When it comes to self-improvement, we’re all like teenagers. Individuals of little experience but whose bold and unwarranted confidence makes one a sudden expert. Day three of the diet, and we’re telling anyone who will listen how it is done—the science, the methodology, and the rest. Week two at the gym, and we’re basically cross-fit… Continue reading The One Core Value that Changed My Approach to Self-development
Like many folks, I'm on a journey of self-fulfillment. For a time, it felt an odd thing to be engaged in at fifty-four years old. In my youth, or at least my thirties, I believed that all would be worked out by this point in the future. That I'd be on the easy downward slope… Continue reading Seeking Fulfillment: Knowing Nothing Taught Me Everything
COVID Pandemic's impact on people's lives reaches far and deep. I think we will be measuring the damage for years, not months. Not to minimize those who suffered physically, but in a way, "we all caught" it, even if we weren't infected. The symptoms were physical, psychological, and financial. The symptoms continue for many, myself… Continue reading On Being Mentally Cured of Covid
I had no intention of writing this post. Sitting here at my desk at 8:30 p.m., on a—hang on, let me check because who knows what day it is these days—ah, yes, on a Tuesday night, I watched the little cursor blink on and off, on and off, for about five minutes. It wasn’t a… Continue reading Life Perspectives in Isolation: The Monkey Mind and Stepping off the Hamster Wheel
I’m not a news outlet, nor do I have a political agenda, so I can’t tell you if the Corona Pandemic is the most severe health threat we’ve ever faced, or if it is just a lot of misplaced panic. My guess is that, like all things related to humanity, it is probably somewhere in… Continue reading Covid-19: Test Negative, Stay Positive
I read several articles recently that revealed some people do not have an inner voice. It seems that inside their heads, they don’t talk to themselves. I find that astonishing. In the business of my daily life, I consider internal dialog as the essence of “me.” I can’t fully wrap my head around the idea… Continue reading Inner Dialog: The 4 Deceptive Voices in Your Head and How to Shut Them Up.
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
Revisions are a critical step in the writing process, but let’s face it, they can also just suck all the joy out of writing. Anything that can help speed up the process and increase focus is a good thing. One of my favorite tools is Macros. Unfortunately, like many writers, I was a master of… Continue reading Power Your Book Revisions by Using Macros
This isn’t the first time I’ve congratulated my co-host, S.K. Anthony on receiving a writing award and I am certain that it won’t be the last. An author who doesn’t suffer from a little low confidence probably isn’t worth reading. It’s the nature of the craft, the deeply personal aspect of the creation, that makes an… Continue reading A Writer of Excellence
We’ve all been tempted to set our characters in clearings beneath azure skies. And then, hopefully, after clearer heads prevail, we recognize the overly ornate, sickly sweet and thick text and get back to the real writing. For Memorial Day, or whichever day you’re reading this, SK and I decided to post our original… Continue reading Purple Prose: Why It’s So Terribly Fun and How It Formed a Friendship
Hey, remember earlier this week, when we discussed book reviews? Well, on this episode of The Lighter Side of Writing, SK and I cover the ten things that authors would love to say (but don't) to our worst book critics. So go ahead and grab four minutes of writer's therapy below. https://youtu.be/kISVYsBAUqI
If you’ve reached the point in your writing where you’ve pressed <Publish>, my guess is that you believe that you have just released one of the best books “ever.” Regardless of the genre, yours stands above the masses because it is well-written, smart, insightful, and a host of other accolades that should - if there… Continue reading Why Authors Don’t Really Want Reviews
There are a some folk out there who will tell you that if you don’t keep a journal, you are doomed to never, ever be a writer of any kind. In fact, you will probably fail miserably at everything you ever set your hand to, both in business and at home. Others just get very snooty about the ‘right’ way to keep a journal (as if writing something simple like ‘I ate chips for my tea. That’s all I can think of to write’ means you have failed at journaling, and therefore, failed at life).
Obviously, that’s a load of poppycock.
However, even if you’re not the sort of person who normally bothers to keep a journal, you might find it useful as a writer to at least keep a writer’s journal— especially if you’re working on a large writing project such as a novel.
‘Oh nooo!’ I hear you…
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“Every dream, every possibility, and every journey –real or imagined - begins with two words, “what if…” You know, I’m only here so we could talk. So pull up a chair and sit down because we have much to discuss. “What?” you ask. Well, everything really. Hopes, dreams, the things we want, those we can’t… Continue reading Deleting the Best Part of You
We're all busy and sometimes you just can't read everything that gets posted on a blog. So this is our second installment of "Articles on Writing You Don't Want to Miss" in which we provide a list of some of our past articles you may have missed the first time around. 5 Expensive Book Services… Continue reading Articles on Writing You Don’t Want to Miss (#2)
Prolific writer is one of those terms that is difficult to nail down. The word prolific just means: productive, abundant, or creative. In other words, we may “know it when we see it,” but the meaning is subjective. It’s a quality that requires comparison. And by comparison, history has delivered some very prolific authors. Interestingly,… Continue reading 3 Habits of Prolific Writers
I’m a big fan of the chapter and subchapter titles. Sometimes writing them is more fun than writing the actual story. In this article, Jed spells out all the reasons it’s a great practice.
Chapter titles won’t magically make your story a bestseller, but they can give your novel extra depth. Here are 6 great reasons to use chapter titles.
1. They show off your creativity
Chapter titles are an excellent chance to show off your wordsmithing. Creative, interesting and fitting use of chapter titles will set stories apart. For example, The Shipping News, a story with strong maritime elements, uses knot-related chapter titles like “strangle knot,” “love knot” and “a rolling hitch.”
Having interesting chapter titles is also helps create a good beginning to your story. Combined with a gripping story title, an interesting opening chapter title (as opposed to ‘chapter 1’) gives you more chance to hook readers and show them why your novel is a special snowflake.
2. They establish theme
Chapter titles are a golden opportunity to establish the mood, tone and atmosphere of the following chapter. Light-hearted, jokey and comedic titles will…
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They say you should write what you know. For many writers, dare I say most, the genre they write in is the one that inspired them to become a writer. For me, that is dark fiction. My mother was a fan of horror movies, and I had early exposure to the Universal Classics, Twilight Zone,… Continue reading Is the Shape of Your Brain Responsible for Your Genre Selection?
There are few career choices as authentic as that of a writer. It requires a passion that is fueled almost entirely by one’s own internal motivation. In the early years, that period when development occurs, when style emerges, when a genre is chosen, the writer operates with little feedback and with almost no social validation.… Continue reading The Authenticity of Writing
Sure there is a lot of subjectivity when separating “serious” writers from the rest. Heck, you might even believe “serious” writing is defined by how much time you devote to it or where you’ve published. Those things may count, but in the third installment of The Lighter Side of Writing, we are giving you the definitive… Continue reading 10 Things Every Serious Writer Needs
Productivity is a cultural obsession. You can’t toss a virtual rock without hitting an article or App that “helps improve productivity.” Indeed, we want to maximize our efficiency, and we’d all love to get more done, but for creative endeavors, such as writing, much of the productivity advice works against you. That is, trying to… Continue reading Productivity Tips Make You An Unproductive Writer
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) announced their new Print-on-demand services. The announcement raises serious questions as to CreateSpace, Amazon’s POD subsidiary’s future role in the Amazon family. The details of KDP’s Print-on-demand (POD) services creates direct competition between two divisions that had formally stayed on their own sides of the house. At first glance, it hard… Continue reading Is Amazon Firing CreateSpace
A few years ago I gave up on the idea of being a horror writer. Not, of course, the content or story themes but the limitations implied by the “horror writer” label. The problem with horror is the genre’s definition is too subjective and the expectations too expansive to satisfy. Consequently, a horror story will… Continue reading Horror Writing: The Limitation of Perceptions
Fiction writers have a long and rich tradition of being the unofficial historians of social and political conditions. You can learn much about early twentieth-century midwestern America from Faulkner, or the Spanish Civil War from Hemingway, or the social constraints of the Victorian era from Thomas Hardy. These “learnings” are less about dates and events… Continue reading A Writer’s Public Persona and the Philosopher’s Stone
Being a writer means your brain didn’t come with an on/off switch—it came with a dial. We can turn it down, we can turn it up but we can never shut off the creativity. In fact, because our ideas come from all the things around us, we never really stop working. We collect, we sort,… Continue reading 10 Ways Writers Are Always Working
I remember the first time that I was interviewed for a national publication. I experienced a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Being interviewed as an “expert” in your field is a great opportunity, but I worried I might sound dumb or unprofessional. In preparation, I did extensive homework. I made certain I had all my… Continue reading 3 Ways a Lack of Research Will Ruin Your Book
Of Gods and Monsters ~ Saturday Nightmirrors Humanity is a tenacious creature. All that he sees he ultimately masters. Cities rise and fall only to be replaced by more magnificent skylines, the mysteries of nature are unraveled through technology and mathematics, and even the constraints of gravity have not held Him earthbound. The height of… Continue reading Of Gods and Monsters
I don't know about you, but I definitely would like to see more truth and authenticity in the publishing business. I'm not sure which is worse -when people used to dismiss Indie authors entirely or the current situation where we’ve become a primary sales target. There is an awful lot of advice for sale to… Continue reading 5 Expensive Book Services You Don’t Need
Landing a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list is an author’s Olympic Gold Medal. It is one of the quickest ways to become a household name, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you make the List and you’ll sell a ton more books. So how do you crack that code? What’s the secret?… Continue reading 7 Ways to Become a New York Times Bestseller
Fear is the most complicated of the eight core human emotions. Simple in its original purpose, yet made complex by its modern use. Biologically, fear serves as a survival instinct. A boost of adrenaline, an increase in heart rate, a narrowed focus on the danger, all readying us for fight or flight. Like six of… Continue reading Saturday Nightmirrors
Once you reach that point where you either decide to publish or have published something changes. Your thoughts drift to all kinds of life-sucking concerns - like public reception, serious writing schedules, marketing, and generally the business of writing. Even the most passionate writer can have stressful moments when it feels like the fun is… Continue reading The Lighter Side of Writing – 10 Moments You Knew You Were a Writer
Once you reach that point where you either decide to publish or have published something changes. Your thoughts drift to all kinds of life-sucking concerns - like public reception, serious writing schedules, marketing, and generally the business of writing. Even the most passionate writer can have stressful moments when it feels like the fun is… Continue reading The Lighter Side of Writing
I’d imagine there are thousands of great writers out there with fantastic stories that the world will never have a chance to read. The reason being that author never publishes his or her novel. Two decades ago being unpublished might have been acceptable, what with the gatekeepers and the hoops one had to jump through.… Continue reading Creative Pragmatism: How to Become a Productive Author
The word resolutions come from a Latin root meaning, to set oneself up for failure; to over promise. The ancient Greeks named the first Olympic games, The Resolutions. Unfortunately, none of the athletes got around to training that year, so they had to cancel their memberships. It was messy affair since to only way they… Continue reading The Top 5 Ways to Set Guilt-Free Resolutions
I originally penned this little holiday rant a few years ago. But as most people take the holiday season to lavish in thankfulness, I thought I’d speak for those of us with a healthy love-hate relationship to the holiday distractions…sure, I might burn in hell or come back as a goat for this piece…but hey,… Continue reading In the Land of Public Religion Writing Time is Sparse
So, SK and me are just returning from our cruise and motivation has not yet caught up to us. We decided we'd keep it simple and funny today, but we promise to get our sh#%t together sometime this week. SK says, if you don't think this is funny then drink three Pina Coladas and read… Continue reading 10 Signs You’re A Lazy Writer
An author’s job isn’t just to string words into plots. An author must govern the words, wrestle them into place, make them do his or her bidding, and use their sounds to create rich, crystal clear thoughts. It’s no easy task. Often word-wrangling is like herding cats. Creative flow is often at odds with constraint.… Continue reading Constraint and Creativity – A great story needs both
Two decades ago surveys suggested that 80% of Americans planned to write a novel. Ten years ago, the ease of e-publishing and low costs of book production created the opportunity for many writers to realize their dream. Unfortunately, just because one can self-publish doesn’t mean that one should self-published. I am not suggesting that book… Continue reading The Efficiency Obstacles of Self-Editing
The future of traditional publishing may lie in the hands of small press publishers. Their ability to be creative, adaptive, and flexible offers many advantages over the larger houses but as we discussed in Part One of this article, selecting a small press publisher requires some homework. For an author, nothing is worse than seemingly… Continue reading 10 Questions to Ask Before Signing with a Small Press Publisher (Part Two)
Small press publishing has become a significant cottage industry. Self-publishing changed the book industry’s dynamics, and as many of the large traditional publishers struggled to make profits and maintain relevance, many entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to fill a void. Not burdened by high overhead or restricted by antiquated publishing practices, small press companies have the… Continue reading 10 Questions to Ask Before Signing with a Small Press Publisher (Part One)
Although self-publishing has eliminated the “gatekeepers,” for the Indie Author, the question often remains, “Am I ready to publish?” The decision may ultimately come down to the personal objectivity of the story’s merit and confidence in one’s abilities, but there are eight guidelines an author can follow to ensure at least a modest level of… Continue reading 8 Ways to Know If You’re Ready to Publish (Part Two)
Throughout the 20th Century, book publishing was a gated industry. With few exceptions, if an author wished to publish a novel he or she needed to endure the rite of passage. Agencies and ultimately publishers decided if a book had merit and sale-ability. If the content and writing were good enough, the publisher ensured the… Continue reading 8 Ways to Know If You’re Ready to Publish (Part One)
Amazon has announced a revision to their product review policy and the news has created an outcry from many sellers who feel the changes will have a negative impact on their ability to receive public feedback on their work or product. Amazon’s new guidelines revise the terms under which consumers qualify to leave a review,… Continue reading Amazon’s New Review Policy’s Impact of Authors
I always wanted to be a writer. Not a journalist, not a laureate, just a guy who wrote the types of stories that people enjoyed reading. I remember, as a child, the feeling of awe I experienced looking at all those mysterious symbols on the pages of the book my mother from. I remember sitting… Continue reading A Writer’s Journey