Monday, February 13, 2017

Calling All Authors

This is a quick, completely informal survey about which service you use/prefer for your online author presence.






Or do you retain the services of a third-party company or webmaster/hosting service?

I've been using Blogger for about 7 years and for the most part am pleased with it. The reason I chose it was because of the interface. I monkeyed around with Wordpress but couldn't immediately figure out how to build and configure and customize my new site. Whereas with Blogger, I had the thing up and running in about 30 minutes. It's SO easy to use. Getting my own domain name and pointing it at the blogger site turned out to be a total pain in the ass, but it was taken care of eventually.

I'm also experimenting with Wix for a new project, but it's pissing me off. I'm thinking about going back to Blogger.

So, I'm curious, in 2017, what everyone is using.

What do you recommend?

Please let me know!


Friday, January 27, 2017

Who Loves OOTP?

How many words is too many words?

For you, as a reader, what length of books do you typically read?

Do you tend to read shorter works, perhaps in the neighborhood of 60,000?

Or do you enjoy longer works? Upwards of 130,000 words (or more)?

Industry standards have been in place for books according to genre. It's rare that any book (fantasy is the exception) will be accepted by an agent for consideration if it's over 100,000-ish.

For example, consider the Harry Potter series. Kids' books, right? So, no way can a kid's book be more than 50,000-60,000 words. Right? What kid can read anything greater than that?

Well, pretty much all of them, apparently, considering the word counts of the books in the series:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 76,944 words
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141 words
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253 words
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 190,637 words
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,045 words
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 168,923 words
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 198,227 words

OOTP is 257,045 words?


I don't know about you, but I didn't want those books to end. I didn't want the series to end.

So, no, 257,045 wasn't too many words.

Personally, I enjoy a longer tale. A book to "get comfortably lost in" as Stephen King once put it. His works are on the longer side. I grew up reading them. Perhaps this is why my books are on the longer side.

I often ponder this as I'm writing and watching the word-count climb. But I let the story be what it wants to be. I don't think it's wise or necessary to adhere to an arbitrary word count or limit.

The bottom line is that a great story is a great story. Word count be darned.

So, what do you prefer? Are you glad Jo let OOTP roam? Or would it have been best if each of the HP tomes was locked at 80K?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Today's Casual Typo


That's supposed to say 'causal', meaning that it is a direct cause.

Come on, people; this is not a tweet; this is a graphic on a major news network. You're better than that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

10 Questions with Occult Fiction Novelist J.D. Horn (@AuthorJDHorn)

This Author Spotlight

Occult Fiction Novelist

J.D. Horn

Author of


J.D. Horn was raised in rural Tennessee and has carried a bit of its red clay with him while traveling the world, from Hollywood to Paris to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. J.D. also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. His newest novel, Jilo, is a standalone prequel to the bestselling Witching Savannah series. Previous titles in the series are The Line, The Void and The Source. Along with his spouse, Rich, and his furry coauthors, Duke and Sugar, J.D. divides his time between Black Butte Ranch, Oregon, and San Francisco, California

1. How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I see a desire to write as the natural extension of the love of reading. I began writing (on a typewriter even—yes, I’m that old) in high school, though, perhaps happily, none of my writing from that period survives. I completed my first, still unpublished, novel twenty years ago, and got really beaten up and discouraged by the attempt to find a publisher. Years later, my spouse uncovered the manuscript and encouraged me to give writing—and attempting to get published—another go. It took a few more years, but this time it worked.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

I love writing. I love storytelling. The part I find most difficult is the marketing side of being an author. Building an audience isn’t easy, and it can be hard to keep the focus on your work, rather than on aspects of your personal life. Sometimes it’s difficult to gauge just how much of yourself you should share with readers and potential readers.

3. What is your writing process, i.e,, do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I start with a loose summary, but I’m essentially a pantser…which makes it difficult when you’ve sold a story based on a summary. I find, though, that in the writing, sometimes a character I thought would be minor flares to life, and helps drive the story. In The Line, the role of Jilo—the titular heroine of my latest release—was originally intended to be nothing more than a mention of her name in relationship to another character. That character, Martell, ended up disappearing, both figuratively and literally, from the story, to be replaced by Jilo herself. Jilo became the breakout character of the series and the hands-down favorite of most of my readers. So, yeah, I like to let the story grow organically, rather than force it to fit an outline composed weeks or even months earlier. Of course the hard part becomes convincing your publisher that the book you wrote really is the book you promised them.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

I was a Comparative World Literature major undergrad, so, basically, you can include most of the dead white male author club. Contemporary writers, especially those who have influenced me include Douglas Adams, Charlaine Harris, Armistead Maupin, Anne Rice, Alice Hoffman, Alice Walker, Kim Stanley Robinson, among many others. It’s funny, though, whenever I’m asked this question, my mind leaps to writers of fiction, but recently something happened to remind me how influential two nonfiction books about Savannah, John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Margaret Wayt Debolt’s Savannah Spectres, were on my Witching Savannah series. Without these two books, there would be no Witching Savannah.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

Argh! I struggle with this one. I was taught that the question mark should always go inside the quotes, but that “rule” grates on me. What I’d like the rule to be is that the question mark goes inside the quotes if the words contained within the quotes constitute a question.
For example: Her exact words were “Have you read the works of H.G. Wells?”
The question mark would go outside if the words contained within the quotes don’t constitute a question.
For example: Have you read “The War of the Worlds”?
Take heed, world, this is how I want to handle question marks. Make it so!

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford comma?

I’m a fairly recent convert to Team Oxford Comma—within the last three years, actually. One day, I found myself writing a sentence—cannot remember what it was—but realized that without the Oxford comma, my sentence had a meaning that was very different from the one I’d intended. It was my road to Damascus. I saw a flash of light, and became an instant evangelist.

7. What is your book Jilo about and how did it come to fruition?

Jilo is a standalone prequel to the Witching Savannah series (The Line, The Source, The Void). It can be read (and enjoyed) without having read the other three books in the series. It’s a separate entrance to the Witching Savannah world. After the first three books, my publisher allowed me the opportunity to revisit the world, and I knew without a single doubt that I wanted to spend more time getting to know Jilo Wills. When we meet Jilo in The Line, she’s in her eighties. I wanted to go back and get to know her as a young person, get to see how she grew into the woman she became. The problem in writing this prequel was that the polished and genteel city of Savannah that we know today, was—during the period of Jilo’s early life—rundown, rife with corruption, and stained by the sin of the Jim Crow laws. Even though the Witching Savannah series is a fantasy series, I couldn’t write Jilo without addressing these facts.

8. What’s your current writing project?

I have two projects vying for my attention. The first is a new paranormal series set in New Orleans, and the other is a new mystery series set in my old neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m in full research mode, so I’ve just finished Tom Piazza’s Why New Orleans Matters, Bloody Mary’s Bloody Mary's Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing with the Dead: True Stories from the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, and am about to crack open Kodi A. Roberts’s Voodoo and Power: The Politics of Religion in New Orleans, 1881-1940. And before you start thinking I’m writing yet another NOLA Voodoo book, think again. I’ll be taking this series in a whole new direction. In my series, Voodoo will be given the respect a religious and historical movement deserves; it won’t be about sticking pins in dolls and raising zombies.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?

My original inspiration was my love of storytelling. Now, though, I have to admit, my readers inspire me. Their enthusiasm for my books, and their love of my characters, make me want to keep bringing new work out. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it was my spouse who gave me the original push—and who continues to give me a kick in the pants, whenever I lose my way.
Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

You can find my books on,,, basically all the .coms. BUT if you want to make me really happy, please go to your local library and ask them to order it. That way, when you’re through, the books will be there for others to discover. 

Thanks, JD!

Please visit with us again when your next book is ready.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Put It Out There

How many books should a writer write in 1 year?


Less than 1?

More than 1?

One indie author I know comes to mind; this person writes 6 to 8 books per year.

The books this person writes are good books. The books written by this person sell well and receive good reviews.

This person writes full-time.

That's how this person is able to produce 6 to 8 novels in a year. It's roughly a book every 6 to 8 weeks.

Some people would say this is too many; that the quality must be poor. Not so, apparently, given the quantity of books sold, overall high praise, and career advancement. And money earned. And let's face it, that's a good thing. But for now, let's remain focused on productivity.

I've written 5 novels in the past 12 months, with publishing beginning next month. And I have 6 more in development, open, right now, at this very moment, in Word, nearly ready for the first draft to begin.

Other writers I know (or know of, mostly through social media and not personally), write far less than 6 to 8 books per year. It's more like a book every 3 to 4 years. Or never. Zero books. Because all they do is write; they're always writing, always editing, always polishing, always starting new projects, new novels, and always perpetually hoping to make it as a writer; but they never actually finish something, slap a cover on it, and put it out there.

And you have to put it out there.

No matter what it is.

You have to share it.

That's the point.

But what if no one knows who you are because they've never heard of you because they've never read your work because you've never put your work out there?

So put your work out there.

If you've already put your work out there, bravo; kudos; well done; continue to do so.

If you've not yet put your work out there, take a moment to consider why this is.

And then forget about all of that, be courageous, set a deadline, work backwards to create a production schedule timeline daily word count to figure out how many words you must write and/or edit in order to meet your target date, and then do it.

Get it done.

And then move on.

Don't worry about perfection.

It's doesn't exist.

It's better to do as well as you can on your current WiP with whatever knowledge and ability you have now in order to complete your project so you may move on to the next project.

Think about all the cool stories you want to tell. That's exciting, right?

You can't move on until you've completed what you're doing now.

Focus on the thrill of creation, of telling the story, and moving on. (Don't focus on sales or reviews or money or comments; doing so will sow insecurity, doubt, and hesitation.)

The only way to get better is by doing.

Not by theorizing. Not by observing. Not by contemplating.

But by doing.

So get going.

Be inspired.

Have fun.

Love what you do.

Tell your story.

And then put it out there.