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If you start paying attention, most novels (and memoirs) employ the But...When principle. Think about it, If you don't have some sort of conflict or obstacle in a book, it quickly becomes a journal. This is where a lot of adventure stories fall flat (e.g. I got up and ate some cereal. Then I hiked 20 miles. Interesting to a segment of the population, but after awhile, not so interesting). You need to capture the But When in order to be successful.

Let's take a look at some well known stories.

"Cinderella lives a life of drudgery, waiting on her mean stepsisters. But when a... Read More...

The other day I realized that my author photo, the one I send to readings and the like, and also the one that I was planning to use for the back cover of Fire in the Heart, was circa 2003. 

Hmm.

I guess we'd all like to think we don't change over time, but I was probably due for a new picture. Fortunately, I know a good photographer. We trekked to a frozen lake and got some photos. As uncomfortable as I am having my photo taken, the author photo is something all publishers ask for. 

Is it that important? No. Nobody is going to reject a book because of your photo. Still... Read More...

Let's face it, I am not the most disciplined person on the planet. I want to do what I want to do, and I don't like being scheduled. I get enough of that at work. So plunking my butt down to write only happens when a) I get a row of days off where I don't have a trip  planned; and b) I get some inspiration. That isn't really the way to do mass production but..it works.

After Geography was published (November 2015) and Fire in the Heart was sold (July 2016)  I set a goal of having a new manuscript to my agent by November 2016, my bookiversary for Geography of Water. I had a couple of... Read More...

Many people who announce with enthusiasm that they are writing a book come up with a title first. They may or may not realize that a publisher will likely change it. In my case, my two titles have never been changed, but it is definitely not something to get attached to. A title, as you probably realize, is super important. Just as people often pick up a book from its cover, the title can make or break the book. So don't knock yourself out trying to come up with one.

That being said, you should have a working title. You can't submit a query for a book called "Untitled". For... Read More...

You guys!

(Does anyone read this? I really hate that I can't enable comments here, but my website designer convinced me I would just get a lot of spam. Judging from the amount of email I get from people who think I should hire them to work on the site, he is probably right).

Anyway. I got the first half of my advance for Fire in the Heart! (Minus agent commission)

But whoa there, partner. You don't want to go out and blow it all on a trip to New Zealand (tempting). I have heard horror stories of authors getting big advances (mine is not that big) and having to pay them... Read More...

 I was at a book signing recently, which consisted of a bunch of authors sitting around with their books and eating cake, and a few random locals popping in. I sold three books. Mainly because I think everyone in the county has read mine who is going to. I sat next to a woman who had written a book in 2012. Someone asked us about our next books. She piped up, "I am NEVER writing another book! It's too hard."

This probably falls in the category of Captain Obvious, but I had never really considered this as an option. So many people have asked me about my next book that I have felt... Read More...

Remember in gym class, when some of the other kids could climb the rope and you couldn't? Okay, maybe you could climb the rope. Or maybe you didn't ever have to climb the rope. Anyway, my point is, in all lives envy sometimes creeps in. Along with a sense of failure. I couldn't climb the rope! Sally can climb the rope!  Oh, I am just worthless. I should just give up!

An author friend of mine is having great success with her book. It is great. She is very talented and deserves every bit of it. We both entered a very high level contest and her book is on a very short list to win. Mine... Read More...

Ah, November. The cruelest month. When the weather teeters between frigid and oddly warm, when it is pitch black as you finish working. Good times! 

There are some social traditions with November, besides eating too much turkey. One is Movember, or a month of growing a mustache. Gladly, I can't do that. There is also NaNoWriMo, the much maligned "throw a bunch of words on a page" project. I almost signed up for it, because some friends were, but then sanity prevailed. I can't have one more obligation in my life. 

However, I am writing. I am 23 pages into a novel in which one... Read More...

A milestone arrived in the mail. The first royalty check for The Geography of Water. It might sound crazy, but I'm still amazed to get paid for something I loved doing so much (I wish I felt like this about my day job!). It's hard to say if checks will continue. There are just so many books out there, and it's hard to make them stand out, especially after they have been published for a year (a publicist wouldn't touch it; it's all on you at this point). I never got into this to make money, but it's still pretty exciting.

"What should I do with it... Read More...

It's fall, it's dark early, i't isn't very warm. I've begun muddling through the two book length projects I started earlier this year. Optimistically I declared to myself that I would have a manuscript of at least one of them done by the date my book came out last year. News flash! Not going to happen. It's the MIDDLE that is giving me fits.

Some writers outline their whole book before they begin. This is probably the sane, organized way to do it. I equate this with the backpackers who place everything in different color stuff sacks. Not me! My writing is a messy process. I never... Read More...

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