Hello From Des Moines

I’m at the Indie Author Book Expo at Valley View Mall in West Des Moines. This is my first opportunity to do one of these fairs and my first time that I have gotten to do an in-person event.

If you’re out in Des Moines, come out and see me and the other authors out there. I’m signing copies for sale, so get them while they last lol.

I’m Having A Promotional Event on July 10th. Think anybody can make it out there?

After an extended absence from doing any sort of in-person promotional events due first to my move out to South Central Iowa and the whole COVID situation, I thought it was time for me to finally bring that dry spell to an end.

I will be making an appearance at the 6th annual Indie Author Book Expo at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines July 10th. I will be at the expo from 11 am to 5 pm that day.

Come down to talk with me and pick up a copy of my novel The Holy Fool. It’s my debut novel, a journalism thriller about a reporter trying to break a big national security story in Chicago on the eve of the 2008 elections and the Great Recession while trying to help keep his paper alive. Go ahead and come to the My Works page on the blog for more information about the book and links to buy paperback and e-book editions.

Here’s a link to the expo. Hope to see you there.

Hello From The Road

Yeah, I promised I would be working on things – now I know what George R.R. Martin feels like. 🤣

I was on the road today to visit the new community my wife is going to be living in and where I’ll be moving to in a year or so. So, I thought that since I had some time sitting in the car, I’d let you know what’s been going on.

Although I haven’t done much on my upcoming projects, I have been writing – quite a lot, actually. I’ve talked before about my Game Of Thrones addiction; now, I’ve been busy on writing an epilogue to the series that, to me, wraps it up in a way that’s generally satisfying (in several ways) to the series and in my mind makes it canon.

I’ve been writing this thing for the past several days. I’m now over 8,000 words into it and I’m not nearly done.

😬 Yeah, that’s not what I expected, either. 🤷🏻‍♂️

I learn more about writing every time I do this. This week I’ve learned about true writing motivation. For the past week, I’ve been tapping on my cell phone writing something that I have no expectation or plan to make money on at all. (Plus, it would be a massive copyright © violation if I did.) I didn’t do it to prove anything to anyone, or as some sort of protest for how the last season worked out. I wrote it as s way to work out how I did feel about the series and the characters I fell in love with. I wrote it because writing that made more sense than worrying about any of the stupid things in life that can get you down for no reason.

Anyone who tells you that writing is just a profession is either a liar or delusional. If you’re serious about writing, it is a way of life. Money is an important thing, you know that you are a writer when you are so compelled to tell a story you can’t not do it. That was my lesson this week.

BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION HERE

Speaking of writing and talking about it, this is just one last reminder that I’ll be at the Rock Island (Illinois) Public Library at 2 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) giving a book talk about my book, The Holy Fool: A Journalist’s Revolt, as well as a few things about my life as a writer. Here’s the event announcement if you want to see it. You know I truly care about this event because I’ll be missing the first part of the UEFA Champions League Final featuring my English Premier League team, Liverpool FC. I might have to run to the nearest sports bar to catch the rest of it.

BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION ENDS

As for the rest of my weekend not having to do with promotion, football, or life changes, I need to finish at least two book reviews for people and get active on my Goodreads doing reviews there. I’ll probably wind up posting some of those reviews on here, as well.

Coming up will be the regular weekly journal report on Sunday, and my Game Of Thrones reaction (as well as that epilogue I’ve been writing) maybe by the middle of next week. See you then.

Writing Journal 5.12.2019: The week I admitted that I was essentially taking May off

Yeah, I basically have been taking the entire month off. It’s not quite like the old procrastination days, but it’s sort of like that.

+398 words written.

Days writing: 2 of 7.

Days revising: 2 of 7 for 60 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 2 of 7 days.

There are occasions where I realize I’ve been working on a project for an extended period of time (in my case, three projects) and have gotten burned out trying to move them forward. It is not a permanent condition, but one where I want to take a mental break before getting back at it.

If you’ve been following me for the past few weeks, there’s been three issues that I have dealing with that I think have had a direct influence on my not writing. They are, in no particular order:

  • The impending end of Game of Thrones and how obsessed I’ve become with the TV series. I have to admit here that unlike some people who avoid all spoilers, I am obsessed with spoilers and leaks and every bit of information that I can find out about the show. In deference to those who hate spoilers, I will not post any here. [EDIT: This journal entry was delayed because S8E5 was on right in the middle of it and I had to catch it.]
    What I will say, however, is that I’ve found the show to be far better than many of the fans online have said. Even though not everything has been perfect, I’ve really been satisfied with the season and the storytelling. And honestly, it’s also made me curious and interested in trying fantasy writing myself.
  • The end of the school year. We are just down to 10 days left with students. (There’s two other in-service days, but I can work those in my sleep.) Since we’ve had to extend the school days, they’ve felt so much longer than normal, especially the closer we get to the end of the year. However, I am so glad that we will be getting out of school before June, which is more than I can say for some districts in Iowa.
  • Some personal uncertainty and lack of clarity regarding my wife’s work situation and our family’s situation about whether we would be staying in our hometown or moving somewhere else for work. This uncertainty was a big load on my mind and my family’s mind, but it got resolved this week. Even though I typically don’t post on personal stuff here, I will make a quick follow-up post on this mid-week. Don’t worry, however – things are looking good for us.

On an unrelated note, just a reminder that I’ll be hosting a book talk on my novel The Holy Fool at the Rock Island (Ill.) Public Library at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1. I’m going to be there courtesy of the Midwest Writing Center, which is hosting the event.

In lieu of progress on my projects, since there was essentially none, I’ll just do a quick reminder of what they are.

  • Project A: This is a book about a young man who is a football player and the son of a famous college football coach who is also obsessed with soccer. I first got the idea to write about what I thought the first American Lionel Messi might be like and it turned into one of the richest characters I’ve ever written about.
  • Project B: This is a short novel about a young teen who shoots two of his classmates during a psychotic break. After five years imprisonment, he is looking to rebuild his life with the help of his brother, but former high school classmates start turning up dead around him…
  • Project C: For someone who never messed around with poetry, the idea of me putting together a poetry collection is a real trip. However, I think this is some of the most interesting stuff I’ve written, and a way for me to connect to where I grew up.

    The projected deadlines for those projects:
  • Project A, begin querying agents and publishers: Sometime in early-mid summer 2019.
  • Project B, finish major redrafting of the rough draft (more of a second rough draft rather than a more focused revision): End of summer 2019.
  • Project C, finishing creating rough draft poems: End of 2019.

I did get this written more or less on time, so there’s always that silver lining. 😀 I’ll write more later.

Writing Journal 3.31.2019: Need to pick it up as I laze into April

[We’re still getting flooded in the Midwest.]

I was worried about what the results of this week’s work would be from a statistical standpoint. It’s better than last week’s, but only by a little.

+1,606 words written.

Days writing: 3 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 105 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 5 of 7 days.

Again, there might be a few extra words not counted there from as a result of totally new writing from revising and some printed rough draft poems, but I don’t think that would add significantly to the weekly total (I might count those later once I officially lay them down, or maybe not.)

I was trying an experiment, which I talked about last week, to try and improve my writing work over the Friday evening-Saturday evening stretch. I’m glad that I tried it out, and it was a good thing for me personally. However, it did not effect my writing productivity. My birthday was this weekend, but I, like Stephen King, would refuse to consider that to be an unnecessary drain on my time from writing, especially I only did two things that day and my schedule should have been clear for at least a half-hour of revising both Friday and Saturday.

In my long experience with procrastination, I’ve found that there are usually two groups of factors that come into consideration as being its causes. The first of those are external factors. By that, I mean factors that are outside of the project itself (your health, distractions, comforts, substances, habits, outside hobbies, other people, etc.). Forgive me for being too vague, but what I was looking to change was related in this category. In my experience, external factors wind up being the most common reason for my procrastination.

However, I honestly think that my difficulties this week belong in the second category – factors that have to do with the work itself. I’ll explain more in the project comments, but essentially, I have to get over whatever hangup I have over whatever material I’m working on and get on with it. It will get better, I know it.

Here’s the project updates:

  • Project A: I’ve been playing around with the idea of getting a Writer’s Market along with other possibilities. I’ve just learned that the book’s parent company is going through some financial difficulties, but I think a subscription is worth it to start with researching agents and/or publishers.
    I’m now leaning toward a comprehensive proofreading edit before I start shopping it around. I might wind up doing this at times when I’m getting frustrated with the other projects.
  • Project B: Slow. I am realizing that it might be more of a matter of me heavily revising some sections rather than just slashing them and moving on. Naturally, the former will be longer going for me than the latter. I thought it was going to be easy…
  • Project C: Another poem done. Still more need to be transcribed. Still a ways away from completion.

The projected deadlines for those projects (an attempt by me to keep myself accountable for all of this).

  • Project A, begin querying agents and publishers: Sometime in early-mid summer 2019.
  • Project B, finish major redrafting of the rough draft (more of a second rough draft rather than a more focused revision): End of summer 2019.
  • Project C, finishing creating rough draft poems: End of 2019.

Things are going to be hectic, I think, for the next two months. I will be working on a lot of things for my work during that time and getting things wrapped up, so to speak, for the new year. One more sprint of a fourth quarter, but thanks to our extended schedule, at least I’ll be on summer break before June hits. Things have been so hectic that I’ll probably just run through some posts for the first week of April or so before getting back to other things.

Pretty soon I will have a 200th blog post for the site – you’ll see that in the next couple of weeks.

By the way. if you wanted a page where you could find all of my writing-related links, here it is.

That’s about it for now.

Another Reminder of Upcoming (Writing) Events I’m Part Of

The Holy Fool. book tour, lol, is continuing apace, and the first stop on that will be coming this Saturday.

the holy fool cover shot

There’s going to be a few events that I will be hosting or at having to do with writing, and some of them having to do with my book. So, if you want to put them on your calendar and can actually go to or travel to the Eastern Iowa area, I’d love to see you there.

Musser March 30 appearance

 

  • At 11 a.m. Saturday, March 30, I’ll be giving a book talk on The Holy Fool at the Musser Public Library in Muscatine, now located at the corner of Mulberry Avenue and Second Street. In addition to the book, I’ll be discussing this blog, my experiences with writing as an author, as a journalist, and as a teacher, among other topics. I might even have a few copies of my books around. We’ll be up in the large third floor meeting room there.

Writers on the Avenue

  • At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, I’ll be a presenter at the monthly meeting of the Muscatine, Iowa writing group Writers on the Avenue. I’ll be giving a presentation on revising and helping lead a writing exercise regarding revising (bring your own work if you want), but there might be people asking about the book, too.

800px-Rock_Island_Public_Library_from_northwest

  • From 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, I will be giving a book talk at the Midwest Writing Center, located at the Rock Island (Ill.) Public Library, 401 19th Street, Rock Island. Thanks very much to the center and its executive director, Ryan Collins, for hosting the event.

I’ll try to rerun some of these events later as we come closer to those times, and add anything that might come up as well. Thanks to whoever can come out and show their support and interest in literature,

A Few Events That Are Coming Up (AKA Stuff I’m Doing Having To Do With Books)

It appears that I have started something that might begin to approach a book tour for my book, The Holy Fool.

the holy fool cover shot

There’s going to be a few events that I will be hosting or at having to do with writing, and some of them having to do with my book. So, if you want to put them on your calendar and can actually go to or travel to the Eastern Iowa area, I’d love to see you there.

HNI Musser Public Library

  • At 11 a.m. Saturday, March 30, I’ll be giving a book talk on The Holy Fool at the Musser Public Library in Muscatine, now located at the corner of Mulberry Avenue and Second Street. In addition to the book, I’ll be discussing this blog, my experiences with writing as an author, as a journalist, and as a teacher, among other topics. I might even have a few copies of my books around. We’ll be up in the large third floor meeting room there.

Writers on the Avenue

  • At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, I’ll be a presenter at the monthly meeting of the Muscatine, Iowa writing group Writers on the Avenue. I’ll be giving a presentation on revising and helping lead a writing exercise regarding revising (bring your own work if you want), but there might be people asking about the book, too.

800px-Rock_Island_Public_Library_from_northwest

  • From 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, I will be giving a book talk at the Midwest Writing Center, located at the Rock Island (Ill.) Public Library, 401 19th Street, Rock Island. Thanks very much to the center and its executive director, Ryan Collins, for hosting the event.

I’ll make sure to make an update post as time goes on and add any events that are coming up as well. I’m looking forward to all of them.

Writing Journal 3.3.2019: Progress of some sort

[NOTE: There was no particular reason I picked the photo I used for the featured photo for this blog post except it reminded me of the type of paneling I would often see in basements when I was a kid (there was some that looked like this in my old childhood home, or it was similar to this).]

So, honestly, it was a weaker week (no pun intended) than the previous week. Here’s the numbers.

+949 words written.

Days writing: 3 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 90 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 3 of 7 days.

I think there are just about two explanations for this week’s totals. The first is complacency, of course. However, it is also, I think a side effect of writing poetry (see below). It’s my observation that you have to put in just as much work to get a certain amount of words in poetry, but with the same about of work you would get twice as many words in prose writing. I’m not sure if I should consider poetry words to count twice as much as prose words in my word count, but I’m a little wary of anything that would even seem like I was cooking the books.

So, here’s my progress on the projects:

  • Project A: Not much to report on here. Might have one guy beta-read it, and unless I hear something drastic from him, I think I’m about done on major revisions. Next steps; proofing edit (I’m still counting that sort of stuff as “revisions” in my counts even though it’s a slightly different process) and figuring out where I start with first in researching who and how I query this book. Projected completion date: Hopefully querying agents/publishers this summer.
  • Project B: Got some more work done on this. I’m finding I’m adding new stuff to it, eventually to replace existing material. Right now I’m at 51,000 words, and I’m hoping it doesn’t get bigger than 60,000. I think that is doable. Projected completion date: Finished with first revision hopefully by this summer.
  • Project C: I wrote a couple more poems this week with some others in the process. I’m still a ways away from this getting finished. I have the concept for the collection down; however, I still need more material. Projected completion date: Finished with rough drafts and beginning revisions by the end of the year.
  • Unrelated fiction-type stuff: I am beta-reading one acquaintance’s screenplay and am planning on reading an author I get on contact with online. I’ve bought his book online and am now in the process of reading. Projected completion date: Finish with the screenplay this week and the book by the end of the month, maybe.Related plea/promise: If anyone does a review of my book for Amazon or Goodreads, I will be very happy to return the favor. I want as many people reviewing my book as possible, and I am willing to do stuff to help make that happen.

OK, that’s about it for this post. Pretty soon after this post, I’m going to post another blog entry about some events I’m going to be doing, so keep an eye open for it.

Writing Journal 2.10.2019: Weird week leads to a slow week

(You notice how I’ve been using photos of winter scenes? It’s snowing a lot.)

The numbers are not too much to write home about, but here they are:

+469 words written.

Days writing: 2 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 180 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 4 of 7 days.

Yeah, not really impressive given last few weeks. I have been making progress, but not as much as I want. Work has gotten in the way some (even with all the snow days, imagine that.) And the fact that there might be another snow day or two during this week will not help, either. Oh, well, I’ll be teaching in June anyway.

I’m just doing one post this weekend, so I’ll try to get in everything going on all at once.

Promo items/Stuff for The Holy Fool

  • I mentioned that I will be having my first promotional appearance for my book this Saturday. It’s still on. All of the information is here.
  • I want to set up a book talk at my local library here in Muscatine. I think it would be more of a book discussion than a signing, although I would be giving a copy of my book to the library as well. Once I get that sorted out, I’ll let everyone know date and time.
  • Now that I have books in hand, I want to start doing a giveaway or two through my Goodreads page. As soon as I have that locked down, you will hear it here first.

Writing Stuff

(I went over all of these books here, just to get you caught up).

  • Project A: Wrapping up my latest revisions on it, likely within the next week, after my beta reads. After that, I will be proofreading when I have time and begin considering markets for it. Some possibilities would be publishers/agents who are interested in books with sports themes or LGBTQ characters.
  • Project B: This will likely pick up when I finish the latest revision on Project A. Length of time on this would likely be 2-3 months. I’ll also likely need some beta readers to review as well. After that, I start considering publishers/agents.
  • Project C: I’ve compiled a collection of poems in one location. My initial thoughts are that I will need a bit more material before I consider shopping it around. Length of time to complete a full compilation before starting revisions would be maybe 6-9 months.

That’s about all I have for now. Keep reading me and everyone else, and if you are in the Midwest and getting as much snow as I am, stay safe.

 

I Have Books

Another short blog post to let people know that I have books.

Just got the delivery from my publisher this week. So, I do have physical copies of my book in paperback format. A couple are already spoken for, but some are not.

It may take a while for some of these to get out, given the polar vortex sitting over Iowa and a couple of other states, but it will happen. I’m also planning at least one giveaway through my Goodreads page.

I’ll have some word about at least one book signing coming up soon, and perhaps some other items coming up. I’ll keep you in the loop when plans are set.