Visits From A Man Named Nobody 57

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 57

PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 // PT 44 // PT 45 // PT 46 // PT 47 // PT 48 // PT 49 // PT 50 // PT 51 // PT 52 // PT 53 // PT 54 // PT 55 // PT 56 //

Paul struggled through the rest of the conversation, attempting to politely contribute if he was asked, and they happened to actually give him enough time to speak. Despite displeasing Lidia tremendously, they left the shop without a puppy.

A part of Paul felt a strange impulse to buy a dog for her. He tried to dismiss the idea, understanding that he really just wanted to do something for her that Jordan wouldn’t, but his principles wouldn’t allow it. More importantly, his friendship with Jordan wouldn’t. 

The conversation wouldn’t really drop though. Each time one of them mentioned anything, the other would bring up the whole dog issue as if it were somehow related to the whatever they were talking about in that moment. 

“You guys want to eat?” Paul asked.

“I don’t know,” Lidia said, a strange snippiness to her tone. “I’m not sure it’s in the budget, and captain, commander of the dollar says we should think about things before we make decisions.”

“Well we could always just do whatever we want, and then when we can’t afford the things we really care about, like weddings, we won’t be able to because we spent money on things we want on an impulse rather than things we truly want,” Jordan said.

“Or we could eat because we’re hungry!” 

They both stopped at Paul’s outburst. “We could actually spend time and have fun together instead of either making doe-eyes at each other and forgetting I exist or arguing with each other and still forgetting I exist! I’ll pay for your food if you just promise to stop using me only to validate whatever idiotic passive aggressive argument you’re trying to win.”

“We’re not ignoring you!” Lidia said. 

“Dude, we’ve spoken to you this whole time,” Jordan said.

“And I am not passive aggressive!” Lidia said.

“You’ve spoken to me?” Paul asked.  “Other than asking if you’re hungry, what’s the last thing I said?”

Jordan opened his mouth to answer and then stopped. 

“And you!” Paul pointed a finger.” You literally just told me to ask captain commander if it’s in the budget. Was that a direct argument or statement?”

Lidia at least had the dignity to drop her head. 

“Have either of you asked me a question that didn’t in some way involve me backing you up in some sort of point you were making?” Paul asked again.

Neither of them said anything. 

“You two wanna make out? Fine, just don’t ask me to watch. You wanna argue? I guess you can if that’s what you want, but don’t ask me to watch or take sides. Me, I actually want to eat, so I’m going to.” Paul stormed away, for once not really caring if the couple followed him or not. 

Had it really come this far? Did he really prefer not being around them? If it meant not having to watch them either fawn over each other or fight each other, yes. 

Paul picked a restaurant to eat at and got in line. He managed to get up to the counter and order before his friends found him.

“We’re sorry,” Jordan said. 

Lidia flung her arms around him, and it was all Paul could do to keep from screaming. He wanted to be angry. No matter how much he hated resenting his friends and being angry, he wanted it. It didn’t even make any sense, but it was true. But Jordan saying sorry? And Lidia, holding herself against him.

He shrugged her off. She looked taken aback. He wasn’t sure she’d make that face if he’d hit her. 

“It’s OK,” Paul said. “I’m just frustrated, and I don’t want you getting out of it with a nice hug and a few words.”

She looked at Jordan for some reason. “I’m sorry. I just … it’s how I apologize.” 

“You didn’t really do anything to me,” Paul said. 

“How long have we basically ignored you?” Jordan asked. 

Lidia glanced from Jordan to Paul and back to Jordan again. 

“What is going on?” Paul asked.

“I don’t understand you,” Lidia said. 

The words strangely felt like a knife. A part of him, a part he tried very hard to bury, wanted nothing more than for her to understand him.

“You just don’t know him well enough yet,” Jordan said before turning his attention to Paul. “We didn’t do it on purpose, but somewhere in the last few months, we just sort of focused on each other.”

“We don’t want to forget you!” Lidia said. 

Paul shook his head. “I get it. I didn’t exactly hang out with Jordan a lot when I had a girlfriend.” 

Admitting as much gave him a dose of humility. 

The Return of The Great Game!

The Return of The Great Game!

Greetings all,

While I hope to have some author news for you in the very near future (maybe as soon as the end of the month), there’s not much on the news front. That means I get to be a bit random this week. So, why not celebrate the beginning of the new football season.

I love football! I’m a die-hard 49ers fan and have been for more than 30 years, but I love the game. As I type this, we just got back from the high-school game. My middle boy is in the marching band, so we went to watch him play, and I got to see the game.

We got manhandled physically, but the score looked reasonably competitive.

Anyway, I thought I’d use this post to talk about things I’d like to see this season. So let’s do a top five!

#5: Another Browns winning season. I’m not a Browns fan, but I feel like if any team’s fans deserve some back-to-back winning seasons, it’s the Browns (maybe the Jets, but it’s not their time just yet). I actually like Mayfield. They have a great defense and a lot of moxie. I think football needs a relevant Browns team.

#4: The rushing record stay safe. Look, I’d be ok if Henry or some other back hit 2,200 yards, but Dickerson did it in, like, 14 games. So if it’s going to be broken, I think it should be broken in the same time period. That record is one of probably all records doomed now that we’re in a 17-game schedule, but I’d be happier if it stayed. The only way these records should be broken is in the same number of games. Yes, one can argue the 16-game schedule is the same way, and that’s legitimate, but we’ve been at 16 games for a long time now. I just think this record is special.

#3: A close playoff race. I mean, I want all of the playoff teams to be decided in the last week of the season. Otherwise, what’s the point? The worst thing would be for the playoff bracket to be finished by week 14 and have the preseason in the last three weeks of the regular season. I want Week 17 to matter. A lot of people are excited for more football, but I want it to be more football, not just pointless roster evaluation games.

#2: The Raiders in the playoffs. So I’ve rooted for the Raiders for quite a while now (since Jerry went to play for them). They’re also my brother’s favorite team. There are moments when I think the Raiders are just “something” short. Unfortunately, that “something” might be a defense. I love Mayock. I like Gurden, but something isn’t right there. That’s not going to stop me from rooting them on. In fact, I’d be overjoyed if they made it to the Super Bowl against this other team …

#1: A 49ers Super Bowl win! The last two losses were heartbreaking if I’m being honest. Now before you ask, I’d be fine with a competitive team (winning record). Honestly, I’ve seen enough top 5 picks to last me another 30 years. I can’t stand people who say, “Man, fire that guy. He can’t win a playoff game!” I’m like, “Ya know, it’s nice when you win more than six.” Of course every fan wants to see the top of the mountain, but I’d like to make it to a foothill reliable each season. Look at the Steelers and Ravens. Sure, you might be frustrated you don’t make the big game, but isn’t it nice to win more than you lose?

So there you have it. Do you have a 2021 NFL Wishlist? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,


The 2021 July Book Cover of the Month Week 4 is Underway! Announcing Week 3’s Winner!

The 2021 July Book Cover of the Month Week 4 is Underway! Announcing Week 3’s Winner!

Greetings all,

While my blog had been quiet the last few weeks, my YouTub channel (which I’d be grateful if you subscribed to) was still running the 2021 July M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Month polls. Rather than try to catch you up one at a time, I’m just going to move forward (you’ll see all the current July nominees at the bottom).

So the Week 3 winner is …

The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia was a beautiful cover all around. It had great light, detail, and color.

That means it’s Return against Song of the Forever Rains, Bloodless Secrets, and next week’s winner for the title of 2021 M.L.S. Weech July Book Cover of the Month. You can vote for Week 4’s cover here.

I’d be much obliged if you’d check out my YouTube channel, where I talk about these covers and what I like about them. It’d mean a lot if you subscribed and clicked that bell notification. It’s a free way to support me.

Thanks for reading,


Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the fifteenth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. Tanjiro is on the cusp of victory, but the sun is about to rise, and he’ll have to choose between killing a demon, which would save hundreds of people, or saving his sister from the sun. Even as this choice arises, Tamayo is starting to understand why Nezuko is so different from other demons. How is this secret related to Tanjiro’s plight? The answer unlocks the door to the climax of the story.

Character: This manga is unique because it reveals a lot about Nezuko, not just her secrets, but her character and mindset. In other issues, we’ve seen Nezuko protect her brother and his friends, but here we learn the depths she herself is willing to go through to save others, and it’s beautiful.

Exposition: There is some exposition here, but it is only to the degree to explain some of the events that simple art couldn’t or dialogue couldn’t do without becoming wooden and obvious. It’s honestly a great volume in the series.

Worldbuilding: This is the issue that reveals what the big plan is. It’s sets the stage for the final battle and the stakes of that battle. Everything about this issue opens doors that are awesome. There are so many rewarding moments in this volume that make the journey worth it.

Dialogue: I’ll say there were some hokey parts in this dialogue. In fact, I’d accept it if someone said this was Gotouge’s weakest area. They’d probably be right. There was a moment that was touching. I was crying while it happened, but the dialogue really chopped a significant portion of the emotion out of it for me. Does it kill the story overall? Not in the least, but it can get pretty cheesy here and there.

Description: This is still more about the end of the fight, so the panels are mostly cool art that is rendered beautifully. The detail in the other panels is outstanding as well. Most the of the description is revealed in the art, and that’s always top notch.

Overall: I hope I’m consistent (I’d have to go back), but I’m pretty sure I’ve been teasing for a while that my favorite in the series is coming. This is it. Even having caught up on all the remaining available volumes, this one still stands out as the best in so many ways. I hope the animators make this arc a movie to give it the justice it deserves, but as long as it gets animated, I’m happy. It’s the best in the set, and it provides the landscape for the final epic battle, which comes after a few more “training” chapters.

Thanks for reading,


Pardon My Absence

Greetings All,

I’m only posting this to apologize. There’s no post today. My family and I have been burning the candle at both ends in a lot of ways this week, and I honestly just needed a night of sleep (and a good part of the next day). My regular Sunday and Monday posts are ready to go.

I don’t want to bombard you with a list of reasons. I just wanted you to know that this was it for today’s post, but you can tune in for my usual posts. We all get to start our vacation next week, and my family couldn’t be more excited! I’m sorry for anyone counting on news, writing advice, or marketing advice, but I will be back next week.

Thanks for reading,


I’ve finished the Beta Draft of Betrayed! Anyone interested in being an ARC Reviewer?

I’ve finished the Beta Draft of Betrayed! Anyone interested in being an ARC Reviewer?

As you can tell by the headline, I’ve sent out Betrayed to Sara for proofreading, and I’m hoping a number of you would be willing to be ARC reviewers.

Betrayed is the second part of the Oneiros Log Trilogy (Repressed is more of an out rigger novel).

Here’s a small summary/blurb:

They were captured and tortured until their minds finally Broke, unleashing the latent powers inside them. The six members of Oneiros spent more than five years content to build their life together and use their gifts to help people. The government has other plans.

The nation some of them served, the nation that failed all of them, is about to betray them. These two forces collide in a war that will have deadly consequences for both sides. How will this declaration of war affect the team?

Former friends stand on opposite sides of the battle lines. Loyalty prevents them from finding common ground. Loyalty will be one’s downfall.

The peacemaker suffers silently, hiding a secret that threatens them all.

The violent beauty suffers from a past that will change all of their futures.

The young protege hopes to become a hero but doesn’t know the pain all heroes face.

The leader is falling, completely unaware of the corruption to which he’s succumbing.

Their creation broke them. This war will shatter them, and the secrets it reveals will change the world as everyone knows it.

Caught was a horror story with a twist of action. Betrayed evolves into an action story with a bit of horror. If military action with psychic powers are up your alley, I think you’ll enjoy this installment of the trilogy.

My goals: What I truly hope is to find 50 dedicated reviewers, but given that I don’t have 50 reviews total, that goal would unlikely (but amazing). So instead, I’m setting a (far more realistic) goal of 10 ARC reviewers. I’m looking for ten (or more) volunteers to receive a PDF version of the story and prepare a review for the day Betrayed goes live (currently scheduled for April 1, which gives a reader plenty of time). If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to email me.

A note: This is an un-proofed draft. That means you’ll probably note typos I haven’t managed to polish out yet. While I don’t expect this to be riddled with issues, I will remind potential readers that this is the draft I finished before sending it to my proofreader. If you care to make note of them and tell me, I’d be grateful, but that’s not the need I’m trying to fill. Sara is great at what she does, and she’ll help me get Betrayed cleaned up before it goes to market. Sending the un-proofed draft to ARC readers just allows them time to read and me time to do the other things an independent author has to do to prepare for a book launch.

While I wait for edits (and hopefully reviews), I’m already toiling way on Discovered, the last book in the Oneiros Log. I’m a little more than halfway done with the discovery draft, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming out. It’s still very optimistic to think Discovered will be out in 2021, but I fully expect it to be out before 2022 comes to a close. That’s my main priority. If I do finish that draft, I’ll go back to Images of Truth, but I’d say it’s unlikely I’ll write another 50,000 words in a month. For those keeping score at home, you’re right. Discovered is by far the biggest of the three main books. Caught was somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 words, and Betrayed was just about 60,000. Discovered looks like it will land in the 100,000-word area. This is because I’m tying up all the plot lines and making sure fans of each character get a satisfying conclusion for their favorites.

As always, I’m so grateful to all of you who support my work. It’s amazing to think I’ve been at this for six years! I’m always working to be a better writer and a more successful business man. I can’t do either of those things without God allowing and your help. Thank you!

Thanks for reading,


Story Review: Figures by Rachel Caine from Unfettered II

Story Review: Figures by Rachel Caine from Unfettered II



Cover for Unfettered II taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Figures by Rachel Caine is the ninth story in the Unfettered II AnthologyA woman narrates what it’s like to be a duelist for higher (or at least that’s how my mind converts the plot). But the person she’s talking to has a plan, and the big surprise is that person’s identity. 

Character:  This might be one of the shortest stories I ever listened to (eight minutes on the dot). There really wasn’t much time to do much of anything. This story is an interesting character study. It reads like something I might do if I were trying to develop a character, but there’s not enough here for me to connect with in my opinion. 

Exposition: This is probably why the story didn’t work for me. Like I said above, this is all just seven or so minutes of a person describing her job. Sure, it’s an interesting job, but it’s still just someone talking about it. Then the last minute throws a curve ball out of nowhere that only left me more confused.

Worldbuilding: This is probably the best of the story. We’re in this world where people with beef higher gunmen to duel over the issue in question (at least from what I remember). That’s a really cool idea, like lethal Pokemon for grown ups. I’d be interested in reading an actual story from this world, but listening to someone describe what is essentially a plot idea as a story itself didn’t work for me.

author Roxanne Carson at home
Photo by Robert Hart taken from the author’s website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Dialogue: I’ll have to give this an N/A. Sure, the narrator is talking to someone, but they’re not conversing. 

Description: Even I think this was too little. I don’t know what the guns look like. I don’t know how they dress. I don’t even know if they wear any sort of body armor or plate. I don’t know what the characters look like. I get no sensory data whatsoever. 

Overall: I’m not going to argue one can’t make a thrilling eight-minute story. However, I think if I were to take a challenge to write an eight-minute script, the last thing I’d do is choose to have one person talk for seven of those minutes. The concept is cool in terms of the premise of what the character does, but everything else either dragged the story down or confused me.

Thanks for reading



Character Study: Rand al’Thor, a perfect acr

Character Study: Rand al’Thor, a perfect acr

Eye of the WorldWheel of Time is my second-favorite saga of all time. I joined the series after Knife of Dreams was out (though I started with Eye of the World), and I was hooked. I’ve read the whole series at least 14 times (1 time for each book in the series). There isn’t much news on the M.L.S. Weech front this week, so I thought I’d do a character study.

I’ve talked about character arcs a few times, and Rand is a fantastic analysis of character arc. Warning, there are spoilers here!

Characters need to grow: When we first meet Rand, we see a young man who thinks he knows how his life is going to go. He’s going to be a farmer, like his dad, and marry Egwene. He’s innocent. He’s naive. Eye of the World is essentially the story of a young man who must leave his home but desperately wants to return to it. The whole book is basically establishing Rand as a character living in ignorance (literally).

The Great Hunt forces Rand to act. Even in this book, Rand truly wants nothing more than to life to return to the way it was (a return to innocence). It is only his bond and desire to save his friend that keeps him on the path he needs to stay on. Which brings me to another point.

Characters need believable motivations: What else could keep a character moving along the plot line? Why would a character risk danger? In this case, Rand risks giving in to his power by putting himself on the Hunt. His loyalty to his friend is the motivation that makes us believe he’d do  something he’d otherwise never do.  The friendships established in the first book allow the reader to see that motivation.

Dragon RebornThe Dragon Reborn is such a clever tale for so many reason. Here we see Rand grow to accept who and what he is, and I don’t know that he has 5,000 words of screen time. We’re watching Rand grow from the perspective of those trying to catch up to him. This is the critical turning point. This is the book Rand realizes there is no returning to innocence. This book is Rand putting his fate to the test. He knows that only the Dragon Reborn could reclaim Callandor. I think this might be the book where people really fall in love with Rand. It seems weird to say, but this is the book where we see how heartbroken Rand is, and our hearts break with him. What do we learn about this?

Characters need to suffer: Sometimes, suffering can make us care for a character, and sometimes suffering can deepen how much we care. Either way, there must be conflict. In this book Rand is alone and struggling with nightmares and visits from Ba’alzamon. I have to admit, there was a large part of me that wanted it not to work. And that makes the story work.

The Shadow Rising is far more about Perrin than Rand. The scope of this series demands some books focus on one character more than others, and this is such a case.

Fires of HeavenThe Fires of Heaven has a victory of sorts, but it’s a tragic victory. Everything is thrown into chaos, and Rand must evolve from a character who has reluctantly accepted his fate to one who must take the path he has. There’s a lot that happens in this story. The first is that Rand actively pursues his role as the Dragon Reborn. He’s acquired a plan. He’s still untrusting of Moraine, and why should he be? She’s been manipulating him from the beginning. Sure, she was doing it for the sake of the world and for his own good, but it doesn’t make her actions less manipulative. Of course, the moment he starts trusting her is exactly the moment she “dies.”

Character must be isolated to grow: This isn’t the same as The Great Hunt. First, he didn’t want to be anywhere near Moraine to begin with. Here, Moraine became a crutch. In a way, she also would have been a hinderance. Like the power these characters wield, Rand isn’t something you can direct, only something you can channel. Taking Moraine in that way and at that time forces Rand to become a leader.

Characters need evolving goals: The first three books are all about Rand trying to return to where he wants to be. Fires gives Rand a new goal and a new motivation. We still see his innocence, characterized by his desire to prevent women from dying, and even in this, Rand must allow others to die. This hurts Rand. He desperately wants to protect others, especially women, so his goal becomes morbid rather than hopeful. This is the seed that was planted for his fall.

Lord of ChaosLord of Chaos changes Rand, and not in a good way.

Characters need to devolve every bit as much as they need to evolve: Rand’s capture and torture take someone who’s been manipulated before and pushes it to the extreme, leading him to be suspicious and distrustful of everyone. This betrayal changes Rand from one morbidly marching toward doom to a weapon. This was the most important moment since Moraine came to visit the Two Rivers.

Characters need anchors: Min and Aviendha (I’ll never see the value in Elayne) serve critical roles here. They represent who Rand used to be. They serve to give Rand some connection of love and trust that he desperately needs where others only fear him or what he must do.  Rand tries to avoid this in a few ways, but Min (my favorite of the three) refuses to leave his side.

A Crown of Swords is a darker book that shows Rand descending into darkness. he does things that are “right,” but his motivations and justifications begin to darken. This book, Rand (not the Dragon) receives power. That power, like always, begins to corrupt him. He starts to want to break away from his older person. Again, motivation is key. Love and trust leads to loss and betrayal, so here, we see Rand beginning to use people and seek power rather than protect.

The Path of Daggers is a tipping point. Rand is gobbling up nations and gaining power. His actions fill him with pride and hubris, leading him to a critical battle with the Seanchan.

Characters need to fail: Failures teach characters. Failures humble characters. This particular Failure shows how far Rand has fallen, and the scary thing is, he doesn’t learn from it. Instead, he’s insulted by the failure. He’s goes even bigger.

Winter's HeartWinter’s Heart becomes a sort of crowning moment of arrogance for Rand. He and Nyaeve cleanse the Source. Armies attack. The world watches in horror, and Rand does the impossible. It doesn’t actually do anything for him. He’s still insane. So are the Asha’men. As amazing as this is, it only means future men won’t lose their minds. At best, those already tainted will be saved from going completely mad. Rand’s falling deeper into despair, and this huge act of awesome power is great, but ultimately doesn’t do anything for Rand. He still has his anchors in the form of Nyneave and Min (and a few others). They continue to support Rand, who desperately needs that protection and that loyalty.

Many people hate Crossroads of Twilight. The plot doesn’t move an inch. It’s essentially a whole book of people reacting to Winter’s Heart. I had the advantage of being able to read straight through it to the next book, but I can understand how people who had been reading since the ’90s and wanted to see what happens next might have felt. I don’t imagine New Spring helped much either. Sure it showed us some new information in terms of back story, but we’re still left eager to see what happens next.

Knife of Dreams continues to push Rand to the edge. Everything he tries fails. Everything he tries comes to disaster. Failure isn’t new to Rand at this point, but this is different.

Characters need to be humbled: Here Rand isn’t just humbled, he loses a hand and almost loses himself to Lews Therin. The secret about his insanity is revealed. Where Rand was willing to go into the darkness for people, now it’s proven that he’s worthy of fear and distrust. This is important to show how close to the edge he is.

Characters need to appear as though they might go the wrong way: This is such a powerful writer tool and one so rarely used. We never worried that Harry Potter might become a Death Eater. We never worry that Luke would join the Dark Side. Those are great stories, but here is where Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time shine. We begin to seriously fear Rand would go too far. At this point, our fear is small, but we’re just a tiny bit afraid that Rand will simply become a ruthless overlord. Him saving the world seems farther away than ever.

The Gathering StormThe Gathering Storm brings all of this to a head. Rand is again betrayed. Rand is again hurt. Rand becomes convinced that ruthlessness and death are all his options. He seems to have lost all his faith in people and in the world. This is most obvious when he not only kills a woman, he erases her from existence and then (apparently) does the same thing to an entire building. Is it effective? Ironically, no. The whole idea of his abusive, excessive actions was to catch his enemy off guard, and it fails. Rand falls farther than ever, until he encounters his father for the first time since this saga began.

Characters need to remember their original motivations/who they are: There’s an argument that characters need to change. I prefer grow. Rand is clearly a different man than he was. He’s harder. He’s wiser. At this point he’s more sly and mistrusting. But he’s still motivated by love. In desperation, Rand returns to Dragonmount to seemingly end his own life, and then he realizes the beautiful potential in the world. Sure, one may fail over and over again, but each new opportunity is a chance to get it right. That return to hope is what saves the day and leads us to the new Rand.

A Memory of LightThrough Towers of Midnight (far more about Matt) and into A Memory of Light, we see the changed Rand. He has accepted that he is both Lews Therin and Rand. He has accepted that suffering is a part of life, but he has returned to hope. His encounter with his father and his love for his friends (and other forms of love) has become his anchor. Rather than morbidly thinking about getting the Last Battle over with, Rand instead looks to the future.

We still see the change. He’s certainly never pushed around by any woman again. He’s not manipulated. He’s powerful, but now humility and loss has tempered his ego in to wisdom.

Those are the things that made him ready for the Last Battle. We see the battle end, and Rand is a new man. Rather than going home (who can ever go home again?), he sets out to see the world through new eyes (literally). The boy who only wanted to stay home and live a quiet life has now left to live a life of exploration and adventure.

Rand is a beautiful character in an equally beautiful saga. Just writing this post makes me want to read the saga again (maybe not this year because a new Stormlight book is coming).  I just thought that  analyzing this story gave so much insight to how to craft great characters into great stories. I hope you found this post helpful.

A while back, I wrote a song dedicated to Wheel of Time. The recording isn’t anything near studio quality, but hey, why not? Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,


Story Review: The Decoy by Janny Wurts from Unfettered II

Story Review: The Decoy by Janny Wurts from Unfettered II



Cover for Unfettered II taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  The Decoy by Janny Wurts is the seventh story in the Unfettered II AnthologyA young distant descendent of the throne is tasked with reaching the castle, where the entire royal family has reportedly been murdered. What role will this young man play in a rebellion that may change the inheritance for generations?

Character:  While they didn’t capture me completely, I did enjoy this character in the moment. Most stories are like this one was, a fun adventure that held your attention until the story was over. These characters were a lot like that. I remembered this story a bit better because of these characters and their deep backgrounds and interesting motivations. It’s a credit to the author. 

Exposition: This story is taken from a larger world I’m not familiar with. So there was a bit more exposition here than maybe someone would like, but it’s at least necessary for the reader to truly know the world. I think anyone reading a part of a story is either going to want that background or want to read the story because they’re fans of the universe. That means that even though we might have to suffer through a bit more exposition than we want, we go into this story with open eyes, knowing it has to happen so we know what’s going on. 

Worldbuilding: To me this was the weakest part of the story. This felt like an old sword and knights tale, which is fine for fans of the genre, but I was hoping for a bit more fantasy. This isn’t truly a discredit to the author, just a difference in taste of style. The author does a good job (requiring the aforementioned exposition) of setting the scene and the tone of the world, but I wasn’t very clear how this world fit into this or another universe. What I mean is I don’t know if I was reading fantasy taking place in the bronze age of earth or in a similar period on another planet. To defend the author, and hour-long story doesn’t give anyone much time to give depth to the world. The other defense is that this is truly part of a larger series, so if anyone really wanted to see more about this world, they could just go find book one.

Image of Wurts was taken from the biography page on the author’s website. 

Dialogue: This was pretty middle-of-the-road in my opinion. It wasn’t thinly veiled exposition, but I don’t know that I could say each character had a distinct voice. Still, the dialogue had a few moments that were touching, and that’s all I think a story hast to have. 

Description: Like most stories, I measure my feelings in this category by a question: Can I picture the story without feeling like I’m being beaten down by description. This story met that criterion. The author probably did a better job using the sense of sight than the others, but as I tend to rely on that most, I don’t realize the others are lacking until I go back and look for it.  

Overall: This is a nice sort of adventure fantasy. It bases its value of entertainment on the suspense of the riots and revolt that are happening. If you like horse-riding and cat and mouse drama, you’ll probably enjoy the story. I need a bit more magic and fighting in my entertainment, personally, but don’t let that turn you away from a well-written story. 

Thanks for reading



Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Greetings all,

Stock photo from Pixabay.

So a few weeks ago I talked about Reedsy. I also mentioned Publisher Rocket. Given that I’m still in a holding pattern on the rest of the Oneiros Log, this turns out to be a good time to offer you an update.

Naturally, I hope for this to become a profitable business. However, the unfortunate reality is after five years, I’m still losing money. This in no way reduces my love for writing, nor does it affect my resolve to keep at it. What this truth does do is challenge me to look at what I’m doing and try to get better.

When I talked to marketers, I had two conversations. The first validated a truth I accepted when I started. I have ten titles available. If I use the wide umbrella of “paranormal,” I could argue that six of them are in the same genre. One of those six is YA. Three more of those six are parts of the first book. When one doesn’t write to market, it’s very difficult to build a platform. I went into this dream with my eyes open to that truth.

caught-front-coverIf you were a hopeful author who didn’t care what you wrote, I’d recommend you search the categories (more on that below) and write to one of the smaller markets and build your following. However, I have stories that have been stuck in train wreck between my eyes for decades, and they want out. Some are more demanding than others. I don’t think I could stick to one thing if I wanted to. This means I have to be willing to accept that I don’t have a lot going for me in terms of platform and market. I am trying to get the Oneiros Log done, and that will give me a complete trilogy (quadrology if you count Repressed, but, again, that is a YA outrigger story) to market to one audience.

The other marketer and I spoke via chat, and we have a meeting scheduled for later today (Saturday). I was clear about my goals and my struggles.

My ultimate goal is to earn $7,000 per month in profit from my writing. That’s the target that will allow me to become a full-time author. I’d probably continue working for two years just to get everything stabilized. Then I would focus on being the author I’ve always wanted to be.

This meeting is hopefully the first step toward making the books I have out contribute to the goal rather than continue to budget for my author career the way some people budget for vacations.

The next thing I did was possible because of some overtime I worked. I finally purchased Publisher Rocket. My desire was to skip straight to the AMS Marketing Keywords, but I held off. I learned a few things by doing that.

Rocket logoA while back, I talked about using the seven KDP keywords to help get you placed into more specific categories. They do, but those keywords are even more powerful. I sort of think of them like free marketing keywords. So I spent the last week going through all of my titles and refining those keywords. Now, since those titles are old, and I don’t have much of a platform, I can’t really expect there to be any night and day changes.

The next thing I did was use Rocket to help me find categories that gave me a better shot to be visible. When one first publishes on KDP, they see some 600 categories they have to try and fit themselves in. Amazon has way more categories than that, and Rocket has a way to find them and rank them based on how many books per day you’d have to sell to be the best seller for that category. From my understanding, being a best seller or a number one best seller for a category does wonderful things for a book and an author’s bank account. I still have to move those titles into those categories, but I just finished identifying them, and getting put in those categories is only an email or phone call away.

As for marketing: I’m actually having trouble finding the first article I researched, but what it taught me (and other sites reenforced) is that each of my book should have at least 100,000 impressions per month.

I was nowhere near that. The short math:

Impressions must happen for anyone to click. Clicks must happen for anyone to buy. You want clicks to lead directly to buys.

Last weak, I took stock of what books were generating the most impressions. Caught was getting somewhere around 40,000 impressions per month. So, without having Publisher Rocket, I just went at it. I created about two new campaigns a night until I reached the point I am at today. As of May 21, Caught had 78,804 impressions during the last 30 days.

This tells me I should be hitting my goal soon (if I haven’t already). The next step in my plan is to get the rest of my books going.

Once I have all of my titles pulling in 100,000 impressions a month, I can use that data to look at my click through rate.

So I thought I’d give you a snapshot on just how far off I am. My hope is, as I get better, you’ll see that I’m doing is working. Why isn’t it working now? Because I haven’t been doing too much of anything. Time is a valuable resource. I spend the bulk of my time happy with my wonderful family. I spend time with God studying the New and Old Testament. So I was using my time to write (which I love), but my books aren’t selling (which makes me sad). The goal is to turn things around by focusing on my AMS marketing. Will it work? Stay tuned and find out. (You can help by purchasing any or all of my books!  Just saying.)

My Current stats:

BOOK                                    IMPRESSIONS                  CLICKS         ORDERS (BOOKS BOUGHT)

Caught                                  78,804                                38 (BAD)       1 (NO FUN)

Bob                                       20,453 (BAD)                     12 (BAD)        0 (SAD)

Power of Words                 40,069 (BAD)                     11 (BAD)        0 (SAD)

Repressed                            34, 740 (BAD)                    9 (BAD)         1 (NO FUN)

Sojourn                                 29,210 (BAD)                    22 (BAD)       0 (SAD)

Stealing Freedom               4, 718 (TERRIBLE)          5 (BAD)          0 (SAD)

Testimony                             33, 028 (BAD)                  11 (BAD)       0 (SAD)


I left out info for the individual parts for Bob because I only have about one campaign for each of them, so it’s probably not good.

It looks like we got Caught up to speed. I’ll know for sure June 1. I’ll probably do a few more campaigns just to be sur. My first goal will be to get them all to 100,000 impressions a month. Then I can worry about that devastatingly bad click-through-rate. According to my research, I should be getting clicks about 35% of the time or more. I think my highest click-through-rate is about 7%.

One thing I can do now though (and intend to do during my meeting with the Reedsy marketer) is work on converting those clicks into buys. How often do I want that to happen? Let’s look at the math.

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 12.58.28 PM
My current AMS page looks depressing.

After Amazon takes it’s cut from one of my sales, I make a maximum profit of $2.79 (on average. Most of my books are between $2.99 and $3.99, but let’s just work with this number for now). If I pay 25 cents a click, that means I could have about 10 clicks before I lose money. My goal is to convert one out of every eight clicks into sales. The way that happens is making sure I get my book blurb on point and reviews. I can’t actually do much about reviews. I hope people read and review my work, but I don’t have a way to make that happen. I can look at my blurbs and make them as strong as possible. My hope is this marketer will help me with that.

Why one for every eight click? Because if I can keep it that low, I could make 9 cents a sale. Not the best sales rate ever, but I have to start somewhere, and my current one per fifty four clicks is costing me about $20 a month. The perspective is that flipping it from a loss to a profit is the right progression.

We have to think positively. Rather than stay fixated on the lack of sales and reviews, the more-productive (and less painful) mindset is to look at what can be done to get better.

So here is the starting point and plan of action, the two things anyone needs to execute a plan.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading,