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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Jun 8, 2018

Mark interviews Laura and Daniel Martone, former residents of New Orleans who now travel the country in their mobile writing studio, a cozy RV dubbed Serenity. Together they write urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, time travel, epic fantasy, and space opera novels.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares an update on the recent FREE promotion that he paid for via the Kobo Writing Life PROMOTIONS tab.

We also talks about the importance for authors to listen, learn and then to adapt what they are seeing, hearing and learning into strategies and tactics that work best for them and their own unique goals and publishing plans.

Then he launches the Tongue Twister segment, which is sponsored by Findaway Voices. You can learn more about Findaway Voices at

In the interview, Mark talks with Daniel and Laura about:

  • The way they met via the world of films and film festivals
  • The experience of having a horror screenplay altered to the tune of a director’s completely different interpretation of their script
  • The storytelling aspect of creating virtual audio ghost tours
  • The incredible patience involved in working on building a product line and listening and learning for more than a year before launching their first collaboratively published book series
  • The planned-out release schedule that they struggle with sticking to for their Space Opera series and their Zombie series
  • How they work together to split the work required in creating and writing their books
    • What Dan calls a “Skeleton Draft” which is a hybrid between a screenplay and story beats of about 17,000 words
    • Laura’s next step of taking that draft and fleshing it out into a “well nourished” format
    • The next step where Dan then trims and cuts the 60,000 or 70,000 word draft back down by 5,000 or so words
  • The 9 arc structure that each book they write fulfills
  • Intertwining their different series in a multiverse that they have created
  • How their background in film and screenwriting has woven itself into their writing process
  • Playing off each others skills, preferences, passions and work habits for the ultimate complimentary benefit
  • Being fans of the Supernatural TV show and Joss Whedon’s Firefly and the impact that has had on their personal and creative lives
  • Serenity, their mobile home
  • The nature of learning and then adapting the things they have absorbed and learned into their own unique strategies
  • How Laura was inspired by Lindsay Buroker, in particular her expressions of: “Be genuine, be generous”
  • The lack of confidence that can result from not hitting that publish button (which can be a crippling thing for a writer – ie, just STARTING is sometimes the key, otherwise, one might never start) and the concept of learning from doing
  • The collaboration that Laura and Daniel are doing with a larger group of authors (currently 43 writers) for a forthcoming massive project that will be releasing later this year – (Mark gets them to promise to return to the podcast to share an update on that project)
  • The favorite bit of writing advice that resonates with each of them
  • Where The Martones will be traveling (in Serenity) for the remainder of this year (including 20Booksto50K Vegas)


After the interview, Mark reflects on a couple of things that his conversation with Laura and Daniel made him think about. One of those items was about that moment where a writer hesitates with their finger over the “publish” button and the wonder of whether or not they should go back to one more re-write, one more edit, one more re-polish before either publishing the manuscript or perhaps submitting it to an agent or editor.


Links of Interest: