What Writers Should Know About the M16 and Its Variants

Military guns fiction writing tips

A U.S. sailor is pictured with a M16A4 rifle in this Department of Defense photo. Fiction writers would do well to familiarize themselves with this ubiquitous firearm.

On the heels of his terrific guest post, 10 Things Authors Get Wrong About the Military, Joshua Hood is back with more insights from his background as a decorated combat veteran who served five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He’s also the author of the novels Clear by Fire and Warning Order, both published by Simon and Schuster.

Today, however, he’s writing about what writers need to know about one of the most ubiquitous U.S. military firearms in fiction, the M16. Enjoy!


Continue reading

Hands-On Research: How a Gun Shy Writer Pulled the Trigger for a Novel

I’m thrilled to bring you this interview with E.M. Kokie, author of the survival novel, Radical. Kokie knew she needed to learn more about firearms in order to write her book, and the story of how she went about it is a terrific lesson for writers who find themselves in a similar situation. Enjoy!


Continue reading

Crime Fiction Writers on the Weapons They Choose for Characters

A Great Collection of Crime Fiction

Best crime fiction anthology 99 cents reviews

I’m delighted to be a part of the new kid on the crime fiction block, The Crime Cafe 9 Book Set, spearheaded by New York Times best-selling author Debbi Mack. It’s a collection of full-length fiction from the writers who appeared on her excellent Crime Cafe podcast, such as these cool kids:

  • Russian Roulette by Austin Camacho
  • An All-Consuming Fire by Donna Fletcher Crow
  • Savage Nights by W.D. Gagliani
  • A Memory of Grief by Dale T. Phillips
  • No Game for a Dame by M. Ruth Myers
  • Glass Eye by Ben Sobieck (hey, that’s me!)
  • Gypsy’s Kiss by Jim Winter
  • 23 Shades of Black by Kenneth Wishnia
  • Waist Deep by Frank Zafiro

There are also loads of bonus interviews to check out, too.

Continue reading

Big News: Saying Hello to the Wattpad Stars Program

What is the Wattpad Stars program

Wattpad is the train you want to be on.

Note: I’ve veered from the focus of this blog lately, but this is still my primary online home for my writing, and the news lately is too good not to share. Your regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly.

The 100 MPH Wattpad ride continues. Today, I was accepted into the Wattpad Stars program, which is like winning American Idol and the Super Bowl and finding 20 bucks in the laundry on a social reading site with 45 million readers. There is no level above this, and it even comes with a free T-shirt and a morality clause (really) and high-buck sushi served with white gloves (not really).

The Stars program is where Anna Todd, a fanfic writer, inked a six-figure book deal and scored a contract with Paramount for the adaptation. Other writers moved 240,000 books through deals like this one. It’s also where there are more opportunities like the writing I did for The Exorcist and FOX Television. It’s the real deal.

To be frank, I was skeptical of Wattpad when I originally joined. Why post content for free? How does that get me anywhere? But in a little over a year since joining, back when I was certain the amount of damns to give for my fiction fell somewhere between “meh” and “maybe,” I’ve learned that my approach needed to change instead of my writing. In fact, the entire online publishing model is changing. And it’s changing into what Wattpad is proving out day after day.

I always tell writers who ask about Wattpad that it’s a long game, a slow burn, something that demands patience. But some things are worth waiting for. I’m excited to see where this new path leads, and not for a minute wondering if I made the wrong choice by publishing there.

You can check out my profile on Wattpad here. If you’re a writer, join for free here. Readers, there are millions of stories to check out, and it won’t cost you a dime to jump in here.

So “The Exorcist” TV Show Sponsored My Wattpad Horror Story

Exorcist TV Show Wattpad

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by FOX Television via Wattpad Studios to do some writing related to the new The Exorcist TV show debuting Sept. 23 on FOX. Specifically, they wanted me to write an alternate ending that played along similar themes in my short horror story on Wattpad, When the Black-Eyed Children Knock.

You can read the alternate ending (for free!) here on Wattpad.

You can also read the entire story from start to finish here. It’s free to check out on Wattpad.

This was an incredible opportunity to have my writing reviewed (and approved!) by FOX, and that this came together in the way that it did is still shocking. It happened so fast. You can bet I got this in ahead of deadline.

Wattpad: Opening New Opportunities for Writers

That little 10,000-word short story took on a life of its own on Wattpad, with more than 350,000 reads. The opportunities it pulled into its orbit, facilitated by the Wattpad staff, are incredible. This is the third major movie/TV studio I’ve had some sort of involvement with via Wattpad. (The others I can’t say too much about for now.)

Cool factor aside, writer-wise Wattpad’s model is one I think will eventually disrupt the current publishing market as much as the Kindle did not long ago. Tying sponsored content to well-read stories on social reading apps like Wattpad satisfies the younger generations of readers’ appetites for free content inside of a social experience while simultaneously paying writers to write. When I compare this Wattpad experience to some of my others in publishing, it’s clear to me where the puck is headed in the next three to five years.

Also: The People Behind the Scenes at Wattpad are Terrific

Seriously. Count yourself lucky if you ever get the chance to work with them. What a great group of people.

Don’t Forget to Watch the Show

The Exorcist debuts on Friday, Sept. 23, on FOX. I’ll be watching. Will you?