All posts by R. B. Wood

Writing with Ferocity: An Author’s Manifesto

Warrior_womanA writing career isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s for the tough. It’s for the ferocious.

You’ll find yourself writing things that you never meant to write, and defending things that you never knew needed to be defended. Your words, however gentle, will cause harm to somebody’s soul. They’ll rake nails across exposed nerves, summoning up past traumas. The reader will put your work down and cry. You may never know this. Or maybe they’ll tell you, and you’ll feel like you’ve gutted a kitten.

Your ideas, no matter how brutal, will cause others to laugh. You can rant and snarl and claw about the injustices that you see, the brutalities that you’ve suffered, but you won’t be taken seriously. “Isn’t it sweet that the writer feels so much emotion,” somebody will say, and tie a bow around your neck. You’ll know what it’s like to feel unadulterated hate.

Nobody puts a gun to your head and forces you to finish a project. You’ll go it alone. You’ll be tempted by vacations, TV shows, loved ones who want you to come to bed early. You’ll need to think and be clear-headed while you’re worried about unpaid bills, your daughter’s wheelchair, and the evacuation notice in your home town.

You’ll be criticized. You’ll be pitied. Teased, lauded, and hated by turns. You’ll be put on an unrealistic pedestal. Mainly you’ll be ignored, and there isn’t anything worse than being ignored.

But you’ll go on. Vomiting words, bleeding ideas. You don’t write because of the money. There isn’t any. You don’t write for the fame because there are more writers in the ether than sharks in the ocean. You write because it’s a need, because there’s a sharp piece missing in your soul if you aren’t working on something. Then you’re a waste, a nonentity, and you won’t stand for that. You’re not the kind to shuffle through life. You’re a writer. You’re a warrior.




Mercedes M. Yardley writes whimsical horror.  She has been published in several venues and is the nonfiction editor for Shock Totem Magazine. You can reach her at Her first collection of short stories comes out this fall.

21st Century Writer who started in the 20th…

I started writing when I could pick up a pen. Or pencil. Or crayon. I wrote this work – from a series I called “Little Books for Children” – at the tender age of 10. On brown paper, tied with red yarn. If I didn’t know what something meant, I’d have to consult a behemoth hardback dictionary. I knew writers existed, but I certainly didn’t know any. They were as mythological as Pegasus or the wild-west American Indians I liked to read about.


We didn’t have computers. I’m not sure I’d even heard of one. In fact, my first computer experience – with a Macintosh Classic – was in college, when I worked for the school’s newspaper. That black and white screen? Da bomb.

Today, I write on a brand-new MacBook Pro with a gorgeous and (comparatively) ginormous screen. With the touch of a button, I can visit with people I’ve never met in person. A friend of a friend gave me helpful hints regarding spring in Maine for a book I just finished. If I don’t know the meaning of a word, I can look it up on any number of websites. If I need help writing something, I can send an email to any number of other writers.

Some pundits decry that technology and its ilk are fragmenting the world. I say instead, it’s bringing us closer together with our stories and shared experiences. It’s only now, in the 21st century, that I’m learning what it truly means to be a writer.


D. Savannah George is a multi-disciplinary artist – she writes, paints, crochets, takes photographs, and makes beaded jewelry, bookmarks, and notecards. She is a member of the Ozark Arts Council, the Harrison Art League, and the Arkansas Artist Registry. She has published several short stories and a number of poems, as well as numerous articles in various newspapers and magazines. She has won several awards for her writing. Her first book, A Spicy Secret, #22 in the Annie’s Attic Mystery Series, will be released in January 2013.

She received her Master of Arts degree in communications (cum laude) from Georgia State University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications (cum laude) from Berry College in Mt. Berry, Ga. She moved to Harrison, Arkansas, in 2006 from the coast of Georgia, and lives on four acres outside the town with her husband, dog, turtle, and two cats.

You can find her:


Twitter: @dsavannahcreate

Writing THE END Is Only the Beginning

EndSelf-publishing is nothing new: Proust, Joyce, Mark Twain, Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, Carl Sandburg, Anais Nin did it… and the list goes on and on, and no one is going to dispute the worthiness of these giants in the world of writing.

What is different is the sheer magnitude and ease of producing a book in a digital universe that democratizes the process down to the lowest common denominator. Quantity over quality rules the day where equally weighted offerings crowd cyberspace in a Powerball cesspool pandering to the ‘you’ve gotta play ta win’ mentality. And unfortunately there have been some ‘big scores’ with truly unworthy ‘pop culture’ efforts. That makes the author’s job that much harder. Do you sink to the lowest common denominator in order to compete or do you hold out for a set of standards by which a jury of your peers can at least deem you worthy of a modicum of respect?

I’m going with respect … but then, I edit for a living.

If you are in any doubt about how poorly edited content can impact sales, read through the reviews on Amazon and see how many castigate the author for poor editing, to the tune of “I might have loved this story but I gave up” or “I’ll probably never read anything else…” In lieu of a $5M movie deal, I’d say that’s not really the legacy you wish to leave your heirs.

A book is a covenant between the author and the reader. It is a product for which someone pays out of discretionary funds. Don’t you owe that person the courtesy of creating the best product that you can provide? That means in addition to a ‘good story’, you construct a reading experience that does not yank the reader out of the story by assaulting the eye and the mind with trivial, inexcusable mistakes—mistakes that transcend simple typos: grammar, punctuation (that can seriously alter the meanings of sentences), misspellings and continuity (which can be the deal breaker in the author-reader relationship).

No matter how good you are at writing, I can almost guarantee you are not nearly good enough at editing. Why? Because your mind ‘fills in’ what you think is there. In effect it lies. And it happens to all of us. That’s why an investment in an editor is an investment in your future, an affirmation in your commitment to the craft and your obligation to provide your customers with a reading experience that is worthy of the story you wish to tell.

There are good editors out there who won’t break the piggybank. Try word-of-mouth and find someone you can work with.

Trust me … typing THE END is only the beginning.


Website: PubRight Manuscript Services:

Personal website:


Diane Nelson has thirty years’ experience in technical and fiction editing and four years’ with publishing across a variety of formats (print and digital). She is also an author with more than a dozen published fiction works.

As an editor she produced the well-reviewed The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood.

Guest Post: The Meaning of Life and Other Minutia


<Scanning the comments for people who got the reference.>

OK, silliness aside, it’s a good thing to ponder. It’s a thing I doubt anyone will ever NOT ponder. Isn’t that what religion, science, and philosophy have been about for the last however long it’s been since mankind first had a rational thought in its collective head? (Though there remains some doubt as to whether this has truly ever happened or not.)

So it’s not like I’m going to present you with an answer here. But I’ve been musings on the subject recently as the release of my debut novel, FIGHTING GRAVITY got closer and closer.

I was never a terribly ambitious person. I liked life and I was relatively good at it, so I just enjoyed it as it came and didn’t put much thought into why. I had things and people that were important to me, sure. But beyond getting married and having kids, my life goals pretty much amounted to maintaining the status quo and being happy along the way.

Being a published author wasn’t even a consideration. I wrote, but only because I liked doing it. I didn’t share it with anyone else.

Until I did. Somewhere along the way, a few years ago, I discovered that I had a story that I really wanted to share with others. I wanted them to read it and be as excited about it as I had been while creating it. The way to achieve this was to get it published. So with that in mind, I started the research and the work that brought me here, to the release of my first book. I don’t regret this at all.

But it’s made me think about all that time I was happy enough without this in my life, and how important it’s become to me now. How it drives my feelings of success and failure as I hit the ups and downs of this journey. And the huge buildup of anticipation leading to this day.

I think it, ultimately, is going to be a big letdown soon.

FG-cover-latest-663x1024Let’s face it, after all the work you put in and all the anticipation of your first book launch, it’s simply got to be a letdown when the high passes, whether your expectations were met or not.

(This may not be true for people who hit the bestseller list on day one. I don’t ever expect to be in a position to speak from experience on that.)

I’m bracing myself for the fall. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to be prepared. But it’s making me philosophical, not just about my writing career, but about everything.

What’s the point of it all? What does it mean? What’s it for? And why do I use so many parentheses?

I may never know. But 42 is a good enough answer for me.

You can find Leah online at, on Twitter at @leahpetersen or pickup her first book, Fighting Gravity at AMAZON