Tag: publishing process

New stories to share!

Eight years ago, in 2009, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I came out of it with a really crappy novel and a renewed love of fiction writing – it had been over a decade since I’d done any creative writing. Although my first novel will never see the light of day without massive rewrites, I’ve built up quite a collection of short stories that are ready to be released into the world. Some have been published in various online and print journals and anthologies, while others have been compiled into collections on their own.

But I still have a lot of stories that are just languishing in the cloud. While I intend to release them in collections some day, when I have enough to combine into a decent offering, I want to be able to get them out NOW. I’ve been too busy with grad school over the past few years to focus on submitting them to publications, so I was glad when I found out about Medium as a platform.

Medium is a website that delivers your work to potentially millions of readers. I’ve set up an account, where every week or two I plan to publish something new. I already have a handful of stories that you can read.

I also plan to publish articles and guides related to my career passions – trauma-informed care, education, and research. I’m hoping my fiction readers aren’t too turned off by this stuff, but I don’t feel like maintaining two accounts so you’ll just have to learn while being entertained.

Please, if you have a chance, follow me on Medium and read the new stories I have to offer!

Fall 2017 goal review

Mr. McNutterpants, from my short story “A Lesser Man” on Medium

Every 3 months or so, I take a look at the goals I’ve set for the year and then write about how little progress I’m making on them. Here’s the update for this fall.

1. Finish something every month – short story, novella, novel, anything.

I have several chapters done on a novel, and I’ve finished a couple shorts. I’m hoping NaNoWriMo will spur me into action next month.

2. Publish at least 4 things – again, short story, novella, novel, anything. Either with my publisher or self-published or in a magazine, doesn’t matter where.

I’ve started posting stuff on Medium. Three things are up so far – two are stories that have been published elsewhere, and one’s a new story, “A Lesser Man,” that’s pretty damn hilarious. You should read it.

3. Finish the draft of a nonfiction book that’s good for my career.

My academic timeline is about a semester behind where I want to be. But, most importantly, I passed my comprehensive exam and am now officially a PhD candidate! All I have left is my dissertation (and several classes for a master’s I just tacked on), which is my focus right now. My timeline right now is to have my proposal mostly done by Christmas break, so I can still theoretically crank out this nonfiction book over break.

4. Do more live events – readings, book fairs, etc. Again, it’s about getting my name out there.

As I mentioned last time, events are turning into a major waste of time. I’m doing a solo reading tonight, and then I’m done with live events for awhile unless they have a proven track record for women’s fiction book sales.

5. Travel more internationally – and Canada doesn’t count.

Sadly, this isn’t happening – this year. I’m headed to India for 2 weeks in January and Thailand with my kid for a month next summer – but for the rest of this year, it looks like I’ll be staying more domestic, with upcoming trips to Boston in November and hopefully Duluth in December (weather-dependent).

Sadly, now that I’m working again I have money to travel but no time for it.

6. Read 100 books.

I’m at 52 right now – 25 behind schedule. I don’t think I’ll be able to make this goal this year, but I should be able to get closer once a couple approaching academic deadlines pass and I have time to read again.

Overall

I think I’m in denial about achieving my goals. I’m going to keep trying, but it seems there’s a lot popping up that’s taking up my time (unexpected overtime at work due to kiddos in crisis, opportunities for academic projects that I don’t want to pass up, etc). Things are settling down, I hope, so I should be able to focus on writing more.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, how’re they going so far this year?

Summer 2017 goal review

Every 3 months or so, I take a look at the goals I’ve set for the year and then write about how little progress I’m making on them. Here’s the update for this summer.

1. Finish something every month – short story, novella, novel, anything.

I’ve finished several chapters of a novel, plus a short story. So, about halfway there.

2. Publish at least 4 things – again, short story, novella, novel, anything. Either with my publisher or self-published or in a magazine, doesn’t matter where.

I’m two behind now on this.

3. Finish the draft of a nonfiction book that’s good for my career.

My academic timeline was pushed back a couple months, but I’m still planning on writing this book this fall.

4. Do more live events – readings, book fairs, etc. Again, it’s about getting my name out there.

This will never be a goal again because live events, at least the ones around here, are a waste of time. The only people who came to the last event were friends and family of the writers. And as much as I appreciate my grandma stopping by to say hi, she can buy books from me any time. That said, I’m doing a presentation in a couple weeks at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (okay, so not THE Iowa Writer’s Workshop, just a writing workshop at the University of Iowa, but whatever) that may be interesting. Then a couple local-ish events in August, a reading in October, and nothing else unless it’s free to participate and I don’t have anything else going on.

5. Travel more internationally – and Canada doesn’t count.

A research assistantship position ended this spring, so I recently got a part-time job as a youth residential counselor. While I’m enjoying it so far, it doesn’t leave much time for travel. I went to Michigan a couple times in June, and I’m heading to the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies in a couple weeks. No international travel other than Canada, though.

However, I did book tickets just this week to go back to India in January! I’m taking my kid with me, and we’re hitting the Taj Mahal before heading south to work on a project. I’m super excited about this trip.

6. Read 100 books.

I’m at 43 right now – 7 behind schedule. I caught up a bit earlier this summer, but I’m falling behind again. Still, I think I can still catch up and make this goal this year.

Overall

I’m still in the game. This past semester kicked my butt, and while I’m pretty much recovered, my new job is consuming a lot of my time – plus (fingers crossed!) I’ll be starting my dissertation in the next couple weeks. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, but on the plus side, my new job has given me a lot of story ideas that I really need to write to help me process working with this particular population. Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll come pretty close to meeting my goals this year.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, how’re they going so far this year?

Spring 2017 goal review

sand castle

Much needed self-care at Coronado Beach, CA

Every 3 months or so, I take a look at the goals I’ve set for the year and then write about how little progress I’m making on them. Here’s the update for this spring.

1. Finish something every month – short story, novella, novel, anything.

If you count chapters, I’ve almost done this! I finished the first two chapters of a novel I’ll really excited about, tentatively titled Waylaid on the Road to Nowhere.

2. Publish at least 4 things – again, short story, novella, novel, anything. Either with my publisher or self-published or in a magazine, doesn’t matter where.

I’m not there yet, but I have several longer short stories that are in the pipeline, and I hope to have at least one done by May for an event I’m doing.

3. Finish the draft of a nonfiction book that’s good for my career.

I have to take a dissertation class next fall but since my dissertation proposal will (fingers crossed!) be done by then, I plan to work on a draft of a research how-to book for the course instead. Don’t expect updates on this for awhile.

4. Do more live events – readings, book fairs, etc. Again, it’s about getting my name out there.

I’m on fire here! Kind of. I’m signed up for the Rock Town Lit Fest in early May, the I.O.W.A. book fair in August, and a Read Local event in October. I’ll try to add more events as I hear about them.

5. Travel more internationally – and Canada doesn’t count.

Due to some stupid international relations stuff, I’m not sure how feasible this’ll be. I’m in the planning stages for a trip back to India around Christmas. I was in San Diego a couple weeks ago and wanted to hop the border to Tijuana, but we didn’t have enough time – although if Canada doesn’t count (I’m planning a trip to Banff over the summer), then maybe Mexico doesn’t count either?

At the very least, I’ve been able to travel a lot recently. Three weeks in India at the beginning of the year, a road trip to Savannah and Raleigh-Durham over spring break, and a week-long conference in San Diego. That comes out to a trip a month, so I’m doing pretty good.

6. Read 100 books.

So far, I’ve read 21 books this year, which leaves me only 4 behind schedule. I had a lot of time to read in India (I’m not looking forward to the ereader ban on flights through Abu Dhabi or Doha, the two airports I’ve flown through in the past – what else do you do on a 28-hour trip??), plus I’ve been sneaking in books as a break from my overwhelming schedule this semester.

Overall

I’m actually in a good place regarding my year’s goals. Part of it, I think, is because I’m so busy, not in spite of it. When I don’t have projects and deadlines, I tend to procrastinate, but when I have to be careful about my time management, I get more done.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, how’re they going so far this year?

Fall 2016 goal review

After All cover

Hey look, a shiny new project!

Every 3 months or so, I take a look at the goals I’ve set for the year and then write about how I’m not making progress on them. Here’s the update for this fall.

1. Write at least 30 minutes a day.

I’ve been averaging about 30 minutes per week, not per day – unless you count writing for school stuff, in which case I’m hitting my goal. But we’re not counting that, so I’m not doing so well at this goal.

2. Finish something every month.

I would probably do a lot better at finishing something if I’d stop starting new things. I have at least 50 stories started at this point – if I could just sit down and write, I could probably finish some of them.

3. Publish at least 4 of those finished things.

So far, all I’ve published this year is “A Place to Die” in January (which you can get for $.99 at Amazon or free if you join my mailing list). I have several things mostly done, just gotta sit down and write and I could probably still meet this goal for this year.

4. Continue the focus on increased marketing.

I’ve fallen behind on this lately, but my publisher will be running Amazon ads soon so that should give me a boost. And as soon as I have something new published, I’ll be promoting that like crazy.

5. Read 100 books.

I’m currently at 58, which Goodreads informs me is 18 behind. I’m holding pretty steady on this one.

6. Continue the focus on being healthy.

I discovered the cambus (campus bus) at school, so I’ve been taking that instead of riding my bike. But I also discovered a really nice local farmers’ market and have been buying a lot of fruits and veggies, so there’s that. Which will win out? Stay tuned!

Overall

Basically, it comes down to one thing – making myself sit down and write. Fortunately I’ve taken on a bunch of new projects this year, plus gotten permission to take my comprehensive exams a semester yearly so I can start on my dissertation in the spring and graduate a year early. The way my mind works is that the more I have to do, the more I want to work on other stuff (ie, writing). So I should be writing a lot coming up, instead of doing what I need to for school.

(This TED talk is a great look at my life.)

If you’ve set goals for yourself, how’re they going so far this year?

So you want to write a book…

My first novel, Yours to Keep or Throw Aside (previously released as The Lone Wolf), came out a couple years ago. After hearing about it, I’ve had several people tell me, “I’m not a big reader, but I’ve been thinking about writing a book too. I have a really great idea.” Which is great, but….

Before I go any further, watch this video.

It’s been said that for every overnight success, no one saw all their late nights and early mornings. Writing is no exception. It’s hard work, and it take a lot of time.

Here are the things I think are necessary to write a publishable book:

1. READ!!!!

I’ve been an avid reader since I was five (25+ years), and I read everything – fiction and nonfiction, children and adult, Nobel laureates and NY Times bestsellers, US and international, classics and modern, literary and fluff, genre – you name a category, and I’ve read something in it. I’ve taught high school literature and analyzed it in college lit classes. So, I think it’s fair to say I have a good idea of what’s out there, what works and what doesn’t, and why. But that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to write a book.

2. Develop your writing skills.

I’m currently a PhD student and I’ve worked as a professional researcher in several fields, meaning I’ve written a lot of analysis/explanatory papers, some of which I’ve won awards for. And I’ve taught writing at the high school level, so I think it’s fair to say I have well-developed writing skills. But that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to write a book.

I wrote one anyways, for NaNoWriMo ’09. And, it sucked. It sucked bad. I’d like to revisit it someday, but as for now it’ll stay locked away.

3. Get feedback from people you don’t know, who know what they’re talking about.

I kept writing, though. In October 2010, after eight months of writing, I finished the first draft of Yours to Keep or Throw Aside. Yay me! It was good, but I knew it wasn’t good enough. So I joined FOUR online writing groups (and I’ve since joined a local in-person writing group and a local writing association). Two were worthless and provided absolutely no feedback. One was filled with people who said it was great, and would I please tell them how great theirs were too so they could win a popularity contest? The fourth, Scribophile, ripped the novel apart. Not only were there story and character issues, but the writing was subpar – POV mistakes, filter words, telling instead of showing, too many tags and adverbs. And you know what? They were right.

4. Learn more about the craft of writing.

So I set out to learn about what I was doing wrong. I read books on writing. I follow a couple dozen blogs about writing. I read about what to do, and what not to do, and billions of examples and explanations of each. I talked to other writers. I’ve attended writing workshops.

I also wrote (and continue to write) short stories. While the depth is minuscule compared to a whole novel, it’s a great way to try out techniques, hone your voice, and finesse your understanding of the language.

5. REVISE, then Revise, then revise again. When you’re done with that, revise.

Armed with all that knowledge, I rewrote my novel. I got more feedback. I rewrote it again. I got more feedback. I nitpicked with edits for two years until finally I was ready to send it out into the big scary world.

6. Learn about the publishing industry.

While I’d been editing, I’d also been reading up on the publishing industry. I’d tested the waters with short stories, both with publishers and self-publishing. So when it came time to send queries, I knew who to send them to, what to say in them, and what to expect in reply.

Conclusion

When people tell me they want to write a book, but they don’t like reading, and they’ve never written anything other than stories in elementary school and short papers in high school, and they don’t know anything about their audience or the publishing industry, and can I put in a good word with my publisher for them? – the answer is NO.

It’s not that I’m trying to be mean. I think everyone has great (and not so great) ideas for books, and these people are no exception. But they need to put in the work, because writing a book involves much more than an idea.

Writers – what’s your experience with publishing? Any points you’d add to my list?

Resolutions: 2015 review and 2016 goals

Every year I set goals for myself and periodically evaluate them. Here are 2015’s:

1. Write and submit at least one new short story every month, with the goal being at least 10 publications this year.

Did not happen. At all. I didn’t complete a single short story all year, let alone submit one.

2. Write the rough drafts for a seven-part novella series, and maybe even publish one or two of them.

Book one is half done. The rest are in various stages of plotting – but the overall series is progressing.

3. Have at least one novel published, with another one polished enough to publish in 2016.

Didn’t happen. My next one, A Handful of Wishes, needs serious revisions.

4. Publish at least two long short stories (10k+) or short story collections.

Almost. I have one more pass of edits before I hit publish on “A Place to Die.”

5. Improve my marketing strategy in order to increase my fanbase (as measured by newsletter subscription, Facebook page likes, and social media interactions like comments, likes, and favorites), sales, and reviews.

Partly. I doubled my newsletter subscriptions. I also did a lot more promos this year (Facebook and book list ads, author events), but it didn’t have much of an effect on sales. And social media interactions didn’t really increase either. But I did get a bunch of reviews.

6. Read 100 books.

I read 62.

7. Get healthier: cut out my daily breakfast Pepsi (not sure how the lack of caffeine will work when I generally only get 4-5 hours of sleep) and eventually almost all soda; go out to eat once a week or less; eat more fruits and veggies and less processed, sodium-drenched foods; use the gym membership I’m paying for; ride my bike to work when it warms up; etc.

I did this for awhile, but then backslid when I started my internship this fall. However, I lost 15 lbs this year and haven’t gained it back yet, so that’s something.

Overall, I sucked when it came to writing new stuff in 2015.

Part of the problem is that I have horrible time management skills. I tend to procrastinate then cram at the last minute (studying, writing papers, reading journal articles, etc). But the thing is, it works. For the past couple years of grad school, focusing on the immediate next project, rather than planning ahead, resulted in A’s. I have very little incentive to not procrastinate.

Also, I had a lot of free time this fall. Yeah, I was taking 3 classes and doing an internship and teaching a class, but compare that to 5 classes while working full time. I’ve found that I work better under pressure; when I have free time, I tend to waste it on activities that help me unwind (for example, funny cat videos) but don’t do anything for meeting my goals.

So for 2015, knowing that, I’m going to focus on using my time more wisely. Here are my goals:

  1. Write at least 30 minutes a day, which I’ll track through 750words.com.
  2. Finish something every month, whether it’s a short story, series novella, novel, or whatever.
  3. Publish at least 4 of those finished things – ideally, something every 3 months.
  4. Continue the focus on increased marketing, same as last year: increase my fanbase (as measured by newsletter subscription, Facebook page likes, and social media interactions like comments, likes, and favorites), sales, and reviews.
  5. Read 100 books.
  6. Continue the focus on being healthy – riding my bike more, cutting back on the meals out, eating a more balanced diet, etc.

What are your goals for 2016?

New book release and sale! (kind of)

yourstokeeporthrowasideThis week I released a new title – Yours to Keep or Throw Aside. It’s about a housewife whose husband cheats on her, and she has to decide whether to fix her marriage or get into a relationship with a cop who has a lot of problems of his own.

What’s that? This sounds familiar?

Yes, actually, it is. We’ve retitled and re-released my 2013 debut novel, The Lone Wolf. The cover is different, but the content is still the same.

It’s on sale this week at Amazon for only $.99. Make sure you get a copy if you haven’t read it yet!

 

Resolutions: 2014 review and 2015 goals

Every year I set goals for myself and periodically evaluate them. Here are 2014’s:

1. Finish my third novel, tentatively titled On the Other Side, which will be a steampunk political thriller because, well, why not.

Did not happen because the combination of working full time while attending grad school full time kicked my butt this year.

2. Write and submit at least one new short story every month.

Did not happen because the combination of working full time while attending grad school full time kicked my butt this year. I have several ready to send out, but I haven’t submitted anything since late last winter.

3.Get a short story collection ready for publication (not including The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which was released by Evolved Publishing in December).

Did not happen because the combination of working full time while attending grad school full time kicked my butt this year.

4. Self-publish at least two long short stories through my publisher.

My publisher, Evolved, released “Not My Thing” in April. It’s been free since this summer and did pretty well for downloads.

I haven’t gotten anything else written because the combination – you get the idea.

5. Read 100 books.

I read 56 (post to come soon), which averages to about 1 a week. Not bad, considering this doesn’t include all the reading I did for classes and my thesis proposal.

6. Learn a new language – either Spanish, Tamil, Arabic, or Icelandic – to the point I can carry on a basic conversation in it.

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

shortline

I didn’t do so well last year when it came to writing goals – I started a new job that had about 5-10 hours/week mandatory overtime for several months, I took 4-5 classes each semester, I had a 20 hr/wk summer internship, and I was working on a thesis proposal the whole time. And I bought a 100-year-old house this fall that’s needed a bunch of work – painting everything, refinishing hardwood floors, etc.

2015 should be calmer though (or not – I may be in a PhD program instead of working, so we’ll see how that trade-off goes). However, every time I cross something off my list I seem to add two more things in its place, so with that in mind, here are my goals for 2015:

1. Write and submit at least one new short story every month, with the goal being at least 10 publications this year.

2. Write the rough drafts for a seven-part novella series, and maybe even publish one or two of them.

3. Have at least one novel published, with another one polished enough to publish in 2016.

4. Publish at least two long short stories (10k+) or short story collections.

5. Improve my marketing strategy in order to increase my fanbase (as measured by newsletter subscription, Facebook page likes, and social media interactions like comments, likes, and favorites), sales, and reviews.

6. Read 100 books.

7. Get healthier: cut out my daily breakfast Pepsi (not sure how the lack of caffeine will work when I generally only get 4-5 hours of sleep) and eventually almost all soda; go out to eat once a week or less; eat more fruits and veggies and less processed, sodium-drenched foods; use the gym membership I’m paying for; ride my bike to work when it warms up; etc.

shortline

What are your goals for 2015?

Author Interview: Jonathan Brookes

This week I chatted with Jonathan Brookes, author of the thriller novella Relic.

Warfare has entered a new era. The cold war is long over. Battleships, bombers, and tanks, the big iron of twentieth century military might, have taken a back seat to unmanned drones, IEDs, and suicide bombers. Fueled by cutting edge biotechnology, in a world where Dr. Strangelove politics and Jurassic Park science collide, the military embarks on a desperate project to seek out and destroy enemy combatants on their home turf.

Disturbingly close to the truth, Relic describes a world in which human soldiers are replaced with something much deadlier, and much more uncontrollable, with consequences that could spell the end of humanity as we know it.

reliccoverMe: Your book focuses a lot on genetic research. How plausible do you think your story is?

Jonathan: I believe it is plausible based on the research I’ve done. There are currently efforts in the scientific community to clone/resurrect wooly mammoths and perhaps other extinct species of animals. It’s not a stretch to clone a complex mammal like a human or Neanderthal.

Me: Do you think the government and private contractors are attempting it as we speak?

Jonathan: Perhaps not today, but in 10 years maybe. Certainly, cloning a mammal has been done before some years ago with Dolly the sheep. There’s a small team that was advertising for a volunteer surrogate to carry a Neanderthal to term. It’s a fringe group and most scientists don’t support the effort for moral ethical reasons. I can get you the specifics if you like.

Me: No, that’s okay. I’m not planning on cloning anything or anyone. And my readers can research it themselves.

Jonathan: Okay. I don’t know how much detail you need. Harvard geneticist George Church is the scientist who was trying to do this

Me: Let’s discuss your characters. It seems like none of them are completely good or completely bad; rather, they’re driven by a goal, and they’ll do anything to reach it. Is that something that was intentional, or did it just turn out that way?

Jonathan: Okay, the characters… Goal oriented characters was intentional — most real people are like that. There’s always some motivation that drives a person to do something. Even someone who believes they’re all good or all bad never really are like that all the time.

Me: I felt like I could identify with just about all your characters, even with how diverse they were. Have other readers voiced that?

Jonathan: I’m still waiting for a reader, any reader, to comment on the story. You’re the first, not including my editor.

Me: I definitely enjoyed it. While it had a lot of sciency stuff in it, it was really accessible for a layperson who doesn’t have a genetic or military background.

Jonathan: Yes, one of my goals was to make the science accessible. I dislike sci-fi that delves so deep into the science that I feel like I’m taking a college course. I want science to enable the story, not be the story.

Me: I think you captured that well.

Jonathan: Thank you.

Me: Next question: Jonathan Brooks is a character in your story. Why did you choose to write yourself in?

Jonathan: I’m thinking of sequels.  I wanted to have enough loose ends to go in a few different directions with the next books. Originally that wasn’t the plan, but as I wrote it made sense to me to have this rogue character who leaks the project info to another author. Now he’s on the run.

Me: One of my questions for you was going to be about sequels, because just about all the characters could have one. Are you currently working on one, or is it just something to look for in the general future?

Jonathan: I’m in the planning stage for the next sequel. I probably will start writing after the new year. Right now, I would like to write a book per year. It took me less than a year to write this first book. I think I should be able to pull it off. Of course, I may be optimistic.

Me: I think we all set optimistic schedules for ourselves, and then life gets in the way.

Jonathan: I tend to write in bursts. For example, this novel relic was mostly written over a two-month period.  Then lots and lots of editing after that. Yeah, life, mine is getting less complicated. My son is heading off to college next year so my wife and I will be empty nesters.

Me: So plenty of time to write.

Jonathan: I hope so.

Me: Will you be writing more political thrillers like Relic and its sequels, or do you plan to focus on another genre?

Jonathan: For now I plan to stay in this genre, but who knows, I may write something else. I didn’t originally plan to write in this genre; it just sort of happened. It feels comfortable for me.

Me: What did you initially want to write?

Jonathan: What did I originally want to write? …. hmmmm. Not sure how to answer that. I’ve spent many years writing technical documents, etc. I wanted to see if I could write something entertaining. I used to write when I was in college. I got my B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science, but I minored in theater arts. I really enjoyed theater but knew I couldn’t make a living at it. Now, thirty years later, I have the financial luxury of being able to slow down my career and do some writing.

Me: I had a college math professor who minored in creative writing, but felt the same way – he couldn’t make a living at it. It definitely made him a more rounded person, not focusing just on numbers.

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s like scientists and engineers who are also musicians.

Me: Have you kept up with the theater arts/creative side of yourself, or did you focus solely on technical stuff?

Jonathan: I happen to be an engineer who writes. For about ten years after I graduated college, I stayed active in theater by being involved in community theater. I was mostly involved in lighting design but also did scene construction.

Me: The technical parts.

Jonathan: I acted only once. I had the part of Steve in “Say Goodnight, Gracie” by Ralph Pape my senior year at Northeastern.

Me: Any plans for more acting, or will you stick to writing? And any desire to write scripts?

Jonathan: Screenplays perhaps. I had that in mind as I wrote Relic. There’s a lot of dialog

Me: Yeah, the story moves quickly.

Jonathan: I imagined the story sort of in movie form as I wrote.

Me: I could see it making a good film.

Jonathan: Got to find a studio, eh?

Me: Yeah, if only it were that easy.

Jonathan: Ha. When I first started writing I was much more descriptive. Lots of narration. The critiques shot it down, said I needed to do more showing and less telling, so I switched to dialog.

Me: I think for a thriller like Relic, more action and dialogue works better. Although introspection would’ve been interesting too, to see how the characters view their actions. But you could probably show a lot of that in sequels focusing more closely on various people.

Jonathan: Yeah, my editor wanted me to delve more deeply into the minds of the characters, wanted me to explore what made them tick. I thought that would make the story drag. It’s a balancing act.

Me: Definitely. Why did you go the self-publishing route?

Jonathan: Good question…Not sure if I have a good answer. I can get impatient

Me: It’s a personal decision, so whatever your answer, it’ll be a good one.

Jonathan: I wanted to write a quality book, but I didn’t want to shop it around for 5 years. Since it took me less than a year to write, I didn’t want it to sit on a shelf. I ‘m not in this for the money; It’s a personal endeavor. I’m doing it for my pleasure

Me: That’s a great reason to write.

Jonathan: If folks read it, then that’s good. In fact, I’d even be happy if folks hated the book; at least they read it.

Me: How easy did you find the process? Would you self-publish your next book?

Jonathan: The mechanics of self-pubbing is very easy, especially for ebooks, kindle. I focused on publishing as a paper book first. I went through CreateSpace because they have top-notch tools and support for creating the finished product. The process also slowed me down so that I would not “pull the trigger” prematurely and publish without first reading and rereading the text. It made me think. Going straight to kindle is too easy.

Me: Do you think you’ll have the same hesitation next time?

Jonathan:  Hesitation?

Me: Checking and rechecking.

Jonathan: That wasn’t hesitation. It was the right thing to do. I found a lot of mistakes by doing all that rereading.

Me: It paid off; I don’t think I caught any mistakes in the version I read.

Jonathan: There’s one grammatical error, very subtle.

Me: Shh, don’t tell me if I didn’t notice.

Jonathan: But I know it’s there. I had several other folks read the manuscript before pubbing. Beta readers. They found mistakes and stuff. Having several folks read it was good. Each person found different problems and had different opinions. However, none of them read the final version.

Me: They did a good job. Any final thoughts to offer about your book?

Jonathan:  One thing we didn’t touch upon in the interview was why I gave the book that title “Relic”. What do Neanderthal DNA and Morse code have in common? They’re both artifacts of bygone days that somehow still capture our attention and imagination.

All through the book there are references to historical artifacts: Morse code, Neanderthals, General Holbrooke’s personality, sailing ships, out-of-date warfare tactics and equipment, people who are past their prime but still exerting an influence. Artifacts like that are all around us in real life and still capture our attention and imagination. Artifacts that not only claim our attention but can alter our lives. There’s some mystical power that certain artifacts have. Some folks call it nostalgia. Whatever it is, these artifacts still exert some power over people.

Me: Okay, last question: what tips do you have for writers who want to publish?

Jonathan: Tips? Hmmmm. Make sure you have a quality product. Be proud of what you write, what you deliver.

Relic is available through Amazon as both an ebook and in print.

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