May – from tiny idea to the book shops. What is your writing process?

Have you ever wondered how a writer begins a book? Where do they get their ideas?

Where do they find the time to write if they have a full-time job, a family and all the other stuff that goes with real life?

Do they lock themselves away in an office, roaring log fire, classical music in the background with the other half nervously knocking (don’t want to disturb the master/mistress at work)on the door with a steaming cuppa?

Or do they write at the kitchen table in between wiping snotty noses (the kids, not their own. Could be their own, I guess), with a family that thinks their ‘hobby’ would be best suited to knitting/golf/horse racing/whatever?

If you’re a fledgling writer — hey, ANY writer — check back here because this month writers will be revealing their writing process.

Do YOU want to write for WWBB? Feast your eyes on the button to the right of the screen and click on Monthly Themes for WWBB, pick your month and then let me know by contacting me via the ‘contact me’ button top left of the screen.

Stop Watching Jersey Shore!

There’s a New Sheriff in Town—Now Write

M Holak

First off, a grateful tip of the hat to Louise for inviting me to post a guest blog here. As a newly-minted Indie author, I appreciate every opportunity to market myself and build an audience. Second: my personality lends itself very well to standing on a soapbox and pushing my views and opinions on that audience. Just ask my friends and family. I’m not shy; everyone is entitled to my opinion.

I headed over to these parts to introduce myself, my works, let you to get to know me, promote my stuff, you know? But then I changed my mind.

I decided to do you all a favor and spank you.

If you’re a struggling writer, a pre-published author, or a recent self-published / Indie author, what I’m about to tell you should strike a chord. A deep one. It should leave a deep red handprint on your buttocks, Lieutenant Dan.


Tell me you haven’t said this to yourself: “I really don’t feel like writing today; what’s the point anyway? I’ll hammer away at something for days / weeks / months / years / decades on my lunch hour / train ride / midnight oil-burning session, polish the crap out of it, throw an agonized-over query letter over it, and submit it to an agent / editor / publishing house / magazine, and six months later I’ll get a polite letter thanking me for my submission, the story had promise, but it wasn’t a good fit for (whatever), blah-blah effing blah.”

Your self-imposed word-count for the day just went from one-thousand down to five-hundred, or five-hundred to two-hundred, or to . . . zero; you cracked open a beer, plopped on the couch, and dialed up last night’s episode of Jersey Shore.

I know you do this. I did it for years. For decades. I didn’t work as hard as I could at my craft, and got absolutely nowhere. What was the point? Deep inside, I thought it was hopeless. I thought I had no control over a writing career, that I was playing a literary lottery. (Oooh. I like that!)

I’m here to tell you, peeps, that those days are over. It’s a Brave New World. Nuclear winter is over—open the door and take a look. See the sun? I’m not yanking your chain. There are absolutely no excuses for the above excuses. None. There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jeff. Jeff Bezos. (I’ll give you a minute to Google him.)

In Ancient Times, the Gatekeepers guarded the, well, Gates. The Big Six publishing houses, (hereafter BS) , stood between you and your customers—the readers. BS decided what was good. They decided who would get the shelf space in bookstores. BS paid authors a tiny royalty and don’t-spend-it-all-in-one-place advances. They kept rights to works even when the print runs were over. BS kept over 50% of the price the reader forked over for your sweat, blood and tears–if you were lucky enough to win the lottery, and your chances are about the same—and be published, you got to keep maybe 15% after you paid your agent and traveled the universe signing and promoting your book on your dime

What they really did, dear colleagues, was decide what they could sell. Not what was good, not what had literary merit or what they thought readers wanted or would enjoy reading, but what BS could sell. What could make BS money. They had absolutely no interest in you, or helping you grow as a writer. You were meat to them. If you weren’t marbled just right, well . . . the metaphor breaks down here, but you get the idea.

And somewhere deep in your brainstem, you knew this. (This is why, by the way, Jersey Shore has such high ratings.)

Amazon, and the explosion of self-publishing options like Kindle Direct (KDP) and Createspace and Smashwords has changed all that. You can publish yourself. With one terrifying click of the mouse, the barriers between you and your potential readers, between anonymity and notice, vanish. Poof.

Repeat after me: There are no more gatekeepers. Readers are free to judge your work on its own merits. If you work hard at learning your craft, if tell a good story, if you edit the hell out of your stuff and edit it some more, if you learn eBook formatting and cover design (or pay someone to do it for you), write a good blurb, and upload the effer to cyberspace and market yourself, people will read your stuff.

If they like it, they’ll buy it. If readers like your product, you’ll not only be a published author, you’ll be an author with sales. (If you care about those sorts of things, that is. I do. That’s partly why I’m here. The other reason is the spanking.) You can write more works and publish them and build an audience and make some money.

So use that train ride, that lunch hour, that rainy Saturday, that restless night. Buy a case of Red Bull and a book on editing (better yet, spring for a good editor; it’s an investment) and a book on eBook publishing and learn Photoshop or marry a girl who owns Photoshop and bang out some great covers (which you by the way, have complete control over), and publish your work. Be a writer. Be an author. No one is holding you back any longer.

No BS stands between you and your potential readers. Stop reading books on writing and blogs on writing (except for this one, and mine, and maybe Joe Konrath; he’s good and I want to be like him), and write, damn it.

Luke Skywalker: Whine, whine.

Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Oh, I almost forgot, my novella, “A Fairy for Bin Laden,” about a foot-high pixie named Tinkerbelle who helps the CIA and Army track down Osama Bin Laden, is available on ( Please buy it. And my other novella, “O’Reilly’s Sacrifice,” if you like baseball fantasy stories like Field of Dreams. And my epic fantasy novel coming out in December.

I missed a dozen episodes of Jersey Shore writing this, and feel the Universe owes me some compensation.

*If you want to discuss this guest post on Twitter the hashtag is #wwbb

Novellas by Stephen M Holak 
The Fairy of Bin Laden

“Osama Bin Laden is dead, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the story: the long search, the discovery of his hideout in Pakistan, the helicopter assault on the compound, the headshot, the quick burial at sea.

What you certainly don’t know is that we brought him to ground with the help of a foot-tall fairy named Tinkerbelle.”

When Army Lieutenant Peter Durrani arrives at his new and highly-classified posting, the drone operator and linguistic expert discovers that his new assignment — “Micro Reconnaissance Interface Specialist” — means management of a very special intelligence asset for the CIA and Army: a tiny, beautiful woman whose origins are shrouded in secrecy.

Stephen M. Holak’s novella, “A Fairy for Bin Laden” is a thrilling chronicle of Peter and “Belle’s” search for the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, and their role in Seal Team Six’s heart-pounding assault on his compound in Pakistan. The tale is an exciting, sexy, humorous and occasionally profane adventure — and a magical, heartwarming love story.

Author Stephen M Holak lives, works and writes in the rural western suburbs of Philadelphia. He enjoys reading and writing science fiction and fantasy, managing teams of software engineers for a major telecommunications company, and teaches scuba diving in his infinite spare time.

O’Reilly’s Sacrifice

In 1919,the Boston Red Sox sold of one of their rising young stars to the New York Yankees. That rising star just happened to be George Herman Ruth. The Babe. The Bambino. Babe Ruth.

You may have heard of him.

After the sale, Ruth went on to star as perhaps the most famous–if not the greatest–ballplayer of all time for the hated rival Yankees, who won championship after championship, while the Red Sox labored under nine decades worth of inexplicable misfortune and frustration; many came to believe the team had fallen under a curse.

It had.


Cowboys, Firemen, Policemen, oh YES!

Another guest post on #wwbb 

Ever have one of those days where you just
can’t find something to read that really grabs you? Well I had one of those
about 12 years ago and it made me decide to write my own…couldn’t be that
hard right?….umm not quite!

See I’ve always had this thing for
Military… also Cowboys, Firemen, Policemen… any who, I was really into
military/ romantic/ suspense at the time so I sat down and wrote what would end
up being the first in my Operation series. It started with Operation Summer
Storm, followed by Operation Willow Quest, and I have just released book number
three, Operation Swift Mercy. I’m 
working on book four, Operation Avenging Angel, as we speak, so hopefully that will be out in
the next month or so.
My series is about four U.S Recon Marines
who always seem to be in the wrong place at the right time! And it’s always the
women in their lives who get them there in the first place!  Each man has his own book, and I have to tell
you, I have adored this journey these characters have taken me on. Since
starting the series I’ve fallen in love with all of them and they really have
become ‘real’ to me—it’s going to be very hard to write the end on book four!

I thought I might give you the blurbs to
the first three books and let you see for yourself what these guys get up to!

Tate Maddox is a wanted man, accused of a
crime he didn’t commit. Summer Sheldon holds the key to his freedom-for a

Her demands are simple–rescue her journalist sister from a rebel
hostage camp and she’ll hand over the evidence to clear his name. There’s just
one small catch. He has to take her with him. From the depths of a Cambodian
jungle to the tropical paradise of the Philippines, two unlikely allies are
forced to learn how to coexist or lose everything each holds dear. Together
they must expose a truth that leaves them both vulnerable to the ruthless
killer behind Tate’s nightmare. Murder, blackmail, and injustice brought them
together. Will Tate and Summer save Willow and restore Tate’s reputation in
time, or will they pay the ultimate price for honor?

Peter Delaware is a man on a mission. His
job is to save Willow Sheldon’s delectable but antagonizing butt before she
gets herself killed.

Unfortunately, she has no intention of making his job
easy. Willow Sheldon has a habit of finding trouble. As a photojournalist, her
job has often taken her to some dangerous places, but when Peter ‘Del’ Delaware
comes to her rescue, suddenly it’s no longer the hostile environment posing the
greatest threat to her safety. On the trail of an elusive weapons dealer,
Willow is determined to bring the man responsible for the nightmare of her past
to justice. If in doing so she also gets the scoop of the decade, then all the better.
From the tropics of the south pacific to the jungles of South America, these
two unlikely allies must learn to let down their defences in order to make it
out alive.

She needed help…someone brave…someone
tough…someone like a rough and ready Marine.

When Mercy D’Silva, discovered her
ex-boyfriend was behind an elaborate people smuggling movement, life as she
once knew it, ended abruptly. Finding herself on the run with no idea who to
turn to for help, her days seemed numbered. 
For Chase Maloney, everyone around him
seemed to be moving on, while he was simply marking time. When he decided to
take a short break from groomsmen duties to go fishing, the last thing he
expected to catch was a beautiful woman! 
Can they outrun a vicious killer, and hand
over the evidence to convict him, in time? Or will he find them first and
inflict swift vengeance?

Look me up on facebook if you haven’t already—I’d love to say