Category: Writing (page 1 of 7)

Keeping Up With the Neighbours COMPLETE SERIES

It’s official! The COMPLETE SERIES is now available as an ebook with the paperback coming next week. Check it out on AMAZON.

Look out! The Malloy family have taken over the neighbourhood, starting with Jed, whom we met in Neighbours Series 1. Jed is a downhome boy from Newfoundland who is a bit rough around the edges, but is the first to lend a helping hand when needed. His colourful and sometimes raucous siblings – Bo, Reba, Pip, Will, and Zeb – join him one by one in the western city of Calgary, Alberta. There’s plenty of laughter, romance, and a few surprises, as the Malloy clan get together. In the midst of the surprises, a greater love than any one of them ever expected comes to call: The love that only God can give.


As always, an honest review is always appreciated!

Interview with Jed Malloy

Neighbours Series II – Keeping Up with the Neighbours has been rolling out for several months and along with that, here is the first in a series of character interviews! Introducing Jed Malloy – the first sibling to appear in series one and the one who ‘started it all’ in series two. Enjoy!

Q: You come from a large family, correct?

A: Ya got that right, b’y! My folks had nine kids in eleven years. Not large by Newfoundland standards but large for anywhere else, I suppose. They’re devout Catholics which explains a few things, I guess. Took ‘em a few tries to figure out what was causin’ things! Just jokes.

Q: What’s the breakdown? Where do you fit in?

A: I gots one sister who’s older than me – Fanny. Then there’s me, Zeb, Mary, Sissy, Bo, Will, Reba and Pip, the youngest. The three older girls are all married and live back in Newfoundland with their families. You shoulda ‘eard Ma calling us in for supper!

Q: When did you decide to move away from Newfoundland to Alberta? Why did you move?

A: Four, maybe five years ago now? There was no work back ‘ome and I got wind of a job in Alberta so I up and made the move. Gotta go where the work is. ‘Alf of the people out west are from Newfoundland, I think. I started in the oil patch but when that didn’t pan out I got on at Titan – the construction company I work for now. They’re pretty good to me. Can’t complain, that’s for sure.

Q: What kind of relationship do you have with your other siblings? Are you close?

A: We’re a pretty tight bunch, I’d say. I love to ‘ate ‘em some of the time, though. That’s the cockeyed thing about family. They gets on your nerves at times but you’ll never find a Malloy who wouldn’t stand up for ‘is kin when it comes down to it. As far at that goes, I’d say Zeb and I are the closest. Always ‘ave been. ‘E’s cleaned my clock a time or two, I’ll ‘ave to admit, but the lummox is the best friend I got in the world, and that’s no lie.

Q: What’s it been like having some of your family come join you?

A: Great, great. Well, at times it’s a bit tryin’ when they’re all underfoot… We been squeezed into my little apartment like sardines, but that’ll change, I reckon, once some of ‘em start findin’ their own way. I’d never turn family out on the street.

Q: What’s your favourite activity? What do you do for fun?

A: Oh, let’s see… I likes to play pool and ‘ang out down at the Urban Cowboy. It’s this retro joint where a guy can ‘ave a cold one and meet up with a buddy or two. I don’t play sports if that’s what you mean! I used to like ‘unting back ‘ome but ‘aven’t ‘ad the opportunity since bein’ in the city.

Q: Would you consider yourself a good person?

A: What kind a question is that? Lard tunderin’! You come-from-aways know ‘ow to ask the dumbest questions I ever ‘eard! I went to Catholic school for my whole education so I guess that counts for something.

Q: Fair enough. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

A: No. This interview ‘as made me thirsty, though. I’m gonna go down to the Urban Cowboy and see if my buddy Lester wants to shoot a game of pool before the night is through.

Q: You mean Lester Tibbett?

A: Course that’s who I mean. Are ya stun? Lester and me live in the same building and work for the same outfit. He’s a real good sort.

Q: We’ve met him previously.

A: Then why the dumb question? Lard of a duck! Anyway, is this ‘ere interview over yet? I’ve developed an awful thirst…

Read the series on Amazon!

Vol 1 – Neighbourhood Tangle – JED

Vol 2 – Neighbourhood Watch – BO

Vol 3 – Neighbourhood Rebel – REBA

Vol 4 – Neighbourhood Upstart – PIP

Vol 5 – Neighbourhood Freedom – WILL

Vol 6 – Neighbourhood Cupid – ZEB

Vol 7 – Neighbourhood Wrap – FINALE


Check out the other interviews:

Bo, Reba, Pip, Will, Zeb

Get Your Platform Moving!

I’ve presented a workshop on platform building and marketing several times over the past year and have refined it to its current state. GET YOUR PLATFORM MOVING discusses the how and why of building a platform step by step and is useful for any type of business, although it is geared to writers.

As my gift to you, I’d like to offer the pdf as a download.




Why I’ve Become a Hybrid

This article was originally posted on Kim Rempel’s blog on March 31, 2017 under the title

What 16 Publishing Contracts Taught Me About Ego, Publishing, and Making Money as a Hybrid Author-Preneur

I used to think finding an agent and securing a traditional publishing deal was the pinnacle of writing success. It would prove I was legit. I’d finally be able to call myself a writer without feeling like a fraud.

Since my first book came out in 2009, however, my thinking has changed. I’ve signed sixteen traditional contracts, had an agent, said good-bye to that agent, used a vanity press twice, and self-published using both Createspace and Lightning Source. I’m a hybrid – a new breed of writer trying to use the best from both worlds.

The Truth About Traditional Publishing

Before we go any further, I should set the record straight about what some of these terms actually mean. Traditional publishers do not charge any kind of fee. Period. These can be big New York firms or small boutique houses, but there is no cost to the author in a traditional contract. Instead, the writer gets paid for their work, through an advance, through royalties on books sold, or both.

There are still many pros to traditional publishing. Besides the assurance (most of the time) of a quality product, one’s books have access to the company’s distribution channels. There are none of the headaches of managing all the production and bookkeeping responsibilities. However, there are some serious downsides, too. Authors have minimal control over their own work. There can be restrictions on the cover, launch date, and promotions. Less of the profit goes to the author since he or she is also fueling the larger machine of the publishing company.

Don’t Make These Newbie Publishing Mistakes

I’ve had a few less than stellar experiences with books that were traditionally published. My first book deal was for my book, And The Beat Goes On. I later learned that this particular publisher also charged for services (a vanity press), but in my case there was no charge of any kind. I worked with multiple editors, cover designers, proofers, etc. I didn’t know much about contracts, so I signed a seven-year deal for a 6% royalty on the cost price. The book originally came out in hardcover and sold for $30. Since my royalty was on the cost price, not the list price, I ended up making about $.87 per book. Even if you’re not a mathematician, you can see that I would have to sell a lot of books to make any money! However, I was just thrilled to have signed a real book deal and I was naïve enough to think that my books would suddenly start flying off the shelves.

I had a rude awakening when I realized I was still expected to do much of my own marketing. As well, my hands were tied when it came to giveaways, pricing, or sales. Add to that, the fact that I could not make any changes of any kind for seven long years since I no longer had the rights to my own work.

Here’s another story about my agent. I will not name him here, but he was a very nice man, and again, when he agreed to represent me I was thrilled, thinking I’d finally arrived. (This was a few years after that first book deal.) The first contract he found me was for my book, Wind Over Marshdale, with a small ‘boutique’ publishing house. The deal was for a much more substantial royalty, but remember, he was entitled to a 15% cut of whatever royalties I made. After hearing from readers who wanted a sequel, I decided to write a novella length story called Lone Wolf, which basically answered the question on everyone’s mind, “What happened to Thomas?” My agent felt that pitching a novella, even to the same publisher, wasn’t a smart move. I asked him if I could pitch it myself and he said, “Go ahead.” (In my case, my agent had first rights to any subsequent work I might produce.) I pitched it to the same publisher and they wanted the book, so I signed with them without my agent – meaning more royalties for me!

The story doesn’t end there, however. He had in his possession another of my manuscripts called, Three Strand Cord. He was busy pitching it to various large houses with no success. Again I suggested trying the same boutique publisher, but he didn’t feel that the royalties or distribution channels would produce a high enough return to make it worthwhile. In the meantime, that manuscript was floating around from publisher to publisher for more than a year, totally out of my control. Finally, after much prayer and a few emails, we decided that it would be best if we parted ways. It was a very amicable parting and I have nothing against him. He did his best for me, but I was beginning to realize that the bureaucracy of the traditional system, with all its gates and red tape, was not something I was interested in pursuing anymore.

A Warning on Self-Publishing

One of the biggest issues with the modern era of self-publishing is the glut of poor quality books out there. I’m not, by any means, saying all self-published books are poor quality. On the contrary, modern author-preneurs are becoming savvy marketers. Part of that means realizing that substandard quality may begood enough for the first book, but it will not sell future books. It’s worth the investment to outsource such things as editing and cover design.

 The Freedom of Hybrid Publishing

Authors no longer have to be bound by seven-year contracts or agent’s wishes. We have the means to take control of our own writing careers and maybe even make some money at it. While I’ve signed a fair number of traditional deals, I’ve also seen the wisdom in learning the ropes of self-publishing using Createspace and Lightning Source, two of the most well know DIY platforms.

I don’t plan to self-publish exclusively, though. All of my stage-plays have been published traditionally in the US and I do quite well on the performance royalties. In this case, these publishers have a reach I could never hope to duplicate. It wouldn’t make sense to re-publish them myself, since I would stand to lose significantly.

Similarly, at this time, I am not planning to get the rights back for a couple of my other books. Clean Reads, (formerly Astraea Press) a small press who published both Wind Over Marshdale and Lone Wolf, treats their authors very well. I’ve made some wonderful connections, and have been involved in some amazing promotional opportunities with them. Why would I want to leave?

There is no one answer, just as there is no ‘one way’ to get published. The advantages of being a hybrid are many. And a growing number of high profile authors are now also going the indie route. They’ve made a name for themselves via the traditional route, but now find they have more flexibility and control over their own work.

There’s nothing wrong with doing both; there is value and validity to each method. It is up to individual writers to choose what path makes most sense in any particular situation. Like never before, writers have truly become the authors of their own destiny.


For the Love of Writing

I grew up in small town Saskatchewan, surrounded by a sea of grain fields and nurtured by an agricultural mindset. To make a living as a farmer, one has to have tenacity in the face of uncontrollable obstacles. Grain prices fluctuate, markets can collapse, and nobody but Jesus can control the weather! “Next year…” is probably the most common phrase uttered among those that make their living off the land. It’s this ability to look to the future despite present circumstances that keeps farmers in the business. I suppose the same could be said for writers.

Like farming, writing is hard work. Crops don’t grow overnight just like manuscripts don’t write themselves. Sometimes it feels like a ‘love-hate’ relationship and one asks, “Why am I putting myself through this?” Good question. Any number of obstacles can thwart my progress. Rejection, interruptions, low self-esteem, and writers’ block are just a few. But somewhere inside is that innate optimism – that sense of “what if’ that makes me pick up where I left off and continue.

I’m not sure writers can actually cultivate a love for writing. It’s either something that is inbred or it’s not. Yes, writers can cultivate their craft. They can cultivate their methodology, marketing skills, time management and any number of other things that will affect their productivity and success. But love? The love of writing happens despite everything else. It just is. The sun will shine, the rains will come, and writers will keep on writing – just for the love of it.

*This article first appeared on Inscribe’s Professional blog, February 27, 2017. 

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