For #TBT: Let’s go back in time to 2006. Erica and I were enduring our evening commute. While sitting at a stop light, I popped in the second disc of NIN’s The Fragile (because we still used CDs back in “the Aughts”). The first track—this song—began to play.

Erica knew I was working on a story but she didn’t know what it was about. I kept it a secret from her, mainly because I wanted it to be a surprise. ALT was, in some ways, my attempt at an apology for being a difficult person to live with. We were poor and constantly argued about money. I was depressed, moody, and I hated my job. I was struggling to find a way to balance doing what I love with the day to day 9-to-5 bullshit.

This song—and many others—got me through that time in my life. More importantly, it pushed me toward completing ALT’s first draft.

When the song finished, I started it over. Erica smirked and said, “Is this your new story’s theme song?”

I didn’t have an answer for her back then. Yesterday, while working on the third Monochrome novel, I had an epiphany: this month marks nine years since I started the first book. The catalyst of this epiphany was a bit of dialogue used by our old friend Mr. Dullington: “The way out is through.”

Nine years later, I can finally answer Erica’s question: “Yes it is.”

It’s not every day this happens.


I received the following message from someone on Facebook earlier this afternoon:

I’m writing because I just finished reading “Writers on Writing” and I wanted to thank you for your article, “Confronting Your Fears in Fiction.” I cannot express how much I enjoyed reading this and how beneficial I found it. It really opened my eyes to a different perspective on reading and writing alike. The cat example you gave really helped me grasp the ideals you were presenting as well as recognize places in my own stories where I’m holding back. Reading “Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” has helped me already in the outline I’m working on – making detailed notes for scenes. I’m excited to practice and improve keeping this technique in mind. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with the world. I hope you are having a marvelous day!

Until I got that message, I’d say I was having an average day. The day job wasn’t too draining today, but I had other concerns. My toilet tank started leaking the night before and I had to call a plumber. It was covered by my home warranty but I still had to shell out $75. So, yeah. “Average” is a good way to describe my day prior to that message.

But now? Knowing that there’s at least one person out there who got something positive from an essay I stressed over for weeks? Yeah, my day’s not so average any more. Now my day’s pretty damn marvelous, and that’s not something I can say about every day.

Thanks, friend. I needed that. 🙂


P.S. WRITERS ON WRITING: VOLUME ONE is available now on Kindle.

AVAILABLE NOW: Writers on Writing


Crystal Lake Publishing’s new series of essays for writers kicked off today with WRITERS ON WRITING: VOLUME ONE, available now on Kindle for an introductory price of 99 cents. The 99 cent price will remain in effect today and tomorrow before increasing to its regular price of $2.99. Here’s the lineup for this volume:

Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.

This is Writers On Writing – An Author’s Guide, where your favorite authors share their secrets in the ultimate guide to becoming – and being – an author.

In this first volume you’ll find in-depth essays from authors such as Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Mercedes M. Yardley, Tim Waggoner, Jasper Bark, Kevin Lucia, Monique Snyman, Todd Keisling, and Dave-Brendon de Burgh. Edited by Joe Mynhardt.

  • “The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going all the Way” by Brian Hodge“The Writer’s Purgatory: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript” by Monique Snyman
  • “Why Rejection is Still Important” by Kevin Lucia
  • “Real Writers Steal Time” by Mercedes M. Yardley“What Right Do I Have to Write” by Jasper Bark
  • “Go Pace Yourself” by Jack Ketchum
  • “A Little Infusion of Magic” by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
  • “Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” by Todd Keisling
  • “Once More With Feeling” by Tim Waggoner

Writers On Writing is an ongoing series of 15,000 to 20,000 word eBooks, with original ‘On Writing’ essays by writing professionals. A new edition will be launched every few months. Future volumes will include essays by the likes of Kealan Patrick Burke, Richard Thomas, Mark Scioneaux, Rena Mason, J.G. Faherty, William Meikle, Lucy A. Snyder, Kate Jonez, Chantal Noordeloos, Taylor Grant, Gary McMahon, Lori Michelle, Robert W. Walker, Brian Kirk, Lisa Morton, Lynda E. Rucker, Maria Alexander, and many more.

I’m deeply honored to be a part of this collection, and I’m immensely grateful for Joe Mynhardt’s invitation to contribute. So what are you waiting for? Go read it!


A jumble of different things.

I wanted to post an update here during the week but I had a number of things going on. I’m submitting my proof here for your scrutiny:

Exhibit A: 


I signed my contract with Crystal Lake Publishing for their upcoming anthology WRITERS ON WRITING: VOLUME ONE. I’m really honored to be a part of this. Not only does it include a bunch of authors I respect and is being compiled by an incredible publisher, it’s also my first sale of non-fiction. The editor told me it will be released in a matter of days, so if you’re interested in this one, I urge you to keep your eyes peeled.

Exhibit B:

I threw down some words on Monochrome #3. I can’t actually show you because that would, you know, spoil things. You’ll just have to trust me. I also had a call with Amelia last week to discuss something I had in mind for the plot’s structure, but I think I’m going to stick with what I know instead of experimenting with something that may not work in execution. Maybe for the next non-Monochrome novel . . .

Exhibit C:


We sold 15 shirts! It’s not quite 25, but it’s not zero, either. Many thanks to all of you who ordered shirts! Teespring tells me they should arrive by the end of the month, and I can’t wait to see them. Please send pictures when you do.

Exhibit D:


I have two copies of ALT and one copy of TLM left in my Storenvy shop. If you’d like a signed paperback, you should get on that before they’re gone. I don’t know when I’ll order more.

Exhibit E:


I finally got around to framing prints of my book covers. I still have to get a print of the ULT cover, though.


Okay, I think that’s about it for now. I hope you all have a great weekend.

More soon,