January 9th, 2015 by J.H. Soeder

For those of you wondering about getting published, the biggest thing to remember and be is PERSISTENT.


e-shelf3Due to my publishing background, I have been fortunate that I learned how to get my books published using Amazon’s Createspace site. But there is more to it than just that, if you want to do things right.  Innumerable books are out there about HOW to write, but the best thing you can do is join a writing group, or take classes where you must write each week and then present your work to your class and get feedback. That is most helpful and having the chance to hear what others write not only gives you ideas about what to write but something to compare your writing to.

That’s only the beginning.  If you want to write fiction, realize that there are things you will need to do in order to submit your work, should you decide on approaching an agent.  The first thing is to know what agent you should be approaching.  A great place to start is  They list all agents and the genres they will look at.  The other thing that you can do is find books at the bookstore or on Amazon and look in the credits. Usually authors thank their agents, which will help you better pinpoint who you want to write your query letters to.

There is also query  You can type in the agency name and see how they have responded to other writers who have sent them query letters. This will give you an idea of how long it takes to get a response if any.  And that’s another point, depending on how well you have written your query letter will determine a higher probability that the agent will respond.  Not all do.

Be prepared for rejections. Writers Digest has a blog where they interview agents and get the agents to talk about what they are looking for. That will help you customize your letters, making them more personal.  The point is, there is research you have to do to find the niche your book fits into.

That’s another point. A great book to read is Stephen King’s ON WRITING.  You get great perspective and wonderful advice. Besides that, read books that are bestsellers in the genre you are writing about, reading not just from a pleasure point of view, but WHY they are good books.  That is where writing classes come in.

The next point is getting published.  Two sites, and will publish your writing if they like it. There is no exchange of money, but agents like to see that your work has merit. The point is, the more you write, the better you will get.

If you self-publish, you have Kindle e-books.  They have a great way of setting you up so that you can publish electronically.  But the main thing is that you will also need to market your books on-line, which is a blog in itself.  The point is to be PERSISTENT.

In closing to get published you only need two of the three following things:

1. A book


3. A little luck

Remember that you only need two.  You can have an idea (non-fiction) and not written a book.  But you write a great proposal and persist looking for an agent. With a little luck you will find one! Your persistence – getting your homework done and writing a great proposal can land you a book deal.  Just be a professional in your presentation in whatever you do.

Category: Being an Author | No Comments »

Slavery Did Not End in 1867. It had a new name: Prison Farm

March 3rd, 2014 by J.H. Soeder
This is the working cover for my manuscript, White Wash Blues

This is the working cover for my manuscript, White Wash Blues

Slavery Did Not End in 1867. Do you really know what happened after that?

I’ve just completed a manuscript for my first historical novel, called White Wash Blues. It is around 62,000 words in length describing events, some of which denied to this day, about the Southern prison farm system.

I acquired the basis for this story by a friend who I happened to meet, of all things, at Starbucks. A retired professor of architecture at UCLA, he traveled the world and the U.S. designing major building and centers, one of which was the University of Mississippi’s historical library.

In the process of tearing out the old wooden structure, he came upon a box which contained spools of wire and a couple of hitherto unknown photos of black women being admitted into Parchman Prison Farm. He had no clue what the wire was until after further investigation it was discovered that these were recordings of Parchman’s prison women’s songs done by the famous Alan Lomax, responsible for recording the early South in the 1900’s.

He was able to locate a machine, which after some professional refurbishing, was able to play these songs. They were songs of desperation and woe and sung by women, many of which had been railroaded through a corrupt southern legal system, which was in place past the 1950’s. The other point was that women were never allowed to talk openly at Parchman; they could only sing.

I had the opportunity to listen to these songs and as a result was inspired to write this book about Parchman, based on a lot of research done by people like David Oshinsky, a Pulitzer prize winning author. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Being an Author, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Where Did He Go???

January 30th, 2014 by J.H. Soeder
This past summer I got married to Debbie Lawler. Currently we are up in Toronto, Canada with plans of being back in the states very soon!

This past summer I got married to Debbie Lawler. Currently we are up in Toronto, Canada with plans of being back in the states very soon!

Probably a lot of you have asked that question.

Well, for one I got married! This past July I married Debbie Lawler (for those of you who are motorcycle fans, you might want to google her!). We actually met on an on-line dating service call I had not anticipated meeting such a wonderful person, simply because, truth be told, I was not real happy about getting back into the dating scene, especially long distance ones! She goes beyond the old song “Five foot two, eyes a’ blue”, simply because she is so genuine and caring. I am a very lucky guy! Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Being an Author | No Comments »

The End of Episodes and Serials in Fiction?

January 21st, 2013 by J.H. Soeder

Being a published author, some may say I just like to walk by and smell the flowers. But I believe anyone can and should have the chance of being a writer.In a fairly recent blog written by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords he wrote that he felt the need to possibly discourage new authors from writing episodes or books that had been broken down into volumes so as to possibly increase sales for the writer. Although I am reducing the context of his blog considerably I wonder if he actually has considered his position.

Smashwords was created to compete with the “big boys” the major book publishers and agents which had a strangle hold on creative writing. The little guy had to submit hundreds of letters proposing his/her book and only a handful of authors being ultimately accepted into their folds.

In the few years that I have been writing, any time that I have mentioned that I am an author, the person at the opposite end of the conversation most invariably says, “You know, I have always had this great idea for a book!” The point is, there are a lot of people out there who have given up hope in writing simply because the few channels available to write and produce their books don’t actually exist for them. Hence, they have a dream but know they will never really have a chance to write.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Being an Author, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Episode Four: Death’s Final Stand releases December 25th!

December 16th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

The fouth episode in my SF thriller anthology "Element 238 - The Hidden Enemy" officially releases December 25th on Kindle!

I am excited to announce that the next episode in my SF anthology “Element 238″ will be officially releasing on Kindle this month!

For five days, everyone receiving this message will have the opportunity to download a free copy of the first episode “Element 238 – The search for Truth” starting December 25th and ending December 31, 2012.

Make sure to tell all your friends, here’s the link:

The story begins 350 years into our future. Ninety-eight per cent of the the animal and human population are gone. The historical records are gone. Two scientists, Dr. Thomas Harding and his colleague Dr. Robert Harris work to figure out what happened and then how to avoid such a mishap in the near future.

Every episode has a cliff hanger and there is a lot of action and adventure. You’ll never know what will happen next!

So make sure you tell all your friends. Pass on the link and download a free copy of the first episode.

Happy Holidays!



Category: Being an Author | 10 Comments »

First Three Sci-Fi Thrillers Released!

October 19th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

This is the first volume of my Sci-Fi Thriller series, "Element 238"

OK…It was a bold move and I agree.

But while attending the Kindle Conference and meeting with U.S. Times Bestseller Sean Platt, his comment was – “Get them out! Don’t Wait!”

So that is EXACTLY what I have done! The point is, I have not done a full-scale launch on the books with Kindle yet; I now have great reviews and now following through on the research that I need to do a proper release of my series. However, to accomplish that, one needs to have books in place with which to market. The other point is that my original book needed to be resized based on research done by Kindle (and followed by Sean Platt), which was to keep my “episodes” in rough;y 30,000 word formats, with a cliffhanger at the end of each episode!

This now has been done and I also have created three additional covers. The other thing is that I decided to keep my regular author pen name on my books after a lot of soul-searching and discussions with prominent publishers. So that is the plan.

The other point that was made by Sean is that when one writes a sci-fi series, keep in mind to write in a cliffhanger fashion – keep the action going forward but have a definite ending at each juncture. What I discovered in my original book was that I actually had three different places where an “episode” could begin and end. The result is that each book is pretty fast paced, with twists and turns, but there is always something that pulls you on to read further.

From the initial reviews that have been coming in (all four stars and above!) that is a common thread to all of the comments – “I wonder what is going to happen next!” The point is, I really have tried to make my characters real, situations real and the human response real. What that means is that you have human frailty and imperfection, but places where the frailty leaves and positive action with integrity replacing it. The point is, there are many positive qualities that we all have and one thing that I have wanted to do is to point those qualities out to the young reader, showing him or her that these things are desirable.

The story line is about our future – 350 years to be exact. Well over 98% of the Earth’s population, including fauna, have be wiped out with the release of a genetically engineered virus. The group responsible for this horrific crime, Mensam, stayed deep underground in huge underground, self sufficient military bases while releasing the deadly virus on the surface of the Earth.

The same group has been methodically wiping out all trace and understanding of human history, re-writing their own version. But it does not stop there as the goal has been to eradicate the family unit and all the basic human qualities with the intention to create mindless automatons who are expendable.

It's the third episode in my series, "Element 238 - The Flight for Survival". Harding, his wife and daughter are trapped on a hostile planet 440 light years away from Earth. How will they get back?

Enter Dr. Robert Harris and Thomas Harding – notable scientists responsible for many incredible discoveries that are used to the benefit of Mensam. But what Mensam doesn’t know is that the two have been collaborating for over twenty years. And in the process of that relationship, they discover a crystal – “Element 238″ which sets them on a journey to discover the truth – a journey that will bring to gather the family unit once and forever but an accidental and dangerous journey that also places Harding, his wife and daughter on a planet 440 light years away, without an apparent way to come home.

How this all happens and how it all ends is in my series “Element 238″. And for the next few months, the first three books will only be available as a Kindle e-book, followed by episode four and five.


So stay tuned. I will alert everyone when they major launch is and when the next in my newest science fiction series “Element 238″ is ready and available!

By the way, if you want to see the next cover, you’ll have to get a copy of episode 3!

Category: Being an Author | 5 Comments »

Just Joined the “Number One Book Club”

August 29th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

Hi All,

Yesterday I became a member of Kindle’s new program the “Number One Book Club”!

It’s a program aimed at increasing the awareness of one’s books and uses a bunch of nifty tools to create successful e-books. Since I am getting ready to release my upcoming series under my pseudonym “Andrew Huntington”, I thought it would be worth it to try the new program and see just how good it can be.

I’ll be blogging as I do the program, keeping everyone up to date. So far, the information makes sense and what I have come to realize is that my young adult science fiction series “Element 238″, has a correctly targeted public. But what is more important is that I have created a series which readers can enjoy. Although that was my plan all along, it is nice to be validated for thinking in that terms. Also, it turns out, ebooks should be shorter that the tomes that are currently out there. As a result, I discovered I actually have about six books done, complete with cliff hangers!

So let’s see where this goes.

I’ll be in touch.


Category: Being an Author | 5 Comments »

Volume 2 of “Element 238″ nears completion!

July 23rd, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

It's my new cover with my pseudonym.

The first volume “Element 238 – The Search for Truth” is now in publishing. I am really excited about it and so far pre-reader reviews have been no less than spectacular!

Writing Science Fiction has always been a dream of mine and yet because I write in a non-fiction genre, I am always concerned about writing under a different pseudonym. Some writers will write under the same name, however after meeting with several publishers, it has been decided that I will use a different pseudonym. I will even be creating a new blogsite, which will feature all my upcoming science fiction novels and short stories.

The name I will be using is “Andrew Huntington”. Sounds like a good name – has a good ring to it! I will be only mentioning it to my readers now, so that when you hear the name, you’ll know its me!

The second volume, as it turns out, will be about the same length as volume one. I had actually planned to make it slightly shorter – around 40,000 words. The reason for this is that this trilogy is targeted for a young adult reader and with the amount of time available for reading books, or the interest in them, is shorter, research shows. It seems that people like to get to the point quicker, hate an endless trip with no solution in site. So my books do reach certain points, but like a cliff hanger, lead you into the next volume.

The fun thing is that after the initial series is over, there is ample opportunity for character development of not only the main characters but a couple of others as well.

I will also be writing my fiction short stories as well, so look for them!

Category: Being an Author | 8 Comments »

Another Book Award!

May 24th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

I’m happy to announce that “The Way of The Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening,” the book that my dear friend D.E. Lamont and I collaborated on as author and artist, has just been honored with another award!

“The Way of the Eagle” has been named a Medal-Winning Finalist in the Novella category of the worldwide 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The competition honors independently published books published anywhere in the world and is open to independent authors and publishers.


I also want to be sure and mention D.E. Lamont’s brand new website, called Magical Mystical You, at  Through her articles, D.E. wants to heighten people’s awareness of and affinity for the spiritual side of life. In our materialistic age, what has been missing is many people’s understanding of – and the reality of – our spirituality and capabilities as spiritual beings.  The tagline which appears at the top of Magical Mystical You is “Discover your innate spiritual qualities, abilities and potential.”

Category: Being an Author | 9 Comments »

The Unexpected Angel

May 6th, 2012 by J.H. Soeder

We sometimes have the picture of an angel with wings and child-like. Is that really what an angel looks like?

In my re

In my recent book, “Fingers in the Light,” I talk about the Unseen Hand that has been quite evident throughout my life and how, although some wish to argue this point, God is aware of you and does have a hand in all of our lives.


Some philosophies, as well as people, are willing to admit there is a God, but that He is too busy to care. They insist we are the makers of this universe and the idea of God is nice but antiquated. One part of the argument is that there is no way possible God could hear everyone and help everyone simultaneously.


My thoughts on this are that if you assign the Creator of this Universe as omnipotent, He is far beyond our ability to understand or actually have an opinion about.


And then there are Angels. Who and what are they? Some say they are God’s messengers. Some say that they don’t exist. Yet throughout history, they have appeared at all levels of life and influenced us. Some have even said angels are aliens. The truth is, I don’t know but I met one just the other day.

 An Angel at Child’s Play

Now and then I will substitute teach as I enjoy working with children. I was at an elementary school with second graders for the day. They have such wonderful energy and life and their worlds are so wondrous and full of excitement and emotion!


It was an ordinary day. I was a bit lost as to what I should do next. In less than a moment somthing was about to change my way of thinking about life!

The class I had was not unruly but well behaved, which sometimes can be unusual for that age! In any case, it was near the end of the day and part of my instructions from the teacher was that certain children, if they had been good, could go to a “Principal’s recess” just before the day ended.


I had no clue as to how that would work especially when the recess was just before the last day’s bell would ring! Additionally, I had five students left in the class that I was also responsible for.


What to do? There were no further instructions. Twenty-three kids had left the room to play for about fifteen minutes. I did not know how to collect them or honestly how this “Principal’s Recess” worked.


I left the room to see if I could gather the kids up just before the bell. There were some teachers out on the playground. They were involved with other children and so I could not find anyone to help or even answer my questions.


Suddenly, a little girl with long brown hair, glasses and braces ran up to me. She was not a second grader from my class and seemed more like a fifth grader due to her size. She wore short length blue jeans and a pink top, carrying a jump rope in her hand. She had a simple face and her skin was freckled and unblemished.


“You are a substitute, aren’t you?” she said matter-of-factly.


“Yes.” I was a bit startled by her comment which was quite direct!


“This is Principal’s Recess. The children can play for fifteen minutes. A bell will ring which is not the last bell. At that time, the kids will line up for you to take back to your room. There, they can gather their things to leave for home. Another bell will ring and then you can walk them to the gate, where their parents will pick them up.”


It was a very simple but explicit communication. I wondered if I seemed that out of place but even more, how she could know what the problem was that I was having? It was as if she knew what my problem was and knew more about me than I did!


“Thank you so much!” I replied.


“No problem, you’ll be fine,” she said as she then turned away from me. She let go of the loose rope she held in her small, dainty hands while still holding onto the ends of her jump rope. She seemed to be carried off into the world of child’s play and began singing to herself. With a very simple but elaborate shuffle, something I had never seen a child do, she began joyously skipping rope as she moved back into the mass of kids on the playground.

 Where did she go?

I turned my head for just a moment as I felt momentarily distracted and then turned my head back to see her but she was gone! I looked all over the playground and never saw her or her jump rope!


I then realized that I had just been visited by an angel! I realized they come to you when you least expect it and in whatever form you can easily receive but I was definitely helped and I realized, I was loved. I certainly was not alone!


How one moment can shift your awareness of life and livingness! Some of you can have your own explanations but I know what I experienced and know what I saw. I honestly was a little stunned, only because I thought angels only came in times of danger or enlightenment.


Well, I was wrong! They can just be there when you need them.


I must say it was quite unexpected!


Have you ever had an angel visit you?

Category: Spirits, Supernatural | 2 Comments »

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