First Rose Garden Book Officially Free

Cover MOSH PIT-11 500px tall

Now that has offi­cial­ly dropped the price of the first book of The Rose Gar­den Are­na Inci­dent, Mosh Pit to the price-match­ing price of com­plete­ly free, the book is now that way across all mar­kets and will stay that way for the indef­i­nite future. Those want­i­ng to pick the book up at can do so here. All oth­er ebooks sell­ers had already reduced the price weeks ago.

This change marks the final price adjust­ment that was made across the series a few weeks ago, mak­ing the entire sev­en part seri­al-thriller much more eco­nom­i­cal­ly acces­si­ble. See the post from a few weeks ago for more infor­ma­tion.


Michael out.

Rose Garden Book 2: Media Frenzy Release


In just four days, the sec­ond book the sev­en-part seri­al thriller, The Rose Gar­den Are­na Inci­dent will hit online book­sellers every­where. Mon­day, Octo­ber 17.

It’s called Media Fren­zy, and pre-reviews are sit­ting at a solid five stars! It’s a good book, if I do say so myself and, at nine­ty-nine cents, it’s a bar­gain. Scoop up this one and the first one, Mosh Pit now. It’s a good time to do so because, as I said pre­vi­ous­ly, Mosh Pit is now free!


Michael Out



Rose Garden Price Shift


After some seri­ous thought and con­sul­ta­tion with Eric, we’ve decid­ed to com­plete­ly recon­fig­ure the price plan for the entire eBook series that makes up The Rose Gar­den Are­na Inci­dent.

Effec­tive imme­di­ate­ly, or when­ev­er Ama­zon decides to price match in their case, the first book, Mosh Pit will be avail­able for free. The sec­ond and third books, Media Fren­zy and 80 Proof will be nine­ty-nine cents a pop. We think this makes far more sense from a mar­ket­ing point of view.

So now, there’s no hold­ing you back. At the very least, read Mosh Pit and see what you think. And if you do us a huge favor and review it some­where?

The fol­low­ing sites have already have Mosh Pit avail­able for free: Apple iTunes, Bar­nes & Noble Nook, Kobo, 24 Sym­bols, Ink­tera, Scribd, and Smash­words.

Hope­ful­ly, Ama­zon won’t be too far behind.

Thank you for your time. Now back to reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming.


Michael out.



Why You May Want to Second-Think NaNoWriMo


Nation­al Nov­el Writ­ing Mon­th is com­ing up again and, as always, my thoughts about it are gen­er­al­ly split as to whether or not this is a good thing. In some ways, NaNo reflects my per­son­al beliefs about how books should be writ­ten. But in many more ways, I fear that, ulti­mate­ly, NaNo may not just be a bad idea, I think it could actu­al­ly do harm to par­tic­i­pants’ craft.

On the sur­face, NaNo would appear to be an awe­some oppor­tu­ni­ty for writ­ers to get inspired, and push out more words than they nor­mal­ly would. I love their sys­tem of “vir­tu­al” rewards (Audi­ble does the same thing, and I can con­test per­son­al­ly that it works. Before I man­aged to achieve every sin­gle reward avail­able, I lis­tened to far more audio­books than I do now). All this is great. I think the peo­ple behind NaNo have extreme­ly good inten­tions and I love the pro­fes­sion­al­ism, struc­ture, and sense of com­mu­ni­ty they’ve man­aged to wrap around some­thing that is so abstract and, for the most part, a very soli­tary and lone­ly job. That’s the one thing about writ­ing. Nor­mal­ly, there are no cheer­lead­ers. No coach­es. Not even a guar­an­teed blue rib­bon (or any col­or rib­bon) at the end of the race. Even worse, for the most part, any com­mu­ni­ty of sup­port­ers you do find, don’t real­ly under­stand the writ­ing process enough to offer the sort of encour­age­ment that a writer (espe­cial­ly in their ear­ly years) needs. They just don’t get it. To most peo­ple, at least in my expe­ri­ence, writ­ing is a very eso­ter­ic process, com­plete­ly for­eign to most oth­er crafts.vEven oth­er writ­ers can fall short in this regard. They are too busy strug­gling with their own work or they will offer advice full of good inten­tions, not know­ing it’s bad advice com­ing from their own lack of expe­ri­ence. And of course, there are some that sim­ply won’t acknowl­edge or will neg­a­tive­ly acknowl­edge oth­ers’ suc­cess out of van­i­ty or jeal­ousy. What­ev­er. That doesn’t mat­ter. My point here is, in this regard, NaNo rocks (there are a few oth­er places where a bur­geon­ing writer can find that kind of sup­port, too, and I will get to that in a moment.

So yeah, NaNo is full of all that choco­latey good­ness. So what’s the prob­lem?

The prob­lem lies in NaNo’s mis­sion state­ment. To quote direct­ly from their home­page: “Write a nov­el in a mon­th!” And, from their FAQ: “You win NaNoW­riMo by writ­ing 50,000 words of your nov­el between Novem­ber 1 and Novem­ber 30.”

This is fine and dandy if you are an accom­plished nov­el­ist. If you’ve already got two or three nov­els under your belt, then I would com­plete­ly advise you to throw your­self at NaNo if that’s what you want to do. Prob­lem is, if you’ve already got two or three nov­els done, you prob­a­bly don’t need Nano. I don’t have any fig­ures to back this up, but I am will­ing to bet that by far the major­i­ty of entrants haven’t com­plet­ed a nov­el before in their life.

Why is this bad?

First there is a flaw in the entire premise. Unless you are writ­ing a YA nov­el, 50,000 words is not going to give you a book. At least prob­a­bly not one that is pub­lish­able. The word counts that pub­lish­ers are look­ing for when it comes to nov­els (espe­cial­ly for first-time authors), gen­er­al­ly ranges from 70,000 to 120,000, with fan­tasies claim­ing the high range, mys­ter­ies and main­stream the mid to low­er range and sci­ence fic­tion right across the board. So let’s be clear about this. Even if you “win” NaNo, you prob­a­bly won’t have writ­ten a nov­el.

Not only that, 50,000 words in a mon­th is hard. In fact, if you look at the map of word counts across the map that NaNo have post­ed on their site, it becomes clear that by far the major­i­ty of par­tic­i­pants don’t even make half their tar­get­ed account.

So what?

If you go into some­thing pub­licly announc­ing you’re “going to pump out 50,000 words in thir­ty days and write a nov­el” and then wind up with, say, 20,000 words and no fin­ished nov­el in sight, you will become noth­ing but dis­cour­aged. And I’ll tell you right now, the biggest thing ear­ly writ­ers strug­gle again­st is dis­cour­age­ment. Becom­ing a good writer, in my expe­ri­ence, requires a lot of patience and tenac­i­ty. For me, the dri­ve to con­tin­ue through­out those ear­ly ten­u­ous years, was through expe­ri­enc­ing one small win at a time. You need to feel you are accom­plish­ing some­thing to push for­ward. The “I’m a fail­ure” feel­ing that con­stant­ly plagues even well-estab­lished writ­ers is so preva­lent in the indus­try that the last thing it needs is anoth­er source.

Okay,” you say, “but I am think­ing about this dif­fer­ent­ly. I am think­ing I will par­tic­i­pate in NaNo, use all their sup­port sys­tems, and come away with a good start on a book that I will fin­ish in the months fol­low­ing.”

Not a bad stance if you can do it. Prob­lem is, even if you man­age to make those 50,000 words, you’re still real­ly bare­ly halfway through your book (most books, at least). Con­grat­u­la­tions! You wrote half a book in thir­ty days. Except I have to be hon­est with you, that first half? It’s a cake­walk com­pared to the sec­ond half. I’ve writ­ten twen­ty-two nov­els now in about fif­teen years. I don’t say this to impress you or to brag, sim­ply to illus­trate that I have cre­den­tials to back up what I’m say­ing. Win­ning NaNo is going to put you right in a place many authors know well. It even has a name, “The Mud­dle in the Middle.”vIt’s a bad place, prob­a­bly the tough­est to han­dle. I still con­tin­u­al­ly strug­gle with even after hav­ing writ­ten so many books. I have devel­oped ways of tack­ling it and I always even­tu­al­ly man­age to push through, but if you’re a begin­ner writer or even if this is your sec­ond or third book, you may not have what’s need­ed to just slam your way through to the end.

Again, I have no hard evi­dence to back this up, but I am bet­ting that NaNo is prob­a­bly respon­si­ble for many, many half-fin­ished man­u­scripts now lying dead in draw­ers or on hard dri­ves today, left untouched since their word count was post­ed on that thir­ti­eth day.

In this way, NaNo teach­es you bad habits.

The only way to get good at any­thing is to prac­tice. In this regard, writ­ing as many words as pos­si­ble and aim­ing for 50,000 in one mon­th is a good thing. Every word you write is a prac­tice word until it’s pub­lished, and that’s fine. Prac­tice is great. And I cer­tain­ly am not try­ing to dis­suade you from doing some­thing that will result in you throw­ing down words at astro­nom­i­cal speeds. Prob­lem is, that’s not all you’re prac­tic­ing with NaNo. The big thing NaNo is teach­ing you is how to write the first half of a book. When, what you real­ly need to prac­tice if you’re try­ing to be a suc­cess­ful writer is how to start and fin­ish a book. Fin­ish­ing is impor­tant. I try to fin­ish every­thing I start. It’s in fin­ish­ing where you real­ly learn how to be not just a good author, but a great one.

Before I go any fur­ther, let me explain some­thing. On the sur­face, NaNo and I share one basic phi­los­o­phy: your first draft should be writ­ten fast. As fast as pos­si­ble. I don’t care if you’re a plan­ner or a pantser or even a pen­guin (I just made that last one up as a joke, don’t go off Googling what a pen­guin is when it comes to writ­ing ), writ­ing fast works real­ly well for so many rea­sons, there’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal advan­tage to it, there are cre­ative rea­sons for it, there are con­ti­nu­ity issues around it, but the main thing it does is that it keeps the right side of your brain (the cre­ative, imag­i­na­tive side of dreams) run­ning fast enough to avoid being tack­led by the “inter­nal edi­tor” sit­ting at the desk in the left side of the brain. I’ve heard that nine­ty-five per­cent of would-be writ­ers fail to ever fin­ish a nov­el. It’s that guy, that edi­tor, who’s respon­si­ble for this. He throws up road­blocks. Ques­tions every word. Tells you they are ter­ri­ble. Tells you that you are ter­ri­ble. Don’t let him. Keep him back as far away as pos­si­ble. To do that, write fast, write slop­pi­ly, write every­thing you can and fin­ish your book as quick­ly as you can. Then, once it’s done, throw it in a draw­er for at least three weeks before you go back and sec­ond-draft it. That’s when you can let the inter­nal edi­tor catch up for a while.

So if not NaNo, then what?

The rea­son for this post came from a con­ver­sa­tion I had yes­ter­day with a good writer friend of mine. They’ve writ­ten a few short sto­ries and want to write a nov­el. “I think I’m going to do NaNo,” they said. And I replied with basi­cal­ly every­thing I just said.

Then I replied with: “There is a way to repli­cate the Nano expe­ri­ence in, what I would con­sid­er, a much health­ier man­ner.” Now when I say “health­ier,” I mean, less like­ly to teach you bad habits or dis­cour­age you. And the way to do it is to run your own lit­tle NaNo.

Let me explain.

First off, 50,000 words in one mon­th is a crazy num­ber to expect from any writer. That extends out­ward to 600,000 words in one year. I am a very pro­lific writer. I used to track all my words. For two years run­ning, my count man­aged to hit the mil­lion mark. But I was com­plete­ly insane (still am, just in dif­fer­ent ways 🙂 ). Nowa­days, as a tra­di­tion­al­ly pub­lished pro­fes­sion­al writer, I prob­a­bly hit between 200,000 – 300,000 words in a year (I stopped keep­ing track after that sec­ond mil­lion a year mark). So even with all my expe­ri­ence, I would prob­a­bly strug­gle to “win” NaNo even if I tried.

If you’re real­ly ded­i­cat­ed to writ­ing and have the tenac­i­ty and per­se­ver­ance need­ed to fin­ish a nov­el, I think a much bet­ter tar­get count would be 30,000 words a mon­th for three months. This would result in a final nov­el of around 90,000 words. Even if you fall short by 10,000, you’re still total­ly with­in the range of a pub­lish­able book.

But what about all the sup­port and cheer­lead­ing and rewards that NaNo sup­plies? How am I going to do this for three months with­out a life pre­server?

You don’t. Here’s what you do. You set up a fan page ded­i­cat­ed for the next three months. It’s basi­cal­ly your con­tract with your­self, your “I’m pub­licly promis­ing that I will fol­low this reg­i­ment for the next nine­ty days” dec­la­ra­tion. Post this on the page. Make it sticky. It’s always at the top.

Then you ask may­be a dozen of your clos­est and most trust­ed social media friends to like the page and ask if they’ll check it reg­u­lar­ly for the length of your per­son­al mis­sion. You don’t need many, ten is great. Even five. The point is that you are promis­ing some­thing not only to your­self, but also doing it pub­licly. Between issues of pride and want­i­ng to avoid embar­rass­ment, this pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion will be an extreme asset to your pro­gress. I once used this exact tac­tic to lose one hun­dred pounds in six months. When I start­ed, I told every­one I knew what I was plan­ning to do and what my end result would be. They all said I was crazy and wouldn’t make it. In the end, they turned out to be right. I didn’t lose a hun­dred pounds when that six­th mon­th came to an end, I’d only lost nine­ty-eight. I missed by two. I thought about cut­ting off my hand to make up for com­ing up short but decid­ed I was fine with nine­ty-eight. Super fine, to be hon­est.

At first, dur­ing those six months, my dri­ve came from every­one around me telling me I was crazy and there was no way I could do it. I want­ed to prove them all wrong. By the third mon­th mark, when I was down six­ty pounds, things changed. Now I was dri­ven by all of them telling me how amaz­ing I looked and how astound­ed they were. They start­ed root­ing for, So when you pick peo­ple you’re going to let access your page, make sure they are the sort of peo­ple who care, either neg­a­tive­ly or pos­i­tive­ly, about your writ­ing. You want to make sure you pick peo­ple who will come and check your posts often.

This is because you’re not only going to post word counts, but every word you write. Either dai­ly or week­ly, throw up a cou­ple thou­sand words at a time. Encour­age feed­back (but do not act on it until your sec­ond draft—just sock it away some­where for the time being) and reg­u­lar­ly tell them that you’re grate­ful for their sup­port and how it’s help­ing you push for­ward.

I’m sure some of you just rolled your eyes think­ing, “I can’t pub­lish my book on Face­book, it will com­plete­ly mess up any chances of pub­lish­ing it after I’m done.”

This would be true if you were pub­lish­ing to the world. I wouldn’t do this on your main Face­book page. This is why I say use a Fan Page. You might even want to make it pri­vate. Invite a dozen peo­ple and make them you’re cheer­ing squad. Make sure they’re okay read­ing through the short pas­sages you post dur­ing your pro­gress. Most peo­ple don’t mind read­ing small excerpts, but when you ask some­one to read your final 90,000 word book, you will find a lot more resis­tance.

So why is this impor­tant?

Because, the­se peo­ple, unknow­ing­ly, aren’t just your pep squad. They’re also auto­mat­i­cal­ly becom­ing your beta read­ers. When you are done, they will have read every word of your book. Even if you make sub­stan­tial changes in sec­ond draft, they have seen enough to review your work on Ama­zon or Goodreads or what­ev­er once it comes out. And your first ten reviews are incred­i­bly impor­tant to the future of your book, and this is espe­cial­ly true if you’re an Indy writer.

So, that’s it in a nut­shell. Just run your own lit­tle NaNo, only yours will be more a Per­son­al Nov­el Writ­ing Quar­ter Year con­test instead. So, wel­come to PeNoWriQuYe. I know, it’s hard­er to say, but I think it is a far bet­ter approach.

Oh, and ear­lier I men­tioned oth­er places to find sup­port and forums and stuff like that to talk to oth­er writ­ers and get sup­port and encour­age­ment. I don’t know a lot of the­se sort of places, although I’m sure they exist, but one that imme­di­ate­ly pops to my mind is Writer’s Vil­lage Uni­ver­si­ty. I’ve had a lot of expe­ri­ence at WVU and find all the peo­ple there incred­i­bly pos­i­tive and sup­port­ive. It’s run by a guy named Bob Hem­bree who may be, not only the smartest man I’ve ever vir­tu­al­ly met, but one of the nicest, too.

If you do decide doing PeNoWriQuYe, send me an invi­ta­tion to your page. I’d love to be one of your fans.


Michael out.


Okay, so I’m com­ing in a lit­tle late. Tech­no­log­i­cal prob­lems and all that. Any­way, it’s past the first of the mon­th, so high time for the cov­er and title reveal of the next book in The Rose Gar­den Are­na Inci­dent series! The fourth book, called Bal­lads Will be avail­able for pre­order tomor­row! It’s a good book. Judg­ing from reviews, they’re all not too bad 🙂 I’m pret­ty hap­py at the way they’re being received. If you haven’t joined in the fun yet, I hope you do. 

Any­way, here’s the cov­er. I’m get­ting a lot of peo­ple com­par­ing Dako­ta Shane to Jes­si­ca Rab­bit in this shot. I nev­er noticed it but, now that it’s been point­ed out, I sup­pose their is a bit of sim­i­lar­i­ties between the two. Real­ly, though, that’s where the coin­ci­dences end. Dakota’s far more trag­ic than Jes­si­ca.



Let me know what you think. Leave me a com­ment or send me an email, I’m real­ly inter­est­ed in your opin­ion.

On anoth­er note, my Humon­gous Mosh Pit Con­test is over and win­ners know who they are. If i sent you an email and you haven’t respond­ed, what the heck not? 🙂 Also, I must apol­o­gize for those of you wait­ing for the ebooks you won–ran in to yet anoth­er tech­ni­cal prob­lem (the main part fig­ur­ing out how I can dis­pense them), but I think that’s solved. I’ll get back to you in the next day or two. For those of you who won audio­books but haven’t received them yet, I’m just wait­ing for con­fir­ma­tion about the email to use. 

Thanks all! Hope every­one is well.


Michael out.