google docs

I've recently been using something really cool to write and edit my books. It stores all my Word documents for me, and I can even write on it when Word crashes on the library computers (it's been doing that all the time recently. Curse you, Microsoft.)

This thing is called Google Docs. It's been around for awhile now, and I've found it incredibly useful. Especially when you're collaborating with an editor.

First, you upload your final draft of the novel to Google Docs (or if you wrote the whole thing in Docs, then you don't have to upload it). Then you can choose to share this document with the email address of your editor. He can download the Word document and do his evil magic on it, and then he can add his version to the same Google doc. The cool thing is, you can download both your original and his edited version.

It gets really cool when you think of things like this. Your editor, when he finishes work for the day, can save the document and add a new version of the book every day (don't worry--you get more space on Docs than you can ever begin to use) and you, the author, can see his work as he edits, and if you have any comments you can email it to him and you can change things yourself.

See, Google Docs has so much potential for making your life easier as a writer. I can't wait to work with my editor on Incognito so we can just use it. It's phenomenal.

Well I've talked too much today. See you.

Dawson "Docky" Vosburg

do you ever get that feeling

You know, that feeling. The feeling at the beginning of the week, where you just had a great time with a bunch of people, and now it's all over?

We had four more people at my house this year at Thanksgiving, and now that they're all gone, it's like the world is over. Do you ever feel that way? And it's like that for writing too. I have to write 4,000 words today and I don't feel like doing it at all.

I guess it must be done, for the sake of the people and for NaNoWriMo!

who is the incognito?

One of the principle plot elements for the Incognito is (great surprise, I know) the Incognito himself. Or herself? Is it really a person? Who is it? What does it stand for?

My favorite analogy for imagination comes from J.J. Abrams (what's with initialed authors and great plots? C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, J.J. Abrams...maybe I should pick up D.P. Vosburg). When he was a child, he enjoyed mysteries, and magic because you didn't know how it worked behind the scenes. He had a box that he bought at a magic shop when he was a child when he bought lots of magic stuff. This box had lots of question marks on it, and it was a mystery magic trick. But Abrams has never opened the box.

He's had it since he was ten or eleven, and he's never opened the box.

And that box sits on his desk, and every day he looks at it and it is the inspiration for much of his plotting. If you think of that all of his plotting revolves around what you don't know.

The Incognito is that box in the Incognito. At that first one. Who knows how many more there will be to follow?

Just some insight into the idea of mystery and how powerful the lack of knowledge can be.

Dawson "Tall, Pale, and Mysterious" Vosburg


I love my imagination. It's one thing that I'm thankful for every day (not just Thanksgiving, although that was one of the major ones for me this year.)

I want to hear from you. What's something you used to imagine when you were a child? Think way back...everyone used to have imaginary friends (I had Bob and Joe, who turned into Bob and David in the book, David being named after my brother). In case you didn't know, Double Life and Terminal Velocity are based on my childhood imaginings of being Agent 12 in the BLUE Agency and fighting against the evil RED Agency.

So what do you imagine? One of the things I did as a kid was to take old bricks we had in our yard and make medieval cities out of them. It was the most fun I'd ever had. We invented cultures, rituals, and battles. That's  what led me into writing fantasy.

Your imagination doesn't stop when you grow up. Share your imaginary world!

Dawson "Agent 12" Vosburg

stacey cochran guest post: CLAWS 2.

Today I'd like to introduce someone we've seen here before, promoting new book, CLAWS 2. So without further ado, Stacey Cochran!


Thanks, Dawson, for letting me visit your blog in the midst of my CLAWS 2 Blog Tour. More than anything else, I need folks to read and write reviews of my book.

So I thought I would write about my perceptions so far regarding two closely linked series books. As you may guess, CLAWS 2 is the sequel to CLAWS, which was an international bestseller on Amazon Kindle in 2009 and 2010.

So far, the month of July has been my most profitable month this year, and I attribute a significant portion of this success to the new $2.99 price-point and 70% royalty rate for CLAWS 2.

However, what I did not anticipate before the launch of CLAWS 2 was that its release would coincide with a large bump in sales for the first book in the series. Maybe in some dark corner of my mind, I had considered the possibility that this might happen, but if I did, it was certainly not conscious.

I just liked the idea of writing a series of novels like CLAWS, CLAWS 2, CLAWS 3, etc. I thought it would be cool, but I wasn’t thinking at all about how one book might affect sales of another.

An interesting thing to note is that the first book in the series has actually out-sold the new release nearly 3:2 during the first three weeks of the launch, and it is up nearly 400% over previous month-to-date sales.

The lesson that I’m learning with this is simple. If you have two (or more) closely-linked series books, many readers who discover you on your 2nd or (hypothetically) 3rd or 4th novel will first go back and buy the original novel. Many folks will buy the books together. Others will only buy the first book and see if they like it before moving on to other books in the series.

It’s worth noting, too, that I’ve maintained a lower price-point for CLAWS (99 cents), and that is likely contributing to new readers giving the book a shot.

Whatever the case, I now have hard data to support the hypothesis that publishing series novels with closely-linked titles can affect sales of all books.

In the months ahead, I may experiment by dropping the CLAWS 2 price-point to 99 cents, while raising the CLAWS price to $2.99. Or dropping both to 99 cents. Or raising both to $2.99. The point is that if you’re doing pretty well with a series, you can change the prices around every so often to experiment with sales #s and data to see what works best.

Well, thanks for having me at your blog today. If folks want to find out more about me, you can visit me on the web at:

And, of course, more than anything, I need some good reviews of CLAWS 2 on Amazon. So check us out there, everybody, and please write a review. Thanks so much!


Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University.


I'm proud to announce my next novel, the first in the "Connelly & Connelly" series. Its full title will be:

Being the first part of
Connelly & Connelly
detailing the events of the

Or...Incognito for short.

This will be my first fantasy novel released, and it will be the longest book I have ever written or published. It is yet going under the early-mid stages of editing, but I can tell you that it will definitely be a detailed, rich, and unique world. I have limited myself to using only one species (besides humans) that has already been invented. All the other creatures will be from my own imagination.

I will release more story details, maps, the cover, and perhaps even an excerpt of the book on this blog, so keep your eyes on it. What I can tell you right now is that it will be released Summer 2011.

For those of you (meaning "both of you") who are looking forward to the third installment in Josiah Jones, it will be released either December next year or Summer 2012. I've needed a break from it and needed new material to get my mind going, so I'll be releasing this book, the first in Connelly & Connelly, before the last in the Adventures of Josiah Jones. Stick around for updates on that too.

In short, you're not going to want to miss this book, and I'll keep you updated.

Dawson "Protector from the Shadows" Vosburg


If you've ever looked at my obscure music references on my facebook and wondered, "Where does Dawson find all these weird bands/songs/musical quirks?" then your answer is thesixtyone.

thesixtyone is a music adventure. New musicians make music, and you decide what's good by listening, giving songs "hearts," and commenting.

Here's a short list of bands I've met only because of thesixtyone:

  1. State Radio
  2. The Cog is Dead
  3. Lemon Sun
  4. Oh No Not Stereo
  5. Joe Purdy
  6. Fez
  7. Faber Drive
  8. Ideogram
  9. Songs to Wear Pants To
  10. Detektivbyran
  11. Sigur Ros
  12. Kate Earl
  13. JKML
That is a very, very abbreviated list of new bands I've found. Some old acquaintances I've bumped into:
  1. Mates of State
  2. Free Energy
  3. Glen Hansard
  4. Asteroids Galaxy Tour
As you can see, this is an awesome website. Just FYI, you will become very addicted to it. But it's music--you probably already have music playing a lot anyway.

With all due respect,

Dawson "Man in the Hall" Vosburg

summer reading challenge

My local library always has a summer reading program, and one that I participate in specifically for teens. Every successful year as I log my hours of reading (this time it's online!), I set goals for myself about what I want to read and how long it'll take me to read it, with some extra pleasure reading here and there. Of course almost all my reading is for pleasure, get the point.

So this year I thought it would be fun to have a bit of a contest--one where everyone who meets their goal wins. The rules? Set a fair-sized goal for yourself, usually depending on your reading level (for example, mine is to read all three volumes of the Lord of the Rings), and then read all you can to meet that goal before July 31. If you meet your goal on or before that date, send me an email (in the "press" section) and I'll send you a coupon code to get Double Life and/or Terminal Velocity for FREE from Smashwords.

So, what's your goal this summer?

operation: e-book drop

Hey everyone. I've been looking into a project that I've really found to be a great cause that can involve books, and I'd love for anyone who's written a book to get involved. It's called Operation: E-Book Drop. It was started by one of my friends and mentors in the writing business, Edward C. Patterson. It's a movement to give free e-books on Kindles to troops currently enrolled in the US military.

I'm going to be taking part in this cause because I believe that our troops are very important. I know, I know, it's cliche, but seriously, these people get killed all the time, and the only reason is to maintain your freedom.

I think those people deserve some good entertainment.

So this started as a post on my dear, and it exploded into a project involving 423 authors and over 400 books donated to troops in Iraq looking for something to do. So if you want to take part in this, check it out right here:,13352.0.html

Your book will have to be available on Smashwords, so make sure you can do that in order to participate.

With all due respect,

Dawson "God Bless America" Vosburg

off the beaten path

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm big into indie music. I just love it. And increasingly, turning to the pop station or hearing the latest Billboard Top 40 tracks pumped through the speakers at the bowling alley irritates me.

So then I look at the books I read, and I think, "Why not do the same thing?"

Yes, I very much enjoy some mainstream fiction and I understand that there are major differences between the music industry and the book industry, especially concerning fan bases and what people decide to purchase. But there are plenty of parallels I can draw between my choices musically and my choices with books.

Why not go off the beaten path every once in awhile and look at a book that no one else is reading? It's a crazy thought, and I know that you just HAVE to read the next vampire romance book, but why not just pick up something different and start reading it?

I did this a couple years ago for a book report in English class. I picked up a book--it was called Leaper--and I read the whole thing in a week (which is fast for me, I'm a slow reader). I found that just picking up a random, unpopular book led me to a great place. I found something great and fun and new.

Now, of course you can still read some mainstream fiction just as I like some mainstream music. I unashamedly love "Gives You Hell" by AAR, and also I love the Harry Potter series. But the point is not to abolish the mainstream. It's just to go a bit off the beaten path, to give yourself an individuality in what you read and the way you read it.

I think you'll find yourself a better person.

With all due respect,

Dawson "Author of Those Books Over There" Vosburg

a different direction

It's been awhile.

A long while. I should really post here more.

But I've been up to doing some majorly unimportant stuff, so I'm guessing you won't mind.

I guess there's a danger in complacency for an author. I've been needing to work on so many things, but you know, it's very tempting just to be a normal 15-year-old kid. Well, as normal as a 15-year-old-kid can be. Okay, I'll admit's just tempting to procrastinate your writing career away. Which is pretty much what I've been doing recently.

Yet somewhere in that worthless procrastination there have been a few nuggets of gold that I've found, and they've rekindled the writing fire again. And I'm going in a different direction.

From the time I was very young (about 5), I've always wanted to make movies. And now that I have ample material and creative flow and have learned some necessary skills for the journey, I'm able to make movies. Besides all the industry connections readily available to me through my fantastic brother David.

Also, I've decided that the next book I release will not be the concluding volume of the Josiah Jones trilogy of novels. It's also a different direction and a different series that I'm beginning, and I can't disclose anything besides the fact that it will be a fantasy novel (I've always loved reading and writing them, so now everyone will be able to read it!).

Music and design aree two other things I've been very into recently, and I'd really like to give those projects some time. Artistic endeavors are usually worth it.

So a ton of new stuff is going to be happening around here. New things that may not even be book-related might begin popping up on this blog. But my passion is still where it has always been: books and reading.

Watch for new things, because I'll be posting on a regular basis again. Glad to be back with you.

Dawson "Dyed His Hair Blonde" Vosburg

double life: a film by Dawson Vosburg

Hey, everyone--sorry that I've been on such a hiatus. I haven't written a real post in months (Robert's post doesn't count since it wasn't my own writing).

Anyway. Here's what I've been working on.

Recently, I've been rekindling my passion with things I used to do all the time before writing was my life. One of them was cooking, which I find very satisfying. And the other is filmmaking. I've been doing that, in case you didn't know, for about ten years now (that's right, I made my first film when I was five. Sure it was terrible, but who cares?). And I've decided that I might make a film based on Double Life.

So as of right now, I'm currently 20 pages into the screenplay. This is some of the most significant screenplay work I've done in a couple of years. I'm getting kind of excited.

So this film would be made on a shoestring budget. I would make it independently, then try to shop it around to a distribution company, such as the Weinstein company or Lionsgate films; they would be the ones to get it into cinema, put out the trailers, make the DVDs, etc.

I think it could work, though. I'm really pumped about doing this.

That's all I can think of at any rate. Make sure to go to my facebook fan page (link is on the top bar) and discuss this on the discussion boards!

I really enjoy hearing from you!


guest post: Robert Scarlato on beginning a story

Hey, everyone. It's been forever since I've posted here--I'm sorry that I haven't been more proactive. In fact, I haven't gotten much of anything done for a couple of months, yet I feel like this is one of the most stressful times I've ever had in my life.

Well, that's high school for you.

Anyway--today we have a special guest poster named Robert Scarlato, who is the author of For What It's Worth (link at the bottom) about how to begin a story. Without further ado, Robert Scarlato!


It is always hard to find the right words to introduce a story. It's like a code that needs to be cracked. It is either obssesed over to the point where no work gets done or we simply give up. But I say don't use words. Use Images. Close your eyes and get a feel for the setting, time, smell, and characters that inhabit the scene. You are basically painting a picture so why not start with images than worry about words later. Does the scene open with a surprise, or is it more subtle than that? That is left up to you. But know that you must be drawn into the story first, then hook the audeince as well. Just to give you an idea, I will say that whenever I write a story, I like the begining paragrah to be like a kick to the face. The images I thought of was a doorknob, a suitcase, an old man, a record player and falling debris. In the excerpt below, Failing Upwards, I tried to focus on the setting first becuase it's the main character of the story. I wanted you, the audeince, to know just how wrecked this place is. The characters evolved from the people I thought would be living there and how they would act. Make your characters memorable, and your audience will not only get hooked but possibly read it again.
Here's the opening scene of Failing Upwards -
As I walk in, I can already see “Tex” sitting at the concierge desk. He’s in his underpants and a greasy shirt and, for some reason, is wearing a bellhop hat crooked on his head. Perfect. The guy is over seventy years old, owns the place, and yet he will never admit to his outlandish eccentricities.
The door handle rips off as I enter, the wood breaking away from the brass knob as easily as a rusty nail through a foot. I hold it in my hand for a few seconds. My mouth cringes to the right in annoyance. It’s like I was shaking a hand and the owner of it disappeared. I debate for a bit whether to put it back or not. But to put it back is like putting a bullet back in the wound. What’s was the point? I fumble to shove it back into the gapping hole and, when I finally have it in, the handle to my briefcase breaks and the bag drops to the ground. I bring my other hand with the briefcase handle still clutched tightly in it to my face.
This place is starting to rub off on me.
This place is a broken, rundown, abandoned, no good, filthy, unorthodox pile of rubble.
So why do I still come here?
Easy Answer.
Rent control.
The owner is senile. How he lives on it I’ll never know. But, geez, finding a place to stay is hard when you’re a loner in Chicago.
The year is 1953.
And it only gets harder from here on out.
My name is Charles Avery. You can call me Charlie.
“Tex” calls me “Mr. Bills”.
The dope.
It’s so hard to find a decent hotel around these parts. And I have to work my bony butt off to find the most decrepit eyesore just to feel relaxed.
Every day is an adventure trying to get upstairs.
You’ll join me in the madness, won’t you?
Already, as I’m tossing the broken handle away with a grimace on my face, I can hear “Tex” put on the same dang song that he always plays on that heap of a record player of his. In the Hall of the Mountain King. He always does that when I show up. Aside from the lowlifes, the down-and-outers, the hobos sleeping around the place, I’m the only one who decides to take the adventure of sleeping in a room and trying to reach the top floor of the hotel in order to do it.

So, like I said. Use images first, the words will take care of themselves.
Thank you for reading--I'm Robert Scarlato, author of For What It's Worth. Keep writing everyone!