Or, when is an author an author?

published 1

Yes, you read the title correctly, I kid you not. Last week I was perusing a Google+ writers’ community and there it was, posted in all its inglorious splendor—a writer shouting to the literary world that s/he had finally fulfilled her/his (“he/his” from here on) lifelong dream of becoming a published author. I read the euphoric pronouncement which was also somewhat grammatically-challenged; perhaps in his excitement the author’s fingers leapt ahead of his brain. This new contribution to literature was a PI mystery, one of my favorite genres.

John D. MacDonald

I clicked the link to the author’s title, available as an ebook only, from “A” large venue—no name-dropping here. In celebration of its release, the novel was on sale for a measly $0.99, limited time only. Hmm, the cover was so-so. Okay, I’m being kind; it whispered, “Amateurish!” but I scrolled down to check out…

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MMO Short Story Competition is now open!

Short-story contest at MotiveMeansOpportunity — $25 gift certificate to winner! Full details at


contestMMO Short Story Competition

We’re looking for short mystery stories! Think you can write an engaging and fully-developed mystery in 1,500 words or less? Yeah? All right then, prove it! Enter the first ever MMO Short Short Competition. The winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, get his or her story published on our amazing website, and he or she will get to return to MMO at a later date to be interviewed by us! Pretty good deal, right? Oh, and I left out the best part: the winner will earn the undying respect of the scribes here at MMO!

Contest Rules

  • All stories must be submitted to by June 1st. Entries not meeting the guidelines below will be disqualified. Each entrant must provide a legitimate email address. There is a limit of (1) story per person. Winner will be announced by July 1st.
  • Entries must…

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SlumpBusters: An Obscure Mystery Novelist Recommends Flash Fiction for Getting Out of a Writing Funk

In a writing slump, or blocked? Flash Fiction might be the cure. Read on!


Prepare for some shameless self-congratulation: a story I wrote last month was just accepted for publication by Shotgun Honey, an excellent website that features crime/noir/mystery flash fiction.

Why do I care, you might ask, and rightly so.

Answer: you shouldn’t. Unless you’re a writer who is or ever has been in a writing “funk.”

If you are, fear not. I have a solution for what ails you, one that helped me break the cycle of bad writing and even worse moods. (By the way, writers tend to be moody SOBs, or DOBs, if you’re a female scribe. My old man has somewhat charitably labeled me mercurial, which is a college man’s way of saying I’m a moody SOB.)

Oh yeah, back to my point: write a flash fiction piece to help get out of a writer’s funk. Below are some bullet-pointed reasons why.

inspireBenefits of Writing Flash Fiction

  • They’re…

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M-Y-S-T-E-R-Y:  A Very Short Story


My head pounded like it had been used for a battering ram as I slowly came-to. White-hot pain jolted through my body when I craned my neck to look around. I was in a car, lying on the floorboard wedged between the front and back seats. My hands were bound behind my back and my ankles were lashed together. The brain fog was beginning to lift but I still had no idea how I’d wound up in such luxurious surroundings. One eye was swollen almost shut. My teeth hurt. I reconnoitered with my tongue. They were all in place, but my lower lip was busted and swollen. Somebody had hammered me, but good. I hoped the other guy looked worse than me, but I wouldn’t give odds on it. Above the road noise I heard a metallic click and smelled smoke—tobacco smoke.

You don’t look so good…

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A Reminder of a book event at Third Place Books

Wish I could be there with my fellow Camel Press authors!

Jack Remick

Hello Friends and Writers and Tennis Players

This is a reminder of a book-event at

Third Place Books
May 14th, Saturday
From 6:30 PM to 7:42 PM

Starring three Camel Press Authors
Jack Remick, Elena Hartwell, and Robert J. Ray
Join us for scene-readings from three novels:

 Jack Remick, Trio of Lost Souls 
Elena Hartwell, One Dead, Two to Go
Robert. J. Ray, Murdock Rocks Sedona

 Remick’s Trio is the 4th and last book in The California Quartet
Hartwell’s One Dead is the first book in the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series
Ray’s Murdock  is the 7th book in Matt Murdock Mysteries

 Saturday, May 14, at 6:30 P.M.

Third Place Books

Used & Rare Bookstore
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA · (206) 366-3333

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Random List: An Obscure Mystery Novelist Offers Up a Mixed Bag of Advice on Improving a Writer’s Craft


Be mentally-ill.  Believe me, if you want to be a writer, having a reasonable, manageable amount of mental illness is a God send. (Note: being neurotic can and often does reek havoc on your personal and professional life, but the fleas come with the dog).  Here’s why being afflicted with a mild to moderate mental illness is beneficial to a writer: because you suffer, you better understand the suffering of others.  Your suffering allows you to better understand human frailty, and that, in turn, fosters empathy for others, which will help improve the depth of the characters you write. Plus, do I really need to list all of the great writers, male and female, who struggled with depression, anxiety, OCD, and other neurotic ailments?

toddlerHave a toddler.  Or, if parenting isn’t your thing, then babysit a friend’s toddler for an hour or two.  Playing with a toddler is…

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