The Amazon Iowan

Blog of Author Heidi Cullinan

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The winner for the $25 Samhain gift certificate is: Nikki F!

The winner for the $10 e-retailer of choice certificate is: Lori M!
Congrats to you both! Emails have been or will be sent out shortly confirming you as the winner. Get back to us and we’ll hook you up with your prize! Remember you have 48 hours to claim your prize before we pick again.

EVERYONE is welcome to join us for the buddy read beginning April 1 on my forum, and to KA’s question and answer and character interviews, also starting April 1! To get your forum ID, email and Dan will set you up.


(And yes, I’m home from surgery, removed of many gross cysts and recovering quietly. Ish. More on that later.)


So you know, I’m blogging from the ER.

Waiting for surgery, cysts again. I might even be home before sunrise, because it’s laparoscopic. Came out of nowhere this afternoon, and this time they can’t control the pain.

Funny thing is I should be home to pick winners and reg you for the forums tomorrow no prob. But if not? You know where I am.

Should all be fine, no worries. Especially once they remove these cysts or whatever the hell is going on. I’ll be back in time to buddy read with everyone!

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Be Bad in Baltimore With K.A. Mitchell and Me

Earlier this week I realized how close it was getting until K.A. Mitchell’s Bad Influence releases, which meant I should re-read the first three books in the Bad in Baltimore series. It occurred to me it would be fun to buddy read it with people. Between the various social media platforms, it turned out a lot of people were interested, and then I had to figure out where the hell we were gonna do the chatting.

Well, it turns out somebody else was interested too. So now it’s gonna be A Thing.

Buddy read the Bad in Baltimore series on my forum, starting April 1. We’ll start the other books every few days, the last book a little bit after the release date of book four. Remember these are forums, so you can show up any time. If you read really fast or really slow or have a bat mitzvah that weekend, we’ll be there whenever you get there. If you just re-read them, or remember everything, come anyway. All we’re doing is chatting about the books and reporting our progress.

I’m going to give away a $25 gift certificate to Samhain so you can buy the whole series if you haven’t already, and if you have you can buy other stuff. Follow this link to enter the giveaway, get the rules and cut off date for entry. I’m collecting your email, but I won’t be using it for anything except to tell you that you’ve won.

K.A. Mitchell will be joining us. She’s doing a contest of her own, $10 to an e-retailer of your choice to buy book one (or whatever you want) (and this is just the first contest, she’s doing several) and you can follow this link to enter hers. She also will not use your email for anything except to pick a winner. We don’t have time to spam you, and anyway, we like you too much. In addition to coming to chat, she’s bringing her characters along, who will answer all your questions.

Stuff you need to know:

  1. The forum for the Bad In Baltimore series is public on my blog, but to comment you have to have an ID. If I don’t do that, we’ll be overrun with people trying to sell us weight loss products and Viagra. To get a user ID, all you have to do is email and ask for one (tell us what ID you want). That account is run by my husband, and he’s happy to set you up. If you forget your ID, use the I Forgot feature and it will set you up automatically. If you get stuck, email Dan and the assist email, and he’ll still help you.
  2. Both KA’s contest and mine start NOW and run until Sunday night, March 30, 9PM CST. I’ll post here on my blog announcing the winners, plus you’ll get an email.
  3. Any and everybody is welcome to come hang with us. New readers, old hats, curious folk–come on over, the water’s fine.
  4. You can post ANYTHING on my forum, including dirty pics, but you’re responsible for any content you post, and you have to play well with others. Except K.A. says everybody can be as mean to Peter as they want. Though do remember the forum is PUBLIC. And there are always a lot of lurkers. As long as you’re fine with the whole world seeing what you post, you’re fine.
  5. THIS IS GOING TO BE TONS OF FUN. Come hang with us and have a great time! Tell your friends. The more the merrier!
  6. If you’re still confused, email and we’ll totally help you out.


If you don’t want to enter the contests and just want to buy the books, here are the links you need.

Book One: Bad Company

Some things are sweeter than revenge.

Bad in Baltimore Book 1

“I need a boyfriend.”

Hearing those words from the mouth of his very straight ex-friend is enough to make columnist and editor Nate Gray choke on his Corona. It’s been thirteen years since Kellan Brooks’s father crushed Nate’s family on his climb to wealth and power. Even longer since he entrusted Kellan with the confession that he might be gay—only to have his best friend out and humiliate him to their entire high school. The last thing Nate expects is Kellan begging for his help.

Breaking off his engagement to a senator’s daughter was the last straw for Kellan’s CEO father. Frustrated at being cut off, his father’s stinging words—that he wishes Kellan had never been born—still ringing in his ears, Kellan turns to Nate. In a move worthy of a corporate raider, Kellan plans the ultimate revenge. Come out as the boyfriend of the man his homophobic father betrayed.

Convincing Nate to play along isn’t easy. It’s even harder to figure out why the lie feels so close to the truth.

Warning: Contains old friends, old enemies, a dramatic cat rescue, soft drink references and a lot of teasing before the steamy sex. Readers are cautioned against drinking any beverage while reading to avoid accidental snorting or spraying of said beverages.

Samhain ebook, Samhain paperback  (Click tab on page for excerpt)

Amazon ebook, Amazon paperback

Nook book and B&N paperback



Book Two: Bad Boyfriend

Sometimes it’s good to be bad. Real good…

Bad in Baltimore, Book 2

After Eli Wright came out, his parents threw him out. In the five years since, he’s made his own way, lived by his own rules, determined to never change himself—not for anyone. He’s not against finding Mr. Right, but Mr. Right Now will do just fine.

Quinn Maloney’s reward for ten years of faithfully keeping his closeted boyfriend’s secrets? A hell of a wake-up call to go with his morning coffee. Not only did Peter have affairs, he went straight to marry his pregnant girlfriend—and Quinn was to never reveal their history.

With the baby’s baptism looming and Quinn expected to put on a polite front, he decides he’s had enough of playing the peacekeeper. One wink from a much younger, eyeliner-wearing guy in a bar, and Quinn’s found a perfectly outrageous date for the occasion.

The date goes better than he ever imagined. And so much worse, as Eli convinces everyone they’re madly in love. That wasn’t part of the plan, but the more Quinn learns about the man behind the makeup, the more he wishes it was true.

Warning: Contains an absolute bastard of an ex-boyfriend. Not responsible for sudden uncontrollable urges to punch him in the teeth. Also not responsible for any overheating or sudden urges brought about by explicit sex with a little BDSM thrown in.

Samhain ebook, Samhain paperback (Click tab on page for excerpt)

Amazon ebook, Amazon paperback

Nook book and B&N paperback



Book Three: Bad Attitude

When did save a life become change a life?

Bad in Baltimore, Book 3

As the openly gay middle son of the most powerful family between Manhattan and Miami, Gavin Montgomery knows his role—look good in a tuxedo and don’t make waves.

Waves are the least of his worries when he tries and fails to keep a friend from jumping off a high bridge. His last thought as he falls in too is that someone else will have to take over as family disappointment…until he’s pulled from the water by a man with an iron grip, a sexy mouth and a chip on his shoulder the size of the national deficit.

Police rescue diver Jamie Donnigan finally has life the way he wants it. Okay, he could have done without losing his father, quitting smoking and watching his friends drift into couplehood. At least he’s managed to escape that particular trap.

When Gavin’s father turns Jamie’s routine rescue into a media circus, he figures if he’s going to suffer for his good deed, he might as well enjoy a roll in the sack. But Jamie’s not immune to Gavin’s cultivated charm…and all the risks that come along with giving in to it.

Warning: Includes above the recommended daily allowance for snark, attitude, stubbornness and a variety of scorching hot sex (even for this author).

Samhain ebook, Samhain paperback (Click tab on page for excerpt)

Amazon ebook, Amazon paperback

Nook book and B&N paperback


Book Four: Bad Influence

To remake their future, they’ll have to use pieces of their broken past.

Bad in Baltimore, Book 4

The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away.

In his place is Silver, a streetwise survivor who’s spent the last three years learning to become untouchable…unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege. He shies away from anything that might hold him down long enough for betrayal to find him again.

Zebediah Harris spent time overseas, trying to outrun the guilt of turning his back on the young man he loved. Now, almost the moment he sets foot back in Baltimore, he discovers Silver on a street corner in a bad part of town. His effort to make amends lands them both in jail.

Trapped together in a cell, Silver sits on his mountain of secrets and plans a seductive form of revenge, but finds that using a heart as a stepping stone is no way to move past the one man he can’t forgive, let alone forget.

Warnings: Contains a surly hero. May cause angst. A prolonged delay in sexual situations may cause frustration. Author recommends a steady dose of familiar friends and characters to alleviate those symptoms. No actual teenagers were used during the construction of the backstory.

Samhain ebook (Click tab on page for excerpt)

Amazon ebook

Nook book


About K.A. Mitchell

K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefully crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house, and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Chip and Ken made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was surprised to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.



Cysts, Emergency Rooms, and Container Stores: Or, What I Did This Week

If you follow me on social media, this is old news. If you mostly check this blog, get popcorn. Or wine. Or whatever. I got story.

For the past month or more I’ve felt punky. I kept modifying my diet trying to find the culprit, but nothing really worked. I even started a whole other blog where I’m basically whining about my health and chronicling what I eat, except I got in a snit last week and stopped and have yet to start up again. In any event, nothing has really worked. Mostly I felt tired and off and annoyed that I couldn’t get right and knew nobody in medicine would be able to help me because they never can.

Then Thursday happened.

The morning started out GREAT. I woke early, felt pretty good, and got a crap ton of work done. I was sailing through promo, lining up other work and basically getting ready to light the world on fire. At 11:30 I felt a little cramping, and I thought, huh, odd because I’m just finishing my period. Then it got worse and I had Anna bring me some Vicodin and ibuprofen because standing was a little hard. Then it got worse and I laid on the floor. Then it got worse and I started screaming. Anna called her dad, but as I feared I would pass out and freak her out even more, I had her call 911.

I’m kind of a strange creature, because though I deal with a lot of chronic pain, I also have a crazy-high pain tolerance. That means I don’t feel anything until it’s HORRIBLE, and my pain scale usually goes from 2-4 to 10 without any warning at all. I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand, couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t coherently answer questions. Writers almost always have people in their head, and in that moment mine were all lined up, hovering over me like I was a campfire. “Am I dying?” I kept asking them. They shook their heads and said no, I’d be fine, which was nice but hard to believe in that exact moment.

After an ambulance ride to the hospital, an ER exam and then a trip to the lab where I had several ultrasounds done, we learned I’m harboring two cysts on my right ovary (near, maybe on but they can’t tell for sure). One is 3 cm. One is 7cm. So I have a baseball and a golf ball in me. They were trying to decide if they were inhibiting blood flow and in the end decided no because pain meds made them go away. Honestly, I think they were doing that but stopped, because I’ve had this happen before. In any event, I didn’t have emergency surgery. The doctors I saw were nice but a bit clueless. Mostly I’m waiting to get in to my regular OB/GYN next week where I will hatch a better plan. And if I don’t get one, I’ll be carting myself off to whoever will listen, though I really like my lady doc. I have good feelings about this.

So I got to go home Thursday night, though I felt like total hell. They gave me a pile of Oxycodone, which are handy to have around, but I’m using them about 1/8 of what they told me I would. Also, though they told me to rest for a week, I’m writing this post from Bloomington, Minnesota. So not exactly resting.

I can’t say I’m sorry. I feel good, or at least as good as I’d feel at home. This was a trip I’d been trying to take with Anna all week—our promised trip to see Marie and her daughter got cancelled because of hospice kitty, so I told her I’d take her to the Dover store in Medina. Except with me not feeling great earlier in the week, plus snow, we had to push it off. Plus Dan really wanted to come along and go to Electric Fetus, so we’d planned to go on the weekend. And then I decided I should go to the ER instead.

Except yesterday morning I was feeling pretty damn good for having gone to the ER. I said I wanted to go anyway, because I wanted to take Anna and Dan, because I hate being told no, and because I wanted to go to the Container Store to look for some RT things. So loaded with painkillers we went. And honestly it’s not been bad.

The Dover store was very fun, and useful because my super-slender daughter is hell to fit for chaps. We brought along her barn buddy, and they oohed and ached over a whole store of English riding gear, unlike the small section to be found in Western tack stores in central Iowa. But when we were done, we went to The Container Store.

I think I saw God.

I didn’t even get that much–mostly I was in love with the idea that there was a world which could be that organized. Dan was impressed too. He kept saying, “This makes me want to go home, throw everything away, and start over, but organized.” I found several things I needed and a million things I wanted, and mostly I was just happy as hell to be there.

We dropped Dan off at Electric Fetus so he could have used record store heaven, and I took the girls to Candyland where we paid almost as much to park as we did for candy. He made out with a huge, HUGE pile of records for under $40—the combination of “lots of cool records” and “not much money” made pretty much a perfect Dan day all around.

Now we’re back at the hotel, where the girls are enjoying the pool, Dan is supervising, and I’m working while we wait for pizza. Yes, I’m having pizza delivered: gluten free, vegan pizza. DELIVERED. I haven’t even had it yet, but I love you, Pizza Lucé. I tipped the driver 20% just because I was so fucking happy to have the option.

That’s pretty much my week. I’m going to try my modified Wahls/Fuhrman diet to help with the cysts, but I have the feeling I’m going to need a bit of a wrecking ball before this is all said and done, and I’d really like that to happen before RT. Because holy crap, do I not want to be calling the ambulance in NOLA.

Well, not for a cyst, anyway.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Though right now I’m going to see if I can get back on that work horse I fell off of Thursday.


The pizza has arrived. It was amazing.

The GF bruschetta also arrived. It was not vegan–I could taste the egg. IT WAS AMAZING. I’m now all over social media talking about how I want to fuck bread or fuck for bread or basically anything that involves Pizza Lucé’s bread.


Coming Soon: Miles and the Magic Flute, Hero Reissued from Wilde City

One of the most common emails I get is, “Why can’t I buy Hero and Miles and the Magic Flute?” Now I can tell you that you can, and even when. Also, both books have shiny new covers:


Reissuing May 27, 2014


When unemployed Miles Larson retreats to his friend’s Minnesota pawnshop to lick his wounds, he discovers that a few notes on a magical instrument reveal an erotic fairyland where the sorrows weighing on his heart don’t exist at all.

Yet fantasy comes with a price, and soon Miles must chose a path. He can surrender his soul to the dreamlord to sustain his pleasure… or he can defeat the faerie and save the mysterious beast-man who promises love. Miles would chose love over pleasure in a heartbeat—if only to seize it he didn’t first have to acknowledge the pain inside.

Is Miles strong enough to learn that sometimes to find happiness, we must face down our sorrows?

This title has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.


Reissuing August 2014


Construction worker Hal Porter knows he’s nobody special. But when strange events draw him into a magical world, he becomes the only man who can free Morgan, a lonely, long-enchanted shape-shifter. Whether he feels he’s worthy or not, Hal is the hero Morgan has been waiting for.

However, Hal’s task becomes personal as he and Morgan fall in love. Now, to save Morgan and give himself the happily ever after he’s always longed for, Hal will need to do something far more daunting than face Morgan’s captor or finally come out of the closet…

He’ll have to believe in himself.

This title has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.


Both books are being reissued from Wilde City, and I’ve loved working with them so far. Because they’re still getting started, you won’t be able to preorder either book just yet, and there will be a small delay from release to distribution to third party. As usual if you want to make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for my reader newsletter. I’ll let you know when the book goes on sale and when the third-party distribution has happened.

Speaking of newsletters: if you’re a blogger and you want to be in on this tour—or any blog tour I do—I’ll be debuting a new system for this tour. What I keep finding is that though I put out calls in my regular newsletter, blog, and social media, bloggers are so busy they don’t always see those calls and I’m always shoehorning people in after we get started. I don’t mind doing that, but I feel bad because sometimes it means people don’t get dates that work best for them. To that end, I’ve started a blogger-only newsletter. What will happen is when I’m ready to set up a blog tour, I’ll send out that newsletter. It will also go to social media, go out as a blog, but if you sign up for that newsletter it will go directly to your inbox. Within that newsletter will be a Google form where you can fill out what dates/kind of post you’re looking for and whether or not you need an ARC. The beauty of this system though is if you don’t want to participate in that particular book, you don’t have to do anything at all.

I’m not yet ready to set up the Miles tour, but I’ll probably do that in the next month or so. If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be the first to know when we’re scheduling.


PSA: Authors, Write Books, Not War

On Facebook this morning, my husband linked to an article at The Daily Dot about the dangers of blogging/posting at work. Before I even clicked the link to read the post, I laughed bitterly and thought, “Yeah, if only my maxim could be that simple.” Because as an author, whether I talk about writing/publishing or not, everything I put on the Internet affects my work. All my words and pictures and links have the potential to affect my sales. My daughter, now making her first forays into social media, has been warned if she wouldn’t be comfortable seeing it on CNN Student News, she shouldn’t post it, but for authors and anyone whose public persona isn’t an outlet but a lifeline to a paycheck needs a tighter mantra. Every tweet, every Facebook post, every chat and private Instagram could elevate our profile, yes—and it could also stake us more thoroughly than any book we’ll ever write. Public posting for authors doesn’t simply risk getting us fired. Every word and pixel we put up for public consumption could tank our careers. And it’s well past time we started behaving that way.

I feel like so many posts I’ve written on my blog are variations on this theme, but this one matters enough to me that I’ll do it again and be more direct than ever. Authors: if you doubt for a second, don’t post on social media, don’t write that blog. If you’re trashing another author—of any caliber, any level of fame, you should not. You should use great caution and care when and if you review. You should be careful when you post tweets, status updates, and photos. You should behave as if every word you say is being heard by everyone in the entirety of the world, and everyone who loves them—but most importantly, you should assume the world is listening. And taking screenshots, and getting popcorn to watch in case you burn.

image via

Somehow it seems a myth has been started that authors, big or small, are owed something. In the past few weeks I feel like this entitlement keeps coming up in various forms in all genres of publishing, at all levels. Somehow even the most obscure excuse me, who the hell are you? authors have no issue with standing loudly at their pulpit of choice decrying the unfairness of not being chosen for conferences or awards or whatever the hell crawled in front of them that day. Reviews—God help us all, reviews. Authors writing reviews trashing other authors, then acting as if they’re Joan of Arc when everyone turns on them. Authors acting as if every complaint from a reader hurts their poor little feeeeeeelings—which, actually, that happens every day. And it’s why I have my besties on IM and in DM and on speed dial. When a review manages to wound me, I go to a trusted, vetted private source and I snarl and cast aspersions on penis size and sexual prowess and throw enough shade to cast eternal darkness on my enemy’s soul. And then I get over it and move on, the Internet never the wiser. I don’t, ever, broadcast that crap even in a private blog. I sure as hell don’t attack or argue with readers or reviewers. I suck it up. I move on.

Any author reading: you should too.

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Authors, what you are entitled to as a published, paid author is a paycheck for the works you sell. You are entitled to not being plagiarized. You are entitled to a fair market and fair pay. You are entitled to a level playing field. But what you are not entitled to is a special refrigerated train car for your very special snowflake. You are not entitled even to a car or a track to ride on. You are entitled to a chance. Everything beyond this you must earn.

I understand why this is such an unappealing concept, but I suggest anyone who wants to get ten feet in this business learn to swallow fast. Publishing has never been a graceful or kind affair, but right now, at this moment in time, it is nuclear war every single day. There is no safe house. There is no clear path. There is no Way to seek and follow. There is blood, terror, heart-rendering risk, and there is pain and betrayal. Those are your guarantees. Your promises I can make you as one who has been actively watching this stuff go down for almost twenty years and wading neck-deep into it for five.

What I can also promise you is that you will go nowhere without friends and allies, which means every word out of your mouth should be filtered to make sure you avoid making enemies.

I don’t think any author can be immune to hope and wistfulness, castles in the sky we wish to build foundations under—and those dreams are vital. But authors must remember, always, that other people are building foundations too, and if you steal other people’s stuff or hurl rocks at their heads, you will pay. If you build your foundations on the blood of your friends or while sniping and snarling at anyone who dares challenge you, your foundations will fall long before you get anywhere worth getting to. Every tweet you share, every Instagram you post marks your brand. It’s possible that it serves you to be a caustic, rotten asshole as your brand—possible, but even this must be polished and affected. And you’d better pray the risks of that approach pay off, because the odds are never in your favor.

I wish we could make a rule that every author or want-to-be author before they get WiFi access needs to read The Prince, and like license renewal we should ingest it again every so many years. When I first read Machiavelli, I hated him and his jaded view of politics. I still kind of hate him, though now it’s because I think he’s completely and utterly right and I wish he were not. What frustrated me about The Prince in college was this idea that the world was not a good, Disney-like place where nice people prevailed and everything, if we all worked hard and went to church and did good deeds, would be okay. This idea that people have to be calculating and sometimes nasty to get ahead made me sick.

The thing is, it’s true, and as authors? We need to stay well out of it, because no matter what our egos might tell us, we are not princes, not kings, not queens. We are barely courtiers. We are jesters every one. We are bards. We are servants, here at the whim and will of the populace, the public, and sometimes the prince himself. We are ruled by forces greater than we can control. We have moments of power, of fame, but everything we prize may be taken away at any time. Our great fame may be toppled by one ill-timed fall or misspeak. Our work will sometimes disappoint, yes, and sometimes our star will not shine as bright because of something we create, but we’ll be forgiven because everyone wants another tale. We are servants, always, and the princes and courtiers love to be served—but never scolded. The mob, the masses—they love our work, but as Twitter teaches us daily, the mob loves scandal more. It is transfixed by the public display of someone behaving badly, of being publicly burned for daring to step out of line. We may as authors, or even as possessors of souls, dislike this tendency, but we will have more luck attempting to roll back the ocean’s tide than we will quell this part of human nature. And as an author, we are in the worst positions in the world to do so.

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The sense of entitlement luring authors is our trap, because too many of us want to be movie stars. Or twitter stars. Or conference stars. Who of us does not want to be Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood at RT with all the fans and authors weeping like supplicants, so overcome by awe and nostalgia they can barely speak? We all want that, yes, but that adoration is not our birthright. Those ladies bought that status with grace, civility, and politic. They bought it with luck and perseverance and diligence. They did not stab their way to the top. They did not whine and cry their way or seethe about the horrible unfairness of it all. They worked. They behaved. They shone like stars. They earned that reverence.

Somehow though there is this idea that we may be all that by sockpuppet trickery, by flattery and bribes, by stepping on the necks of our fellows, by standing up and demanding we be honored. Somehow there is this idea that we may complain about bad reviews on Facebook—we’re all friends there, after all—and it will not taint us as soft-bellied complainers whose books no one wants to buy anymore. Somehow our personal blogs are an acceptable place to rant about any and everything we dislike in the world—and consumers should ignore the discomfort and dislike they feel in us now and still shop for our books.

I don’t think most people are thinking this deeply or even very shallowly when they post unwise things. Most authors mis-stepping in the social sphere are merely naive and untutored and foolish. The great irony for writers is that as a population we are the wallflowers, the outsiders who observe. The idea that we should also be media moguls is dangerous, and often leads to those melt-down blog posts we flock to like the trainwrecks they are: there but for a well-timed glass of wine and phone call go we all. No one is immune. Authors barely significant enough to float in a puddle drown in the same Twittercycle as decades-established bestsellers who could buy and sell us all on a whim. Sometimes these are momentary lapses in judgment. Sometimes the scandals are legitimate. Sometimes they represent deep philosophical struggles with no real answer.

Bloggers—book bloggers, readers, anyone not an author? They can have these public conversations far more safely. Scandal is lifeblood to bloggers more often than not. Controversy means hits. Negative reviews, even when authors foolishly firestorm, even when readers defy them as is their right (so long as they are not sent by the author), are good for blogs. Authors, you should not go here, and when you are compelled to do so anyway, you must be aware that every single word you say might lose you sales. You may disagree with me. You may burn and learn on your own. I certainly have done so, and many others have before me and many will in days to come. But this is my advice, and it comes from my heart, my soul, my being. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t be negative in public. Don’t snipe. Don’t disparage your fellows. Don’t diva. Don’t demand. Don’t assume. Don’t snarl, just don’t. Because while you think you’re digging yourself or someone else out, more often than not all you’re doing is carving out your grave.

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Traditionally published authors, stop snickering or hating on indie. Indie, stop mocking traditionally pubbed for being codependent. Everyone, stop whining and kvetching about how you’re being held back, about how the system is against you, about how you’re never picked for the ball, about how someone is taking your spot in the show. If you want a spot in the light, earn it. If want to go to the ball, work. If you want to win, play the game. If you want to shine, work on your glow. Be kind or at least gracious to your fellow performers. Remember that you are allowed to perform at all only by the permission and pleasure of your audience. Remember that to create your art you must be vulnerable, which means you will need friends and support more than you’ll need a sharp sword.

Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. It is an arena you enter where the rules change and the efficacy of all your best weapons will abruptly, unfairly cease and you must build new ones while arrows come at your head. It is a world where nothing is real and seldom constant. It is a career where everything you have you will earn, and where gifts and luck and happy accidents, success stumbled upon, can be a greater burden than climbing the ladder. Publishing is a slog, and fame and success are not guaranteed. Never, not one time has waging war, from the mildest whine to the most vicious peer attack, advanced a career. But collectively and singularly, those acts have ended many.

Write books, authors. Write stories. Channel your emotions, your fears, your vulnerabilities into your work. Swallow the hurt and give voice to a song. In your books, which is what you are here for in the first place. Everywhere else? Post about cats and beards and the cupcake you had instead of dinner. Better to be banal than a bitch. Because readers will flock to the cats and the cupcakes and possibly bring you baked goods and collars with your cover art as collars to singings. But they’ll get a front row seat to watch the bitch go down.

Every. Single. Time.


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