Kindle Unlimited: Pros and Cons in Self-Publishing

Publishing is like walking through a minefield. Some of the mines hurt. Some of them are more like a jack-in-the-box. Others actually hand out rewards in a non-explosive way.

But which of those categories does Kindle Unlimited fall into?

For those who don’t know, Kindle Unlimited is something you can only enroll your ebook in (through Kindle Select) if you publish through KDP and only KDP. Paperback and hardback can be published through other publishers, but the ebook has to be specifically through KDP and enrolled in Kindle Select.

Now, that does eliminate some potential sales and readers on Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play Books, etc. But 72% of people reading ebooks do so on a Kindle or Kindle app.

Putting your book in Kindle Unlimited does alienate 28% of ebook readers, but it also opens up a whole new market for you.

You see, if someone subscribes to Kindle Unlimited, they can read as many books from the program as they want. They pay the monthly subscription fee, but nothing else.

So, programs like this are where you tend to get your reading “whales,” the truly big fish, the people reading so much that not having a monthly subscription just doesn’t make sense financially. And voracious readers are what writers want to find.

Now, how do you get paid if your book is in Kindle Unlimited?

KDP pays you per page read (they call it KENP). So, if a person reads your entire book, you get paid for all those pages. If they read fifteen pages and never come back to it, you still get paid for those fifteen pages instead of forfeiting the royalty if they had returned a regular ebook or just read the sample and never bought the book.

So, there are some positives there.

The amount you get per page read varies from month to month. KDP does some calculations, figuring up what the total income of the Kindle Unlimited subscriptions were worldwide and breaking it down across the total number of pages read. And they give bonuses to the people who whose books were read the most.

What does that mean for you?

Typically, the amount paid per page is pretty low. I’m talking fractions of pennies per page. But it adds up over the course of a book or two or a full blown series or your entire backlist.

Kindle Unlimited is really good for people with a lot of books out or with a big series and good readthrough rates. Because then, when a reader finds one of your books and loves it, they can immediately read through all of them. No further purchases on their end, but more royalties for you.

Enrolling in Kindle Select also means that you can run price promotions on KDP, lowering your price without sacrificing your royalty percentage or even making it free for a certain number of days per quarter.

And since Amazon now owns Goodreads (yep, they sure do), you can still run a Goodreads giveaway while enrolled in Kindle Select. I emailed them to make sure.

But you can’t sell it anywhere else.

No Nook ebooks. No Kobo. No iBooks.

Not even on your own website.

As long as it’s enrolled, your ebook can only be available for Kindles.

So, though there are a lot of pros to enrolling in Kindle Select to get your book into Kindle Unlimited, there is a very real drawback. You just have to decide whether you want your ebooks wide or strictly through KDP.

But rest easy. If you decide you don’t want to be in Kindle Select, you can unenroll and go wide. Or you can release your ebook with wide distribution through another self-publisher and later on, unpublish it with the other publisher to enroll it in Kindle Select.

If that’s your plan, I recommend that you publish the ebook through KDP and the other publisher simultaneously, that way the Amazon listing is unaffected when you unpublish with the other publisher. That way, you don’t lose your reviews.


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It’s time for me to restructure my writing blog.

I’ve been doing this blog for three years now. There have been some highs and lows, some moments where I really felt like it was helping people, and some moments where I doubted whether anyone even reads these things I spend so much time on.

Which could be said of any part of any creative field, honestly.

But after three years of weekly posts, it feels like I might be reaching a breaking point for this blog.

My mind comes up with characters and stories and worlds without even trying, handling creative writing with relative ease. But when it comes to trying to teach or share skills, my well often runs dry.

Partly because I don’t feel like I know enough to actually teach or share any skills. Partly because technical writing (like blogging) just isn’t my thing.

And partly because I’ve already done somewhere around 150 blogs, and to be honest, I’m not sure what else to cover.

Every week, I try to put notes into my phone about potential blog topics, complete with a phrase or two to round out a couple of those ideas. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes I just can’t think of anything.

Then, when Sunday night rolls around and it’s time to sit and write my blog… I sit staring at the screen, wracking my brain for anything to write.

And it’s stressful.

So unbelievably stressful that, every week, I consider just… not doing it anymore.

But I have this problem with giving up on things. Namely, that I don’t. I hold on, forcing myself to keep going, to keep doing things because it’s expected, because it’s a habit, because it’s what I’m supposed to do.

Even if it’s genuinely stressful.

Even if I’m not sure it’s benefiting anyone else.

Even if I know it’s not benefiting me.

And while I’m proud that I’ve managed to do a blog every week without missing a single time (though the holiday and extra time off threw me off and nearly made me miss this one), I’m not sure I’m going to keep it going as I have so far.

I’ve considered making it a weekly update on my writing, as that’s what it was to start with. It was a means to keep myself accountable with my writing and editing, a way to let people know what I’m doing.

But I don’t really need the accountability aspect. I genuinely love creative writing and editing, and do those things regularly.

Plus, I have my social media pages/profiles for sharing tidbits, with exclusive stuff sent out in my newsletter. (You should sign up, btw. You’ll get a free short story, updates on my progress, and exclusive sneak peeks/excerpts.)

So, maybe I’ll cut my blog back to every other week instead of weekly for now, just to ease the strain of trying to make myself feel like an expert in four subjects every month.

My newsletter will still be weekly. That’s not really stressful as it’s more of a place for me to show you how things are going. Plus, I’m an expert on the worlds I create. Lol.

But for this blog, expect a change.

Who knows, I may restructure it entirely, transforming it into something new altogether and taking the pressure of being an expert out of the equation altogether. Because I’ll be honest, the content grind of long-term blogging is absolutely exhausting.

If that happens, that’ll be a long time coming though.

So, in the meantime, if there are any topics you want me to cover, don’t hesitate to ask. Send me a message, drop a comment on social media, whatever.

I’d say leave a comment here, but honestly, there are hundreds of bot comments backed up, waiting for me to delete them, that are just full of spammy links to other websites. Any real comment here would get buried rather than approved to be posted. Which… is another exhausting part of running a blog.

Anyway.

As I said above, if there’s a topic you want me to cover (tips on a certain aspect of writing/publishing, resources for a specific part of the journey, etc.), let me know on social media. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

And don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter to stay up to date on all of my writing projects (because there are a lot of them, and thus, there’s a lot that doesn’t get shown on social media).

And of course, if you want to check out my already published books, you can do so here.

6 tips for writing better dialogue

Dialogue is important. I think we can all agree on that.

For me, it’s one of the first things that come to me when working on a story. The characters have conversations in my head, and the scene develops around them.

It’s one of my favorite parts of writing, honestly.

So, today, I want to share some tips to help you get your dialogue down in a way that’s easy to read and feels natural.

Said is not dead.

Said/says are viable dialogue tags, but a lot of writers seem to think it’ll make their writing boring somehow to use “said” instead of “whispered” or “spat” or “hissed” or any of the other million dialogue tag options.

But there’s a reason said/says is kinda the standard.

It’s neutral.

Aside from the fact that it’s just the basic action of speaking, it’s virtually invisible. The word said is a background word, something most readers don’t notice unless the book is just dialogue heavy and there are no other tags attached to dialogue.

Things like “crooned” or “shouted” are more active. They change the way the dialogue is interpreted. The reader has to actually engage with that word to interpret the things your characters say appropriately.

And though it may be an infinitesimal difference in reading time, there is a bit of a difference. Refusing to use “said” means that every time a character speaks, there’s that little split second delay of applying the manner of speech to the words spoken. Not only does that add up, it gets annoying.

So, said/says should probably be your primary dialogue tag. Others should be sprinkled over the manuscript.

Certain grammatical rules don’t apply to speech.

People do not speak with proper grammar. We say “towards” instead of “toward.” We use contractions, saying “can’t” instead of “can not” most of the time.

This should be reflected in your characters’ speech patterns unless you’re writing a character who’s unbelievably proper.

Or if you’re writing a historical regency romance.

Go easy with the slang.

Just because we don’t speak properly doesn’t mean every other word should be a slang term. Slang happens and should be a part of your dialogue (though it should be customized to the world/characters).

But it shouldn’t sound like a parody where someone is trying to be cool and failing miserably.

Dialects/Accents can be distracting when typed out.

It’s unbelievably tempting to type things up according to a character’s accent or dialect. But there is a risk associated with that.

It can be distracting or difficult for people who don’t use that dialect to understand.

But they might also be the thing that really defines the character (if done well).

As with most things in writing, it’s all a matter of doing it well. Every rule can be broken (if you do it well). Every trope can be subverted or embodied with great results (if done well).

And accents and dialects are no exception.

Get it right, and it might be the thing that makes a character relatable or endearing or swoon-worthy (depending on what you’re writing).

New paragraph for a new speaker.

For the love of everything that’s still good in this world, start a new paragraph when you switch speakers. It gets so hard to keep track of things when there are multiple speakers in one paragraph.

And it’s such a simple fix.

Just hit enter.

Personally, this is something that will make me stop reading a book. If I can’t tell who’s speaking, I can’t keep track of the characters’ motives, fears, or relationships. And the characters are the main reason I read.


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Garbage Days: A New Writing Tradition?

I’m thinking of trying something, and I wanted to share it in case it might help someone else out there.

I’m going to call them Garbage Days.

Basically, I want to sit down and write literally anything. A short story, something new, an alternate ending, stream of consciousness, a random character description that’s been rattling around in my head…

Anything.

Things just feel so cluttered sometimes, and I’m always paranoid that I’ll forget the details. It gets a bit distracting at times.

So I think having a Garbage Day every now and then might help.

I guess if you don’t want it to sound so negative, you could call it Spring Cleaning or some other prettier name, but I tend toward blunt and sarcastic, so Garbage Day works for me. Lol.

I’m not sure how often to do this or when I’ll actually be able to start, but I’m kinda excited to see what the hell will come out of it.

Will you be adopting Garbage Days as a writing tactic?


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The Importance of Description (and three tips for doing it well)

I often rage about overly-detailed books. I don’t like being bogged down with unnecessary information.

But you can’t strip it all away either.

I mean, you could, but the result may not pull your readers in.

It’s a fine balance, and the line lies somewhere different for everyone depending on style and genre. But no matter what, you need some scene descriptions. Your characters probably don’t exist in a void. They interact with things around them, and those things interact with them.

If they’re outside, the wind might tousle their hair.

If they’re in a kitchen, they might lean against the counter while talking.

These little things that might feel superfluous are important because they connect the character, and thus the reader, to their world. It means that, instead of floating in a dark nothingness, the characters have mass. They take up space within a world, even if it’s a made up one.

That gives them weight. It makes them more realistic and thus, more relatable.

So, while you don’t want your reader to feel like you’re suffocating them under red velvet curtains layered over lace sheers that pool on the white marble floor whose mineral veins streak and sparkle from one ornately wrought wall to another…

You do need some detail to make sure the character feels grounded, in a literal way.

But how do you do it without overwhelming your reader?

Broad strokes first.

Maybe their eyes drift over the forest before them, rising to the mountain range behind it. Or maybe they’re looting in the apocalypse, and enter a trendy office space with colorful furniture.

These general notions give the reader an idea of what’s around the character without slowing things down or becoming overwhelming.

Sprinkle in some details.

Don’t info-dump. Instead, add a detail every so often, punctuating dialogue or movement with it.

When I enter a room, I don’t often stop in place to take in every detail down to the fabric a certain item of clothing draped over a chair is made of. Most people don’t.

These things are noticed slowly over time, if at all.

Show it through the lens of your character.

Instead of describing the room in the aforementioned (and dreaded) info-dump and then saying that your character is walking through it, maybe say that their footsteps echo in the cavernous space, boots thudding against the stone floor. That gets the action and some description taken care of in one sentence without bogging anything down.

Or instead of detailing worn down furniture and then describing your character’s anxiety, show them worrying ceaselessly at a loose string on the threadbare couch.

Showing what the character interacts with directly really helps to anchor them.


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Creating a Fictional Language: Things To Consider

Whether you’re new to writing or a veteran, creating a language is a daunting task. It’s a world all unto itself.

Language is usually a fluid thing that adapts and changes over centuries, even more so now that the internet has forced nearly every aspect of life into hyper-evolution.

But when creating a language from scratch for our books, we don’t exactly get centuries to perfect it. (Not unless you’re secretly a vampire.)

So, to help break this herculean task down into smaller pieces, I’ve put together some tips and things to keep in mind while creating your language.

Admittedly, I’ve only made one language for my series, The Regonia Chronicles, (and I’m still filling out the dictionary now that I have the things below ironed out) so this is not a comprehensive guide to language creation.

More like… a jumping off point.

Alphabet

Your language does not have to have the same alphabet as ours. Much like English vs. Chinese vs. Arabic, there can be some major differences.

So, your language will likely have its own alphabet, especially if it’s on a different world. And those unique letters can represent any sound.

Maybe they have a letter that’s a combination of v and k. That combination may not happen much in English, but their language is different. Maybe they have a letter that represents a “tick” sound.

Just keep in mind how you’re going to write these things for people who don’t speak that language to understand. In the book, it’ll likely have to be spelled out in the language you plan to publish in, unless there’s meant to be a language barrier.

When creating mine, I sidestepped the language barrier with technology (that particular story is a distant future sci-fi epic). The tech fits into the plot and world and helped me avoid having my characters make awkward attempts to mime their meanings.

And since the characters understood things with the help of their tech, I could just type everything in English.

But you might need to consider a means of communication if there is a language barrier.

Common sounds

Every language has specific sounds/letters that get a lot of use and others that are rarely used.

In English, A, E, L, M, N, and S are incredibly common. But Q, V, W, X, and Z aren’t.

That’s inevitable and should be considered when making a language.

Though honestly, it’ll probably happen by accident. When creating my language, I learned quickly that there are certain sounds/groupings of sounds that I gravitate toward.

Should it be Phonetic?

Do the letters always make the same sound? Are there ever silent letters?

English and French are particularly bad about both of those things, but Spanish and Japanese seem to be very phonetic.

English is so bad that I think only four letters are 100% true to themselves at all times.

And I hate that.

My language turned out very phonetic, partly because I hate how changeable the English alphabet is, and partly because the race that formed the language is a very logical race. They would never stand for something as varied as English.

But if your characters live somewhere that has blended cultures and languages, there will be inconsistencies.

Word order

Not all languages put the words in the same order. Some put the adjective after the noun (Spanish), some before (English).

And with your language, you can mix your word order even more. So long as it follows a pattern, you can put the verb first and the person doing the action at the very end of the sentence, strange as that would be to do if you tried it in English.

Grammar

You need grammar rules. They don’t have to be the same as ours, but you need to have them.

Do your people use conjunctions? Do they use commas or some similar punctuation? Do they put ‘e’ before ‘i’ instead of the other way around?

Do they have their own special grammar rules that we don’t have?

Verb Conjugations

How do you show past or future tense? In English, we add -ing or -ed (though as with everything in English, there are exceptions), but that doesn’t have to be the case for yours language.

And Spanish verb conjugations get even more complicated than that, conjugating for the noun they relate to as well as the tense.

For mine, keeping with the logical society that formed the language, I kept it straightforward. A prefix for past tense, a suffix for future tense.

Showing Posession

Is this as simple as adding a punctuation? Or does this require an additional word?

(For mine, I decided to cut this completely. The society that formed the language didn’t have personal belongings, being something more of a hive mind society, and the society that adapted the language just goes by context when placing the person with the object.)

Plural

Showing plural can be a complicated thing. Some languages pluralize only the noun, while others pluralize the adjectives too.

You could do either, neither, or make the entire sentence plural.

But you need to decide how to show pluralization. It doesn’t have to be adding an ‘-s’ or ‘-es.’

Specific phrases for culture

The culture will likely be woven throughout the language. Idioms (24/7), curses (bloody hell), and pleas for help (please, god) that are common place in our world likely won’t apply in your language.

They’ll have different religions to influence their speech patterns, as well as different views on time and life, in general. Their language will reflect that.

For my formative culture, they didn’t have turns of phrase, couldn’t be bothered with them. But the culture that adapted the language is more emotional and individual. They value sound and music, so they have many expression relating to that.

Evolution

This kinda goes hand in hand with the above section, but it’s more than just one culture adapting someone else’s language.

Older people will likely speak differently than young people. Words in ancient texts might make no sense to someone reading it a thousand years after it was written due to changes in the meaning, usage, or connotations.

Now, go forth and make up words. Be patient with yourself. It’s a lengthy process.


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On the Dilemma of Genre Hopping

In the past week, I’ve worked on writing a literary fantasy romance and editing a literary sci-fi fantasy epic, thought of ways to advertise my recently released literary thriller romance, and came up with ideas for a sci-fi novel and a literary zombie apocalypse romance.

So, to say that I hop genres might be an understatement.

Now, every big marketing expert whose classes I’ve taken said that hopping genres is a bad idea.

Truthfully, it does make marketing a great deal harder.

But.

I can’t imagine sitting down to force myself to write something I hate just because it’s in the same genre as something else I wrote. The idea of spending months with a story or world or plot or character that I just couldn’t sink myself into seems exhausting, and I’m pretty sure it would ruin writing for me.

So I refuse to settle into one genre.

And I don’t have the energy to maintain a social media platform for pen names for every genre.

Which means that it does make marketing harder.

But it isn’t impossible.

You just have to find the unifying theme in all your books and really lean into that. In blurbs, in ads, in social media posts, everywhere you talk about your books, lean into that unifying theme.

For me, it’s the grit and psychology, the character development and the fact that these characters go through real shit (even if the world they’re in is far from real).

That, and my writing style. Lyrical, full of sentence fragments and short paragraphs for the sake of flow, providing only necessary details, first person/present tense.

Those things all together mean that my books, even when they’re fantasy or sci-fi or a thriller, are literary fiction.

So, I need to lean into that.

Character profiles and details about their struggles, their traumas, their strife.

Things like that.

So if you’re debating on whether to hop genres, you need to make a decision.

Which is more important, writing what you want or having a more straightforward marketing path?

If you plan to hop genres, going wherever your heart wants with your books, then you need either multiple pen names or you need to find that thing that unifies your books.

Maybe it’s that all your books have a love triangle. Maybe it’s that they all contain a clean romance tucked within the larger plot. Maybe it’s that you prioritize world building.

Lean into that in your marketing efforts so you can attract the right readers, people who’ll want to read all your books, regardless of the genre the story is contained within.

(My main problem so far, if I’m being completely honest, is that I tend to prioritize every other aspect of the writing and publishing process over marketing/advertising.)

But if you really lean into that unifying theme across your books (and actually market and advertise), you can hop to your heart’s content and still build a fan base that will follow you through the genres.


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Plot Armor (And How To Avoid It)

We’ve all seen it. The character that always scrapes by because they’re the main character (or the main love interest), no matter how ridiculously high the stakes are and no matter how unrealistic it is for them to come out okay.

Some genres demand a happy end for the book (Romance, in particular), but that doesn’t mean that your characters should just have everything work out through sheer force of luck and having you on their side.

That level of un-realism takes away from the story.

So here are a few things you can give your character in lieu of plot armor.

Knowledge

Give them the information necessary to realistically survive what you’re throwing at them. Some battles are best won with brain rather than brawn.

Build a subset of knowledge into their background (a hobbyist in the family who liked learning about the things they’re facing or maybe a previous job that had parallels). Make them research and plan.

Or just straight up give them a teacher.

Mentors can be excellent side characters.

Skills

Make these people practice. Make them learn combat or lockpicking or endurance running.

Maybe they ran track in high school. Maybe they were in the army or your book’s equivalent. Maybe they dropped out and lived on the streets, stealing what they needed to get by.

Or maybe their life changed at the beginning of the book and they found a mentor for the skills they’d need. Trial and error is a pretty harsh teacher, but also an option.

Allies

More than one person working toward the same goal will almost certainly increase the chances of achieving it.

Now, these people aren’t meant to be bullet sponges or cannon fodder, though some may end that way.

But a prepper friend can teach your MC about filtering water and keep them from getting dysentery in the apocalypse.

A friend who’s also a cop could help them talk down (or subdue) an assailant.

The Ending

Maybe give them the realistic ending. Tragedies may not be as common now, but they are part of literature. And though it might mean a genre change for some (dark romantic fantasy instead of dark fantasy romance), it could be worth it to stick to what would really happen.

That last one is the choice I would go with, but that’s just me.


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Things Left Unsaid: Read the Prologue Free

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how it’s already almost release day. It doesn’t quite make sense, and I’m not sure where the time went.

And yet, somehow, release day is tomorrow.

But this time, since I’m still getting over this century’s plague and about to start physical therapy for my carpal tunnel, I’m going to cut myself a break.

Rather than stress myself out even more with a live reading (because social anxiety plus reading aloud for people on the internet is stressful as fuck), I’m going to leave the prologue here for you to read at your leisure.

Fair warning, the prologue is from the perspective of the bad guy. And he is definitely a bad guy.

Prologue

Kurt

The car bumps along on the old dirt road as Ian hits yet another pothole. Elbows dig into both my sides as Jake and Kerry ricochet in their seats. I hold myself rigid, digging my feet into the floorboard to brace myself.

You’d think they’d try a little harder to keep from jabbing me. It isn’t that hard to keep control of your parts.

Staring forward at Ian and Ariella in the front seats, I seethe, wishing I could sit there. But my hips are narrower than Ariella’s, making me a better fit for this stupid seat. And it’s Ian’s stupid, tiny car, so of course, he’s driving.

And she called it, so eager as she shouted, “Shotgun!”

My eyes roll as I stare out at the trees choking the road. Yet again, I question the point of this trip.

Her words from yesterday echo in my mind. “Come on, Kurt. You know I love haunted places. And I haven’t seen Ian or Jake or Tori in so long.”

Now, she sits in front, bathed in sunlight and beaming at Ian. They laugh together, recalling old college memories. Their arms bump together on the armrest with each dip in the road.

Ariella tips her head back, laughing deeply. She covers her mouth with her hand, but when she puts her arm back on the armrest, it lands skin to skin with Ian’s.

And she barely pulls away.

Heat surges through my veins as anger burns me. I grit my teeth.

Ian swerves, hitting another pothole. Laughter fills the front seat as their arms brush again. Elbows dig into my sides. Again.

Fucking bastard’s doing it on purpose…

And suddenly, I hear her voice, really hear it, as she begged me to go on this trip. I hear the way she lingered on his name. In my mind, she rushes over the other names, not caring whether she sees them again or not.

She didn’t even try to hide it.

Who knew I’d end up with someone just like my whore of a mother.

And when she called riding shotgun, her eyes lit up brighter than the fucking sun. I watch it play out in my mind, and this time I see the soft smile on his lips, see the way he leers at her.

Fucking Ian.

Kerry sits forward, craning her neck to see the road. She leans toward me, peering out between the seats and stealing my view of Ariella’s betrayal. “Shut up, you guys,” she tells the harlot and the casanova. “It wasn’t that bad.”

But I missed what they were laughing about.

Beside me, Jake laughs at his wife. “It really was.”

She reaches over me to lightly smack his knee. Confined as we are, she hits my knee too, and I barely suppress a glare.

“Oh, sorry, Kurt,” she says. Briefly, she leans her head against my shoulder in a sorry excuse for an apology, and her long brown hair tickles my arm. “See what you guys made me do!” she shoots at Jake. “You made me smack Kurt!”

Ariella’s eyes dart upward, meeting mine in the rearview mirror. Dark eyes pulled tight with worry, she holds my gaze.

Is she afraid for Kerry?

People don’t usually hit me and get away with it.

But she doesn’t know that yet.

I hold myself in check, clenching my jaw. My hands ball up in my lap, but I cross my arms, tucking tight fists under my elbows.

Still staring at me, Kerry asks, “Are you okay?”

Ariella turns to look at me, waves of black hair spilling over the armrest. Long, silky tresses swirl over Ian’s arm, and his eyes tear away from the road for a quick glance at her. His eyes sparkle in the waning sunlight, and the corners of his lips lift into a wistful smile.

My stomach sours.

“Kurt?” Kerry prompts, stealing my attention away from the philanderer in the front seat. Her crisp blue eyes stare into mine, edged with concern.

“I’m fine,” I say, voice tight. “Just carsick. Always happens in little cars.”

She accepts my lie, but when I look forward, Ariella’s brows reach for each other, huddling in confusion. I’ve never been carsick in my life, and she knows it. I’m not that weak.

“Sorry, man,” Ian says over his shoulder. “This is a pretty bumpy road. That probably doesn’t help.”

A deep breath puffs out my chest as I stare hard at Ariella.

“Do you… need to switch seats?” she offers, but I hear her reluctance.

After all, why would she want to give up her seat next to Ian?

“Oh, no,” I answer quickly. “I’ll be fine.”

Her lips purse as she considers me, but only for an instant.

Ian taps her knee with the back of his hand, and she turns forward, not even sparing me a second thought. “We’re here,” he says.

Everyone else stares out the windows at the rickety old farmhouse and the shitty barn behind it. They gape and chatter excitedly about the murders that happened here in the early 1900s and the ghosts rumored to haunt the place.

But I stare at the lecher moving in on my woman. Blond scruff decorates his chin and his short blond hair is a mess.

Yet, she thinks she’ll leave me for him?

I shake my head.

I’ll be second to none.


Let’s just say… Kurt doesn’t handle things very well on their trip.

If you want to find out what he does, you can get your copy of Things Left Unsaid here.

It officially releases August 31st (tomorrow), but preorders are available and it’s free in Kindle Unlimited.

If you want a thriller now, you can check out Annabelle and her weaponized parasol here, also free in Kindle Unlimited.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

How to Write like a Reader

Sometimes, as writers, we ignore one of the greatest resources at our disposal: our own experiences as readers.

A vast well of knowledge resides within us, but sometimes we get caught up trying to figure out the rules and completely forget about that.

Our pet peeves as readers should guide us as writers.

Examples from my own personal pet peeves (and thus, my personal guides for my own books):

Blurb vs Review Quotes

I can’t stand a back cover full of review quotes. I want to see the blurb when I turn a book over, not some quote calling it “derisive” or “nebulous.”

Kindly fuck off with that shit.

I want to turn the book over and see what it’s about.

So when I publish, I put the blurb on the back cover. I might have a pull quote somewhere on there, but the blurb is front and center. (Well, back and center because it’s the back of the book.)

Series Numbers

I don’t typically write series (my current, almost completed wip being the exception), but from my experience as a reader, I will have Book One or Book Two or Book Whatever Number The Series Reaches on the cover and spine. There have been so many times that I’ve picked up a book and learned after reaching the end of it that there are 4 or 7 more books.

It’s infuriating.

So as a writer, I won’t do that to my readers.

Inconsistent Characters for Convenience

I hate when characters make stupid decisions that don’t line up with their personalities but are convenient for the plot. So as a writer, I won’t do that.

Head Hopping

I love books with multiple POVs, so I often write them. But I hate when the point of view changes without warning/within the same scene or chapter. Even worse… within the same paragraph.

So for the sake of my readers, when I change POV in a book, I start a new chapter and put the characters name below the chapter number, because that’s how I prefer to read it.

There are so many little things that we’ve learned as readers that can make us better writers or improve the reading experience as a whole for our readers.

So, next time you’re faced with a decision about your cover or your formatting or whatever, switch from writer brain to reader brain.

Do whatever wouldn’t piss you off as a reader.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).