Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No days below 80 degrees, 17 days above 90 degrees.

The city absolutely butchered the evergreens on the corner.  They're building a new sidewalk there.

Here's the thing -- if you cut past the green foliage, it never grows back.  Never.  Visually, it's pretty  much a disaster -- not the slightest bit of finesse or aesthetic appeal.  I'm going to have to remove the evergreens completely, I guess.



Meanwhile, my front lawn seems to be dying, despite being watered.  I can't figure out why.  Wrong kind of grass?  Not enough preparation of the ground before it was laid down?  Not enough fertilizing?

I may have to have the lawn replaced, as well as the front shrubs -- as well as the front steps which are disintegrating.

Oh, the joys of home ownership.


Yesterday was one of the first days in a long time when I simply couldn't come up with my quota of words.  The character I'm writing is supposed to be extremely evil.  How do you write about extreme evil?

I've decided, you have to do it from a distance -- that is, the viewpoint character can't be the one showing the evil because no matter what you do, once you start narrating from that point of view you diminish it.  I think it has to be observed -- almost like a black hole where no feeling can emerge.


Anyone else notice how the weather forecast has been, 85 degrees today....but it will be cooler later in the week.  And then later in the week gets here, and its: 85 degrees today...but it will be cooler later in the week.

I'll be amazed if this isn't a record month.  How many times did it drop below 80 degrees?  Did it ever drop below 80 degrees?

Looked it up -- nope.  No days below 80 degrees, and 17 days above 90 degrees.  Assuming today's high is 85 or so, the average temp was about 88.5.

Historically, it's 82 degrees.

I think what's worse is just how relentless it has been.

The last ten days of June were also in the high 80's and 90's.

I'm thinking about moving north when I retire.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Selective perception.

It's amazing how many train crashes there are after a major train crash.  Or bus crashes.

I have to assume these are going on all the time, they just don't make it to the front page of the news until after a major disaster.

At the beginning of summer, I told Linda I was going to show her every time there was a motorcycle crash on the front page of the KTVZ news.  I've been amazed how many times that has happened.

Speaking of which, 7 out of the top 11 stories yesterday morning were about fires.  Fire season, indeed.

So -- I know this is all selective perception, both on my part and on the part of the media.

Still, it makes one wonder.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Vampire Evolution Trilogy.

I've written the first three chapters of Blood of Gold. 

I think there is a book here, and I have an overall theme.  But it hasn't reached that coalesced feeling I get when it all comes together.   A little too early for that.

The key is finding some new characters who I care about who are underdogs, who have to find their way to safety.  The older characters will start somewhat as background characters -- but I think I've found a way to throw them into trouble as well.  They've become powerful over the last two books, but I think there is a way to make the underdogs as well. 

Once they've been thrown into jeopardy I can take the established characters and pull them front and center.

It's important to have a people stories in the midst of the overall plot, which is getting bigger with every book.  

Looks like I'm going to be focused on this stuff for the next few months -- but at the end of the process, I'm hoping I'll have the "Vampire Evolution Trilogy:  Death of an Immortal; Rules of Vampire; and Blood of Gold -- up and online.  So I'll feel like I've accomplished something.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The rudder not the flow.

Ever since I started getting really serious about writing, I've been steadily progressing toward trusting my instincts -- my subconscious if you will -- more and more.

My main job seems to be to get out its way -- let it do its thing, make room and a safe time and place for it to emerge.  Not interfere or push it in the wrong direction.

My first book when I came back, Nearly Human, is more and more looking like my practice book -- that is, I made lots of mistakes and stumbled my way into figuring out how to write.  In many ways, I was rediscovering what worked for me last time.  The conscious mind is obvious and blundering and mistake-prone and gets in the way of the story.

I just have to trust that my subconscious knows what it's doing, and the more I trust it, the more it produces.

Just a small example.

In thinking about the third book in the Vampire Evolution series I realized a couple of weeks ago that I needed to get a major character over to England and had no idea how that was going to happen.

Then I forgot about it.

Yesterday, in writing the second chapter of the Blood of Gold, events conspired that the character had to go to England.  I wasn't consciously thinking about maneuvering the plot in that direction, it just happened.

It's a strange blend of conscious and subconscious.  I think about where and how I want the book to go, and then let the subconscious come up with the answers.  It's as if I'm just riding on a boat in a stream that I'm just flowing with -- I don't create the stream, but I guide the boat through it with a conscious rudder, trying to avoid the shoals and whirlpools. 

So much of my job is the care and nurturing and encouragement of this process.  Let the shy little creative part of me come out and speak.  Not saying or doing anything that will discourage it.

Letting it happen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Writing as a time machine.

I've never heard this described before by anyone else.  Maybe it only happens to me.  Maybe it only happens because I write so prolifically.

It's been almost a year since I got very serious about writing.  In that time I've written a number of stories -- I'm a little embarrassed to say how many, suffice it to say that I've been very busy.

Anyway, it's a truism that as you get older time passes more quickly.  How I notice this is remembering an event in my past and thinking it happened only a short time ago, only to find that it happened way further back than I thought.  Meanwhile, when the new year turns it seems like you have a a whole year ahead of you, but a short time later, another year approaches.

I'm having the opposite temporal reaction to my writing.  It seems like ages ago that I went to Newport and holed myself in a motel room and wrote The Reluctant Wizard.  But it was only last September -- not even a year.  Then I started Freedy Filkins, International Jewel Thief; then Death of an Immortal...and so on.

I think what's happened is that when I'm immersed in a fictional world, it seems like a great deal of time is passing.  Events are happening to my characters, entire stories play out.  I'm lost in this never-never land that somehow feels real.  I've spent months and years beyond my normal span.  I've lived a whole nother life.

It's a little like the stories about fairy, where a mortal wanders in and spends a few delirious days with the elves and then comes back home to find that many, many years have passed.

It's a kind of mental time machine.

It's not why I do it.  But it does seem to be kind of a side bonus.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A single longshot event.

I wonder how many people can point to a single longshot event that completely changed their lives.  Maybe everyone can, but I kind of shudder to think what my life would have been like if I hadn't sent my first book off.

As I contemplate the publishing world and see how difficult it is to make any headway, I look back at the moment in my life when I quit my gas station job, holed up in my quad apartment, and pounded out Star Axe and sent it off.

When it got accepted, I probably overestimated its importance for a few years.  (The money wasn't enough to spread very far and while it hit the mass market, it didn't seem to stay there long.)  I'm glad I followed it up with two more books, so I don't have to believe it was a total fluke.

Then I probably underestimated the books' importance for a couple of decades until the internet came along and the books had a small revival.  Now I look back and shake my head at the sheer magnitude of the chance that all hinged on one longshot thing happening.

From that one unlikely event I regained my emotional equilibrium, I regained faith in my own instincts, I gained confidence, and I had a goal to strive for and take me out of myself.  From that, I joined writer's group and met Linda.  (The most important event in my life, but it would never have happened without me being a writer.)  From that came working at Pegasus Books and then buying the store.  From that came the blog writing and the current wave of writing.

It happened and it's a moot point.  But looking at the trajectory of my life to that point, I really do shudder to think of where it would have gone from there.

Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, churning the cash.

Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.

I hope nothing comes along and knocks you out.  Because if something comes along, then you will have spent years and years making no profits to no purpose.

What could come along?  Hell if I know.  I just know that something always comes along.  Something no one sees -- a technological leap, a new business model, a entrepreneurial genius, something....

That's why it's smarter to make profits as you go along.

Hopefully, there will still be some infrastructure outside the company that is still left to pick up the slack.

Ordering not what I want, but what I need.

I've managed to make moderate orders at Pegasus Books all year long.  Seems simple enough, but I've never managed to accomplish this goal before for this length of time.  Ordering not what I want, but what I need.

I'm reminded every summer how much business I do with out-of-towners.  Instead of 90% of the product needing to be reordered, like it is most of the year, suddenly only about half the product needs to be reordered.  This, even more than the increased sales, allows me to make a profit in the summer.

I have a target in mind that I need to reach to pay taxes.  Anything over that target and I'm going to spend it on product.  Probably won't be much.  But the best time to restock the store -- counter-intuitively -- is in the slow months, not the busy months.

I've treated the store as a mature business this year, not as a start-up that constantly needs to be built up for the future.  (Yeah, 33 years is a little long to be a start-up, but I really only started rebuilding this store back up about 10 years ago, after spending a decade limping along paying off debt...)

I'm tempted every day.  Deal, deals, deals.  But the store is stocked.   I need to maintain a good level and a good flow, but I don't need to keep building it, stockpiling it, squirreling away resources.

It is time to let the store function, which means not falling into debt and recovery patterns over and over again.  I'd like to turn that around, which means first I have to catch up, then hopefully I reverse the pattern and have profits that I can then spend forward.  I'm half a year into that process and it's very possible by the end of the year I will have turned the cycle around.

Sales are down slightly for the year, and profits are up slightly.  That's the trade-off.

I make the joke with people when they ask how I'm doing:  "Well, the store is 33 years old and even the stupidest person can learn how to do it if they have that long to learn."  (Not that dangers and mistakes don't forever lurk...)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Art is endless possibilities.

A couple of things I want to get off my chest today that I think are connected.

The first is an article I read not too long ago.  I didn't really pay that much attention to it at first, so I don't remember where I read it.  Basically, it said that with the internet, writer's don't have to wait forever for answers from publishers.

Therefore, writer's didn't have to waste so much time on "daydreaming" -- which was a useless and unproductive activity.

At the time I read it, I had a visceral rejection, though I didn't put much thought into it.  Just a sort of:  "Strange -- I don't believe that."

But it started gnawing on me as time went on.  Or more to the point, I started gnawing on me as I daydreamed my days away.

First of all, daydreaming to me is integral to motivating myself to writing.  Who doesn't dream of everyone reading their book?  Of a movie being made?  And so on?

But I also believe for me it's part of the creative process -- that daydreaming mode in a sense is my writing mode.  I'm floating in never-never land.

I can't understand anyone who could be so cold blooded as to want -- to actually try -- to take daydreaming out of the process of creation.

Connected to this -- since I started back writing a couple years ago, I've had two different people insist that I simply must read a book that tell me "How" to write a book.  A magic formula book that gives me the mechanics to write.

Let me say upfront that I don't think learning how to write is a bad thing.  I'm at a point in my journey where I prefer to be self-contained and not distracted by outside influences.  In my defense, I spend many many years being open to all input, but now feel it's time to do my own thing.

I had an argument with a member of writer's group -- which I regret since he hasn't come back -- who absolutely insisted no real "writer" writes without a complete outline etc. etc.  He was under the influence of a book that told him exactly the mechanics of how to do it.

(There was also a recent article about how Hollywood is being "destroyed" by a screenwriting manual that almost every movie is following...)

But to me the 'art' of writing is doing your own individual thing.

Which brings me to what I think connects the two things.

Art is different for everyone.  Not just writing, but music and painting and acting; each person does it different.

If you're an accountant, there is a way you do it.  If you are in most occupations, there is a right way and a wrong way.

With art -- the wrong way can be right for one person and the right way can be wrong for another.

I mean, to me, that's what make is "art" -- that there are endless possibilities.  (Which can't be contained in a How-To book.)

So daydream away and write what you want.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Downtown Comings and Goings, 7/24/13.

Four new businesses downtown.

I left off 11 Roasters because they don't sound like they do retail.


Bishop's Barbershop, Oregon Ave., 7/24/13
Oregon Store, Wall/Franklin, 7/24/13
Supervillain Sandwiches, Bond St., 7/24/13
Taste Oregon, Bond St., 7/24/13
Wild Rose, 5/2/13.
Bluebird Coffee Company, Franklin, 3/29/13.
Pure Kitchen, Franklin (Bond), 3/29/13
Jeff Murray Photography, Minnesota Ave., 3/29/13
Luvs Donuts, Minnesota Ave. 3/29/13
Hub Cyclery, Wall St. 3/29/13
Ju-bee-lee, Wall. St.  3/29/13.
Sweet Saigon, Wall St., 1/20/13.
Brickhouse, Oregon Ave., 1/20/13.
The Drake, Wall St. , 1/20/13
541 Threads, Minnesota Ave., 10/13/12.
O Mo Mo!  Bond Street, 10/3/12.
Crow's Feet Commons, Brooks Street, 9/21/12.
The Cozy Lamb, Minnesota Ave., 9/14/12.
Noi, Bond Street, 9/14/12.
Azillian Beads, Franklin Ave., 9/6/12.
Earth*Fire*Art, Oregon Av., 7/10/12.
Pastrami Deli, Franklin Av., 7/10/12.
Bend Your Imagination, Minnesota Av., 7/10/12.
Paul Scott Gallery), Brooks St., 7/10/12
Natural Edge Furniture, Bond St., 5/10/12
Hola!, Bond St., 3/3/12.
Amanda's, Franklin Ave., 2/24/12
Barrio, Minnesota Ave., 2/12/12.
Rescue Moderne, Harriman, 1/12/12.
Letzer's Deli, Franklin Ave. 2/12/12.
Navidi, Minnesota Ave., 2/9/12.
Mazza, Brooks St. , 2/9/12.
La Magie Bakery, Bond St., 1/6/12
Brother Jon's Ale House, Bond St., 12/10/11.
What Lola Wants, Wall St. , 12/2/11.
Jackalope Grill, 10/12/11.
Gypsy Soul, Wall St. 10/12/11.
Colour N' the City, Tin Pan Alley, 10/12/11.
Lotus Moon, Brooks St., 10/12/11.
The Lobby, Bond St. , 10/12/11.
Ruby, Minnesota Ave., 10, 12/11.
Kariella, Lava Road, 8/24, 11.
Plankers, Wall St., 7/11.
Faveur, Franklin, 7/11.
Dream Pebbles, Minnesota Ave., 6/15/11.
Bend Yogurt Factory, Franklin/Bond, 4/26/11.
High Desert Lotus, Bond St. , 4/4/11.
Tryst, Franklin Ave., 3/11/11. (Formerly Maryjanes, **Moved**).
D'Vine, Wall St. , 2/9/11.
Let it Ride!, Bond St., 1/29/11.
Gatsby's Brasserie Bar, Minnesota Ave., 1/8/11
Tres Jolie, Wall St., 12/20/10.
Caldera Grill, Bond St., 12/7/10
Bond Street Grill, 12/7/10.
Perspective(s), Minnesota Ave., 11/20/10
Toth Art Collective, Bond St. 11/20/10
Boken, Breezeway, 11/20/10
Dalia and Emilia, Wall St., 10/3/10.
Antiquarian Books, Bond St., 10/3/10.
Giddyup, Minnesota Ave., 10/3/10.
The Closet, Minnesota Ave., 8/11/10.
Showcase Hats, Oregon Ave., 8/11/10,
Red Chair Art Gallery, Oregon Ave. 7/13/10.
Earth Sense Herbs, Penny's Galleria, 7/12/10.
Mad Happy Lounge, Brooks St., 6/2910
Common Table, Oregon Ave. , 6/29/10.
Looney Bean Coffee, Brooks St. , 6/29/10.
Bourbon Street, Minnesota Ave., 6/22/10
Feather's Edge, Minnesota Ave., 6/22/10
The BLVD., Wall St. , 6/13/10.
Volt, Minnesota Ave. 6/1/10.
Tart, Minnesota Ave. , 5/13/10
Olivia Hunter, Wall St. 4/5/10.
Tres Chic, 4/5/10 (Moved to Minnesota Av.)
Blue Star Salon, Wall St. 4/1/10.
Lululemon, Bond St. 3/31/10.
Diana's Jewel Box, Minnesota Ave., 3/25/10.
Amalia's, Wall St. (Ciao Mambo space), 3/12/10
River Bend Fine Art, Bond St. (Kebanu space) 2/23/10
Federal Express, Oregon Ave. 2/1/10
***10 Below, Minnesota Ave. 1/10/10
Tew Boots Gallery, Bond St. 1/8/10.
Top Leaf Mate, 12/10/09
Laughing Girls Studio, Minnesota Ave. 12/7/09
Lemon Drop, 5 Minnesota Ave., 11/12/09
The Curiosity Shoppe, 25 N.W. Minnesota Ave, Suite #7. 11/5/09
Wabi Sabi 11/4/09 (**Moved, Wall St.**)
Frugal Boutique 11/4/09
5 Spice 10/22/09
Cowgirls Cash 10/17/09
***Haven Home 10/17/09
Dog Patch 10/17/09
The Good Drop 10/12/09
Lola's 9/23/09
**Volcano Wines 9/15/09
Singing Sparrow Flowers 8/16/09
Northwest Home Interiors 8/5/09
High Desert Frameworks 7/23/09 (*Moved to Oregon Ave. 4/5/10.)
Wall Street Gifts 7/--/09
Ina Louise 7/14/09
Bend Home Hardware (Homestyle Hardware?) 7/1/09
Altera Real Estate 6/9/09
Honey 6/7/09
Azura Studio 6/7/09
Mary Jane's 6/1/09
c.c.McKenzie 6/1/09
Velvet 5/28/09
Bella Moda 3/25/09
High Desert Gallery (Bend) 3/25/09
900 Wall
Great Outdoor Store
Luxe Home Interiors
Powell's Candy
Dudley's Used Books and Coffee
Game Domain
Subway Sandwiches
Bend Burger Company
Showcase Hats
Pita Pit
Happy Nails

(List begun, Fall, 2008.)


New York City Sub, Bond St. 3/29/13
Soba Asian Bistro, Bond St., 3/29/13
Volt Lighting, Wall St.  3/29/13.
Topolino, Wall Street, 1/20/13.
Cozy Lamb, Minnesota Ave., 1/20/13 (moved inside, Bond St.)
Amalia's, Wall Street, 1/5/13.
El Jimador, Wall Street, 9/1412.
The Closet, Minnesota Ave., 9/1/12
Common Table, Oregon Ave., 8/11/12.
Honey Threads, Minnesota Ave., 8/11/12.
Bella Moda, Wall St., 8/11/12.
Giddy Up, Minnesota Ave., 5/10/12
Pottery Lounge, Oregon Ave., 5/17/12.
Boondocks, Newport Ave., 3/27/12
Game Domain, Oregon Ave., 3/27/12.
Toth Gallery, Bond St., 3/27/12.
Letzer's Deli, Franklin Ave., 3/22/12.
Clutch, Minnesota Ave., 3/22/12. (Moving to Tres Jolie).
High Desert Gallery, Minnesota Ave., 3/22/12.
Tart, Bond St., 3/3/12.
El Caporal West, Franklin Ave., 2/24/12
Bo Restobar, Franklin Ave., 2/9/12.
The Lobby, Bond St. , 2/9/12.
Arts Central, Brooks St., 2/7/12.
Typhoon!, Bond St., 2/5/12.
Gatsby's, Minnesota Ave., 2/5/12
The Dog Patch, Minnesota Av. 1/9/12.
Bend Mapping, Bond St., 1/9/12.
Lotus Moon, Brooks St. 1/9/12 (Moving into Tres Jolie)
Bond Street Grill, Bond St., 11/20/12.
Mad Happy Lounge, Brooks St., 10/11.
Azu, Wall St., 10/25/11.
Showcase Hats, Oregon Av., 10/11.
Bourbon St., Minnesota Ave. 10/12/11.
Curiosity Shop, Minnesota Ave., 7/11
Luluemon, Bond St., 8/26, 11.
Shear Illusions, Franklin Ave., 7/11.
Crepe Place, Wall St., 7/11.
Pita Pit, Brooks St. , 6/28/11
Smith and Wade Salon, Minnesota, Av. , 6/3/11.
Perspectives, Minnesota Av., 6/1/11
River Bend Art Gallery, Bond St., 5/5/11.
Donner's Flowers, Wall St. 3/11/11. (**Moved out of downtown**)
Maryjanes, Wall St. , 3/11/11. (new name, Tryst, moved to Franklin.).
Di Lusso, Franklin/Bond, 2/9/11.
Earth Sense Herbs, Penny's Galleria, 1/2/11
Marz Bistro, Minnesota Av., 12/20/10.
The Decoy, Bond St., 12/7/10.
Giuseppe's, Bond St., 12/1/10.
Ina Louise, Minnesota Ave., 11/3/10.
Laughing Girl Studios, 10/21/10
Dolce Vita, Bond St, 10/21/10
Diana's Jewell Box, Minnesota Ave., 10/15/10.
Lola's, Breezeway, 10/8/10.
Oxygen Tattoo, Bond St., 10/3/10.
Great Outdoor Clothing, Wall St., 10/3/10.
Volcano Vineyards, Minnesota Ave., 10/3/10.
Subway Sandwiches, Bond St. 9/2/10.
Old Bend Distillery, Brooks St., 6/19/10.
Staccato, Minnesota Ave. 6/18/10.
Showcase Hats, Minnesota Ave., 6/1/10 (Moved to Oregon Ave., 8/10/11.)
Cork, Oregon Ave., 5/27/10.
Wall Street Gifts, 5/26/10
Microsphere, Wall St. , 5/17/10.
Singing Sparrow, Franklin and Bond, 5/15/10
28, Minnesota Ave. and Bond, 5/13/10.
Glass Symphony, Wall St., 3/25/10
Bend Home Hardware, Minnesota Ave, 2/25/10
Ciao Mambo, Wall St. 2/4/10
***Angel Kisses 1/25/10 (Have moved to 'Honey.')
Ivy Rose Manor 8/20/09
***Downtowner 8/18/09 (moving into the Summit location)
Chocolate e Gateaux 8/16/09
Finders Keepers 8/15/09
Colourstone 7/25/09
Periwinkle 6/--/09
***Tangerine 7/21/09 (Got word, they are moving across the street.)
Micheal Cassidy Gallery 6/15/09
St. Claire Coffee 6/15/09
Luxe Home Interiors 6/4/09
Treefort 5/8/09
Blue 5/2/09
***Volcano Tasting Room 4/28/09** Moved to Minnesota Ave.
Habit 4/16/09
Mountain Comfort 4/14/09
Tetherow Property 4/11/09
Blue Moon Marketplace 3/25/09
Plenty 3/25/09
Downtown Doggie 3/25/09
***King of Sole (became Mary Janes)**
Santee Alley
Bistro Corlise
Made in Hawaii
Stewart Weinmann (leather)
Kebanu Gallery
Pella Doors and Windows
Olive company
Pink Frog
Little Italy
***Pomegranate (downtown branch)**
Pronghorn Real Estate office.
Speedshop Deli
Paper Place
Bluefish Bistro

(List begun, Fall, 2008 )

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Introspective about writing.

Taking a week off has let me think about what I'm doing, and what I want to do.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been thinking about "Art."

I've been mostly thinking about "story" for the last year.  I do feel most art happens as a byproduct of the story.  But there is also the intent -- and I've purposely not put too much burden on myself for fear of blocking my progress.

Overall, I think I'm going about it in the right way -- that is, just keep writing, just keep trying to improve. 

About the only thing I can think to do differently is hold the intent of art in my mind as I'm doing it.

The execution is the thing: I already know what I need to do, and I just have to follow through and do it.

1.)  Plan ahead, plot ahead, think ahead.

2.) Write quickly through the first draft but try to get it right.

3.) Give myself some time away from the book, then come back and rewrite it.

I've done a much better job at the first two requirements, but the third goal is still a work in progress.
I don't like rewriting, at the same time I know that it needs to be done and that it improves the book.

I've been patient about putting these books out.  I felt Freedy Filkins did exactly what I wanted to do, so I put it out.  I felt that Death of an Immortal shouldn't be tampered with very much, so I put it out.

Everything else I've done are still works in progress.  Sometimes a Dragon, The Reluctant Wizard, Wolflander, Led to the Slaughter, and Rule of Vampire are all works in progress.

I'm pretty sure that I'll be putting out Rule of Vampire after letting the editor have a go at it and giving it one thorough rewrite myself.  A couple of months, or so.

Meanwhile, get to work on the third book.

When Led to the Slaughter comes back, I want to give it a rewrite too.  And then do something with it.

The other books I'm either not done -- or in the case of Nearly Human and Deviltree -- are more or less done but I'm not totally certain I can't find a way to make them better -- again. 

A fair amount of time has passed since I "finished" Nearly Human, and I think in a few more months -- after I'm done with my vampire trilogy, I'd like to see if I can't give it One More Try.

Anyway, the nine days off has been good for me and I'm ready to tackle another book.  Finish the trilogy with Blood of Gold, and I'll feel like I've done something.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Art City

I've been working my way through the book New Art City, by Jed Perl, a post-WWII art history of New York.

In the mid-70's, when I was in my early 20's, I visited New York and had a friend take me around to some of the museums.  I was embarrassed by how little I knew.  I grew up in a house with art books and I always appreciated art, but I was pretty much a bumpkin.

I hate being a bumpkin.

So I came back and started studying art history on my own. 

I immediately ran into that old saying, "My five year old can do as well as that."

Well, no.  Not mostly.  (There was a recent article about a six year old artist -- and the paintings were fantastic.  But -- while I don't doubt the kid wielded the paint brush, I figure an adult designed and conceptualized the art...just saying.)

I find with music and art, and sometimes with literature, that critical appreciation does come with knowledge.  That is, knowing the history and context and having someone point out the significance helps me appreciate what's happening. 

At the same time, there is that "blink" moment of either liking it or not liking it.  I don't know how to explain art, but I know it when I see it.  Like poetry, you either feel it or you don't.

But sometimes the criticism seems to be trying awfully hard to make something out of nothing, to overthink it.

The talking about art makes me want to do art.  In fact, it was after reading and looking at pictures by Joseph Cornell and Willem de Kooning and yes, even Jackson Pollack, that made me want to write poetry over the last few days

You know, "art."

I'm mostly a storyteller and what art comes, comes as a byproduct of my efforts to create as interesting a story as I can. 

I have my ambitions.  For instance, I've decided to try to think of a "poetic" concept on every page of Sometimes a Dragon -- that is, as long as it doesn't distract from the story try to find an original and evocative way to say something on every page.

And then do it again.

I think, generally, that the smoother the word flow, the better the story.  I don't personally much care for a John Updike, for instance.  I'm distracted by the wordplay, taken out of the story.

But I believe there is a way to tell a story with a flourish, if you will.  And that's what I'd like to try to do.

Write for yourself.

Write for yourself,
everyone says,
and I do,
oh surely I do.

And it matters about as much,
as that scratch,
that itch,
that hunger,
that daydream,
that wound,
that thought,
that feeling,
that worry,
that clean up,
that thirst,
that cat,
that yard,
that tree in the forest,
that rabbit on the lawn,
that rock chuck in the hill,
that documentary on TV,
these words on this page,

It matters to me,
but why do I bother?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Five days without writing.

Well, poetry.  Which gives me a charge, but then fades.

I guess I really like writing. 

I was trying to figure out what I like about it. 

I think, mostly, I just like telling a story that's mine.  Telling it any way I like.  I also like the words when they come out in a surprising juxtapositions, and I like the sort of daydreaming feeling that comes over me and takes me out of myself and I like the feeling of having finished and having created a separate world.

All of which is separate from actually selling the books.

So I guess I'll just keep writing.

This 9 days break from writing I'm taking will charge me up to start writing again.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just to spite me, had a big day today.

That's all....

The End.


The memory of Dad
lying on his bed
naked and vulnerable
eyes filled with dread.

Dad staring back
now standing instead
nothing happening
alone in his head.

I lay content on my bed
wondering on his doom
While inside my head
universes bloom.

The fear of being
alone at the end
age and decline
a story of pretend.

Did Dad feel the same,
alone on his bed?
Did the tunnel of light,
assuage his dread?



I pull the blanket,
tight to my chin,
safe and controlled,
and dream wild dreams,
safely forgotten.

I zip my zipper,
button my buttons,
cinch my belt,
and start my day
feeling put together.

I survey my desk
papers squared away
pencils lined up,
and feel I have
my work done.

I check my sites,
one by one,
familiar voices,
and reassuring words,
doing the study.

I type my words,
line by line
paragraphs and
pages and chapters,
a story I've told.

All of it
all of it
all of it
all of it
all... of... it.

An illusion,
that can be swept away,
upended and tossed,
jumbled and thrown,
helplessly gone.

I pull my blanket,
to my chin,
safe and warm,
and dream of safety
under my control.

Doing actual research.

A quick Google search (first few pages) found articles about the merchants of the following cities objecting to downtown closures:

 Holly, Michigan
 Fairhope, Alabama
 Macon, Georgia
 Tehachopi, Cal.
 Carlsbad, Cal
 Leesburg, VIrginia

 And last but not least Las Vegas, where the Sun newspaper has the following quote: 

“This is why we stopped closing the street off a few years ago,” Metzger said, adding that as far as she knew, only one owner favored closing the street. “It was too chaotic then — too many people just hanging out — and there weren’t nearly as many people back then as there are now.”

That's a money quote from a town that knows something about promotion -- and money.

Confirmation Bias Bulletin

Well, now I know no one is reading this blog.

The Bulletin does an article on the bike race and doesn't bother to ask me -- I  have been pretty vocal about not liking the race.

They quote five businesses -- four of which are owned or managed by people who have been here only a few years.

Not one of them says it's actually good for business on the day it happens.

But, hey.  It's all good.  Because.

You know, just because.

Because it's got to be, right?

So it must be.


So, hey, Bulletin.  Get off your lazy ass and do some real reporting on Event Fatigue.

Pretty Amongst Ruin

Pretty Amongst Ruin.

The garden wild,
freed by laziness,
from sharp to blurred,
from cared to loose,
like any neglected flower
pretty amongst ruin.

Words appear,
random by choice
from precise to fuzzy, 
from chosen to guessed,
like any poem,
meaning amongst chaos.

Life unknown,
steered by nature,
from planned to accident,
from hoped to feared,
like any experience
feeling amongst living.

Wisdom pursued,
with ordered desire,
from deep to glimpsed,
from known to grasped,
like all knowledge,
here amongst past.

The soul resides,
moving out of range,
from felt to lost
from fervor to sigh,
like all nature,
beautiful amongst design.

Friday, July 19, 2013



They were alone in the office
together at last.
He couldn't look at her.
She walked up to him,
took his chin in hand
looked him in the eye.
"You're a handsome man."

What else could he do? 
He leaned down
kissed her lightly on the lips.
She pressed herself against him
the light kiss turned
into bliss.
After that they were
never apart again.



It was supposed to happen,
a dream come
around again.
A natural event
almost routine
a continuing thread

Create in another,
once given pleasure.
Nostalgia and time
forever never.
Love for people
clothed in emotion.

In places of notions.
Excitement for things
foretold in a flash,
instantly made --
all born
of the past.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The urge to write, as poem.

 The Urge.

The reaching moment, that never arrives
Subversive, undercutting the desire
The aching stretch for the look
Of knowing, if only they heard
If only they could  hear
I try to tie them to the noise.
I can spin this spell, tell this tale,
if only I can hear them listen.

The noise of a silent voice
The wavering of sense
The squaring of time
Written backward. Of time
Long coming or gone yet already here.
The fixing of water into place
Already evaporating.

Sifting the air with open fingers
Hanging the letters whispered there.
The mind atomized by words,
bits and dashes,
impulses on the counter.
Never finished, always done,
always here, already gone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sick of da Hot.

Now that H.Bruce is safely out of town, I can admit that Bend has two seasons.  Winter and Summer. 

I do not remember such a sustained period of heat in my life in Bend.  It's be interesting what the records tell us...

I was inside my air condition bedroom writing for much of this heat spell, but now I'm feeling housebound.

Really, in all the time I've been writing, I've never been terribly active writing in the summer.   I think this is the first time.  Usually, about the time school starts is when I get active again -- like a Pavlovian reaction -- fall means brain work. 

Anyway, I don't like this heat.  Just really don't.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Talking books.

No not books talking, talking about books.

Saw an interview with Barry Ritzholtz, who writes my favorite economics blog, (The Big Picture) who calls Barnes and Noble the next Blockbuster -- which I agree with -- and that bookstores are doomed -- which I don't agree with.

I still believe that bookstores that concentrate on selling books still have a chance.  Though most aren't acting like bookstores but are acting more like coffee shops or clubhouses. I said...good books still sell.

I've had a fair number of comments from people who have "come back" to books from ebooks.  Or, more accurately, say they use ebooks for trips but also buy book/books for reading.

Meanwhile, J.K. Rowling writes a mystery under a man's name and it gets good review and sells 1500 copies. That sounds like a failure, but its the more normal number.

Of course, now it's going to sell millions....

But everything I've ever read makes me think there is a huge amount of luck involved.

Meanwhile, I woke up this morning with the opening lines of the third book in my Vampire Evolution series, called Blood of Gold. 

So I guess that's what I'm doing next -- my subconscious tells me so...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Now comes the hard part.

I keep wishing that I'll find a way to convince myself that I like rewriting.  Some trick that will make it easier.

I think, in the end, I just have to sit down and do it.  It's sort of like trying to make housecleaning enjoyable -- it has to be done, but in the end, it's just drudgery. 

At least for me.  Good for those fortunate people who like doing it.

I know that it needs to be done -- that it is not only beneficial, but necessary in most cases.  Occasionally the words flow and just need a few tweaks here and there.  Most other times, the plot comes out awkward, words repeat, passive language creeps in, things get left out or are just plain wrong.

I think I just have to gird my loins and do it.


Sunday, July 14, 2013



Damn that feels good.  I love that rush. 

No matter what else happens, it's done....

Last chapter.

I'll be finished with the first draft of RULE OF VAMPIRE today.

I had intended to write a flashback chapter, too.  So I'll either do that today or tomorrow.

I feel like the five or six chapters before the last three chapters were rushed, so I want to go back over those in the next few days and try to improve them.

Then...well, as I mentioned, I think I need to spend some time rewriting. 

But...if BLOOD OF GOLD starts coming to me, I'll certainly start writing it. 

I have to remember that part of the reason I'm feeling cabin fever is because of the extreme heat.  I really didn't want to venture outdoors much when it went over 90 degrees.  I really hate the heat.

I'm pretty much ignoring the outside world, rolling my eyes at events, but otherwise not feeling like they need comment. 

I've decided that I don't want to be grumpy old guy anymore.  I want to be cool old guy.

So that means I can't grump.  I'm done grumping.  Not like it does any good anyway...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Is writing bad for me?

Linda is off in Portland visiting Todd, so I dared drink some beer last night.  I'm so not used to it, that 3 beers had me totally snookered. 

Anyway, I came to a surprising -- or maybe not so surprising conclusion:  I need to slow down on this writing thing. 

I'm not actually sure it's altogether good for me, mentally, emotionally, or physically.  I get shut in for days and weeks at a time, to the point that when I emerge I feel almost dizzy when the real world strikes me.

There was a reason I quit writing all those years ago.  I can almost feel myself regressing into a hermit again.

I'm not sure if there is a way to moderate it.  It may be that by moderating it, means I don't do it.

I'm going to finish RULES OF VAMPIRE -- and then concentrate on rewriting for a couple of months.  I haven't even picked up WOLFLANDER since I finished it, for instance.  I should be getting back a revived version of SOMETIMES A DRAGON that I can work on.  I could do another run through of DEVILTREE with Linda's suggestions.

Rewriting is more of a cold blooded process -- doesn't require as much immersion into the dreamworld.

Then -- when I go back to writing, I'm going to try to find a way to both accommodate my real life but give myself enough room for the dreamlife. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

First reader review.

My first reader review on Amazon.  By my Texas reader, Sandy.  She was very complimentary.

Anyway, now that I'm finishing the sequel  (will take a month of two to rewrite and polish) I'm posting the info on DEATH OF AN IMMORTAL, and asking humbly for anyone who's a regular reader of this blog to buy it as a favor. 

Final Push.

Going to finish RULE OF VAMPIRE in the next three to four days.  Hoping actually to finish by Sunday so I'll have a day or two to read it through.

Linda is heading to Portland for a few days, and I always get more done when the house is empty.

The outline has been helpful, but changes seem to happen at every step of the way.  I had come up with an ending to the "Big Bad" that was ironic, but I've realized that it wouldn't be cathartic since it was the no-name minions who are bringing him down.  Now, I'm thinking I'll have him defeated and humiliated, but survive to fight another day.

Linda seems very involved in the story.  I read the big "explanation" chapter yesterday and she apparently dreamed about it all night and came up with alternative explanations.  Sometimes you're better off not explaining, but in this case I felt all the books tied together through an explanation and it was just time I laid it all out. (Counting the first book, 400 pages in.)

I think her objections are right on, and I'm going to try to incorporate her suggestions.

Hard to believe I'm almost done.

 I'll probably start right in on BLOOD OF GOLD, the third book in the series.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stubbornly writing.

Being creative is an odd thing. 

Really, no matter how much you might want others to experience your results, you're doing it for yourself -- and even more importantly, by yourself.  It is the ultimate in inner direction.  So it also a breeding ground for doubt.

I have to remember I've only been doing this seriously for about 10 months; I flailed around for about 16 months before that.  The 16 months were necessary, however.  So, really, it's been 26 months since I started.  Which isn't all that long in the scheme of things.

I've just been putting my head down and stubbornly writing, without much concern for where or how it might lead.  Creation first, everything else second.

I'll just keep following this path until it hits a dead end, I guess.  Or something else happens. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A taste of the style I'm attempting.

Got a call late in the afternoon from Linda reminding me that we had writer's group.

Printed up some chapters of Led to the Slaughter and took them and read them.  I've now read about 40% of the book in group.

This after being cloistered inside for the last few weeks writing another book.  I was surprised to realize that I've written more words on this new book (Rule of Vampire) than I did on the last finished book, and still have several chapters to go.

I get shut in for so long concentrating on one thing that going outside and seeing all the movement and bright lights almost makes me dizzy.  This seems to be the way I write effectively, so there is no getting around it.  I think it was particularly heavy on me this week because I took most of my working days last week and handed them over to my employees.

Lots of doubts about what I'm doing.  And why I'm doing it and whether it matters.

Anyway, I read the chapters and I noticed a few things.

1.)  Enough time has passed between writing the chapters and reading them that the "glow" that comes from having written the words had worn off.  So -- I have less emotional connection than usual.  It seemed very dry to me -- uninspired.

2.) The words flowed very smoothly and cleanly.  Not a whole lot of awkward sentences. 

3.) I was attempting a very matter of fact style and I accomplished that.  Of course, in the scene where the eight oxen escape leaving them stranded, it seemed strange that the characters didn't react more.  So this matter of fact style may need to be livened up once in a while.

4.) While it wasn't a 'word jumble' it also wasn't something I could see very clearly.  I was depending on the listeners to give me their estimation and they seemed to think I'd hit some kind of 'groove.'

I think that my actual writing is becoming more polished just because I've been doing so much of it.   I think my working habits have become very effective.  I think that I've got the proper emphasis on story.

So, again, it is the rewriting that needs to be improved.  That is, going back and upping my game just a little.

Here's a paragraph that the readers seemed to like last night:

"As we descended the mountains it was as if we fell into the deepest regions of hell.  The heat sucked the breath from our bodies.  Turned our clothes wet with perspiration and then dried them to a stiff salty crust.  The oven evaporated what little energy we had left and melted our very spirits.  The wagons sank into the salts of the lake in the blistering heat.  At night, we froze."

That gives you a taste of the style I'm attempting.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Libby's Garden.

There's a terrific article about my Mom in the Bulletin today.

I'm glad to see that she's still getting her due.  She was just as impressive as the article shows, if not more so. 

Goodun Mom.

Monday, July 8, 2013

In the final stretch of RULE OF VAMPIRE.

I'm in the final stretch of RULE OF VAMPIRE.

I'm trying to decide what to include in this book and what to save for the next book.  Everything will go into this book if that's what it takes to make it a good read.  But I think the next book will be broadening the story into a global conflict.  So each book has gotten a little bigger in scope.

I have the title to the third book:  BLOOD OF GOLD.

I'm committed to this vampire trilogy being ebooks, while I'm still mulling over what to do with my other books.  Everything I write may end up as ebooks, but I'm still keeping my options open.

Anyway, I got the idea of using the same exact design for the covers to all three books, but switching the colors around.  DEATH OF AN IMMORTAL has a yellow wall as a background, with a mirror on it and red blood is dripping off the mirror.  For RULE OF VAMPIRE, I'll change the background wall to a sort of brown, with blue blood dripping off the mirror.  (Vampires have blue blood.)  For the third book, same design, change the color of the wall again, and gold blood on the mirror (a new kind of vampire has evolved...with gold color blood.)  Thus the title: BLOOD OF GOLD.

I never intended to write a Vampire trilogy, but it's been so much fun to write and I like the characters and it has come pretty easy, so who am I to turn down the gift?

"Fan" letter.

I just got my second fan letter ever -- this one about Snowcastles and Icetowers.  Last year, I got one from Australia about Star Axe.  She wrote to my Duncan McGeary writer site.

Of course, I couldn't have gotten any letters before, I guess.  No way to get ahold of me.  The imprint, Tower Publications, went out of business though the publisher continued for another 30 years. 

She said she read Snowcastles and thought it endearing and went and got the Icetowers and then carried them around for years.  She was moving and picked up Snowcastles and wondered, "Keep?"

She'd just read Snowcastles a second time and was starting in on Icetowers and ended with,

"I just thought you might enjoy knowing the long-term influence of this story. Linda in Massachusetts."

It's fun to realize that paperback copies are floating around the world and every once in a while someone is picking them and reading them.

And I seem to be getting these little boosts on a regular basis -- as if fate is telling me to keep on going. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Well, at least my wife likes it.

I know this would sound lame if I heard it from someone else.

I was reading my latest chapters of Rule of Vampire to Linda last night, and she frowned and pointed out some corrections and I started to stand up and walk away and then...

Her face broke into a big smile and she said, enthusiastically, "I really like it!  It's got depth and complexity and it's interesting and has believable characters.  It's just really good!"

Well, of course she'd say that right?  But -- Linda doesn't do that.  And she wouldn't say it in that way.

After a few weeks of being alone writing, it's amazing how much that little bit of enthusiasm helps.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Man of Steel: stealing moments.

Went to see Man of Steel yesterday.

I thought it was very effective in the human moments -- Costner and especially Diane Lane managed to bring some feeling to the whole enterprise. 

Unfortunately, these were presented as little two minutes flashback snippets between twenty minutes of mayhem.  I kept waiting for the relatable moments amongst all the crashing about.

So I had the same response I've had lately to all these movies -- cut back the special effects by a third and invest more time in the humans.  Save the money for another movie. 


Got back to the house and could not get into writing my book.  It took another three hours before I finally got going.  Writing for me requires that I write, not go off and do other stuff.

I immediately ran off the rails of my new plotting.  Wrote a relationship chapter instead of the procedural chapter I intended.

Then, later in the evening, a flashback chapter came to me.  I'd been wondering why I didn't have any flashback chapters -- there were several in the first book.  Well, one came, and I inserted it as Chapter 5.  A single flashback chapter is an odd duck, so I'm thinking I'll write a couple more. 

I really like writing these -- and they've become my go-to move in order to replace, fix, or change directions.  They're a change of pace and fun.  They can help develop the themes of the book, add action where it needs to be added, explain things where they need to be explained.

Anyway, I plan to dive back into the book over the next few days.  I'm going to try to get back on the rails of my plotting today.  Write that procedural chapter I had in mind.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The smell of gunpowder in the morning.

We had one employee available for the 4th of July and I kept telling Linda to ask him to work for her and she didn't do it -- so I did.  Then I felt guilty, so I went to work with Linda for a couple of hours.  I like roaming her store filing books.  I love books and it's very relaxing.  But not a whole lot of people came in.

I think next year we'll know it isn't worth being open for her, but is very much worth being open for me.

We've had a pretty good summer so far at Pegasus -- knock wood.  I'm more and more feeling like having the young guys as my representatives --the faces of Pegasus -- not only isn't hurting, but is probably even helping.  I can work the behind the scenes stuff.  I still need a day or two with the public -- both to keep me socialized and for me to get a sense of what's going on.

Both Cameron and Jasper implied that the Bite of Bend set-up wasn't ideal.  I didn't inquire further, because it would just get me upset for no purpose. I can't change what the downtowners do.  I can say that sales were mediocre at best -- surrounded by days that were better.

I think -- I hope -- that August won't have many events.  The bike race is one of the worst for us -- doesn't bring in sales at all, that I can see.  The car rally is even worse.

Whereas the 4th of July parade is perfect -- a fun event that gets people downtown on a day they might not usually be there, and then OPENS the streets for the rest of the day.  Of course, that wasn't designed by the geniuses who organize most of the modern events -- which is probably why it works so well.

Like I said, I've given up.

I mean, it seems like every time I pick up the Bulletin there's another foot race somewhere in town where people show up like lemming to run for some reason or another.  Baffling.

Meanwhile, this town can't support a single independent bookstore?  Baffling.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Finished plotting.

I mean, I diagrammed a dozen chapters.  I was thinking about this for a week or so, especially yesterday, but today I felt like taking a stab at it and it just rolled out.

Not only that, but I've come up with a goodly part of the third book.  At least the premise and the themes.  (I've been starting to set up the third book over the last few written chapters, when I realized it was going to happen.)

My general rule of thumb is that I will double the number of chapters in actually writing them, so I've got about 24 chapters to go.  Which will make the book about 70K words, or right in my comfort zone.

I used to think I enjoyed discovering the plot in the actual writing -- and I did -- but it also led me into traps, or became too predictable (writing the plot in advance means I can tweak it), or I had to go back a lot and fix it. 

But I think I had a couple of instances where I plotted the book and then didn't write them, so I came to the wrong conclusion.  I think that might still be true if you do the whole book that way, but if you start off fresh and then do some course corrections along the way, at some point it becomes necessary and beneficial to try to work out the rest of the plot.  In this case, about 65% of the way in.  By then, you've so into the book that knowing the ending won't demotivate you.

I still get a creative charge in seeing HOW the plot plays out, all the surprising connections and details.

The end book is never the same as the outline, but the outline gets you to the end of the book.

Let the creative subconscious go to work.

I wrote a single chapter yesterday, which for me is really slowing down.  I wasn't totally satisfied about where the chapter ended.   I woke up this morning with a new ending completely written in my mind.  That is, the words just sort of washed over me as if already written -- which means the subconscious was working on it all night.

When I talk about writing at the store, and if I dare venture to give advice to other writers, it's this:  Trust your subconscious.  Let it go to work.  Create the conditions that lets the subconscious feel free.

I spent most of yesterday-- and intend to do the same today -- planning the ending of the book.  

One of the things that most mess up a book is contradictory or confusing motivations on the parts of the characters.

So far in Rule of Vampires, I've got.

1.) Old vampires who like the New Rules.
2.) Old vampires who hate the New Rules.
3.) New vampires who like the New Rules.
4.) New vampires who hate the New Rules.

And there is sort of a fifth group who don't even know about the New Rules, which I'm sort of calling The Wilderings.

What I find most useful in working out plot is to just start writing down my thoughts about it.  Talking out loud also works, but for some reason writing works even better.  So I work out the problems and sometimes a solution occurs to me.

So I have partial solutions so far to the ending, but I'm not all the way there.  So that's what today will mostly be about.  Working out the ending of the plot to my satisfaction.

I think there is a third book here, which I probably will immediately start writing.  

Anyway, for the plot to work, I've got to have everyone doing what makes sense, or explain why not. It's gotten complicated.  So the thing to do is cut through the complications as much as possible and make everyone's stance very clear.

I want to be pretty clear and satisfied with where the book ends before I proceed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More than halfway through -- yes, already.

I'm more than halfway through the first draft of Rule of Vampire -- yes, already.

About halfway through, a new character entered the picture, a vicious little nerd vampire named Hoss, who is giving me ideas for the ending of the book.  I love it when a character takes over.

The other thing that happened is that by deciding on Rule of Vampire as my title, the "rules" became important to the plot, shaping the theme and the story.   I've never understood people who just sort of tack on a title.  For me the title often ends up directing the book.  The theme is implicit in the title.

I need to take time over the next few days to shape up the ending.  I'm thinking of a third book -- yes, a third book -- which means to huge blowout ending will be saved for another day.  This will be a small drama ending -- that is, the major love stories will be concluded, and the characters will be temporarily safe.

Then all goes to hell in the next book, and the entire human and vampire universe goes to war.

Nothing if not ambitious.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Writing in big gulps.

With Led to the Slaughter, I purposely wrote at a more measured pace, after the feverish writing pace of Wolflander.

I'm not sure if it helped or hurt.  On one hand, when I'm totally immersed in a book I tend to remember all the threads and know where I am and where I want to go.  But the creative well always threatens to run dry and I was afraid that I was maybe pushing it, using B grade creative material whereas if I waited I might have a chance to think and let the well refill with A grade.

I don't think that's true, though.  I didn't feel what I was coming up with in Wolflander was B at all.  But I wanted to see what would happen if I took a slower approach.  It was still a fast pace by most standards, but slower than I'd been writing.

Plus, I tried to fit in some other activities while I wrote Led to the Slaughter.

I thought the result was great, but I think that was the material more than my approach.  I felt a little more disconnected letting more time pass between sessions, but I also think I had time to think and plan a little more.  It was probably a wash.

With Rule of Vampire, I'm back to writing in big gulps.  As long as the muse provides, I'm writing.  I'm literally writing faster than readers can read and editors can edit, but then it's pretty much all I'm doing. 

I won't be going on any more writing trips, though.  Too expensive.  Besides, I write just as well in my own bedroom. 

I'm just wary of "pushing" it.  Anything I come up with has to "feel" right.  I try to have a chapter more or less thought out before I start, and usually what happens is I think and plan until a beginning phrase trickles into my brain and then I start writing.

Yesterday, I was writing a scene with some secondary characters and they meet a brand new character, who immediately took over the chapter and the next chapter and may end up taking over the book.

I love it when that happens.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ebook versus paper book. A writer's dilemma.

One of the questions I've been asking myself is whether what I write is different for an ebook than what I might write if I was trying for a good old traditional published book.

What the question comes down to, is the book different if it is written for the end-user, by way of ebook; or for the gatekeeper -- agent, editor, publisher.

I've decided the differences are actually small.

First of all, I write what I write and I write the best I can.

I think if I'm writing for ebooks, I might take a few more chances, whereas if I'm writing for a gatekeeper, I'd probably eliminate most experimental choices as an unnecessary risk.  But I'm not an experimental writer, in most cases.  I write a traditional novel, the kind I'd like to read.

I might be inclined to put out an ebook that isn't ready -- after all, there is no one to tell me nay.  But the very fact that it is up to me to decided has made me much more careful, more careful ironically than if I sent it off to a publisher.  That is, I might think an idea is so good that a publisher will work with me and might send it off before it is really ready.  Stupid, but I've done it in the past.

But because what I put out as an ebook is up to me and me alone, I'm actually taking much more time to make sure I'm happy with it.

So, basically, the differences are small and mostly cancel each other out.

What really matters with ebooks versus traditional books turns out to be:

How Many books I write.

And What Kind of books I write.

I'm writing a lot of books, and I'm not trying to pace myself.  There is no way this many books could be put into the traditional channels.  I mean, it could happen, but it's extremely unlikely, especially for an unproven author.

So ebooks may be the only way I can write as much as I want to write and have an outlet.

The Kind of book is also affected.  I'm conscious that certain types of books are being published -- in fact this is a huge reason I was published in my first career -- I happened to write the kind of genre the publisher was looking for.

So you have to be aware of the commercial potential of what you write -- be aware that maybe vampires are out and zombies are in, for instance.

Or, for example, commercial publishers sort of want to market series, as much as possible.  Books set in the same world, with almost formulaic setups.

Nothing wrong with that, many of my favorite authors do that.

But I don't.  My subconscious goes off in any direction it pleases, whether it makes commercial sense or not.

Like I said, I write what I write.  So putting out ebooks will just reflect that.  Going through traditional channels will require tying myself in knots.

I think it might be possible to do both.  That is, take the commercial ideas and try the traditional route.

Of course, then the question becomes, what is commercial?  I'm not sure anyone knows that until it starts selling...