About Steve Hooley

Steve Hooley is the author of seven short stories published in four anthologies, a Vella serial fiction, and is currently working on the Mad River Magic series – a fantasy adventure series for advanced middle-grade to adults. More details available at: https://stevehooleywriter.com/mad-river-magic/

Your Own Literary Agency

Life-Seasoned Open Arms Literary Agency

My subscription to a writer’s magazine had expired, and I was flipping through the latest issue to decide if I wanted to renew. The annual agent review was in that issue. Even though I’ve decided to indie publish, I read through the agents to see how many of them might be willing to consider me.

Zero. Nada. Not a single agent listed criteria which would include me (or didn’t exclude me.) So, I decided to “create” my own agency. And today I invite you to do the same. Some of you have agents that are excellent, and I am not asking you to criticize or poke fun at your agent or agency. I’m simply giving you the opportunity to create your own brand-new agency, set the criteria, and have some fun. Here’s mine:


S.P. Holly Life-Seasoned Open Arms Literary Agency

Agent: S.P. Holly

Interested in: Stories by writers who have a life seasoned with a wide variety of experiences, and whose stories grab our eyeballs and steal our hearts, not letting go until the last page is turned.

Does not want: Not interested in your gender identity or sexual preference, age, or heredity and ethnicity. And please don’t list your pronouns.

Inclusivity: Everyone is welcome to submit.

Submission guidelines: Send us a great story.


Okay, your turn. If you wish to play creator, please establish your own agency, give it a name, and tell us what you do and don’t want.

Who knows, you might get submissions from some of us here at TKZ.

Reader Friday: Best Conditioning Programs for Characters

Labor Day is past. Schools are in session. And with that, high school and collegiate athletic programs are in full swing. Football players gather on their field for conditioning and to practice their plays. Cross country runners pound the sidewalks of our cities and villages. Soccer and Field Hockey athletes work at conditioning and improving their skills.

But, what about our characters in our books? We are warned about two-dimensional “cardboard” characters, and are instructed to fill them out with backstory and motivation. Do we also provide them with a conditioning program to make them buff and tough and ready to take on the nasty plot twists and turns we will throw at them?

What conditioning and skill program do you enroll your characters in, so they can take on Goliath and eke out a victory?


What is the best conditioning program you have seen a writer employ to prepare their character for battle with the protagonist?

Reader Friday: What made you decide to become a writer?

John Grisham, before going to college and law school, becoming an attorney, and beginning to write, had several occupations. As a teenager, he worked at a plant nursery, watering bushes. He was soon promoted to the fence crew. Later, he began working as a plumber’s assistant, then found work on a highway paving crew. When a gun fight broke out among the workers, he sought safety in a restroom, where he remained until the police had cleared the scene. He hitchhiked home, and began thinking seriously about college. His next job was in retail, as a sales clerk in a department store men’s underwear section.

What occupations did you have before you became a writer, and what made you decide to become a writer?

Reader Friday: Reader-Writer Connections

The question up for grabs today is directed at you as an author. Last week, Steve asked a question of us as readers: how do we connect with writers? What’s our go-to platforms to find new favorite authors with whom we can adventure?

This week, we’ll reverse poles and come at it from the opposite direction.

How do we as writers connect with new readers/followers?

Today, we will discuss questions that are dear to my heart as a relatively new author. I have published four books of my own, plus I was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and I have two more books in the hopper. But those numbers are small—not insignificant by any means—but still small compared to most of you.

One of the authorish tasks I have the most difficulty with is reaching out to new/more readers and followers. I have a website where I publish a monthly blog, and I send out a monthly “newsletter.” I try to not market my books too heavily, but to include content about life in general in 2023, and sometimes what I’m curious about. I also try to include shout-out references/links to other authors, editors, and cover designers.

I do attend events, but mostly local as I am not much of a traveler. I like to say, Sure, I’d like to see XYZ location, but can’t I just be beamed over there?

So, over to you, TKZers! Steve and I are hoping to hear your tips/tricks/ideas—different methods you use to bring new readers/followers into your fold.

Wow us with your ideas, what has worked for you, and maybe what has not worked for you.

How do you attract new readers/followers?

What are some methods you’ve used to market yourself, not necessarily your latest book?

Do you ever conduct a survey of your current readers/subscribers to your blog or website to find out what content they’d like to see? What kind of response do you get?

Is there something you’ve tried in the past that has completely bombed? Do tell.

If you had to choose only one approach to connect with new readers/followers, the one that consistently produces results, what would it be?

Happy Friday, and thanks for playing the Connections Game with us today!










Deb Gorman lives in the Pacific Northwest and writes stories of redemption and reconciliation. Her next book, No Tomorrowsis due to be released this fall. You can connect with her at her website: debggorman.com

Friday Reader-Writer Connections


August is “Reader-Writer Connections” month here at TKZ.

Recently I invited readers of my newsletter to send me ideas for topics of discussion in future blogs. Deb Gorman suggested examining how writers succeed at connecting with readers. We began discussing the topic, and decided to look at the topic from both the perspective of the writer and the reader. Eventually we divided each perspective into (a) making the initial connection, and (b) maintaining a connection. Thus, we have four topics, one for each Friday in August.

Deb will be co-hosting these discussions. She’ll be asking the questions of the writers. I’ll be asking the readers. So, put your writer/reader hats on and prepare to give us some good advice from your experience.

Today we’ll look at #1, the Reader’s Perspective for finding a writer they want to follow.

And the questions:

As a reader

  1. What about a writer captures your attention or interest enough to make you begin following that writer’s blog/newsletter or social media or other content?
  2. What social media platform or site do you use to find new writers to follow?
  3. What specifically attracts you enough to try a new writer?
  4. Anything that is a big turn-off?


Deb Gorman lives in the Pacific Northwest and writes stories of redemption and reconciliation. Her next book, No Tomorrows, is due to be released this fall. You can connect with her at her website: debggorman.com

Reader Friday – Secret Reading Places and Unique Reading Habits

Many surveys of reading habits have been done here at TKZ on Reader Fridays. I couldn’t find any on unusual reading habits, so I thought that might be a good topic for today.

Many people read on busses, subways, trains, and ferries. Children climb into tree houses or just a branch on a tree. People read on boats and in the park. But, in what unusual or unique places have you read or observed others reading? Or what unique locations have you given your characters to read in?

Do you practice, or have you observed, unusual activities while reading? Or have you given a character the unique ability to read while doing something other than sitting quietly. Please tell us.

While you search your memory’s database, here are a few I’ve seen or practiced:

Growing up, in my early years, Reader’s Digest and other magazines resided on the top of the toilet tank. I thought that was normal. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it may have had something to do with my mother growing up in a home without indoor plumbing and with an outhouse “out back.” If you were going to use the pages from “Monkey Wards” for toilet paper, you may as well read them first.

During those early years, I also checked out books from our small-town library, climbed up into the branches of a tree in front of our house, and read while people walked by on the sidewalk below. Somehow, it was more fun to go unnoticed.

In my college years I visited relatives in the Virginia mountains. Many of them had gardens, and more than a few guarded their gardens. Apparently, groundhogs could mow down a row of lettuce very quickly. Sunny days were spent on the back porch, in a rocking chair, overlooking the garden, and holding a gun while reading a book.

Early in my training, I spent many nights in the hospital. I found that the ward clerks who really took their reading seriously requested the graveyard shift where there was less paperwork and more time to read. And, the paperwork definitely had lower priority than the reading.

Now it’s your turn.

  • What bizarre unusual “unique” reading habits have you seen in others or given to your characters?
  • What “special” reading habits do you practice?
  • Do you have a secret place to hide from the world so you can read uninterrupted?

Reader Friday: TGIF and Humor

With so much angst, strife, and division in our world today, we need to be reminded that we still have much to be thankful for, and that laughter continues to be good medicine. Thank goodness it’s Friday!

My life is currently crowded, probably my manic side pushing to take charge, and by the end of the day I don’t feel like reading nonfiction and studying. I want to turn off my brain and be entertained. The book I’m reading now is Lawrence Block’s The Burglar on the Prowl. I love the Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery series, and particularly Block’s use of humor.

Since we’re discussing humor today, I looked for previous articles from the archives. JSB had a great article On Using Humor in Fiction (December 2020). There are many others posts worth reviewing. Search the archives under “humor” and you’ll be surprised. Another recent article – Do I Need to Use a Dragon? – Humor  is the beginning of a series of blogs on the topic. And in “Seven Reason to Use Humor in Your Fiction” (November 2016)  Writer’s Digest discusses using humor in serious fiction.

But, today, let’s approach humor from the reader’s perspective. Here are the questions:

  • What authors do you enjoy because of their use of humor?
  • How do they incorporate humor into their writing?
  • Is there a particular genre where you enjoy the use of humor the most?
  • What books or authors would you recommend to the rest of us because of the author’s use of humor?