My Ever Expanding – Shrinking World



Written By Danica Cornell

November 27, 2013

Here’s a question for all aspiring and newly published authors to consider: How well-known do you want to become? This may seem like an elementary question, but I’m here to suggest it’s an important one—especially given the lengths many of us go to to register on the radars of today’s busy readers. I suspect many of my fellow writers would eagerly respond, “I’d like to be very well known, thank you very much,” while others might say, “Just enough to make a living.” Still, a clear minority might not care at all because they’re publishing a book for the benefit of family and close friends only—for them fame and fortune are meaningless.

Okay, fair enough. But what if we look at this from a different angle?

For those indie authors who dream of writing a decent-selling book on Amazon, how much of yourself and your world are you willing to divulge to the public? Think carefully, because I’m here to tell you, this is something you’re going to need to get clear on, especially if you’re intent on marketing your book/s online.

This so-called angle I’m referring to can be thought of as a self-promotional line in the sand—drawn by none other than you, the author. But here’s the thing—this line can get blurry in a hurry, and when it does, you might find yourself swallowed up by the quicksand-trap of those who, to put it delicately, are a little left of center. And I’m not talking politics here. Rather, what I’m referring to is that portion of the public who becomes overly invested in you and your work and then begins to act irrationally, unpredictably, and maybe even dangerously.

So who am I to bring up this subject anyway?

Well, for starters I’m probably like a lot of writers. My goal is to be able to at least make a reasonable living doing what I love. I also consider myself to be caring, kind, honest, and ethical. That’s all well and good, right? Sure it is, as long as these traits are balanced with a bit of skepticism and realism—as in being realistic about the fact that everyone’s objectives are not always what they appear to be.

Thankfully, the vast majority of folks I’ve encountered on the web have been well-intentioned and decent. I can say far and away that 99% of the people I’ve interacted with seem to embrace the Golden Rule, (at least to a degree), which I contend is especially important online where we often cannot read each other’s nonverbal ques.

Of course I’d be lying if I said I haven’t run into a few iffy characters in the vastness of cyberspace as well. One person stands out as being particularly concerning because after awhile it became apparent he was more than just a little unstable. He literally seemed to be losing his grip on reality. Looking back, I’d always considered this individual to be a bit eccentric—but an actual threat? Not a chance. At least not until he threw me a curve ball…when I had no idea I was up to bat.

This singular incident, along with a growing number of odd interactions within a six-week period, served as a wake-up call (mostly to me) that I had unwittingly made it onto the stepping-stone of author name recognition—a place I’ve termed the minor leagues. But here’s the embarrassing part. I was completely unprepared and overwhelmed by the mixed blessing my arrival represented in our digital age. To put it bluntly, I was rattled—to the core.

Welcome to the minor leagues

The minor leagues is a term I coined in an effort to label that intangible space straddled between anonymity and fame. It’s an often overlooked zone occupied by those who have a significant online presence in comparison to most, but who are also still far from being a household name. As I quickly learned, indie authors who are out there marketing their work can blindly stumble into the perils associated with the minor leagues—and it can happen in a relatively short period of time.

So, what should a marketing-minded author do if they find themselves increasingly bombarded with inappropriate questions and bizarre behavior from the public? First and foremost I’d recommend taking a deep breath, calming down, and understanding what this really means—your message is actually being heard. Second, it’s crucial to understand that with this good comes a little bad—and a lot of responsibility, as in online and personal security. Based on my own experiences, here are some things for authors to ask themselves before launching an online marketing campaign:

 Do I have a professional Facebook page that is completely separate from my personal one?
 Am I talking about my life a little too openly online?
 Am I following the best practices regarding cyber security?
 Am I continuing to interact with followers who make me feel uncomfortable?
 Am I paying attention to physical security?

Each person’s situation will vary, but based on my own foray into the minor leagues, I’ve learned it’s wise to pause and reflect on each of these areas before launching your wonderfully crafty marketing campaign. Let’s face it, we’ve all heard the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. From where I’m standing, never has this been truer than when it comes to an emerging author’s online and physical security.

Another thing to keep in mind is even if you’re doing everything right, you can still have someone who suddenly snaps for no apparent reason. If this should happen, try not to take it personally. Accept that this is what some people do. Your job is to write and market your books—and to follow your gut. If you’re paying any attention at all, you’ll feel when things aren’t right. I personally experienced this as a combination of fear/dread/isolation—something that quietly ate away at me, forcing me to take action by assessing all of my security measures with the appropriate experts.

A blessing in disguise

Now that a little time has passed since my brush with this overzealous-turned-terrifying fan, I can honestly say that I’m beginning to adjust to my ever expanding-shrinking world. I’ve come to understand that along with my growing global presence, comes a contracting inner circle and tighter security measures. But not everything has changed. I’m still grateful for all of my friends and supporters who continue to bless me with their daily doses of kindness. I carry each and every one of these angels with me all day, every day and treasure them more than they likely realize.

Perhaps the most unexpected outcome of all is that despite everything that’s happened, I’m finding my journey as an author to be even more rewarding and meaningful than before these incidents took place. I suspect this recent chapter might be the universe’s method of crafting a happy ending for one phase of my life, while simultaneously creating a new beginning for the next. Now more than ever, I’m looking forward to sharing my visions of what our existence could look like in the year 2045 and beyond with readers all around the globe. I’m also excited about growing and stretching myself as a writer, with an eye toward forging new depths and dimensions within the scifi/fantasy genre over the coming years. Of course I’ve learned that in order to achieve this lofty goal, I must pay attention to my own safety and security while simultaneously embracing my ever expanding-shrinking world.

Until next time…

Happy reading,


Danica Cornell is an emerging science fiction/fantasy writer who is busily penning the soon to be published DARK STAR Series. To learn more, please visit You may also follow Danica on Twitter where she’s been known to tweet about aliens, hybrid humans, and the future of technology and society, among other things.

Hello and Welcome!


Hi everyone!  I thought it appropriate to introduce myself on what I’m referring to as my latest online adventure.  I use the word adventure because for whatever reason, the WordPress platform has always intimidated me–even though I’ve built several websites and created numerous book trailers over the years.  Ah, but I digress…

My name is Danica Cornell, and for those of you who haven’t heard of me (which is most of you), I’m the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Science Fiction/Fantasy Series. If you Google me, you’ll probably find that I’m all over the place.  This is important for indie authors, or so I’ve been told.

But here’s the thing…

The straight-up truth is that I actually enjoy social networking.  Chatting with my Twitter and Facebook friends is dare I say fun–and I’m even getting the hang of Pinterest now, (I think).  I know…but the good news is that I eventually get around to everything.  Even better is the fact that I’m willing to get out there and give it a whirl, right?

The irony is that over the years I’ve read God knows how many articles about the amount of time today’s authors spend on the “dreaded” marketing aspect of this business.  In some cases, it’s up to 90%!  And while I’m not exactly sure where I fall, my guess would be on average I’m closer to 70% (more lately, but this is something that fluctuates). Earlier on it was probably around 50%.

Once I reflected on my own social networking, something occurred to me.  This means I get to spend most of my time engaged with readers and writers.  The remaining hours are dedicated to creating (and editing) my imaginary world, not to mention all the research that goes into such an undertaking. Put another way as an author in today’s high-tech society, I get to be a social butterfly and a thinker and dreamer.

Do I know how to pick careers or what?  🙂

Until next time…

Happy reading,


P.S. I would like to cordially invite you to visit my website at where I’m holding a Name That Robot Contest…go on check it out…it’s fun!  Contest ends December 15, 2013.   

For those of you on Twitter, please join me @DanicaCornell.  

Touched By An Angel: A Tribute to My Friend and Mentor, Author T. Emerson May

Danica 16

Written November 5, 2013

With the cold of winter just around the corner, I find myself reflecting on what could best be described as a pivotal moment in my life.  This personally all-important fork-in-the-road started on a summer afternoon just a couple of years ago.  I recall it was a day like any other, except for one thing—I just so happened to notice a solitary white butterfly playfully frolicking among the vegetation near my home.  While insects of this type are fairly common where I live, what I remember most is pausing because of how uncommonly beautiful this creature was.  It’s not an exaggeration to say this singular butterfly had an ethereal quality about it—the way its wings shimmered as it fluttered about.  Still, being the perpetually-distracted type, I didn’t give it much thought—at least not until it zigzagged in and out around my head.  For the fourth time.

Crazy as it sounds, I sensed the insect was trying to tell me something—but not in the delicate whisper you’d expect from someone with paper-thin wings.  This was more of a bull horn approach in the form of a biologically-based dive-bomb.  Viscerally, I felt the message was intended as a kind of wake-up call, but in relation to what exactly I wasn’t sure.  Perhaps a more appropriate question would’ve been why now?

The answer began to unfold later that same evening.  To her credit, my step mom tried to reach me prior to my logging onto Facebook, but even as the devastating news of my dad’s death trickled in through the 21st century’s grapevine, I found myself thinking back to that butterfly–my butterfly.  Jarring as it was, in that moment of reading about my father’s passing I somehow knew the butterfly was his way of reaching out to me with an important message.  The only question was what was he trying to convey?  

What followed is what does for most folks, I suppose—a whirlwind of travel plans, ceremonies, and heart-felt condolences.  Not surprisingly, caressing my father’s cold lifeless hand was yet one more reminder of just how few of us live the lives of our dreams, not to mention how distracted many of us become as the years race by.  Such had become an all too familiar theme in my own life.  To my frustration, as hard as I tried to extricate myself from the frenzied pace and problems typically seen in the early part of the 21st century, I just couldn’t quite escape the feeling of being a rat trapped inside an emotionally-numbing maze.

Over the weeks and months that followed, I was delighted to find my step mother and I had grown much closer.  To this day I consider ours to be a meaningful relationship—a precious gift left to both of us by my father.  In one of our numerous email exchanges she suggested I contact a high school buddy of my father’s.  “He’s a writer—you should have a lot in common,” she informed me.  Of course I was hesitant, mainly because I wasn’t sure I was done licking my wounds.  Having a father who had a love affair with the bottle tends to have that effect. 

It wasn’t long after our conversation that the universe once again tapped me on the shoulder.   This time I was working on my first novel when I saw the half-dreaded email message come in.  Holding my breath, I read how Ted had been my father’s friend back in high school and how my step mom had invited him to communicate with me.  My heart began to pound wildly.  Hitting the reply button might result in opening a Pandora’s Box—but to not do so would be nothing short of rude.  Still, I knew that by sending a return note, I would likely find myself confronting my father’s teen years.  For heaven’s sake, I was still grieving!  Did I really want to know what I didn’t already know?  

Suddenly I could hear the clinking of ice cubes and the glug-glug-glug of vodka playing like an old faithful rerun in the back of my mind.  I’d always assumed my father would die before his time in one of his violent alcohol-induced car wrecks.  To my happy surprise he’d survived those horrific years, going on to live an average-length lifespan without killing anyone else in the process.  It’s unsettling how those old ghosts haunt us decades later.  Even worse is how distracting they can be.

Nervously I replied back to Ted, politely thanking him for reaching out while trying to calculate where all of this was going.  To my surprise, after a few more messages I discovered just how incredibly warm, intelligent and funny this man was!  I couldn’t ignore the fact that here was yet another unexpected gift…  

Ted, known to most of the rest of the world as author T. Emerson May, told me stories about when he and my dad were in their late teens…about cars and girls and cigarettes and about how well-dressed and cordial my father was.  Before I knew it, I began to remember snippets of the man he was describing.  And that’s when it hit me.  I realized we all have those dark parts within us.  Each and every one of us is like a two-sided coin—one part light and goodness and the other dark and in need of work.  This life lesson was one I would later incorporate into my DARK STAR science fiction/fantasy series.  Already, Ted had influenced my writing…without even knowing it!

As our friendship grew, Ted and I talked more and more about the art of writing.  To his credit, he answered a number of basic questions while at the same time listening to a lot of whining from me about all of my frustrations and distractions.  “Just stick with it,” he’d say as he recalled his own early struggles.  We agreed on the enormous challenge of learning how to write dialogue that’s not only interesting, but that moves a story forward.  For me it was wonderful to hear directly from someone who had learned these lessons the hard way.  Since Ted had gone on to write 23 books, I suddenly had hope that I too might reach this lofty goal one day.

Today, I’m happy to report that through Ted’s gentle brand of encouragement along with my sheer determination, I’m beginning to feel like a real writer now.  It seems after years of slogging away at this, the light within me is beginning to find a voice of its own.  Additionally, I’m more at peace with the memory of my father—also in large part because of Ted.  

It occurs to me that my dad understood what a treasure Ted would become to me, especially at this time in my life.  Instead of giving me nightmares, the Pandora’s Box had unexpectedly given me the rare and precious gift of a true friend and mentor.  To this day I’m convinced that Ted is one of my Earth angels—a tender guiding force, helping me to become reacquainted with the best parts of myself—parts that had become buried beneath the noise and distractions of life.  

Looking back, I don’t believe what happened was coincidence.  In fact, from where I’m standing, I’m certain meeting Ted was the product of divine intervention.  It may sound funny, but it seems the magic potion for getting me back on track in my own life consisted of an angel, a butterfly, and maybe a little smattering of cosmic dust thrown in for good measure.  I believe it was fated that only through a precise combination of people and events, would I be able to get back to where I belonged—firmly planted in the year 2045 and beyond.  There isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not cognizant of Ted’s influence on my work.  

Of course all of this began with that one ethereal butterfly.  My butterfly—sent by my father as an urgent wake-up call to stop being distracted and start living the life of my dreams.  

Message received, Dad.  🙂

Until next time…

Happy reading,

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Science Fiction/Fantasy Series soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. Please visit to learn more.   


To learn more about T. Emerson May, and his diverse collection of books please visit his author’s page.

Fans of science fiction and those interested in remote viewing may especially enjoy reading the following works by T. Emerson May: