Don’t get cocky

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

While waiting for the pending release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, the next Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, I’ve been working on some Hadley short stories. Those short stories can be heard in a free listen on our Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Narrated Story Collection on our Mixcloud page.

This after noon I got together with with my Editor, Christine Piesyk, on Skype. She in Clarksville, Tenn. and me in Chicopee, Mass. (Both in the USA) I had two short stories done and we shared screen to look over them for an edit.

Now I’m used to getting a little beat up by Christine in any editing session. Frankly, I count on her to do that. The longer amount of time that I write, the less that happens. It doesn’t matter how good a writer thinks their stuff is, a good Editor can always improve it. And by now, I’m sort of used to the doses of humilty- to a lesser or great degree -that Christine gives me when we edit my stuff.

But oh man, did Christine slap me around really good on one of those two short stories! She make huge changes. No, she didn’t change the story plot. But she did change how the story was told. It all felt like years ago, when I was first starting out and Christine edited the hell out of everything I wrote. Christine isn’t just my Editor, she and I are also decades-long friends and she was along with me back then. But now, I’m an author who is about the release his 4th novel. I should be past all that new-bie stuff, right?

Not so. Christine made extensive changes to my first draft manuscript of that short story. We actually got to the point where she was writing stuff to add into it. She never does that. In our edits she may change my words, but they’re MY words. She added stuff that were her words. Her original sentences. And I couldn’t deny that her words made the telling of the story so much better. Before we were even done, I told her that I would share the byline on this. Yes, her original writing made that much of a difference and I simple had to give credit where credit is due.

So I was a battered writer who’s ego took a huge hit when we went to edit the second of the two short stories. I was ready for further abuse. Was I getting too cocky thinking that I could just throw some words down and a great story would just happen? I was concerned that I may have gotten to that point. I was concerned that I was starting to write garbage and didn’t know it.

But after a quick look through on my second short story- which lasted about fifteen minutes, a much lesser amount of time than the first – Christine said, “This isn’t half bad.” Allow me to translate that from Editor-Speak. It mean: “This is a good story, well written.” We breezed through that second short story with minimal changes. Humility accepted. Ego on the mend. Single byline intact.

This proved to me, that while I am, in fact, an author about to release his 4th novel, I am still capable of writing garbage. It’s a reminder to keep the cockyness in check. Don’t get sloppy.

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





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: 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.

All Talk. No Action


Family Eternal Cover 2

When Hadley Price stops talking, be afraid. Be very afraid.

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

My writing style in the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books is dilogue-heavy. It’s nothing I planned. It just worked out that way. I just write a lot of damn dialogue. The characters tell me stuff and a lot of that stuff is what they say.

This has come in handy for those times that I wrote scripts used in the Byron Chronicles online audio dramas. Series producer, Eric Busby, has generously allowed my little Vampire gal, Hadley Price, to periodically be a guest character in those on-going, fun-spooky audio episodes. And I loved writing Hadley in those. Truth be told, I never wrote in play format before writing for Eric. It was a something new and experimental for me. And I must have faked that pretty good because any feed-back on scripts I sent Eric had no mention of how I formated that. On that, at least, no correction was needed. So a dialogue-heavy writing style went a long way to adapt to being a playwright.

Some may suggest that a story with a lot of dialogue may be indicative of a story that lacks action. And I’ll address that concern a little later here in relation to the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books.

But the point of that is a good one. In the real world, there are those are all talk and no action. And there are people who are braggarts who make a lot of noise in self-promotion. No matter what question is asked of them, they turn it around and loudly talk about themself. But after the talk, there’s no action follow-up.

This is exemplified no better than in the current president of the United States.

Braggarts are nothing new. I’m giving way my age when I say I was teen-ager in the 1970s. There were loud-talking people back then as well. And for me, as a teen-aged guy back then, two men were the prime examples of motor-mouth self-promoters. They were loud and in your face. Two men- Evel Knievel and Muhammad Ali . For young people who have never heard of either of these guys, Goggle them. Very interesting dudes, both.

Either one of them could go one-on-one with Donald Trump in the self-promotion department. There were both in that league. The fact that Muhammad Ali did that with charm and charisma that the other two didn’t match, in my mind, made him the true master of that.

But there’s one important difference between the likes of Donald Trump and the likes of Evel Knievel and Muhammad Ali . When Muhammad Ali  was done talking, he got in the ring and won fights. When Evel Knievel was done talking talking, he got on his motorcycle, flew in mid-air and land safely after jumping long distances. Sure, sometimes things didn’t work out when they each tried that. But both had the panache to back up everything they said. And they had the bravery to face failure when they didn’t succeed and the public saw that. Muhammad Ali and Evel Knievel were macho dudes, the real thing, true bad-asses that made them legends, not just because they did something that was difficult, but also, in their failures, they stepped-up and tried. Not just talk. Action personified.

I see no such follow-up after loud talk by Donald Trump. All talk. No action. Panache not achieved, not just because his words are empty but also because the man has no charm at all. Forget Eminem. Muhammad Ali, back in his day, would blow away Donald Trump in a contest of the spoken word.

(No disrespect intended to Eminem.)

Speaking of panache and the charming woman who has it in spades- don’t let the dialogue-heavy content of the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books fool you. When Hadley Price stops talking, be afraid. Be very afraid. Vampire action personified. Bloody will flow.

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

Listen to the Byron Chronicles here:


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: