writing advice

Back to Psychology

The new school year is under way for everyone. MC headed off yesterday to fifth grade, and Daniela started her sophomore year this morning. Denisa’s teaching her second day of classes today, and I’ve already been back on the reference desk, visiting classes, and scheduling research appointments. (Note: the work never ends for me. It’s not like I’ve got a summer vacation. I’ve got more of a “summer of doing something else for part of the time.”) This year, I’m also going back to another psychology class. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that I

How Much Can an Author Influence Their Sales?

I’m hardly an old pro at publishing, but I do have four novels under my belt now, and that’s given me some more time and experience to see what goes on behind the scenes. When I was first published, I tried to do everything I could to increase the visibility of my book. I blogged all about it, I pestered family members and friends, I made promo items. Anything I could think of that would move the needle. What did it all amount to? Not a whole lot of anything, unfortunately. I had no idea how to gauge success, but

Rust, Writer’s Block, or General Malaise?

I’ve been really struggling with writing lately, and I’m not entirely sure why. That is, it hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere, and I know a number of factors are in play, but I can’t quite pin down how to solve this. Obviously, a global pandemic hasn’t made life any easier for me, from a creativity perspective. While Brandon might have used the at home time to write another 5 books, I’ve had to worry about any number of things that have taken a lot of my attention to get through. These range from “renovate my kitchen” to “try to

On Good vs. Great Reviews

The reviews are beginning to trickle in on Goodreads for my next book (Don’t Go to Sleep, coming in August). And The Perfect Place to Die has the most reviews (by far) of any of my books to date. (730 ratings, compared to VodnĂ­k in second place, with 295.) And I’mm going to start out this discussion with the big disclaimer that I know many authors generally just avoid looking at reviews of their books. As someone who actively reviews what he watches and reads, I can’t help myself. I want to see what people think about my books, and

Current Writing Weakness

As I’m working on my latest book, I’ve discovered an area that I still need a lot of work on to improve. I’ve got plenty of practice dealing with a limited number of characters, but when it comes to having a whole slew of characters in the same place, I just haven’t done that enough to get any real experience with it. When you look at my books thus far, they almost never have a huge crowd in a scene at the same time. When they do, that huge crowd is almost dealt with as a single entity. “The crowd,”