Friday, August 31, 2012

Happenings In The Outhouse 31-Aug-2012 / My crash course on thriller novels

Typically, during the editing phase of Beholder's Eye, I've done an average of 3 chapters at time.  Right now, due to a few reasons, I'm doing 5.

The main reason is that the amount of pages only totals 15.  An average of 3 pages a chapter.  Also, as the investigation starts barrelling towards the home plate, these five chapters fit nicely and are carry a common theme between them.

In other words, right now I'm currently working on chapters 43-47.

I try to mix up my chapter lengths.  Some authors (James Patterson, for one) is the ultimate king of the short chapter.  Most of his are 2-3 pages long.  Not all of mine are short.  I don't consciously plan out how long the chapters are.  It depends on what's happening in the story, by in large.

Aside from that, I recieved notice from an area writing contest that my short story was not selected as one of the chosen to be published in a local area story collection.  I'm a little bummed out, but once again it reminds me that writing is hard work.  I'm not bitter about it.  It's the nature of the game.  Instead of putting it back out there, I'll be posting it up for free on this blog in the near future so everyone can enjoy.  It's called "Salute" so be sure to watch out for it.

Let's talk about what I'm currently reading.  A few weeks ago, I decided that I needed a small crash course in thriller writers.  I read from a wide variety of authors and genres, and since Beholder's Eye is a thriller, there are a number of authors I've never read.  So, I did.  I picked up:

Persuader by Lee Child

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

Blood Work by Michael Connelly (I've read Connelly before, just never this book)

The Program by Stephen White (I've also read White before)

Blowback by Brad Thor

I have others on the mental "to read" list as well.  Be sure to check out my book list on Good Reads.

For fun, here's a catchy tune about a famous fantasy author.  There's a few colorful words, so if the "B-word" offends you, do not watch it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Last week, during our tri-weekly writers’ group meeting, I shared a chapter from Beholder’s Eye that one of our members called the “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” chapter. It delved briefly into the main character’s wife and a recent development in her job. It doesn’t affect the main plot per se, and could’ve even been taken out, but overall we concurred that it made the story feel more real—which was the whole point of the chapter, so I’m happy the point got across.
Subplots are important to make the characters feel more real—or round if we all remember our English composition days when the discussion of flat and round characters came up. Think of your favorite novels. Chances are you know the main plot (i.e. what the story is about). And, I reckon, there were multiple subplots underneath it to make the story seem more real. Take Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The main story is about “bringing the One Ring to Mount Doom to destroy it.” Subplots? There are tons! Where do I begin?  I think each and every character in the enormous epic fantasy tome had a subplot all their own.
Take Harry Potter. Main plot is an orphan who discovers he’s a wizard, and is hunted by the evil wizard who also killed his parents. Subplot? Also, several. His encounters with Draco Malfoy and even his forced education from Snape, are two such examples.
What else could be going on with your character? What could make them more real? Give it a try.
What other examples from literature do you know of that the subplots enhance the main plot?

Monday, August 27, 2012

"Should I Play It Safe?"

If Bill Gates would've played it safe, there would be no Microsoft.

If Steve Jobs would've played it safe, Apple would just be a fruit.

If Stephen King would've played it safe, he'd be a no-named English teacher somewhere in small-town Maine.

If Michael Dell would've played it safe, there would be no computers bearing his name.

If Ray Kroc would've played it safe, McDonald's would've just been another hamburger joint, serving a few thousand each year instead of billions.

If Harland Sanders would've played it safe with his first social security check, nobody would have ever heard of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

If John Houseman, at age 71, would have played it safe, another actor would have played his signature character in The Paper Chase and his fine acting skills never would have entertained us.

If Michael Jordan would've played it safe and never picked up a basketball or if Tiger Woods would've played it safe and never would've picked up a set of golf clubs or if Wayne Gretzky and Neil Broten would've played it safe and never would've picked up a hockey stick . . .

If Tom Clancy would have played it safe and never penned any novels, he would just be another faceless insurance salesman.

If George Lucas would've played it safe, a multi-billion dollar franchise never would've come to being.

If Robin Williams . . . or Johnny Cash . . . or Bret Michaels . . . or Dean Koontz . . . or Clint Eastwood . . . or Barack Obama . . . or Don LaFontaine . . . or Harrison Ford . . . or John Sandford . . . or Ronald Reagan . . . or Arnold Schwarzeneger . . . or Donald Trump . . . or Dave Ramsey . . . or Seth Godin . . . or Martin Luther . . . or Martin Luther King Jr. . . . or Jesus . . .

If any of these and others would have played it safe, their talents and strengths never would have turned this world into a better place.

Why are you playing it safe?

It's time to get out there.  Do something.  Today.  Right now.

The world is counting on it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happenings In The Outhouse 24-Aug-2012 / Birthday celebrations!

What do these people have in common?

No clue?  I'll give you a hint.  They also share something with this tragic event.

Still don't get it?  Okay, I'll tell you: Mount Vesuvius erupted on this day, August 24th, and the people above also have their birthday today.  Oh, I almost forgot, I was born on this day too, honored that I share a birthday with so many interesting people and events.

Back to business, I've completed chapters 40-42 of Beholder's Eye.  Finally!  Now, I'm on to chapters 43-45.  I'm definitely heading down the homestretch . . . even though the finish line seems so far ahead.  I'll just keep plugging along.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Writers aren't the only ones who don't like (or understand) marketing

Not far from my house, a neighbor is remodeling their house.  A local construction company is doing the work.  But I'd never know they are.

In a town ten miles to the north, another construction company is putting up a pole shed.  Once again, I don't know what company it is.

Here's my third example: in a larger town twenty-three miles away, there is a hospital being built.  Who's doing the work?  No clue.

Okay, I don't mean to pick on contractors (this could be any business) but these are three blatant examples of businesses doing work that others can watch the progress on.  What if someone thought, "They're doing a nice job.  I wonder who they are.  I should hire them."  Unless you take the time to get out of your car and ask them, you'll never know.

I've talked about my friend from the Twin Cities before, the one who's a contractor.  In front of all of his projects, he has a large white trailer.  Know what's on the side?

Now who'll get the business?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Use RSS Feeds Wisely

You've probably seen the icon along the top of your computer browser:

Or you may have heard of the term RSS Feed.

Either way, RSS feeds can be used to keep track of websites/blogs/podcasts you normally visit on a regular basis.  I'm not going to tell you what an RSS feed is.  The link to RSS Feed to the Wikipedia page provides a more detailed explanation than what I could do.

Use them wisely.

Use them as part of your daily learning practice.

Many of the authors, bloggers, and podcasters I mention I have an RSS feed already set up, so I don't miss a single post.  This can be useful when I'm out of town for a few days and I can capture any of the podcasts/blogs that get posted in that time.

My one piece of advice on this is: don't just blindly subscribe to the RSS feed of every single website you visit--unless you want to.  Having too much information can overload your brain and you may actually miss something.  I currently have 29 websites in my RSS feed, and if I add to it, it's for a reason: that I continually learn something from that blog/podcast.

Note: I know some of you out there may tell me that their iTunes account will serve a similar funciton.  I am aware of this, however not everyone has an iTunes account.  If you do, that's great.  If not, then use the RSS feed.  I would give the same advice on the iTunes account too--use them wisely on the podcasts you follow.

What are you using?  Are you taking advantage of the RSS feed?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Aug-2012 / Schedule changes

I'm a little disappointed in the progress I've been making on Beholder's Eye.  Even though I'm working a lot on it (yes, I'm still working on chapters 40-42, but nearing the end), I was on around chapter 25 at the beginning of the summer.

At the beginning of this week, Michael Hyatt posted on a blog on why he'll be blogging lessWhat!  Yes, you heard it correctly.  Blogging less.  He'll be posting blogs two days a week instead of the usual five.

Then, I began to examine my own work.  With a total of three blogs (one is already at 1-2 days a week and the other one I've cut down from five to two), I was wondering if I should cut back.  The answer I came back with was . . . yes.


Some of my other "projects" are also being put on hold: future podcast and video blog to complement this blog.  I recorded a podcast last night, and one thing I have to say is this: "Podcasting is tough!"  Much more difficult than I originally planned.  Needless to say, my first dry run will never make it out onto the web.

So, beginning next week, I'm putting the Wednesday Writing Prompts on hold and I'm cutting back to blogging three days: Monday, Wednesday, and the Friday "Happenings In The Outhouse."  Trust me, this is all for the good.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Perpetual Bell Curve Of Becoming A Published Writer

You've all seen a bell curve:

Imagine a smaller bell curve at the very right edge of each larger curve.  This is what the path to publication looks like, and for those who make the population is quite small when compared to the bell curve just before it.

Because that's where the quitters are.

Okay, let's examine each curve.  The first one is quite simple: those on the far end are those who actually want to write and will make the effort to do so--this works with any type of business venture.

Next comes the ideas.  If you make it past that and don't quit, let's write the first draft.

Did you complete it?  Congratulations!  You are a very small minority of people who have taken the time to put down words to paper (even virtually).

How many people have that first written novel in a drawer for years and years, never to see the light of day again?  Many.  Okay, let's take it out and polish it up.  This is called editing.

If you complete that, you've cleared another hurdle and you owe yourself another congratulations.

(Are you seeing a pattern here?  The curve is not the amount of people in that space.  It's a mountain, a hurdle you must cross.  And the more you cross, the easier the next one is to be.)

Once you are past that, you find yourself at the publishing hurdle.  Unfortunately, this one is quite large when compared to the rest.  And this is where most people, if they make it past the rest, stop and quit.

Don't quit.  Do everything you can to get it published.  Or work on another project, which will come easier than the first.

Clear the hurdles.

Do it today.

Please subscribe ot my newsletter, for information on upcoming publications.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Writing Prompt Wednesday - Episode #36

Last week's prompt we wrote about the arrogant SOB.  Now, write the same scene from the arrogant SOB's point-of-view (POV).  But here's the kicker.  Write it in such a way that what we know about the SOB is the exact opposite of what we previously knew about him/her.

Do this in no more than 200 words and e-mail it to me at I'll then take the best one and feature it next week. If you have a website or blog you want to promote, this may be a great way to do so.

Happy writing!

Why I am a poor book reviewer

For the most part, if a book entertains me throughout its entire length, I give it five out of five stars.  Almost without question.

Not to be clique, but I am typically an out-of-the-box thinker.  When I read a book by a first-time novelist, I have a tendancy to be more leniant on the story.  If it's an author who's been around for decades, and he/she still entertains me, I cut them some slack on a poor novel and will probably give a three or four out of five.

There are a line of vampire romance stories that just irk the ever-loving crap out of me though.  I'll forgo mentioning the name (psst, they made movies out of them, and I think the final one comes out this year).  The first one was so poorly written and did NOT entertain me that I'd definitely give it a one out of five.

Where is all this going?

Well, last month, I started a Goodreads account and listed as many book as I can remember reading in the past few years.  Surprisingly, I gave most of them five out of five.

I just finished reading a fantasy novel by a new author.  He has a dynamite website and has blurbs on the cover by many of the big name fantasy authors today.  Sadly enough, I couldn't wrap my mind around it.  I would still give it a four out of five, just simply for the effort and the complexity of the story.  It's very possible that I have so much going on that I can't give it its true reading.  I brought it back to the library after only reading it through halfway.  Prior to this, I read a highly-rated book by a big name author.  I'll not embarass myself by naming this author because, once again, I did not like this book.  It started out with a bang, but then fizzled out.

At least in my mind.

A few years ago, I read Farewell to Arms by Hemingway.  I slogged my way through it, but I did not enjoy it.  I thought it was clunky and dull, the dialogue leaving me to wonder who in the hell named him a genius.  I vowed to never read Hemingway again.  Until last year when I read The Old Man and the Sea.  Now that book I liked!

My point being is that I look at books from a different angle than your average reader.  I also look at it from the entertainment lens.

If you can entertain me, and visually cast your world upon me through your words, I'll give you five out of five stars too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What I Listen To - The Creative Penn

When it comes to publishing and marketing your book, aside from Seth Godin, I highly recommend listening to the bi-weekly podcasts by Joanna Penn called The Creative Penn.

Now with 134 current individual podcasts in this series, Joanna interviews authors and leaders in the publishing industry.  She covers publishing options, inspiration, the nuts-and-bolts on writing, and of course marketing your book.

Her joyful, lovable style and positive attitude is addicting, and her interviews dive right into the meat of the matter.  Aside from a podcaster, she's an accomplished thriller writer herself (writting under the pen name J. F. Penn) and has many products she lends her talents to for aspiring authors.

She's interviewed authors and leaders such as:

J. C. Hutchins

Phil South

Scott Nicholson

Jeff Goins

Alan Baxter

Dean Wesley Smith

Scott Sigler

Tee Morris

Be sure to subscribe to her podcast and learn to take your writing towards successful publication.

Monday, August 13, 2012

To be free or not to be free - the debate on giving your stuff away

Here's one side of the coin, by the brilliant marketing genius Seth Godin:

Here's the other side, a very famous rant by Harlan Ellison (I'll warn you ahead of time - there is a bit of colorful language on this one):

So . . . when all is said and done, who do you listen to?  There are points to be taken on both sides of the issue.  Seth and Harlan may be two extremes, but in truth are they?  Some days I feel like a greedy bastard because of all the free stuff I download, through podcasts or free Kindle editions or sample PDFs.  Okay, I'll admit, I a whore of the free - a free junkie, in other words.  My favorite four-letter F-word is FREE.  Followed closely by FOOD.  But if I find someone I connect with and like their work, I will turn around and purchase their wares.  (Harlan, I for one would've watched the interview and said, "I'll find out what he's written and buy their books."  I may be a rare beast that way, but that would be me.)  Speaking of free, one author I've discovered is Scott Nicholson, and he has a ton of Kindle books out there, and according to a recent blog post he has nine books he's promoting this month for FREE!  A few I already own, but by God I'll be picking up the rest once they become free.

I lean towards Seth a bit more on this debate, although I do have a mortgage that needs to be paid and my children need to eat too.  Keep in mind, Seth said that in order for someone to go from getting your free stuff to paying for your stuff, your work needs to stand out.  It needs to be remarkable.  If you're putting out a bunch of free crap, nobody will buy the paying stuff.

Harlan, on the other hand, is almost saying the same thing as far as being remarkable.  He differentiates the amateurs from the professionals.  I agree that everyone seems to want things for nothing.

Yet they'll think nothing of going to a gourmet coffee house (think Starbucks here) and purchase a $5.00 coffee.  Not for me, thanks.  I'll make my coffee at home.  You do what you want.

What side of the coin are you on?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happenings In The Outhouse 10-Aug-2012 / Video blogs and rants

This past week has been a trying one.  Starting around Wednesday last week when my daughter's insulin pump decided to kick the bucket, and fighting with a company called AuraVie over some product we never ordered and have since charged us twice now for (be sure to check out my videos on what I call my AuraVie Rant - and please share with all of your Twitter followers and Facebook friends).

Amongst this and also working on putting together both a podcast and video blog series, centered around and expanding on the topics covered in this blog, I've been working on chapters 40-42 of Beholder's Eye.

My other projects (besides the thriller novel, creating a future podcast and video blog series) include the refining of my ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget (available on the Amazon Kindle) and its cover--well, okay, the cover only.  It's fairly plain, when compared with others in the same category, so I'm tossing down a few dozen ideas on how it can be improved.  I'm also putting out a grateful request: if you have any great ideas on how to improve it, please review it on the link above and e-mail any ideas to me at  In return, I'll send you a free copy of the ebook as a complimentary gift.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why it's good that most writers aren't interested in marketing.

Most writers aren't interested in marketing their work.  They'd just as soon spend hours upon hours on end doing nothing but writing.

And that's good.

For me.

Me and those also willing to market their work.

It's a fact that writing--the actual creative process, AKA the sitting-your-butt-in-a-chair-and-doing-the-work--is only part of your job as a writer.  The other part is under the umbrella of the M-word: marketing.

I am going to give you two quick resources to help you in this:

1) Check out Seth Godin.  Subscribe to his blog so you do not miss one single bit of nugget from him.  In fact, get all of his books and read them.  I mean, all of them.  Some may have been written several years ago, but they are as close to timeless as you can get.  If you do nothing else but read Seth, and do what he says, you'll be set.

2) Career Coach Dan Miller is a great inspiration for anyone wanting to find "work that you love."  He has daily blogs, a weekly 48-minute podcast, and has tons of resources for those who want learn more about marketing their work.  On his worksheets tab, he has a free download of 48 Marketing Tips.

Marketing can become a habit, if you recognize just how easy it is.  Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube effectively and you'll have the makings of building a strong marketing arm for your writing business.

Because it all starts with having the mindset of a businessperson, running your writing empire like a business.

But, if you don't want to do it, and think that publishing companies and literary agents will come clawing at your door (this works if you're a nobody - if you're Donald Trump or Snookie, you're a leg up on the rest of us), you're going to be in for a big surprise when nobody's going to be knocking.

To answer the question asked in the title of this blog, "Why it's good that most writers aren't interested in marketing," it's because that means that those who do market their work, we'll sell more books.

(For those who are planning a wedding, or know of anyone who's planning a wedding, be sure to check out my Kindle ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget).

That's how easy it is.

Well, okay, there's a bit more to it than that, but it is a small piece of it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Writing Prompt Wednesday - Episode #35

This will be a prompt on writing point-of-view (POV).  Write a scene from someone who has an interaction with another person who is the most arrogant person they've ever met.  We all have met someone like this at one point or another.  Write the scene from the other person's POV, leaving the reader going, "Wow, that's one arrogant SOB."

Do this in no more than 200 words and e-mail it to me at  I'll then take the best one and feature it next week.  If you have a website or blog you want to promote, this may be a great way to do so.

Happy writing!

The Power Of Rising Early

I've been there, got that, even have the T-shirt.

What am I talking about?  The snooze button.  Mr. Snooze will let you sleep in for as long as you want.

But if you want to become successful, you better learn how to control getting up in the morning.

I've studied a lot of successful people, and although many of their habits are similar (working hard, even in the face of dire adversity, and striving to excel) there is another habit many successful people share that sets them apart from the rest: they wake up early.

Try it sometime.  Get up 30-60 minutes before you normally do.  Many bestselling authors get up between 5:00 and 5:30 in the morning.  Fantasy author Peter Orullian gets up at 3:30am.  And he even works a full-time job at Microsoft to boot!

If anything try it for 30 days.  Set a goal of getting up an hour before you normally do.  This may mean going to bed earlier too, but that's okay.  Try it for 30 days and then review what you've accomplished.

You can do it.

Start it now.  The very next day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What I Listen To - Dan Miller

Last week, I told you that the first podcast that I listened to was Dave Ramsey.  Springboarding from that, I started listening to his friend, career coach Dan Miller.

Once a week, Dan launches another podcast.  These are around 48 minutes long, and it is centered around helping others find work that they'll love, whether it's creating a business or getting a job.  It seems odd, Dan will tell you, to think about finding a work that you just love to do.  Many think that in order for that to happen, you can't make any money.  Perish the thought.  Dan, each and every week, answers listeners' multiple questions on how to do this.  He doesn't pull any punches either.  If the business idea you have is not a very smart one, he'll tell you.  Then, he'll tell you how to turn it around and have a fresh idea.

Dan draws upon a variety of sources for his wisdom.  He's a ferocious reader, gobbling up book after book.  There is rarely a podcast that he doesn't mention a book to read or a person's blog to follow, passing upon his vast knowledge of finding your own passion.  Dan is also an author of bestselling books such as 48 Days to the Work you Love and No More Dreaded Mondays, both of which I highly recommend.

As an added bonus, Dan has put together an online community of individuals who are either seeking to find work that they love or are actually doing it.  It is called 48 Days.Net, of which I am also a member.

For the longest time, until I discovered other podcasters, Dave and Dan were the two I listened to.  From there, I discovered other voices, authors, and bloggers such as Simon Sinek, Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, John Maxwell, and many more.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Writing is like cleaning a hoarder house

We've all seen the pictures and watched the A&E TV show Hoarders.

Look at this picture for a minute and ask yourself: "Where do you start?"

For many, including the hoarders, this can be overwhelming and can even paralyze your mind to the point where you don't want to do anything.

Writing can be the same way.  Let's say you have an epic fantasy in mind.  Where do you start?

Just start somewhere.

Just start writing and let the story flow.  This works especially well if you are not an outliner.  If you are, God help you--just kidding, there's hope for you outliners too.  For outliners, just throw down as many ideas as possible.  Or use a brainstorming diagram where you may have a central idea and have many things branching out from it.  Like this:

Use whatever tools works best for you.  But start today.  Do it now.  Don't get overwhelmed by the percieved scope of the project.  Just write it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happenings In The Outhouse 03-Aug-2012 / Sorry Charlie Brown

This week saw the completion of chapters 37-39 of Beholder's Eye.  Chapter-wise, I'm 2/3 done.

Okay, Snoopy-Dance time!

What's next, you ask me?  Chapters 40-42.  Chapter 41 is a doozy too.  It's 10 pages long, at the moment.  What it'll look like after this editing round . . . well, it's a little too late to tell.  What's interesting about chapter 41 is that there is a minor character in it who you see in a very different light.  The first time our main character Kolin meets him, he is the most arrogant prick you've ever met.  This time, you see a more tender side of him, as he helps Kolin out in the serial murder case he's working on.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to handle writing advice

Take writing advice--or any advice, for that matter--like a grain of salt.

You can read all of the books about writing (or any other subject) you can, but until you sit your butt in a chair and put words onto a page, you'll never be on your way to greatness.  Just simply get in there and do the work, and filter out what advice works best for you.

A perfect example of this would be my Dad.  He went to school to be an auto mechanic, and worked successfully as one for several decades.  But his education didn't start when he went to technical college.  As a kid, he worked on engines with his dad.  In a way, he recieved the best schooling there is: hands-on.

In other words, he went in there and did the work.

This is a tale my Dad will tell on occasion.  While in school, one of his teachers tried to fool the students by disabling something on an engine--I never had a head for mechanical stuff; I know some of the basics but his mechanical bug never wore off on me and this is the best way I can describe what happened.  He told the students that they had to use some diagnostic equipment in order to find out what was wrong.  My Dad leaned in and listened to the engine, and told the teacher exactly what was wrong.

"How could you know that?" the teacher asked.

"That's what's wrong with it, isn't it?" my Dad said.

"Of course," the teacher said back, astonished.  "But how could you know?  Without hooking the machine to it?"

My Dad smiled and said, "Because I just know."

Because he had worked on engines for so long, he probably has the equivalent of a doctorate in automobile mechanics.  But they don't have pieces of paper to hang on the wall for that.  He doesn't need it though.

He's put in the time.

He knows.

When are you going to start putting in the time?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing Prompt Wednesday - Episode #34

Imagine a writing competition geared towards the Olympics.

What would it entail?  How would they win?

Happy writing!

Are you sick of it yet?

For the past week or so, my oldest daughter (who is 9) has been practicing the guitar every single night.

I played the guitar (okay, I'll admit I wasn't very good but I sure did practice alot - and a far cry from Eddie Van Halen or Slash) in my later teenage years.  This would be from sixteen through possibly nineteen.  I played a little after that, but by then writing took up much of my time.  I could play a few riffs, like the opening to Extreme's "More Than Words" and GNR's "Sweet Child O' Mine."

But that was it.

Luckily, when my daughter asked me if I would teach her, I had a few basic guitar books to get her started.  She plays for about 15-20 minutes each night.  She's downstairs in our spare bedroom while I'm right next door in my office.  She plinks away, stroking chords after chords, getting better by the smallest of increments.

After each of her practice sessions, I ask her, "Are you sick of it yet?"

"No way!" she tells me.  She has this glow in her eye like she was just handed a huge bowl of cookie dough ice cream (both of our favorites) and a spoon all her own.

Will this last long?  It's hard to say.  But by my asking her the question, "Are you sick of it yet?" allows me to gauge whether or not this is a phase for her.  She tells me that her fingers hurt, and I tell her that's to be expected.  But as determined as she is, if this is the path her life will take, she'll take to it like a bullet.

Her favorite singer right now is Ke$ha.  She tells me she wants to be like her.

"That's fine," I say.  "But be the best at being you.  Then someday you'll have some little girls tell their parents, 'I want to be the next ________.'"

Are you sick of your dream yet?