Book Spotlight: The Shady Side: Shortcut to Uneasy Street

In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons, as well as connect with other authors, I reached out to people in writing Facebook groups I belong to, asking if anyone wanted to guest blog on my website. That was how I was introduced to this book and I have to say, I was not disappointed.

Noble does a fantastic job of weaving the supernatural and macabre into a suburban-esque setting. Her characters are compelling, and each story (this is a collection of six short stories) is as interesting as the last.

I want to spotlight my two favorite stories here. The first is "Defensive Driving." It follows the story of a man who cannot, for the life of him, stay calm behind the wheel of a car. It certainly doesn't help that his truck is named The Beast, either. When he's gifted a hula dancer to put on his dash, things seem to look up. But, of course, the peace doesn't last for long. Noble manages to create an interesting story in just a few short pages, keeping the readers guessing as to what the insidious factor of the story will be.

My second favorite is "Wrath," simply because it's told from the point of view of a crow, and there's a hippie woman who reminds me a lot of Cosima from Orphan Black. It's seriously one of the more interesting stories to unpack, but I won't give any of it away.

Noble has 160 published works ranging from poetry to nonfiction. And I bet each story is as artfully crafted as the last. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories; they reminded me of the ghost stories I used to read in summer camp as a kid, the ones where you'd put a flashlight under your chin and try to frighten all your friends.

Do yourself a favor, if you're into horror and suspense, grab yourself a copy of this book. The nostalgia, alone, should be enough to compel you. And if not, Noble's artful writing surely will be.

You can get a copy of the book on Amazon, grab the eBook, or visit her online at

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block. That sneaky, depraved demon that wraps its claws around your brain and turns you into an unimaginative robot. You know what I’m talking about. When you sit there staring a blank screen, trying (and ultimately deleting) anything to progress on your latest work. It impacts all writers, but I’ve discovered some things to cure, or at least treat the symptoms of, writer’s block.

  • Start outlining your work. A lot of writer’s block can stem from a lack of direction. It helps to look up plot summaries of movies or books that are similar to your manuscript, and then follow their flow and structure.
  • Already have an outline? Work on one for another book. Or work on fine-tuning the one you have. If that fails, character development is always fun. Look up some in-depth character-building sites and go nuts!
  • Reread what you already have. There’s a quote from Once Upon A Time that says, “You know, when I get struck by a block, I usually reread what I’ve done, rather than plow ahead blindly. Sometimes, I find there’ll be a little nugget of inspiration left behind.” You’re in a different head space when you first start writing. Sometimes, a flash of that previous intention can help spur you on.
  • Read other things you’re working on, read a book, or watch TV/a movie. Sometimes, we see things and wish we could’ve written them differently. Often, that’s all it takes.
  • Take time off! Yes, we all have deadlines. However, writer’s block could just be your mind’s way of saying you need a break. So, step away from your writing for a week. Usually, I only last a couple of days before my manuscript’s sweet siren song calls me back.

Do you have another way you work around or treat writer’s block?

Advice about KDP Formatting

One of the most time-consuming things when working to self-publish a book, outside of the writing itself, has to be formatting. It’s not that the task is particularly difficult, per se, but every little change you make alters the format, which could throw the entire document off kilter. I’ve discovered a few things that make it all easier, for when you’re finally ready to sit down with Kindle Direct Publishing and do the damn thing:

1. Instead of using a page break when you finish writing a chapter, use the next page option. In Word, just click on Layout, then breaks, and scroll on down to where it says Next Page. This makes the next chapter a new section, and, in turn, makes it a lot easier to format headers and footers when you finally get around to numbering your pages and adding titles to the chapters.

2. Speaking of headers and footers, I find it a lot easier to completely format a manuscript before you decide to add page numbers and headers. That way, you’re not throwing off the numbering or section headings if you end up changing chapters. If you have a little checklist, make the page numbers the next to last thing you do.
3. In the past, I self-published once every year-and-a-half, which makes it difficult to remember exactly what I did previously formatting-wise. So, instead of bumbling around every time, trying to remember exactly how you made it so the text wouldn’t bleed onto the next page when formatting an eBook, create a document and keep track of things you do. Just in case.
4. Following that line of thought, the upmost important thing when self-publishing, regardless of what platform you use, is to be organized. Keep track of everything you do, so if something goes wrong, you know exactly what happened.
5. And finally, just have a good time! Self-publishing can be taxing and time consuming, but at the end, you get to see the fruits of your labor. Keep that in mind for when you’re squinting at your computer, feeling like you’d like to punch KDP in the face if they make you launch the previewer one more time. It’s your baby, and totally worth it.