The Writing of "10 Mississippi"

Stories Sold: 17
Total Raised: $67.53
A couple of months ago, I sent out a message on Twitter and Google+, asking if anyone out there was interested in collaborating on a short story for Writers’ Week. It wasn’t going to pay anything, but the goal was to put something together (round-robin style) that would raise money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Four people—none of them from Wisconsin, by the way—volunteered within minutes. Each person was given two weeks with the short story to write what he or she could, and then pass the story off to the next person in line.

About the Authors of “10 Mississippi”

Johann Thorsson was born in Iceland but has lived in Israel, Croatia and London and once spent three months in Vermont tasting maple syrup. He has published short stories in various magazines and is working on his first book. He really likes reading in the bathtub. Find Johann at

Len Berry a lifelong resident of Missouri studied biology before turning his imagination toward writing. In his spare time, Len enjoys drawing, watching anime, and playing an occasional video game. He is the author of the dystopian e-book Vitamin F, and “Dreams of Freedom,” a short story featured in the anthology Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts. Since Len is an active blogger, you can find out more about him and his projects at

Rachel Lynn Brody’s produced theater work includes one-act plays POST (1999 Write To Be Heard Award Winner), PLAYING IT COOL, STUCK UP A TREE, MOUSEWINGS and GREEN BEER AND BAGELS. She has also written and produced a number of short films. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Buffalo News, The Spectrum, Rogues & Vagabonds, and The British Theatre Guide. Rachel has experience in blogging, freelance copywriting, fashion writing and more. Her plays and fiction, including recent anthology HOT MESS: speculative fiction about climate change, are available on Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. She holds an MFA Dramatic Writing and a BA in Media Studies (Video Production). Rachel is currently based in New York City.

Claire Ryan is a graphic/web designer, all-round computer expert, programmer, data analyst, and aspiring writer. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada, having escaped from the untamed wilderness that is the south of Ireland. Claire currently runs the Raynfall Agency, a publishing business that handles technical things for writers.

Buy “10 Mississippi Now”

“Ten Mississippi” $1.39

By Len Berry, Rachel Lynn Brody, Claire Ryan and Johann Thorsson

When Sebastian dares Tommy to knock on the door of a haunted house, Tommy is determined to impress the pretty new girl from school, Jo, and wait a full ten Mississippis on the front porch. While he waits, Tommy hears a strange voice coming from inside the house and decides it’s time to run. But Razor, the neighbor’s vicious dog, escapes chasing the trio inside the haunted house and forcing them to investigate.





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Why Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin?

Good question. In fact, on Tuesday an employee of the hospital sent me an email asking me just that question. She wrote:

Hi Emily,
I work at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and wondered how you came to be doing such a kind and generous act? What’s the connection to Children’s?

And I replied:

I ran Al’s Run last year, and signed up to run again this year (although I won’t be able to participate on Saturday). I had originally planned the short story in conjunction with my Writers’ Week program as a way to raise money for pledges for Al’s Run, and figured I’d just follow through with that even though I wouldn’t be running this year.

Here’s more about CHW taken from the hospital’s website:

Children’s Hospital and Health System is an independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The 12 entities that make up the health system work to improve the lives of children everywhere through care giving, advocacy, research and education.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, serving Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and beyond through nationally-recognized programs.

Buy it Now

Using the buttons above, you can add “10 Mississippi” to your cart and checkout with PayPal. If you need technical help loading the file on your ereader, contact me. I’ll do my best to get you squared away. To learn more about where the money goes, read Monday’s post, “Writers’ Week Short Story to Support Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.”

How To Choose a Domain Name – An Author’s Guide

by Mark Levine

For many authors, the domain name they choose to use for a website or blog is often done without much thought.  It shouldn’t be.  It’s really the basis of your marketing strategy.  You build a website around the domain and your social media around your website, and so on.

A great place to start doing a search for an available domain name is   If a name is taken, you can see who owns it (unless the name is privately registered), when it expires, and if it’s for sale.  If a domain name is not registered, there will be a link to, where you can buy the name. Many names with a “.com” extension are already gone.  Keep searching until you find one that isn’t.  A “.com” is still the gold standard of domains, and unless you have a lot of internet marketing experience, a .com is the best way to go.  It’s the easiest for your potential readers (and customers) to find and remember.

Domain Name Characteristics for Authors

If you’re new to the domain name world, keep it simple. You want something easy for people to remember and type into a search engine browser.  I always tell the authors I work with that they need to envision themselves doing a radio interview and announcing their domain name on the air.  The shorter, the better.  The less confusing the spelling, the better.  And whatever you do, don’t have dashes or numbers in your domain if you can help it.  If a radio host says, “Tell our listeners where they can find your book,” it is going to be a lot easier for the listeners to remember “” than it will be do remember “” (which on air will sound like — “my dash book dash title dot com”).

So, stick to .com’s and no numbers or dashes.  Got it?  Now, the next thing to decide is do you want a domain name that identifies you as an author (e.g. or  Maybe, you want a domain name that identifies your book (e.g.  How about a domain name that identifies the type of book you’ve written (e.g.

All three make sense, and I’d suggest buying up 5 to 10 domain names — a few that contain part or all of your title, a few that contain your name, and a few that identify the type of book. Domain names that have never been registered and/or that have reverted back to the registration pool are cheap.  About $8—$10 each (don’t ever pay more).  There are many domain registrars around.  The biggest (and easiest) to use is   The prices are low and almost any web person you work with should know his or her way around Godaddy.  If you end up using to register your domains, go to first.  It’s where provides discount codes for everyday use.

Where to Find Great Domain Names

After a few searches, you may discover that every name you like is gone.  But, many of those domain names and thousands like it are being sold by their owners or just dropped altogether (someone choosing not to pay the yearly registration fee).  There are sites that sell and auction domains.  Sometimes you can find the perfect domain that someone is trying to sell.  I use,, and to search for names that are being auctioned off or sold.  The prices are higher than just buying an unregistered name.  If the perfect domain is available for $100, it might be worth it.  But, if you aren’t experienced with buying and selling domain names, this is an area you should tread cautiously.   A few hundred dollars is one thing, but when the prices start going up from there, you really need to know if such an investment is worth it.

Buying All Available Extensions of a Domain Name

Today, there are literally hundreds of domain extensions. If you are buying a domain name just for your book title or your name, the .com alone is sufficient.  Consider the .net and .org, but it’s not crucial.  For businesses, there are more reasons why securing many extensions of your name may make sense (that’s another article).

What if a .Com Isn’t Available?

Find one that is.  Keep coming up with names or do whatever you have to do to get a .com. Don’t settle for a .net because it’s there.  If you and/or your book start to get a real following, you’ll wish you had a .com.  People will assume you have the dot come and will be searching for it that way. You don’t want someone else getting your traffic.

Making Sure Your Twitter and Facebook Handles are Available

When you choose a domain name, it’s a good idea to check Facebook and Twitter to see if the name is also available as a handle on those sites.  It’s not a huge deal if they aren’t, but it sure can make life a lot easier.  Obviously, if your domain name is longer than Twitter or Facebook allow, that won’t be possible.

The above is really just a primer on how to choose a domain name. There are many options and your spending can get out of control quickly. So, stick to the basics.

Mark Levine is the CEO of Hillcrest Media Group, Inc., a Minneapolis-based book publisher. Hillcrest owns more than 1,300 book publishing, book genre and related domains, including

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