Two New Online Workshops

Kris and I have been working on new workshops for some time now, wanting to bring the list of workshops up to a list of workshops that every writer can find help in one place or another. We have finally settled on two new workshops, both starting in December. 

Below are the descriptions. And all the sign-up information in under the Online Workshop tab at the top or at www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com.

I will keep each of these new ones limited to 12 writers only.

JUMP START YOUR WRITING 

No writer manages to make it through a year, or sometimes even a month, without getting stopped. Life, in various forms, hits us all.

So when writing gets truly difficult or impossible, this workshop gives you the ways to get going again.  After this workshop, you will never worry about getting going with your writing again.

Starting to write feels impossible at times, even when things go well.

Every writer works and thinks differently. Every writer has something that will get them going again, and in this workshop we’ll give you all the tools you need to really help yourself start back up writing quickly.

In essence, this workshop will teach you how to be a writer during the hard times. And save you a ton of time when you get stopped.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I both made a living for decades with our fiction. We have had friends and parents die, we have had contracts cancelled and major health issues. And we have had those times when writing just seemed too hard to do. Yet we managed to learn all this and keep going.

We now bring that knowledge to this workshop to help others get through the rough times.

So for a six week workshop online, we are going to help writers figure out how to get started with writing and keep going.

This is a nuts and bolts workshop about the reality of being a writer, not a craft workshop. This workshop will work for you if you are just thinking of writing your first novel or if you have twenty novels written and are stopped cold for one reason or another.

And this workshop will be blunt, clear, and straight forward, as everyone has come to expect from me and Kris.

If you get stuck a great deal, if life keeps stopping you, if you take far too long between stories before starting a new one, this is the workshop for you.

———- 

WRITING AND SELLING SHORT STORIES 

In this new world of publishing, short stories suddenly became critical to the success of any writer.

This workshop functions as a business and a craft workshop. We will show you how you can make a lot of extra money from short fiction, and how to write major short stories for any genre.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who helped set this workshop up (even though I do the talking) is the only writer in history to be in all four Dell Magazines (Asimov’s, Hitchcock’s, Analog, and Ellery Queen). She has done that in the same year four times now. She won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award six times, and reader’s choice awards for Analog and Queen as well.

Kris also is the only person on the planet to win the Hugo Award for best professional editor and for her short fiction.

I was also on the Hugo Award list five or six times for my editing. Kris edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Pulphouse. I also edited for Pulphouse, for VB Tech, and for Pocket Books, all in short fiction. Kris and I also won a World Fantasy Award for our editing of short fiction work.

Kris and I both have written well past 400 short stories each. And been professional short fiction editors.

We now bring that knowledge to this workshop to help others learn how to write and sell short stories.

Short stories play a major role in our new world of publishing. Any writer wanting to make great money needs to know how to write short fiction, even if they only write one for an invite anthology or a promotion. Discoverability is everything these days, and short stories help in more ways than possible to imagine.

This is a nuts and bolts business and craft and money workshop. All three. We will cover it all.

And this workshop will be blunt, clear, and straight forward, as everyone has come to expect from me and Kris.

If you want to learn how to write and sell short stories and improve your discoverability and make more money with your writing, this workshop is the one for you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

December Online Workshops Now Open

DECEMBER ONLINE WORKSHOPS

Each workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do. I will work around any holiday schedule with each workshop as each writer needs, so no worries there. Great workshops to take going into the new year.

More information and how to sign up for a workshop is under the green button or under Coast Workshops tab above.

All workshops have openings at the moment.

Class #41… Dec 1st … How to Write a Thriller
Class #42… Dec 1st … How to Write Series Novels
Class #43… Dec 1st … Genre Structure
Class #44… Dec 1st … Character Voice/Setting
Class #45… Dec 2nd … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #46… Dec 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… Dec 2nd … Productivity
Class #48… Dec 3rd … Jumpstart Your Writing
Class #49… Dec 3rd … Cliffhangers
Class #50… Dec 3rd … Making a Living

JANUARY, FEBRUARY, AND MARCH WORKSHOPS UNDER THE GREEN TAB.

ALL WORKSHOPS START ON MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY.

Posted in On Writing, publishing, workshops | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 4, Day 20

Year 2, Month 4, Day 20 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day six of writing the novel Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Lunch meeting at 2 p.m. on WMG started off the day, then some work back at WMG offices, but went home early to do some work at home as well. Standard nap, dinner, news, and dishes before heading back up to WMG to work on Smith’s Monthly #14.

Gaining on that. Home to write about 10 p.m. but ended up watching some television and doing some e-mail until around midnight before I got really started.

Managed 1,100 word session by 12:45, then after a short break another 1,150 word by 1:30 p.m.

Another break, then back to do another 1,300 word session by 2:30 a.m. Book is humming, but in a tough part of a series, where you have to introduce things again, even though I have done that in the first four novels.

Short break, then another 1,100 words by 3:30 a.m., then a break and a final 1,050 words before 4:30 a.m.

So 5,700 words tonight. And a bunch done on Smith’s Monthly #14 and another cover for a short story done. And meetings, which were good as well.

And, as a side note: Counting almost 75,000 words in fiction, plus my blog posts here and my e-mail totals, I am a ways past 100,000 words for the month in the first 20 days. Decent month so far.

Topic of the Night: Book as Event vs. Celebrating Achievement.

This is a tough topic for me. A friend brought this up on a list I’m on today and I figured I would try to type out my feelings about it here. You may not like this thinking.

“Book as Event” is when a writer starts thinking a book is the be-all and end-all of everything. This often happens for new writers and I was no exception early on. Books seemed like something special and hard to start a new one when you finished one.

And, of course, the entire new world of indie writers with two or three books going overboard on promotion is part of book as event problem.

When you start making a book anything more than just another story you have told, you are asking for all sorts of problems, the least of which is much, much slower production. (I have seen book as event kill writer’s careers without even a passing whisper.)

But my friend thinks that Celebrating Achievement is a good thing in writing. Well, I’m not so sure. It always goes dangerously close to that trap of “book as event” thinking.

Here are events I think writers should celebrate, without question.

1) Finishing your first novel. That’s worth celebrating.

2) Selling a copy of your first novel. That’s kind of cool and a first mark on a long road of sales.

3) Making enough money to go full time if that is your goal to start with. Celebrate when you quit your day job.

Beyond that, well, more than likely I’m going to differ with many of you with “book as event” thinking out there.

I love to write stories.

For example, I finished Cold Call: A Cold Poker Gang Novel and started this new novel, Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel on the same day.

If I thought I had to celebrate every time I finished a novel or a story, I would have written one hell of a lot less this last year. And every year before that.

Writing is what I do.

Do I take joy in what I am doing? Of course.

Writing is what I work to find extra time to do in all the other stuff I do, just as many of you find time from family and day jobs to write.

So finishing isn’t something to be celebrated in my mind. Finishing is when writing stops.

Finishing, for me, is something to get past quickly and on to the next project. I think celebrating finishing is a very, very, very bad message to send to your subconscious.

You are telling your brain it is better to not be writing, to be finished, than to be writing.

Oh, oh, a very bad thing, in my opinion. Makes starting something new even harder, among many other problems.

So celebrate birthdays, holidays, births of new kids, new cars, that sort of thing.

But extreme caution on celebrating finishing a writing project. A very bad message to send to yourself.

So I think that Book as Event vs. Celebrating Achievement isn’t a versus in any fashion. I think they are both bad when it comes to your writing.

Just saying.

Let the shouting begin. (grin)

—-

MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Started Lake Roosevelt novel.
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
Day 16.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 54,550 words
Day 17.. 4,650 words. Total words to date…. 59,200 words
Day 18.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 61,300 words
Day 19.. 6,850 words. Total words to date…. 68,150 words
Day 20.. 5,700 words. Total words to date…. 73,850 words

(At this point I need to be around 80,000 words to be on my target for the month. Picked up some tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 20

– Daily Fiction: 5,700 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 74,750 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 900 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 15,500 words

– E-mail: 13 e-mails. Approx. 300 original words. E-mails month-to date: 486 e-mails. Approx. 13,850 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 6 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Topic of the Night, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 4, Day 19

Year 2, Month 4, Day 19 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day five of writing the novel Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

As I wanted, today was mostly a writing day, although I did make great progress on other stuff.

I worked this afternoon on Smith’s Monthly #14 from about 3 until 6 p.m.  I also did the cover for the Lake Roosevelt issue of Smith’s Monthly. See below.

I also worked on different online workshop stuff for a short time, so a productive afternoon all around. And fun.

And a point on the workshops. I will work with everyone around the holidays for the December workshops. Lots of room in the workshops. And if you want to get your writing really going for the new year, either the Productivity or Jump Start workshop will do it for you.

So after working up at the office, I went home for the standard nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. Got in here to work on e-mail around 8:30 p.m. and made it to the writing computer by 9 p.m.

To detail out the night some to make a point for the topic of the night below, here is exactly how my evening went.

9 to 10 p.m. I did exactly 1,100 words. I was drinking iced tea, the window was open over the ocean so I could hear the surf, and the oldies music program was playing.

Five minute break, grabbed a small bit of peanut butter, then by 11 p.m. I had added in yet another 1,150 words when Kris came in and asked me if I wanted half an English Muffin. I said sure and went downstairs with her to watch an hour of television.

Back in here by midnight. By 1 a.m., still drinking iced tea and using some dried mangos as a snack, I managed 1,100 words.

I went out and took a nap in my chair from 1 a.m. until 1:15 a.m. and by 1:30 I was back in here with more iced tea.

By 2:15 a.m. I had finished 1,000 words more, took a short break, got some more iced tea, some more dried mangos, and went back at it. By 3:15 a.m. I had another 1,200 words done.

Switched over to sparkling water and another small spoonful of peanut butter, then headed back to do 1,300 words by 4:30 a.m. I could have done another session, but need to get up for meetings tomorrow, so I cut it off at that and came to write this.

6,850 words for the night.

Topic of the Night: Taking Breaks and Pacing

Tonight was one of those lucky nights where I had from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. to write.

So I had to break up the time. I had to pace myself. The best way to really hurt yourself as a writer is to stay in one position for longer than 45 minutes to an hour. Yet I know of so many writers who do just that, trying to push and write for hours straight. Foolish.

A five minute break to stretch, walk around, move your arms, and get something to drink will make your next period back at the computer so much better. And note, I also took an hour break to watch television and a thirty minute break to take a short nap.

I got almost 7 thousand words tonight by pacing myself every hour. I don’t feel tired, and I have no doubt I could go on if I didn’t have meetings tomorrow.

I know this topic seems so basic to so many of you, but next time you stand up from a computer after a two hour session and your body hurts, think of this. You are doing damage. Period.

And as many writers have discovered, that kind of damage is very, very painful.

You are never in such a hurry with your writing that five minutes to stay healthy can’t be added into the equation.

And on another topic, isn’t the cover to Smith’s Monthly #16 great? I love this time travel Thunder Mountain series. Lake Roosevelt that I am writing now is the 5th book in the series.

—-

MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Started Lake Roosevelt novel.
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
Day 16.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 54,550 words
Day 17.. 4,650 words. Total words to date…. 59,200 words
Day 18.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 61,300 words
Day 19.. 6,850 words. Total words to date…. 68,150 words

(At this point I need to be around 76,000 words to be on my target for the month. Picked up some tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 19

– Daily Fiction: 6,850 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 69,050 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 800 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 14,600 words

– E-mail: 15 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words. E-mails month-to date: 473 e-mails. Approx. 13,550 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 5 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Topic of the Night, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 4, Day 18

Year 2, Month 4, Day 18 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day four of writing the novel Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

The real world kept me from having a normal writing day today, as it does to all of us at times. So I’m going to keep this short and to the point tonight.

Also, I spent some time on a New World of Publishing post called “The Life Cycles of a Writer.” That should be interesting if I can balance it right. Might end up a lecture as well. (grin)

So basically I worked at WMG Publishing from 3 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. with a short break for dinner and a quick nap with the white cat as usual.

Home to watch a little television. But before that Kris and I had a great conversation about my last book, Cold Call. The book was fighting between two genres and Kris helped me, after she read it, figure out how to keep it in one, mostly. It will take about an hour for me to add and focus what I need to focus. Thanks, Kris.

So television after that until 1:30 a.m., then to the workshop assignments. Got those done around 2:30 a.m.

Got to the writing computer for two quick sessions with a quick break in the middle to end up with 2,100 words total for the night.

No topic of the night tonight. Need sleep.

—-

MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Started Lake Roosevelt novel.
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
Day 16.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 54,550 words
Day 17.. 4,650 words. Total words to date…. 59,200 words
Day 18.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 61,300 words
(At this point I need to be around 72,000 words to be on my target for the month. Fell a little more behind tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 18

– Daily Fiction: 2,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 62,200 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 13,800 words

– E-mail: 27 e-mails. Approx. 1,100 original words. E-mails month-to date: 458 e-mails. Approx. 13,050 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 4 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 4, Day 17

Year 2, Month 4, Day 17 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day three of writing the novel Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Wow, did I get a lot done today. Just stunning amounts.

Rolled out around 1 p.m. and did some e-mail, then headed to the snail mail and then to WMG Publishing where I worked there except for running to the banks at one point.

I worked on Smith’s Monthly #14 formatting, subscription stuff, and online workshop stuff.

Finally home around 6:30 for a nap with the white cat, dinner, dishes, and then back to WMG to work on the final stages of the two new December workshops Kris and I announced tonight. I did the two display covers for them as well.

Then home to do the online homework for the workshops. Then down to watch The Voice.

Then back up here to get to the writing computer at midnight. I am so excited, for some reason, about this book, that I just powered along. By 12:45 I had 1,100 words done, by 1:30 I had added another 1,050 words, by 2:30 (with breaks between all of these of course) I had 1,200 words more, and by 3:30 I had another 1,300 words.

I stopped at that point to do the posts about the new December workshops. So 4,650 new words.

When I give this book a full day, it’s going to just explode. Not a clue where it is going, but great fun.

So between 3:30 and 6 a.m. I did the posts about the new online workshops, got all the information updated in all the places, and set out notices to all the October workshop people about the subscription issues.

Kris and I are both really excited about both of these. And since I have some other stuff planned in January, we just decided to start them both in December. We’ve been working on them for some time now. They are going to be two great workshops. Limited to 12 writers, remember.

And wow is short fiction important in this new world of publishing. Almost critical. So we figured it was time to get that workshop going.

We also hear all the time about how writers are stuck, can’t get back started writing, have life issues they can’t recover from, and just can’t get going again with their writing. So that workshop is for everyone at all levels.

Topic of the Night: Being Original

It was impossible to miss tonight on The Voice the judges, all of them, talking in one way or another, all the time, about how great it was the singers were being original. And in the training sessions, they were excited when the artists found their own voices.

Original is everything in the arts.

I have been saying that over and over in so many different ways over the years, and it is what we teach in the workshops. Originality is critical, letting your own voice shine is critical, writing what makes you passionate is critical, doing it your way is critical.

Tonight, on The Voice, I think every third word all the superstars said was about originality in one form or another.

If that doesn’t smack it home to you, nothing will. Wow, just wow.

—-

MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Started Lake Roosevelt novel.
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
Day 16.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 54,550 words
Day 17.. 4,650 words. Total words to date…. 59,200 words
(At this point I need to be around 68,000 words to be on my target for the month. Made up a little tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 17

– Daily Fiction: 4,650 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 60,100 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 13,400 words

– E-mail: 48 e-mails. ( a lot of forms) Approx. 900 original words. E-mails month-to date: 431 e-mails. Approx. 11,950 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 2. Covers finished month-to-date: 4 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Topic of the Night, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Writing in Public, Year 2, Month 4, Day 16

Year 2, Month 4, Day 16 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day two of writing the novel Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Ended up doing a lot of work today on workshops and on Smith’s Monthly. I worked on those two things all afternoon at the WMG offices after the writer’s lunch, then Kris and I went out to dinner, then back to WMG offices.

I ended up taking Kris home around 9 p.m. and then went back and managed to get Smith’s Monthly stuff done there by midnight. Home to watch just a short bit of television, then at the online workshop homework, much of which I had done already, thankfully.

Managed to get everything done by 2 a.m.

Then over to the writing computer. There I went after the opening of Lake Roosevelt. I managed about 900 words in just under an hour, took a short break, and managed 1,200 words before I gave up right before 4 a.m.

Stunning I got 2,100 words done today. Not where I want to be, but happy enough.

Topic of the Night: Turning Points. (A personal long post…deal with it or skip it.)

I’ve been thinking about this a great deal over the last few days since I discovered a person I used to know had died about a year ago. I had not seen him since the summer of 1974 (picture of him that summer below), had not talked with him, or anything, so no need for saying you are sorry for my loss. Thanks, but not needed. I didn’t really know him at all.

Rusty Uhl

One of the reasons his death caused me to think about turning points is because for four months of my life, this man changed the entire direction my life was going in. Completely and totally. I would not be here now without those four months. Period.

Now, there have also been other major turning points in my life, the biggest was Algis Budrys sending me to pick up Kris, of course. That changed everything.

And my house fire and losing all my writing changed me suddenly as well. (Certainly killed any idea that books are special snowflakes.)

The fire did not change me as much as meeting Kris, of course, but it was still a sudden turn in the road that got me here.

So I looked back at the major, and I do mean major turning points that got me to this point in my life, and there were actually only four, counting meeting Kris, which was the last one twenty-eight years ago. And interestingly enough, the first three all put me in a position to meet Kris.  (I suppose having indie come along when it did might be considered a major turning point. I’m writing instead of playing poker, but not enough hindsight on that yet.)

The first really major turning point for me was leaving Boise, alone, with just barely over one hundred dollars, a car payment due, and no where to go. I had my golf clubs and all the clothes I owned in the trunk. I was homeless for four months, sleeping in my car (which happened to be a Porsche. Damn things are almost impossible to sleep in.) I had no money and I was chasing a dream.

So I went hungry and ate a lot of crackers and Ketchup during those months.

I got flat lucky and caught the dream. And on month five after leaving Boise I was working for one of the top 1940s golfers of all time as his assistant professional and he was teaching me how to play top golf. And I had a small apartment and had caught up my car payments.

It was somewhere about month six or so after being homeless that I met the man who just died last year. We were both young and drinking with other golf professionals in Palm Springs in the evenings. Damn near every night. We hit it off and started playing rounds of golf together most afternoons. When the season ended at my golf club and I was laid off for the summer, this other man, who was the head professional at a country club in Palm Springs, had a job open and offered it to me and I took it. (Picture above is what he looked like when I went to work for him.)

For the next four months, working with him, he taught me how to really play the game of golf. He taught me how to play cards. And I mean really play. He introduced me to odds-making and the dark underside of Palm Springs as a book-maker on sports events, and we spent numbers of trips in Las Vegas playing gin and poker.

I never once, from those four months forward, ever questioned my ability to play cards and make a living with cards.

Four months after I went to work for him, I had a month off for course work, so I headed north to teach some city recreational golf programs and see friends. When I had got back, he had been offered a great job and moved to another golf course. I was offered the head golf pro position at his country club in Palm Springs. At the age of 22 years old. (It seems the members really liked me. The picture below is me in 1974 (I was almost 24 at this point) and my clubhouse is behind me.)
Golf2

He was only one year older than me.

I still saw him at times, still drank with him (turned out his last 30 years or so were as a recovering alcoholic, but we were young back then in case you couldn’t tell from the pictures), and we still played some rounds of golf. But I had my course, he had his, and we were busy, and when I quit my job, packed up, and headed back to school the following summer, it never occurred to me to even say goodbye.

Because I got his job when he left, because I spent those four months with him in the first place learning so many skills outside of golf, I did not remain a golf professional. More than likely, if I had stayed a golf professional, I would have ended up on a very similar path that he did. I would have gotten married, had a kid or two, (as he did) and some grandkids, and fought alcohol my entire life because the golf business would have bored me to tears.

He remained a respected golf professional his entire life and even wrote a few books about golf and about alcohol. But for me, reading about his life, I saw my life as it might have been. If he had not given me the skill to know odds and play cards, I would not have been able to pay my way through college on blackjack teams. If I hadn’t gotten his job and worked a year at the top of the golf profession, I might have remained in golf and strived to get there for years.

Four months were a turning point, one that sent me with skills and an immense amount of courage back to school at the age of 24. And from there those four months sent me to writing and meeting Kris and ending up here in this home overlooking the Pacific and writing this.

Everyone has turning points. I really don’t want to know yours. They are yours and this is my blog and I can do things like this. Write about yours on your blog.

But sometimes we are reminded of the turning points in our lives. One man, for four short but very long months, forty-plus years ago, taught me more than I had the right to learn.

—-

MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
Day 16.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 54,550 words
(At this point I need to be around 64,000 words to be on my target for the month. Lost a little tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 15

– Daily Fiction: 2,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 55,450 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 1,400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 12,700 words

– E-mail: 36 e-mails. Approx. 1,100 original words. E-mails month-to date: 383 e-mails. Approx. 11,050 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Topic of the Night, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 4, Day 15

Year 2, Month 4, Day 15 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day one of writing the novel Roosevelt Lake: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Ended up doing a lot of work today on workshops and on Smith’s Monthly. I worked on those two things all afternoon, then after a nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and watching a little football, I headed back to WMG and worked until after 10 p.m.

Then home to watch some television and didn’t get in here to write until almost midnight.

I went back to finish up the dates and get the Cold Call: A Cold Poker Gang novel done and ended up cutting a loop. A really nasty, boring loop which I hadn’t even noticed. Something I would have put in if this was a traditional book with a contract. So the book got about four thousands words shorter and a ton faster.

Interesting how when you are going back and putting in a clock at the top of each chapter it becomes clear where a stupid loop full of useless writing is. Wow. So I wrote about 1,000 words of transition and got everything done and ready to print by 2 a.m.

Then I needed to start a new novel, but not a clue what. Not one clue.

So I went to a file of novel proposals I had done a bunch of years back and that hadn’t sold, seeing if something would catch my interest. Nope.

Nothing.

And since I was annoyed at having to cut a loop out of the Cold Call book, I had told myself I was not going to do another Thunder Mountain book, which are the books with the worst useless loops in then.

When I thought that I suddenly came up with a nifty character who made sense in the Thunder Mountain series. No plot, just a character. And off I went.

By 3:30 a.m. I had written 1,400 words on Roosevelt Lake. Starting this one on the Oregon Coast, even though Roosevelt Lake itself is deep in the Idaho wilderness. Great fun. No clue where the book is going, but love the idea for the character, so I’m excited.

So 2,400 total words tonight. A little under what I want to do each day, but considering I wrote on two novels tonight, I’ll take it.

No topic tonight. Writer’s lunch tomorrow, so I want to get some sleep.

—-

MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
(At this point I need to be around 60,000 words to be on target for the month. Lost a little tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 15

– Daily Fiction: 2,400 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 53,350 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 11,300 words

– E-mail: 16 e-mails. Approx. 400 original words. E-mails month-to date: 347 e-mails. Approx. 9,950 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some Covers of Novels I Finished in the Last Year

This is just fun for me since I finished a novel tonight. (See post below.) At some point I might just have a few pages here for my fiction, novels and such. You know, like I teach others to do. (grin)

Anyhow, here are twelve of the fifteen novels done over the last 15 months. All of these are now available in paper and electronic in all the standard places.




Posted in Fun Stuff, On Writing, publishing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 4, Day 14

Year 2, Month 4, Day 14 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Final Day of writing the novel Cold Call: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery Novel.

Finally found the end of the book. I need to add in some times at the top of chapters and print it off for Kris to read, but basically all done. I don’t even think I have any side-trips in this one, but won’t know until I go back through adding in the times at the top of chapters. I’ll look then.

For those of you who need to think in drafts, that would be a second draft. It will take about thirty minutes, maybe an hour at most.

Anyhow, a pretty standard day. Up around 2 p.m., some e-mail, then snail mail, then to WMG Publishing to work on Smith’s Monthly all afternoon. And also a great discussion with another professional writer who stopped by about “Pulp Speed.”

I’m going to do a “New World of Publishing” blog post about Pulp Speed soon.

Home for a nap around 6 p.m. and then dinner, news, and dishes before I headed back up to WMG to work on Online Workshop stuff.

Home by 10 p.m. to watch some television, then in here around 11:30 p.m. to do a session at the book. I managed 1,100 words before going to take a short nap around 12:30 a.m.  By 1 a.m. I was doing laundry and another session.

This time I finished right at 1,000 words by 2 a.m. I finished my laundry and came back for another session. 1,300 words by 3:30 a.m., a quick break and the last 1,200 words to the end of the book by 4:30 a.m.

Then I started back at the beginning, starting to put dates in the opening header, but got about halfway through by 5 a.m. and decided that task could be finished in about thirty minutes tomorrow.

4,600 words today.

So that’s 15 novels in 15 months. Start a new book tomorrow. Great fun.

Topic of the Night: Controlling the length of a book.

One of the great fun things about writing into the dark is that there is no way to control the length of a novel. The novel just goes on until the story is over.

Now in the 14 days I took to write this novel, I basically took two days mostly off. (See totals below.) And if this book had come in around the 40,000 word count I had hoped for, I still would have been done two days ago. But alas, the final novel (unless I have loops I need to cut off) will be longer than that. Best laid plans.

So this is another reason I try to mostly go by word count instead of project. I’m on track to go past 100,000 words this month without too much problem, even with the two days basically off. I might even get to the 120,000 words I hoped to hit for three novels. But chances are that will only be two novels and part of a third, since this first novel went long.

Not sure on that. The month isn’t even half over yet.

So the point of this is that when you are really writing a story, the story controls the length. Traditional publishing forced us all into nasty silliness of hitting contractual lengths on books. With no regard for what the story actually needed.

I love the freedom of indie publishing. It allows stories to be the length they need to be and not longer or shorter.

And I love the freedom of writing 15 novels in 15 months and letting each novel just be what it wants to be.

—-

Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
(At this point I need to be around 56,000 words to be on target for the month. Picked up a little more tonight.)

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 14

– Daily Fiction: 4,600 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 50,950 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words

– Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,800 words

– E-mail: 23 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words. E-mails month-to date: 331 e-mails. Approx. 9,550 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Topic of the Night, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments