The Journal, Monday, December 31

Hey Folks, Rolled out early this morning, excited to get started on covers. I started the day by downloading several photos from Unsplash at I can’t recommend them highly enough. Great royalty-free stock photos and they’re free. I redesigned the cover for Nick 4 (Consequences), which will release on January 15. Then I designed the cover for Situation Solved, which will release on February 15. Later today, I hope to design a cover for Blackwell Ops. It will be with my first reader as soon as I find one. (grin) I haven’t decided yet whether to release Blackwell Ops … Read more

The Journal, Sunday, December 30

Hey Folks, If any of you would like to serve as the first reader for my current novel, please email me at This is an origin novel that I expect will introduce a series. It isn’t so much a mystery novel (though there is some mystery and many twists and turns) as a crime novel. It’s an accounting of one operative’s life as he makes his way through various assignments for a secretive organization called Blackwell Ops. I probably won’t write any fiction tomorrow, but I’ll do a wrap-up on the Journal with some year-end numbers and some goals … Read more

The Journal, Saturday, December 29

Hey Folks, Well, another day, another lesson. From now on, when I’m ending the writing day early for some special reason, I’ll check to make sure the special reason is worthwhile before I send off the Journal. (grin) Yesterday I shut down a little before noon. The football game I wanted to watch was well into the first quarter by then. So I sent off the Journal, closed the Hovel and headed for the house. Turned on the TV and saw the score was already 42 to 6. Oh my. Even though I like both teams (Auburn and Purdue), I … Read more

The Journal, Friday, December 28

Hey Folks, Merry Second Christmas to me. My excellent first reader returned her input on Situation Solved this morning. (huge grin) So it will release on February 15 as scheduled. Thanks, Alison! Alison Naomi Holt is an accomplished writer and screenwriter in her own right (see She is also a personal friend. A retired detective from the Tucson PD, Alison writes the Alex Wolfe mysteries (four books so far) as well as epic fantasy and psychological suspense. I particularly enjoy her Alex Wolfe mysteries, and you can get the first one (Credo’s Hope) FREE just by signing up for … Read more

The Journal, Thursday, December 27

Hey Folks, I got into a short email discussion with a fellow novelist who also writes off into the dark. The upshot was, he wondered whether maybe — when a character does something that’s unexpected and out of character — it’s all right or even necessary to create a history for that character that would explain the unexpected action, a kind of character sketch (my term, not his). I decided to copy my response here as a topic. Topic: Writing Into the Dark, Take 2 I did a post on Writing Off Into the Dark over on the Pro Writers … Read more

The Journal, Wednesday, December 26

Hey Folks, Good morning! I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas. I’m looking forward to the new year, and I hope it will be a prosperous and healthy one for all of you. Of course, the new year (or anytime, really) is a great time to learn new techniques. I was listening this morning to part of Dean’s workshop on Secondary Plot Lines. I’ve written 36 novels. I’ve used secondary plot lines a lot. But there’s always something new to learn. And the course was basically free. I bought one of the Writers Gift boxes ($50) from WMG … Read more

The Journal, Tuesday, December 25

Hey Folks, Well, I guess I’ll continue my streak of writing (almost) every day. It really is easy when I have a WIP. It’s much easier to take a day off between stories than to take a day off when a story’s still unfolding. (grin) That’s the main reason I’m glad I was able to make the process of writing fun. When I enjoy being surprised and entertained by the characters in their story, that expectation drives me back to the computer to write when I might not otherwise go. Which of course is why I’m so frantic to start … Read more

The Journal, Monday, December 24

Hey Folks, Wow. Up way earlier than I expected to be, again. But being up a couple hours earlier than my version of normal gives me time to “wake up” etc. and still have a good writing day, so I don’t mind. Hey, happy Christmas Eve. And just in case I don’t show up in your inbox tomorrow, I hope you will all have a fun, joy-filled Christmas Day no matter what particular holiday your celebrate. After we swap gifts, my wife and I will share a semi-traditional Mexican Christmas dinner with our neighbors. No tamales (nom nom nom) but … Read more

The Journal, Sunday, December 23

Hey Folks, Well, the Dean/Harvey discussion continues. (grin) See the post (and comment) in today’s “Of Interest.” Up early again this morning at 2 a.m. But today I shouldn’t have as much cycling to do, which means I can write more new words. Yesterday I wrote only about 2000 words, then hit a snag that caused the necessity to cycle back through the story and adjust the timeline (hours within a two-day period) and ages of the actors. I’ll finish that this morning, then pick up where I left off. Topic: On Readers’ “Taste” and Writers’ Ability I do understand … Read more

The Journal, Saturday, December 22

Hey Folks, Happy Winter Solstice yesterday. I forgot. (grin) Topic: The Importance of Paragraphs While glancing over the internet this morning for items of interest, I checked in on a blog I’d saved in my bookmarks but hadn’t looked at recently. When I save one in my bookmarks, it’s because I hope it will provide valuable, or at least valid, information. A writer posed this implied question: I have trouble trying to figure out when to begin and end paragraphs and when to have dialogue included in the paragraph and when to have it stand on its own as an … Read more