Tag Archives: blogging

Why Am I Stepping Back From Twitter?

Why Am I Stepping Back From Twitter?

Like everything, this begins with a story. Recently, I started reading Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, and I’m enjoying it so far. He begins the book with an author’s note explaining how he bends history to serve his narrative. In this introduction, he states that while the book is thoroughly researched, he takes creative liberties in regard to historical figures and battles. (Though I usually find such forewords unnecessary in historical fiction, I appreciated O’Brian’s care, and I know some Royal Navy enthusiasts probably did as well.)

“My point is that the admirable men of those times, the Cochranes, Byrons, Falconers, Seymours, Boscawens and the many less famous sailors from whom I have in some degree compounded my characters, are best celebrated in their own splendid actions rather than in imaginary contests; that authenticity is a jewel; and that the echo of their words has an abiding value.”

—Patrick O’Brian, Author’s Note, Master and Commander

Whenever I start a new book, especially one as lauded as Master and Commander, I do a quick Google search about it. I’m not sure why I do this. Sometimes, it’s to find ephemera I might otherwise miss. Sometimes, it reveals little details not mentioned in the prose. Sometimes, I want to check out maps or illustrations that are not in my copy of the book. Over the course of the search, I stumbled across another book claiming to be the real story of the real master and commander. I have forgotten the title, and, to be honest, it’s not relevant. However, I found it amusing. Here was a book written and published decades years after O’Brian’s novel that pretended to be a response to it. Its author ignored O’Brian’s foreword completely and was like, “NO! You need to tell the REAL history of the Royal Navy’s heroes!”

Which now leads to Twitter. While at a BBQ, I was explaining to a friend how I found this amusing. His comment (I’m paraphrasing): “Funny, that’s like Twitter but before Twitter, and the guy actually took years to write a response.”

I found that comment funny and poignant. Over the last few days, I’ve been dwelling on his statement. It’s resonated with me. In a way, it is like Twitter, but as my friend observed it’s also very different. You see, Twitter removes that time in between. It gives us an instant connection for good or ill. Twitter lets us respond so quickly—we often don’t realize how our comment will make others feel. We don’t take the time to write a well-honed response, we just react. We laude. We celebrate. We resist. We obey. We re-tweet. We sub-tweet. We call out. We insult. We cast aspersion. We make accusations based on 140 characters and a profile picture. Twitter has ceased being a conversation and has become the mass reacting to one another. We’re no longer listening, which means we’re no longer responding.

I don’t want to do that. I’ve seen what the toxic nature of reaction-culture can do to communities. I’m not interested in playing those games any longer. This is why I’m going to shift the majority of my thought back to the humble blog. For me, this format forces solicitude and introspection. It makes me slow down, and it tempers. I never published posts the day I write them (even this one)—I let them sit and simmer which in turn discourages knee-jerk reaction. I have drafts of posts I’ll never publish because I wrote them while my ire was up. That’s a good thing. It lets me get those emotions out without dragging someone else down. It’s therapeutic in a way.

The biggest trick of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, is that you need to be on social media to somehow be successful. It’s a lie. Yes, you need a web presence, and you need to be on social media, but you don’t need to let it control you. There’s a big difference in running a business online versus throwing yourself into the volatile social media landscape. Humanity is just now starting to see where the latter leads, and I’m choosing a different path.

TL;DR—So, what does this all mean?
  • Well, first off, I’m not deleting my Twitter account or anything like that. I still run a business and Twitter is a part of that, and it’s an important part. After all, I gotta keep the lights on and the bills paid.

  • This blog is my primary platform; it’s where I’ll be doing most of my thinkin’. So while I will be posting more links elsewhere (probably a lot of links.) Most of those links will bring you back to here. Likewise, instead of writing Twitter threads, I’ll be writing posts. Posts are easier to read anyway; Twitter is garbage for long content.

  • If you’re interested in continuing to follow me here are a few options:
    • Do nothing and keep following me on Twitter; I’ll continue to post links to news and blog articles there. But my content will primarily live here.

    • Click the “Follow” button in the footer to follow my blog via e-mail.

    • Follow me on Facebook where I also share news and articles.

    • Subscribe to my newsletter; that’s what the cool kids do. It’s where I share news about my books and preview secret stuff like sales and giveaways.

Six Hundred

Six Hundred

This blog is a story in itself. It’s the documentation of a journey. Growing up, I remember my grandmother talking about becoming a novelist. She often spoke of the stories she wanted to share, the memoirs of her life, but she never finished her book. I believe the world is a little less without her words. From the beginning, the intent of I Make Stories was to chronicle my process of becoming a novelist—the good and the bad. As I have shared my experiences, I often wonder: what would have happened if my grandmother had read this blog as a fellow writer? Would she have been dissuaded or encouraged?

On that note, it’s time for a bit of reflection, and hopefully a bit of encouragement. It’s become a tradition around here that every two hundred posts I pause and take a moment and look back at what has happened in the time between. In 2014 I wrote my two-hundredth post, in 2015 I hit number four hundred, and here I am in 2017 looking at number six hundred. It’s been a long trail.

Things haven’t always been easy, but generally, nothing worth doing is easy. Days of discouragement are as common as the days of victory. Even as I write this post, I’ve been struggling through some serious self-doubt. I’ve come to expect it now, it’s a part of creation. Random events interrupt and derail process and progress. Writing takes time and effort, and it can often be a lonely endeavor. It requires a commitment to yourself and often that is more difficult than we realize.

“Milestones are meant to be passed.”

But even with the trials of creative work, things haven’t slowed during the last two hundred posts. Each obstacle has been surmounted and I’ve found successes along the way. I’ve sold a lot more books, many thousands now in total. I’ve hit the Amazon best-seller page multiple times. My presence at conventions has also expanded, and I’ve met some incredible people and new friends along the way.

On the story front, I launched Red Litten World which fans have enjoyed. I’ve finished the first draft of a standalone non-traditional fantasy (the title which I am keeping secret), and I’m nearly done with the first draft of Coal Belly my enormous steampunky riverboat adventure. Then it’s on to book four of the Bell Forging Cycle.

I’d like to think the content on this blog has gotten better as well. I’ve begun to share some of my discoveries in my research and delve into more details in the world of the Territories. There’s also this little thing which fans of the Bell Forging Cycle have yet to unravel. Plus, I have some other exciting plans for the future.

I couldn’t have done this alone. Although she never knew me as a writer, there is something of my grandmother in everything I write and for that I thank her. She might not have told her stories, but she empowered me to tell mine. And of course, there is you; my readers. I couldn’t be here, looking back from post six hundred, without you. Thanks for the passion. Thank you for buying my books. Thanks for reading them, and leaving reviews. Thank you for telling your friends and helping to spread the word. Thank you for the emails and the encouragement. There’s a lot of books out there to read, and I’m so grateful you picked mine.

As before, I won’t dwell here long. Stick with your work fellow creators. Milestones are meant to be passed. Number eight hundred lies somewhere in the distance and who knows what we’ll see in the spaces between.

Thank you bloggers for the smashing success of the Red Litten World cover reveal!

Thank You Bloggers

Last week was the cover reveal for Red Litten World, the third book in The Bell Forging Cycle. I worked with CBB Book Promotions to do a cover reveal tour and I couldn’t be more pleased wth the results. (Highly recommend them.) The response was wonderful. I was really happy to see so much interest generated in the book and a big part of that success due to the efforts from those bloggers who participated. So I wanted to extend a big thank you to:

Candace at Candace’s Book Blog
Tamara at The Avid Book Collector
Maureen at Maureen’s Books
Natalie at Book Lovers Life
Ravyn at Ravyn Rayne
Melissa at Books Can Take You There
Daniela at Daniela Ark
Laurie at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Hope at Hope to Read
Cristina at Remember the Books
Mary at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Debra at 3 Partners in Shopping
Katy at Glorious Panic
Jen at My So-Called Book Reviews
Lisa at My Favorite Things
Vidya at Books Are Magic
Alecia at Chosen By You Book Club

I really appreciated everyone’s willingness to help out. I loved reading the kind word and the comments. It was  fun to see everyone get so excited over the giveaway as well. The giveaway is still going on, (almost two-thousand entries!) and there are lots of ways to increase your chances to win. Just hit the link below and you can enter for a chance to win a prize pack that includes: signed copies of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, a Bell Caravans patch, a bunch of book-related swag, and a $50 Amazon Gift card.


My Top 5 Posts

Dr. Robert Goddard at Clark University
Dr. Robert Goddard at Clark University – via Flickr

I have been busy. Real busy. So while keep plugging away I figured in the interim it’d be fun to visit my top 5 blog of all time. So here we go, starting with number five:

5. Building A Better Book Cover

I have spent the better part of 15 years working as a designer. So at the beginning of 2014 I shared some of my knowledge on what it takes to make a great book cover. I got a lot of positive feedback on this one so it’s no surprise it made the top 5 list.

4. Scrivener

Scrivener is my go-to writing software for a number of reasons. Instead of rehashing on others wrote in this post I linked to some of my favorite articles about the best word processing software on the market.

3. Barnes & Noble Closing 200+ Stores

I found it amusing that this was on the list. I’m not a book industry site, nor am I a breaking news blog, yet for whatever reason this post got a lot of traction with you readers.

2. “The Stars Were Right” Cover Revealed!

This one wasn’t a surprise. I love doing cover reveals, and clearly my readers do as well. (You can see Old Broken Road‘s cover reveal here.)

So that covers the top four. The number one blog post was far and away my biggest hit scoring nearly five times the amount of traffic than The Stars Were Right‘s cover reveal and more visits than all the previous posts combined…

1. My New Whiteboard: Scapple

Back in December of last year while I was starting work on Red Litten World I picked up and began to play with Scapple. I wrote a quick review which was then re-posted by the good folks over at Literature & Latte, thanks to them traffic exploded! Since going live the post has garnered views from thousands of visitors and I still get occasional hits to this day.

So there you have it, from cover design to Scrapple, the top five posts in the last two years.A big thank you to all you readers. I really appreciate the support, your comments, and everyone’s encouragement. It makes doing this fun. Here’s to two more years, more posts, and many, many more books!

Here are some things.

Here are some things.

A few days ago I launched my official tumblr:

Here are some things.

I’m pretty excited about it. Unlike other attempts in the past HAST won’t be a regurgitation of what I write here on my blog or reposts from things I have said on twitter. Instead it’ll be a heavily curated feed focusing on quick bits of big bold imagery, text, and maybe some music. To myself focused the plan is that anything I post will be tied into my books or research in some way. So far I’m really digging it’s boldness. Expect to see some cool things there.


Blog post 200 This is blog post number 200. 200! Unlike twitter where I can blow past 200 tweets over an active week, this felt like something of an occasion here.

I started this blog nearly two years ago when I decided to document my writing experience. I had been writing off and on for a while—finished a few manuscripts that went nowhere—but publically acknowledging my journey towards my goals changed everything for me. It made it more real. I began speaking of my book as an actual book and not just a manuscript I was working on. People other than my wife began to read my drafts. I introduced myself as a writer. I hired an editor. And in the end The Stars Were Right became more than just a concept, it became an actual book you can hold.

Looking back to my first post is amusing to me. In a lot of ways I am still that user experience designer trying to cut it as a novelist, however I also feel like I have come far. I might have a long way to go, but now I can say that I’m a UX designer and a novelist. One year, seven months, and ten days later I’m in a significantly different place: I have a book out on the market, you can buy it, and people seem to like it. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome.

It’s been a good 200. Here’s to 200 more.