Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas with broken things.

When I was growing up I had this strange affinity towards broken things. I knew that other people wouldn't want them and so I grew more attached to them because of that. While this extended to people as well, I mostly am talking about inanimate objects. 

If I found something broken I would always try to get my mom to buy it for me and if she said why, I would tell her because no one else will buy it. 

It is not strange to me that I find my daughter having the same issue. We are after all, quite alike. Recently we found a fox cookie jar. We both love foxes and thought it was cute, but it wasn't until we saw it was damaged( a few chips here and there) that we rushed to buy it. The "broken" fox now sits on our counter. 

Well this year we moved. I love our new place with it's giant yard and pool and lack of nosy near-by neighbors. Still the problem of moving from a bigger house to a smaller house is—space. So we talked about it and we decided no tree this year.

Well Sunday we found ourselves at Wal-Mart trying to get a few odd things and some wrapping paper. It was there we saw a small white tree sitting off by itself. I made a comment about how it would fit if we wanted to get it. We agreed and I found a clerk who worked in the garden center. Come to find out they'd all been sold. 

I was going to walk away when a thought hit me. "What about the one on the floor?" I said.

The clerk peered around me and finding the tree said, "Oh I'm sorry sir, only half the lights work on that tree, it's broken."

Me and my daughter looked at each other. He had said the magic word. I asked him if they would sell it anyway. A quick call to his manager and we got our lovely broken tree at a discount. Amanda(my wife) wrapped a few lights we had around it and you would never know it was broken. 

So for all the broken things out there I hope you find your place and to all who celebrate it I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. For those that celebrate other things Happy Holidays and for those that celebrate nothing....come on get with it man!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Inspiration Friday

Love. Yep. There is a reason that Romance is such a big genre. People enjoy reading about love. In all its forms, unrequited, unexposed, soul mates, rekindled. It just makes for great reads. 

This week I want to give some songs I like to listen to when trying to write those types of stories.

First is a song all about meeting that perfect person and wanting to show them just how perfect for you they are. It was originally a Justin Timberlake song, but I always liked this version better. 

Next is one for those moments when love is there, but it is not yet fully trusted. Sometimes it is hard for a character to trust love again. 

Next is the hard one love not returned or lost.

Last is the love we all want. The one with no strings attached or unconditional love.

So these are my musical inspirations at the moment, but I have something else. I have not post pictures in a bit of one of my biggest inspirations so here he is Dorian, growing much too fast for his dad.

Anyway these are my inspirations what about you guys? As always have fun and keep writing. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


If you would like to join this awesome group go here and sign up.

I missed last month due to personal things, but I wanted to make sure I got one out this month as I love being part of this group. 

It is timely as well because the topic I wanted to share was about editing. I just got finished going through the edits for Ashes and it really inspired me to share my views on self publishing with an editor. 

So two books in, why did I not get an editor from the start? Well I imagine they are all the normal reasons most people try to go without. 

I loved English growing up and always got good grades so I should be able to handle things. 

Money is always an issue when trying to get something you created out there on your own.

If you write a great story isn't it more important than a "few" grammar mistakes?

So let's look at these.

Loved English. It's true, but honestly even if I was an English teacher(which I am not) as the author you are too close to your work. You see it in your mind as much as on paper. Just having fresh eyes alone is invaluable. If those eyes happen to be educated in finding mistake all the better for you.

Money. Oh money, you insufferable necessity. Here is the thing, I learned something when I was in sales at a younger age. The best way to sell a product is to add value to it. There are few things you can do that add as much value to your work as having it edited. (Cover, revisions, formatting) 

Last is a big one. A good story can beat a bad cover. If people fall in love with your character they can overlook a lot of things. The question is, how many people do you want to reach with your work? If you put something out there that has blaring read lights to a large portion of the reading community you are going to lose readers. Why not make your book as accessible as it can be?

Personally my editor, the wonderful Janie Junebug, is one of a few choices I made in my writing journey that I am so grateful for. She has a way of making me feel competent while at the same time making me a better writer.

She may at this time be editing this post while shaking her head, but I know she has my back. I know I can go forward and write and when the time comes she will add the glue that makes my manuscript a solid piece of work. That my friends, is priceless. 

Anyway, tell me about your editors or if you are looking forward to having one. As always have fun and keep writing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Inspiration Friday


This movie was amazing. Truly my favorite of the year. If you have kids go and check it out, but if you don't have kids...go and check it out. So much heart. It looks beautiful and laughter comes in ten minute incriminates. Do yourselves a favor and check it out.


Just a fun song. Kind of has an older feel to it.


This is a really cool one to write about. One of my favorite fantasy authors is dipping his toes into the self pub. market. Putting out,  The Education of Brother Thaddius and other tales of DemonWars. A collection of short stories from his world of Corona. It is a great place to jump into his books. Here is a link to his Amazon, CLICK ME!!

Well that is what inspires me at the moment. As always, have fun and keep writing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Idea, the actuality.

So this is a subject I have touched on before. The idea. I think it is something newer writers have the most trouble with. Hearing something like what Brandon Sanderson said in a lecture "Ideas are cheap" can be really hard to take in.

So how could this be true? The idea is what makes the story. It is the seed that grows the book. All of this is true. Still, have you bought seeds lately? They are pretty cheap. 

Here is an example. Vampires. They have been around in fiction for so long. From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice we have had these blood sucking fiends around. When Meyers wrote her books she injected life into a literary zombie that seems will never go away. If you go to a book store you will find a vampire book written within the last year, on a shelf. 

The idea is great. The problem is, when you think to yourself, "I have a great idea, of course I will be successful." you are setting yourself up for failure. The idea can also become a burden. It can become this idol that you are so scared of getting wrong that you stop writing. 

So what am I really saying by all of this? The TL;DR version is, skill trumps idea. How do we get skill? You have to write. You have to write a lot. You have to write so much that you get lost in it. Then you have to throw it all away because it was just practice.

Those singing shows love to use the phrase, "A great singer can sing the phone book and we would love it." Well a great writer can write a story about a phone book taking a Christmas vacation and we would read through the night.

Don't let your ideas hold you back. Write about everything. Write in every genre. Write until the words you are putting down match the passion you have for being an author. 

As a writer we spend much of our time thinking. We take things in and we process them. So watching a show, going to a park, brushing our teeth, can give us an incredible idea. They will be there for you. 

Don't worry if a story "just isn't working". Don't worry if that great idea is rejected over and over. You are the precious object, not your idea. Just write, the rest will come with time. 

As always, have fun and keep writing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Inspiration Friday!

And here it is, another IF, proving at some point I can keep doing something. :) I figured I want to do this a bit different though. Instead of focusing on one piece of inspiration, I am going to give out several. 


For this I can't pick a book, no for this I have to talk about a series, by Jim Butcher. The Dresden files is at this point made up of 15 books. From what the author says, there will be at least 20 books in the series by its finish. 

This series and author inspire me in many ways. The steadiness at which Butcher writes is amazing. In paperback these are over 400 page books. Still he cranks them out with the seasoned ability that many professional writers could only dream of.  

At the same time, a person could write books and put them out with frequency. Trust me I have started series where the author puts out a book every 6 months and the result isn't always pristine. 

No, the main inspiration comes from how well they are written. You fall in love with the character, with the world in which he is written. You get to see a side of Chicago that almost feels real. The way he weaves his plot is, for lack of a better word, magic. 

Trust me if I am ever in Chicago I am looking in the phone book for the only Detective Wizard around. 

It may seem scary starting such a big series, but if you are looking for a great read that will give you tons of enjoyment I suggest diving in head first.


Music for me if a fluid thing. I am not a person that listens to one genre. I can thank my mom for that. She had every station on at some point when I was a kid. So weekly, well even daily, what inspires me could change. Still there is one song that is making frequent rounds as I write this week. The song itself is addictive, but the lyrics are quite clever as well. From Hozier - Take Me to Church.


If you, like me, own a DVR you know how distracting it can be. Also how full it can get when you put it off. Still you can find a lot of inspiration if the show is good enough. For me there is one show that really makes me want to create. Hell On Wheels, is a show about the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. This is one that has me excited to sit down and give an hour of my day. 

There are many reasons this show is good, the plot, the acting, the way they end it just making you want more. Still a bigger reason is one man. Anson Mount. I am writing a book (The Andious Seed) and if I was ever lucky to have a movie made from it, this guy would play a staring role. If you know me you know that isn't something I ever do. Picking an actor never feels right, but for him it works so well. 

Well I know it was a long time between IFs, but hopefully I have given you something to inspire yourself with. As always, have fun and keep writing. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


This is an awesome group of people the come together to air their insecurities or offer advise and support. To join up go here.

This is the three year anniversary, of IWSG. Quite an accomplishment and truly this is a great group to be a part of. 

Accomplishments are great to celebrate. The act of doing something, finishing something, accomplishing, something. I can honestly say the past few months have been absent of this for me. At least when I look to my writing/blogging. 

Don't get me wrong, I had excuses. Good ones. The right kind of excuses. New born, moving to a new house and countless other things that are really good reasons to be absent and not so productive.

This is what I kept telling myself when I would have those little 'in my own head' conferences. In fact it is what I could tell my self from now until the deathbed. 

Life will always have distractions. That is what life is. Good distractions, bad distractions. Last week I had what we in the south like to refer as a 'comin to Jesus' moment. I realized if this was the life I wanted. To support myself and family through artistic means. I could not let things get in the way. I had to sacrifice and make it a priority. 

This isn't a very revolutionary idea. Ask any successful person you know or have heard of and they will tell you this is the truth. Still, sometimes it takes you pulling yourself aside and breaking the news, for it to sink in.

Anyway, I think I am on the right track now, as I just wrote 10k words last week. I hope you are all doing well. As always, have fun and keep writing. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inspiration Friday #1

Well it isn't really number one as I have done it before, but I'd like to do something regular on this blog so I am thinking of making it a bi-monthly ordeal. So here is the first installment of the new Inspiration Friday.

Music is a huge thing for me. I have talked about it before on this blog and I am sure I will again. I was lucky enough to get to go to a concert for my anniversary/birthday. There I got to see AFI, Linkin Park and 30 Seconds to Mars. 

All three were great. As we got there, trying to make our way to the front of the stage, AFI opened the show. 30 Seconds came out next and LP closed the night. 

There is nothing like live music, to feel it moving through you as you stand in a crowd of people, all vibing off the same thing. It is somewhat magical. 

AFI has gotten me through some hard times and if you like rock or rap not many people can say they are not fans of LP. Still for me 30 Seconds to Mars won the night.

I have written to their music multiple times and my wife has been an advocate of theirs for years, but something clicked seeing them live. They really get it. They understand what it means to have fans, to be fans and to see a dream realized. 

Jared Leto is a true front man and the way he works a crowd is amazing. Inspiring. I went home feeling charged. I had to know more about this band and as I started looking things up and seeing Mr. Leto in interviews and hearing him talk about dreams and what it takes to reach that sought after goal. I have to say I was inspired. 

So for this Inspirational Friday I want to highlight the gentlemen of 30 Seconds to Mars and especially their front man Jared Leto as truly inspiring me to go on with this dream of mine. 

Here is a song of theirs about following that dream and going for it with everything you have.

Anyway guys let's see if I can keep this up. As always have fun and keep writing. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Hey guys to join up to this awesome group go HERE. Trust me it is fun and there may be cookies...maybe.

(Yay return of the cartoons!!)

Okay so this month I have a lot on my mind, but I will try to keep this post shorter than my last.

There are some people who can focus. They have this one thing they want to do. They put themselves behind it and off they go.

I envy those people. I myself have too many things I want to do. Part of me says just find one and stick to it. The problem I have with this is, when I neglect those things I don't feel whole.

There is at least three books I am writing on at the moment, with others in line clamoring for attention. I decided to take a sketch book challenge to try and better my artwork. Basically it is a year long challenge that ask you to fill a sketch book every two months. There are illustrations for a book I am hired to be doing. I am also trying to work on clay figures for a friend and he thinks I should try to sell them.

This is on top of kids, wife, yard work and trying to get better at marketing (can anyone just slap me until I get regular blogs up?). Now, I am not really complaining. I love doing this stuff and it is part of who I am as a person. I guess I just want to pose a question.

All you creative people out there. Do you feel it is better to work on one thing to completion and then move on? Or do you feel that it is fine to just do things as they come to you and then end up with many projects completed? Either way I see grey hairs in my immediate future.

Anyway, these are my thoughts for this month. I hope you are all well. As always, have fun and keep writing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

New starts.

Well the kids survived their first day of school. They seem to like the new place. I miss them being around all day, but at the same time this is my chance to get back on a good schedule. 

Writing for me is best done with some sort of structure. If my life feels chaotic my writing time suffers. Even when I have free time to write my brain feels too scrambled to do so. 

So that is one thing I will enjoy about this new school year. I have a lot of plans before next summer and I really am ready to jump back into it. It is time to break out the laptop and some lemonade and jump on the porch for some amazing writing sessions. I can't wait to share it all with you guys.

Anyway off to be with the family for a bit. Hope everyone is well. As always, have fun and keep writing. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Depression and loss.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to post about this or not. This death, like it did many others, affected me greatly. This is someone who brought joy and comfort to the world and left it, presumably, quite sad. 

Depression is something I myself have struggled with and my mother before me. It is a deep hole you can find yourself down and climbing up can feel like an impossibility.

Good friends, family and some ability to vent your feelings seem to be the only ways to fight it. The only problem is if we don't reach out then we can't be helped.

Suicide is never the option. If anyone out there is going through something and thinks there is no one to listen my email is always open. If not me there is family, or friends, if not them then there are numbers and websites that offer help. Just don't give up. 

Life is a gift, sometimes it is hard to see that, but trust me on this, every single day is a chance for a new start. Find your happiness and hope. 

Love you all and I hope you are well. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG 8/6/14

Hey if anyone is interested in joining up to this awesome group click HERE

So, today is my return to blogging. Today is also my birthday. 32. Just over three decades spent on this spinning ball. Long enough to learn that the statement "The only constant is change" is quite accurate. In my 32 years I would wager I have moved maybe 15-16 times. I have become quite the pro at it in fact. I can have a house packed and moved in days. 

Well that theory was tested as I just recently had to move again. I won't go into the details, but let's just say the environment had become toxic. So we moved and on very short notice. When these changes happen in our lives we tend to take stock, so to speak. So over the last week and a half I have been reflecting.

The questions hit. Am I where I should be? Do I have the strength to get to where I want to be? Is my skill enough to get me there? Those type of question haunt us all I believe. In fact, how we answer them often define us. 

The place where we moved has some land, 5 acres. Some of that is woods, but there is still a hefty amount of yard work to be done. My son is 10, he has mostly been an inside kid. Playing video games or reading and occasionally going outside to play. I figured it is a good time to change that here so yesterday morning I woke him up and made him go outside to help with the yard.

Handing him the rake I instantly got a flashback of a younger me. I grew up for part of my life on a dairy farm. Coming from the city I was clueless. Luckily a great uncle of mine took me under his wing. I learned so much from him and have benefited from his lessons to this day. I have a step-father now that reminds me of him and I am learning all I can from him as well. 

Some of you may be thinking, "Interesting tale my friend, but how does this apply to a writing group?" Great question. The answer is, there are many stages in our craft. Like in life. You have to start as the one holding the rake, but given time you will be the one who can teach others what to do with it. 

Wherever you are in your writing is where you should be for this moment. It is through being open to learn and striving to continue and grow that we can become a master at this craft or any other. If you are having doubts at this moment just remember we all do and it is by pushing through them we become great. 

Anyways it is good to be back, hope you have all been well. As always have fun and keep writing. OH and as a p.s., don't fear change sometimes it brings you a pool and a rainbow. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

I have

Okay so I am back, but I figured I would really really really come back for this Wednesday's IWSG. 

I have missed you all and can't wait to have my blogger family back. See you all soon. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Not back yet, but...

I am still taking some time, but light is on the horizon. I wanted to post this because I thought it was funny. 

Hope to see you all very soon. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'm not back yet, but look.

Hey guys just wanted to stop by and throw a link out for people to check out this awesome cover for Woven.

Go here and check it out. Leave a comment too if you want to. 

Hope all are well and I will see you soon. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The inevitable.

So I really didn't want to make this blog. I did my best to avoid it. I really liked the Monday/Friday blog schedule and thought I might make it through this. Unfortunately due to things going on in my home life, I am going to need to take a blogging break. 

I really appreciate all who have stopped by the past two months. Even if you didn't comment just seeing views made me happy through a rough time. I am really hopping to be back in action later this month and I will be able to get around to all of your amazing blogs. I do not take any of you lightly and I just hate posting then not being able to get around. 

Anyway, hope all is well your way. As always have fun and keep writing. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Magnificent Maleficent.

I had a lot of expectations going into this movie. I have said before out of all the villains in the Disney movies, Maleficent was my favorite. I had a little check list that I went into the theater carrying like a wooden block on my back. So many movies have not been what they could. 

I am so happy to say that as the movie progressed I was able to check off these marks happily. The look was amazing and the movie flows like a dream, maybe once upon a dream even...sorry. Anyway, the acting was spot on. Jolie brings this character to life. Even the supporting roles did justice to the story.

I had one minor complaint and it was pretty small in the overall picture, it is also somewhat a spoiler so I will leave it off here. 

If you like fantasy in general and/or are a fan of fairy tales that don't make you roll your eyes go check out MALEFICENT.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!!!

Just wanted to stop in and say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!! I hope you are all enjoying it with your families. Or remembering someone great.

I myself am going to go have some fun with the kiddos. I will have a blog up tomorrow and one Friday...I am so trying to stick to that, lol. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reborn Interview!!!

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book and truly enjoyed the read. It was a fun ride in a great fantasy world. I now get a chance to ask the author a few questions about the book and her process in writing it. 

BAX - Where did the original idea for the story come from?

CRBack in the early 2000s, I created a character for a Harry Potter online roleplaying game who had the gift of prophecy. Her birth story and how she obtained her gift is what spring-boarded the idea for Yssa. Although the characters’ stories and personalities diverged from each other, I wouldn’t have Yssa’s beginning without roleplaying.

BAX - It is no secret I am a huge Potter fan. That's really cool you could pull from that after all those years. What was it like trying to work with the visions Yssa had throughout the book?

CR -   The first draft and the revised draft didn’t have very many visions except the most important ones. During edits, I found places to add more prophecies. The hardest part about the visions was trying to show how Yssa gains control over them—more visions in the beginning and less as the story goes on—as well as deciding how to showcase the premonitions. I eventually wanted an immediacy to the visions, so that’s why I have them in present tense and italics to set them apart from the past tense story.

BAX - Well it turned out and made for a great tool in telling the story. I really enjoyed Yssa's character, what brought her to life? 

CRThe Harry Potter character I created may have brought her origin story to the forefront, but the revision draft brought Yssa to live. I had her story down, but she felt a little flat in the first draft, which I wrote in third person. When I changed her story to first person narrative, it was like she came to life, since I was more focused on her than what was happening as I was in the first draft.

BAX - Revisions have a way of doing that. I guess that is why the best authors are all great at revising. What would you say was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

CRThe most challenging aspect of this book was the editing. Although I’d edited shorter works, a novel is so much different. I had to add things, change things, keep so much straight. It was definitely challenging.

BAX - It is truly a lot of work. What would you say was your favorite?

CRI love world-building. Each draft, each edit, I learned more about Yssa’s world. It never ceased to surprise me.

BAX - I'm right there with you on that. I can get lost in it. How long do you plan on continuing with these characters? 

CRYssa’s story/timeline will continue through three more stories: a novella titled Remarked written from Liam’s point of view; book two Reforged, which is the continuation of Yssa’s story; and book three Redestined, which is the conclusion to her story.

BAX - It is good to know I won't have to say goodbye anytime soon. Before we go. There are so many dynamic themes in the book. If you could sum it up for a reader who was interested, what would you say?

CRHard question. *laughs* I would say it is a coming of age story questioning free will and Fate and pushing the boundaries of life and death.

BAX - Well that was a great answer. If anyone is interested to learn more of Cherie or of Reborn, I have some info below.

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.

Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

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Cherie Reich
Speculative Fiction Writer and Library Assistant

The magic's within the pages ... become surrounded by books!
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