Monthly Archives: June 2014

What’s Next

I’ll be publishing a short story on Amazon this weekend; this one will be free. I may someday have several to collect into a book for sale, but as of now, I’ll offer the story free.
My fifth novel, Talent, is written. I expect revising to take about a month, but with luck it will be published on Amazon sometime during July.
It’s assembled in beta form; if you’d like a pre-publication copy, let me know.
Talent is the final book in the Wizards Trilogy. The series deals with the development and spread of paranormal Talent (spelling intentional) and how this affects individuals and, to an extent, society.


James Webb

My own writing has slowed as I come to the end of Talent, my fifth novel. This gives me more time to read, and in the process I discovered James Webb. I read one of his novels, and then I found one of the best autobiographies that has come to my attention. Here’s an excerpt:

“During my campaign for office and at every possible opportunity after I was elected, I sought to highlight our country’s dangerous descent into a society where the elites at the very top have increasingly moved away from everyone else, until America threatens to become a modern-day version of a banana republic. I arrived with a full appreciation of our political process, gained over many years from a wide variety of professional perspectives. I have taken risks, sometimes making money and sometimes losing it, and between the two, to state the obvious, it feels a lot better to be making money. I did not come to the Senate to soak the rich or to punish the powerful. I want everybody to have the chance to become one or the other or maybe both. There is nothing wrong with being rich. Almost every American dreams of it, and it is a healthy dream for our country, as long as the riches and the influence are fairly earned. But in recent years, preceding and following my time in the Senate, I have worried about the atrophy of another part of what it means to be an American: that we have thrived on a guarantee of fairness as well as opportunity, that our leaders have a moral duty to protect the weak and the vulnerable and also the dream-seekers, and that we must never allow the very rich to become our masters. America was founded on a rebellion against royalty in whatever form it might reveal itself and on a guarantee that mere wealth should never be allowed to dictate the political direction of the country. Nothing would doom the American Dream more quickly than the establishment of a permanent, removed aristocracy , and quite frankly we are on the brink of allowing exactly that to happen. The never-ending debate of how a society must balance an individual’s personal freedom with his larger obligation to community and country has marked every civilization for thousands of years. But our unusual political system holds as its premise the belief that there should be no special access to the corridors of power other than through the force of argument and the rewards of individual talent.”

Webb, James (2014-05-20). I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir (Kindle Locations 5277-5286). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
I recommend this book unreservedly. It’s worth the few dollars you’ll pay for it.

Block, part two

Stepping back, making only a slight change, that was all it took. I finished Chapter 26, then Ch 27 and today I finished Ch 28.

I expected the book would run to about 75 000 words and lo! I’m up to about 75 000 already. One or two chapters and the epilogue will see it finished.

It’s currently running in draft format on a free site; email me if you want to know where, but don’t dawdle; it’ll be finished there in a month or less, and I’ll be pulling it prior to final editing. After that it’s on to publication!

Who knew? I started writing fiction about 13 months ago, never dreaming I’d be here, the author of four published books with another one waiting in the wings.

If you haven’t decided to try it yet, let me tell you a secret: listing your name in Amazon’s search panel and seeing it come up with connections to a book is a THRILL. Yeah, it still is. Maybe it always will be.

Remember what I said about writer’s block before? And what I wrote about writing daily until it becomes a habit?

That habit kept me writing. And when the plot went off the rails, backtracking to a previous chapter put me back on the straight and narrow. And what I’d written in the meantime would still work.

And now the block is gone, I’m writing a chapter (2300 to 2600 words each) every two days.

My advice may work for you; it has certainly worked for me!

Excuse me while I go pat myself on the back. Or maybe have a glass of wine to thank myself for the good advice! 😀

Changes, and block

I was almost facing writer’s block; not quite, because I was writing, but I didn’t like it. Something was wrong.

I was thinking about my current book, Talent, as I drifted off to sleep; and my subconscious kept nudging me. So I got out of bed and made notes. That ‘dislike’ was making me hesitate, that writing habit forced me to confront my problem, and now I’ve regained my enthusiasm.

I had made a mistake; just a few sentences in Chapter 23 limited what options I could exercise in Chapter 26. A short revision opened the door and now I know where the story is going and which path it will take.

Suggestion: don’t be afraid to go back and change something when you can’t see your way past a boulder in the road! That small change got rid of the sense I was floundering, that the story had lost direction; suddenly the direction was back and I was rolling again.

Maybe a similar approach will help you at some point?

Change the story until you’re happy; maybe YOUR subconscious is as useful as mine is!

Freebie, reconsidered

I’ve been looking at the sales dashboard. I can’t see that the giveaway produced any positive result at all. Something like 120 books were downloaded but there was no real boost and the sales have been lackluster, pretty much what they were before.

I had better results from the Countdown deal.

Maybe this takes time; people downloaded the book, they’ll get around to it in time. But if that happens, how would you know?

It was worth a try, I thought. Depending on your books, the genre you write in and how many you’ve got for sale, you might do better, but it’s been a bust for me.

Freebie: an experiment

Darwin’s World is available free today and tomorrow from Amazon. The link is <>

With luck, one of the emailers or Amazon’s own publicity will generate readers and maybe they’ll like the other books; that’s the plan, anyway.

It’s an experiment because if I’m an example, I’ll download a book and hang on until I have time to read it. If I really like it, I’ll often submit a review. But I’ve read reports from others that indicated that a freebie offer is how they kickstarted dormant titles. Hopefully this will work for the Darwin’s World series too.