Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Steampunk pigs.

Was walking in the Badlands yesterday and I had an irresistible image of a pig emerging from a deep tunnel with digging tools and goggles.  Very steampunk.

Thus I knew that my subconscious was itching to get writing again.

In Tuskers II, the pigs start to use technology.  Now, in Tuskers III the idea is that the good pigs and the good humans have to band together to fight off the zombie pigs and humans. 

Yes, I went there.

Zombie pigs.

Again, my instructions to myself is to have fun with this story.  Let it go where it will, and make it fast.

I've arranged to have the next 9 days off, so I'm going to try to get a running start at it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Following Meek's Cutoff.

Somewhat to my surprise, the famous Meek's Cutoff disaster was connected to the Lost Blue Bucket Mine, which is the focus of my next Virginia Reed adventure.

I'm purposely not watching the movie, Meek's Cutoff, because I don't want to be influenced.

Anyway, one of the wandering offshoots of the large 1000 person wagon train was supposedly the origin of the legend.  So like I did with the Donner Party Werewolves, I'm going to try to retain as many historical facts and dates and routes and characters as possible.

I have a theme in mind, which will fit the actual events very nicely.

I really enjoyed blending the historical and the fictional with Led to the Slaughter.  It made it realer to me, and hopefully for the reader.

Because the trail is so close by (eastern Oregon), I'm going to go and take a few days to retrace the route as best I can, mile by mile.

My intention is to stop all along the way and to take notes of the topography and details of the landscape.  Just write copious notes of what the actual land looks like.  Get a sense of it.  Start visualizing the incident.

Should be fun.

Now, if I could just make enough money on my writing to be able to write off the expenses on my taxes...

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Walked to the summit of Horse Ridge.  At least I think I did.  It was one of those situations where I would surmount a hill and there would be another hill so I'd climb that hill and there would be another and on and on.

But I finally reached a spot where it was flat for a quarter of a mile or so and then seemed to drop off.  Since I didn't feel like going down and then back up another level, I turned around there.

Pretty steep in spots, as least for me.  But I was determined to get to the top.  About two and half miles up, and I think it was about 2000 feet or so.  Couldn't have done it a month ago, I'm betting.

A coyote crossed my path about 100 feet ahead.  Just sort of sauntered by, not even looking my way.  Since I was talking to myself, I probably scared him off...

I've lost 12 pounds, with 3 days to go.  Now that I've hit this weight, I'm tempted to continue for another couple of weeks.  Not sure.  We'll see.  I was showing off my dexterity to Linda by striking the Mercury hood ornament pose, and then bending my one leg up and down.  Rather surprised myself by how easy it was.  It was easy to keep my balance. I'm in pretty good shape for my age, by golly.

Sleeping 8 hours, eating right, exercising, not drinking, not smoking.  Nothing too radical.

It's weird how every few years I pull myself together, before letting myself go again...heh.

Planning to dive into writing on Friday.  Tuskers III. 

Looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Taking time off did me good.

I've got a sliver of a notion of how I want to proceed with Tuskers III.

During my daily walk yesterday, I also finally got a notion of how I want to finish Ghostlander.  This entire book is finished except for the last chapter or two because I just wasn't satisfied with what I was coming up with.  But the beginning of Tuskers III gave me an idea for the end of Ghostlander.

After struggling with what to do next, I've got the next three projects lines up.

1.) Write Tuskers III

2.) Start on the next "Virginia Reed Adventure."

3.) Rewrite Wolflander to match Faerylander and Ghostlander.  Bren is editing Faerylander, so I'm not sure how much rewriting I'll have to do on that.

4.) Sometime during the above stuff, write the last chapter of Ghostlander.

Because of timing issues with my editors, I'll be forced to mix some of the above actions, which is not the way I prefer to do things.  But I write so much and so fast that I have to make allowances for my editors.  I want to be able to hand Bren Wolflander as soon as she's finished with Faerylander, and then Ghostlander when she's done with Wolflander.

I want to be able to hand Lara the third Virginia Reed book as soon as she finishes with the Tuskers trilogy.

I'm going to write Tuskers III fast and intensive.  That's the whole point of these books.  Get the story started with a bang and move straight to the end in as clear and fast a storyline as I can manage.
The Wolflander edit may turn out to be an easy fix -- or it may become a quagmire.  I won't know until I start.

I'm hoping for a strong ending to Ghostlander.

I still feel the creative juices overflowing, and I think it did me good to take a month off to let them build up.


Friday, September 26, 2014

It makes a difference.

Cameron was at the Portland comic convention last weekend, and he visited a comic store while in the city.

"I don't understand it," he said.  "They were doing all the things that we don't do.  How can they do that?"

"Two million people," I said.

That's it, in a nutshell.

Here's the thing.  The Bend Metro area includes 200K people, and that includes all of Central Oregon, Lapine, Redmond, Sisters, etc. etc.

So we have a much smaller base of people, at least half of whom are not urban.  Actually, I would include most of Bend in that, and call them "small town."  There is a different attitude toward the arts in a "rural" or "small town" than there is in an "urban area."

So I have a base of customers which is in no way enough to support a comic store, or a game store, or a card shop, and perhaps not even a independent bookstore (since Bend currently doesn't have one.)

My solution was to try to be all those things.

Anyway, within a half hour drive, I have access to 200K customers, most of whom aren't ever going to be interested in comics.

Overlay that with tourists.  Being in an expensive downtown with access to tourists is the only thing that makes my store viable.

In Portland, they have two million people within half an hour drive.  Not only that, they have several four year universities, they have an interstate, they have an urban culture.

It makes an enormous difference. 

In every case, the towns in the valley have access to an even greater population pool within an hour, and then an hour and a half, and then two hours -- on an easy access interstate.

In an hour, an hour and half, and two hours of Bend, you hit wilderness.  Not only that, but mountains and desert.  Not so easy to drive, especially in the winter.

Even the Medford/Ashland and Corvallis/Albany Metro areas have access to twice as many people as Bend, along with legit four year colleges and an interstate.  Eugene/Springfield has access to three times that population.  (With the other Metro areas just an hour away.)

It makes a difference.  Anyone who comes to Bend needs to understand that difference.

I always say the lower population isn't the biggest problem, it's the isolation, the lack of an interstate and a true four year college. 

Tourism is what makes everything work.

There are many things that we are so very, very close to being able to do...but ultimately can't.  Perhaps in another five or ten years the population will have grown enough, perhaps when the college here is really humming, perhaps when Hwy 97 has been turned into a faux interstate.

But until then, it is better to recognize the realities and scale the store properly.  It is still possible to be a viable store here, but I think you just have to be slightly more efficient and careful.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

LeCarre, Lehane, and Leonard: a trio to reckon with.

I was noticing as I was filing that these three thriller writers are bunched together.

Three very good writers, but...

I don't much care for Lehane's later books, starting with Mystic River.  I despised Mystic River.  Just hated it.  Not because it wasn't well done, but because the message seemed to be "everything is hopeless."

I enjoyed his earlier books, but it was as if Lehane decided he had to be "Serious" with a capital "S" and the way to do that was to say, "You can't change your fate.  Despair!"  I fucking hate that message.

Similarly, LeCarre's later books have a nasty habit of the bad guys winning, which is bad enough, but he also basically humiliates the good guys.  Again the message seems to be "everything is hopeless" but the difference is, I think LeCarre means it, and Lehane is a poseur, who wants to be taken seriously.  Ugh.

Elmore Leonard?

He's just great.. 

Career or hobby?

When I first came back to writing, I realized right away that there were two paths I could take.

I could take it seriously, as a professional, and try to carve a career.  (Strange to start a new career at 62, but then again, it doesn't feel all that different than when I was 32.  I have plenty of energy -- obviously.)

Or I could treat it as a hobby. 

What's the difference?

1.)  By being a careerist in intention, it means being considerably more patient.

2.)  Making sure every book is as good as it can be before it is released.

3)  Having professional editing help, and asking for as many beta readers as possible.

4.)  Picking certain books above other books with the idea that each book is the next link in the career and will do me the most good at the time.

5).  Making sure the cover and presentation is as good as I can make it.

6.)  Looking for the best platform -- trying to find publishers, for instance.

7).  Doing as much promotion as I am capable of doing.  Asking people to read and review my books.  Spending more time on social media than I might ordinarily do.

8).  Being patient.  Releasing books in a measured way, when they will be most effective, and have the most impact on the next book.

9.)  Spending money to makes the books as good as they can be, as an investment.

10.) Basically spending twice the time, effort, and money to make my books just that little bit more professional.

So I gave myself five years to do this.  I'm two years into it.  I've got at least 12 more books lined up that will be done to the above standards.

After that, if nothing happens -- and the odds are against me -- I'll revert to treating writing as a hobby.  Just do my best, put them up when they are finished, make a brief announcement, and go on to the next thing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Showing respect.

Working five days in a row at the store, which I haven't done in a long time.

I think it's good for me.  It reminds me how much work it is, and how much it takes out of me.  It reminds me how much I like the store, and in what ways it works and doesn't work.  I'm still doing the majority of the ordering, so it doesn't hurt to see which way the customers are flowing.

The store is so full of stuff that I can't even just replace the good stuff that sells.  I have to pick and choose which good stuff to reorder.  Cameron has done a good job of boosting the Marvel graphic novels sales, which I'd pretty much thrown my hands up about.

Most of all, it makes me grateful of the time off I'm getting, and very aware of how I need that time to write anything.


I took another slice of Tuskers to writer's group last night and a strange thing happened.

They all liked it, and none of them had any real criticism.  Just some typos here and there.

I don't think that has ever happened, and it was very gratifying.  It sort of confirms how I feel about the story.  I mean, they all showed great respect for it.


I made up a flyer of the covers of six of my books, including The Dead Spend No Good and Tuskers which aren't out yet.

I've been surprised by the response to Tuskers.  I thought people would roll their eyes at the idea of a "wild pig apocalypse" but lots of people's eyes light up.

"I was looking for an animals eat humans story," a guy said yesterday.


Was told by someone that maybe I'm only selling books in my store because I put people in an awkward position.

So I didn't try yesterday.

One guy was on the verge of buying it, and I said, "You don't have to" and he put it back.

I believe that is the opposite of "closing the deal."


I think I was spoiled by the publication of my first books.  My publisher seemed eager, and got it done really fast.

It's taking longer this time -- but a month still hasn't passed, so it's pretty silly for me to impatient.


I've been walking five miles on each day I don't work.  (Basically about seven miles a day overall.)

I wore a pedometer to the store the last two days and it turns out I'm walking the same distance without even trying.  So the basic difference between working the store and sitting on my butt writing is five miles.  No wonder I was gaining weight.

I'm stuck at 10 pounds off, though I've never gone over 1500 calories.

Maybe I'm building muscle?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Business of Writing.

I approach publishing in a very different way than I once would have.  I approach it as someone who has owned a small business for 30 years.  I can't help but see all the parallels.

There is not only the long term growth strategy of the store, but there is the growth strategy of individual elements in the store.

What I learned to do over the years, by trial and error, was to develop each product line in a systematic way.

First, I would do the research.  Often, I would have one person mention something, and my ears would perk up.  Then a second person would volunteer a request, and I'd start looking to fulfill the demand.  A third person clinches it.

So, for instance, I recently read an article about how the "Pop" vinyl toys are beginning to have some traction.  So I took notice.  Then yesterday, had a guy from Seattle come in (it's always someone from San Fransisco or Seattle or some place like that) who requested some "Pop" toys, and said a store he shops at had an entire wall of them.  That sent me to the ordering site to see how many were available...

Second, I make an initial order.  Usually enough to be noticed, but not enough to break the bank.  I test which of the individual items are most likely to sell.  I see what the response is.  With any encouragement at all, I start to order new toys as they come out, as well as go back and order backstock.

I move something moribund out of the way.  (I leave the moribund until there is a reason to move it, because it usually means any sale is profit.)

Third, I accept the fact that it may take months and possibly even years to make money on a product.  I plow most of the money back into the product, and thus risk that it will die on me before it becomes a profit center.  This happens occasionally, and it is the risk I take to create enduring, evergreen profit centers.  So, for instance, Magic cards are a solid month in and month out profit making venture.  But manga and anime really died before I was able to turn a real profit.  (I try very hard to at least not lose money.)

Fourth, I keep a consistent and engaging level of inventory and involvement in the product line.  The customer comes to expect that I will have it.  Eventually, some browsers become buyers.

So what did I learn from this? 

Take advantage of opportunities.

Take the time to develop the product, carry as much as can be afforded and fitted. 

Be consistent and steady over a long period of time. 

Invest in the venture, and not expect to make a profit right away.

Prepare the overall ground, and not expect specific success immediately.  

There are tons of other parallels, but suffice it to say for the moment that -- be patient and be consistent and be productive, and eventually people come around.

Closing the deal, II.

So I sold six of my books yesterday in the store, and four books the day before.  I also handed out a couple dozen flyers, with at least 5 commitments to buying the ebook version.

So far, I've had one sale online.

If I'm not there, it doesn't happen.  I think people just forget.  That's all.  They leave the store and that's that.  They may find the flyer later and have another impulse, but unless they react right then and there, it probably won't happen.

This is the new world.  There are so many books being produced that it seems impossible to cut through the clutter without personal intervention.  Selling a book myself means I can use all the sales techniques I've ever learned.  I can use the sincerity of my voice and my body language.  I can use pauses, and timely interventions, and I can read the response of the customer and adapt my approach until it either works or doesn't work.

The internet is an amorphous mass of competing desires and who knows what causes people to finally pull the trigger?

 On the other hand, I have only five copies of Led to the Slaughter left in the store, including my reserves.  I have another 50 copies coming, and I'm beginning to think I'm being too conservative in my ordering.  But then, after this week, I'll be back to normal hours, and that won't give me as many chances to sell.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Closing the deal.

Shockingly, I'm running out of Led to the Slaughter copies.  Ordered another 50 copies this morning.  Seems like I sell several every day I work.  I can close the deal.  I'm pretty good at hand-selling.  But each time someone walks away with the flyer instead, saying they are going to buy the ebook version -- it doesn't happen.  I can't close the deal.  Ah, well.

I show people Led to the Slaughter because I think it has a broader appeal than my vampire books.

But starting today, I'm going to point out Death of an Immortal instead.  Time to sell some of that series.

Working at Pegasus Books the next four days.  Weird how that can be intimidating when it was something I used to do as a matter of course.  In fact, I worked every day of the week for years.

But now, I'm not used to it.  Poor, poor me.

Everything feels like it is limbo.  Again, not all that different than most of my working career.   Haven't heard anything about The Dead Spend No Gold.  It's been all of two weeks since the publisher sent the contract.  (I have to remind myself that it used to take months and months in the old days.)  Waiting for the edit of Tuskers.

I've not only stopped losing weight, I've gained some.  Which is weird since I've been good about sticking to my calorie count and am walking 5 miles a day.

As soon as I can get started writing again, on October 1, (Tuskers III) I'm sure I'll feel better.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Haven't written forever!

3 weeks.  That's all it's been, but it feels like forever.

In fact, I contacted my editor about Tuskers, thinking she was only a week from finishing, and it turns out she's got 3 weeks to go.

I guess this means writing has become a habit for me, or something. 

I've got to work the next five days (Oh, the horror of it!  A full week!).

Anyway, come October 1 and I'm going to be writing Tuskers III.  Then immediately following that, I need to rewrite Wolflander to include all the changes I made with Ghostlander.  Need to have it ready for Bren when she's finished with Faerylander.

What the hell.  I'm on schedule.  I've been very productive.

So why do I feel like I've been loafing?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Don't get cocky, kid!

When Led to the Slaughter was first up on Amazon, I did some research and discovered that most books sell their best during the first 5 or 6 months.  Sure enough, almost exactly at the 6 month point, the sales took a dive.  I was hoping to have The Dead Spend No Gold out by then.

I've sold hundreds of copies in the store, which is unexpected.  I seem to sell a couple of copies at my store every time I work, and Linda sells some at her store, and occasionally they sell at my store when I'm not there.  A constant flow of tourists is great for selling the same book.

A real Catch-22.  I can sell when I work, but I can't write.

I went to the printer yesterday and had a flyer created which showed all six covers to the published or about to be published books -- including Tuskers.  Looks very impressive.  Maybe a little much.

I'm going to write Tuskers III in October.  I will have taken the whole month of September off from writing.  I still have to do taxes and this dieting, exercise thing is still going on.  I've upped the walking pace to 5 miles a day.  (I started at 2 and then went to 3 and then 5.)

However, after losing 10 pounds in 15 days, I've gained 2 pounds.  Neither number is right.  I hadn't really lost 10 pounds and I haven't really gained 2 pounds.  (I've not gone over 1500 calories on any day.)  I'm still hoping to lose 15 pounds in the month, but I'll keep going until I do.

Finally did some gardening.  My brother Mike and wife Sherry are coming for lunch today, and I wanted everything to look great.  A comedy of errors on the lawn.  My lawn mowing service skipped a week, and then when they showed up yesterday, Linda's friends had parked their car at the gate so they couldn't get in.  The lawn mower guy was going to come back this morning, but I forgot to turn off the sprinkler so I called him and said he didn't have to come.  Ah, well.

I have to say, things are going well.  Which makes me knock wood, just thinking that.  Double knock wood for saying it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A month without writing.

I believe this is the longest stretch of not writing in the last two years. 

Next week, I'll be working the store for five days while Cameron goes off gallivanting.  Then I need to get my taxes ready, which is a once a year chore.  My brother Mike and his wife, Sherry are visiting on Saturday.  (Mike's 50 year Bend High School reunion!).

I've been chipping away at the scan of Star Axe.  Interesting to read it after all these years.  All I can see are the mistakes, but this is an existing book and I made the decision not to edit it further.  I can't resist breaking up a few of the longer paragraphs, but other than that and a few word changes and grammar changes here and there, I'm leaving it alone.  I have to save up to buy the rights to the original cover, and that of Snowcastles.  (I'm going to combine Snowcastles and Icetowers in one book.)

I'm not sure when The Dead Spend No Gold is going to be published.  Soon, I hope.  Usually, the physical version comes out a couple weeks after the ebook.  My publisher just posted a blog about how crushed he is under the workload, so...

I'm planning now to put Tuskers online as soon as I can.  Not even try to find a publisher.  I've got a cool cover ready and it is being edited, so when it comes back, there is nothing to stop me putting it up.  I'll be interested to see if a cool cover and an interesting idea are enough by themselves to sell the book.  (I suspect not...)

Got a call from someone yesterday who just wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed Led to the Slaughter.  It was someone who had read my three fantasy's and he told me how much I'd matured as a writer.  Very complimentary.  Getting this kind of response every few weeks or so is enough to keep me going.

I continue to sell Led to the Slaughter (and to a lessor extent, The Vampire Evolution Trilogy) in the two bookstores.  Much more successful at that than I ever dreamed.  Makes me wonder how much I could sell if I was at the store more often.  I'm having some new flyers printed up so I can hand them out to people who prefer to buy the ebook. 

Still making the effort, at least person to person, of promoting my books.

I'm going to keep up the full-scale effort through the publication of The Dead Spend No Gold, Tuskers I, II, and III.  Then for Faerylander, Wolflander, and Ghostlander.  Then for the third Virginia Reed book (subtitle, Ghosts of the Lost Blue Bucket Mine).

After that, I'm going to just produce the books myself and edit them myself and put them online one by one.  I'm pretty good at editing, and I'm more and more inclined to just want to get my books online without interference of any kind.

I suppose things could  change during the process of publishing the next 8 books.  That's a lot of books, and a lot could happen. 

But I will have given it a fair shot by then.

I love the writing, so I'm ready to continue whatever happens.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Writing as a kid or an adult.

I can imagine a lifestyle where I just start writing stories, filling my computer with dozens of books and hundreds of shorter efforts, doing it just for my own enjoyment.  Never show them to anyone else.  There is no end to the words that are whirling through my head.

I like writing.  I like seeing what my subconscious comes up with.  I get a euphoria when the pieces come together, and another jolt when I finish.  It is very satisfying all by itself.

Apparently, I like telling stories to myself.

In a way, I did the above for about a year, and was incredibly productive. I was conscious that I would want to try to publish these books eventually, so there was always a part of me that was revising and editing.  But mostly, I was just enjoying the writing itself.

That all changed after a year when I start to show and submit my writing to other people.  To get editors, to try to find cover artists, to embark on rewrites, to format the books properly for online, and ultimately to try to find an publisher.

I like the writing.  I don't like just about any other aspect of the process.  I don't enjoy rewriting, I don't like the waiting, I don't like having to depend on other people, I don't like the idea that without promotion no one will ever read my efforts.

If that's true, why even bother?  Why not just write for the enjoyment?
I'm trying hard not to let the process bog me down.

When I set out to write a book, I still try to put myself in that original pure creative state -- at least for as long as the first draft is being written.

I have to admit, there is joy in  holding a book I wrote in my hands, there is fun in seeing what artists come up with for covers, and I like see the end results of editing and rewriting. But it is frustrating getting there.

Basically it's the difference between being a kid and being an adult.

I like being a kid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good for Alison Bechdel

I don't know why I picked up Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel.  It isn't the kind of thing I usually read. 

But something about it just caught me.  Maybe it was because I wasn't expecting anything, didn't know anything about it.  One of those time when you accidentally stumble upon something great.

It turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read, prose or graphic.  It was the final piece of the puzzle for me.  Up until then, I'd say, "Graphic novels could be as good as any novel."  After that experience, I could say, "Graphic novels ARE as good as any novel."

Anyway, Alison Bechdel just received a MacArthur genius grant, and it is well deserved.

Apparently, writing is an addiction.

Reading over my blog posts, it makes me seem very ... I don't know ... productive, at least when it comes to writing.

Which is nonsense.  I'm a lazy son of a bitch.

Here's the thing.  I'm a terrible loner.  By myself almost all the time.  When I read other people's Facebook entries, I realize that I'm a fucking hermit.  A Naif.  A Rube.

Which is fantastic if you want to be a writer.  Nothing gets in the way.  (Nobody gets in the way?)

Thing is -- I'd still be a loner even if I wasn't writing, so at least this way, something gets done...

Meanwhile I'm feeling guilty because I haven't written in two weeks.  I wanted time to recharge my batteries before I start Tuskers III.  But it feels like it is taking forever.  Which is ridiculous, of course.  Two weeks isn't long at all.

I've been preoccupied with dieting and exercise and a family visit and I have to work 3 extra days at the store next week.  But right after that, I've got to start writing again.

Apparently, it's an addiction.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A closet full of useless clothes.

I've been on a diet for the last two weeks.  My clothes weren't fitting.

I can lose weight.  I'm pretty disciplined when I set my mind to it.  What I usually do is set a goal, figure out how long it will take to get there, set a date in the future and prepare myself mentally.  Then force myself to do it for the length of time ordained.  I hate backsliding because it just wastes all the effort.

I do strict calorie counting.  I try to do less than 1500 calories per day.

This time around I've been averaging around 1200 calories.  I start off strong the first couple days, only 1000 calories, then it becomes hard for a few days, maybe up to 1500 calories, then crack down again, and so on. 

I started taking walks.  3 miles.  Takes me a little less than an hour, 2000 paces when I don't know the distance.  The Juniper Recreation Wilderness Area is exactly 10 miles from my house, and I have yet to run into anyone else when I'm walking, which I prefer.  On weekends I do a circuit of the nearby Williamson Ct. doctor's office district, which is deserted and very pleasant landscaping and smells.

3 miles may not seem like much, but it was tough at first.  I got a few blisters.  It's been getting easier.  I'd walk longer but I feel like taking an hour (plus the half hour it takes to drive to and from my path) is enough time.

Then, as long as I'm sweaty, I do some gardening for an hour.

Then I spend a couple hours sorting books at the Bookmark.

I've lost 10 pounds in 15 days.  Figure that 2 pounds is water, and I've lost 8 pounds.  So about half a pound per day.  I'm going to continue on til the end of the month, hoping to lose about 15 pounds, which will put me at my optimum weight.  If I lose a little more than that, then OK.

All my clothes will fit again.

I can do anything for a month.  But it is like having a half time job or something.  I have to stay pretty focused on the project.

I haven't been doing any writing.  I've been working on Star Axe, which was scanned, but which has so many transcription errors that I have to go through every line.  It is a little less difficult than actually typing the manuscript from scratch. A little less...

What usually happens when I do this, is that it takes a couple years for my weight to creep back up, then I do it again.  My body shape is such that except for the last five pounds of gain, no one really notices one way or the other.  I've been 20 pounds lighter and no one noticed.  My face never changes, which is what people see.  So I decided a few years ago that I didn't care about the vanity side of this.

But I don't want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Indie authors are like "herding cats."

I got a very considered response to yesterday's blog by P.J. Grath, http://booksinnorthport.blogspot.com/ who owns a store in Michigan.  All I have to say is that I agree with almost everything she says, even if she wrote it as a counter to what I wrote.  (She writes more clearly than me, too, darn her.)

How can both of us be right?

I think she's talking about the way things are, and I'm trying to imagine a future where we continue on doing what we do.

First of all, she relates how open she is to self-published books.  The irony here is -- I only buy from distributors.  So she's actually doing the thing I'm saying bookstores need to do, and I am not.  That's why I'm calling for a system where I can access indie books without the huge hassle of dealing with individual authors in person, who I have no idea how good they are, and who may have unrealistic notions of how bookselling works.

She has a really good point about wondering why any distributor would take on self-published authors.  "Like herding cats."

I suppose I had in mind a system where the author supplies the books and pays for storage.  Something simple where the risk is on the author, not the distributor.

She quite rightly mentions that most self-published books aren't very good, and can be poorly edited.

My scenario really depends on the idea that a certain number of very accomplished authors take the self-publishing route and stay there.  If it turns out that a large number authors who readers are looking for can only be found in ebook form, then bookstores lose out.  My thought is, if there are physical versions of these (future) in-demand books that bookstores can access then we can still serve those of us who want to read real books, and not on ereaders.

I'm also asserting that the current publishers have become so tight they are bound to miss authors that will have success going the indie route.  I believe that by consolidating into the Big Five corporate entities that there are less editors, less support, and less options, that they are dropping legitimate mid-list authors, and that they are focused on the next blockbuster.  I don't believe they are as open as they once where, I don't believe they give authors a chance to develop, and I don't believe they are open to books that are outside the current formulas.

Up until now, the publishers have been able to co-op successful indie writers.  So they can use the indie market almost as a farm-team.  But there are at least some indie writers who have calculated that they make more money not signing contracts.  Other authors have turned down the traditional publishers because they want to be independent, free to do as they please.

(The Stephen King experiment was early -- and I'm not sure he went about it in the right way.  Didn't he ask readers to send "whatever" they thought was fair?)

What I'm suggesting is that there will need to be a way for bookstores to easily access successful indie authors.  There is no real mechanism in place right now for that to happen.  It is a huge hassle to deal with individual authors, who don't know how things work. 

Imagine that the future Stephen Kings and James Pattersons, who the readers are clamoring to read, refuse to go through traditional routes.  What then?

I'm sure that someone will figure out a way.  Bookstores have proven to be pretty hardy.  I truly believe that there are enough readers of physical books to keep us going.  At the same time I think ebooks are going to continue to get bigger and that indie authors are going to emerge that simply can't be ignored.

So we need some way to bridge those two realities.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Publishers are on the wrong side of history.

And because bookstores are locked into the traditional publishing paradigm, they are also missing the inexorable trend toward authors taking control of their own writing.

It is only a matter of time before enough significant authors self-publish that bookstores have to take notice.

Up to now, bookstores can simply ignore indies.  Admittedly, it's a huge hassle to carry individual authors and their books, if they aren't available from wholesalers.

Either enough mid-list authors will become indies to have an effect, or some major authors will figure out that they can make 70% of the value of a book, instead of a much smaller percentage.  Or, most likely, so many great new authors will arise from the indie ranks and the buzz will be so strong that bookstores will have to accommodate it or risk becoming irrelevant.

That's the trend, and I think it's irreversible.  Bookstores can ignore it for a long time, but if enough ebooks sell without bookstores because they can only be sold as ebooks, then the bookstore will be missing a significant portion of the money being spend.

Publishers have tightened and narrowed and blockbustered the entry into traditional books that it seems inevitable to me that too many good authors will slip between the cracks, be found as ebooks, make enough money that they can ignore the traditional route of agent/publisher/distributor/bookstore.

Good authors, best selling authors, will choose to fore go the traditional route, realizing that by self-publishing, they are in complete control, making 70%, own their own rights, choose their own covers and formats, and so on.

There may be two markets for awhile, but I wonder how long the traditional publishers can delegate "self-published" books into the old "vanity press" paradigm when it is no longer valid.

I gave a local bookstore 5 copies of my book, and they put it in the least noticeable, most inaccessible place in the store.  This despite my book having gotten quite a bit of local publicity.  I've sold hundreds of copies in my store, and at least a few dozen of them sold based on simply being displayed.

They put my book in Siberia because to them it was self-published.  (It wasn't, but that isn't the point.)

But that's their problem, eventually.  Unless they wake up, they're going to miss the boat.

The one problem with indies is that there is no central clearing house (except Amazon, of course.)

What's needed is for someone to take the indie books under one roof and distribute them to bookstores, so the bookstores don't have to buy from individual authors.  Either an existing distributor needs to create this capacity, and make it easy to use, or a new distributor needs to arise that doesn't have the bias against indie books.

This probably won't happen until there is a tipping point of so many indie books being sold out of the non-traditional methods that bookstores will wake up to the fact that they are missing a significant proportion of the good books being read.

May take years, may crumble overnight.

But it seems to me that it is inevitable.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I shall continue my Evil Plan.

I've been reading up on the publishing industry.

Big mistake.

"Never tell me the odds!" Han Solo.

Doesn't matter.  I have my little five year plan, and I'm on track, and I'll just keep doing it.  If it requires putting blinders on, then that's what I'll do.  If I keep on this track, I'll get there.

With the store, I used to make these kinds of plans and I'd start putting them into play and nothing would happen and nothing would happen, then there would be a spark, and then a little flame, and eventually a full nurturing campfire.

So I'll just assume the same thing can and will happen with my books.

My job is the write the best books I can and put them out one by one.

That's it. Nothing else.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Another Downtown Event bites the dust?

It's no secret I haven't been a fan of the streets being closed so bike riders could circle us like wagon train pioneers being circled by rampaging Indians. 

However, the effects have been less each year as I have slowly "mainstreamed" my store.  This year, in fact, we did very well. 

So whatever happens, I'll live with it -- as if I have any choice.

So Cascades Cycling Classic.

I wonder how much money is really raised on these things, or whether the vast majority is just 'cycled' (so to speak) back into the promotion industry?  It sounds like it costs a lot of money to put on the event, too much for the organization that benefits to put it on without a sponsorship.

It sounds a little desperate -- they have only a month to come up with a new sponsor.  (It sounds like they've known for some time, and I assume they've been looking...)

This has been a 'traditional event' -- and homegrown -- and despite it's inconveniences over the years, I may even be a little sad to see it go.  I'm willing to take one for the hometown team, if you will.  (What I object to is the constant expansion and numbers of events...and, well, the closing of streets when it isn't necessary.)

Chances are, they'll find a sponsor.  Too many fingers in the pie to let it go.

These things just take on a life of their own.

I also wonder if these things just have a life-span and that's it.  The bigger they are, the more they seem to be vulnerable. 

We've lost a big golf tournament, a downtown music festival, the Bend Film seems to decline each year, the Nature of Words is done, and so on and so forth.  A combination of overreaching (we aren't Portland) and losing founders and just wearing out.

Here's something I'm pretty sure of.  Downtown Bend is not only getting lots of visitors, it is in danger of being throttled by too much stuff going on.  I'm serious.  I'm not sure a decline in events would have as big an impact as the planners seem to think.  Not distracting the tourists and just being a normal, thriving retail center might not be such a bad thing.

What I would like to suggest to the Downtowners, and the city, is that we don't instantly replace this event with another -- that we let a summer weekend go free.  Please?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indie bookstores are back, baby.

I take the mass media memes with a grain of salt, even when they are in my favor.

I never thought indie bookstores were doomed.

Nor do I think they are having a dramatic resurgence.

They hit bottom and those who could survive, survived, and those who entered in the business had clearer notions about what it takes to survive.

Still... all the things I've been predicting on this blog for the last 8 years seem to be happening.  The demise of Barnes and Noble is well underway.  The Nook was a mistake, as I've always thought.

Physical books aren't disappearing.

I've more or less changed my mind about ebooks.  I think the legacy publishers would be wise to embrace ebooks, share the loot, and pick up the better indie authors and treat them fairly.

I don't think they are going to do that.  I think they are going to go down with the ship.

Anyway, whether the mass media (and therefore the public) thought bookstores were doomed or not never really mattered to me.  I knew that I was doing just fine, and in fact my book sales have increased every year I've carried them, and that's without taking too much risk on them.  (Carrying what is comfortable and financially easy to me.)

What did matter about the impression of doomed bookstores was that it was going to make selling a bookstore so much harder.  I'm getting near the end of my career.  At some point I was going to want to sell my store(s).

It's at least a few years away.  We renewed our leases at both Pegasus Books and The Bookmark.  So maybe by the time we're ready, the meme will have changed completely from "Bookstores are doomed" to "Bookstores are Hot!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

35 years old. Is my book a Classic?

Star Axe came out almost 35 years ago.

Gee, that almost makes it a classic.  Heh.  I do believe the old books gain a certain "halo."  Like, those were the days, you know.

Here's the original cover, which I think is charmingly retro:

Anyway, I'm hoping to put Star Axe back out as an ebook.  The way I read the original contracts, the rights have reverted to me.  Interestingly, the publisher sold out to Amazon a couple of years ago, after finally giving up the ghost.  So I guess Amazon will be telling me if I can publish my book or not.

OH....after writing the previous paragraph, I went to Wiki and found this:

"In August 2012 Amazon Publishing announced that it had acquired at auction the publishing contacts of over 1000 books from Dorchester Publishing. Dorchester authors were offered the opportunity to join Amazon Publishing and receive the full back royalties that Dorchester indicated were owed. Under the terms of Amazon’s bid, any former Dorchester Publishing authors that chose not to work with Amazon Publishing will have their rights revert to them to pursue other publishing opportunities including self-publishing via the Kindle Direct Publishing platform."

So the way I read this, I'm free to do what I want.  (I doubt there are any royalties due...Dorchester went through a bankruptcy soon after publishing my books -- I got all but the final advance.)

I took the book to a printer and had it scanned.  I thought it would be an easy thing.  Just do a few touchups and ready to go.  But it came out pretty scrambled.  I can decipher it, with some difficulty, but it takes time.  I have to check each and every paragraph.  (Man I had long paragraphs back then.)

Other than a couple obvious errors, I haven't changed anything.  This book has existed in its current form for a long time, so I'm sticking to it.

I'm not sure, but I could probably type the damn thing about as fast.  In fact, I'm thinking of doing that with Icetowers (my third book.)

My second book, Snowcastles, I found online, pirated all over the place. (It was published in England, so got a much broader distribution.  All over the world.)

The one thing I really want to do is use the original covers.  I think the covers were kind of cool, and was probably the reason the books sold as well as they did.  I didn't like the third cover, though it was done by a name artist.  So I'll probably use the Snowcastles cover for Icetowers as well.  I'm thinking of combining the two books, actually.  Just call it, Snowcastles and Icetowers, what else?

The artist, Ramos Kukalis, wants a fair chunk for the two covers, but I'm going to go ahead and buy the rights because I think they'll sell the books -- if they sell at all.

Meanwhile, though, it is a very slow process.  About 5 pages an hour, (a total of 50 hours) plus it will need proof-reading.  But when I'm done, it will be fun to see them out in the world again.

But I have enormously fond feelings for these books, obviously.

They transformed my life.  Gave me hope and confidence.

So let them live.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I am a bookstore.

I've told this story before, but here it is:  When I was in grade school, a teacher sent us home with instructions to count how many books we had in the house.

So I spent all weekend counting.  First the large attic that was filled with books, stacked to the ceiling, then the living room, lined by bookshelves, then each bedroom, each of which had bookshelves, then the kitchen where cookbooks and gardening books lined the upper walls, then the bathrooms (yes, the bathrooms) then inside the closets, then in the basement in boxes, and...well, you get the picture.

The teacher looked at me when I gave her the number -- "No, I meant count books."

I remember being speechless, and the dawning look of amazement on the teacher's face when she realized I meant it.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, I have to tell you that Linda and I own a thriving used bookstore that was stocked in the beginning, in the main, with those very same books.

What the result of all these books surrounding me was, I read a whole bunch of books.  Not only that, I read every kind of book. Fiction, non-fiction, classics, the best-sellers of the day, and every kind of genre.

I remember thinking when I was about sixteen years old that I was probably being silly reading a book about the crusades, followed up by a book about gladiators, followed up by Ann of Green Gables, followed up by The Naked Ape, then Exodus, and so on and so forth.

No real rhyme or reason.  Just whatever caught my fancy.

I didn't know what a hoarder was back then -- so I didn't realize my dad was a hoarder and books were part of his syndrome.  But thank goodness it was.

My dad was probably also a genius, and had an incredible trove of knowledge, and had read more books than anyone alive.  I thought, perhaps, I would someday catch up.  So I started gathering "trivia" so that when he questioned me, he couldn't stump me.

I never did catch up.  (I'm no genius.) But by then the habit of gathering knowledge for knowledge sake was ingrained.  Superficial knowledge, in many ways, knowing a title or and author for no other reason than to know it.

I remember walking into his room once.   As usual he had a pile of books near his bed (I mean piles of books stacked from the floor...)  There was an interesting cover.  "What's this?"

"Oh, that's kind of fun...you might enjoy it."

It was the Hobbit, and my life has never been the same since.

I read once that writer's have a couple of common characteristics -- that they read voraciously, and that there was a period in their life where they were incapacitated for some reason and were forced to do nothing but read.  What with my natural inclination and my years of depression (and agoraphobia) I did both.

I've read so much, that even if I haven't read a book, I often know what it is and what it is about.  For enjoyment I read the New York Times Book Review from cover to cover.  Not because I think I'll ever read all those books, but because I like knowing what they are.

Anyway, when it came time to include carrying new books in my store, I started out just getting those books that I'd read and loved and/or knew about.  I figured I'd start there, and then add, you know, bestsellers and books I hadn't heard of.

Thing is, my budget has never been as big as my experience.  I've been buying books I'm personally knowledgeable about mostly since the beginning, and my budget has never stretched as far as my knowledge.

That is, there are always other books I'd like to bring in that my budget can't allow.  I'm beginning to realize that I could probably fill a store just with my own tastes and knowledge, never referring to anything else.

Which in essence, makes my store -- well, me.

Not entirely, I admit.  I do buy lots of books I haven't read.  Either because they are on sale or because they are the new hot thing and they fit into my parameters of what I think I probably would like.

Which still reflects my tastes, if you will.

I don't know if I could do a bookstore that was dedicated to nothing but books.  Pegasus Books is still only 1/4th books.

But I think I probably could, with a few fill-in's here and there.

This is what independent bookstores do.  I believe the best bookstores try to indulge the owner's idiosyncratic taste, while at the same time trying to fulfill the customers needs.  It is where those two things meet that make a independent bookstore a unique experience.

And I think it's turning out that there are enough people in the world that appreciate that to keep bookstores around.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Dead Spend No Gold has sold to Books of the Dead Press.

I got a contract for The Dead Spend No Gold: Bigfoot and the California Gold Rush from Books of the Dead Press.  Took a little longer than I expected, but I was probably expecting it too quickly.  Anyway, I've sent off the signed contract today and hopefully the book will be up for sale in the near future.

Inline image 1

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Taking the good parts out.

I've been reading over the shorter version of Tuskers, and...well...I don't like it as much.  It requires leaving out the most interesting character in the book, as well as the two most sympathetic characters, who are also the major sacrifices in the story.

I just don't think without these characters and scenes the story is strong enough to send to Amazon Singles.

I'm not sorry I did it.  It was a worthy exercise that taught me a few things, made me start doing a rewrite, and got me to catch some copy-editing things.

So, no harm.  Just a few extra days.

It gave me the time to realize that I'm more in the mood for rewriting than I am in starting off a new project.

I have any number of books I can work on.  I'm thinking right now that I might tackle the rewrite of Wolflander.  Or I may just finish Deviltree, which would be easier.  Get the easy one done first.  I've got a cover ready for Deviltree and the story is more or less complete.  I have a couple of things I want to do to it, but that shouldn't take all that long.

I also have the sequel, and I can just concentrate on rewriting it, too. 

What would be really cool is if I could get Star Axe and Snowcastles and Icetowers out, with the old covers, redesigned, but under my name and imprint.  That just requires doing it.  (I have to buy the old art and fix it up...)

I'm feeling like it is time to start finishing up these books and put them out one by one.  Just get it done.  Not wait for anyone else.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Trying something shorter.

People are always recommending that I write short stories or something.

As if that would be easier.

But that's like asking a long-distance runner why he doesn't do sprints.

It takes a certain type of thinking to create long-form stories.  It comes naturally to me.

Short stories are a whole nother thing.

Anyway, when I started writing Tuskers, I thought it would come in around 20K words and that was Okay.  But, as usual, I started adding characters and scenarios and I ended up at 47k words.  By the time I rewrite, it will probably be 50K words, because my tendency is to under-write and have to flesh it out later.

The S.F. writer Rudy Rucker was in my store, and he thought Tuskers was fun and that I ought to submit it to Amazon Singles.  I'd never heard of that, and when I checked it out, it required a story less than 30K words.  It is also a judged submission process, so the chances of it being accepted are unknown.  I suspect it isn't easy.

But I'm spending several months editing the story anyway, so what harm could there be in trying?

So yesterday, I started out to see what could be done to cut 17K words.

First I eliminated all the secondary characters.  That cut about 16K words.  To my great surprise, the story still holds up with just minor changes.

That left me with 31K words, so I spent the day cutting, and it looks like by the time I'm finished, I'll have cut another 1500 words, getting me under the limit.

So I'm going to go ahead and submit the story on Monday -- but not expect anything.  Really. 

It turned out to be a useful enterprise no matter what.  Cutting unnecessary words really tightened it up.  Made me aware of where I was being too wordy.  More often than not, cutting a few words made the sentence less passive.

I have a couple of bad habits I really wasn't aware of,  but over the last two manuscripts I've started to see it.

Anyway, if by some miracle, the story gets accepted, it will delay the longer book for some time, which is all right.  I've titled the shorter version "Tusker" instead of the plural "Tuskers."  If the short version gets published, then I'll put out the novel version later.  May even say something like:  Tuskers: the Novel.

It's all forward progress, I suppose.  I hate the complications (which is why I don't do much promotion) but I guess some of it is unavoidable.

Trick is just to do it and forget it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Try to remember, the kind of September...

September has always been a melancholy month for me.  Sweetly melancholy, if there is such a thing.

I try not to let it take too deep a hold.  Dangerous that.

It's strange to see such diminished traffic in town.  Refreshing too.  But I can go on my nature walks now and not be surrounded by tourists.

What I always think at the store is, "I can't wait until summer/holidays are here."  And then when I'm in the middle, I think, "I can't wait until summer/holidays are over..."

Thing to remember, though, is that without summer and Christmas, Pegasus Books just wouldn't be viable.   I always say, "I make money 4 months out of the year, I lose money 4 months out of the year, and if I'm lucky, I break even 4 months out of the year."

There is an interesting article about restaurants today in the Bulletin where one of the owners says this:

"In the summertime, it's great.  But it's a 365-day business, so you can't be busy 90 days and make it through 365 very profitably."

Maybe all my meanderings are floating through the Zeitgeist.  There's another quote from a new restaurant in Bend who pretty much says what I've always advised:

"...she... realized one of the keys in Bend is starting small and making an appropriately sized initial investment....I think it's hard to make it in this town."

I believe that people who move to Bend to open businesses simply don't get how extreme the difference is between what they saw in the summer while visiting and the dismaying loneliness of a cold, wintry day in late February.

Meanwhile, there's a bookstore opening in a small town in Illinois that described itself thus:

Abet Books "will carry new and used books from children's tales to novels, as well as board games and comic books. The board games won't just be classic family titles, but 'niche European board games' that Nissen hopes to introduce customers to." (Shelf Awareness)

That sounds pretty familiar as a business plan... (almost makes me wonder if they visited my store.)  Or, like I said, maybe it's just the Zeitgeist.


Anyway, having these melancholy thoughts.

In my past writing career, fall was also the most productive writing time, which I think came from starting school in September for 18 out of my first 28 years.  I used to not be able to write in summer and holidays.

These last two years, I've overridden those impulses.  Writing all the time.

Haven't heard from my publisher, and I'm wondering now what I thought was going to happen.  Of course it's going to take time.  The first books were accepted quickly once the decision was made but there had been almost a year leadup to that point.

I'm thinking my publisher has gotten busy doing other things.

The book is ready to go, whatever else happens.

I think I'm feeling stymied.  The necessities of the real world are blocking my free expression, man.  I'm waiting for publishers, editors, artists...


Meanwhile, in a time of changes, I've started a diet -- not for health or looks reasons, but because I have a whole closet full of cloths that fit a little too tightly, and if I lose 10 or 15 pounds will fit quite nicely.  I seem that have a pretty strong will when it comes to doing this, though I let it creep back over a couple of years.   ("I can quit smoking...I've done it hundreds of times...)

Been concentrating on Linda's store, which needed a little bit of kick.  Which is what I enjoy doing.  I'm investing in book CD's, and just generally spending more time there rearranging and filing.  I think we're already seeing some results.

It gets me out of the house and around people, and yet doesn't disrupt my writing.  I could work at Pegasus Books instead, but I feel like I get underfoot and it also gets a little intense, blowing away my writing mood.  Besides, my guys are doing such a great job that I don't like interfering.

I'm not letting the melancholy take over.  I'm making sure I do all the things that drive the melancholy away.  Because it can be a pretty severe drop from a little melancholy to worse.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Downtown Comings and Goings. 9/4/14

I have a shiny new neighbor, Cosas, which sells Mexican art and furniture.  Very cool looking, and way more retail-ee than the Christian Science Monitor was...

It appears that Alpenglow has closed its doors.


Cosas, Minnesota Ave, 9/4/14
High Desert Chamber Music, Brooks St., 7/9/14
Via Delia/Just a Little Charm, Oregon Ave., 7/9/14
Angelina Organic, Bond St., 7/9/14
Fire in Bend, Franklin Ave., 7/9/14
Stihl Whiskey Bar, Franklin Ave, 7/9/14
The Red Pinecone, Minnesota Ave., 4/10/14
The Painted Gallery, Bond St., 4/10/14
The Basement, Bond St., 4/10/14
Bend Modern, Wall St., 1/10/14
Legum Design, Bond St., 1/10/14
Dogwood Cocktail, Minnesota Ave., 1/10/14.
Salud Raw Food, Franklin Ave., 10/10/13
Bhuvana, Minnisota Ave., 10/10/13.
Outside In, Wall St., 9/26/13.
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, Greenwood 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.)


Alpenglow, Wall St., 9/4/14
Christian Science Reading Room, Minnesota Ave., 7/9/14
Roberts Clothes for Men, Wall St., 7/914
Pure Kitchen, Franklin Ave., 7/9/14
Dream Pebbles, Minnesota Ave., 1/10/14
Pastrami Deli, Franklin Ave., 10/10/13.
Edman Furniture, Wall St., 9/26/13.
At the Beach, Wall ST., 9/18/13.
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
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 to 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 downtown)
Maryjanes, Wall St. , 3/11/11. (new name, Tryst,  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
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 to Summit location)
Chocolate e Gateaux 8/16/09
Finders Keepers 8/15/09
Colourstone 7/25/09
Periwinkle 6/--/09
***Tangerine 7/21/09 (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
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 )

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Writing thoughts.

Changing the 1st person chapters to 3rd person has confirmed one thing to me.

I probably need Tuskers edited.

If nothing else, having an editor forces me to take the time and the energy to look at the manuscript longer, which it probably needs.

It holds my feet to the fire.

I just need to keep reminding myself to do one thing at a time, one after the other.  I've done a lot, and I have a lot unfinished, and the only way to continue is one step at a time.

With all of this, I come back to asking myself -- does it matter?  What if I didn't know? What if I was just writing my stuff and putting it out and I didn't know what was happening?  Would it matter?  Am I doing it for reputation, for ego, for praise, for money?

What if none of those things were forthcoming in any way?

What if, I just concentrated on the art of it?

Basically, I do understand this isn't going to work.

But I feel compelled to write anyway.

This isn't really like the store.  I always thought the store would work if I did it right.  But I didn't necessarily feel compelled.  So while there are many similarities, the final result just isn't the same.
Writing in the end is a lonely activity, done alone, without feedback or results.  You do it anyway.

The store shows results from the efforts.  Which I suppose is why I went there.

 I feel compelled to write.  I enjoy doing it.

One thing I've noticed from professional writers my age is that they tend to be slightly jaded and cynical about the whole thing.  You get the impression that they'd just as soon do something else.

I think writing is a hard way to make a living.  I'm probably lucky that I didn't spend the last 30 years writing only to be soured on it.  Instead, I made a living doing something else, and have come back to writing full of enthusiasm.  I don't need to make a living at it.  I can do it for fun.

Whenever I encounter difficulties, I tend just to put on my blinders and go forward.  Doesn't always work.  But I'm not really aware if it's working or not.  I just do it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Writers today are lucky.

It's amazing, in many ways, that 30 years ago (or longer) that anyone would set out to be a writer.  The only real explanation is ignorance.  Not knowing the odds.  The power of daydreaming.  I mean, you really did write in a vacuum back then.  You got a lot of skeptical looks.  Your parents urged you to be 'realistic' and find a 'real' job.  (I suppose that hasn't changed...) 

You typed your manuscript, making every effort to correct mistakes.  If you made any changes you had to completely rewrite the manuscript, so you tended not to make small corrections.  I remember having stacks of discards of just one page, because I was compulsive/obsessive.

You paid a printer to copy the book.  Paper and ink and print were substantial costs if you were poor, which you probably were if you were quitting your day job to write a novel.

Postage was pretty big expense too. 

You sent it off to one agent or publisher at a time and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I called it, "sending it into the Void."  Months, even years.  Imagine applying for a job and having to wait for each single employer to turn you down before you went on to the next, and that that employer automatically took at least "six weeks" to answer (which if you were actually considered could turn into six months.)

I mean, there was almost no feedback then.  Either you hit the big time (as in being published by a major publisher) or you didn't.  Not a lot of in-between.

Oh, there was the short story/art route, but even then it was almost as hard to get a short story published as it was a novel, with very little of the payoff.

Now, at least you can see your name in print without breaking the bank.  The term "vanity press" really isn't valid, because you aren't spending a lot of money to salve your ego.  You really don't have to spend much money at all.  If you are tech savvy, you may not have to spend any money.

The actual process of writing is 10 times easier.  

Ultimately, the odds of making money today are probably nearly as long as they were then.  But there is much more in-between validation.  It's easier.  It doesn't take so long.  And you aren't dependent on others to see your work see daylight.

It's a great time to be a writer for art's sake.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tis and tat.

Started to write a "serious" story yesterday.

Fuck that.  I'm depressed already.  Serious fiction is depressing.


I'm in-between stories.  Waiting for a sign as to which story to tackle next.  Trying to enjoy the vacation.


Linda and I watched both Hobbit movies last night.  7 hours of Hobbit.

Why does Peter Jackson have to overdo everything?  When he sticks to the story, he's great. 


Saw a documentary on the Pig Explosion in the USA.  My Tuskers stories are more apropos than I knew.  Coming up with a species that is smarter, stronger, faster and bigger than any others isn't so outrageous after all.  Heh.


Haven't heard back from my publisher.  I shouldn't be impatient. 

Besides, if he doesn't take it, I'll just put it out myself.  No harm.


My reading has just died off.  I'm too conscious of all the tricks.  (I'm also conscious of the tricks in TV and movies...)  I've gotten really observant of the details.

I've just got to stop doing that and enjoy the books.


Outlander isn't really doing it for me.  But it's entertaining enough to keep watching.  I'm assuming the book is "better."


Linda and I are going to the movies.  She wants to see The Giver, I want to see Sin City, so we'll probably see something else...