood.

 

Zombie says: “Well done my child. One day you’ll have what I have.”

Zombie thinks I’m its daughter. Its daughter left a long time ago. Or was eaten. Either way, its daughter isn’t around anymore. It was just my dumb luck to stumble on this place. Ever since, Zombie has kept me. Like a prisoner.

 

Zombie says: “My dear, please keep me company. Don’t leave. Stay and read to me.”

As if I could leave. Zombie has me trapped. There aren’t any exits but the front door. All the rest were blocked off. Zombie was afraid of an attack. I don’t know why. The large herds were far off to the north near Chicago. There’s more meat there. But somehow, Zombie ran across a small group. They turned a once strong man into a new Zombie. Every day I have to read to it. Reading soothes its urge to attack me. It helps me survive long enough. And keeps my mind sane.

 

Zombie says: “I need more now, please get me more.”

Zombie disgusts me. It eats flesh and muscle and brains with a ghastly bite. It rummages inside the body for tender organs, devouring them like a dog. Moans of pleasure mixed with slurping and sucking sounds as it eats. It’s enough to make me vomit, which I did once. Zombie threatened me then. I haven’t vomited since. At least not where Zombie could hear me.

 

Zombie says: “You will never leave. I need you. I can protect you.”

I’m going to kill Zombie. I can’t stay any longer. The news reports keep telling us to flee, a large herd is heading towards us and the authorities are helpless to stop it. I need to leave. Staying means death…or worse. I don’t want either. Zombie won’t let me go.

 

Zombie says: “The reports are false. There are no others. There’s only me. Don’t worry.”

Zombie doesn’t know what I’ve planned. Zombie got rid of all the knives long ago. Zombie doesn’t know I’ve created a knife from part of the bed. I’m ready now. I have to flee. I won’t get caught in the horde. I slash at Zombie. It screams. I stab it in the head, its bones weakened from decay. It gurgles and tries to speak. I raise my shiv and stab again and again. Zombie slumps to the floor.

 

Zombie says nothing anymore.


If you enjoyed this story, please like, comment, and share. You can get this and 13 other dark stores in my collection Moments of Darkness for only .99 on Amazon!

 

 

 

5 Posts for Indie Authors

Indie authors have a tough time getting noticed in the sea of titles out there. Here are five posts to help give you an edge and the motivation to succeed.


Indie Author Finds Success Hitting the Festival Circuit

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Faced with a difficult time being discovered, author Raymond Depew hit the festival circuit to market and sell his books.


@#*&$it – Self-Publishing Does NOT Have to Cost You Anything

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Author K.S. Brooks breaks down how indie authors can publish their work for little to no money–and still turn out a great product!


15 Book Publicity Commandments

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Writer Carolyn Howard-Johnson discusses fifteen top practices when promoting your books.


Please Don’t Buy My Book

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Author David Gaughran breaks down launch success and failure for two of his books.


8 Myths about Book Sales That Authors Need To Ditch Now

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Writer Beth Bacon breaks down myths authors need to eliminate now!


 

Being an indie author, heck any author for that matter, is difficult. The more we as writers hone our craft and work on promoting effectively, the more chance we have to succeed and rise above the rest.

If you found something useful here, please like, comment, and share this post with others. Thanks!

 

Dirty Dish Philosophy

Doing the dishes sucks. It’s never been my favorite chore.

My mom made my brother and I do the dishes as kids. We’d have the duty for a week at a time. After dinner, we were expected to get the dishes done no matter what. I remember how angry I’d get when I heard my brother outside with our friends, playing and having a good time while I was stuck inside doing the dishes. Those days were the worst.

When I got married, I didn’t have a clue about cooking. I could make the basics, but I never liked to do it. Because of all that time spent with my hands in dishwater, I made a deal with my wife that if she did the cooking, I’d do all the dishes. It’s an arrangement that’s worked pretty good for over twenty years now.

The huge pile of dishes after a big meal seems daunting. It’s disheartening. How do I get them all done?

One. Dish. At a time.

You know what, that’s an extremely valuable lesson.

Think about it. When faced with a difficult task, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When that giant project looms large, it’s hard to focus because all your attention is directed towards the overall assignment.

However, if you take one task at a time; one small victory after another, you will create success.

dishes-197_960_720That pile of dishes goes away one dish, one glass, one pan at a time. Soon enough, that insurmountable counter full of dishes disappears and the task is over.

Difficult tasks can be tackled with the same mindset.

When writing a novel, it can be horrifying when you think about all those words you need to write. The blank page is every bit as scary as a monster pile of dishes. But adding one word at a time, you will get there. Soon they form sentences, then paragraphs, and those turn into pages. Before long, you’ll have a book. All it takes is to work on one small task at a time.

All those years of grumbling about dishes and soaking my hands in nasty water has led me to this conclusion: anything can be accomplished if you focus on doing all the small things needed to finish the monumental task ahead.

Now if you’ll excuse, my sink is full. I’ve got work to do.