The Journal, Saturday, 8/22

The Day

Ray Bradbury’s birthday. Ray Bradbury is the guy who knew at 12 years old what it took me 62 years to learn. Glad I didn’t wait until I was 63. Blessings, Mr. Bradbury. And thank you so much.

Rolled out at 3 this morning. Checked email, got my coffee and had to go run off a bunch of coyotes. Ugh.
No walk again today. Just writing again today.

Listen, if you’re publishing your own stuff through your own publishing company, check out

I wrote a new short story today. When I went to publish it to Smashwords, for the first time EVER (153 books) my story didn’t convert to any format at Smashwords. I nuked it, tried again, and it still didn’t convert, which tells me it pretty much has to be their problem. So I sent them an email to that effect.

Then I popped over to D2D. I’d heard about it before, but hadn’t tried it. All within about a half-hour, I signed up for an account, uploaded my book and cover, and it was published in PDF, .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (everything else). It was just that quick.

And the quality is incredible.

In my opinion, you still need to do some basic formatting (or have it done) but the service itself is great.
D2D does not have their own online store, but they do distribute to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Inktera, Scribd, Tolino, and Oyster. These are all individual bookstores, and some of them have subsidiaries. I’m going with D2D from now on for these venues.

I’ll also continue to publish with Amazon KDP (but not Select, not exclusively) and with Smashwords mostly for their online store.

Now for a break, then back to writing.

Topic of the Night: Write What Scares You

Stephen King advises writers to “write what scares you.” Sounds right to me.

Bear in mind, this isn’t just for horror writers. The good writer will evoke emotions from the reader. The stronger the better.

Now when I say write what scares you, I don’t mean the “they’re only zombies so I know it isn’t real” kind of scary.

I mean you’re tied up so you can’t intervene, your eyelids are sliced off so you can’t close your eyes, and you’re forced to watch as an intruder uses garden shears to lop off the leg, just above the ankle, of a two year old child.

The intruder looks at you, sneers, then turns back to the baby again.

The child, wide eyed, screaming, automatically reaches down to grab the stump and— Oh! Oh no! No! Snip! Her little hand and arm are gone halfway to the elbow.

Wider eyes. Wider mouth. Louder screams.

Just when you thought louder screams weren’t possible.

Notice that you don’t have to “imagine” the child’s eyes stretched wide in disbelieving horror. You can see them, can’t you? And you don’t have to imagine the screams either, do you?

And I’m just messin’ around here, givin’ you a f’rinstance.

Now, y’know those coyotes I mentioned before? I have nightmares sometimes about a song dog carrying off my baby girl. Seriously, nightmares. Obviously, that’s something that scares me.

So following King’s advice, I wrote a very similar scene in a short story called “A Natural Study of the Scream.”

Now I’m just enough of a scientist that I actually noticed, writing that scene in that story created an odd, almost paradoxical sensation. First, it was easy to write. I would have thought it would be difficult to put on paper, but it wasn’t. It was easy. The writing almost raced away without me.

But it also left me trembling, physically. I was upset to the point that I had to pour a couple fingers of Jameson’s to sooth it away. That was the first drink of alcohol I’d had in a very long time.

Writing that scene in that story was an experience. One I both dread and will most definitely repeat.

Because that’s good writing.

Today’s Writing

Wrote for a while on Book 9, still struggling with tight stuff and otherwise getting started.

Left that for awhile and wrote the first new story of my challenge. I took a brief break, came back, sat down and wrote Pete & Repeat. Then I skipped a couple lines and just started writing whatever came through my fingertips. MAN that feels good!

It will publish under the Free Short Story of the Week tab on Monday morning. Felt good to create a new story and a new cover. And the story was FUN. Read it. You’ll like it. No garden shears or anything. (grin)

Feeling a little under the weather and a lot of things up in the air right now. Hard to get settled in. I got a little done on the novel, but not a lot. It’s coming. Stay tuned. (grin)

Fiction Words: 2685

Writing of “Pete & Repeat” (story of the week)
Day 1…… 1662 words. Total words to date….. 1662 words (done)

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words

Total fiction words for the month…………… 18371
Total fiction words for the year……………… 460771

3 thoughts on “The Journal, Saturday, 8/22”

  1. Happy b- day, Ray. But what did he learn at 12 that took you a few extra years to learn? I like the idea of writing what scares me. I’m ahead there, as writing scares me sometimes.????

    • From a friend, Chris Stern, yesterday in an email: On his 80th birthday, [Bradbury] said: “The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was 12.” At 12 he knew the best way to write was to put your fingers on the keyboard and write whatever comes. (grin)

  2. Sounds good. I could do that…except for litter boxes, let dogs out, clean kitty hairballs, feed the menagerie. Fun stuff. Someday, hmm. I need my own house. But you keep going, Harvey, you do great for us.

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