Which is more challenging?

Family-Eternal-2-Cover-v2-HiResFrom the desk of W. J. Onufer…

A question for all the writers. Which is more challenging- when your Editor makes a lot changes to your first draft…or when they make minimal changes?

My Editor, Christine Piesyk, lives in Clarksville, Tenn. I live in Chicopee, Mass. We edit anything I write together. When I make the trip to Clarksville, we do that together, in the same room, line-by-line. But most editing is done via share screen on Skype.

I mention that, because, this past weekend. Christine took a lookee-see at a short story I wrote, again via Skype. Christine and I go way back. She is, in the very real sense, my writing mentor. Now she’s my Editor. In all the highs and lows of putting out the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books since the first one came out in 2015, Christine has been with me for the whole strange trip that it’s been. That means, early on, she’s seen my writing when it’s needed…help. And over the years my writing has improved- mostly because of the doses of humillity Christine has issued me in that time.

It’s not fun but I’m sort of used to those doses of humillity by now. I’m used to Christine pointing out stuff that needs to be rewritten, chopped-out entirely and sometimes, simply trashed and start over. She gives it to me straight when something is working and when it isn’t. And frankly, I count on her for that. We’ve gotten to the point, however, where I get it right more times than not now. Christine didn’t change anything in that short story this weekend. She did correct some spelling. (I’m a writer not a speller.) But no revisions. No rewrites. No moving copy around.

And that, my writer fiends, is more challenging than when Christine goes up one side and down the other on me, on all the things I get wrong. It’s a mini-freak-out of the most enjoyable kind. I got it right? All of it? Seriously?

The only thing more challenging than failure, is success.

I really don’t have any excuse for producing crappy writing. But i’m sure if I do, Christine will let me know.

What has your experience been in this reguard? Which is more challenging- the ego-crushing corrections of your Editor…or the scary new expectations of having to maintain that new level of writing quality when your Editor’s red pen appears less frequently?


The Family Eternal: Part Two book cover reveal coming soon!

Before the release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, catch up on the other Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novels, here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=W.+J.+Onufer&search-alias=books&field-author=W.+J.+Onufer&sort=relevancerankTFE2 cover reveal tease

The Say-Nothing Rule

Valentines 2018-3

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

Being an author and promoting your books is funny a thing. Sometimes one works hard to bring about events that will funnel to a single point of promotion. And if one has a proper lady Vampire character in their books named Hadley Price, one is always reminded to be a class act. If one is a class act, one doesn’t sing the blues about how easy or difficult that hard work is. No one wants to hear complaining. One petite red-headed Vampire in particular.

Other times, events have a way of presenting themselves without working hard to make them happen. They just happen. And if one is smart and takes note of those just-happen events, one can funnel that to a single point of promotion. And if one is a class act, one says nothing and allows everyone to think they’re a marketing genius who worked hard to make those events happen. Hadley has no problem with laissez-faire.

Now I’m hardly a marketing genius. And maintaining at least the appearance of being a class act is a challenge. The Vampire Hadley Price is constantly bringing to my attention those times when I’m not exactly behaving like a gentleman.

But Hadley’s out somewhere looking for a drink of the red right now. So I can get away with breaking the say-nothing rule.

A series of events just fell into my lap recently and presented me with an opertunity to promote Hadley’s books. And I didn’t do one damn thing to create this syncronicity.

So dig if you will, a picture-

The next book in the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price is called The Family Eternal: Part two. If all goes well, it’ll be released within the next couple of months. It only follows that since there’s a Part Two, there must be a Part One. There is. The Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, The Family Eternal: Part One was released in 2016. That Part One is the story of when Hadley Price and Nathan Hughes first met and fell in love. It was the start of a centuries-long Vampire courtship.

And guess what? Valentine’s Day is coming up. Romance ‘R’ us. And do I have a love story to add to your Valentines Day reading! The Family Eternal: Part One! A story with a happy ending that doesn’t end. A love that lasts forever. A Vampire forever.

The Family Eternal: Part two, the next Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel will be released soon

The events in The Family Eternal: Part Two pick up directly from the end of Part One. What could make the perfect love complete? Hadley and Nathan have a daughter and her name is Svetlana. You think raising a teen age girl is challenging? Try that with an attractive blonde teen age daughter who is also a undisciplined, newly-Made Vampire.

I wish I could say that I was clever enough to come up with a idea like this to promote, not just one, but two of my books. I wish. This is clearly a case of things just happening. Just falling into place.

Oh! Hadley just walked back in the door. Please, don’t tell her that the say-nothing rule has been broken. It’ll be our secret.

The Family Eternal: Part One, an epic romance tale, is available for your Valentines Day reading pleasure.

The Family Eternal: Part Two, the care a feeding of a young Vampire. COMING SOON.

Get your copies of other Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novels, in paper book and ebook here:



A new episode of the Grace and the Author Podcast

A new episode of the Grace and the Author Podcast! Episode# 9.


New Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price for 2018

blog tfe2 teaser5From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

2018! It’s a New Year! Time to update your Tales of the Vampire Hadley book collection and read a quickie plot description of the up come new book, The Family Eternal: Part Two.

Book#1 Beckman’s Folly (available as an paper book or ebook)
Zombies show up. Yes, icky zombies. They have a way of limiting the Human fresh blood supply. Hadley’s not crazy about that. She leads a Vampire army to deal with them, with tragic results to someone closest to her.

Book# 2 The Family Eternal: Part One (Available as an ebook)
Every new relationship is clumsy, funny and frightening. But only more so when the Human man, Nathan Hughes and the Vampire Hadley Price meet and fall in love. Every great love story has a beginning. This is theirs.

Book# 3 Torch (Available as an paper book or ebook)
Hadley Price, the formidable Vampire known as the Guardian Angel, was used to inconveniences by Humans who got in her way. But when Hadley’s daughter, the young Vampire, Svetlana, is put in danger, Hadley and Nathan discover a threat to Vampires that spans across the Seven Worlds. No one messes with the family of the Guardian Angel.

Book# 4 The Family Eternal: Part Two (will be available as an ebook)
The epic, centuries-long, monogamous romance between the Vampire Hadley Price and the Vampire Nathan Hughes was missing only one thing. A daughter. And Svetlana became that daughter. Teenage girls can be annoying and challenging to raise. Imagine if that teenage daughter is an attractive blonde who is also an undiciplined, newly-Made Vampire. Can even the Guardian Angel and her handsome Vampire lover, Nathan, be up to such a challenge?

If you’re missing any of the first three books, you can get them here-


The fourth book, The Family Eternal: Part Two, is coming soon. Check back with us on the latest news on that here or at Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price on Facebook.

Good work, Keith!


From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

While in Clarksville, Tenn. last week, my cover Artist, Keith Wood, and I did a Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price book signing at Rick’s Comic City. Something happened there that I’ve never seen in any venue where I’ve sold my books. First off, I’ve never seen book vending where both the Author and the cover Artist are present. Keith and I have done several together and have been well received in that. People are thrilled to have their Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books signed by the Author and cover Artist.

But at Rick’s last week, Keith did something that went beyond that. And I was blown away by how acomidating and original that was.

At one point, a copy of Torch, the new Hadley book was being purchased. The buyer asked Keith if he would do a sketch, in addition to signing it. I thought this was bit much to ask but after negotiating a charge of an additional five dollars, Keith agreed to do it.

Now five dollars is a give away price for orginial Keith Wood art work. But as long as Keith was good with that, so was I.

I proceeded to run the buyers debit card through the reader on my cell phone to complete the transaction. At the same, I was multi-tasking several conversations with people gathered around the counter where Steve (Ricks’ Comics store manager) had us set up. While doing that, I assumed that Keith would just run off a postage stamp size little drawing. Maybe Hadley’s lips and fangs, something akin to a minimalist tattoo.

But no. When I was done running that debit card, I looked over at Keith and he was doing a full page, head and shoulders of Hadley. The person buying that book couldn’t have been more amazed than I was. Keith was speed-drawning and I knew it. When he and I work together on a Hadley book cover or any other Hadley promotional materials, the pace is much slower to get it all right. He erased the pencil a couple times to redraw and I explained to those watching, that no line in an initial sketch is definitive. Playing with that is necessary to, as I’ve said, get it right.

I can’t promise that Keith will do that in any future book signings that we both attend. While book vending in various venues, things can get a little crowded with people and happen fast and furious at peek times. We may not have the time to acomidate that.

But it was way cool of him to do that at Rick’s. Good work, Keith!

Has anyone else seen something like this at a Con or book singing?

Get your copy of Torch, the new Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, in paper book or ebook here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Torch

Like us at Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price on Facebook

Like Verias’ Art Studios: The Art of Keith Wood on Facebook







If you can’t say anything nice…


I’m at the point in my writing experience where I’ve gotten used to dealing with other published authors, professional artists, graphics people, editors and people grounded in the reality of book publishing and promotion. I’ve also become acquainted with talented people in other mediums- beside writing. I’m not the best of the best, but I am a player in all of that.

The result is that my standards for all of that have become quite high. Producing a minimum level of quality is necessary is be a player. Anything less is amateur territory. There is a divide between amateurs and people who are are serious about producing quality entertainment for the public.

The Internet has been great in giving opertunities for talented people to show their work, that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. But the Internet isn’t particularly discerning. Anyone can show their work- even people who aren’t that talented. People who have not reached the minimum level of quality.

So what is one to to do when one sees such lack of quality? How does one, who knows the difference, respond to amateur level work- or even work that shows no talent at all?

As a person who used to be on one side of the amateur/professional divide and am now on the other side, allow me to tell you about the differences between the two sides.

An amateur may writing something or draw something, then show it to their mother. They’ll have little or no experience before this. But hey! Look what I did! Isn’t it great? That mother says the writing or drawing is great work. So that amateur goes on to have their friends take a look. And those friends all rave that the writing or drawing is great work. But the thing that most amateurs overlook is that those people in their circle would say it was good if it was good or not. Why? They don’t want to hurt your feels. On the amateur side, there is never a bad review. Blanket statement. As a result, there is no unbiased judgment as to how good or bad it really is.

This happened to me a few decades ago when I went through by poetry-writing phase. (Not a particularly proud time in my writing life.) Some friends read my stuff and they all raved about it. Not a bad review in the bunch. Now, when I look at that stuff and see how truly wretched it was, it makes me gag. It was just god-awful writing. In retrospect, where they sparing my feelings or did they really think it was good stuff? Hard to tell. But now, having the writing experience of those decades behind me, I can report that what I wrote back then- daring to call it poetry -was just self-indulgent crap. Emos didn’t yet exist back then. But if they did, I was one of them. Maybe that’s why I now write Vampire fiction, stuff that’s dark with an edge. That, and stuff that has a sense of humor, that doesn’t become stupified by languishing in the over-emotional.

On the professional side, you have to have an amount of experience to be able to produce work that’s good enough to be taken seriously. They’re not interested in your personal journey in exploring on how to become a good writer. They just expect you to be a good writer. Minimum level of quality is expected before you walk in the door. And they really don’t care if they hurt your feelings. Your manuscript is okay, but this needs to be reworked. This part is stupid, take it out, remove those ten pages entirely. The beginning is weak. Rewrite it. I’m firmly convinced that any writer who has gone through the editing process, no longer has anything in the way of an ego. It’s a humbling experience. Way beyond hurt feelings. The result, however, is good, professional-quality work that is worthy to be released to the public. Quality entertainment that people will enjoy.

I have to admit, there are times when I see things posted on Facebook- writing, drawings, paintings and such -that are simply not that good. Minimum quality not achieved. My initial, knee-jerk reaction is to get on and make note of the lack of talent and tell them that we’re not their mom and their friends. I ignore that knee-jerk reaction and take a more tactful approach. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And on those posts, people- obviously their friends and possibly their mom, chime in on how great the writing or drawing or painting it. There is a noticeable lack criticism. I wasn’t the only who didn’t say anything at all instead of saying some thing that wasn’t-so-nice. That writer/artist wanna-be would get their reality check some place else, some time else.

There was one time, a few months back, however, when I saw something on Facebook where the reaction was downright cruel. And more so, because it happened in the very public place of Facebook. A guy wrote on Facebook that he writes short stories and inquired how to get published. The problem was, his grammar and spelling were awful. Quite obviously so. People took delightful glee in bullying this person for that. And they were were absolutely merciless in mocking the lack of writing talent. I didn’t recognize any of the names of those mockers. None of them where on my friends list. There’s no way to confirm, but I’m guessing that none of them were writers. People, who’s ego has been reigned in because they went through the editing process. People, who remember when they first started out and weren’t quite up-to-speed on their craft. No one who’s gone through that, mocks a newbie writer just starting out. None of the writers I’m acquainted with are that cruel.

I saw the same post the next day. The snarkiness continued. There were additional and equally nasty posts from when I viewed this a few hours before. I truly felt bad for the guy. No. He didn’t have the writing chops to get published. But maybe he would. Someday. Would this- all this negative feedback -hinder his approach to writing? Would he quit in the face of such hostility? What great stories written in the future by this guy, will never be enjoyed by readers, because he walked away from it all after such mean-spirited feed-back?

Yes. I felt bad for the guy. So I added to that post. I told him that he’s not there yet. I told him to take a year or two and really work at improving his writing skills. Find a mentor. I told him that he would embarrass himself if he approached a publisher now. Take the time. Don’t try to publish now. You’re not ready. I told him that five years from now, he’s going to writing something truly amazing. But not now. Now, you work on getting better at it. I hope I did something in the way of damage control to mitigate the scoffers. I hope I encouraged him. I hope I was at lease one person who didn’t make him want to quit.

Later that day, I saw that post again. What I wrote was still there. With the exception of one other, all the posts there that were snarky and critical, were removed. Gone. Did the original poster remove them? Did the people who put him down, see my post, come to the realization of how needlessly mean they were, and deleted their own? Again, there’s no way to tell. It is interesting, however, to see that only the encouraging posts remained.

There are those who post stuff on Facebook, obviously in the mode of: look what I did. Tell me I’m great. They’re looking for an ego massage. A quick-fix of instant gratification. That, from their mother and their friends wasn’t enough. They go to Facebook for more of it. The quality of their writing or drawing or painting is not up to a minimum standard. Hopefully, someone they trust will take them aside and tactfully tell them that.

But there are also those who post on Facebook who aren’t there yet. Their skills need work. And they post of Facebook, not for an ego massage, but to find out how to get better.

So what is one to to do when one sees such lack of quality? How does one, who knows the difference, respond to amateur level work- or even work that shows no talent?

If you can’t be encouraging, don’t say anything at all.

*     *     *

Get your copy of Torch, the new tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, in paper book or ebook here: