Saturday, December 28, 2013

Just finished 'Prince of the City: The Cats Whiskers' by Mackenzie Brown!

'Prince of the City: The Cat's Whiskers' is a wonderful return to a genre I love; the hard nosed, struggling detective, pitched knee deep into a dangerous, sticky mess of intrigue.

'The Cat's Whiskers' is the first installment of a story that centers around war torn Liverpool in the early 40's. Vic Prince's flat feet and asthma prevented him from enlisting to serve his country but there is plenty of menacing peril along the Mersey and Vic seems to draw it in like flies to honey.

Vic is a wise cracking gumshoe; a black man struggling with the prejudices of the time to make a living for himself and his lovely Chinese girlfriend.

A seemingly innocuous case to find a missing cat for a wealthy client quickly turns into something much more complicated. Soon he's wrapped up in the black market, Russian spies and beautiful but dangerous women. What's not to enjoy!

I love books like this and Mr. Brown has hooked me good. I can't wait for the next installment!

'Prince of the City: The Cat's Wiskers'

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

No matter who you are; friend, family, twittermate, bloggermate, new blog reader, what ever; I wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful start to the new year. I hope you spent the last year enjoying life as much as possible.

My prayer and hope for all is that you make time for friends, family and those around you.

Be happy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time to rest and recharge???

It's that time of year.

I can feel the Universe winding slowly down, it's taut spring finally relaxing, all that frenetic energy spent at last. The knots in my shoulder are starting to melt back into muscle.

That's just the way I am. I go full steam ahead all year. I don't pace myself like I should (and like I advise others to do, so sue me ;-). I can't. If it needs to be done, I want to do it and get it done NOW. That goes for writing, fixing the faucet, writing, getting the oil changed, writing, ... well, you get it.

But about this time, every year, I feel the steam pressure dropping at last. I stop obsessing about everything. The fog of war starts to clear and I can see the stars again. I realize I don't have to meet some self imposed deadline for anything.

It can all just wait till next year.

I hope you get a chance to stop and smell the rum balls, taste the fudge and enjoy a cup of eggnog.

Life is precious, my friends, so very precious. Stop for awhile and soak it in. Let the season enrich you. Listen to the sound of children laughing. Watch your favorite Christmas movie with the lights out and mug of hot chocolate. Call your family and tell them how much you love them and miss them.

Relax.

The world can spin for awhile without us.

Furl the sails and drop anchor, Arlo, we're heading for the nearest tavern for a round of grog and song.

God bless you all.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brrrrr what the heck???

OK, just a quick 'what the heck' is going on here in North Texas.... or should I say the frozen North! ;-)

Just for the record, Texas does get snow and ice occasionally. It's not all dust storms and tumbleweeds here, no matter what you read. And it does get cold. Not Idaho cold, or New England bitter cold but, you know, chilly.

But this is insane! I haven't been this cold since I moved down from Boulder, Colorado, ten years ago! It's been a frozen landscape since Thursday! Incredible.

On the positive side, I've been writing and reading and really enjoying the fireplace. I'm keeping a cup of hot cider or coffee on the table while I enjoy 'Inferno'. What a wonderful ride through Venice history, full visuals, excitement and great twists.

I hope you are snug, warm and cranking away on your current story.

Be cool, er, warm!

Monday, December 2, 2013

What are YOU planning next???

You've just finished that novel or short story or poem and you're sitting back with a silly smile on your face.

It was a bitc., I mean a bugger, but you did it. Great concept; great plot arc; great dialog; wonderful end game. Wow, what could be better than resting after finally putting the last polish on it and releasing it?

How about this. Pick up your pen, grab a cup of tea or coffee and go to your daydreaming place. Sit your sorry butt down in your thinking chair and outline 3 books.

Don't stop until each one has a strong beginning, a couple of arcs and a solid finale. Throw in as much or as little dialog as you like. If the characters aren't talking to you, don't worry, maybe they'll join the party later.

I don't care if ANY of these stories are worth a pig's ear. Just write them. Let your imagination go, don't hold back anything. Just finish each one. Today. Nobody is going to see them right now.

It's your chance to play, to experiment, to be silly or grim or adventurous or mysterious or poetic.

Why?

There's no pressure. No deadlines. No preconceived plot or story concept. No time to second guess yourself. You're free to sling words at will (look out Will!) and have some fun.

I keep these little outlines in a folder for future reference. A couple have become decent ideas for books. Most are just a chance to explore my imagination and HAVE FUN!

Let me know if you do anything like this when you're writing, my readers and would love to know!

Keep writing!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's time again to give thanks...

I'm going to devote the next few days to my family, giving thanks for all the blessings we receive on a daily basis. Though I'm sure I'll sneak in a few minutes on my outlines and notes ;-)

I want to thank you, dear Reader, for your support as well. When you leave a kind note (or even a critique!) on a writer's blog, you engage him/her and make them better writers. Talking to my readers helps me understand what I'm doing well and where I'm dropping the ball.

I want to thank those who take a chance on a new writer and buy my books. I know every buck counts these days. All you have to go by are my blogs/tweets and a short blurb on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords or Goodreads. And there are lots of other writers vying for your attention.

I want to thank those vendors I've mentioned for providing the chance for someone with no agent or experience to get exposure to millions of readers around the world. I know they get a portion of the sales but it's a fair portion in my estimation.

I want to thank my day job company for employing a 'mature' worker and treating me as well as any of the young whipper-snappers there. I am truly blessed to work with some exceptional people.

So, before I get maudlin, I'll finish this and say I thank God for all the blessings of my life. My wife, daughters, granddaughters and the rest of the family.

I  hope your Thanksgiving is blessed and happy.

Be cool.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Support is essential...

In the past few months, I've had an incredible amount of support from members of  the Season Short Story Group, Twitter Mates I've found online, family and friends. It's been amazing.

When I released 'Arlo and Jake: Galactic Boot Camp' last month, I was pretty skeptical that my SciFi series was going to go anywhere. Sales of Book #1, 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' have been slow, to be generous. 'Genome' seems a distant forgotten cousin.

I know, I know. I'm not a known author. I don't have a hit on Amazon or Barnes and Noble to put me up in the ranks. My books are not about vampires, werewolves, dragons or the seemingly infinite varieties of fantasy sex. And my writing is still at the 'getting better' stage.

Really, I haven't expected my works to gain instant worldwide recognition and push me to fame and fortune. I'm a pretty pragmatic guy, overall. I do this because I enjoy it.

But I was honestly getting pretty down. Like all of you writers, I work a day job and write as much as possible every night and on weekends. Lately, it seems like a lot of blood, sweat and tears for very little return.

In spite of all this, my support group continues to urge me on, to push me and encourage me. Without them I probably would have lost steam long ago and went back to dreaming about raising pigs with my brother in Colorado to support me in my old age. (Inside joke. Larry's place was originally a pig farm. He hates pigs. ;-)

So I want to thank everyone for all the simple 'good job' and 'keep plugging' tweets, emails and comments. Each time I get one of these little pep pills, it puts things back into perspective and gives me an adrenalin boost. It keeps me going, trying to get better and smarter.

So. I lift a glass of Rodeo Red in all your directions and say, "Thanks".

I mean it. Thank you.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Arlo and Jake Book 2 is out!!!

Yep, the 'series' actually has two, count 'em, TWO books now! 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp' has been released on Amazon! Here's a convenient link: http://amzn.to/1aqKu3I I've published on Barnes and Noble but it's still in 'processing'.

You can read my previous posts on how hard this book was to write and get out the door. Trying to get better with each book takes more time. Go figure! ;-)

I'm really pleased with book two; more characters to mess with, more bad guys to foil, more chances for Jake to put his foot in his mouth.

I hope you enjoy this installment. Now, on to book three!



The adventure continues! 'Arlo and Jake: Galactic Boot Camp'.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's almost here.... yes!

After a bazillion rewrites, corrections, agonizing over how much to say or how much not to say in this paragraph or that sentence; it's done!

I've uploaded the manuscript and started the publishing process. All I have left is the cover and that will be done this week! Whoo Hooo!

It took months longer than I thought it would. Good grief, how could I have underestimated so badly? See if you can learn from my mistakes:
1. Enthusiasm. I really enjoyed writing this book, it made me feel like I could do anything. I can't. I can do what I can do, I'm not Superman. Nuts.
2. Rigidity. At first I stuck to the outline I created. That was OK up to a point, but it kept me from trying alternatives, new characters, new paths. Once I tossed the idea of using the outline verbatim I had fun again.
3. Professional pride. I just had to make this book better than the last one. I spent way too much time trying to be someone I'm not yet; a professional writer. This book is a step above book one. That's enough. I'll take what I learned here and the next one will be better still.
4. Life. Full time job. Family responsibilities. Friends who want to play cards. Yard work. Car repairs. A whole day on the porch just snoozing. Ahh. Life is more than writing. Sorry you had to hear that but for me, it's true. Life is for living. Writing makes life more meaningful but it's not all there is.

So. Get the cover done. Finish the publishing steps for Nook, Kindle and on Createspace for the paperback copy.

Remember to have fun. I'm going to try.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Check out my interview with Lydia Aswolf on BlogTalkRadio!!!

Well, I didn't totally embarrass myself on my first online BlogTalkRadio interview! http://bit.ly/18LVb0b Whew! ;-)

I spent an hour with host Lydia Aswolf on 'Lydia's Literary Lowdown with Lydia Aswolf'. Here is a link to her show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search?q=lydias-literary-lowdown , you can check all her interviews.

Lydia is an amazing interviewer. She kept me on track, asking relevant, interesting questions. It was fun to walk her through how I came up with the concept and where it surprised even me.

We talked about my SciFi series 'Arlo and Jake'. I told her the second book, 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp' is out this month. I also talked about plans for a total of 10 books in the series.

We also talked about 'Genome', my first, more serious, novel. She loved the concept, how I tied in biotech with the possibility that DNA mutations could allow some people to communicate with the spirit worlds. Not surprisingly since, as you'll see from her website, since Lydia is a Psychic and Medium, as well as a dynamite book reviewer and interviewer!

I was pleasantly surprised that Lydia really enjoyed 'Arlo and Jake Enlist'. She totally got what I am trying to do with the series, so it felt really good to hear that validation.

Please stop by here and check it out! http://bit.ly/18LVb0b

Lydia is active on twitter at  and has a web site at http://lydiaaswolf.com/.

I would appreciate you stopping by, listening to the interview and leaving a comment. Then stop back by here and leave a comment too. I'd like to know if you enjoyed the interview and if there is something else I could do on these interviews to let you know more about me and my writing.

Thanks again. My friends and fans ROCK!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm going to be on blogtalkradio!! Whoo Hooo!

Yup. Yours truly, the Tacky Texan, is going to have his first online blog radio talk session with Lydia Aswolf, this Saturday ( 5 Oct 2013 ) at 5 PM Eastern/ 4 PM Central.

Lydia is active on twitter at  and has a web site at http://lydiaaswolf.com/. There is a link to the 'Radio Show' on the main page. Check it out!

Here's the link to the interview before I forget! http://bit.ly/18LVb0b

The show is called 'Lydias Literary Lowdown with Lydia Aswolf'. Please mosey over and listen to her current interviews. Here's a link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search?q=lydias-literary-lowdown

We're going to talk about my 'Arlo and Jake' series, writing, marketing, ePub and who knows what else. Should be a hoot. That's assuming I can talk without sounding like a complete dork.;-)

Please stop by and listen during the show or hit the link after the show.

Thanks!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What do you do for a preview?

I'm ready to launch 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp', book two of my humorous Sci-Fi series. In the first book, 'Arlo and Jake Enlist', I put a preview of the first chapter of book two after the last chapter.

I've seen this, to various degrees, in other books as a 'teaser' to the next book in a series. I kinda like it. It gets me fired up for the next story. Especially if the book I just finished was decent.

In book two, I was planning on adding the preview to book three 'Arlo and Jake Lost Partner'. But I'm wondering if maybe it would good to mix it up a little. Rather than 3 to 10 pages of story line, what if I just put in a teaser paragraph or two? I've seen this done in series as well.

Any thoughts on which you like best?

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Once more into the breach...

Thanks for your patience, hopefully the blog is getting 'better'. I made my book links much more obvious and added some quick info about each.

Do you like it?

Better?

It's a start, anyway. ;-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Please stand by...

Please bear with me as I try to add images to my book links. Though I understand the tag concepts I'm having a little difficulty doing it the 'easy way' I hoped it would be.

I apologize for the sloppy look while I try to bring this blog up to the high standard you deserve.

Sigh. Even programmers have their weaknesses! ;-)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just to be clear... NEVER GIVE UP!

I've had several conversations, over twitter, this blog and face-to-face (remember when we did everything in person? ;-) about how frustrating and hard writing can be. How the urge to just give it up grows stronger and stronger every day that you don't get a sale. Or maybe it's sitting down to face a rewrite you really don't want to do but you know you must. Arrrggghhh, why can't it just flow like water from my imagination! Why aren't people buying my book?

The biggest obstacle you must get past is the urge to quit. The wall. The dark pit of 'one more edit'. The fifth rewrite of that stupid scene that just won't gel.

You cannot stop. You cannot quit. The wall can be climbed, the pit hurtled. You know you can, because you've done it before. A couple of times or a thousand times; it doesn't matter. You've done it before and your story is much better because of your effort.

Everyone has ideas on how to push past writers' block or the urge to give up. Sure, go ahead and search for some ideas online. Talk to authors and writing groups. Lots of good ideas out there.

The simplest one is: You Cannot Quit.

It's like these concepts:
You cannot stop breathing. (Please don't try this at home ;-)
You cannot go 100 hours without sleep.
You cannot jump 100 feet into the air.
You cannot grow wings and fly. (Except in dreams, of course.)

You cannot ...well, you get the idea. There are things that you truly cannot do. But giving up on your story is not one of those things.

The personal reward for finishing a good story is worth it. You know it is. You are rewarded for a story well done. I'm rewarded if I get to read your story. The world is rewarded because an author has made his imagination available to us all.

Don't quit.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Final, final polish...

The editing is done!

Wait, wait, don't celebrate yet! The 'editing' is done, but grammar, corrections and character 'enhancements' are never enough to say 'done'.

While I think I'm almost there, my editor has made some great suggestions that I have to review and consider. I want book two to be better than book one. A story that will make you look forward to the rest of the series.

It's very hard for me to wait. I'm impatient. I'm lazy and I really just want to pub this thing and start on the next one. Sigh...

But I'm going to finish this book and not look back in regret for a job poorly done. It's a few days of work. I can do this.

So.
- Make the last scene tighter
- Reread and polish all the chapters (arrghhh)
- Write a 'preview' for book three

THEN publish this puppy!

Time for an umbrella drink...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Between novels...

I'm about half way through a short story I hope to sell to Analog or Asimov or ??

I decided that I needed to keep stretching and practicing my writing, rather than wait for 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp' to finish being edited.

My theory is that I should always have a goal in front of me, something to work on and keep me striving to be a better writer. It's a theory. My life is full of theories, some tested, some proven and some forgotten. ;-)

So I picked up a plot line from the list of plot lines I keep around and started to brain storm a little. I'm liking what I have so far AND I'm getting to test the magazine short story waters. I've never published in a SciFi/Fantasy magazine.

The story is about an event that involves the entire human race and a decision that each human must make for themselves; literally a life or death decision.

It's a compelling, thought provoking story with just a little humor to keep it readable. I can't seem to write dark, hard core SciFi, I'm always adding a little humor to break up the tension. People write as they see life, and mine needs humor!

I'll update more on how it goes. I hope to have the story done this weekend and then submit to one of the magazines.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Winding down one, winding up the next....

'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp' is in final edit!!! I know, I've said that before, but this time it's for real!! ;-) The final polish, one more search for 'the the' and 'a a' and 'said' instead of 'says' and it's e-press time!!

While I wait, I'm waking Arlo and Jake and their friends up from their extended slumber and getting them primed for book 3! Time to shake up the Fleet and go kick some Octozoid butt; if I can figure out where their butt would be... hmmmm.

I've learned tons from this second book. Arlo is sassier and Jake is gaining more confidence in the hectic universe he's been thrown into. I've added more interesting characters and had fun with my first 'bad guy'. I think you'll love/hate this guy! ;-)

My writing is getting 'meatier' as well. I'm not as afraid to give the reader more insight into the characters lives and more vision into the universe I see when I write about my heroes. It only takes one glass of Rodeo Red to slip into writing mode now!

I'm looking forward to the second book's debut and popping a virtual bottle of champagne with all my readers and followers.

You guys rock!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rats and double rats...

That's what I get for messing with my blog templates, etc. I've lost my reviews!

Sigh.

OK, time to dig through the dim, dusty attic that is my memory and put as many of them back as I can remember.

Computers are nice, but I really wish I had that stack of 3X5 cards that I used to keep in my shirt pocket. My 'paper brain' was much better at keeping track of things in the 'good ole days'.

In the mean time, I'm writing a SciFi short story that I hope to sell to Analog or Asimov. It's based on a weird dream (go figure) I had years ago about a world changing event that challenges every human on Earth to make a mind-boggling decision. I may put some excepts on this blog and seek your critiques.

Time to rummage around the old noggin and find some reviews.

Sigh.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Almost there.... groan

It's like pulling teeth with a tiny pair of tweezers while juggling watermelons! So many things to line up, complete, polish, fret over. A bit overwhelming if you stop to think about it.

All you can do is pick 'this thing' to do right now and go do it.

When 'that thing' is done, pick the next thing and go do that.

If you don't take a single step you won't go anywhere.

So:
My editor is almost done. Check!
Next is rewriting the final scene, then reedit that.
Next is ??? we'll see...

Keep stepping forward, ladies and gents, don't stop to worry about getting to the end.

Just keep walking until you get there.

Be cool, be good, enjoy the moment.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Camp Balator adventure is 'drafted'!!

For those (both of you ;-)) who are following my struggles to get Book 2 of the Arlo and Jake series 'done'; good news! The rough draft is complete! Our heroes survive, but just barely. Not much of a spoiler there since by definition, in a series the heroes must prevail!

I've got tons of work to do:
- Improve the final scene(s). They're ok but I want them 'better'.
- Read aloud, find/fix the inevitable issues and oops.
- Rewrite, rewrite, repeat/rinse.
- Find a cover.
- Plan a release promotion of some kind. (No clue how to do this.)
- Generate some pre-release interest in the book and the series. (Again, no clue. See the pattern here?)
- possibly drop the price of Book 1 to .99 or free?

After this baby is kicked out into the streets I need to shift to a coding project I've neglected. Writing a mobile game with a friend. I'm hoping it will be a couple of weeks of dedicated work and then back to writing.

Which brings up a conundrum. I want to attack book 3 of Arlo and Jake and keep the series going. But I have several other projects that need attention.
- rewrite on Genome. Several twitter-friends have pinged on me to improve dialog, structure and other things that would take Genome 'to a higher level'. Is it worth the time? Will it improve sales of Genome? Not sure.
- several ideas on a series based on the Geek Squad in 'Genome'. Short stories where PIP and the GS play detective, solving crimes in Boulder. I love this idea but again, is it worth it?
- produce a short story collection. I have a dozen or so short stories I could use. Worth it?
- I have a complete novel based on the last days of the American Indian Wars that I wrote years ago for a writing class. It's good. It would need lots of TLC to be 'good enough' to pub.

So. finish Book 2 and then?

What would you do?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Last chapter in outline!!! Whoo Hooo!

OK. This is one of the hardest things I've done as a writer, so far. The last bleep-bleep chapter of book two of the Arlo and Jake series.

I've had a rough idea of the ending for a while, but getting started on it has been extremely hard. Distractions, rewriting other chapters, trying to market my existing books and of course work. (Damn those day jobs! ;-)

I decided I needed a butt-kick to move this chapter forward. So last night I sat down and did a line-item bullet list of 12 lines that describe the sequence of events and some motivations. I didn't quit until I had something that would work and wasn't 'too bad'.

Here's the first part:
- the whole class is stationed around the course in viewing rooms
- the implants will only work between triad members to make the course harder
- the 5 triads are briefed by Rocky and Chief Breem at the starting gate
- course has 5 tubes/fingers of 3 obstacle ‘rooms’ that start together and end together.
- each triad has to work it’s way through it’s 3 rooms and end up in the final room
- each triad has to work through the last room and reach the ‘finish button’ at the ‘end’

It took over an hour to write 12 lines. Sheesh! But now I have the scene in my head and I can mull over it, sleep on it, rewrite it, etc. I have something I can play with. Finally!

How do you do it? Do you get stuck? How the hell do you kick start the story again? I really want to know.

Now, I just need to add meat to the bones and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!

Best of luck!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Take your time...

It's one of my writing faults that I'm very impatient to be 'done'. I want to get the story on paper, edit it once and ship it! But of course I also want the story to be great.

It's been a exercise in self-control to stop that bad habit while writing 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp'. But I'm already seeing the benefits of just slowing down and focusing.

I've been rereading, redoing, trying this, hell no that doesn't work so try that, rewriting, playing with the outline, rewriting, all sorts of things to flesh out this second book. I want it to be better than book 1 and better than 'Genome', my other novel.

I want the 'Arlo and Jake' series to be really good. For that to happen, I must pay more attention to details, create an enjoyable story 'arc' with tensions and climaxes, create better character 'depth' and add more smart ass remarks by Arlo.

I'm bringing in more characters, good and bad. Of course the bad ones are the most fun to work with. So I've introduced 'Taash', a mercenary assassin of the D'bak society. He's a real nasty character and is causing my heroes plenty of pain. Cool!

Adding more tension, ups and downs, 'whoa, didn't see that coming!' stuff to your plot keeps the reader interested. Adding more characters, to assist and defy your heroes, brings the reader deeper into the story to boo-hiss the villain and applaud the white hats. Adding unique and interesting environments for the characters to explore broadens the plot and gives the reader more places to roam.

But it takes time.

Take your time.

Do it well. Enjoy it.

Keep writing, Buckos!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Thank you Vanessa  for nominating me for this award. Vanessa is the Grand Pobah of the Seasonal Short Stories Group , a collection of supportive, brilliant writers from around the world.

The Rules:
1. Copy and place the Beautiful Blogger Award in your post.
2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7 fellow bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award, tell them by posting a comment on their blogs.

Now 7 Things About Me:
1. I enlisted in the US Navy at 17, served on two Nuclear Subs(long since turned into razor blades and Slinkys) and taught Naval Nuclear Propulsion for three years. I mustered out of the Navy at 27. Ah, the simple, formative years.
2. I read 3 to 5 books a week, not counting software books.
3. My favorite books are Glory Road (Robert Heinlein) and Shogun (James Clavell).
4. I was born and raised in Levelland (yes level land ;-) Texas, USA. I moved to Boulder, Colorado, USA in 1964, when hippies still roamed the world.
5. My favorite non-fiction subjects are Cellular Biology, Artificial Intelligence and World Naval History.
6. I have been a software developer since 1980. I owe my career to two men who believed in me even though I didn't have a degree. Dave Granger and Phil Chermak. Bless you, mates!
7. A perfect meal would be Red Robins Cajun Clucks and fries with a bottle of Los Pinos Vineyards Sweet Rodeo Red, served on the patio on a cool Sunday afternoon. Ahhhh.

PS: For the nominees, you are not under any obligation whatsoever to take the awards.
My nominees:
1. James Smith
2. Mack Brown
3. Charles Wells
4. Robbie Cox
5. H. P. Oliver
6. Karen Einsel
7. Vanessa already took Gary Henry!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Over another hurdle

I've been sort of stuck in 'Arlo and Jake Bootcamp', not making much progress. Lots of distractions with family, work, dental hell (had 2 back teeth removed, what fun!), work, holidays, work, etc.

It was like pushing lettuce through peanut butter but I managed to write a couple of paragraphs and then, bang, got a plot line inspiration. That line carried me forward to the end of the chapter. I'm ready to move on now.

I have no idea what gave me the inspiration, but I think it was always there waiting for me. Once again, I just had to hit the keyboard every night, even if all I do rework and 'tink, 'tink, 'tink.

Also, I had a chance to catch up on some reading, and that seems to clear my mind. I get involved in a different story and stop worrying about my story. Then when I come back to it, I'm not doing the 'what now/nope that's wrong/what now/nope that's wrong' mental loop-d-loop.

The boys have met their Triad members and I've introduced another Triad to drive some tension into their boot camp experience. Cool!

I'm thinking about getting a notebook to draw/doddle ideas as well. I've done that before and like doing it. How much it helps I'm not sure. But it's fun, so what the heck.

Keep writing, my friends.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I'm bbaaaacccckkkkk! ;-)

Well, mostly. Still find myself drifting a little, but at least I'm motivated to dig in again and get Arlo and Jake moving along in 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp', book two of the series.

I'm introducing some new characters that I want to bond with our heroes and share their adventures. They form a 'Triad' in boot camp and compete together, striving to make 'Top Triad' or some such name. I felt the need to broaden the series with some more good guys and some more bad guys.

My favorite series are those where you have a strong hero, male or female (I love the Honor Harrington series, check it out!), who needs the help of other characters who are drawn to his cause. One of the strengths of the Dirk Pitt series, by Clive Cussler, is Dirks interactions with his group of friends, who all have their own story, strengths and weaknesses.

I'm introducing Jake to an Adrian female and a Grockna male to become the 'Tark' triad, together with their own 'partners'. 'Partners' are like Arlo is to Jake. They usually start out as pets of the Recruit, but not always. You'll have to read the book to learn why they choose the name 'Tark'.

There is also a rival Triad that competes with our Tark's all through boot camp. Not bad guys, just there for the same reasons. And they want the boot camp 'Best of the Best' trophy. Of course Jake is not a trophy seeker so this presents some issues.

Well, time to get back to my heroes and get them into some serious training!

Keep writing and move that story forward!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Writing with half your mind...

It's hard enough to push 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp' forward when I'm operating on all 8 cylinders (look it up, kids, 8 used to be the 'big' engines, not 4 ;-), but my mind has been spinning around a dozen other ideas, leaving me with only a few to work with.

I've got some good traction on Boot camp, but I need to focus. Do you find it difficult some times to put aside all the other distractions that pop up? They're great ideas and distractions, so how do I manage them?

I know you all have the same problem, and I've talked about this before but this is the first time I've really had to make myself focus on a book. I wonder if it's the self-imposed pressure to finish by the end of the month? Or is it just that the other ideas a so compelling?

So. Here's my plan.
- Finish a chapter on Boot camp
- update my new Magnus Somnium Facebook page
- Finish another chapter
- Pick a story for Analog or Asimov
- Rinse and repeat
- finish Boot camp and publish it

Lame as it sounds, as least I have a plan now!

Wish me luck, Buckoos!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Arlo and Jake visit Camp Balator!

After all the distractions and vacation, etc, I'm back on the good ship Triumph of the FTS Space Naval fleet, getting ready to send our intrepid heroes, Arlo and Jake, to intensive training on the moon based Camp Balator!
Writing book 2 of the series is turning out to be just as much fun as book 2, maybe more. I get to stretch the plot line, adding more interesting characters and places. I get to strengthen the relationship between Pixie and Jake, Arlo and Leeta and others.
Book 1 was a quick intro of my heroes into the amazing galaxy of characters fighting an epic battle for life itself. I intentionally made it only 100 pages, short and exciting.
The remaining books are the 'real story'. I'm shooting for 150 pages or so for each. Still short by today's standards, but in my mind the perfect length for books in an adventure series.
I've outlined around 10 books for my dippy heroes, though I'm hoping more adventures will develop as I go along. It's a big Universe out there, with plenty of trouble for our guys to get into and then try to get out of!
I continue to keep all my outline notes, characters, places, 'things' (like fleet ship types and names), etc in text file for ready access and update. This has been a great way to check myself as I'm writing and 'tinking about what I could do. It's also a great place to put 'ideas for things to talk about'.
One of the cool concepts I created was 'Einstein', Jakes avatar for his personal Library interface. It was an idea I had and wanted to include 'somewhere' but not in the story where I thought of it. So I wrote up a summary in my notes file and waited for the right place to introduce it. Otherwise it would have just been another cool idea I had and then forgot!
Well, time to get the boys into the training camp. Keep writing, Buckos, see you in camp!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Back to work!

The last week was a total vacation from just about everything. Work, social activities, TV, pretty much the world, except for my lovely wife. We took a week to chill and let the world function without us.

And, of course, the Sun, Moon and stars still march in their appointed posts in the sky. The Earth continues to spin round and round, blissfully unaware of it's silly inhabitants.

It was wonderful. No guilt about deadlines. No media sensationalism. Didn't have to groan once when yet another politician said something moronic. Can we just send these people back to school and make them retake basic Social and Government studies?

While sipping umbrella drinks, I read Charles E. Wells 'The Beginning'(check it out!) and some Asimov and Analog stories. It was blissful. I could read for a while, doze for while, and snore for awhile. Life was good.

Another great aspect was just drifting through more story ideas for my 'Arlo and Jake' series. I let myself visualize my reluctant heroes in what ever predicament popped up.

Some ideas were pretty good, some too silly even for me. I think not having any pressure to write them down or 'work on them' let me just 'drift' from idea to idea. It was cool!

So. It's back to work on these new ideas and my current story. I'm refreshed, motivated and full of silly ideas. Whoo Hoo!

Take a break when you can. Let yourself recharge. You'll love it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Grand Experiment continues...

After last Fri/Sat's free promotion on KDP Select, I had over 200 'borrow' downloads and 2 buys for 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' and 'Genome'.

So 200 people have a chance to view my work for free and hopefully post a review. Much better than a swift kick in the butt!

I had my expectations a little higher, but in reality I had no clue what to expect. I tweeted as much as I could and posted on my FB page and here on my blog. A few family and friends helped out with FB postings as well.

I'm going to try again as soon as I get Book Two of the 'Arlo and Jake' series out. That seems a good time to offer up the first book for free.

I'm also going to see if maybe there were more ways I could have advertised the promo. Hey, I'm new at this, I'm going to fumble the first few tries. ;-)

I'll keep you up to date with the results. So far it's a 'meh' from me. Seems to have drawn 'some' interest, but I'm not sure taking my books off B&N for 90 days has done much good.

Let me know what your experience has been for 'Select' or other promo programs.

Thanks and be cool.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

'Arlo and Jake Enlist' is free for 2 days!

This Friday and Saturday I've made 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' free on Amazon. Get it Here!

I'm running this 2 day promo to see if I can muster some interest/readership in this series before I publish the second book, 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp' at the end of Feb.

Please pass the word.

Thanks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Let's try something new...

After way too many searches, blog slogs, forums finds , tweet beats, FB forages, etc, etc, etc, I've put both 'Genome the novel' and 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' on KDP Select and removed them from both B&N and Smashwords.

For now.

Smashwords has been a total bust for me. Not a single sale in 10 months. 1 Download in 10 months. Nada, zip.

B&N did OK the first few days for each book. That's when my friends and family bought the book ;-) After that maybe 3 sales. I don't know to whom the sales were made so could have be friends but probably not.

Amazon has been my biggest market seller by 75%.

So. For 90 days you can 'borrow' the books as well as buy them.

I'm hoping that they get some much needed exposure and find some readership that will prime the pump for the second 'Arlo and Jake' book in the series, 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp'.

It's an experiment. Who knows what will happen. But if I don't try, I'll never know.

Wish me luck, me Buckos!

Be Cool.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

7 Writer Challenge Pass On

I was tagged by one of the awesome authors in my short story group, Karen Einsel. The idea is to keep up with other author works by posting a 7 lines from my current work and looking at the 7 lines from 7 other authors.
Karen's blog is at Karen's Different Corners, please check out her writing and blog.

So here's the 7 lines from 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp'. It's the second book in my SciFi spook series 'Arlo and Jake'. Jake is a retired software widower spending his 'golden' years on the beach in Port Aransas, eating hot wings and drinking Fat Tire by the case. Arlo is his pet chameleon. Hey, it's funny, man, trust me ;-) The secound book picks up our heroes as they start Space Bootcamp.

'Arlo and Jake Galactice Bootcamp'
-
I slide into the booth and press a small icon on the service panel in the table surface. “Earth.  African savannah.  Dusk.  Thunderstorm,” I say into the intercom. Since no one else has requested a view, the screens morph from the star field to an amazing African storm. The lounge feels like it’s been transported to a spot just under a huge baobab tree, looking out into a rolling storm. Lightning flashes off in the distance and deep thunder sounds from around the lounge.
“Nice,” says Arlo as he walks down my arm to a small branch like perch that morphs up from the surface of the table. His eyes are bouncing back and forth to the vista on the screens. “Now there’s a place a lizard could learn to love."

***************************************************************
Here are my candidates to keep the cursor bouncing. No pressure, ladies and gents, 'do or don't do' as Yoda would say. My thanks to Karen for considering me in your blog! Keep writing, everyone!

Steven A Writer's Haven
John John Patric Lowrie
Mackenzie Mackenzie Brown Books
David David P. Perlmutter
Vanessa Vanessa Wester
Joanne Joanne Phillips

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I'm a guest blogger! Cool!

Way cool. I got a 'guest blogger' spot on Jill Edmondson's blog. Take a peek! Among her other writing, Jill is the author of the Sasha Jackson Mysteries series; think 'Sex and the City' meets 'Nancy Drew'. Check out her blog here!

I'm very thankful to Jill for asking and posting my comments.

This is another example of how 'social media' marketing can expand your readership and possibly gain some exposure to potential reader, reviewers and other writers.

I'm at 10,000 words on 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp' and pushing through the 'what do they do now' middle part. The beginnings and ends seem to flow pretty well, but making the middle of the story interesting is challenging. I want the reader to be pulled along to the third act, but there needs to be stuff along the way that's really interesting and fun.

And I'm making sure that Arlo has a bigger part in the plot. He's developing into a 'real' character rather than just a wise-cracking side-kick. That's what I wanted all along.

Time for that second cup of coffee. I need to finish kicking Jake and Arlo out the portal door for EVA suit training. There has been a micro-meteor strike on the Triumph's hull not far from their training site so Jake, Arlo and Pixie are going to investigate as part of the training. I wonder what their will find?

Be cool, all. Write!