The Power of Schedule

Hi Folks,

I’ve been at this almost-daily writing since mid-October of 2014. Or another way to look at it, I’ve ONLY been at this since mid-October of 2014. Either way, I’ve only recently realized the importance of Schedule.

I’ve read other blogs on this topic and they made perfect sense. Like The Importance of Routines by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

I didn’t skip over them. I read them, absorbed what was useful to me, and moved on.

But again, only recently has it all come together for me. I’m gonna tell you how.

Now first, let me disarm the detractors.

The first thing most younger (meaning less-experienced) writers toss out at me is my own odd schedule. When I mention practically anything about writing to them, they say some version of “Oh, but you start at 3 in the morning. I could never do that.”

My first response is a shrug and “Okay.” And the second is “So?”

The point is, we all have 24 hours in a day. It’s up to each of us to determine how we use that 24 hours. I use about 6 hours of it sleeping. Whether that 6 hours comes out of the middle of the night or the middle of the day, it’s still only 6 hours and it still leaves 18 hours during which I can do all the other things I want to do.

Awhile back I realized when I was a child there were only three channels on TV, yet there was ALWAYS something good on to watch. Pretty much every day in every time slot we had to decide which show to watch and which to pass up, and it was seldom an easy decision.

Today we have hundreds of channels, yet there are only a smattering of programs that are well-written or well-acted enough to even attract my attention. Only one show keeps me riveted day after day, and it’s a re-run of the old NYPD Blue series. Excellent acting, excellent writing, great camera work. It’s a free course on writing in the crime or detective or police procedural genre for the short story, novel and screen.

The beginning of my schedule is about an hour after I wake up and climb outta the rack. The first hour is coffee, emails, other people’s blog posts and so on.

So in my schedule, I have roughly 12 to 14 hours available to me to write, from 3 or 4 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. Now, my “job” is to carve three to four hours out of that time to actually commit words to the page. That’s 3,000 to 4,000 words or thereabouts.

And I find (here’s the power part) if I can get the first 2,000 words or so committed to the page before I go walking (so that’s two to three normal to short writing sessions), I’ll make my daily goal of 3,000 words for that day. If I don’t, there’s almost no chance.

I’m not sure why. I still have plenty of time. There’s just something about coming back from my walk and knowing I have only another 500 to 1000 words to go that invigorates me. And then, as often as not, I shoot right past the goal.

But again, it has nothing to do with the “odd” hours I keep. I still sleep only 6 hours per day and have available the other 18 hours. I just adjusted my sleep/wake time to suit what I consider to be important for me.

I go to bed a little earlier so I miss a lot of stuff on TV that, if I were awake, I’d stare at like a zombie. And then I wake earlier when the world is quieter and more conducive (for me) to writing.

I don’t recommend it for anyone else. We have different lives, you and I, and we prioritize differently. That’s all right.

But what I DO recommend is that—if you want to write (or write more)—you set a goal and then adjust your schedule around that goal to better enhance the chance that you will attain it.

Happy writing,


Note: This blog is funded only by your gracious contributions. For a one-time donation, click the Donate button at the top of the sidebar. To consider becoming a patron and reap extra rewards, click Become a Patron. If you can’t make a monetary donation, please consider sharing this post with your friends. Thanks! — A New Look

Hey folks,

Some of you might have noticed the website has a new look. If you haven’t, check it out at

I’m slowly transitioning the website. Well, expanding might be a better term.

The site will continue to be a valuable source for writers. I’ll continue the weekly posts each Tuesday on topics of interest to writers, and the Writers’ Resources listed in the left sidebar will remain. I’ll also continue to offer writer services like copyediting and occasionally add to the items available at no cost on the Free Stuff tab.

But I’m a professional writer, and this is also a writer’s website.

To that end, for the foreseeable future, the website will open on a new homepage, one that showcases the various bundles from BundleRabbit in which my works are included.

When you purchase a bundle, you pay approximately what you would normally pay for a single ebook. But you get several additional books by various writers at no additional cost. It’s a great bargain, both as an entertainment venue and to purchase fictions by authors whose work you want to study and emulate.

If you’re a writer, I strongly recommend you get your work listed at It’s a great way to expand your audience. Readers purchase a bundle to read my novel or the novel of a best-selling writer like Dean Wesley Smith or Kristine Kathryn Rusch or Kevin J. Anderson and they also get to read your work, all for one low price. It’s one of the best discoverability tools out there.

If you’re a reader, BundleRabbit is an invaluable way to find new authors and maybe even new genres you’ve never considered before. Again, all at a very low price.

BundleRabbit also gives you the option of donating part of your payment to charity, and you always have the option of purchasing the bundle through your favorite electronic retailer. It truly is a win-win situation.

As part of the expansion of this website, I’ll also occasionally post news about my own fiction and nonfiction writing. That will include news concerning upcoming and new releases, news about my writing personas and characters, and occasional special surprises that will be available only to readers of this blog.

To keep them separate of the professional writing advice posts (on Tuesday each week), these new posts will publish less frequently and always on a Friday. They will always contain news of potential interest to readers.

For example, did you know that in addition to the Magic Realism stories from my persona Gervasio Arrancado, I have also written a 10-volume Western saga? It’s the story of Wes Crowley, a Texas Ranger in 1870s in the Texas Panhandle. It ends some 50 years later in a small fishing village along the Pacific coast in the Mexican state of Guerrero.

Did you know I also write both “we went there” and “they came here” science fiction? And apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels? And novels that take place during the Spanish Civil War? And Mystery novels? And Noir-PI Detective novels? And Crime novels?

About the only genre I haven’t tackled to date is Contemporary Romance, but trust me, there’s plenty of romance in my other works. (grin)

And if you enjoy reading Mystery, I’m excited to announce I’ve recently stumbled across a series PI character named Stern Richards. In fact, my current novel is the third that features him. It’s all very exciting and a great deal of fun.

Whether you’re here as a writer hoping to polish your craft or a reader seeking entertainment, please stay tuned. And either way, thank you for your continued loyalty to this blog.


Harvey Stanbrough


On the Theft of Ebooks

Note: This post was originally scheduled for late 2014. It didn’t post to MailChimp, so I’m posting it again now. I’ve revised the original post so it’s up to date.Hi Folks,

This is a necessary post. There is a subculture out there who seems to believe anything electronic is up for grabs, that it belongs to everyone at once. It doesn’t.

My unintentional mentor, Dean Wesley Smith, recently (as I write this) posted a blog regarding the fact that ebooks differ from paper books in that courts have established customers do not “own” an ebook once they buy it.

That’s true, of course. When you buy an ebook, you are only licensing it. It’s no different than “buying” a movie. You don’t own the movie. You own the right to view it for awhile. Same with an ebook.

Note: that’s why ebooks generally cost a lot less than paper books. Duh.

Well, his post, incredibly, incited a lot of WRITERS to comment on various and sundry ways to STEAL the copyrighted work in ebooks! Seriously!

Why would ANY writer even condone stealing copyrighted material, much less advise people on how to do so? Are they freaking mental?

So all of that is what has brought me to this:

For the first time in a very long time, I’m glad I found Writing Into the Dark at such an advanced age.

Yes, I do writing into the dark.

Like Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Ray Bradbury and practically EVERY other major successful long-term fiction writer. It just means I don’t outline something to death and then rewrite everything and then run it past a critique group and then polish my own unique voice off of it just because some non-writer in my past told me that’s what I have to do.

Besides, frankly I Don’t Have Time for all that. I’m too busy writing the next story.

But I stand pretty much NO chance of becoming a “long-term” professional author because I got started (in a serious, my-writing-comes-first kind of way) far, far too late.

Will I sell enough to make a living? Probably, but maybe not. The point is, I’m old enough not to be concerned about it. But I digress.

Frankly, if someone cares enough to steal some of my work, well, I just have to hope that will be the exception rather than the rule. I’m not flattered and I don’t think it’s a minor thing. I feel pity for anyone who would deny an author the price of his or her book. That is the height of selfishness and greed.

If you buy my work and want to share it with your spouse or significant other, that’s fine. I personally have no problem with that. But if you steal it outright, or if you buy it once and then share it with several of your friends, you’re taking money out of my pocket.

If the book cost $5 and you shared it with twenty of your closest friends, you’ve just stolen $100 from my bank account.

Don’t shake your head. It’s EXACTLY the same thing.

Now, there is a thing called Digital Rights Management. A lot of new authors (who generally do not understand copyright) tend to use it.

Let me state unequivocally, I will never use DRM. It sends the wrong message to readers. Using DRM says I don’t trust them.

And the fact is, I’ve always been the sort who will trust you until you prove to me I can’t. Then I won’t have anything more to do with you, period.

I will continue to publish both ebooks and print as long as I am able, and I will continue to write my a*s off, as much as I can, every single day that I can, and I will continue to just enjoy the process.

For example, I wrote over 4,000 new words of fiction on Thanksgiving Day (2014). I hope I’ll have that good of production every day, yes, including Christmas. And I will just enjoy the process.

I am a professional writer and I am extremely fortunate, not because of what I’ve sold or hope to sell, but because writing, putting new words on the page in the form of short stories and novels, is what I do. It’s my day job.

Do I wish I’d been involved with my contemporaries, Dean Wesley Smith, Kris and the others from the very beginning? Oh HELL yes. If I had, today I would be a best-selling internationally known author with a hundred or so novels under my belt, as well as countless short stories.

But that isn’t the way it worked out. (shrug) And as for those who feel it’s all right to STEAL the content in ebooks and all the rest of it? There’s so little I can do about it that I find it healthier (for me) not to worry about it.

Listen up— No matter how they justify taking someone else’s copyrighted material without paying for it, thieves are thieves, period. They have no honor, and they are not worthy of my time.

Until next time, happy writing.


I am a professional fiction writer. If you’d like to get writing tips several times each week, pop over to my Daily Journal and sign up. In the alternative, you can also click the Pro Writer’s Journal tab on the main website at

The Journal, Thursday, 5/18

Hey Folks,

Huh. Not sure why MailChimp didn’t send last night’s post. Still, any hard-core followers went to the main site to check it out. The post was there.

I put it up at around 5:15. And it was tagged appropriately (Daily Journal category) so MailChimp should have sent it out at 7. Here’s hoping it’ll go out today. I’m posting this at 4:41.

There was no topic in yesterday’s post. The only matter of any real importance (probably) was my admonition to read the comments on Dean’s “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Eight.”

Some great comments. You can find that at

I have to hit the grocery this morning. Probably I’ll do that early. When I get back and get things put away, I should be able to write as much as I want.

Had an interesting thing happen yesterday with the novel. Right in the middle of it (well, short of that at around 8000 words), I wrote a chapter/scene that would also make an excellent beginning for a short story. Hmmm.

Topic: Bad Writing Habits Come in Degrees

In the email update from The Digital Reader, Nate points to “Bad Writing Habits and How to Break Them” (

I didn’t put this in Of Interest because, frankly, it’s sideways advice.

It isn’t really good advice, except on the largest possible scale: Yes, it’s better to avoid bad writing habits.

But when it comes to specifics, it’s misleading at best and can be downright harmful, as evidenced by how rapidly the comments on that post deteriorated into counting repeated words, etc.

The main “bad writing habit” the author (Anna Elliott) cites is “how many times my characters nodded in agreement to something.”

She goes on to say “probably 90 percent of those nods were entirely unnecessary [so] I cut them.”

Okay, so be on the lookout for bad habits. Good advice on the surface.

But I was annoyed by that “nodded in agreement” thing. If everytime a character nodded in her book she followed “nodded” with a prepositional phrase (in agreement, in acceptance, etc.) THAT might have been what was boring the audio guy to tears.

“He nodded” or “she nodded” or “character-name nodded” is a ton less intrusive than “he nodded in agreement.”

Folks, every time ANYONE nods, it’s “in agreement.”

I’ve seen writers write “he nodded yes” and “he shook his head no.” But the fact is, every time anyone nods, it means yes. Every time they shake their head, it means no.

I’ve also seen them write “he shrugged his shoulders” (what else is he gonna shrug?).

I’ve seen them write all sorts of other bodily motions and then double-down with an in-sentence explanation of why the character made that motion.

Silliness. “If you want to stop a bad writing habit, how about cutting out the unnecessary explanation?” he said, with a voice that sounded as if exasperation were dripping off his tongue because he was so annoyed with the question.

And in the course of the comments following the article, I foresee a whole group of writers “experimenting” with cutting out ALL instances of “nodded” and “shrugged.” And if those are gone, can “gestured” or “smiled” or “grinned” or “laughed” or “chuckled” be far behind?

The answer to all of this is simple, of course. If your character nods (shrugs, smiles, grins, giggles, gestures, etc.) in response to another character saying something, write “He (or John or she) nodded.” Then continue with his/her verbal response if there is one.

“He nodded” is a short, quick narrative that enables the reader to see an action from the character. And it isn’t “unnecessary” if, at that place in the scene, the character nodded.

Not to even mention it’s over in a blink. 99% of readers don’t even notice it.

“He nodded in agreement,” on the other hand, is plodding, ugly and repetitive. It needs major surgery, as in cutting away half of it.

But once you slash away the truly “unnecessary” part, your reader won’t be nodding off. (See what I did there?)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30.

Around 6 I headed for the store. When I got back, my wife met me outside. Seems my kitten had brought in a baby bird. It was a nestling, but with feathers and barely able to fly.

It was unharmed. I cuddled the little thing in my palm, took it to the back fence, gave it a good scolding and opened my hand. It just looked up at me.

I petted it with my index finger and said quietly, “Go on.” It flew to the ground about ten feet away. So a happy ending.

After all that I put away the stuff I bought, then visited Facebook while I ate a quick breakfast. Then I came here to write all this stuff.

Wow. Slow day so far. I sat down at the novel at around 10:30 but I just didn’t feel comfortable. Know what I mean? Uneasy for some reason.

I wrote a little, put the water on the yard and later moved it. Wrote some more, then did some other little stuff. Moved out to the Hovel with a cigar at around noon. I’m more comfortable out there. Kept pecking at the novel.

A little cycling but nothing major in that regard. Writing mostly brand new stuff, but at 1:30 (three hours after I started) only one new scene and a few touch-ups. A little over 1000 words.

Well, a good couple of hours, but I seem unable to break over a 3,000 word day. (grin) That’s okay. Novel’s coming along.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For those of you who, like me, either missed or chose not to attend the Branding online workshop, see Business Musings: How To Build A Brand: The Early Stages at I guess she’s going to do a series of these.

To catch up and read Kris’ first blog on branding, see

While we’re on the topic, check out Raoul Davis’ “7 Keys to Building a Successful Brand” at

And at Dean’s place, see “Too Much Other Stuff” at

Fiction Words: 2612
Nonfiction Words: 1020 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3632

Writing of A Fresh Kill (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 2751 words. Total words to date…… 2751
Day 2…… 2986 words. Total words to date…… 5737
Day 3…… 2961 words. Total words to date…… 8698
Day 4…… 2612 words. Total words to date…… 11310

Total fiction words for the month……… 26724
Total fiction words for the year………… 274318
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 84270

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 358588

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 540 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Sunday, 1/29

Hey Folks,

Well, Sunday. Sunday mornin’ comin’ down. And I got a late start, thanks to waking up with mind twisted up and wrapped around a ball of crap.

The “Today and Writing” segment is still below, but I won’t belabor you with an hourly accounting today. Or probably any day in the future unless something important happens that I think might be of interest.

Just know that I’m now firmly trained to write while I’m in the chair and to take a break roughly every hour. And I recommend both.

Topic: In My World (somewhat political)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch posted something political on Facebook yesterday. That plus some supplicant’s comment on her post hit me so hard that it actually visited me in a dream last night.

If I were a lesser person, I suppose I would say I was assaulted during my somnolent phase with a micro-aggression. Or was it macro? Anyway, it bothered me so much that I woke up with this crap on my mind.

Of course, I take full responsibility. I had checked Get Notifications on Kris’ FB page, mostly so I could see when new stories or new Business Musings blogs popped up, partly for myself and partly so I could pass them on to others, including you.

I truly admire Kris’ writing ability, I’m happy for her that she’s made a b’jillion dollars doing what she loves, and I only wish I had even a little of her business sense.

But my admiration for her talents no longer outweighs what I personally see as her one-sided, myopic view of the world. So I can’t follow her anymore. It’s too much like risking walking into an ambush. And I won’t promote her or her work anymore.

You all know her website or can find it easily enough, and you can befriend her on Facebook or whatever if you haven’t already. I even recommend it if you can stand it or if you sympathize with her point of view. But I can’t and I don’t.

Many years ago, I wrote in some longer writing that “The one thing I cannot tolerate is intolerance.” Honestly, at the time, it was probably a tongue-in-cheek play on words. But the fact is, it’s true.

In my world, everything goes to intent. If your intention is to twist and mislead, stay away from me. Please. Likewise if you’re ignorant of facts, intentionally or otherwise.

Politically, I’m a conservative. In my world, that means I am the most tolerant of people. That’s born of my habit of checking character by comparing words to actions.

I DON’T CARE what color you are or your nationality or your religion. I don’t care about your gender, your lifestyle or your sexual preference.

Nor do I care either way about your political leanings, geo- or otherwise. I don’t care how you feel about global warming. I don’t care whether you agree with me or disagree with me on anything. And I mean AN-NEE-THING. But have enough respect to disagree with what I actually say, not what maybe your perception hears.

Furthermore, you have the right to “self-identify” in any way you wish. You can self-identify as a male with a vagina, a female with a penis, or a Coke bottle cap with a serrated edge for all I care.

Seriously, I flat don’t care about any of that. If I were running a business and you were my employee, I would care only that you show up on time and do your job. Period.

Personally, I would much prefer that all human adults also take responsibility for themselves and their own actions. But really, I don’t even care about that. ‘Cause in my world, that’s where I’m going to place responsibility, firmly.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 and promptly wasted three-plus hours dealing with political crap, writing and rewriting stuff (intent, remember?) that ended up being the topic above. Ironically, most of the crap was intolerance, primarily from people who preach tolerance. Sigh.

7:10, finally to the novel.

Well, several small breaks and then a long one around lunch time and a trip to dinner and the grocery with my wife. Now my belly’s full so I don’t wanna play anymore for awhile. (grin)

Calling it early at 3 with a little less than my desired word count.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

I recommend checking the few comments on Questions and Lecture Announcements at

And then, of course, Some Fun Stuff at

Fiction Words: 3383
Nonfiction Words: 730 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4113

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title… I think this is going to end up being called The 13 Month Turn, but no relation to The Three Year Turn)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605

Total fiction words for the month……… 86113
Total fiction words for the year………… 86113
Total nonfiction words for the month… 18930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 18930

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 105043

Stigma Dis, Stigma Dat… Whatever

Note: This post was originally scheduled for October 2014. It didn’t post to MailChimp, so I’m posting it again now. I’ve revised the original post so it’s up to date.

Hey Folks,

Received yet another note today from a friend about the “stigma” of self-publishing. What a bunch of crap. There, I said it.

Not only is it a bunch of crap that there’s a “stigma” in the first place, but it’s an even bigger, smellier bunch of crap that anyone who calls himself or herself a writer cares either way. Writers write.

Self-publishing (indie publishing, not going through a subsidy publisher) is just another way to get your work to readers, period. That’s all it is. And if you tell a good story, someone out there will want to read it, period.

Look, if you’re a fiction writer, either professional or aspirant—you know, a person who actually puts new words on the page—and you’re serious about your writing, do yourself a HUGE favor and swing by the website of my unintentional mentor, Dean Wesley Smith. You’ll find it at

While you’re there, please be sure to click the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing tab and read some of the ridiculous myths we’ve all bought into over all these years.

Now just so you know, Dean is no slouch. The guy has had over 100 novels published with “traditional” publishers since the late 1980s. He goes almost strictly indie now.

One other thing—if you truly are serious about your writing, check out the Lecture Series tab on Dean’s website as well. His video series on Heinlein’s Rules is absolutely essential. It’s $75 and easily, EASILY worth several times more that. Think of it as an investment in your future. Seriously.

Dean’s wife is Kristine Kathryn Rusch. You can find her website at

Kris is the only person in history to win a Hugo award both as an editor and a writer. She’s had hundreds of novels published through traditional publishing, and now does tons of stuff in indie publishing. You want to see a work that literally defines the definition of accomplishment? Check out her Retrieval Artist Series.

Those of you who still feel there’s a “stigma” attached to self-published books, listen up:

Self-publishing doesn’t make a book bad anymore than traditional publishing makes one good. It’s the writing, nothing else.

And because I’m in a good mood, I’ll tell you something else: YOU are literally the worst judge of your own writing. When you’re editing and polishing and rewriting because you think it’s boring or bad or needs to be “punched up,” that’s because it’s in YOUR voice.

You are with your voice 24/7, so OF COURSE it sounds boring or bland or bad to you. But to other readers, it will sound unique— Well, if you don’t polish all the good off of it before you finally submit it or put it up for sale.

A little factoid for you—did you know before WWII there were NO traditional publishers?

That’s right. Only self-publishers and the pulps. There were no trade paperbacks until the late 1940s, but people (even writers, who are getting severely, I mean SEVERELY screwed by the big publishers) seem to think traditional publishing predates the printing press and is the most wonderful thing since that same old clichéd sliced bread. Ugh.

Oh, Dean is also the first person in history to create a monthly magazine (Smith’s Monthly) that contains a complete novel and several short stories and all of the work is his own. Quite an accomplishment.

Stop by and take a look. Maybe it’ll clear away some of that “stigma” for you. Seriously.

‘Til next time,


I am a professional fiction writer as well as a copyeditor. For details, or just to learn what comprises a good copy edit, please visit Copyediting. It costs less than you think.

If you’d like to get writing tips several times each week, pop over to my Daily Journal and sign up. In the alternative, you can also click the Pro Writer’s Journal tab on the main website at


The Journal, Monday, 1/2

Hey Folks,

Ugh. Not doing too well on the retraining thing. But I have excuses. (grin)

Excuse 1. Rolled out late at 3:45 because I stayed up and watched the Green Bay/Detroit football game.

I planned on a quick, abbreviated wake-up period of no more than a half-hour, but…

Excuse 2. I allowed an email from a writers’ group to sidetrack me.

The email mentioned that a pulp writer, Van Allen Plexico (, would be speaking at an upcoming meeting. The title of his talk will be “Pulp Fiction Isn’t Just a Tarantino Movie.” Great title.

So I did a Google search and found the guy. When he says “pulp” apparently he means a genre, not production or way of writing. He’s written 17 novels thus far, and he’s been writing for several years.
(In an interview, he mentioned turning out a new book in one series once a year.) I thought I had stumbled across a gold mine. Turns out (for me), not so much.

BUT I also listened to a YouTube interview ( and mined a nugget or two.

I also picked up one of his books from Amazon (free, a short story, I think). If I like it, I plan to buy one of his novels. Maybe.

Okay, so what I’m saying is I totally blew it on the early writing retraining I was supposed to start this morning. Which means I’ll have to piece together writing time through the day today. While other people are awake.

But it’s all right. Missing goals and learning new ways to adjust is all right. Quitting, not striving toward those goals or adjustments, is not an option. Well, it’s an option, but not a good one. (grin)

Also, from Dean, I learned of Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey, a major pulp writer back in the day. By “major” I mean he “wrote 25,000 to 30,000 word books, ONE PER WEEK for two decades.” I want desperately to be able to tell stories like that. Will I find and read (study) some of his books? Yes. Oh yes.

Okay. Today is a complete no-writing day. Just too many other things going on, so no reason to try to force it. Or who knows. Maybe I just need to whine for awhile. Or maybe (shudder) I’ve used up my allotment of fiction words. (grin)

Anyway, instead of writing I did some other things, including updating my website.

Also, from now on when I write a post that contains a topic, I’m going to tag that post with a keyword that points to the topic. That should make it easier to find things.

Now I’m gonna post this, then blow off the rest of the day.

Of Interest

One of Dean’s goals for the year is to learn one new thing about writing/publishing every day. His first installment is at 1/1/17 Daily… Some Learning… ( It includes hints about the very prolific pulp writer Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey (Nick Carter).

At Kris Rusch’s site, Free Fiction Monday (

Interesting comments on Dean’s “Got Your Goals?” (

For anyone interested in more about Pulp Magazines, I recommend

Marking the passing of Richard Adams, author of Watership Down:

Today, and Writing

Nada. I read the sentence I wrote yesterday to continue the Jonah story and I just didn’t feel it. So that one’s going out the door.

See you tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 580 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 580

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 1628
Total fiction words for the year………… 1628
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1620
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1620

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 3248

The Journal, Monday, 12/19

Hey Folks,

Rolled out right at 3:30, wide awake, then honestly did nothing for almost the first two hours. Babies to take care of and all that, so I got nothing accomplished.

I took care of some small things around the house, then turned my attention to the edit from around 8 until noon. In that time I got 36 pages done, so I increased the bank by one. Now to fiction for the balance of the day.

This will be a really short post as it turns out. I finished my first magic realism story in years. This one won’t go out to donors as I’ve sent it to Mexico for possible publication in a magazine there. If they turn it down, or when I get rights reverted after it’s published, I’ll send it to you then.

Of Interest

Nothing at Dean’s place today (still fighting a cache problem on his website).

Be sure to check Kris Rusch’s site for her Free Ficiton Monday at

Today’s Writing

See below. Very pleased with this story. And I think Ila might have more to say.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 2279
Nonfiction Words: 180 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2459

Writing of “Ila and the Train” (magic realism short short)

Day 1…… 2279 words. Total words to date…… 2279 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10750
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 268650

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 969598

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)

The Journal, Friday, 12/16

Hey Folks,

Today, as it turned out, is another nonwriting day. But read on. There are good things in this edition of the Journal.

Windy here. Big wind. Strong stinkin’ wind. Even the cats don’t want to go out. Windy in New Mexico too. Two large trees hit my son and daughter’s house in Roswell. Damaged the roof and cut the electricity. Sigh.

While visiting Amazon yesterday to place my short story and novella in their store, I found they have a completely new publishing interface. It’s much cleaner and it seems a little faster.

They did make it a bit more clunky with regard to adding search tags. Before, you could copy/paste up to seven search tags and insert them in one fell swoop. Now you have to insert each tag individually, ala Smashwords. Annoying. But overall I like Amazon’s improvements.

Okay, so I decided to do a topic on distributors today. Here’s the way I see it:

Topic: Distributors

Draft2Digital remains my favorite distributor. They pay royalties monthly, and they send you a monthly statement from each venue that includes the amount (in dollars) of your royalties from that venue. Very up front and easy.

The conversion engine at D2D turns out higher-quality .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (Nook/Apple) files than the one at Smashwords turns out. D2D also provides a universal link where a prospective reader can click one time to find your book at the the reader’s favorite venue (B&N, Apple, Amazon, etc. even Smashwords).

They also have a slick, clean interface. The only downside to D2D is that they distribute only to Apple, B&N, and Kobo, as well as the smaller Scribd, Inkterra (formerly PageFoundry), Tolino and 24Symbols. Still, at least they hit the big ones, less Amazon.

Amazon is just Amazon, but it’s a major sales venue and they sell in around 60 countries. (Most of the other larger sales venues do too.) And they don’t accept distribution from anyone else (yet) so I continue to distribute to them individually.

Even with improvements on their interface, for speed and efficiency, they’re still somewhere between the very quick, slick interface at D2D and the dragging-boots-through-mud interface at Smashwords.

Amazon pays royalties monthly, but they remain two to three months behind, and they make it difficult to find how much you’ve been paid and by whom. (You have to log into Amazon, go to your account, wade through reports, etc.)

Smashwords is the grandpappy. They distribute to the same ones D2D distributes to (except 24Symbols) plus eleven others, including the massive Gardners in the UK.
They also maintain their own store, with really good royalties if the customer buys directly from them.

I still distribute to Smashwords primarily because of their in-house store and their coupons. And since I’m there anyway, I allow them to distribute to all those others that D2D doesn’t reach.

However, I don’t think I’ve made enough money from those other venues (the extra ones D2D doesn’t handle) to buy a burger and fries yet. I’ve done pretty well selling through their store.

To reward D2D for the benefit of working with them, I distribute through them to every venue they support.

Then I go back to Smashwords’ “(Distribution) Channel Manager” and click “Opt Out” for Apple, B&N, Kobo, et al that D2D is handling for me. That, too, is a very clunky, flint-chisel-on-a-stone-tablet kind of process, and it serves to remind me why I prefer D2D.

So whatever else you do, get a D2D account. If I was going to distribute through only two distributors, I would pick D2D and Amazon. That covers all the biggies in one bag.

Pronoun—I mentioned this new distributor awhile back, so I suppose I should mention them again now. Okay, I still don’t use them. Their interface was designed by someone for whom condescension apparently is a lifestyle. They DO distribute to Amazon, so that’s one thing in their favor. But frankly, I’d rather put up with Amazon’s interface than Pronoun’s silliness.

* * *

Well, my friend and I were going to talk marketing today over a pizza and a couple good cigars. Neither of us know anything about marketing, so it would have been the blind leading the blind, but we both like pizza and cigars. So. However, he was unable to make it due to illness. Any marketing geniuses out there? Wanna do a guest post? Please?

* * *

Did some more editing. I’m jonesing to write fiction, but nothing again today. However, today I decided to reprise (revive?) my Adobe Hovel office and my old computer. I think I need to do what I did before, namely, dedicate a space to writing fiction, especially while I’m stuck in this dual role. More on that tomorrow probably. For now, another nonwriting day today and back to the edit for awhile longer.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s site 12/15/16 Daily ( He posted very late today (after noon) so if you check on your own, there y’go.

By the way, visit Kris Rusch’s site ( and sign up for her newsletter. She’s giving away the first novel in her Diving series. Trust me, this is a great deal.

Today’s Writing

Yeah, no.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 820 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 820

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 18975
Total fiction words for the year………… 698669
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9300
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 267200

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 965869

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)

And this is on a memoir. I copyedit much faster on fiction.

The Journal, Monday, 11/28

Hey Folks,

Rolled out a little late at 3:30. Checked email and Facebook stuff. Then I went to work on a huge Christmas Sale for StoneThread Publishing. We’re practically giving them away (grin).

This sale went “live” on Facebook this morning (Monday, 11/28). But we wanted to give you guys a little better pricing.

Note that all prices are valid only through StoneThread Publishing. Even if we decide to run a sale through various vendors, those prices will not be this low.

Shameless Promotion

From now through December 24, ALL ebook novels, 10-story collections, 5-story collections and poetry collections, are on sale for $2.50 each. The complete Wes Crowley Saga (10 novels in one massive book) is only $13.

All ebooks are DRM-free. Share with your whole family! And No Shipping! 🙂

Of course, these prices are valid only through StoneThread Publishing. To order or for more information, please email

Print Addict?

Additionally, from now through December 21, ALL PRINT BOOKS are on sale for $7.50 each. Free standard shipping! These are not stocking stuffers. These are quality trade paperbacks.

Many print titles are available signed by the author. That would be moi. (grin) For a complete list or to order, email

* * *

Finished up all of that and the topic below around 6:30, then realized I hadn’t added my latest novel, The Consensus, to my website yet. Doh! So I raced over and did that.

Then my wife mentioned it might be a good idea to prepare a flyer for her to pass out where she works. So I did that.

* * *

I started on the novel again, then remembered I have to download 10 pics from CanStock. sigh. First I have to select them.

Every now and then I sign up for a subscription to a stock photo agency so I can download pics on the cheap to use for covers.

My current subscription allows me to download up to 10 pics per day for a week. All that for $30. So around $0.42 per picture, as opposed to around $7 per picture if I bought them one at a time. It’s a great deal if you use a lot of cover pics and know what you’re looking for generally.

But that ate up a couple hours.

Topic: Selling Books to Writers

I’m talking about fiction books and fiction writers here.

If you’ve written a really good book FOR writers (for example, Punctuation for Writers or Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction or Writing the Character-Driven Story), knock yourself out.

But leave your novels and short stories at home.

When I was presenting regularly at writers’ conferences around the nation, I saw a host of fiction writers trying to sell their books to attendees. For a very short while, I was one of them. Generally, this is a bad idea.

Why? Because those who attend writers’ conferences are writers. They don’t want to buy your books. They want You to buy Their books. (grin)

Even “name” authors (think Stephen King) have a difficult time selling fiction to other fiction writers.

So why am I making an exception to this general rule?

Because I DO buy novels and stories written by Stephen King. I also buy (some) novels and stories from Dean Wesley Smith, Isabel Allende, Lawrence Block and others who meet three requirements:

they are farther along the road than I as writers;
something about their work blows me out of my socks; and
I aspire to learn from them.

When I see myself as a student of another writer, what better way to learn from them than to read their work for pleasure, and then go back and study the passages that blew me away?

And that’s why I’m making an exception in Shameless Promotion above. As I told another writer recently, if you think maybe the stuff I’m teaching you is good, I appreciate that. But years of (sometimes repeated) lessons have taught me that we generally get what we INspect, not what we EXpect.

So in the promo above, I’m offering you an opportunity to see first-hand whether I know what I’m doing. (grin) Naturally, I hope you will take advantage of it.

Of Interest

A new topic over at Dean’s place in Courage in a World of Artistic Freedom ( This is a really great post. I hope you will read it.

There should also be a new story of the week over at Kristine Kathyrn Rush’s site for her Free Fiction Monday thing. (

Today’s Writing

Finally, I moved to the novel at 9:30. Wrote for about a half-hour and realized I’m writing two novels at one time. How can I tell? Maybe the story’s just getting convoluted. They do that sometimes.

But this one isn’t just taking odd twists. It took a hard turn and wandered off into a whole new story. And the two main stories are far too divergent to ever get back together. Even the main character is different. Same name, same guy, but he acts different and even talks different than he did in the “other” story.

That happened to me once before, though I don’t recall which novel (or novels) came out of it. Anyway, I didn’t get enough writing done to record it, so I’ll count this as a nonwriting day.

For any new subscribers out there, don’t worry about it (if you were). When I started this Journal I made a pact with myself to record the bad as well as the good, the rough times as well as the smooth. This is one of the rough times. (grin)

I’ll spend the balance of the day finding where these stories are conjoined. Then I’ll do a little surgery. I suspect I’m gonna have to chunk a few thousand words and start fresh a ways back.

Anyway, see you tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 930 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 930

Writing of Snubbing the Gods (tentative title)

Day 10… 2829 words. Total words to date…… 22264
Day 11… 2493 words. Total words to date…… 24757
Day 12… 2099 words. Total words to date…… 26856
Day 13… 0670 words. Total words to date…… 27526
Day 14… 1061 words. Total words to date…… 28587
Day 15… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 18729
Total fiction words for the year………… 673884
Total nonfiction words for the month… 17500
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 256340

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 930224