All posts by swanstuff

Writer, small business wannabe, pundit, philosopher, often hopelessly confused, and blessed by a gracious God beyond all imagining (the views expressed by this blogger do not necessarily reflect the Supreme Being, but this blogger hopes he doesn't embarrass the Big Guy too much).

I’ve Even Noticed It In Myself

Reading has always been my favorite pastime. Fiction was my first love and while I know non-fiction is important, it never quite captured my heart. I read so much as a kid that if I gave you the numbers, you’d assume I was exaggerating.

Today, it seems like there are fewer readers. Book sales across the world are still high, but do people read them?

Social media is so much easier. Short, personal, often amusing, but does that leave room for long forms, such as books?

I admit, my reading time has drastically reduced. Between work, family, projects, and writing, I haven’t had time to read novels.

Moving into a home in the mountains of Colorado, we made the delightful discovery that the previous owner had left bookshelves of novels and non-fiction (beds, dressers, couches, and more, as well).

Not our bookshelf, but cool anyway

Internet is a bit spotty at night, so I’ve combed through the books and selected a pile to consume. It was like coming back to a long-lost friend.

Blogs count as social media, so if you’re reading this, when was the last time you read a book, fiction or non-fiction?

The funny thing is, reading ability doesn’t atrophy when not used for a while. Go ahead, pick up a book. If it’s well written, you’ll get pulled through as easy as breathing.

And you’ll be glad you did.

All our books fit that bill, so feel free to peruse them. But start reading again, you’ll be so glad you did.

The Joy of Completion

As a publisher with a full-time job on the side, a family, two large dogs, and a penchant for procrastination, completing the penultimate draft of a book is a time for celebration.

I said “yay” and sent it off to my editor. Considering we’re preparing to sell our house and move across the country, she has a lot of time to pour over it and mark it up. That’s a bitter-sweet email. Open for correction (my favorite thing, ask my wife).

What do you do when you complete your book? Writing or reading, we’re not picky. Is it time for chocolate? Bourbon? A night on the town? Or all of the above?


Celebration is important for a lot of our life. I highly recommend it, but celebrate responsibly.

Look for “The Trouble with Bees” a time travel yarn for the YA audience later in the year. I hope. Maybe 2023, but no, I really think 2022. Just no promises.

What delays your book? Besides PIckle Ball, that is. (Yes, it’s an in-joke. Someone will snort and then wince because the snort hurt her arm.)

You Might be a Writer if…

Being a writer has a cost. We wander around with our heads in the clouds, and as we get older, can wander off in the middle of a sentence…

You might be a writer if:

  • You view life as source material.
  • Problems and conflict aren’t total losses.
  • When you hear about a new kind of torture, you file it away for future use.
  • Friends are friends forever, even if it is only on paper.
  • You read a magazine article and your eyes glaze over and your brain’s tachometer maxes out.
  • Old photographs can do the same thing.
  • You savor your dreams like appetizers to a future main course.
  • You often realize you have no idea what’s going on in the TV show you’re watching.
  • Your significant other trails off speaking because they realize you’re not really here right now.
  • You really don’t mind hearing about other people’s woes.

As you can see, it can be hard on relationships. But cataloging life is your jam.

Look Around…

Writing is a skill, storytelling is an art, inspiration is a fickle friend.

Let’s look at storytelling for a moment. For many, it’s a spoken talent. The ability to spin a captivating web, enchant audiences, and keep them on the edge of their seat. I know a guy down the street who made a living with storytelling.

Yet, he has no wish to write a book.

I admit, that floors me. But it shouldn’t.

A storyteller doesn’t plan these ideas, they spring from an adventurous life or an active imagination. Conversation or happenstance triggers the stories, and they just roll off of a talented tongue.

Writers are also storytellers, often with oral skill, but they take it a step further and introduce planning. How can this story fit into a longer narrative? How can I refine it? While an oral storyteller waits for inspiration, a writer courts inspiration, oddly, while alone.

The oral storyteller draws from life and imagination, but a writer draws heavily from ideation. We come up with ideas that are fresh and exciting, stringing pearls into a jewel of a story.

One isn’t better than the other, or course. We want storytellers at parties and we want writers for books.

OCD or a WRITER? (or both?)

Which are you? Is your life marked by ideation? Do you enjoy coming up with better ways of doing things or entirely new ways of doing things? Are you inordinately susceptible to clever things, an easy mark for new products? Do you like to cook without recipes? Do you have fits of baking or desires to rearrange furniture or painting rooms? I know those things don’t appear to have anything to do with writing, but they actually do. You’re intrigued by the new because you like to come up with fresh ideas. Doesn’t mean every compulsive buyer, cook or homemaker is a writer, but they might be.

What aspects of your life suggest you’re a writer?

Merry Christmas!

My wife thinks I don’t like Christmas decorations. The truth is, I do. I find putting them up problematic with my schedule, but the way lights and winter scenes and nativity scenes transform a home into a warmer, more festive environment is welcome. Decorations don’t cover the truth, they reveal it more fully. It’s a new way of looking at your home.

Books are like that.

As I finish the second draft of my latest novel, now ready for polishing and minor improvements, I realize my books are rarely just action yarns. They are identity yarns. They’re about how the events change a person. More than coming of age, my characters discover deep truths about themselves and either come to live with them, change them, or self-destruct. Along the way, the story invites the reader to consider fresh angles and to entertain new thoughts. Don’t worry, I try to make them fun, too, though Trouble with Bees is less funny that my past books.

At Prevail Press, our novels fulfill this function, and our non-fiction is even more on point. Stories matter. I love a good movie, and tend to get lost in TV shows, but there’s something about a book that is precious. It’s a sharper connection between writer and reader than director and viewer. Plus books are a singular experience. Several people can watch a movie, which forces a pace. With a book, the reader determines the pace. They can linger when an idea strikes them without pushing a pause button.

112 reader recommendations for festive holiday fiction – Modern Mrs Darcy
A joyous Christmas indeed

Growing up, my favorite gifts were books. I was a sedentary child. DVDs didn’t exist, VHS was a pain, no video games yet, but a book could transport me to new places and new ideas.

You have time to buy a book off Amazon before Christmas. I hope you’ll consider Prevail Press books, but once a reader discovers the joy of reading, any book may lead a reader to ours, so find that perfect story for your loved ones!

And Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!