All posts by R. B. Wood

The Word Count Podcast – Episode 48 now OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

While the new site is still a work in progress (I FINALLY got past posts imported from the old database…they all need to have format updates and I need to build separate pages blah, blah, blah…), I thought of a new prompt for the next show.

Actually, I was on the train home to Boston from NYC when I came up with three little word to drive out esteemed, wonderful and amazingly talented authors (the “Word Count Irregulars”) who participate in our show.


Those three words?  Hold onto your horses…

As we continue our march toward the seminal Episode 50 I’m soliciting ideas for the big show…so send me your thoughts on that.  Should it be a “Best of?”  Should we include Author interviews?  Should everyone record their stories naked (Like I always do)?  Who knows…email me or tweet me.

In the meantime, for those unfamiliar with the show…

The Word Count Podcast is truly one of my joys. I direct, produce, write and host the show—and also come up with the various themes our writers—The “Word Count Irregulars”—use to create unique and brilliant stories.

All for the listener and lovers of great storytelling.

There are no endorsements…no paid stories.  It’s all done for the love of the written word.  And downloads are always free.  Always.

The only thing I ask is a little help via social media to point folks at the show.

To start listening go to either my Libsyn Page or to iTunes:



There are forty-seven shows available right now!

But in the meantime…Episode 48 and those three little words…

Train. Blink. Dark.


Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)


DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by FRIDAY 29 MAY 2015 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original work based on the key words:

“Train. Blink. Dark.”

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.

Send your file to (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 29 May 2015. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

I’ll only be accepting SEVEN stories this time—so get moving!



The Word Count Episode 47!

Welcome to Episode 47 of “The Word Count” podcast!

Creating the show was a breeze this week with four amazing original stories built around the three word theme of “Theater, Tourist and Savory.”

Getting ready to post when I discovered my main site – had had it’s Joomla CMS hacked.

Totally my fault. I didn’t keep up with the updates because I was planning to port the site over to Word press to coincide with my book releases from Ragnarok…it was a grand plan that failed miserably.

Thus this temp site while I work out the details and swear a lot.

While I curse behind the scenes, I hope you all enjoy the latest show which is rather good and is the bright spot of a rather entertaining Sunday

But before we introduce our cadre of writers, a bit about the show:

What is The Word Count Podcast?

It is a free broadcast by writers for writers. Simply put, a theme for each show is announced via this site, Twitter and Facebook and writers are given a week or two to write AND RECORD their stories based on said theme.


Why not, says I. It’s a great way to practice writing and public speaking. It’s another way for writers to get their work “out there.” And I love to meet fellow authors and have a blast putting the show together. It’s just that simple.

Okay. Where can I find it?

You can listen to the latest podcast below, subscribe via iTunes or listen at the show’s site. 

Direct: (and remember, iTunes takes their sweet time in posting.  If you don’t see it yet, keep trying!):

Our guests this week:

C. Thomas Smith “Le Starbucks Douche”

Inside my brain is wet. Feel me ROAR!

Ten Questions with Chris

(Now sponsored by Satan, for all your infernal needs. Hail Satan!)

Eins – Chris, why are you so amazingly awesome?

Its possibly genetics or magic, many reasons have been put forth by scientists over the years. The prevailing theory is that I am awesomeness anthropomorphised, but I wouldn’t say that, it’s too big a word. Rather, I’d simply say that I’m just better than the rest of you peasant folk.

Zwei – Who would win a shark or a hedge-pig?

Depends, is it a variegated hedge-pig or a lesser spined laser eyed infinity hedge-pig with armour. You people need to be more specific. Sharks do indeed have big teeth but I’ve never seen a hedge-pig go bathing so that would mean the battle is on land and presumably quite a distance from the sea . . . I would win.

Drei – Some day you will be our Overlord, will you be just and fair?

Not a chance mate.

Vier – What is the most dangerous substance known to man?

Easy, sticky buns.

Fünf – The United Nations wants to turn your beard into a World Heritage Site, how do you feel about that?

I’m a little concerned actually that it may affect the beards eco system. At present it represents the breeding ground for seven species of rare marine bird, two tree dwelling mammals, a pack of velociraptors and a tribe of part man, part machine pygmies who have yet to be told their singing sucks. Also the beard likes to sneak out at night and kill cats. In the end it all depends on what assurances the UN will offer me, that and the huge piles of cash that I expect.

Sechs – What would be a fitting punishment for George Lucas?

Tie him to a chair and make him watch the 1978 Christmas special followed by those three, those, those, ugh, ehh, uargh *sound of intense retching follows for the next nine minutes* them frittata goats piss, god damn it. Now I’m upset, you happy guy, you made me sick. Hope you enjoyed yourself. Ah, fuck you people. *Drops the mic*.

Chris Smith is now available for children’s parties and wakes. Hail Satan!

Twitter = @KRSTVR

Web =


 Kadin Seton “Guardian Unseen” (Read by M. M. Tosen)

Kadin Seton enjoys creating tales that combine strong characters with science fiction undertones.  Kadin lives in the rolling hills of western New York with her dire wolf (at least he thinks he’s a dire wolf).  When she is not writing, Kadin continues searching the Finger Lakes Wine County for another fabulous red wine. Author of the series: Eye of the Draco

Twitter: @Kadinseton




M. M. Tosen “Gastronomique”

 M.M. always had a love of reading and books from a young age. So much so that his mother had to limit how many he could read or he would not get sleep. This developed into writing stories, musings, (attempted) poems, and an affinity for the arts and music in general. He has always had a passion to write and is steadily being encouraged again by those around him.

M.M. currently lives in the northern part of New York where he works and lives and is fond of the weekends when he can write and binge-watch Netflix movies.

Twitter: @MMTosen



Eden Baylee “Morning Ritual”

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Connect with her via her website | blog | twitter @edenbaylee | facebook


What the Hell Happened?

Hi Everyone!


Site looks a bit strange, doesn’t it?

Well–my Joomla site got hacked pretty bad…so I’ve brought this up temporarily to accommodate the latest Word Count Podcast.  Bit of a disaster at the moment but I was thinking of getting rid of Joomla all together…just not as quickly as I wanted.  You know me….I prefer to plan!

Next post will be the show then we’ll go from there.  Thanks for your patience!



The Conventional Writer

There are different types of conventions a writer can go to, but no matter where you are in your career, you should be attending conventions (cons) when you can.

Not for the parties, nor for the large quantities of top shelf booze although both are kick-ass.

StormtrooperPictured: Kick-ass booze and party result

You should attend cons because you’ll be surrounded by experts in the field who’ve done what you’re dreaming about. 

Namely writing.

For aspiring authors, there are conventions, typically run by a writer’s association of some sort, that are designed to help writers learn to write a book that will sell, sell a book they have written, and let them rub elbows with, and even pitch their projects to agents. This is great for writers that are trying to break into the industry. If that’s you, find a good one near you and go there. It’s a great learning opportunity and a chance to network and meet the people who will be your support system and a leg up in pursuing your writing career. Established authors can benefit from these cons too, and are often found on panels that help the audience learn the things they need to know.

When you’re an established author, there are still cons for you. There’s a huge variety, whether it’s a genre-specific writer’s con, from RWA (Romance Writers of America,) to World Fantasy, or industry focused cons like Book Expo America, there’s a con that puts you in the thick of writers and readers in your specific genre or the industry as a whole. These are incredible networking opportunities, and no matter where you are in your career, you’ll learn something too. Plus, they’re fun.

There are also genre cons that have great resources for writers, but have a much broader attendance base. These are cons for the fans as well as the writers and producers that bring the entertainment to them. Dragon con is one of the biggest in the scifi/fantasy genre, Comic Con as well. (Can you tell I’m a scifi/fantasy author?)


Pictured: Entertainment

The drawback of cons is the cost, which can be a huge issue for the aspiring or even newer midlist author. So start small. Writer-specific cons are usually less expensive and there will be one near you. (Relatively, for some of us.) The bigger cons and the fan cons are once a year events, they’re not cheap, and for most of us will involve the cost of travel as well as registration, meals, etc. Some of them, like WorldCon, are in a different place every year and, as the name implies, may be held anywhere in the world. You may not make it to these without some serious saving or until you’re already published and have some royalties coming in.

The important thing to remember is that these cons are an investment in your writing career. Don’t let the costs scare you off. If there’s any chance you can make one, then pick one in your price range that’s most appropriate for you. Read up on them online and ask other writers on Twitter or the like about cons you might be interested in. Some are family-friendly and can be fun for the non-writers as well. Some are writer-specific and bringing alone the spouse and kids will be a waste of money.

Personally, I’m writing this in the airport as I wait for a flight to take me to ReaderCON, a con for the scifi & fantasy genres. Not only is it fun and informative, I’ll have a chance to strengthen relationships I made at last year’s ReaderCON, and Ad Astra con I attended earlier this year in Toronto.

Can you become an author without attending cons? Sure. Can you maintain a career as an author without attending cons? Of course. But cons are a great way to make sure you’re making the connections and capitalizing on the opportunity to do better, to be more. And, for those who aren’t as far along as you, they’re a great opportunity to give back, and that’s one of the best parts of being a writer.

And the drinks are to die for.





Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else.  

She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.

Her first novel, Fighting Gravity, is available now from Dragon Moon Press.

Indie Top Ten List

top10‘Top Ten’ of the things an Indie writer needs to be doing today

So, you wrote a book. Now what?

  1. Target Market. Really, know who your target reader is. **Hint** it is not “Everyone”.
  2. Website. You must have one. If you do not, stop and get one now. It is that important. Everything below, points back to it!
  3. Blog. Was that an eye roll? Will you get thousands of book sales by building up the most successful blog ever? No. Not the goal, either. If you don’t blog, how will I know if I like your writing?
  4. Tweet. Another eye roll? If you haven’t tried it, stop judging. If you have, and think “it isn’t working” – I ask, are you blasting out links to your book every five minutes? Yes? Absolutely wrong.
  5. Guest blog. Reach new people – share the love in the blog-o-sphere. IF they are in your target market.
  6. Facebook. Your goal is simple, get on there, and talk to people. Friends, family, fans (you DO have an author page, don’t you?)
  7. Pin. On Pinterest yet? Fastest growing social media out there. Back to #1, what do your readers care about?
  8. Post Comments. Write a relevant comment, people will read it. Note that word “relevant”. Do not spam.
  9. Don’t Advertise. How often do you click on an ad? Save your hard earned cash for something that will impact sales, like hiring an awesome cover designer.
  10. Stop Marketing. Do not think of any of this as “MARKETING”. Networking, research, conversation, connecting. If you think of it as marketing, it will come across. People have an inherent distrust of being “marketed to”.





Twitter: @ksearsbooks

Katherine Sears is the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of Booktrope Publishing. Prior to Booktrope, her background was primarily in technology and online marketing in both Seattle and California, working at companies such as NetApp, ADIC and Siemens. Her life-long love of books, and a desire to bring a new type of focus to marketing them, had her join forces with some other bookish folks to create Booktrope. She is the co-author of How to Market a Book and has served on the University of Washington’s Digital Publishing Certificate Program advisory board. She has also worked as an actress, and a corporate trainer. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from the University of Southern California. Katherine currently lives in Fall City, WA with her canine and human family members.

The Traveling Writer

photoI believe I’m living, breathing proof that writing doesn’t have to be done at a desk. Or in a den. Or even in an enclosed room at all. I’m fortunate in that my job allows me to travel.

Actually my job requires me to travel. Okay, okay…my job IS travel. And while the jet-setting lifestyle, the white sand beaches, the crystal clear pools, the gourmet food, and the cold drinks are nice, they sometimes get in the way of my real love, writing. 


Wait. Strike that. Those things ROCK. 

Truth be told, anything that gets in the way of writing is just an excuse. Writing can be done anywhere, anytime, any way a writer can. And in today’s 21st century, tech-filled world, that’s never been more true.

I’ve written some of my best work on an iPhone in a hotel lobby, and some of my worst work on my laptop in a dead-silent dining room. I’ve written some of my best work in Evernote on an iPad, and some of my worst in Scrivener on a Mac. The place and tools don’t matter. But I admit, the location does tend to stir my creative juices a bit.

A few weeks ago, I was on a cruise ship sailing out of the port of Taormina, Sicily, headed for Greece, and while my wife was getting ready for dinner, I sat on the upper deck with a bottle of Peroni, my laptop, and sunglasses. Three hours later, after Sicily had faded into the background and the open Med stared back at me, I had two complete chapters written. 

Yeah, maybe I won’t quit the day job anytime soon…it’s actually helping my writing endeavors…


Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.

Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. More information is at, and you can always find him on Twitter (@SteveUmstead).

Hello internet. It’s me!

announce-bullhorn“Hello internet.  It’s me!”

Now imagine me shouting that in Grand Central Station at rush hour one week before Christmas. Now imagine that every other person around me is also shouting hello. Some of them have bullhorns, some have flashing lights, many of them have their friends pointing to them and drawing attention to them.

That’s what social media feels like to me, a shouting cacophony.

I was one of those kids who liked to be the big fish in a little pond, purposefully never straying out of my comfort zone and keeping to things I was really good at, like writing, art and music. Then the internet exploded and I found out that the little pond was in fact an ocean the size of a planet and there are not only bigger fish. There are sharks.

It’s a little daunting, and it’s impossible to even attempt a website or a blog or a social media engine without a bit of ego on your side. After all, I wouldn’t be doing it, unless some part of me said, “Out of the millions of websites on the internet, you should look at mine. I’m worth reading.”

And this goes against everything about humility and fair play that I was ever taught as a kid. That little kid, who preferred to have everyone tell her. “Oooh! You’re so clever! I could never do that!”

It’s time to grow up, little kid and brace yourself. There’s a lot of sharks out there… sharks with megaphones.

Did I ever mention that metaphors aren’t my strong point?




Monica Marier is a caffeinated writer, artist, mother and eccentric. On weekdays, she’s busy working on her books, recording audio files, and composing short stories for her blog. On weekends she’s a co-founder of Tangent Artists.



Follow her on Twitter! @lil_monmon

Books: Available through Hunt Press

Our World out of Context

IMAGINATIONIt’s a commonality to assume that fantasy and science fiction writers write in the genre they do because they wish to escape the current state of the world. As an avid fantasy and science fiction reader, I can attest to that notion. They are genres that take readers to far places to explore odd creatures, new cultures, and fresh ideas. Yet, because I am also a fantasy writer, I realize that many of the themes in fantasy and science fiction have a hidden context to the real world, be it religion, politics, historical commonalities, etc. This happens in my novels whether I intend it or not. Of course, the worlds I create must have some coherence to the real world in order to maintain their believability to readers, but looking back on my past novels, I also see that burried within my worlds is a reflection of current events and personal questions.

The truth of the matter is, although I write to escape into a different land with different people, I can’t help but address the here and now. Writing and reading is an outlet for me (as I’m sure for many others) to process events and reflect on personal issues and questions in a safe and somewhat removed way. Oftentimes, these musings are not evident to me while I’m writing—the realization comes later.

Essentially what I find many fantasy and science fiction writers doing is not pulling readers into newly formed and unfamiliar places, but showing readers our own world (or aspects of our own world), taken out of context. Current events, social and historical contexts, politics, and religion are inescapable. The beauty of fantasy and science fiction is their ability as genres to show us our current world through a skewed perspective. And what better way to reflect on our own reality than to take it out of context?





Nicole Persun is a 17 year old student who signed her first book contract at 16. Her novel, A Kingdom’s Possession, was recently named a finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award at the American Library Association conference. In addition to writing, she loves to garden, cook, listen to music on high volume, practice photography, and spend time with her horse Goldie. Read more at and

Finding Time to Write

Writing123If you are a high school student and reading this right now, you are on summer vacation. So what to do with the oodles of time in your day? Well write, of course!
But I know it’s not quite that easy. There are summer camps, family vacations, and friends to hang out with. However, you do have some small gaps between these, and these gaps can be when your best ideas come to you. Jot ideas down in your phone or carry around a pen and paper.
Now we’ve got an idea for a story. Next comes the hard part – expanding upon it. An idea can sound great, but without a full plot, it won’t go anywhere. You need to think of secondary characters, backstory, and the range of emotions you want your readers to feel. Most of all, make this a book you would want to read. If you would read it, then others would want to read it.
So now you have a full plot arc. Now it’s time to write! Sit down at your computer and find some music fitting the mood of the scene you’re writing. When you have your music, let the words flow out of you.
The most important part of the writing process is not to let your outline rule you. If you want to end a chapter differently, then do it. Just don’t make any huge changes without first consulting your outline to make sure it fits. It is absolutely key to not lose sight of where your story is going.
Oh, did I mention have fun? Well have fun! You’re writing a story, and this is your story. Have a good time with it!
Zack Umstead is an honors high school student entering a busy sophomore year, but has still somehow found time to write and publish two stories. Shifter, the first in a young adult scifi novelette series, was published in June of 2011, and Entanglement, a quantum physics young adult novella, in April 2012. What little free time he has left, he’s spent earning his senior black belt in Kenpo Karate. Work is currently underway for the next in the Shifter series.

Writing Today

gun-mirrorToday’s world demands a writer not only write, but also market their work on websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, interviews, book signings and other marketing opportunities…and also meet the responsibilities of life. One can lose sight of the key to success as a writer, which is to…write! A successful writer simply must write every day. There is no alternative to this rule. You can’t let the lack of time, rejections, harsh criticism and the evil writer’s block deter you from writing.

Writing is a job. Schedule your writing time and let those who love you know what that time is. Be firm on your schedule and don’t let it be altered unless absolutely necessary. This is sometimes hard to do, but essential.

Rejection and criticism are a part of being a writer. Not everyone is going to like your work. Instead of getting angry or emotionally upset about criticism, learn from it. If you see a common thread in the rejections or criticism, you have a problem and you need to fix it.

There is a way around writer’s block. Instead of giving up and walking away from the computer, start working on another story. We all have other stories milling around in our demented minds. While you’re working on the other story, your subconscious mind will be sorting out the writer’s block. This is a scientific fact.

When I believe the whole world is conspiring to prevent me from writing, I look in the mirror. The culprit is usually there.





Mike McNeff is a cop who writes about cops. During his 40 years in law enforcement Mike has worked patrol, criminal intelligence, narcotics, and he has been a SWAT team leader and commander as well as a hostage negotiator. He is also an experienced trial attorney in both criminal and civil cases. Writing is Mike’s third career and GOTU – A Robin Marlette Novel is his first published book. Find Mike’s writing here: // , Twitter: @Mike_Mcneff, and Facebook: