What Being A Writer Looks Like

What being a writer truly looks like…

More than once I have been introduced as “Marie-she writes books.”  Most of the time this happens at company functions, business meetings, or a work social socials as a conversation starter. And over 90% of the time people ask the same question;

“Why are you still working here?”

I have also been asked by aspiring authors:

“How fast can I expect to see the money roll in?”

My answer…

You more than likely won’t see more than maybe $60 roll in each month-and that’s being generous.

This answer is usually followed up with either “then why do it?” or “then what do you do all day?” 

Truth, writing for most of us, published or not, is a labor of love-not a step to instant wealth and fame.  You will spend a ton of money, for next to nothing in return.  And your work will be filled with your blood, sweat, and tears.  Most authors will never be able to quit the 9-5 and make enough off their books to pay the mortgage, or even buy that very much needed cup of Joe.

In reply to the “why do it”-I love it!  I feel accomplished every time a book gets sold or even picked up and looked over during a signing or convention. I get high off the “I did this!” rush of opening a shipment of a new release I created from start to finish and holding it in my hands for the very first time.

As for the “Then what do you do all day?” Well-let’s take a peek into a normal, glamour filled day in an author’s life, shall we?

On any calendar my days look like this:


Pick a day, any day, let’s go with Thursday…

You can find me Thursdays at a normal office job from 8-4:30, running figures, answering questions, forgetting I get 30 minutes for break when doing an interview during the lunch bell, budgets, NOI’s, Income and output, and trying so hard all day not to bang my head against the desk.

Then off to make dinner for the family and tidy up the shambles that a house filled with boys becomes on a daily bases.

By 5:30 we’re packing into a car and off to piano lessons for one of those boys.

From piano, the child gets abandoned back home so mom can make a 6:30 school meeting that will last until 9-9:30. Back home, I’ll have just enough time to make a cup of tea before reminding the children there is school in the morning. Once they are properly threatened into their beds I’ll sit down and read an episode of ACN’s Podcast Indie Beginning – and while it’s still fresh in my mind, and the children have given up all hopes in being up passed 10, I’ll record that piece I just reviewed.  That, on a good day, can take an hour.

 Then, we’re off to return ACN emails, before opening notes from the editor and approving her red marks, create a new advertisement, shoot off inquiries for marketing, balance the ACN accounts, and do all the small business owner type stuff I can squeeze in an hour.

Let’s roll to midnight shall we? I’ve forgotten about the cup of tea, so I hit reheat on the microwave, knowing full well it’ll still be in the heat-it-up machine tomorrow, forgotten completely until I go to put another fresh cup in there. So by midnight; I have a new WIP open, the room dark, and music humming through headphones…and I write…and write…and write…

Next thing you know its 3 a.m. and I’ve either not filled a page, or I’ve rambled on the sheets for thousands of words.

Bed…Friday starts at 7…

My day looks pretty much like yours, no?  Most authors work two jobs, one to pay the car insurance, the other pays nothing monetary, but holds a net worth of a million bucks mentally.  We don’t drive a Mercedes or live in a swanky palace, my home is split up between living spaces and home offices.  And for me, that’s ok.

My writing career as it stands today is enough for me that outside of my day job, I never introduce myself as an affordable housing specialist; instead when asked “what do you do?” I’ll reply with author or writer.

In an author’s world the mental gain far outweighs any monetary profit.

Using Music In and To Inspire Your Writing: A Discussion With Indie Author Barbara Quinn

Last week we listened to Marie introduce readers to the indie read The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me. If you missed that episode, or just want to refresh your memory head back to episode 31. For our discussion we wanted to delve into the depths of using music as inspiration for writing. Also, we wanted to take a look a using music as a healing tool as Sophia from the story used Bruce Springsteen’s music.

Barbara Quinn was kind enough to send us her thoughts. Here’s a list of the topic questions:

1. In the from the author segment from your novel’s Amazon page you say, “This book is a tribute to the healing power of music and in particular to the songs of Springsteen?” what other artists or art form do you turn to for inspiration and to help guide you through life’s difficult moments?

2. What do you think it is about music, writing, or art in general that helps people to heal? Do you think it unlocks something within them or simply takes them away from the world and into their ‘self’ for a while?

3. There have been amazing reviews for The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me – congratulations on over 50 with all 4+ stars by the way! ? one thing that many people pointed out was that this was their first introduction to you with one reviewer saying, “This is definitely not my normal genre.” Do you think that the fact that most people can relate to the effects of music helped get people to that crucial step of reading the blurb?

4. One of your reviewers mentioned that she continually went to YouTube to listen to Springsteen songs because her knowledge of ‘The Boss’ (my little addition) was limited, but it helped her get a better feeling for Sofia’s feelings. Did you want the songs to help with understanding your character, or was this a bonus effect?

5. If you could go back and tell yourself anything about the field of writing what would it be? 

Barbara Quinn’s discussion episode will help with your writing, inspire your reading, and maybe even teach you some things about music and life that you did not know. The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me is available on Amazon. Remember to leave a review for the story and all of the stories you read when you’re finished! Reviews are such an important part of any artist’s journey and lead to learning and better content. In fact, podcasts love reviews too! Marie and I would be so appreciative if you’d leave a comment and review on apple podcasts or wherever you found us! Subscribe to the show to keep up with the stories!

Links to the sites featured in this week’s episode can be found below. This episode was brought to you by Shirts by Sarah! With school starting soon why not send your children back with an original ‘T’. Believe it or not, my best friend, Jeremiah and I actually met because of the shirt I was wearing one day! True Story! Indie Beginning is an ACNBooks production. All research, writing, editing was done by Benjamin Franke. Remember – read more books, be the best possible you, and simply enjoy this wonderful life. Thanks for listening!






This week on the Indie Beginning Podcast!

The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me: An Audiobook Format Introduction

This week the indie beginning podcast introduces readers to indie author Barbara Quinn with her indie read The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me. This story follows Sofia who came home to find her husband cheating and must now let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul. As is plain to see from the title, this story is influenced by the music of Bruce Springsteen and each chapter is headed by a different song from ‘The Boss’. If you are a fan, like me, this book has its own little built in soundtrack.

Tune in next week when we speak to the author about her thoughts on the power of music and art as a healing tool. What music has inspired her career? We also do a bit of research on our own about mixing writing with music. I (Benjamin) fell in love with music before I ever read a written word. Music is my oldest love (don’t tell Marie!) and I was so excited to be able to combine my love of books, my love of podcasting, and my love of music to bring you these episodes with Barbara Quinn.

The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me is available for purchase on amazon. It has had many positive reviews and will be great from any lover of stories collection. This week’s episode was brought to you by Shirts by Sarah. Head over to shirtsbysarah.com to find the shirt that tells your story. Subscribe to this podcast to keep up to date with the stories and the discussions. Remember to leave a review for this story and all stories you read when you finish. And help the Indie Beginning Podcast by leaving a review for us as well on ApplePodcasts or wherever you found us. Reviews are so important for any project and help us bring you the best content possible.

Music found in this episode was performed by Jahzzar and is titled Look Inside. Read more books, be the best possible you, and simply enjoy this wonderful life. Thanks for listening!

This week on the Indie Beginning Podcast!

A Charming Nightmare has a new look!

Yup, that’s right.  A Charming Nightmare got her nails done, her hair did, and and over all new look (much to Catch’s complaints).  It’s kind of neat to know that writer’s can change things inside and out.



We’ve corrected our spelling and decided to ‘let’s eat, grandma.’ over ‘let’s eat grandma.’  All of ACN is in love with the new look, and can’t wait for the 2nd edition of A Charming Nightmare!



Dear Writer,


Amy Walker is a stay at home mom who loves to read.  When she is not reading fairy tales to her two small children, Amy dives head first into any book the local library has to offer.  Reading is how she winds down after a long day with twin toddlers.  She finds most novels are hit or miss, and loves when she picks up a novel by a local author that is not so well developed and then opens a new novel (a second chance) by the same author years down the line to learn that they have found their groove!  When asked what her favorite authors were she listed Stephanie Myers, J.K. Rowling, and others of great fame.  When asked about indie authors she listed Beatrix Potter (the creator of Peter Rabbit), Hugh Howie (one of ACN’s own top ten with his series Wool), and Andy Weir (you may know his little indie book The Martian).

Amy and M.K.F. discussed at great lengths the things she wished she could tell her favorite authors.  One thing kept coming up in their conversation; characters.  How readers need to feel them in order for a book to be truly heard.  According to Amy if your characters make her cringe, cry, laugh, or flat out burn angry; then you have her as a fan for life.



Dear Writer,

We fall in love with your characters.  So much so that sometimes we will close the pages and daydream about them.  If they are written well.  As a reader, I don’t need to know how ripped the hero is or how perky the heroines breasts are; what I need is to feel them.  Some of the best descriptions in a character come from the emotional bond you build in your characters actions. The way they talk, or how they portray the world you created for them.  Do more of that!  Make me get mad when the villain attacks, make me cringe at how the main character fumbles through life.  Don’t recreate Michelangelo’s David, but if you do make him scarred. Show me the fear and uncertainty that plagues a normal person living in a normal world. Don’t just tell me they didn’t know what to do, bring me into their mind and use your adjectives in a way that I can see their path, how they got to that point.  That for me is a how to gain a fan.  Always, that is how you’ll get my attention over his six pack abs, and suddenly ability to climb Mt. Rushmore with the damsel in distress in his arms.

Not to name names, but you want a character that I will forever love to hate-let’s name Joffrey from Game of Thrones.  I despise that kid; instantly I get angry when I see his name printed on a page.  I’ve even been known to growl when he comes up in conversation.  That, to me, is a perfect character.  And Mr. Martin will forever have a fan in this girl!

How did he do it? How did he create such a villain that readers obsess over?  It wasn’t so much in his description of features; taller than Jon Snow and Robb Stark with golden curls and deep green eyes, but in the description of his actions.  You watch him grow into a psychopath.  Killing animals for fun, torturing his siblings, doing anything on a whim-whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases.  Joffrey fascinated, and surprised me in how much I despised him as a character.  His actions and verbiage mounted such emotions that before I know it I had whipped through Storm of Swords blowing out a final breath when he did.  Relief-I felt relief in a book!  And justified, and vindicated, and not one bit guilty that I was happy.

Another example of this is Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.  More specific: Katniss in Mocking Jay.  She’s suddenly a very scarred heroine.  One that we watch battle internal demons as much as she does the Capital.  This Katniss is one of my favorites, I can feel for her.  My heart breaks for her, my internal struggle is as hard as hers when we read how she feels, or what she is thinking.  She is by no means perfect.  I believe, forgive me if I’m wrong, but Susanne Collins doesn’t even attempt to physically describe Katniss.  She lets you see her through emotions.  Even after the war is won, she spends her life battling what is v.s. what once was. My heart melted later, after it was all over and she was petrified to be pregnant.  Terrified to feel something growing inside her, and her worry over loosing that child to the games. That is something I carried with me far beyond the chapters.

Dear writer, when you create a character, create them beyond their physical appearance and strength.  Not all heroes have to have dashing good looks, or flawless skin.  They have to have sustenance, something for us to cling onto. Emotions and thoughts the same as you or I.  If you don’t feel it when writing, then your readers certainly aren’t going to connect.




If you are an author, reader, or person in the industry and would like to contribute a feature piece to ACNBooks please submit your topic idea to: mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com

“Your Book — Your Passion” A Message From Children’s Author Pamela C. Rice

childrens book, african american, diverse, pamela c rice, little shoeshine boy

“Your Book — Your Passion”

Last week we met children’s author and illustrator Pamela C. Rice.  This week Rice took a moment to send a thought for authors new and old about visuals.  Your book is more than just romantic pairings of letters on a blank page; it’s a picture. Your cover is the first impression of everything hiding inside your novel’s jacket.  Below are her words on what to think about when creating a cover:


Being a designer has been my life’s work, (my father and my brother, also) I have found, that more people are VISUAL than not. People are attracted to what appeals to them, no matter WHAT it is.

Although it has been said, “never judge the book by the cover”, the case remains…people are attracted via visual appeal.

A few questions authors should ask themselves: 1) What will make my book stand out before a person knows what the book is about—the title — yes; and 2) the visual—most of the time.

If your book is sitting on a shelf with dozens of other books, does it stand out? Can your title and the author’s name be read from 10 feet away? Are they displayed on the shelves at child-level? Who are you trying to target? Children? What ages? Parents? Are your graphics or illustrations bold and not competing with the heading? Do the colors relate to the market you are trying to reach?

There are some publishers, who in their offering will design your cover. Many will just give you template art and not true R+D, real design.

Too may authors try to do everything themselves. Consider calling on a student of design or illustration at a local college. They’d be ecstatic to produce a cover for a children’s book. Ask to see some of their work. Have them give you a few layout options. Both of you will have something to gain. The student — a piece for their portfolio and you, the author — a book cover that is much more professional.

                            If creating your book is your passion, take it all the way.


To learn more visit Pamela C. Rice’s site KidsShelf

ACNBooks was really happy to see these words from Pamela C. Rice.  Take a step back and look at your book; can you read the title and the authors name from 10 feet away.  Are your graphics not competing with the heading? Is your book getting lost visually with the others on the same shelf? Is it the appropriate color scheme  for the genre and audience you wish to reach?  In future articles we will hit some of these topics with other graphic designers and cover artists including our own amazing everything artist Angela.

If you are an author, reader, or person in the industry and would like to contribute a feature piece to ACNBooks please submit your topic idea to: mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com