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Reflections - One Year Being Published


It was one year today that my debut novel — KNIGHT RISE — was released into the world, the result of a decade-old dream. A little over nine months later I followed that up with its sequel — FALLEN KNIGHT. A lot has transpired over the course of the past 365 days, some good, some not so much, but I thought it would be appropriate to document how things are going, my own state of the union, so to speak.

To be candid, things haven’t gone the way I hoped. Despite all my backbreaking efforts and those of my publisher (Wild Lark Books), my books failed to gain any traction in the marketplace. Total book sales have been less than 500 units (for both books and all formats combined) and during the past couple of months, sales have become downright stagnant. My monetary take-home was less than $1000. On the encouraging side — and the thing that is most frustrating — is the reviews and ratings for the books have been overwhelmingly positive, and KNIGHT RISE was even a finalist for the Page Turner Awards.

My venture into publication (long sought after) was never about the money – although I did set a goal of earning enough to cover my expenses. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. As a result, the time has come for me to make some hard choices. My vision of introducing readers to a group of middle-aged friends who are teamed with a feisty female private investigator (as one reader put it – The Goonies for adults) must take a back seat and placed on indefinite hold. I won’t say it is over because anything can happen in the publishing world, and I will never say NEVER, but for now, I have no further plans for more entries in this series. It’s such a shame because I had some creative ideas for where these stories might go. Oh well. I will continue to promote these books in the most cost-effective ways possible, and who knows, maybe someday they’ll find their niche.

That doesn’t mean my publication efforts are finished. Not even close. My literary agent (Tina P. Schwartz of The Purcell Agency) and her associates represent three of my YA novels and are presently submitting them to various publishers. I still have irons in the fire and possibilities to aspire to!

What have I learned over this past year? Maybe a better question is would I have done anything differently? The short answer is NO. I still believe in Wild Lark Books and its concept, and I’m proud to have my books associated with them. What I discovered is just how hard it is to achieve exposure when you’re a newbie author with limited resources (and time) — regardless of the quality of your product. Yes, there are exceptions that come along which are celebrated (rightly so), but they are truly that, exceptions.

Despite this disappointing setback, I’m looking forward to the upcoming year with buoyant optimism. Hopefully, for my next annual update, I’ll be reflecting on more positive achievements.

Until then.


2022 Page Turner Awards Finalist

WRiTE CLUB - Pulling The Plug





WE'RE BACK!! Bigger than ever!

For all of the details, you need to go HERE.

WRiTE CLUB 2022 - A Call For Volunteers


After ten years of organizing WRiTE CLUB, I realized something — I NEED HELP!

Apart from our wonderful Slushpile Readers (which I'll get to in a minute), my wife and I pretty much do everything...and it's a lot. My wife would like to step away and help out only if needed, and the growth of the contest has brought it to the point where bringing other people is a necessity.   

What kind of help am I talking about? Here's a description of the roles I need help with - 

Contest Registration Coordinator - Logs all submissions into a database and sterilizes them (removes real names and email addresses) before depositing them into a file for Slushpile Readers to access. Also communicates back and forth with contestants.

Social Media Coordinator - Creates posts across various social media platforms to spread the word about the contest and then subsequently spur voter participation as the contest is ongoing.

Slushpile Readers (minimum of 12) - narrow down all the submissions to just the top 30. This is a big commitment!  First, a SR must be open to installing and using Dropbox (a free file-sharing program that I will provide complete instructions on how to use). Then once the entries start pouring in (July 1) the SR will have approximately a month to read what could be 200+ entries, each one approximately 500 words long -- which equates to the length of a small book – select 30 of what they believe are the best ones and rank them. Most importantly – a Slushpile Reader cannot be a WRiTE CLUB contestant. 


So, what do you say?  Interested in helping shape how the competition plays out this year – without officially participating?  If so, email me at and I will be in touch shortly.


Thank you in advance.



Cover Reveal - FALLEN KNIGHT (available July 29th)


Pre-orders are being taken NOW at Wild Lark Books. Release date: July 29th.



I held my first book signing event this past weekend at Wild Lark Books in Lubbock, Texas, and it was awesome! By the end of the day, I had sold ALL MY BOOKS and met lots of wonderful readers. I only hope that any future events I schedule are half as successful.

The city of Lubbock really came out to support Wild Lark Books...and me...and I couldn't be more appreciative.  The folks there really seem to get what Brianne van Reenen is trying to do with her independent bookstore/publishing business, and it warms my heart to see it blossom.


I'm already looking forward to returning to Lubbock sometime after Book Two comes out this summer. If there's an independent bookstore in your city that might be interested in hosting a similar event, feel free to contact me at dlh(dot)hammons(at)gmail(dot)com.



You’ve been away for a while. The amount of time doesn’t matter…what does is the feeling you get when you step back through that front door. It’s hard to describe. It is so much more than a domicile, shelter. There’s a sense of peace, tranquility, the comfort you feel when you wrap yourself in a soft blanket on a wet chilly morning. It’s also the sense of familiarity. A combination of smells and touches that only exist in this one place. You allow yourself to relax whatever defense mechanisms you employ when away because you are acquainted with every inch of your surroundings, and the people who occupy it. Your favorite spot is pulling at you when it’s time to read, watch TV, or listen to music. Reveling in uninhibited freedom.

It is a singular feeling when you return…home.

It is also that same feeling a writer gets when he/she returns to their in-progress manuscript.

CassaDark Release Day!


Cavanaugh returns to the world of his Cassa Series…for a fourth inventive space opera.” – Publisher’s Weekly


His world is unraveling…


Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by doubt. Could things get any worse?


Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.


On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each truth reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?


Print - 9781939844842

EBook – 9781939844859

Science Fiction – Adventure/Space Opera/Space Exploration



iTunes –

Amazon –

Barnes & Noble –

Kobo –

Scribed –

Goodreads –

Sneak Peek


As book sales continue to climb for πŠππˆπ†π‡π“ π‘πˆπ’π„, I'm keeping busy by getting the next book in the series ready. 𝐅𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐄𝐍 πŠππˆπ†π‡π“ is expected to be ready by June 1, but I'm giving a special few a sneak peek of what Dianne and the Knights will be up against by letting them read the 1st chapter. How can you be included in that special few, you ask? Simple, sign up for my newsletter. You can do that at the top of this page, but don't dawdle. This one-time opportunity will be made available on Monday, March 21st ONLY.

A New Cover

 I mentioned in a previous post that KNIGHT RISE was getting a new cover, well, here it is!

It's already started popping up on various sites. There will also be a hardback version, but we won't have the official release party for it until April 30th. The timing couldn't be more perfect because book two in the series is being edited right now and it's scheduled to be released in late spring or early summer (depending on what the edits look like).

So, what do you think of the new cover?

Kim St. Lawrence - WRiTE CLUB Champion 2021 - Lessons Learned


Another WRiTE CLUB in the archives, marking ten years of slush pile readers, skilled writers, and hundreds of thousands of hopeful words. The competition is fierce, but the camaraderie is fiercer, bringing writers together with some of the most thoughtful and constructive critique partners they’ll (n)ever meet.

I first heard about WRiTE CLUB through an editor I admire and entered with the quiet intention of workshopping my craft. I can be a verbose writer and knew a 500-word minimum would challenge me to be more concise—cut adverbs, slash filler words, kill darlings, and so on. Through my first two competitions, I did learn to be more intentional with my language. But I also learned a thing or four about storytelling:

1.     Figurative language is cake: delicious in small servings. I love a well-placed simile or a unique metaphor. It can add a bit of richness or sophistication to the writing. But if it’s used too much or without regard for the tone of the piece, it can rip a reader right out of the story. So before you decide her eyes are look like two bowls of blue Jello, consider if it’s serving the plot.

2.     Mood is just as important as storyline. If I begin a new project by asking myself “what’s the plot?” it usually leads to a blinking curser or a cursing writer. So now I ask myself “what makes me feel something?” I start with a place, a mood, a memory that evokes a strong reaction and then build a story around it. When a piece starts from my gut instead of my head, it tends to comes across as more authentic and sets the tone I want people to feel when they read it.

3.     When it comes to revision, get rid of your ego but keep your heart. Editing is the hardest part of writing for me—a different, more tactical headspace. But it’s a necessary evil. The writers who thrive in WRiTE CLUB cage bouts are the ones who understand if and how to integrate feedback. Usually, it comes down to this: if three or more critics call you out on a plot hole or clumsy sentence, it’s not a subjective observation and you shouldn’t cling to it. (Been there, ate that humble pie.) But if you believe in something, if you feel like a certain detail is integral to your theme or character, defend it, even in the face of criticism. It’s up to you to know the difference.

4.     Mind your arc. It doesn’t matter if it’s flash fiction or a chapter in your 300k word novel (bless your heart), I’ve learned that every piece of writing needs some rising and falling action. Even if the end isn’t tied in a bow, people crave a sense of closure. I’m also a big fan of a circular narrative where the beginning and end mirror each other in unexpected ways.

Needless to say, I didn’t win my first two swings around the ring, but I was able to finetune my craft and, perhaps more importantly, get to know myself better as a writer. I went into the 2021 competition equipped with the lessons I’d learned and fully leaning into my strengths. A few comments on the results:

·        House of Whispers - This piece started with the first line. I was fixated on this concept of a slightly sentient house but didn’t like that haunted mansions get a bad rap for being malevolent. I wanted ChΓ’teau du Chuchote to protect its residents, or at least some of them. That’s when Nicolette arrived. 


·        House of Whispers (Partie Deux) - Here, I took a big WRiTE CLUB risk: whipping up a sequel for the readers who enjoyed the first installment. This is a safe play because you have a sense of their taste, but many readers prefer to see versatility. While it was fun to revisit this scene and try out a new POV, I just squeaked by in the round. (And yes, my French is trΓ¨s mauvais.) 


·        Lost and Found Boys - I have a mild obsession with Peter Pan (this is not my first dystopian PP retelling in WC) and knew the mood I wanted to create—a sad depiction of childhood innocence, using the landfill as a metaphor for the burdens of society. I would not recommend introducing an ensemble cast in 500 words, but I still love these boys.


·        The Keeper of Kilkee - For those who read it, this final piece kept with the same haunting vibe as the first three, but dropped into a new story on an Irish coast. This one was a bit allegorical too, exploring the cyclical nature of truth and rumor, beliefs and reality. This one had an obscure ending, which could have gone either way with the judges. Thankfully, the luck of the Irish was on my side.

The prevailing lesson from this season is that there is SO much talent out there. The caliber of the writing and the storytelling was inspiring. Even if I hadn’t pulled off a win, I would still count this experience as a success and look forward to being part of this community for years to come.

A huge thank you to DL and Kim Hammons, Wild Lark Books, the celebrity judge panel, and slush pile volunteers for providing writers with this opportunity for competition, kinship, and some incredible reads. Until next year, happy writing!

Book Update

Now that WRiTE CLUB is in the rearview mirror (for now), I was thinking that it was a good time to provide an update about how sales of my 1st novel Knight Rise are progressing.

To be frank, we're two months in and sales have been luke warm, at best. The difficulty is trying to discover ways to help people find my book. We don't have a huge advertising budget, so we rely mostly on word-of-mouth efforts. One of the more frustrating things is that even though the book has garnered excellent ratings (4.80 on Goodreads) it only has two reviews. Reviews are like GOLD (anybody see my Facebook post) and they really do move the needle when it comes to convincing readers to try a new author. 

So if anyone out there seeing this has read my book, and you enjoyed it, then please consider doing one of the things on the list above. This word-of-mouth campaign needs more words ... or mouths. :)

WRiTE CLUB 2021 - A Champion Crowned

Let me introduce you to Kimber St. Lawrence, or you may know her as Lady Warbleon, our WRiTE CLUB Champion for 2021.

Kimber earned her storytelling chops in television production, winning a New England Emmy Award and Telly Award that now serve as fancy bookends. These days, she is Chief Marketing Officer for a business information publisher and seasonally hosts a winter travel series airing on NBC Sports Boston. She is a member of SCBWI, co-founder of the writing blog The Page Half Full, and curator of unpublished manuscripts (ha)—she writes YA across genres, though she had never tackled gothic horror until WRiTE CLUB 2021.
Kimber lives in New Hampshire with her border collie, a dozen chickens, and her husband Ryan, who is an adaptive athlete and advocate for spinal cord injury awareness.

Kim has won a stellar publication package generously donated by Brianne van Reenen from Wild Lark Books


Our 1st runner-up and recipient of a $75 Amazon gift card is Fern Calloway, otherwise known in the real world as Ashley Rich.

Ashley is a horror author who lives in Northern California with her husband, teenage son, three cats, two dogs, and a handful of fish. When she isn't herding the animals or pounding away at the keyboard, she's busy in the kitchen cooking up something spicy or kneading together a sourdough loaf. She is the published author of several short stories with a new novel in the works. 

The feedback provided by our celebrity judges will be forwarded to both our contestants. These writers have proved themselves to be extremely talented and I predict nothing but good things in their literary futures.

There are some other contest winners we also need to announce. They are - 

Lisa Dunn - won the Random Voting prize of a $50 Wild Lark Books gift card.

J Lenni Dorner - won for the best WRiTE CLUB Promotional Campaign (for the 2nd year in a row) and takes home a $40 Amazon gift card

Will all the winners please contact me so delivery arrangements can be made?

The contest was a success once again, despite COVID doing its best to try and hamper our fun. Participation may have been down, but I think everyone would agree that the quality of the writing we witnessed was not.

Now that the contest is over we encourage the other writers who made it into the bouts to reveal their true identities in the comments below. People who have read your work really want to keep in touch with you and your work, so why not remove that mask? No pressure though. If you want to remain anonymous, we respect that choice.

If you want to be alerted to when the contest will start in 2022, just signup for my newsletter above and I'll be happy to send that information out to you.

Thank you to everyone for making WRiTE CLUB what it is.



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