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A “Shark Tank” Publishing House for Authors: But Could It Work?

If you’re an author as well as a fan of “Shark Tank,” the TV show in which millionaires compete to invest in unique start-ups, you’ve probably wondered what it would be like to have someone invest in your book without taking control over your career–including the royalties–the way traditional publishing houses do. Could a publishing house exist that would invest money in polishing and marketing your novel without actually owning it?

Part of this idea came to me after reading a conversation among three bestselling authors who have been in the publishing game–both traditional and indie–for decades. These guys–Dean Wesley Smith, JA Konrath and Barry Eisler–know that a lot of authors out there are getting ripped off, and they especially advise against giving up rights to your work forever just to score a book deal with a big publisher when there’s so much you could do yourself while keeping your rights.

Using their advice and warnings, I thought I’d draw up a crude business model for a publishing house that could satisfy their demands and mine. It’s the publishing house of my dreams since it would take a huge financial burden off my shoulders by allowing me, the author, to choose how much the company would invest and how much they would get to keep afterward, without giving up ownership of my book.

But could such a business ever be profitable? Read the full post »


Hannibal Lecter and Buffallo Bill: Three Qualities of Great Villains

I read Silence of the Lambs for the first time and finished it last week. I went on to watch the movie, noted all the differences, disappointments and improvements (like a good writer) and then continued on with my life.

And yet something stuck with me.

Both the movie and book versions–and from this point onward, I won’t differentiate–did something that is incredibly difficult to do.

They created not one, but TWO of the most memorable villains in modern entertainment. Read the full post »

On Getting Older

I was just thinking about marriage. Don’t ask me why. I’m 28 and single and yet my thoughts sometimes drift to an imaginary house where I’m reading on the couch, minutes away from having to pick the kids up from soccer practice, while my wife lays out the ingredients to a meal she and I are going to cook while the kids get cleaned up. In that imaginary house, music plays from a stereo tucked into some corner, a Boston Terrier is scampering across the living room floor, at war with a bacon-flavored chewy, and the trees outside the window are blowing in the breeze, the leaves already beginning to change color.

Damn it. I’m getting older.

So this is what it’s like. I guess it’s not all that bad. Makes you wonder where it comes from, though. Is it that the older you get, the more you begin to realize how short life is? Is the urge to settle down innate? Hardwired into our brains? Or a response to something in our environment? The majority of my friends from high school and college are either engaged or married, so I know I’m not the only one who’s given it some thought. Some of them are already makin’ babies!

Did someone say babies? Oh, hell. Get me away from this keyboard.

Rich @richdenoncourt

What It Really Means to Be an Introvert

People have been talking a lot about introverts lately. This may have something to do with Susan Cain’s new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which is currently #46 on Amazon’s bestseller list. I haven’t read it but I know for a fact that I am an introvert living in a world of extroverts. I’ve decided to share a bit about this experience by describing a few of the most common phrases I use when dealing with extroverts. Read the full post »

The Difference Between a Camera and a Person

Your main character is not a walking cameraThis post might anger some writers (especially MFA’s) but I’m going to put it up there anyway. I’ll begin by asking a question: “Don’t you hate it when you can’t tell the difference between the main character of a story and a walking videocamera?”

I know I do.

Let me clarify: I was reading a literary short story the other day that had been published in a well-known literary journal and was now being included in a “Best of” short story anthology (Best American Short Stories, you might as well know). I got so frustrated I almost threw the book across the room and then (like my dog, Duke, who is a bastard) pee’d on it.

“But Richard, why would you pee on Best American Short Stories? It represents the finest American short fiction being published today!”

As my British friend likes to say, “Piss on that. Wankers.” Read the full post »

How to Be Happy

Happy Fun TimeDon’t pull out your credit cards.

This isn’t going to be some sappy, self-help manifesto at the end of which you’ll have an opportunity to buy my book (you ALWAYS have the opportunity to buy my book…ha ha ha…)


What this post will do is tell you the secret to being happy. Of course, different people have different ideas of what it means to be happy. Just ignore them for now and listen to me. OK?

Do I have your attention?

Let’s get to the point. Here’s the secret to being really, truly, gushingly happy for the rest of your life: Read the full post »

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