Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

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Writers should write well. What a concept.

As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to authors who take the time to really WRITE for me, going the extra mile and giving me prose that occasionally makes me say, “Wow! I wish I’d written that.”

As an author, I try to provide precisely that kind of moment for my readers, at least once in a while. Have I succeeded? I guess you’d have to ask my readers.

Still, I’ve picked out a few segments of my book, FORGIVE ME, ALEX, which I’ve always been pleased with, where I tried to go that extra mile. I’m not going to pinpoint them in the book for you, or give away any spoilers, in case you want to read the book, but here are a few paragraphs I really enjoyed writing (meaning agonizing over, sweating, rewriting, sweating some more, and rewriting again… and again). I hope you like them.


Alex’s vacant brown eyes and perpetual frown, his continuous soft sigh and the musty smell of sweat and tears on his Scooby-Doo pajamas, the way his chin rested continually on his chest—these left me utterly heartbroken.


Like whispers in a storm, those memories only tease at me now, here at this obscene and maddening event. I’m trying not to relive every moment of 1978. Every time I do, I feel as if swimming in quicksand, anchored by my constant companions—sorrow and guilt. I’m too damned tired; can’t shake the confusion, the dread. I fear surrendering to fear.

My life teems with just such wretched ironies.


Finally, dawn crept mischievously out of the darkness, like the bratty kid down the block come to tease me.


The words I wrote in my diary at the time return to me, a personal anthem more relevant than ever: Rage flows like lava through my veins. My soul slowly roasts upon the flames. How did I ever let it come to this?

Now mortality, as it did seventeen years ago, lingers above me like the hangman’s noose. Yet it looms more ominous than ever, as if it will drop down around my neck at any moment. After all, I know the true Mitchell Norton. And whom shall I fear if not the devil, the grim torturer who conquered my aspirations and left me without a recognizable world of my own?


Long before the embers of the dawn burn, I awake to a world cloaked in darkness, mired in a storm that mirrors my essence. My dream of Alex, reduced to a puff of smoke in a gale-force wind, still cuts me to the bone. I struggle to regain my composure, but my emotions remain on edge, as though the smallest catalyst will tumble me into the abyss, the black chasm of my mind.

I’ve long stood upon the precipice, waiting—almost hoping—for the ledge to collapse beneath me.


Circumstances change, roads turn, and life occasionally heads off down its own path, like the impetuous child who turns and says, “Come on, hurry up!” That’s how I feel, as if chasing after my own life, unsure where it’s going but cautiously hopeful. Contentment remains hidden—my elusive desire. In my entire adult life, I’ve been unable to cast it from the shadows. It’s there, I know—waiting, perfectly camouflaged in the vagaries and machinations of everyday life. I have merely to reach out and grasp it.


When the voice of the Reaper comes to call, you’d better put on your listening cap. He’s quite the work, the Reaper, dedicated to everlasting misery, the exploitation of flesh, the ecstasy of terror. If the deepest, darkest and most horrifying recesses of the human mind can conceive of it, then the Reaper has already heaped it upon the dredges of humankind, already made of it a plaything, already rollicked in the pure joy of it.


I hope you enjoyed those.

18 October 2021: Are we there yet?

2020, 2021, and…?

It’s fair for all of us, at this point, to ask if this madness overtaking the world is EVER going to end. I see signs that people are finally fighting back and seeking to regain control of their lives, and this encourages me. However, I know it will be no easy thing, and so, some level of frustration and uncertainty remain.

And yet….

Life does, indeed, go on. It must. So let’s get back at it, shall we?

On the writing front, I have no real news to report, sadly. It’s just so hard for me to find time right now, but that too will change at some point, probably not until early 2022. Then I plan to dive headlong into finishing THE DEVIL’S BANE, Book 2 of my “Tony Hooper” series of suspense thrillers.

On the publishing (Evolved Publishing) and editing front, I’m still busier than a 1-legged mule in an ass-kicking contest, but hey… that’s the gig, so no complaints. I’ve been really pleased to help bring to market some great books in 2021. Here’s a list (in chronological order):

At the moment, I’m editing 9 books. Yeah… 9. I know what you’re thinking: What do you do with all your free time? Well, I like music and long walks on the beach and… uh… never mind.

I’m also doing all that I do as a publisher for Evolved Publishing (EP), which includes a lot of discussion about marketing these days. Have I mentioned that the last two years have been a bit challenging?

Thank God for cognac. And whiskey. And rum. No, no… really, as a rule I don’t drink. Well, as a habit I do, but as a rule….

Anyway, life does go on. I hope you’ll check out some of those books. They’re really great work, as is always the case from EP. Take good care of you and yours, and be well. God bless.

Support Yourself by Supporting Fellow Authors


Yes, “The Golden Rule” Applies Here

So you’re an author who’s published a book (or two or ten)? Excellent. Congratulations! Now… how do you sell your book(s)? You do want readers, I know. We all do.

I don’t want this post to be a lengthy discussion of book marketing, which is a whole other monster that deserves more space and time than we have here. However… perhaps no group consists of more avid readers/book buyers than writers. For most of us, all of that reading is what drew us to writing in the first place.

I can’t even imagine how many books I’ve bought over the last 40+ years, but it is a BOAT LOAD! I have supported a great many writers, and I’m happy to do so, because they have provided me with endless hours of entertainment, or given me critical information, or helped me learn, or motivated and inspired me, or…. I read a lot of different subjects, fiction and non-fiction, so it’s a long list.

When it comes time to get your book out there, to generate reviews, to build visibility and rankings, don’t overlook other authors as possible resources to help you. Engage in a little, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” HOWEVER….

Please be careful to safeguard your reputation and integrity. Don’t post false reviews. If you don’t like a book you read in one of these exchanges, be honest about it. You may choose not to post a review at all, but DO NOT post a positive review if that’s not really your opinion. Make sure all parties are in agreement on this point before you proceed.

Keep it honest, and it will benefit you in the long run. Shady shortcuts now might well derail your career in the future. Don’t go down that track. You owe it not only to yourself, but to your fans.

And so, as a matter of “putting my money where my mouth is,” I’ll agree to participate in such an exchange with you, IF you have a book out there that I might be interested in, and if I can get the eBook at Amazon for $6.99 or less. My own Kindle eBook for FORGIVE ME, ALEX is $4.99. Fair warning: I’m a really busy guy, so it might well take me a couple months to complete and post my review at Amazon. Also, if I have any kind of financial interest in your book, meaning I make money when your book sells, I will not be able to do this for you, as it’s a clear violation not only of retailer rules, but of general ethics.

Again… integrity and a strong reputation remain critical.

Anyway, I’d love to hear from you if you think we might be able to help each other.

Award-Winning Books Edited by Lane Diamond (6-10)

Back on August 30, 2019, I started what will be a series of posts with Award-Winning Books Edited by Lane Diamond, in which I posted the first 5 (alphabetically) “active” award-winners edited by me. Today, I continue that thread with books 6-10.

THE CONFESSIONAL – A Short Story by A.K. Kuykendall

Altar Boy Reinhold Commons Webster was an innocent child—scholarly, devout—whose trials and tribulations weighed heavily upon him. He continually prayed for deliverance, but in the end, only Lucifer answered.

WINNER: Literary Titan Book Awards – Gold Medal

The Websters were devout Catholics who, like all the families within their parish, stood steadfastly in service of the church. They even prayed that their only son, Reinhold, would one day become a priest. When he became an Altar Server, it seemed as if their dream might come true.

Yet deep within the church lay secrets too painful to consider, too scary to fathom—a horror too excruciating for anyone to dare seek give it an audience.

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS a short story with a peerless message, based on true events—an execrable horror parable that will take the reader into the darkest corners of the mind, where fictional events may be just a bit too real for comfort.

CONUNDRUM by Isu Yin & Fae Yang

Everything that has happened, is happening, will happen again.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award

Reviewer Sheila D. says: “What a magnificently woven puzzle, like a spider’s web. Each strand offering a path of answers/clarity while raising even more questions. I felt like some of the answers to my questions were well hidden in plain sight….right under my nose..while raising new questions .Do YOU know who the spinner is? Are the black smokey wisps part of a web? Then who is the fly? It created a satisfying chaos of the mind. It provides an itching curiosity for Book 3.”

In a world where light has taken reign, the Queen’s Dog, Akira, seeks true balance, but only the righteous may thrive. Driven by malice, he fights his need for blood, his desire to live, and his assignment to solve the murders occurring throughout the Empire. Amidst the strife and warring factions, Akira leads a commanding third party, the Organization, to power. Their drive to raise a New World of misfits is tireless, brutal, and costly. In order for this vision to come to fruition, Akira must first conquer his mother, his fate, and his one true obstacle, the Mortal Affliction.


A thought-provoking look at the line between faith and fantasy, fanatics and followers, and religion and reason.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Fantasy
WINNER: Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

A mysterious nine-year-old from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a couple in the Republic, claiming to be the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. Is she a troubled child longing to return home, or a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of the Republic? The answer will change the lives of all she meets… and perhaps their world as well.

“…a fully imagined, gripping read….” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“Author David Litwack gracefully weaves together his message with alternating threads of the fantastic and the realistic…. The reader will find wisdom and grace in this beautifully written story.” ~ San Francisco Book Review

DESERT RICE by Angela Scott

WINNER: Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal – Young Adult: Coming of Age
WINNER: League of Utah Writers – Gold Quill Award
FINALIST: The Kindle Book Review Awards – Literary Fiction

When Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. But Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking.

Moslimah says, “I’m a VERY difficult reader to please and this isn’t a book I would typically read but I read it and boy was I blown away. This novel captivated me, not from the first page but from the very first sentence, where we are brought smack in the middle of the action.”

Tina says, “From the opening chapter to the very last word, the book was a masterpiece of storytelling, presenting me with a barrage of twists and turns that kept me riveted to the book.”

Timeosanthos says, “I’d heard a lot about this book before reading it, so I worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried at all–it not only lived up to them, it surpassed them. While this book is heart wrenching and painful to read at times, it’s also brilliant, poignant and beautiful.”

DREAM WARRIORS by D. Robert Pease

In the dream world, not everyone is what they appear to be.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award — Best Young Adult Fiction

Joseph Colafranceschi is a fifteen-year-old, self-described geek, living in the Bronx. The second youngest of twelve sons of the former U.S. ambassador to Italy, Joey discovers that a small Egyptian statuette, given to him by his father, endows him with power to control his dreams.

After his brothers throw him down a manhole, Joey is drawn into a hidden society of warriors who have been battling a reincarnated Egyptian Pharaoh for over 3,000 years. In the dream world, it’s impossible to tell who to trust. As Joey slips deeper into a world of gladiator battles and clandestine missions within other people’s dreams, he catches the eye of a beautiful Egyptian princess.

The only thing that keeps him grounded in reality is his best friend Alex, but even she may not be who he thought she was.


Well, those are numbers 6-10 (alphabetically), all of which I heartily recommend. I’ll be back soon with the next five.

Award-Winning Books Edited by Lane Diamond

So… once again I’ve gone months without posting here. Yeesh! Well, as it happens, I have a good cause to jump in, as we at Evolved Publishing just learned of a whole slew of new awards won by our books, including some that were edited by me. And this got me thinking…

How many award winners have I edited? Well, it’s a lot, and it includes some books with which I’m no longer “officially” affiliated, so I’ll leave those out. But here are the award winners (that I know of) with which I am still affiliated. Pretty gratifying.

To keep it simple, I’ll list them here in alphabetical order, and the link I provide will be to the publisher’s main listing, which itself will include retail links (in case you’re interested). I’ll also list only the first 5 books on a much longer list, and then I’ll be back in the days to come with the rest of the list, 5 titles at a time.


Who said we can’t choose our parents?

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Summer 2019 – Best Fantasy

“…a dramatic, uplifting and thought-provoking piece of literature that anyone can enjoy.” ~ K.C. Finn (5 Stars), Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews

“This book will satiate your appetite for magical realism. … It makes us feel better after reading the last page.” ~ Vincent Dublado (5 Stars), Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews

When we’re born, we start with a blank slate, forgetting all that happened before. Most people think life begins at the moment of either conception or physical birth, but what if it really starts much earlier? What if we meet our parents even before they meet each other? What if we have a choice, and can shape our own destiny?

Take a remarkable journey with a young soul who, upon finding his ideal mother, stops at nothing to make her his own. From the instant he first lays eyes on Lera—so cheerful, charming, and eccentric—’Peace’ knows she’s the only mom for him.

Yet things don’t always go the way we planned, even for souls desperate to be born.

CHAOS THEORY by Isu Yin & Fae Yang

Everything that has happened, is happening, will happen again.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Summer 2018 – Best Fantasy

Stefanie F. says: “Awesome and Engaging! — Ten Stars for this amazing story continuation! Hero and Fate are back and delving into Hero’s memories. So much takes place in the story and I don’t want to give anything away so just get on with it and start reading!”

Shortly after the Royal Wedding, Hero and Fate return to Nex, prepared to fulfill their duties as the new rulers of Nitor. For the first time, they enter the Dreamscape, an inner realm full of broken memories, to uncover the truth about the murders and the perpetrator.

As they delve deeper into Hero’s past, their path appears more harrowing than they had imagined. With the truth comes great sacrifice and determination. Each door within the Dreamscape leads them closer to the answers they seek and the consequences of learning about the crimes that have been buried.

Shelia D. says, “My suspicions are confirmed. This is not your run of the mill thunderstorm, it is indeed a Tsunami!”


A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Science Fiction
WINNER: Feathered Quill Book Award – Gold Medal: Science Fiction/Fantasy

“But what are we without dreams?”

The vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

Childhood friends, Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When they’re cast into the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy, for a truth from the past awaits that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might once again release the potential of their people.

Yet they would also incur the Temple’s wrath, as it is written: “If there comes among you a prophet saying, ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the Light.”

“The plot unfolds easily, swiftly, and never lets the readers’ attention wane… After reading this one, it will be a real hardship to have to wait to see what happens next.” ~ Feathered Quill Book Reviews (Awarded “The Children of Darkness” the Gold Medal in Science Fiction & Fantasy)

“A tightly executed first fantasy installment that champions the exploratory spirit.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

CIRCLES by Ruby Standing Deer

A Dream Vision, a terrifying destiny, a journey of a lifetime—the future of an entire Peoples may rest on the shoulders of one young boy.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Historical Fiction

“This novel of historic fiction is a must for any fan of Native American history, or seeker of knowledge, or lover of life. It is expertly crafted with vivid imagery and characters that will become beloved. If you don’t know what it means to sing someone home, prepare to swallow hard. It is heart warming and moving. Truly a thing of beauty.”T.W. Griffith

With much of the world still undiscovered, a small band of people live a peaceful life, until the Dream Vision of a young boy changes everything. Only nine winters old, Feather Floating in Water’s dreams turn his seemingly ordinary childhood into the journey of a lifetime. He must help his people face a terrifying destiny from which they cannot turn away. He must find a way to make his people listen.

Bright Sun Flower, the boy’s grandmother, guides his beginnings, teaching him about the Circle of Life, and how without it, no life can exist. But he needs a bigger push, and gets it from a grey wolf and a Great Elder. The boy’s journey leads him to discover that the Circle of Life involves all people, all living things, and not just the world he knows.

In the end, an ancient People guide the boy in his Visions, toward an unexpected place hidden from outsiders.

“A beautiful story of what should have been. ~ The story is strongly written and will appeal to those who believe that mankind should live in harmony with nature. If you expect savagery and blood – look elsewhere.”John Chapman

THE CISTERN MISSION – A Short Story by Michael Dadich

WINNER: Mom’s Choice Awards – Gold Label – Young Adult eBooks: Fantasy, Myths & Legends

WINNER: Readers’ Favorite Book Awards – Silver Medal – Short Stories

Captain Rostand knows the importance of his undercover mission. The families of Azimuth’s proud officers have just been slaughtered as a statement by the evil dictator Hideux. But how did Hideux know where Azimuth’s forces were hidden? How could his Nightlander army be one step ahead of the powerful Azimuth Alliance at every turn?

The hard truths he discovers on his quest for justice may mark the incendiary beginning of the war of all wars. Will Azimuth survive the great onslaught?


Well, those are the first 5 (alphabetically), all of which I heartily recommend. I’ll be back soon with the next five.

Forgive Me, Alex – A New Look

Forgive Me, Alex has undergone a couple of face lifts, and it’s kind of interesting to see the past (old), present (soone to be new past), and future (soon to be new present).

This was the original version back in 2011, which I really liked, but various feedback and analysis suggested that it just wasn’t performing.

Every genre has its tropes, of course, and for the thriller genre, this one might have been just fine in the early days (December 2011, when it first launched). Maybe.

The marketplace changed, though, as it is wont to do, and eventually this one fell a bit outside the norm, and we just needed to replace it.

Up next would be what’s live now (as of 4 February 2019) at a few sites and in a few versions, but I’ve already started uploading changes.

And then came version two (with blood spatter in the background), which morphed into the version three you see here. The blood spatter had to go because Amazon Ads wouldn’t run it. Seriously.

As you can see, we kept some of the thematic elements (from version one) for the imagery, but we really changed up the textual elements. However, once again, we know from some testing that the cover is under-performing.

And now, as of this writing (4 February 2019), the process has begun to once again update the cover. The new eBook cover will appear first, then the paperback, and finally the audiobook.

NEXT UP: Fourth Editon (and I really hope this is the last time this cover will change. That’s the plan, at least.)

Once again, genre tropes and expectations have caused me to move this in a whole new direction. With the invaluable help of Dale Pease, the cover artist, we’ve brought this in line with current THRILLER genre covers.

It was also important to get this done before the launch — or even the pre-launch activities — of the second book in the “Tony Hooper” series, The Devil’s Bane.

I have ZERO plans to EVER change the cover again, so this one better accomplish all I hope it will.

Early feedback from some targeted groups has been quite positive, so I’m excited to see what happens. Of course, I’d love to have YOUR feedback! 🙂

The Two Hats Worn by Lane Diamond

Some of you may have come to me through my book, FORGIVE ME, ALEX, or one of my short stories. That would make you a reader.

Some of you may have come to me through ny work as an editor and/or writing coach. That would make you a writer.

For these are the two hats I wear as Lane Diamond: Author; Editor/Writing Coach. I might mention that I wear a third hat (as Dave Lane): Founder, CEO, and Managing Publisher/Editor at Evolved Publishing. But that’s for other posts….

Because I wear these two hats, I often post material geared toward two different audiences, and now that I’m starting a newsletter — err… well… actually… I’m starting two newsletters, one for READERS, and one for WRITERS.

Whichever of these categories applies to you, you’ll find a newsletter subscription form in the right-hand column for signing up. I hope you’ll do so. And fear not being spammed (you won’t), or having your information shared out with others (you won’t), as I will likely not send out newsletters terribly often, and I always safeguard your privacy.

So what will you get when you subscribe? As of this date (2 February 2019), nothing. Well, you’ll get a promise of sorts. I plan to offer something useful, informative, entertaining, or fun — always — in my newsletters, but I also plan to offer at least a little something of modest value to my subscribers from time to time, such as free stories, free sample edits, or… something. This is all new, and first I need to build some kind of subscription base. Once I get there, then I’ll figure out the best ways to engage with and reward my subscribers, but…

To start, I think you’ll aprreciate that I won’t be hitting you with a BARRAGE of newsletters. They’ll be coming rather sparingly.

Changes Coming at

Now that I have my website back after being hacked, it’s clear I need to make lots of changes — cleaning up old posts that are no longer relevant, updating expired links, updating current info regarding the many projects I’ve been a part of, deleting posts that hackers converted into ads for… well, we’ll not talk about what the ads are for.

As part of this, I do believe it’s time to consider a whole new template and website design, something more modern and appropriate for authors. I fear I’m setting a pretty bad example for other authors here. This will be on my to-do list for January/February 2019.

In the meantime, I shall beg yur indulgence and patience as I once again, at long last, re-engage on my own website. If you’ve stuck with me here, then thank you. You’re amazing! 🙂

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