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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Apr 5, 2024

Mark interviews Lydia and David Sherrer about their company Chenoweth Press and the books and games they produce and publish collaboratively.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update and a word about this episode's sponsor.

This episode is sponsored by the awesome supporters of this podcast who provide their supprt via Patreon and Buy Me A Coffee.

With special thanks to Nikki Guerlain for the recent huge BUY ME A COFFEE donation.

In the interview, Mark talks to Lydia and David about:

  • How Lydia's role as a writing is part of a biological imperitive
  • Growing up reading everything in sight and also being into Lord of the Rings by the time she was five years old
  • Always telling herself stories and writing some of them down over the years
  • Finding out that what she studied in college wasn't a good career fit and then following her father's example of being an entrepreneur
  • Publishing her first two books around 2012/2013
  • Lydia and David setting a ten-year plan that by then David would be able to quit his full-time job
  • David enjoying playing Magic The Gathering card game when he was young
  • Getting invited to a gaming store that was in his town and becoming enamored with it
  • Opening up his own gaming store when he graduated from highschool
  • The technical engineering background that David had and how he applied those skills to ads and marketing
  • Getting frustrated with his job at about the time that Lydia was starting to earn good money from her writing
  • Deciding that he wanted to turn his gaming hobby into a career by starting with a spreadsheet
  • How playing cards are one of the easiest and most flexible mediums to make a game in
  • The game Cat Magic taking roughly twenty minutes of calculations and figuring to get the first draft of the game started
  • The catch-phrase for Love, Lies, and Magic
  • Book 8 in that series releasing March 1, 2024
  • How Cat Magic the novel was the best of Lydia's books that had an existing audience for creating the first game of David's game design career
  • David's role in being an alpha reader and providing Lydia with early feedback on her writing
  • The Kickstarter campaign they ran to get the Cat Magic game off the ground
  • The important Give 90% of the time, ask 10% of the time rule with communities you are engaged in
  • The years of behind the scenes hard work and constantly giving and sharing with the community that built up the success seen in recent Kickstarters
  • 80% of their sales coming from direct sales versus sales from retailers
  • Storing 15,000 copies of Lydia's books in their basement
  • Hiring a college student to help with some of the menial tasks like packaging up books for direct sale orders
  • The various logistics of their shipping operation
  • Hiring a nanny to keep their kids close and at home, but allowing them the freedom to get their work done during the day
  • Their five-year-old discovering capitalism, entrepreneurship, and wanting to become a part of their business
  • Advice that David and Lydia would offer to other couples interested in running a business like this
  • And more . . .


After the interview, Mark reflects on the concept of building the kind of life that you want as well as the community-giving focus as an authentic way to connect and offer something of value.


Links of Interest:


Lydia Sherrer is an award-winning and USA Today-bestselling author of snark-filled adventures creating stories you love to love, and hate to leave. She is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus universe of books featuring several series, which have sold over half a million copies world-wide. Most recently she has released the TransDimensional Hunter series with NYT bestselling author John Ringo.
Lydia subsists on liberal amounts of dark chocolate and tea, and hates sleep because it keeps her from writing (though she needs it because she has kids to wrangle). Due to the tireless efforts of her game-designer husband and her fuzzy overlords—i.e. cats—she remains sane and even occasionally remembers to leave the house.

David Sherrer is a born storyteller and has been an obsessive gamer ever since he was seduced by Magic the Gathering at the tender age of fourteen. He has alternately owned a gaming store, street performed for a living, and survived eleven years in the soul crushing world of telecommunications. He lucked out by marrying a force of nature who was determined to making living off writing, and has since escaped his 9-5 to become the Marketing Director and Lead Game Designer of Chenoweth Press.

His most fond achievements include being Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2006—there’s a story there, just ask him—and that time he made his entire DnD party cry at the end of a campaign. In addition to his work, he wrangles his growing family and a herd of feline supervisors, while secretly plotting how to add to the mountain of board games that he swears to his wife he actually plays.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0