The Journal, Sunday, December 31

Hey Folks,

Well, here it is. The last day of the year. New Year’s Eve. But tonight, I’ll be sacking out at about my usual time.

Anyway, a new year (or a new any-time-period) begins again with pretty much every moment, doesn’t it?

Still, as they are with most of us, the first day of the year, the first day of each month, and the first day of the week are all well-ingrained demarcations for me. So tomorrow, we’ll all begin again, just as if the first official moment of the new calendar year is somehow magically more special than any other moment.

If I may digress for a moment, scientists say the difference between us and the other animals on this planet is that we are self-aware and they are not.

I disagree, vehemently.

The difference is that we are aware of Time and its passage and they are not. Wisely, they have chosen to ignore something upon which they can have absolutely no lasting effect. May we all come to the same conclusion sooner rather than later.

As it stands, I suspect some of them go so far as to watch us marking Time and wonder what all the fuss is about. I know my little girl cat does just that.

We humans, on the other hand, obsessively mark the passage of time down to the second. We thrum our fingertips on the counter as we wait for our Keurig to brew a cup of coffee. We watch the countdown timer on the microwave as we heat a ham and cheese sandwich for thirty seconds. We enjoy the new beginning marked by the anniversary of our birth even as we mourn the years gone by.

I first caught onto the whole time scam when I decided several years ago not to wear a watch anymore. After I took it off, almost miraculously, I suddenly stopped having to be anywhere at a certain time. Incredible, but true. It isn’t a watch watch after all, you see. It’s a slave bracelet.

I still obey the rules of Nature, just as if I had a choice — you know, aging, stuff like that — and I still mark the passage of Time, albeit not quite so frantically as I did before I tossed my watch aside. If I didn’t, this Journal wouldn’t exist.

Yet here it is.

I won’t do a year-in-review thing since I’ve kept up with that at the end of each Journal entry for anyone who wants to see it.

May each of you and all of us have a banner year with our writing and with all of those things that are vastly so much more important.

By the way, if you’d like to see my villanelle, “Roses?” set to music by classical composer Stanley Grill, please click http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Roses-score.pdf. I don’t read music, but the arrangement is pleasing to the eye, like art.

That’s it for today, and for this year.

Back soon.

Of Interest

Nada.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 480 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 480

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 183733
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 637495

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, December 30

Hey Folks,

As part of my prep for 2018, over the past month or so I’ve been developing a new way to brand my covers. Specifically, the author name part.

Here’s the way my author name will appear on covers into the future:

The background will blend with the cover. Of course, the font colors and the background behind my first name also are adaptable. You’ll see this in a cover below.

Branding is all about making your work easier for readers to find. That’s why one precept of cover design requires that, even in the thumbnail version, both the title and the author name should be readily visible.

Dean Wesley Smith and myriad others whose last name is much shorter than their first (or than their first and middle) have an advantage. When they line the names up right, the last name is prominent. (See any of DWS’ covers to see what I mean.)

I could do something similar if I added my middle name. But the font for my first and middle name wouldn’t be much smaller than my last name. The two combined, including the space between them, is only 13 characters. My last name is 10 characters all by itself.

But I don’t want to use my middle name anyway, so not a big thing. I just had to come up with some other way to brand my covers with my name to make my work easier for readers to find and recognize.

When I first published the novel, The Consensus, here’s the cover I created for it. I felt something wasn’t right about it, but I was in a hurry, so I let it ride.

As you can see, both the author name and the title are very difficult to read. Partly that’s because of the font color, but it’s also because of the font choice (for the author name) and the font size. Notice too how “squeezed-in” the author name looks. It doesn’t look comfortable.

Recently I was looking over some of my published works online, and that cover slapped me. Ugh. And only a few days ago I finalized my new author name logo. So I decided to rebrand the cover on the spot. That’s it below on the left.

As part of the rebranding, I changed the font color to more accurately reflect the lighter color on the cover. I also increased the size of the title, and of course added the new author name logo.

What do you think? Is the cover better or worse?

So as I write off into 2018, I’ll also be rebranding the covers of my novels and novellas, and of course branding all my new work.

Back soon.

Of Interest

For those of you who listen to podcasts, check out “Smart Book Marketing Starts with a Solid Foundation” from Smashwords at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/12/smart-book-marketing-starts-with-solid.html.

Linda Maye Adams, in her “2017 Writing Year in Review,” talks about several workshops she took from DWS. You might check it out at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/12/30/2017-writing-year-in-review/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 490 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 490

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7700
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 183253
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 637015

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, December 29

Hey Folks,

You’ll also see a post almost identical to this one on December 31 from the Pro Writers blog.

First, let me recommend you read the comments on Dean’s post from yesterday. There are some ideas for goal-setting and challenges there that might resonate with you. For your convenience, I’ve linked to it again in today’s “Of Interest” section.

What follows is the thought process and rationale that helped me set my own goals and challenges for the upcoming year. I’m including it here in case it might help some of you.

I’ve been wrestling with my commitment to writing new fiction.

My word choice here is intentional. A “commitment” is different, to me, than a “resolution.”
Resolutions generally rattle around in my head for awhile, drop an ulcer into my gut, and then flail off into the eternal past like yesterday’s good news.

I’d rather make a commitment, something that isn’t just a fashion-of-the-day fad. Something that requires (from me) a stubborn determination.

Okay, so as I wrestled with this over the past few months and more intensely over the past few days, Critical Mind said, “Hey, go slow, dude. You’ve been off for awhile.” So I thought about setting a goal to write one new short story per week, nothing more.

Seriously? That would probably be wonderful for some folks. After all, that’s 3 – 6 dedicated hours per week of putting new words on the page. As such, it’s certainly nothing to snort at.

But I don’t have children to raise or a day job that consumes my existence. So what in the world would I do with the rest of my time?

I know me. I’d waste it.

Besides, I’m one of those guys who understands if I’ve done something once I can do it again, barring physical limitations. For example, I’ll never run 3 miles in under 18 minutes again, but I did 46 years ago. (grin)

Okay, so it’s time to get real, and nothing is more real (even in today’s warped Bizarro world) than math.

• Back in 2015, I wrote 686,146 words of fiction, an average of 1880 words per day. (I wrote 719,084 words overall).

• In 2016, I wrote 702,838 words of fiction, an average of 1926 words per day. (I wrote 976,298 words overall).

• But this year I wrote only 453,762 words of new fiction. That’s an average of only 1243 words per day. Overall this year I will have written around 640,000 words, less than my fiction-only output in either of the preceding years.

So how can I use this information? Well, I’m setting new writing goals for 2018. Duh. And I like (very much) to better my personal best.

So my subconscious said, “Y’know, we’ve easily hit 3000 and even 4000 words on most days when you let us play.” (We hit more than that on other days, but not so easily.) “So we think our new DAILY goal should be 2500 words.”

“Okay,” said I.

Sensing a trick, my subconscious said, “To be clear, we are not allowed to stop until we’ve written at least 2500 new words of fiction.”

Well, that’s only two to three hours per day. Every day.

Okay, that still sounded reasonable, but with one modification.

I said, “Deal, but I’ll take a day off without guilt when life intervenes or when I just want to.”

My subconscious grumbled a bit, then backed off, its little arms crossed over its chest. “Whatever,” it said.

But that’s all right. My modification was necessary, so that’s that. For example, I have some camping to do (my funny friend says “cramping”) and some family visits coming up. Things like that.

Plus (as I told my subconscious), what matters with this kind of goal is the average. After all, the target word count is a minimum. Any words over 2500 go into the bank and count toward the average.

Folks, I’m establishing goals to drive me to the computer, not to drive me to drink. It’s all about production, not pressure.

If I can manage a little more on average (2740 words per day), I will have hit that elusive goal of 1,000,000 words of fiction in 2018. Wouldn’t that be nice?

And Dean, my unintentional mentor, recommends what he calls a “fall-back goal.” I get that.

So even if I fall short, if I write at least 2055 words per day on average, I will have written 750,000 words of fiction. And that’s not too shabby.

At that point, my subconscious was convinced and fully on board. And my conscious mind shut up and went to sit in her assigned corner. (Yes, she’s female. Do I need to explain?)

Okay, so for calendar year 2018

• my daily goal is 2500 words of new fiction per day;
• my stretch goal is 1,000,000 words of new fiction; and
• my fall-back goal is 750,000 words of new fiction.

And regarding my conscious mind’s nagging admonition to go slow?

Well, note that these are all strictly word-production goals.

Some of those words will go into short stories, some into novelettes and novellas, and some into novels.

But I’m not setting specific goals in that regard. I don’t need them.

I already know I can write a short story in a day or two, a novelette or novella in a few to several days, and a novel in two to eight weeks. And that feels plenty fast enough to me.

The challenge will be to write at least 2500 words of new fiction per day, period, and to take a day off without fretting over it when I need to.

This is incredibly freeing. What comes will come. The eventual form the story takes doesn’t matter. All that matters is putting new words on the page.

And, you know, the average. (grin)

Back soon.

Of Interest

Yesterday I mentioned Dean’s post on “Getting Ready for 2018.” You can find that one (with comments) at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/getting-ready-for-2018/#comments.

But also see his revised link to Heinlein’s Rules in that post at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/heinleins-rules-introduction/. And if you’d like to see my take on Heinlein’s Rules, click http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Heinleins-Business-Habits-Annotated.pdf. (This will download a PDF copy.)

For all kinds of other free downloads, click http://harveystanbrough.com/downloads/.

For a moment of Zen, see https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/worlds-oldest-trees-2017.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1030 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1030

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7210
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 182763
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 636525

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, December 28

Hey Folks,

Well, those of you who’ve hung on through my madness will receive a double reward today, or at least that’s how this edition of the Journal is intended.

In preparation for my own return to writing fiction, I decided to take today (and maybe the next couple of days) to do two things:

First, I’m revisiting some of the lectures and workshops I’ve taken from Dean. After that, I’ll be prepping by setting goals and a schedule. More on that in coming days. My intention is to begin fresh on January 1.

Because I have a couple of short stories that I’ve already written but believe would make good novels, I decided this morning to listen to Dean’s “Short Story to Novel” lecture.

I’m listening not so much for “how-to” advice, but more for the philosophy of it. Sort of the “why-to.”

And without giving away any major secrets (the lecture is only $50 and very well worth it) here’s what I re-learned:

A short-story-to-novel development might be a good idea if

▪ you feel like the story needs to continue, that even though it wrapped, there was more to the story (this is how I felt as I finished the short story “Beats All”), or
▪ you feel you’d like to read or explore more of the story (this is how I felt as I finished the short story “Going Back” in June of 2015), and
▪ the idea of revisiting the story concept is intriguing to you. If the idea bores you, don’t do it.

Maybe in some way that will help you.

And now for the second half of the double reward. A day or two ago a friend asked my opinion on using pen names. What follows is my advice to her, excerpted and expanded:

Topic: The Use of Pen Names (or Not)

In the “old days” of traditional publishing, a lot of prolific authors used pen names, mostly because they were turning out a lot more work than the tradpubs could or would handle.

Maybe a writer was putting out several novels per year, but the publishers would buy and publish only one novel per year per author.

In that case, a pen name meant an extra income. Two pen names meant two extra incomes, and so on. For that reason, many prolific authors used dozens of pen names.

So with that as a backdrop, when I started writing fiction, I thought it would be cool to have a different pen name for each major genre.

So my more “literary” fiction, the Hemingway-like stuff, was written by Nicolas Z “Nick” Porter. My magic realism was written by Gervasio Arrancado. The crazy, edgy, horror stuff was written by Eric Stringer, and the science fiction was written by Ray Sevareid.

(These are actually more than pen names. They’re personas. You can still read their bios at http://harveystanbrough.com/my-personas/.) And I wrote under several more pen names.

Then I realized we’re in a new publishing world today. The writer has to build a name, a reputation. If you use several different pen names, you dilute and fragment that.

Of course, you could just make sure readers know the pen name is also you, but then why have a pen name at all?

This matters so much that I went back and rebranded all of the novels by Nick Porter and Ray Sevareid under my own name. I left Confessions of a Professional Psychopath with Eric Stringer. Frankly, I was afraid to take it away from him. (grin)

In today’s world, pen names aren’t necessary unless you have a valid (to you) reason to conceal your identity.

For an extreme example, say you’re a Sunday school teacher or youth minister for your church. You can probably get away with writing in most genres—SF, action adventure, crime, etc—under your real name. Maybe even romance.

But if you bend your hand to writing steamy erotica, you might want to use a pen name for that.

Otherwise, they aren’t necessary.

Note: Dean does offer a lecture on pen names. It costs $50. I haven’t bought it because I assume he’ll spend a lot of time saying what he says publicly in his blog posts, that pen names by and large are not necessary.

If you’re interested, visit https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/lecture-series/ and scroll down to “Pen Names: How and When To Write Under a Pen Name.” That will get you the description.

Back soon.

Of Interest

I didn’t read Dean’s post today until after I’d written the stuff above this. Talk about timely! See “Getting Ready for 2018” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/getting-ready-for-2018/. And especially the segment on “How to Set Fiction Writing Goals in 2018.” Really great stuff.

Breaking: See “” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/the-year-in-review-overview/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 750 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 750

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 181733
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 635495

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, December 27

Hey Folks,

On Christmas Eve I created a test site I can use to try out new things before making them live here or on HarveyStanbrough.com. I was able to use a cloning engine, so I basically just moved HarveyStanbrough.com over there. Took about an hour to create a whole website. The technology amazes me.

Anyway, while I was messing around on that test site, I noticed a few “drafts” of posts. I don’t use the Draft feature on WordPress, at least not intentionally, so I clicked one to have a look.

Turns out it was an early draft of a Journal entry I posted back on April 18 of this year.

In it, I talked about a short story I’d finished: “Beats All.” It worked as a short story, but it also wanted to keep going. So that’s one possibility for my next novel.

Another possibility is an extened version of an SF short story titled “Going Back.” Even as I finished that one it began haunting me. The idea of it grabbed me, and a year and a half later it’s never let go.

It might also be one of the very few purely original ideas I’ve ever had. I’ve never seen it written or filmed anywhere else. Not even close.

If I turn that one into a novel I won’t even need to read over it first. I’ll write an opening, then just keep writing until the story ends. The concept is just that strong.

So that’s kind’a what I’m doing as my current copyedit winds down. Mentally clearing the decks, getting ready for my return to the writing ‘puter. It feels like it’s been years. It’s definitely been too long.

Anyway, for now, back to the copyedit. Should finish in today.

***

Five days left on the Smashwords End of the Year sale. All of my books — nonfiction, novels, short fiction and collections — are on sale for 50% off. To take advantage of it, visit https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/HEStanbrough, make your selections, and enter promotion code SEY50. Enjoy!

Back soon.

Of Interest

From Robert A. Heinlein via The Passive Voice, see “A human being” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/a-human-being/. I love this quote.

From The Digital Reader, see “Tech Tools for Authors #2” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/12/26/tech-tools-authors-2/.

Dean’s doing it again. See “Want to Be Challenged Into the New Year?” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/want-to-be-challenged-into-the-new-year/. This is an extremely good offer for anyone who’s considering taking a couple of his online workshops. What could be better than buying two of his workshops and getting all the benefit of those, and as a bonus getting Dean Wesley Smith free as your first reader?

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 440 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 440

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5390
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 180943
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 634705

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, December 23

Hey Folks,

I’m psyched. Even yesterday, in 20° weather, I was thinking what a wonderful day it is to be alive. The same holds true today.

I have some great things coming up in the new year. They have nothing to do with traditional new year’s resolutions — those always are losing propositions for me, invitations to fail — but the things I’m looking forward to do have a lot to do with writing (of course).

And they’re made bigger and better and more fun by the fact that, other than a few vague ideas floating around in my brain pan, I have no idea what they are.

I almost wish I could go back and write the Wes Crowley Saga again. Not because I want to retell that story, but because I long to be that involved, write something on that scale, enjoy the characters that much.

I have considered writing about Wes’ son or daughter, but I can’t. He and Coralín set them up to become doctors and lawyers and the like, and that just isn’t my bailiwick.

Maybe I’ll happen on a story idea that will carry me that far again. Who knows.

But then, that’s the magic of it, isn’t it? That “who knows” part. Especially when you’re just writing blind, writing off into the dark, letting the characters entertain you with their story. (It is their story, you know, not yours.)

That’s the magic of it and the sheer joy of it. And I wish you much magic and joy over this Christmas holiday and in the new year.

Back soon.

Of Interest

A couple from James Scott Bell:

See “Channeling Your Childhood Heroes” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/12/channeling-your-childhood-heroes.html.

And then see “Writers Need to Be Amphibious” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/12/writers-need-to-be-amphibious.html.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 270 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 270

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4950
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 180503
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 634265

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, December 22

Hey Folks,

Well, once again I’m prompted to file another edition of the Journal mostly so I can pass along some information.

See “A Christmas Gift” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-christmas-gift/. I already signed up. There are 8 videos in the lecture. The whole lecture takes a little over an hour. Given the number of gems Dean drops, this will be well worth your time depending on your level as a writer.

I watched the whole thing so I could give you a more comprehensive report. Even with all that I’ve done in the past few years, from the vantage point of my current slump, I still picked up a few things that will be very useful very soon.. They were mostly reminders, but a couple of things I haven’t done.

It’s 22° here this morning. By 9 a.m. it was 32 but still officially felt like 22. It was 11° in Flagstaff where one of my sons lives, but to me when it gets below about 25° it’s all the same.

Today I’ll probably barricade myself in my house. I might get out to check the mail at the PO later, but I’ll definitely make a lot of headway on the copyedit.

I’ll update numbers tomorrow. I almost forgot to post this.

Back soon.

The Journal, Thursday, December 21

Hey Folks,

From The Passive Guy:

Barbara Walters: “But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?”

Isaac Asimov: “Type faster.”

***

I started the day with a good walk, which was more wandering aimlessly about in the desert out back. Then back home for breakfast and to work on the copyedit.

Those of you who wrote regarding the villanelle that Stanley Grill will include in his composition, thank you. I appreciate the kind thoughts.

Here’s the poem, in case you want to see it:

Roses?

When pink and red entwine, their dreams to share,
and climb as one, combining strength and grace,
then will the scent of roses fill the air.

The pink, its petals soft, its scent a rare
and gentle one, will take its rightful place
when pink and red entwine, their dreams to share.

No longer will the wind easily pare
the strengthened petals from the coral face;
then will the scent of roses fill the air.

The red, upon a stem that’s long and fair,
will learn humility and grow in grace
when pink and red entwine, their dreams to share.

No longer will the pride outweigh the care
that ‘neath the sun, all have an equal place;
then will the scent of roses fill the air,

and each of them, with petals strong and fair,
will give and take with ease and grow in pace
when pink and red entwine, their dreams to share;
then will the scent of roses fill the air.
***

I’ve long held that whatever a poem “means” to the reader is correct. The poet’s original intention seldom matches the reader’s take. (I’ve long said when you write a poem and give it to a hundred people, you’ve written a hundred poems.)

If you read the column on WebExhibits.org from yesterday, you saw one reader’s take on the poem. It was a nice interpretation, and I wouldn’t begin to tell that person he or she was wrong. What it meant to him or her is as correct as what it means to anyone else.

But what that columnist took from the poem is not what led me to write it. My intent was to attempt to illustrate that by and large we all begin with equal value, no matter our race, gender, nationality, etc.

We don’t even have to set aside our differences; we have only to accept that others are a great deal more like us than they are different. And if we work together…. So there you go.

As I mentioned to a few of you, the composer said he would send me a track of the composition when it’s finished. I’ll share it here.

Back soon.

Of Interest

Go read the comments on “Five Shots at Your Own Sales” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/five-shots-at-your-own-sales/#comments.

Then follow up with “Talking About Sales Blurbs” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/talking-about-sales-blurbs/. You won’t be sorry.

See the Passive Guy’s take on The Digital Reader’s “Far Too Many People Are Still Using “Password” as a Password” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/far-too-many-people-are-still-using-password-as-a-password. PG mentions some very neat password and test tools.

And just for a laugh, read PG’s “Type” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/type/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 530 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 530

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4460
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 180013
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 633775

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, December 20

Hey Folks,

Probably thirty years ago, right out of the blue, I received an email from a young filmmaker at UCLA. He requested permission to make a short film based on my flash fiction story “At Confession.”

Then several years later, so maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, a different filmmaker wrote me with the same request. And it was about the same story. How cool is that?

So imagine my thrill when lightning struck for the third time early this morning. Oh, and if you’re a lover of classical music, you’re going to like this.

Have you ever heard of Stanley Grill?

I hadn’t, yet the man is a composer whose music “has been performed the world over – from Ecuador to Poland; Toulouse to Tokyo; Brooklyn to Vienna – by such artists as Camerata Philadelphia, Camerata Arkos, Duo+ Ensemble, Englewinds, the Pandolfis Consort, Diderot Quartet, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, One World Symphony, violists Brett Deubner and Ralph Farris, and violinist Jorge Avila.”

To be honest, I had never heard of any of those artists either. But then, like most of us, I stay in my niche, or niches.

I can talk writing in any of three forms: long fiction, short fiction or poetry. I can talk military in two forms: Vietnam War era specifics and particular aspects of the US Marine Corps that never change (discipline, code of conduct, honor, and more). And those are pretty much my main niches.

I enjoy some classical music, but not to the point that I can even match a composition to a composer. On the other hand, I can, if offered the title of a poem, name the poet most of the time.

That niche thing again.

Composer Stanley Grill emailed me. In part his email read “Dear Mr. Stanbrough, I am a composer. Recently, I’ve been on a hunt for contemporary villanelles, as I’m starting to compose a song cycle, for small chorus, using the villanelle as a common thread. While on this hunt, I came across your poem ‘Roses?’ and would like to obtain your permission to include it in the cycle.”

INSETIf you aren’t sure what a villanelle is, see https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/villanelle-poetic-form. (Perhaps the most well-known villanelle is Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.”)

I responded (of course) that I would be honored, a phrase I do not use lightly. There is no greater payment than a request from an artist to include my work in a new composition, whatever the artistic genre. Certainly there are more useful payments — for example, actual money is good — but none greater.

Now perhaps a film producer will pop into my inbox sometime with an email that reads, “Dear Mr. Stanbrough, I am a Hollywood producer. It seems historical action-adventure westerns are making a comeback, and I recently stumbled across your excellent series about Wes Crowley. May I….”

Yeah. I’d be honored AND giggly.

***

I finally finished coding and installing a new Become a Patron page on both websites. There are four levels — Patron, Patron Plus, Patron Writer and Patron Saint — and each has a stack of rewards beneath it.

Take a look if you’re interested. The pages are identical on both sites.

I thought about setting up a Patreon page, but I’m not going to do that. I’d rather work directly with the few who follow me.

***

I have to ask, please don’t send me any liberal political commentary, either in comments on my websites or in personal emails. How and what you believe is up to you, as well it should be. But the First Amendment does not come with a clause that guarantees an audience. Thanks.

Back soon.

Of Interest

To learn a bit about composer Stanley Grill, see https://www.stangrillcomposer.com/.

To learn a bit more about yours truly back when I was labeled (by others) a “New Formalist,” see http://www.webexhibits.org/poetry/explore_classic_villanelle_make.html.

Wow. See “Five Shots At Your Own Sales” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/five-shots-at-your-own-sales/. Read it carefully. Twice.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 670 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 670

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 179483
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 633245

Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182