“matches” manusripts to non-existent pages, vanity press

maples_img_0018-2Back on November 16, 2016 I had an email from David O’Brien, the founder of call their site, “The platform that connects writers, agents and publishers to find manuscripts, manage submissions and get books published.”

I imagine anyone who has uploaded work unto their site got the same email. Here’s what it said:

“We have a lot of major publishers and media companies looking at doing business with us. Every one of them has asked us, “What do your writers say about the service?” Well, I am writing to ask you to put together some honest writer quotes for a presentation I am making.

Here are the categories in my presentation under which I will need a quote. Please feel free to fill in one or more of the categories with your personal quotes (not someone else’s). Just type your quote into the space provided below and reply back to me. Be creative and succinct. I will be grateful.

INSPIRE (How inspires  you)

ENGAGE  (Your experience working the platform, i.e., easy, hard, comprehensive, etc.)

LIBERATE  (Frees you up to be yourself )

EMPOWER  (How it makes you feel more like a professional writer)

LOVE  (Why you love using )

I would also like to hear your thoughts on the new layout. Please note we are not done polishing it, but would still love to hear from you.

Thanks again for being a part of the family.


David O’Brien


I have four of my novels uploaded to this site.

Initially, my understanding was agents and publishers would log on and be able to quickly see if anything caught their interest. Evidently, none of my novels did. I’ve had no action whatsoever.

After I received this email I checked my work on the site again and I see that have found “matches” – a publisher or agent who is looking for a novel similar to mine.

Well, that’s encouraging.

A quick check and it becomes apparent this is not quite the case. Take for example, my novel Loving the Terrorist – a contemporary romance with subplot that addresses an important environmental issue (eco-fi).

Fifteen matches yield the following:

– 2 sites where “the page does not exist”, ebooks2go, Library Tales

– 2 sites that are without a doubt pay for play – called hybrid but are nothing more than vanity press. BookLogix and Lift Bridge Publishing

– 2 sites that are duplicated equaling four sites. Grand Central/Forever Yours and SkyhorseX2 – and by the way, Skyhorse is not accepting romantic fiction.

– which also goes for Lamar University Press – not accepting genre fiction

– Bound , is a company that claims “we deliver stories in an easy-to-engage format that combines prose fiction, stunning visuals, and dramatic audio.” Huh?

Sixty percent actually don’t match, don’t even exist or want me to pay to publish my book. Of the others, they’re accepting “adult romantic fiction”, not specifically my novel.

I sent these findings to David because he said said he’d love to hear from me and it would be rude not to respond to someone who considers me “part of the family”.

Just for the hell of it I hit the submit button on five “matches” that seemed legitimate. According to the tracking window of the site my work has been declined by one agent. Only one publisher has sent me an email to acknowledge that they received my submission.

So there you have it – no inspiration, no liberation, no empowerment, no love – and I might add, no respect.

Did I say no response? But then isn’t that just like family.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs


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#6 – Abandoned Dreams – continues to sleep


How I came to write my sixth novel, Abandoned Dreams

Son or daughter, sibling, spouse, parent, employee, employer – these are just some of the roles we have either been born into, had bestowed upon by us by others or have even sought out for ourselves.

But do these roles, these facades really represent the person we are – our hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities. In accepting these roles are we masking our real personalities – intentionally or otherwise.

Sometimes roles are thrust upon us because of circumstances or our own mistaken actions.

When I was eighteen my best friend got his girlfriend pregnant. Today you would say my best friend and his girlfriend got pregnant, but back then it was different. Quickly, and not necessarily of his own choosing he took on the roles of husband and father.

This is a theme that has haunted me for a long time and one I took on in my sixth novel Abandoned Dreams. Here’s the story:

At twenty-seven years-old, George Fairweather is “the voice of his generation”, a poet whose talent has garnered him accolades from the literary establishment and homage from the disenfranchised “hippie” youth of the late 1960’s.

George is the embodiment of the times with his long hair, rebellious attitude and regular use of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs.

Then the sudden and tragic death of Fallon, his friend, his muse and his lover shatters his world, his sanity and nearly ends his life.

Katherine is the one person who stands between George and destruction. A hanger-on, a groupie, a go-for, she’s a woman George never considered – for anything. Katherine idolizes George and makes it her personal mission to keep him alive, doing whatever it takes, twenty-four seven.

Because of Katherine’s sacrifice and devotion George slowly begins to mend his soul and rebuild a life. But guilt and gratitude make it a much different life then he’d previously led.

Thirty-seven years later, George Fairweather is a husband, father and grandfather and a successful copywriter at an advertising agency. Another death, his wife Katherine’s, is about to change his life again.

Can dreams be resurrected? Can a life abandoned be taken up again?

Will they let him? Is it worth it?

I wanted a challenge with novel. I wanted to stretch myself as a writer. Because of the nature of plot I decided that the narrative would almost entirely be told by people other than the protagonist, George Fairweather. I wanted George to be an enigma. Different characters would see him differently depending on the role they cast him in – father, grandfather, lover, friend.

In the end, his true personality would emerge – or not. I wasn’t sure.

I wanted to present a scene and then have different characters interact and reflect on it in their own voice. To achieve this I needed to develop deep character profiles apart from the novel.

The characters I created were complex and multi-dimensional as well as being different ages and genders and having different motivations.

Then I outlined the plot, dropped them in and hung on.

Abandoned Dreams apparently didn’t wake anyone up. It has garnered less response than any of my previous books – and that’s saying something.

 Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.



Visit my Amazon Author Page for a list of my complete works, reviews and buy links at

Author possessed

WhiteBlossoms_0011 copy (3)It’s electrifying, fascinating, magical and, above all else, the reason I write.

The characters in my current novel have come to life. I am now only the conduit for their emotions, thoughts and actions. They are doing and saying things I never imagined they would and yet I know it’s right for them, for me, for the story.

The story? I’m on an adventure. Maps have been abandoned. I don’t know where I’m going or how to get back. Places are being rediscovered, events revisited, emotions resurrected. I am boldly going where I’ve been before and never knew it.

I’m frequently afraid.

There’s no hesitation, no reviewing, no referring to a plot outline. I sit down and they compete to be expressed. They now are constantly with me. When I’m not writing they interrupt my dreams, my conversations, anything I attempt to get done.

I am possessed.

I prefer their company over anyone elses. It’s like the first bloom of love, I can’t wait to get back to them, and hate the time we’re apart. Leaving them is tortuous, even if just to sleep.

This can’t last. The intensity is exhausting. Like any infatuation the passion will wane. But for now it consumes me and I feel sympathy for those whom have never experienced this.

I know there will be bleak days ahead when I’ll look at the plot and see it as contrived, examine the characters and find them shallow.

But even during those times when everything is tested and found lacking, when the entire work appears flawed beyond repair, stupid, dumb and I’m sick, sick, sick of it, I’ll still remember these moments and remind myself for a brief time I was a writer.

Or thought I was.


~   ~   ~


Read my current work(s) in progress, including Forest Primeval, the work mentioned here, at


Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.


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