Archive by Author | Hunter Shea

The 4 Keys to Writing Success

I used to say there were 2 central keys to becoming a writer, with a lot of little caveats that add up to a big ball of wax. But without those 2 keys, you can’t unlock the door to publishing. In fact, I wrote a whole book about it and how to get published.

I was just sitting in my car waiting for traffic to unsnarl when it hit me that there are actually 4 keys to writing. The other keys were always there, just not in the forefront of my mind and advice.

“Dude, why do you keep prattling on about keys? Are you a valet or locksmith?”

Valid point.

I’ve been many things (and called many more), but those professions have so far eluded me.

What are these keys? Let’s dive right in. I’ll start with my first 2 tried and true.

READ – I’ll keep preaching this until I’m blue in the face and my tongue falls out of my mouth. You cannot expect to become a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the equivalent of saying you want to be a baker but you have never tasted a baked good or know what goes into them. Every book you read, and you should read a wide and varied lot, is a vital part of your education and maturation as a writer. You’ll learn the art of writing and storytelling both consciously and subconsciously. I read over 100 books a year and still feel as if I’ve come up short. Read every chance you get. Read great writing. Read bad writing. Read shampoo bottles and fine print. Just read.

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WRITE – Pretty self-explanatory. You can talk the talk, but eventually, you need to walk the walk. Or, more accurately, sit the sit. If you’ve found a way to walk and write, call me so I can learn from a master. Writers have to write, either to satisfy their inner need to write or an impatient editor. You have to get the words all the way to THE END. Then you have to go back and edit and polish and submit.

Once you’re done with one project, start the next. Or do several at once. Remember, ABW – Always Be Writing. That’s not to say you can’t have days where you goof off or fall down the Netflix rabbit hole. That’s life. But you have to make writing a priority.

SUPPORT – Writing is a very solitary experience. It’s not natural. You can spend years toiling away, missing out on family events, trips, parties, never knowing if anyone will ever read, or better yet, buy your work. There are times you’ll feel like giving up. That’s where you need to have someone at your back. It can be a spouse, friend, fellow struggling writer, established writer who has become your mentor, even a stranger on a train who for some reason believes in you, writer dude.

Your support team needs to be there to run interference so you can concentrate on writing, pick you up when you’re down, and be honest with you when you need feedback. It’s a tough role for someone to fill, but absolutely necessary. I’ve been lucky. My wife has fully supported my dream from the start, even when it looked like I was spinning my wheels for nothing. She told me to never give up. I didn’t. I even tattooed it on my arm as a constant reminder. Find your rock, and avoid others who want to derail your efforts or mock you for even trying like the plague they are.

TALENT – I’ve read a lot of books on writing/publishing, and not many come right out and say you need talent to make a go of this. I don’t believe that if you lock a bunch of monkeys in a room with laptops that they will eventually write Shakespeare. I think you’ll get an eternity of monkey gibberish.

Talent is hard to define and impossible to create from thin air. You can fine tune and polish your talent (because it will be in very raw form at the start), but you can’t make it magically appear. You either got it or you don’t. That’s where your support system comes in. If they’re truly honest and good, they will tell you if your book is worth its weight in ink and paper.

Elicit the opinions of others that you trust and get their feedback. Hire a professional editor who will be blunt and impartial. Compare your writing to others in the genre. I know we writers can be poor judges of our own writing, but doing a little side by side can shed light on whether or not you’ve got the chops. So, feel free to tattoo Never Give Up if you have the talent. If you don’t, it’s perfectly fine to give up and find where your talents lie.

 

There you have it, my updated and revised 4 keys to writing. If you took the time to read this whole post, you can check off key #1 for the day. Now get back in your chair and start writing. I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.

#FreeBooks and Fireworks

In honor of Independence Day, I’m going to give away 4 copies (for the Fourth of July…get it!) of my Mail Order Massacres novella, JUST ADD WATER, to the first 4  people who sign up for my Dark Hunter Newsletter. And even if you’re not among the four, new subscribers also get a free copy of my alien abduction terror, DARK MASTER.

Click here to enter. 

Good luck and don’t forget to watch the Nathan’s hot dog eating championship. It’s always a big event in the Shea castle. Team Joey Chestnut!

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Are You Ready For A MONSTER BRAWL?

The MONSTER BRAWL anthology is finally here, just in time to heat up your summer! My story, Monster Milk, takes place in a nursing home of all places. But these beasts are far from feeble.

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It’s time to let the monsters loose!

For this book, we collected stories of monsters doing epic battle with other monsters! The beasts could be classical by design with a unique twist, or they could be spawned straight from the author’s imagination. The only rule: there must be a clear-cut winner at the end of each story; one of the creatures had to die!

Some of the stories in this collection pit a single monster against another, while others are all-out gang warfare. Some are campy, some serious, but all a fight for the ages!

It’s time to get your game face on for twelve tales worthy of the title Monster Brawl!

**No monsters were hurt in the writing of these stories**

Click here to join the monstrous battle royale! 

To Shudder Or Not To Shudder

If you’re a horror freak like myself, I’m sure you’ve heard of the all horror movie streaming service, Shudder. They say ‘It’s always midnight on Shudder’ and to me, that’s a good thing.

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I’ve been on the fence for the past year whether or not to subscribe. I mean, I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime. How many more flicks could Shudder offer me?

Well, with all of the hype for the Shudder exclusive, PREVENGE, I finally took the plunge. Man, I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner. First, I really dug Prevenge. Its dry wit and proper English pacing stands in stark contrast to the horrors that unfold as a pregnant woman goes on a murder spree…all at the behest of her very talkative fetus!

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A Shudder subscription is only $5 a month. Why did I think it was so much more? I spent an hour going through their catalog, adding movie after movie to my Watch List. Here’s a sampling of what I found there and can’t wait to watch :

Demons, Demons 2, The Church, The House by the Cemetery, The Legend of Boggy Creek, Night Train to Terror, Sleep Tight, Shock Waves, The Stuff, Wake in Fright, Crystal Lake Memories.

There are a lot of brand new horror movies on there as well. I have to work my way through all of the older movies I haven’t seen in a long time before I do a deep dive on the new stuff.

So, if you watch a lot of horror movies, like I do, I’m going to give it a hearty recommendation. Not to mention, it costs less than a meal at McDonald’s. I’ll talk about at least one Shudder flick each week on my FINAL GUYS podcast to help you add to your own Watch List.

Are you or were you a Shudder subscriber? What do you think of the service? Severed thumb up or down?

New Mail Order Massacres Release – JUST ADD WATER

The very first of my Mail Order Massacres novellas, JUST ADD WATER, has leapt from the pages of comic books and into homes everywhere! Did you ever order Sea Monkeys from a comic book as a kid? In JUST ADD WATER, two boys tear the order form from a Wonder Woman comic for a chance to own the Amazing Live Sea Serpents. That was their first mistake.


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GROW AMAZING LIVE SEA SERPENTS!

It’s fun! It’s easy! They only cost a measly dollar. Just clip out the ad in your comic book. Then ask Mom to mail it in. A few weeks later, receive a packet of instant Sea Serpent dust. Then:

Just add water . . . and watch them grow!

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Just ask David and Patrick. Their “instant pets” are instant duds. They don’t hatch, they don’t grow, they don’t do anything. So they dump them into the sewer where Dad pours toxic chemicals . . .

WAIT UNTIL FEEDING TIME.

It’s been weeks since David and Patrick thought about those Sea Serpents. But now, small animals are disappearing in the neighborhood. Strange slimy creatures are rising from the sewers. And once the screaming starts, David and Patrick realize that their childhood pets really did come to life. With a vengeance. They’re enormous . . . and have a ravenous hunger for human flesh . . .


All of the books in the Mail Order Massacres series are quick, nostalgic, humorous and gory trips back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. All are based on what you used to be able to order from the pages of comic books…gone horribly wrong. Optical Delusion comes out in August, followed by Money Back Guarantee in October. For now, sprinkle your Sea Serpents in your tank and watch ’em grow! Have a gun nearby.

JUST ADD WATER is only $1.99, just like all those comic book goodies back in the day!

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Now, if you stuck with me this far, answer this question for a chance to win a free copy of the book. What did you want most from those comic book wonders when you were a kid?

Signed Book Sale!

Screw yard sales where strangers fondle my stuff and try to rip me off for my collector’s edition Six Million Dollar Man Bigfoot action figure. Or take a whiff of my old bowling shoes, turning away in disgust. I have a wife to give me those looks, thank you very much.

Nope, I prefer to do this the new-fashioned way. It’s over 90 degrees here in the Big Rotten Apple, which gets me to thinking of books to bring to the beach. If you want to build your own beach read pile, I’m here to help. It’s time for a book sale!

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I have limited quantities of the titles above, along with a couple of others. If you’d like one, or two or more, send an email to huntershea1@gmail.com with the titles you’d like and your address. Payments will be made via Paypal. All books will be personally made out to you so you can prove to everyone that you’re a true Hellion. You’ll also get bookmarks and I’m going to see if I have any official Hellion stickers in the mess I call an office. Be the coolest Mofo on the beach. Impress the ladies. Capture the man of your dreams. Read horror and grow rich!

The prices below include shipping.

WE ARE ALAWAYS WATCHING – $15

SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE – $12

SAVAGE JUNGLE – $12

THE DOVER DEMON (NOW OUT OF PRINT) – $15

LOCH NESS REVENGE  – $12

THE JERSEY DEVIL – $10

THE MONTAUK MONSTER  -$10

TORTURES OF THE DAMNED – $10

THEY RISE – $12

 

Alone with the Ghosts of Poveglia Island

Many is the paranormal researcher who has said Poveglia Island in Italy is one of the scariest places on earth. It has a long, sordid history. It’s been the site of bloody battles, a burial ground for victims of the plague and host to a mental asylum. If tortured spirits would linger anywhere, it has to be amongst the ruins of Poveglia Island.

Today, the island is off limits to the public, but I was lucky enough to interview author J.H. Moncrieff who made it on the island…alone!!! Share her journey as she walks us through her chilling trip…

 

Also, check out J.H. Moncrieff’s article on the most haunted islands in the world. While you’re there, sign up for her newsletter. You won’t want to miss a single issue!

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