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Successful Author

What is your personal benchmark for success? How do you define it?

Larry Correia gave us his alphabetical list of author success (which is just about as off the wall, NSFW, and funny as you’d expect from the guy who came up with the Internet Arguing Checklist.)

Dean Wesley Smith, who’s been in this business for a few decades, has said that he knew a crusty old bookstore owner who figured you weren’t a “pro” until you had ten books out, as he’d seen far too many writers quit before they got that far. So the day Dean slapped that tenth published book on the table, the old gent acknowledged that he was “no longer a neo-pro.” Read more

A Bright Future

As we tremble on the brink of turning the calendar over to a new year, I’ve been doing a little thinking about the future, as we are all wont to do at this milestone in time. But before I got into the deep waters, I came home from work yesterday evening and didn’t want to do much of, well, anything. There was a brief conversation with my husband, and he reminded me that we really wanted to see the latest movie release, Bright. So we grabbed our winter coats, wallets, and packed up into the car to drive the twenty minutes to the nearest cinema…. Read more

I got a Kindle for Christmas . . . Now what do I do?

You fill it up with books, of course!
Here are a few “First of a Series” and “Stand Alone” books from the Mad Geniuses.

Science Fiction:



Darkship Thieves by Sarah Hoyt

Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space. Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. Never had any interest in finding out the truth about the DarkShips. You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. Read more

Extreme Pantser’s Guide: Building to the Climax

And another week, complete with server crap-outs and other work-time chaos, although the Christmas long weekend was nice. And quiet – I like quiet.

This week’s instalment of the Extreme Pantser’s Guide is a pantser perspective on building towards the climax of a book. As usual, I haven’t changed anything, so take it as read any observations are about 3 years out of date – if not more. Read more

Making Your Gut Into A New Heart


Okay, it’s not New Years, yet, but I won’t see you till after New Years.

It’s been a very tough year.  Very tough.  It started with relatives dying, took some turns into odd personal health stuff.  I ended up on Prednisone… 4? times for massive auto-immune attacks mostly brought on by stress.  There were other things (including relatives health) adding to the stress, to the point sometimes I felt I was going to pop. Read more

A snippet revisited

Here’s hoping everyone who celebrates Christmas had a wonderful day yesterday. I’ll freely admit to suffering from too much fun followed by battling a refrigerator yesterday afternoon and evening that decided it wanted to torment me with the question of “Am I failing or am I not?” So, I’m doing the Mad Genius Club form of regifting. I’m sharing a snippet you first saw Christmas season 2016.

Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1)

It’s never easy going home, especially when you left under less than ideal circumstances. But that’s the situation I found myself in. It might never have happened if it weren’t for my daughter, the light of my life. Four months ago, Ali turned five. A month after that I finally admitted she presented challenges I didn’t know how to deal with. Fortunately, at least in some ways, my mother did know how to handle my special little girl. Like it or not, that meant returning home to Mossy Creek, Texas, smack dab in the middle of the buckle of the Bible belt. Read more

Spaceship Chimneys

Merry Christmas, one and all! I hope you all got as much wonderful coal in your Christmas stocking as I did!

Yesterday I had a Christmas call from my son and daughter-in-law –from the UK where they live in the future (and you all thought that was Australia). I know it was the future, because they’d just finished their brandy butter with a little Christmas pudding on the side (My son’s theory is Christmas pudding is a penance to make up for the joy of brandy butter, sometimes called ‘hard sauce’ – maybe because it is made with hard liquor? Couldn’t be because it is hard…)

Actually, my daughter in law is on duty at her hospital on Christmas day, so they were having Christmas dinner together, early. When you sit down at yours – spare a thought and raise a glass for those who will be working this Christmas, away from home and celebrations. Doctors, nurses, soldiers, fireys, the guy-wot-fixes-electrical-outages, even volunteer ambulance officers (yes, I am on call for it.) Without them… celebration would be a much more risky time, quite possibly, nothing to celebrate.

Anyway, among other things, to much laughter from the kids, I was describing my adventures in solo construction. I explained how I had to lift the shed with a crowbar to put in the floor-joists, and trifling inconvenience of having a small shed on edge balanced on your crowbar – and trying to have extra limbs to move the floor-joist framework… It’s amazing what you can do with your feet, and how long your arms can be… And just how inclined to slither just out of reach things can also be.

My son said: “Dad, have you ever tried NOT building something roof first?”

I said: “Son. I’m a writer. I wouldn’t know how to do that.”

Which has a bonus point of being a true statement throughout.

I mean, it is perfectly normal for writers to construct a great, big, heavy, overarching thing, which has to hang in the air exactly the way bricks don’t. Then they scramble about with crowbars, inappropriate bits of lying around timber and pieces of firewood, to try and stop it descending with a sickening crunch, probably on top of them.

The problem being –as a writer—that if you can’t build that roof, then the floor, walls, bearers and struts, wiring and plumbing are pretty useless. You don’t if the roof can be built until you build it complete. Pantsers – those who write by the seat of their pants, are possibly inclined to build at least one wall. Well. Sometimes. Maybe. Plotters definitely get the whole framework hanging in the air, before indulging in walls. I would say plumbing was ALWAYS an optional extra, which probably accounts for the constipated look common to most award winning authors.

Still – your stories will stay up better if you add walls and trusses and bearers and the like. Computers and word processing make it possible to do later. And a chimney is almost essential! Even on your space-ship.

Why you ask?

Duh. Trust me on this. I’ve been a stand-in for Santa a few times, and squeezing down air-conditioning pipes plays havoc with a beard. Chimneys are much better.

Ok, gotta dash. A friend’s asked me to fill in on a few little delivery jobs, bringing good cheer and all that. Remember to put out a coconut macaroon and a glass of rum… uh a mince-pie and a glass of sherry. Ho ho ho…

And remember, Christmas Spirit is not JUST what you drink.

Peace and goodwill to all.

So: Merry Christmas again, and good writing to you!