Short Stories

Alien in my Tomatoes

Publisher: Reader Hill
Category: Science-Fiction Humor/ Short Story
Description: Poor Jared. He once dreamed of being a successful chef-grower with his designer brand of Smoke Tomatoes and other delicacies. Instead, he was a struggling urban farmer who now had aliens invading his Stack Farm. Hear the sad tale, in Jared’s own words, as he relives this horrible time in his life. What can you do when aliens invade? Do you call the media or just quietly squish the little buggers?

Released: February 2012

Available on and on Barnes and Noble for only $0.99

Business News Writer Struggles

Working behind the scenes

So much to do, and the clock seems to be ticking down fast…  I am now a month behind in  my self-imposed deadline for my novel as well as falling behind in getting the business guidebooks done.  However, lots of behind-the-scenes stuff is getting done:

1. The Reader Hill website is up and ready to go as the publisher of my writings.
2. Genuine HR has been converted from being one of our business websites into a blog.  It will now be the “author” for the non-fictional guidebooks coming out from the business.
3. Still need to do the Ministry HR conversion, since it will become the author of our business guidebooks aimed at church offices and other non-profits.

Future of Writing Publishing Writer Struggles

Future of Book Sales

Future of Book Sales

What is the future of book sales?  I will give you one hint:  it starts with the letter “e” and I am not talking about my first name.  E-books are rapidly becoming the preferred format for new book sales.  With the unveiling of three (three!!) new Kindles this year, Amazon is aggressively pushing forward with its e-book platform.  That should not be a surprise to anyone, since e-books outsell all other types of books on Amazon.  Let me repeat that last fact, just to make sure you really heard it.  Amazon sells more books in electronic format (e-books) than ALL OTHER VERSIONS COMBINED.  Here are the stats that Amazon put out in a press release in mid 2011:

July 1995- Amazon starts selling books online
November 2007- Amazon debuts Kindle and starts its push towards e-books
July 2010- Kindle book versions outsell hardcover books
December 2010- Kindle book versions outsell paperback books
May 2011- Kindle book versions start outselling all other books combined

(See Amazon’s press release from May 19, 2011)

These Amazon book sales figures should make any writer pause and consider.  Even if e-books STOP GROWING today, they will still be the top format for book sales at America’s top bookseller outlet.  However, with three new Kindle models, e-books will just grow ever faster. 

How does the rise of e-books affect writers?  Soon (if not now) electronic rights will be the MOST IMPORTANT right for any book.  Any writer who gives away such rights just to get a traditional publishing contract is being foolish.  It might be a matter of pride to have a hardcover or paperback to show off to others, but the money is going to be in e-books. 

These book sales statistics also make the idea of indie publishing more attractive.  With all the turmoil in traditional publishing, a writer should consider becoming his own publisher.  I know that I am giving it serious thought.  To some, self-publishing still has the stigma of  “vanity press” associated with it, but that is quickly fading.   The future of book sales is now here and it is e-books.  It opens so many new avenues for a writer to connect with readers.

What do the new Kindle releases mean for readers?  Wow, for the reader this is an open invitation to either “try it out” or move up to a more sophisticated version.  Amazon now has two versions under $100, making them very affordable.  Why not get into e-reading now?  The reader’s “investment” is less than many spend each month on cable, video services, or high-speed internet.  As for the upscale Kindle Fire, it will open whole new media avenues and will probably take a bite out of Apple’s iPad.  Does it have as many bells and whistles as the iPad?  No, but it is also only HALF the price.  You can now buy a His and a Her Kindle Fire.

Book Climax Book Ending Writer Struggles

Saying Good Bye is Never Easy

I have been struggling for about a week on writing the chapters leading up to a book’s climax.  I have re-written one section four different ways, and each time it just did NOT work.  Each time it fails to ratchet up the suspense.  I realize that the ending is vital, but as this blog’s title suggests, “saying good-bye is never easy”.  How will I ever get this right?  Well, I have decided on the following things to help:
1. Get in closer!  When writing a book with many characters (as I am), I can get distracted by the minor characters.  Especially the interesting ones.  Yet, as I get closer to the ending, I need to hone in on the main characters, especially THE main character.
2. Create more problems!  This is the end, so I must pull out all the stops and let the problems pile onto the main characters.  Any kid will tell you that the fun is in making a big mess.
3.  Speed up the pacing!  This is not the place for deep thought or flashbacks.  Action is everything in the last chapters.  The paragraphs get shorter.  The sentences get tighter.  Make it like a runaway car speeding towards a great crash.
4. Add pressing time limits!  Make your main character sweat as time runs out.  In minutes a bomb will explode, a hostage will die, a battle will be lost, etc.

OK, it is time to tackle those last chapters again.  Saying good-bye is never easy, but I want this book to have a memorable end, so the work is worth it.  I want you to be thinking about this ending for weeks after you set the book down.

Publishing Writer Blogs

Ready to Self Publish?

Vanity Press and Self Publishing:  It used to be that self-publishing was synonymous with vanity publishing.  You paid someone to print your book because no commercial publisher would touch the thing.  This was not a “road to success” but the path to a garage full of books.  Things really have changed in the last few years!  Now, it is a viable option to go DIY, either as a Print-on-Demand (POD) book or as an e-book. 

Looking for practical tips on understanding your publishing options?  Consider the blog entries by veteran writer Dean Wesley Smith:

Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing