-- "Running In Plain Sight" by Charles R. Butts, Jr. is a collection of short stories. --


Last year, author Charles R. Butts, Jr. caught the attention of readers with his first novel, For Only A Season, a treasure of interesting family members, centered around main character Scooter Flood.

This year, the author with a knack for storytelling returns with a collection of short stories entitled, Running in Plain Sight. Each story has its own unique and thought-provoking plot, including:

Running In Plain Sight

In 1902, in Attapulgus, Georgia, ten year old Leander Sills Jr’s life was forever changed by the brutal murder of his parents. After retaliating, he’s forced to flee, grow up and try to stay a step ahead of those seeking vengeance.

If All Minds Are Clear

Brantley Wilkerson II is a young minister on the rise. Charming, handsome and charismatic, he’s returned from seminary and is a couple of weeks away from being named successor to his pastor, mentor and future father-in-law, Reverend Solomon Cousins. But when threatened by a past indiscretion, will he reach his dream, or will he fall from grace?


P. Randall Spires, an albino, can’t shake the pain of being disowned by his father at eighteen. Now forty-eight, and a successful securities trader living in Seattle, he yearns to exorcise the nightmare that continues to haunt him.

A Balanced Imbalance

After another failed suicide attempt, Zachary Price just wants the pain to end. Living with Bipolar Disorder, cycling from the highest heights of mania to the darkest depths of depression is no way to live! With everything to live for, is he willing to give his doctor, his medications and therapy one more try, or end it all for good?

Running In Plain Sight & Other Stories is the second book written by Charles R. Butts Jr, a former soldier and postal employee for over thirty-three years. Charles hopes to not only inspire and entertain, but to also provoke thought in the reader.

"Four entertaining and gripping stories! A must have for every bookshelf or reading device!"

For more information about events, or to read excerpts and chapters from the blog, go to www.charlesrbuttsjr.com


2017 Book Guide

Don't Get Caught Editing

By M Villesca

I know what you're thinking. No editing? What about all my mistakes? She's out of her mind!

But listen to me first before you click your mouse button. Many people who write go down this long long road of death. Yes, death.

I can tell you that I rarely go back and reread. I try not to. Here's why... if you get stuck rereading and reediting your work you will never finish. Some people come to me and ask me how I was able to finish my book. That seems to be the million dollar question. How did you finish it?

I read once that Stephen King said that he was done with a book when he gave up. I didn't quite understand that when I first started writing, but if you think about it, it totally makes sense. I had to give up and publish my novel because at some point you have to give up and let that novel go. It's not easy because even when you let it go there's always something you can do to make it better. Something you can add to a character that can make them have more dimensions. A period or comma you missed or a character that didn't have a last name... I totally did that in my first novel and no one caught it. Not even my editor. But when they gave it to my hometown newspaper, he tore me a new one. Really.

So start writing. Don't go back. If you absolutely have to go back then do it only on Friday's or something. Make yourself a calendar or a sticky note not to go back and edit what you wrote the day before or the week before. Keep writing. Get those thoughts out there. Type ideas at the bottom of the novel. Add notes and quotes whenever they come up but don't go back.

I did that for a few months when I was writing my first book. I would go back and read about three chapters or so and every single time, I found mistakes or things I could make better. Before I realized it, an hour had gone by and I hadn't written anything new. Nothing. Nada.

So, yes. I still go back and reread a few pages to remind myself of where I am in the novel so I'll know where I'm going, but I try not to go beyond that. I try hard to keep writing and to keep getting the story out there. Trust me when I say there will come a time and a place when you will have to go back and analyze it all over again or when you really want to focus on a specific scene and make it better but you will do it when you have finished the book. It's so much better to do it then instead of doing it every single time you sit down to write.

Finishing the book is step number one. Finish it. Keep writing. Limit yourself from editing. Finish your novel. Get your thoughts out there. You will start to see the pages go from 50 to 125 in no time.

Learning to juggle your job, children, day to day activities and still try to find the time to write can be a daunting task. Find useful tips and ideas to make this easier.

Publishing House Adds Literary Agency Services

Represents Walter E. Massey, Former Chairman, Bank of America

Beckham Publications Group, www.beckhamhouse.com, the joint venture house in Silver Spring, Maryland, has added a literary agency component to its services. Their first client is Walter E. Massey, former chairman of Bank of America.

"Some of our authors can benefit from the resources of larger publishers," says Barry Beckham, president and publisher, "so we will query houses about titles that have enormous market appeal rather than release them ourselves. We will focus on memoirs and autobiographies and handle just a few authors a year."

Beckham says that Massey's memoir represents the first time that a board member of Bank of America has described the behind-the-scenes activity during the nation's scariest financial crisis in 2008.

"His inspiring story exhibits the exceptional multi-dimensional capabilities that have catapulted him to success," says the publisher. Massey was the first black physics professor at Brown University, the first black director of the National Science Foundation, head of the Argonne National Laboratory, and president of Morehouse College for 12 years. He has received more than 40 honorary degrees.

"In addition," says Beckham, "he talks about his personal difficulties like a psychologically devastating divorce, a mother debilitated by alcoholism, and his life being threatened during a racial disturbance in St. Louis."

Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, will write the foreword for "Nonstop from Hattiesburg: The Autobiography of Walter E. Massey."

Thelma Austin, president of My Family Voices, www.myfamilyvoices.com, will serve as administrative coordinator for agency operations. "Thelma has a terrific background in memoirs—and just as impressive—has an MBA from Columbia School of Business," says Beckham.

The publisher met Massey when both were faculty members at Brown University. Beckham was director of the graduate writing program while and Massey was dean of the college.

The company's memoirs include among others, Tony Napoli's "My Father, My Don: A Son's Journey from Organized Crime to Sobriety," Angel Marinaccio's "Be Home on Time When I Put the Water Up for Pasta," and Sidney Offit's "Memoir of the Bookie's Son."

Their unique joint venture publishing assists self-published writers by providing all editorial and production services. Authors make the final decisions and share in the profits. Beckham Publications also offers trade book distribution through Baker & Taylor Publisher Services in addition to print on demand.

Says Beckham, who has authored nonfiction and fiction, "I tell my clients that I'm the only publisher whose novels have been favorably reviewed by the 'New York Times,' been director of a graduate writing program, and serves on the board of the Authors Guild."

About Beckham Publications Group

Beckham Publications Group, Inc. (www.beckhamhouse.com) is a major Internet publisher specializing in cutting edge and multicultural titles. Founder and president Barry Beckham is a novelist whose works have been critically acclaimed by the New York Times Book Review and was director of the graduate writing program at Brown University where he taught for 17 years.

Self-Publishing Means Self-Marketing

By Phil Andrews

One of the fiercest debates which has raged in recent times amongst authors, aspiring authors and the communities amid which they move has concerned the relative merits and demerits of traditional and self-publishing. Where once only a lucky, or gifted, few (delete according to preference or prejudice) were able to take the giant leap from mere aspirant to best-selling author, now anybody who is able to follow a few fairly simple instructions can publish and sell their works to a potential market of millions.

The word "potential", of course, is crucial here, for the downside of launching one's own work through the relatively new medium of self-publishing is that the writer is entirely responsible for bringing their work to the notice of those who might purchase it. Whereas a traditional publisher, having parted with a sometimes hefty advance payment in exchange for the soul of the author, would be driven by its own self-interest in recovering its losses and then making a profit, there is no such other interest at work when the lone author publishes through a do-it-yourself platform. From day one, the self-publisher of necessity becomes a self-marketer. With over a million books already on the virtual shelf and counting, the task is no mean one.

Needless to say the first thing upon which the success or otherwise of a work will depend is its quality. A silk purse cannot be made from a proverbial sow's ear, and neither can a tome filled with typographical errors be reasonably touted as a literary showpiece. In the world of traditional publishing imperfect manuscripts are tweaked and toned by professionals until they become perfect manuscripts. Not so when they are submitted directly to a retailer by means of an unmanned formatting program. Get it wrong, and it stays wrong.

On the opposite side of the coin though the same standard does not hold. To employ an obvious truism an unseen work of art will remain unseen for as long as nobody sees it, and no correlation automatically exists between its quality as a piece of work and the exposure it receives. Once an item is published, no matter how good it is, the imperative shifts from production to distribution.

Thus in self-publishing the onus falls upon the writer, who is also the publisher, to become the marketer as well. Usually the author's family and friends will be the first to show their support by purchasing copies. Then social media needs to be exploited for all it is worth, before articles and links from niche forums, guest posts on relevant blogs and reviews achieved by fair means or not so fair eventually come into play. If all goes to plan, once these channels have been exhausted a secondary wave of interest will have been generated by word of mouth, and so the anticipated process eventually, if rather slowly, rolls into gear.

Is self-publishing worth it? For those who are unlikely to find a traditional publisher, certainly. For those who may do, possibly, as the time saved and the more generous royalties must undoubtedly also be taken into consideration. But it is no walk in the park, and for some the writing of the book is actually the easy part.

Phil Andrews is a freelance English-language content writer specializing in articles, web content and blogging. He is the author of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel set in 1976 about a group of young people growing up in a restless West London suburb beside the River Thames.


10 Years and 6,647 Articles Later - What Have I Learned?

By Steve Wickham 

BACK when I started blogging there was next to no Facebook - it was very uncommonly used in Australia at that time. I could really have done with it, however, as blogging felt lonely without it starting back then.

These, here below, are some of the things I've learned over my writing journey:

Blogging has taught me to be careful with what I say. Too many times I've written things unadvisedly, without knowing potential ramifications. What I write has occasionally caused me problems in my marriage (early on) and in my ministry. But I have learned the boundaries (sometimes the hard way), hoping that I steer clear of views that might upset those I depend upon; views that don't honor God. It's why my writing features many fewer illustrations from real life as opposed to sermons.

I have learned how quickly I can get an idea, how important it is to jot it down (even at 2AM), and then I'm often surprised how the article ends up going in different directions, as I write, than I thought it would - the influence of the Holy Spirit I'm sure. For me, receiving an idea is akin to revelation and I treat each such receipt as if it were gold. It's very often how my prayer life works; God communicating to me.

I've been able to write a 400-word article in less than 20-minutes. Many times I've written over 1,000 pretty clean words in an hour. It's like my brain thrives on the challenge, and once an idea comes it is fertile ground until I've exhausted it. I've discovered it is one of the things that lights me up. It's my healthy addiction to write each and every day.

I've discovered I've never had writer's block. I'm not sure I believe in it for me. There have been seasons where creativity has ebbed and flowed, but I never felt words, themes or messages evaded me or were drying up. In fact, quite the opposite. I've often not been able to keep up with the flow of ideas, and have had to learn to not get frustrated.

I've also learned that God's Spirit sifts me on certain topics I've written on and certain positions I've come to land in. This is the benefit of reflection, and blogging is active reflection. I write something, and I continue to muse over it for hours and sometimes days afterward - all because I committed myself to a standpoint, I said something, that anyone can see. It's exposing, and it makes me feel vulnerable. Sometimes I get some sort of revelation that I've crossed a line into heresy, and I want to quickly re-check what I've written. Most of the time I don't change what I've written, or perhaps I elaborate. I have to accept that over the three million words I've written, some of it could be better written.

Most of all I've learned that the time I've invested in curating my craft has been a personal blessing. The in-excess of ten-thousand hours I've spent writing, publishing and posting has nourished me and pushed me and encouraged me. I've had to live with that awkward reality that you get when you receive some kudos that's over the top and, yet you hardly ever hear of those who would like to give you a piece of their mind. They just stop reading, for they disagree. And still I've had a lot of negative feedback, but small in comparison to the positive. But at times it's been just one little piece of positive feedback that's kept me going amid the negative - that's the call; a little positive outweighing a plethora of negative.

Interestingly, many times I've actively sought to give writing and social media away, and each time God showed me the value in continuing. Not that I'm not open to him showing me I should discontinue someday soon. It's up to Him.

Writing is collaborative with God, a creative work and a contribution, all in one.

As an outlet, I'm thankful for it.

Steve Wickham holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling. Steve writes at:
http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com.au/ and