Category Archives: Blogging

Keep Going

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This might be one of the “biking as writing” or “writing as biking” posts. More likely, it’s gonna more proof that you’re never too old to do stupid shit.

The end of November didn’t suck, though the potential for major suckage stank up the place. The Bride was bouncing back from not one, but two bouts of strep throat, and the day job had me pinging off the walls. The Saturday before Turkey Day had me 28+K words shy of the needed 50K words to win Nanowrimo. There was lots of Real Life going on inside and outside the house, yet somehow…

Maybe I was having a letdown this morning from the stress, but The Bride got me a Trek Marlin 7 as an early Christmas present, so time to boo-yah some trails. (Hey, I’m a veteran. We can use military slang without understanding the correct context. We’re cute that way.)

Here’s where the “stupid poo-poo” thing sneaks in. It snowed yesterday. The dirt trails were snowy and wet, so they were (follow the logic here) muddy as hell. To multiply the “stupid ca-ca” thing, my spiffy new bike does not have wheel guards or fenders, so (more logic follows) I got muddy from the spin of the wheels. Hey, Mom, I’m a mudder now!

No, I did not have to get muddy and, yes, my pretty new bike is not pretty now, but darn it, I can’t remember the last time that five miles of hard work felt so good. This morning’s ride could be a metaphor for that last week of Nanowrimo: the long, hard slog in the mud. But the followers of this blog (both of you) are the smartest readers in the world and you already figured it out.

While I have your attention, I will mention ASIN continues to be read and bought, making it my most successful book. “Success” is relative, as Mr. King sells more books in a second than I have in my life, but I’m pleased as punch. For those of you who use Goodreads, my profile is updated and I’m posting short reviews of the books in my life. More about GR in the next post.

Time to gird the old loins now and try to hit the daily writing goal while watching truly awful Raiders/49ers football. Y’all be good to each other. Mostly, be kind. And if you’re having any small or large crisis in faith or confidence, gimme a shout-out because I believe in you. Take care.

 

Status Report

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News you can’t use…

Today begins the professional editing of “A Sheriff in Nevada.” Twitter followers know my stomach has butterflies the size of B-52s because I’m flashing back to high school term papers (“Was I even close to the target???”). The edit will take two weeks.

Around that time, Cassidy Carson and I will be jetting off to faraway lands because we’re both in “use it or lose it” situations. Such is our level of dedication to the fine citizens of the Silver State.

Our return home will herald the shaking of bones and such over the keyboard to position ASIN for publication. I hope creating a Kindle copy is easier than it used to be back in the day. (“Tell us another story, Grampa.”)

This all takes us into November and Nanowrimo with this year’s subject being the first of two sequels to ASIN. No, it will not be another Emma Parks book (Hi, Lisa!), but I will do one as soon as I get something that’s worth 70K+ words.

Last word: this Monday’s blog post will be on cochlear implants.

Okay, that’s all for now. Return to your lives, citizens.

Not Gonna Dance

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Hi, it’s me. How y’all doing? Been a while, huh?

I’m resurfacing because I’m about to publish a book, probably in October.

Before you roll your eyes at yet another lame sales pitch, hold your horses. I am not going to do the “indie author sales dance,” period.

I danced hard for my last two books, one published under this name and a risque trash novel under another name. I won’t list the dance steps as y’all have done them yourselves many times (here’s the list). I exhausted myself bopping and popping with the whole social media outreach thing, and with spending more than a few hours trying to engage hundreds of dance partners. I wore out my dance shoes because I believed in my books. I believed in them hard. After all, they’re my e-children. Can you relate?

All that energy and emotion amounted to nothing. No sales, no nothing. No second dances.

I can write 70,000 words, but after that…who knows? Along the way, some kind of night magic is lost. Maybe I’m doing a masculine tango while I should be doing a sensual waltz. The Hustle instead of the Sprinkler. The Watusi instead of the Twist.

So here’s my only two-step: this new book is my best book, but I’m not objective. I believe in my children, flesh and electronic, so sue me.

I will hire a professional orchestra to edit the book and to design the book cover, then I’ll stick the thing out on Amazon. There may be a couple of blog posts and a little Twitter, plus I may make my other books free as a preview.

But the dance card will otherwise be blank. There will be no indie author sales dancing for me, and I’m okay with that.

Y’all take care of yourselves, okay?

[Edit: if you are the owner of this and/or other images on this blog, let me know and I will remove. Thank you!]

Out of My Groove

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You ever fall out of love with a work-in-progress, even after 60+K words? That’s my current rut after applying dozens of hours on The Sheriff of Jefferson County. Getting to this point was the usual pantser rodeo, the whirlwind of character and location development on the fly, but the energy is gone now. I’ve no real emotional desire to complete the book, though Maggie and crew will be a series. I’m more fascinated with the sequels than the first book.

It’s not that I didn’t try to get back in the groove: plotted out the previous chapters, did some on-the-fly editing, added the four S’s (sights, sounds, smells, sex), and rewrote a couple of chapters so they flowed better with the rest of the book. Yeah, no love, no luck.

Though they’re no excuse, Real World events jumped onto the dog pile, not the least of which were some health scares, a flooded basement, and the fact that my country’s leadership is bat-shit crazy. I hesitate to mention the RW because writers must be stronger than the distractions around them. I’ve published several books by overcoming reality, and I will publish again.

The best thing to do is to sit my wide butt down in front of the white box and finish the damn book without thinking about the damn book. A vacant brain can be both a good and bad thing in that the book’s destination is below the horizon, therefore I can’t be intimidated by something that doesn’t exist. I might wander off the reservation a little (that being the main plot), but, hey, that’s why we edit.

Have you been challenged by your incomplete works? What did you do to kick start your ass to the finish? Any and all words of wisdom welcomed!

Thirty

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For this one hundred and first blog post, I’m happy to announce the Kindle publication of my latest book, Saturday’s Child, the sequel to Hope Knocks Twice. This next book continues the adventures of Emma Parks, a new hire in a metropolitan Child Protective Services office. Unlike the first boo, SC tells us more about Emma’s turbulent past as she deals with a kidnapping and her family, who are not her advocates for the most part. Perhaps the lone string of sanity in her life is the support and passion from Devon Walsh, homicide detective and ardent lover.

For new followers, this book began back in 2015 as a Christmas present to my bride of thirty-five years, Cassidy Carson. It sat on the shelf for months while she convinced me to clean it up for publication. Fifteen months after my fingers first touched the keyboard, it is available to you for less than a slender dollar at Amazon Kindle. It’s free if you’re a Prime subscriber.

It takes a village to publish a book, and there are so many people to thank, beginning with The Bride, of course. There are those who believe me as a writer, like The Awesome Aunt (the book is dedicated to her) and Laurel at the City of the Trembling Leaves. Empowerment is an amazing motivator. There are the kind and patient editors at Red Adept Editing, and Jarmilla’s beautiful book cover.

Someone already requested the third book in the series, but that will wait until I finish my current work in progress. And it will wait until after a long winter’s nap. I’m weary but also very happy. While it may not be great literature, it’s a book I’m proud of and am pleased to present to you. Thank you for your kind support.

–30–

Cover Me

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Ah, the Information Age. Folks say they wish they were born in different times, the past or future, but this is my time. The Information Superhighway made me the professional I am, for good and bad, and I think I’ve got a fair handle on most of the IT tools handed me. Every once in a while, though, something goes akilter and I’ve no clue how to fix it. Last night, it was this blog. Everything was here for you, my loyal followers, but you had to scroll down past a hundred error messages. After an hour of dramatic angst and chest beating, the blog is working now, I hope.

These troubles were worrisome because I feared they would interfere with the overdue debut of the book cover for Saturday’s Child. Lo and behold, the dark clouds parted and the cover is posted on the internet. Give it up to my fabulous partner of thirty-plus years, Cassidy Carson, as she guided me through the creation and selection of the final version.

Loyal readers know that SC is the sequel to Hope Knocks Twice, the adventures of newbie CPS worker Emma Parks. The second cover follows the same scheme as the first, and I’m very happy with Jarmilla’s cover, the result of a book cover contest through 99designs. I recommend her professional work and invite you to visit her site.

Publication follows the book cover reveal, so this weekend will be spent doing one last manuscript edit. The book will then be formatted for Kindle and posted to Amazon this Sunday or Monday. If you have not yet read the free book on my site, time is running out!

For now, please hop over to Facebook and drop some love (or hate) in comments. All feedback welcome!

Home Means Nevada

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Here in the Worldwide Headquarters, my thirty-five-year partner Cassidy Carson and I often joke about how hard we work on our “hobby,” that writing thing. I wager she works equally hard at her day job, and I know I certainly do. We’re always banging the keyboards, easily spending ten to fourteen hours a day working in one way or the other. This is by choice, as we are volunteers in our chosen professions and can quit at any time, though not without consequence.

Bellyaching is our birthright, and you can ignore our noise about writing. I find the act of literary creation to be a lot of fun, even though I get a tad grumpy around editing time. In the current WIP, I’m doubling the fun by dropping dozens of fun facts about my adopted state, Nevada. Though I was not born here (my parents had sex in Texas), I am a product of the Washoe County, Clark County, and Carson City School Districts, and received three of five degrees from the Nevada System of Higher Education. My favorite middle school class was Nevada History, with the textbook written by my grandfather’s colleague while they taught at the University of Nevada.

Plugging Nevada into my WIP is an opportunity to brag about the Silver State because we tend to hear about the dysfunction more often. Nevada receives a fair share of negative publicity as the Sin Center of the United States, deservedly so with the legal gambling and prostitution. The local economy is built around one industry vulnerable to recession and depression (gaming), while its most lucrative industry operates nearly in the dark and nearly tax-free (mining).

Having said that, I love Nevada. From the vast mountain ranges to Lake Tahoe, from the cantankerous veterans to the laughing kids, from the political games to the fact that hard work is always rewarded, there’s no place like the Battle Born State. The chance to express my feeling about this wonderful screwed-up state adds an extra layer of fun to the WIP, not to mention doing a Nevada-centric novel is a tribute to my teachers, in a way. They’ll probably be surprised someone was listening in class.

Blogging is a kind of procrastination for me, so back to work on the book. Let me know you’re contemplating a trip to the northern part of Nevada, or if you need some trivia or background information about Nevada gaming or something. Glad to help!

Chapter 16

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Saturday’s Child is winding down, and this particular chapter is poignant to me as it deals with the complex relationships between parents and children. If you sense any emotion within the words, it’s because they came from the heart. And we should always write what we know, right? In any case, I’ve been mulling a blog post on the gossamer strings that bind families. Maybe Monday.

On the writing front, I was fortunate enough to join my first Twitter-based authors chat tonight, and it was a positive experience. Writing can be a lonesome vocation, almost like a Texas lawman on a lone prairie. The days are long, the human interaction is minimal, and sometimes you wonder if anyone even notices what you’re doing out there. A little person-to-person interaction goes a long way. My gratitude to Tui Snider for the invitation.

I’ve blabbered on long enough. Head on over to my site and read the next one. Thanks!

Backwards Day

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On this “Backwards Day” in northern Nevada, we’re floating away on the rivers and streams full of rain and snow melt. Yes, we live in a desert, but “Nevada” literally means “snow covered.” Those with common sense are either safe and/or volunteering their energies stem the tides of liquid destiny. Others with less sense are fording the waterways simply because they can, forgetting that it’s possible to drown in two inches of bath water. There’s way more than two inches outside.

Here inside the World-Wide Headquarters, The Bride (Cassidy Carson) and I are dry by engaging in our separate literary efforts. She drafting romance and I editing/writing a draft, which is breaking a personal rule of mine: write straight through to the end. The problem is I’m stuck at twenty-seven chapters, so I’m going “backwards” to see if I can break through this wall. One way or another, this WIP will get finished this week.

As we’re on writing styles, I am a pantser, someone who writes from the gut without a road map to the finish. This style rewards spontaneous creativity, but the two problems is sometimes I get lost in the woods and I forget key points, like character names (as noted last week). The best solution for me is to combine the pantser and plotter philosophy with a Google spreadsheet that outlines these key points.

The column headers are basic and self-explanatory: “Chapter,” “Title,” “Who First,” “Who Last,” “Age,” “Call Sign,” “Role/Relation,” “What (Scene),” “Where,” “When,” and “Details.” I started yesterday and it’s saved me from embarrassing errors. Even better, I’m forced to look at character links and such, which I’d do anyway, but another flavor of editing certainly helps.

Maybe I’ve overcomplicated a simple task, and this idea won’t fit every writer’s style, but we’re all in a battle of wits with the English language. We should use every weapon at our disposal.

For those of you with a technological spin, here’s the Storify’d livetweet from Saturday. Hope it helps.

Chapter 15

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I tend to be a loaner. I don’t dabble in too much sin, and this combined with my personality set and hearing deficiency means a lot of alone time. Before you think I’m whining, there’s a world of difference between being alone and being lonely. Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes is often alone with his imagination, but he is not lonely, thanks to Hobbes.

This week, I was reminded again that it takes a village to publish a book. This book underwent a dozen revisions, two passes by professional editors, and another three revisions before I started posting it. I still missed a significant typo. A kind and sharp-eyed reader found a chapter where I mixed up Devon and Trevor, two of the main characters. After thumping my head against the desk, I fixed the boo-boo, then checked every instance of the name “Devon” (150+ times) and “Trevor” (80+) in the manuscript.

Did I catch every mistake? Probably not, but that’s not uncommon. My Awesome Aunt is a technical editor of positive repute, having helped authors publish their wares for decades. She took me to Borders and pulled three of her company’s books off the shelf to point out their missed mistakes. This is one of those old-school publishers, too. You’d recognize the name if you speak English.

My much-buried point is take advantage of volunteers and others who will give you candid feedback on your drafts. Their fresh eyes are far more likely to catch mistakes than your eyes made weary by reading the same book twenty times. Such friends are diamonds in a sandy beach.

Chapter 15 is up and ready to go. Yes, I checked it before posting, but remember I checked the other chapter, too. Caveat emptor! Thanks.