Guest Post: My Advice to New and Pre-published Authors by Liese Sherwood-Fabre

My Advice to New and Pre-published Authors by Liese Sherwood-Fabre

But the most basic piece of advice I gained occurred in graduate school. I saw a flyer for an evening discussion on how to write a doctoral dissertation and thought maybe I ought to attend, given that one loomed in my future. The attendance wasn’t huge, and the presentations were rather informal, but I took home one lesson I continue to follow: you can’t edit a blank page. Getting something down is the first step to finishing. It doesn’t have to be perfect—just done. Editing is for making it great.

And that’s where all those books on writing become truly useful. They can guide you in identifying whether your plot builds tension toward a strong ending if readers are able to form an emotional attachment to the characters and whether your dialogue sounds authentic and moves the story forward. In addition to books, getting among other writers and learning from them moves your story toward greatness as well. Taking classes, attending conferences (in the pandemic many have gone on-line, making them even more accessible in some ways), and seeking out a writers’ group for guidance and support keeps you from working in a vacuum. 

I once heard that only 20% of those who start writing a book finish it. If that’s the case, the minute you put “The End” on your manuscript, you’re already ahead of 80% of those writing a book. Not to mention the satisfaction you’ll feel when you can say, “I did it.”

An Unconventional Holmes: Three Unnatural Cases by Liese Sherwood-Fabre Narration Performed by RJ BayleyGenre: Mystery Short Story Collection


The epidemic arrived from the Continent in 1889, and a year later, our world had shifted on its axis, plunging survivors into a nocturnal, feral existence. Had it not been for a peculiar turn of events one spring evening in 1891, that world might have consumed both Holmes and myself.

We were both involved in the change from the beginning, although we didn’t recognize it at first. As a medical doctor, I was called in to treat a number of extreme anemia cases, which all led to general organ failure and death. While I responded to medical emergencies, Holmes assisted in the investigation of a series of quite gruesome murders involving ripped throats, but a complete lack of blood in the victim or the surrounding scene. 

And no one was immune from infection or attack. 

I sent Mary to the country early on to avoid the illness’s rapid spread. Two weeks after seeing her off, I received a chatty letter from her, giving no hint of illness, and a telegram an hour later informing me of her death from rapid-onset anemia. At the time, I considered my inability to protect her my greatest failure. 

Of course, events soon overwhelmed the medical and law enforcement communities, and many fell victim to the infection themselves. When Inspector Lestrade called on us a few weeks after Mary’s demise and provided a full explanation of the disease, we were forced to make a decision—survival or death. A year later, I wondered if we had made the appropriate choice. 


The name dredged up images of an all-consuming and soul-less thirst, but the true transformation was to society itself. At the beginning of the epidemic, an ample supply of humans existed. Over time, however, the scales tipped and alternative sources developed as the human population faded from this earth. Animals were no longer kept for their meat—only for their blood. 

My friend foresaw the inevitable near-extinction of all mammals and had cleverly captured his own stock of rats to maintain his and my existence. But survival is not always living. 

The night in question began as it had since our transformation: my friend checking on our stock, ensuring proper food and water, and then selecting some for their contribution to our nightly ration of blood. That night, I stared into the cup’s thick, scarlet content and exhaled through tight lips. After feasting on a few of my patients and fellow physicians, I had to say rat blood was a poor substitute. One could compare it to a glass of water instead of an aged Madeira wine. Both quenched one’s thirst, but true pleasure was in the second. 

All the same, after raising it in a short salute and draining the glass, I forced down the urge to lick the thin layer of corpuscles still clinging to its slick inside. While the amount was enough to maintain, the lust for more never left. 

Holmes pulled my attention from the little pool at the bottom of my glass when he placed his own upon the mantel of the long-cold fireplace and sighed. 

“I’m not certain I’ll be much longer in this world.”

“I’ll admit this is hardly a feast,” I said, “but quite enough to sustain us.” 

“I’m not referring to our meal—or whatever one calls what we just consumed. I’m discussing remaining on this planet.” 

Missing boys, an imposter husband, a Vampyre murder. Sherlock Holmes ventures into the realm of the unnatural in these 3 cases- An Unconventional Holmes by @lsfabre

Missing boys, an imposter husband, and a bizarre Vampyre murder.Sherlock Holmes ventures into the realm of the unnatural in these three cases: the disappearance of the Baker Street Irregulars, the true identity of a Great War veteran, and a vampyre’s grisly death. Crossing into the worlds of the Grimm Brothers and Bram Stoker, he seeks the clues needed to unravel the mysteries confronting him. Can Holmes’ conventional methods still function in the unconventional world?” “[Dr. Sherwood-Fabre] knows her Holmes characterization and her stories do not disappoint.”
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Liese Sherwood-Fabre has won awards for her thrillers, romance, and literary short stories, and NYT bestselling author Steve Berry describes her writing as “gimmick-free, old-fashioned storytelling.”In the second grade, she knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years. She draws upon these experiences to endow her characters with deep conflicts and emotions.
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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