Author's Note - I may be a day late, but at least I'm several hours early! Must count for something, no?

Word of the week: staunch /stônCH/ (hear it!) - adjective: a : watertight, sound; b : strongly built : substantial : steadfast in loyalty or principle - (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Blabbing Into the Ether

A good friend of mine (whose word I trust and whose judgment I admire) suggested that I start a blog. You know, a place through which to draw in a potential readership, and allow others to get to know “the real me,” rather than hide away like a hermit holed up in a backwoods shack, computer at the ready and story ideas poised to spill . . . although how a yummy spiced cookie made from molasses, raisins, and nuts could ever become a writer, one can only speculate.

Cute, distracting puppy
Now, to be honest, I was reluctant—at first. I mean, everyone and his brother, and his brother's neighbor, and his brother's neighbor's dog were writing blogs (dog blogs?) about everything and all, and everything else, and every other thing, and some other stuff besides. Cyberworld was/is/has been/will always be crammed with blogs of all different colors, shapes, sizes, tastes, and smells. Well, all right. Not smells. Yet.

Point is: Blogs are everywhere! And they're all tumble-stumbling over one another in a desperate bid for attention like a gazillion puppies in one enormous cardboard box set out at some charity auction event.

Blah, blah, blah. . .
Of course I got to wondering . . . if I started a blog, would I end up blabbing into the ether like those staunch congressmen who deliver speeches to an empty room? Would I be wasting valuable time writing posts, hoping against vain hope that someone—anyone, dammit!—will read and comment on something—anything, dammit!—or at the very least throw his hands up—or throw something, anything, dammit!—while scoffing in utter disgust?

Who cared what I had to say, anyway?!

Well, before long (right afterwards, actually) my half-baked wondering hardened into semi-structured thought, like a purple marshmallow Peep after a bout of microwaving: Writing a blog could be like sending a finished novel out into the big, wide, and awesomely scary world—kind of.

What I mean is: the motivation for writing needs to be somewhat intrinsic—i.e. what level of satisfaction can an author gain by writing a good story, or even a somewhat entertaining blog post? Nice comments and good reviews are all, well . . . nice and good (respectively). But this type of feedback shouldn't be what drives a writer to write.

For those of you who aren't writers, please understand: A writer writes, regardless. It's an addiction; a creative one, a healthy one. One nearly impossible to escape from once hooked. And with the alluring power to manipulate one's native language in any way one chooses, who'd want to break free anyway? Writers create fantastic worlds and shape characters, mold scenes and direct events. Sometimes we even emotionally move readers. Oh, this addiction is strong, all right. And it's heady, and it's never a waste of time.

True writers love writing—every aspect, the good and the not-so-great—just as we love our friends and our families (and our pets!)—every aspect, the good and the not-so-great—even if we nary hear a peep (unless it explodes in the microwave), blabbing into the ether, be damned.

We write, because it's what we do. And we appreciate every unseen reader who happens to come our way.
* * *
Photo credit for cute, distracting puppy - normanack - Flickr Photo Sharing - Creative Commons License

Photo credit for mask - Wonderlane - Flickr Photo Sharing - Creative Commons License


Indie shout out: Ever pondered what the multiverse might be like? Are you looking for a relatively quick read? Then check out The Followers, a twisty e-novella with an intriguing twist-of-an-ending, by indie author Evan Bollinger. (Yes, prepare to abandon all preconceived notions about the tangible world in order to fully embrace this story's surreality. You'll be glad you did!)

Author's note: My "every eleven days on the eleventh hour" pattern will be altered for post #5 (scheduled for December 25th). I'm pretty sure people would like to spend the holidays with their families, not reading some random ramblings by a self-proclaimed mad writ— . . . um . . . er . . . yes. *ahem*

Word of the week: copious \ˈkō-pē-əs\ (hear it!) - adjective: yielding something abundantly; plentiful in number - (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Infuriating Lines of Four

Time. I hate it.

Always feels like I'm rushed, with never enough time to do everything in. “Pushing” the kids out the door to catch the school bus, hurrying to get dinner on the table, or get the shopping done, or get to work. Shuttling the kids to activities, putting them to bed at a reasonable hour come day's end. Editing, editing, editing—furiously—to reach my self-imposed writing deadlines of nine allotted days per chapter.

Everything takes such copious amounts of time, and the older one gets, the faster time seems to go. Likely a matter of perception, though. So when time ever decided to punch me in the face with some infuriating lines-of-four . . .


Now, normally I'm one to keep good track of time, so not to be late for anything; I do watch the clock—a lot. But to see:


. . . every day? That's just silly.

First it appeared on the digital oven clock, and then on the microwave clock, then on my alarm clock, and on the cars' digital clocks, and on my iPhone. From the end of Spring, though Summer, and into Autumn, 11.11 on clocks—everywhere! Believe me, I was neither looking for it, nor expecting it. Ever.

And it didn't stop there!

When time discovered I was ignoring (with some difficulty) this idiotic tap on the nose with ordinary clocks, these vexing lines-of-four began to infiltrate through other means: In forum time stamps and forum post counts; in countdown timers; in Kindle “locations” (to mark where one is in an e-book); once, in some odd percentage I'd glimpsed on an off-hand chance; and even in a Hymnal during my daughter's baptism.


. . . everywhere!

After four months, I was half-expecting to see it somewhere at least once a day, though I tried not to look for it. Sure enough, it would pop up in some form or another, and my creative mind naturally started to concoct questions: “Damn! Is that the day the world is going to end?” and “Ach! Is that the day of my own demise?”

These, of course, were stupid thoughts.

Seeing 11.11 all over the place was a coincidence; once it happened a handful of times, my mind was keenly attuned to those lines-of-four, and thus saw them wherever I went. Now I look for them, relish them, even giggle at them. And I harnessed them, took them for my very own. (Does the "every eleven days at the eleventh hour" blogging pattern make sense now?)


. . . the release date for my full-length dark fantasy novel, The Perfect Player.


. . . of next year, 2013, of course.


Well, it's not quite as cool as 11.11.11 is, but it'll have to do. Unless my son finally manages to build that time machine he's always talking about. . . .

* * *
Speaking of my wonderful firstborn offspring (once voted “class author”) . . . before I end this post, I would like to share something he had written.

As a school project, students in his class were asked to write a free-verse fall poem involving all of the senses. Here's what he had come up with (copyright, my son; reprinted with permission). Pretty darned good for someone who (at the time of this writing) sports one set of those infuriating lines of four!

When I think of fall I see…
Colorful leaves enveloping every bit of grass.
Wild, sour grapes growing plump and juicy on the uncultivated vines near our chicken coop.
Crystalline frost blanketing the ground like the inside of a quartz geode.
The presidential debates airing on T.V.
A thick autumn mist like a descended cloud bank, blanketing the lawn in pearly whiteness.

When I think of fall I hear…
Crunching dead leaves beneath my feet.
Gaggles of Canada geese flying south.
The last songbirds migrating south in search of warmer climates to avoid winter’s chill.
Cold rainstorms pattering to the leaf-blanketed ground, forming endless puddles and overflowing the swamp, creating an impassable biking obstacle.

When I think of fall I taste…
Cranberry sauce on a delicious slice of turkey.
Mashed potatoes enveloped in gravy, a protein packed, palatable root vegetable delicacy.
Scrumptious candy on Halloween night.
Deliciously baked pumpkin and apple pies a la mode.
Well cooked stuffing inside of a tender, delicious turkey at Thanksgiving Dinner, commanding the table like the captain of an aircraft carrier where the provisions left without the crew.

When I think of fall I touch...
The cool, crisp fall air.
The soft body of a caterpillar as I pick it up to show Cathryn.
The cold handle of a fork at Thanksgiving Dinner.
A book cover as I read it outside on the porch swing on a cool fall morning.

When I think of fall I smell…
Crisp apples at a farmer’s market.
The delicious aroma of butternut squash wafting across the table.
The scent of colorful, decaying leaves.
Deliciously scented Yankee candles burning bright on the grand piano as we prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner.


Indie shout out: Author Lucy Pireel (cyber-puppy winner from my last post) has just released her first indie short story collection, Red Gone Bad, available now for download at Smashwords and Amazon. Congratulations, Lucy! 

Word of the week: replete \ri-ˈplēt\ (hear it!) - adjective: fully or abundantly provided or filled - (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Lists, Lists, and More Lists


I have this terrible habit of starting a bunch of things, and then putting them on the back burner “just for a moment.” Yeesh. I tell you, if my projects were food, my family would all be eating burnt popcicles and charcoaled grits. (Hey, some fairs actually sell fried sticks of butter to their patrons. Weirder things have been eaten—so there.)

Anyway, in order to stave off this accidental “burning,” I make lists. Shopping lists, household lists, chore lists, birthday lists, Christmas lists, writing lists, reading lists . . . and the lists go on. Heck, I even have lists of my lists. (Nah, I'm just kidding.) You see, much as old brains are fragile, they're likewise replete with holes, much like a colander. Or a sieve. A sifter. Strainer. Cheesecloth. Moth-worn blanket—ha! I dare you to strain cooked spaghetti with a blanket.

Now, when one makes a list, crossing off said items from said list when said task is said complete is said to give one a said sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, no?* Well, after turning that rubber band ball of indie publishing around in my hands a few thousand times, I had decided to make a list of what I thought I needed to do:
  • Construct 1 year, 3 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals
  • Take down old website, construct a new one
  • Inquire about business license
  • Gather content editor, line editor, and proofreader
  • Set up Kindle publishing account
  • Learn formatting, typesetting, and layout
  • Register press name
  • Write and edit content
  • Design covers
  • Write blurbs
  • Author photo
  • Author bio
  • Research into registering writing pseudonym
  • Copyright books/collections
  • ISBNs
  • Research marketing tactics
  • Keep business expense records
  • Book trailer
  • Podcast and audiobooks
  • Figure out target audience and market to them
  • Read “How to Prepare Book to Upload to Kindle”

One brainstorming. One sitting. One month after I received my final rejection slip. Yes, it's one long list, with hidden sub-items under the main ones. Of these twenty-one tasks, I've thrown out four, completed eight, and have nine sitting on the back burner, “just for a moment.” (Gosh, what is that burning smell . . . ?) This, from a list compiled a little over year ago.

Have I received my sense of fulfillment and satisfaction? Somewhat. More, as I continue to cross off competed tasks.

Oh, yeah . . . and my cynical mind can hear it all now: “Pfft! You don't even need half that stuff. Publish your work under your author name, and be done with it,” from the indie-experienced, to: “More! There has to be more that you're missing. Come on, think!” Plaintive cries from other indie-newbies like myself, filled with doubts and worries and semi-imagined frets. And I truly hope my cynical mind is wrong.

But you know, no matter what type shouts the loudest, the longest, or the hardest to be heard, we all need to follow our own paths and learn at our own pace, otherwise we'll all be torn in too many different directions and end up in a frustrating stalemate. Then what? Nothing would get ever done.

Bottom line: Learn what you can. Apply what you learn. Throw out what doesn't work. Make lists, and cross off tasks.

A fundamental part of indie publishing is maintaining control over one's work. Maintaining control over oneself throughout the indie publishing process, I highly suspect, is integral to possible future success. “Hasty” and “pigheaded” and “going in blind” should never factor in.

* Hey, according to writing experts, the verb “said” is allegedly invisible. Did ya see it? Huh? Huh? Did ya? Did ya?