Friday, December 2, 2016

"The Christmas Letters" cover and blurb

Here, at last, is the cover for my upcoming Christmas-themed novel The Christmas Letters.


Here's the novel description:

What legacy do you want to leave behind?
Meet the Wilkins.  The typical busy American family.

But when Grandma Wilkins passes away, they discover her old Christmas letters in a shoebox.  Molly, the youngest grandchild, soon decides to start where her grandmother's legacy left off, writing about future events, no matter how unrealistic they may seem at the time.

Stats on my first standalone novel / Happenings In The Outhouse 02-Dec-2016

My latest book, a Christmas-themed standalone novel titled The Christmas Letters, was written over 65 days.  First draft.  This doesn't include editing, which I'm still working on.

Will I be able to publish it before Christmas Day December 25th?  Time will tell.  Editing has been going well so far.  I've averaged 2-3 chapters a day.  And with 41 chapters . . .

When I reviewed the stats on The Christmas Letters, I found that during those 65 days, I had written on 48 of them.  That means there were 17 days I did not write a single word.  On average, counting only the days I had written, I had an average of 1,126 words a day.  If I count all of the days, whether I wrote or not, that number dropped to 831.

From here on out, I'm going to document how many words I write each day and how many days it takes each novel to write.  Keep in mind, life happens and that's where the 17 non-writing days come into play.

But still, if I had written on those days, I could've finished The Christmas Letters much, much sooner.

As I updated my writing spreadsheet (where I keep a tally of all my writing projects), I realized that The Christmas Letters is my first novel that is not in any series.  At first, I thought this was a typo.  But it's not.  All of my other novels are between two series: the Central Division thriller series and the Shadowkill trilogy.  Oh, sure, I have other standalone stories, but they're shorter, novellas, novelettes, and such.

Friday, November 25, 2016

At the finish line / Happenings In The Outhouse 25-Nov-2016

On Wednesday this week, I finished the first draft to my Christmas-themed book.  This is my 22nd published work.  Some are even free on my website (yes, I count those).

I am still not sharing the title for another week or so when I have the cover and blurb to also unveil.  It turned out much, much better than I originally thought, and even had a few tears when I was nearing the end.

The book is around 55,000 words.  I started it on September 20th, and finished a little over two months later.  I will breakdown the number of days I wrote and the average words each of those days.  When I looked at those number a few weeks ago, I discovered I didn't write every single day.  But when I didn't, there was a reason behind it (I know, life gets in the way at times), and it seemed to be for multiple days in a row too.

As of now, I am at the finish line.  I have now printed it off, and will start the editing process.

Oh, and happy Black Friday!

Here are my books on Amazon.

Not on Amazon, no problem.  Here is a list on my website and where they can be purchased.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Where Will Your Dreams Lead You? / Happenings In The Outhouse 18-Nov-2016

In the cafeteria of the local high school, the following words are displayed at the front, right above the outside windows:

Where Will
Your Dreams
Lead You?
 
Surrounding this are various college pendants.
 
Monday night, as I sat through the football awards night (my son is a senior and thankfully was in his last year of football), I looked up at those words, surrounding by those pendants, and was curious why one's dream always has to go through a college?

So many great minds, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists never got their start in college.  Much of our working class--the ones holding up our economy, from our farmers and mechanics to office workers and waitresses--do not require a piece of paper, hung on a wall, proving that they did what they were told (from two to four or five or more years) while raking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

All one needs is a curiosity and a drive to work.

Despite what our media portraits, everyone wants to work, to do something, to make a difference.  Even if it's to put a meal on the table for their family.

Where will your dreams lead you?

Now, I have no problem with education--even education beyond high school.  One should always strive to learn more.  But one can learn so much from watching free videos, taking free courses, or even paying to take a course on a specific topic.  Udemy, Masterclass, and Khan Academy are only three such resources--there are so many more!

So much can be learned from watching a handful of YouTube videos.  Or an online interactive course.

One does not need to spend several thousands of dollars a year, raking up debt that could (and will) hinder one from achieving success.

Again, let me ask you: where will your dreams lead you?  What do you want to achieve?  Where do you see yourself in five, ten, twenty years?

Then, hopefully, alongside the college pendants are the names of YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, entrepreneurship, www. (enter name) .com, creativity, self-publishing.  The avenues of where your dreams should lead you are infinite.

Dream.

And achieve.

Friday, November 11, 2016

One historic night / Happenings In The Outhouse 11-Nov-2016

Tuesday night was a historic night.

My latest story--a Christmas-themed novel--is officially a novel.  I surpassed the 40,000 word mark that night.

(You thought I was talking about the other historic events that night, didn't you?)

Four years ago, I wrote a few blog posts in regards to politics.  They seem relevant to post a link to each right here--trust me, no matter your political affiliation, these are for you:

The Election is over.  Get on with your life.

Are you better off four years ago?

Who is your perfect candidate?

No matter how you slice it, Tuesday was historic.  First, for a major political party, we had the first woman running for President.  Second, we had someone who did not go through the "usual" political channels of working their way up the ranks to be President.

Either way you look at it, the night was historic.

But the candidate you should really be looking at . . . is yourself.  Be the best you can be.  World events will happen and, by and large, we have little control over it.

Change your life.

Focus on improving your life.

Make every single day a historic day for you.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Okay, let's be honest, I suck at marketing / Happenings In The Outhouse 04-Nov-2016

I suck at marketing.  Seriously.  Honestly.  Positively.  I suck at marketing.  That is, I suck at marketing my own art.

I have no problem talking about other people's art, promoting them.  But, somehow, when it comes to me, I suck at it.

On occasion, I've had a few people at work inquiring about what I'm working on--I bring a laptop to work, and use it to write during breaks and lunches.  At this point, my stomach churns and my heart races.  What do I tell them?  Should I be specific?

The answers to these largely depends on who's asking.  Are they just interested in what I'm doing?  Most people on breaks and lunches are either chatting or have their nose in their tablets/phones.  A few play card games, but I rarely see anyone else lugging around a laptop.

I have disclosed to a few that I am an indie author, but then I ask what kinds of books they read.  If they don't read, then what's the point of showing them what I write?  Oh, I'm positive they may buy the book, but that's it.  What I'm looking for are readers.  And not just any reader.

Love thrillers?  Click on this link.

Horror?  Got that too on this link.

Suspense?  Check this out.

Military fiction?  Gotcha covered there too.

Can't forget inspirational.  Here you go.

Here's a list of all my books right here.

On my new work-in-progress, I'm currently 35,000 words into it.  I'm shooting to finish this in a month, early December, but at the same time I'm not going to rush it either.  It's fun to write, and I'm even starting to write a little each night too.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Killing off a character / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-Oct-2016

This past Sunday was the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.

Normally, I watch The Walking Dead on Netflix, but season 6 ended in such a way that I had to see what character Negan (the newest bad guy) would kill with his trusted baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.

No, I won't spoil who died.

Was I shocked?

Nope.  Another TV show I watch, Game of Thrones, also kills off several characters--even main characters.  Yes, I've read all of the books so far, and I am eagerly anticipating the next novel to be released.  So the death of a main character isn't shocking to me.

But it must serve a purpose.

And I truly believe the latest deaths in TWD will also serve a purpose.

I'm currently 28,000 words into my newest novel.  It's a stand-alone Christmas-themed drama.  It's been very fun to write.  Then, as I started thinking about the path the book is going to take, I planned on having a character get hurt.  Severely.  Then, I imagined what the story would be like if this particular character died.

Believe it or not, I had tears in my eyes when I thought of it.  I still do, knowing I may have to end this person's life--fictionally, of course, but that doesn't make it any less hurtful.

Will it serve a purpose?

At this point I hate to answer that.  Because I know what my answer may be.