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[The Word] Interview of the Amazing USA Today Bestselling Author Rue Volley

Rue Volley has become one of the biggest names of the independent publishing industry. Being one of the bestselling authors and creator of many of the covers you see coming out of the small press and independent graphics field. These are just a few of the reasons I wanted to interview her for the website and bring her to the front of the page for you my readers. So let me waste no more of your time. Here is the interview of Rue Volley.


Bachman: As a writer, have you ever had an unbelievable moment?

Volley: My unbelievable moments have always been with fans of my work. The first time I did a book signing really stunned me. I couldn’t believe that people would stand in line to meet me and have me sign their books. I’m always humbled when I meet people who buy my books and love them. Knowing that something I created made such a huge impact on another human being is probably one of the best feelings in the world. Fans are incredibly loyal and grateful to have a few moments with you. Every author should appreciate that.

Bachman: Is there anything you’ve seen in the industry you wish would change?

Volley: I’ve been in this industry for thirteen years and I’ve watched a lot of things change. I’m not a fan of the low price point that’s attached to Indie books, or quick fire novels pushed into the market by ghostwriting teams. I’m also not a fan of how over-saturated specific tropes become when one idea makes money. It tips the boat and makes it nearly impossible to navigate without spending extreme amounts of money on marketing. Facebook has also changed over the years. It used to be much easier to reach your fans (and new fans) on Facebook by using your business page, or posting in groups. Now Facebook hides most of your posts if you don’t pay them. It’s really unfortunate.

Bachman: They say if you’re a writer you must also be a reader, do you agree? Any book recommendations?

Volley: I do agree that you have to keep reading. It’s inspiring to read new books, but you have to be careful and not allow it to influence the book, or books, that you’re working on. I tend to avoid whatever genre I’m writing in at the moment. I’m very eclectic when it comes to reading. I do have some preferences though. I tend to read first person POV in present tense, mostly.

Some recent recommendations:

  • Courtney Summers—The Project
  • Amy Poehler—Yes Please
  • Colleen Hover—Heartbones
  • Rory Power—Wilder Girls
  • Stephenie Meyer–Midnight Sun
  • Nicola Yoon—Everything Everything
  • Michelle Obama—Becoming

Bachman: Any advice to those just now coming into the industry?

Volley: Save up your money for marketing before you release the book and do your homework on what ads really work. Hire a GREAT editor. Have a professional, shelf-ready, book cover made. Hire someone to write your blurb if you can’t come up with something dynamic. I’ll also add that it’s up to you to set the pace and schedule with your book releases. Consistency is key. Branding is key. Think about these things when it comes to your image and each book release that you do. Think professionally. Treat it like a small business and don’t neglect it. No one will ever care about your book as much as you do.

Bachman: You produce some beautiful book covers, have you always done graphic design?

Volley: Thank you, I appreciate that. I’ve been a graphic designer for fourteen years and I’ve created over four hundred book covers.I recently left the publishing company that I was with, and I do freelance work now.

I think the book cover is one of the most important selling points when it comes to marketing your books. A great story can be snuffed out with bad wrapping paper.
I think authors should employ cover artists who are not only talented, but understand the market and how competitive it can be. Making covers that mimic other artists is detrimental to not only the original artist, but to the publishing world as a whole. I’d also like to add that it’s best to let the cover artist edit your vision so the cover doesn’t become a jumbled mess with no real message. It’s so easy to want to toss everything onto a cover, but just like the story itself, it has to be edited with a sharp instrument.

Bachman: Is writing something that you always wanted to do?

Volley: No, but it seems to have always wanted me to do it.

When I was young, I wrote elaborate screenplays to entertain my siblings. When I was in high school, I lucked into taking a creative writing class with a mentor who taught at Stanford University. When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I was in a band signed with Time Warner and I wrote all of the lyrics to our songs. Then when I turned forty, I decided to write my first novel. When I turned forty-five, I wrote my first screenplay and helped produce and direct my first movie. So, writing is just a part of who I am. I never thought about doing it for a living, but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to make a career out of it.


Bachman: Do you have a plan to stay on task during deadlines or do you ‘wing it’?

Volley: I’m a panster, so winging it is exactly how I write my novels, but as far as staying on deadline—I write every single day, even if it’s only a chapter or two. I’m very strict on myself when it comes to writing because it’s very easy to slack in this profession, and you can’t do that when you’ve invested time and money, and made announcements.

Bachman: Some writers do literary pilgrimages, is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

Volley: I’d love to take a few months off and just hike some mountains, bike some trails, meet new people, eat new food, listen to new music—live without a schedule or expectations. I think it would be a great experience after going through a pandemic and navigating a volatile political landscape for the last couple of years.

I think we all deserve a reboot.

Her Social Media:

The Word: Top 15 Fears Writers Have

Every day writers face fears. Not from the storylines, they’re writing, though I’m sure are, the fears I’m talking about are fears of a different kind. Every writer whether well-known or just getting started have fears. These fears are rooted in the unknown and self-doubt often. In today’s article, we’ll address the top fifteen fears that are most common in the industry.

  • Not selling books
  • Readers not enjoying the work
  • Missing deadlines
  • Not finding the time to write
  • Receiving poor reviews
  • Forgetting to back-up their work
  • Lack of recognition
  • Writer’s block
  • Conveying story correctly
  • Rejection letters
  • Ideas stolen
  • Work is pirated
  • Plagiarism
  • The idea has already been done
  • Money to back a project

Now listing the top fifteen fears, how does one address them? Self-doubt is a terrible thing, especially if it goes hand-in-hand with an unwillingness to accept things you cannot change. The things you cannot change and must accept if you want a forward progression in your career are critical reviews, piracy, and not selling books. Readers not enjoying your work walks aside critical reviews, you cannot please everyone. The quicker you accept this the easier it’ll be on you.

Piracy happens. This was a personal hard pill to swallow. Most websites that post books are legitimate and will link to the proper buying locations, but from time to time you’ll find one that has a pdf or digital copy. Websites advertise books in a ‘store’ to pose as a proper book outlet, but it’s a scam to make a profit off of the traffic or illegally distribute work. Most will take down the item if you file a copyright claim, but often it still just won’t matter.

Years back one author came up with a very interesting way to track who was stealing their work. I cannot remember who it was, but the basic idea was watermarking the document. Whoever ended up with the stolen copy either got an incomplete ‘review only edition or a copy that declared it had been stolen if not gotten at x location. I love this idea.

Plagiarism is illegal, but it still happens to this day. You see it in the news authors suing another. Often the one being sued has used a shady ghostwriter. This gives ghostwriting a bad name. It also ruins the reputation of legitimate authors working months on a novel. If you discover your work is stolen or too closely copied, you really must seek legal aid. What also can happen, sad is one coming up with a brilliant idea unaware it’s already been done. It happens, but what you do upon discovering your idea is too close to something else it’s best to work on it more until it’s unique again. Ideas being stolen is sadly a problem too. Brainstorming with a friend is a great way to get the engine going, but there is no doubt it is risky if you don’t know that person very well. You risk your idea being stolen and written quicker than you can do it yourself.

Writers struggle to portray their stories exactly as they imagine them. It is hard for some to take the movie in their head and put it on paper properly. Editors can help in this area, but it is still a frustration before an editor can get ahold of the manuscript.
Rejection letters can bring up harsh feelings of others not liking your work. It’s part of the business and something I addressed in another The Word entry, The Word: A Quick Guide to Getting Signed.

Not selling books and not having the money to back a project can be hard. Not having money is part of why I started out doing everything myself. I freelanced as a graphic artist just to pay for editing, but learning everything else saved me money. I’ve seen the financial struggles that could’ve been and are going on every day with writers. I don’t have any magical money advice. There is no way to just get things done for free. Nothing is truly free.

I know that some work with a bartering system. Since networking is vital anyway an exchange of talent happens. For example: if a writer can edit very well, but cannot create a book cover they may find help from someone who can do the cover for some editing help. Even if you can back a project, it doesn’t guarantee the book will sell, most often that boils down to the marketing. Can’t sell books if you don’t reach the audience.

Money can be the primary motivation for many to write. I advise against it. If you’re in this business only for the money, you’ll become frustrated quickly when the money doesn’t come. No one gets famous instantly. No one makes money out the gate. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. A lot of work has to go into it before the money is ever seen.

Not finding time to work is everyone’s struggle. This leads to missing deadlines in most cases. A word here or there, a paragraph at lunch, or even scribbling on a napkin. If you can find even the smallest minute, you can progress the story even if it’s at a slow pace. This is also a fix for writer’s block, but it doesn’t always work and not for everyone.

Recognition comes in time. I was recognized as a graphic designer before I was ever known for writing. Sometimes your known for one thing and not another. All I can say is keep at it. It’ll change.

Have you ever faced some situations before? Have you discovered your own solutions to the above issues? Let’s talk about it.

The Blasphemer Series Mythos: The Fallen and The Angels

The principal characters of the first book in the series, Maxwell Demon, are definitely the fallen angels and their counterparts. Originally, when I began writing the series, it wasn’t even a series, much less a book, it was a character named Dante Angeloft that doesn’t appear in the series until book two, Harvest. I wanted to write of his struggles; he was and still is the most relatable of my characters specific to my teen and younger years.

Dante in his origin interacted with vampires, but throughout my years of aging and my interests changed eventually angels came into play as I enjoyed then and continue to now doing religious studies. I have always loved learning of other cultures and the religions of ancient times. So, he became a man conflicted with morality. Good and heaven or bad and hell. The series was always going to be called The Blasphemer Series. Even ancient original journal-like writings I did of him were calling him The Blasphemer.

When the time came to publish my own stories, I wasn’t sure if he was going to come back to life through my words or even take part in a series, but things began working around. My award-winning short story Human Ouija was in the works before I finished Maxwell Demon, but some things began clicking and inspiration struck. I was reading articles and really digging into documentaries, books, and reading over old work when inspiration came together.

This led me to purchase encyclopedias, the most important being the one on angels, one I wasn’t aware would also include fallen angels and demons as well. This was really the most important reference guide I used. It helped me carve out traits, looks, and really gave me the ability to build the villains and the heros of the first book. From there it just flowed naturally.

Vampires inspired the story element of ‘reincarnation’, with their immortality. I had read about Samsara Cycle, reincarnation, and began researching in that field of interest and it made the most since to me. I will cover reincarnation more in depth in another post, but for now I will merely add that it became an element I sewed in because it was beautifully tragic.

Love is beautifully tragic with its highs and lows, for me I had experienced different love being betrayed, longing, wanting, and never wanting to give up. This is important and since this book was to be important to me as my first serious attempt of publication it felt required. Every good ‘love story’ I had ever read had tragic events and conflict. ‘Lovers torn apart’ is a theme that can be played upon and directed this way or that.

The fallen angels, led by Lucifer, is one of the oldest stories I knew of. Lucifer betrayed God’s wishes as the story began and ultimately ended with his and his cohorts being cast out. The angels that remained continued on doing good deeds, but for me I am forever the researcher… the curious mind. I learned of The Watchers, alternative origins from old religions, and one by one the story I wanted to tell formed.

Specific angels in the story, Maxwell Demon, were chosen for sins they embodied or what they magically had. For example: Yeqon was chosen because he was one angel that led men astray, in stepped the Nephilim. Many fallen angels I learned off from the above mentioned encyclopedias but also reading material on the Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch is an ‘apocrypha’ book thus removed from The Bible. This specific book also mentions The Watchers naming some of them. Yeqon is one of those mentioned.

If you have already read the book in this series that’s published already then you will see this is a heavy inspiration for much of the main stories origins, the chapter of Maxwell Demon that I’d like to reference is a scene in which I wrote of the fall of the angels that battled.

Harvest, the second book, isn’t as heavy on the angels and the fallen, but Dante has visions of the past of an angel, one of The Unforgiven or also known as The Forgotten. She is unique as well and as this series is still being written and published, I won’t release too much from the unfinished books. The phrase comes to mind: the meek shall inherit the Earth.

Here’s what the original edition of Maxwell Demon looked like

You can begin reading the series and check out more information by following the link: Down the rabbit hole

Is this interesting? Enjoying the series as it begins? Let me know! Is there something more you’d like to know? Let’s start a conversation.

The Word: A Quick Guide to Getting Signed

I think I can clearly say with confidence that we’ve all heard how hard it is to become a published author. Some getting dozens of rejection letters and never getting signed. Sometimes, there is even stories of people writing all their lives and getting published, finally, in later years. When I was a little girl, I looked at the library shelves. Through the books gifted. I dreamed of being one of ‘those people’ one of the published writers. I went through phases of accepting it to never be and pushing myself to keep trying.

I eventually found independent publishing. I began in the industry with research and working in graphic design. I produced covers and graphics for other authors. I have shared this story before, but the shortest version is one of my clients discovered I wrote and wasn’t anymore, encouragement occurred, and I originally self-published, but along the way I networked. Networking is vital, you must do this to succeed, and it’s very useful. I researched legitimate publishing houses and small presses, this all led to me becoming published with the now defunct publishing house Burning Willow Press.

I cannot remember if I held a conversation about why they signed me, but I had time to ask one of my current publishing house the big ‘why’ question. With permission, I will share the important part of the conversation I had with Rebekah Jonesy of Three Furies Press.


Bachman: Why did y’all sign me? What about the book did you like? (The book in question is Maxwell Demon)

Jonesy: The complex world and history with a fairly straightforward plot. It sucked me right in. Like I knew the characters and got to experience a new world with them as my guides. Add in the rockstar author who will work to put herself out there, and hustle for book sales while constantly reaching out and coordinating with her publisher, and it was just too good to pass up. I can pass up a good book with a bad author, and a rickety story if the author will work with us on it. This time I had the best of both, so win/win for my company and me.

Bachman: Such kind words. Can I quote you? For my article.

Jonesy: Have at it. Oh, and of course your books NEVER end how I think they will at the beginning, or even middle of the book. There’s always a creative change that happens, not a twist, because it is still straightforward. And that intrigues me every time and makes me want to read more of your books.


In that exchange, you can see a lot of what you need to get published. The guide is my shared experience and my advice. I feel it’s important to add that I have also had my share of rejection, but all that encouraged me to work hard, learn better writing techniques, and keep trying. Your take away at the end of this article is the following list.

  • Learn your craft. Read as much as you can on the skills of writing. Remember, anyone can put a pencil to paper, but those that are truly skilled/gifted with words cannot write a wonderful story, but become an actual signed storyteller.
  • Publishers are more likely to sign you if you have a history of promoting yourself. If you do not believe in your work why should they? This can be a trail of marketing or even a long road of career foundation building. They will watch your social medias, like everyone else.
  • Publishers are not the enemy. If you submit a story and get rejected listen to why they’re rejecting it. Often, the story will not be declined forever. If you pay attention and resubmit that is. Often the ‘rejected letter’ is a list of corrections in disguise. Some publishers don’t want to hurt your feelings. Do note sometimes a rejection truly is just that, but really understand the rejection letter. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

Here’s a rough idea of the process before, during, and after publishing enters.

  • Write the story. DO NOT submit the first draft, approach with a fully flushed out tale on paper with the best editing you can do or hire.
  • Research publishers taking submissions. DO NOT reach out to them if their website clearly states they’re not taking submissions. Also, DO NOT submit to a company if it clearly states ‘no unsolicited submissions’, this means have an agent. If you submit anyway, they usually reject instantly. If you can’t follow the simple directions on their website, you’ll not be worth their time and/or give the impression you will not be easy to work with. You could have the next great American classic on your hands and they will not look it at. It’ll go to the slush pile’s bottom or even in the trash bin. Avoid the vanity presses. You’ll known them with their fancy package deals. For example: they will publish your book, soft and hardcover editions. They will include merch like posters and bookmarks. All you have to do is pay them x-amount of money. I have talked about these horrible businesses in the past. They seem perfect and that’s their trap. They always catch the business naïve. NO legitimate publisher will ask you to pay them. It’s bizarre to even consider it.
  • Prepare a query letter. Sometimes a company’s website will list what they want to know from you upon submission. For me, I explained who I was, my history of writing, and my experience in the industry. I also included my marketing plan experience with samples. This is the time to ‘sell yourself’ to the publisher. Make it superb. Along with the letter, prepare the first few chapters of the story and a blurb/summary of the story. Also, if it’s a series, include that information and where the story plans to go. Also add any marketing plan you have at that point in time if it’s different, how you plan to stand out, and anything else relevant.
  • After you’ve listened to the above and submitted you now will wait. Sometimes it’s hours and sometimes it’s months. Whatever you do, I recommend selecting one body of work per publisher. If you submit one story to multiple companies, it’s likely they all or some will want you and your work around the same time. It’s just easier and less stressful to put one work to one company.
  • If you get rejected read the letter, contact them, and even maybe thank them for their time. If you need to ask them to explain further do it. Sometimes they will not provide more and accept the rejection as just that, they get busy. Sometimes though, they will explain, and be willing to work with you on getting the manuscript up to their standards of publication.
  • If you get accepted you don’t have time to rest. All those months of working the book now got you to the point to do more. Once the story is in their hands, they will edited again and again by them, restructured with formatting and style, and ripped apart. You may even start thinking they’ve ruined the book, but you need to remember they’re seeing it with fresher eyes than your own. They will see things you’re not seeing or at least not seeing anymore. They’re professionals and want the best product for market. This is a business after all.
  • During the process you will be contact, at least in my experience, randomly for things needed. Here and there, these aren’t very specific and range well within the realm of eventual expectations.
  • They may even help you develop a marketing plan for each book or the series, if that is what you have, overall. They may even put you in contact within their network of trusted colleagues. (See networking is important) It’s good to remember each book is its ‘own business’ under the umbrella of you being your brand, a lot of steps will repeat for every release.

I re-edited this to add some editing advice. If you’re paying for an editor remember if you get a group of editors in a room to edit your story they all will say something different. This doesn’t mean one is more right it’s just their editing style. It’s just as fluid as the style an author may use to write a story.


My experience will vary from your own. I often do a lot of my own graphic work or formatting, but that doesn’t mean you will get to or have to. It depends person to person or even company to company. I enjoy doing a lot of my work, but willing to let share the workload.

What exactly am I? I am what’s considered a ‘hybrid’. I publish with companies and on my own. This is ideal for me. I have the freedom I need as a working freelancer in the business. I also get the freedom to publish when or what I want, but for projects that are signed I get the help I need. A boost to help me stay productive along with the easy of knowing someone’s going to be there if I have a question or need feedback.

The inspiration for this article came to me after seeing far too much hate online directed at publishers. Those not getting signed and lashing out of jealousy, judgement, and overall a misunderstanding of how things work. There are myths. We share some out of humor, but professionals know it’s all fun and games because the work can get stressful. Plus, who doesn’t need a good chuckle?

The Interview of Voice Actor Sean Rhead

Audiobooks are the next level in reaching your readers. Paperback, hardback, and even digital formats are other common ways, but its a dream for any novelist to get their work into audio. Audible is the most common way, the biggest as well, and for me I wanted this like everyone else. For those that have followed along with me, you know I’ve had struggles in this department. I’ve had narrators quits and others not be able to continue with the projects. This made me want to give up, but the passion for my work continued and eventually I found a man named Sean Rhead.

I wanted to introduce you to him with an interview. Here is how that interview went.


Bachman: You’re a voice actor and narrator. How did you get into that line of work?

Rhead: I’ve always been more of an auditory and hands-on learner, so audiobooks are my preferred way of experiencing literature. I grew up listening to Jim Dale narrate the Harry Potter series, and I loved the way he voiced all of the characters and brought that world to life. I love the idea of giving that same experience to someone else who absorbs content the same way.

Bachman: What do you do when you’re not recording?

Rhead: I teach general music (preK-8) during the day. When I come home, I love to sing and play guitar, duet sea shanties on TikTok, and end the night watching a movie with my girlfriend. 

Bachman: Have you ever thought about writing a book of your own? Why or Why not?

Rhead: Writing has never been at the forefront of my mind; I’ve always been a performer first. But I’ll never say never.

Bachman: What are your favorite genres to narrate?

Rhead: Fantasy. I love getting acquainted with an entire ensemble of characters, besides creative world-building.

Bachman: What was your favorite book to narrate so far?

Rhead: Far too many to name, but I will always be grateful to Sarah K. L. Wilson for giving me my start with “Dragon Chameleon.” Not only did I love getting to know her characters and her world, but I definitely grew over the course of that series (both on the creative AND technical side of audiobook production).

Bachman: We met through ACX, what made you want to narrate The Blasphemer Series?

Rhead: I LOVE a good redemption story, and Maxwell’s journey drew me in right from the start. I was compelled by where he began, and in the end, his resolution was as satisfying as I knew it would be.

Bachman: Has there ever been a scene or book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Rhead: Not that I can think of. I do have a lot of books on my TBR list (that I’m NOT narrating) that I will finish eventually. Such titles include “The Lies of Locke Lamora,” “Mistborn,” “The Fires of Vengeance,” and “Six of Crows,” just to name a few.

Bachman: Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can share with readers?

Rhead: In addition to my continued work on “The Blasphemer Series,” I’m also currently working on a YA fantasy mystery novel entitled “The Other Side” by Justin Jay Gladstone. Anticipated release for that one is sometime mid to late spring.

Bachman: You must be very organized with the amount of work you do, how do you stay on track?

Rhead: I appreciate that you think I am organized. Hahaha! In all seriousness though, on my recording and editing days, I like to set specific goals in place (I would like to record this page to that page, or I would like to edit this much time of audio). I have gotten a better understanding of how much time it takes me to meet those goals, so I always like to make sure I have ample time to meet them.

Bachman: If you could have a dream book to narrate, what would it be?

Rhead: It would be a daunting task, but I would LOVE to narrate anything by Brandon Sanderson.

Bachman: Is there anything you’d like readers to know about you?

Rhead: I love Disney and musical theatre, and I am a proud ally of the POC/LGBTQ+ communities.


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New Specialized Series Coming: Behind the Mythos – The Blasphemer Series

Witches, angels, and reincarnation? The series I’ve been publishing the last several years has a wide range of subjects, creatures, and topics discussed and even merely mentioned, but what are the origins? Where did I find inspiration to create the world that became The Blasphemer Series? There will be a new series here on the website covering and diving deep underground into the research that went into my writing of these hauntingly beautiful tales and together we will discover where I kept true to the lore, where I went into my creativity to create something new, and even why I wrote the things the way I did on a deeper more investigative level. Did any of my creative writing predict outcomes in the world? You’d be surprised!


This series will cover the following creatures and lores:

  • fallen angels
  • demons
  • angels
  • the watchers
  • witches
  • witchcraft
  • vampires
  • nephilim
  • biblical tales
  • urban legends
  • dire wolves
  • werewolves
  • ancient mythology
  • historical mysteries
  • character breakdowns

This is a new specialized blog series starting March 12th, 2021.

Bachman on Audible

With Little Lunacies dropping on Audible today, I decided to also wanted to direct your attention to a page there where you can see the other works as well. Currently, Maxwell Demon and Little Lunacies are the only titles, but production is going to continue on The Blasphemer Series as my narrator gets to them in his queue and I get them published.

Go to Audible Now

Little Lunacies Has Released!

In the immaterial depths lies a layer of darkness. In this absence of light, voices bellow. Crying out their stories and begging for acknowledgment of someone… anyone. For some, they have been given a breath of life over the years, for others they’re just now being released. For the first time, they have been gathered in an ensemble.

Written by Lynn Lesher under her penname L. Bachman, the award-winning author invites you to delight in tales of magic, macabre, and dreadfulness. Whether it is the story of a sorrowful lover reaching into the unknown toward their deceased loved one, or even the story of alien abductee experiencing trauma and Men in Black you should be able to find something in this multi-genre collection you enjoy.

Stories Included
Just Underneath
A Farmhouse Haunting
The Gaze of Destruction
The Owls
Human Ouija
The Painting of Martel
A Man Named Sowder
and more.

Grab your copy today!

Interviews are Back!

With the interview of wonderful author Brian G. Murray, I’ve decided to bring back some older features back. I had originally stopped interviewing those from the industry because there seemed to be a lack of interest for them, but through Facebook I learned that there is still some interest and so an interview took place behind-the-scenes.

Check out the interview that sparked the interviews to come back!

15 for 15 with Brian G. Murray