#200 – A Wild Ride

Hey, I was going to do this earlier, but life got in the way. Sue me, yeah?

I never really expected that I would stick with this. I never did before. I’d done blogs and journals before, but never stuck with them for any length of time. So, I started this blog with relatively low expectations, but hopes that it could be something important for me.

And now, I’m writing the 200th post on this blog, nearly two years after starting it during a lazy week in July when I was dreaming about being a published author like I did back when I was a kid.

I’ve been reading over all of the posts. A lot of them are those repetitive journal posts, where I write about how much I wrote and revised over the past week. But that writing journal has been vital for me. It’s been a tool in trying to hold myself accountable for the work that I do, even when nobody cares whether I write something during the week or not. [There are people who do follow me, but I keep that in perspective.] My family is going to love me no matter what, and I don’t have the type of fandom that was happy Stephen King survived being hit by a fan so he could finish The Dark Tower series and is more and more fearful that George R.R. Martin’s will executors or agents are going to have to hire someone to finish the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

But it’s gone way beyond that now. When I was a kid, I had visions of being a Stephen King, being a James Patterson, being one of those brands that goes beyond just being a writer and becomes An Institution, one of those people that’s famous for the books he writes. But, I’ve gone way beyond that now. Writing has become something more fundamental for me, more of an identity than a way to make a living. I honestly don’t care that I never become famous as a writer. I’d love that to happen, but that’s not the reason why I’m trying to put together three different writing projects with no particular prospects of getting them published by a reputable publisher. In many ways, writing is what keeps me sane now.

During the process of writing this blog, I went from being an unpublished author to a published one. In so many ways, I’ve accomplished my dreams, but I have a lot farther than I can go. It’s so exciting because this process of writing can go on for the rest of my life, and I always have further and farther that I can go. I used to say that I never would be able to write a memoir because I have such a garbage memory of my youth, but looking over this blog, I realized that I’ve at least written the rough outlines of such a memoir in a way that seems coherent.

To those who love me, thank you for that love, and thank you for all of your support. Thanks to everyone that’s taken the time to read this blog and a middle-aged-guy’s meandering thoughts about writing and his writing life. Thanks to anyone who’s ever bought my book – I hope I told a great story for you. If you stick around, I might have a few more tales for you before I’m done.

I’m a son, father, husband, and teacher, but I’m also a writer, blogger, and poet. I know that writing is essential to my identity, and that I’m going to keep writing no matter how many people see my work. It’s not about that. I’m a storyteller; I’m going to be telling stories until the day I die.

Hang out here if you want to hear a few.




Writing Journal 2.24.2019: Getting some new writing done as February winds down

This week was a good change of pace for me. For the first time in a while, I’ve been getting more new writing done than revising. Not that there’s anything wrong with revising, but it’s good to get new material in the mix, too.

Here’s the numbers, and looking at my past journals this year, this was the most productive writing week for word count in the year so far.

+3,238 words written.

Days writing: 7 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 105 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 6 of 7 days.

To be honest, I would have met my daily quotas every day this week if it was not for the fact that I was out of town for the majority of Saturday. However, I was attending one of my daughter’s show choir competitions for the first time, and I think me being there was a pleasant surprise.

OK, I’ll update you on the projects.

  • Project A: not too much change from last week. I need to start the hunt for someone to possibly take this on (agents/publishers). I think the plan for me should be to get with Writer’s Market and look into some possibilities. Since the main character is LGBTQ, I might consider publishers who specialize in LGBTQ themes.
  • Project B: Stronger than I initially thought – got quite a bit of work done on this. The draft is now over 50,000, but I want to keep it short and lean. I don’t feel like this book should get over 60,000 words. Since there’s a lot of material I’m considering deleting, I don’t think this will be much of an issue. My timetable on this is 2-3 months from now; I’ll only know later if this was too ambitious or not.
  • Project C: I’m really getting into this. I’ve come up with 2 1/2 poems this week and I think I have the potential to get through several more. Right now I am not considering revisions on these – I’m just trying to put together enough to make a proper collection that might be tied together by a few themes, at least with the new material. I am still thinking six months from now I’ll be wrapped up with a first draft, but I have no idea.

That’s it with the writing; I think I will do a mid-week post on all of the other writing-related activity going on with me then.

Writing As Comfort: A Short Post

Don’t worry, this is going to be brief.

Last night, I was talking with my wife, and I said (this might not be a direct quote, but anyway),

You know, one of the things I really enjoy about writing is how much it is helpful for my mental state. I could have a long day or maybe a stressful day at work or somewhere else in the world, but when I’m sitting down in front of the computer, all of that goes away. It’s what I look forward to at the end of the day, resetting myself for the next day.

She replied (also maybe not a direct quote – anyway),

It’s like when I go work out, when I want to relieve my stress. That’s how it works for you.

I love her. And I love writing, too.

Writing Journal 2.10.2019: Weird week leads to a slow week

(You notice how I’ve been using photos of winter scenes? It’s snowing a lot.)

The numbers are not too much to write home about, but here they are:

+469 words written.

Days writing: 2 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 180 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 4 of 7 days.

Yeah, not really impressive given last few weeks. I have been making progress, but not as much as I want. Work has gotten in the way some (even with all the snow days, imagine that.) And the fact that there might be another snow day or two during this week will not help, either. Oh, well, I’ll be teaching in June anyway.

I’m just doing one post this weekend, so I’ll try to get in everything going on all at once.

Promo items/Stuff for The Holy Fool

  • I mentioned that I will be having my first promotional appearance for my book this Saturday. It’s still on. All of the information is here.
  • I want to set up a book talk at my local library here in Muscatine. I think it would be more of a book discussion than a signing, although I would be giving a copy of my book to the library as well. Once I get that sorted out, I’ll let everyone know date and time.
  • Now that I have books in hand, I want to start doing a giveaway or two through my Goodreads page. As soon as I have that locked down, you will hear it here first.

Writing Stuff

(I went over all of these books here, just to get you caught up).

  • Project A: Wrapping up my latest revisions on it, likely within the next week, after my beta reads. After that, I will be proofreading when I have time and begin considering markets for it. Some possibilities would be publishers/agents who are interested in books with sports themes or LGBTQ characters.
  • Project B: This will likely pick up when I finish the latest revision on Project A. Length of time on this would likely be 2-3 months. I’ll also likely need some beta readers to review as well. After that, I start considering publishers/agents.
  • Project C: I’ve compiled a collection of poems in one location. My initial thoughts are that I will need a bit more material before I consider shopping it around. Length of time to complete a full compilation before starting revisions would be maybe 6-9 months.

That’s about all I have for now. Keep reading me and everyone else, and if you are in the Midwest and getting as much snow as I am, stay safe.


Being The News Rather Than Writing It

It was an interesting experience walking into my local newspaper as the subject of the story rather than writing one myself.

But, it was a good article about the publication of my book. Go ahead and read it here – the reporter did a great job to be honest.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight – I’ll probably check in before the weekend and the weekly journal. Take care and keep warm if you’re in the Midwest like me – apparently it’s going to get really cold soon.

The Holy Fool And Other Publishing/Project News: Update 1.27.2019

All right, I just wanted to let you know a couple of things about what’s going on, project-wise.

  • The My Work section of the site has been fully updated with new links, etc. Check it all out.
  • I’m anticipating my first small shipment of books any day now, although the weirdness with the shutdown might have led to a delay or two. As soon as I get them in my hands, I’ll spread the word and I’ll probably sponsor a giveaway or two.
  • A lot of this I am anticipating is going to heat up (pun not intended) during late spring/summer. I’m hoping to make some book signings/appearances in my local area during that time to get the word out about what I’ve written.
  • I’m also probably going to be busy looking for publishers and/or agents to take on the other projects I have been working on behind the scenes. I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy working with Biblio Publishing, but they are not accepting new fiction projects at this time. So I will be checking in with other possibilities for publication. However, I am optimistic. I’ve been published before, so I think I can be published again.
  • With that in mind, I have been separating my works in progress into two different categories. The first category is Ready To Go – projects that I would be able to present to publishers and agents within four months or less with the intention of publishing next year. For right now, I’m calling them Projects A, B, and C.
    • Project A is the novel about a soccer player that I’ve talked about on and off. I’ve already had it beta-read and have made revisions to it with those comments in mind. I’m giving it another little shave to get the manuscript under 85,000 words, just to keep the story moving.
    • Project B is a long-dormant crime drama centered around a young man suffering from mental illness who kills two boys who had been tormenting him at his high school. The story picks up when he is released after five years in jail and how he struggles to be part of society again. I think the book has a few flaws, but it’s a quick read – currently under 50,000 words – and I’ve been feeling good about what I’ve been revising.
    • Project C would be a collection of some of the poems I have written in recent years. A couple of the ones I want to include have appeared in this blog, while others I have yet to write or am in the process of writing. I think that would be relatively easy to put together.
  • The second category is going to be Future Projects – stuff that is somewhere from planning stages to incomplete rough drafts. This includes 2-3 potential sequels to Project A, a series about a fictional indie rock band from the 1980’s-90’s, and probably two science fiction projects. In short, I am not lacking stuff to write about for some time to come.

So, that’s where I’m at with all of my projects at the moment. I’m feeling excited going forward with them, and I hope they can find an even bigger audience.

Writing Journal 1.27.2019: Snow Days

Well, I’ve attended school only 1 1/2 days due to the weather here in the Midwest, and I don’t think we’re done with that weather next week. However, I think I’ve been using my time well.

OK, here’s the totals:

+1,666 words written.

Days writing: 2 of 7.

Days revising: 6 of 7 for 375 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 7 of 7 days.

So, what that represents is a pretty good move for me from a writing standpoint. I will be interested in seeing the full totals for 2019 a year from now, but based on my review of 2018’s totals, and just eyeballing this month’s totals, I think I am getting better and better at meeting my writing/revising quotas.

I’m feeling good focus on the projects that I’m revising now (although one of them I will likely do a bit of original writing to fill it back out), so that has recharged my energies. I’ll get into those projects (and more Holy Fool news) in another post coming very soon today.

More Book Updates, Promotion News, Etc.

Yesterday was a wild day – around 80 visitors to the site just with the little promotional work that I’ve done so far. That plus the 100-plus followers I’ve gotten on WordPress (and others on my other social media pages) has me thinking something could slowly be starting.

So, let me update everyone on a couple of items regarding The Holy Fool and associated items.

  • I now have ebook versions of The Holy Fool up and running on some other sites thanks to my publisher, Biblio. They are on Barnes and Noble and Kobo, for starters. I have also updated the “My Books” section of the blog with those links.
  • You can also find my book on the Apple app, but for some reason I can’t seem to find a URL link for that. Just search for my name on the Apple book app and you’ll find it.
  • I’m hoping to have a better idea of when I will be getting some author’s copies in my hands by sometime this week. I feel good about that, because I have a couple of people close to me wanting some autographed copies. In addition, I want to get some to my local library and have some available for signings, book giveaways, etc. When I know, you’ll know.
  • Still educating myself on the Amazon and Goodreads author programs (links to my pages on both sites are on the sidebar of this blog). I have the feeling that I will be able to make a lot of use out of both sites as promotional vehicles and to keep in touch with future fans.

That’s most of the new news bookwise – as time goes on, I’ll continue to keep everyone in the loop.

Writing Journal 1.20.2019: A bit of a whirlwind week, considering

Well, things have been sort of hectic, even when I’m not at work. For one thing, my book is finally out, and I have been starting the promotional merry-go-round for that.

Even though I’m finally writing about a whole bunch of things, including my own book (yea), I’m still keeping track of what I write and revise. So, as I have done and will keep doing every week, here are the numbers:

+2,320 words written.

Days writing: 5 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 120 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 5 of 7 days.

A bit more writing than usual, with all of the blog posts and a book review for a friend and fellow writer on Amazon. Not as much activity on the revisions because I’ve been spending a lot of time with getting things set up for the book launch, promotional activities, and getting networked online.

However, I won’t get into all of that here. (I’ll save that for another post.) What I will talk about, briefly, is what I’m working on now, writing-wise.

I’m basically dividing material I have into, for lack of a better term, ready-to-go or long-term projects. Now that I have a taste of the publishing bug, I want to do more of it.

The ready to go projects are stuff that I can do a turnaround of perhaps one year having it published. One of these is an old book that I think I can salvage with some aggressive editing and patching, and another is an idea of a collection of some of the poems I’ve written. I might have enough to do a small book, at least.

The more long-term projects include two ideas that I want to turn into series (because they’re that big of stories). One is a WIP where the first book (at least done as in ready to show to people) and another one is where the first book is still an unfinished rough draft. All of the stories have my interest and curiosity, so frankly writer’s block will not be an issue for me for some time.

That’s about all of the writing rather than publishing and promoting news I have for now, so I’ll stop here. Have a good writing week.