Yes, that’s right. I’m back.
Last month, I made the decision to step away from the blog for a few weeks. Like so many of us, life’s been a bit hairy this year and it was beginning to negatively impact not only my writing but my attitude. I needed a break and the only way to get that was to step back from some of my commitments and recharge the creative batteries. It also meant reevaluating certain commitments I’ve made over the last few years and taking a hard look at . . . CAT VIDEOS!
Okay, that latter was mainly at the beginning because who doesn’t love a few good cat videos, especially when you need an emotional pick-me-up?
What I discovered was I had a hell of a lot of things I needed to get done around the house. The honey-do list had gotten much too long and I spent the first few weeks whittling away at it. The good part is this also gave my brain time to just wander. It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself that sort of freedom and it let me work out in my own twisted way what had been bothering me with several ongoing writing projects. Read more
Let’s face it. Most anyone with the slightest understanding of supply and demand, and even economics in general, can see the problems inherent in traditional publishing. These problems are legion and go well beyond the issue of editors choosing books they think we should read instead of those we want to read. After weeks and months of bookstores being closed and the supply chain being restricted (at the very least), we will probably be seeing some changes in the industry sooner, rather than later. Read more
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being told to stay home, stay distant, stay safe. No, this isn’t a political rant, at least not too much of one. After all, I’m basically anti-social and prefer not being out in crowds. But I’m also contrary. Tell me I can’t do something and, by golly, that is exactly what I want to do. This time of Covid-19 is no different. So, instead of running through the neighborhood screaming like an insane person, I’ve put my energy to work doing things around the house I’ve been putting off for far too long and, in doing so, realized this was exactly what was needed to jumpstart the creative juices. Read more
Last week, I wrote about how I needed to take back control of my work time and close out the noise. The complications of living during this so-called pandemic were taking a toll on my writing. Who am I kidding? They were taking a toll on my life, just as they have on everyone else. Even though I’m basically an introvert who doesn’t mind staying home, being told I can’t go somewhere chafed. Social media is filled with horror stories (from all sides of the equation). The media is telling us we’re all going to die. Hell, I even saw a story today where a zombie movie director was cited as an “expert” on the body language of protesters over the weekend. Is it any wonder I haven’t been able to get any work done?
Oh, the ideas have been there. But to say I’ve had an extreme case of popcorn kittens is putting it mildly. I’ve made notes on four different books. But that’s all. Actual words haven’t been happening, at least not in any consistent quantity, much less quality. I simply couldn’t focus long enough to make it happen.
So yesterday I decided enough was enough. Maybe it’s knowing Texas is slowly opening back up and the hope that soon life will return to some semblance of something close to normal. Read more
Let’s face it. Everywhere we turn these days, we’re being hit about the head and shoulders with something having to do with Covid-19. There are the doomsayers that forecast this will be the worst pandemic in the history of man. It will kill more people, make more sick and there will be so many Typhoid Mary’s walking around that we will never see a time without the virus until there is a vaccine. Then there are those who believe this is some sort of conspiracy formed by all the governments or technocrats or someone in order to take over our lives. Somewhere in between is the truth. The virus can be very bad for those who catch it. The overreaction of the government on all levels is ruining our economy on the short term and potentially on the long term. The media is using it to cast more blame on Trump because of Trump Derangement Syndrome. And somehow, through all this, we have to carry on.
For certain things, it’s easy to carry on. Food has to be bought–and either picked up or delivered unless you want to brave the stores yourself. The house has to be cleaned. The animals have to be cared for. Family members and friends have to be checked on. Those are the easy things. The harder, at least for me, has been focusing on work. Read more
I’ve thought, more than once, about story ideation as feeding the sausage grinder. I’ve made sausage many times over the years. I can remember making caribou sausage in Alaska, and making sure we ground bacon into it, because otherwise there’s just not enough fat. And when you make your own sausage, you know what’s in it… although that is also a myth. The whole thing about being grossed out over sausage making? Because unless using every scrap from the animal and paying it due respect by not allowing it to go to waste bothers you… Upton Sinclair made up a bunch of what went into his ‘expose’ that was really fiction. Just like a lot of documentaries on Netflix, it’s all about the shock factor, not so much the actual data and science. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last week, I wrote a post about some of the problems the publishing industry, specifically traditional publishing, currently faced. There was nothing new. The Twitter mob screaming howls of outrage, the traditional houses having to figure out how to deal with the fact their corporate offices are mainly populated by whites, etc. There is a related problem to all this that we, as writers, need to be aware of. It’s a problem that has several important facets. One we as writers can deal with by simply being aware of what we’re writing. The second isn’t quite as easily dealt with. Read more
Then end, of the year at least, is near. We’re entering the final days before the Christmas holiday season is fully upon us. The last two weeks of December are often filled with holiday parties and closed offices. Trying to accomplish much of anything productive is often difficult as we’re distracted by family and friends, cooking and too much good food, and all the other end-of-year things we need to take care of.
Part of that is figuring out what the publishing end of the my world will be over the next six to 12 months. The good thing is I have no shortage of story ideas to fill the time. The bad thing is there is no shortage of story ideas to fill the time. Read more
Yesterday was one of those days every writer hopes for. That day when someone mentioned your book on social media and the result was a nice bump in sales. (Thanks, Sarah!) But along with that nice bump came the naysayers, reminding me why I should never read the comments. It also brought home something we need to remember as readers–remember and try to correct. Those who have something to bitch about seem to be more willing to write about the perceived issue than those who have enjoyed the book and who may have verbally recommended it to someone. It is time we turn that equation upside down. Read more