View From Above

Flyer

The Radio Flyer was a spacecraft
My brother would pull me along through the stars
While I soared through asteroid fields
Exploring a thousand worlds

If a Radio Flyer can be a space craft
Why can’t we go back to the way things were
When our lives were far ahead of us
And nobody worried about the best way
To settle down

In a machine driven society
That mass-produces
Predetermined lifestyles marching
To the beat of a time clock
Grating against the surface of complacency

If a Radio Flyer can be a spacecraft
Imagine what galaxies could be explored
Now that we’re older with all the years behind us
And have a much better view.

All material © M.W. Griffith 2016.
Reproduction of material on this website in any way without permission is prohibited.

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The Cold, Bending Light – Reviewed!

Readers’ Favorite recently posted a review of my newest novel: The Cold, Bending Light.  I thought I’d post it here to share their thoughts.

Reviewed By Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite
Review Rating: 5 Stars

The Cold,ColdBendingLight_CoverFinal.indd Bending Light by MW Griffith is a gripping murder mystery. Young women are disappearing, their bodies found dumped, and tests reveal that they have been injected with lethal doses of a chemical that many states use in executions – just not the state of Tennessee. Special Agent Selena Marrenger is assigned to the case and, as she edges closer to the terrify
ing truth, she stumbles over something else, something much bigger and much more sinister than a serial killer. Selena is about to find out that not everything is as it seems and sometimes complete madness is the reality. What will Selena learn in her investigation and what could be worse than the serial killer they call The Sandman?

The Cold, Bending Light by MW Griffith is one of those stories that grabs you by the throat and pulls you down into the depths. There is no letting go and this is one of the most compelling murder mysteries that I have ever read. The action starts on page one and continues through the entire book, with plenty of twists and turns that lead us down dark alleys and, sometimes, to dead ends. But every twist, every turn, has its part to play in the overall story. There are lots of clues scattered about that make you think you’ve got it, you’ve worked it out. I guarantee you won’t until the very last and this is what keeps you reading. The character development is amazing, with very realistic and identifiable characters being revealed throughout the course of the story. I guarantee that this book will go down well with all readers who love the murder mystery and thriller genres, a truly thrilling rollercoaster journey from start to finish.

Like A Surgeon

For those of you who have read The Truth About Alex, there is a few deleted scenes that never made the cut. The pace of the book was rather quick, and the scenes I mentioned would have dragged it down. They were short, to be sure, but unnecessary. Every published book, I’m willing to bet, has scenes removed from the final product. It’s a time when the author has to play surgeon, and although it can be a painful affair, it teaches you to have thick skin.  You want the story to be the best it can be for your readers, am I right?
49-old_school_surgeonIt’s hard to let go. Once you’ve written your entire book, lean back with a glass of wine and enjoy your magnificent accomplishment, the last thing on your mind is the cutting room floor. No, no, no. It’s perfect just the way it is. It’s your baby. Every scene has its place and purpose, and you may be the first person in the world who has written a perfect book! If that’s the case, you need to read my First Draft Blues for an awakening. Not to damper the mood, by all means celebrate! Just know the final product might not closely resemble what you’ve just written. Set it aside for a few months. Then, go back and read it. You may find that your perfect book isn’t so perfect, and there may be some much needed tweaking.

What about you? Have you ever had to slice away at a manuscript? How did it make you feel?

Where To Begin?

Many writers are afraid of a blank page. The white background with that beguiling curser blinking back at you, beckoning you to paint the page with words. How do you start? The first sentence of a story or book can be pivotal to a reader; a deciding factor on whether or not they will continue your tale or begin flipping through television channels. Stephen King, in his book On Writing, states that he puts a lot of effort into the first sentences of thoughthis books. That’s because a reader shouldn’t have to struggle through back story in order to discover what’s going to happen, it should just happen. Sure, characters have a past, but there’s an old saying among authors: show don’t tell. Your story’s beginning shouldn’t be a history lesson. Some like to open with dialogue while others prefer action. You hold the cards to your characters past and personality, and if you show your hand too early everything will grind to a standstill. Nobody wants that. Your story has to move, it has to put one foot in front of the other, one word after another. So, think of the situation, the engaging moment that will draw your readers’ attention, and just start walking.

Winter Project 2015 – Part Four

Atmosphere
There’s a howling wind outside. A storm is splashing rain against the windows. This kind of weather is perfect for writing, at least for me. Not sure if it’s a genre thing or not, but the gloomier the better. I’ll often accompany my session with music. Something calming, like George Winston. Solo piano music isn’t just relaxing for me, it really stirs my thoughts, and sets my creative brain into motion. What sort of atmosphere do you try to maintain while writing?
The First Forty-Eight
Today, I’m working on chapters nineteen and twenty. At this point in the story, local search parties have gathered late in the evening. Flashlights dart about in fields and wooded areas. When someone is missing, the first forty-eight hours are vitally important. Piecing together the clues in that time frame, figuring out what was happening in the person’s life in the days before, could very well be telling of what happened to them. Investigators are working on several leads in the case, and the story is beginning to branch out into a wider scope.
Character Sheets
One of the things I need to do that I’ve completely forgotten is the character sheets. You know what they are, right? Basically, just a profile of the characters. Everything from eye color, to height, to personal hobbies and interests are listed here. It’s very useful, because I cannot count how many times I have to skim back through the pages of a story trying to remember what color someone’s hair was. Sometimes, I’ll even include pictures, making it look like an official police profile, which is fun. Maybe I’ll work on that after today’s writing session.
Words On The Page
You ever hear other writers explaining how easy writing is? You know what I mean. Just keep writing until it’s finished, put those words on the page, put one word after another, etc. It makes the process sound so simple. Just sit down and hammer aimlessly on the keyboard. It’s never perfect the first time, you just need to get the story out. Don’t edit as you go. Finish writing the book first. Whatever you have to do to finish, just finish. This is really good advice, but not all authors are the same. Take me, for instance. As I’ve stated above, atmosphere is imperative to my process. Music. Quiet. I’ll usually write early in the mornings, and again in the afternoon. A tactic that coincides with my daughter’s sleeping habits, but one I wouldn’t have thought of without the monthers (more on that here).
If any of these things aren’t present during my typical writing session, chances are good that I simply won’t write. Sure, I might end up making notes, tweaking my outline, etc. But any actual writing might not happen at all.
Now, some authors may be suffering from the First Draft Blues (Here and Here), but for the most part, atmosphere is a major contributing factor to my word count success. Not that word count is the most important thing. Your session could have been only 300 words, but you wrote and that’s what’s important. They could be the best 300 words you’ve ever written! Every little success should be celebrated.
Speaking of putting words on the page, it’s time for me to get back to it!

Need a word count calculator?  Here You Go!

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3 Reasons You Should Give Indie Authors A Chance

Break Your Comfort Zones
Let’s face it, every major book store from coast to coast carries the exact same authors. Stephen King, James Patterson, Anne Rice, George R.R. Martin, etc. Believe it or not, those authors aren’t the only ones writing books! It’s true. Mind blown, right?
Book stores are a lot like Hollywood. They want to spit out dozens of books from their star authors. This doesn’t mean any of them are bad, but it does forcibly limit the reader to these authors. Sure, you can say “there’s a reason why they’re everywhere. It’s because they’re so good.” To which I can reply by saying, “Expand your horizons. You might be surprised by what you find.”

Hidden Gems
There have been some fantastic indie books out there that have really exploded. Still Alice anyone? It’s a bit rare for an indie book to reach such a high status, but that doesn’t mean they all suck just because they aren’t in the Hollywood cookie-cutter organized bookstores. I’ve read some fantastic tales from relatively unknown authors, from steampunk to horror. From science fiction, to murder mysteries. The works of Adam Dreece, J.C. Hart, Lindsay Buroker, or Leigh K. Hunt are good examples of authors I’ve enjoyed reading lately. Ever hear of them? No? Expand your horizons.
Sure, since the introduction of the KDP program, everyone and their grandmother tosses books up on Amazon and puffs out their chests saying “I am an author.” As a reader, just like when you are browsing the shelves at a brick and mortar store, I urge you to read a sample of the book you are considering. See how many books the author has published, too. If you like what you see, give that indie author a shot!

The Stars Are Not Aligned
Don’t go by the number of stars a book has on Amazon. Sure, the company has done a whole lot to limit fake reviews, but that’s not what I’m talking about. When you are browsing at the brick and mortar store, you get to make the decision yourself, without any influence, when it comes to buying a book. You read the first chapter or so, read the author’s bio, and make an educated decision based on your interest alone. Do the same thing on Amazon by disregarding the number of stars a book has (Unless it’s total rating is one star, there’s definitely something wrong).
The reason I say this is because everyone is different, everyone has their own personal opinion, and readers are the harshest of critics. I’ve seen an indie book of short stories get a one star review because the “The book didn’t flow consistently. It was just like a bunch of different stories crammed into one book.” Another indie book, written specifically for young adults, was criticized with one star. The reason? The reader said the book was just fine, but he doesn’t like to read young adult books.
Reviews are very important for the indie author because most people look at the star ratings, and if it isn’t five stars, they’ll skip right over the book.  It’s hard for the indie author to get reviews, too.  They may get one review for every 200 sales.  Why in the world would you as a reader rely solely on how many stars the book has when making your purchasing decision?
Don’t go by the stars on Amazon. You’re smart. You’re intuitive. Decide for yourself what you want to read, and you might be surprised to find a new favorite author.

Do you agree with my list? Did I leave something out? Let me know in the comments!

Winter Project 2015 – Part Three

Visualize
What is it that makes us writers? Where does it come from? The same can be asked of a painter, who visualizes scenes onto a canvas from his mind. It’s an interpretation, the original conception is always much different than the end result. It takes practice, trial and error, and repetition to get to the point where the physical creation adequately represents the artists original vision.
Throughout the planning process for my new novel, there was a strong scene that played out in my mind repeatedly. Anytime I thought about the project, this scene would jump into my head. It was a quiet one. Sunny, on an old country road. The only sounds were of wind rustling the autumn leaves, and the crunch of bicycle tires on gravel. The rider was smiling, carefree, so lost in thought that she didn’t even notice the car approaching from behind.
Interpret
That’s the way it was. When I sat down to make some notes, or even to write, I could hear the crunch of those tires, feel the crispness in the air. This scene did actually occur in the novel a couple of chapters ago. The end result wasn’t exactly what I had originally planned, mainly because the time of day was wrong for it. In fact, it wasn’t daytime at all.
It didn’t feel like the scene was totally lost in translation, though. As a matter of fact, I think it turned out better than what I visualized. It was darker, more tense than before. That’s a good thing.
Wherever that scene came from in my head, as with any scene, all I can do is try my best to interpret it with words and hope that I create a moment that you as the reader can see, or feel. For me, making the reader feel is worth every word. It’s worth celebrating. That’s why I do what I do.
The Words
Today, I’m going to be writing chapter fourteen. I’ve been sticking to my new writing routine (more on that here) and things have been going really well, word count wise. It’s nothing like the what the Monthers push out on a daily basis, but it is more than what it used to be.
Selena and Jameson have their hands full today, not only with the investigation but with the TBI and local authorities as well.
The coffee is hot. Scrivener is open. George Winston’s Midnight is playing on the radio. The weekend was long, and I’ve been feeling pretty sick. I can’t stop the words, though.
It’s time to get back to it.

Support Indie Authors!

indie2

I am an indie author. The decision wasn’t made because of failure in the traditional marketplace, or because of some sort of disdain for the Big Five. It had more to do with being in complete control of my work throughout the publishing process. Being able to choose my editor, pricing, and book length are all sound reasons that led me onto the indie path.
Marketing is a challenge. It’s also difficult when published through a publishing house. As far as they are concerned, if you aren’t Stephen King, then they aren’t likely to spend any money marketing your book.indie This may be the reason why you always see advertisements or books from the same authors all the time. If one didn’t know any better, one would assume that New York Times Bestselling authors are the only ones out there writing books.
That’s the beauty of indie authors. There are a lot of bestselling indie books on the market right now, and finding a new author can be quite exciting. I urge you to find an indie author and see what he/she has to offer. You never know. You may uncover a new favorite.
When you do, don’t forget to show your support by leaving a review.  Authors with big names and multi-million dollar contracts don’t have much of a problem getting reviews from their massive fanbase.  Indie authors, however, need all the help they can get.  I can tell you from personal experience that for every 100 sales, I might get one or two reviews.  That statistic is pretty sad, so don’t forget to show your love!

The CreateSpace Venture: Part Two

createspaceToday, I officially submitted The Truth About Alex for review on CreateSpace!  Before that happened, I adjusted the footer margins within the book to allow the page numbers a bit more breathing room, and made modifications to the Monsoon Morning sample that’s included at the end of the book.  Printing the file to PDF became less painful every time I did it, and I’m very glad that I was using PDFWriter, or else my Mac would have printed the file at 8×11, which as you all know, is NOT the planned format of my print book.
So far, CreateSpace has been less painful than I had imagined.  Upon uploading my PDF, I opted for a free CreateSpace ISBN.  This number will allow me access to a broader distribution than if I had paid for one (option two) for ten dollars.  I went with the glossy finish for the full cover, and the CreateSpace reviewer was pretty fantastic as far as previewing my final manuscript goes.  Still, I have to wait 24 hours for all of my information to process (that includes tax information) before they will give me the opportunity to order a proof copy.  The proof is essential, because I want to be able to hold the book in my hands first, and determine whether or not this is a good looking product.
In the meantime, there’s no reason for me to be sitting on my hands.  Monsoon Morning still needs a final run through before going out to my betas.  There’s work to be done, and no time for stopping.