Writing Journal 11.17.2019: Diving deeper into fantasy and keeping up with things

I’m sort of in a weird place in my life. I’d have to say that for at least the past three years, I’ve been in a transitional period of time.


I’ve been counting down the time when both of my kids were going to be out of high school and starting their journeys into adulthood. In May of next year my daughter will graduate from high school. I think my wife (Laura) and I had been looking toward that date for a while as an opportunity to make a change. As it turned out, she finally got a great job opportunity. This summer, it looks like I’ll be moving away from Muscatine, the town I’ve lived in off and on for 30 years, and it’s not likely I’ll ever go back except for a visit.


I’ve begun to wonder how this uncertainty might be affecting my writing. Much of the writing advice that I’ve ever heard says you should try to establish yourself as a regional writer, but I’m going to be leaving my region in less than a year. I’ll be in central – well, south central Iowa, and there appears to be a good community of writers in Des Moines. I’m not sure how many writers there are in the county that I’m going to be living in, but given there’s only a few thousand people in the town I’m living in, there might not be as many as I knew in Muscatine. But, I will be looking for them, as well as trying to hang on to the writing connections I have made during my time in Eastern Iowa.


So, that means that I’m marking time on many things, even on where I’m going to live and work and what that is going to look like. However, there are several months before that finally happens. And, like my wife, I have never been the most patient of people. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve been getting into more fantasy, getting so obsessed with Game of Thrones that much of my writing recently has been fanfiction. There’s a whole series of projects I should be working on, but my mind seems to be idling.

This blog seems to be getting more personal the longer it goes on.

I’ve been reading some more classic fantasy recently, trying to get more of a feel for the genre. On my reading list this week is The High King by Lloyd Alexander and A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. I read The High King as a kid. I’ve never read Earthsea, but her book The Beginning Place was one of the best books I discovered as a teen. First impressions – The High King is definitely aimed at kids, and Earthsea is pretty good. However, you really have to use a magnifying glass to read the map there (see the featured photo for this entry). I’ve becoming a connoisseur of maps recently.

I’m going to close with the stats for this week. Not the worst, and fairly consistent work, even though production was not how it has been. Well, I’ll see what next week brings. Later, everyone.

+2,715 words written.

Days writing: 5 of 7.

Days revising/planning: 5 of 7 for  330 total minutes.

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




A Writer’s Biography, Volume III, Part 4: On Leaving an Author Behind

There’s always been discussion about whether to separate artists and their behavior in real life from their art. This debate has grown exponentially given the political climate over the past two years, but that is just a reflection of the conflict that has gone on for many years before.

It may be strange that I’m posting this as a Writer’s Biography blog, but I’ve long held to the belief of Stephen King and others that reading other people’s work is nearly as much a part of building a writer as the actual writing process itself. So, something having to do with what I chose to read in the past, present, and future is part of building me as a writer moving forward.

I’ve written before about authors I’ve admired in this series, as well as authors that I’ve fallen out of love with for various reasons. However, I’m finding myself making more decisions regarding what authors I choose to read and what authors I choose not to read.

Basically, more and more new authors are coming out with more and more new stuff. Since I happen to be a newly published author myself, I have made the decision that I want to do what I can with the financial resources that I have to support these types of authors, especially those whose work I admire and/or those who have been a support to me now and in the past.

There are a lot of authors out there to choose from. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to devote my time to any authors that I think are problematic for whatever real life reason. Some that argue the opposite way would say that to do that would ignore many great works of writing. My counterargument to that is, there are plenty of authors out there who are good people. Why force yourself to make moral judgements when there are plenty of great alternative authors and writing out there? It’s too much work and I don’t want to support people like that financially or with attention if I can help it.

One example of this cropped up with me last week, and one particular author. I’m not going to name the author here, but he’s active in the entertainment industry as well as being an author. I had the chance to read a memoir of his, and I thought it was some great writing about his experiences in the industry. It was definitely one of the better books I read during the past couple of years.

However, I was on social media and I found him making some profoundly unfunny jokes about people, and it was apparent from other posts and information that he’d turned into some sort of right-wing crank. Within a half-hour, that book was no longer in my personal library and I put him out of my head. It was that quick.

I regret that the guy turned out to be someone I couldn’t approve of, but I don’t regret my decision. You may have to work with and live near people whose personal philosophies you disagree with, but there’s no requirement to have to rely on them for entertainment and reading joy. Both reading and writing are my passion, my escape, and my art. I have no problem having what I read reflect my passions and views just the same as my writing does.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: For a while on my blog, I’ve been posting stories about my past that helped build and mold me into the writer and person I am today. You’ll be able to find these (and a couple of other stories) in the Biographies category section of my blog. Here’s a direct link, too.

A Message To Anyone Who Reads My Book…

…Glad you picked it up.

If you bought it, that’s great. Glad to get a few extra bucks into my pocket while telling you a story that, I think, is pretty cool. Trust me, I wouldn’t have spent years writing it if I hadn’t.

There’s also the chance, however, that you might have read it in the library. I’m in the process of getting some a copy dropped off at my library and maybe a couple of others around the area. Some of them also do ebook loaning, so I’m interested to see if they could do that, as well.

The point being, I appreciate anyone who reads my stuff, no matter whether you pay for it or borrow it from the library. If you are wondering how you can help me out, even if you can’t pay for my books, I have a way for you to do it.

Tell people what you thought about it.

Yeah, you can do that on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, but there’s a couple of other places it can be even more useful.

On Amazon, they give you space on the product page to leave a review of the book or product. Let me put out a personal plea for you to write a review there. Let people know what you thought of it honestly. Tell them what you dug about it and if anything could be improved, and leave it up there. In case you got it from the library and don’t know where to leave a review, here is the link for my author’s page on Amazon. Just go to one of the book links there and do a review. Yeah, you’ll have to sign up for an account, but you probably already have one and it’s free anyway, right?

Also, feel free to leave it on other sites. For example, this is the site for my ebook on Barnes and Noble. If you sign up for Goodreads, you can do that same thing – here is my author’s page there. You can even leave a review for my book on my publisher’s site and you don’t have to sign in for anything.

And don’t feel like you have to write three or four different reviews, either. Cutting and pasting is perfectly acceptable. 🙂

The point is, I would truly appreciate it if people would start reviewing my book, even if they don’t have 100 percent positive things to say about it. The more people start talking about my book, the more people start noticing my book, and the more likely it is that people start buying it.

Anything you can do, I thank you for it.