Monthly Archives: August 2015

20/20 Foresight

You know, it’s really strange. Knowing what I know, I often ask myself why anybody would want to go with a big publisher when it’s so much easier (and more profitable) to publish yourself as an indie.

Caldera - Heath Stallcup

An yet…I’m still finding myself being drawn to ‘agents who are accepting’ or reading about those few publishers who will accept manuscripts without an agent and wondering…Should I?  Knowing what I know, I ask myself…why bother? Is it to prove to myself that my writing can ‘hang with the big boys’? Is it to satisfy some innate desire to be accepted by the establishment? Is it to finally find that avenue to get my paperbacks into bookstores? I know, I know…there are indies who have supposedly found that secret formula for getting their work carried in trade catalogs, but I haven’t discovered the combination. Is it sacrifice a live chicken while dancing naked under a full moon, or sacrifice your full moon while dancing naked under a chicken? It must be something really odd like that because it’s still elusive.


HOWEVER, knowing what I know…that established writers are stepping away from the Big 5 publishers every day and putting their stuff out there as indies…that many indies are making a comfortable living doing what they do…that some indies not only become best sellers, but some have their work made into films.  And yet…that draw is still there. ARE my stories good enough to hang with the big boys? Could I be accepted by the establishment? Could my books end up on the shelves of my local bookstore…along with the works of tens of thousands of other peoples?

The bigger question is, it worth the time spent trying? Is it worth the mental anguish being rejected by faceless agents who know good writing when they see it? Is it worth pinning hopes on possibly hearing back from people who are too busy to tell you to not quit your day job? It’s funny (but true) how many times I’ve heard authors say that it’s harder to find an agent than it is to get picked up by a Big 5 publisher…and yet, you need an agent just to approach most of the large publishers. Catch 22, anyone?

Anyway, I just wanted to air the matter. It’s not like the subject has caused me to lose any sleep at night. I was just sitting here and wondering why the whole idea still seems attractive knowing what I already know. I can’t put my finger on any one reason why… other than maybe bragging rights. Knowing that I was more than ‘just a storyteller’. But, in all honesty, I think I’d rather stay a storyteller. Being an author is too much like work.

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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Beta Responses for MS8 Specters

This is just a little heads up for those who have been anxiously waiting for MS8.


The betas have all responded and it’s all been positive. In fact…it’s been better than positive feedback.

You see, I was really concerned with a lot of things since this installment essentially wraps up the second saga. With MS4, too many readers responded with comments along the lines of ‘it was a let down’. ‘Lots of build up just to peter out’. Things of that nature…and it bothered me.

I know there was a LOT going on in this second saga. A lot of different storylines that seemed impossible to tie up. But, for the most part, I think readers will walk away satisfied that the main story was seen through to completion and enough strings were left dangling to allow me to carry on one last saga (nobody wants to be reading MS46 down the road, do they?).

Some of the feedback (without any spoilers) were like this:
“First thing. Thanks for giving me the chance to be one of your beta readers. It’s a real privilege. Now, to the review. I remember when you were in the middle of writing this one you said you were having trouble focusing on where you wanted to take it. Well, that didn’t seem to be an issue, since this book feels like you focused a laser on it, keeping it on target the whole way. The pacing was tight all the way through. It never had the feel of lag at any point. The action sequences were well plotted and action packed, which is all anyone can ask. All in all, I like how you have advanced the story, and have really rounded out the core group of characters. That is all anyone can ever ask of an author. You did a great job of tieing off plot lines. All in all, this has to be considered one of the strongest books in the series.”

Another reported:
“You sucked me in from the first chapter! I finished it that first night and it is my favorite of all of them! It was non stop action and I couldn’t put it down. I am going back through to read it again! There is no way your fans will be disappointed… It was riveting…I did not see sloppy anywhere. You tied up all the storylines perfectly. I mean it Heath, it was my favorite of the series. I stayed up to finish it last night it was that good!!! I was planning to write you and tell u tomorrow…but, Best one of the series!!!! I mean it!!!
Ha…I am actually enjoying it as much the second time as I reread it. It was so good I had to stop everything and just read…Heath you nailed this book, I mean it!!!! The humor in this one, it made the characters so real and shows so much growth in your talent…I am in awe of it…loved the humor throughout but with XXXX and his XXXX (sorry, no spoilers)…omg I laughed so hard…
Let me know what some of the others think but I cannot imagine anyone being able to set it down. You spoiled me…other books I am reading are now boring me….I keep comparing them….it was EPIC! I mean it…I can hardly wait to see how much others love it!!!!
I cannot imagine this book not being loved by your readers. I mean it! It has been an honor to see how much you have grown as a writer during this series. Humor injected perfectly! I think your fans will be very happy!!!!”

There were others but there was no way to transpose their input without giving major league spoilers. Needless to say, they were pleased with the finished project.

It’s tough enough with just a small handful of characters to keep things straight, but with a cast of nearly 50? And continuity?? OMG…I can’t tell you how hard it was for me. I wish I could call this good and simply walk away while the betas are all happy, but I can’t. There are still threats out there that the squads have to deal with before we can retire them to simply hunting monsters and keeping us all safe while we sleep.

And before anybody asks, the manuscript is currently sitting with the editor and I’m hoping for a November release. Fingers crossed on that. Maybe we’ll have something to read over the Turkey Day holiday!

Ya’ll take care and enjoy the last few days of summer vacation. Sleep well and know that there are those out there keeping watch while you do.


Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Uncategorized