Category Archives: Writing

Should You Write Everyday?? — Bernadette Benda

I couldn’t agree more with this post.

If there is one maxim that haunts the life of every writer, it is this one. You should write everyday. The saying has been around since – well, not since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, but it has been around for a while. Since it’s been around for a while, it has gathered a bit […]

via Should You Write Everyday?? — Bernadette Benda


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Marketing & Promotion

I love writing but not so much marketing.  Up until recently, all my marketing efforts had been at the local level:  Book signings, talking to local bookstores, talking with local groups.  As a result, I have sold more paperback books than e-books.  And while I’ve had an author website for a while, It was stagnant and didn’t really draw any traffic.

I recognized that e-book sales are a larger market, but I didn’t want to put too much time and money (mostly money) into online marketing until I had a series.  I read in several places that an indie author needs multiple books to pull in readers, so I worked on more books and did little online marketing.  My plan was and still is, to market my series.

With The Eastern Factor being released the last week in January, The Kingdom of Haven trilogy is complete, and I am working on my online marketing.  One thing I’ve learned in the last few month of devising my strategy is that there is a lot of information out there, but no one way to success—definitely no guaranteed way to succeed.

So here is my strategy:

  • Goodreads Book Giveaways:
    • I gave away 5 signed copies of The Order of the Wolf, book 1 in The Kingdom of Haven series on Goodreads.  The giveaway went from Aug 6 to Sept 31.  I had 601 people sign up for the giveaway.  I’ve received 1 Goodreads review (4 stars) and had 230 people add the book to their “to-read” status.
    • I am currently giving away 5 signed copies of Stenson Blues, book 2 in The Kingdom of Haven series on Goodreads. So far, 146 people have signed up for the giveaway and 62 people have added the book to their “to-read” status. The giveaway is going until 12/31.  Check it out:
  • Book Promotion Site—I joined AskDavid ($15/6 months). I can post as many books as I want and they have it on their site and tweet it out to their 58,000 twitter followers.  I posted the first two books.  So far, no reviews, but the initial tweet was re-tweeted a few times for each book.  I also received 25 tweets to their followers at my discretion.  I am saving them for when my blog tour is coming out.
  • Instafreebie:
    • Setup The Order of the Wolf as a free e-book giveaway in exchange for joining my mailing list. Instafreebie sends the new members to my Mailchimp account.  I’ve added about 60 members in two months.  You can find it here:
    • Setup Stenson Blues as a free e-book for members of my mailing list who received my first monthly newsletter(for December).
    • Plan to set up The Eastern Factor here for sending out ARC review copies.
  • Mailchimp:
    • Gathering email list through Instafreebie and my Facebook page.
    • Setup a monthly newsletter for my subscribers. (First one went out last week).
    • Stats on the first newsletter: 43.8% open rate, 12.5% click rate, 1 unsubscribed.
  • Facebook/Blog/Amazon
    • My blog is linked to my Facebook author page. Between the two, I get a few views and likes, but not anything huge.  There is a definite upward trend on followers (Yes, I’m calling it a trend if my mom starts following my Facebook author page).  Facebook keeps sending me messages to boost my posts, but I haven’t stepped into that yet.
    • I have started following some great authors (you know who you are), and have learned quite a bit through the blog.
    • You can find me on my Amazon author’s page as well:
  • Website
    • My current website is still fairly static, but I have it linked to my blog and have put more effort into keeping it updated. Happily, my website comes up on the first page (now) if you Google me.
    • I have a new web domain ( and website coming, but it isn’t quite ready yet. It will be hosted on WordPress, so my blog won’t be separate anymore and you won’t see any more annoying adds.
  • PW Booklife—Joined Publishers Weekly Booklife which is set up for Indie authors. You can send your book in for consideration for review (no cost).  I submitted both books for review.  Book 1 was rejected but I’m still waiting to hear on book 2.  I didn’t have high hopes of getting a review here but figured it was worth a try.
  • Sage’s Blog Tour/Book Blast
    • I am in the process of setting up a blog tour for the series. It should be starting around the second week in January.
    • This series blog tour will be followed up by a book blast for the release of The Eastern Factor the last week of January.

It has been busy, but I’m excited to be finally getting the ball rolling on the marketing.  I’m not going to say it’s been fun, but it has definitely been a challenge.  Hopefully, it will get easier with the next book as I figure out what works.

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Filed under Books, Marketing, Writing

The End of NaNo

And NaNoWriMo ends with the Charlotte Creeping Crud.  Why am I not surprised?  I spent the last three days of November trying to fight off this latest bit of nastiness floating around Charlotte.  I am tempted to blame my lack of 50,000 words on this, but it would be a convenient excuse.  To be honest, I just don’t write that fast, and I refuse to give up everything else to win this prize.

I hit the 25,000-word mark for NaNo.  This is about average for me.  It brought my total word count on The Queen’s Man to 55,000.  My goal is still to finish the draft by the end of the year, but we’ll see.  This book is in the publishing queue for 2019, behind The Eastern Factor, which will be released in January, and Half-hand, which is planned for late 2018.  I have a little time to get it finished.

On a happy note, I received The Eastern Factor back from the editor earlier than I had anticipated.  I’ll be going through the final revision, and setting up the book files in the next couple of weeks, which will give me some time for ARC reviews before it is released.

I like to participate in NaNoWriMo because it helps me to focus on my latest project, but winning isn’t normally in the cards for me.  My writing philosophy is more along the lines of slow and steady than fast and furious.  I wonder if people would go to see that movie?

The Slow and Steady: Tokyo Slow-Mo.

Kinda catchy, right?




Filed under Books, NaNoWriMo, Philosophy, Writing

You Don’t Want to Read the Kingdom of Haven Series!

I was always a math and science kinda guy in school.  Math made sense and science was logical.  If you went back and looked at my high school yearbook, probably half the inscriptions read something like:  “Thanks for helping me get through chemistry.”  People wanted to sit next to me in those classes, but no one ever fought to sit next to me in English class.

English wasn’t my thing, especially when we had to memorize.  I suck at memorizing.  I’ve only truly memorized one thing in my life— the poem “El Dorado” by Edgar Allan Poe.   

 I can still recite it from memory:

          Gaily bedight, A gallant knight, in sunshine and in shadow…

This poem has been stuck in my head since 10th grade English class where I had a teacher that thought the only way to teach literature was to make her students memorize it.  Somehow, I managed to pass that class and only completely memorize the one poem.  The only other passage that I still remember, somewhat, is Marc Antony’s speech in “Julius Caesar”:

 Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;

 I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

And that’s all I can remember verbatim, but like “El Dorado”, that speech has stayed with me.   I remember how Antony stirred up the crowd through a bit of double-speak and reverse psychology.  Throughout the speech, his arguments seem to support Brutus and the rest of Caesar’s killer, but in reality, they do just the opposite.

If only we struggling writers could channel a little Shakespeare to help with our marketing efforts.

I think Marc Antony would make a great  book publicist:

Friends, readers, fellow writers, lend me your ears;

I come to berate the Kingdom of Haven series, not to praise it.

Independently published books should be ignored;

And traditionally published books will be praised by the powers that be;

So let it be with this series.

The noble book establishment

Hath told you the Kingdom of Haven series should be ignored:

And this is an honorable establishment.

The Kingdom of Haven series hath brought tears to my eyes,

Yet the book establishment says it should be ignored,

And this is an honorable establishment.

The Kingdom of Haven series hath made me laugh,

Yet the book establishment says it should be ignored,

And this is an honorable establishment.

O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men lost their reason.  Bear with me;

My heart is buried on Amazon with The Kingdom of Haven series,

And I must pause till it come back to me.


Okay, that’s your cue to run amuck in the streets (Or maybe on the internet).  Go and get a copy of The Order of the Wolf or Stenson Blues on Amazon or Kobo.  Book 3, The Eastern Factor, will be coming your way in January.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Marketing, Poetry, Writing

Goodreads Giveaway

Who doesn’t like a free book?  Just head on over to Goodreads and you can enter my giveaway for a signed copy of Stenson Blues: Kingdom of Haven Book 2.


This is phase 2 of my book giveaways to celebrate the January release of book 3: The Eastern Factor.

If you don’t like to start in the middle, just click on my buddy below, and you can still get a free ebook copy of The Order of the Wolf just for signing up for my monthly author newsletter.

the wolf - fred choice copy PSY 5x5 96 dpi (1)

And don’t forget to leave me a review while your at it!

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Free, Reading, Writing

Sugar Mountain Day 2

When I was a young man (and quite a bit more antisocial than I am now) I thought it would be cool to be one of those hermits living on a mountain top.  You know, meditating and contemplating the meaning of the universe with no one around to bother you.  It sounded kinda cool, but I  always wondered if those hermit types were maybe a bit crazy.

Being an introvert, I like my alone time, but I’ve never spent an extended time away from other people–particularly my family.   After two days alone on a mountain,  I’m happy to report that I am not insane.  Okay, so I talk to myself (but not any more than normal), and I sing aloud (mostly to music), and I look forward the each meal as it was my last.   But I haven’t started talking to the furniture (although the fake tree in the corner has been watching me all day).  I figure this means I’m as sane as the next guy.

I spend a good part of the day writing.  I’m up to around 4000 words today. I don’t know if I’ll win NaNo, but I should reach my goal of finishing the draft by the end of the year.  The book’s working title is The Queen’s Man.  It’s one that I’ve been writing on and off for a couple of years between drafts of other novels.  It’s time to finish it and put it in my publishing queue.  I expect it’ll come out late 2018 time frame.

Here is a snippet from today where one of my protagonist is talking to his mentor:

Derrick looked up at his mentor.  He knew Karl had been tasked with his education as a warrior, but the kail warrior had become much more than a teacher to him.  Derrick felt closer to Karl than his own father, and sometimes wished Karl was his true father.  “Why couldn’t I have been born and kail?” he muttered.

“Why is a fish born a fish and not a bird?” Karl had risen from the bed and stood over Derrick.  “The fish doesn’t even know about the air above.  He breaths the water and is happy with it.”

“How do you know he’s happy?” Derrick retorted.  “I have seen fish jump out of the water as if they wished to fly.”  He looked up into Karl’s face.

“Maybe if you pray to the Trickster, he will turn your scales into wings so that you can fly.”

Derrick knew the story.  Karl had told it to him.  “Yes, but he wouldn’t change my gills into lungs, and I would suffocate instead.”

Karl nodded his head.  “But you can still learn to jump, my dear little fish, and knock the birds from the sky when they come to taunt you.”

“It is not the birds I want to pummel, but the other fish,” Derrick grumbled, but he realized that he felt better after talking to Karl.

“How can a fish who can jump so high not sail above the other fish in the pond?”  Karl sat next to Derrick on the bench and leaned in towards his young protégé.  “I doubt that Sir Roger could jump so high.”

Derrick let out a sigh and nodded his head.

Karl leaned his back against the wall and Derrick followed his example.

“Nor your father,” Karl said.

Derrick felt himself relax against wall at his back.


Oh yeah, and here is a picture from my balcony.




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Filed under musings, Nature, Writing

Writing on a Mountain

So I’m sitting up on Sugar Mountain looking for inspiration.  The wife and I came up for the weekend, and I stayed for the rest of the week to try to finish the draft of my latest novel.

We had a good time traipsing about over the weekend.  The highlight was hiking to the overlook at Linville Falls.  I say hiking, but it was only about a mile and a half round trip, which is about as much hiking as  I care to do.  Walking on flat sidewalks is fine, but climbing rock stairs is for the birds.  The view was worth it though.


Hopefully this picture will inspire me to work hard on my draft and maybe even salvage my NaNoWriMo attempt.  Fast writing just isn’t my thing, and I’m behind the eight ball for NaNo again this year.  Today I wrote just under 5000 words.  I’m usually lucky to break 500 in a day, so it was a good writing day.  Of course, I’m almost out of candy, so it’s not looking good for the rest of the week.


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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Nature, Travel, Writing