I gather fun stories that catch my eye, putting them into an electronic file where I add a unique name so that I can remember what they are about. Every Friday afternoon I go through a weekly review, scheduling the stories I would like to produce the following week. I write between 5-7 am when the rest of my family is asleep. I spend one day researching the story, acquiring everything I need to produce it, and setting up its idea. Then, the next day, I sit down, with the main idea in mind, and simply write it out. I'll finish a story within that 2-day time frame.
How do you approach cover design?
Since I'm writing flash-fiction, and believe that history is made of a tapestry of personal stories, my cover designs reflect the creation of that tapestry with threads of the stories I write. I imagine that as I branch into new areas of writing over the course of my career, I may approach my cover in similar ways, capturing the idea behind my story in the cover in whatever way makes artistic sense to me.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love to read historical and science fiction! Beyond that, I really enjoy history, economics, and social science books. Lately I've been into behavioral science as well. Stories that tell the human story are fun for me. Whether it's what people did, or why people do what they do, I find stories about people's choices and how they make them fascinating.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm still working on this, so I have no idea yet. I'm very open to suggestions!!!
Describe your desk
I don't have a desk. Yet, when I did, I have a clean desk policy. I like things ordered, neat, and put away. I keep my electronic files the same way, very ordered. This helps me find exactly what I'm looking for at the time I need it.
When did you first start writing?
I've always been a writer, but only began earnestly writing for others about four years ago. Before that my writing went into solo monologues and projects for work.
There was a time in high school when my parents did not believe I knew how to read. In order to counter them, I on the spot wrote a short fictional crime story of just ten pages. They were blown away! That was the moment when I went from defending that I could read to realizing I could write. I've loved it ever since.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have a good friend who is a traditional author. Over the years I've heard about his dealing with agents, publishers, editors, and all of the headaches he's experienced because of this process. I am very much a questioner. I do not do anything anyone else tells me to do if I can't understand it for myself. As I approached publishing, I knew that I would not work well attempting to write query letters, get an agent, listen to the agent, attempt to get a publisher, listen to the publisher, work with a publisher's editor, and then only get a small portion of the royalties through that whole process. I am lucky that my natural proclivities toward doing things for myself lined up with the technological breakthrough democratizing the publishing industry. When I heard of others publishing independently I knew that was the path I wanted to take. Now my good friend is listening to what I'm doing and he's becoming fascinated by independent publishing. I may turn him as he wrestles with another publisher to get out a book he's been working on for many years. In the meantime, I'm coming out with book 2.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords opened up many doors that were previously closed to me. I'm now gaining access to multiple platforms, including libraries. I'm very excited about using Smashwords to build my fan-base. Thanks Smashwords!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I write to teach about the cost of violence, particularly war. My greatest joy is having someone tell me that they did not know about a story I wrote, but upon reading my work realized something new about history. Getting feedback on my stories and how they introduce people to something they had not thought about brings me a lot of pleasure!
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything to me. I love getting feedback on my stories. I love writing things my fans find interesting. I love hearing from folks about how they learned something from what I write.
What are you working on next?
For the time being I'm going to continue the Threads of The War series. I have thousands of stories I am lining up to write. At some point, though, I would like to branch out into non-fiction, science fiction, and maybe some other kinds of work. My high-class problem is more ideas than time to implement.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Creating something that will enjoyably teach people to avoid the wanton waste of war. My goal is to hopefully influence a future decision maker to aver from violence. I may never know if I had that particular effect on someone, but the idea of it keeps driving my writing. Alongside that, I love finding new stories, new ideas, new ways of looking at and seeing the world that offers exciting possibilities. Not to mention, my family makes it hard not to get out of bed. Even though I'm often up before them, sometimes I'm not, and they don't let the covers stay on if I try to stay tucked up.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My wife and I run a blog: Life is Comfy (www.lifeiscomfy.com) that offers how we've made our life what we want it to be, and how others can do the same for themselves.
I spend a lot of time, although not enough, with my family playing, learning, and doing fun stuff.
Oh, and I have a full-time job.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.