Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Farthest Reach Award // 2012 Short List Announced

It's been a long road, but we finally have whittled down the close to 50 nominees to our short list of five. In the coming weeks, watch this website for an announcement of the final winner from this list. It could be anyone shown below.

For more information on the Farthest Reach Award, please learn more here.

So without further ado...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Behind The Words // David Lender

I met Author David Lender through his acquaintance with a good friend of mine, Eden Baylee. She said, "Hey, check this guy out!" I did. And it began a connection that has, thus far, culminated in David coming to the Reaches to hang out. 

More about David, and, boyohboy, it gets interesting: He's the bestselling author of Vaccine Nation, Trojan Horse, The Gravy Train and Bull Street. He spent more than 25 years on Wall Street before becoming a full-time novelist. David now lives in northern New Jersey with his fiancé, future stepson and their beloved pitbull, Styles. More on David can be found at or at his Amazon Author Central page.

When people ask me where I write I usually laugh, because there’s no pattern. When I started writing seriously, about 15 years ago, my investment banking career was in full swing. I got up at 5 a.m., exercised, and then wrote for an hour or so before going to the office for my day job. I’d edit or outline new scenes on planes, in cabs, in conference rooms during breaks in negotiations on deals, anyplace.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Behind The Words // J. Thorn

J. Thorn is a writer, artist, musician, educator, student, husband, father, cynic, and human. In addition to writing novels and blogging, J. fronts Cleveland doom metal band, Threefold Law. He recently began converting novels to Kindle books for other authors (at and enjoys frightening his kids with original bedtime stories. He’s been known to speak in HTML code.

I hate the fact that I can’t walk away from my creative impulses. Friends of mine have “grown up.” They have shelved their dream of writing a novel or sold their guitar to a pawnshop to afford new kitchen cabinets. It would be easier that way, but it’s out of my control. At times in my life I’ve been able to hold the Muse down or wrap Her in a choke hold, but She always gets free and starts whispering in my ear again. Those whispers turn into stories and songs, the same and yet different. Writing music is like raising children with three spouses. You may come up with an idea, but you have to be willing to let the other members of the band contribute, adapt, and change it. Everyone has a part in making the song better than any one person could have. Writing a novel requires a singular dedication and an unwavering commitment to it. I won’t let anyone peek at the work until I’ve put it through two or even three revisions. In the end it’s all about storytelling, a gift that is immensely rewarding, universal, timeless. Only the scale changes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Behind The Words // Susan Helene Gottfried

Susan Helen Gottfried is a multi-talented wonder. She writes, she edits, she designs, she markets. I first fell into her lap (oh she'll love that euphemism) when we were hanging around late last year and we've had a tug-of-war of wit ever since (She's the wit, I'm the war). She writes about rock and roll and, hell, if anyone's been keeping up with me, we all know I love me some pretty rock songs. Without wasting more of your time on my words, lets learn about Susan...

Where Susan Writes...

Jason asked if there's a sheep grazing outside my window while I work and while I wish there was, I remember reading something once that said sheep will eat grass down to the roots. So maybe I'd rather use goats to replace the omni-present whine of the suburban nightmare, the lawnmower. Or bison. Yeah, bison. After all, the Native American Indian folks were able to use every last bit of a bison. That sounds like conservation at work to me -- AND they don't make mechanical rumbles that rattle my walls. I know this. I've had bison graze outside my window before. It was 1998, late summer, and I was in Yellowstone National Park. Paradise.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Behind The Words // Allen Schatz

Allen Schatz is the author of two mystery/suspense stories, “Game 7: Dead Ball” and “7th Inning Death” and approached me to see if we might be able to find room for him on The Farthest Reaches. I was excited and pleased that he would be interested and, not knowing his work, I was still keen on learning about his creative process. So, without ado, I graciously turn the floor over to Allen... 

Allen on Allen...

I am me. There are days I’d like to be someone else, but the technology does not yet exist for that, so…

I’ve written what I like to refer to as “The Best Books Not Enough People Are Reading” – or as they are more formally titled: “Game 7: Dead Ball” and “7th Inning Death”, two mystery/suspense stories completely devoid of vampires, zombies, and/or teen angst, which, now that I think about it, may be the reason the informal tag holds true.

Side note: I’m trying really hard to change that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Behind The Words // Luke Romyn

I came into contact with author Luke Romyn earlier this year on the web, just as I have most of the fellow authors I call acquaintances and friends. Though we've yet to really get into any hearty debates or trade any material with each other (barbs, praise or otherwise), I get the sense from Luke that he's passionate about writing and keen on creating a unique reader experience right from the stories he shares down to the marketing efforts of getting those stories into hands and onto e-readers.

Take it away, Luke!

“Please don’t kill my wife.”

These were the first words I wrote on a novel which would lead me into an incredible world beyond my wildest dreams.

Hi there, my name is Luke Romyn and I’m an author from Australia who has spent many years dragging my knuckles in the security industry both around Australia and internationally. My first published novel is called THE DARK PATH which smashed its way to become a #1 best selling horror in eBook format and is now also available in print. I have two other novels in proposal with publishers in New York with several more lined up ready to go and am currently working on my seventh novel. Cari Foulk from Tribe Literary Agency is my wonderful and supportive agent.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Night Walk Men, Book 1 - Preview an Excerpt

The Night Walk Men is a short novella that acts as a prologue to an as-yet unfinished and much longer work. I released the prologue last year and, since October of 2010, it's been downloaded by over 50,000 readers. I took that as my cue to keep working on this universe and allow us to get better acquainted with Sperro, Fallow and the rest of the Night Walk Men.

So I'm working on Book One of the Night Walk Men. It's a long-ish saga. At least, it will be, if the first book is popular enough to warrant me writing the second one and the third and so on. In our preview today, we meet Donovan Lo, a Chinese-Canadian who mysteriously lives alone in a half-empty apartment building in a seedier neighborhood of downtown Vancouver. He's just heard a car door slam and he's up after a restless night. Donnie is sure someone's trying to find him and he's not sleeping well as a result.

This excerpt will remain on the site until the end of the week. Then it'll come down. If visitors like this kind of preview, I'll do more as work on the novel continues. Thanks for reading!

j. //

EDIT, Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thanks for reading, everyone! This sneak peek is over for now. Have a great evening!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Behind The Words // Cyndi Tefft

The year was 2010. The month, October. I was a fainting fool at the hands of a brand new Twitter account. I had all of three followers. I was excited. 

I believe one of my first half-dozen followers was an indie author named Cyndi Tefft. She seemed enamoured with my surname and confessed to being madly in love with people from Scotland. I quickly unlisted my phone number and wrote a hasty email to friends telling them where they could find keys to my safe-deposit box should I mysteriously go missing.

I also left word that I was conversing with Cyndi. Well, months later, I'm still here. Cyndi didn't have anything to do with any of my abductions over the last year, but we've had some goofy conversations out there in the Twitterverse, just the same.

She's got one novel out and about and more on the way. Please, dear Cyndi, take it away and share some of yourself with the good readers out the Farthest Reaches! 

Who is this Scot-loving lady?

I am a self-proclaimed Scot freak. I love everything about Scotland, though I have only the tiniest drop of Scottish blood in me. I signed up for with the express intent of finding a Scottish ancestor in the mix. I had to go back hundreds of years, but I finally did. That was a great moment. Ha!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BLED // Launch Tour Continues with 50 FREE copies!

September 18th, 2011 was the official launch date of my new novella BLED.

You can learn more about it.

So, right now, the first 50 copies of BLED sold at AMAZON will get a copy of SHED, the second book in the series sent to the buyer by email for FREE. Just send your Kindle receipt directly to me jason (@) and I'll send you SHED in the format of your choice.

Also, to celebrate the launch and get the word out about this exciting story in the Dovetail Cove series, I'm appearing on a number of websites and blogs. They are:

September 14: Escape by Fiction

September 16: Samantha Combs Writes

September 16: Page Flipperz

September 17: Earth's Book Nook

September 18: The Unlocked Diary

September 18: L.M. Stull

September 19: Krystal Wade

September 19: Reading, Writing and the World of Words

September 19: Ryne Douglas Pearson

September 20: Lisa's World of Books

September 20: Larry Enright

September 21: Books, Personally

September 21: The Purple Jelly Bean Chair

September 21: Thea Atkinson

September 21: Maria Savva at Goodreads

September 22: Quiet Fury Books - Darcia Helle

September 23: Novel Niche

September 23: Ryan Dalton

September 27: Eden Baylee

Please check back as more dates on the tour are added and each of these are linked to the posts at each wonderful tour partner. Many thanks to all of the above friends for hosting the BLED launch tour!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

J. Alexander Greenwood // What Happens Next?

Alex Greenwood's approach to the marketing of his fiction is similar to my own. He's spent the last year or so building up recognition of his first title, 'Pilate's Cross' with appearances on book blogs, author sites, social media and traditional media. He's had a successful run at creating a unique mix of virtual bookshelf space for his work and also traditional space by doing media events and book signings.

Now he's working on a sequel for the story and wants to share a bit about how that's going with his readers. When I learned of this, I wanted to allow him a bit of space to talk about it. Sounds like it's going well, Alex.  Take it away!

What Happens Next?

John Pilate lives.

After my first book, the mystery/thriller Pilate's Cross hit ebook shelves everywhere via Smashwords, then Amazon--and the paperback became a book club staple in my hometown--I was given a mandate by readers: tell us what happens next to John Pilate.

Indeed. What happens to a beloved character when the book is finished? I had no plans to revive Pilate and his world; I was determined to focus on short stories. Then came the most flattering words I ever heard as a writer: "I felt like the characters in your book were my friends, and I dreaded the last page and letting them go."

In the beginning I felt the same way--there wouldn't even be a Pilate's Cross, let alone the upcoming Pilate's Key--without my love for the characters. After rejection by more than one hundred agents and publishers, I nearly let John Pilate and his friends slip from my grasp. They would live in their own world on my computer hard drive like Moriarty on the holodeck of the Enterprise-D (Star Trek fans, that one's for you).

Instead, I took a small chance on issuing an ebook. To my delight it drew a small but very loyal fan base. As I put the finishing touches on the second John Pilate story, I'd like to say on behalf of John Pilate, his friends, enemies and acquaintances--a sincere thank you to readers.

I suspect my fervent hope is the same for all writers: we'll keep writing our best stuff and you'll keep reading.

Award-winning writer J. Alexander Greenwood's new book Pilate's Key will be released in the Kindle Store and Smashwords in November. His first book, Pilate's Cross is available on Amazon, Smashwords and wherever ebooks are sold. To save 15% on the paperback version of Pilate's Cross, visit and enter coupon code OKTOBERFEST305 at checkout by Sept. 23, 2011.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Larry Enright Presents: A King in a Court of Fools

One Dead Tree Paperback or Alive in EBook!
For Having Way too Much Fun

Friday, September 2, 2011

Behind The Words // L.M. Stull

Watching L.M. Stull's Twitter avatar these days is like the downtown Christmas light display. It's brilliant and beautiful. But in a second or two, it'll change. And I know she'll be amused by this comment. Laughing yet, Lisa?

L.M. Stull (Lisa) is one of those rare writers who is not solely focused on writing but also on how it gets to readers. As such, she's an active member of several groups and does mounds of work establishing her online presence. I've had soooo many wonderful Twitter chats, email exchanges and coincidental run-ins with Lisa on the web that it's hard to believe she doesn't live down the street or work in my building. 

I would bet most of her contacts out here in the Reaches would agree and say the exact same thing: Lisa's not just a writer we know. She's our neighbour in this writerly world...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BLED - Trailer now online!

SHED has been downloaded by readers over 15,000 times since its arrival last October. It's the story of two young boys in the island town of Dovetail Cove who are coming to grips with a new and demanding stepfather. But there's more.

Something's not right in Dovetail Cove.

Readers have felt passion, deep investment, and melancholy reading the story of Simon and Rupert in SHED.  Now the legacy of Dovetail Cove and its peculiar...environment...continues with new characters who are beginning to learn that the island is a place for secrets -- and heartache.

BLED is set two years before SHED and follows Teeny McLeod, a young waitress at the Highliner Cafe in downtown DC. On a bright May afternoon, one patron of the cafe will change Teeny's life forever. Follow her story and see how it fits in with the ongoing Dovetail Cove mythology.

Just what is going on in Dovetail Cove?

Find out when BLED becomes available at e-bookstores everywhere SEPTEMBER 18, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Surpassing 100,000 Downloads

Today, a press release went out announcing that 113,000 copies of Jason McIntyre books have been downloaded in the last twelve months. Where did they go? They went primarily to Amazon Kindle users, but also to readers using the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Apple iPad and other iDevices, plus through Smashwords, which offers ebooks in most available formats.

It's a pretty exciting time to be writing books and releasing them to the public in e-formats. I couldn't have made it to this milestone without tremendous help from my author network, beta readers, reviewers, editors, designers, PR people and all the wonderful Twitter folks who have helped spread the word.

The press release for this announcement of 113,000 downloads is below. I invite you to have a gander and check out my books at Amazon or any of the other retailers where my work is available.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Behind The Words // Ryne Douglas Pearson

Ryne Douglas Pearson is a screenwriter, author, and whackjob. The good kind of whackjob, though, one who doesn't do it for the bodycount. He's in it for the entertainment value, pure and simple.

I met Ryne through late last year and our online friendship (no, Mom, not *that* kind of 'online friendship') has definitely evolved. First we were flagrant enemies (no, we never were). Then we were embittered and silent (nope, we didn't go there either). Finally, we were making plans to go to Disneyland. (Not yet, but a guy can dream) So, what do you say, Ryne? Are you up for that?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Behind The Words // Ryan Dalton

It's refreshing to meet someone so forthright about their goals and aspirations. Ryan Dalton is writing his first book and he's gearing up to let the world know about it. He's approachable, funny and really enjoys the networking aspect of being a writer. Plus, Ryan has recently started a blog,, where he aims to talk about his writing process among a myriad of other topics. 

When you're done with our impromptu chat about such things here, I invite you to head on over to his new blog or find him on Twitter to get in touch with this personable writer. So, without further commentary from the peanut gallery (me), I present writer Ryan Dalton...

Ryan on Ryan...

I’m Ryan Dalton. I became a writer after facing the truth – I will never be Batman. After getting over that disappointment, I moved on and found a new passion. I’ve dabbled in different types of writing over the years - comedy for a humor blog, review and viewpoint pieces for several news blogs, articles for a local magazine. In 2009, I placed high in the NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Challenge, and last year I sold a short screenplay. Currently, I’m working on my first novel, a YA sci-fi thriller titled The Year of Lightning.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In The Dark - Suspense and Horror

It's been long overdue, and after some demands on my life were made, I decided to make another 'In The Dark' video. I'm doing these a bit faster now, as I get accustomed to yakking in front of a camera so, if viewers/readers here at The Farthest Reaches are interested in seeing me goof-off in my dark studio some more, leave a comment so I know if I should keep staying up late and finding ridiculous ways to justify sitting alone in a dark room.

Remember! There are a few more of these videos if you enjoy this one: SOUND & PICTURES

Props to Anya Winter (@AnyaSWinter) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who sent in a question about distinguishing the difference between horror stories and suspense stories.

There are more IN THE DARK videos >>

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Behind The Words // Ellie Ann Soderstrom

Ellie Ann Soderstrom assures me she hasn't yet published a book. I assure her that there's still a place for her -- a big one -- here at The Farthest Reaches. Behind the Words is about talking your way through the process of writing, about seeing what habits form the successes we call words on paper. And besides, Ellie's good Twitter friend (and mine), Ryne Douglas Pearson says putting "your butt in the chair and mak[ing] clicky sounds with your keyboard" makes you a writer.

And I know that Ellie Ann is a writer. Her pop-culture and unique-perspective blog posts keep me enthralled and in stitches, nearly always at the same time. Let's stop wasting time with what I have to say about Ellie Ann's processes as she gets set to finish her first full-length novel. Let's instead go Behind the Words, and see first hand how Ellie's writing life works...

Ellie Ann battles the Farthest Reaches...

I am Mrs. Ellie Ann Soderstrom and my ancestor was a Scottish patriot who got his head chopped off and his body flung over the side of a castle. That doesn't have much to do with anything but I like bragging about dead relatives.

I haven't written anything you can read (yet) unless you get a hand on Grinnell's Homeschool Newsletter of 1998 'cause I had a good many articles published: The DesMoines Zoo Field Trip and How To Make Monkeybread were some of my best. It was a good stint while it lasted . . . the publicity was lucrative but the pay was lousy.

I also write a blog. I know, I know. You're thinking that NO writer has a blog these days. But I like to be different, I guess:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flash Fiction // Remembering Train Car Six

I challenged readers and writers who visit The Farthest Reaches to write a little flash story based on the prompt, "A forgetful character starts discovering actions made in his favour at some point in the past. The only catch? He honestly can't remember doing them himself. Funny, sad, poignant or horrific, have fun with it. No character limit, but maybe anywhere from 200 up to a couple thousand. You're the boss of the story. Er. Well, the story's more likely the boss of you, but don't feel limited."

I promised I would write my own and include it. Sadly, I'm lousy at writing flash fiction under 200 words. I started writing a story that I *thought* would be about 3-400 words in length and here it is, all 1500 words of it.

Luckily, I really like it. I think I'll edit it (this is strictly first draft stuff below!) and include it in an anthology somewhere down the road. I would love to know what you think of it -- and how well I addressed my own prompt.

This story will remain up until Sunday. So read it while you can!

UPDATE: Sunday, July 24, 2011 2:30 PM CST

The short story has been removed, and I'm pleased to report that while it was up it garnered just over 800 hits!  I want to sincerely thank all my friends and peers for reading the story, leaving comments, re-tweeting some mentions on Twitter about it and generally sending good vibes out into the Farthest Reaches.

The last story I posted in this manner garnered about 500 hits so the 800 for this story is a phenomenal increase. I hope that readers got at least a modicum of entertainment value from reading the tale. Remember to read some of my guests flash stories based on the same prompt.

Thanks, everyone!

j. //

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Behind The Words // Al Boudreau

Al Boudreau. Novelist. Indie supporter. Tweeting mad man. There are more titles for Al, but he'd probably appreciate this one the best: friend to authors across the world.

Al is also a member of the decision committee for the 2011 Farthest Reach Award, dedicated to recognizing outstanding members of the book marketing community. Al's going to be working with the team to winnow down the nominees and decide who's the cream of the crop. For my money, Al has the chops and the experience necessary for this task, no question.

I met Al on Twitter late last year and came to know more about him and his work, plus his undying camaraderie among the Twitter faithful over the last several months. He's quick to pour you a virtual drink and quick to sing your praises if he believes in you. And, he's been known to write a cracking thriller now and again. About his work, about his space, and about how he does what he does, I present Mr. Al his own words...

My pen name is Al Boudreau. I decided to change my real name to Al Boudreau too, so as not to confuse people. My debut Mystery/Thriller, IN MEMORY OF GREED, came out at the end of January, 2011. It is presently available in ebook format for Kindle and Nook.

I write while sitting on the couch in my living room, netbook in my lap, and notes/outline by my side. It's the most comfortable spot I could find. I'll nibble on an occasional snack while writing, but find it difficult to write with any kind of noise. Therefore, I try to maintain a silence that would rival most monk's surroundings. My sheep ran away months ago. Too quiet for his taste, apparently.

I utilize both a netbook computer and composition notebooks when I write. Generally, I can produce one or two chapters a day, if writing is all that's on my docket. I generally rough-edit chapters the following morning, before writing the new day's work. Once my manuscript is complete, I'll read it through and edit again, before passing it along to beta-readers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Taking Care of Future Jason

No, I didn't name my son Jason Jr. This is a vanity post, make no mistake, but not quite in the same way. I thought I'd mix it up and talk a little bit about my life and how I think. By that last clause, some of you are surely ready to jump in with a smarmy comment. I invite you to. Most readers of The Farthest Reaches are astute, capable and filled with wit. And you should take every chance you can to rib me.

I wish I could say the same about my own level of capability and wit. You see, dear friends, my biggest challenge as a writer and a person is that I have a terrible memory. I can swear to myself, my family, my colleagues that I have finished or tended to something, perhaps some major task, perhaps some minor one. Then, days, weeks, months will go by and I will discover that I left it hanging. I don't mean to do it. I honestly don't. But, hey, the road down below was paved with J. McIntyre's best intentions.

Lately I've been pleasantly baffled and bemused by some of my behaviour that has been grossly contrary to this character flaw of mine. We had an incredibly wet spring. It seemed like it was raining every second day in April, May and June. Downtown, I needed to walk several blocks to my building and, after a few days of coming in out of the rain, drenched from head to toe (though with my haircut, some of you smarmier friends can joke, "How wet, exactly, were you, J.?") I had the brilliant idea that I would finally buy an umbrella this year.

Yes, yes, I've lived on the west coast, Vancouver Island even, where rain is a fair constant. But still, in my childhood and adulthood I've never owned an umbrella. Even my three-year old had a Batman number which cupped his little head and shoulders perfectly at the age of two and a half. Me? Never. Never had an umbrella. Must have thought I was too cool for one.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Behind The Words // Maria Savva

Maria Savva is one of those fine folks who is always a pleasure to speak with, work with and, in my case, even write with. Late last year, I had the distinct pleasure of co-authoring a suspense-farce novella called Cutting The Fat with Maria and, boy, did we have a blast. Among many benefits, that exercise allowed a writer like myself into the world of someone like Maria and probably allowed some readers of hers to find me -- and vice versa. 

Maria's been writing and publishing for years and has a strong network of other authors, readers and friends. When Maria pipes up or follows something she feels is important or worthwhile, the entire internet turns its head. Trust me on that.

She's been called the nicest woman in indie lit...and for good reason. Without further pause, let's go Behind The Words with the wonderful writer known as Maria Savva...

Maria talks Maria...

I’m Maria Savva, and I’ve written lots of book, but I doubt anyone has heard of them. My first novel, ‘Coincidences’, was born when I was out of work in 1997 and decided that I should write a bestseller to save me from homelessness. Little did I know that the best route to homelessness is by becoming a writer. ‘Coincidences’ is the story of Alice, a young student who has a dream that awakens her curiosity about finding her father who abandoned her when she was just 2 years old. It’s a drama. I’m currently writing a new edition of ‘Coincidences’ (fully re-edited) for publication sometime this year, hopefully. At the moment it’s only available as a limited edition hardback and is out of print, so I want to make it more widely available.

My second novel is ‘A Time to Tell’, a family saga, spanning 50 years and three generations of the same family. Much like ‘Coincidences’ it contains the themes of secrets and lies. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Farthest Reach Award // Announcing the Decision Committee

A short time ago, nominations opened on The Farthest Reach Award, with the goal of giving kudos and high-fives to indie and pro writers, publishers, book professionals and readers who are doing a bang-up job of marketing themselves or their industry. Learn more about the Award here and please consider making a nomination of support for someone you feel deserves recognition.

The time has come to make another announcement. I won't be doing the deciding on who gets these accolades alone. That falls to a prestigious group of my esteemed colleagues. This year, the group consists of indie and traditionally-published authors, men and women, fresh and seasoned. There are some interesting, talented and wonderful people here and I am honoured to call them not just my peers in this crazy writerly world.

So who are they? I invite you to learn more about them and follow any links back to the committee members' own websites or Twitter pages to connect with them. All hail the deciders!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Announcing the 2012 Farthest Reach Award

Nominations are open!

The Farthest Reaches is proud to announce that nominations are now open for the 2012 Farthest Reach Award, honouring brilliance and 'reach' in the world of book marketing, sales and readership.
  • Do you know someone who, this year, has displayed unprecedented successes in marketing or promoting their own work or the work of others in the field of books and publishing?
  • Have they helped develop the reach of others into the segment of book sales online or off?
  • Would this person stand as an example to others as how to achieve success in the ever-growing market of ebook and print book sales?
  • Is this person a testament to best practices for the purposes of the entire market or even their own catalogue?
If any of the above describe your nominee, then he or she could be one of the recipients of the 2011 Farthest Reach Award. Recipients will be the best and brightest stars in this field. Share your knowledge of this person's achievements and we will all celebrate them together!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Behind The Words // Casey Ryan

So far, Behind The Words has focused on authors sharing a little about how they work and where the magic happens. My hope is to expand the reach of this feature and talk to professionals in many other areas. This week, we're looking at a radio host, personality and interviewer to discover some of the motivations and strategies behind his words.

I connected with podcast host Casey Ryan via Twitter. He asked me to join him on his show, The Cutting Room Floor and you can listen to the resulting interview here. I was absolutely delighted to be on the receiving end of Casey's questions. Firstly, because Casey does a bang-up job of letting guests speak about their projects and guiding them to the crucial information and insights that listeners want to know more about. Secondly, because The Cutting Room Floor has been primarily focused on independent filmmakers and filmmaking in general. As an author, it's exciting for me to branch out and speak to a crowd I normally don't get to converse with. It forces me to look at how I speak about writing. I get to talk more about storytelling and that gets more to the heart of what I do.

I don't want to speak for Casey, but I definitely get the impression he's enjoying branching out to interview more authors on his podcast. We're probably in agreement on this: storytelling is an exciting art form -- whether one does it on paper or on video or film. It's fascinating to talk with people who love the craft of storytelling. And, quite frankly it's a joy to talk with folks who are enamored with interviewing such storytellers. Casey Ryan is one who has such a passion, both for the art and for the people who take it to new I turn the floor over to him!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Behind The Words // Darcia Helle

Hello to all and a huge thank you to Jason for inviting me to hang out here today.

You're probably wondering who I am and why you should care. Honestly, I often wonder that myself. Don't you hate it when someone says, "Tell me about yourself,"? What does that mean? My height, weight, age, hair color and eye color doesn't tell you much, aside from whether I take up two seat cushions on the couch and get a senior citizen discount. Things like how many times I brush my teeth each day and what my favorite color is might tell you something about me but none of it is particularly interesting. So, who am I?

I'm a word addict. Big words, small words, words that rhyme, words that sound pompous and words that sound eloquent. I love the power within all words. I'm passionate about some things, indifferent about others. Music has the ability to change my mood in a flash. I'm a vegetarian, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. I love water but I'm a terrible swimmer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing is like...

This is a blog meme, instigated by my friend and fellow writer, S.B. Poscente. You can hang out with her at her place and I highly recommend that you do.

Now, on to my little attempt at keeping this meme alive...

Writing is like...being cast away on an exotic island. You have beautiful things to eat but no cutlery. The fish, lobster and crab are the best you've ever seen and you just know they would be delicious...but there is no fire to cook them. The sunshine is intense and lasting but you have no sunglasses or UV protection. The ocean is warm but you have no towel after a swim.

You have matches but they're wet; you have a canteen but it's dry.

The rain is cool and refreshing, but you have no shelter and your skin wrinkles to that of a geriatric octogenarian. The nights are black and deep but you get cold with no blankets and so you begin to shiver after an hour or two. There's nothing on; the satellite dish you've crafted from palm fronds and bamboo stalks doesn't get the new OWN network.

You finally see another survivor drift towards your shore on a makeshift raft of plane parts and table trays but, alas, he is mute. And burly. And he takes your food when you sleep. You spend your days with him merely shuffling feet in the sand and looking at each other.

In a desperate search for something other than raw seafood, you find a can of fruit cocktail -- with extra cherries, even. You have no can opener but would risk great injury to yourself just for one lick of the artificial syrup. But the date tells you this fruit is expired. You ask yourself, "Should I go there?"

You see perfect waves in the distance but your surfboard wax wasn't in your carry-on; neither was your surfboard. You remember all your friends' numbers but all the coconut phones you've carved have no dial tone.

Finally, after months in virtual isolation, with nearly nothing to show for your time away, a wooden flat of bottled water floats in on the spring tide. You and your surly silent compadre force yourselves to become teammates for twenty minutes as you haul it in.

Your great mood subsides, though, and your shoulders shrug with a deflating realization:

The safety seal is broken on every one. And you're just not that sure.

So who am I asking to carry on this blog meme? Three great women, three impeccable writers, three superlative friends.

Eden Baylee. Darcia Helle. Maria Savva.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Night Walk Men // unBound and Determined

To everyone the last week who helped spread the word about my novelette, The Night Walk Men, I want to extend my hand to you. Thanks to all of you --you know who you are-- for helping to push this story as high as [EDIT] #3 on the Amazon Kindle Top 100.

It also topped out as #1 for Suspense fiction and #1 in Occult fiction before it began its retreat from the top ten.

In about a week's time, this short book of mine has been downloaded over 34,000 times by readers on Amazon. Together with downloads from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony and a few other online stores, the short tale of Obsidion, Monserrat and the other Night Walkers, has been snagged in digital form a total of over 44,000 times.

That blows my mind.

I want to thank everyone who had a hand in getting those copies out to readers and everyone who has shared a tweet, a Facebook mention, or a kind word about the story itself. Not everyone digs it, but most people seem to think it's some of the best writing I've done.

And I'm not done. Not by a long shot with this world.

Have I mentioned this story is merely the prologue to a multi-layered, ongoing saga? The first book is coming along nicely and I hope to have some of it to preview shortly. In the meantime, I offer my thanks and appreciation for this milestone and hope you'll have a look at some of my other stories.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Behind The Words // Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick

As a writer, Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick is as prolific as he thinks I am, if not more so. The author of four novels, plus the purveyor of an author-centric and review blog, Joel also devotes time to marketing, self-publishing and is the newly anointed Acquisitions Director for Journalstone Publishing.

Joel and I met late last year and soon, I was honored to be included as a guest at his blog. He was a gracious host and I aim to return the favor --
despite the sale of my tractor falling through. I don't hold Joel accountable for the tractor, of course. It was old and I was apparently unaware that I owned it.

So, how does Joel work? Where does he work? For those answers and more, let's look to the man himself, as it appears, he too is perpetually looking for something (over there --->)

So. Who the heck are ya? 
Miles and Colin’s Dad.

What have you written that we would know?
Harmony’s Passing, Caraliza, Breathing into Stone, Shared

Describe your writing space. 
It's a comfy chair. Sometimes my desk upstairs, but that's only very late at night.

Do you eat while you write? 
Lots of candy.

Listen to music? 
Constantly. Music drives my creative muse – keeps me focused.

Talk radio? 
No. Conversations not allowed. I can tune out lyrics/singing; not speaking voices.

Is there a sheep grazing outside your window? 
Elk. Seriously.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Behind The Words // Ann Mauren

Author Ann Mauren pays attention. She pays attention to the details of story, character, plot and book marketing. And, what's even more impressive, she pays attention to the details of her tweeps' lives and all the various things they're doing. On Twitter--and in life--Ann Mauren is a pleasure to know. 

I was lucky enough to get some time with Ann and learn a bit about what she's working on, what excites her and how she works to produce her novels and stories. She's also arrived with a wonderful prize pack to give away to celebrate being ranked this week as #8 on Amazon's list of Top 100 Free Kindle eBooks, and #1 in its category, Romantic Suspense. But more about that in a minute... First, come with me and learn about her, in her own words...

I am Ann Mauren, an indie author who writes romance with elements of humor and suspense. My debut novel “In The Spotlight” is the first in a collection titled “Mayne Attraction”, named for the series’ heroine, Ellery Mayne, a young woman who discovers that she is being observed and protected by a private security force, and her efforts to get to the bottom of who, what, where, when and especially why.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ah. Food. (And an Award)

I've been bestowed the "The Irresistibly Sweet Blog" Award by fellow blogger, author, and wonderful person S.B. Poscente. Check out her awesome digs here.

That cake looks so good but I'm an hour or two out from lunch so I'll stop licking my monitor. I suggest you do the same. But, S.B. is right when she said, "Doesn't that make your mouth water?"

Here's a great big THANK YOU to S.B. who I shall forever think of as "Po" for throwing me in with her lot, and with those that she admires. She likes it in the Reaches, hey? She has GOT to get out more.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

East Meets West

East Meets West is a short story from my upcoming anthology BLACK LIGHT OF DAY. It will appear on this website for one day and then be removed. Tell your friends about it if you think they like freaky dramatic tension in the Burbs. I know I do.

EDIT (10:10 PM Sunday, May 15, 2011): Well, the day is nearly done and so is the free, limited-edition version of this short story. I had a blast with all these readers and authors coming to spend a few moments here. Thanks to you all for reading and commenting.

Just to let you know, today's story was my most successful post at this website ever. I had close to 500 visitors between 7 this morning and a few minutes ago at around 10 PM local time. It's the most comments and most visitors I've ever had in a single day. And it was a slow Sunday on the web to boot.

Thanks again! I would love to hear from any of you with your thoughts on whether I should do something like this again.


j. //

East Meets West concludes here, but there will be a pile more stories in the anthology from which this one comes: BLACK LIGHT OF DAY -- coming soon to all online book sellers. If you liked this, I have more for you to enjoy. Check out my growing catalogue at Amazon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Behind The Words // Eden Baylee

Erotic Author Eden Baylee's website is so provocative, I'm not allowed to look at it. Seriously. When I want to check in on what my favourite Torontonian adult author has on her upcoming agenda, a firewall leaps up and says, "Uh-uh-UH! Not so fast, my dear Canadian suspense author!" I've had the opportunity to read one of Eden's novellas and upon getting three or four pages in, I put it down and went to inform my wife of what I was reading. My thinking? Reduce my wife's confusion or shock should she stumble across Eden's work on our coffee table.

That said, Eden's work is more than titillating. She has a focus on lifestyle, on our modern world and the place we inhabit therein. She goes into the parts of characters that exist below a scratched surface and who we are as people, sexual or not. But, heck, enough of what I think. I'm happy to welcome Eden Baylee as my guest this week and we'd be better to get her own words about what she does and how she does it. Oh, Eden?

Eden on Eden... 

Okay. I’m brilliant, of course (in my own mind), but I think you’ve even told me I’m wittier than you are, so I have confirmation from one person at least.

I'm a Canadian gal, quit banking after 20 years, now write full-time. First book of erotic novellas called Fall into Winter was officially released February 2011. Now in process of writing the next anthology while promoting current release. As I’ve told you, Jason, I straddle the wobbly fence of promotion and continuing to write, but I’m loving every moment. It’s a true gift to be able to finally do what I want to do in life. I would have died if I remained in banking for another couple of years. They would have found my body in some dark meeting room, staring at the wall, with the look of horror on my face from realizing I was a “lifer.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Behind The Words // Thea Atkinson

Author Thea Atkinson has over one million different titles available. Okay, I exaggerate . But she is prolific and every encounter I have with her is fun and insightful. She has a number of shorts and full-length novels available and she's writing new material all the time. I feel a certain kinship with Thea as she tends to write really character-driven pieces that each look at some of the darker corners in a room. Let's peek into her world and see how she maintains such a furious writing pace and what she's up to.

Thea on Thea...

You would know nothing of mine. Ha. So there. I’d love to say I wrote all the Amanda Hocking stuff or the Harry Potter stuff, but unfortunately, I write weirder stuff than that. Somebody dies. Every time. Well, maybe not the last novel. I think they all lived, but it was close. Seriously, I write what would be termed psychological fiction. Anomaly is my latest, One Insular Tahiti was my first Kindle offering and then Secret Language of Crows. All drama, character driven fiction. On the dark side in places…enough to make some readers cringe, but in the end, I hear they root for the characters, so it can’t be all bad.

Thea on her writing space...

My laptop is in my kitchen but it is guarded by two 4 inch gargoyles. I have space for tea. I’m always drinking tea when I write. It’s better libations than booze, truth betold. It lubricates my psyche. I listen to Tool and A Perfect Circle and Black Crowes and Dave Mathews band and Fiona Apple and….well, you get the picture. I listen to music a lot while I write. It lubricates the typing fingers.

I’m usually wrapped in my polar fleece housecoat—even when I’m fully dressed. I like to be warm, you see and it’s pretty cold in NS in the winter. It might be ‘Spring’ now according to the calendar, but someone forgot to tell the North wind.

My black lab is inevitably lying at my feet. Sometimes groaning because she wants attention, sometimes groaning because she wants fed. Most of the time, she’s snoring: another reason for the music.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In The Dark - What's In A Name?

Time again for a glimpse into the dark with me, your silly but loyal author friend. If nothing I'm consistent. After all, weeks have gone by now since I started this video blog feature and I'm still filming it from the dark cavern of my studio. This time, however, the result is a touch more serious. In the current edition, I talk about some meanings and interpretations behind the title of my latest novel, THALO BLUE. Oh, and this video should put to rest the rumor that I write naked. It doesn't definitively clarify whether I wear pants though.

Other instalments of "In The Dark" are also available. If you have any questions you'd like answered (silly, serious or life-changing), drop 'em at me in the comments below or fire them off to me via Twitter (@JasonCMcIntyre). You can also send me an email at jason @ the (without the spaces).

I'm going to go finish the laundry. I've been wearing that shirt since THALO BLUE launched more than a month ago.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Behind The Words // Larry Enright

I know Author Larry Enright from Twitter, after first hearing his name uttered by mutual acquaintances who mentioned how darn funny his book, "Four Years From Home" is. When I think of Larry I imagine a somewhat seasoned writer who's seen it all, done a good heaping portion of it, and took home the t-shirt as a souvenir. Plus, he's charming as all-get-out. Let's see what Mr. Enright has to say about his unique writing situation and experience...

Larry talks about this guy named Larry Enright...

Who the heck am I? I often ask myself that question. I was born in Pittsburgh four years after World War II ended and am the middle kid in an Irish Catholic family of five children. My father and mother were married during the war and started their family after Dad came home in 1945. I have his wedding photo. He was in uniform and my Mom was in a beautiful dress - her mother’s wedding dress. Things were very different then. People were happy to be at peace again after that terrible conflict and struggling to rebuild their lives, always hoping for things to get better. There were no personal computers, no Internet, we shared a phone line with the neighbors. TV - if you were lucky enough to have one - was black and white. And if you were a writer, you used a pencil and paper.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Behind The Words // "The Night Walk Men" - Alternate Ending

I've been getting a lot of questions about how I work. I will, in time, write a lengthier piece about some of my habits as I put quill to digital paper for those of you that are curious about such things.

In the meantime, though, I thought I'd share some cut pieces from one of my more popular short stories, currently free at Smashwords.  This is done in the hopes that it may give a bit of insight into what gets tossed and what stays and how things evolve as I write. It's a small sample, but kind of fun for me to look back at too.

This bit was cut out of "The Night Walk Men" the short story which acts as a prelude to the coming novel series I'm working on. I cut this for a number of reasons, but mostly because it interrupted the flow or was just too "Sparrow-ish", that is to say, too arrogant, even for the extremely arrogant narrator of the story. In the end, it was one of the pieces from the puzzle that simply wouldn't fit with the rest and had to go.  The joy for me is in sharing it, even if it's not part of the "official" story.

For those of you who haven't read "The Night Walk Men", AHOY! SPOILERS AHEAD!

This would have been an ever-so-slightly different ending, one where Gabriela has a big tumble into the hands of the fates.  To everyone who has read the story and wants to see a slightly altered ending, enjoy!

Our Gabriela, she’s not really gone, is she?
I mean, she’s not gone for good, is she?
     I can’t tell you everything.  And it’s not because I want to hold anything back.  It’s not because I’m trying to punish you for something.  You should know it all.  Or, at least, you should know everything there is to know.
Even I don’t know it all.  If I did, I would be more powerful, and then, in turn, so would you.  You would be the next to get everything, every morsel.  It would only be fair.
But I don’t know every last detail. I only know a good heaping portion of it.
     I can tell you that our Gabriela didn’t hear a speech before her plummet.  Not a whispered version, not a shouted judgement.  No one said, “I am black volcanic glass to your white palomino skin.”  She did not hear these words.
And I can tell you that when she descended, when she swooped down like a bird with her small white shirt and her unwashed blonde hair flapping madly, she finally closed her eyes, closed them tight against seeing anything at all.
I can tell you that she didn’t see who caught her.  I can tell you that she doesn’t remember anything past the fall, that she doesn’t know how she came to be sitting in her parents' car in the parking lot with the back door swung open, or that she doesn’t how much time had passed or even if the fall really happened.
But I can tell you that it did.  When she is conscious again, she feels warmth on her back and on her thighs and on her shoulders – it’s the touch of Obsidion, of his black volcanic glass coming into contact with our Gabriela’s white palomino skin.  It was him who appeared and saved her from the fall.  He’s not human, you know, and I told you he could conjure nearly anything.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Behind The Words // Berit Ellingsen

Berit Ellingsen's focus is on speculative and literary fiction. Oh. And fjords. She's based in Norway and her entire presence on the web (and in my world) is streamlined and precise. I know she'll disagree with this statement.

I met Berit on Twitter and continue to enjoy following her and learning what fascinating and 'science-y' stuff she's currently writing about. She comes across as a very prolific and knowledgeable creator. Let's learn a bit more about what drives her to write, and how she does it at home:

Berit on Berit...

My name is Berit Ellingsen and I’m a Norwegian literary and speculative writer. That means I’m from the same cold part of the world as Stieg Larsson, but write stories with less words than him, or set in imaginary worlds.

I have written several short stories, ranging from science fiction, fantasy and horror to stories set in our world. They have been published various places on the net and in different print anthologies. I also dabble in creative non-fiction. The themes span from free divers to people who are obsessed with buildings. For a list and links, see the “Bibliography” page on The Empty City website.

My longest work is a book called The Empty City. It’s about becoming comfortable with silence, letting go of the past and finding yourself. The story is set in an unspecified city, and in dreams and images of the main character. It's told in short episodes that each describe a place in the city, a dream, a question, a memory or an event.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Behind The Words // J. Alexander Greenwood

Time for a new feature here at The Farthest Reaches. Guests step behind their words to discuss some of the elements that go into their writing. This is a bit different than most guest posts by authors on other websites; I'm not focused on selling or plugging -- though you will see a link to the author's website where you can presumably make a purchase. 

I'm all for facilitating a way for readers to get a hold of the books they wish to buy -- certainly! But this space is primarily for writers to share with you a bit about how they do what they do. The technical or functional aspects behind how their stories are made are the focus here.

I recently got in touch with Author J. Alexander Greenwood, writer of  the eccentric thriller "Pilate's Cross" who I first met some months ago after he graciously mentioned me in an interview. This week, we yakked about his process, writing space and more. Check out what Alex had to say, in his own words:

J. Alexander on J. Alexander...

I'm J. Alexander Greenwood-- Alex to my friends and Jason to my Mom. I reside in Kansas City with my wife and daughter. My grandfather was a midlist Western and historical fiction writer who encouraged me to write. I've written the thriller novel Pilate's Cross, the award winning short story Obsidian, a half dozen or so failed book manuscripts and thousands of press releases in my day job as a public relations consultant.

J. Alexander on his writing space...

I write in a small room crammed with books, trinkets, a telescope and lots of collectible toys. On the walls are a framed 45 of The Police's "Synchronicity II" (autographed by all three members of the band), a playbill of "The Best Man" autographed by Gore Vidal and lots of miscellaneous Sherlockiana. The room overlooks a large deck on the back end of our house that I affectionately call "The Crow's Nest." It has a pirate flag fluttering in the breeze. It's a nice place to drink vodka and watch the sunsets.

I like to drink tea while I write. The best days are when the tea goes cold after two sips because I get lost in my work. I listen to a lot of Mark Snow (he scored all of the X-Files shows and features) when I write thrillers and my paranormal short stories.

J. Alexander on his current work...

I'm working on two things: first, a sequel to my thriller Pilate's Cross titled Pilate's Key. It picks up a few weeks after the first book ends. Our hero left the snowy wastes of Cross Township in favor of kicking back in a hammock in Key West. However, he still manages to stick his nose (and other body parts) where he shouldn't. It should be finished buy the end of summer. Should being the operative word.

The other project is a novella that sets up a back story for a series of paintings and sculptures titled What the Gardener Saw by David Terrill (he created the Pilate's Cross book cover design and illustration). Think Edward Gorey meets Tim Burton meets Arthur Conan Doyle drinking too much absinthe. We're doing an installation in October 2011 at a Kansas City art gallery with music composed for the series and excerpts from the novella. Publishing the novella itself is a complex issue as it has more than a dozen rich illustrations, so we'll be shopping for a publisher or a backer before it gets out there.

After that, I'm writing nothing but short stories for a few months before I tackle the third and final installment of the Pilate series, tentatively titled Pilate's Ghost. (You heard it here first, folks!) I'm shooting for Summer 2012 on that one.

J. Alexander on his writing style...

I compose at the computer keyboard--either in my office or on a laptop at the dining room table or yes, even a coffee shop. My hands are a little arthritic so longhand wears me out quickly. I also have horrific handwriting (it seems more suited to the practice of medicine--though I'm a PR man, not a doctor, Jim), so I'm sure I would have a hard time reading it when the time came to type it up anyway.

I research a bit. Pilate's Cross had extensive research because it's based on a real life murder-suicide in Peru, Nebraska. I had crime reports, crime scene photos, affidavits--the works.

Otherwise, I prefer to have visited locations I write about at least once. I think it adds a degree of verisimilitude if you can confidently describe a place or thing--even if only in passing. For example, in Pilate's Cross, one of my characters is beaten severely and has to go into an induced coma. My brother-in-law is a nurse practitioner, so I called him to ask what drug would be used. (Diprivan.)

I rewrote Pilate's Cross six times, with about four or five more polishes. I have a circle of readers I trust to tell me if something needs work, is confusing or just plain stinks. I hired a fairly basic (read: inexpensive) line editor, too. However, there are still a few typos so I think I'll hire a really serious editor to go to town on the next ones. We indie authors have enough credibility problems without mucking it up ourselves with careless editing.

J. Alexander on his gang...

My wife is very, very supportive. She listens to me when I need to talk out parts of the book. More importantly, she never treats writing likes it's some tedious hobby. She treats it with respect and encourages me. We had a baby a couple of years ago, which really threw me off my game, so when I came to her recently and said I have to spend more time on it (after the baby is asleep) she was cool, even though it meant she would be a writer's widow a lot more. My daughter hasn't quite cottoned on to what I do at the keyboard, though she likes to wander in and sit on my lap and write all over my post-it notes while I work.

Where to find out more about J. Alexander...

The "mothership" is at but the Facebook page seems to be where all the action is. Or, if you want something fancy, have a look at the book trailer:

Thanks, Alex! This was a charming peek into your writerly world. You've provided some great insight into how you wrote your first book, what your habits and goals are, plus, some neat first teases about your upcoming books. Many thanks for sharing with us!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In The Dark 2 - Another Reader Question

Ah, music. The light of my life. What would I do without it? I love music. Classic rock, pop, baroque, dance, techno, weird, ethnic. I love music.

Today's "In The Dark" segment has a fun, albiet brief look at music from my writerly perspective. Oh, and by the end, I'm sure someone will be calling me up and sharing news of my nomination for the "Hammiest Half-Ham Award" in cheeseball facial acting. I bet William Shatner would be proud.

If you have any questions you'd like answered (silly, serious or life-changing), drop 'em at me in the comments below or fire them off to me via Twitter (@JasonCMcIntyre). You can also send me an email at jason @ the (without the spaces).

I'm going to get working on my acceptance speech for the Ham Awards. I just know I'll win.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In The Dark - Reader Questions Answered

Check out the embedded video below for what will hopefully be a series over the next while. I get the occasional question about a specific issue in a book or about how I work and I thought it would be fun to do some short videos to explain bits about the stories or about my writing process. There will be some fun questions and answers but I hope to provide some actual insight too. (Hint: this first one is light on the insight).

Maybe the title of this new feature is absolutely perfect as viewers might be more 'in the dark' after watching, rather than being enlightened.

The first short edition of "In The Dark" has me looking at a question about insights into female characters. Have a look and please feel free to ask a question in the comment area or by Twitter or email (jason @ and who knows, maybe I'll be able to give you a personalized video response just like this:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reader Reviews Revisited

While compiling some of my best reader and critical reviews for a new section on this website, my thoughts returned to a previous post about what I think makes a good review. The gist of that post was this: Short reviews are fine for average readers and they can still do a ton to help with the credibility of a book, helping an audience find that book and making the author aware of how they're doing in terms of producing stories people want to read.

Certainly, critics and bloggers need to go a little further than sharing only short, snappy reviews because their readers appreciate having a more robust explanation of why a book was good or not. But readers rule the roost. Most often, in this digital age, a potential reader will happen across a book page on a seller's website and peruse the reader reviews long before they'll stumble across a review at their local newspaper's website or even on a book blog.

I'll highlight a recent reader review of one of my own novels, a short one that I find hits the mark, even though it isn't very long or involved. This one's for my latest novel, THALO BLUE and I felt it captured the spirit of the book, explained why the reader liked it but didn't re-hash any plot for potential spoilers:

You WILL get hooked, and be begging for more...Here is why you should read this book. If you can handle paying attention to detail, and you like a book that's a little complex, you will enjoy this. If you like a story that stays with you throughout the day, nagging at you until you can sneak back to read a bit more..You will LOVE this! If you crave a story you cant figure out two chapters in...Baby, this story will drive you WILD! I think Jason McIntyre is just what you need...what we all need, when taking a break from reality. Thalo Blue, Get it, read it, thank him when you're done. :-)

For me, this is an effective, short, to-the-point review -- aside from the fact that the reader loves the book and that, as its creator, makes me feel like a million dollars. Again, this kind of reader review can be approached in a much different way than a critical review or a blog review because it's done by a reader. There are no rules for this kind of short, snappy, eye-catching review and this reader took the opportunity to have fun with it but still cover a few basic things that potential readers will probably appreciate:

1. It has a title that is more than just the name of the book. This reader wanted to catch other readers' attention and did so.

2. It begins with a very simple invitation to learn more: "Here's why you should read this."

3. It explains how the book will appeal to you IF you like certain things. ie. Complexity, intrigue that pulls you back to keep reading.

4. There is no re-statement of the plot. If this is on a website like Amazon, Sony or Apple's iBookstore, the book will already have a blurb written by the publisher. If it's done well, there's no need for Joe or Jane Reader to even touch plot details.

So, what do you think makes a good reader review? If there's some interest here, I may come back and do another post on blogger reviews and how they can be different and informative without offering spoilers or heaping praise that make it sound like nothing more than the review of a book by the blogger's best friend.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Refreshing the Writing Momentum

We've all been here, in this spot: just starting a new book or other long story. You're finished the 'beginning' part of writing and have a sense of who your main characters are, where they might be going and what's going to befall them. You start with a great idea. You blast off with ten thousand words. Maybe twenty. You don't hit a wall. You're not blocked. But there's fatigue. Maybe life gets in the way. Or maybe the 'doubt monster' starts creeping in about whether this is the story you want to spend the next life of your limited nine on. Whatever the case, you're not in-tune right now. A friend of mine used to call it "out-of-sync". You're still able to squeeze the juice, but it's not as sweet right now.

It's no secret. Keeping writing momentum is difficult. Especially on long projects.

You're anything but losing interest in your characters or the story. But, damn. It's tough. You're working at it every day. This might be a one-hundred-thousand-word story. It might be longer. You might be at it and at it and at it, living inside this world for six months or more. It's a long stretch of time, especially when the landscape of the world outside your window, seems to change on a minute-by-minute basis these days. You need a short break. Plain and simple.

What do I do? I give in. I stop for a while.  I do something else, like hammer out a blog post (yep, that's what I'm doing right now) or I turn my attention to a short story -- something I can draft in a day or two. Then I come back to the longer work -- hopefully refreshed.

Other diversions can offer sanity and hope, too.

I spend some time trying to write an entirely different genre or type of work for a day or two. If I'm in the midst of a big, scary, dramatic thing, maybe I'll use tomorrow's writing time (if I'm lucky enough to have any) on a lighter, travel piece. Or maybe a silly comedy retelling of a dorky road trip I took ten years ago.

Sounds simple enough, right? Just switch gears, do something different. Yes, but easier said than done, in my experience. I get so invested that it's hard to step out of something: writing or otherwise. I want it to be perfect. It takes real courage to step away for a while and not stress that you might lose the mojo. I've lost it before. Most of the time it comes back. Sometimes it doesn't. In those cases, I know that I probably need to adjust the whole project or scrap it completely. Again, this is easier said than done.

For me, though, I need a reprieve from time to time. I need to go for a mental walk...or a literal one. It's usually just the right distance to realize I was on the right track and that I should head back to see what's what it that big ol' world I created.

And, more often than not, I come back and discover that I missed my characters something fierce. Then I have to ask their forgiveness, because, in all likelihood, I might have left them in a dark room or slung over the side of a literary cliff.
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