Tag Archives: writing

If You’re Fortunate Enough to Get There, It Ain’t Gonna Happen Fast. So Get Ready For a Long Slow Ride

A thought entered my cranium this morning. If I could change anything over the years of writing, what would it be?

The many short stories I penned with the intention of submitting them to magazines? Having published works would give me more credence in the eyes of publishers and agents once I completed my first novel.

Learning how to write the perfect query, so my pitch would not be trashed before the first paragraph had been read?

Maybe the thousands of emails I sent to perspective agents, even though literary agents received thousands of queries each year, accepting less than 1% of what they choose to read?

The endless search for a small press, who would accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Perhaps the writing of a novel along with the endless rewrites and edits taking more time than the writing of the original manuscript?

Then there are several rounds of rewrites and edits once it reaches the publisher.

There’s artwork to consider, back matter, acknowledgements, dedications and finally a finished product.

And now the work begins and I can sum it up in one word: Marketing! This, in and of itself will require your constant attention as long as you continue to write.

Looking back, is there anything I would change? . . . Nah!


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The Saying Used to go “If you want to write, write.” Not If You Want to Write, Write, Re-write, Edit, Market, Market, Market

As I begin my blog, we are experiencing sustained winds of 30 mph gusting to 50 mph. Trees are falling and power outages occurring around a good part of the state. In case you’re wondering, I live in Virginia. Fortunately, my power is still on, and no, I didn’t knock on wood. I hold a firm belief that if rapping my knuckles against a slab of tree (albeit finished) makes one iota of difference in my life, then I need to rethink my entire existence.

I’m working on a new science fiction/fantasy hybrid that is becoming extremely frustrating. Not because of the manuscript, but my inability to spend time working on it. Here’s where the irony rears its ugly head.

The time I need to write the book is spent on another necessary aspect of the writing biz, namely marketing. It’s not my intention to sound like a broken record or beat a dead horse, but something must be done about this travesty. I have spent many sleepless nights and grueling days pondering this conundrum. After many years of searching, I now have the perfect solution.

All we need do is lengthen our days. It would be a simple task. Change our present calendar to reflect six months instead of twelve, forty-eight hour days and a ten-day workweek. Aside from a few minor tweaks, I believe this would solve all of our problems. Just think, finally enough time to finish manuscript after manuscript, without the marketing beast hoarding every minute . . . at least I think so. What if marketing expands to meet or even exceed the percentage of time it demanded before the change? If this occurs, we’re right back where we started, only with twice the marketing.

Best leave bad enough alone; I don’t want to experience worse.

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Deadly Reign Outline

Ben, Eve and Pete continue to push through this new Earth as the world sinks deeper into corruption. They gain new allies, including an intellectual animal equipped with the gift of speech. They are forced to battle six aberrations (beasts and riders) deemed nearly indestructible. The environment has manifested into a frigid terrain with the sun lost in the ice filled cloud cover. Swords forged especially for the riders by the riders offer another layer of defense to an already superior force. The humans have deduced that water may possibly be a weapon, but a weapon that even now is freezing at an accelerated rate.

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Occasionally Something Will Take a Long Time. I Don’t Mean a Long Time, I Mean a Looooong Time

Once I completed and published my first novel, Rising Tide, I decided the ending left a question  the reader could use their imagination to determine. This would leave an air of mystique surrounding the book’s conclusion and therefore, not be a good candidate for a sequel.

After being asked if there would be a follow-up to Rising Tide, I was hit with “A light bulb moment.” It took four months to complete the rough draft of book two titled, Eden’s Wake. Without a break, I  began the first re-write. It went fairly well, but I knew I needed some time away from the book. I obeyed my “time away” inclination and turned to work on other projects. Needless to say, this new path didn’t last long and I found myself working on Eden’s Wake’s third re-write. After completing this stage of what was becoming the abyss known as Eden’s Wake, I began to pen the third book in the series, Deadly Reign. The new manuscript went surprisingly well and I found myself pleased with the first draft.

From time to time I would delve into my dark side for a good dose of self-abuse and pull out Eden’s Wake for yet another re-write. During this time of back and forth I completed Deadly Reign, including re-writes. I was satisfied the third manuscript in the series was ready for submission; however, (and this is important) when you are writing a series, the books are normally numbered 1,2,3 and so on; therefore, you can see my conundrum.

After another re-write or two with my parasitic twin, Eden’s Wake, I began a stand-alone science fiction manuscript titled, Terminal Core. As I wrote this new offering, I continued to work on Eden’s Wake. I finally made a decision that surprised even me. Being too hardheaded to trash the troublesome manuscript and having invested years, I made major changes. My new mantra was, gut, re-write, gut, re-write. This worked and seven years after Eden’s Wake’s conception, it was published, April 27, 2015 and I was finally satisfied.

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Marketing is a Necessary Necessity That Will Unnecessarily Necessitate My Necessities

“This is probably the most mature, astute novel of the last half century that I’ve just finished. Me want ice cream.”

Ifin I had my druthers, I’d write all of the time. Alas, knowing this is a virtual impossibility, I’m bound to taking care of all the other stuff that pops up. Of course, I’m speaking within the parameters of writing and its many aspects.

I spend an enormous amount of time on marketing. When I published my first novel, I didn’t realize this milestone was the easy part. With a thousand or so new titles jumping out each day, how do you get your work before the eyes of the public without this valuable tool?

All right, so I know I have to market . . .  what does this mean? Sometimes I wonder if there are as many ways to market a book, as there are books? I know I’m being a bit facetious but there are many methods to employ into your marketing scheme.

My day goes something like this:  In the morning, I’m ready to play. What’s the first game?  Marketing for Money. I try to limit my time to several hours in order to promote my books each day. What’s the next game? Depending on the day, it could be “What’s my Blog” or to keep my website interesting there’s always, “Name that Newsletter.” Every once in a while I’ll slip in, “Support my Short Story.” Then comes the time of day I actually get to work on my latest manuscript. I call this, “Recess.” When done, I usually find I’m satisfied with the day’s work and fired up for tomorrow.


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February, February Where Would We Be Without February . . . I Guess We’d Be a Month Short, But I’m Not so Sure it Would Matter

Well, here we are in February. The same place we are every year at this time. As a writer, different months lend themselves to a multitude of subjects to record on paper. March, April and May bring new life, the budding of flowers and trees, the chirping of birds and the lifeline we all love. For without it, the flowers, vegetables and trees would not experience this rebirth. I am of course referring to the sneezing, eye watering, snot locker filling and extra throat drainage we endure due to this lifeline, POLLEN! We huddle inside waiting for the green dust to exit. June through August lend themselves to vacations, family outings and a plethora of fodder in the surrounding foliage, to create all sorts of creatures and little nasties to highlight fantasy and science fiction novels.

September and October bring us the beautiful fall colors; November-Thanksgiving, December-Christmas, January, a new year and February . . .  well, February is kinda just February. There is Valentine’s Day. You know that made up holiday where couples feel obligated to buy cards, go out to dinner, pay twice the amount for a dozen roses as you would any other day. Do we really need a day to say, “I love you?” I think we’d be better served using the template for Valentine’s Day without spending the money but expressing the love every day.

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A Day Off, a Day Off, My Kingdom for a Day Off . . . Or Not

Each week I try to take some time off from writing to give myself a break and clear my head. I know this is a good strategy, but like an addict I start jonesing when I’m not happily tap, tap, tapping away, sending sentences across my virtual paper.

You have to realize my position as an author. I have two manuscripts going at the same time. The first is volume IV in my RISING TIDE series. I felt like I needed a break from this sequence of books, so I began a standalone sci-fi/fantasy novel to fill this sabbatical.

Because of my selfishness, I have allowed characters left in my charge to undergo needless trauma. They’ve been left hanging for an extended period of time. There are men and women in dire straits not knowing if they have a future–whether or not they are going to live or die, and even worse, what has happened to the one who holds their fate on the tips of his fingers.

There are characters in the book I am writing now, some in the very throes of destruction when I go to bed each night–that live in terror wondering, when or even if, I will return to give their life meaning. It’s such a struggle knowing I am responsible for the lives of so many; however, books must be written. This in and of itself gives me great comfort. I now know I am not alone. There are scores of concerned authors battling this injustice . . . I think I’d better stop right there. This is getting way too melodramatic . . . Nuff said.

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