Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Mark Leslie Lefebvre

Perspectives and reflections on the writing and publishing life. Mark Leslie Lefebvre, a writer, bookseller, digital publishing advocate, professional speaker, and publishing consultant explores inclusive and collaborative opportunities for writers and book publishing professionals via interviews, discussions, and reflections about the industry. (Mark's personal website is www.markleslie.ca) read less
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Episodes

EP 367 - Amazing Stories, Fanzines, and Community with Lloyd Penney
4d ago
EP 367 - Amazing Stories, Fanzines, and Community with Lloyd Penney
Mark interviews Lloyd Penney, the editor of Amazing Stories magazine about his work on Amazing Stories, his forty years of engagement with the fanzine community, and more. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Lloyd talk about: Meeting Robert J. Sawyer when they both attended Ryerson University in TorontoLloyd's first and only published science fiction story (which Rob was responsible for)Getting involved in science fiction fanzinesForty years of experience being engaged with fanzines from Canada, the United States and all over the worldThe definition of what a fanzine isHow the common community ends up talking about almost anything else once they've established their commonalities in related to things they are fans ofHow the production of fanzines have changed over the years, from mimeographs, to photocopies, to digitalStarting off his experience in engaging with fanzines by writing a letter of commentThe letter column being the heart of a fanzineSocial media having replaced the fanzine in a lot of ways, but how that has reduced the more nuanced, well-thought out responses and behaviorThe "reaction" of social media verses the "responses" in fanzinesAn example of a recent fanzine that Lloyd recently receivedThe first issue of Amazing Stories coming out in 1927A fan, Steve Davidson, who, about 2008, wondered what happened to the copyright on the name Amazing Stories, found it was available and secured themHow Spielberg needing to purchase the rights to the name for a TV show helped pay for the production of the first few issues of the new version of the magazineHow Lloyd got involved with Amazing Stories in 2018 and then became the editor in chief of the magazineThe magazine being (at the time) an online magazine, with no current print issues availableThe Patreon and merchandise that's available to help support the magazine's operationRunning two Kickstarters - one of which funded, and the other, which didn't fundAnd more...   After the interview Mark reflects on the value of getting involved with such a prestigious magazine brand as Amazing Stories, as well as the strong sense of connection and engagement with readers that can happen within the fanzine community.   Links of Interest: Amazing Stories Website Store (Includes Amazing Selects imprint of books)Submissions efanzines.comEP 366 - Bolts of FictionEP 365 - An Interview That's A Hug With Gail CarrigerDropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Lloyd Penney is a Canadian science fiction writer, science fiction convention organizer and a dedicated fan who took his long time science fiction interest and turned it into a career recently - as the editor-in-chief of Amazing Stories one of science fictions longest running magazines. He had previously written extensively for science fiction fanzines.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 366 - Bolts of Fiction with Daniel Willcocks and Samantha Frost
Jun 15 2024
EP 366 - Bolts of Fiction with Daniel Willcocks and Samantha Frost
Mark interviews Daniel Willcocks and Samantha Frost about their flash fiction anthology BOLTS OF FICTION and the unique engagement they created and managed through the month of February 2023 to inspire the writing community throughout the entire month. In February 2023, the Activated Authors community embarked on an ambitious project: to respond to daily prompts and produce a flash fiction story by the next day. The result was an outpouring of over 500 unique and imaginative pieces, from which the very best were meticulously curated for their anthology. From heart-wrenching tales of love and loss to whimsical adventures in fantastical worlds, each story promises to transport you, even if just for a moment, into a different reality. Whether you have a minute or an hour, you'll find stories that will intrigue, inspire, and leave you yearning for more. Featuring stories from: Quenntis Ashby, Ara Bell, Amy Bulauski, Tracey Byrnes, S.F. Claymore, Cassi Emerson, Geoff Emberlyn, B.A. Ferguson, Michelle L.M. Gale, Renée Gallant, Megan L. Garner, Robert Gelik, Debbie Gravett, Karla Hailer, R.P. Howley, Jacqueline James, Claire Ladds, Arin Laney, Mark Leslie, Daisy Lythe, S.W. Millar, Kiz Moncrieff, Andrew Murray, Laura Nettles, Kymba Nijuck, Carolyn O'Brien, Leila Murton Poole, Karin Redclift, C.M. Simpson, K.T. Tate, and Karen Wicks. In this interview, Mark, Dan, and Sam talk about: June 15th being National Flash Fiction DayWhat flash fiction isThe inspiration for this projectThe tight deadlines involvedCreating daily prompts to inspire writersThe blind submission/reading processAnd more . . . Links of Interest: Bolts of FictionDevil's Rock PublishingDan's WebsiteSam's WebsiteDropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Daniel Willcocks is an international bestselling author, award-winning podcaster, author coach, and speaker. Dan writes non-fiction for authors and creatives, as well as dark fiction for the twisted reader, spanning the genres of horror, post-apocalyptic, and sci-fi. Sam Frost a.k.a. "Mastress of None," is a video-editor, poet, writer, painter, actor and creator. Based in the south of England (but not born there, that's an important distinction), Sam is passionate about helping creatives while battling the will of a medium sized human and the "affectionate" sneezes of a smaller sized pug.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 365 - An Interview That's A Hug with Gail Carriger
Jun 14 2024
EP 365 - An Interview That's A Hug with Gail Carriger
Mark interviews Gail Carriger about her writing life, her journey through publishing, analytics, the careful curation of her author brand, being a hybrid author and so much more. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Gail talk about:- How honored Mark is to learn that Gail listens to the Stark Reflections Podcast Gail's branding phrase of "Gail Carriger writes books that are hugs" and the various experiments she's done with that over the yearsAlways being a person who wrote, or had a passion for writingReading The Lord of the Rings as a child and deciding to craft her OWN ending for the storyGrowing up in a "commune" environment with a bunch of poetsGail's career as an academic when her first traditionally published book (Soulless) came out and took offThe challenge/dare to herself of wanting to write a genre-blending/cross-genre tale of something that she would enjoy as a readerNegotiations taking a long time because Gail dug in her heels on specific contract clausesHer agent investigating a back-door deal with another publisher who offered her 3X the deal the first was looking at and was willing to adjust the right of first refusal clauseThe vision that the publishers had that Soulless was the beginning of a series (despite Gail believing, when she first wrote it, that it was a stand-alone)Having a two-book contract and then writing a cliffhanger at the end of the 2nd book in order to grease the wheels of a contract for other booksGail's love-affair with spreadsheets and the fact she reads all 56 pages of her royalty reportsOne of the main reasons she became an indie author was her ability to have direct access to data about her sales and her readersGail's cautionary note to authors that with a "right of first refusal" a publisher is allowed to take their time with that offer, which can significantly delay an author's forward-movement plansThe possible "rights grab" that a publisher might do even if it's not something within their regular publishing plansHow growing up Gen-X and being a non-native to computers and the internet has resulted in an abundance of caution about digital, computers, the world wide web, how she is presented on the internet, etc.Gail's recommendation to test the waters in self-publishing with short stories firstNerding out with Mark about the "old days" of self-publishing and podcastingBeing a social scientist by training and loving analytics and spreadsheetsPinging her rabid fan base and testing things all the timeGail's A/B testing on whether it's better to put a newsletter signup link at the front of a book or the end of the book, or bothEnsuring that her author brand is not diluted with author business stuff that she's known for from other authors and industry insidersTalking to her readers constantly to continue to stay in the loop on insightsThe importance, when communicating to your readers to use the same language that they're used toLearning that her readers tend to not have a distinction between libraries and bookstores - that many of them see them under the same umbrella of a place they go to see what books are on displayConfirming the reports that "word of mouth" is, by a landslide, the way that most readers find out about new books and new authors to readThe value of a recommendation from another author in a newsletter or on social mediaThe challenges of book blurbsA podcast that Gail recommends: Reading Glasses - and that authors should subscribe and listen to it in order to understand the language that readers useThe deliberate curation and creation of the Gail Carriger persona, including her love of wearing retro outfitsThe side benefit of being able to be a fan at conventions, etc when "out of uniform" and how she's rarely recognized when not sporting that specific "look"A little bit about Gail's book THE HEROINE'S JOURNEYThe next book for writers that Gail is working on called GOING HYBRID, structured to help established and existing traditionally published authors to learn the indie publishing landscapeAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on several different topics that came up in the conversation, including contract clauses, being incognito, and Gails's suggesting for testing the self-publishing waters.   Links of Interest: Gail Carriger WebsiteScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Gail Carriger writes books that are hugs, mostly comedies of manners mixed with steampunk, urban fantasy, and sci-fi (plus cozy queer joy as G. L. Carriger). These include the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, Tinkered Stars, and San Andreas Shifter series for adults, and the Finishing School and Tinkered Starsong series for young adults. Also nonfiction: The Heroine’s Journey. She is published in many languages, has over a million books in print, over a dozen New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and Romantic Times.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 364 - 40 Years of Rubes® Cartoons with Leigh Rubin
Jun 6 2024
EP 364 - 40 Years of Rubes® Cartoons with Leigh Rubin
Mark interviews Leigh Rubin about 40 years of his Rubes® cartoons and his latest book THINK LIKE A CARTOONIST. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Leigh talk about: The fact that in 2024 Leigh is celebrating 40 years of producing Rubes® cartoonsSome of the things that have changed since Leigh first started writing the cartoons - such as the way he delivers the daily cartoonsThe tools that haven't changed over the years, such as the drawing instruments he usesHow far in advance the daily cartoons need to be sent in for syndicationThe fact that Leigh rarely ever takes a day off from drawing something new for the cartoonLeigh's book THINK LIKE A CARTOONIST and the story behind itThe various types of essays that appear in this bookLeigh's Cartoonist Pledge (inspired by the Boy Scout pledge)The ease of sharing cartoons on social media without any compensation given to the artistWhat a "workaround" is for cartooningThe challenges of when humor doesn't age well because of changing sensitivitiesTesting the cartoons and deciding not to use certain ones that don't hit just right - (and the big stack of un-used cartoons that Leigh never submitted because they weren't funny enough)And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on the idea of what Leigh calls a "workaround" and how a similar thing might apply to writers in general as well as the idea of testing cartoons and not publishing them unless the hit right.   Links of Interest: Leigh Rubins Website / Rubes CartoonsThink Like a Cartoonist (RIT Press Website)EP 152 - Drawing Inspiration with Cartoonist Leigh RubinDramatic Exit (YouTube Short Inspired by one of Leigh's cartoons)EP 316 - Free Your Inner Non-Fiction Writer with Johanna RothmanScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Leigh Rubin is an accomplished author and cartoonist. He has written more than 20 books. 2024 will mark the 40th anniversary of Leigh's internationally syndicated cartoon, Rubes®, which is distributed by Creators Syndicate to hundreds of newspapers and media outlets worldwide. His work has been featured in film, television, and advertising. Leigh also enjoys a busy schedule giving thought-provoking and entertaining presentations on art and creativity at conferences, as well as professional organizations all around the country. In 2018 Leigh began serving at Rochester Institute of Technology as the college's first Cartoonist-in-Residence.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 363 - Greatness Together with Sarah McVanel
May 30 2024
EP 363 - Greatness Together with Sarah McVanel
Mark interviews Sarah McVanel, a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering perfectionist, and movement maker about her books, speaking, and her the new podcast she co-hosts with her daughter. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Sarah talk about: What Sarah has been up to since Mark last had her on the podcastHow Sarah is an expert-based author rather than a "traditional" authorThe difference between writing for a keynote as a speaker and writing a bookThe various books that Sarah has previously written and how she went about putting them together, including FLIPSIDE OF FAILINGThe research and legwork done in order to send hand-signed copies and hand-written notes to medical/health-care leaders for Sarah's book ROCKSTAR: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Healthcare LeadersProviding space in the back of a specially printed edition of her book ROCKSTAR: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Women Leaders for conference organizers to put their own messaging inThe needless bloating in some non-fiction books; something which Sarah strives to not doSatisfaction that's felt when you finish reading a bookHow companies, publishers, and authors often bundle products together and how it might affect the readerHow we earn the right to be read as authorsParticipating in physical bundles with other speakers as part of a conferenceThe way the most special readers deserve something specialThe new podcast (The Greatness Together Podcast) that Sarah has started with her daughter and which runs every other weekVarious topics related to the human dimension that mother and daughter Sarah and Simonne talk throughAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on Sarah's perspective on the author needing to ensure that they deliver on their promise and that after earning the reader's attention, they need to keep it by delivering on that promise in the content. He also reflects on the incredible value Sarah brings as a greatness recognition expert.   Links of Interest: Sarah's WebsiteThe Greatness Together PodcastEP 76 - Recognizing Success in Failure with Sarah McVanelEP 109 - 12 Takeaways From CAPS Convention 2019EP 361 - The Author Wheel with Greta Boris and Megan HaskellScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Sarah McVanel is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering perfectionist, and movement maker. She created F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ GreatnessTM to invigorate companies so they can see their people as exceptional and, together, create a scrumptious, thriving culture where everyone belongs. Sarah has 25+ years of experience training, coaching, and leading teams. From her senior leadership role, she founded her boutique firm Greatness Magnified. Proclaimed as the “Frog Lady,” she can be found freaking out perfect strangers (in a good way) by handing out squishy frogs and asking them, “Have you been frogged lately?” and then acknowledging their greatness. She’s a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). She is one of 700 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) worldwide. She has a BA in Psychology, MSc in Family Relations, and Diplomas in Human Resources and Healthcare Administration. You can catch her kayaking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter with her husband, or cooking a feast (while listening to an audiobook on double speed). She’s a die-hard carb-ivour, amateur hip hopper, and TikTok embarrasser to her two kids.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 362 - The Book To Read Before Giving Up On Your Writing Dreams with Todd Fahnestock
May 29 2024
EP 362 - The Book To Read Before Giving Up On Your Writing Dreams with Todd Fahnestock
Mark interviews author Todd Fahnestock about his latest book for writers: Falling to Fly: The Book To Read Before Giving Up On Your Writing Dreams. This episode is sponsored by the Patrons and Coffee Buddies of the Stark Reflections Podcast.   Patreon for Stark Reflections Podcast Buy Mark a Coffee   In the interview Mark and Todd talk about: Who Todd is and the edge of the seat epic fantasy he writesA little bit about Todd's memoir of hiking the Colorado Trail with his 15-year-old sonThe pitch for Summer of the Fetch, one of his one-off booksTodd's latest book FALLING TO FLY: The Book to Read Before Giving Up on Your Writing DreamsHow the book includes several completely frank episodes where Todd fell flat on his face and failed, and yet picked himself up one more timeThe idea of failure being the classroom and success being the diplomaBeing bored with a story where there's no challenge, or struggle, or flaws in the main characterHow fantasy books saved Todd's life when he was young and the fact he wanted to do the same thing for someone elseThe "writer dream" interviews that Todd is doing on social mediaThe chapter called "The Little Rebel" and what that particular voice does for ToddThe nightmare that inspired the idea for the title FALLING TO FLYAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on how great a storyteller Todd is, how much he enjoyed Todd's latest book, and the value when someone paints an authentic picture of the actual stark realities of the writing life.   Links of Interest: Todd Fahnestock's WebsiteEP 340 - Personality, Passion, Presentation, and Persistence with Todd FahnestockScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Todd Fahnestock is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of fantasy for all ages and winner of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. Threadweavers and The Whisper Prince Trilogy are two of his bestselling epic fantasy series. He is a founder of Eldros Legacy—a multi-author, shared-world mega-epic fantasy series—three-time winner of the Colorado Authors League Award for Writing Excellence, and two-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Tower of the Four: The Champions Academy (2021) and Khyven the Unkillable (2022).   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 361 - The Author Wheel with Greta Boris and Megan Haskell
May 23 2024
EP 361 - The Author Wheel with Greta Boris and Megan Haskell
Mark interviews Greta Boris and Megan Haskell of The Author Wheel. Prior to the interview Mark shares a brief personal update and a word from this episode's sponsor. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode’s sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount’s handy all-in-one interface. In the interview Mark, Greta, and Megan talk about: How Megan started writing as a creative outlet when she was working for a major accounting firmThe writing done on the train on the way in to work in Los Angeles and the blogs she had writtenContinuing writing after having her daughter in 2012 and then publishing her first book before her second child was bornGreta's magazine background (her father was an editor and publisher of some major magazines back in the day)The writing she did for a number of magazines over the years and the various genres and topics she took onBeing inspired by interviewing a bunch of fiction authors, including Joanna PennHow Greta got her first publisher doing a Twitter pitchTwitter pitches being really good for writing log linesMegan and Greta's "meet cute" at the Southern California Writer's Conference in 2014Pitching a course to that conference at a later date so they could attend it again without having to pay which got turned into a book (Publish: Take Charge of Your Author Career)How they started The Author Wheel courses, podcast, and other resourcesThe metaphors for The Author WheelThe way they try to break topics down into the smallest bits possible to simplify peopleWhy it's helpful to recognize that authors are all at different places and there are so many different paths and choices an author can makeTheir course Trope Stacking and Other Genre Magic which is a companion to a quick-guide Understanding Your GenreGreta's pioneering with writing a book she felt was a "Cozy Horror" novelStrategies for mixing and layering in genres that are complimentary to one another while creating something uniqueHow writing to an outline made Megan feel like her creativity was being stifledThe way that Megan and Greta collaborate in their writing, the podcast, the social media, and the coursesAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on the idea of the "Twitter pitch" and the benefit of having to craft writing that has tight restrictions as well as the importance of understanding that there's no one-size-fits-all solution, and that there's no single right way for authors to do things.   Links of Interest: The Author Wheel PodcastCourses: 7 Days To ClaritySelf Publish or Get an AgentFinish Your Novel FasterLayering Your Story WorldTrope Stacking and Other Genre Magic Megan Haskell's WebsiteGreta Boris's WebsiteMark's Interview on The Author Wheel Podcast: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Mastering Book Marketing with Mark Leslie LefebvreScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     Greta Boris is a USA Today Bestselling mystery and thriller author. Megan Haskell is an award-winning fantasy adventure author. Together, they founded The Author Wheel, publishers of books, courses, and a podcast to help writers overcome roadblocks and keep their stories rolling.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 360 - Foreign Rights Licensing with Roseanne Cheng of DropCap
May 17 2024
EP 360 - Foreign Rights Licensing with Roseanne Cheng of DropCap
Mark interviews Roseanne Cheng, an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and book marketer who is passionate about educating authors and publishers about the power and opportunity of having their books elevated to the international market. They talk about her writing life, her author mentoring life, and about how DropCap Marketplace is a great bridge between indie authors and the licensing foreign language rights through traditional agencies and book scouts. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Roseanne talk about: Roseanne's background and passion for helping writersThe first book Roseanne published (The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High) back in 2013 when she was teaching full-time and how it will always have a special place in her heartWorking with Wise Ink Creative Publishing and the great respect that Roseanne has for the women who run that businessThe various lessons learned with writing and publishing a book and how you can turn the things that you learned (via various mistakes you've made) into positives by helping others on their own journeysTaking on the role of Marketing Director at Wise Ink by leveraging her own experiences to help shepherd other writers through the process of releasing a new bookWorking with authors to create their own custom marketing plans based on their goalsMeeting and connecting with a dear friend, Josie, and teaching one another things they were each good atCreating an online school with Josie called Evergreen Authors in about 2019How the pandemic ended up helping these courses and various other online teaching and Roseanne's ghostwriting business to really take offThe genesis of her first book, The Take Back of Lincoln Junior HighReading the novel after taking a long break (focusing on the endless work and much sleeplessness of raising small children) and recognizing that it was really goodHow Roseanne's role as a teacher helped prepare her for the work she does in helping authorsThe co-authored book BUZZ: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BOOK MARKETINGRoseanne's books THE EVERYGREEN AUTHOR: MASTER THE ART OF BOOK MARKETING and PORTABLE MAGICThe importance of asking your readers: "Where do you buy books?"The WIDE FOR THE WIN message of being in as many places as possibly and opening as many doors as possible and how it really resonated with RoseanneGetting involved in the "Rights" side of publishing and the entire distribution network that she had not yet been tapped intoA story about the first time Roseanne received an email from a foreign publisher who reached out because they were interested in the foreign language rights to her workThe creation of DropCap Marketplace as a match-making service between indie authors/small publishers and agents and book scoutsThe various other marketing resources available for authors on the DropCap siteHow DropCap marries technology with relationship resources within the industryThe special coupon code for Stark Reflections listeners. STARK20 - to get 20% off the listing at DropCap marketplaceAnd more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflections on Roseanne's passion for helping writers and the importance for indie authors of recognizing where they can DIY and where they might be better off leveraging experts in a particular area of publishing.   Links of Interest: Roseanne Cheng's Website Roseanne's Books Evergreen Authors WebsiteDropCap Marketplace Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising WritersStark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     Roseanne Cheng is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, book marketer, and Director of Business Development DropCap Rights Agency. A lifelong reader and writer, she began her work in book publishing as a Marketing Director for an indie publishing house based in Minneapolis and eventually co-founded Evergreen Authors, an online school teaching authors the business of writing and marketing their creative work. In her current role with DropCap, she has the unique pleasure of matching global rights buyers with titles that have the potential to positively impact their communities. She is passionate about educating authors and publishers about the power and opportunity of having their books elevated to the international market.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 359 - Capturing the Flow with Aaron Palmer
May 9 2024
EP 359 - Capturing the Flow with Aaron Palmer
Mark interviews author, songwriter, musician, and podcaster Aaron Palmer. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Aaron talk about:   Aaron being tested at an early age and it being determined that he had perfect pitchPicking up a guitar for the first time around 6th gradeThe first big concert he saw when he was in 5th grade was Van Halen - and he was convinced he wanted to do thatA time in life when ambitions outweighed abilitiesHow playing the guitar came pretty naturally to AaronBeing a pretty avid reader when he was growing up, consuming almost anything he could get his hands onThe writing of Michael Crichton and the very cinematic way he had of writing proseBeing in college and having a professor suggest he change his major to EnglishBeginning to write short fiction shortly after thatAaron's podcast Native Tongues and the theme for the showDealing with ADHD and also regularly multi-taskingHow Aaron works through writing down log lines and concepts that are streaming through his mind to return to later to flesh outFinding out that Dave Grohl does something similarThe initial concept of the podcast first coming out about five years ago, then beginning to develop the ideas for it in about August of 203 for a January 2024 launchStarting off with a concept or idea and then later fleshing out the characters and character developmentThe idea of spending more time developing characters once you fully understand the world that they're inReaching to the darker, more speculative or fantastical elements in storytelling out of a relatively mundane, safe, and normal existenceNot taking himself very seriously as a writer or creative personGravitating toward 12-year-old Bacoo rumLoving live music in multiple venues and formsHow Aaron's podcast is helping to tie multiple creative aspects togetherAnd more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on capturing the endless flow of ideas that can come to a creative person and the value of putting a creative work out into the world instead of just holding onto it.   Links of Interest: Native Tongues Podcast ApplePodbeanSpotify Native Tongues InstagramEP 358 - The Way of the Parable Writer with Donn KingEP 353 - Tao Wong on the Toronto Indie Author ConferenceEP 349 - Edward Willett of Shadowpaw PressCruising WritersStark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     Aaron Palmer has been described as this generation's Ernest Hemingway. Not because he can write majestic prose, but because he equally loves to drink lots of rum. Aaron enjoys writing screenplays in the horror and thriller genres in which he has an encyclopedic knowledge of. He hosts the podcast Native Tongues, where he talks to writers and musicians about where they came from and how that influenced their voice. He also plays guitar, is into fitness, travel and loves to read. Oh, and he's got a wife and kids he likes.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 358 - The Way of the Parable Writer with Donn King
May 2 2024
EP 358 - The Way of the Parable Writer with Donn King
Mark interviews professor, pastor, speaker, and author Donn King about writing, his podcast, and his books THE WAY OF THE THREE-YEAR-OLD WHY and MEDIUM WELL. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Donn talk about: Donn's gradual evolution into becoming a writer with starting work at a newspaper when he was 14 years oldAn experience in sixth grade discovering science fiction novels in the library and realizing reading could be fun when you weren't being forced to do itThe first sci-fi novel Donn remembers reading: Robert A. Heinlein's HAVE SPACESUIT WILL TRAVELDonn's first foray into writing short fiction in a 3-ring binder with a pencilLearning about his non-fiction writing from Bob Burg, co-author of THE GO-GIVER a bestselling business parable bookHow elements from writing good fiction apply when writing a parableDrawing upon autobiographical elements even when fictionalizing a parableThe difference between Writer's Block and The Well Going DryDonn's podcast, The Alignment ShowThe Great Realignment and pausing to step back and consider what really brings value to youDonn's book MEDIUM WELL: The Journey From Believing to Believing InThe beautifully inquisitive nature of 3-Year-Olds in Donn's THE WAY OF THE THREE-YEAR-OLD WHYPrincipal Five - Without emotion, there is no motionThe challenges of booking live speaking events when caring for family members who require that additional compassion and careThe reality that none of us have any certainty - we merely live with the illusion of certaintyThe concept of connection before contentAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on a few of the topics that came up in their conversation.   Links of Interest: Donn King's WebsiteDonn King's BooksThe Confidence Cultivators Podcast Mark's Guest Spot on Episode 54YouTube Video of Episode 54 EP 357 - 50 Years of Short Stories with Kevin J. Anderson Kevin's Short Story Kickstarter EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle Thorn's Patreon Site Writers of the Future - Blog Post Announcing Mark as a JudgeStark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Donn King is "The Confidence Cultivator," a professor, pastor, speaker, and author who lives in the mountains of East Tennessee. He also hosts "The Alignment Show," a podcast to support listeners in living their values so they can value their life. His book, "The Way of the Three-Year-Old Why," the first in the Sparklight Chronicles, came out in 2023, with "Medium Well," the second in the series, came out in early 2024     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 357 - 50 Years of Short Stories with Kevin J. Anderson
Apr 26 2024
EP 357 - 50 Years of Short Stories with Kevin J. Anderson
In this episode, Mark interviews Kevin J. Anderson about his writing and the new approach he is taking to incorporate Kickstarter into the launch strategies for some of his indie-published titles. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Kevin talk about: How Kickstarter has completely upended (in a good way), Kevin's book release strategiesKevin's first novel coming out in 1988 and all the various publishers he has worked with over the yearsThe "Perfect Storm" that was brewing in the book industry when indie publishing became a realistic and viable optionStarting to publish his own books (mostly backlist titles he got the rights back to) in 2009 after founding WordFire Press with his wife Rebecca MoestaKevin's belief that this is the best time to be a writerHow Kevin does a little bit of everything. He has a New York literary agent, he works with several major publishers, he indie publishes, and he continues to explore new opportunities that digital publishing offerThe way that Kickstarter didn't just open a new door, it completely blew it down, along with a few walls tooDean Wesley Smith's perspective that helped to change Kevin's mind about what Kickstarter was all aboutKevin's "Adams Family meets The Naked Gun" series of Dan Shamble Zombie PI novels, and the history of how it started off as a series with a major publisher, flopped, then Kevin got the rights back and did something truly stunning with it once he applied KickstarterKevin's first Dan Shamble Kickstarter which brought in 23 times the intial amount he was asking for, and that it paid him more than 6 times the advance he'd rec'd from a major publisher for the last Dan Shamble book he'd done with themThe Dragon Business (The Princess Bride meets Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) Kickstarter that brought in 20 times what he'd been asking forThe Persephone Kickstarter that Kevin did with Writer/Director Jeffrey MorrisKevin's latest Kickstarter which is a 7 Volume Set of over 130 of his published short stories published over 50 yearsWriting his first short story when he was 8 years oldPublishing his very first short story when he was 14The personal introductions that he wrote for every one of the stories in this 7 book collectionThe various levels and Kickstarter rewards he is planning for this KickstarterThe remarkable fact that, despite having published 180 novels with 58 of them being international bestsellers, no publisher would ever even consider publishing a 7 volume hardcover set of Kevin's complete short stories. That he can do this via Kickstarter is a significant paradigm shiftHow Kickstarter can replace the old "advance" model from traditional publishingThe special thing Kevin is doing for all the backers of this latest KickstarterThe Kickstarter will be going live on April 30th for 3 weeks and 2 daysAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on Kevin's use of short, effective and very clear log lines to describe two of his series.   Links of Interest: Kevin J. Anderson's Website Kevin's Short Story Kickstarter EP 130 - Grace Under Pressure with Kevin J. Anderson Mentions of Kevin in other podcast episodes EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle Thorn's Patreon Site EP 355 - Scribbling Pen Publishing with Melanie Gilbert and Heather KarnWriters of the Future - Blog Post Announcing Mark as a JudgeStark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Kevin J. Anderson has published more than 180 books, 58 of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as the unique Clockwork Angels steampunk trilogy with legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Wake the Dragon and Terra Incognita fantasy trilogies, and humorous Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series and The Dragon Business series. He has edited numerous anthologies, written comics and games, and the lyrics to two rock CDs. Anderson is the director of the graduate program in Publishing at Western Colorado University, and he and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers or WordFire Press. He worked on the recent films Dune Part One and Part Two from Legendary Entertainment, as well as the forthcoming Dune TV series from MAX, and other films in development, including Persephone and Karousel. He has 24 million copies in print in 34 languages. His most recent novels are Bats in the Belfry, Skeleton in the Closet, Persephone, and Princess of Dune (with Brian Herbert).     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle
Apr 18 2024
EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle
Mark interviews T Thorn Coyle about writing, community, and their new book The Midlist Indie Author Mindset. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update and a word from this episode's sponsor. Cruising Writers - 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise - Feb 22 to Mar 1, 2025 Featured Guest Speakers: Erin Wright and Mark Leslie Lefebvre More details at: Cruising Writers   In the interview, Mark and Thorn talk about: Getting into writing when they were 5 years old - and the variety of types of writing they didThorn jokingly torturing fiction and deciding to write non-fiction until a few characters showed up and knocked on their doorWriting mostly fantasy-tinged fictionHow most of Thorn's non-fiction guides have been about spiritual practice, but that this latest one is their first non-fiction business of writing bookThorn's author tagline: "Magic is real. And justice is worth fighting for."The way that Portland is such a fascinating city and how Thorn can find magic anywhereAn appreciation of Charles de LintThorn's forthcoming book: The Midlist Author MindsetThe massive mindset shift that comes from being curious about business the way one is curious about writingValue that came with learning what worked for Thorn, as opposed to things that work for other writersThe numerous streams of income that Thorn has been developing over the yearsLooking at long-term sustainability by thinking of it like cultivating a garden instead of seeking out short-term dramatic spikesSome of the roadblocks that Thorn encountered on the way to establishing the Midlist Author MindsetUnderstanding that for Thorn marketing was about connection with readersHow asking "Does social media sell books?" is the wrong question to askThe Kickstarter for the book and related materials and exclusive content that runs April 16, 2024 to May 7, 2024A little bit about Thorn's fiction series booksThoughts and current approach to audiobooksThorn's final words of advice that they would want to leave with writersAnd more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflects on the concepts of sustainable, long-term, and burn-out as well as the important question of what is practical for you and your life and goals.   Links of Interest: T. Thorn Coyle's Website Kickstarter for The Midlist Indie Author MindsetFiction TitlesNon-Fiction Titles Thorn's Patreon SiteWriters of the Future - Blog Post Announcing Mark as a JudgeStark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the CityOnly Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   T. Thorn Coyle worked in many strange and diverse occupations before settling in to write full time. Buy them a cup of tea and perhaps they’ll tell you about it. Author of The Witches of Portland, the Seashell Cove Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, the Pride Street Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, The Steel Clan Saga, and The Panther Chronicles, Thorn’s multiple non-fiction books include Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists & Other Creatives, Crafting a Daily Practice, Kissing the Limitless, and Evolutionary Witchcraft. Thorn's work also appears in many anthologies, magazines, and collections. An interloper to the Pacific Northwest U.S., they pay proper tribute to all the neighborhood cats, and talk to crows, squirrels, and trees. You can find them at thorncoyle.com.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 355 - Scribbling Pen Publishing with Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn
Apr 11 2024
EP 355 - Scribbling Pen Publishing with Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn
Mark interviews Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn about their work writing and publishing together under the Scribbling Pen Publishing brand. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Cruising Writers - 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise - Feb 22 to Mar 1, 2025 Featured Guest Speakers: Erin Wright and Mark Leslie Lefebvre More details at: Cruising Writers   In the interview, Mark, Melanie, and Heather talk about: How Heather got started in writing before Melanie, who started a year laterWriting independently for a while before they got into mutual support and collaborationThe two books they've published by doing round-robin style writing a couple of paragraphs at a timeThe plotting VS pantsing struggle that they would sometimes find themselves inThe thrill of writing a book without knowing who the bad guy was the entire time until the idea of who it was struck both of them at the same timeThe process they use when writing, editing, and re-writingHow the two of them think of the reader experience when the writer (as related to the Disney Customer Experience training)Leveraging the cats that they made to draw people in which is a great ice-breaker getting them to the booksThinking about the "writing companions" for the booksLeveraging crafted book bags in the same way to generate interest - ie "Where did you get that cool book bag?"Determing what scented candle or wax melt varieties would go well with the different booksSomething special they did to celebrate the "12 Days of Christmas" that they could provide to all of their fans - cover reveals, sample chapters, recipes, music, other books, etcThe benefit of personal touches in the newsletter including the fun that started with Griffin the furry managerHow their cats and dogs are the ones explaining what's going on in their writer newsletters and their website storeHow their main goal isn't to sell books but to ensure that the people who visit their table are having a good timeAnd more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflects on the way the sisters leverage conversational items to draw people to their in person table, their focus on creating a genuinely memorable and entertaining experience (rather than focusing on selling books), and providing intriguing entertainment in their newsletter leveraging their pets' perspectives.   Links of Interest: Scribbling Pen Publishing Scribbling Pen Publishing - Instagram Cruising Writers Feb/Mar 2025 Cruise - Focus on Self PublishingThe Uncollected Anthology Website Uncollected Anthology Live Author Chat (April 10, 2024 - YouTube)There Ain't No Cure For The Winter Wolf Blues 2024 The Write Stuff StoryBundle (Limited Time Offer)WMG Anthology Workshop August 2024Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn in their own words: We grew up in the lovely state of Michigan. We lived in a small town in the country, one of those towns where everyone knows everyone. When we graduated from high school, we went to the same college along with our triplet sister. Our younger sister joined us a couple years later. We’re all really close and that has influenced how we write characters who are siblings. Somehow, we both ended up in Wisconsin a few miles from each other (and even our triplet sister). We now live together and it’s a blast! Wisconsin isn’t too different from where we grew up, so it hasn’t been a big change to live here instead of in Michigan. The only down side to being here is the large lake between us and our family (and Melanie’s in-laws). Going around the lake makes traveling longer, but at least we’re not states away from family. Family is really important to us. Scribbling Pen Publishing was originally Melanie’s idea. Like Melanie’s other idea about writing a co-written book, it took Heather some time to warm up to the idea. Heather is more of a “think it over” personality while Melanie is a “sounds good, let’s do it” personality. Together, we balance each other out. Working together has been amazing. We each have strengths where the other has a weakness. Together we accomplish more than we did apart. Our brands are so similar, it only made sense to combine the work to share our love of books with the world.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 354 - Lydia and David Sherrer on Power Couple Publishing
Apr 5 2024
EP 354 - Lydia and David Sherrer on Power Couple Publishing
Mark interviews Lydia and David Sherrer about their company Chenoweth Press and the books and games they produce and publish collaboratively. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update and a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by the awesome supporters of this podcast who provide their supprt via Patreon and Buy Me A Coffee. With special thanks to Nikki Guerlain for the recent huge BUY ME A COFFEE donation. In the interview, Mark talks to Lydia and David about: How Lydia's role as a writing is part of a biological imperitiveGrowing up reading everything in sight and also being into Lord of the Rings by the time she was five years oldAlways telling herself stories and writing some of them down over the yearsFinding out that what she studied in college wasn't a good career fit and then following her father's example of being an entrepreneurPublishing her first two books around 2012/2013Lydia and David setting a ten-year plan that by then David would be able to quit his full-time jobDavid enjoying playing Magic The Gathering card game when he was youngGetting invited to a gaming store that was in his town and becoming enamored with itOpening up his own gaming store when he graduated from highschoolThe technical engineering background that David had and how he applied those skills to ads and marketingGetting frustrated with his job at about the time that Lydia was starting to earn good money from her writingDeciding that he wanted to turn his gaming hobby into a career by starting with a spreadsheetHow playing cards are one of the easiest and most flexible mediums to make a game inThe game Cat Magic taking roughly twenty minutes of calculations and figuring to get the first draft of the game startedThe catch-phrase for Love, Lies, and MagicBook 8 in that series releasing March 1, 2024How Cat Magic the novel was the best of Lydia's books that had an existing audience for creating the first game of David's game design careerDavid's role in being an alpha reader and providing Lydia with early feedback on her writingThe Kickstarter campaign they ran to get the Cat Magic game off the groundThe important Give 90% of the time, ask 10% of the time rule with communities you are engaged inThe years of behind the scenes hard work and constantly giving and sharing with the community that built up the success seen in recent Kickstarters80% of their sales coming from direct sales versus sales from retailersStoring 15,000 copies of Lydia's books in their basementHiring a college student to help with some of the menial tasks like packaging up books for direct sale ordersThe various logistics of their shipping operationHiring a nanny to keep their kids close and at home, but allowing them the freedom to get their work done during the dayTheir five-year-old discovering capitalism, entrepreneurship, and wanting to become a part of their businessAdvice that David and Lydia would offer to other couples interested in running a business like thisAnd more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflects on the concept of building the kind of life that you want as well as the community-giving focus as an authentic way to connect and offer something of value.   Links of Interest: Lydia Sherrer's WebsiteChenoweth PressLydia Sherrer's StoreEP 312 - The Dialogue Doctor Will See You NowEP 266 - "Let's Talk Dialogue with Jeff Elkins," He Said ReflectivelyEP 157 - A Conversation with Jeff Elkins The Dialogue DoctorThe Uncollected Anthology Website Uncollected Anthology Live Author Chat (April 10, 2024 - YouTube)There Ain't No Cure For The Winter Wolf Blues 2024 The Write Stuff StoryBundle (Limited Time Offer)WMG Anthology Workshop August 2024Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and LibrariesThe Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Lydia Sherrer is an award-winning and USA Today-bestselling author of snark-filled adventures creating stories you love to love, and hate to leave. She is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus universe of books featuring several series, which have sold over half a million copies world-wide. Most recently she has released the TransDimensional Hunter series with NYT bestselling author John Ringo. Lydia subsists on liberal amounts of dark chocolate and tea, and hates sleep because it keeps her from writing (though she needs it because she has kids to wrangle). Due to the tireless efforts of her game-designer husband and her fuzzy overlords—i.e. cats—she remains sane and even occasionally remembers to leave the house. David Sherrer is a born storyteller and has been an obsessive gamer ever since he was seduced by Magic the Gathering at the tender age of fourteen. He has alternately owned a gaming store, street performed for a living, and survived eleven years in the soul crushing world of telecommunications. He lucked out by marrying a force of nature who was determined to making living off writing, and has since escaped his 9-5 to become the Marketing Director and Lead Game Designer of Chenoweth Press. His most fond achievements include being Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2006—there’s a story there, just ask him—and that time he made his entire DnD party cry at the end of a campaign. In addition to his work, he wrangles his growing family and a herd of feline supervisors, while secretly plotting how to add to the mountain of board games that he swears to his wife he actually plays.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 352 - Being The Hero of Your Own Story With No Margins Agency
Mar 22 2024
EP 352 - Being The Hero of Your Own Story With No Margins Agency
Mark interviews Katie Nelson, Mari Dietz, and Brandon Winn about No Margins Agency, which offers stock photography of underrepresented and marginalized people. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a brief personal update, and then plays a few words about this episode's sponsor. No Margins Agency offers stock photography of underrepresented and marginalized people, because everyone deserves to be the hero of their own story. In the interview, Mark, Katie, Mari, and Brandon talk about: Katie's background writing when young, then getting back into writing science fiction with queer characters later in life shortly after reading a traditionally published book that disappointed herMeeting Mari at a conference in Fort Collins, Colorado and being introduced to Superstars Writing Seminars a little laterHow Mari has wanted to write her whole life, and the way her mom used to type out her poems when she was very young and post them on cupboards and elsewhere in the houseStopping writing for a while, but then picking it up again in 2011, with a focus on writing fiction that featured plus-size peopleBrandon feeling isolated during the pandemic along with feeling like his voice and wanting to see characters that were more representative of his own experiencesBeing aghast at what was available in typical stock image sites when searching for "plus size" models for exampleThe often overlooked value of having to meet people where they're at, rather than assuming everyone is in the same place. A rising tide can only float all boats if people are in boats to begin withHow not everyone has a visible marginalization or disabilityGetting in contact with them via hello@nomarginsagency.comAllowing models to bring and wear things that they are comfortable with and to be free with who they areThe unofficial mantra of the company being "take up as much space as you want"How the galleries on their website is broken downOne of the biggest challenges is convincing people that they don't have to have the confidence or "look" of a "model" in order to model for No Margins AgencyScheduling a photoshoot when they're together in Colorado Springs in Feb 2024 at Superstars Writing SeminarsHow they are starting to do reviews of books by more diverse and marginalized authorsThe way they are managing the overhead costs by doing things like scheduling only a single photo shoot per monthThe value and importance of finding the right community that can be there for you and support youAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark shares a reflection about how this type of supportive community inspires him. He also makes an offer to listeners of the podcast (thanks to the help of those who support this podcast at patreon.com/starkreflections) with some of the services that No Margins Agency provides.   Links of Interest: No Margins Agency FacebookBlog Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins AgencyStoryGarden Summit (Virtual) - March 2024ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   No Margins Agency is a company dedicated to helping marginalized people reach their audience, tell their stories, and drive sales.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 350 - Infinite Resources with Jeff Krehmer
Mar 8 2024
EP 350 - Infinite Resources with Jeff Krehmer
Mark interviews engineer and author Jeff Krehmer about his new book Infinite Resources: How to Sustainably Develop the Arctic, by Supplying Green Hydrogen, Fresh Water, and Healthy Food to the World. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor. Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #InspireInclusion. Learn more about International Women's Day and find resources at: InternationalWomensDay.com   In the interview, Mark and Jeff talk about: Jeff's background in various disciplines, including mechanical engineering, project management, software, computer salesSitting on the vision for this current book project for more than ten years, and how having a heart attack two years ago prompted the idea that he should get that work out into the worldThe basic premise of the book in that the arctic can create a sustainable solution if we leverage it in the right way"If global warming is the problem, then shouldn't we be maximizing global cooling?"The boiling temperature of different liquids, such as propaneSome of the coldest temperatures ever recorded on earthHow the book has numerous possible target audience readers, depending on which of the world's problems they are looking to solve (or the economics they want to reap benefits from)What people can do to helpAnd more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on the fact that, in the same way that humans have had an impact on the world, and Jeff is reminding us of the positive impact we can have if we learn and we act, we have an impact on one another. This is a reminder to authors of the powerful impact that they can have with the words they write and share.   Links of Interest: Infinite Resources WebsiteJeff Krehmer on LinkedInInternational Women's DayScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Jeff Krehmer is a professional mechanical engineer and the author of “Infinite Resources.” He is president and chief engineer at Big Time Engineering Corp. During his engineering career, Jeff has worked as a salesperson, technical support technician, estimator, project manager, product designer and engineering manager. He has more than a decade of experience designing equipment for the oil and gas sector and is a Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP). Jeff has volunteered with and received awards for his volunteer work with the Canadian Ski Patrol System, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and APEGA, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 349 - Edward Willett of Shadow Paw Press
Mar 1 2024
EP 349 - Edward Willett of Shadow Paw Press
Mark interviews author, podcaster, and publisher Edward Willett about his writing, his podcast, Kickstarter campaigns, and some bold new ventures he is pursuing with his publishing company Shadow Paw Press. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount's handy all-in-one interface. In the interview, Mark and Edward talk about: The very first short story Edward wrote at the age of 11, "Caster Glaz, Hyper Ship Test Pilot"Working as a newspaper reporter for about eight years while he continued to write - Selling his first short storyMaking reference to Canadian historical figures like John Diefenbaker and The Arrogant Worms, which non-Canadians might not understand. (Thank goodness for Google)Publishing a science fiction short story "Strange Harvest" in an agricultural magazine based on his reporting of oddly shaped plants. And how that story was adapted into a nationally broadcast CBC Radio drama and might just beward's most popular short storyBecoming a full-time freelance writer more than thirty years agoThe twelve novels that Edward has released with Daw BooksThe radio broadcast work that he did for seventeen years as a freelancerWhy Edward started the Worldshapers PodcastThe anthologies Edward released that tie in with the novel as well as the Kickstarters Edward has run for themThe evolution and growth of Edward's Shadow Paw PressHow in 2024 Edward is taking on a huge number of new and innovative products, including books by notable Canadian authors like Dave Duncan and Robert J. SawyerWorking with an actual sales force and distribution network like LitDistCoThe ins and outs of grant writing and investments involved in trying to get real distributionHelping other authors with their self-publishing needsAdvice Edward has for authors thinking about being a publisher as well as for writers in generalAnd more.... Mark then reflects on the value of a publisher with actual distribution and the difference between that and what any indie author can do in digital publishing.   Links of Interest: Edward Willett (Website)Shadow Paw PressThe Worldshapers PodcastEndless Sky BooksCrowdfundr For Shadow Paw PressScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)EP 348 - Amanda Byrd on Direct Sales and AuthorsGoDirectCoast to Coast AM with George Noory (Mark featured guest on March 1, 2024/March 2, 2024) Mark's Past Appearances on Coast to Coast AM Mark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Edward Willett is an award-winning author of more than sixty books science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults. He's also host of the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers: "Conversations with science fiction and fantasy authors about the creative process." (http://www.theworldshapers.com). He successfully Kickstarted and edited a new anthology, Shapers of Worlds, featuring authors who were guests during the first year of the podcast.  Among his novels are twelve published by DAW Books, one of the premier publishers of science fiction and fantasy publishers: Lost in Translation, Marseguro (which won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author), and its sequel Terra Insegura (a finalist for the 2010 Aurora Award); Magebane (written as Lee Arthur Chane); the Masks of Aygrima fantasy trilogy for DAW Books, written as E.C. Blake; the stand-alone science fiction novel The Cityborn. His Worldshapers series began with Worldshaper ("a rollicking contemporary fantasy," Publishers' Weekly said in a starred review), and continued with Master of the World and The Moonlit World. His latest is The Tangled Stars, a humorous far-future space-opera adventure. Willett is also the author of The Shards of Excalibur modern-day YA fantasy series for Coteau Books, I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust, a collection of science fiction and fantasy poetry published by Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, and Paths to the Stars, a collection of his short fiction; Blue Fire a YA fantasy written as E.C. Blake, and Star Song, a YA science fiction novel that was a finalist for the Aurora Award for Best Canadian YA Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel, all published by Shadowpaw Press   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
EP 348 - Amanda Byrd on Direct Sales and AuthorsGoDirect
Feb 22 2024
EP 348 - Amanda Byrd on Direct Sales and AuthorsGoDirect
Mark interviews Amanda Byrd about her writing, direct sales, and the new platform she has launched called AuthorsGoDirect. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, welcomes new patrons Rob Johnson, Jennifer Brinn, and Rasana Atreya and then shares a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount's handy all-in-one interface. In the interview, Mark and Amanda talk about: How Amanda started writing non-fiction as a kind of joke back in 2015Writing in car journals since she'd spent much of her life around carsAmanda's flagship female serial killer novelsThe new series that'll feature taking different historic female public figures and turning them into serial killers - starting with Amelia EarheartDescribing her fiction as "Dexter meets American Psycho, but female"Recognizing a hole in the industry related to author newslettersComing up with BooksGoDirect.com as a direct-sales only newsletter where the author provides the coupon code and the linkThe importance of owning all the data related to your readers/customersThe ability for indie authors to add all kinds of bonus materials and direct-purchase swag related to their booksHow BooksGoDirect is currently a weekly newsletter that will eventually evolve into a daily send to readersThe concern related to what happens with your writing when you spent so much time focusing on a tool that's helpful to writersAdvice Amanda would offer to authors interested in learning more about selling directAnd more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on authors who see a gap in the market or a hole that needs to be filled and, instead of sitting back, they step up and do something about it. He also reflects on a few other things that he can't remember as he's typing up these show notes. But that happens sometimes. He can't even remember what he had for breakfast earlier today. (Does anyone even read these shownotes anyway?) Links of Interest: Amanda ByrdBooksGoDirect.comIndieAudioBookDeals.comScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link)EP 347 - Library Advocacy Support with John Chrastka of EveryLibraryMark's YouTube ChannelBuy Mark a CoffeePatreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook DirectBuy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for AuthorsAn Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & BookstoresWide for the WinMark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story)A Canadian Werewolf in New YorkStowe Away (Novella)Fear and Longing in Los AngelesFright Nights, Big CityLover's MoonHex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and AutomobilesYippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Amanda Byrd is obsessed with fictional serial killers. From Patrick Bateman to Dr. Hannibal Lecter to Dexter Morgan and every butcher in between, Amanda loves figuring out what drives fiction’s deadliest monsters. When she’s not busy writing, Amanda can be found reading, playing video games, or watching shows and movies like Mindhunter, Hannibal, and Dexter. She lives in Florida with her bloodthirsty, flesh-eating cat. BooksGoDirect is a new paid promo (think Free/Bargainbooksy or BookBub) for authors and their direct stores to reach readers who want/enjoy buying direct. Retailer links are not allowed and affiliate marketing is nonexistent. I put out all costs up-front and use the fees from authors for advertising/cost recoup (does this part matter so much? I wonder now that I put that in here lol) Readers never pay to sign up. Currently there are 6 available genres and 3 spots per genre that send out once weekly (with a resend to non-openers later in the week.) There's also a page on BooksGoDirect.com where This Week's Books can be found.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0