Dec 10, 2011 - Interviews    Comments Off on Interview With Barry Crowther

Interview With Barry Crowther

Today I’ve got an interview with Barry Crowther. Barry has been voted the Indie Author Rockstar for December over on IndieAuthorRockstar.com, with his novel “Missing” being picked as the winner from a very strong field. You can find out more about Barry, and the novels he has written, over on his site at barrycrowther.com

JGA: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Barry. To start with, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and how you got started writing?

BC: I’ve wrote about this a couple of times on my blog. I wasn’t a natural writer and took a long time working on craft. Joined a writers group (back in the UK) and received my (large) share of poor reviews until one day there was a silence. Nothing critical. Wrote a ton more in the short story form, got a little praise, then got a couple of shorts published.

That was the encouragement I needed to start on my first novel. It didn’t have legs but it was a great start and I snagged an agent right away. We didn’t continue to work together and I moved to the USA (California) then decided to try the Indie route. I had faith in my own ability and have a little sales and marketing chutzpah. The rest is history.

JGA: How do you go about the actual process of writing?

BC: I work really hard in my consultancy between 7:30am and 1pm. As soon as the clock strikes one, I’m outta there and into the same Starbucks every day. The staff know me, same drink, earphones in (a solo Noel Gallagher is my latest inspiration) and I blitz the words. I don’t leave until I have hit 1500 words, usually around 3:30pm.

Scrivener is a big help with all this stuff. It’s a (British) piece of software that is incredible for fiction writers. I didn’t believe in software but as an IT consultant I can’t ignore it. I tried just about everything and most were crap or almost there – but not quite. Scrivener is the real deal and for the price I think every fiction writer should grab a copy.

JGA: I use Scrivener myself, and couldn’t imagine going back to a standard word processor for the writing process! Changing focuse from writing to reading, how do you personally like to read books you buy these days?

BC: Slowly and begrudgingly I am moving to iPad using the Kindle app. I’ve been an iPad user from the start (Gen One) and got a couple of books including my own to see how they formatted on the screen. Now it’s just too damned convenient. This weekend for example I was looking for a book I refer to occasionally and I just couldn’t find it. Maybe I lent it to someone, can’t remember, so I looked it up on Amazon and was referring to it in minutes on my iPad. Saved myself a ton of time.

Yes, the experience is different but it’s not bad. I’m a compulsive gym rat and let me tell you it’s easier touching a screen to turn a page when you’re doing an uphill run than trying to grab at pages.

The only thing about this style of reading is the disparity in pricing. I still don’t get it how publishing houses think they can charge almost the same price for an electronic version of a book? We (the general public) know the margins in eBooks are massive compared to the physical product so where do these price gouging fuckers get off charging $12.99 for a Kindle version? They are just taking the piss!

JGA: Hmm, I think you might be holding back on telling us what you really think! 🙂 Which authors (or books) have had the most influence on your writing style, and why?

BC: Two stand out for me. The first is Harlan Coben. I read ‘Tell No One’ about ten years ago and it was the first book that made me say ‘Coool’ out loud, l was on my holidays in Spain. This guy has a specific style that is very easy on the eye and never let’s the pace slacken. That’s a difficult balancing act.

The second is James Frey of Million Little Pieces fame. James semi-autobiographical novel was so stylized that it was mesmerizing. An amazing story told in an amazing way. If you read Missing you’ll see the Coben influence, if you read Nothing you’ll see the Frey influence.

Those are the two that have had the most effect on me. Julian Barnes is the author that I read and groan at just how good he is. This is when jealousy is a good thing. It makes me want to burn my own stuff while gnashing my teeth. The guy is just too good.

JGA: How do you go about planning your writing?

BC: Again this is something that I’ve discussed at length on my blog. Should we plan a novel or just discover it organically. As I’m a mystery/crime writer the plot is important. I tried to go the organic route when I was younger but too many deadends made me go back to plotting. I just painted myself into too many corners if I didn’t know three things: the beginning as in the inciting incident, the middle or major twist and the end – whodunnit.

This all said, for the novellas I write completely organically and grow the words each day in writing sessions that reveal a little more about what is going to happen next. I suppose the answer to this is that if the work is a novel length crime drama then I plot and if it’s shorter then the writing flows organically. I don’t think either way is right or wrong, it just depends on the writer and the story, like they say ‘the book is the boss.’

JGA: Why did you decide to write your novel,  “Missing“?

BC: I had been working on something novel length and nothing was really working but I had some great scenes. I tried man-in-jeopardy, woman-in-jeopardy, dog-in-jeopardy plot lines but nothing really went anywhere and I ended up throwing a ton of work in the garbage. One day I came up with a hero idea. What if an ex-cop who is now a debt collector was press ganged into finding a missing girl. A few of the characters I threw in from the good scenes I had previously written so I had a cast of characters just needed to see how they would behave.

With Missing I plotted every detail right through to the end. Wrote the whole thing into a very rough first draft. It worked as a whole, but I still didn’t want to do anything with it. I put the MS aside for around a year and worked on some other ideas I had (one was Nothing which I wrote by hand) then came back to it. I still liked it. That was the green light.

So I gave it a good edit and passed it on to a real editor. By this time I had linked up with a few Indie Writers and they were making money and building a fan base. I got a couple of agents interested but they panned out to nothing and that was a 6 month forward and backward relationship. Even an agent in the UK wanted the whole thing then finally decided against it as she considered it a ‘boys’ book? That’s when I thought this industry was some kind of fuckup and I went Indie (self-pubbed or whatever anyone wants to call it.)

JGA: Can you tell us a bit about the main character, Matt Spears, and some of the challenges he has to face as the story progresses?

BC: Matt has a lot going on. This is one of the hardest parts about writing a series, the first one is where all the juice has to get spilled and you still have to leave enough room for a good story as well.

He’s an ex-cop and ex-con. Spent time in prison for the murder of a drug dealer (I’ve never revealed whether he did it or not, only me and Matt know that). Released on a technicality he goes into his fathers business collecting money for street cash lenders. You can imagine the dregs of the earth he has to encounter just in daily life. His girlfriend is about to leave him and a notorious gangster has heard he’s good at finding people. He wants Matt to find his niece who went missing two years earlier.

I threw a lot of characters into the story to keep the reader on their toes. Maybe too many -shrugs- who knows. Local politicians, celebrities, TV personalities, gangsters, bent coppers, private investigators, very fat people and a homicidal forensic accountant.

If you guess the end then you’re smarter than me. I had it all plotted then changed it at the last minute as it made sense to me that this other person was behind all the various crimes involved.

JGA: Who are the readers would enjoy “Missing” the most?

BC: Readers who enjoy a puzzle. This is more along the lines of Pulp Fiction than Agatha Christie but the clues are there. This can be solved and there a few twists along the way.

Also readers who like to learn a few things. I’ve had amazing feedback in the US that a lot of the British expressions (slang) that are used they have had to research those. Which added a dimension to the work I didn’t expect. A lot of readers compare this to Lock, Stock and Snatch where the viewer had to work on some of the dialogue after the movie was over. It’s an interesting side effect of writing in your own vernacular.

JGA: What other items are you working on at the moment?

BC: The main thing I’m working on at the moment is the sequel to Missing. The first draft is complete and it’s going through a grammar check next week. The provisional title is Summers End, but I know already it won’t be published under that name. Once a novel length work is complete I find the Title in the final edit. The theme of the story becomes more obvious to me when I read as a reader and not a writer.

JGA: If you could somehow change reality and become the author of any published book instead of the person who originally wrote it, which book would you make your own and why?

BC: James Frey’s: A Million Little Pieces. I would make this book my own and would have loved to defend it on Oprah. I thought Frey choked on that show. Okay, she was overbearing and bombastic in her exposure of a pseudo-autobiography but Frey knew it was a fake up front. No surprises for him there that he might be found out.

It didn’t matter that he was about to be exposed on national TV. It mattered that he still tried to portray a magnificent story and even better writing by making out it was real. Ask Stephen King, all writing is about the truth, even when it’s not the truth. If Oprah Winfrey (or anyone else for that matter) thought this amazing piece of prose was written by some self loathing, drug addled alcoholic with a death wish then the joke was on them. I read that book totally unaware of the controversy, only finding out afterwards when trying to find another book by Frey, and he didn’t have me fooled for a minute. I know how difficult writing is. The mentally incapacitated would have a hard time with it. Some drunken druggie writing this novel/memoir would be like Hobo Charlie drinking Draino down the street winning the World Chess Championship. Possible? Yes. Likely? Fucking forget it.

JGA: Is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven’t asked?

BC: I don’t think so my friend. My brain is pretty much fried and I’ve got another five chapters to edit! I love it really 🙂

Dec 6, 2011 - General    4 Comments

My Book Reading Habits

I saw this list of questions over on Jaime Morris’s Book Talk blog. It seemed like a bit of fun, so I decided to give it a go myself. 🙂

Do you snack while reading?
Almost never. I get too lost in the story to notice the world around me!

What is your favourite drink while reading?
Coffee or water.

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I’m not a book marking person – I’ve never understood why someone would want to deface their books.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?
I always use a bookmark or a piece of paper to mark where I’m up to. Strangely enough, before I got an ereader I used to have a pile of bookmarks, but they would slowly disappear over several months as I put them in books, then put the book aside for various reasons. Once a year I would have to go on a bookmark hunt 🙂

Fiction, non-fiction or both?
I usually read fiction, but I happily read non-fiction for my hobbies.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?
I stop anywhere – it’s very rare that I stop at the end of a chapter, usually because I stop reading due to outside events (eg: I was reading while waiting for something to finish).

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
I’m not a book-throwing person. I’ll just put the book away (or delete the ebook), and find something else to read.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
Never. Usually the meaning can be determined from the context it’s used in, and if it can’t I just ignore it 🙂

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Thief of Time”, by Terry Pratchett, and “Darker Things”, by Rob Cornell.

What is the last book you bought?
All my book purchasing is for Kindle these days, so let me check my Amazon history… it was the short story, “The Cove”, by Fred Anderson. The author mentioned it on the Kindle Boards, and the description sounded interesting. Plus I’m fond of short stories these days.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
Anywhere I can! I try to read in bed before going to sleep, but it depends how late it is.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
I have no preference. A series is good, as long as it’s easy to buy/borrow them in order.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Not really.

How do you organize your books?
Very poorly! My print books are scattered across several bookcases (and in various piles around the place). I occasionally organize my ebooks into folders/collections, but more often than not I just let them sit in a big list.

Background noise or silence?
Silence is generally better, but I tend to tune out my surroundings when I’m reading, to it doesn’t matter.

What about you? What are your reading habits?

Dec 3, 2011 - Samples    Comments Off on Sample: Gears of Wonderland, Chapter 2

Sample: Gears of Wonderland, Chapter 2

Chapter 2 from Gears of Wonderland, where James finds himself in a strange new place, and makes a new “friend”. We also get to meet the current ruler of Wonderland. You can read chapter 1 here.

James landed heavily, the fall knocking the wind out of him. The overpowering smell of rotten food and other things he didn’t want to think about assaulted his nose. The sound of indignant squeaks and lots of creatures scurrying away told him he wasn’t the only occupant of whatever he had landed in. He opened his eyes, unable to believe he was still alive after such a fall, then blinked in confusion.

He lay in an alleyway in the middle of a huge pile of rotten garbage. Unfamiliar buildings loomed on either side, and past them, he could see the night sky, with no sign of the hole he had fallen down.

“Must have been dreaming,” muttered James. He suddenly remembered the events before the imagined fall and looked around urgently for the killer or the man in white, but saw no trace of either one of them.

“Cops. Gotta get the cops.” He hauled himself out of the garbage pile and shook off the few items clung to his clothes. He pulled out his phone. No service.

He cursed the phone—the only place it ever had a reliable signal was inside his flat—and put it away. Figuring there would be a pay phone nearby, or maybe an open store, he hurried toward the end of the alley.

Reaching the street, he almost collided with a woman crossing the entrance to the alley. He managed to stop himself in time.

The woman seemed as surprised to see him as he was to see her. She wore a costume that looked vaguely Victorian, dark blue, with a full skirt but tight bodice. Her long black hair and slim figure suited the costume, but the thick leather belt around her waist with the large leather pouch attached didn’t match the rest of the outfit. But it was probably the perfect place to keep her money and phone.

His brain finally caught up with the idea that she might have a phone.

“Please, I need to use your phone. My friend’s been attacked, and I need to call the cops. An ambulance, too. He might still be alive.”

The woman looked at him as if he were mad. “Phone? Cops? What are you talking about?” She looked him up and down. “And who the bloody hell are you, anyway?”

He stared at her in disbelief. She was either drunk—although she didn’t sound drunk—or stupid. He was going to have to find someone else to help him.

A loud noise interrupted his thoughts. It sounded like a steam train coming down the road. He turned to see a strange sight. Four lights, nothing like the lights of a car, hurtled toward him.

The girl grabbed him and pulled him back. “Quick! Into the alley, you idiot.”

The cry of annoyance James had been about to loose died on his lips as the source of the noise became visible. The vehicle was like nothing he’d ever seen. The shape was similar to a horse-drawn carriage, but instead of the usual wood finishes on the side, the carriage was made from a weird lattice of metal bars meshed together in a way that suggested function, instead of comfort or design, had been the overriding theme. No horses pulled the contraption. Instead, the vehicle had a huge engine on the back, with a smoke stack billowing a noxious black cloud. His nose burned as the smoke reached him. The lights he had seen were lanterns, and they illuminated the carriage enough for him to see the man sitting in the driver’s seat—a man who appeared to be wearing a ‘red coat’ British soldier’s uniform from the 19th century.

As James tried to take in the strange carriage, he began to notice other details of his surroundings. The street on which he had emerged looked nothing like the main street he expected. The light level was low, with only a handful of street lamps visible, and the street lamps had been replaced with old-style gas lamps more fitting in a museum. They created just enough illumination to make out several of the buildings opposite. Unlike the shops and flats he knew, the buildings were small Victorian terraces. No, that wasn’t right. Paying closer attention, he realized that the details were wrong. They looked more like someone’s idea of what a Victorian terrace house should look like.

“Thanks for almost getting me caught, idiot.” The woman fixed him with a contemptuous gaze. “You know there’s a curfew in this section of the city. The guard can execute us on the spot.”

“Curfew? Guard?” It was his turn to repeat words as he struggled to come to terms with the odd view.

The woman rolled her eyes. “You really are a moron, aren’t you? I should have guessed from your clothes. What are you? Some village idiot who’s come to the big city to try and make his fortune?”

“Hey, you’re the one in the fancy costume.” He’d only just met the woman, but she was already beginning to get on his nerves.

The woman opened her mouth to respond, then closed it. She stared fixedly at his left arm.

Suddenly, she grabbed his arm, and before he could react, she pulled on the sleeve near his bicep. The shirt ripped without effort. Her grip on his arm became vice-like.

He finally regained his wits. “Hey, let go!” He managed to wrestle his arm away from her. “Do you have any idea how much this shirt cost?” He looked at the sleeve to assess the damage. She had almost torn it off.

The woman said nothing. Instead, she reached for the pouch on her belt, and pulled out a gun unlike anything he’d ever seen in magazines or movies. It looked like it belonged in some sort of sci-fi TV show, but it was unmistakably a gun.

James quickly raised his hands. “Hey, now, let’s calm down here. There’s no need to get violent. We’re both adults. I’m sure we can work something out. I don’t have any money, but I have a phone. It’s the latest model. Did you want my phone? It’s all yours.”

“Who are you?”

He couldn’t interpret the strange tone the woman’s voice had taken. “James. James Riggs.”

“Not your name.” The woman waved the gun slightly. “Who are you?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

The woman stared at him, then motioned with the gun back to the street. “You’re coming with me to see my father.”

“Now, look, I’m sorry I called what you’re wearing a fancy costume.” He took a step back. “It’s really nice. There’s no need for any of this. I’ll just be on my—”

The woman’s voice was hard. “You’re coming with me to see my father right now. If you try to run, I will shoot you. Any more complaining, and I might shoot you anyway. Understand?”

He looked at the woman, at the gun, and back to the woman. “Yes ma’am.”

* * *

Lahire sat back in the throne, thoughtful as he looked over the dimly lit room. Even in the limited light, the extravagance and splendor of the throne room was obvious. Marble floors and columns, gilding, huge and complex tapestries, and more than a few inlaid gems combined to create a throne room both impressive and fitting for someone of his status. It had brought him a sense of great satisfaction when the new throne room had finally been complete, allowing him to demolish the old room where his mother had held court for the two centuries of her reign. But the joy he normally felt from sitting on his throne and looking out over his creation had faded that evening. He’d expected Taxard to return from the errand an hour ago, and he didn’t like to be kept waiting.

Finally, the door to the throne room opened, and a figure moved into the room. The light from the hallway silhouetted the figure’s tall frame before the closing door removed the light source.

The newcomer moved smoothly across the throne room floor, stopping several yards from Lahire and kneeling with a bow. “Your Majesty.”

“You’re late. I trust everything went to plan.”

Taxard straightened. “The target is dead, as you ordered.” He paused. “However, there was a complication.”

“What sort of complication?” He leaned forward in annoyance. He didn’t like complications. Complications disrupted the neat order of the society he had forged.

“A witness. A native of the world. He managed to escape.”

“You’re slipping. You’ve never left any survivors before.” He waved his hand. “It doesn’t matter. The authorities in that world can do nothing. They may even believe the witness was the one responsible for the murder.”

Taxard shifted slightly. Lahire recognized the movement. He had seen it many times from subordinates bringing him bad news. But he had never seen it from Taxard.

Lahire narrowed his eyes. “What is it you’re not telling me?”

“The witness. When he escaped… he escaped to Wonderland.”

“What?” Lahire was on his feet in an instant. “Explain yourself!”

“The witness, a male, passed through a portal. It closed before I could get a precise fix on its destination, but I managed to track him as far as this city.”

“You’re sure that it was a native of the Otherworld, and not another fugitive?”

“Yes, Your Majesty. He had the aura of a native. There was no mistake.”

“You allowed an outsider to come here? You fool! Find this man. Find him at once. Mobilize the entire guard and have them do a house-to-house search. This outsider is a threat to the society I have built, and I will not tolerate it. The last thing I need is for the rebels to find him and use him as a symbol to rally behind. Or worse.”

Taxard bowed low. “I will do as you command.”

He fixed Taxard with a steely gaze. “See that you do. Go.”

Taxard bowed again and swiftly departed the throne room. Lahire glowered after him for a moment, then turned and left the throne room via his private entrance. Taxard had made a mistake, but he knew of another who had some explaining to do.

He moved quickly through the castle’s hallways. The sounds of the Heart Guards’ frantic activity filled the castle as they carried out his orders. He was confident the outsider would be found. As long as the outsider hadn’t made contact with the terrorists, everything would be fine. The executioner would do his job, and order in Wonderland would be maintained.

At least, that was what he told himself.

He reached his destination and descended the stairs to the lab area he had first created, and since expanded many times, over a century ago. The stairs opened out at the bottom into a huge cavernous room, filled with all manner of devices and sounds. The room was hot, but for once the air wasn’t filled with steam or smoke. Electricity crackled to his left; however, he walked toward the voice straight ahead.

“No, you imbeciles! I told you to connect the dilator to the converter, not the convector. Are you trying to kill us all?” A whip cracked loudly, followed by a whimper. “Take it apart and do it again.”

Lahire strode past the tables and half-built frames of various creations to the open central area. The thin and hunched form of Dr. Keron stood in front of a large engine of some kind, while two round little men frantically worked on it. Like all of his creations, it looked like a jumbled collection of parts jammed together in the middle of a large metal frame.

He had to admit the doctor had produced results over the years. He had designed all the war machines in Lahire’s army, and his creations had been instrumental in the final war. But lately, his work had not been to the same standard. The terrorists had created a number of devices recently that had surprised and confused the doctor. Lahire was beginning to suspect that soon he would have to find a new head of research. Perhaps even the one currently working for the terrorists.

“Keron!”

The doctor stopped berating his two assistants and turned to face him. “Your Majesty! You come at a fortuitous time. In a few more minutes, I will be ready to demonstrate—”

“I thought you told me no one could travel to the Otherworld anymore. That it was now sealed off?”

“That’s correct, Your Majesty. Travel there is now impossible.”

“Then, how do you explain an outsider arriving in Wonderland?”

“An outsider? Impossible. The only way they could have come through is if another brought them while the barrier was down.”

“What do you mean, ‘while the barrier was down’?”

“Well, obviously you still require Taxard to travel to the Otherworld. While he is gone, the barrier is disabled. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to return.”

“You never mentioned this to me!”

“I thought it obvious.”

One of the assistants let out a sudden cry of surprise. A loud screeching noise filled the air.

“Take cover!” Despite his apparent frailty, Dr Keron moved at lightening speed to dive behind a large rock slab covered in scorch marks. Lahire, no stranger to the doctor’s mishaps, was right behind him.

A loud explosion caused the ground floor to shake. Smoke filled the air, causing him to cough. The doctor, apparently unaffected by the smoke, stood and moved toward what had become twisted wreckage. His two assistants lay on the ground nearby, their clothes scorched and burnt in places.

The first one sat up, apparently unharmed despite the damage to his clothes. “I told you to turn the fitting clockwise. You turned it the wrong way!”

The second one rose, staring furiously at the first. “Nohow! I was standing opposite to you, so obviously I had to turn it counter-clockwise. Besides, you gave me a wrench when I specifically asked for a spanner.”

“A wrench is much better than a spanner! It doesn’t repeat any letters in its name.”

“Contrariwise, spanner is much easier to spell. Imagine if I had to write what I wanted, instead of speak it, and you—”

Dr Keron removed a whip from beneath his coat, and flicked it at the two men. They cringed back from the loud crack.

“Enough! Another word from either of you, and I’ll cut your food rations. Get this mess cleared up.”

The two men leapt to their feet and rushed over to the wreckage. Lahire managed to get his coughing fit under control. The doctor, seemingly unconcerned, took a notebook out of his pocket and made some notes. Lahire crossed to where he stood.

Dr Keron looked up. “My apologies for the inconvenience, Your Majesty. Tweedles aren’t too bright, but as you just witnessed, their resilience to physical damage does mean they have their advantages.”

Lahire stabbed a finger at Dr Keron’s face. “I should have you executed for your recklessness. I could have been killed!”

“And yet, you weren’t, Your Majesty. You are still safe and sound. And more importantly, I have some new data that should improve the speed of our latest fliers by fifteen percent.”

Lahire stopped, impressed at the news despite his anger. “How soon can you have the improvements out to the navy?”

“The first fliers will be modified before the end of the night. The rest of the fleet can be upgraded over the next three weeks.”

He nodded. “Do it.” His mind returned to the original reason he had come down there, but continuing the topic with Dr. Keron was pointless. He had learned everything he needed to know.

Someone had known the schedule for when Taxard left for the Otherworld, which meant a spy was present in the castle.

You can buy Gears of Wonderland from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Nov 30, 2011 - General    2 Comments

Sometimes I Feel Like An Imposter

It can be a strange feeling at times, reading the various posts on forums or blogs from other indie/self-published authors. So many of them have stories about a desire since they were a child to become a published author. They will talk about their struggles for years to find an agent, sending out query letter after query letter and hearing nothing back (with the occasional “send me your manuscript” thrown into the mix to give them just enough hope to not give up completely).

Then there are the authors who were lucky enough to find an agent, only to have the agent be unable to sell their work to a publisher. Or they’ll have a publisher express tentative interest, only to change their mind later on.

The happy ending for those authors is usually that they have self-published their book, and now they’re starting to connect with readers and make some sales (in a few cases, a whole lot of sales. Sometimes even enough to make agents or publishers come to them. 🙂 )

I never did any of that. And like the title says, sometimes I feel like a bit of an imposter.

Sure, I did have the idea when I was young of being an author when I grew up. I also wanted to be an astronaut (a bit difficult when Australia doesn’t have a space program 🙂 ), a fighter pilot (not really many openings for that in Australia) and a computer programmer. It was computers that ended up taking over my life, and I spent most of my teenage and young adult years playing with and programming on them.

Writing was always something that was at the back of my mind, but never something I spent much serious thought about. Once or twice I would borrow a book from the library about writing, but it was usually only half-read by the time I had to return it.

That all changed in 2010, of course, and now I couldn’t imagine not writing. The amount of joy it brings into my life is indescribable.

But it does mean I don’t have the stories of years of yearning to be published, of chasing down every agent and publisher contact I could find, of constantly hoping that I one of the gatekeepers was going to let me through to the promised land. And when other self-published authors speak about those things, all I can do is sit back and listen.

I’m just glad the ereader revolution is in progress, and every author who has dreamed of getting their work out in the front of readers around the world can, much cheaper and easier than at any time in the past.

And honestly, isn’t that why someone wants to write? So their story can be read by others?

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