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.