Friday, December 9, 2011

Busy busy

I've been a busy little writer the past few weeks.  In October I attended two writing workshops aimed at improving my epublishing skills.  They were excellent and I learned quite a bit from them, as well as making some great new friends.

Then November rolled around and it was National Novel Writing Month.  I decided to give it a go this year, even though my life was somewhat hectic and I wasn't sure I could crank out the required 50,000 words.  I'm happy to report that not only did I manage to do so, I finished a day early!

This month I took a big step in epublishing - I put up my first novel.  DEAD HYPOCRITES is now live and can be purchased at,, and  I hope to have the blurb and the links up before too long.

My goal for December is to hit 200,000 words for the year in writing.  I will have to push myself a little to make it - I have written very little this week, for example - but I am going to try.  It would be a nice finish to a crazy year that has seen many ups and downs for me.

And if I don't get a chance to post again before the end of the year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On Falling Down and Getting Up

This month I'm coming back from a real poor couple of months writingwise.  I didn't get a lot of new words written, and barely sent out anything to publishers.  While I did upload my first ever short story collection ("Decisions, Decisions") I didn't do much with epublishing either.

There were a lot of reasons for this, some of them personal.  The bottom line is, when it came to my writing career, the past couple of months were not good.  I blew it.  Period.  End of story.

The question at the end of August was: What do I do now?

I could, of course, have let the inertia I'd built up continue.  I could have quit writing altogether, decided the dream wasn't for me, and gone on to consider a career in video gaming.

I could have beaten myself up over the fact that I blew it this summer.  Told myself I wasn't going to cut it. 

I could have had a pity party about poor me and felt sorry for myself.

I did beat myself up some about not writing.  I'm a writer.  I should be writing.  And there was a short pity party to go along with it.

But mainly I decided to try to make September different.

This meant getting back to work.  So far, that has meant focusing on the writing, even though I know things need to be sent out and uploaded.  I plan to get back on track for those things as well, but the important thing for me at the beginning was getting back into the habit of daily producing new words of fiction.

I've slipped up 3 days this month so far.  But I'm working on getting my daily groove back.  It helps that I am working on a new project with a fellow writer that I am enjoying.

And I remember what Kristine Kathryn Rusch says, "It doesn't matter how many times you get knocked down, or how long you stay on the floor.  What matters is you get up again."

That's what I did.  I got to my feet, dusted myself off, and started walking the writer's road again. 

There's no guarantee I won't fall down again.  But when that happens, I plan on getting up - again.  It's the only way to keep doing what I love.

Maybe you're working on a dream, and you've fallen down on it.  Maybe you're lying on the floor like I was, wondering what to do now.  If you aren't, at some point you probably will.  And if you're like me, you'll do it more than once.

Get up.  Get back on track.  Don't give up.  Falling down isn't failure.  Staying down is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guyana, Day 7

It's hard to believe that today is our last day in Guyana!  Don taught his last set of classes this morning.  Afterwards, we were presented with some small gifts to thank us for coming here.  We were very touched.  The brethren asked us to try and return again.  I think Don and I would like to do so if God is willing for it to happen.

We took a quick tour of the area before getting back to the hotel.  There are several congregations that meet in this part of the country and Anil showed us where other congregations meet.  One is near a major sugar cane business.  We saw cane and the factory where it is processed.  Also some rice fields.

Right now Don and I are trying to clear out our email and pack - we have to be ready to leave at 1 AM!  We are going to try to get a little sleep before then.

Last night I used Skype to call a friend in Georgia.  We managed to chat for a half hour despite the wonky Internet.  It's amazing what technology enables us to do these days.

While I'm glad we've been here, I also look forward to going home.  I do love the United States and my friends and family there.  Also, I haven't had chocolate the whole time we've been here - I think I'm having withdrawal symptoms! 

I hope you've enjoyed my little reports of Guyana. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guyana, Day 6

Tonight for a change Don and I went to a Chinese restaurant across the street from our hotel for dinner.  The food was excellent.  Don had stir-fried vegetables and chicken, and I had chicken in garlic sauce.  We had to change some of our US dollars for Guyanese money before going there.  The current exchange rate for US to Guyanese is 1 to 200 - that means our meal was over $4000 in Guyanese money!

Today I taught my last classes for the women.  I will miss my Christian sisters here when I leave.  They have good hearts and are eager to learn about the Bible.  My lessons took less time then we expected - I had hoped for more discussion than we had.  But the ladies appeared to get something out of my teaching, and for that I am grateful to God.

Tonight Don and I watched a television program some of the brothers here have.  It was very well done and we are excited that they are using this avenue to reach out to the community.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Guyana.  It has gone by very quickly.  I hope you've been enjoying these little posts of mine about our trip!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guyana, Day 5

Today I wrote my column that will appear in Sunday's Highlands County News Sun.  The topic is, of course, Guyana, which is much on my mind this week.

I realize that I haven't spoken a lot about the country.  Part of that was deliberate, because I wanted to write my column without duplicating too much information between the blog posts and the article.  Now that the column is written I feel freer to describe some things around here.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one drives on the left side of the road here.  What I didn't mention is that it is not unusual to share the road with all kinds of livestock.  This can be scary in the dark - we almost hit a cow coming to the hotel from the airport!

The houses here are almost always 2 stories high, and that is because it floods sometimes.  The downstairs can be a living area, a place for a car, or even a shop in some cases.  The zoning laws down here are not like in the United States and it's not uncommon to see a shop in the middle of a group of houses.

We are 5 degrees from the equator here, which means tropical weather.  Today was hot as I remember Guyana to be - the kind of heat that tires you out just sitting in it.  The church building has no electricity so we have to hope for a good breeze coming through the doors to cool off. 

They grow sugar cane in Guyana - I saw some as we were out driving today.  The sugar in Guyana isn't like our granulated white sugar.  It is more like brownish-yellow crystals.  This sugar doesn't dissolve easily in hot coffee, I've discovered, but is very sweet.

Speaking of food and drink, many things here seem to have a different flavor.  We are careful what we drink; our systems can't handle the local water, so we have to drink distilled or bottled water, and anything such as coffee or tea has to be made from that.  Food has a different taste to it - today I had a spaghetti sauce that didn't taste much like the spaghetti sauce we have in the states.  It was good, mind you, just different.

The Guyanese speak English with a Jamaican flavor to their words.  Don and I sometimes have to ask someone to repeat themselves because the accent isn't always easy to understand.  But the people we have been in contact with here have all been very nice and courteous to us and they don't mind repeating themselves.

We cross a pontoon bridge every day to go from the hotel to the church building.  The bridge closes one to two times a day so it can be raised to let ships through.  But they constantly change what time they do this.  For example, today the bridge was raised at 3:30 PM, much earlier than usual.  Don, Anil, and I had lunch with a brother in Christ and then had to hurry to get a call in to Mom and then hurry over the bridge before it was raised.

Don's classes centered on various aspects of parenting today.  Tomorrow I will be talking with the women again.  Friday will be our last set of classes and it's hard to believe that we are more than halfway finished with this trip.

I hope you're finding my posts somewhat interesting and entertaining.  I will think of more things to share with you tomorrow!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guyana, Days 3 and 4

Greetings again from Guyana!  I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday - the Internet was particularly wonky last night and I didn't get started trying to post until late.

On the plus side, Don and I learned yesterday how to coax warm water out of the shower.  Before that, we've been taking cold showers, a chilling experience.    The trick is to turn both on the cold and hot water taps.  Let them run, and volia!  You have at least a warm shower, maybe even a hot one.

Yesterday Don taught three lessons on the godly man, the godly husband, and the godly brother in Christ.  The lessons went well.

Today was my turn to teach.  A large number of women sat in my classes on the godly woman, the godly wife, and the godly sister in Christ.  My lessons turned out to be short, and we finished early.  But they were well received by the sisters here.  An adorable six year old girl even participated in the sessions, sometimes answering the questions I asked.  I got the ladies to laugh a few times and even though I was nervous I think God used me to reach out to them.

The days have a sameness about them.  We get up and have breakfast then wait for Anil to pick us up.  We drive over to the church building and Don or I teach until around 12:00 - 12:30.  Anil brings us to his home afterwards, where his wife Camille serves us lunch.  We relax, tallk for a while.  Anil has a Magicjack on his computer, and we are able to call home and check on things there.  Afterwards, we go visiting in the area, and then Don and I are back in the hotel room by early evening.

Right now I'm not doing a lot of writing - I'm tired when we get back to the room and sometimes just want to get a few things done and go to bed. 

That's all for now.  Tomorrow I will be writing my column, which may well be on my trip here.  Hopefully the Internet will cooperate and I will be able to email it to the paper.  Until tomorrow!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guyana, Day 2

Today Don and I worshipped with our brothers and sisters at the Inverness Church of Christ. It was wonderful to sing with them and take part in the worship service!

Don taught the Bible lesson and also did the sermon. We ran late due to transportation issues, but people didn't get upset. Don did a great job (no surprise as far as I am concerned) and will teach three classes tomorrow. I don't have to teach until Tuesday, when I will conduct classes for the women.

Afterwards we had lunch with Anil and his family. They are very gracious people who welcomed us into their home. Anil has been our chauffeur for the trip and I truly appreciate that, since in Guyana you drive on the left side of the road and that would be very confusing for Don and me!

After doing some visitation, Anil drove us back to the hotel where we grabbed dinner and are now winding down from the day. The weather has been cooler than usual, which has been a blessing for us.

Anyway, that's a summation of day 2. Hopefully I will be able to post about day 3 tomorrow!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Guyana, Day 1

Don and I arrived in Guyana, South America, last night around 9:30 PM.  We are here in the country to conduct a leadership and family seminar for a congregation we help support.

Looking at my passport, I realized it's been 5 years since I traveled to Guyana.  It is the first time I've done so without a mission team - it's just Don and me.

Anil, the preacher we support, met us at the airport and drove us to our hotel in New Amsterdam.  We arrived here at the Little Rock Suites at about 1 AM, which is one reason I haven't updated sooner

Today was a day of rest and goofing off before things start up tomorrow.  Don and I spent it setting up the room (it's smaller than an American hotel room so we had to place our luggage carefully so we don't trip over it) and trying to get on the Internet.  We have DSL here, but it's not stable, so sometimes we have to try to do things multiple times.

I did get to email family and let them know we got here okay.  I also made a few notes about Guyana for a novel I'm planning to write that will be set here. 

I don't know if I'll be able to post every day, but I'm going to try to keep this updated as a good exercise for me and maybe to increase traffic here.  Anyway, if you have any questions,, ask them, and I'll do my best to answer them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A great article on e-book covers

Fellow writer Karen Abrahamson has a great article here on branding your books.  She discusses it from the position of an indie publisher doing her own covers.

Karen is a great writer who is, like me, braving the new world of ebook publishing.  Her article contains a lot of useful information for those of us still learning the trade.

Check it out if you're interested!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A clean office!!

With the help of my son James my office is now cleaned up and looks better than it has in months.  For example, the chairs in it do NOT have stuff piled in them, and you can actually see the floor. 

We wound up throwing away a lot of stuff and I'm hoping this rush of organization lasts for a while.  I have said my office was hard to work in - I often pack up the laptop and head out to a local coffee shop to type.  My son assures me that with this done it should be easier to actually be productive at home.

I'm going to try out a new work schedule as well to see if I can put in more hours in the business of writing.  Not just writing (though I really do need to spend more time on that) but also in uploading stories and sending things out to publishers.  I have sadly fallen behind in all these areas over the past couple of months. 

So let's hope a clean office means a lot more work getting done! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A look at April

April was not a good month when it comes to writing.  I'm not sure fully why.  I do know I was out of town two weekends in a row, which did cut into the writing time.

I only wrote 5,799 words in April.  That is the lowest for April in all the years I've been keeping track.  No short stories written, though I did start a novel.

I admit my performance is depressing.  But I am determined to pick myself up and go on.  May can be a better month if I don't let April drag me down.

Do you ever have a bad month when it comes to meeting your goals?  What do you do when that happens?

A look at February and March

I am running behind in keeping up this writing blog.  My goal for May is to catch up on some things and put together a posting schedule.  I hope to draw more readers to this blog, so tell your friends about it!

Now, a look at February and March:
In February I wrote 18,404 words.  In March, I wrote 16,739 words.  Both were good months writing-wise.  I wrote 4 short stories during those 2 months and finished up a novel.

My next post will deal with April.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Smashwords "Read an Ebook Week"

Smashwords is sponsoring "Read an Ebook Week."  To help celebrate this promotion I've made 3 of my short stories available for free.  From now until the 12th, you can get Vengeance is Mine, Not Our Problem, and Hidden Treasure for FREE.  Just click on the links for directions.

If you like the stories, could you take a moment and post a review on them?  I'd appreciate it and would love to know what you thought of them!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A look at January, and ebooks are up!

I know it's pretty late to be looking back at January, given we're well into February, but better late than never, right?

In January I wrote 19,712 words of fiction.  That doesn't include my weekly column but it does include a short story I wrote for an upcoming workshop.  If I can keep up that kind of pace I'll hit my goal of 200,000 words for 2011.  My short story goal is 12 short stories this year, though I'd love to write more than that.  Any tips on how I can meet these goals?

You'll notice a new link to the left that says, "Ebooks."  All my current ebooks are listed there, with links for those who want to purchase them.  All are short stories and priced at 99 cents each.  Why not check out a couple?

If you can think of anything you'd like to see on this blog, don't hesitate to drop me a line!  I'm interested in what you think and want to make this a blog you want to read!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Update and a coupon!

I wish I had a good excuse for not updating in almost two months.  The short answer is, I have no excuse.  I hope readers will forigve me and not abandon this little blog of mine.

One of the things I've been doing is putting some of my short stories up for sale online.  With Kindles and Nooks and other ereaders flying off the shelves, it is time to enter that market.  I will be adding those stories to my bibliography in due time.

Meanwhile, I thought you'd like a free peek at a story.  I'm giving away a coupon for my short story, "Goodbye Home," that will enable you to get it for free.  Go here and buy it, and type in the coupon code FY68J at checkout.  The coupon expires on February 7th, so act fast.

And if you like the story, would you please post a review saying so?  And don't forget to check out the other stories I have up there. 

I will work hard to update the site more frequently and I look forward to hearing from you!