Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Visiting today is Abby Bardi, author of 
The Secret Letters
She's gracing us with a guest post about agented vs unagented submissions
Take it away Abby.

Unagented Submissions 
The Secret Letters

I had been sitting on my novel The Secret Letters for some time, pondering what the heck to do with it, when my friend Gary, who is also a writer, gave me a suggestion. In the little space for messages in one of our ongoing Facebook Scrabble games, he wrote, “Why don’t you try sending to HarperCollins Australia? They take unagented submissions on Wednesdays.” It was now Tuesday.

The next day, I sent a partial to HCA through a form on their website. Several days later, they asked for more. Several days after that, they said they wanted to publish my novel. Easy, right?

Well, not exactly. This particular overnight success was fifteen years in the making. I had started the novel in the summer of 2000, just as my first novel The Book of Fred was enmeshed in the lengthy process of being published in hardcover by an imprint of Simon & Schuster. My then-agent wasn’t happy with my first draft of The Secret Letters, so I rewrote it completely, but it still wasn’t quite right.

Somewhere along the line, 9/11 happened, and it seemed no one was interested in a heartwarming family story. The Book of Fred’s pub date was actually on 9/11, and all the books at the time were on the Taliban. I put my heartwarming family story away. Every so often, I pulled it out again and worked on it, and I think I sent one version to some agents about ten years ago. But the story was still too “small.”

I kept working on it, picking it up when I wasn’t working on some other heartwarming family story that was too small, and finally this past June or so, HarperCollins Australia gave me the thumbs up. Six weeks later, it was an ebook! 

Of course, this is a far different publishing climate than with The Book of Fred. I got a nice advance for that, and the publisher assigned a publicist who did mysterious things like “co-oping.” I was able to do some book signings, back when there were bookstores, and I even did a little tour.

With The Secret Letters, I had a really wonderful editor who left in midstream and then another really wonderful editor (the same thing happened with my first book). HCA also assigned a fantastic copy editor. There was no advance, just a percentage of sales: 25% up to 10,000 books sold and then 50%. The publisher sets the price, which started out at $2.99 and is currently 99 cents! If it had been left up to me, I’d have charged more, but hey, they know more about this than I do.

So maybe the unagented digital route is not the most lucrative way to go, but what matters to me with this book is that now people can read it and that my characters, who I grew to love as if they were real people, can find their way out of my computer and into people’s hearts, where they can warm them.

Thank you, Abby, for sharing your journey. 
Well folks what do you think?
Agented publication, unagented publication, or as some are finding even more lucrative self-publishing?

Now introducing - The Secret Letters

When thirty-seven-year-old slacker-chef Julie Barlow's mother dies, her older sister Pam finds a cache of old letters from someone who appears to be their mother's former lover. The date stamped on the letters combined with a difficult relationship with her father leads Julie to conclude that the letters' author was a Native American man named J. Fallingwater who must have been her real father.

Inspired by her new identity, Julie uses her small inheritance to make her dream come true: she opens a restaurant called Falling Water that is an immediate success, and life seems to be looking up. Her sister Norma is pressuring everyone to sell their mother's house, and her brother Ricky is a loveable drunk who has yet to learn responsibility, but the family seems to be turning a corner.

Then tragedy strikes, and Julie and her siblings have to stick together more than ever before. With all the secrets and setbacks, will Julie lose everything she has worked so hard for? 


The casket was a double-wide, with painted flowers on the side like a circus wagon. Pam said it looked like hippies had scrawled on it with crayons while tripping.

“She’s at peace now,” one of our idiot cousins said to someone I half-recognized from when my mother used to drag us to West Virginia, where she was born. “Just a bunch of goddamn hillbillies in the Mountain State,” she always said, like she was Martha Stewart.

“Shut up,” Pam muttered in the cousin’s general direction, smiling like she was saying something nice. I hoped she planned to provide snark during the funeral, since I didn’t know how I would make it through otherwise. My other sister Norma was in the front pew sobbing. We were keeping our distance from her, not because of anything in particular, but because we always stayed out of her way if we could. It didn’t pay to try to comfort her, since anything you said would be the wrong thing.

The casket was closed, thank God. Our mother had left strict instructions about this and everything else when she was still conscious. Even while dying, she was a control freak, and amazingly vain for someone who weighed just shy of 400 pounds, even with terminal cancer. “You’re beautiful,” we always said to her in a Hollywood voice, “don’t ever change.” She knew we were just messing with her, but she always smiled and patted her hair.

“That’s a hell of a casket,” I said.

“Sure is purty.” Pam’s eyes were red. I hadn’t looked in a mirror since early morning when I’d slathered on eye makeup, but I’d been crying all day, too, and probably looked like a slutty raccoon. “Is Timmy here yet?”

“Haven’t seen him. It’s so crowded.” I scanned the room.

“Did any of these weirdos actually know her?”

“I don’t know. I bet those fat guys were football players at her high school.” I wiped my eyes, though I knew it was a bad idea, smear-wise.

“Oh, there he is.” Pam pointed to the back of the room and I spotted our older brother. He was wearing a dark suit that made him look like a Mafia don, talking to some blond guy. She tried waving, but he didn’t notice. His eyes were on the casket. He hadn’t seen our mother in almost a year, and I was sure it was hard for him to believe she was gone. Tough shit for him, I thought. He could have come here when it would have made a difference. Now it didn’t matter to anyone what he did.

“Is The Asshole coming?” I asked, referring to our father.

“No, he says he has a schedule conflict.”

“Probably golf. You’d think he could at least manage to show up for this.”

“At least he’s clean and sober.”

“So he says. He’s probably still banging down Zombies at strip clubs.”

“Try not to be bitter, Julie. It’s unattractive.”

“Bitter? You think I’m bitter?”

As the minister cut in and began to read the eulogy my mother had probably written for him, my mind started wandering like I was in grade school waiting for the bell to ring. I tried to concentrate, but I couldn’t. Every so often I’d tune back in and hear things that weren’t true. Her devotion to other people. Her service to the community. Her wonderful family life—I could just about hear her voice coming out of the guy’s mouth. I didn’t know where she found him, since she never went to church. I figured he was an actor she hired to play a minister, and made a mental note to mention this to Pam.

As he droned on in his phony actor voice, I closed my eyes and imagined walking through the woods on the hill behind our house. Most of it was gone now, bulldozed to make room for the townhouse development just over the ridge. I made a path through the old trees, and the dogs ran in circles around me. Ahead of me was the pond, though in real life it wasn’t there any more either, except for the hints that sometimes bubbled up in people’s driveways. I was going to dangle my bare feet in the water. I could hide there all day, and no one would know where I was. Then I would run back through the trees to our house, with the dogs behind me, and my mother would be there, and Frank, and Donny.

When I opened my eyes the minister was gone, and some cousin who hadn’t seen my mother in years was reading from a wrinkled piece of paper. She was stumbling over the words, maybe because it was Mom’s loopy handwriting, or maybe she couldn’t read. It was Mom’s life story minus all the bad parts and made going to high school in East Baltimore, meeting The Asshole, and having five children with him sound like an E! True Hollywood Story. Norma was born six months after the wedding, and it didn’t take a mathematician to figure out the facts, but the cousin glossed over that, and the ugly divorce, and finished with the happy ending, my mother finding true love with Frank and then having little Ricky. Ricky, on my left, burst into loud sobs. I put my arm around him and he cried onto my shoulder. I could smell he’d been drinking again. I would have pulled him onto my lap like I used to, but he was a big boy now. When I looked at him with his tattoos, dreadlocks, and piercings, I still saw that cute little blond guy and felt how much we had loved him. We still loved him that much, but it was complicated.

Pam leaned across me and held his hand. “You’ll be fine, sweetie,” she whispered to him, though we were pretty sure he wouldn’t.


Abby Bardi is the author of THE BOOK OF FRED and THE SECRET LETTERS. She grew up in Chicago, went to college in California, then spent a decade teaching English in Japan and England. She currently teaches at a college in Maryland and lives in historic Ellicott City with her husband and dog.


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Monday, September 28, 2015


Today, author Kaira Rouda is here to discuss her latest release Laguna Nights, with a behind the scenes guest post!

The story behind Laguna Nights and the new Laguna Beach Series
by Kaira Rouda

Whether you were a fan of the MTV Reality TV Show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and its spinoff, The Hills, or not, you’ve probably heard about the shows. These lightly-scripted, trail-blazing reality shows focused on the lives of real life high school students, juniors and seniors, at Laguna Beach High School.
The series aired three seasons, beginning in 2006, but it changed life in my town forever. Many of my friends blame the show for the crushing onslaught of tourism. Other locals still won’t forgive the school system for allowing MTV access to the kids and found it exploitative. The original contract had approved filming on the high school campus, but was renegotiated to exclude high school scenes.
I’m relatively new to Laguna Beach, but my family and I love it here. My sons are now graduates of Laguna Beach High School – and the ceremony is the same as it was in the show, as are many things about the town and its high school kids. At my favorite hair salon, my friend and stylist had just gotten married. She showed me the gorgeous photos and I said, “Those should be in a magazine.”
That’s when the rest of the salon customers and staff started laughing at me and one kind soul explained by handing me US Weekly where her wedding had a four-page spread. Another handed me a People magazine, and there it was again. Well, yes, Ashley’s wedding had been in magazines, lots of them, as she’d married Jason Wahler of reality tv show fame, specifically Laguna Beach.
A big fan of the show herself, of course, Ashley encouraged me to write a series about what happens to kids after that type of instant stardom. She had a lot of insight, of course, but my stories are completely from my imagination. So Madison and Josh’s story is ten years after their fame on the television show. Josh was the bad boy, and Madison – called Holly on the air – was left heartbroken, for all the world to see, and re-watch with the series on demand. Madison has run as far away from celebrity as she could, while Josh is still trying to catch it again.
Laguna Nights does share many of the same settings that made the television show so much fun to watch. There’s the hot tub scene at a house in Three Arch Bay, a private, gated community in South Laguna.
When Josh and Madison find themselves back at Fisherman’s Cove shooting a scene, I based that scene on an incredibly beautiful beach used often in the production, and one that even was the setting of my son’s music video. It’s a gorgeous spot.
Madison’s hotel is called the Mondrian in the story, but is based on the famous Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.  Their dinners in town are at a charming bistro on Forest Avenue, a place much like Alessa.
I’m so lucky to call Laguna Beach home and I’m excited to share a little bit about this special place through my new series. Fun fact: the cover photo of Laguna Nights is a photo by my son, Trace. He took it at the beach in Laguna one night. It really is that magical here.

Madison Alcott was back in her hometown, caring for her sick mom and working long hours at the best resort in Laguna Beach. She never imagined she'd return to the place where she became famous on the hit reality TV show Laguna Nights, and the place where she was humiliated on national television. Fortunately, the past had stayed tucked away until her old high school boyfriend appeared in the lobby.

Josh Welsh was a superstar by age eighteen, the bad boy break-out star of Laguna Nights. Since then, his star had lost its shine and he barely was holding onto his Hollywood status. When he was asked to host a new reality travel show, he jumped at the chance. The only problem was the first episode was shooting in Laguna Beach. Of all the reasons Josh didn't want to return home, he hadn't even imagined the worst scenario: running into Madison "Holly" Alcott.

Josh's connection to Madison was still as strong as her anger at his betrayal. When the new reality series forces them together, they must face Laguna Nights past and present, and navigate a journey where nothing is as it seems.


It was an early Friday afternoon in February and Madison Alcott stood on the balcony of the Mondrian Laguna Beach, a luxurious Craftsman-style hotel perched on an oceanfront bluff. She needed a moment of zen before her latest group arrived from LA and her favorite place to breathe was this balcony. Typically, the winter breeze would be chilly, but not this year with global climate change. She was comfortable outside in her simple black dress, no jacket needed.

     Her long blonde hair blew softly in the ocean breeze as she looked out at the sparkling blue water stretching out to the horizon. Waves crashed on the shore, a sound she found soothing and had since she was a child. It was a constant, that swooshing water sound, more dependable than anything or anyone else she’d known. She closed her eyes and imagined herself lying on the warm sand, wearing her favorite red bikini, soaking up the sun, laughing with friends, maybe even holding hands with Dolby, lying side by side.

     She opened her eyes and looked down. Directly below her, a young family – two fit, gorgeous parents with two towheaded toddlers – frolicked in the resort’s signature mosaic swimming pool. The young father tossed one of the children up in the air, eliciting squeals of joy from the child, before he swam to his wife and pulled her to him for a kiss. Madison sighed.

     “That should be me, us,” she said, her words drifting on the warm air of the empty patio, and checked her watch. The group check-in would begin in just twenty minutes and she needed to be sure everything was ready. All the she knew about the group was that they were a bunch of picky entertainment execs. The booking agent had been light on details about the group’s members, but heavy with expectations of service, food, and confidentiality.

     “My group will expect complete privacy, the finest in service and flexibility,” the man had said to Madison over the telephone.

     “Of course. Um, flexibility?” she had asked. She’d stopped taking notes as flexibility was typically not one of the demands.

     “Sometimes, they change their minds. So, although we’ve set the agenda for the week, well, it is all subject to change,” he had said.

     Madison had leaned back in her chair, inhaled a deep breath and had counted to ten. She was up to her eyeballs with entitlement, especially with Hollywood types. “I’m sorry, but we’ve scheduled the best table at our oceanfront restaurant just for your party. They cannot simply decide not to show up on Saturday night.” She had been proud of herself, being firm and she hadn’t let her voice waver.

     “We’ll pay whatever. Just know, it may happen. See you on Friday,” he had said and hung up.

     Flexibility, Madison thought, walking toward the front desk, crossing the thick carpet of the lobby before stepping onto the dark wood floor of the reception area. All three staff members smiled at her and she returned their grins.

     “Can’t wait to see who’s in this group,” Chrissy said, eyes twinkling behind her wire-frame glasses. Chrissy had been with the resort for as long as anyone could remember and she still became star struck every time a celebrity checked in. Even if she didn’t recognize the person until Kevin, also a guest reception employee, showed her online. They still joked about her lack of rock star knowledge, missing the chance to ogle both Eric Clapton and Sam Smith within months of each other. She’d still proudly added them to her celebrity sightings list, Madison knew.

     “We’re so ready to be flexible,” Kevin said, tugging at the lapel of his sport coat, his red hair glowing in the spotlight aimed at the seascape oil painting behind him but instead shining on his hair because of his 6’4” height. “I did a walk-through of all of the suites. They’re ready. Champagne on ice. Strawberries dipped in chocolate. Everything chilled and waiting. We’ll make them love us.”

     Madison doubted that but smiled anyway. She loved her team. They were family to her, the reason she’d stayed on even though she should have moved on when the company had offered a promotion to a property in Sun Valley. Instead of manager of group sales, she would be a vice president of guest services. She’d told them she couldn’t leave Southern California - that it was home. But the truth was, it was the people here who worked at the resort that she couldn’t leave. And her mom, of course.

     Her earpiece crackled to life and Madison cupped her hand over her ear. “Five minutes to arrival,” said the van driver who’d picked the group up at the private airport in Irvine.

     “Got it,” Madison said, into the small mouthpiece. “Any insights?”

     “Dickheads,” the van driver said as Madison’s heart fell. She’d suspected it would be a long weekend, but the confirmation saddened her. It wasn’t as if she had anything else to do, she reminded herself, pushing Dolby and his strong broad shoulders out of her mind. She knew he’d never be able to forget what he’d watched, no matter how many assurances she made, no matter how long ago it had happened.  It was the same with her last attempt at a relationship, and the one before that. They would tell her it was fine, that they could handle it. But that was always a lie.

Kaira Rouda is a bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary women's fiction and sexy modern romance novels that sparkle with humor and heart. Her women's fiction titles include HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR. Her bestselling short story is titled, A MOTHER'S DAY. Kaira's work has won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader's Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer's Digest International Book Awards. Her books have been widely reviewed and featured in leading magazines.

She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel.

Congratulations Kaira!

And in case you haven't heard my latest release is

Just in time for Halloween.

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Remember to Sign up on October 1st
Post between October 21 -23

Don't you just love a good scare?

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I am thrilled to announce that my book of short stories 
is now available on Amazon Kindle!

And now for today's post!

Friday Fictioneers!

Hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

A flash fiction challenge of 100 words or less

The photo prompt copyright to The Reclining Gentleman.

© The Reclining Gentleman


I walked towards traffic; my blood trailing in gelatinous plops would soon be washed away. The sky darkened above a layer of nimbus clouds that looked ready to release a deluge of biblical proportion.

Why wouldn't they believe me when I told them he was violent? The life of the party, the man who went out of his way for others had decided I no longer deserved to live. Well, I'd show him.

The hospital was just ahead. I gingerly carried my head. I wondered if the doctors could reattach it without leaving ugly scars.

Vanity is such a curse.
100 words
Yolanda Renée

Add your link and find other great shorts!

Sorry, I haven't been around recently. I've been working on several writing projects with deadlines. I'll try to make up for my absence by visiting your blog soon. Thank you for your continued support. Blogosphere friends rock!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

But first Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares:

The Rude Awakening

I remember sitting in Naturopathic school with other students and hearing them talk about how their future practices would be. They would say things such as: If my patients eat at Mc Donald’s I won’t work with them. I can only work with people who are open to raw food and vegetarianism. Coffee is the root of all things evil and my patients will not drink it. It led me to wonder how these people were going to pay off their student loan bills. Who would be their patients? It hadn’t crossed my mind that my first practice would be touring with Rock Bands and I would have this dilemma too.

When I graduated from 17 years of medical school, I was so burned out from working full time and going to school that I was not even sure I wanted to be a doctor anymore. This seemed like a good time to take a few months sabbatical and do the travelling I had always wanted to do. I was having an identity crisis and felt a break from medicine would cure it.

So I sold my possessions, closed my chiropractic practice, and drove my books and clothes back to Cleveland to keep in storage for who knows how long. I headed to Europe with a backpack and no hotel reservation. For the next 8 months, I backpacked through Europe seeing sights, making pilgrimages along the way, sipping coffee in cafes, and taking in the culture. I missed medicine and realized that I truly did want to be a doctor.

Several months into it, one of the bands I had worked with previously, got wind I was in Europe. How would I like to get paid to travel? They wanted someone to go on tour and do some natural medicine for them. What a day it was to take a taxi from the youth hostel in Paris where I was sharing a room with 6 people to the very swanky Paris hotel where I would meet the group. The taxi driver questioned my appearance and destination. I arrived at the fancy hotel looking like one of the Beverly Hill Billy’s wiping the dust off myself. The band gave me money to buy some hipper clothes. They could not bear to see the hiking boots and backpack. The next few months it was 5 star hotels, tour buses, planes and lots of great parties.

I had my massage tables sent to Europe along with a natural medicine pharmacy of herbs and vitamins and acupuncture needles. I was so excited to be able to incorporate all of the modalities for healing together for the first time since I graduated. This would be my first practice. I was in for a Rude Awakening!

My visions of the ultimate natural medicine practice were quickly dissolved. After Paris, the band headed to Amsterdam. Need I say more? I quickly realized that this band was just as committed to revelry and debauchery as they were to their health. The preventive medicine I knew turned into harm reduction for hangovers and Sexually Transmitted Disease. What to do? This is not the kind of natural medicine practice I had wanted. Eventually I relaxed into it. I put my judgments aside and learned to use my medicines any chance I could. As a doctor, I needed to learn this. I learned to meet people where they are and make small changes where I could. I learned it is possible to be healthy and have a lot of fun too!

“You can’t always get what you want…
But you get what you need.”

-The Rolling Stones

As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.
In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.
Now you can reach for the stars too!
Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years,
She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist. She also operatesBackstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour.

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali.

Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women’s Health. She’s co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.


Monday, September 21, 2015


Introducing Tom Benson, talented author & entrepreneur, he's here to discuss his writing journey from poetry - to thrillers - to erotica.

Elementary to Erotica – my journey so far

I am always keen to learn about a fellow author’s route, from those tentative steps of composing a first piece of work, to first publication and beyond. 

Irrespective of age, or experience, the early days are the most difficult, as they are with most ventures.
It’s good for a writer’s morale to take stock occasionally, but publicly like this. It’s also self-marketing, but we can’t hide our light under a bushel, because therein lies obscurity.

My story may not be awe-inspiring, but I’ve reached another stage with my latest release.

Now is a good time for me to take a look back.

In 1992, following a military career of 23 years, I next took up retail management, which I did for 20 years. In the mid-90’s I started to write my military memoirs. It took over two years and the writing was abysmal. I abandoned the memoirs, and over the next few years I wrote short stories for my own amusement, not knowing anything of the required discipline.

In 2007 I wrote a rhyme whilst on a coffee break. A colleague told me I should join an online poetry site. I did and I wrote 700+poems in three years, but felt the need to do something more.

I read short stories and books on how to write them, whilst I practiced. I took out a subscription to a national writing magazine. In 2010 I won a competition and had my story included in an anthology. Poetry was left behind, as I spent every available minute producing ideas to create short stories.

I joined a website and a local writing group and learned much from having my work critiqued. I’d long had a yearning to write a novel, but felt it was beyond me. My first novel was inspired by a fellow poet on the other side of the world. We’d reviewed each other’s poetry and kept in touch. I’m delighted to say that our friendship has remained firm and we continue to support each other.

In December 2012 I published ‘Ten Days in Panama’, a romance-based thriller. I knew it wasn’t great, but I had introduced aspects of the thriller, and I knew I had to write something more exciting. It was a steep learning curve, just as it had been with short stories. I used the manuscript ‘rest’ periods as a time to continue writing short stories.

In October 2013 I published ‘Beyond The Law’, a crime thriller about a vigilante in Glasgow. During breaks from my novels, I honed my 12 best short stories to create an anthology. In May2014 I published ‘Smoke & Mirrors and other short stories’.

When I read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ I was disappointed in the content. I got the impression that the author had a good idea, but minimal knowledge of her subject. I am amazed at the success of that series.

I had experimented with writing erotic stories, but they’d never been seen. I thought back over my life experiences and decided I had the knowledge and imagination to adapt them and create a variety of scenarios. In June 2014 I published my second short story anthology ‘Coming Around and other erotic stories’.

My work on thrillers continued. In July 2014I published ‘Amsterdam Calling’, a psychological thriller. Since moving on from poetry, my practice had been to work on more than one project simultaneously, so my next book was at an advanced stage.

I published ‘A Taste of Honey’ in December2014. It was another vigilante story, but this time about a rogue female detective – in the US.

From late 2014 into early 2015 I had a handful of private messages asking if I’d ever considered writing an erotic novel. These were not random queries, but from folk who had read my erotic anthology. Just as I had with my poetry a few years before, I sensed a challenge, but once again, a challenge I relished.

In September 2015, I completed the final draft of ‘Give & Take: A Tale of Erotica’. It has sold almost daily since publication.

If my first attempt at an erotic novel receives positive reviews, I will be happy to produce a sequel. It has two reviews already. Whether or not I find success in the world of erotica I’ll continue to write thrillers, but there is escape in writing contrasting genre.

I would suggest to any writer who feels the urge to try a new genre – do it. Don’t let anybody hold you back with their opinions. You owe it to yourself – and your readers.

Nick and Kirsten are an attractive couple in their early 20’s and share an apartment. To the outside world they are perfectly matched, but behind closed doors things are not so straightforward.

Nick’s appetite for sexual experimentation goes beyond what Kirsten will allow. Kirsten’s love for Nick is pushed to the limit, however, she confides in a friend and takes a course of action that nobody would have expected – least of all her boyfriend.

The couple find themselves in a world where they will both see fantasy become reality, but at what cost?

In November 2015 I aim to publish ‘Acts of Vengeance’, the sequel to ‘Beyond The Law’.

One of the greatest things we can all do as indie authors is to support our peers. Try to read other indie authors, and provide reviews. Make an effort to read widely in genre – it really does pay dividends.

Another good idea is to do as I’ve done here, and produce an occasional update on progress. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one book so far, let people know you are out there.

As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Feedback is always welcome.

In 1969 at the age of 17, Tom left his native Glasgow to join the British Army. Tom’s military career spanned from 1969 to 1992. He followed this with a career in Retail Management, in which he was employed from 1992 to 2012.

Tom has been writing since 2007. He has published five novels, two anthologies of short stories, and a series of five anthologies of genre-based poetry. He is presently working on two novels, and a third anthology of short stories. Tom is also a self-taught artist.
Tom’s websites:

Writer & Artist


Thank you, Tom, impressive! Truly!

What do you think of Tom's journey?

Have you shared your success and or failures? 

Is it important, why or why not? 

Do you treat your writing as a business?


is featuring
Annalisa Crawford 
She's sharing her secrets for writing scary!
Stop by on Wednesday to read her post.
Don't forget the Halloween Challenge sign up begins October 1st!