The Portal and the Panther

Book Blog Tour Happening NOW ’til February 28

Hi everybody!  Thanks to the fine folks over at Enchanted Book Promotions, I’ll be having a virtual book tour starting today, January 28, 2015, and running through the end of next month, February 28, 2015.  Follow the tour to read author interviews, character interviews, book excerpts, and more. Here’s the link to the schedule (and it’s […]

Chapter 10 Excerpt from The Portal & the Panther

I grinned at her.  “You might be a badass hawk, Layla, but you really punch like a girl.” “Whatever.”  She unstrapped the helmet.  “Your problem is that you can’t admit I didn’t cheat; I outsmarted you.  Two totally different things.” I didn’t have a quick comeback for that one.  “Well, you still punch like a […]

the portal and the panther

Chapter 1 Excerpt from The Portal & the Panther

“Mr. Parker!” shouted Mrs. Mullhooney indignantly as I threw open the door and stepped into the hall.  I didn’t turn around.  I didn’t answer her.  Mrs. Mullhooney was cool; I would expain it to her later and she would understand. It was lucky for me that the boy’s bathroom was directly across the hall from […]

podcasts for self-publishing

Three Self-Publishing Podcasts You’ll Love

I do a lot of driving for my day job.  As a result, I listen to a lot of podcasts.  I’ve found the self-publishing podcasts to be invaluable when it comes to educating myself on the business of self-publishing.  Here are my three favorites.  Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast Bar none, this is my hands-down favorite.  I […]

Three Deleted Scenes from The Portal & the Panther

After you finish watching a DVD (if you even watch movies that way anymore), do you go back to the menu and watch all the deleted scenes?  I do.  I’m fascinated to see what got left out, and I always wonder why they got axed.  Here are three deleted scenes from my first novel, The Portal […]

Character Wiki: Layla Samspon

Layla Samspon is one of the three main characters in the Guardians of the Portal series.  Here is Layla’s backstory, spoiler-free. Early Life   Layla was born on June 1, 1998, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Frances (Frank) Sampson, a middle school music teacher, and Patti Jackson, a nurse.  Frank is Caucasian; Patti African American.  The […]

get free ebooks

10 Places to Find Free eBooks

When you’re an indie author like me, one thing you become very familiar with is all the places on the Internet where you can promote your book to find new readers. In the process of researching these book promotion sites and lists, I’ve also found some great reads to support my own book habit along […]

In this case, Jon Parker

Character Wiki: Jon Parker

Jon Parker is the narrator of The Portal & the Panther (Guardians of the Portal, Book 1).  At the beginning of the first book, he is seventeen years old.  Here’s a more extensive, spoiler-free Wiki all about Jon. Early Life Jon was born in Ozark, Arkansas, as Jonathan Raymond Parker on September 30, 1997.  His […]

SNL Group Hopper

SNL’s Spoof of YA Books: “Group Hopper”

Have you seen it? Saturday Night Live spoofed several major YA books that have been turned into movies in its fake movie trailer, “The Group Hopper.” The funniest part might be that it’s “based on the novel written entirely in the comments section of a Mockingjay trailer.” Here it is: 3 YA Tropes Spoofed by […]

Tattoo man

Four Things I Learned About Self-Publishing on Day One

I published my first two novels to Amazon yesterday!  That was December 19, 2014. Today is December 20, 2014, and it’s not even noon yet.  I can tell you that I’ve already made plenty of mistakes that I’m learning from.  Here’s a list of four of them that I hope you can learn from, too. 1.  I […]

Creating an eBook from an OpenOffice Document

I was having one of those computer adventures in which I kind of wanted to drive a letter opener through my eye.  A serrated letter opener.  Rusty.  Coated with acid.  Don’t “tsk” — you know you’ve been there!   I was trying to reformat my How to Succeed at Textbroker book.  When I first put […]

people of color ya

YA Authors: Include People of Color in Your Stories

Stop and think about it for a moment:  In the hit YA books you’ve read recently, how many of them have featured people of color as protagonists?  The Hunger Games did not; Katniss, Gale, Peeta, and Haymitch are all awfully white.  Rue and some other minor characters seem to be black, but pretty much all […]

Kindle reader

5 Reasons I’m Not Interested in Traditional Publishing

I’m not even kinda interested in traditional publishing.  When I finally get around to publishing The Portal & the Panther and its sequels, I’ll be headed straight to Amazon.   I think that many of the writers I know, along with most of your average readers, will think that’s a silly decision.  “Self-publishing is like […]

Everyone's a Critic -- critiquing writing

Thoughts on Critiquing the Writing of Others

With the draft of one novel under my belt and a third of a second novel finished in half the time, I wonder now why I found writing a novel to be such an intimidating thing.  Sure, it’s a long journey, but it’s completely doable if you simply write like a trained monkey every day […]

Who Reads YA? And Why?

Let me tell you about my dad.   My dad will be 61 years old in less than a month.  He retired early last year from being a school teacher, and his main obsessions in life are college football, cycling, and reading.  What does he read?  Well, he’s a lifelong sci fi reader, growing up […]

Sick! But human again

Sick but Human

Today I feel human again for the first time in about four days. A bad sinus infection has had me down for the count, so down for the count that I missed three days of work — I *never* miss work. Today I’m in the excellent position of still being sick enough that I didn’t […]

Star Wars and Relationships

Relationships Are Messy

You know what?  It would be great if every relationship we ever got into was a perfect, Edward-loves-Bella kind of relationship, but most relationships aren’t like that.  In fact, almost no relationship is like that.  No, cancel that, there’s no “almost” about it — there is NO relationship like that.  At least, not all the […]

A forest in the Ozarks

Welcome to the Ozarks

All three of the Guardians of the Portal books are set in the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas, in a fictitious town called Mecksville. It wasn’t always like that.  It was always going to be set in a sleepy small town, the kind of place teenagers of all eras dream of escaping, but at first, […]

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