Alex Shaw is a talented author I know from Facebook, as well as through mutual friends. He’s written not just a novella for my JET Series Kindle Worlds, but an entire, full blown novel! That’s exciting, and I hope everyone joins me in supporting his effort – it sounds amazing, and right up fans of the series’ alley. My questions are framed below, in italics, and Alex’s responses in plain text. It’s an interesting interview, so sit back and enjoy!
I’d been contracted by Amazon to write for Steve Konkoly’s ‘Perseid Collapse Kindle World’ and when the same opportunity came up for the JET I couldn’t say no. After reading the JET series I honestly became a fan and knew I’d have fun writing for it, and I did! In fact I enjoyed writing in Jet’s world so much that I ended up writing a novel and not a novella!
Jet and David appear in my novel, COLD SHADOW. As her controller, David sends Jet into rebel controlled eastern Ukraine to assassinate a former Mossad interrogator turned traitor. At the same time Aidan Snow, the MI6 hero of my series (COLD BLOOD, COLD BLACK and COLD EAST) is on a mission to rescue a British hostage held in Donetsk. Unbeknownst to Mossad or MI6, both missions will overlap as the pair of intelligence operatives join forces against the Russian backed insurgents of the Donetsk Peoples Republic.
‘Cold Shadow’ is very much in keeping with the JET series. It’s an action and adventure thriller. Jet and Aidan Snow have clear objectives, getting to them involves outwitting and outfighting a force vastly superior in numbers and firepower. Expect firefights, fist fights and explosions.
I’ve set Cold Shadow in Ukraine. It’s the largest country in Europe but not many authors, except me, have ever written about it. It’s an area I care about, and I wanted to expose further through my writing Russia’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine; its theft of Crimea and its occupation of the Donbas region.
Aidan Snow, is a former member of the SAS turned MI6 operative. Like me he has ties to Ukraine, having been an ex-pat there. He has a strong sense of natural justice, and is more cerebral than most ‘action heroes’ – he’s a thinker as well as a doer. I’d say he shares some character traits with protagonists such as James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher. I hope however he is unique enough to satisfy readers of the Jet series. I’ve included several of my other regular characters such as Vitaly Blazhevich, who is an operator for the SBU (the Ukrainian successor to the KGB). I like the relationship between Snow and Blazhevich, professionally and privately they get on well. There is always an element of jovial banter in their conversations.
My three Aidan Snow novels – COLD BLOOD, COLD BLACK and COLD EAST deal with terrorism, of one form or another, happening in and around the former Soviet Union. Most recently this has included the rise of ISIS (some fighters are Chechen) and Russian aggression in Ukraine. COLD SHADOW continues with this theme showing the result of Russia’s actions in Ukraine on the Ukrainian people.
It took me twelve years on and off to write my first novel. I started it when I was living in Ukraine and reading spy thrillers but finding that Ukraine had been ignored. So I decided to write what I wanted to read, spy thrillers set in and around Ukraine. My books sold well on Kindle when it launched in the UK and US. I happily self-published my work for five years until I was signed in July 2014 by Endeavour Press. This opened up many opportunities for me including the ability to join ITW (The International Thriller Writers organisation) and the CWA (the Crime Writers Association). In 2014 and again in 2015, my novels were nominated in the ITW Awards ‘Best Original ebook category’. I now describe myself as a fulltime stay at home dad and author, I write term time and in between school runs.
I have two more novellas for The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds series to write, a sequel to my Delta Force Vampire novel, a Nordic Noir crime thriller and of course the fourth Aidan Snow. Hopefully I’ll get this all done within the next year.
Never give up. In fact, give up giving up. If you don’t write your story no one will. I read recently that eighty percent of the population wants to write a book, but that only one percent ever does. Be the one percent.
Wise words, Alex. For more of Mr. Shaw, go to Amazon’s author page and check out his offerings: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Shaw/e/B002EQ6R9G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
There have been a number of recent articles by self-avowed authorities that advise new authors, specifically new self-published authors, on the proper number of novels to write per year. The consensus is usually to write few rather than many, which is difficult to argue if one buys into the falsehood that higher production speed is inverse to quality.
Of course, the world is filled with different skill levels, talent levels, and work ethics, which these click-bait screeds generally ignore. Picasso could jot out a sketch in seconds that was a collector’s item, while someone else armed with the same napkin and pencil could spend a year and wind up with a doodle.
Here’s my take: All things being equal (competent grasp of craft, reasonably interesting story to tell), I tend to think more like a publisher than like an author when evaluating the market and my production speed. That means that I view publishing as a commercial endeavor that does things like pay for my vices and cars and homes, and I develop production schedules based upon what will be required in order to hit my income goals for the year.
I could easily view the process as an artist, where my muse makes that decision, or where what I write is dictated by my desire to craft a unique vision of breathtaking originality and artistry. I have no problem with that approach, as long as all those who advance the artistic argument remember that the vast majority of artists starve.
I shoot for a happy medium, where the craft level is above the norms for my genre, and where the story lines and writing hit more right notes than wrong. If my publishing company had several thousand candidate MSs to choose from each year I would probably write fewer novels, because I could pay others pennies on the dollars for theirs, and that sure as hell beats working 12 hours a day, but because I’m the exclusive content creator for Me, Inc., I have to keep my shareholder (me) happy with what I have to work with, which is my output, nothing more.
Back to the assumption that underpins most of these articles, namely that faster production speed equates to reduced quality. It can. Unless it doesn’t. I can cite countless prodigiously prolific authors who produced at insane levels for decades, and who are recognized as not just competent, but in many cases, brilliant. So the core assumption driving the dogma is easily disprovable (Dickens, Burroughs, Asimov, Erle Stanley Gardner, King, and on and on), at least for some. And yet it persists.
I think it continues to rear its ugly head because those writing the articles mistake their abilities for the abilities of all, and thus if they can’t write more than a single novel of marketable quality per year, then nobody can. They simply ignore those who clearly can. Data filtering to support one’s pre-assumptions being a hallmark of pseudo-science and quackery.
The truth is that some can’t write well at any speed. Others take forever to generate high-quality prose. Still others can, and do, write at a high level, rather quickly. Just as some can sing out of the gate, others can after years of practice, and still others will never be more than tone deaf or the bane of Karaoke bars worldwide.
Quality is also highly subjective. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. I’m no fan of FSOG, and yet it basically paid Random House’s bonuses for the year, and is the most purchased book of the 21st Century (yes, I made that up, but it’s probably right, so bite me). Point being there have always been literary snobs who declare whatever is popular as trash unworthy of being read, and there always will be. Often, anything other than what they are laboring over, or something that’s won a prize, and thus is clearly anointed as being superior by the big brains that hand out awards.
Back to thinking like a publisher, which is to say, as a person involved in the packaging and selling of books. As an author you are a content creator for your publisher, who is also you, but whose mission differs, in that it is focused on marketing and selling books for maximum revenue and profit, whereas your author self is focused on crafting compelling work (which may or may not ultimately sell).
In an ideal world, your author self would hold regular meetings with your publisher self, and you’d discuss what would likely be most marketable, what production schedule would be ideal, etc. Then your author self would agree with your publisher self, and you’d have a game plan to follow, the success or failure thereof being revenue generated.
That’s kind of how I do it. Doesn’t mean it’s the only way, but it’s the way I naturally use as someone who loves to write, but comes from a business background. Don’t get me wrong – if a trad deal offering seven figures for one tome came along, I’d jump at it, and lovingly polish each sentence in a 100K word door stopper for a year or three – because I’m being paid to do so. But absent that, I have to sell books in the current market, where after 90 days, and in many cases, 30 days, the first wave of readers have bought your work, and you better have another waiting, or they move on to the next pretty face. Harsh reality, but business is filled with difficult truths, especially retail, which is what the book business is.
I tend to argue for several things: 1) Quality, meaning adequate craft, editing, packaging. 2) Production speed to meet income objectives. 3) Genre choices that will maximize possible success.
That’s it. I can’t tell you how to craft The Goldfinch or Infinite Jest. I can tell you that if you aren’t earning income selling books over the couple to thirteen years it takes to write them, your broke ass better have another gig to pay the rent, or you better be independently wealthy, or suck a mean…amount of juice from life in some other manner.
Because if you aren’t selling books in order to earn a living, writing is a hobby, not a vocation, and your hobby can take as long as it takes. If you’re creating content as a vocation, you have to produce, consistently, to standards your employer (the market, in this case) is willing to pay for, just as if you wrote software or scores for films or scripts for NBC. Somewhere in all these “writing fast is writing badly” articles, writing novels becomes a holy grail where you shouldn’t worry your pretty head over things like deadlines or generating income. Imagine if that was your approach at Pixar or Dreamworks. You’d last about twenty minutes.
So there’s my take on this latest tempest in a teapot. Produce what you can, at the speed you’re comfortable with, and the market will determine whether you’re going to make a living at it, or have a hobby you’re passionate about that produces little or no income. Nothing wrong with either approach.
And yes, there is an occasional lottery winner who takes a decade (supporting him/herself in other ways, as all hobbyists must) to write the great American novel, and it hits, rewarding them with riches. If your dream is to win a lottery, that’s not a bad aspiration. Mine isn’t a lottery win. Mine is to operate a business that makes decent revenue doing what I love, and entertain folks in the process.
So far so good. Now go buy my crap. Books don’t sell themselves…
I’m not at my best when I have a cold. I’ll say so right up front.
And I have one. It inevitably happens when I travel a lot, which I’ve been doing – stuffed into an aluminum tube with several hundred feverish passengers, a third of whom are hacking and sneezing till hell won’t have it.
So that’s my excuse for not writing more blogs and being a big fat whiner today. In fact, for not writing much of anything lately. I’ve taken a week off, and plan to take next week off too before moving on to my next project – my second to last novel of the year.
With any luck I’ll also have all of December off, too. And then it all starts over again for 2016, only at a radically decreased rate. With something like 50 novels out by then, it’s not going to really change my fortunes if I have 54, or 58, by the end of that 2016. So I’m going with four to five releases next year.
Unless my super secret stealth project with a massive talent who shall go nameless gains traction and we get it done. But no pressure (yes, I’m squint eyeing you, and you know who you are). And no wagering.
In other news, Emerald Buddha releases Sept 29th. Black In The Box end of Oct. Rage of the Assassin end of Nov. So plenty to read between now and the year’s end.
New Year will mark four and a half years of self-publishing, and four of making a better than fair living at it. That still boggles my mind – that I get paid to lounge around in my underwear inventing stories (and I don’t mean doing my taxes). If there’s a better job for me, I don’t know what it is. I mean, I could think of a couple, but I’m pretty sure they don’t actually exist except in porn films.
So that’s all I’ve got. Whining about my frailty and hawking my crap. Same as ever. Least I’m consistent.
Another September, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of the autumn selling season. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway. These days one never knows. I’m still waiting for my ship to come in, and am gazing hopefully at the hazy horizon.
The Solomon Curse, co-authored with the legendary Clive Cussler, released on Sept. 1 and is racing up the charts. It’s been a blast working with Clive, and I’ve learned a lot doing so. Apparently this old dog is still capable of learning a few new tricks, even if they’re simple ones like roll over and play dead, which not coincidentally describes my typical weekend night, but don’t get me started.
On Sept. 29th, the sequel to my adventure saga, Ramsey’s Gold, releases: Emerald Buddha! I’ve very excited about this series, and it’s done well so far. My hope is that everyone in America will fall so in love with it that they’ll be compelled to buy the books as Xmas gifts – or for that matter, for any reason, as long as their Visa clears.
Beyond that, am still traveling like a madman. Finished up Rage of the Assassin and am in second draft. Noodling around with a few ideas for what to write next (which is shorthand for staring at my navel).
That’s about all I have, folks. Oh, except for this bitchin’ new cover for JET 4.
Rage of the Assassin, the final installment in the Assassin series, which began with King of Swords (if you don’t count Night of the Assassin, the prequel), is now available for preorder on a November 17th release date.
The Assassin series was my first, and it did rather well since first launching almost four years ago. Continues to sell briskly, for which I’m grateful.
Not much else to say about it except that it’s chock full of twists, turns, reversals, and the unexpected. I rather like how it’s turning out thus far (I’m in the middle of writing it), and anticipate it will be a reader favorite.
Here’s the cover. Probably wouldn’t hurt to preorder it. Just saying.
I made a decision yesterday, when I saw the number of page reads I’d netted in the first month of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited 2.0 rollout.
The decision was an easy one. I want to find, more than anything else, new readers. I’ve given away probably close to a couple of million books, I’ve sold a boatload, I’ve blogged, done more interviews than Ali, promoted, marketed, etc.
But I’ve never had a JET novel in KU. Why, you ask?
Simple. I sell a ton on other platforms, so can’t afford to have those books exclusive to any one vendor. It’s not a vote against Amazon, who I love like a sibling that controls my pursestrings. It’s a vote for diversity, which is, in all things, generally good. Were Apple to offer a similar program, my decision would be the same.
I have about 25% of my backlist in KU at present. This ups it, but for the better, because the current payout is reasonable, meaning that if readers plow through the books (and I’ve done my job as an author and written something compelling enough to make them want to), I make as much as a sale. Perhaps more. As with all things Amazon, it depends. But it’s close enough for me to shrug and put em in for 90 days.
So folks who are members of the KU program can now read them free.
Which hopefully will translate into more readers familiar with my work.
Which will then theoretically lead to more sales of the series, which aren’t in KU, and won’t be.
We’ll see how the grand experiment goes.
In other news, JET – Kindle Worlds has been ramping up, and sales are brisk (I’ve read a few of the offerings, and am generally impressed by the level of the authors writing in the world. I’m one lucky dude). I’m pretty jazzed about that, because one never knows with a new thing – you have to keep experimenting, understanding that 90% of what you try is likely to fail.
Entrepreneurs, and authors, depend on the 10% that succeed. It’s the exceptions that keep us going. In a business of exceptions.
Here are the links for the Ops Files books: JET – Ops Files, and JET – Ops Files II, Terror Alert. They’re what I used to call “cracking good reads” – books that move like a freight train, don’t take themselves too seriously, and are as fun as caramel covered popcorn. They do not attempt to be Tolstoy. If you haven’t read them, you’re in for a treat. If you have, well, September’s right around the corner, and I’ve got my second Clive Cussler novel releasing at the top of the month – The Solomon Curse – and Emerald Buddha, the much anticipated sequel to Ramsey’s Gold, releasing near the end of the month, followed closely by BLACK In The Box in Oct, and Rage of the Assassin in November. So a busy period for me, and hopefully a joyful and prosperous one for you.
I’ve finished up BLACK In The Box, and am hard at work on Rage of the Assassin – the final tome in that series. Work is going swimmingly, and I’m delighted with both story lines, as well as the pacing.
My publishing schedule this year is a little crazy – Emerald Buddha in Sept along with the paperback version of The Eye of Heaven with Cussler, and the brand new co-authored The Solomon Curse. BLACK In The Box in Oct. Rage of the Assassin in Nov. Maybe something in December, maybe not. A third in the Drake Ramsey series by Feb. All of which I’ll write in 2015.
Which brings me to 2016: I’m thinking about releasing The Water Trilogy under the R.E. Blake moniker at some point next year, assuming I write it all. If not, well, I won’t, obviously. I think 2016 will hold at least two Ramsey’s books, and a couple of others, but that’s it. As I close in on 50 novels published, I don’t think I’m suffering from a lack of my work being available, so see no reason to kill myself on more than a novel every quarter, which in trad pub circles would be considered near miraculous, and for me would be a vacation.
I’m pleased to see that the JET Kindle Worlds launched with a bang, and several of the offerings are top ranked in both the Kindle Worlds store, as well as their genres. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Beyond which, I’ll be traveling a lot over the coming few months as I check out new places to live. Getting bored with Baja after a dozen years, so off in search of greener pastures. Life is an adventure, right?
Thanks for the continued support, folks. Been a hell of a four year ride. Looking forward to the next four, assuming an irate husband, my bad attitude, or questionable liver doesn’t do me in first.
Well, the day is finally here. JET – Escape, is live.
In this, the final book of the JET series (unless I come up with another bright idea), the excrement hits the whirling blades as never before. We’re talking gale force action, betrayals, reversals, and general mayhem. And yes – escapes, hence the title.
NEWS: This is a good podcast interview with Hank Garner on my philosophy and approach to writing, including an in-detail description of my approach to outlining and structuring story.
Pre-order sales have been impressive, so it appears as though a lot of folks want to know what happens to Jet and company, especially after their close call in Colombia.
In related news, the new JET Kindle Worlds is progressing apace and is slated to go live on July 28th. I’ll be bringing you regular features on participating launch authors all through July, and I’m super excited at the roster of talented folks who have signed on to write in the world.
But for now, you can buy JET – Escape wherever fine ebooks are sold. Hint, hint.
Not much preamble is required to appreciate this list, especially given the official narrative about Russia having imperialist expansion plans that are only now unfolding in the Ukraine. 99% of all Americans that read this list will shrug, even though there are only 220 countries in the world – 55 of them which have been either overthrown by the U.S., or that the U.S. has attempted to overthrow, since WW2.
I’d suggest that anyone who thinks that the Ukraine is all about Russia trying to crush the free will of the people think long and hard about the excuses the U.S. has used to topple democratically elected governments all around the world, to install brutal dictatorships in many cases, or to leave in absolute misery and unending chaos.
And here’s a clip of the Undersecretary of State speaking on a cell phone with the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, conspiring to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Ukraine, which then happened. Also self-explanatory.
This is simple. Your government, and your media, are lying through their teeth to you, trying to restart the Cold War – a time during which I grew up, when everyone on the planet lived in constant fear of nuclear annihilation. This is not good. And it’s not right. It takes your active participation to continue. If everyone simply trumpeted these true facts/links via their blogs and emails, the public might wake up. Alternatively, you can do nothing, and your children can live in a world where nuclear annihilation is again a constant threat, and a rogue U.S. government abuses the people of the planet while assuring everyone it’s the good guys. I totally get that it’s way simpler to do nothing, or hope others do it for you. That’s by design – you’ve been inculcated with the belief that apathy is the only or the most intelligent response – because resistance is futile. Just as many in totalitarian regimes allowed their governments to perform atrocities in their name, figuring there was no point in resisting. Which isn’t true. Black people would still be riding on the back of the bus and women wouldn’t be voting if that were true. It’s another lie.
If you participate in that lie knowing these things about the Ukraine and unbridled imperialism, you’re complicit in your government’s actions.
It’s not a partisan issue. It’s not the democrats or the republicans. Read the list, and consider that all of this happened regardless of which party was in office.
I’m now stepping off the soapbox. Your call what you do about it from here. I don’t live there, but I do live on Earth, and a return to the Cold War brought about by the U.S. deliberately trying to cause conflict on Russia’s border can’t be misconstrued.
For those who wonder why, there are several reasons. First, the military/security complex that sucks a trillion or so a year from the taxpayer, wants it, because only if there’s constant fear will you continue paying it whatever it likes. Second, Russia and China and twenty-something other countries have formed something called the BRICS nations, which don’t use the dollar to settle trades. That endangers the U.S.’ stranglehold on the global economy, which directly benefits a handful of elite bankers and corporations at the direct expense of everyone else, including you. So Russia must be dragged into financial ruin if U.S. corporate and banking interests are to continue making more money for doing nothing but manipulating the world. Third, Russia blocked the U.S. from overthrowing Syria predicated on the falsehood that its government was using Sarin gas on its civilians. When that was exposed as a lie (remember the WMDs in Iraq? These people aren’t particularly inventive and stick with the tried and true), the U.S. got pissy, and decided to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Ukraine and start a civil war on Russia’s border.
Don’t believe me? The cell call above is the ranking U.S. officials in charge of the region discussing exactly how they’re going to do it.
Figure it out, and stop tolerating being lied to as though it was okay and reasonable. It’s not okay. You need to understand things if you’re going to live useful, enlightened lives.
This, and the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, are two of the most important issues of our time. For why the TPP, which comes up for fast track vote again tomorrow after having been defeated a week or so ago, and is danger of passing this time, listen to this short interview with one of the most senior members of Congress. Anyone who thinks this isn’t criminally bad didn’t listen to it. Again, you won’t hear much about it, also by design.
I know these posts are unpopular because they’re incorrectly viewed as political (they’re actually apolitical, as I pointed out above in my observation that it didn’t matter who ran the country – the strategy remained the same), because most don’t want to hear about what’s actually happening, preferring their view of the world to the truth. But please, step out of that mind frame for just a few minutes, and consider what’s happening on your watch.
Sorry to be a big buzz kill.
Now back to writing diverting fictional accounts for my dinner.
A white man, really barely more than a youth, walked into a prayer meeting in Charleston on June 17th and killed 9 innocent people: African-Americans whose sin was to gather to worship, but were perceived as a threat – an enemy to be eradicated – by a mentally unbalanced zealot.
It’s easy to condemn psycopaths. Easy to see the pointlessness in their reprehensible actions. Simple to demonize that which is plainly evil on its face.
What’s not so easy is to look inward.
In a society that increasingly strives for conformity of opinion, that celebrates superficial diversity but prizes unblinking consensus on the big issues, that preaches tolerance and yet is provably intolerant in myriad ways; in a society that is divisive – be it based on race, religion, sex, sexual preference, political party or leanings, financial strata; in a society whose narrative is increasingly us vs. them, whose answer to complex, nuanced questions is to bomb ’em into the stone-age, that turns movies that glorify killing and violence into box office hits; in a pressure cooker society where the divide between the haves and the have-nots has never been greater, there are some things one can predict: that, if the answer to the fear-based society’s external problems is to attack any real or imaginary threat, then that attitude will eventually turn inward.
In a world divided into friends and enemies, where fear is adequate justification for use of unconscionable force, fear will always find plenty of enemies to be afraid of.
Fear is a strange thing. It distorts, just as does hate, just as does rage. It polarizes, creates brinkmanship, makes the only solutions seem to be drastic, because it’s either us, or them.
In a society where the media harps on our differences, both as countrymen, as well as our differences with other civilizations, it seems sensible, at least to some faction, to use whatever means are necessary to defend oneself from “the threat.” Every generation needs to address this – recall McCarthyism, where “the threat” was “them” – the communists. Peoples’ lives were ruined out of a fear-based response to that perceived threat, and individual freedoms were cast aside in favor of mob rule based on fear/aggression. Fortunately, that didn’t last long. But for too many, it was long enough.
The U.S. is in crisis. There’s a crisis of leadership, there’s a crisis of vision, there’s a crisis of justice, of opportunity, of trust and trustworthiness. But perhaps most damaging is that there’s a crisis based on a philosophy of exclusion, and the lack of a culture that celebrates our differences as human beings as one of our greatest strengths, rather than as a source of fear and hatred. That crisis can be seen in the militarization of the police (and the resultant us vs. them attitude), in the way the media colors any controversy (there’s the official stance, and there’s “them” – the fringe nuts who don’t buy it), the way it pits culture against culture and paints any real or perceived enemies as sub-human or savage, again, because of race, religion, politics, whatever.
Growing up, I was taught that the U.S. was different than most other countries because it was considered a melting pot. That’s the official narrative, anyway. As with a mutt dog, which will invariably have a stronger immune system than a purebred, our strength was assimilation and the protection, the valuing, of different opinions. But was that ever really true? It’s not that long ago that those of African descent couldn’t drink at the same water fountain or use the same bathroom or sit in the front of the bus. It wasn’t that long ago that Japanese Americans who were born in the United States were imprisoned in camps because of their race. It wasn’t that long ago that women weren’t allowed to vote. It wasn’t that long ago that being gay was defined as a mental illness, or that our government used the police as a mechanism to support the wealthy in their quest to squelch rebellion in the work place.
Change came about because we, as a society, refused to tolerate inequity any longer.
Lest we forget, the oldest and most powerful technique of the Roman Empire when it subjugated a new land was “divide and conquer.” To keep the population squabbling among themselves rather than recognizing that their master was a tyrant and a despot. It worked then, and it works now.
As long as the U.S. is a nation that pays lip service to diversity rather than putting its heart and soul into battling inequity, it is on a disastrous course. A divided population is an easily manipulated one.
And one that, for some, fosters the perspective that it’s either us, or them. That in order to defend from “the threat,” drastic action must be taken.
Empathy with those whose differences are objectionable to us is all too rare. Fear-aggression, where one lashes out violently out of fear, all too common. If a society fosters fear, it will wind up with fear-aggression, which is extremely dangerous to anyone within reach.
It’s easy to condemn psycopaths and atrocities.
It’s far harder to condemn ourselves.
And harder still, to change.