Fallen Down World – my Novel is here!

Many years ago (MANY – back in the 80s and 90s), I tried very hard to try to get some stories published. I couldn’t get an agent to read anything and I couldn’t get a publisher to read anything if I didn’t have an agent. It seems that back then, they didn’t think there was a market for Young Adult novels with teenagers as the protagonists. Until J. K. Rowling came along with her Harry Potter series, it was a struggle to find anything for the YA market that wasn’t from the 50s and 60s.

I pretty much gave up writing. But a little over a year ago, and inspired by my fiance, who has had his short stories published in a few anthologies, I decided that the stories in me just needed to be written. I published a short story in 2012, and shortly afterward, began writing the story I’ve always wanted to read. Enter my new book, which just went live on Amazon Kindle yesterday. I’m so excited about this – I’ve always loved survival stories, whether they be due to an accident or a post-apocalyptic event (my book is the latter). Here is the link and the blurb.

Fallen Down World


Florida was supposed to be all sunny beaches and Disney World, the perfect vacation. Instead, fifteen-year-old Dani is the only member of her family not struck with a ferocious new flu. Now the only part of Florida she cares about is the road out. Home is what her family needs, but home is a thousand miles away.

Dani’s family aren’t the only ones who are sick. The hospitals and highways are littered with the dead and dying. Dani is soon adrift in a world where she struggles to find food and fuel as she tries to get her family home. In this terrifying new world, every stranger is a threat and each mile is a battle.

But home isn’t the salvation Dani hopes for. Now, she needs to survive in a world that will never be the same.


Please take advantage of Amazon’s “Look Inside” option to get a flavor for the story – and if you should happen to decide to buy it, please feel free to leave a review. I’d love to know what you think, good or bad. 🙂


Talk Talk

Beautiful post on Today’s Author by Sharon Bonin-Pratt about dialogue and the “spaces” in between.

Today's Author

people_talkingBaby talk. Small talk. Sexy talk. Rant, whisper, inform. Stutter, harangue, order. Insult, complain, gossip. Coo. Share transgressions with friends and make them your confessors. Share plans with colleagues and make them your partners. Share rumors with neighbors and make them your enemies. Talk all day and long into the night. Talk talk.

If I can talk I should easily be able to write dialogue as true as a razor is straight, right? Simply transfer all that talking to words on paper, just the way I hear it, just the way I say it.

So we, um, just write what we talk about and, can you, um, pass me the chips, thanks, and it’s sorta like what I was saying, ya know? Oof, that’s a terrible take.

I guess I have to clean up my speech for the written page because that sentence, 28 words, said diddly squat.

My travail…

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Vive la Indie Revolution

Peter Cawdron, Indie author, explains very well why I chose independent publishing.


Over the past few years there’s been a revolution in self-published novels, and it’s far from complete, but it’s healthy and vibrant thanks to Amazon.

Like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft & Apple, Amazon started in a garage before growing into a multi-national corporation with a staggering US$74 billion dollar turnover in 2013.

Like any large corporation, Amazon has had a checkered past, with claims of tax avoidance in the UK and allegations of poor working conditions in its numerous warehouses.

You can’t accuse Amazon of being a wallflower. It’s an organization with clear goals and aggressive drive, learning from its mistakes and pioneering new markets, such as independent publishing.

Call me naive, but I think Amazon is an intelligent, progressive organisation. Ah, I can hear the cynics already crying, “Amazon’s only after one thing, shareholder profit.” Maybe. Maybe not.

In 1970, Milton Friedman popularized the notion that companies exist for the sole reason of…

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Amazon Launches Short Reads

Forwarding Steve Vernon’s post updating us on Amazon’s new Short Reads.


I still do better at Kobo than I do at Amazon – but that doesn’t negate the fact that Amazon is definitely the 500 pound gorilla in the chimpanzee tent – so I keep a close eye on what Amazon is up to.

Just today they announced a brand new section of the Kindle store dedicated entirely to short stories and quick reads. I think this is a great idea. Whether or not they can run with it is another question entirely.

Only time will tell.

Still, there is a market out there for short stories. You can read a short story on a bus ride to work. You can read a short story before you go to bed. You can read a short story in the doctor’s office. Heck, you can even read a short story while sitting on the throne.

There are readers of all shapes and sizes…

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Being an Indie Author, and Finding Encouragement from Other Authors

As I prepare to release my first full-length young adult novel, I have spent hours ruminating over whether or not I should follow this path. Each time, I come to same conclusion – that even if my book were picked up by a big publisher, I would still retain the rights to e-publish my own work, for a few reasons.

1. I have control of my own stories and creative process. While I have fabulous beta readers and editors, I still retain the right to incorporate – or not – their suggestions.

2. Even if I only sell a couple hundred books (I hope for more, but I try to be realistic), I will still have made far more money per book than I ever would going through a traditional publisher.

3. Yes, there is a lot of dreck out there, but most readers are discerning, and those books that have been well-written and well-edited can be found easily. I’ve read many.

While I ponder these things, I have found encouragement from a writer’s forum, KBoards, and from other indie authors. Hugh Howey is one of those – he has found great success as an independent author with his  Wool series and other books, but he still takes the time to encourage aspiring authors, and to point out encouraging success stories.   Today, he brought my attention to a  great blog post by Alyssa Rose Ivy, another indie author who has had phenomenal success selling her works online. What I love about her post is that she encourages other authors, and shows us the numbers of books she has sold over the last several years. Her first year might have been discouraging for her, but she just kept writing, and because of her great writing, and the team of people she has around her (beta readers, editor, cover designer), she’s sold over 300,000 books.

That’s encouraging. It make me think of Dora’s line in Finding Nemo  – Just keep swimming!


Rough Draft Complete

Even with the rigors of going back to grad school in my middle age, the rough draft of my first YA novel is complete. I’m very excited about this, as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it until grad school was over. Here are a few things that helped me along:

1. If I felt like procrastinating a paper for class, I procrastinated by writing a paragraph or two in my book. Usually, I could only write a few sentences before the pressure of completing the paper took over, but that just made it a win-win.

2. I kept a notebook with me wherever I went, so if I thought of a good line or twist, I could jot it down. Half of that book was written first in a notebook while I was waiting (for a doctor’s appointment, for class to start, etc.)

3. I created a facebook page as an “author” page dedicated to my written work, and invited all of my friends to like the page. Facebook gives me weekly status updates, which reminds me that I haven’t posted my progress there in awhile. This makes me want to make progress, so I can post an update. It’s a cycle.

4. I created this blog, and want to have things of interest to write here as well, so I was motivated to keep the book going, even if it meant staying up into the wee hours to do it, or just getting one sentence in there a day.

Do you have any “tricks” for keeping yourself writing, even if you’re not feeling motivated? I’d love to hear them!

Neil Gaiman gives advice on Writing

This bit from the Nerdist podcast, along with a mashup of “writer” movie clips, Is an inspiration to me. Among Neil’s comments are gems like:

“If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written.”

Another one that hooked me, as I’m struggling to finish a novel:

“You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”

There are tons more gems in here, and I’d encourage anyone who feels stuck to just give it a listen and get inspired.