Characterization: real people with real issues

How do you write real people with real issues? I write inspirational fiction and shy away from calling it “Christian fiction” because of the genre’s tendency towards squeaky-clean people or the other side of the spectrum: wrong-side-of-the-tracks bad boys or girls. My preference is for a multi-cultural cast of characters. They have screwy childhoods andContinue reading “Characterization: real people with real issues”

Turning back the clock

Last year, my wife presented me with a wild idea for a science fiction book. I’m not a devotee to the genre, but I LOVE Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, and H.G. Wells, among others. Some of my favorite TV shows were sci-fi: Smallville, Quantum Leap, Sliders, and No Ordinary Family (yeah, I know that last one wasContinue reading “Turning back the clock”

Time does heal all wounds

I can talk about it now. This August, my wife and I got pregnant, or so I thought. Basically, her body thought she was pregnant, but there was no heartbeat or fetal pole — an empty eggshell, if you will. I prayed fervently that this would end naturally. It didn’t. I’ll spare you the details,Continue reading “Time does heal all wounds”

How to get unstuck with sales

Selling books is a tricky business. It’s about timing and (honestly) chance. The right book at the wrong time is the wrong book. It’s about finding who to buy and giving them what they want. If you ever get stuck with your sales, start with these tips: Stop pitching your social media followers ad nauseum.Continue reading “How to get unstuck with sales”

How to plan a book wedding

I wanted to help plan my wedding. OK, not the flowers or colors. I didn’t pick the bridesmaid dresses. With some things, I asked “how much?” and passed off to my future bride. But I had a hand in the important things. Planning your book release is a similar process. Start with choosing a relevantContinue reading “How to plan a book wedding”

How to get around a slow opening

All of my novels are previewed by a reading group. Its members are well-read straight-shooters who tell me what doesn’t work. These people are “no” men who will say “no, man, that’s not a good idea.” I carefully consider their advice. Yesterday, one of them called the opening to my new book slow. The jury isContinue reading “How to get around a slow opening”

On the inside with a book agent

Last Saturday, I joined Nancy Knight of the Sullivan Maxx agency for a workshop. You can read more about Nancy and her qualifications here. If you’ve decided the indie route is not for you, and your dream is to make it to the frontlist of one of the Big 6 (Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House,Continue reading “On the inside with a book agent”

Do-It-Yourself: Why I D-I-Yed

About two years ago, I changed my life. Call it divine purpose or destiny, but I was left at a crossroads with a decision. Either continue teaching, which I loved, or pursue a career writing full-time. Either required 100 percent dedication, and I only had 100 to give. I tendered my resignation. Some coworkers stillContinue reading “Do-It-Yourself: Why I D-I-Yed”

Don’t take it personal: Damaging the brand

FYI: I said “personal” not “personally” on purpose 🙂 I have strong opinions on many political and social issues, but you’ll never see them on my social media pages. There will not be rampant misspelled postings or off-the-cuff comments warranting a “sorry-if-that-offended-some-people” disclaimer either. Learn a little lesson called “social media policy.” But Brian, I’mContinue reading “Don’t take it personal: Damaging the brand”

Save time & money: Why you need a publishing mentor

I call myself a “publishing mentor,” and not because I like cutesy titles (I actually HATE them). Authors interested in indie publishing (ESPECIALLY self-publishing) need information to successfully navigate the publishing process. You could use someone on your team who’s not trying to hawk their wares instead of offering you another, efficient, time-saving way, couldn’t you?Continue reading “Save time & money: Why you need a publishing mentor”