Friday, December 28, 2018

Where we are at (plus my final published book of the year!) / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-Dec-2018

Garbage Day is my newest novella to be published.  Please click on the link for your favorite ebook retailer.

2018 started out strong in the first half, but tapered off for the final half.  That being said, December ended with a bang and I'm starting work on writing my first epic fantasy--a decision I came to quickly when it became apparent that not only do I enjoy reading them, the movies I love also have a fantastical feel to them.  I had written this novel before, but I'm using what I had written as an outline (an outline!  Gasp!) albeit a "loose" outline.

As 2018 draws to a close, let's recap my total published works.  All are in ebooks at this point--nothing in print or audio or graphic novel or gaming as of yet.  Let's see what the future brings.

I have 32 individual published works at this point.  They consist of:

9 full-length novels
6 novelettes or novellas
11 short stories (two of which are free on my website)
1 short story collection
2 box sets
2 non-fiction ebooks
1 romance written under a pseudonym

Friday, December 21, 2018

Have fun / Happenings In The Outhouse 21-Dec-2018

I was listening to a podcast last week, and the guests were asked questions from the popular podcaster's audience.

One of the questions was something like this: "If you could have a saying or a picture or a paragraph up on a billboard, what would it be?"

So many people nowadays seem to take issues way too seriously.  So much so, that if that put that same amount of energy into improving their own lives, they would be wildly successful.  Given that, picture this: two men in dark business suits, one looking serious and even frowning; the other had a smile on his face.  The smiley face man would hold up two fingers behind the serious man's head, giving him the proverbial bunny ears.  Then comes the caption:


That would be my billboard.

Life should be fun.  If you're not having fun, maybe the issue is . . . well, you.

I get it.  Life can be difficult at times.  In January 2011, within a day of each other, I have a vehicle repossessed and a home foreclosed on.  My wife and I worked through both, getting the vehicle back and the saving our home.  Then, in April, my wife was diagnosed with leukemia.  She was treated successfully (huge thanks to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN!) and remains cancer-free, yet in the meantime she is legally blind because of the treatments and she tires easily.

It would be easy to go "bah-humbug!" at the upcoming Christmas season.  But I do not.  Think of my billboard.

And have fun!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Winding down but keep your eye on the ball / Happenings In The Outhouse 14-Dec-2018

Only a few weeks left of 2018.  It's easy, at this point, to procrastinate and coast through the holiday season.

The other day I thought about what I should tackle next in 2019.  Based on the books and movies I liked to watch, it was easy to choose.  2019 and beyond is going to be exciting for this indie writer.

It's okay to take a break as we come to the upcoming holidays.  But at the same time when everyone else is doing nothing, challenge yourself to focus on what you need to do and charge forward.  Even at a slower pace, it's still moving forward.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Keywords and covers and blurbs, oh my / Happenings In The Outhouse 07-Dec-2018




These may be the triad of book publishing and marketing.

Think about it for a moment.  You're either at a bookstore or an online venue, perusing the next great read.  If a cover intrigues you, and you're in the bookstore, you'll probably pick it up and read the back.  Or even read the first page.  That covers two of the three.  The equivalent to keywords would be the section of the store they're located in.  You would never find any epic fantasy novels by Brandon Sanderson in the mystery/thriller section.  And you wouldn't find any Agatha Christie mysteries in the travel or self-help section.

It is important covers, blurbs, and keywords are up to date.  I am in the process of working through my books, first with my thriller series, and then going through the rest.

I surpassed the 11,000 word mark on my new story.  It's an escape room suspenseful mystery on a large scale.  I will share more when it's complete.

When will it be?  I'm shooing to have it complete by the middle of this month.

Friday, November 30, 2018

2019 will be interesting / Happenings In The Outhouse 30-Nov-2018

As you may (or may not) know, I plan about 2 years in advance.

Not that things won't change--because they will.

Hence the reason why I plan things out so far.

I'm roughly halfway (I think) through a new story, and I'm looking at what I had written before and never published.  I have 2-3 short stories and 3 novels (two in the horror genre and one epic fantasy) that are complete.  The plan is to use them as an outline, and write fresh and new.  I do have a 4th novel (also in the horror genre), but I have future plans for that one that goes beyond my 2-year goal--if it remains unpublished for several more years won't be the worst thing in the world.

Note that I said 2019 WILL be interesting.  Not that it should be.  I'm planting a stake in the ground and moving forward with the new (yet old) projects.  Once those are cleared away, I want to finish the superhero trilogy, complete more novels in my thriller series, and a whole lot more.

But publishing essentially 6 new stories will clear the decks for what I want to accomplish next.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Lessons learned from Stan Lee / Happenings In The Outhouse 23-Nov-2018

I've seen this quote in other places attributed to the late (and great) Stan Lee.

Rest in peace.

May we all wish to become as great an entertainer as you.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Lessons learned from Clingmans Dome / Happenings In The Outhouse 16-Nov-2018

In early June 2017, my in-laws took my family on a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee.  We stayed at the Grand Timber Lodge near Pigeon Forge, and if you click on this link you get a snapshot of the gorgeous scenery.

While we were there, we visited Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.  From the parking lot, there is a 0.5 mile hike up to the dome.  Now, you would think that walking a half-mile could be so grueling.  Periodically, there are benches along the semi-steep path, which I utilized every chance I could.

But I made it. All 800 meters (or 0.5 miles).

Reflecting on the grueling hike up now, I also think about my writing career.  While hiking, there were people who passed me, people who quit, and plenty who didn't take the journey at all.  There were also others who passed me and then quit--why, I have no idea.

Where are you on the journey?  For myself, no matter where I am, I will still continue to climb, one step at a time.

(For more information on Clingmans Dome, here is the link to the Wikipedia page).

Friday, November 9, 2018

400,000+ / Happenings In The Outhouse 09-Nov-2018

The number is estimated to be between 200,000 to 400,000, and depending on what reports you read that number could be well over 400,000.

Why such a high number?  For budgetary reasons.  It's honorable that some of the world's wealthiest have banded together to fight such diseases such as malaria and AIDS.  Even fighting the evils of cancer and diabetes brings the battle closer to home.

But what is this number I'm talking about?

Untested rape and DNA kits.  The evidence linking victims with the perpetrators.

Imagine for a moment, you're the victim of a violent sexual assault.  Or your daughter, son, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, father, brother, uncle are the victim of a brutal murder or rape.  Horrible to imagine, right?  Imagine for a moment that this vicious act took place years ago, decades ago, and the evidence of the crime is sitting, untested, in an evidence locker, waiting to be chosen.

In a simple rudimentary search, the cost of testing these kits range from as little as $600 to $2000.  That's a rough number of $240 million to $800 million just to clear the books.

How many crimes could be solved, and how many future crimes could be prevented, by having these kits tested and the perpetrators sent away?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Power of brainstorming / Happenings In The Outhouse 02-Nov-2018

I've covered the topic of brainstorming before on this blog.

But I came to a realization this week, about something I've been struggling with for much of this summer.  As you know, I've started writing the second romance book (under a pen name) and then put it aside to write a completely new story.  Even though the new story is going well with over 8,000 words, I've been hitting roadblocks on where the story is going.  I sat back one day to reflect on my writing career up to this point, not once experiencing what I have been now.

Oh, sure, I've hit a rough patch or two in my writing life, but the stories I want to write just don't seem to want to be written.  Reflecting on my past, I knew what I had done before that I somehow quit doing.


Not quite outlining, but some may see it as such.  I went to work one day, armed with a notebook, and wrote out a few pages of thoughts.

If you ever find yourself in a rut, reflect on what may be the issue.  Brainstorm your thoughts.  You may be surprised what may happen.

Friday, October 26, 2018

What is your story? / Happenings In The Outhouse 26-Oct-2018

I saw this sign at the doctor's office a few months ago.  Oh, how the words to this rang true to me.

For those who have read this blog for quite some time may already know this, but for those who haven't my wife was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in April 2011.  Even though she is still in remission after all these years, the affects of her treatments are still present to this day--her poor eyesight being the more dramatic.

Yet with all the setbacks, cancer (or anything horrible that affects your life) is all but a chapter in your entire life.

What is the story you want to tell?  What is your legacy?  Don't let cancer or diabetes or a poor family background or (fill in the blank) define the rest of your life.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review goals daily / Happenings In The Outhouse 19-Oct-2018

Aside from my lifelong goals, I have broken down my goals into a two-year plan as well as a quarterly.  I write out new goals at the beginning of each quarter, depending on what I accomplished the previous quarter, but I suggest reviewing those goals daily.  Put them up where you can see them.  Because it's easy to forget about them.

This is exactly what occurred to me this past summer.  Yes, I got lazy and forgot them.

Now, I didn't exactly forget them.  I still wrote, just not as much.  In fact, the current work-in-progress then stagnated and stalled altogether.

Then I got the energy to start a new story and I'm currently around 7,000 words into it.  I don't know if this will be a novelette or novella, depending on the word count, but it's been fun so far.

Keep your daily goals in sight.

Review them.  Add to them, if needed.

But always push yourself to complete them.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Refreshing ideas / Happenings In The Outhouse 12-Oct-2018

An odd thing happened a few days ago.  As I was reflecting on what I had written--and not published--so far, I looked at the four novels sitting in the proverbial trunk.  Three are horror and one epic fantasy.  I have plans to publish the epic fantasy and two of the horror novels, but only after completely rewriting them.  I will use what I had written before as an outline--yes, you know I dislike outlines, but trust me on this one.

My very first novel--a deer hunting zombie horror story--was not one to be placed in the publish pile.  Then, it occurred to me that the fictional town it was written in had a few other novels set in the same town.  I have not written these, but I do have ideas for them.  Then, a what-if occurred to me: what if I placed all three in the same saga-like series?


I'm optimistically cautious with this, for the first novel had so much wrong with it.  I will bet, when I come around to it, only twenty-five percent of it will remain.  I am a much better writer now, and I have confidence in my skills to also make the story better.

As of now, it may be 2019 or 2020 by the time I get around to it.  At the moment, I am currently 5,000 words into a new story.  I plan on finishing it by the middle of next month at the very latest.  When it comes closer, I'll share what I can with you.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Definition of a small town / Happenings In The Outhouse 05-Oct-2018

I grew up in a town with around 2,300 people.

I went to college (for 5 years) in a town of a little over 11,000 people.

I currently live in a town with around 1,400 people.

Forty-five minutes away is a town of over 56,000 people and an hour away from that town is another with around 120,000-plus.

Yet, when I read articles or listen to podcasts, and they mention small towns, these generally range around the last two: 50,000-plus.

Sorry to disappoint you but these are not small towns.  When there are malls and multiple McDonald's locations and Starbucks (or two or three), they are not what I consider small.  Even my old college town was not small in my opinion.  I've lived near town where, if you blink, you might miss the town.  Seriously.

Now, I'm just having a little fun here as well as a mini-rant.  There is a true crime podcast called Small Town Murder, where they really do focus on what I consider small towns.  A few may skirt the edge of my definition, but by and large they do a great job.

I know, I know, those who live in cities would call towns like Fargo, North Dakota, with over 120,000 people small.  I do not.

And that is where we have to agree to disagree . . .

Friday, September 28, 2018

Something fresh, something new / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-Sept-2018

As I have mentioned previously, I was working on the 2nd romance book under a pseudonym.

Did you notice I said was?

I have been hitting a wall with that book.  Oddly enough, it was one of the first ideas I ever had to do in the romance realm, but for some reason I can't seem to advance the story.  I feel like wading through a field of thick mud up to my waist.  I'm about 7500 words in too.  But last week, I decided to step away from it, brainstorm where I want the story to go, and started something new.

The something new isn't in any of my established series.  I, at first, thought of it as a short story.  Within two days, I had 1500 words written and I'm thoroughly enjoying it--to date, I have close to 3,000 words.  I will keep you updated on where this story leads.  I've written stories where I didn't have a clue where it was going.  It's fun, to be honest.

This is why I love the freedom of being able to write what I want, when I want.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Adapting to screen / Happenings In The Outhouse 21-Sept-2018

A few weeks ago, I watched the entire first season of the new Amazon Prime show Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.  For me, anything that I can binge through from one episode to the next--this works with movies too, if I can watch them mostly in a single sitting--I place in high regard.

Back in college, a Tom Clancy movie was adapted to the screen: Clear and Present Danger.  I posted a blog back in 2012 where I delved into this movie.  Although my review of it was based on another movie that had come out at the time, the analysis still holds true.

This brings up another point of contention: do books being adapted to film have to follow the book exactly?  My quick answer is: no.

Let me try explain.  Books are simply ideas in written form.  Movies and TV shows are ideas in theatrical form.  There are things that can be done in books that can't be done in movies, and vice versa.  And if books were ever made into video games, that opens up a whole new world.

For the new Jack Ryan show, it has absolutely nothing to do with the books.  It just expands the stories involving the character of Jack Ryan in a whole new way.

Years ago, I read the book World War Z.  I then watched the movie starring Brad Pitt.  Guess what?  I liked them both.  My reason is that they're two takes on the same idea.  Could the movie have been more truer to the book?  Sure it could have.  But it doesn't have to.

There are other shows that have been adapted, like Dr. Hannibal Lecter from the Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon to the TV show Hannibal.

Some people love their stories to be more truer to one medium versus the next.  I'm not like that.  I see the theatrical version and the book version as two versions of the same idea.  The same could be said of video games, board games, audio productions, plays, poems, etc.  All are different takes on the same idea.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Sacrifice to achieve your goals / Happenings In The Outhouse 14-Sept-2018

I've tackled the thought of sacrifice before, but in light of current events with an ad for a certain shoe manufacturer and a former professional football player, I figured I'd briefly talk about it again.

Before I move on, let me get one thing straight: I'm not taking sides on the issue with the shoe maker and the ball thrower.  Just wanted to clear that up.

What are you sacrificing in order to achieve your goals?

Back in college, I'm sure there were many parties I never attended because I was writing.  At work nowadays, I spend most breaks and lunches writing.

I'm sacrificing time to do something I love.

When I'm at home, I do sacrifice time in order to do things with my family.  Sure, there are times I wish I could join the local gym or go golfing (honestly, the course where I live is outstanding and is one of the best around) but I don't because it would take time away from my family as well as writing.  I go out for walks on occasion, which helps.

What are your life goals?

In short, whatever your goals are, you need to get off your butt and do it.  Are there stories I've written that not everyone likes?  Of course!  But I keep writing.

Keep doing what you're doing.


And win!

Friday, September 7, 2018

What's in store for the rest of the year / Happenings In The Outhouse 07-Sept-2018

Blame it on DC and Marvel, but I have decided what's next for the remainder of the year.  In a word: superheroes!

My youngest daughter has been watching a ton of Marvel's superhero movies lately--yes, Dad is grinning--and I've been watching the ones I haven't seen.

I'm currently writing the second romance novel under a pseudonym and I'm planning what to do next.  I have a few things in mind--or, rather, I had a few things in mind.  I have additional books in my thriller series as well as a cozy mystery series.

But, what comes to mind are more books in my Order of Freaks superhero universe.

I plan on finishing out the initial trilogy.

Good times are ahead . . .

Friday, August 31, 2018

Carving out the time for your art / Happenings In The Outhouse 31-Aug-2018

I've talked about time management before, but let's take a slightly different approach.

Writing, for me, is the best therapy.  Whenever I feel down or need to escape, sure I can easily watch a show on Netflix or listen to my favorite true crime podcast.  But when I work on my writing, I'm accomplishing something.  I'm creating something.

What is your art?  What are you working on?

Even if it's time-consuming, work on it a piece at a time. Think of your time like a pie or a cake.  Start out with a sliver of time (10-15 minutes, maybe) and do nothing but your art.  Consume your art like you would the pie or cake.  When you're done, you're done.  It's okay to be done.

But don't be surprised that you'll want another slice . . .

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dipping my toe in the water / Happenings In The Outhouse 24-Aug-2018

I was going to name this blog post "Writer's block is a myth" but went with the current one instead.

A little over a month ago, I published my first novel under a secret pseudonym.  I am currently writing the second novel under the same name, but somewhere around chapter four I hit a small roadblock.  A bump, so to speak.

Yes, it was the middle of the summer and I have some repairs that need to be done on the house that I just don't want to do--honestly, I want to just hire it done and let them do it, even though it would probably take a good weekend to do it--but it needs to.  We're also in the middle of "looking" for a newer vehicle.  The vehicle I currently drive has over 200K miles on it and last winter was horrible on it.

So, with all that in mind, my mind really wasn't into the new book, even though I've been wanting to write it for a while now.  I call it the "Can't Buy Me Love" movie for adults instead of geared toward teens.

But my mind just wasn't into it.  I binged all eight seasons of Blue Bloods on Netflix as well as a handful of movies.  Then something happened earlier this week.  You see, all along, I've been dipping my toe in the writing waters a bit at a time.  This week, I plunged right in.  I said enough is enough and wrote.  Between one night and morning, I cranked out over a thousand words.  I currently have over 5,000 words written so far, with a plan to have it done by the end of September.

Back to the original title: "Writer's block is a myth."  Being creative can be difficult at times.  I won't fault someone for taking a break when life seems to happen, especially when things are out of your control.

But don't let the block rule your life.  You, and only you, control your life.  Take charge.  Today.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Just because it's August doesn't mean summer is over / Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Aug-2018

I grew up in a small town in northwestern Minnesota.  The county fair was usually around the third week of July.

During those days--and it seems to be just as true now--that the summer felt over once the fair was done.  Especially when the calendar turned from July to August, school was right around the corner.

Never fear.  August has 31 days.  Don't waste it.

As a creative, we suffer from the same sense of dread to the end of the summer months.  Kids will be back in school, and in turn will be going to bed earlier.

For the past few weeks, we have had some days where the heat is high--and so is the humidity.  I would come home from work and want to do . . . nothing.  No writing at all.

Now, did I do no writing?  Nope.  Was my output as high as before?  Nope.

But I still wrote.

I am currently working on the second romance novel under my pseudonym.  Sales on the first one are steady, as well as others.

Speaking of other books, I'm contemplating some price changes.  Meaning, pricing going up.  I'm testing it out in one of the smaller ebook retailers.  If all goes well, I'll go wide with the rest.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Childish antics / Happenings In The Outhouse 10-Aug-2018

I follow a fair amount of writers on social media as well as listen to a select few writing related podcasts (less now than ever before).  I shake my head at times when writers spend more time either blasting their "Buy it!" posts or wasting time on irrelevant issues such as politics.

And lately it's more of the latter.

Instead of commenting on someone's post, I ignore it.

So many people go through life, wanting every NOW!  Have patience.  The outcome will be more rewarding in the end.

Also, how do you invest in your time?  What are your biggest time wasters, and what can be done to minimize them?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Longevity and commitment / Happenings In The Outhouse 03-Aug-2018

It was September 1991 at the Rec Center on the Bemidji State University campus.  My Tae Kwon Do instructors, Masters Spencer and Cindy Brandt, lined us up.  There were roughly 20-30 brand new white belts.

"Statistically, out of all of you," Spencer said, "only one will become a black belt."

My friend, Mike, stood next to me.  We knew this was a challenge for us.  We both wanted to become a black belt.

And we did.

We defeated the odds.

However, it was only the two of us.  The rest had gradually dropped out.

Why is this?  Not everyone will take the commitment and energy to train long-term in the martial arts.  In the end, I achieved a 2nd degree black belt status, but then I moved away and haven't taught anyone since.

This brings to mind a writer's commitment to writing.  In May of this year, the writers group I had been a part of for close to 15 years disbanded with only two of us left.  My friend Evelyn and I were the only constant writers left who were committed to attend . . . until we decided to finally call it quits on the tri-weekly meetings.

This goes with any creative endeavor.  Take music.  I'm a child of the 1980's hair metal era.  I love, and still do, that music.  I can listen to it all day and night.  But how many are still around.  How many died with the emergence of the Seattle music scene (i.e. Nirvana)?

It's difficult to take on something long-term.  Even marriage can be like this--my wife and I have been married for 21 years, and we're both committed to keep it going to the end.

How committed to your art are you?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Another secret project / Happenings In The Outhouse 27-July-2018

A few weeks ago, I published a romance novel under a pseudonym.

For now, it is only published in the Amazon Kindle store.  It's selling well.  I am pleased with the outcome.

Why just Amazon?  Because, quite frankly, ebook retailers like Smashwords make it difficult to publish under another name without first setting up another account.  And since this romance novelist pseudonym is an experiment (at first) I didn't want to go through the hassle without some payout.

Will I change my mind in the future?  Yes.

When will that be?  No idea.

I am writing my second romance novel under my secret pseudonym.  I have only just started, but I am liking where it's going.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The day of my (possible) UFO sighting / Happenings In The Outhouse 20-July-2018

Early November 1996, Friday night, opening of the Minnesota deer hunting season.  Which, for most Minnesotans, the deer hunting season is like a national holiday.  Over the years, there have been a handful of times I haven't been able to participate and the communities are nearly ghost towns.

I was hunting with my Dad and uncle Steve at my grandfather's cabin, northwest of Roseau, Minnesota, in an area known as "Minnesota Hill."  Normally, my grandfather would be hunting with us but this year decided not to.

That day, the area got hit with a fresh, thick blanket of snow.  It fell so hard that our vehicle tracks were completely obliterated not long after our arrival Friday night.

Then, not long after the snow hit, the sky was completely clear.  The moon was not out, but the stars were immense.  I love looking up at the starry sky on clear nights like that.

That night, my uncle slept on the bottom bunk in the bedroom, my Dad slept on the couch, and I took my grandfather's spot of sleeping on the cot between the furnace and the front door.  The light from the stars shimmered on the clean blanket of snow covering everything.

As I was starting to fall asleep, I was immediately jolted awake to a blinding flash of light.  I can only describe it like an intense spotlight passing through the windows on the north side of the cabin.  Then, in a matter of moments, it was gone.

At first, I thought someone was outside shining a bright light in the cabin.  Since I was a few feet from the door, I quickly opened the door.

There was no one around.  There was no disturbance in the snow.  I looked up.  I saw the stars.  It was quiet.

To this day I have always wondered what it was.

The only answer I can come up with was that the light came from a UFO.

Was it . . . ?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Stealth publishing / Happenings In The Outhouse 13-July-2018

I was watching a video lesson from a well-established writer the other night and he explained his method of publishing--transitioning from traditional to indie--over the past number of years he has termed: stealth publishing.

I love this term!  This completely describes what I have been doing as well.

It boggles my mind how many authors will write a handful of books, promoting these books like crazy, and then . . . they vanish.  Why?  There are a multitude of reasons, from dwindling sales (after a large sales spike) to not writing the next book to changing their focus on "writing courses" to spending too much time on promoting rather than writing to not learning to write . . .

I view my publishing business in the long-term.  I also am not beholden to my royalties to keep food on the table.  I have a full-time job for that.  Do I have sales spikes?  You betcha!  I do sell books.  Maybe not Rowling or King level, but then again very few are at that level.

Stealth publishing, in my opinion, is quietly putting your work out there and not promoting until you have a number of books in the backlog.

I do post sales links when I publish a new book, but for now that's about it.

You may criticize this approach and I'm okay with it.  All writers are different, and this one works well for me.

So, you can criticize all you want.  All I'll do is shrug, put my head down, and write . . .

Friday, July 6, 2018

The day of my (possible) abduction / Happenings In The Outhouse 06-July-2018

The timeline on this event is fuzzy.  I do know it was in the spring or fall, for there was no snow on the ground that I remember.  Or if it was the winter, we had very little snow.  I also place the year around 1980.  I would've been seven or eight.  But I could've been nine or ten, depending on the actual year.

I grew up in a small town in northwestern Minnesota.  And yes I walked to school.  Even in sub-zero temperatures, I walked.

Before you ask, no it was not uphill, both ways.  Thanks for asking.

I was heading to school, which made it about a quarter to eight.  I do remember the exact spot where I was that this event occurred.

A dark van pulled up next to me.  It was one of those typical 70's vans with plush carpet on the inside and there were no side windows.  The side door opened.  Obviously, there was the driver, a front passenger, and one other passenger in the back.

There was at least one female inside, but my recollection is fuzzy when it comes to where she was seated: either in the front passenger or the back.

They asked if I wanted to ride to school.  Now, these were the days of the "Stranger Danger" campaign, but Stranger Danger was the last thing on my mind--if at all.  I did, however, get a weird vibe.

I said, "No, thanks, I can walk."

What's weird about this event is that, on the street where I was walking, I probably knew most everyone in the neighborhood.  It was 3-4 blocks from the highway, so for someone to choose this street was odd.  I didn't recognize them, even though I'd place their ages in their late teens.  Which would make them probably high school seniors, IF they were in school.

The one inside asked if I was sure I wanted to walk.  I said I was.

Then, they shut the door and drove away.

Afterwards, I stood there, wondering which way they would turn.  You see, if they turned left, they were heading toward the school.  If they turned right, it would lead out of town.

The van . . . turned right.

Now, there are possibilities that these were just conscientious high school seniors looking to make good by giving a kid a ride to school.  They could have had friends who lived down a street to the right.

Oddly enough, I never saw the van again.  I also didn't recognize any of the occupants.

Was I almost abducted, I will never know.

But I will always wonder . . .

Friday, June 29, 2018

Home stretch and unexpected expectations / Happenings In The Outhouse 29-June-2018

My romance work-in-progress is in the final home stretch.  I am near the 35,000 word mark and I can see what's left of the journey.

But, like any journey, there are still unexpected expectations.  Yes, you heard right.  Unexpected expectations.

After unraveling your tongue, let me explain.  I see the journey, of where the novel is heading.  But I also know that I'll face unexpected events in the story.  So I anticipate them.  Hence unexpected expectations.

I know it'll happen.

I'm ready for them.

Every time I sit and write, I write something new, something I hadn't anticipated, whether it's a large or small event.

That's why I love writing.  I love uncovering those unexpected expectations.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Romance work-in-progress nearing completion / Happenings In The Outhouse 22-June-2018

My current work-in-progress, a romance novel written under a pseudonym, is close to the 30,000 word mark.

It's been both challenging and fun to write.  Challenging, only from the standpoint that I've never written a romance story before as the main theme.  Although this one may have a bit of suspense thrown in, it's also been very fun to write.

Also, immediately upon completion of this one, I will write another romance under the same pseudonym.  Sorry, I won't be sharing what it is.  It's a bit of an experiment, to see if I can pull it off.  I am thinking and planning long-term, so I gauge success in this experiment differently when compared to others.

As a bit of a teaser, I will be sharing two life events in greater detail.  One from when I was in elementary school, when I may possibly have been inches away from being abducted.  The other was from a deer hunting season when I possibly saw a . . . UFO.

Yes, you heard correctly.  A possible abduction and a UFO.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Central Division Series Omnibus is available for pre-order

Books 1-4, plus the novella Training Grounds, is available for pre-order with a release date of July 1st, 2018!  Here's a link for your favorite e-book retailer.

From the deep Minnesota woods to the dangerous streets of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis PD investigators KOLIN RAYNES and SIMON TEMPLETON are not afraid to get their hands dirty when it comes to serial killers and human sex traffickers.

This omnibus is a compilation of the first four suspenseful thriller novels in the Central Division Series, including the novella titled Training Grounds.

This set includes:

Book 1: Beholder’s Eye

Novella Training Grounds (the first Central Division short)

Book 2: Straight Razor

Book 3: Discarded

Book 4: Shades of Darkness

Enjoy this exciting thriller series!
Again, here's a link to purchase this omnibus collection!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Want some free stories to read? / Happenings In The Outhouse 08-June-2018

I have recently added a "Free Stories" link to my website.

If you wish to read two quick short stories--both are part of my If Walls Could Talk short story collection--click on this link and enjoy.

The stories are titled: "The Things They Collected" and "Martian Union".

Enjoy the free read!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Silence is golden (and so is noise) / Happenings In The Outhouse 01-June-2018

Before we move on, welcome to blog post number . . . 800!

If you search through my blog, I went on a podcast listening hiatus in second half of 2013 as well as what I called a "podcast fast" starting in December 2016.

Well, starting in mid-October 2017, I started listening to podcasts again.  With a vengeance.

The nature of most are true crime podcasts, but lately I have delved into a variety of history podcasts.  I will not list any here.  If you're curious, you can search for them yourself and chances are we may be listening to the same one.

Throughout the hiatus and podcast fast, I discovered that silence is indeed golden.

But now, listening to podcasts with a vengeance again, I love listening to the various stories.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Disclaimers and expectations / Happenings In The Outhouse 25-May-2018

I have been listening to a number of true crime podcasts lately (thanks in big part to the Netflix show Mindhunter).

One thing I have noticed about a fair amount of them are the disclaimers they have before each podcast.  Or, if they come to a graphic part where they're describing a murder or something demented being done to another person, they give a disclaimer.


First, these are true crime podcasts.  We should expect the blood and gore, the graphic nature of the sick individuals who create much havoc in society.  My wife buys a lot of discounted or free ebooks, many of them in the romance genre.  I will admit, I do read some of these.  I recently read one that bordered on pornography.  It was extremely graphic and delved into the weirder side of sex.  I will not give the title or the author, but I did look back to see if there was a disclaimer.

There wasn't one.

I read a number of thrillers and true crime books.  Again, no disclaimers there either.

Why is this?

It's because we expect it.

I've read a fair amount of Stephen King horror novels and I don't believe I have found one single disclaimer on any of them.  Why?  Because we expect to be scared to death.

The same goes with thrillers and the like.

So, to all of the true crime podcasters out there, quit putting disclaimers on your podcasts.  We expect the blood and gore and graphic crap.  It's true crime for crying out loud!

We expect it!

Friday, May 18, 2018

End Of An Era / Happenings In The Outhouse 18-May-2018

A few weeks ago, the remaining members of our local writers' group decided to disband after . . . 15 years.

And when I mean the remaining members, it was literally down to one lady and myself.  Other members who were still in the group were unable to attend our tri-weekly meeting due to a variety of reasons.

It was bittersweet to end such a long run of friendship, swapping stories, and encouragement.  But I must add that the friendship will not end.  It will continue long until the end of our days.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Why my pen name is a secret? / Happenings In The Outhouse 11-May-2018

Writing the title to this blog feels a lot like the old "what I did last summer" essays we used to write in school.

For those who have been following this blog, I am currently in the middle of a . . . secret project, for want of a better word.  I am writing a romance novel, with around 18,000 words written so far, and am putting this under a pseudonym.

But what pseudonym am I using?

Sorry, that's a secret.  Will it remain a secret?  I don't know.  There are a few people whom I will tell about it, but that list is extremely small.

Besides, I am writing this romance more as an experiment.  You see, I am a storyteller.  I have threads of romance through many of my other stories, but this will be the first one where the major theme is romance-based.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, May 4, 2018

Training Grounds Is Out / Happenings In The Outhouse 04-May-2018

Training Grounds is now published!

Click on the link to view your favorite ebook retailer.

What else am I working on?  I am currently around 15,000 words into my new romance work-in-progress, written under a pseudonym.  It's working well, and has been going places I never imagined--which is usually the case with most of my stories.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Favorite stories / Happenings In The Outhouse 27-Apr-2018

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and someone had asked a bestselling author: "What is your favorite story that you've written?"

This author gave the usual answer, by saying all of his stories were like his children, so all were his favorites, but in the end he did choose his first one, as it was more near and dear to him.

What are my favorites?

All of them.  Past . . . present . . . and future.

Yes, even the future stories I have ideas for are included in my favorites.  Time keeps me from getting them all done--if they'll all ever be done.

Speaking of new projects, my current work-in-progress, a romance novel written under a pseudonym, has roughly 12,000 words written.  My goal of writing at least 2,500 words a week has been going well.  It may seem like a small goal, but it's a manageable goal and one I can even overachieve on.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Can art be created quickly? / Happenings In The Outhouse 20-Apr-2018

Two weekends ago, my wife and I saw the movie I Can Only Imagine. 

At that point, the movie had been out for three weeks, so we thought there would be plenty of places to sit.  Wow, were we wrong!  The place was packed!  We sat in the front row, which was an ideal place to begin with as my wife is legally blind.  And the movie?  In short, it was amazing!

Which brings me to the reason behind this post, about art being created quickly.

At the beginning of the movie, Bart (the lead singer for MercyMe who wrote the hit song that the movie was named for) was being interviewed by someone (no spoilers here, as I won't share who this was) and asked about the song's creation.

Bart told the interviewer that he wrote the lyrics in about ten minutes, and the music in about as much time.

The interviewer then objected and said no, it had been written over his lifetime.

Sorry, but the interviewer is wrong.  There are plenty of artists who, on a whim of inspiration, have written great works in short periods of time.  I do know why the interviewer said what she said, that it was what he had experienced in his lifetime that led up to the creation of their iconic song.  But great works of art can be created in short periods of time.

Don't believe me?  Here's a link to a list of 10 novels written in less than a month.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Keep your goals visible (AKA My Next 5 Things) / Happenings In The Outhouse 13-Apr-2018

I'm embarking on a new venture, under a pseudonym.  I am roughly 5,000 words into a romance story, and it's going well.  It was slow going at first, but lately has ramped up.

I've preached before about the importance of goals.  I don't do New Year's resolutions.  Simply, they don't work.  I set goals year-around.

I also do not participate in NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) which occurs every November.  Instead of writing in November, I write all the time--or mostly everyday.

I've had to revamp how I set my goals.  I have a two-year plan, but in the meantime what do I do?

Last week was the start of a new quarter.  I wrote down 5 things to accomplish.  I call it "My Next 5 Things."

I wrote down 5 things I want to accomplish in the second quarter.  It's a manageable list, and I see it everyday.

I have also set a weekly writing goal.  I have it broken down into a daily goal for 5 days (minus the weekends) as well as the full 7 days.

So far, it seems to be working.

What have you tried to accomplish your goals?  How about one goal a month?  It's okay to start small.

Friday, April 6, 2018

New Ventures - New Challenges / Happenings In The Outhouse 06-Apr-2018

I wasn't happy with the productivity behind my last project, so I'm amping it up on my next and future projects.

Training Grounds was started around the first of the year, and completed only last month.  And it's a novella, to boot.  I've written other novellas in a matter of weeks.  Not months.

I apologize right now for my secretiveness, but I'm experimenting with a few new things.  If they work, from a productivity standpoint, I'll share my findings and what they are.  It could be something you can try too.  Keep in mind, everyone's working style is different.  For the past few years, I logged all of my writing days on a spreadsheet, and almost obsessed with having as few non-writing days as possible.  But around November 2017, due to health and other personal issues, I had more non-writing days than I liked and it stressed me out.  So I quit the spreadsheet.  Oddly enough, my productivity increased and I finished the novel.

But something happened after the first of the year.  One thing I discovered is that I need a publishing goal.  A date.  Something to shoot for.  If I have to change it, I will.  But with no deadline to shoot for, I find myself lingering on and on . . .

Okay, now for the new stuff.  I am currently writing . . . drum roll please . . . a romance novel.  I'm roughly 2,500 words into it, and it's going well.  I have another one I'll write right afterwards.  But I will not share the title here.  Why?  I'm experimenting with a pseudonym.  I know, pen names can have its pros and cons.  I'll need a separate website and such.  But I have my reasons, after juggling the pros and cons.

Why a pseudonym?  Because in the romance world, men don't sell as well as women.  It sounds sexist, I know, but that's the reality.  So, my pen name will be initials.  It won't resemble my name at all.

It should be fun.  I'm looking forward to the results.  I've never written romance before, but I have added romance elements into my stories before.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Training Grounds is up for pre-order / Happenings In The Outhouse 30-March-2018

Training Grounds, the first shorter work in the Central Division Series, is up for pre-orders.  Publication date is May 1st, 2018.

"Immediately following the harrowing events in BEHOLDER’S EYE, the first thriller novel in the Central Division series, Minneapolis PD investigators Kolin Raynes and Simon Templeton are once again back in Glade, Minnesota, to further investigate the aftermath of the elusive serial killer.

They may know what drove the Video Slayer to do what she did, but how did she do it?  Did she have help or was she a lone killer in her monstrous deeds?

Kolin and Simon delve deep into the mysteries surrounding the serial killer in this crime scene investigative mystery drama."

Here is a link to my website, for a list of all of your favorite e-retailers.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Night People (Short Story) / Story of the Week 24-March-2018

Roughly almost two decades ago, I used to work as a corrections officer.  It was for a county jail.  My short story Night People came about as I worked nights as a CO and some of the more . . . interesting people one would meet.

Night People wasn't meant to be a paranormal romance when I first wrote it, but that's what ended up being.

Night People is about a lady named Abby Stone who has an abusive ex-husband.  But one man comes to her rescue, in the most peculiar way.

Please check out Night People on the following link to your favorite ebook retailer.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The curse of a creative / Happenings In The Outhouse 23-March-2018

Last week, I wrote on how life experiences can enhance one's art.

Expanding on that notion, this young person whom I spoke about recently created something that involved a school shooting which, in his mind, shouldn't have been taken seriously.  Well, many people in his community did.  This young person even had three law enforcement officers visit with him, asking him to take his creative work down.  Especially in light of recent events, even if it isn't to be taken seriously and meant to only highlight how our society is heading, he saw the gravity of the situation and rectified it.

This begs the question of a curse.  The curse of a creative.  A few members of this young person's family are trying desperately to discover why he created what he did, and even went as far as to say that evil resides in him--which is a horrible thing to say, given that we're all sinners and no one is perfect.

No question about it, the tragedy in recent events are horrible.  But blame the person, not the objects used or those around him.  Only this piece of crap is to blame.

Going back to the young person I spoke about: what if he wrote a song about a person who was bullied in school, humiliated beyond all manner of comprehension?  Then, this person develops a supernatural skill, and uses that skill to exact the greatest revenge upon those bullies, massacring them to a fiery death.

Should the young person write a song like this?  I know many would say, "Of course not!"

But it already has been created.  Not a song, but a book.  A book that started a career for one of the bestselling authors of our time.  This book, whom he wrote about a dozen pages and threw them away, was fished out of the trash by his wife.  She wiped the cigarette ashes from it, read it, and told him to go on.

The story?


The author?

Stephen King.
We, as creatives, walk a fine line between what he can do and what we should.

But as I ask this young person mentioned above: what is the purpose for the art you're trying to create?  Lead with your heart.  Not clicks, likes, mentions, or quick fame.

On a side note, bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith wrote an interesting blog post this week that pretty much sums the best advice I've ever seen as far as writing (or simply creative) is concerned.  It's titled Writers As Whiners.  Please read it.  Well worth it. In fact, subscribe to his blog so you get a dose of Dean's thoughts everyday.  The best quote from this post: "My contract deadlines always came first. How did I power through?  Simple. I stopped whining and just did the writing. Writers, by our very nature, are whiners. And lazy and full of excuses. Pretty much all of us."

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Christmas Letters / Story of the Week 17-March-2018

Christmas may seem like a world away at this point, but the lessons in my novel The Christmas Letters is something that can last all year long.

This novel got its inspiration from those in my family who write Christmas letters each and every year.  But with a twist: instead of writing about past events, what if one wrote about what their future year will be like?  Let your mind go.  Be inspired.

What would you like to do?

A dream vacation.

Pay off debts.

Volunteer at a homeless shelter.

Give anonymously to a charitable organization.

Start a side business.

Ask for a promotion.

Learn a new skill.

What would be in your letter?

Click on this link to pick up The Christmas Letters from your favorite e-book retailer.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Life experiences enhance your art / Happenings In The Outhouse 16-March-2018

This may be difficult for young people to hear, but for the most part life experiences enhance the art one creates.

This isn't to say that young people can't create good art, art that lasts for generations.  But those few are an anomaly.

But what if you're the anomaly?

Everyone thinks they're the anomaly.  "Oh, but I'll be different!"  Most of the time, this falls flat and resonates with no one.

I'm dealing with someone close to me who is trying hard to create his own form of art, but it is false when compared to his own life.  Not that one has to deal with drugs, create violence, and the like in order to create the form of art he wants.  But it should be what is true to their nature.

Everyone is unique.  What your life's experiences you're encountered shapes what your art is.  Instead of trying to sound like everyone else, sound like yourself.

What experiences in your own life can you draw from?

If you're lacking in it, seek it out.  Get out, get a job, and deal with people.

Your art will thank you for it.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hope From Heaven / Story of the Week 10-March-2018

I still remember the day, sitting in church next to my son, when the idea for this book hit me.  I envisioned a man viewing his own funeral, telling God he was sorry for doing absolutely nothing with his life.

Then, this man would be visited by an angel and that angel would take him on a journey of his life, showing him key areas where he did make a difference in someone's life.  Although these events may seem minor at the time, the ramifications in the future were immense and life-changing.

This would be the premise behind my novella Hope From Heaven.  Originally titled Gabriel's Hope, it was published in October 2013.

Here's a link to it on my website.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Training Grounds is complete / Happenings In The Outhouse 09-March-2018

The novella Training Grounds is complete!

It runs a little over 27,000 words and took roughly two months to finish.  Not my best when one looks at word count per day on average, but the book turned out better than I thought.

I will set the pre-order up soon.

Training Grounds takes place immediate following the events in Beholder's Eye.  It revolves around the aftermath and crime scene investigation that takes place, for there is evidence that the killer's line of victims expands much, much longer than those encompassed within the known killings of The Video Slayer.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Guest Of Honor / Story of the Week 03-March-2018

Guest of Honor is the first fiction book I indie published.

I wrote it as part of what I called my "NaNoWriMo in February" campaign.  NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) is held every year in November, and personally it's a poor time for me due to the holidays and hunting--although I think that's the point of keeping to a steady writing schedule.  My plan for this book was to write it during the month of February.  Well, I wrote it in about six days.

Guest of Honor was a fun book to write.

It's about a girl named Megan Dust who, after grieving the loss of her parents, hitchhikes from her northern Minnesota town to the Twin Cities.  But she meets someone along the way, including a family living in a secluded farmstead, who leads her down a mysterious path.

Interestingly enough, this book was meant as a stand-alone story.  But after repeated requests from readers, later this year I will be putting together the first novel in a series revolving the family Megan meets as well as Megan herself.  Stay tuned . . .

Friday, March 2, 2018

Let's talk about stress (AKA setting your own pace) / Happenings In The Outhouse 02-March-2018

My latest work-in-progress, a novella titled Training Grounds, is near completion at 25,000+ words.  As of this writing (I'm writing this post on Thursday morning) I have one chapter left and it is done.  I'll be putting it up for pre-order soon along with a box set of the entire Central Division Series books so far--this would be four novels and this novella.

I've written books of similar length as this before and have been completed in weeks, not months like this one.  One word comes to mind on this: stress.

I live in northern Minnesota, where it gets very cold and get tons of snow.  It happens every year, so I shouldn't be surprised.  But between my wife's poor health conditions and vehicle troubles, it has put a strain on everything.

Including my writing.

I have, however, alleviated that a bit by listening to more podcasts (the podcast fast has definitely ended), but instead of writing related ones, I'm listening to ones centered around business, success, leadership, spiritual growth, and true crime.  I have also cut back on my Netflix watching (oh, no, the horror!).  I now use it as a reward instead of a time-filler.

I titled this post "Let's talk about stress" because it's important not to compare yourself to others.  Set your own pace.  If it's slow when compared with others, remember one thing: it was the tortoise who won the race, not the hare.  Not that I'm always writing--remember, this book has taken a few months to write instead of weeks.  When my body tells me to rest, I lay down and rest.  I may read or listen to podcast, but I'm resting.

Listen to your body.  It's the only one you got.  It's okay to pace yourself.  Be the tortoise.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Beholder's Eye / Story of the Week 24-Feb-2018

Beholder's Eye is the first novel in my Central Division series of thriller novels--and soon to be shorter works, which will be titled Central Division Shorts, but more on that for another day.

Beholder's Eye came about as the premise of "What if an investigator's child is kidnapped by an illusive serial killer?  And what if the reason behind it was revenge?"

Now, the first what if is scary enough.  But the second one jacks up the tension to a whole new level.

Kolin Raynes, a new investigator for the Minneapolis PD's Violent Crime Unit, arrives home to find himself in the midst of a kidnapping spree.  Teenage girls are being abducted, in broad daylight, by what appears to be complete strangers.  When Kolin assists with the case, they are on their third abduction.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Regrets on what I've done AND not done / Happenings In The Outhouse 23-Feb-2018

I was listening to a preview of Jon Acuff's new podcast--actually it was episode zero--and he spoke on regrets.  Not necessarily regrets on what one hasn't done, but even regrets on things one has done.

I look back on my life and, my oh my, I have plenty that fit in either category.

I regret comments I made to someone or about someone.

I regret doing the stupid things I had done.

I regret the poor financial decisions I made.

I regret not pursuing indie publishing sooner.

I regret not writing more short stories and sending them to short story markets.

I regret not speaking with my future wife much sooner than what I did--yes, I was a big chicken.

I regret . . . I regret . . . I regret . . .

Now, of all these regrets, I cannot change them.  All I can do is learn from them, the mistakes (if they were), and move on.  Too many people hold themselves back by their regrets, emotionally, mentally, physically.


Move on.

I am nearing the end of Training Grounds.  I am currently at 21,500 words.  How much more, I don't know.  For a sneak peak, here's the cover:

Starting tomorrow, I am also starting a new segment on this blog: the story of the week.  This will feature a story I have written, to provide links on where it's sold--I do have two free stories on my blog too, so I might link there as well--and maybe give a little story about it.  Should be fun.

Friday, February 16, 2018

So few stories, so much time / Happening In The Outhouse 16-Feb-2018

Nope.  Reverse that, as Willy Wonka (played by Gene Wilder in the 1971 classic movie) once said.

So little time . . . so many stories.

Everyone has the same 168 hours.  Seven days.  Twenty-four hours.

Yet so few accomplish their goals while others do nothing with it.  Oh, sure, they may work their forty-hour a week job, but what about when they come home?  They plop themselves in front of the TV and . . . do nothing.

How much time could you devote to your dream?

Take thirty minutes a day and dive head first into whatever it is you want to accomplish.  Three and a half hours in a week.

The funny thing is, we can all find a bit of time to do something.  Wake up a little early, stay up a bit later once everyone is in bed.  If you work at a job, how do you spend your breaks and lunches?

I am a Netflix fanatic.  I have so many movies, documentaries, shows, in my queue and currently watching list that, if nothing else new ever came in, I'd be set for years.  No kidding.  Years.

But I do limit my Netflix watching.  Because I have stories to write.  It's okay to watch movies and read books, to absorb stories.  But if it gets in the way of actually doing what you should be doing, that's when you'll wake up twenty, thirty, forty years down the road and wonder where your life went.

So get going.


The world depends on it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Let's talk (again) about money / Happenings In The Outhouse 09-Feb-2018

We've talked about money before.  Please look at this blog post for a discussion in 2016 on it.

I recently read a blog post by an award-winning author who posted their earnings, split up into royalties, self-published earning, Patreon earnings, etc.

This author, who will remain nameless and I will not post a link to the post (not even going as far as to say if this author is male or female), but they made, from their writing, roughly $47,000 in 2017.  The author then lamented that they earned less than $200 from self-publishing and roughly $16,000 ranging from traditional royalties, from book to film--I'm not sure if this was before or after the standard agent fees, but I may stipulate for argument sake that it may be after.  Over $29,000 was earned from Patreon fans who give a monthly stipend for whatever reward this author had set up.

Not bad.

Although . . . this author bemoaned the earnings, even going as far as to say they may be moving to Canada where health insurance is free (umm, haven't heard of taxes, which is higher to be paid for said services, along with an extremely long wait for procedures - but I digress).

I just did our taxes for the past year, and I will tell you I did not earn even close to $47,000 from my writing, but I did earn more than this author's self-published works.  I will not disclose amounts--there are plenty of other authors who do, and I don't want to muddy the waters--but I will tell you that I have a full-time job (with fantastic health insurance) and writing for me is long-term.  It's an investment.  It may seem like peanuts now . . . but the dividends will pay off down the road.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Sifting through the muck / Happenings In The Outhouse 02-Feb-2018

For the past few years, I've had visions of the book Training Grounds swirling around in my head.  Sitting down to write it is like sifting through the muck, arranging it in a way that makes sense.

This is the fun part to writing--okay, I'll be honest, I love all aspects to writing.  From the idea and all the way to hitting the publish button, it's fun.  Even when I have to sift through the muck that's in my own head, I take it as a challenge.

Training Grounds has been a bit of a challenge in and of itself, for I have already written four novels in the Central Division Series, and this book occurs right after book 1.  Kind of a book 1.5 if you will.  I had to re-read Beholder's Eye to get a feel for what happened.  That was also enjoyable.

I am currently over 10,000 words into the story.  Not quite sure if I can see the end yet.  I know where and how it'll end, but the route is always interesting.

In a final note, yesterday was the release date for Strange Birth: Book One in the Repel Trilogy.  Here is a link for all of the e-retailers.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Something got you down? Try baby steps / Happenings In The Outhouse 26-Jan-2018

For the past month, we've had numerous vehicle problems.

Coincide this with the chilly weather--northern Minnesota had temps in the severe negative degrees for a few weeks, no kidding--the time to write (and even the desire) has been whittled down to nil.

But why should it?

Even if I sit for fifteen, twenty minutes of uninterrupted time, I can crank out a few hundred words.  Adding to that over time, I'll have my current writing project done in no time.

The other day, I met a local writer (a newbie to our local writers' group) in the grocery store.  He had just gotten through a long bout of sickness in his household, and he apologized for not getting any writing done for the last meeting.  I told him that there was no apologies needed, and even added my own woes with vehicle troubles.

Then we discussed how much writing can be done in baby steps.  Not necessarily in large three-hour blocks, but in fifteen to thirty minute bursts daily.

That gave us both the motivation to keep going.

If something has you down, be it an illness or other troubles nagging at your mind, clear away fifteen minutes--baby steps, remember?--and have fun on your project.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A troublesome story / Happenings In The Outhouse 19-Jan-2018

Ever since I started the immediate sequel to Beholder's Eye, titled Training Grounds, I have been having troubles with it.

Most stories seem to fly from my brain to my fingers, but this one has been giving me some serious troubles.  I have struggled to write even a few hundred words a day--and in some cases, none at all.

Then I came to the conclusion as to why it was causing these troubles.

The Central Division Series is a thriller series.

Training Grounds is not a thriller.  The serial killer is already dead.  Now comes the aftermath, the hands-on crime scene investigation, the deep dive into the why.

Training Grounds is more a police procedural with a dash of mystery.

Now that I have realized that, words are flowing faster.  I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the month, with a potential March 1st release date.

Also, once Training Grounds is complete, I will also be putting together a box-set of the first four novels, while including Training Grounds in it.  I will either shoot for a March or April release date on those.

Speaking of release date on new novels, Strange Birth: Book one of the Repel Trilogy - An Order of Freaks Superhero novel is up for a February 1st release date.  It is available through all e-retailers.  Click on the link and choose the retailer of your choice.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sequel to Beholder's Eye / Happenings In The Outhouse 12-Jan-2018

I am busy working on the immediate sequel to Beholder's Eye.
Now, before you tell me there already is a second book (and as many as four in the Central Division Series so far), let me stress the word "immediate."
When I was working on the edits to Beholder's Eye, digging deep into the mind of a serial killer and mental illness, I questioned how it all came to be.  I ended the novel on a happy note (happy is relative, depending on your point of view) but where I left off was the aftermath of the destruction the serial killer caused.
How did the killer do it?
How much planning was involved?
I am a sucker for true crime stuff.  Especially about serial killers, but true crime in general.  Sometimes the true crimes are more fascinating (again, fascinating is relative, because at the heart of it is the cruelty towards another person, albeit an innocent one) than fiction.
This immediate sequel, tentatively titled Training Grounds, answers the questions revolving around the killer's planning.  I will share a link when it becomes available for pre-order.
Speaking of pre-orders (see what I did there?), Strange Birth: Book One of the Repel Trilogy is up for pre-sale.  Please click on this link.  The book is set for a February 1st, 2018, release date.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Many of my stories are set in Minnesota / Happenings In The Outhouse 05-Jan-2018

Stephen King is synonymous (or at least in much of his early works) with Maine.

John Grisham, by and large, is synonymous with the Deep South.

Think of your favorite author for a moment.  Chances are, there's a familiar setting that goes along with it.


I have lived in Northern Minnesota all my life.  Despite the cold winters, I do love it here.  In looking at my life-long writing goal, I wish to do to Minnesota with what Stephen King has done to Maine.

If you dig deep enough into my various stories, you'll notice threads of real places throughout Minnesota and even North Dakota.

On another front, Strange Birth: Book One of the Repel Trilogy - An Order of Freaks Superhero Novel is up for pre-sale.  Publication date is February 1st, 2018.  Please click on the link for your favorite e-retailer.

Here's the cover: