The Daily Journal, Sunday, February 24

In today’s Journal

▪ Yesterday
▪ Smashwords’ 10th Annual Read an Ebook Week
▪ Topic: Presenting… The Hovel
▪ A Special Offer (I’m feeling generous)
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers

Yesterday was interesting. I didn’t make much headway in the story, but I did get covers created for Blackwell Ops 2 and 3, promo files done, and those books uploaded for pre-order at D2D, Amazon and Smashwords. So all in all, a good day.

On the home front, the heater in the house spontaneously started working again. Seems I have the only heater on earth that “vapor locks” and stops working when the weather gets too damp and cold. Go figure.

Of course, it always has to be something, so this morning the internet’s out. If I have to, though, I’ll use the mobile hotspot to post this.

My wife spent the day yesterday setting up a Pinterest account for StoneThread Publishing. When you get a minute, check it out at

I’m participating in the 10th Annual Read an Ebook Week sale at Smashwords. From March 3 through March 9 you can purchase any of my books for 50% off: novels, novellas, short stories, nonfiction books and collections.

To take a look, visit and key in HEStanbrough (my username there). All of most of my books will pop up.

Topic: Presenting… The Hovel

Difficult for me to believe I’m actually doing this. But I’ve said for awhile I want to share my writing process, warts and all.

The Hovel works so well for me it’s ridiculous. Still, it’s a wart by any measure.

Yesterday, a subscriber and fellow writer asked whether I might post a photo of The Hovel. I wasn’t sure I wanted pictures of it out there. (grin) Later, I thought why not? After all, I’m the only one who has to put up with it. Or it with me.

So here’s a picture. (For a slightly larger picture, click the image.) In the meantime, I wrote this description:

The Hovel is a rammed-earth building, like adobe but the builders skipped the brick-making steps. It’s situated about 200 feet from my house. As you can see, it’s also an area we use for storage.

The walls are dirt and around 3 feet thick. The inside is painted with peeling, battleship-grey paint. The floor is rough concrete and the ceiling is (in places, sagging) fiberboard.

There are two windows, one to either side of the plain south wall I face when I’m writing. I don’t have or want a view. I’m too easily distracted.

My eyes are overly sensitive to light, so I have both windows blocked to keep out glare, one with an old card table turned on its side and balanced on a sideboard, and the other with a couple of old bath towels hung over it.

On the other side of the card table, a fan blows out through that window to exhaust my cigar smoke. I have a goose-neck lamp on the near edge of the sideboard (on this side of the card table) with the lamp directed at the wall to provide soft, indirect light.

My “desk” is a former dressing table, and it’s cluttered. (I’m a “man cave” kind of a guy; I want everything within reach.) My drink (usually a 24-ounce container of ice water) sits on the right, and an ashtray, my cell phone and other things on the left.

In the center of the desk is an 11.5″ HP ProBook laptop (my new writing ‘puter, Hal 2) and a 24″ monitor. That’s pretty much it. I use the old green bath towel on the right to cover my computer at night. (grin)

I wrote probably 35 of my 40 novels in the Hovel, and put all but the 40th one and my WIP through my previous, 14″ writing ‘puter, Hal 1. I kind of miss it. (grin)

So there you go. Everything you wanted to know and more about The Hovel. (grin)

Wow. Another short writing day. Actually, I had plenty of time (rolled out at 3) but had internet connectivity problems followed quickly by a lot of other things I felt compelled to take care of “right now.”

I wrote about 500 words before I noticed the world falling apart. Now it’s almost 12:30. I’m going to write for another hour or so, then give it up for the day and salvage what’s left of the weekend with my bride. (grin)

I hope all of you had a smoother weekend.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Bonding Character and Reader” at

See “MurderCon: Advanced Fingerprinting” at Not all about MurderCon.

See “Early Readers Wanted” at

See “New Releases” at

Fiction Words: 2263
Nonfiction Words: 760 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3023

Writing of Blackwell Ops 4: Melanie Sloan (novel)

Day 1…… 2363 words. Total words to date…… 2363
Day 2…… 2233 words. Total words to date…… 4596
Day 3…… 3353 words. Total words to date…… 7949
Day 4…… 1330 words. Total words to date…… 9279
Day 5…… 2263 words. Total words to date…… 11542

Total fiction words for the month……… 61752
Total fiction words for the year………… 145155
Total nonfiction words for the month… 22030
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 47440
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 192595

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date………………………… 3
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date…………………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date……… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 40
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 193
Short story collections…………………………………………………… 31

8 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Sunday, February 24”

    • Thanks, Phillip. No idea why it works so well for me, except that it’s out of the house (so I have to “go” to write) and the blank wall.

  1. Thanks for sharing the Hovel. My space is an old dining room table shoved in the corner of our mud room, that I share with our cat (i.e. her food dishes reside on said table).

    • Same kind of setup I have in my office in the house. A desk, but also an old dining room table (legs cut off so it’s desk height). My little girl’s food and water bowl are on the thick window sill in front of my desk. 🙂

  2. Hooray! The Hovel looks awesome and aptly named! Thanks for sharing.

    I set up a writing nook in my bedroom a year ago with a proper table and a nice adjustable office chair, but eventually realized that I just can’t write in there. Now every morning I set up my Dell laptop and Roost stand on my dining room table. Ditched the office chair for the metal folding chair I’ve always written in, but added a pillow. Things are much better now.
    Funny the difference little things can make.

    And I just went on Pinterest for the first time ever. Stonethread page looks cool! Nice that it has links to buy the books.

    Just now toe-dipping into social media. Don’t really have much use for it. Would rather burn it with fire. Yikes, I’m a 43 year-old codger!
    My last social media interactions involved my long-defunct rock band’s Myspace page in ’04.

    Got my first smartphone four days ago. I eye it with trepidation. It, too, I would rather burn with fire.

    • I’m with you. Little things definitely make a difference. And I love my poor little Hovel. If it had a bathroom and a cot, I could live in it. (grin) I was on Facebook for a long time (still am, officially) but I just lost interest. My bride is to be applauded for the Pinterest stuff. She set up everything. She’s the marketing arm of my global corporation. (grin) I’m with you on smart phones too. I like the commercial where a guy says he doesn’t need a phone that “makes moon landings.” (grin) Mine does stuff that mystifies me, but I use it as a phone, and then mostly for emergencies.

  3. Thanks for sharing your hovel with us, Harvey. I can see how the “no distraction” element of it can be helpful. I tend to write in front of a white wall, so that I don’t see the rest of my home (and therefore the endless household tasks that I could be doing instead of writing…).

    • Absolutely. Wherever I write, a bare wall is essential. Though I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot on the beach in Ecuador or Cassis, France if someone wanted to pay me. (grin)

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