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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Mar 18, 2022

Mark has a conversation with Claire Taylor, founder and owner of FFS Media, about her writing, about story alignment, and about a creep problem that exists in the indie publishing industry.

Prior to the main content, Mark shares some randomly drawn prizes for three of his Patrons (two copies of a book on worldbuilding by Angeline Trevena and a virtual course by Claire Taylor), a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

During their conversation, Mark and Claire talk about:

  • How long it has been since the last time they saw one another in person due to that "thing that happened" (a global pandemic)
  • Claire's start on The Sell More Books Show Podcast (with co-host Bryan Cohen) in Jan 2020 and the importance of how the two hosts can raise different points to bring perspective to the news and tips
  • The challenge of reading news articles aloud live
  • Claire's FFS media company and how her story alignment work first started
  • The Enneagram (a typology system that describes human personality as a number of interconnected personality types) that Claire uses for her story alignment process
  • Mark's mispronunciation of Enneagram as angiogram
  • Aligning characters to their core motivations
  • The different genres and series novels that Claire writes in. H. Claire Taylor as a writer of contemporary comedy novels; H. Clarie Taylor co-authoring with Brock Bloodworth (a pseudonym for Claire) writing a paranormal cop comedy adventure series; Nova Nelson writing cozy mysteries and magical Renaissance fiction; CLaire Feeny writing serial killer fiction
  • Claire's passion for Renaissance Fairs
  • Leveraging her husband's experience as a police officer (and soon to be detective) in making her cop fiction more realistic
  • The culmination of having been writing since May 2015
  • Learning the importance of rest and changing her previous habits of being a chronic over-achiever
  • The origin of Claire's "The Waffling" series of videos and its relation to her giving in to peer pressure
  • Claire's social media "Hot Walks"
  • Being at the two year anniversary of when everything shut-down/locked-down for "two weeks"
  • Her publishing strategy of "Exclusive to Amazon Kindle" VS "Wide"
  • The genesis for Clarie's March 14, 2022 Medium article "Indie Publishing Has a Creep Problem"
  • How important it is for men to be aware that this type of thing is happening and how it's not going to be reported, and why women don't report it
  • The importance of paying attention to and focusing on that "sixth sense" of just knowing something is wrong, or the body language being witnessed seems off
  • How woman are often programed to diminish such an experience and to also gaslight themselves - so having someone acknowledge the wrong taking place can be extremely beneficial to them in validating the experience
  • Claire's own Enneagram type and how that aligns with her deep-rooted satisfaction in doing what is right and what needs to be done
  • And more...
After the interview Mark shares a brief reflection about something that Claire said that really stuck with him. "My fear of seeming awkward in a situation is less important than the possibility of a woman being in a bad situation I haven't intervened in."
He also shares that the article Claire published to Medium will be the main content of Episode 241 which will be published almost immediately after Episode 240.

Links of Interest:


Claire Taylor is the founder and owner of FFS Media. She also leads the Story Alignment services offered by FFS Media.

With over a dozen top-selling humor novels published (and many more on the way), she can write the crap out of a funny book. And she can help you bring out the humor in your story, too, without sacrificing a compelling narrative or strong character development.

She has professionally edited 200+ fiction manuscripts, with experience in every stage of the editing process from outline evaluation to proofreading. Her passion lies in telling a story that sticks with readers long after they finish the last page, and she loves helping others achieve that goal.

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