Tethered Lives Update


Well, as promised, the first release of a new free-to-read book is now available. ‘Tethered Lives’ is just one example where I had a scene in my head and it just grew before my eyes. Setting the story along the Capik Mountain range, a set of four individuals find an inescapable common tie that will redirect their lives.

Today, I share the first three chapters of this story then turn my attention back to Orphan’s Blade for its next bi-weekly release. Good thing I’m a tangent thinker!

Please click here to read the released chapters of ‘Tethered Lives’ and let me know what you think.

Bless and Keep,


Share This:
Posted in Blog, Free To Read Stories, Tethered Lives Tagged with: ,

Whew. Nothing like building a new site.

You know, as a programmer, it’s not the easiest thing to get excited about the actual building of a new website. Still, to have the opportunity to move with the times and make something new always has enough appeal to push you over the hump.

With this new site, I wanted to address a few things that have bothered me over the last few years. The first was the general look. Forgive me, but I found the old page too…um…busy? With a centerline blog like look with a forest background, it didn’t really do it for me. So, with the new site, I went with  the most unobtrusive look I could.

The second thing I wanted to do was to embrace the fact that people use their phones to read. With the old site, too many images and page buttons made the site less than welcoming for those who wanted to read the free stories. In addition, the site wasn’t of a “responsive” nature and didn’t conform well with smart phones, iPads or the like. With a growing number of readers downloading my previous work on Kindle rather than buying the print versions, not having a tech savvy website just seemed stupid.

Don’t you wish more author sites had short stories or books to read for free? I do. Given I write to support charities and to keep my inner child at bay, I truly wanted to focus on having a site where there were things to read for people who are killing time between bus transfers, classes to start or on lunch breaks. I began to do this with ‘Amelia’s Tale’ on the old site and found it a wonderful endeavor. With that in mind, I’m starting two new stories to update bi-weekly. Still, to do this well, I need to keep it clean and easy to scroll through. I will make changes as you give me feedback, but I think I’ve got the right plan in my head. As long as you enjoy the free stories, I’ll keep writing them.

The above were the most important to fix, but there was still one feature that I was missing. I didn’t realize it four years ago, but some people just prefer to email than to make comments on a blog post. I enjoy hearing from people and meeting new readers so I needed to make this method as easy as possible. With the hosting change, this site now has a Contact email (contact@ericemcclure.com) where my admins can filter website information, kill spamming, and get your questions to me.  All of this though a simple form on the “Contact” page. Love it! Feel free to drop us a line at any time.

So there it is! A clean, responsive site with a focus on reading. Who would have thought? Hope you like it!

Bless and Keep,


Share This:
Posted in Blogging Thoughts

Welcome! Sorry for the mess.

Someone needs to clean up this mess. 🙂

In an effort to support changes that I would like to make, we have changed our hosting site and are attempting to set things in order. The blog posts will need to reappear along with short links to published works.

One of the features I am adding, I’m most excited to share. In a small way of saying ‘thank you’ for all your support in the past, I will be adding a new “Free Stories” section that will enable you to read along as they are written. Two stories are in the making and I’m very anxious to share them with you.

In short, I’m terribly sorry for the mess and hope to have it all sorted out before April. Hope you enjoy the new site!

Share This:
Posted in Blogging Thoughts Tagged with:

Should I write? An email response

Mr. McClure,

I really enjoy your stories and am usually surprised by your candor when you share your opinions. I think that’s why I’m writing you.

I am (age withheld) and a mother of three. My youngest will start school this fall and I’m actually looking forward to having half of the day to myself. I used to write short stories in my teens and feel maybe I could use this future downtime to start writing again.

My question to you, and please give me your honest opinion, is if I should try and recapture this love of writing.

Thank you and please keep writing!




Thank you for your email, Xxxxxx!

Since you appreciate my candor, I will share my gut reaction. It is thus; you will write when you feel the NEED to. Once this desire strikes, you will not need my opinion or any other. You simply will do it.

As to the “recapturing” the love of writing, I believe it will be not unlike comparing a love you had for someone in the past compared to today. It may very well be different yet special. Please write to me later and tell me what you discover on this issue.

I want to point out something that you wrote that forced me to set down my fork and respond on my iPhone without hesitation. You used the word “should”. This raised a happy flag in my mind as you chose to begin with a question of “if” instead of “how”. Your question shows that you are being thoughtful of your time and an appreciation of writing. I wish you to know how much I respect that.

Having said all this, I firmly believe you are at a mature place to begin (far more than where I began) and the answer in your heart will lead you to write or to set it aside.

Xxxxxx, I offer this should you move forward. Write when the need arises. Write what entertains you. Write your dreams, opinions and desires. Write what brings joy or struggles to your heart. At the end of your work, if these things are done, you will be ready to grapple with the question of “should I share it”. I have a feeling you will and I will be happy to read it.

Thank you again for your email! Please keep in touch and let me know of the path you decided to follow.

Bless and Keep,

Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized

No, writing is NOT hard.

*Warning: No editing has occurred for this post. 😉

What is a writer to do when he or she hears the statement ‘writing is hard’? Well, if you are me, you take a deep breath and do one of two things; a facepalm or take the time to work with the person. In this blog post, I hope that, should you be someone who believes writing is ‘hard’, I can offer another view. Here’s my spiel.

Wandering Thesis Statement: Writing is not hard.

First, let’s see if we can agree on one point. Writing is an action. If a physical or learning disability is not an issue for you, I think we can state that the phrase ‘writing is hard’ is not correct. What I believe people are stating is that attributes around creating a story is difficult. Do you agree this is the true meaning behind the statement? If so, continue on.

I stand before a class of fourth graders and tell them they are free to write whatever they wish for fifteen minutes. How many children would have a blank piece of paper at the end of that span of time? One or two? As one who has taught, I can tell you that these blank sheets are due to the child’s inability to select one of the many ideas coming into their heads, unsure where to start, or not feeling well. Given the project another day and these few would also be gleefully creating a story for themselves. So, ‘writing is hard’? Not to children. Then why would an adult say the opposite?

Fact. Many adult who are new to writing have taken in the lessons of self-critique only to create a wall of self-inadequacy, legendary ego, or fear. Compare this to children, who are concerned with their writing only after being critiqued, which are only too happy to create something from a single thought. Seriously. It is all about attitude. Want proof? Below is a typical conversation that I have had with both adults and children. Please note the attitude in the response after having given them the same answer.

Question from child or adult: “How do I start writing a book?”

My Answer: “Close your eyes and write what you see.”

Child reaction: “Cool!”

Adult reaction: “But stories must begin with an engaging action that both identifies setting and tells of the character’s proactive approach to problem solving while captivating the reader. The narrative of every story should be an invitation to readers to accept the world and its inhabitants while encouraging them to discover the ethos of the characters. To simply start with a random scene, as you suggest, would be an obstacle to creating a realistic plotline for my story and a waste of time.”

Yep. That’s generally what I hear. A child thinks the task is awesome while an adult wants to regurgitates the lesson of a ‘how to write’ book and begin a debate. Let me ask you this. Which of the two have the right attitude to be productive? And, if I may, which truly enjoys what they are doing?

Yes, there are aspects of writing a story that are challenging, but a child doesn’t spend hours on Facebook or Twitter stating the pains of writing. What gives? Attitude. The ‘I can’ and ‘this is fun’ attitude of a child allows them to forgo all the stifling crap adults have stuffed into their heads. Children quickly create stories that are unique, funny and poignant while adults sit and ponder which outlining technique is the best. In short, children can free-write, pants, or self-discover with very little prompting or care. The proverbial writing mantra of ‘what if’ is second nature to them. That’s how their minds work. That is how your mind used to work. If writing is ‘hard’ to you, perhaps you need to recapture that childlike mindset you once had.

The first thing to do is decide if you must write. I did not say want. I said, must. This is an important question and needs to be honestly answered. If you are thinking of stories while driving or doing other things, you may be onto the answer. If you turn off the tv and start writing something you wish you watching, another hint to the answer.  Perhaps you forget there are people in the house while writing. This is certainly a very good indicator that the answer is ‘yes’. However, if writing is defined in your mind as a means to be known as ‘a writer’, believe that it is a good way to get dates with fellow coffee shop customers, or, heaven forbid, think that it is the way to become rich, you can safely state the real answer is a ‘no’ and need to find another way to spend hours, days, weeks and years. For those that have selected ‘yes’ on their test sheet, please continue on.

At this point, we know you must write and are aware that the phrase ‘writing is hard’ is misleading. Should you have difficulties writing, let’s define your road blocks. We have already seen that a child can write, but perhaps recapturing your youth seems a bit out of touch. To make this more likely, I ask that you make a list of what is so insurmountable. Is it a problem of learning punctuation? Is it outlining or creating interesting characters? Perhaps it may be sentence structure. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so I ask that you list them as things you will learn. Despite what some may say, writers are not born with a pen and a pad of paper in their hands and novel in their head. There are things to be learned and it takes time. Writing “well” is a goal that continues before you with every step. Agree now that you will look at writing as pants you will grow into and set this list aside for the time being.

Now we are ready. Drift back to what you were really into as a child. Imagine the pictures you drew at the kitchen table or in your notebook in high school during study hall. What was it? Cars? Sunsets? Playgrounds? Castles and dragons? It could have been anything, but you chose to draw it. Hell, it might have been skull and crossbones or a picture of a tattoo you wanted to get when you were older. It doesn’t matter. You drew these things as an escape or a way to express what freedom meant to you. You may have shown someone, but that wasn’t why you drew or painted it. You, free from all the ‘how to draw’ books or art critiques let your mind wander. This is what you need to do when writing.

Next, let’s turn off our inner-editor for a moment and close our eyes. Randomly pick a character or scene and let it take center stage in your mind. Describe it out loud. This is, of course, prefaced with the act of telling everyone in earshot that you are ‘writing’. Now, what do you see? What do you hear? Who is talking? Stop. Open your eyes, and write it. Editing comes later, just write what you just told yourself. Stop. Repeat the step. Stop. Write. Repeat. Look at the ceiling or a blank wall and picture it if that helps. It’s all good.

Feel odd to do? Of course! You’re out of practice with dealing with no boarders. Ever hear a child sing while they draw or even have a conversation as they write? They are in the moment and enjoying it. You can too. Your child-you is still in there, it just hasn’t been let out to play and has been hushed by all the ‘You must write like this’ garbage that is practically everywhere you look. Taking a moment to have a playdate with your past will help, if you let it.

Take a look at what you wrote. Does it lend itself to a story idea you would enjoy writing? If not, take out another piece of paper and do it again. Now, what exactly was ‘hard’ about that? ‘But that’s not how so-and-so does it.’ Well, they don’t think writing is hard and you do. They have their own way of bringing out the wonder within them. So, until you can sit down and simply start writing, try my idea for a few writing sessions. I have a feeling you will be happy to see the child-you again and hear some amazing tales.

Conclusion: Writing is ‘hard’? No. Don’t believe me? Go ask your inner-child and don’t be surprised if he/she looks at you in an odd way.


Bless and Keep,



Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized

Can a town be a major character?

medieval village

Having had the privilege of “creating worlds” several times over again, there has been an elusive desire this last year and a half to attempt taking a pinch of what I’ve learned in making new places and creating a town or city where a series of stories would be placed. Granted, not an original idea, but one I have never tried and, at the edges of my mind, would be a great challenge.

Thinking back, there was a TV series created from a book entitled “Centennial”. This show, or more to the point the book, was about a town settled in the west and the generations that lived there. To me, this was impressive. Though the story arcs of many families through time are the main theme, the town is the backdrop and, if you will, a character within itself. Attempting to recapture initial thoughts when I considered the idea of a town-centric series, I remember the one issue continued to plague my thoughts. The town, in my humble opinion, must be treated and developed as one would do with a single character. It would, in fact, have its own character arc. Pressing forward with the idea, I began to consider how that might be done.

When developing a story, writers often build characters in their mind and place them in a story arc. Others, create characters and throw events at them to create the plot. Still, some choose to focus on a theme and press both characters and environment to fit the curve. Can the same be done with a location? Should it?
In my thoughts, the character of Town-A, should have a beginning like the birth of a character. Obviously, any inhabited place is due to a single person or group that decides that a location is where they wish to spend their days and thus begins Town-A. In this “birth”, it is important to understand why such people have staked this particular location and so we are able to list Town-A’s attributes not unlike we would with a character.

Once we have done so, we move on to what outside forces change our town. Having been raised in a small town, I have seen buildings and other structures that were built during a “boom time” and have noted the slow aging of the town and changes of use for the buildings within. We can do the same with our town. Keeping a character arc in mind, we can use time, weather, and other outside factors that either build up or tear down the location. A landslide, earthquake, drought, flooding are all impactful effects on our character and make our Town-A unique. The level of wealth in the community certainly has an effect, as does the level of preservation or lack of development. Like a character from a book, these elements shape and change our town.

In short, I believe that not only would a place-centric or location-hub themed series create a great challenge for me to consider but one that would be rewarding to both story and characters developed out of it. To show a village that grew to the size of a major city with its imposing towers and walls or a town that was left desolate after its value was considered unworthy of effort to keep would give story depth and add a special effect to those characters that live there. If treated with the same care as the typical human character, this town will stand out and affect all things around it.

A town as a major character? *shrug* Possible and interestingly appealing.

Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized

Pantsing + Prolific Writing = “I need a Magic Eight Ball”


Ok, its really is no secret. I do not map or contemplate plot previous to writing. Heck, I write blog posts in the same way.

Called “pantsing”, among other less than complimentary descriptions, one simply writes what comes to mind, allowing the writer to discover the story as it is being written. A style or preference to be sure, but it does have its drawbacks other than possible story wander or plot holes. This “creative style or mode” of writing shows devilish chinks in one’s armor when combined with prolific writing. Allow me to address one of these, as it happens often in my work.

“Mr. McClure,” the man begins his email. “What were you feeling at the time when writing the death scene of the character?”

The answer should be a simple exercise of retracing back to the point of writing the scene, wouldn’t you agree? It would be had I not written two books since the question was asked. Doesn’t that happen with all authors, you may ask? Possibly, but here is what effects my quick reply.

Due to the pantsing and prolific writing combo, I have trouble answering these types of questions due to the rush of writing that has happened in the interim. Now, this question/email came to me one month after the release of my first self-pubbed book, New Found Dream. One month. Aaaaannnnnndddd, I had trouble answering it. In the course of having Alpha Readers so generously going over my words, I was writing the third of the trilogy AND working on an unconnected story. I felt fortunate to be able to remember what the book was about let alone a moment when writing it. Had I been one to plan and plot like “normal people”, I might have had a better chance of success with this situation. This is a chink in the “pantsing/prolific” armor.

To answer the email, and I do answer all of them, I had to stop what I was doing and stare at the wall. Seriously. Flushing all that I could, I attempted to backtrack past the last paragraph I had written, the promotional events of the last book, the clicking of submit, the messing with the cover and the last edits for that book that he was asking about. Then, slowly, I reflected on the scene and was able to picture myself and “re-feel” that moment of writing. With this feeling and image fresh in my mind, I replied “I cried” to the man as quickly as I could before the mental dam broke and I was back where I started.

Then, feeling great about having answered a legitimate question, I read the next email.

“Eric, was there ever a time you wanted to kill one of the characters in your first book?”

*facepalm* Ok, wall. Let’s try this again.

This, in a nutshell is the missing scale that leaves me vulnerable. Having written hundreds of thousands words and countless ideas run through my head since the point of where the questions stem, please give me a few moments to answer your questions. I’m not sleeping. I’m regressing.

Ah! The joy of pantsing and writing constantly. Ugh! The difficulty of remembering what flew past me since yesterday.

Maybe I should get a Magic 8-ball?

Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized

What A Strong Woman Protagonist Is And Isn’t – A Featured Author Post by Beth Hammond


Give me a strong woman protagonist, one that doesn’t sit around lamenting about the tragedies that befall her. Can she be sad once in a while, frustrated, weak? Yes, but please don’t take me on a journey with a woman who wallows in self-doubt, who spends the entire book incessantly needing reassurance and clamoring for a man’s attention. *Slaps the female character that bases self worth on a man’s opinion*

Give me a woman protagonist I can relate to, one who isn’t the most graceful, beautiful woman that ever walked the earth. Can she be beautiful? Yes, but don’t dwell on her beauty, elevating it as the first thing every other character notices.

E.g. “She had the grace of a willow. Hair like gold glittered in the sun as it draped around her heart-shaped face. Her eyes shone like emeralds and her lips made even the sweetest berry envious for their pink fullness.” <- *Gags and sings, “camp town ladies sing that song, doo-dah, doo-dah” to remove that visual* I wrote that sappy quote just now. It hurt. It hurt so bad that I momentarily lost the ability to distinguish audio vs. visual stimulation. See?

Give me a woman protagonist whose inner dialogue reflects moxie. I like a little sarcasm in my coffee thank you very much. Does she need to be harsh and cynical at all times? No. That would get boring and certainly doesn’t reflect the woman’s mind, the one’s I know anyway. Let me clarify just a bit lest you think I mean a woman protagonist needs to be a loud mouth. Quiet woman can be strong as well. It is often in the still silence that strength is borne. <- Oh, I like that Beth. *Glares at screen* Yes, I talk to myself. And yes, I can feel you silently judging me.

Give me a woman protagonist…who is real. Real women are strong even if at times they are weak. Now there’s a brilliant statement Beth. Contradiction much? They are fierce, intelligent, sarcastic, defiant. They are complex humans capable of greatness. It is through the multi-facets of women’s personalities that great female characters come to life.

“Don’t write what you think will sell. Write what you want to read.” – Beth Hammond

Ok Beth, why on earth did you just quote yourself? Well, I’ll tell me why. Because that quote embodies the reason I wrote “The Sound of the Stones”. I wanted to read a fantasy that had romance but didn’t use it as the main focus. I wanted to read a fantasy with a main female character that felt real. I wanted to read a fantasy that had humor sprinkled in as a spice to liven up the darkness. This is that book:

The Sound of the Stones


The ancient book about the past holds the future. Frankie is the key. She doesn’t remember stopping at the used bookstore, but there she stands as if drawn by an unseen force. Anticipation wraps around her like a cocoon. When she opens the door, the wind nudges her through, and expectancy turns to purpose. The man inside, and the book he offers, changes everything. Unusual things happen when she begins to read:

In a time long forgotten, people are held captive by half human creatures. Ashra holds a secret close to her heart, and must discover the purpose of her gift before the oppressed human race is destroyed. An unlikely ally comes to her aid. Strangers bring her a message from a far off land. Ashra and her band of misfits set off in search of answers. Together, they find love, uncover mysteries from the past, face ever-present danger, and hone powers they never knew they had.

Frankie and Ashra are separated by millennia, by fiction and reality, but in the end the barrier shatters.

“The set of her jaw said angry, and her eyes spoke of fear. But behind the fear, pulsing from within and reflected in the way she held her shoulders, lived strength.” – The Sound of the Stones


If you have made it this far into the post, I thank you. Bless your heart for letting me prattle on about what I want. I really hope you want it too. If you want perfection, I’m not your girl. If you want a sappy love story, move along and I wish you well. But if you’re looking for a fantasy that tells a tale reminiscent of classics like “The Never Ending Story” then we might be twins. Wait, what color shirt are you wearing?

Oh, and one more thing, if ridiculous humor thrown in at the most awkward moments makes you roll your eyes, don’t read this book. You’re welcome.




Beth Hammond is an author/illustrator who writes anything from YA fantasy to children’s picture books. She is a wife, mother, and lover of life. Her early years were spent serving in the military, middle years spent raising babies, and figuring out her place in the world. Her later years are yet to come, and filled with hopes and endless dreams. She spends her days creating worlds through words and illustration.


Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Freakin Magic!

In a very whimsical moment after reading a few email questions, I posted a picture on my Facebook page and Twitter feed. This picture (a gif from WhatGifts.com) was of a “magician” that had the word “Magic” on it. (see below).

Why? Well, when posed with a question that I can’t answer off the cuff, I need a default that isn’t too snarky. I might have failed with this one.  Still, it lends itself to what type of questions I find such an answer as “Magic” the most useful.

I completely understand the desire to understand where certain ideas come from, but the true source of them are very esoteric to me. Here are a few and my mental reaction to answer them.

Q: “Why did you make the character that way?”
First reaction – “Ummm, that’s how he/she is in my mind?”

Q: “Where do you get the ideas for your books?”
First reaction – “Life experiences mixed with things I’ve seen in movies mixed with books I’ve read?”

Q: “How do you write dialog like you do?”
First reaction – ” I listen to them?”

These first reaction answers rarely make it to the reply email or post. When asked questions that boil down to where an idea came from, seriously, I shrug. I am a pantser (one who does not pre-plot his/her stories). To honestly answer, I am forced to reflect on a moment that passed with the actual completion of typing a few words. Difficult to do. It was simply “there” at the time, but that hardly is a satisfying answer to a legitimately submitted question. Over and over again, such questions appear and I’m always jealous of those that can come up with answers like “I modeled the character after my grandmother” or “I was moved by the imagery of an oil painting hanging in the Louvre”. My answers, once formed over a cup of coffee, are far less tangible.

Q: “Why did you make the character that way?”
“I closed my eyes and saw a picture of them in the scene.”

Q: “Where do you get the ideas for your books?”
“I sat on my porch and watched the leaves move in the breeze. It reminded me of how different we are yet subjected to many similar struggles.”

Q: “How do you write dialog like you do?”
“I looked at the blank wall in the den, imagined the scene playing before me and listened to the character’s speak.”

These are the replies I can offer, whether they are still abstract or not.

Thus, I have come full circle again and desire a default answer….I think I will stick with “magic”. It seems to fit well enough. 🙂



Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized

Times Flies When You’re Writing – Book Update

Hi All!

So, an update is not only in order but also an apology. From the time of clicking the submit button for “Touch of Life” to yesterday’s writing of the last scene of book five, my writing life is very full, indeed. Blog posts were set aside to have a real life, while still juggling submissions, edits, and cover designs. Keeping up with Facebook posting and helping others to the best of my ability, my blogging has taken the hit.

In an attempt to “make up” for my lack-o-blogging, allow me to offer you a snapshot of my current writing and status updates.


Book 4 – “Promised”, my romance set in a very low-key fantasy world, is set for a November 2nd release. This book will begin a love story grouping I will mark as “Elder Valley Romance” collection. I have one more edit reply to work with, but it is roughly 330 pages and something I’m very proud to distribute. If all goes well, both paperback and Kindle version will be available.  As with “Crows and Crowns”, I will be doing an e-signing after the first week of it’s release if you are interested in such a thing.

Book 5 –  “The Hunter and The Enchantress” (a working title), has been completed in rough draft form. Currently sitting at 78,000 words. This book is of a gifted (magically) woman who travels into the 6th Circle of society with her father and unexpectedly meets a sheriff with similar abilities. I would describe it as 50% romance and 50% adventure. Though set in the same area as “Promised”, it is separate from the “Elder Valley Romance” series. Estimated release, June 2016.

Book 6 –  “Into the West” (working title) is the one-off of the Healer’s Tale series which follows Lohan and Dupree as they attempt to reclaim the western lands under the banner of the North. In its current state, the book sits at 50k words with an 90k goal. I’ve been receiving requests for this “fill in the gap” book and I want to get back to it in December. Release date not planned at this time but shooting for a Jan 2017.

Book 7 – “The Orphan Blade”. I know this little thing has been scheduled before, but I’ve put my foot down, refused to write such a depressing book and will revamp it. With a few ideas in my head, I believe I can make this turned into a less “woe is me” story and into something you and I would like to read. Finger’s crossed, but thankfully I have a bit of time.

Book 8 through 10 – A cluster of 20k words each, with no plans to touch until late 2016. One is another Elder Valley Romance while the two others have not congealed enough to say more.

Hope that gives you an idea what I’m up to. Now, let’s see if they roll out like that. 🙂

As always, feel free to use the Contact page to ask questions or say hello!

Bless and Keep,

Share This:
Posted in Uncategorized