Ask the Editor Series, Q9 Q: When I use emojis in my writing, where does the punctuation go? A1: 🤷🏽♀️ 🤔 🙋 ❓ A2: There seems to be a great debate on whether or not to even use emojis, but if you decide to use them, you should be consistent in how to punctuate around… Continue reading How to Punctuate Emojis
"Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives." – M. Csikszentmihalyi The thought that creativity can bring fulfillment is lovely, isn’t it? And I believe it’s true . . . as strongly as I believe it’s that easy AND that hard. Where does creativity… Continue reading What Makes You a Creative Writer?
In college, I took a Romantic Literature course. It turned out to be mostly a poetry course — a syllabus filled with the dull, shoot-yourself-in-the-head type of poetry (in my opinion). I’m not sure why history considers Blake, Keats, or some poem about an ancient fisherman romantic unless you view love as a painful, stress-filled,… Continue reading Setting Goals: How reading the Classics was a lesson in successful self-development
Ask the Editor Series, Q8 Q: What are the three most common issues writers have with dialogue? A1: Writing it. Writing it. Aaannnddd . . . wait for it . . . Writing it. A2: It’s complicated, but nobody knows why. I’m here to help you make it simpler. For some odd reason, people who… Continue reading What Are the Three Most Common Issues Writers Have with Dialogue?
I hope you’re ready. Because I’m not . . . I have the flu. And I have no choice but to assume that being sick at this point means I’ll be healthy the rest of the year. That’s how it works, right? Just lie to me. Either way, here’s the thing: regardless of how we’re… Continue reading Say Yes to You in 2020. Are You Ready?
I never lie to you, folks. So I’ve got to be honest. I’m not really sure how I feel about this past year. It stands out as one of those years that felt like maybe it was a couple of different years put together. Did you ever have one of those? Like, I think I’ll… Continue reading Merry Everything & Happy Always
It was Monday morning, October 7th, 2019 when my creative life changed. I remember the date because it was the day before my twin’s birthday—and because of that I was able to hold back the heaviness in my chest for 48 hours before a dark wave of sadness came rushing in. You see, that is… Continue reading The Death of an Adventure
Ask the Editor Series, Q7 Q: How can I identify a comma splice? A1: Is there a comma in the sentence? Then it’s possible. A2: This answer is complicated and completely easy at the same time, which makes it complicated to explain. And easy to explain. But allow me to try . . . These… Continue reading How Can I Identify a Comma Splice?
I’ve been thinking about doing NaNoWriMo this year (and last year . . . and the one before that). Get my crap together and all that good stuff . . . and it dawned on me that: As an author, you'd assume I know what I'm doing. I don't! I'm winging it just like the… Continue reading The Kind of #Writer I’m NOT! #NaNoWriMo (+ Free NaNo Survival Kit)
Orchestrating a book launch is not something that comes easy for any author. Even though you now have technology on your side that helps you get in touch with your readers, nothing compares with an event where you can have them in front of you. But, when you think of organizing such events and all… Continue reading 5 Essentials for Your Successful Book Launch
Sure, self-improvement is a serious business. But, if we’re truly going to self-develop then we really will need our sense of humor. Probably more so than when we were just happy to not be self improved. My recent experience with Yoga is a fine example of what I call the funny side of self-improvement. As… Continue reading Yoga: The Funny Side of Self-Improvement
Most people aren’t selfish, they are frightened. Afraid of what others might think or fearful of how they might look. Scared life has passed them by, or that things will be taken away from them. Anxious that the stuff they most hope for will never arrive. It’s all very individual. A homeless person will fight… Continue reading Be a Good Parent to Yourself
Ask the Editor Series, Q6 Q: I’ve gone over my manuscript 100 times already. How could anything be left for an editor to fix? A1: Just one more time ought to do it, then. Or two. A2: There’s a saying: even editors need editors. Everyone needs an editor. At an editing conference I recently attended,… Continue reading If I’m Really Careful, Do I Still Need an Editor?
“If some is good then more must be better.” If you read my article on Potential, you know that quote will most likely be on my epitaph. I can’t apologize for having such curiosity. I love investigating options, planning, and most definitely gathering all the “stuff” needed for the project. I’m also not single-minded when… Continue reading More is Better: How Not to Start Your Personal Development Journey.
They say you draw what you intend. If that is true, then I expect mine will be a horrifying death. My intentions are always toward the darkness. My imagination seeks out the irrational truths that are still, in fact, true. I’m a dark fiction author, so I love those places where sanity grows thin, and… Continue reading A Haunting Consequence
Ask the Editor Series, Q5 Q: Do Editors Have Different Styles? A1: Contrary to popular belief, editors have an amazing sense of style! It’s not all pursed lips and cat-eye glasses, you know. A2: Ohhh, that. This is every bit as complicated as you’d think, but the answer is “sort-of-yes,” and here’s some reassurance for… Continue reading Do Editors Have Different Styles?
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ‑ Michael Jordan So, you may not be a professional basketball player… Continue reading Your Blank Page Isn’t a Failure
I am a procrastinator. I wish this wasn’t true. It is a habit that I formed through years and have struggled to break. One of the things that I have learned helps with this is a mental trick that seems obvious, but allows me to manage most of the things I have to do. Just… Continue reading The “Just Do It” Mentality
If several of years ago you’d asked me to define a midlife crisis I’d have answered: 1.) It’s something that happens in your forties. 2.) It happens to guys who have lacked proper introspection. 3.) It manifests in men through the purchase of hair plugs and expensive sports cars. Being a man of 50, with… Continue reading The Midlife Crisis
Ask the Editor Series, Q4 Q: How do you know if you have a bad editor? A1: Their style guide is I’m OK – You’re OK. A2: This happens on occasion, but if you’re on top of things, it’s not as complicated as you’d think. Let’s face it, with the whole idea of internet… Continue reading How Do You Know If You Have a Bad Editor?
Have you ever trusted the wrong person? Ate that third slice of pizza you shouldn’t have? Or just simply overcomplicated a thing because it seemed like the right thing to do? Yes? Then you know what I’m talking about. You live and learn, right? And don’t pretend you’ve never been there! Nobody likes a show-off… Continue reading Mistakes I’ve Made
There are quite a few statistics about artist and mental disorders. It is for sure not a requirement of the trade, but it is prevalent. Depression being a prominent affliction. Writers especially seem to suffer from it. From Hemingway to Rowling, some of the greatest authors suffered from depression. It is a tricky disorder/disease. Often… Continue reading Depression in an Artist
As a teen, I often heard, “you’re not living up to your potential.” Most of my teachers recognized my repeated pattern. I’d score big on the first test, coast the rest of the semester, and then save the grade with my finals. Saving the grade meant that the potential “A” for the course usually ended… Continue reading The Truth About Living up to Your Potential
Ask the Editor Series, Q3 Q: What “mistakes” shouldn’t you let your editor fix? A1: You should never let your editor fix “mistakes” unless they’re removing “scare” quotes from where they don’t “belong.” A2: Genuine mistakes, on the other hand, are another story, and it’s only sort of complicated. But here’s why. Language is… Continue reading Should an Editor Fix Every Single Mistake?
I know it sounds crazy to think writers would sabotage their writing, when our title alone says we’re writers. The conclusion, of course, is that writers write, and it’s a given that we love to write more than anything else in the world. That’s true, sure, but it’s not always true. Writers have to swim… Continue reading Why Do Writers Sabotage Their Writing?
I read quite a bit and while it is something I enjoy, the more you read the more you find books that fall short of your own expectations. In fact, if you are in the writing field you most likely have said at some point or in some variation, “This book got published? I should… Continue reading Writing a Scene
Like all films, Zombie movies run the gauntlet of great to absolutely terrible. Let’s dispense with the most apparent arguments of “what” constitutes a “zombie.” For my treatment and for lack of a better defining term, a zombie does not necessarily require the death of the individual - infected is good enough. The speed of… Continue reading The Absolute Best Zombie Films
Ask the Editor Series, Q2 Q: If I have my own style guide, why do I still need an editor? A1: Because I need to pay my electric bill. Also, I need to feel special, and I can’t feel nearly as special if you know everything that I know. It’s science. A2: It’s complicated,… Continue reading I Have My Own Style Guide. Do I Still Need An Editor?
Did you know May is “Get Caught Reading” month? Yeah, me either. I found out because I was trying to make a list of books to help me get back into reading and stumbled upon it. So what is it? Get Caught Reading is supported by hundreds of celebrities, and it’s “a nationwide public service… Continue reading Finding Time to Read
I sort of hated school. I mean there were some things I enjoyed, but many others had me never wanting to leave my bed in the mornings. I say this because I find it funny now that I’m an adult, I tend to be learning more than ever. I actively seek information and try to… Continue reading Writing: The More You Know
I love zombies, well more correctly, I love the thought of pitting myself against the horde. I mean, who doesn’t? Although I consider myself a “glass half full” type of guy, I cannot however help but be a little pessimistic over the promise of an inevitable zombie apocalypse. The truth, I fear, is that even… Continue reading Why a Zombie Outbreak Will Disappoint
Ask the Editor Series, Q1 Q: Are editors really as mean as they look? A1: That’s ridiculous. Looks can be deceiving. We can be so much meaner. Just ask our children. A2: It’s complicated, and here’s why. Even the nicest editors don’t always look as friendly as they are, because . . . well,… Continue reading Are Editors Really as Mean as They Look?
I wrote 500 words a day, every day last week! Do you know what happened? Well, I wrote 3,500+ words! Which, if you’re “into losing weight” you know that’s the same number deficit calories you need to lose one pound. And no, that’s not why you’re here, but you can see where my head is… Continue reading On Writing 500 Words a Day
I’m on a renewed trip through the literature classics—and no, a book isn’t on the list because BuzzFeed claims it to be a “Classic.” In that sense, I’m a traditionalist. I have many modern favorites that I would love to see on the list of top classics someday. But to be a classic, in my… Continue reading Doctor Jekyll and Mister Semicolon: The Strange Case of Literary Classics
***This is what my brain comes up with after 6 hours of sleep in the past 5 days. Don’t mind the rhyme, lack of rhyme, or lack of anything that would remotely makes sense. 11:00 p.m. I’m a mess, I confess. In the dark, in the light. My mind is a trap, but no, it… Continue reading An Insomniac’s Convoluted Night — A Writer’s Perspective
There are a lot of indicators that something is or isn’t working for an artist. It is a hard journey and there are really, in my opinion, three things you need to survive it. I like to call them my three Ps of writing. Passion. This one may seem easy, but I think I am… Continue reading The Three Ps of Writing
Life can be stressful. Not mine, of course, because I generally don’t give a f*#-. But for most people, all those to-dos, responsibilities, and endless requirements of adulting can take their toll. Stress has as much of a negative impact on your health as a poor diet or lack of exercise. But there is a… Continue reading Need Stress Relief? Horror Movies and Horror Books Are the Answer
Once again, the Internet provides an opportunity for you to feel better about yourself. Enjoy the "creative" use of these . . . words . . . Uh—spellings? 😉 ————— #1 ————— ————— #2 ————— ————— #3 ————— ————— #4 ————— ————— #5 ————— ————— #6 ————— ————— #7 ————— ————— #8 ————— ————— #9… Continue reading 13 Funny #GrammarFails
Horror movies have risen from the grave and seen an incredible revitalization. Not only are there more horror films in production and more audiences watching, but the stories themselves are being treated with the care and respect deserved. In this resurgence of big-screen horror films and streaming originals, the once-scorned genre is producing some to… Continue reading Horror Movies Grow Up . . . Mostly
Ah February. Love is in the air . . . or at least some semblance of it manufactured by a massive holiday. Too cynical? Well we have to admit that love equals money. Valentine’s day rivals Halloween and Christmas as a top spending holiday. In 2016 estimates had the love holiday making nearly 20 billion.… Continue reading Writing Love
If you’re like me, you find that wanting to write and actually writing isn’t quite the same. There’s no shortage of ideas, there’s no lack of love or passion, heck, there’s even enough time to write if you truly want it. And yet, the excuses overflow so much that when you finally finish a manuscript, you’re… Continue reading 5 Things I Learned About Writing
I’ve discovered the most dangerous thing to health, well-being, and happiness. That “thing” is following the latest advice, study, or suggestions for being healthier or happier. Looking back at the past thirty years, one thing is clearly true—if you followed most of the recommendations, you were, in fact, doing yourself more harm than good. Here’s… Continue reading Advice: Take off your seatbelt and enjoy a smoke.
Here are some posts from writers selling out the secrets of our lifestyle . . . because sometimes you just need to know you’re not alone. Thank you, Internet Strangers! 😉 ————— #1 ————— ————— #2 ————— ————— #3 ————— ————— #4 ————— ————— #5 ————— ————— #6 —————… Continue reading 15 Hilarious #WritersProblems Moments
The “horror” movie has been around for a very long time, and this article is not a lesson on the history of the genre. Instead, I want to talk about those watershed moments that have in some way shaped the things we watch and those things that frighten us - that moment when we said,… Continue reading Watershed Moments In Horror Films
Hello readers. Happy New year! I hope everyone is ready to take this year by the horns and really push yourselves. I, myself, have been very contemplative as this year has started. I spend a decent portion of my thinking time, trying to figure out this writing thing. One of the hardest parts of this… Continue reading The Six Figures of Writing
What if you achieved all of this year’s resolutions and then still found yourself unfulfilled? The ugly truth is that such an outcome is a real possibility. In fact, it’s far more probable than achieving all of your resolutions. It could also very well be that the reason you lose interest in your resolutions is… Continue reading The Life Audit: Aligning Your Passion and Purpose with Your Goals
New year, new goals, new mottos. Goals and mottos are my go-to! Err . . . ahem . . . what I mean to say is I don't make resolutions. For in the past, most of my resolutions have failed, and I haven't done them in years. I’m also kicking “intentions” to the curb this… Continue reading It’s 2019. Be a Badass!
Among my long list of eclectic skills is the ability to read Tarot cards. I’d imagine that Card reading is a natural fit for a storyteller. Seventy-eight cards, four elements or “suits,” twenty-two majors representing the archetypes, that when placed in patterns reveal a story. The story of things to come . . . Perhaps.… Continue reading Fortune Telling: In the Age of Unbelievable Technology We Still Believe
“Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” I’ve always enjoyed that quote. It is attributed to, Ol’ Honest Abe. Reality is no one knows for sure if he said. I say, whoever said it was incredibly astute. There is a problem that we all face and that… Continue reading Expectation Is the Death of Happiness
You see? This is why most writers have an issue with math. One of the things about writing and rules is we know the stuff is gonna change. It changes from day-to-day, country-to-country (even in the same language, I’m looking at you, English!), it’s different according to media platforms, style guides, your mood, etc. But… Continue reading And This is Why Writers Have a Problem With Math!
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and prepare to be offended. I’m a tolerant guy, and I sympathize with the feelings of others. But when we reach a certain level of stupidity and demands demonstrate ignorance, well at that point I have to call it as I see it. And I see it as . . .… Continue reading Christmas, Ignorance, and PC Culture – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” becomes the most offensive song in American history
Everyone is on their own journey. On this journey, there are things we’d like to see along the road, and there are things we need to find. Life happens, and even the most mundane day-to-day task is part of going along the trip. What makes it special, however, is what we choose to do from the… Continue reading The Thing You Most Want—Can You Do It?
Why do some people obtain far less in life than they desire? Why are there goals we so often dream of and yet never achieve? The answer is simple, but the solution is not. It’s a lesson I’ve often learned, unlearned, and learned again. But there was, for me, a single moment and a simple… Continue reading The One Thing Killing Your Dreams and How This One Thing Can Fix It
I have always been a voracious reader. Even as a small child books have been a big part of my life. There are good books and bad books, and most of this is a matter of taste. It is interesting though that as my purchasing scope for books expands, I am finding myself having the… Continue reading Can a Self-Published Author Find Success?
Here at Writers After Dark we like to shake things up now and then! We like to go wild exploring our creativity in our writing, blogging, YouTubing, and podcasting . . . and then we need tons of breaks because: LIFE. For Raymond and I, 2018 has been . . . weird. Separately we’ve had… Continue reading Introducing: Author Brandon Ax
It’s true, and I’m not one bit ashamed. Well, not exactly correct because it’s less a Man Purse and more a House Purse. I don’t take it out of the house. I went to high school and college in the 80s. We still had a fairly strict list of the things a “dude” could say… Continue reading I’m a Man and I Love My House Purse
I’m not humble-bragging, I do have a severe learning addiction. If there is a system, a theory, an app, or a “life-hack,” out there, I need to investigate it. Case in point: I own a Keurig, a traditional coffee machine, and a percolator. (The last is in the event the power goes out, or the… Continue reading Summer Hibernation, French Press Coffee, & My Learning Addiction
In case you haven't noticed, I haven't written any posts here in a long time. Nor have I been working on my books consistently. WHY? Well, it's a combination of a few of things. I felt burnt out, I'd been suffering from a terrible comparison phase, and have been stressed due to pressure from those around… Continue reading Why I Stopped Writing
Saturday Nightmirrors #5 Why Vampires are better than Werewolves Yeah, it’s a ridiculous argument. I said that when I originally posted it several years ago. But you know what? The article got fifteen hundred hits and the comments demonstrated people are damn serious about this topic. That original blog is deader than Count Dracula but… Continue reading Why Vampires Are Better Than Werewolves
Grammar is like Latin. A dead language reserved for science and law. Grammar rules are a lot like Kafka’s novel The Trial. You know you’ve done something wrong, everyone else seems to know you’ve done something wrong, but explanations of your crime are vague and difficult to understand. I wouldn’t deliver client’s work without editing.… Continue reading Blogs: I Don’t Edit Because Grammar is Dead.
Congratulations to all winners of the Chapter of Excellence awards! Every writer knows that their first chapter can make or break their story. You simply never get a second chance to make a first impression. From an amazing selection of books, these openings scored the highest points amongst our judges. They are so captivating that… Continue reading Chapter of Excellence Winners
We're taking this week to enjoy the holiday by stuffing ourselves with food! But before we do, we wanted to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. And we didn't want you to go away empty handed so here's a little laughter in our "homemade" holiday video! https://youtu.be/_HK6ni-Jlew
Nightmirrors #3 “Don’t do it! Are you stupid? Get the hell out of there!” As we sit on the sofa or in the theater we oft marvel at the stupidity of horror movie characters. It’s a joyous and self-righteous feeling to be “oh so much smarter” than these soon-to-be dead fools. In fact, if you… Continue reading In a Horror Movie, You’re Not as Smart as You Think
Hey Guys, Due to loss of power, no Internet, and damages caused by hurricane Irma in Florida, The Writers' Podcast's production has been placed on hold. We expect to be back on our regular schedule next week. Be sure to listen in! In the meantime, I'll try my hand at poetry for you. (You're welcome!)… Continue reading Bad Irma!
In this episode of The Writers’ Podcast, we’re wrapping up our interviews from Once Upon a Book with our spotlight on the reader’s view of author signings benefits. We sat down with Ashley Cestra, a prolific reader and big supporter of Indie authors. Ashley provided great insights from a reader’s viewpoint and shared her experiences… Continue reading Author Signings: A Reader’s Viewpoint — Ep 13, The Writers’ Podcast
Authors tend to be far better at writing than they are at promoting. Often we feel uncomfortable with any communication that feels like self-promotion. But being a great writer isn’t the same as being a successful writer, which is why there four reasons even author needs a great website. They say that to a hammer… Continue reading 4 Reasons Authors Need A Great Website
Length matters . . . am I right? If you don’t believe me, try reading the 200,000-word autobiography of a snail. Unless that’s the kind of kinky stuff you’re into, you’ll probably rather it was no more than two hundred words . . . no extra zeros allowed. Poor snail. The problem was he… Continue reading How Long Should Your Book Be? — A Word Count Guide for Fiction
As an author, this is basically what I ask my readers when they pick up one of my books. 🙂 Dear Reader, Let’s Go on a Date . . . I saw you looking. I noticed the sweet caress of your eyes—hidden behind fluttering lashes, and accompanied by a shy smile . . . My… Continue reading Dear Reader, Let’s Go on a Date . . .
Unfortunately, because there is only a small market for short stories, many writers avoid penning them and lose out on an effective method for improving their writing. But Hey, far be it from me to tell you how to become a novelist. There are several great (and not-so great) books on writing. The basics are… Continue reading 4 Ways Writing Short Stories Makes You a Better Novelist
As we know, developing a deep contrast of layers in our characters is crucial for a vivid reading experience. So in this final installment of Using Body Language in Your Novel, we’re going to continue all the way down to the feet. But I’ll also cover some extra tips about body language for your characters,… Continue reading Using Body Language in Your Novel, Part Four—Legs, Feet, & Bonus Tips
So here's the dirty truth about being a writer . . . A writer who is a mom that is. Or rather a mom who is a writer. Because no matter how much I try to ignore my 6-year-old twins, it turns out I can't escape them. Not even if I hide in the bathroom to… Continue reading The Dirty Truth About Being A Writer
To pseudonym, or not to pseudonym: that is the question. Personally, I’m not “me” and choosing to go with a pen name was actually a must. Why? Well, read on for that answer. But for most writers, whether to use a pen name or write under their real names could be a complicated decision. Like… Continue reading Pros and Cons of Using a Pen Name
Every writer knows that their first chapter can make or break their story because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your opening chapter hooks readers, agents, and publishers or it doesn’t. In fact, the only thing more important than how you end your story . . . is how you… Continue reading CHAPTER of EXCELLENCE AWARD CONTEST
For this third installment of using body language in your novel, we’re going to focus on the upper body and ways to infuse an ordinary story with deep layers of . . . well, upper body language description O_O — I knew this experiment to write a post while tipsy would make things difficult, but… Continue reading Using Body Language in Your Novel, Part Three—Arms, Shoulders, & Posture
These Ghosts Sing Bittersweet Why do you write? Because of these things that I see. Visions and scenery that become kaleidoscopes of color and textures that run like movies in my mind. Because I see the splendor of this world. The great heights of joy and the deepest darkness of despair. Because I see a… Continue reading These Ghosts Sing Bittersweet – Why Do You Write?
Writers! Have a voice in the industry There is much speculation about the direction and choices of Indie authors. Often the info we receive doesn’t match up with what we are actually doing. And sometimes “surveys” seem a bit slanted toward a specific goal. Writers After Dark wants to leverage our over eleven thousand social… Continue reading Writers! Have a Voice in the Industry!