What about the "Meh" people


What about the “meh” people?

What if Christmas is not your thing, but you’re trying really hard not to be an asshole? The “Meh” people as I like to call them, don’t get a stiffy over Christmas lights, but don’t want to ruin everyone else’s good time. There’s one in your family I can guarantee that, we are just mostly in the closet. 

Let’s go back to my childhood. My parents had one plastic white artificial Christmas tree. It was super ugly. Ugly by 1980’s standards ugly. They brought it out at a certain date and put it away on a certain date, no fanfare at all. 

My parents weren’t great at presents either. Sure, there were presents under the tree, but just a little something so you got one. Presents weren't nothing really to get excited about. The only awesome thing about my childhood Christmas was my stocking. My dad did a great stocking that was the one thing I could count on being very cool. 

So maybe my lack of excitement over the holidays is conditioning from my childhood. Perhaps, if my parents had been really into the whole thing I would have been all Buddy Elf about it. 

Fast forward to myself as a parent. I did the first kid thing where I got babies first Christmas photos and ornament. Plus, the tree for a drooling baby to stare at. Second kid I did the same, plus trips to sit on Santa’s lap. There are photos of my two boys with Santa, both look miserable. 

I went as far as to set up a cool Christmas tradition in our house, we left Santa a steak and a beer.  The kids would help their father grill up a fat steak put it on a Christmas plate, with an open beer next to it. I explained to my boys that by the time Santa reached our house, he was sick of cookies and on his way home anyway so it was cool for him to have one beer. 

Go forward some more to my boys being older kids, neither believing in Santa. They had both figured it out at an early age, but I persisted still setting up a tree, stocking, and hinted at a family photo. It was a real tree damn it, with yearly new hand-crafted decorations. Nothing like my parent’s lame attempt. 

However, I noticed that I wasn’t doing any of this because I was into it. I was doing this for my kids. I wasn’t going to be the jerk mom who said “meh” to the little kid stuff but then I started to notice something. 

It evolved slowly every year it got a bit more difficult to get help decorating the tree. One year I forgot about stockings and nobody cared (or noticed). I was taking mental notes of this while being pissy about it. The kind of pissy a parent gets when they are doing something they don’t like (like watching the Dolphin show at Sea world), but they are doing it for their kid. Then that kid (or kids) doesn’t bother to lose their minds with happiness over it. 

That was the kind of pissy I was becoming over Christmas. Then the pivotal year came; when it was time to put away the decorations and get rid of the large Christmas tree. The decorations I had nagged my boys into helping put up. I now had to threaten to get them to take them down. 

This tree was my breaking point. The last pine-straw. It was a pain in the butt to get out of the house. It stained the carpet and broke my vacuum. That was the last Christmas tree in our home. 

Guess what, nobody cared. That’s when I started to phase out all sorts of stuff. What kind of stuff? Well, I used to decorate the my house for each holiday. From Halloween to Valentine’s day. The whole house would be gussied up. After that nervous breakdown tree I started skipping holidays. I then stopped on holidays all together. 

Yea, that’s right I don’t bother with it. I can hear some of you sneer a bit. It’s fine the boys still get up Christmas morning to a present. A present, the big WOW presents have disappeared as well. I opt instead to take them out to do something cool instead of some big whatever. 

Here’s the thing I’m only doing presents because I would feel dastardly if I didn’t. My kids have plenty of stuff, they want for nothing and get loads of cash from families for Christmas. So why should I…..

Ugh, I can’t get there yet. I can’t have that “Listen, kid the grandmothers hook you guys up at Christmas…so how about saving your parents some cash and we skip the Christmas present routine” conversation. 

I keep thinking about it, but if I mention it to a peer’s their eyebrows shoot up and I get the kind of looks, you give someone when they tell you they are considering selling their home and living in a teepee. 

It’s hard being a “meh” person during the holidays especially if you’ve got kids. I have no conclusion or answer to it. There is no clubhouse for everyone to have drinks in and talk about how they don’t care if Santa is coming to town. 


My short story Starlight A Close Encounters Christmas tale is available now to purchase or you get it for free when you join my VIP Fan Club. It’s not a feel good, tell your drunk Uncle it’s okay that he puked in your front bushes type of Christmas story. It’s me after all. Starlight is a science fiction horror Christmas tale, like no other. Grab it today.  

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Introducing Debbie Aruta

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I'd like to introduce an incredible writer and ( new editor) Debbie Aruta. Below is one of her short stories and links to her Melanie witch series. Keep an eye out on Debbie, Melanie the Silver Boxed Witch will soon be a novel you'll want to read.

Taming Her Wild Side


She caught the peeling gold painted tiny bobby pin as it fell out of her fiery red hair. It was her great grandmother’s and held a special place in her heart. Her hair was just as unruly as every other women in her family’s before her. Her red locks always slipping out of their constraints. A piece here, a piece there, hair always flailing, struggling to fall free. Her ringlets left to flounce in the wind as she walked, her bangs blinding her repeatedly, but still she tried to tame it with an immense amount of bobby pins, her great grandmother’s included.

Melanie had replied to James email that she was looking forward to a second date, but thoughts lingered that she was not ready to date. She was determined to try and remain open about dating him. Her fingers lingered on her bobby pins as she sat nervously waiting for him to ask her to do something again. Bowling, dinner, movies, walk, she did not know, but if the bottom of her stomach continued doing flips,she knew she was a little eager and excited at the prospect of seeing him again.

Melanie grabbed her black leather portfolio and headed out her front door and headed to work. No use waiting. She knew he knew how to reach her and it could be days, weeks, or months till he asked her out again. Driving with her stomach doing flips made her nauseous. It hadn’t been long since her fiance died, maybe she was jumping into this too fast. Again doubt overtook her and she felt overwhelmed.

She drove down Maple St. and saw her favorite bakery, Sugar Faeries. She loved their peanut butter cupcakes with their chocolate icing piled 4 inches high on top of the cupcake. It was more sugar then cake and she lived for them, but today she went past and just felt queasy. She drove past her favorite coffee house where her friend Cynthia worked and always made sure her coffee was extra sweet for her. This morning she past everything, not stopping anywhere, and made it to work early. She was not sure what this feeling in her stomach was, but when she got to her office she dropped her bag and purse and made a run to the bathroom to throw up. She knew then that she made a mistake by accepting James request to see her again some time.

She cleaned up her face, rinsed out her mouth, and walked as causally as she could back to her office. She got settled into her big leather chair and took out her breakfast of a muffin and yogurt that she brought from home in her bag, but instead of eating it she just put it in her tiny fridge next to her large oak desk. She was in no condition to eat anything.

“Melanie” her boss said.

“Yes?” Melanie replied.

“Are you OK? Do you need to take a personal day? I noticed you running to the ladies room, and you are looking rather pale. You have a ton if you want to leave. Give Susan your files and go get some rest and shake off this bug you seem to have.”

Melanie responded “OK I’ll give the files to Susan and go. Thank you.”

Melanie looked defeated. She packed up her bag with muffin and yogurt, took some other work she could do at home with her, and she headed back to her car. Her phone made a buzzing noise and she thought it was Susan not understanding some of her notes, but it was James. Her heart stopped. Her stomach dropped, and in the parking deck she threw up again.

Later that day when Melanie woke she felt worse. She was shaking, vomiting, couldn’t hold water down, so she did the only thing she knew to do. She called her doctor and asked to be seen that day. Luckily they had a cancellation and she could be seen if she could get there in fifteen minutes. She tried to fix her bobby pins again, but curls were escaping in the front, back, and sides. She put on a hat instead and drove to her doctors.

It was only a five minute drive, but it felt like hours. She hit every red light. She opened the door and threw up again. She thought it might be the flu with a side of stomach bug, but knew the doctor could help her feel better.

Mack, her doctor, had known her since they were five. Everyone knows everyone when you grow up in such a small town. He walked into the room and she was waiting in and knew instantly she did not look well. She was sweaty, hat on head, two different socks on, and her eyes were bloodshot.

He asked what was going on and for how long. She told him about her day and debated telling him about James, but decided James probably had nothing to do with her illness. Mack examined her, told her the nurse would be in to get some blood and urine and he would be back in in a little while. That everything was going to be OK, but they needed the test to see what they were dealing with.

The nurse was from another town and did not grow up with Mack, James, and Melanie, so she was not so friendly as Mack was with her. She found a vein, gathered the blood she needed, asked Melanie to step into the bathroom to gather the urine sample and she stepped back out of the room. A few minutes later she came back in, took the sample, and vanished again. Melanie sat in complete silence for awhile and started to doze off just as Mack came back in.

“Melanie” he said. “How long has your fiance been deceased?” She tried to reply but only sobs and tears came out of her.

“Why?” she finally mumbled through her sobs.

“Well” said Mack. “You are pregnant.”

Melanie knew it was her fiance’s baby. She hadn’t been with anyone since he died. The grief she felt was immense for him, but now, this baby, this chance, is another chance to have a piece of him with her forever. She knew if she wanted to date James she would have to tell him, but this minute, this second, this secret was between her, Mack, and the baby. She planned on keeping it that way for a little bit more.

I hope you enjoyed these sneak peak at Debbie's Aruta's work. Would you like to read more? Here's the link.   



This is me......

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I have heard that readers like to know about authors and that is something I haven’t done much of. Mostly because I don’t think I’m that interesting and I am not being demur when I say that. I lead a quiet life of writing stories and yelling at my laptop. Why would I bore people with that?
It’s also rumored that readers want to know a writers process and they like to get into the mushy good stuff in the skull of a writer in hopes of having a better understanding of what makes them tick. I’m not sure I have anything of value there….my mushy stuff is probably outdated and will grumble at you for turning on the lights.
BUT yet again this week I read some authors chatting about giving the readers a glance or a full look into their lives. I decided to toss my hat in. The following as strange as it may be is what I came up with.

I don’t like fancy; fancy restaurants, clubs, or fancy people. I’m much happier on the tail gate of a big truck, with a beer and cheap flip flops from Old Navy. I’ll also take dive bars anytime on any day. Give me a good dive bar with bikers, loud women who have big hair and a shitty cover band. I’m happy there leave me alone and duck someone is throwing a pool cube.

I realize the above statement makes me sound like a country song. Yea, I’m not that. I’m more inclined to burn it down than to pine away. I’m Heavy Metal with Blues late at night.

I write full-time, not because I’m making any money with it or am particularly good at it. About a year ago my husband wanted to move from California back to his home state of Georgia. He wanted me to leave my family, friends, and job. So we struck a deal.

Since I could forge words together I have wanted to do nothing but write. I have written for different literary magazines, poetry journals blah blah. I wrote two books prior to Starburst book 1 in my series and had tossed them in the trash. My husband craved home. I craved to see through with this writing thing.

Thus the deal was struck I would gladly move cross country if we could figure out a way to give me some years off working to do nothing but write. Handshake, done deal.

I now live in Warner Robins Georgia and am in love with this state. No, I don’t miss California at all. Californians can have it. I’m good.

I’m 46 years old thus most of my “fucks” are gone. The glorious thing about your late forties is the amount of “fucks” you once gave about things start to dwindle down. I’m too busy being me to care if a man checks me out or doesn’t…ha ha, don’t care. I’m also too busy to bring on or bring in drama. The late forties is a gorgeous time in a person’s life to grab a drink, put your feet up and laugh at the young ones. 

I have two boys, one 13 and one 9. I’m never the type of person that tells people they “have to” have kids. There is no “have to” in life. You either wish it or not. I didn’t want kids for years then woke up one day wanting one, had two. Parenting is hilarious, aggravating, and the most expensive thing you’ll ever do if you choose to do it.

I will also never show you any pictures of my kids unless asked. Let’s put it this way. I’m sure your baby is cute. I don’t want to see the kid’s picture. I have my own, thank you. I’ll look at my own kids pictures if I’m so inclined.

I’ve been married 19 years. Marriage is ugly and beautiful all at once. When you are ready to choke your partner out they will reach for your hand. I highly recommend it and I highly don’t recommend it. Like parenting, it’s a journey some might not want to take.

Sadly, I’m not a great friend although I want to be. I don’t call as much as I should. I don’t text back right away. Honestly some days I don’t feel like speaking. Sometimes, I get to writing, reading, or gaming and forget the world. Luckily, I have a best friend of 30 years that forgives me these sins on a regular basis.

I will never ask you to go to a mall with me. I dislike shopping. I dislike stores with the exception of book stores or “adult” stores. I find both equally interesting.

With the “adult” store as a clue….

I’m a disinterested pervert. What does that mean? I mean I’m a pervert that keeps my perverted thoughts to myself and doesn't want to share them with you. Likewise, I don’t want to hear about anyone else’s perverted thoughts or see them. That means keep your dick pics to yourself fellas. I’ve seen lots of dicks yours is not that impressive.

Small rant: Why do men feel the need to send dick pics? When I first started posting as an author my FB messenger went wild with dick pics. Let me speak for us ladies of the world. We will not fall over then become hot and bothered by the site of your junk. We love dick, yes we do…but we don’t want to see your dick. Like the pictures of other peoples kids. I have my own at home I’ll look at that one.  I personally want to see The Rocks ass if somebody could find me a real picture of that, well then that is awesome. 


Monsters especially alien monsters are my favorite things and I hate gore. What? You’re a horror author. Everyone knows horror authors are mandated by the Jason Council to love gore. That’s a strong no. I dislike books, movies, tv shows where people are hurting people it makes my stomach turn and drives me to drink more than usual.I love monsters. I love kaiju and most of all I love anything alien.

I’ll never ask you to go see a romantic comedy. I will, however, be that weird friend that drags you to see Rocky Horror on the bad side of town on a Tuesday night.  If I can get myself out of pj’s and convince myself to put shoes on. If I have convinced myself into all that then damn it, you’re going also. My best friend can attest to that.

Most days you can find me in my kitchen tapping away on my laptop. Writing fulfills me. Once upon a time, I had a vacancy in my core. When I went back to writing and took it seriously the vacancy was filled. So now like an addict, I cannot stop.

On an any given night you can find me on my couch, watching something Sci-fi on TV, near me will be a Bloody Mary and I’ll be snuggling whoever decided to land near me…be it husband, child or dog.

Lastly, I believe myself to be both introverted and extroverted all at once. When I’m out in public I will talk to anyone. I believe that’s leftover from my years as a hair stylist and bartender. However, at the first possible chance, I will run back home to my cave and seal the door shut for days.  I have Hobbit tendencies.

This probably did not help you get into my head as writer. I’m sure I gave you no better understanding of my process. I gave you the gristle when you requested bacon. I get that but if I had given you the reader a long ho hum bullshit speech about how I go about writing my stories or why I go about writing my stories then you’d have no understanding of who I am.
I’m the type of person that doesn’t care why Stephen King wrote Carrie. I want to know what he had for breakfast and if he can throw a punch. That tells me more about the man.
I hope that the above rambling gave you a hint of who I am that in turn might give you a hint of why the characters in my work are what and who they are.
p.s. If I find you interesting…you bet your ass I’ll put you in a book and possibly create a whole character based on you. Just ask Craig a real life dude and friend who was my muse for Craig in Starburst book 1 in the Women of the Grey series.







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Superior Mother

I have decided to write a brief introduction to the characters in all my books. Yup, I said all of them.  This includes The Women of the Grey series, my short story LifeSong and also the up and coming Robbie Street a mini mystery series and The Demon Dealer horror novel. Please meet Superior Mother.

 Superior Mother yawned; the Women of the Grey had been tedious lately with their self-absorbed bickering. Bickering Mother Superior believed was for those that had time to do so.  Superior's Mothers assistant believed that the bickering stemmed from discontentment. Discontentment came from idle hands. If the women had time to bicker that means they placed value on their discontentment. It did not mean that the women had extra time on their hands; it meant they were wasting their time. Wasting their time was a slap in the face to Superior Mother's leadership and to the dignity of their kind.

Superior Mother felt a spit of hate in her mouth; she hated anything that was a waste of their resources and time. Listening to the Women of the Grey grumble at each other acting no better than emotional human teens had Superior Mother edgier than she should be. She felt knife sharp, ready to slice and dice.  Sipping her tea Superior Mother sat still not wanting to get up to start her day. She did not want to see these women for just a moment more.

Sip after sip of tea Superior Mother reminded herself that their race outmatched humans at every turn. If she could remember the women's worth then perhaps she wouldn't be so ready to toss them aside.  Women of the Grey were better than the humans that they had dealt with on missions. Superior Mother needed to remember that, close that idea up in her hands and keep it safe. Safe so that she could return to it, hold it against her and ease her mind after a horrendous day.

Closing her eyes Superior Mother put the teacup to her face feeling the steam float across her. Opening her eyes and blinking Superior mother wished to be tea. To be something soothing and warm that slid down the throat and was always welcomed. Setting her teacup aside Superior Mother's thoughts drifted to the Originals.

The originals of their race were masterful. Originals were savage, an upper class of survivalist on a planet that was not their own. They built a home on earth where the Women of the Grey now hide in plain sight from human eyes. What would the Originals think of the women now? Would the Originals think them soft and unworthy of their kind? The Women of the Grey now were more human than anything else and this caused the bickering, the discontentment, the loss of who they are. It was as if they had all miss stepped and followed a path that was never meant to be.

Standing up Superior Mother wanted to toss her teacup across the room, watch it smash into the wall and hit the ground with small clunks. She wished she could do this to many of them. Take those that had lost their grit, were swayed by human ways and toss them against a wall. Watch these women of the Grey fall to the floor and break.  Superior Mother was a leader. When you lead, you build but you also break. Breaking is what Superior Mother seemed to like best.

Perhaps she should do this in public? Take one of them that had loved a human. Or one among them that believed the freedom of everyday choices that humans had was something the Grey should incur. Superior Mother wanted one infidel to bash against the wall and let fall. Teach the Women of the Grey that human does not equal better. Human to their kind meant little if anything, at all.Superior Mother believed humans were inferior. The humans had diversity in thought and action these beliefs could not happen in the Grey. "We are all the same and none different" Superior Mother repeated the Grey's motto to herself daily reminding herself that as a unit they were stronger.  Each woman of the Grey is the same in appearance what lagged now was they grew further and further from being the same in thought.

The ring on Superior's mother's hand was the mark of their leader and it grew heavy these days. The ring was an insignificant looking piece of shiny metal that held the key to all doors in the Grey. Doors that held secrets that were vast, secrets that were by definition horrible. Superior Mother placed horrible with discontent they were both useless words humans gave merit to. Useless was not a thought or place Superior Mother liked to be.Superior Mother stretched her fingers out admiring the ring.  Not one of them had noticed that the ring held specks of their frosty planet in its makeup. No women of the grey knew the ring that Superior Mother wore was part of home. The ring was forged on their home planet and from their home planet to mark their leader. Some days when the Grey was quiet Superior Mother wondered if the ring was more than a key, more than metals and dust from their planet.  Superior Mother questioned herself could the ring be a beacon? Could the ring one day have them rescued and taken home by their kind?

Breathing Superior Mother took her eyes off the ring thinking of the ring reminded her that she was the leader now, but must watch her back.  She was wary in her thoughts and movements ever present in the idea that every moment could be her last.  There is always another woman of the grey dwelling in hidden corners eager to rip the ring from her finger and put her to rest. These women that are lustful for Superior Mothers spot always under estimated the burden of being a leader.

 Superior Mother believed herself the leader who made choices. Choices that sometimes hurt her kind. Choices that the women of the Grey did not understand, would not understand. Some days she believed the women of the Grey could not understand anything she did at all. Standing up then straightening her hair and smearing a look of calm on her face. Superior mother remembered something she had read, "To lead a pack of wolves you must have the sharpest teeth and the biggest bite." She repeated that quote to herself more than once as she prepared to open her bedroom door. The quote made Superior Mother smile. She had the sharpest teeth. Closing her bedroom door Superior Mother grinned she also had the biggest bite.




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Ella series


When you join the subscriber list for Carol James Marshall you will receive the Ella series that is only available to subscribers. Bi-weekly a part of Ella’s story will appear in your inbox. The Ella series is not available anywhere else! Carol James Marshall has written it specifically for her subscribers.

Ella is nothing you think she is.


Meet Ella

Ella was the type of girl who would turn heads. Turn heads not for beauty, or hint of elegance. There was nothing in her appearance that suggested the outrageous.

Ella was cool to look at; she appeared to be plucked out of the stars.  She wasn’t beautiful. Ella was almost unnerving when you first spot her with steel colored eyes that seemed too large to be human and lips that sparkled without gloss. Her neck seemed swan like in length.

Ella was something of a pretty oddity; it often caused people to stare with contempt at her whispering to one another “How could she enhance herself that way? Did she use plastic surgery? Is she wearing special effects contact lenses?” They’d hiss at each other that Ella must wear a lot of makeup.  It was alwaysTisk, Tisk” for that girl from some and silent envy from others.

Ella had noticed the stares from people long ago; it was something that sat in the air around her. She never bothered with it. When Ella was young she wanted nothing more than to shoo the stares away. Stares were easy to handle Ella walked away from them and a person’s attention span would handle the rest.

Ella walked her world.  She spent her days walking her walk, while thinking the thoughts that only Ella could understand. Ella was not normal, but then again she might seem like the most normal of all. Her daily actions reflected not the slightest hint of what was truly hidden in her. To watch Ella you would see a young lady that lived her life with discipline, responsibility, and a maturity that most never attain. 

There were many that watched Ella. The stares Ella could shrug away, but to be watched would cause Ella to change her routines, possibly move to another town and spend some time as she had done before hidden in quiet places of this world.

Ella is not what your think or guess. Most days Ella is a puzzle to herself and everyone else.


Guest Blogger Damon Alan


Guest Blogger Damon Alan

Let me start out this guest blog by thanking my benefactor, Carol Marshall. Thank you for putting my words on your page, Carol, that’s a strong gesture from author to author.

I wanted to share a few words on what it means to be an indie author, and how it comes to be. I think many of us start out doing the same grind as anyone else, write the book, create the synopsis ten dozen times in different lengths, agonize over query letters.

I did this. I did it more than once. It always felt like I was right on the edge. I got numerous query letters from agents, many of which got responses. Some were very helpful, such as the one that said 130,000 words was too long for a book from a first time author. I cut the book into intro novel sized parts, creating my first two books from one. Win!

I got another response that said “Your main character isn’t likable.” “She doesn’t show enough compassion, she’s cold.” This was probably the response that pushed me over the edge into indie publishing. Why? Because my main character is a military commander with thousands of lives in her hands. Should she get weepy when she asks her crews to die? How many would follow her if she wailed in agony each time she sacrificed people for victory? Few, I believe. I had every intention of writing a realistic commander, male or female.

I then asked myself, “Would this be the response if my main character was male?” Could I find examples of leaders male leaders like mine in science fiction? Sure I could. Admiral Ackbar. Jean Luc Picard. Kirk.

I could be wrong in thinking there was a bias against a female starship captain. Maybe my characters aren’t ‘quite’ good enough. But the reason my main character is female is because I have three daughters. I teach them every day that they don’t have to play by any standard. They can be what they want, and if they have one more barrier to punch through, then tear that barrier apart like a lioness.

So instead of rewriting the Dark Seas series with a male lead, I decided to self publish it. And I wrote later books with more powerful women. Merik, in book 2, would arguably be the most powerful woman in human history were she real. Hey, it’s fiction, go big or go home.

Has there been a price to pay for my decision to publish indie? Maybe. But I’m approaching a thousand book sales, so maybe not.  I can tell you that while my daughters are young and don’t appreciate the stance yet, as they move out into the world, they will. My lionesses.

Tweets like this one helped solidify my stance:


Dec 19, 2016

Your strong female lead. Badass.

When you go indie, go full tilt. I now have six novels on Amazon as well as a novella and a growing list of short stories. I am about to publish my seventh novel, the 5th book in the Dark Seas Series. You will learn things as you go, and it will be your readers that educate you.


Take this 5 star review from my first book, for example:

“The Anvil of Dust and Stars is one of those books that you don’t see coming, not only due to the cover art and summary not doing it any justice, but also because of the way in which the story itself develops.”


What did I learn? I since have a new cover, after joining a stock photo site instead of relying on my own art skills. And, to be honest, I’m still learning how to write the summary for my book’s page on Amazon. As for how the story develops, one of the strengths of Indie writing is that you don’t have to follow the convention. After all, it’s a 5 star review! But learning never ends, does it? I’ll keep working on my covers and summaries.


You’ll need to learn extensively to indie publish. Here is an incomplete list.

·         You need to know how to write a good story.

·         You need to know how to compile and format your final result.

·         You need to determine where you will publish. I am exclusively Amazon, but maybe you’d like to go Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, etc.

·         You need to learn how to select your keywords.

·         You have to know your genre and select proper categories on your sales site.

·         You need to learn Google Adwords, Amazon Marketing Services, and Facebook Ads. Probably others that I haven’t learned yet.

·         You need to see if you can get book signings. Attend conventions. (I’ll be at the Colorado Springs Comic Con in August, come see me.)

·         And, in the writing section, you need to have a critique group, a few beta readers, and an editor. I’m lucky, my wife reads extensively, is very well educated, and edits mine for me. That saves me hundreds of dollars per book.

·         If you’re going to do your own covers, do them well. I thought Example A was good enough, but after taking the review above to heart, I created Example B which seems to be much more popular. Covers, reportedly, are 70% of the decision to buy a book. I don’t know if that applies to ebooks or not, but I bet the number is high.



Example A:  

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Example B:

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As you can see, the knowledge base to be an indie author is extensive, and I’m sure I’ve not covered plenty of it. Am I trying to talk you out of it? No! No! No! I’m simply trying to make sure that if you feel you’re not getting what you need from the traditional route, that you go into the indie route with your eyes open.

Writing is 10% of what you’ll do. The rest is marketing, editing, formatting, etc. Because very few of us are lucky enough to write a book that sells itself. If I ever do, I’ll write a book on how to do it. Then I’ll market that book. Because I don’t think any books sell themselves.

Thank you for reading. If you’re interested in seeing my catalog, please check out the following link.

Damon Alan’s Amazon Author Page

Damon’s Email:

Damon’s blog and website:


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Music and Books

This is almost a cliché of a blog post. I think I’ve seen a half a dozen writer’s blogging about their relationship with music. What music means to them, their writing, and their connection with music. The subject is almost trite and that has kept me from writing a blog post on the subject. Thinking on it though, I have written my origin story of my writing and how I started writing my books. I have written the cost of producing my books and the amount of effort I put into it. There was a bug in my ear telling me I should write about one of the biggest influencers of not only the Women of the Grey, but the characters in my series, in my upcoming novel and new characters coming into play.

I had thought of the Women of the Grey for a while, contemplating the concept of these women. I could piece them together but my main character wasn’t appearing yet. My main character was out there wandering around my universe.. I just couldn’t grasp the essence of her. Then the day came where it all fell into place and for some young ones reading this I come from the generation of MTV when it actually played music videos. If you loved a band you watched their music videos over and over. It was a thing, I promise.

Being that music video watching was a habit and I am a fan of The Pretty Reckless I turned Youtube on and started to watch The Pretty Reckless videos. That is the afternoon that the world fell out from under my feet and placed me somewhere else.  I ran into the Miss Nothing music video. The look to Taylor Momsen the lead singer in Miss Nothing caught my eye and captured my attention.  She walked the way I wanted my main character to walk. She sang the lyrics I wanted my main character to think. The look of “I don’t care” in her eyes is what struck me the most. Lisa is after all an anti-hero she wants for nothing that is ever placed at her feet.

All that I wanted to say about Lisa’s attitude, appearance, her hates; everything was in this one music video. By the end of the video I knew exactly who Lisa was. I could see Lisa standing next to me in my living room, watching the video nodding with fake agreement. After all Lisa agrees with no one.

Without trying to sound overly grandiose when the video ended I sat down and wrote the intro to Lisa. I felt the burst of that “who is she” bubble. I couldn’t help myself.  That is the origin of Lisa. She was born from a music video and a seed of an idea that I had passed around my thoughts for years.

I’m not plugging The Pretty Reckless believe me if the lead singer knew I am writing a whole Sci-Fi horror series based on one of her music videos I’d be ecstatic and happily stand next to Ms. Momsen holding up copies of The Women of the Grey series smiling like a fool full of Jagermeister for the world to see.

I’m sure, not positive but kinda sure that many characters in books are born similar to this. I want to think I invented the way Lisa came to be, but I am sure I didn’t.  I am writing book 3 in my Women of the Grey series. I still go to the Miss Nothing music video to watch the swagger, the expression and then turn to my laptop and give Lisa her very Lisa perspective on life.

It didn’t stop with Lisa though, Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s broken heart” is the key inspiration for my character Gia in my current manuscript The Demon Dealer. I usually watch that music video when I feel that I am starting to lose who my character Gia is at her core.  Also Warner another character in The Demon Dealer is based on the look Nathaniel Rateliff had on his face in his music videoS.O.B. Have you seen the look on his face, in that video? It’s begging for a character.

This “WOW” moment of inspiration happens a lot more than I think readers know.  I had been thinking about a new character for book 3 in the Women of the Grey series when I watched Halestorm Apocalyptic. From that video I got the full taste of what that character needed to be. Disclosure I am a huge Lzzy Hale fan. I want to go grow up and be her. She is seriously one of the most badass women on the planet.

Perhaps books should come with a playlist. How awesome would an audio CD of songs that inspired the book as a companion be?  It proves a fact that art inspires art.

I do fantasize of the reverse situation happening. A singer/songwriter would read my work feel inspired by it and write a killer song out of it. If that would happen I could then walk off into the sunset a happy broad.


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How Sci-Fi am I?

Recently I had been twirling the idea of my opening for Stainless Steel book 3 in the Women of the Grey series in my head. I needed a name for a new character. Being that Women of the Grey is about an alien race of women I thought nothing of approaching a large Facebook Science Fiction group for ideas.

I was met with nothing but spit and ugly from this group. I received smartass answers that were hovering on just trying to call me out for not being hardcore science fiction enough. I had posted a question to the group searching for suggestions and ideas. Instead it felt as if they wanted to dispute my knowledge of Science Fiction. I did not hesitate to delete my question and leave the group.

I don’t have time or patience for venom attacks on my character. I’m way too busy not being an asshole. I don’t feel bad about leaving this group. There are many other groups with much kinder and cooler people who are open to discussion not judgment to stress over it.

The situation however got me thinking of those in the science fiction community that revel in being hardcore Sci-Fi. You know the kind of people I’m talking about; the ones that know the specific name for one screw, on one spaceship that a certain character only flew once in some book/movie/tv show. These same people that huff at you if you don’t the name of that screw. “You call yourself a fan?” Kind of people.

It gets me shaking my head; it’s that type of people who scare off the softer fans. Let’s take myself as an example. I am the type of person that loves Science Fiction books, movies, especially video games. I won’t tell you how many hours (shrug, years) I played Dead Space, only that I can proudly saw I played on zealot. If you’re a Dead Space video game fan then you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I do not know the correct terminology for Isaac’s craft, suit, or gun. I don’t care about that I just knew that I liked it.

There it is, I like science fiction. I would sit down to watch an Alien movie before a romance. If it’s science fiction and horror I’m your lady. Let’s just say I would lose my shit to see someone cosplay Predator at a Con. Could I explain the details of Predator, his home planet, his species, the name of that cool thing on his wrist? No, I could not and I am sure that would drive some people bat shit.

I do not understand why there has to be different levels of fans? Why do some believe that they are superior to the rest and feel the need to shove others aside and yap out facts?  What is there to gain from alienating others from the genre?

My Women of the Grey series is about an alien race of female clones. Yet, this week I had to look up space opera. Does that somehow cancel the validity of my writing? It does to some, because I’m not Sci-fi enough. What exactly is enough and what’s just right?

It also got me wondering if such fluff exists in other genres. Are there hardcore romance fans out there that scoff if someone mentions a romantic scene as not romancy enough? “Rose petals on a bed?” “Hack,” hiss  “amateur” scoff. Do thriller fans try to out thrill other fans with facts about thriller authors?

I’m being silly because it is. How can we value ourselves for berating others?  It makes me wish I could grab a megaphone and hit the stage with an announcement “Sci-fi community…” cough wait for the booing to stop because I interrupted an argument over who did what, when and how better than someone else.  “Chill the hell out. There is room here for all levels of fans, from the mildly interested to the hardcore. The point is to enhance the genre”

I’m positive I’d get egg’d off the stage.  Here is my coming out party to the Sci-Fi community. I really really like Sci-fi. Love is a strong word, but I can say deeply like and prefer it above all else. However I will never be that person who knows every intricate fact on the genre or care to. That does not make me any less of a fan or any less of a Sci-fi author.

Isn’t the whole point of being a fan of something, liking it and wanting to share that love with others? I can’t understand how throwing hate gives value to the Sci-fi genre. I can’t understand how throwing hate gives value to anything.




Meet my narrator!

Meet my narrator!

Before my first book Starburst was completed I knew I wanted an audio book version available for the public. Audio books are beginning to take their rightful stand in the literary world. With lifestyles increasingly busier every day some people are opting to get their stories, “to go.”  As audio books sales rise the demand for narrators also rises.

Please meet Molly King my narrator for the Women of the Grey series. We did a quick interview together, a getting to know you speed date type of interview. Enjoy!


Molly King

1.       Tell us a bit about yourself.   I'm a stay at home mom who loves to read, craft, and learn new things. I also do animal rescue in my home so we always have a slew of critters. In my down time, you can usually find me attempting to learn a new skill such as crochet or knitting recently. I, of course, love to read (I couldn't do the job if I didn't), but I also love movies and British television shows.


2.       How did you get your start as a narrator? A friend of mine is an indie author and was looking for someone to narrate a book of hers. There was little interest on ACX so I told her I would take a crack at it. The rest is history. I love this job


3.       What's the biggest misconception the public this includes authors have about narrating audio books? It's not near as easy as it sounds. There is a lot that goes into a production especially when one person does the work from start to finish. The editing is tedious but necessary. Another thing is that finding a voice for each individual in the story can be challenging. Lastly, one can only talk for so long before the voice gives out. This means that I can't sit in the booth for hours upon hours reading. It's hard on the throat, that's for sure.

4.     What is the average amount of time it takes to produce an audio book. For example, my book Starburst book 1 in the Women of the Grey series is 6 hours long. I know it took a lot more than that to record it. It can take nearly twice or three times as long to complete a book. This is due to not only having to read it, but having to read some parts several times. The editing can take up to 3 hours for one hour of finished audio, depending on how you do it. For a 6 hour book, such as Starburst book 1 in the Women of the Grey series, it took roughly 15 hours over several weeks to complete.


5.       Tell us something we don't know about audio book narration, something out of the ordinary that the general population wouldn't have figured out. It's lonely. It's a very singular job. The booth can sometimes be overly hot depending on how you've got it set up. I converted a walk in closet for my audio booth. It's warm in there and near the air conditioner so it picks up the sound of the conditioning being on. There are so many minute complications that come with the work that it can be incredibly frustrating at times.


6.     What is your dream narration job? Any particular book you'd love to narrate? I haven't got one in particular. I would like to do the Inspector Hobbes series by Wilkie Martin, but that's just because they are fun books to read. Otherwise, I prefer to work on independent books, ones that are written and published by the practically unknown author. Those are my favorites. I feel, in a way, I'm helping them build a readership and that is a job well done in my book.


7.       Lastly, steak or cheesecake? How can one choose between two wholely different foods!?  I'll go with cheesecake. Who doesn't love a good desert!