Monday, September 12, 2016

Don't wait, start that novel today!

I talk to people everyday, on blogs, on Face Book, in tweets and face to face about writing.

The questions are usually along the same lines. How did I get started? Where do I get my ideas? How do I find the time to write and hold down a full time job? Do I edit my own books? Do I have an agent and do I want one? Is it really fun or a drudge.

All good questions. But what they are really looking for is where did I get the motivation to just do it? They are looking for that spark that will motivate them to finally start their own journey. They want to know how to get off the starting block and start running.

My best advice comes from a special friend of mine from a long time ago. In the late 70's, I worked in a small startup company in Colorado where I was fortunate enough to meet George S. Lehsten, an inventor from England. George was doing amazingly cool things with electricity, electronics, power management and the coolest of all, sonar based on dolphin echo location.

Among his many achievements, George invented a version of the eight track tape player/recorder, quadraphonic and multi channel audio systems, tracer bullets during WWII and a slew of other inventions by himself and with others.

George was an amazing man and friend. I was a basically an intern, fresh out of 9 years in the US Nuclear Sub force. The only real electronics training I had was completing a Health Kit (yes HK) course where in the end I built my own 25 inch color TV.

I loved tinkering with electronic and computers and George knew it. He encouraged me daily, showing me white papers, getting me hooked on Dr. Dobb's magazines and asking me my opinion on projects he was working on, even though they were all over my head at first.

George took me under his wing on many occasions when I was frustrated with my lack of on the job experience with electronics and the fledgling field of 8-bit micro-controllers. George was patient, kind and full of positive energy.

On more than one occasion, George would take me on a walk at lunch, talking about the problems of the day and how we, not he or me, but we, could solve them. At the end of those walks, George would look me in the eye and say 'just do it'. Don't hesitate, don't worry about the outcome, don't stop to over analyze what could happen. Just Do It.

It's a simple, very positive tool that you should use every time you're stuck or unsure how to proceed. Say it out loud. Settle down, address the problem realistically and then just do it.

You want to write a book?

Just Do It.

Don't wait for an agent. Don't wait until you have the entire plot worked out. Don't expect it to perfect. Don't worry about the criticism you'll get every step of the way. Don't worry if it will sell. Don't worry if it's the 'right' story.

Do write every day. Do keep a note book or tablet with you at all times, and use it EVERY time you get an idea, no matter how small. Do keep a pad by your bed stand and DO write down that cool idea or dialogue, because you will NOT remember it the next day. Do write as long as the ideas are flowing, you can prune later.

Just Do It.

Start right now.

Be Cool!


Friday, September 2, 2016

OK, experiment over... ;-)

I admit it, I was curious what ads were all about on blogs. I see them on lots of blogs, some of them writer's blogs.

I think for more 'commercial' blogs it's OK. Maybe sponsored blogs. Well known writer's blogs, etc.

But they just don't seem appropriate for my writer's blog, so I turned them off.

I'm still learning about 'social media', so forgive me if the ads turned you off to my posts. I'm slow, but I am trainable.

Thanks for you patience and understanding.

Be cool.

Monday, August 29, 2016

You must watch this excellent TV series! #BetterLateThanNever

'Better Late than Never' is a TV series NOT to be missed, trust me!

Four icons of television and movies go on a hilarious trip that can only be described as 'the mother of all bucket list adventures'. I've added their twitter handles so you can tell them what you think.

Henry Winkler, @hwinkler4real of TV's Happy Daze days, dozens of movies and TV specials. He's co-author of several wonderful kids book series, 'Hank Zipzer' and 'Ghost Buddies', and my favorite recent work on the 'Hank Zipzer' TV series for CBBC. Henry is the anchor for this team of 'mature' travelers. Henry displays the appreciation of life and camaraderie that makes him a beloved celebrity around the world.

William Shatner, @WilliamShatner of TV's Star Trek fame as well as dozens of other series and movies is wonderful. Funny, sarcastic, unexpectedly humble and fearful for his life at times.

Terry Bradshaw, @terrybradshaw of football fame is a surprisingly hilarious traveler in this troop. I knew he had a great sense of humor from watching him on sports shows, but I was not expecting the full-tilt-cowboy-night-on-the-town fun! Love ya', Terry.

George Foreman, @GeorgeForman. If you don't know his lineage then you've been living under a rock. A very humble and funny man. Love his zingers in the background! I get the feeling poor George is getting more out this adventure than he bargained for. ;-)

Jeff Dye @JeffDye of NBC's 'I Can Do That' tries in vain to keep the four troopers out of trouble and on the road of adventure.

The first episode was in Kyoto and Hong Kong. I still giggle when I remember them trying the 'exotic' sushi. You have to see it to believe it, I can't repeat it here. Sweet Josephine, did they really eat that??

I rarely watch 'specials' that feature celebrities and never bother with reality shows of the rich and self-famous. I decided to watch this one because of Henry Winkler and William Shatner, two of my all time favorite 'people I'd love to meet'.

Both of these men have done wonderful TV, movie and specials. They are down to earth, humble (yes Shatner is humble, he just hides it well ;-) and caring men. Both do special work with kids and give back to their followers whenever possible.

Please do yourself a funny bone favor and watch this series.

100 out of 100 on my Laugh-o-Meter!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Time to let the imagination free again!

I'm scanning my outlining notes for my 'Arlo and Jake' Scifi series, feeding the basic story line to my imagination. It's like putting a pot on the stove and adding everything in the frig that hasn't spoiled yet. Makes for a great stew!

I'm rereading the first 3 books, and taking notes on new ideas that pop out. The outline is already there but of course that's just a guideline. Something to start with, not set in stone. That doesn't work for me.

I know it does for other authors. They sketch out entire books before starting Chapter One. Wow, that sounds really boring. I like to get a good, solid plot in my head and then let my characters loose. I never know where they'll go!

For me it's a process. I dream up lots of cool ideas, some outlandish characters, new side kicks and new villains I'll add some far out weapons and ships and make sure there's lots of adventure and just plain fun. I'll get out of the way at some point and listen to Arlo's corny Sean Connery imitation tell me what to write. ;-)

I hope to continue the fun and adventure with Book 4, 'Deep Cover'. The guys get a daring assignment to ... hmm. I think that this time, I'll post my progress here and let my readers in on the fun as I write, rewrite, throw away, massage and stagger forward.

I hope you'll follow along and enjoy the ride as much as I do.

Be Cool!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Indie writers ROCK!

Check out my review of Arthur M. Doweyko's new book 'As Wings Unfurl' in the 'Review' tab. I devoured the story over the weekend. Great concepts and well thought out plot. I'll be reading more of his books!

I've made it a habit to find and read mostly indie books in the past few years. I still read main stream books, but the ratio is probably 5 to 1 in favor of the indie side. 

Indie writers tend to be grittier and far less flowery than main stream 'successes'. Too many times I've picked up a 'best seller' and found that half the book is fluff that adds nothing to the story. James Michner was the worst but there are plenty of others.

To be clear, I like some of Mr. Michner's works. I just find it tedious to scan through another description of a flower or analyze another character's inner angst when I just want to find out what happens next. I've read that publishers will prod writers to add more 'flavor' to their stories to boost the word count and justify a higher book price. I'm sure that happens but I think sometimes that authors just like to hear their own voices in print. ;-)

Indie writers haven't been tainted yet. We're still babes in the woods, trying to find our writing style and 'voice'. And I really like that. We want the story to unfold at a good, measured pace. Keep the reader's interest on every page, not just every chapter.

I know that many people like the more eloquent depictions and long flowing story arcs.  That's great. Glad there are writers that address your needs. 

Me? I'd rather read a short gripper than a long-winded tomb. 

What do you like?

Be Cool!