Mistakes I’ve Made (As a Writer) — Joanna’s Story

Mistakes! We’ve all made them, big and small. I thought it’d be interesting to list mistakes I’ve made as a writer. Here are a few. Querying too soon I mentioned this in a previous post about bad query letters. I should have waited till my craft improved. Not reading enough I used to tell myself […]

via Mistakes I’ve Made (As a Writer) — Joanna’s Story


“The Walking Dead” Comic vs. TV


I consider myself of a fan of “The Walking Dead”.

I was introduced to the franchise through the TV series, and around the beginning of Season 3, I was given “The Walking Dead Compendium 1” as a (fantastic!) Christmas present. Once I cracked that book open, there was no turning back, and I’ve found myself becoming increasingly critical of the television show as time goes by.

I know it’s somewhat unfair to compare the two and create an “apples and oranges” argument, but I’m going to anyway since many people have been vocally disappointed with the entire Season 6 finale / Season 7 premiere debacle. I think some of those fans could easily transition to the books and still enjoy “The Walking Dead” story without any of the nonsense that AMC has been putting its viewers through lately.

Here are some reasons I feel “The Walking Dead” comics are superior to the show at this point.

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How to get out of your own way when self publishing — Horror Made

Today’s post comes from Ben Daniels, the author of the new novel, “Detroit 2020.” And he, far better than I could even imagine, lays out the essential steps to self publishing. He’s also a fantastic blogger and shares some very insightful thoughts on horror, writing, and the long-hard-journey of self publishing over on bldaniels.wordpress.com. So, enough […]

via How to get out of your own way when self publishing — Horror Made

Editing Tips for Self-Publishing


Editing your work is never easy.

If writing your novel or short story is creatively fulfilling, then editing can be considered a meticulous, soul-crushing grind that comes after. It’s ultimately necessary to make that draft into the final polished work you saw in your mind’s eye, before you send it out into the world.

I’ve written about editing for beginning self-published authors before, but not in any real detail. Since I’m in the process of editing both a novel and some shorter works, I felt like now was an opportune time to discuss the process of editing your own work, and put together some tips.

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“Heart of Darkness” Review

Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Joseph Conrad, could you ever have imagined you’d get such conflicting reviews about your work on social media over a century after you wrote it?

Of course not, but at least his book has staying power.

I picked Heart of Darkness back up for the first time since high school, after watching Apocalypse Now on basic cable, and thought to myself “Let’s see if this little book is as dense as I remember it being.”


This isn’t an easy read, nor is it particularly cheery or fun. It’s not the type of book you crack open to feel good about on a short flight, but it’s not without merit. Here’s a few highlights and key points that may help influence your decision on whether to read this classic.

* This story defines “purple prose”. Conrad was great at description, and loved his unnecessary words. That, along with the “stream of conscious” style can make things difficult to follow at times.

* The main character isn’t the narrator. This is kind of easy to miss, but Marlow is telling a story, and the narrator is an unnamed person sitting on a boat listening to him.

* This book is a condemnation of colonialism, and as such, features a LOT of racism. There are all sorts of metaphors and even some allegory in Heart of Darkness, but not when it comes to the racism. That’s just right in your face. If you’re sensitive to reading about things like that, it may turn you off from the story.

* The language is dense. At times I found myself re-reading passages just to assure I really understood them. It took way longer to read than a 100 page book has any right to.

TL;DR – It’s a story about a dude listening to a dude tell a story about another dude.

I enjoyed Heart of Darkness for what it is, and it’ll definitely challenge you more than the standard YA vampire novels that are churned out these days. I’m just glad that this time around I didn’t have to write a 4-page essay about the deeper meaning behind Kurtz’s last words.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Halloween Horror & Writing


If April is the cruelest month, October is the spookiest.

I certainly believe that, and (yard work notwithstanding) it’s one of my favorite times of the year.

As a horror writer, October is my apex of creativity. “Halloween” unofficially begins for me on October 1st, and runs through the entire month, on a slow burn leading up the the main event on the final night. This month is when horror fans feel the most validated, as people who wouldn’t normally pay much interest to the genre either begin giving it passing glances, or get forcibly roped into scary movie marathons by their friends and AMC commercials.

I use it as an excuse to binge on all things horror-related beyond my normal quotas. I crack open all the DVD and Blu-Ray cases that may have gotten lonesome on the shelf through the summertime, and immediately begin sifting through all the trashiest horror flicks I can add to my Netflix queue. That, and anything in my XBox gets a temporary hiatus as survival horror games rule the roost.

My writing output ramps up in October as well. I’d like to think it’s due an unnameable muse, but it’s probably the pumpkin coffee, or the Reese’s peanut butter cups (especially those new ones with the Reese’s Pieces inside!) Either way, I output many more work as the days go by and we get closer to a night when Dracula’s and Mummies jockey for position against famous Star Wars characters in a race for Twizzlers.

Does October inspire you as a writer? Does watching horror movies or throwing “Monster Mash” on a Spotify playlist get words on the page? Or is it just a preamble to NanoWriMo and turkey in November?

Share your thoughts and super spooky Halloween stories/memories in the comments!


Self Publishing a Book: Bringing Your Ideas to Life


It has never been easier to self-publish your own writing, and yet the cliche of “working on your novel” is still alive and well. Even with the gatekeepers of traditional publishing removed, a writer’s worst enemy (themselves) is still omnipresent. I’ve recently learned quite a bit after co-authoring and publishing my debut novella, DETROIT 2020. I’d like to share some advice for aspiring authors on turning your ideas into books that you can pester your friends and relatives to purchase.

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