It is Sunday and I’ve got the day off and I intend to do some writing.

But first, let’s talk about Kindle Scout. A lot of people ask me – IS KINDLE SCOUT WORTH IT?

Well, mileage can vary, like they say in the commercials.

My book, KELPIE DREAMS, (available in audiobook later this month), won Kindle Scout back in May 2016. I got a big fat $1500 US advance, which translated to about $2000.00 up here in Canada. That’s a lot of money for this old boy. I paid some bills and even a few frills for my wife. As a direct result my local publisher matched that Kindle Scout advance on my latest regional book.

So that’s definitely worth it.

The only problem is I haven’t managed to sell off that advance yet. I have sold about a 1000 copies of KELPIE DREAMS and am still…

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HIDDEN IN THE DARK kindle ebook launch


Hidden in the Dark print cover front

Hidden in the Dark available on Amazon for $1.99

Lock the door and set the alarm, but it won’t help. Because nothing can stop Gabriel.

He stalks young women, drags them off to a secret hiding place, and viciously ends their lives.

He’s brilliant and invisible.

And his current obsession is Eastfield High School’s golden girl, Harper Flagg.

Sixteen years ago he murdered her mother and now he’s come back for her.

Harper thinks she’s prepared for anything. She’s smart, fearless, and the fastest runner on her track team. But can anyone ever be ready for Gabriel?

A dark force lurks in his cold heart, and Harper’s about to find out exactly how dangerous he really is.

“A quick-paced, complex story. I read it in two days, and I do expect a sequel, yes, I do.”

_D. A. McGuire, award winning mystery writer for Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Magazines

Cover photo by Shaun Melendy


Hidden in the Dark

Amazon chose my third novel, Hidden in the Dark, for publication. Thanks to everyone who nominated it during my 30 day Kindlescout “Campaign”. It will be available in ebook form soon. I still own the print rights and a print edition will be ready eventually, so stay tuned.

Kindlescout has been a fascinating experience. I’ve been a teacher and am now an author, never a business owner. I’ve never studied the academic subjects of business, advertising or marketing and this is interesting, and, I believe, unique.

Here’s how the whole thing worked: I submitted my never before published manuscript and filled out a form with a blurb, a tagline, an uploaded book cover image and a ton of other stuff. I also got to choose up to three genres. My book would appear, on the Kindlescout website in each designated genre area, so it would’ve been best to choose three genres. I chose one, “Mystery & Suspense”. My lack of business savvy raised its ugly head and blew me a big, fat, insulting raspberry. I signed a contract to participate in the ongoing “contest” and a contract that applied if my book was chosen for publication. Then, when my submission was accepted, the book went live on the site and my “campaign” began. There are upwards of 200 books on the site everyday. It was up to me to collect “nominations” by getting the info out there on social media sites and via mass emails. Everyday I had access to statistics regarding how my campaign was progressing. There’s a “Hot & Trending” category that the authors strive to get into. These books are the top twenty books in a twenty four hour period, the ones with the most nominations. Every participating author’s goal is to stay “Hot & Trending” for as many 24 hour periods as possible during the thirty day campaign. After the 30 days were over, the Amazon editing staff read the book. They choose which books will be published based on basically, who the hell knows what. There’s a lot of speculation on how the editors choose.

Here’s a list of possibilities:

  1. Number of days on “Hot & Trending”. I spent 302 out of a possible 720 hours in “Hot & Trending”. Not a great statistic. I accumulated 1.7 thousand views altogether. Another not great statistic. I know from my own experience and communicating with a bunch of other Kindlescout participants on an awesome message board called “Kboards” that you can drive yourself crazy checking your stats constantly and worrying about whether or not they’re good enough to get your book chosen for publication.

2. Number of over all “Views” – This could depend, in part, on where your book appears and how often it appears on the site. I guess, ideally, you want it to appear in “Hot & Trending”, of course, plus “Recently Added” – on the first day of your campaign, and then “Ending Soon” during the last three days of your campaign, and then it appears in however many genres you chose. (Reminder: I chose one, which wasn’t wise.)

3. Having a professional looking cover. Some of the authors pay cover artists to make them a cover. Some of the authors are pretty accomplished book cover designers and make their own. I’m not an accomplished book cover designer, but made my own anyway.

4. Having a great tagline. Mine was “Psychotic Killer VS 21st Century Nancy Drew”.

5. Having a great blurb. I suck at writing blurbs but tried my best.

6. After the campaign is over, the Amazon editors actually read your book and factor in whether or not they like it. Some things they might consider: Is it marketable? Will it sell? Is it a good book? Are you a good writer?

Once my campaign was over, I waited exactly one week before I got the good news. I lived about seven years of emotional agony in those seven days, but survived. The authors on Kboards were super supportive and shared eloquent expressions of their own emotional agony also. We gave each other virtual hugs and it helped.

The authors who are chosen get an advance, 50% royalties and Amazon promotes the book. The author also retains the print rights. Amazon owns the ebook, audio book and foreign language rights.

Writing is such a solitary pursuit. Sometimes I feel like I’m working away in a vacuum and no one will ever read what I’ve written. I’ll never connect with anyone. Yet I still write, everyday. Being chosen by the Amazon editors guarantees some connections. My characters will be real to someone besides me. What an honor. What a gift. Let’s see how far this takes us.

Helpful Links:;topicseen#new


I need tons of nominations to impress the “Big Guys” at Amazon.
It’s free! And I promise you won’t get any annoying emails from them, either. Anyone who has an account can do it.
So please share this. And, please nominate HIDDEN IN THE DARK.
This is the first book in a new series and I’ve entered it in an Amazon “contest” type thing called Kindlescout. I’ll find out in about a month if I’ve been chosen.
My friend Shaun Melendy took the cover photo deep in the Hockomock Swamp at the darkest hour of the night!
I’ve been working on this book for years and finally got up the nerve to send it out there. It’s about a serial killer who’s terrorizing the fictional town of “Eastfield”. I know, totally lame disguise for this place I love so much.

All I Need 2017

I heard a friend recently say, “I need to get out to the woods,” as if he were saying “I need to escape from this cage.” Well said, my friend. My sister is the same way about the ocean. I feel the same way about any remote environment, the less people, the more trees and water, the better. Someplace where no one feels entitled to judge me, to rank me, to decide where my place is in this life. But at the same time, an environment where I’m humbled. The size and endurance of the landscape reveals my true value and place, without judgment or consideration, without evaluation, by merely being there and existing, greater, more important and more lasting than I’ll ever be. The forest humbles me but inspires a sense of relief at the same time. My responsibilities are reduced to breathing, moving, surviving. I’m the only unwild thing in the wilderness. My very not belonging forces me to simplify my actions and thoughts to adapt.

Sometimes I go to the beach after everyone else has gone home, or when it’s cold or rainy. Same with the park. I like to look around and see nothing but what has tumbled or grown there: rocks, hills, mountains, brush, trees, rivers, lakes and oceans, sometimes the gift of a curious coyote or a fleeing deer. I don’t want to say hello or have a conversation. I want to walk, look around and breathe. I’m not any more or less important than what surrounds me. Until I return to civilization.


They watched. They listened. And they made it their own.

97 hatchlings.

2016 Purple Team

Run. Lift. Flap. Glide

Oceans. Fields. Swamplands. Rivers. Forests.

Predators and Weather.

Be off.

Go forth.

God speed.

Carry a piece of me with you for as long as it lasts.

You will be with me forever.

I watched someone smell a book yesterday, an old one.

And I thought

Yes. She is carrying the best part of me with her.

The ancient part.

Breathe it in.

And then tell someone else about it.

Show them.

Hold it up.

Let them try.

Book Review: Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson

Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved it. Completely enraptured by and in awe of Ms. Roberts’ writing. Her characters! Her sense of history, knowledge and insights into the aftermath of the American Revolution in Great Britain. I grew so wrapped up in this book that I wanted to commit multiple phrases to memory due to the beauty of her prose. However, I couldn’t bear to pause and do it because I needed to keep turning the pages. There were several satisfyingly complicated plot threads and the author wove them together into a satisfying resolution. I’ll be on to the next one in the series as soon as it’s available from the library.
Unlikely heroes enchant me and these two are no exception: an 18th century anatomist and the restless wife of an absent sea captain. Throw in an eccentric scientist who employs “resurrection men” when he’s in need of fresh corpses for dissection and who keeps exotic and deadly pets on his estate. This strange crew joins forces to solve a series of murders using their own version of pioneer forensic science, by necessity making things up as they go along. The answers to many questions raised by several violent deaths are revealed as the plot progresses, not at the end. So, if you’re looking for a traditional who-done-it, this book might not be your cup of tea. The relationships between several of the characters are part of the mystery and all of these loose ends are tied up during an edge-of-your-seat climax. Who will live? Who will die? Who’s innocent? Who’s guilty? Read it and find out. Instruments of Darkness

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