The Great Social Media Experiment Failure

I’ve been known to voice my opinion about my distaste for social media, and although I may rant about it from time to time, I also realize that I need it in order to reach the masses with my books. However, things are just out of control with what social media has turned into.

Remember when Facebook was first started? It was supposed to simply bring people together and allow them to get to know one another. How quickly that all changed…

No matter where you look these days (on your own page or your friends’ pages), there’s a 99.9999999 % chance you’ll find hate-filled, race-related, fear mongering, political bashing, fake news posts everywhere you look…in other words, it’s pushing people away from one another – a direct contrast to its original intent. It’s gotten so bad that you can’t even tell what the hell is real news anymore. People post, repost, and share things that simply aren’t true, yet hundreds of thousands of people believe it simply because it’s on the thing they love most in their life – Facebook.

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A few weeks ago, I posted a satirical comment about how “I would post a picture of some flowers, but I thought it would just turn into a hate-filled and racist thread”. While the sole purpose of the comment was meant to be comical and get a laugh out of people, there was actually quite a bit of truth to my statement. Everything nowadays seems to inevitably lead down the path of destruction and mayhem where people are at each other’s throats simply over a matter of a difference of opinion. And if you disagree with someone else’s opinion, you’re automatically branded as a racist or bully for speaking out against them.

To those people, I say get over it…

Social media has turned us into a society where butthurt feelings are the norm and, should you dare to have a conflicting opinion on a topic, you’d better be prepared to be trolled beyond all holy hell from everyone who disagrees with you. Someone with enough “friends” can gather up the masses and pile a load of shit onto you like you wouldn’t believe, and it makes their worthless, pathetic lives seem just a bit more meaningful while they tear you down for having your own beliefs and opinions.

I recently made a few comments on a friend’s thread after he posted a picture about our basic rights as Americans. My comments were not malicious in any way, but rather my own opinion on the topic and to try to shed light on a different viewpoint of the issue. This was, of course, met with some resistance by people who thought they were an expert on the topic, and very quickly the overall tone of the thread had lost its meaning and was now a back and forth session of people arguing for the sake of arguing. While it didn’t get as bad as some threads, the conversation did make its way to the issue of race and bullying (which I was accused of).

Of course, it pissed me off, but I was more upset about the closed-mindedness of certain individuals who can’t seem to grasp the concept that maybe – just maybe – their opinion might not be the only one that matters…and that’s where social media has turned society against one another. People think because they have the platform to say whatever they want, that it means they should simply do just that.

News flash….no it doesn’t.

I’m all for free speech, but I’m more for intelligent speech. If you’re going to blatantly post something that isn’t true or is misleading in any way, expect to be called out on it. Everywhere you look, you see fake pictures and articles trying to bait people into hate-filled discussions and tirades. I’m more than okay with voicing my opinion to people about how wrong they are for doing so, but that doesn’t make me a bully. It makes me more intelligent.

Do some research next time before posting or sharing a picture of a Trump rally that never happened (and was actually a picture of a different city and was an NBA championship parade).

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This picture was actually spread across the internet claiming to be a realistic photo…and millions ate it up and believed it was real. Before trying to incite a Facebook riot, make sure you know the cause you’re fighting for…because there just might not be any cause there at all.

Don’t get me wrong, social media has allowed many people, including myself, to reunite with long lost friends and make some new ones who have since become fans of my books, but the basic premise of social media is long gone…and unless people start to self-police themselves about what they do, what they share, and how they act toward one another, it’s only going to get worse.

Here’s a challenge…turn off Facebook for one whole day and get your news from reliable sources (not FOX, of course), and come back 24 hours later. I guarantee we’ll all still be there, but I can also guarantee that you’ll add about ten more years to your life by removing the nonsensical stress related to Facebook and all that it entails…

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

 

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The Final Push To Finish Writing My Next Novel…

Life can suck sometimes, right? Always getting in the way of me finishing up my third novel with travel plans, school, parenting, and other stuff. But, having said all that, all those things are just excuses, I suppose.

Over the past few weeks and months, I’ve received some inquiries from fans (yes, I have those) about when the next installment in the NESA series would be available. I’ve fallen behind just slightly with the scheduled release date for my third novel, Blood Dawn. And while I had hoped to have it finished by this point, the aforementioned activities (along with my own procrastination) have put off publishing for at least another three to four months. I’m close to having it finished, but then comes the test readers’ feedback and the always time-consuming editing. This book is a little more intricate in plot than my previous two novels, so I want to make sure all the dots connect and I don’t make myself look like too much of a fool when talking about nuclear war (especially now since I’m sure everyone is a Facebook expert on nuclear war with all the things going on in the world).

And not to get too far ahead of myself, but I also have the plot mapped out for my fourth novel, so hopefully I can dive right into that once the third one is in the hands of those who would like to read it. On a side note, I’m always looking for more test readers (I have some great ones already, but it can’t hurt to have more eyes on it), so if you would like to take part in this and get to read the book before it even comes out, please message me and let me know. This isn’t an editing task, but rather just a read-through to make sure everything lines up and there’s no major gaps in the plotline and other stuff. I can explain more if you’re interested. And if you haven’t read the first two novels, you can check them out by clicking on the links below to get ready for the release of Blood Dawn.

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So, fear not…Sean Mercer, Pat Vigil, a certain character named Ike (for those of you who read one of my friends and fellow blogger’s books or site), and the rest of the NESA team will be back to their shenanigans shortly, and oh yea, saving the world too.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

 

Character Writing In A Series

As I take a break from reading and writing my own book, it occurred to me that I go into quite a bit of detail about my main characters. Now, it’s not uncommon to give visual imagery and descriptive background information about focal characters, but this is my third novel, so it got me to thinking…

Each of my books contains the same group of main characters, and while it’s not a series in the sense of one book leads into the other, the books are all intertwined in some small way. They can all stand alone on their own and you don’t need to read one to know what’s going on in another, but there are some nuances and instances where I put little stuff in each one that you might only get if you’ve read them all.

My characters, on the other hand, remain the same throughout. Each book is a new adventure with a new set of bad guys to take down.

Having said that, I spend quite a bit of time describing these central players, complete with visual descriptions and background information, but I’m curious to hear what others think about this when it comes to their own books. If you write a series, do you feel the need to describe each character in every new book, or do you rely on the reader to read every book in the series and already know who they are reading about?

For me, I like to get into the details of my main characters. If someone picks up my second novel, Whispering Death, and that’s the first book they’ve read from me, I want them to be able to visualize Mercer and Vigil, along with the rest of the NESA crew. But, for those who have read all my books, do they feel like I’m being repetitive when I describe each person again and again? These are things I think about.

As mentioned, I write each of my books so that they can stand alone, but obviously I would prefer if everyone read them in order. I don’t want to write a typical series where you need to read from book one all the way through to know what’s going on. That style of writing doesn’t suit my personality, but I guess my books are considered a series since the same core of characters are in each one. I only question if I’m wasting words on my laptop as I write each new book.

I personally don’t view it this way, but I wonder if my readers do. Maybe they already know all of Mercer’s details and don’t need to be reminded, but then again, if I don’t describe him in each book and I get a first-time reader who picks up my second book, they might feel a little disconnected from the character.

For my author friends who write series (or have the same characters in multiple books), how do you approach the character description process? I figure until I’m as big as J.K. Rowling, the best way to get my characters known is to drill it into the heads of my readers – without making it seem like I’m trying to drill it into their heads.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

 

The Not-so All Star Game

The midseason classic is upon us, and I feel like it’s time for a little rant…

I love baseball. I’ve watched it as far back as I can remember, with some of my greatest childhood memories being those of watching games with my grandfather as he explained the game to me in ways no other person could. He would rattle off stats about players that no one could have known, except through a love of the game of his own. This was way before stats popped up on your tv every three seconds, and he knew everything about almost every player. This is where my love of baseball was born.

I’ve stuck through the steroid and strike eras, and even though these things have put a sour taste in my mouth, it’s still a sport that draws me back in every time. Having said that, there’s still one thing I can’t stand about the game (or any professional sport, for that matter) – the All-Star Game.

The game simply means nothing. I won’t even get started on the NBA, NHL, or NFL versions, but MLB has really got to drastically alter this event, and by drastic, I mean no game should be played. Sure, it’s fun to watch some of our favorite players go head to head in the same game, but it’s become nothing more than an American Idol episode, meaning it’s simply a popularity contest where the best players don’t necessarily get voted in.

Case in point – you all know me as a HUGE Red Sox fan, and as much as I’d love to see all Sox players make the roster, I would rather they make it on their own merits, or statistics. I won’t vote for all Sox players, because I want to see the best statistical players get their chance. Sure, the fans want to see who they want to see, but it’s too easy to pile on votes for hometown players to get in. As much as I hate the Yankees, however, I cannot and will not deny Aaron Judge as being the greatest player in the game this year. But in the case of my own beloved team, I have to wonder how Mike Moustakas beat out Xander Bogaerts for the final “fan vote”.

A simple internet search will show that Xander has Moustakas beat in virtually every category this season, so why shouldn’t he be on the team showcasing his talents? Perhaps it’s a distaste of the Red Sox, or maybe it’s another reason, but as good as Moustakas might be, Xander is clearly the better player this year by a considerable amount, and the All-Star game should be reserved for the players with the best stats.

Now, I’m not naïve. I know that’s not how it works, but maybe it should work that way. Or I say again…don’t play the game at all.

Last night’s Home Run Derby showed why the mid-season break is so special. The power on display left me in awe, (not to mention that perfectly timed lightning strike in the background as the ball sailed into oblivion), and the battles between each pair were as fun to watch as anything I can remember in recent years. I was literally cheering and clapping in my living room – and yes, even for that dreaded Yankee Aaron Judge. Why? Because it was fun to watch and I’m a fan of the game, not just the Sox. The whole weekend should be comprised of events like that. Pitchers should have targets set up at home plate that they try to break (similar to the NHL skills competition), and infielders and outfielders should have an event where they try to throw a ball into a bucket from a great distance away. Sure, I’m just grasping here, but it would be more fun to watch than the game that means nothing.

The All-Star/Celebrity softball game last night was even fun to watch. I’m not saying the major leaguers should play softball, but I’m sure there’s enough brain power in the MLB front office to come up with four to five hours of events that can be entertaining to fans. This whole stupid notion of whichever side wins gets home field advantage sickens me. I’m not a true believer that home field advantage means a whole lot, but why should a team that busted their ass all year lose that advantage because of a meaningless July game? Plus, how much cooler would it have been last year if the Cubs won game 7 at Wrigley?

Perhaps MLB should make it a standard that, by the break, the top three best statistical players at each position make the All-Star game. Then, we get the best players no matter what. The fans can then get a few votes to get other players in, but at least it will be the best players making the roster. Popular doesn’t have the same meaning as All-Star. I’m not interested in seeing someone make the team because they live in a bigger market than others. If MLB really wants this game to mean something, then it should be on the players to perform their way into the game on their own.

Or then again…maybe my friend Tim and I can propose an epic whiffle ball duel between the pros. I know I’d watch that!

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

 

Easy Reading Is Damn Hard Writing

In recent years, the publishing industry has changed dramatically. Authors are now afforded the luxury of self-publishing across various platforms, and this seems to be the route most seldom taken by writers today. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know I’m very opinionated on both sides of the fence about this. However, until one of my many submission requests gets accepted and I have representation for my books, I myself fall into the category of a “self-published” author, and that’s just fine by me.

I recently went through a name-changing rebranding nightmare (term used loosely), and I had to resubmit my updated manuscripts to Amazon and other platforms the books are on. This was good for two reasons – first, I needed to update the book covers so my name change would accurately reflect my last name, and second, it gave me a chance to resubmit the interior as well. I needed to alter the interior anyway since my name was listed in there too, but it also allowed me to update the book contents and make other revisions in regards to grammar, punctuation, etc.

My editor is pretty good at what she does (of course I’m biased), but even she is human and misses something from time to time. I found one or two small things in my first novel, so I adjusted them and resubmitted the files with the new revisions. Upon doing this, I decided to take a quick glance at my second novel, where I once again found some minor adjustments that could be made. This got me to thinking…

Now, bear in mind, I have no intention of resubmitting my files every time I notice something I think could be adjusted to make it better, but on the other hand, why shouldn’t I do just that if the book will be better as a result?

I consider myself a perfectionist when it comes to my books, and although I know my books aren’t perfect, I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading and re-reading during the editing process. I typically read the book through about three or four times (yes, that many times) after I get it back from my test readers, who also catch things that they mention to me. Then I send it off to my editor, where the real work begins. After I get it back from her, I read it another three or four times to make sure nothing gets missed. But, ultimately, something always does get missed no matter how many times it gets looked over.

Being a self-published author means I can change anything about my books whenever I see fit to do so. I’ve probably resubmitted my files about eight times each for my first two novels, but when does enough become enough? The answer to that question may be “never”.

Until I hit that magical jackpot and land with a major publisher (fingers crossed), I’m afforded a luxury ‘big-time’ authors aren’t privy to… I can continue to make my book better. Once Clive Cussler publishes a new novel, do you think he reads through the books and says, “Hey, I just noticed there were no quotation marks at the end of Dirk Pitt’s sentence”?

No, he doesn’t, because it’s a logistical nightmare for the publishing company and other printing issues.

And just in case you weren’t aware, even best-selling authors like Cussler, Clancy, and Patterson all have glaring mistakes in their books, so it’s not just a self-publishing dilemma. But those of us who self-publish have the opportunity to do something about it…so why aren’t more of us taking advantage of that?

One of my pet peeves about self-publishing is that anyone can do it, and it seems like nowadays almost everyone does. It’s not that I have an issue with someone wanting to publish a book, but I do take exception to the fact that a large portion of them are put out with no editing whatsoever, which, by my own admission, I probably spend too much time thinking about. I take great pride in trying to put out the best possible product I can, and if this means resubmitting my book files every time I see a comma missing or a run-on sentence that could be shortened, I’m going to take the opportunity to do so.

Am I being to anal about my books? Or am I justified in my own little way for trying to ensure I offer the best book available to my readers? Do any authors reading this ever notice things that could be changed, and do you change them, or are you content with the book that’s already out there and you see no need to change it after the fact of being published?

Creating an enjoyable novel for readers is the goal of every author, but in the words of Nathaniel Hawthorne… “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

 

Updated Status For My Blog Name Change

A friend and follower of mine recently brought it to my attention that she didn’t realize I changed the name of my blog from Chris Tucker to Chris DiBella. This also made me realize I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone on here, so I’m sure this caused some confusion when my posts started appearing in their feed.

As some of you may have noticed by this point, I’ve changed the name of my page to reflect my actual last name. Long story, but I’ve recently had my last name legally changed back to my original family name of DiBella. I will be writing under this name as I move forward with my novels and blogs, but I will continue writing under Chris Tucker for my zombie/horror novels (unless I decide to change that as well). I have reissued my first two NESA novels under my new (old) last name.

Sound confusing? It’s all good. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly. Thank you everyone for the support.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

It seems nowadays everyone is a “published” author. With the introduction of self-publishing, everyone is afforded the luxury of being able to release a book to the world that they have written. With the rare exception, it would appear the days of signing on with big box publishers are slowly dwindling away into obscurity.

While this isn’t necessarily all bad, there still needs to be some creativity and freshness to the books and storylines we are choosing to release. I mean, how many times can someone write the same old story about a husband seeking revenge for his murdered wife? Or the always predictable romance/erotica novel? Or that action/adventure book with the same plotline as the thousands of others out there?

I, myself, am a part of that last group, as I write a series of my own. While it’s not a series in the true sense, meaning you don’t have to read them in chronological order to get the gist of what’s going on, I do have the same main characters in each book. The action/adventure genre is a widely popular one, so it is a little trickier to come up with plausible, yet entertaining, plotlines. But still, there needs to be some creativity and freshness with those ideas.

I write what I like to call “somewhat historical fiction”. I take an historical account of something and then turn it into something fictional. My first book, Lost Voyage, for example, is based on an account of the Ship of Gold, an eighteenth century steamship which sank off the coast of the Carolinas in 1857. Upon reading about this ship, my “what-if” radar started going off. What if there was another ship no one knew about that was carrying overhaul from the first ship? What if that ship also sank? And since no one knew about it in the first place, what would happen if that second ship resurfaced 150 years later? And what if that ship turned into a battle of life and death for two sides?

These are all things that go through my head when I read things. I’m always planning the next great adventure in my own mind. My second book, Whispering Death, is the same in that regard. I took an actual historical event and turned it into a somewhat fictional tale, while still trying to maintain the integrity of the account I based it on. And that train of thought will be the same for the next twenty (or more) books in this series.

From there, it’s a whirlwind rollercoaster ride of ideas, twists, and turns to write the complete book. My inspiration at that point comes from my main characters, who I base on real people in my life. Having a closer connection to the story allows me to write more freely without having to create a thousand new worlds or personalities. Believe me, if you knew some of these people who are characters in my book, you would understand why I call them “characters”.

My inspiration also comes from hours of research on a topic. Since I use actual historical accounts, I spend an exorbitant amount of time learning about eighteenth century steamships and World War Two bombers. I do this because I want to maintain a sense of realism even though I’m creating something fictional. I feel that if my reader can connect to the story on a more personal level, then they will keep coming back for more of those fresh and creative ideas in the next book. Plus, I get to look a little smarter when someone brings up the topic of steamships…

Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you come up with ideas for your stories and characters?

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

4 Tips To Improve Your Blog Writing

We all could spend a little more time reflecting on our writing and which areas we want to improve upon. No matter how perfect we think we are, there is at least one writing weakness that could be worked on.

  1. Keep it simple.

It’s been studied that long form content tends to perform better than short form content. The exception to that, however, is long form content that seems never-ending thanks to the use of too many words and “fluff” content.

When writing blog posts, the point is to get to the point.

If you have enough value-packed information to generate a 1,000-word post, then go for it, but if only 300 to 500 words are relevant to what you are trying to convey, show some restraint and limit your post to an appropriate word count. This will not only make your blog post pop more, it will appease your readers when it comes to knowing they can count on you to tell them what they wanted to know, without the incessant rambling about things that have nothing to do with the original article. With blog posts, it’s not about word count…it’s about content quality.

  1. Proofread, then proofread again, and then proofread even more.

This cannot be stressed enough. No matter how good you think your grammar and spelling are, your first draft is always a rough draft. Even some of the greats like Clive Cussler, James Patterson, and even Tim Baker, should go back and re-read time and time again (okay, well maybe the first two have big publishing agencies to do that for them, but I know for a fact that last guy does it repeatedly on his own).

Whenever you finish a post, get up and take a quick mental break. Take your eyes off the computer screen and go focus on something else, then when you’ve allowed your mind to clear, you can revisit the post to proofread it. This will improve your editing abilities tremendously – or at least one can only hope. It’s not easy for us to catch our own mistakes, but would you rather post something you spent a little time on revising and editing to make better, or would you rather post an article with a bunch of misspelled words and grammatical errors?

Contrary to popular belief, spellcheck doesn’t catch everything. Be your own spellchecker. Now, please feel free to rip apart this post for any grammatical errors.

  1. Eliminate distractions.

Even as I write this, I’m trying to keep my 8-month-old corralled. I get it, it’s not easy to eliminate every distraction, but you can shut off the television and live without Facebook or Twitter for half an hour (trust me, your internet “friends” aren’t going to miss you that much. You have to ask yourself what’s more important – putting out quality content to share with your readers, or checking Facebook every three minutes to see what nonsensical garbage is being posted that has no bearing on your life whatsoever.

Do a mental turnoff of everything for just a short time. Your writing will be better as a result, and your readers will reap the benefits of the thoughtfulness put into the article.

  1. Try to read more.

I’m guilty of not following this one more, but I do try to read blog posts and books more and more. It helps to not only become informed about other topics, but it also keeps your mind fresh and alert. I don’t believe a writer who doesn’t read can’t be a good writer, but I do believe a writer who reads is able to expand their wealth of knowledge by visualizing the world from the point of view of others.

Your vocabulary will expand and you may even become more fluent with your own grammatical content after seeing the way others use it. More importantly, you’ll learn how not to use grammar and spelling as well. Reading also allows you to get new inspiration and ideas that you may never even have thought about in the first place. Read blogs and books that are in the genre that you like, but also try to venture into new realms in order to keep your own mind learning continuously.

 

There are no two ways to write that work for everyone. Take the bits and pieces of advice from this article (or any others you read) and use them to your advantage. If some of the tips don’t work for you, then don’t use them. One thing is for sure, though…if you don’t at least try to improve your writing, you’ll never have to worry about reaching a larger reading audience, because they simply won’t be there to begin with.

As always, thank for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Making The Case For “Inside Jokes” In Your Books

As authors, we all write for a reason. That reason may differ from person to person, but we all have the common bond that we want to share our words with others.

For me personally, I write because I think I’m a good storyteller who can paint a picture with my words, and I like to try and convey those images into the minds of others in hopes that they find my books enjoyable. Some do…some don’t. I would love to become a best-selling author who does nothing but come up with my next book’s plotline while sipping Mai Tai’s on a beach, but for now, I’ll just settle for the fact that more than a few people are enjoying my creations.

For some of you who have read my books, you know that they contain several personal touches contained within the pages. I like to use characters based on actual people I know, such as one of my main characters, Pat Vigil, my best friend who passed away a few years back, and a certain someone named Tim Baker-something-or-other, a person who has had a major influence on my life since childhood. But, I also like to add stories in my books involving those people. This serves a dual purpose – first, I’m able to create some dialogue for my characters, and second, I’m able to share more of myself within the content – even if only a few people who read it will make the correlation to what I’m writing.

Some would say that it makes no sense to have “inside jokes” that only a few people will get and that it just takes up space on the page, but I completely disagree with that train of thought. As an author, it’s my job to tell a story. Sometimes those stories take on a life of their own while I jot them down, such as when I’m writing my inside jokes. In the case of Pat Vigil, the way I write him in the book is exactly how he was in real life – a smart-mouthed goofball who was the best friend in the world. I like to incorporate things that he and I did together into my stories. I don’t like to think of it as page-filler, but more of an homage to people who mean something to me on a personal level.

In the case of Tim Baker-something-or-other (some of you on here know him, so I’m trying to conceal his name just a bit – yea I know I failed), he and I have shared many funny memories which I think make great conversation pieces, so I incorporate them into my books for others to share along with too. Maybe he’ll be the only one to fully get the joke, but people who know him will also get it, so I’m at least connecting with some of my readers on a more personal level.

Here’s an example from my upcoming novel. For those of you who know this “Tim” guy, you’ll know he has an abnormal fascination with the movie Jaws. And for those of you who have seen our back-and-forth banters on his Facebook page regarding this movie, you’ll also know I like to give him crap about this. So, here is one of those little inside joke instances…

 

Tim walked into the room, in the middle of what appeared to be a heated debate taking place between Mercer and Vigil.

“What are you two jabbering about?” he asked.

Vigil answered, “We were just discussing some of the best shark movies of all time. Apparently, a few of mine don’t even make this bozo’s list.”

Tim smiled, knowing Mercer would agree with his next statement.

“In the annals of history, there’s only one shark movie that can hold its weight in water, no pun intended.”

“Oh, I know what it is,” Mercer proclaimed, taking a friendly jab at his friend with an inside joke. “It’s Sharkna…”

“Don’t you dare say it,” Tim good-humoredly interjected.

Recognizing the partial name of the movie just mentioned, Vigil responded, “Whoa, wait a minute. How does that movie not make the top three for either of you?”

Tim let out a hearty laugh before replying.

“That comment alone tells me all I need to know about you. That movie shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Jaws.”

“Jaws?” Vigil replied. “It was alright, but it’s like forty years old.”

“Alright,” Mercer stated with a laugh. “Let’s move onto another subject before someone gets slapped.”

 

This snippet serves to create some banter between characters, but it also lets me share parts of my life with my readers. Sure, it’s an inside joke between Tim and I, but it’s also just a funny little back and forth between friends in the book. You don’t need to personally know us all to fully get the joke, but you also don’t need a deciphering manual to enjoy the story.

This is where some authors get lost with adding these sorts of references. This particular dialogue has nothing to do with the story itself, but it serves as a comedic moment where I’m able to show the bond of my characters.

Do I think this story is hilarious? Of course, I do…but I guess I’ll leave it up to my readers as to whether or not they find it enjoyable as well. And for the record, I personally believe Tim is a HUGE closeted Sharknado fan…

You can read the rest of the story in my upcoming third novel, Blood Dawn, scheduled to be released later in 2017. For now, you can get caught up on the first two installments in the NESA series by CLICKING HERE

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

The Great (or lack, thereof) Social Media Experiment

A lot of my opinions aren’t among the most popular, and that’s okay. I’d rather speak my mind (hopefully it comes across tactfully) than follow the herd and go along with what I consider to be the status quo.

I’ve recently been conducting my own little social media experiment. And while the results aren’t shocking (to me, at least), they are doing wonders for my ego when it comes to proving the point I’m trying to make. I post a lot of comments about how society is being dumbed down on a daily basis. The evidence is all around us. And the biggest culprit of this massive crumbling?…Social Media…

For example…I recently lost a few hundred Twitter followers over the course of one night (482 in just under six hours to be exact). My crime? Unfollowing them. Nothing more.

Now, in all fairness, I sometimes say or post something that doesn’t sit well with someone, and I suppose I can understand someone unfollowing me for those reasons, but my number of Twitter followers hadn’t changed in several weeks. As soon as I unfollowed about 1,600 people, the proverbial claws came out and I suddenly lost a bunch of followers because people can’t handle the social media rejection of not being followed themselves.

We’ve become a society that is so enamored with what other people think of us and how many people want to “follow” us, that our obsession with this desire overtakes any rational thinking. We’re so concerned that thousands of people might actually miss out on every single thing we do in a day, that we post every little thing we do throughout the day, just in the hopes that someone will see and “like” it. I purposely unfollowed those 1,600 people on Twitter for my little experiment. Why? Because I wanted to prove my point. And oh did I…

We’ve become a bunch of butt-hurt crybabies, just like the ones we tell our own kids to steer clear from. When your kid comes home and says, “Mom (or dad), this kid at school always whines about every little thing and all he cares about is being popular.”

What is usually your response to this? Well, I’ll tell you mine… I tell my kids to stop hanging around that kid and find a new friend that doesn’t complain so much and who doesn’t care about racking up a large amount of friends just because he wants to be popular. We tell our kids that there is more to life than being popular. But then we get on social media to see how many “likes” our stupid little memes have gotten in the past ten minutes, or how many friend requests we have from people we don’t even know. We’ve become a society that only cares about being popular – and it sucks.

So, the next time you tell your kid to go find a new friend because of how their current one acts and that there’s much more to life than being popular, take a look in the mirror and swing that judgmental pendulum back around at yourself for a few seconds. If you don’t like what you see, make a change and do something about it. I did.

As an author who is trying to build up my brand and spread the word about my books, of course I need social media. I’m not naive. I know I need a bunch of followers if I’m going to reach the masses eventually, but at what cost does this all come? If I don’t follow you, does it mean my books are lesser in quality? On the flip side, if I do follow you, does that make my books better to you because you feel you have a connection to me because I follow you too? Both questions can be answered with a yes, but only because this is what we’ve become.

Do I want a million followers? Hell yes. I’d be lying if I said anything less, but does that mean I have to follow a million people of my own in order for that to happen? I’m not one to play by society’s rules. There’s a saying – you can’t win the game if you don’t play the game – but I’m not willing to play it like that. Maybe I’m wrong (it’s happened once or twice in my lifetime), but I don’t see the need to get caught up in what I consider to be the downfall of society.

I look at it this way…Would Stephen King, Clive Cussler, or James Patterson be as popular as they are if they had started writing books in the past five years? Absolutely not. Their writing ability and talent would still be there, but I wonder how they would fare with their sales as newly published authors if they chose not to get onto social media and follow a bunch of people simply because it’s what society says you must do in order to reach a certain level of “achievement”.

Social media is a double-edged sword. I hate it, but I need it. Finding the delicate balance between the two is becoming more difficult by the day. I’ll probably go back and re-follow some of those people I unclicked. I didn’t mean to delete everyone necessarily, but I don’t need to see thousands of little cat pictures cluttering up my feed from people I’m not interested in. If I unfollowed anyone here, please let me know and I’ll remedy that. I don’t mind following people I have a genuine interest in. That is what social media was supposed to be about in the first place. We’ve just turned it into what it has become today.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!