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.