Benjamin Sobieck
  • Male
  • Elk River, MN
  • United States

Benjamin Sobieck's Friends

  • Andrew Drummond
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  • Grant McKenzie
  • Jonathan Francesco
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  • Lynn Chandler-Willis
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  • Chris Jay Becker
  • K. A. Laity
  • Raymond Embrack
  • Rachel Amphlett
  • Cammy May Hunnicutt
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  • GDP Editor
  • J. Gunnar Grey

Benjamin Sobieck's Discussions

Too Many Shortcuts? Mental Health in Crime Fiction
28 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Martyn V. Halm Jul 14, 2013.

What a Novella Is and Isn't
8 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Jim Courter Jul 25, 2013.

CrimeSpace's IJ Parker Featured on Crime City Central Podcast
8 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by I. J. Parker Dec 20, 2012.



Dear Query Shark,

Hi, I'm Emma Slate. (this is where I'd stop reading) I was born in the New York Public Library, where the magic leaked out of the books and into me. At least, that’s what I suspect. One thing’s for sure—I never knew how fully words would become my gift and my curse.

If I hadn't stopped reading after the first sentence, I'd stop here.

"Hi I'm Felix Buttonweezer" is a huge red flag. It screams inexperienced writer. It's how we wrote letters in the fourth grade.  It's almost always followed by a description of a book I don't want to read.

And frankly, it's bad writing.

Don't start your letter with Hi I'm (your name)

And what's worse is that what follows makes it clear this is not actually the writer.
It's the character.

Do not EVER write your query in the voice of your character. It's not fresh and new and fun. It's gimmicky.

I wish someone had warned me.

It started the day I almost hitchhiked to Poland, when I learned my dad had married a woman I’d never met. In Brussels, of all places. Could there be a worse combo than Brussels sprouts and stepmoms? Poland was definitely an option.

You'll notice there's nothing about the New York Public Library here which is why even if I hadn't stopped reading by now I'd be confused here. That is not what you want.

Then my stepbrother Jack woke me one night in the Shadowlands, which changed everything. I befriended a troll, met the Runaway River, and toured a house filled with escaped book characters. Jack says I’m the last guardian of magic.

Notice that Dad and stepmom have fallen out of the picture?
At this point I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt**

Thing is: we only have seven days to save the Shadowlands before it’s overrun with the soul-feeding, despair-filling (probably smelly) Hadrelenus. You know what sounds even more impossible? I’ll have to work with Jack, come to grips with my mom’s death, and figure out where I belong.

Because I have an obtuse narrator breathing down my neck, I’ll tell you the boring part.

THE SHADOWLANDS is 85,000 words, and, even though said narrator thinks it’s middle grade fiction, I’m telling you, this stuff happened.

This is Ms. Blackwell’s first novel, though she has been featured on Blog Her from time to time. In her spare time, Ms. Blackwell corrals five book-hungry children and commandeers various vessels down the Snake River.

She took my tale to the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference, where some book-loving types like Heidi Taylor (Shadow Mountain) and David Farland showed interest in her work. She was personally mentored by David Farland. Diann Read provided professional editing, and a critique group provided snacks.

These are not writing credentials. These are nice things that happened to you and your work. I'm glad they happened, but I don't care. How your book came to be doesn't matter. The story matters, and I have no idea what the story is here.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Repent. Revise. Resend.

**This is one of Truvy's lines from Steel Magnolias

Benjamin Sobieck's Page

Latest Activity

Benjamin Sobieck posted a blog post

Donate to My Kidney Walk Team, Be a Character in My Next Maynard Soloman Story

Hear ye, hear ye: Here's how to appear as a character in the next e-book short story from the Maynard Soloman Funny Detective Storiesseries.As some folks know, I received a kidney transplant in 2010 from a living donor. The donor is happy and healthy, and, no, I won't shut up about it. Not because I crave some…See More
Aug 27, 2013
Stephen Seitz replied to Benjamin Sobieck's discussion New Rule: 100 Free = 1 Sold
"When "Secrets Can't Be Kept Forever" was offered as a free download on Kindle, I had 147 hits and have so far made one sale from it, as predicted. This is going to be harder than I thought."
Aug 23, 2013
Benjamin Sobieck replied to Dana King's discussion Who has experience with KDP?
"Then it doesn't sound like three months of exclusivity is worth it."
Aug 12, 2013
Benjamin Sobieck and Andrew Drummond are now friends
Aug 12, 2013

Profile Information

About Me:
By day, I'm an online editor for an international publisher of enthusiast titles. By night, I write.

I'm the author of crime thriller novel, "Cleansing Eden: The Celebrity Murders," the Maynard Soloman crime fiction short story humor series and many flash fiction works.

See all my titles on my Amazon author page.
I Am A:
Reader, Writer
Books And Authors I Like:
I will read anything by Elmore Leonard and Hunter S. Thompson. My favorites. Much of what I read comes from recommendations and authors I meet online.
Movies And TV Shows I Like:
Justified, true crime TV shows, cooking shows

Cleansing Eden - The Celebrity Murders

Cleansing Eden - The Celebrity Murders available for Kindle and in print exclusively through Amazon here.

Cleansing Eden is a highly suspenseful read. Benjamin Sobieck has an inventive way with words. He writes with a voice that's strong and uniquely his.” – Debbi Mack, New York Times bestselling author of the Sam McRae series

Cleansing Eden by Benjamin Sobieck is a gripping story about individuals who give up more and more of themselves over time, becoming the things they hate.” – Michelle Peden Vasquez, Life in Review

“Benjamin Sobieck has got mad skills when it comes to taking complex characters, fantastic crime, murder, drugs, and good vs. evil, rolling them up into one and spitting out a novel that will twist and grip you from beginning to end.” – Molly Edwards, Reviews by Molly

“Drugs. Murder. Charismatic demagogues. What else does a reader need? Ben Sobieck's first book, and a damn good one. He's going to write more. And they will be just as great to read.” – B.R. Stateham, crime author

It's time for brain-dead celebrities to get what they deserve.

After recruiting a drug-addled street rat to do his bidding, an eccentric inventor of designer drugs launches a campaign of violence and manipulation to cleanse the world of impure celebrities.

But as the street rat wakes up to what's really going on, he's not liking what he sees. He's torn between getting sober and the drug-fueled haze that keeps him killing celebrities.

As the body count rises, a decision needs to be made. Either way, someone's going to die.

* Includes bonus short story

Click here to buy the 5-star reviewed Cleansing Eden - The Celebrity Murders e-book from Amazon for the Kindle and in print.

Benjamin Sobieck's Videos

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Benjamin Sobieck's Blog

Big News: Writer's Digest to Publish My Weapons E-Book

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 11:26pm — 4 Comments

Someecards Writer Humor

Posted on November 22, 2012 at 6:21am

How a Fictional Detective Made a Real-World Impact

Posted on November 8, 2012 at 11:00pm

Comment Wall (37 comments)

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At 4:05pm on July 6, 2011, Noir Nation said…

Hi Benjamin,  the discussion on the forum about social commentary in crime fiction has gotten quite a lot of responses.  This has inspired us at Noir Nation to add a new section to the first issue of Noir Nation wherein writers opine on the following question: Must crime noir have a moral point?  The word limit is 300 to 500 words. Include short bio, and photo. There is a $25 honoraria, payable on publication. Best five get published in Issue No. 1. Send to


-- Eddie Vega, Noir Nation editor in chief
At 5:52am on June 28, 2011, Noir Nation said…
You just might find him or her in the first issue of Noir Nation, due out in September.
At 8:20am on June 13, 2011, I. J. Parker said…
Great!  Side-loaded?  Who knew?
At 1:07am on June 13, 2011, I. J. Parker said…
Thanks, Benjamin, for the link.  The book is doing amazingly well, publicity-wise. A lot of people willing to help.  You, too!  Thank you.
At 4:12am on May 21, 2011, Jennifer Chase said…

Hi Ben,  Would love to submit to your blog (great blog by the way :).  Let me know which ones.  I have some others I'm working on about fingerprints too.   -Jen (contact:


At 1:11pm on April 27, 2011, Laura L. Cooper said…
Thanks for the invite.  BTW loved the cover and title for WHO WHACKED THE BLOGGER?  Good luck with the story!
At 3:52am on February 25, 2011, Dorte said…
Thanks for your mail. Will take a look at your website + stories later - have got the flu right now :(
At 3:09pm on September 14, 2010, Copper Smith said…
Remember Goofus's and Gallant?
Read all about Goofus's drift to the dark side in 'Always the bad example.'
At 4:22pm on June 23, 2010, Melissa Emerald said…
Now I see the problem. I can't read. But I never let that stop me from writing. Besides, in journalism, we all just looked at the photos. :-)

You wrote, "I asked a retired newspaper reporter (no, they don't all fall off the wagon before 40) how long articles should be. He answered, "Until it's done.""

"Until it's done" or "As many as it takes" used to be the word count for news stories. These days, what with short reader attention spans and the high cost of newsprint, short is in. Editors at the paper I used to work for generally liked a story to be between 8 and 14 inches ... unless it's a juicy one.

As far as books go, take a look at the links that I posted in your thread. I think those will be good guidelines for all of us. At least that's what this unpublished writer is shooting for. :-)
At 4:01pm on June 23, 2010, Melissa Emerald said…
Ah...I thought I read a post where you said you were a retired newspaper reporter ... something I rarely hear of. Most of my colleagues can't afford to retire. Even more sad, most of my colleagues (including me) are victims of newsroom downsizing.

BTW ... I'm jealous of that $42.71 401k you've got going there. I think mine has $22.50. On the up side, being much older than you means I don't need to make mine last as long. :-)

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