Tag Archives: reading

ANOTHER Boxed Set For Your Reading Pleasure


Yes, I know I just told you about an amazing deal with the previous boxed set, but hey, it’s winter.  People are going to be spending a lot more time indoors, hopefully reading MY books and wishing that they had MORE really awesome stuff to peruse through.

Well, as if being exposed to the authors in the previous boxed set weren’t enough, how about a THIRTEEN book set, with none other than yours truly packed right in the middle?  Thirteen (yes, you’re reading this right) one off, stand alone novels all packed into one e-box to expose you to the inner workings of these sick and twisted…er, I mean, marvelously talented writers!

MDP Boxed Set Cover

So what are you waiting for?  If you want to sink your fangs…er, teeth into a great HORROR collection, click the link below and order it!

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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Things In a Box and Other Musings

Those of you who follow my ramblings on Facebook are already aware that the first Monster Squad book, Return of the Phoenix, has been included in a truly awesome boxed set along with five other authors.  Whoever decides to take advantage of this offer will be picking up over a half million written words of some of the best horror on the market.

Awesome boxed set2

For those of you who haven’t already experienced the wit and wisdom of Mark Tufo, here’s your chance to dive into the first of his Zombie Fallout series.  You also get to sink your teeth into John O’Brien and the first of his zombie series, Chaos.  Expose yourself to the inner workings of the twisted mind of Armand Rosamilia with Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer.  You can dive into Trudge from Shawn Chesser, probably one of his best works.  And one of my personal favorites is James Cook’s offering of No Easy Hope.

These are all full length works to keep you busy through the Halloween season…but there’s a catch.  We’ve included a teaser from Joe McKinney’s The Dead Wait.  If you’ve never read Joe’s writings, you’re not doing yourself any favors.  He has a way of sucking the reader into the story and putting you on edge throughout the entire ordeal.

Now for the ‘spiel’.  You get the entire boxed set for the price of a single e-book.  WHY would we do this, you might ask?  Where’s the catch?  Are we only putting in HALF the story?  No, these are the complete first books.  If you ordered each of the books off of Amazon, this is what you’d get.  The catch is, we’re trying to EXPOSE all of these writers to YOU the reading public.  That’s why we make offers like this.

You may recall a while back when I mentioned that I ‘fell into’ a wonderful situation with a group of other authors that help promote each others work…this is that group.  A mish-mash of authors from all over the country with one thing in mind…to put our stories into the hands of as many readers as we can.  So, with that, I present to you, the readers, Epic Apocalypse, A Boxed Set of Apocalyptic Horror.

Read, enjoy, review!

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Today’s the Day!

Or rather, ‘Tonight’s the night!’


The plan is for my publisher, Denise Brown, to ‘push the button’ to time the release around midnight.

The problem is…Amazon doesn’t always cooperate.  Sometimes it can populate as quickly as two hours, sometimes as long as the next day.  She has the files pretty much ready but there’s still some work to do.

I wanted the release to coincide with my wife’s birthday but this is close enough.  Too many readers like to have a weekend to enjoy a new book and I’d rather get it out in time for people to enjoy.

So, without further fanfare, I’m announcing the release of Whispers and hoping that those of you who read it will truly enjoy it.  If you do read it, whether you love it or hate it, please leave a review.  As I’ve stated before, we live and die by reviews, so every little bit helps.  So far, I’ve been fortunate in that one beta reader and two of the ‘characters’ in the book have already put up reviews for it before it is even available for purchase.  How cool is that?  I doubt there are many books out there that have had HONEST reviews put up for it before it was available for public consumption.  Fortunately, it was well received by those who read it.



Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


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What’s In a Review?

Ask just about any author and they’ll tell you that we live and die by reviews.  You wouldn’t think that much weight would go into such things, but they really do.  I’m sure there’s even more to a review than I am aware of.  Reviews are, in their own way, a lot like baseball statistics.  You can take a quick glance, see how many five star reviews, how many four star reviews, how many three’s, two’s…please, not ONE’S!  But yes, numbers count.

You might wonder, which is better, to have few reviews, but all of them five stars, or a LOT of reviews and they run the gambit from low to stellar?  That’s a good question.  It’s my personal belief that the old adage, ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’ tends to ring true.  Reviews mean READERS.  Good, bad or indifferent, the higher the number, the more attention your work will get.  Don’t believe me?  Well, let’s take a look at a book that hasn’t really been out a long time, but has a TON of reviews that range from 1 star, to 5.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Fifty Shades?  Yeah.  No, I haven’t read it.  I’ve had plenty of people who have read it tell me not to waste my time.
So, what are the numbers?  We’ll get to that in a moment.
Currently, this book is being made into a movie.  That should tell you something.  Does it tell you that it must be an amazing story with a wonderful plot and perfectly developed characters?
Uh,….no.  What it tells us is that Hollywood has run out of potentially entertaining original ideas and is turning to commercialism.  Take a healthy dose of a nude Scarlett Johansson, sprinkle with a dash of Chris Hemsworth and rather than getting Avengers 3, you get Hollywood’s version of Fifty Shades.  Yeah, THAT should sell at the box office.
Let’s talk numbers now.  Since it’s release in April of 2012, FSG currently sits on Amazon with 21,247 reviews.   Honestly, that’s a ton!
Of those reviews, a healthy 9,372 are five star reviews.  That means that clearly 44% of the people who read this thought that it was top shelf stuff.
Roughly 11%, or 2,341 people thought that it deserved four stars.  That’s a pretty good score.  Four stars is respectable.  Any author would prefer five stars, but four stars beat…
Three star reviews sit at 1,914 or roughly 9%.  Well, hey.  That’s like less than 1 in 10 so…pfft.
Two star reviews.  Yeah.  These pretty much say that you suck.  No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.  They’re telling you something here.  FSG has 1,884 of these bad boys.  That’s 8.8%.  Close enough to round up to 9.  Yeah, I wouldn’t be happy.  But, when you consider that in the grand scheme of things, this is really a small number compared to the total of reviews, right?  I mean, at over TWENTYONE THOUSAND reviews??  Okay.  If I could get that many, I’d take the 8.8% of 2 Star Slams.
Here’s where things get…nasty.  ONE star reviews.
To say that FSG wasn’t well received by quite a few people?  Well, 5,736 people slammed it with a one star.  Some of the comments left are more entertaining than the book according to the huge number of replies that the comments got.  You need to keep in mind, this is 26.9% of the people who left a review.  I think we can safely round that to 27%.  That’s more than 1 in 4.

So what’s the point?
I haven’t read FSG so I’m not about to comment and say, ‘this story is awesome, ignore the numbers and dive into it!’, nor will I say, ‘this story was horrible, don’t waste your time’.  The point is what I was trying to say earlier.  ‘There is no such thing as bad press’…but with a caveat.  When your FIVE star reviews outnumber your ONE star reviews almost two to one, then it’s a safe thing to say that bad reviews are still GOOD PRESS.
But if all you have is five or six reviews and they’re all one, two or three star?  You need to find out what is wrong and FIX IT.  Read the reviews, see what the readers are complaining about and correct it.  If they say that you can’t spell, for crying out loud, run your work through a spell checker!  If they say your grammar is so bad that they couldn’t follow your line of thinking, rewrite and hire an editor.  If they say the story is just lame, well, maybe you should take up an easier profession than writing.  Maybe astrophysics?

Reviews aren’t just there for the public either.  Places like Amazon use those numbers to ‘rank’ books and authors.  Rankings are then used to determine all kinds of internal decisions that we’ll probably never understand.  Spotlights, favorites lists, recommendations, referrals to other readers in the same genre…it all comes into play.  But only if the numbers are there.

Reviews are the lifeblood of this profession.  Most readers simply aren’t used to leaving them.  Writers have to sometimes get creative to help coerce their readers along.  Don’t be afraid to use your imagination.  I’ve seen authors use all kinds of gimmicks to help.  From simply asking, to having contests, prizes, awards, even drawings to have the readers name used in an upcoming novel.

Got a favorite author?  Have you ever referred a friend to their work?  Then do your favorite author a solid and leave an honest review the next time you finish one of their books or short stories.  If you referred a friend or loaned a book, encourage your friend to do the same.  Your actions could make the difference between your favorite author or their book being spotlighted or even noticed by someone looking to make it into a screenplay.  Yes, your review could have that much power.
Now, go forth and REVIEW.



Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Improving Ourselves

I’ve spent the last few weeks going over previous works, doing a little self-editing.  Cleaning up stories, helping them to flow a little better, smoothing out a few bumps and catching minor errors.  My editor gave me a few hints, tips and tricks…minor things you might think, but time consuming for one to have to go through and correct throughout a 400-550 page tome.  Since it would be a while before he would be addressing them, I took it upon myself to do it.  Along the way, I learned a few more CORRECT ways to do things and applied them as well.

Why would I do this?  Well, I was asked this very question.
“Don’t you have an editor to do that?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Why not let him do it then?  That’s his job.”
“Because it helps me to IMPROVE my writing by applying these changes myself.”
You see, if I take what he tells me to heart and apply it myself over the course of four to five novels, maybe some of those lessons will stick.  My end goal isn’t JUST to write more, but to write BETTER.  I want my finished project to be polished.  Finished.  Refined.  As close to perfect as I can produce.  Is this because I consider myself a perfectionist, or do I think I write better than so-and-so?  No.  Not at all.  It’s because I strive to better myself in whatever I do.  My goal is to improve to the point that Todd need only to open the document, run it through his automatic spell-checker and grammar check, and then sit back and READ the story.  I hope to one day improve myself to the point where he feels that his services aren’t needed.  Do I honestly think that day will ever come?  No, of course not.  That is simply a goal to strive toward.  That doesn’t mean the goal is actually attainable.  Nobody is perfect and no matter how much I may improve, I am humble enough to understand that there is ALWAYS room for improvement.  That is why TW Brown is there.  He has my back.  He makes sure that I don’t step in it and track it all over the carpet.

It doesn’t matter what I’m working on, I try to find ways to improve my work.  I’ll give you an example.
Jess and I started making these little wood signs a few years back.  We started with a Dremel tool and would spend countless hours chipping away wood to create these rustic signs with peoples names in them.  Then I got the bright idea to use a router.  It was faster, cleaner, gave a more professional appearance and cut the time we spent on the signs by hours.  The bits were expensive and sometimes the wood would splinter causing us to have to start all over, but, honestly, those were rare.  We mostly made baseball and softball signs for the little leaguers in our area and the kids loved them.  We experimented constantly trying to find ways to improve what we were doing until we found what worked best and then we stuck to it.

Kutter 25Wood Signs 057

I’m a firm believer in ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.  But when it comes to something as creative, yet also technical, as writing…well, there’s always room for ‘fixing it’.

You may ask, have I seen any improvement in my writing?  Well, to be honest, I haven’t seen any improvement since applying what Todd has told me because that was just recently.  I’ve spent my time going back over previous works and making corrections to them.  However, I will say that since Phoenix made it’s debut, I’ve had the opportunity to finish three other Monster Squad novels.  I’ve finished two unrelated novels, each better than the last (if I’m to believe my missus, and she’s never lied to me yet).  I think that with practice, I’m improving.  By applying what Todd has told me, I’m also improving.  Perhaps only technically, but still improving.  Have I reached a point yet where I consider myself a ‘writer’ yet?
Nope.  Not even close.  But I will continue to strive to improve myself with each work that I pass on to be published and hope that you, the reader, will enjoy them more because of it.


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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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