Reviewers provide budding authors–and other readers–with an invaluable service, the unbiased consumer review. This is an especially precious service in an age when we can’t wholly trust the literary gatekeeper we had (traditional publishing) nor, even if we could, depend on it to keep up with the avalanche of indie books coming down the pike…and are going to continue receiving in the coming years.
Kathleen has a wonderful thematic blog going where she asks writers to comment on writing, especially the authors that have influenced and guided them. I chose to ruminate on Tobias Wolff’s amazing short story “Bullet in the Brain,” a stunning short work from his collection Our Story Begins that will have you thinking LONG after you’ve read it. Please check out Kathleen’s blog and tell your friends! (And for Pete’s sake, read more of Wolff’s stuff!)
In Other News
I apologize for not updating the blog nearly enough lately, but I’ve been hard at work on my debut crime fiction novel, A Reason to Live, featuring retired Washington DC homicide detective Marty Singer. It will be available in Kindle and print within the week.
The sequel, Blueblood, is finished and going to the editor later this month. And the third, Signs, is 1/3 finished and I’m looking forward to a scribbling marathon over the next five days where I hope to reach a goal of 20,000 – 25,000 words (hey, if David Gaughran can do 40,000 words in a month, I’m game).
I also have a non-fiction guidebook on how to write a novel (Telling the Tale: The Complete Guide to Writing Your Novel) coming out soon and I hope to offer it through Amazon as well as this site via Oronjo.com, a free site that facilitates file download-for-payment and empowers writers everywhere. Lastly, I’ve been committed to cultivating a presence on Goodreads.com, where I think the future of e-authoring is going to occur. If you hang out there, please friend me!
Two events are going to put a slight zig in the zag of this blog over the next week. Even if you follow my blog religiously, you may not notice either one of them, but I think it’s good practice to have full disclosure.
After some careful consideration and advice from friends and family, I’ll be testing out a new theme (MistyLook) and layout for the site this week. The aim is to increase readability, improve access, and to speed up the reader experience on the site. Thanks to WordPress’s almost seamless theme integration, the only thing you may notice is your own sigh of relief as you read my 600-1200 words post in regular black-type-on-a-white background instead of reverse type.
Major changes will be:
Black type-on-a-white background for easier reading
Wider central column for less scrolling
Homepage will be the blog (like the rest of the universe), not fluff text
Post summaries with “read more” links instead of entire post
Nicer serif to sans-serif font changes for titles vs. content areas
Nothing to do with the theme, but planned-for changes in the future:
Richer, more meaningful masthead graphic
A side-bar “Best of” list of my better blog posts for easier finding
My wife and I will be taking a short trip to Key West next week. I’ll be scheduling blog posts to keep up the conversation, but may not be able to thank you for commenting or add to the chatter myself. But please know I value each and every comment, “Like”, and pingback!
We’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled commentary by February 24. Thanks for your patience and thank you for following my blog.
(This is the first part of a two-part series. Part II coming soon!)
I’m of a cynical bent, so am ill-disposed towards cheerleaders, positive thinkers, and canned morale boosts. But the life of a writer is a lonely and often discouraging one. If you don’t want to end up jumping off a cliff with the pages of your last manuscript fluttering after you, you have to find small victories to keep you going.
I think this is worth writing about because the need for encouragement came as something of a surprise to me. Whether it was because I believed I would become an overnight success or I was young enough to have a naturally rosy outlook when I started writing I don’t know, but as I’ve moved along in my writing career, I’ve found it invaluable to try for, grab onto, and celebrate the little wins…while I work towards the big ones.
If you find your hope flagging and lately all your short stories have titles like “I’d Rather Work in a Coal Mine”, try a couple of these paths to the little victories that will keep those serotonin levels up and empower you to stay in the game. If you have your own ways to boost the ego, please share; there’s no such thing as having too many tricks.