Sunday, July 7, 2019


And we're back for the 48th installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… WOW. 48 of these things. Who woulda thunk it? You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... hereIt's been quite a while since the last time I did one of these so let's dive right in, shall we?

Q: What was the biggest writing obstacle or setback you overcame in 2019?

Familial obligations.

Q: How successful was your first novel?

Evil Ways did so-so, sales wise when it premiered. However, I consider it very successful in terms of opening doors at other publishers where I started to get paying work. Plus, over the twelve years it's been in print, it's had sales each year.

Q: If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

Running in Quicksand.

Click to

Q: What is your motivation when it comes to writing.

I am motivated to tell the best story I can, to do justice to the characters I'm writing, and meet deadlines. Writing is my job so I have to treat it like one so sales and audience is also a consideration. I have to know who I am writing for, first of all, myself, and secondly, the target audience.

Q: What Holiday gift would you like to give to yourself this year to help make your author life even better? A new computer? A bank account balance just for conferences and workshops? Cash for research travel? What would make you giddy with Holiday joy?

Cash to live on so I could write without worrying about not having enough cash to live on would be pretty cool.

Q: How often do you talk to other writers?

Frequently. We have a lot of great conversations.

Q: Do you like your family to read your stories?

No. I wish they would.

Q: What motivates you to buy a book?

The author, the synopsis off the back cover, sometimes reading the first page, the cover.

Q: If you were to give a book as a holiday gift, which book would it be, and why? (This doesn't necessarily have to be one of your books, it can be a book by any author.)

I don’t know. I’m not good at this sort of thing. I find myself rather disappointed when I get books as gifts because it’s something I already have or something I have no real interest in. Because of that, I rarely give books unless I know it’s something the person wants. Usually, I go the gift card route and let them pick their own books. I never give my own books. Despite the cost and work involved, it always ends in the other person looking at you like you cheaped out on their gift.


It is rather cliche. Your audience will probably hate it. Then again, who is to say that you aren't the writer to make it work. If you attempt it, you better make darn sure you nail the landing or your audience will tear you apart if they feel cheated.

Q: What is a bad piece of advice someone has given you about writing?

Write to fit a popular trend. This is never a good idea.

Q: Does it bother you that readers don't spot the Easter Eggs you drop in your stories/novels or are they there purely to amuse you?

Nope. It doesn’t bother me if they don’t get the Easter Eggs in my stories. I mainly put them in for my amusement. If the reader gets it, great. If not, that’s okay too. Not getting the references will not hurt the story at all.

Q:  Besides writer's block or not having time to write, what other challenges as a writer do you face during the writing process?

Distractions, interruptions, and the internet.

Q: With audio books created of your work, are you picky about the way certain words are spoken by the talent? Things like EEEther or IIIther for the word either?

I have only had to ask for one or two words to be changed. My narrators have been fantastic.

Q: Today I'm totally inspired to do research, to investigate and uncover things that can blast my current WIP into overdrive! No guilt at all! Only excitement and curiosity, Does this ever happen to you?

Sure. I love going down the research rabbit hole. You can learn a lot that may also spark future story ideas.

Q: What do you write BESIDES your current work in progress? FB posts? Press releases? Blog entries? Articles? Grocery lists? To do lists? Marketing elements? What's keeping your fingers and mind nimble?

All of the above. Writing promotional copy, corresponding on social media, reaching out to bloggers, reporters, podcasters, and the like for interviews/reviews, answering questions, etc. It seems like I'm always writing something.

Q: What's the most annoying "eye-roll" writing advice you've ever received or read?

A publisher once told me that no book should ever have a big title on the cover. I asked if he had ever been inside a bookstore. Someone else once told me I should write whatever's popular at the moment. Big eye roll.

Q:  Is it better to type novel on Pc or write it on papers

It depends. Do you prefer to write on PC or on paper? Eventually, it will have to be typed for a publisher, but no reason you can't write the first draft longhand if you prefer.

Q:  Do you feel you SHOULD represent your homeland/culture in your FICTION writing? Or nah.

I try to represent the homeland/culture of all of the characters I write, whether they are the same as mine or not. I want my characters to feel as real as possible.

Q: What were some of the very first indie comics you read and loved?

Jon Sable: Freelance, The Maze Agency, AmeriComics, and DNAgents.

Q: How you can get your books into public libraries?

Donating them is almost the only way for small press or self-published books to get into libraries.

Q: What is your absolute FAVORITE part of an author's/writer's life? The part that keeps you going, and creating, and smiling!

I love the creating part, that bit where the story just flows out of you like a thing alive. I also love meeting fans and readers (it still feels weird knowing I have those) and talking about books. That's fun for me.

Q: What is your protagonist's life like at the beginning of your story?

Hunter Houston is living life fat and happy at the beginning of his stories, but then shit gets weird pretty fast.

Q:  What do you try to do to silence your internal editor's pessimistic nagging?

A gag helps. Ha! I try to turn that part of the brain off when writing. It's not easy though. Sometimes I just have to tune out the internal nagging.

Q: What makes a holiday story work?

For me, the holiday needs to be part of the story. Is it the reason the characters are where they are? You can’t just say, “it’s Christmas” once and never mention it again. It has to have a presence. To use the Die Hard example, Christmas is why he’s in California. A Christmas party is why they are all staying late in the building. There’s Christmas music throughout the film. The party is mentioned and viewed often as are Christmas decorations. Christmas is part of the story.

Q: Are any of your books made into audio books? Are you happy with the product and sales results? Are you considering audio books as an option for your books?

Some of the stories I’ve done for publishers have been made into audio books. It is really cool to hear your story being performed. One of my goals for BEN Books in 2019 is to get those books into audio format. We're making good progress as you can see HERE.

Q:  What was the last thing you researched for your story?

I researched Stone Mountain State Park, located here in Georgia. I needed some historical context.

Q:  Do you outline a novel? See I started writing a novella set in our world with a haunted house but then the story went into another dimension in a weird Yellow Submarine but darker realm. I am thinking of going back and outlining to stay on focus. What would you do?

Oh, God no. I can't outline. I tried it and it didn't work for me. When I do an outline, i find myself bored when it comes to writing the book because I feel like I've already written it. Half the fun for me is seeing where the characters take me. An outline gets in the way of that for me. I have a plot and I know the big milestones/benchmarks I need to hit. I start at the beginning and push my characters toward that first benchmark and see how they get me there. Sometimes, we veer way off course, but most of the time, the results are better than my original idea.

Q:  If this was your last day to ever write, what would be the last words you'd ever type? (And "the end" is WAY too obvious, LOL)

I would want to go out writing the best piece of dialogue I could conjure up.

Q: Highlighting in books, yeah or nay?

Nay. I don't write on my fiction.

Q: Do you invest in writing courses, books on writing, how to plot, how to self-edit, etc, or do you just jump in and write and hope it will turn out ok?

I've read a few books, took a writing course once upon a time, but in all honesty, I learned the most by jumping in and doing it. In the end, I think it has turned out okay. My publishers seem to like how I do what I do.

Q: Is writing a career or a hobby to you?


Q:  Can a story or novel be too weird?

I guess that depends on the reader's definition of weird.

Q:  Have you ever done readings of your work on podcasts or videos, live or otherwise? What do you think of the idea?

I've done live readings and I did one audio recording of one of my short stories. TheRuby Files Vol. 2 writers read snippets of our stories from the book on video as part of a book trailer. I've not read on podcasts though.

Q: What do you think is most important for an author? A website? A blog? Twitter and Facebook presence? Paid advertising?

All of the above are important pieces. I love my website, but websites and blogs seem a bit out of favor these days. A social media presence is a must in this day and age.

Q:  Who is your favorite person to talk to about your writing?

I have writer friends who I can talk to about writing. Most of the time I just talk to myself.

Q: What sparked your interest in writing?

As a kid, I was an only child until I was almost 9. That meant a lot of time playing by myself. Creatively, I started off by recreating the stories I saw on TV, which was Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Batman, Super Friends, G.I. Joe, Spider-Man, C.H.I.P.S if I was riding my bike, that sort of thing.Eventually, I started coming up with my own scenarios for those characters to be part of, which was my first bit of "writing" without actually knowing I was doing it. Eventually, like so many others, I started writing and drawing my own comic book stories, first using established characters then later moving on
to create my own. I fell in love with crafting and molding stories and characters. I still feel that way today.

Q: When did you first feel the calling?

I was a kid when the urge to be a comic book artist hit. It was a few years later before I realized that I was also writing those stories. It would take a few more years to specialize and focus on writing, which was in my early 20's. Once the writing bug bit me, I was hooked.

Q: What do you like about writing? How does it make you feel when you finish a piece?

I like the creation process. I like telling what I hope are entertaining stories. I like getting to know the characters, live in their heads and their world for a short time, put them through hell and hopefully see them come out stronger once the story is done. It's fun.

Q: Why do you write?

I write because I can't imagine myself not writing. I also write because it's my job and I love my job and would like to keep doing it. The trick now is to start making better money at this job I love. It's not easy.

Q: Your sailing ship is taking on water. You can only make it to one of two islands, where you're likely to live out the rest of your days among the natives. One island has comics with horrible art but amazing stories. The other island has comics with horrible stories but amazing art. Which island do you sail for?

Amazing stories.

Q:  What is the shortest story you've ever written? Longest?

My shortest, if, memory serves, was 3,000 words. I'm about to beat it though. I have to do a 1,000 word short story for a publisher later this week. The longest is either my novels Evil Ways, Deadly Games!, or Earthstrike Agenda. Each are over 101,000 words. I don't recall which is the longest off the top of my head.

Q:  Why is it I can write a whole book, yet the blurb gives me serious writers block? Anyone else struggle with this?

It's common.

Q: Since you were five, how many stories have you written?

I've lost count. It's a lot.

Q: Do you have an agent? If you have one, what makes your agent the best for you? How did you pick them?

I've never found an agent who thought they could sell my work. I keep looking, but I'm also writing for several publishers with over 100 stories sold without an agent.  If I want to reach certain publishers, an agent is necessary as they won't talk to writers without one.

Q:  Which character in your story would you say changes the most from beginning to end?

In the Snow series of books, Abraham changes quite a bit as he tries to integrate himself into normal life and his family. He has to make changes to his way of doing things. It's not easy, but he's trying. He also has to adapt to his new normal, thanks to being shot in the chest in book one, Snow Falls.

Q:   What did you enjoy most about your writing today?  

Being able to sit down and write. It's been a rather hectic couple of years.

Q: Do you read digital comic books?

Not regularly

. I have before, but when I read comics, it's usually print.

Q: What would you say is currently one of your best habits as a writer?

Finishing what I start.

Q: Do you print your manuscripts for editing? Why or why not?

I love editing on paper. There’s something about it that really works for me. Plus, you’re seeing it in a similar way that the reader will see it in print. Sadly, I do not get to edit on paper as much as I would like because printing, or buying ink and paper is expensive.

Q: What network TV series do you still watch?

Several. There's some good TV out there. Too many to list. 

Q: Do you ever buy a book based on its cover art? Why or why not?

Sure. I have before. I'm sure I will again. If the cover grabs my attention enough to pick it up and look at the back cover and the opening pages, I’m halfway sold.

Q: Why some writers use very hard high level English words in thier books?

I try to use the right words at the right time to fit the book. Not every character has a limited vocabulary. Some speak using big words. Others don’t.

Q: Are flashbacks in a short story a 'no, no.'

Certainly not. If your story needs flashbacks, then use them.

Q: How much time a week do you spend reading "real" books? How much time a week do you read comics?

I haven’t really given it a lot of thought, but I do read something every day.

Q: When multiple projects call to you, how do you choose which to work on when?

Deadlines first. Always. When a new idea hits, I jot down some notes then file it away in the back of my brain until I can a lot it into my schedule. It’s not always easy to silence the muse whisperer, but deadlines always come first.

Q: I’m curious. What do you use as a morning alarm? An actual clock or your phone? Do you keep your phone by your bedside?

Phone on the nightstand. It usually does the job. If I need a back-up plan, I ask my dad or brother to call me. 

Q: What are your top tips for choosing a ghostwriter?

I have never used a ghost writer before so I really don't have any tips for you. Sorry.

Q: I would love to hear why you have not used one [ghost writer] as that would be valuable.

I am a writer so I write my own books. Hiring a ghost writer would mean someone else is writing my books. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm a writer. I write. Having someone else write for me is not me writing. I would feel as though I am cheating my audience.

Q: that makes sense. some writers hire ghost writers for the first draft and they take it and edit and add to it because as you know as a writer it is not easy!

I have never met a professional writer who does that and I have been working in this industry a long time. Writing is hard, yes, but professional writers don't want to write someone else's story. They want to write their own. I’m sure there are those out there that do this, but I am not one of them.

Q: How would you describe your story in one sentence?

There’s something sinister lurking beneath Georgia’s largest landmark and there’s only one man dumb enough to go down there and find out because that’s his job. He is Hunter Houston: Horror Hunter.

Q: What's the biggest "action" scene in your story?

I write a lot of action. Snow Trapped, features a couple of gun battles, a chase, and hand-to-hand combat. One of my most well-received action scenes came in Snow Storm, which was a car chase scene through the country. It became a fan favorite moment, which made me quite happy.

Q: What character (other than the antagonist) causes the most trouble for your protagonist?

In SuicideBomb, the serialized novel I’m running exclusively on Patreon, Homicide Detective Catherine Jackson is tracking down a killer, but she’s also having to deal with her teenager little sister, who has run away from home to her sister’s sofa and brought her battle with their mother to Jacks’ front door.

Q: How did you feel when you finished your first novel? Second?

Elated and accomplished, both times.

Q: Are you a patient writer? Slow and detailed? Or are you a get-it-down-then-worry-about- the-story-and-details kind of writer?

I like to get it down and get moving. I go back over details, so I am a bit slower on the second go around. My first pass is usually just getting it down and keep moving.

Q: What book, comic, music or art got you into writing, illustration or music?

It was Spider-Man that first kick-started my interest in story telling, starting with the cartoons and then I discovered the comics.

Q: What part of your writing experience completely excites and thrills you? What part light you up?

I get a huge thrill when I start a new project. Diving into the world, creating and getting to know the characters and the locations is big fun for me and the story starts to pour out of me.

Q: Do you work with, write with, critique with, or create with other authors and/or writers?

I have co-created with others before. Sean Taylor and I had a great time creating TheRuby Files and getting to know those characters. I have also co-wrote comic books with Nancy Holder, which was a fun experience. I am currently co-writing a novel with my friend, Bernadette Johnson. Each experience has been slightly different, but I’ve enjoyed them. I did a critique group for a short time, but it's been years since I was part of one.

Q: What time of the day does inspiration really explode for you? Are you most productive in the morning, afternoon, evening, or overnight?

Late at night is when the ideas really start to hit me. I usually do some late night writing.

Q: who should an author approach first? Editor? Agent? Publisher?

It depends on what you want to achieve. An agent is necessary for certain publishers, but not all. If you know an editor, that’s an open avenue. If not, contact a publisher who handles the genre you write.

Q: While writing the very first draft, what matters more: grammar or hooks?

Getting the story down.

Q: What's your current writing routine look like?

I write and do admin/writing-related work during the day. At night, I head back to the office for a late-night writing sprint.

Q: how do you write the next day, without having to read the last chapter, or all of the work you dud yesterday?

I don’t. I generally start my day by looking over what I wrote the day before. I find it helpful for catching quick, easy mistakes and for helping me get back into the head space of the story.

Q: What is something physical your character wants in your latest scene?


Q: I don't know how long my book should be My goal is 50K words, but is it too much?

It really depends on the type of story and the publisher. If you're self-publishing, that frees your options up to whatever you want.

Q: How do YOU come up with Chapter titles?

I don’t. I use numbers for the chapters. With the exception of one or two early projects, I don’t use chapter titles.

Q: How long should a chapter be?

As long as it needs to be. When I first started out, I thought chapters had to be a certain number of pages. I based this off of books I was reading at the time. I was padding my story to fit this arbitrary page count and the story suffered. I then picked up a James Patterson novel with his two page chapters and realized chapters could be whatever size they needed to be. My storytelling improved greatly with that realization.

Q: I gat My poems How can I get them posted , to earn some cash ? You gat any idea ?

I don't have any personal experience with poetry, but there are a couple of avenues open to you. You can submit to a publisher who handles poetry and see what happens. You can self-publish a book of your poems. I'm not sure of other options that would bring in revenue for poetry. Maybe submitting to greeting card companies.

Q: Hello Bobby Nash. I see that you are a writer at Ben books. What does yiur job their entail? Just wondering if you had any advice for getting clients. And any suggestions for being able to transition into writing for a living .

I write novels, comic book scripts, short stories, that sort of thing. BEN Books is my publishing imprint, I write as a freelancer for publishers and occasionally self-publish through BEN Books. I don't generally seek out clients so I'm not sure what advice to give you there. I kept showing my work to publishers of fiction until I found one that liked my work. Then, I started the process all over again. Sadly, I do not make a successful living off writing alone at this time.

Q: When tackling writing a new book, do you use an outline? Why or why not?

Nah. I don't like outlines. It feels like writing the story twice to me. I plot, but I just use bullet points. I don't do full outlines.

Q: Who is your favorite super hero and why?

When I was a kid, it was Spider-man all the way. As I get older, it's a toss up between Captain America and Thor.

Q: What is something your protagonist is doing to do better himself or herself?

X is trying to find a balance between his mission and having a life.

Q: How do you write yourself out of a corner? Take a break? Back up and punt? Go with the flow? Tarot card reading for your characters? Move on to a different project?

I ask myself, “what would (insert character’s name here) do?” and see where that takes me. That usually works. If not, Hail Mary’s have been known to get the job done. Ha! Ha!

And I think that is a good place to stop for this round of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? Post them here as a comment or send them along to and I’ll answer them in a future installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

Also, please sign up for my mailing list. Drop me an email at and I'll happily add you to the list.

If you’d like to check out my work, you can find my books at AmazonBarnes and NobleGoodreadsSmashwordsBooks-A-Million, BEN BooksPatreon, and more. If you've read something I wrote and have an opinion on it, please take a moment and leave a review. They can be as simple as "I liked it" or "A good read" but they help a lot.

Thanks for listening to me ramble. Let’s do it again soon.

Happy reading!


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