Special Announcement!


Look who’s the new guy in this fantastic writer-resource group!

Story Empire

Hey, SE Readers! Last week, I promised we had a special announcement to make. Today is the day!

Story Empire began with five authors in August 2016. Over the years, there have been several changes as some authors left and new ones joined. Last year, we expanded to eleven contributors. This year, we’re growing again!

Drum roll, please!

I’d like to welcome our newest member. We are over the moon excited that Stephen Geez has agreed to join Story Empire. I know he’ll add new depth to this group and provide sage advice on writing, marketing, and more.

Stephen is a retired TV producer and composer/producer of music for television. He’s now mellowed into the lake-side living of a writer, editor, graphic artist, and Fresh Ink Group publisher. His work includes novels, short fiction, personal-experience essays, blogs, Geez Writer, how-to materials for authors, podcasts, video scripts, marketing content, and more.

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Fake Social Media Accounts! Should I Worry?


Beware the spoofers!

Story Empire


Greetings, SE’ers! Happy New Year! Beem Weeks here with you again. Today, I’m discussing fake social media accounts.


Recently, I received notice of a new follower on a certain social media platform. Not unusual, as this account is attached to my podcast and publisher. We gain new followers daily. But this new follower stood out among the others. I know the person. I know she had already been a follower of the account. The photo and bio were legit, but the name had subtle misspellings. A quick screen shot and message to the legit person revealed this was not a new account helmed by her. She reported the fraud to the platform in question.

I’ve seen this sort of deception many times over the years. As authors, we tend to become familiar with those who follow our accounts. They may be fellow authors, publishers, podcasters, bloggers, or readers. We…

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Guest Post – The Last Drive by John W. Howell #newbook


Check out John Howell’s sequel to his accalimed bestseller!

Stephen Geez Blog

I am so pleased to be with you today, Stephen. I want to thank you for helping to spread the word about The Last Drive. Although I had not planned to write a sequel to Eternal Road, once I got into it, I had a good time with the characters. Since you are an accomplished, author, producer, director, and publisher I think you can identify with the difficulty of handling the Devil. Of course, when Lucifer is on the scene, he pretty much upstages everyone else. It is fun writing a character that is so profoundly evil that as a writer there is some tempering that is needed. To let Lucifer run free with his evil intentions might bring about more mayhem than the other characters can handle.

Here is the blurb and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.

The Blurb

In the sequel…

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Guest Post – The Last Drive, by John W. Howell #newbook …


Excellent new sequel by John Howell!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

I am so pleased to be guesting with you today, Chris.I am very grateful to you for helping spread the word about The Last Drive. You have always been so supportive of authors and are a fine one yourself. I think you can understand quite well the changeable mind of an author. For example, I never intended to write a sequel. Once I was into it, though I had to figure out what title to use. I didn’t want anything with the words Eternal Road in the title in order to not confuse anyone or lesd people to believe the story was the same. I finally settled on The Last Drivewhich describes the nature of the book. There won’t be another so James’ and Sam’s adventures will be the last drive in their Oldsmobile

Here is the blurb and then we can get…

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Discover Sorrowful Soul by Harmony Kent


Writer expert Harmony Kent pauses to share some poignant poetry about rising above depression.

Stephen Geez Blog

Hi, Stephen.

Thanks so much for hosting me today.

It’s always wonderful to visit with you.

Here’s a little bit I’d love to share about my latest book of poetry, Sorrowful Soul. Full of freestyle poems, which provide company and compassion through the devastating journey of grief and loss and onward, this heartfelt collection shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone.

Since Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s excellent book on the stages of grief, we now have an established set of seven stages to the grieving process. Although these stages are non-linear and can be revisited at any time, it’s helpful to have a rough idea of what we might expect during this difficult period of transition. The fifth stage is commonly known as Depression.

Here’s an extract from lines within a poem about wanting to die …

From Part 5: Depression, Loneliness, & Reflection

(Let Me Go)


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Tracking Unfollowers in Twitter


Mae Clair with advice on how to find and unfollow your Twitter unfollowers!

Story Empire

Hi SEers! You’re with Mae today. This is going to be a short post, but one I hope you find as valuable as I did when I first discovered the trick I’m going to share. I must give a shout out to Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views and News who who turned me onto this little gem. Ever since he pointed me in the direction, I have used this tool faithfully to manage Twitter followers and unfollowers.

Followers are easy to spot. Just hop over to your profile, click Followers, and the most recent appear at the top. From there it’s easy to visit and determine whether or not you want to return the favor and follow back.

Unfollowers are trickier. Someone buried deep in your stream may have decided to unfollow you, but without scrolling back through a long list, it’s difficult to sort them out. 

Close up of part of laptop keyboard with return key in blue with a thumbs-up icon on key

In the past…

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How Big of a Problem Is “Head Hopping”? – by Susan DeFreitas…


Head-hoppers beware. Thanks for a great post.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on Jane Friedman site:


I am a professional writer and former journalist, but I’m new to writing fiction. I’m wondering whether I’m guilty of “head hopping,” or of author intrusion, by allowing the reader to peek into the thoughts of minor characters of the story.

If this is the case, is it a problem or is it the natural role of an omniscient narrator?

—Ready to Revise


Dear Ready to Revise:

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Discover Jan Sikes and Saddled Hearts–and Scavenger Hunt!


Discover the latest by author and author-resource Jan Sikes!

Stephen Geez Blog

Thank you, Mr. Geez, for letting me stop off at your place on my Saddled Hearts blog tour. Your support is much appreciated.

Because this story is set on a ranch in Texas, it’s not unusual to have critters around. Raccoons, opossums, armadillos, and snakes, just to name a few, roam the pastures.

In Saddled Hearts, Colt Layne gets bit by a rattlesnake inside his pickup. Needless to say, that’s not a place a snake would wander into on its own. Someone had to have put it there. But who? Take a look.


At a little after one, Colt headed to the ranch house for a quick lunch and to clean up before going to town.

The hairs rose on the back of his neck when he bounded down the steps to his pickup. He stopped and glanced around. Nothing appeared to be out of place.

“You’re gettin’…

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Three Crucial Design Elements of a Killer Fantasy Book Cover


Thanks, Nicholas, for some great pointers.

Nicholas C. Rossis

header image - Pearseus: Rise of the Prince | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books
Case in point: “Rise of the Prince” has now been renamed “Tyranny”

I must have gone through a dozen iterations of my Pearseus covers through the years, which is hardly surprising: we fantasy fans expect familiar book cover design elements when searching out our next read. We’re a picky, dedicated, and loyal lot, so I didn’t want to risk lost sales and future readers over a poorly designed cover!

In 2018, Forbes reported that science fiction and fantasy genre books, both print and digital, had doubled sales in the previous eight years coinciding with exploding self-publishing growth on Amazon and other publishing platforms. By cutting out middlemen (traditional publishers), says Forbes, independent SF and fantasy writers scored more profits than their traditionally published peers.

According to Self-Publishing School, fantasy tops the Amazon genre list. Fantasy can further be broken down into subgenres including the following:

  • Science fantasy combines science…

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