Mark ‘Even Salt Looks Like Sugar’ as ‘to read’ on Goodreads!

Hey guys!

I am releasing a short novel (also known as a novella) this fall. It is a special project I hope to eventually offer for free to you, my loyal readers! Right now it is only 99cents on Amazon and will not go up. Proceeds from the eBook will help to fund my next poetry contest.

Today, I am asking if you could mark the book as ‘to read’ on Goodreads so that others can learn about this new, exciting read. When you mark a book as to read it shows up on your timeline as a book added and works similar to Facebook whereas your Goodreads friends will be able to see the book you added. Every time you add a book, comment on a review to a book, review a book, or update your progress on a book it shows up at the top of your page and others can see it! It’s a FREE way that you can support your Indie Author friends, like me, without spending money. Thanks so much!


Even Salt Looks Like Sugar as “to read” on Goodreads


Even Salt Looks Like Sugar at just 99cents.


Dear Writer: STOP Releasing So Many Novels!

Interesting perspective. For the series, I’ve always thought it wise to put some time between the release of each book. Don’t rush. Give us time to read Book One. It also helps the Author.

A Writer's Path


by Michael Cristiano

As I’m sure you know, dear readers (or Mom… Hi, Mom!), I’ve come to a couple realizations over the past year or so since the release of my first novel. The biggest revelation, the one where I decided to go back to writing for myself, I’ve written about extensively already, and you can read that post here…

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My Ingredients for a Series – Guest Post…

As I prepare to release another series (The Nora White Story, 2017), I thought I’d share how I decide if a book will be a series or a novel. Short, sweet, and to the point.

*Comments disabled here. Meet me on the other side*

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Blog Post 3

The Preparation Method

I know right away or before the first book is finished whether or not it’ll be a series. For instance, in “Beyond the Colored Line” (Book 2 in The Stella Trilogy), Joseph and his brother Edward come to blows in their mother’s living room. As a consequence, Jo leaves home.

After I finished writing this scene, with Karen’s voice still screaming her brother’s name as he stumbles down the street, I knew I wanted to explore more deeply Joseph’s story. What happens to him on his journey? Where does he go? What does he do? What kind of thoughts run through his mind? I knew that Book 2 would end, and yet there was still more to explore.

The Ingredient List

a. A pinch of completion
b. A tablespoon of deep plot elements

Most people don’t like having to wait for the next book. This is why…

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Williams Wells Brown – Novelist

We have talked about some of the first black poets. Now, Williams Wells Brown is considered the first African American to publish a novel (recorded). Brown was born into slavery to a black mother and a white slave owner. Wells served various masters before escaping slavery in 1834. He then took on the name of a Quaker who helped him in his escape, Wells Brown, and in 1847 published a slave narrative, A Fugitive Slave. Brown’s only novel, Clotel was published in 1853 and tells the story of the daughters and granddaughters of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave woman. Wells also wrote a play “The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom” in 1858, along with other historical writings.

A Story Within a Story – Crafting Chapters

Who knew that this simple realization would come in the middle of the night, as I walked along with McFadden’s Easter on the streets of Harlem and stood shoulder to shoulder under a night sky just as dark as Garvey’s skin, who spoke just a short distance from us. Though I’ve always written in such a way, it was right here on 135th Street and Lenox Avenue when it became a conscious thought and it occurred to me that I can now  implement this revelation into my writing in a much more conscious manner. And as Easter’s future husband approached us, I knew that I had to freeze the moment and write this down. She was smitten anyhow and I doubt she’d notice my absence. Surely I can put the book down for a quick, and anxious writing fix.

The words came quickly and rushed to the tips of my fingers after the sun drifted into a heavy slumber last night and the wind whispered just as calm and peaceful as my husband’s breath heaving in and out of his nostrils. I was up, of course, reading when after thirteen straight chapters of Glorious I stumbled upon a revelation I’d be more than selfish not to share.

girl-book-light-dark-reading-collage-lying-night-grass-giantI’ve personally fallen in love with short stories. It could just be the impatience of the creative mind that’s got me savoring a quick fix, but I love the fragment of writing time as compared to a full fledged novel. It’s not easier, its just the simplicity of it all I suppose. Nonetheless, whatever the urge I’ve found it tasteful to write short and to the point; where the story is over before it’s left your palette. Not in a way that’s disappointing but too delicious not to crave. A refreshing snack of literature if you will that’s got you begging for more and at the same time offended for not having been given enough. Nonetheless, I was up reading this novel when it hit me: chapters are like short stories within a story.

Though my eyes were heavy, my mind was eager and I noticed that in the best of books we are strung along by string from one point to the next in a series of small revelations all leading to one grand finale. I was reminded in that moment that more than the first sentence, the first paragraph, or the first chapter is the need to keep the story moving in a consistent thread of mini stories wrapped into one large fabric by making sure that each chapter ends as if it alone was a short story within itself. Like a cliff hanger carefully composed to force the reader on to the next chapter. That moment right before Gillespie’s cheeks explode into handfuls of balloons.

I realized that writing is like configuring one grand puzzle by crafting the pieces and deciding which shape belongs where. It is a series of steps, body parts if you will, where each member does it’s part and yet contributes to the completion of the whole. By focusing on the purpose of each chapter, what it sets out to achieve alone and how it ties into the story as a whole, I think this may in fact help us writers to make sure that our books too move along with the same grace and elegance of a McFadden, Ellison, or McMillan.

Confessions of an Old School Reader

EC Book Shelf #1

I try, really I do, but I can’t seem to get into a good novel by staring at a computer screen. I’ve done it, but it just doesn’t compare to the real thing.  There is something much more intimate and provoking about holding a book in my hands; feeling its cover, running my fingers across the pages, crisp and sharp; the smell of a fresh book that has never been opened, and the potency of the ink when it jumps off the pages; that new smell from brand new books, like cradling a new born in the crook of your arms. So precious and delicate that you almost don’t want to open it. Don’t want to destroy the perfect foundations by bending it’s shiny flaps or causing a crease. In your lap is the weight of your favorite coffee cup, the modest light of the lamp, and a world waiting for you to enter it. To touch and feel the tangibility of book bindings is to go on a creative high of possibilities. All the way down to when you close a book after coming home from the journey and daydream about the revelations and alternate endings. You can end an eBook but you can’t close it. That big red x in the corner won’t do it justice either. I can’t breathe in deep and close my eyes while holding an eBook in my hands. I can’t stare at the front cover as if there’s more to come or fold the pages over. Highlighting isn’t as fun either. Perhaps the best thing about hard-copies is that these books are much more prone to immortality; they will go back for years and years to come. I smile sometimes at the books of my youth that are still found hanging around, too naïve to be read again with the same zeal but too precious to do away with. The satisfied glory of having been read, watch your favorite collection stand and shine beautifully against the backdrop of the book shelf, a time machine right there in your bedroom.

Writing Sex Scenes – Erotica / Romance / Urban Fiction

Were all adults here. That said this post is not for children. I’m an adult and if you’re under age I would suggest you stop reading.

There, now that the children have left the room let’s get into it.

3532693670_romancenovel_xlargeFirst, I have to say I’m not as anti-romance as you’d think. I actually enjoy romance….to an extent. I’m just not the exclusive romance type. You know, the books with the man on the front sporting a six-pack, low cut jeans that makes it obvious he’s not wearing underwear, a cow-boy hat and “come and get it” eyes. That’s just not  sexy to me; perhaps because I don’t really see it as being manly enough. I mean sure, I see your oiled down abs but I’m just not impressed. I’m more interested in Romance that incorporates more into the story; romantic adventure or urban fiction if you will where the story is not exclusively about Mary Jane and the six-pack, which brings me back to my purpose of this post: Sex Scenes: Romance, Erotica, and Urban Fiction.

Dear Indie Erotica, Romance, Urban Fiction Writers,

white lines

Don’t overdo the sex. Just because you can mention every body part known to man doesn’t mean that you should. Even when it comes to love scenes, readers should feel sexy, aroused even, but not grossed out. Some books I can’t even get through because there’s no emotion behind the action. The character keeps it real and all but that’s not, in my opinion, enough to be enticing. There are some authors who can paint their sex scenes very well and for that I must say that my opinions are from a readers perspective since I don’t actually write erotica. That said, I am not placing judgment, I’m just saying that if your going to write about couples making love put some tact to it. You can mention body parts without being outright vulgar. Now days I just feel like I’m watching a really bad porno movie. Thing is, you can be nasty if you want (were all adults here) but there’s even a way to do that. The idea is to draw us in. Make us feel like we’re in the moment. Make it just as sensual and as intimate as you would if you were actually having sex. Tracy Brown actually writes very good Urban Fiction novels with some steamy scenes. She’s not an Indie Author but she’s a good example of how it should be done. Her books also have other themes incorporated so that its not straight sex (that gets boring after-while, there must be an actual story line people). White Lines for instance is a book about a woman and drug addiction and is a pretty good read. I have a few of her books in fact.

Now, about stories surrounding abuse…

Stories about physical abuse are going to be difficult despite how you look at it. There is no way to write physical abuse stories that are reflective of the truth and make people any less uncomfortable. I still believe, however, that there should be some skill involved. When people are physically abused its not just physical its emotional. This should be incorporated in. As you walk us through the incident, there must be a simultaneous emotional / mental explosion along with what’s happening physically. There is a way to show me the physical and the emotional pain experienced by the character without bluntly stating that he forced his you know what into her you know where. This shows me a glimpse of the abuse and shocks me, but it would be better if the feeling was shown instead of told. The classic: “show me, don’t tell me”:

“He tore down her innocence as if breaking glass, and replaced her inner walls with the maturity of his manhood. She was no longer a child, oblivious to the desire that felt like saliva between her legs. Just like that youth had escaped her. Had taken advantage of her perfection and replaced it with the wisdom to know why mama’s voice moaned in the nighttime. What she would give to go back and listen to mama hum the words to songs only grown-ups knew. Instead, she became a prisoner to the freedom of understanding as it dripped from between her legs. “

I’m not that kind of writer so what you’ve read probably sucked but the point is that books that include sex period requires some kind of skill. Erotica and Urban Fiction are not genres that give us the right to just blurt stuff out. It’s like I tell my husband all the time when it comes to comedy: “A whole bunch of curse words and vulgar language does not necessarily make it funny”. Too often comedians feel like they have to use such language just to make people laugh and it causes them not to be funny at all in my opinion. You don’t have to be nasty to be funny. The same thing applies to writing, it can be real and genuine without overdoing the sex scenes.