The Journal, Saturday, 4/22

Hey Folks,

I spent much of the early morning watching and listening to DWS’ “Lester Dent Master Plot Formula.”

Wow. It was as informative as I hoped (and more so) and chock full of gems. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to get it through the StoryBundle offer I mentioned yesterday.

If you didn’t, and in case you’re interested, here’s the link again:

Again, you get nine books on the craft or business of writing PLUS the DWS lecture as well as a couple of coupons for $$-off on some products that some writers swear by.


If you’re thinking of taking Dean up on his “first reader” challenge, take time to read “One Added Note” in “Story Twenty-One” in Of Interest below. His offer just keeps getting better.

Also, his “Point of Interest” in the same post kind of tickled me from a personal stanpoint. You’ll see why.


It’s Saturday, so I’m not sure what the day will hold. Our time with Bryan is growing short, so I’m leaving myself (and my priorities) more open to doing things with family on weekends. So we’ll see.

I’m gonna give a little more thought to the challenge I mentioned yesterday before I post it here.

Yesterday also, I happened upon the idea for my next novel. I’ll be returning to the world of Wes Crowley for an 11th novel (my 28th overall).

Topic: What Is Possible

A bit of history. When I wrote my first-ever novel, Leaving Amarillo, I thought it would be a one-off.

But it needed a sequel. So I wrote Longing for Mexico. Then I wrote South to Mexico. I thought that was the last novel in a three-book series.

Then I wrote a novella and another novel in a different world.

But Wes tugged on my sleeve, wanting me to tell more of his story that happened before “Leaving Amarillo.” He also wanted me to talk about what he did in Mexico once he got there.

So I wrote three prequels (so novels 1, 2, and 3 in the eventual series) and then two sequels (so novels 7 and 8) in the series. Again, I thought I was finished.

After that I wrote an SF novel, and then book 9 of the Wes Crowley series. And I thought that was absolutely the end of the Crowley series. No more. End of story.

So I wrote a thriller. Then I wrote a mystery novel, then another SF novel, and then a war novel.

Then I wrote novel 10 of the Crowley series. Again, I was certain it ended the story. Absolutely certain. (grin)

Let’s pause for just a moment to think about that. A 10-novel series plus several short stories in that same world came from what I thought was going to be a one-off novel. Go figure.

Then, with the Crowley stuff finally behind me, I wrote a contemporary western thriller (though it did feature a descendent of Wes Crowley), then another SF novel and then a sweeping SF thriller about a superbug that made its way to Earth.

Then another feel-good, they-came-here SF novel, then a future-earth SF novella, and then the sequel to an earlier SF novel.

After that I wrote one more SF novel that takes place off the planet (and begs for a sequel) before dipping my pen into my two latest novels. Those and my WIP are pulp-detective-fiction-action-adventure-mystery-thrillers (grin).

And when I finish the current WIP, I’m looking forward to writing novel 11 of the Crowley series.

Only I’m no longer gonna try to foretell the future and say this will be the last one. ‘Cause after all, what do I know? (grin)

Oh, and for those of you who are relatively new to this Journal, all of that (and over 100 short stories) were since October 19, 2014. So almost exactly two and a half years.

Anyway, that’s what’s possible when you just follow Heinlein’s Rules. You can get a free, clean copy by clicking (If

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30. Spent the first few hours writing the stuff above, then playing around. That included email, FB and DWS vids. Then to Dean’s site and the places it led me.

After breakfast, to the Hovel and the novel at 9:30.

I got a good start, then walked down to the house for a break with family at around 10:20.

Around 11 my wife and I took a quick walk out back, then grabbed some lunch. Back to the novel around 12:30.

With around 1500 words, another break at 1:30. Back to the novel at 1:50.

Well, a lot of cycling today, so another slow day on the story. I think this one’s gonna wrap as a novella. I can’t be sure just yet.

I hope it’ll wrap tomorrow or the next day. I guess we’ll see.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Story Twenty-One” at An interesting read that pulls him back into the realm of us “beginners.”

Dean also links to “Nifty Resource for Covers” at

For more information, you can go directly to The Digital Reader at You can also sign up for their newsletter to receive “the latest news on ebooks and digital publishing.”

I also ran across this:


Fiction Words: 2149
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3029

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582
Day 5…… 2579 words. Total words to date…… 10161
Day 6…… 1344 words. Total words to date…… 11505
Day 7…… 2513 words. Total words to date…… 14018
Day 8…… 2149 words. Total words to date…… 16167

Total fiction words for the month……… 28076
Total fiction words for the year………… 236632
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12940
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 702800

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 306912

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 514 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels
Total novels to date (since Oct 19, 2014)… 26 (includes 2 novellas)

The Journal, Friday, 4/21

Hey Folks,

Well, in the midst of writing the topic below, I came up with a new challenge for myself. I’ll announce it in the next couple of days.

There’s an exciting new writing bundle out from StoryBundle. I bought it first thing this morning. To check it out, visit

I strongly recommend you drop $15 and buy this bundle. Even if only so you can get DWS’ lecture on Lester Dent’s Master Plot Formula lecture (a $50 value).

For one thing you’ll get a ton of great information on structure. For a second, as I’ve said many times, DWS inadvertently lets slip a LOT of gems in his lectures. Oh, and there are some good books in this bundle too. (grin)

Speaking of gems, I happened across these “20 Writing Tips from Fiction Authors” at

My recommendation (as always) is that you take to heart what feels right to you and ignore the rest.

Topic: Shut Up, Conscious Mind!

I’m writing this stuff in the spirit of honesty and up-frontnicity, right? So I have to tell you, for a little while today I thought this story, my WIP, was grinding to a halt.

And even with all my practice, I didn’t recognize the problem for awhile.

The other day I thought I knew how the rest of the story was going to go. So that made it boring to me. I almost shelved it then.

And then for the past couple of days, it’s been like pulling teeth. I mean think about it. I went to the store rather than write. I mowed part of the yard rather than write.

But then a little while ago, a friend sent me half a boatload of Ko-Fi through my new account. (Thanks!)

That caused me to get on my hotspot (I’m in the Hovel) so I could thank him.

While I was there (natch) I checked email and then Facebook. Occasionally on FB I mention how the writing’s going. (That’s pretty much the sum total of “marketing” that I do.)

And while I was on FB, I saw a couple places where I noted how much fun it is to just tell a story.

And that’s when it hit me. With this novel, at least over the past few days, I wasn’t just telling a story. I wasn’t playing. I wasn’t having fun.

Instead, I was worrying about length. I was fretting over details in the setting. I was mentally haranguing myself (yes, haranguing!) about characters and situations and pretty much everything else.

The one thing I wasn’t doing was writing.

See, this thing I’m writing, this story, is supposed to be noir, detective, pulp-type stuff.

By the way, “pulp” is not synonymous with “bad.” If anything, it’s synonymous with “entertaining.”

So this is supposed to be a thrill ride. It’s supposed to be fun. More to the point, pulp is a work that’s strongly dependent on a single POV (detective or PI, perp, or victim).

In pulp story writing, the writer controls the pacing, whether slow or fast. (The slower parts make the faster parts seem even more intense.) That’s what makes it fun to write and that’s what makes it entertaining.

You absolutely can not “think” (conscious mind) your way through a pulp story. As we used to say in the Marine Corps, the gunny’s job (now the writer’s job) is to lay his ears back and attack in all directions. (grin)

So now that I checked in with myself, laid my craven soul bare and slapped my conscious mind around a bit, back to the novel. Or novella. Whatever it’s gonna be.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Coffee and foolishness for the first couple hours.

Over the next couple of hours, I checked Dean’s site and wrote a lot of this stuff. I also listened to the first few sessions of DWS’ lecture on LD’s Master Plot Formula, and then researched some stuff online that he mentioned. Some of those gems I talk about on here.

Then I remembered I have a novel or something to write and finish. (grin) It would be entirely too easy for me to take a day off and just read and learn. But I’ll make time for that after this WIP is finished.

7:10, to the Hovel. I opened the novel, looked at it for a moment and drew a blank. Usually that’s a sign that I took a wrong direction a short way back. I played a few games of spider solitaire.

Then around 8 I took a short walk to clear the cobwebs. Weird day. But it’s okay. I feel like this thing’s on the verge of breaking loose.

9:20 back to the Hovel and the novel.

11:40. Wow. I’ve done hardly anything on the novel. Then I realized I was trying to do too much. I was “thinking.” Ugh.

I stopped and wrote the topic above. Then I wrote about the challenge I’m considering. I’ll post that tomorrow or the next day.

12:30. Now that I got my head clear on what I’m supposed to be doing, back to it.

Calling it a day a little early today but a good day, considering.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

As you might expect, some very enlightening comments on Dean’s “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Five” at

He also has “Story Twenty” at And in case you’re one who skims, not a bad idea to read that whole post, at least through “STORY CHALLENGE… Get Me to Read 30 Short Stories.” Some gems there.

Finally, he also talks about a “Major New Writing Bundle” at This one was curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and she also explains what’s in the bundle. You even get a WMG lecture.

As I mentioned above, I’ve already bought this one. Just in case you want it to, the purchase link is

Fiction Words: 2513
Nonfiction Words: 960 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3473

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582
Day 5…… 2579 words. Total words to date…… 10161
Day 6…… 1344 words. Total words to date…… 11505
Day 7…… 2513 words. Total words to date…… 14018

Total fiction words for the month……… 25927
Total fiction words for the year………… 234483
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12060
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 69400

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 303883

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 513 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Tuesday, 4/18

Hey Folks,

Well, yesterday I reported finishing a short story titled “Beats All.”

Yesterday early evening I read it aloud to my wife. At the end, I frowned. “This sounds like the beginning of a novel, doesn’t it?”

(I’ve long known and preached the value of reading aloud. Yet I’m still amazed at how valuable it really is.)

She said, “Yes. It ended, but it isn’t finished.”

Okay. Ugh. Now I have two novels going concurrently. And they’re in the same world and feature some of the same characters.

The Platinum Blond Perturbance will be the third Detective Galecki novel and it’s told from his POV.

Beats All features Galecki and another detective, but it’s told from the POV of a minor criminal.

Before you ask whether I can combine these, this is not a mix-and-match situation. Each of these recent novels have been first-person single-POV efforts, something I’m practicing.

I only jumped ahead to “finish” Beats All yesterday because I was certain it was going to be a short story.

I’ve already removed it from the lineup below (I clean up the Notepad version of this Journal as my last act of business each day) so I won’t add it back until I start writing it again.

I still think it works as a short story. Sometime today I’ll put together a cover for it and get it out to donors.

Then it’s back to The Platinum Blond Perturbance.

Topic: The Differences Between Amateurs and Professionals

Really, this isn’t a topic so much as a tease. To read the whole post (it isn’t mine), please visit

Here are the highlights:

1. Amateurs wait for clarity. Pros take action.

2. Amateurs want to arrive. Pros want to get better.

3. Amateurs practice as much as they have to. Pros never stop.

4. Amateurs leap for their dreams. Pros build a bridge.

5. Amateurs fear failure. Pros crave it.

6. Amateurs build a skill. Pros build a portfolio.

7. Amateurs want to be noticed. Pros want to be remembered.

A lot of gems to be mined in Jeff Goins’ article. I hope you’ll visit.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little after 2. Routine stuff for the first hour or so, then wrote much of what’s above this.

At 4 I decided to get the admin stuff out of the way. I created a cover for “Beats All You Ever Saw,” then formatted and uploaded it to D2D and Amazon.

Finally I posted it to the Free Story page on my website, then emailed the .mobi copy to my donors. All of that took about an hour and a half.

Around 6:30 I signed up for a free Ko-Fi account. It’s yet one more place where visitors to the site can make a donation or “Buy Me A Coffee” if they want. For an example, see my page at

Finally around 9 I started cycling through the novel, getting it back into my head. I’m not worrying about word count today. I just want to get back into it and see where it goes from there.

Well, I’ll call this a good day, despite writing just over 2000 new words on the day. I guess I’m easing back into this one, but I’m still having a blast.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

From yesterday, via The Passive Voice, “The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs” at

Want to give folks a chance to buy you a coffee? Get your free Ko-Fi account at (Thanks to Scott Gordon. See his site at

At Dean’s, “Story Seventeen”

Fiction Words: 2201
Nonfiction Words: 610 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2811

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582

Total fiction words for the month……… 19491
Total fiction words for the year………… 228047
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9510
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 66850

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 294897

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 511 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Monday, 4/17

Hey Folks,

All right. Fourteen days left in the month, inclusive. If I’m gonna meet my monthly goal of writing at least one novel per month and my annual goal of writing at least 15 on the year, I have to get hot. (grin)

By the way, that “get hot” thing isn’t pressure. For me, it’s a realizaton and good news.

And writing a short story or two along the way wouldn’t kill me either. (Donors, they’re coming.) Man, I just wanna play.

* * *

I’ve been screwing around each morning for awhile now, just kind of hanging around the house, not going to “work” in the Hovel until daylight (around 6:30).

I kind’a have to do that because I let the other babies out at 5. Afterward, they want to go outside, and I don’t allow them out while it’s still dark without me being at my outside desk near the house.

This morning I thought about heading out early. But instead, I think I’ll try writing fiction on my business computer. Then when I’m ready to go to the Hovel (after sunrise) I’ll put what I’ve done on a flash drive and carry it out there.

Probaby I’ll start that tomorrow morning. As I write this, I’ve already been up for three hours and the sky is growing light.

Either way, I’m hoping this will be a great day of writing.

At this point I don’t even really care what I write. I only care THAT I write. Being away from it for even a few days is driving me nuts. And yeah, that’s a pretty short drive for me.

Topic: A Bit More on Goals, and Elephants

On Dean’s post from yesterday (, another commenter (Mike Lawrence) asked DWS whether he was writing his current short stories “in public.” In other words, is there someplace he can go to view them now.

He isn’t. He’s writing them to compile a “month of April” story collection as well as to fill the pages of Smith’s Monthly, his magazine.

I responded to the comment as well with a lesson I learned back when I was writing a short story every week. My streak reached 70 weeks before I broke it, pretty much intentionally.

With the advantage of hindsight, though, I’ve come to understand that I broke my own streak (again, intentionally) because of pressure I put on myself.

Because I was posting those stories “live” in the same week I wrote them, eventually the pressure of having to post one every week ate my goal and the streak.

In other words, posting a new story every week became more important to me than just writing the story in the first place.

So it wasn’t fun anymore. The pressure of “having” to post a story each week sucked all the fun out of writing them. And that is what killed the streak.

As I wrote in my comment

I tried later to “restart” another one-a-week story [streak], but it never got off the ground because I couldn’t shake the elephant out of my head. I was writing [the stories] one at a time, but I could never shake the sense that I had to do that for at least 71 weeks to surpass what I’d already done.

So again, no fun. All pressure. And what I hoped would be a new streak never got off the ground.

So consider this topic a cautionary tip.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. If you look up and realize you’re trying to eat the whole elephant, eating it suddenly becomes an impossibiliity.

Setting an overall (large) goal that you can attain if you reach is a great practice.

But it’s important that you break that overall goal into smaller goals that are still attainable within tighter timelines.

Meeting those smaller goals creates the streak (an accomplishment), which in turn feeds your self-esteem and the larger, overall goal.

But don’t pressure yourself with something silly like I did.

Or look at it like this:

Letting someone into your story (short or long) will often kill the story.

For that reason, I never let anyone into my work before it’s finished.

But by posting a story a week “live,” I was allowing those who subscribed to my Free Story of the Week into my streak without realizing it. And so it died.

As I also mentioned in my comment on DWS’ site, I probably will attempt to write one short story per day for a month some time.

But when I do, I’ll publish them individually and in collections (six 5-story, three 10-story, and one 30- or 31-story). I probably will “leak” some of them to my donors, but I definitely won’t write them “in public.”

I won’t risk it.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 2 again, but I sacked out a little early last night. It’s all good.

I read newsletters, wrote the stuff above and in “Of Interest,” and played on FB to start the day.

Well, a little under 3000 words on the day, but it was still a great day. I finished a short story and wrote some extremely terse scenes. Total score!

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Story Sixteen and Still Going” at

If you’re interested in the Strengths Workshops, they’re all up and he’s offering a special deal:

If you enjoy great Cajun humor, check out

Fiction Words: 2977
Nonfiction Words: 890 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3867

Writing of “Beats All” (short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743
Day 2…… 2977 words. Total words to date…… 4720 (done)

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 17290
Total fiction words for the year………… 225846
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8900
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 66240

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 292086

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 510 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Wednesday, 4/12

Hey Folks,

Well, something’s ‘off’ in my world today. Not sure what, and therefore not sure how to fix it. I’m annoyed. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m also not sure what will happen around here today. So I’m calling this a nonwriting day. (Turned out to be a writing day after all.)

I won’t write, at least not fiction, unless a lot of stuff in my mind settles out.

Maybe I’ll start a new website where I can vent. I’m not writing under any of my personas anymore, so maybe I’ll use one of them for that.

Probably I’ll spend the balance of the day uploading selected short stories to BundleRabbit. I’ve been meaning to do that for awhile anyway.

Topic: Streams of Income

If you’re a writer, and if you’re intelligent enough to have embraced indie publishing, you want as many streams of income as possible off everything you write.

If you aren’t a writer, you can stop reading now.

If you are a writer, but you’re still pursuing an agent and/or a traditional publisher so THEY can make all the money off various streams of income, please stop reading now.

Anyone else, keep reading. For the rest of you, for at least a limited time, I’m offering to answer any questions any of you have regarding getting revenue from your stories, short or long.

The only prerequisites are that you’ve read this topic in its entirety, and that you have downloaded and read the free resources I offer over at

Those include The Essentials of Digital Publishing, Quick Guide to Self-Publishing & FAQs, and Heinlein’s Business Habits For Writers (Heinlein’s Rules), Annotated

I also recommend you read and study the posts under the MS Word for Writers tab on the website. Especially if you’re still using the Tab bar or the spacebar to indent paragraphs.

A write not being thoroughly familiar with MS Word (or whatever program you use) is like a carpenter not being really sure what a hammer is for.

But to the topic.

Basically, getting multiple streams of income first relies on making your work available in as many different venues as possible.

If you “publish” (distribute) exclusively with Amazon or anyone else, you can’t do that. In fact, if you publish exclusively with Amazon, you aren’t even allowed, legally, to post your short story or novel on your own website.

So that’s the first lesson, a’right? Go wide.

I recommend distributing everything you write to Amazon and to Draft2Digital.

Smashwords also is a good distributor that will get you into a lot more minor venues, but I’ve never made a sale (since 2011) in any of those venues. So personally I don’t allot any of my time to uploading my work to Smashwords.

Once you’ve settled on distributors, you can shift into the second level of building multiple streams of income.

Collect your short stories. Collect your novels. Period.

When I have written ten short stories, I automatically have 10 new streams of income.

If I make those stories available (through D2D and Amazon) in nine venues, that means I’ve just created 90 individual new streams of income.

If I also collect those stories in two 5-story collections and one 10-story collection, I’ve just created three more streams of income. Times the same nine venues.

So now, having written 10 short stories, I begin receiving income from 117 different streams of revenue.

Later, there’s no law that says you can’t combine two, three or four 10-story collections into one omnibus collection either. More streams of income.

Of course, you can also group your novels. You can sell the first five books in a series in one book. You can sell the last five books in a series in another book. And you can sell all ten books in a single book.

Again, from having written 10 novels, you’re now bringing in revenue from 117 different streams.

Every time you find a new way to present your work, you create a new stream of income that is multiplied by the number of venues in which you offer that work for sale.

That’s also why I use and recommend BundleRabbit. When your work catches the attention of a curator there and he or she bundles it, you’ve just created yet one more stream of income.

Try it. The math isn’t as difficult as it seems.

And those trickling little streams of income all flow into the same river that feeds your bank account. It really is that easy.

Any questions or comments, please add them below or email me directly at

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at around 3:30. Not sure what the day will hold.

I messed around, wrote the stuff above, then cross-posted it to the big blog (for January, 2018).

Then I went to the store and the PO, then back to the house.

I was thinking about BundleRabbit again when an idea hit. So I wrote the opening, about 350 words.

Once I had that, I saved it to my flash drive and headed for the Hovel. That was around 1:30.

I wrote on the thing for about an hour total, then went to put my spare for my 4Runner back underneath the truck.

Came back to the Hovel and wrote another half-hour, then called it a day. I didn’t write anything on the novel, but I got a good start on what will probably be a short story in the same series. We’ll see.

That or maybe it’s a start on what will be the fourth novel in the series. A lot better than I expected when the day started.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, not really a lot, actually. He and Kris will offer a new online workshop titled “How to Edit Your Own Work”. Might interest some of you.

If you haven’t signed up for the email subscription over at The Passive Voice yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. I read almost every article, but I don’t really have time to read them and then pass them on. Visit, then scroll to the right to subscribe via RSS. If you want email updates (my own preference) scroll down in the right sidebar.

Fiction Words: 1743
Nonfiction Words: 770 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2513

Writing of “Beats All” (probably a short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 14313
Total fiction words for the year………… 222869
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6650
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 63990

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 286859

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 505 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Sunday, 4/9

Hey Folks,

I hope you check out my site from time to time, especially the left sidebar under Writers’ Resources.

This morning I needed a refresher (and ready reference) for the police 10-codes. So I found a reference and added a link under “A-Police 10-Codes.”

Anyway, check that sidebar now and then. There’s a lot of good stuff there.

* * *

Well, as it turned out I took most of the day off. During that time I went to the store. Then when I got back I took the driver’s side seat out of my Tacoma, turned it upside down in the bed so I could get at the seat adjustment mechanism, and fixed it so it will work, then reinstalled it.

I also got a haircut (lost about five pounds).

Then, just as I was about to go back to my novel, I got my fanny handed to me by an editing client. This writer thought I “changed [his or her] work” by adding a few “He said” (6 of them) and “She said” (8 of them) to the front of dialogue in places where I couldn’t tell which character was speaking.

Before I could do that, of course, during the edit I had to read back and forth and figure out who was speaking. Those little tag lines are gold to most readers, but apparently not to this particular writer.

Okay, shrug, so now I know. If I work with this person again, I won’t bother to figure out who’s speaking and add “He said” or “She said.” I’ll just add a comment like “Who’s saying this?” and let the writer go back and figure out who’s speaking.

Live and learn, eh?

* * *

The bigger workshop/seminar I’m hoping to put together will happen or not.

In the meantime, I’m developing a one-day intensive on “Adding Depth to Your Writing.” This stuff is invaluable.

Subtopics will include Depth/Setting, Openings (how to pull the reader into the story), and Grounding the Reader (how to keep him in the story). I’ll also talk about Character Description. Not creating them, but allowing your reader to know them.

I might also talk about Cliffhangers (to establish physical or emotional tension and force the reader to turn the page) and Hooks (keep the reader reading after he turns the page).

I’m not taking signups yet, but letting you guys know first. When I come up with a date and place, I’ll let you know.

Topic: Patience Is a Virtue

Awhile back I mentioned it’s good to practice something new, some new technique you’ve learned, in each new story.

Over the past several novels, I’ve become very good at grounding the reader. I accomplish that primarily by providing intimate details regarding the setting and the people in it.

But as you know if you’re following this Journal, I do a lot of cycling.

Sometimes I cycle back to insert something the characters spring on me later in the story.

For example, say Aunt Marge suddenly pulls a .32 caliber revolver out of her house dress and shoots an intruder in Chapter 26.

If that happens, I cycle back to when she first put on the house dress, say back in Chapter 18, and allow her to take the revolver from her night stand and slip it into the pocket of her house dress.

This accomplishes two things:

One, it negates the “miracle” of the revolver suddenly appearing just when it’s needed.

Two, it makes the reader feel the writer is a genius. After all, how did the writer know, way back in Chapter 18, that our dear Aunt Marge would need that revolver in Chapter 26?

Cycling will remain an invaluable aid for precisely those two reasons.

However, most of the time when I’ve cycled back in my last several novels, I did so because I got in too big a hurry. I rushed the characters through the scenes, especially action scenes, and thereby missed much that they were trying to add.

Like how the setting looked, smelled, tasted, felt and sounded. And the POV character’s opinion of all that.

So most of the time, I was cycling back to slow myself down and let the characters add what was necessary to both ground the reader in the scene and to give the story depth.

So in this novel, the “new” technique I’m practicing is adding that depth and grounding the reader as I go.

I’ll still cycle back at the beginning of every session. But I expect I’ll be adding fewer words to older scenes and writing a lot more words in new scenes.

In other words, I’m taking my time. I’m still hitting around a thousand words an hour, but they’re more substantive words. Words that aren’t rushed and don’t skimp on necessary details.

In still other words, I’m practicing patience as I write. I understand it’s a virtue. I just wish it would hurry up and get here. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little after 3, made coffee and jumped into email and Facebook. I did a little more editing and offered some instruction, then headed to the Hovel at around 6:30.

A good first session, a combination of cycling and writing new stuff. Then a walk at around 7:30.

8:15, back to the hovel for another session, then I wrote the topic above.

9:20, to the house to let them know I’m still alive.

Lousy day for writing. I never got back to the novel after 9:20. Too much other stuff happening, but I plan to hit the ground running in the morning.

See you then.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, a pretty good post on his short story challenge and some other stuff. See “Story Number Eight…”

Fiction Words: 1864
Nonfiction Words: 960 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2824

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245

Total fiction words for the month……… 104340
Total fiction words for the year………… 218990
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4440
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 61780

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 280770

The Journal, Saturday, 4/8

Hey Folks,

Yesterday turned out to be productive, albeit not with actual writing.

I did create a cover and a promo doc and get the new book up in all major e-venues.

But this morning, something was bugging me about that cover. It just didn’t pop off the page.

So I revised it. Now it reflects “noir” better and it pops off the page. That’s it on the left over there.

Topic: Thoughts on Novel Two-Fers

So I’m thinking I want to put the last two novels (both pulp fiction detective noir mysteries) in a “boxed set” in ebook.

But I’m also thinking of doing the same thing, sort of, in print.

But why only two? I mean, I can easily turn out two of these masterpieces per month (grin), so why not wait until I have three or more to put in a boxed set?

Well, does anyone out there remember the old pulp novel two-fers?

You buy one physical book, but it has two front covers, one on each side, and the covers are upside down from each other.

You open one cover to read one novel, then flip the book over and open the other cover to read the other novel. (grin)

It was charming, to say the least. And the idea of it is intriguing to me.

I’ve already been in touch with Kat at Cover to Upload to see whether she has any ideas and whether the project interests her.

I really doubt I’ll be able to replicate the old pulp two-fer construction. But I’m looking for a way to do something that’s at least similar.

Oh, and let’s toss in another challenge while we’re at it. I’m kind of a stickler for having my ebook and print book covers look the same.

Of course, you can’t flip an ebook over, so….

Hmm. Maybe a new cover with both the other covers on it, only sideways with the top of the original covers at the spine.

I don’t know.

I’ll keep you posted.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4 after a rough night with my stomach. Ugh.

After briefly playing with email and FB, I updated pages on my website and my publisher website to reflect the new book. If you wanna read about it, here’s the 411:

Around 7 my wife and I went for a short walk (about a mile). Then back to breakfast and writing.

Good short walk, then a trip to Sierra Vista (about 45 miles) for two new tires for my Tacoma.

Lunch in Sierra Vista and ate too much (burgers and fries, and if you know me, nomnomnom).

Out to the Hovel around 2:20 to see if it’ll still have me. (grin)

Around 3 I started a new novel. Woohoo! As my buddy Dan says, I am in hebben. Like the previous two, this one features Detective Lou Galecki. He’s a Polack, but he has a Brooklyn accent and an Italian partner, so it’s all right.

A great hour. I’ll hope to write more on this one tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, “Two More Stories in Two Days” at

Fiction Words: 1381
Nonfiction Words: 490 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1871

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 8750
Total fiction words for the year………… 217126
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 60820

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 277946

The Journal, Wednesday, 4/5

Hey Folks,

This morning I approved and responded to a comment on my latest ProWriters post over on the big blog.

After I did that, I read over the post. It was a topic from the Journal a couple of years ago. And I noticed that I had quoted some stats:

“Through yesterday, May 9, 2015 (as I write this) 128 days have passed since January 1. During that 128 days, I’ve written 284,100 publishable words of fiction. My daily average thus far this year is 2219.5312 words per day.”

That was two years ago. And that’s why I keep this Daily Journal.

Back to the present.

Through yesterday, April 4, 2017, there have been 94 days in this calendar year. In those 94 days, I’ve written 215,745 publishable words of fiction. My daily average thus far this year (including nonwriting days) is 2295.1595 words per day.”

Wow. On one hand, I need to pick up the pace, eh? By which I mean, 1-Spend more time in the writing chair, and 2-When I’m in that chair, spend more time actually writing.

On the other, is that consistency, or what? (grin)

But today I’ll be copyediting a work for another writer. More on that below. If an idea latches onto me and drags me to the Hovel, I’ll write too. Otherwise this will be a nonwriting day.

Topic: Scene and Chapter Breaks and Hooks

I love this topic, and it’s timely because it’s what I’ve been practicing in my last few WsIP. (grin)

I have a copyediting job that I put on the back burner because I was so close to finishing the novel. I’ll begin that copyedit today.

To see what I mean by “copyedit,” please visit

The writer also requested I check to see whether the scene and chapter breaks “make sense.” I’ll check, but I have no doubt they will. Then again, that led me to this topic for the day.

First, let me define “break” so we’re all on the same page.

In my books, chapter breaks consist either of white space followed by a new chapter head, or a series of five spaced asterisks (in anything I send to Smashwords) followed by white space.

As for scene breaks, in my books, those consist of a series of three spaced asterisks followed by white space. Just my way of doing it.

Some writers use only white space, and that’s fine. But all writers that I’ve encountered thus far use something to clearly mark breaks.

Because the writer asked, I’ll check to be sure those breaks make sense. But I’ll go a step further and check to see whether they hook together from scene to scene and chapter to chapter.

That’s actually a three-step process.

1. I’ll check to see whether there’s a tension-building cliffhanger (physical or emotional) in the few paragraphs before the break.

Yes? Check.

No? I’ll add a comment out to the side, with or without a specific recommendation.

2. I’ll check to see whether there’s a good hook immediately after the break. A good opening sentence or paragraph.

For examples of great opening hooks, see my free book (a $6 value) Writing Great Beginnings on the Free Stuff page of my website at

3. As long as I’m looking for a hook, I’ll also check to see whether the writer grounds (or re-grounds) the reader in the opening of the new scene or chapter.

For that, I’ll check the first few paragraphs of the new scene or chapter. That’s where you ground the reader, even amidst ongoing action.

So grounding. Yes? Check.

No? Again, I’ll add a comment out to the side, with or without a specific recommendation.

Okay, so while I’m on the topic, how do you ground or re-ground the reader in a new scene or chapter?

The only way is to allow the reader to sense (see, hear, smell, taste, touch) the setting through the POV character’s senses.

And remember to include the character’s opinions of the setting when appropriate. (When the opinion matters to the scene or illustrates the character of the character.)

One good example that I often use is a room in which the aroma of pipe tobacco lingers. Pretty much any character will notice it (smell).

But for one character it’s an aroma, and for another it’s a stench. For another the air is stuffy. For another it’s wonderful.

For another (or any of the above) perhaps it invokes a memory of the character’s father’s study.

For another (or any of the above) maybe it invokes the taste of cinnamon on toast because the scent of pipe tobacco is tied to that flavor for the character.

You get the idea. A good rule of thumb is to write NOTHING that doesn’t come through the POV character’s senses and opinion. And yes, that will flavor the character’s dialogue as well.

Most importantly, it will pull the reader into the setting and into the POV character’s head.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. Spent the first two hours with the usual stuff. Then around 6:30 I made a quick trip to the store.

Back at the house, I made and ate breakfast and did a chore or two. Oh, and wrote the stuff above. And just like that, over 4 hours of the day were gone.

Then I added another book to the Free Stuff page on my website (see above), then cross-posted the topic above to the big blog for posting sometime in December.

Around 9 I finally went face down in the copyedit.

Around 1:30 or so I realized I wasn’t going to write today. Edits pick up speed as you go through them. Perhaps I’ll begin writing again tomorrow or the next day.

For now, I’ll go ahead and post this.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Check the comments for The Magic Bakery: Chapter Three ( for yet another horror story re contracts.

I enjoyed “Fourth Story Finished Sort of…” ( because I’m glad to know it isn’t only me. (grin) Very interesting.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1000 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1000

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 7189
Total fiction words for the year………… 215745
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2080
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 59420

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 275165

The Journal, Friday, 3/31

Hey Folks,

Wow. One day left in March. Just today. It went by so fast!

By the time you read this, my buddy, my grandson and I will be doing little or nothing in one of the more beautiful spots on Earth, about 500 feet above the Gila River about 20 miles north/northeast of Lordsburg NM.

Back on Monday, April 3.

Topic: Indy Publishing Company/Imprint

For this topic, just in case anyone needs it, I’m basically expanding on an answer I wrote in response to an email inquiry awhile back.

You can find this stuff and a lot more in my Quick Guide to Self-Publishing & FAQs and The Essentials of Digital Publishing.

You can get both of those free by visiting, scrolling down and clicking on the links.

For now, here’s my response to “Can I Set Up My Own Publishing Company? What About Imprints?”

Yes, you can set up your own publishing company (or imprint).

For whatever name you have in mind, I suggest first you do a search on Google to see whether it’s already taken.

For example, if you own chickens and decide to use Bantam Books as your imprint, that would be a legal no-no because it’s already taken.

And no, your publisher name doesn’t vanish when you distribute through Smashwords or anyone else.

The front matter for my short stories on Smashwords reads like this:

Title of Short Story
Author Name

the Smashwords Edition of
a FrostProof808 publication
an imprint of StoneThread Publishing

For D2D and Amazon, it reads the same, but with “the Smashwords Edition of” removed.

Just so you know, the name of my publishing company is StoneThread Publishing.

One imprint of StoneThread Publishing is FrostProof808, under which I publish most of my short fiction. So if this were for a novel, the front matter would read like this:

Title of Novel or Short Story
Author Name

the Smashwords Edition of
a StoneThread Publishing novel

and again, “the Smashwords Edition of” would be removed before I submitted the document to D2D or anywhere other than Smashwords.

And yes, you can have more than one imprint.

For most of my short fiction, I use “a FrostProof808 publication.” For my more colorful, spicy short fiction, I use “a Blue TidBits publication” (um, and a pen name). For my nonfiction books on writing, I use “a Stippled Page publication” and so on.

But all of these fall under the umbrella of StoneThread Publishing.

To aid you with legal indemnity, I also recommend you set up an LLC, but that is not strictly a requirement. Both StoneThread Publishing and are LLCs.

Hope this helps some of you. Of course, I welcome questions and comments.

Today, and Writing

I’ll resume this segment when I get back.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s site today, “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Two” at Folks, this is a must-read for writers.

You might also want to scroll back through a few posts here and check some of the other sites I’ve mentioned recently. I’m not sure why they make it difficult (or impossible) to subscribe.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 500 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 500

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

Day 1…… 0978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… 3630 words. Total words to date…… 4608
Day 3…… 3764 words. Total words to date…… 8372
Day 4…… 3826 words. Total words to date…… 12198
Day 5…… 2521 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 6…… 4109 words. Total words to date…… 18828
Day 7…… 5401 words. Total words to date…… 24229
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 56690
Total fiction words for the year………… 208556
Total nonfiction words for the month… 20750
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 57340

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 265896

The Journal, Monday, 3/27

Hey Folks,

Dean has begun a series of posts on copyright. I’m not personally wild about the analogy he uses, but there should be a ton of good information there over the next several days.

* * *

I said I would update you regarding my experience with Cover to Upload.

Kathy did an excellent job, put up with my requirements and changes, was very quick to respond, and even uploaded the thing to CreateSpace for me.

Oh, she also sent files (two choices of a cover and the interior) for me to proof and then made a few changes for me before she uploaded it.

I can’t recommend her strongly enough. Please let her know I sent you if you go.

She even said she could do a book a week for me if I wanted her to. Seriously, you can’t beat this with a stick.

* * *

For those of you keeping up with the sparse saga of my grandson, first, thanks for your kind comments. Bryan’s going for an interview with Job Corps in mid-April. Together, he and I have explored a lot of options. We believe this is his best chance at a good life.

Topic: Different Characters, Different Worlds

The family unit is the first social group to which we are subjected. For that reason, the opening of this topic might seem a bit personal. But bear with it.

When I was a child of around 10, I suddenly became aware that I didn’t know my parents.

I knew of them, of course, in their role as my parents, and from my unique perspective.

But I didn’t know them as individual human beings. The same goes in the other direction.

They knew me as their child and in the context of the family dynamic, but again, from their different perspectives (stepmother’s and father’s).

Later I realized that my perspective and opinion of my parents was substantially different even from the perspectives and opinions of my siblings. Even though my siblings’ “level” in the family was comparable to my own.

I also realized that my opinions of different settings and events and even my memories of those settings and events differed significantly from the opinions and memories of my siblings and my parents.

Have you ever noticed that when you “remember” a specific setting or event and mention it to family or friends, often their rememberance differs from yours?

Have you ever noticed that you have a distinct opinion of a given setting? And that perhaps the opinions of others of that same setting differs from yours?

Those opinions are tainted not only with the immediate perception and personal preference of the character, but also with the character’s “baggage.” By which I mean, memories of earlier experiences, traumas and elations.

For example, say you walk into a library. Maybe to you, the atmosphere is “stuffy,” filled as it is with the smell of dust-covered volumes and the sound of people moving quietly among the stacks.

Maybe to the person accomanying you, the atmosphere is “pleasant.” Maybe to another it’s “loud” or “disquieting” or some other descriptor.

This is the main reason, when I’m talking with a memoir writer, that I say memoir is much more closely related to fiction than to nonfiction.

Memoir is a set of memories, from a unique perspective, of settings and events that have already happened.

Fiction is a set of memories, again from a unique perspective, of settings and events that have not yet happened.

But more to the point, those early realizations were also my early training to be a writer.

Those early realizations are why it was easy for me to accept the notion (from DWS) that if I wanted to ground the reader in my story, all setting description had to be sifted through the POV character’s physical senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell) and through his or her opinion of that setting.

We all (characters in life) have our own opinion of every setting we enter.

Being alone in an elevator provides a sense of claustrophobia or a chance for calm reflection. Being with a group in an elevator provides a feeling of unease or a fear of germs or a sense of unity and companionship.

When the elevator arrives and the doors sluice open, any given sight is pleasant or troubling or exciting or something in between. A body on the floor in the hallway horrifies one, awes another.

The lighting in any setting is bright or dim or absent, the sounds loud or quiet, the underlying psychic sense eerie or comforting.

One character is disgusted by all the dust illuminated in a beam of light coming through a window. Another is pleased at the warmth and hominess of it. Yet another is excited at all the worlds floating before him.

A room in which the ambient temperature is 55° is cold to one, chilly to another, and comfortable to a third.

The smell of tobacco smoke is an aroma or a stench. The smoke floating in the air is grey to one, silver to another, ugly to one, wispy and beautiful to another.

Every flavor is sweet or bitter, sharp or bland, acidic or alkiline. Every texture is smooth or rough, rippled or bumpy or wavy.

When an automobile backfires on the street it’s annoying to one, comforting to another, and a rifle shot to a third.

The sound of a jake brake in use on a big rig coming into town is annoying to one, comforting to another, and an act of defiance to a third.

Think back about your own life, your own opinions of settings. Consider your friends’ or partner’s opinions of the same settings and how they differ.

Now the trick — in your writing, realize that your opinion of a given setting doesn’t matter. But do insist that the POV character’s opinion makes it into the story.

And the story will come alive.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4:15 this morning after a good night’s rest.

Finally to the Hovel around 7 or a little later. I wrote the stuff above this.

9, a brief break up to the house. Well, the brief break turned longer. My cover and interior-layout person at Cover to Upload did an excellent job and sent me proofs. I looked them over, got a few requirements back to her, and now back to the novel.

9:50, finally to the novel. Wow! That was interesting. I opened the novel to find all of yesterday’s words missing.

Back to the house to retrieve my “conflicted copy” from the recycle bin on the other computer. That was the correct one. Transferred it to my flash drive, then back to the Hovel, downloaded it. Whew!

I feel just a little bit like the universe is screwing with me today. (grin)

I’ve rattled on far too long here. The rest of the day I’ll write with breaks about every hour. Then I’ll report the total here at the end. Thanks for staying tuned.

10, NOW finally to the novel.

Well, shutting down with a pretty good day at just over 4,000 words. Not as good as it sounds though. Not sure what kind of time I’ll have to write tomorrow. I have a doc appointment in Tucson, so I hope I’ll get some time to write.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “The Magic Bakery: Copyright in the Modern World of Fiction Publishing”

An excellent service provider: Cover to Upload. See

Fiction Words: 4109
Nonfiction Words: 1240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5349

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

Day 1…… 0978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… 3630 words. Total words to date…… 4608
Day 3…… 3764 words. Total words to date…… 8372
Day 4…… 3826 words. Total words to date…… 12198
Day 5…… 2521 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 6…… 4109 words. Total words to date…… 18828

Total fiction words for the month……… 51289
Total fiction words for the year………… 203155
Total nonfiction words for the month… 19000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 55590

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 258745